Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Following Update (Berlitz Edition)

OK, let me see if I can get through this without causing an international incident.

I'd like to welcome caterina serra, who may also go by the names "Stella" and "Star". More about that in a moment.

Regular readers of this blog know that I usually welcome new followers, as I did in the above paragraph, and add their web site to my "List of Blogs" as long as I don't find find it objectionable, which to date hasn't happened. This time around, something happened that almost did keep me from adding a blog. Nothing objectionable, just perplexing.

Ms. Serra is Italian. Or at least she lives in Italy, and her various blogs are written in Italian, a language I unfortunately do not speak. I did take about two weeks of Spanish, a language I'm told is closely related to Italian, in the 9th grade. Unfortunately, I couldn't seem to master the whole thinking-in-one-language-while-talking-in-another bit, and the teacher suggested I drop the course (speak a language from early childhood, as was the case with me and English, and it's easy to forget it's a learned behavior. It seems instinctive, like breathing, doesn't it?) None of this is Ms. Serra's fault, but the problem remained, how do I read her blog? Blogger doesn't seem to provide any way to translate a blog written in another language. They've got more important things to do, like redesigning the sign-in page.

Here's what I ended up doing. I went outside of Blogger, and googled Caterina Serra, and the title of one of her blogs. Just as I had hoped, the blog came up, with this written right next to it:

Translate this page

I translated.

Here's something interesting I came across. When I originally looked at the Italian version of her blog, I noticed the name "Stella". From repeated viewings of A Streetcar Named Desire, I've always assumed the name Stella was, um, American. And so I wondered, why would an Italian have such an American name? Once I read it in English, I saw my mistake. Her name was Star! Apparently, Stella is "star" translated into Italian, and probably Spanish and every other Romance language out there. Did you know that? Did Stanley Kowalski know that? Actually, it makes sense now that I think about it. You've heard the phrase "interstellar travel", haven't you? Well, stellar-star. Get it?

OK, I've lingered on the name game long enough. Warp-speed ahead.

Once I had the English version of her blogs, I decided to add one of them to my blogroll. As I usually do, I copied the "http://...", went back to Blogger, clicked on "Design", pasted it in, clicked "ADD", and was immediately informed that it wouldn't post! I tried it a second time, and still no go! I didn't want this poor woman in Italy thinking I was snubbing her. How's that for being an Ugly American? Finally, I went back to the Italian version of the blog, copied that web address, and, viola, it worked. Unfortunately, if you go to the blogroll and click it on now, you'll see the Italian, and not the English, version. For that reason, I chose a blog--she has four--that focuses mostly on photos of nature, with very little text. If you're curious about the other three blogs, just go the the Follower section, and click on the little picture. If you're curious but can't speak Italian, do what I did, and google the title of the blog and "caterina serra", and then the translation. The other three blogs look interesting. One seems to be photos of the Italian countryside, one is about UFOs, and the the third is about archaeological mysteries (that's the one I originally tried to add to my sidebar.)

One other monkey wrench has been thrown into the search engine. Ever since I added her blog onto my sidebar, I'm not allowed to read the English version as long as I'm still logged into Blogger. If I try, this is what I see:

Internet Explorer has modified this page to help prevent cross-site scripting.

Cross-site scripting? I don't want to cross-site script, just cross-site read. Oh, well.

Say, look how much I've written! Usually these Following Updates are only a sentence or two. I got a full-blown essay out of this one. Good ol' American know-how! Either that, or good ol' American groping in the dark for the light switch.

Again, welcome Caterina. Stella, too.

Monday, September 19, 2011

In Memoriam: Tom Wilson 1931-2011

Cartoonist. Ziggy.

"Is Ziggy me? I'm afraid so. Everybody is, to some degree."

"He's such a small person in such a big world."

(A short drive from where I live, if you lift up your head, you'll see this --KJ)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Dispatch

I was looking at one of those online news aggregate sites when I came across the following...

NEWS YOU MIGHT LIKE:

Woman Dies From Gas Fumes

Now, I ask you, why in the world might I like THAT? I have no quarrel with the woman. I never even met her!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Quips and Quotations (Spiritual Enlightenment Edition)

So I was full of trouble, full as I could be; and didn't know what to do. At last I had an idea; and I says, I'll go and write the letter - and then see if I can pray. Why, it was astonishing, the way I felt as light as a feather right straight off, and my troubles all gone. So I got a piece of paper and a pencil, all glad and excited, and set down and wrote:

Miss Watson, your runaway nigger Jim is down here two mile below Pikesville, and Mr. Phelps has got him and he will give him up for the reward if you send. Huck Finn.

I felt good and all washed clean of sin for the first time I had ever felt so in my life, and I knowed I could pray now. But I didn't do it straight off, but laid the paper down and set there thinking - thinking how good it was all this happened so, and how near I come to being lost and going to hell. And went on thinking. And got to thinking over our trip down the river; and I see Jim before me all the time: in the day and in the night-time, sometimes moonlight, sometimes storms, and we a-floating along, talking and singing and laughing. But somehow I couldn't seem to strike no places to harden me against him, but only the other kind. I'd see him standing my watch on top of his'n, 'stead of calling me, so I could go on sleeping; and see him how glad he was when I come back out of the fog; and when I come to him again in the swamp, up there where the feud was; and suchlike times; and would always call me honey, and pet me, and do everything he could think of for me, and how good he always was; and at last I struck the time I saved him by telling the men we had smallpox aboard, and he was so grateful, and said I was the best friend old Jim ever had in the world, and the only one he's got now; and then I happened to look around and see that paper.

It was a close place. I took it up, and held it in my hand. I was a trembling, because I'd got to decide, forever, betwixt two things, and I knowed it. I studied a minute, sort of holding my breath, and then says to myself:


"All right, then, I'll go to hell" - and tore it up.

--Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain