Monday, May 23, 2016

Weird Word of the Week: Lash

Definition from Google follows. First read this, "The First 50 Lashes." Here's an excerpt:


It [video of the writer's husband's lashing, in front of a large mosque in Jeddah] wasn’t hard to find. By now some of my Facebook friends were referring to it. It also appeared immediately on YouTube when you searched for “Raif Badawi” and “lashes”. It was as if I was being operated by remote control. With trembling hands I clicked on the video to set it in motion. I saw Raif’s delicate frame from behind, in the middle of a big crowd of people. He was wearing a white shirt and dark trousers, and his hair hung down to his shoulders. He looked thin. His hands were cuffed in front of his body. I couldn’t see his face. The men around him were wearing the usual white gowns and shouting “Allahu Akbar”.
 
The man himself could not be made out in the video. But I saw clearly that he was striking Raif with all his might. Raif’s head was bowed. In very quick succession he took the blows all over the back of his body: he was lashed from shoulders to calves, while the men around him clapped and uttered pious phrases. It was too much for me. It’s indescribable, watching something like that being done to the person you love. I felt the pain they were inflicting on Raif as if it was my own.

The men I had seen in the video might as well have put me in a square and flogged me. But worst of all was the feeling of helplessness. I sat on my sofa, wrapped my arms around my legs and wept.
I myself am not going to post the video or a link to it. Why would I want to see or encourage others to see such a barbaric spectacle, the whipping with the "religious" men standing around shouting "God is great" while watching a man be tortured? No. 
 
But here, as promised, is the Google definition, to remind us of how passionless some words seem, until we see or experience what they really mean:

verb: lash; 3rd person present: lashes; past tense: lashed; past participle: lashed; gerund or present participle: lashing
  1. 1.
    strike (someone) with a whip or stick.
    "they lashed him repeatedly about the head"
    synonyms:whip, flog, flagellate, beat, thrash, horsewhip, scourge, birch, belt, strap, cane, switch; More
    informalwallop, whack, tan (someone's hide), larrup, whale
    "he lashed the beast repeatedly"
    • beat forcefully against (something).
      "waves lashed the coast"
      synonyms:beat against, dash against, pound, batter, strike, hit, knock
      "rain lashed the windowpanes"
    • drive someone into (a particular state or condition).
      "fear lashed him into a frenzy"
  2. 2.
    (of an animal) move (a part of the body, especially the tail) quickly and violently.
    "the cat was lashing its tail back and forth"
    synonyms:swish, flick, twitch, whip
    "the tiger began to lash its tail"
    • (of a part of the body) move quickly and violently.
  3. 3.
    fasten (something) securely with a cord or rope.
    "the hatch was securely lashed down"
    synonyms:fasten, bind, tie (up), tether, hitch, knot, rope, make fast
    "two boats were lashed together"
noun
noun: lash; plural noun: lashes
  1. 1.
    a sharp blow or stroke with a whip or rope, typically given as a form of punishment.
    "he was sentenced to fifty lashes for his crime"
    synonyms:stroke, blow, hit, strike, welt, thwack;
    archaicstripe
    "twenty lashes"
  2. 2.
    an eyelash.
    "she fluttered her long dark lashes"

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Death is nothing at all.

 



Death is nothing at all.
It does not count.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
Nothing has happened.
Everything remains exactly as it was.

I am I and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other,
That, we still are.

Call me by my old familiar name.
Speak to me in the easy way
which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed
at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me. Pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word
that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effect.
Without the trace of a shadow on it.

Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same that it ever was.
There is absolute unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind
because I am out of sight?

I am but waiting for you.
For an interval.
Somewhere. Very near.
Just around the corner.

All is well.

Nothing is past; nothing is lost. 

One brief moment and all will be as it was before 
only better, 
infinitely happier 
and forever we will all be one together with Christ.

(A sermon, "Death the King of Terrors," preached in 1910 by Henry Scott-Holland (1847-1918) while the body of King Edward VII was lying in state at Westminster)

It wasn't really a poem, and the poetic versions of it we see online often leave out that last bit about the "one brief moment" of life on earth and the fact that we will be infinitely happier and be one together with Christ, forever.

yFriendPoems

Death Is Nothing At All

By Henry Scott-Holland more Henry Scott-Holland
Death is nothing at all.
It does not count.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
Nothing has happened.

