Archive for July, 2010

The Clouds

Posted in Clavdia on July 29, 2010 by Clavdia Chauchat

I wrote this a while ago. I’m not sure if I like it.

A man, still damp and wearing a dirty green raincoat and a short matted beard steps out of his car.  He throws a small backpack over his shoulder and without locking the car starts up the trail by the side of the road. He sets out walking swiftly, exhibiting the erect posture and sure footing of a man comfortable in the outdoors. The trail begins winding upwards, gently at first through dense old growth forest, and the sunlight shines softly through the trees.  The man hums thoughtlessly as he walks, and amuses himself by identifying the various trees, ferns, and wildflowers that he passes on his way.

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Retranslation of Odyssey 17:290-330

Posted in Wilfredo on July 27, 2010 by mothstache

(I cut out a couple lines from the original and the rest is more an adaptation of the Loeb edition than a translation, though various points I did go through Perseus looking up most of the words.  But often I liked what Loeb picked because I wouldn’t have ever tried it, like “had no joy of him”)

On the other side of the yard
from the grubby beggar who was talking
about benched ships and his grumbling stomach
up went the ears of the dog lying there who now peeked out
and furrowed his head,
Argos, his
dog,
stouthearted Odysseus’s, who bred him himself,
but for a long time had no joy of him.
In the past, the young men picked him out
for wild goats and deer and rabbits; but
now he lay in the deep banks of manure
that waited by the doors to be distributed
to Odysseus’s wide lands.  The dog Argos lay there,
full of dog ticks.  But now, when
he became aware of Odysseus, he wagged
and lowered his ears, he didn’t
have the strength to go nearer.
Across the yard, Odysseus looked
aside and abducted a tear
from the left of his nose,
and asked loud to Eumaeus (who was unaware),
It’s odd to see, Eumaeus,
this dog in the dung.  This fine dog,
what a frame! Does he run fast or is he
all looks?
The swineherd Eumaeus answered, This
is too much the dog of a man who died far away.
If he were in build and at work like he was
when Odysseus left for Troy, you’d gape
in wonder at how quick and strong he is.
But now his master is lost;
and this one is
untended by the numb slaves.
With that, they entered the hall to join the fine suitors.
But as for the dog Argos, black death received him
once he had seen Odysseus in the twentieth year.

Sports Team Naming Strategies in America, 1960-present

Posted in Vicente with tags , , on July 26, 2010 by Vicente Peláyez

I’ve had the vague impression for a while that the naming conventions for American sports teams are not the same as they used to be, so I decided to actually take a look at the data and find out. My hypothesis was that team names used to generally take the form of what I’ll call count names, like the Pittsburgh Steelers (named in 1940), the Philadelphia 76ers (named in 1963), and the Chicago Cubs (named in 1902), but recently they are more likely to be what I’ll call collective names, like the Oklahoma City Thunder (named in 2008), the Tampa Bay Lightning (named in 1992), and the Chicago Fire (named in 1997). Continue reading

The Meaning of Places

Posted in Vicente on July 24, 2010 by Vicente Peláyez

Let’s define a “place” as an ordered pair of two elements: a geographic element, the location, and a psychic element, the socio-psychological meaning a place has for the people who think it. Many locations aren’t places; undiscovered planets, for example, have locations but no places, since no point on their surface has a meaning for anyone. Likewise, many meanings are associated with things other than places; things like brunch, field trip, and diploma are ordered pairs consisting of a non-geographical object, event, or action and an associated socio-psychological meaning.

If we were to draw a crude Venn diagram, it might look as follows: Continue reading