Useful Links


I can never find these when I want them.

Dictionaries and English Tools

Common Errors in English

An historical syntax of the English language, Visser (various digitized parts)

Encarta online dictionary

ESL: List of free online journals from talktotheclouds

Learner’s Dictionaries (ESL): Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, Longman English Dictionary Online, Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (also Learner’s, AmE, idioms, phrasal verbs, English-Turkish), Merriam-Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary

Memidex dictionary and thesaurus

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary of English Usage

Mythology – Smith’s Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology

OneLook (1024 dictionaries) (use help file to add to search bar)

ODLIS — Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science

Online Etymology Dictionary

Perdue Online Writing Lab

Philosophy meta-encyclopedia | Dictionary of Philosophy (Ancient – Medieval – Modern)  Dagobert D. Runes

Rhyme generators:  Write Express, Rhyme Brain

Style Manuals-Online Stylebooks–search 43 manuals of style

Unicode-Alt keyboard sequences for special characters, alt codes

Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary

Webster’s New World College Dictionary

Wikipedia Manual of Style

TV shows (and radio) Firefly (a space western) wikipedia|episodes (often broken)|Chinese language phrases (mostly Mandarin) (incomprehensible by real Chinese people)

Fireflyfirst five episodes (HULU)(now they have five rotating episodes)

Fireflyfrom beta (same episodes as HULU, with smoother display) on

Fireflyepisode guide.  Maybe can download some episodes.

La Femme Nikita episodes (starring Peta Wilson)

Naruto (Japanese manga cartoons, English subtitles)

The Prisoner free online (Patrick McGoohan)

BBC Radio 4

Bible portals

New Revised Standard Version: Oremus with Godweb browser and OBB browser, Bible studytools (with commentary and parallel translations)

Today’s New International Version

Revised Standard Version

Arabic translation (Bible Gateway)

Q Bible (Hebrew & English)

Parallel translations (commentary and cross references)

Codex Sinaiticus (earliest known Bible–in Greek)

Bible Gateway (a dozen English versions including TNIV but not RSV, plus languages including Arabic but not Greek or Hebrew)

Roman Catholic Bible in French, key documents of the Catholic faith: Magisterium (in Latin), Liturgy and the Fathers of the Church, saints and their writings, created from CD-ROM Ictus 3.

Koran portals

Al-Tafsir (Jordan)

Shakir (U. of Virginia)

Shakir (U. of Michigan)

Yusuf Ali, Pickthal, Shakir (U. of Southern California)

Online Quran Project (60 trans. + Arabic)

Ayat al-Kursi (Throne Verse) [2:255] Tutorial

Open Quran (9 reciters + Arabic text)

“Wahhabi” translation

Koran Today (side by side comparison of translators Abdullah Yusuf Ali, Zohurul Hoque, T.J. Irving, T.U. Hilali & M. Khan, M. Pickthall, and M.S. Shakir)

(For prayer times)

mosque: Bridgeview

mosque: Adams (DC)

Language Dictionaries

University of Texas archaic languages: Old Norse, Armenian, Baltic, Old English, Old French, Gothic, Classical Greek, N.T. Greek, Hittite, Old Iranian, Old Irish, Latin, Old Church Slavonic, Sanskrit, Tocharian [Asia silk road])

Ultralingua:  English, Esperanto, French, German, Italian, Klingon, Latin, Mandarin Chinese, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, Dictionaries, Spelling & Grammar Checkers, Audio Learning Tools

Your dictionary–Online dictionaries for 300 languages


Akkadian: Klinopsis (Old Babylonian Text Corpus by Cuneiform Circle)

Amharic: Dictionary of the Amharic Language by Charles William Isenberg (1841), Basic Amharic Dictionary: Amharic-English, English-Amharic. Leslau, Wolf (1970) (Free download.) , Online Amharic-English dictionary with search box, A small Amharic glossary

Anglo-Saxon: Anglo-Saxon Dictionary of Bosworth/Toller 1898, consistent alphabetic index to An Anglo-Saxon Dictionary (Bosworth and Toller)-Univ of Texas