Everything remains exactly as it was.
I am I, and you are you,
and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged.
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.

Call me by the old familiar name.
Speak of me in the easy way which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.
Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it.

Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was.
There is absolute and unbroken continuity.
What is this death but a negligible accident?

Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am but waiting for you, for an interval,
somewhere very near,
just round the corner.

All is well.
Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost.
One brief moment and all will be as it was before.
How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!


Source: http://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/death-is-nothing-at-all-by-henry-scott-holland #FamilyFriendPoems

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Weird Word of the Week: Shrill

Dictionary definition:

Actual usage: To shame women for their "tone," as in, when they're not pretending that everything is okay in the world and that everything is okay with how women are being treated.

For example, in a new book titled "Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman," author Lindy West catalogues some of the ways in which she, and other women, and in fact most women, are shamed for objecting. They are accused of being "shrill," an accusation made against men as an insult, too, in that it attempts to shame them for acting like a woman.

This interviewer says to Lindy West:
The word shrill is interesting to me because I get called that all the time, in response to my writing. I can’t help but wonder, how would you know what tone of voice I “said” that in. I typed it.  
Her reply: 
I have some critiques of my own voice, like everyone does because it’s horrible to have to hear your own voice, but none of them are “shrill.” That’s not my problem. I have like a weird low voice. [Laughs] Shrill is not my problem.

I pretty much exclusively get it in print. So obviously it’s not about sound anyway. It’s about message, but they pretend it’s about sound.
I recommend Lindy West's essay in The Guardian from last July. 

Great excerpt from the article, explaining why her husband proposed to her at her birthday party, a huge, public gesture, and a surprise to her:

Months later, I asked him why he did it that way – such a big spectacle, such an event, not precisely our style – and I expected something cliched but sweet, like, “I wanted to make sure our community was a part of our marriage,” or, “I wanted everyone to know how much I love you.” Instead, his response cracked me up: “One time when you were drunk you told me, ‘If you ever propose to me, don’t do it in the bullshit way that dudes usually treat fat girls. Like it’s a secret, or you’re just trying to keep me from leaving you. Thin girls get public proposals, like those dudes are winning a fucking prize. Fat chicks deserve that, too.’” I probably would have finessed it a bit if I’d been sober, but way to lean in, bossy, drunk past-Lindy!
It’s not that I’d ever particularly yearned for a grand gesture – the relationship I cherish lives in our tiny private moments (and, as I’d later discover at my bridal shower, I’m surprisingly uncomfortable being the object of public sincerity) – but the older I get and the longer I live in a fat body, the harder it is to depoliticise even simple acts. A public proposal to a publicly valued body might be personally significant, but culturally it shifts nothing. A public proposal to a publicly reviled body is a political statement.

"Shrill" is available at Amazon.com.


 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Brussel Sprout Love

I just watched part of this video and had to share it. The guy is brilliant, and not snobbish or pompous. I love how he points out that recipes are just an idea that you can change the next time.


I also love the way he says "cracked pepper." At first I thought he was recommending some new product called "crocked paper."

Here's a listing of some of his shows.


Monday, May 2, 2016

Weird Word of the Week: Bouba/kiki

You know when you hear a word that sounds like what it means? That's onomatopoeia, right?  

Well, what about when you see an object that looks like what it sounds? That's the bouba/kiki effect: "a non-arbitrary mapping between speech sounds and the visual shape of objects. This effect was first observed by German-American psychologist Wolfgang K√∂hler in 1929." 

So why wasn't it called the Kohler effect? I'll tell you why: because the very name of this effect says a lot about what it's describing:

From one of my online sources: "To try this experiment, give the volunteers a piece of paper and ask them to draw something that is Bouba or Kiki. Collect all of the drawings and score them for being pointy or rounded in shape."

Scientific American
This Scientific American article helps you design an experiment in which you can test this effect: Get your volunteers to draw a picture of what they "see" in their mind when you say "bouba" and what they "see" in their mind when you say "kiki." 

Or show them drawings like the ones in this illustration and ask them which one is a "bouba" and which one is a "kiki."

Go ahead, try it!