Thursday, February 28, 2008


just encountered the following sentence for the first time:

"Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo."

it makes absolutely no sense to me whatsoever, but there is an almost coherent explanation on this wiki page.

basically, with the understanding that there are three meanings to the word 'buffalo' in the sentence, i.e., buffalo a city, buffalo an animal; and buffalo a verb meaning to bully, confuse, deceive or intimidate, then one may derive the following meaning:

"the sentence when parsed reads as a description of the pecking order in the social hierarchy of buffaloes living in Buffalo:
[Those] (Buffalo buffalo) [whom] (Buffalo buffalo buffalo) buffalo (Buffalo buffalo).
[Those] buffalo(es) from Buffalo [that are intimidated by] buffalo(es) from Buffalo intimidate buffalo(es) from Buffalo.
Bison from Buffalo, New York who are intimidated by other bison in their community also happen to intimidate other bison in their community."

get it?

Monday, February 25, 2008

natalie portman in the times

in the wake of current publicity for the new film 'the other boleyn girl', just a quick quote that i wanted to share:

"Back when Portman was 14, she was the face of Isaac Mizrahi, who would go on to cause a minor scandal at the Golden Globes two years ago, when he grabbed Johansson’s breasts. “Seriously, I would want to grab them. She’s got beautiful ones, but, Isaac, that was not so appropriate.” And, of course, while Portman is famously Jewish, Johansson is a lesser-known Jew (because of her Scandinavian father, she’s called “the kosher Danish”). When Penelope Cruz and Salma Hayek made a movie together, all the headlines blared “the Hot Tamales”. What should the media label a film starring two Jewish girls? Portman doesn’t miss a beat. “The Hot Knishes,” she says, referring to the Jewish delicacy."

debora's diary

the u.s. holocaust museum has released some pages from the diary of a young woman recording some of her experience in the warsaw ghetto. it is real, and unsanitised, and horrific to read. nevertheless i did. the translation may be found here. its existence was revealed to me by this article in the telegraph. It notes:

"Debora was killed fighting in the Warsaw uprising of 1944, but her diary was recovered from her bombed-out home by her friend Lusia Schwarzwald Hornstein, who only revealed its existence on her deathbed in 1998. She asked that it be donated to the museum, but many of the pages, which cover January 1943 to mid-1944, had either been burnt or were stuck together, making it largely unreadable. But through painstaking work, curators at the museum have managed to transform the blackened fragments into a readable document by submerging it in de-ionised water. This made all the words stand out clearly, meaning they could be photographed and the images handed to a specialist translator."

what oscars?

actually, i have to admit that i did watch a few hours of the telecast. i had a bit of a temperature, and took a nice warm blanket, a bear and a pillow to the front room and turned on the television. haven't done that in months! there was some kind of crime thingy with mr big from sex in the city on one side of the oscar station that also had ben vereen in it with very black hair. there were a lot of l'oreal commercials i think, and jon stewart being rather bland. and there were some nice jewish boys who got a lot of prizes. the most compelling thing for me was the list of dead people, and i missed the beginning of that because i was trying to figure out the plot of the crime show. it ended with heath ledger, of course, although i think there were a few more distinguished people on the list like ingmar bergman or michaelangelo antonioni or deborah kerr etc. anyway, it is done. i was not amused. and julie christie lost to marion cotillard who played piaf in a biopic.

qpr 1-1 sheffield united

17-year-old balanta celebrates his first senior goal

according to list friends and other online reports, there were two main moments of entertainment at loftus road on saturday. the first was angelo balanta finishing a beautifully-worked move to score for the 'r's, and the second was a chant from the rangers' fans to their visitors from sheffield: "we've got more steel than you!" for the uninitiated, sheffield is a steel city (this team's nickname is 'the blades') and our billionaire shareholder made his money in steel. a bit witty.