Arabic: Edward William Lane’s Arabic-English Lexicon and Koran indexed by roots, new library (so far several translations of Koran and a users dictionary), Andras Rajki’s Arabic Etymological Dictionary (transliteration), database query semitic etymology (Russian website), M. Piamenta’s Dictionary of Post Classical Yemeni Arabic (Gbooks searchable but not online)

Catalan: Enciclopedia (with etymology)

Cornish: Warlinnen lexicon

Danish: modern Danish dictionary, pronunciation guide, historical dictionary of Danish

English: Middle English, Dictionary of Old English-University of Toronto, dictionary of slang, jargon & cant: embracing English, American, and Anglo-Indian slang, pidgin English, tinker’s jargon and other irregular phraseology, Volume 1(google books full text)

French Dictionnaire Français (Encarta), Orthonet [French lexicon proposed by the Conseil International de la Langue Française (], Le Tresor de la Langue Francaise Informatise (etymology)

Gaelic: Gaelic – English Dictionary by Malcolm MacFarlane, dictionary in Gaelic, medieval old and middle Irish glossary by Dennis King, Lexicons–MacFarlane, Gramadach

Georgian: Georgian/German dictionary, Georgian/English site down but try on the wayback machine

German: LEO Deutsch-EnglischWörterbuch

German: English/German dictionary, user sourced, also Italian/German, Portuguese, French, Swedish, Hungarian, Russian, Danish, Esperanto, Norwegian

German: Das Digitales Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache (German OED), Beta–completion date 2012, Deutsches Wörterbuch von Jacob Grimm und Wilhelm Grimm (etymology)

Greek: (etymology)

Hindi/Urdu: from, Platts (some etymology)

Irish: dictionary online

Italian: Dizionario Etimologico

Lakota: Lakota lexicon;Lakota translation (short dictionary); Lakota language, keyboard, fonts, grammar, Bible translation in Lakhota and Dakhota, translation of texts;Lakota-Useful phrases from Omniglot; Lakota Grammar +; Lakhota letters (alphabet) and sounds; Wikipedia: Lakota language with grammar; Smithsonian winter count calendars with pronunciation of tribal group names in Lakota.

Latin: Glossarium mediæ et infimæ latinitatis, L. Favre, 1883-1887 (annotated), Wordsonline dictionary, translation assistant, grammar aid

Mongolian: from (via LH)

Mongolian: (from read)

Norse/Icelandic: Ross Arthur’s English-Old Norse glossary, Old Norse lexicon, Freelang English/Old Norse, Northvegr Old Icelandic (Geir T. Zoëga’s 1910 dictionary of Old Norse), Wiki English glossary, Old IcelandicAn Icelandic-English Dictionary Cleasby and Vigfusson 1874, J. Frizners ordbok (The standard dictionary of Old Norse,in Norwegian) Univ. of Oslo., Modern IcelandicÍslensk-ensk orðabók / Concise Icelandic-English Dictionary 1989

Norwegian-Bokmåls: og nynorskordboka i felles søkevindu

Norwegian-Nynorsk: Grunnmanuskriptet, based on field work in the early 20th century (the book was never published, maybe because of the great depression, maybe because of a political backlash, I don’t really know), but intended to finally be printed on paper for the national jubilee in 2014.

Portuguese: Dicionário Priberam da Língua Portuguesa (with etymology)

Sanskrit: from

Spanish: Real Academia Española diccionario

Scots: Dictionary of the Scots language: (not Gaelic), Scots-Online dictionary (not Gaelic)

Turkish: Cambridge Dictionary Online includes English-Turkish translation

Digital Dictionaries of South Asia:

Assamese Kashmiri Pali Tamil
Baluchi Khowar Panjabi Telugu
Bengali Lushai Pashto Torwali
English Malayalam Persian Urdu
Gujarati Marathi Rajasthani Comparative
Hindi Nepali Sanskrit
Kannada Oriya Sindhi

The English one is the Hobson-Jobson Anglo-Indian dictionary; “comparative” is A Dravidian etymological dictionary and A comparative dictionary of Indo-Aryan languages.