Friday, February 22, 2008

prince is the best - says no to wurst!

the slugger for the milwaukee brewers has just come out as a vegetarian. apparently he decided to bin meat and fish after learning the details of the process by which many animals are processed for food. you go, prince! especially since i believe that milwaukee is a well-known sausage town, in the heart of wisconsin, a sausage state if ever there was one 8-)

see the story in the milwaukee journal sentinal online.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

peter brookes' view of the u.s. democratic primaries

peter brookes is a much-decorated cartoonist currently featured in the times newpaper in the uk. he is probably my favourite cartoonist at the moment. i'm a bit annoyed about hillary's middle-aged hips, but after the debates tonight i think this frame is pretty accurate.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

rocky sesame picture show

look what i found! this is one of my favourite ever bits from sesame street - susan sarandon and the count are caught in the rain when their car breaks down and ... no, i won't spoil it for you. enjoy!

the brick testament

moses sees the golden calf

wandering around the tom robinson site (long story) i found a link to pics of bible stories done in lego. actually, they are mostly rather violent. many of the captions refer to the blood shed in the story, e.g. "david decapitates goliath" rather than the usual basic namechecks. i started out liking the idea, and ended up not liking the site. i think you can find it for yourselves at brick testament dot com if you must. on the other hand, i did like the shards in this pic.

winston churchill's teeth

breaking news today is that the british might have lost the second world war if it were not for winston churchill's dentist. the sub-standard reports:

""A spokesman said: "For Churchill, a well-fitting denture was a crucial physical and psychological prop. It allowed him to speak effectively - a vital attribute for any politician, and especially for one whose speaking skills were so central to his success. Throughout his adult life Churchill was haunted by the fear of losing his ability to speak." Churchill's original dentures were made from hardened rubber, but he found them uncomfortable and often put them in his pocket. Once he sat on them which prompted a hasty repair. But he had a second pair made, which this time had a larger palate which he found more comfortable."

read the full story here. the thank-you letter to his dentist will be auctioned at bonham's next month. that's just around the corner from home. if i were in london, that might be a fun cash in the attic kind of morning activity :-)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

what is wrong with this picture (ii) ?

andy pettitte being contrite for the press

man i love this guy. as a pitcher. i have his rookie card. i couldn't believe he went over to the astros. i was delighted he came back. ok he talked about his strong xian faith now and then, but i just figured it was part of his being a good man. now he has confessed to using human growth hormone. what is he doing still pitching in the major leagues? i know the yanks have suffered for the last few years from crap pitching, but andy should have retired when this came out. he should not be sitting between girardi and cashman, or be hugged by the team captain and the other vets to show their support. support for what? the fact that the team may be relying on 3 rookie pitchers this season, and need a pettitte in the rotation if they are to have any chance of making the playoffs. forgiveness? sure, everyone makes mistakes. consequences? not up to me. all i can do is sit here and think boy has he lucked out.

indiana jones of blessed memory?

indy and a beautiful bad bolshevik

actually, am not sure if cate blanchett's character is a bolshy, but she is an iron curtain naughty russian and looks really good in the stills i have seen so far.

as for indiana jones - was talking with a friend today, a much younger friend who just thought harrison ford was waaaaay too old and should retire already. i tried to make an argument that he was not pretending to be a young character, but was playing old in the film, but it was not a strong argument. i realised that the reason i want to see this film is because my late father loved these kinds of stories, and it will evoke him a little bit for me. v'zeh-u zeh.

what is wrong with this picture (i) ?

i don't even remember when the dodgers were in brooklyn, but as a yankees fan this shot just hurts.

Monday, February 18, 2008

fu long video

moving baby panda - even cuter than still one. this video is for dr. zohar :-)

Sunday, February 17, 2008

avenue jew

a dear friend just sent me this youtube clip. personally, as i have mentioned before, i found 'avenue q' to be utterly depressing. nevertheless, i found this cross between it and fiddler quite amusing. i think it was a charity performance by the then current casts. thanks to dvorazim and enjoy:

Saturday, February 16, 2008

how to teach about the holocaust

french president nicolas sarkozy courted controversy again this week when he announced that next autumn all french fifth-graders will be required to study the life of one of the 11k french children murdered in the shoah. before one even gets into whether this is an appropriate subject for a 10-year-old, it should first be noted that he appears to have announced this without much, if any, consultation with pretty much anyone who would be involved in the implementation of the idea.