Urdu/Hindi: from, Platts (some etymology)

Welsh: Univ of Wales online dictionary, Mark Nodine’s lexicon,

Language tools (translation, tutorials, and grammars)


Classical languages: The Stoa Consortium-links to texts, blogs, Athens archeology… lookup to 105 languages

*Foreign Services Institute Language Courses U.S. government – public domain. Audio and text. The site is back up as of April 13, 2013, and has posted a dozen new texts.
Mirror/alternative sites at:

Forvo All the words in the world. Pronounced.

Language learning forum

Lexicity Akkadian, Arabic, Aramaic,  Coptic, Egyptian, Ethiopic, Georgian, Gothic, Greek Hebrew, Hittite, Latin, Old Church Slavonic, Old English, Old Irish, Old Norse, Sanskrit, Sumerian, Syriac, Ugaritic.  Comprehensive index for ancient language resources, including dictionaries, grammars, charts and aids, and biblical and non-biblical texts.

Survival Phrases

Mojibake online decoder (for non-standard character sets in Cyrillic, etc.–then put result into Google Translate)

Master list of free language learning resources (including Arabic)

The Open University (podcasts) (British)  French, German, Spanish, business English

Online dictionaries: English/Czech, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Hebrew, Hungarian,  Italian,  Latin, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish

Online Verb Conjugator 66 languages, modern and archaic: Catalan, runic Old Swedish, Old English, vulgar Latin, Welsh…

YouTube: Learn a language on YouTube (Arabic, Chinese, Finnish, French, Hebrew, Icelandic, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Maori, Old English, Portuguese, Sign language, Swedish, Welsh) Languages.

By language:

Akkadian: cunieform from Knowledge and Power in the neo-Assyrian Empire website

Amharic: Amharic keyboard and font to download (scroll down for font), Senamirmir fonts, (to start using font, close the browser and open again; this website has an Amharic “welcome” message you will be able to see if your font is working); Road to Ethiopia, blog written by a student of Amharic language

Anglo-Saxon: consistent alphabetic index to An Anglo-Saxon Dictionary (Bosworth and Toller)-Univ of Texas

Arabic: list of proto-Semitic roots, Foreign Services Institute Arabic free downloads

Chinese: language phrases (mostly Mandarin) from Firefly TV series (it is said that real Chinese people cannot understand these)

Chinese: grammar sample (from Bathrobe)

Darija (Moroccan Arabic): Speak Moroccan Arabic (French version available)

English: (15th to 19th c), The Canterbury Tales Prologue in Middle English

Georgian: alphabet and grammar, pronunciation of letters (in German)

Greek (classical): Getting started tutorial, British Museum digitized manuscripts Greek (Homeric): Clyde Pharr’s Homeric Greek – A Book For Beginners, starts with alphabet then read Iliad in original

Greek (just added): , Stoa Consortium, Univ of Texas (classical and N.T.)

Univ of Frankfort index (also Hittite, Lydian, Tocharian, Old Indic (Vedic?], Old, Middle, Modern Iranian/Persian/Avestan, Armenian, Italic/Old Latin/ Umbrian/Oscan/Picenian, Celtic/Gaulish/Celtibarian/Ogham/Old and Middle Irish/Middle Welsh):

Hebrew: Balashon — Hebrew Detective (etymology), dictionary with 2 hour reading tutorial, dictionary, keyboard, and translate tool, Animated Hebrew games and tutorials website, Hebrew “coal mine letters” tutorial video, Hebrew resources post

Latin: St. Louis Univ materials, immersion course with podcasts, Babylon lookup, Ohio State grammar, Allen and Greenough’s New Latin Grammar online, Perseus library Greek and Latin texts, U of Tartu links (including obscenities), wikibook Latin textbook, links to list of Greek and Latin roots, Latin on Youtube

Latin (classical): Getting started, Stoa Consortium

Norse: Old Norse for Beginnners, Yahoo Norse course group, Peter Pettersson’s Old Norse Language

Proto-Indo European (PIE): online books by Winfred P. Lehmann et al. about Indo-European languages and historical linguistics

Proto-Semitic: list of proto-Semitic roots

Scot: Scottish Gaelic sounds, Scots-Online (lowland Germanic, not Celtic Gaelic)

Spanish: Effective Swearing in DF (Mexico), Antonio de Nebrija’s Gramática de la lengua castellana (1492),  Old Spanish readings (and history-google books full text)

Thai: mp3 downloads (webmaster in jail, download fast?)

Computer downloads for new computer setup

Portable Firefox (for flash drives)

100 plugins from Mycroft Project (Urban Dictionary)

FoxLingo toolbar

American English spellcheck dictionary

Irfanview image editor

Zoombrowser EX (camera)

Zoombrowser EX (But where’s the install file? Can’t find it on Vista.)  Sure Canon gives you a disk, and they are said to be very proprietary about their software, but what are you supposed to do if you have a netbook with no CD player? Do they really think someone would want to use the program if they didn’t already have a Canon camera? Something to think about when it comes time to upgrade the camera.

Zoombrowser Canon A560 (and others) update from Canon (must have EX installed first)

Foxit fast PDF reader free download

Viruses and malware:

~Ad-awareSpybot Search and Destroy


~(AVG now with annoying popups and demands for system restarts)

~*****Microsoft one time scan (IE), malware info page with definition updates for 32-bit and 64-bit systems

Canon printer utility

Quicktime and iTunes download

iTunes 64 bit Vista download

Realplayer download

How to enable Arabic on Vista: Start button->Control Panel->Classic View; select Regional and Language Options->Formats tab (set format to language i.e. “Arabic Egypt”); Location Tab (make location match setting for current format “Egypt”);  go to Keyboards and Languages tab-> click on “Change Keyboards”

Picasa 3 Image editor for photos


The Jordan Times

Jordan news RSS feeds

Petra News Agency

Middle East

Asharq Al-Awsat (London)

Search for world newspapers by country

James Zogby on Huffington Post (archives on Washington Watch)

Audio (see also Language)


Cohen, Leonard: Official YouTube channel2009 Tour (albertnoonan’s high quality YouTube), DrHGuy blog, Speaking Cohen link page

Earsense Chamberbase.


Gaida Hinawwi–from Chicago Music Festival

Holst, Planets

Lo Cor de la Plana,  Spain, a capella male voices-from Chicago Music Festival

Mor Karbasi–, oh, yes!-from Chicago Music Festival

NPR Music (click live concerts for Neko Case)

Leonard Cohen


HeckOfaGuy (DrHGuy)

Leonard Cohen official website

Leonard Cohen Photo Blog (haunting images from someone in Iran)

The Leonard Cohen files (I get quoted here for the Chicago concert–in windows use edit, then find for “camel”)

Speaking Cohen


Music (Cohen)

Covers of Cohen music

Cohen’s “Hallelujah”:

  • Leonard Cohen in Dublin July 23, 2009 (thanks, Albert Noonan)
  • cover: Justin Timberlake and Matt Morris for 2010 Haiti fundraiser
  • cover: KD Lang at the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. This is easily her best rendition, from the official Olympics website with high sound quality.
  • cover: Jeff Buckley
  • cover: four Norwegians–Espen Lind(on guitar), Askil Holm, Alejandro Fuentes, Kurt Nilsen(World Idol)

Interviews and art videos:

Leonard Cohen At Mt Baldy Zen Center, interview with Armelle Brusq, 1996  (thanks, DrHGuy) 1/6, 2/6, 3/6, 4/6, 5/66/6.

Miami Vice cameo, speaking French as Francois Zolan in the episode, “French Twist”.

Language and International blogs

(amateur and professional)

Bulbolovo (bulbul in Slavakia) (alt URL?)

Desbladet (tracking Dutch Snökaos and Gavle goat burnings)

Filius Lunae Romance languages: Spanish, Catalan, French, Galician, Latin, Occitan, Portuguese, Romanian, Sardinian

Idiocentrism (Emerson in Oregon), Trollblog (NSFW), Haquelebac

Martian Spoken Here (French) (Siganus in Mauritius)

The Old Hack (Paul in France)

Poemas del Rio Wang (Spanish, sometimes) (Studiolum, a Hungarian)

John Cowan: minimalist home page | Recycled Knowledge blog

CJVLang (Bathrobe’s days of the week in Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese), Sibagu (Bathrobe’s Bird Names in Oriental Languages-Mongolia, Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam)

Tetradki:  A Russian review of Books (Sashura)


Endangered Languages and Cultures (by and for Australian linguists)

Fully (sic) (Crikey‘s language blog by linguists, for the public–Oz)

Language Johnson (The Economist‘s language blog)

On language (Ben Zimmer NYT), Visual Thesaurus, Facebook, Twitter

Speculative Grammarian (Satirical Linguistics)

Throw Grammar from the Train (Jan Freeman– Boston Globe The Word)


FlorealMente on Facebook


Iconic Photos.