it is currently the policy in france to have a strict separation between church and state. sarkozy is very public about his religious convictions, and has been criticised before about his refusal to separate his personal perspectives from his presidential position.

meanwhile, jews in the community are split in their response. serge klarsfeld, famous nazi-hunter and documentarian of french holocaust victims is reported by the ny times as saying:

"“This is the crowning glory of long and arduous work ... to those who say it’s too difficult for young children — that’s not true. What they see on television or in a horror film is much worse. This is not a morbid mission.”"

on the other hand, simone veil, a famous french survivor, believes:

"“It is unimaginable, unbearable, tragic and above all, unjust ... You cannot inflict this on little ones of 10 years old! You cannot ask a child to identify with a dead child. The weight of this memory is much too heavy to bear.”"

the whole article is here.

as for my opinion on the matter - the only definitive thing i can say is that i have not yet done enough work on my internalised francophobia to be able to come to any objective conclusions :-)

less facetiously, i really have no idea what is best, and this particular situation seems to be some apples and oranges mixed up together. on the one hand, there is an issue of when and how to teach this aspect of french history. on the other, there is president sarkozy and his political situation, i.e., his actions as president and the response of his opponents and the people that he serves.

it's that time of year again

joe girardi

new yankees' manager joe girardi casts a shaded eye over his pitchers on the first day of spring training. yes, it is only february, but it's not long until march and then it will be april and the baseball season will be back! will i go to fenway at any point, just to have been in such a storied ballpark? who knows, and at the moment it all seems so far away, as are the yanks in their training centre down in florida. qpr didn't play today, however, so my mind and my heart were able to turn briefly towards their summer concerns.

joe pitches in a family game after training

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

the landfill prize

behold, a new annual award that purports to:

" ... celebrate the stupendous creativity of the people tasked with inventing constantly inflated new wants for us to want. It's a monument to perverse imagination and needless consumption. Most importantly, it's a plea for us to say, "Thanks. We've got enough stuff", and to evolve ourselves out of this crazy cycle."

click here to find out more about "enoughism". i certainly could be interested in something viable that cuts down on useless 'necessities'. john naish, the guru behind all this, wrote a brief piece in the times last month to inspire nominations for the prize. among the top ten useless inventions he nominated:

"The combined plow and gun
Patent no 35600, issued 1862

Balloon propelled by eagles or vultures
Patent no 863087, issued 1887

Water-filled brassiere
Patent no US4734078, issued 1988

Alarm-equipped fork
US patent 5,421,089, issued 1995"

for the others, look here.

we score, then they score more

an actual pic of agyemang actually scoring. again.

we scored two goals, and somehow they scored four. has to be taken in the context of rebuilding, and hearing about the beautiful footy we played in the first 30 mins was heartening. our defence, however, is more porous than porous mcporous joining a reunion of clan mcporous at mcporous manor to celebrate glorious mcporous day (forgive her for paraphrasing blackadder - her team just lost).

Sunday, February 10, 2008

generation nigella?

about a week ago, the telegraph had a little debate about our friend nigella lawson. is she the best female role model? after noting your own opinion, if you have one, do pop over to the article and have a good read. of course i am pretty pro-nigella. but then i am currently an overworked student who lives life mainly through her computer. nevertheless, i enjoyed the heart of hannah betts' positive perspective:

"Ah, Nigella - crazy name, still crazier penchant for straining sorbet cardigans. The heroine of plush-bottomed girls everywhere is one of the elite sorority whose starriness is so coruscating that we know them by first name alone. Only this one eats.

Where Madonna and Angelina are repellently control-freaky, Kylie too inflatable-doll, the Msses Moss and Winehouse too grubby, Paris and Nicole too LaLa, and Britters too bonkers, Nigella is amply, resplendently real. At the same time, she is sufficiently supra-real in the manner of beauty, wit, camp and cupcakery to reveal women such as Cherie Booth, or Blair's (now Brown's) Babes, for the po-faced bores they are."

best of all, this woman with a prominent place in the world of celebrity beauty is almost 50 years old. hurrah!