The Kingston Lounge. Urban archeology.

Loic Brohard Photography (places and travel)

Arabia blogs

Maybe this is a good place to post a list of proxy servers by country and to mention Tor (oops, blocked in most of these blogs).

American Bedu

Blue Abaya

Crossroads Arabia

Dave’s internet cafe, general

David’s English



Expat focus

Sand Gets in my Eyes (blocked in Saudi Arabia)

Saudi Woman



Saudi TV ch1 official website streaming

South Shore commuter train schedule

Who’s who in Sri Lanka press

Asian Tribune — basically the personal blog of Sri Lanka Tamil K T Rajasingham who started it in Bangkok 2000, then moved to Sweden “as the founder relocated himself in Sweden”; self-described as “focus is on issues and concerns and champions them with passion. ” Claims being “systematically targeted” by LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam — “Tamil Tigers”)

*Colombo Telegraph — Self-described as ” a public interest website relating to Sri Lankan matters, run by a group of exiled journalists.”  Has separate sections for news and opinion.  Guardian Select: “A leading independent news organisation from Sri Lanka.”

Daily Mirror — “duress and undue influence”? criticism of gov not accepted? (see Daily FT)

Daily FT —  daily English-language newspaper published in Colombo, Sri Lanka; same publisher as The Daily Mirror and its Sunday counterpart Sunday Times. Editor is
Nisthar Cassim, a Muslim and former editor of
The Daily Mirror and The Bottom Line. Wijeya Newspapers publishes Sri Lanka’s The Sunday Times, Daily Mirror newspapers in English and The Sunday Lankadeepa and Daily Lankadeepa in Sinhala and several other specialist newspapers and magazines, including Tamil Mirror, for Tamil breaking news .

*The Irrawaddy — Guardian Select: “Covers Burma and Southeast Asia, providing in-depth news and information to international readers. Irrawaddy Publishing Group (IPG) is an independent, nonprofit media organisation, established in 1993 by Burmese journalists living in exile.”

*Global Tamil News — Guardian Select: “GTMN aims to provide relevant news and information to Tamils in Sri Lanka, India and around the World.”

The Nation — part of the family of Rivira products,  along with the business weekly The Bottom Line, and Rivirisi, “the sinhala Astrology Weekly tabloid which consists of fruitfull feature articles of erudite scholars of Astrology”. The Nation‘s “views are thought-stirring” and the “informed opinion analyses politics, defence and the national conflict like no other”.

Sunday Leader — independent, but…”demise”…?

Sunday Times — “duress and undue influence”? criticism of gov not accepted? see Daily FT.

*The Asian Today — Guardian Select: “Informs, educates and enlightens the British South-Asian population, offering local, national and international news.


*Listed in “Guardian Select“: checked and approved for Guardian Select membership by Guardian editorial.
Posted in Adventures. Comments Off on Who’s who in Sri Lanka press

Gone on walkabout

So long and thanks for all the comments.  If I discover the meaning of life, the universe, etc., I will come back and let you know.

Posted in Adventures. Comments Off on Gone on walkabout

Time to leave the blogosphere?

Getting busy. Things are happening too fast.  Maybe I’ll blog for 2 or 3 days more.

My first blog post was on Sunday, October 29, 2006 here:

Tsunami Mantras

Here are some mantras to help with the tsunami.  They come from a Mongolian living in the U.S.  We both have family in Japan; our family members are safe, but some of their friends are still unaccounted for.

The Mongolian has been posting these YouTube links on  Facebook, along with links to news updates. (If you think its interesting, and you’re on Facebook, you might try a “friend” request.)

An explanation of the mantras:

Japanese believe the first historical “tsunami” – Mongol invasion was reverted by the meditation and chanting
Dalai Lama recommended this sutra

From the Dalai Lama‘s Facebook page:

…His Holiness felt it would be very good if Japanese Buddhists were to recite the Heart Sutra on this occasion. Such recitation may not only be helpful for those who have lost their precious lives, but may also help prevent further disasters in the future. Prayers to recite the Heart Sutra one hundred thousand times were being organized in Dharamsala for this purpose.

The Heart Sutra

般若心経 The Heart Sutra (5:01)(The language in the scroll looks to me like Chinese.)

Buddhist Chant – Heart Sutra (Japanese) Hannya Shingyo (5:47)(I don’t know if it’s the language or the particular rendition, but this one sounds particularly harsh to me.)

More Tsumani mantras

The Mongolian explains:

these mantras are supposed to save from disasters, they are in Tibetan, the first one is translated into Mongolian, are supposed to work more voiced better

The image in the first one is White Tara, I think.
“Цагаан шүхэрт бурханы магтаал” (4:28):

“Burxany nom – Ariun san” (1:15)(A nice series of religious images accompanies the mantra.)

“Burxany nom – Megzem” (1:28) (with same introduction as previous video):

“om mani padme hum” (33:41–but the chant is actually less than 24 minutes, there is dead time at the end of the video):

White Tara sutra

The image above is White Tara.  In Nepal there is also Green Tara and Vajra Jogini, who flies naked over the city.  In Tibetan her name is Tsagaan Dari Ekh, which gets very few google results.  She’s not even on Wikipedia. Says the Mongolian,

it’s White Tara sutra, a sacred text in Tibetan, for the people not knowing Tibetan would work as mantra, or maani in Mongolian, people just attribute some healing/ protecting powers to the sounds of the mantra

There is an audio of a White Tara sutra  here, but the Mongolian visitor has supplied a link for the sutra on YouTube:

World Book Day Game

Accablé de paresse et de mélancolie,
Je rêve dans un lit où je suis fagoté,
Comme un lièvre sans os qui dort dans un pâté,
Ou comme un Don Quichotte en sa morne folie.

World book day. Game rules – Find the book nearest to you, turn to page 56 then find sentence 5 and write it as your status. [This is a Facebook game.—N ] Put the game rules as a comment. Needs to be the book nearest to you, not your favorite. From Slavomír Čéplö.

Introduction to French Poetry: A Dual-Language Book. Ed. Stanley Appelbaum.

Overcome with laziness and melancholy,
I dream in a bed where I’m bundled up,
like a hare boneless sleeping in a pie,
Or like a Don Quixote in his dull madness.

Poem by Marc-Antoine Girard de SAINT-AMANT (1594-1661) who “delighted especially in painting himself as one of a group of poetic *bons vivants*, addicted to tobacco, cheered by wine or cider, literally enraptured by a fine melon, a huge ham, or a creamy and evil-smelling cheese. The sonnet “Le Paresseaux” – a hymn to sloth, concomitant of debauch – was first published in…(1631).

Incidentally,  Slavomír Čéplö will be presenting a paper at the GĦILM 3rd Conference on Maltese Linguistics in April so if you’re going to be in Malta that week with nothing to do,  check it out. Here’s the abstract.

Posted in Books. Comments Off on World Book Day Game

“I like fresh air.”

The news yesterday was depressing, women who were marching for International Women’s Day and the dignity of women were sexually assaulted in in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

Here is the antidote, a thirteen-year-old Yemini girl interviewed by Amanpour:

and here she is again in a longer video about the veil by Khadija Al-Salami:

(sorry, but if there is a part 2 and 3, I havn’et been able to find them.)

Posted in Adventures. Comments Off on “I like fresh air.”

Happy March 8 Paczki Day

“Paczki Day?” Now what.

Pronounced “pole-ski”, this is a Polish delicacy famous at Lent, as in “I’m giving up Polski for Lent”. I’m not Polish and my denomination is not known for giving up anything at Lent that cannot be given up the rest of the year as well, but Chicago is an ethnic town and I was eager to have the experience of giving these Polski things up for Lent. What is the best Polski? Anything covered with sugar, I was assured. I obtained one to run through the microwave for breakfast in the morning.