*waving at ms. snarker*

bastien gonzalez

who is bastien gonzalez?

the other day, i found an article by lynn barber in the observer all about an amazing pedicure that she had from a chap called bastien gonzalez. he is known as a celebrity podiatrist, and has developed his own philosophy about feet:

"My old NHS chiropodist always told me the secret of good feet was to wear sensible shoes, preferably Birkenstocks. But of course Bastien is French and horrified by that idea. 'You can't say to a woman you mustn't wear high heels because she will hate you! Pointy shoes and high heels are part of her life! Eating is bad for your teeth but you have to eat, no? If you want to wear high heels that's fine, but you have to be careful of your feet, keeping the mobility of the toes, working on the elasticity of the skin and replumping the fatty cushions. It is cure, cure, because if you don't take care of your feet, you destroy them.'" (read the rest of her article here)

apart from the fact that i love the pic, which is from the reverence de bastien universe, why would i blog this? well, it just so happens that my sister met him a few years ago at her gym. they got to talking, and he mentioned that he was a bit bored with his current feet. n. said that she had a great challenge for him - the feet of our father! ahf's feet had always been a source of fear and loathing in our family, particularly his toenails. even now i clench as i recall them. nu - bastien accepted the challenge, and i have to say that the man is a miracle worker! what he did for our father's feet was unbelievable. he made them human again!! we shall always be grateful to bastien.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

southampton 2-3 qpr!

and he does it again! agyemang celebrates

as many of you know, what you - the fan - do during a game has a great effect on the result. if you wear certain underwear, and the team loses, those knickers are banished forevermore on match days. on the other hand, if you eat an entire haggis, and they win, you are doomed to repeat that feat until such time as it no longer works. today, i slept through the match and missed the entire thing. *sigh* it sounds like there was lots of action:

hogan ephraim in the thick of it

a southampton striker apparently missed an open goal from 8 yards out, and agyemang was a bit of a cheeky bugger when he stopped the ball on the goal-line to backheel it in. they scored in the first minute, and in the last minute, and we won. one annoying note - buzsaky got booked and will be suspended for the next match :-(

meanwhile, 'r's fans across the world celebrate an away win. huzzah!

rowly celebrates his goal, but not too much

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

lez zeppelin

not that i am someone who would get excited if led zeppelin did reform, but i was amused by this piece in today's telegraph:

"It was the news all Led Zeppelin fans were waiting to hear; the legendary rockers had lined up another performance that would surely herald the start of a worldwide reunion tour. ... The Telegraph was among the news outlets swept along by the reunion excitement. But if it all sounded too good to be true, that's because, well, it transpires that it was. Closer examination of the line-up details showed that it's not Led Zeppelin the festival has signed, it's Lez Zeppelin. That's the all-female tribute act and most certainly not the world-famous rockers."

ah, bless :-)

to find out more about the women in the picture, click here.

and here is a youtube video of their cover of 'kashmir'.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

yom ha-blintz

super tuesday it may be in the usa, but for me and millions of others across europe and maybe the world today is pancake day! i did check out the shelves at the supermarket today but decided to make the healthy choice (with regard to my sugar issues) and got some eggplant parmigian for dinner instead. here is the classic recipe for lemon crepes along the lines of the ones my mother used to make.

i voted this morning, and then our students had a mock election during the day at school. they chose obama by almost double the votes clinton got, and mccain with a small lead over romney. i guess we now know what their parents are thinking :-)

Monday, February 04, 2008

Sunday, February 03, 2008

and underdogs qpr won as well :-)

agyemang again!

as badly as we played at cardiff during the week is as well as we played against brizzle at home yesterday. two more goals for patrick agyemang, who is apparently to be nicknamed "dave", which makes 5 in his last 4 starts ... and another beauty from my man akos. more pics as i find them!

supreme schadenfreude

eli manning after completing the winning touchdown pass

you have no idea what it is like to live in boston and its environs if you are a sports fan but not a boston sports fan. add to that being a new yorker, or at least someone who was born there and chooses to identify as one ... people here are fanatical and loud and fanatical and mean and fanatical. it is with great joy, therefore, that i noticed the final score in the superbowl this evening - patriots 14, ny giants 17. huzzah!