It was coated with sugar. The inside was a sweet, sticky mass of red fruit filling. I can honestly say that if there is one thing in the universe that should be given up for Lent, this is it. Since it was Fat Tuesday I decided to get a small bottle of Polish liqueur as well. The neighborhood favorite is Old Krupnik Polish Honey Liqueur, 80 proof and “prepared from bees (sic) honey and various spices and aromatic herbs according to Polish recipes many hundred years old”. I would sample it with my Australian port.

The product on the left is Hardy’s Whiskers Blake Classic Tawny 18.0% alcohol by volume, an eight year old product of South Eastern Australia. On the right is a partially empty bottle of the very red De Bartoli Willowglen NV Old Tawny Port, 17.5% alcohol, age unknown, product of Bilbul NSW, Australia. The Polish liqueur (in the middle) would have been all right if it hadn’t been upstaged by the port. Initially it had a very strong alcohol odor, but after some of that flashed off, there was a very flavorful and complex honey taste. But, what can I say, I have developed a taste for Australian port.

The amber glasses I discovered in a second hand store. I often meet extraordinary and unique people in these stores while looking for books. On this occasion, when I was checking out, a lady admired the glasses, and I said I didn’t know what I would ever use them for. Champaign, she answered. You will meet the right man, she predicted, and you will drink champaign from them together.

Who knows, maybe that will happen. She did seem very confident. In the meantime, I’ll take the Australian port.

Posted in Religion. Comments Off on Happy March 8 Paczki Day

Afternoons and Fauns

Why is it when you see something for the first time, you are suddenly inundated with more of them? This week quite by accident I ran into this video of Debussy’s Afternoon of a Faun, which I had never heard before, and posted it on Facebook. (This is nice to play in the background while doing other things.)

Then, last night I was reading an introduction to French poetry, and discovered that the poet Stéphane Mallarmé also wrote a poem called L’Apres-midi d’un Faune, the original “Afternoon of a Faun” that inspired all the rest of them.  Mallarmé’s original poem is published with drawings by Manet.  French here, English translation here, description of poem at wiki. Briefly, the faun falls asleep and dreams of nymphs. Then Mallarmé writes his poem, French poet Paul Valéry calls it the greatest poem in French literature, and it becomes a landmark in the history of French symbolism. Then Debussy writes his orchestration, followed by several ballets by Vaslav Nijinsky and others, which become of great significance in the development of modernism.

I don’t think I’m in the mood for it after all.

Posted in Poetry. Comments Off on Afternoons and Fauns

Qaddafi Art

Who knew?  Moammar Qaddafi’s son, Seif al-Islam Gaddafi is an artist.

The website for his exhibition “The desert is not silent” is long defunct, but Facebook still has some links, and there are still photos of the March 2010 Moscow showing on the website of the Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation.

The exhibit is said to be a mix of archaeological artifacts and paintings from contemporary artists, including 50 paintings by Saif al-Islam himself.  It’s not clear which ones they are, but he is said to use bright colors.

I’m not much for representational art, but I rather like the orange one with the sun.

Posted in Art. Comments Off on Qaddafi Art

The 2012 Olympic Logo Conspiracy

I can’t stop giggling.  This is much too good to keep to myself.  From the Gruniad:

Iran has threatened to boycott the London Olympics unless the organisers replace the official logo, which Tehran claims spells out the word “Zion”.

The logo, a jagged representation of the year 2012, has been said by its critics to resemble many things, from a swastika to a sexual act, but the Iranian government argues it represents a veiled pro-Israeli conspiracy.

A little googling on Youtube quickly turns up tin-foil worthy animations showing how to rearrange the shapes to get the first two results: above is the swastika, zion is to the left, and here is the video that explains it, complete with illuminati.

Others say it represents Bart and Lisa Simpson.

But this one has all the others beat hands down.

This video is a tour de force combining the reason the Gregorian calendar changed the dates, 3D glasses, and either aliens or Nephilim returning to earth.


Posted in Conspiracies. Comments Off on The 2012 Olympic Logo Conspiracy