My Facebook Wall: September 2011
9/15: Back on my island. Had a great trip. Can’t sum up China within the character limit. It’s more like ten countries than one.
9/16: Check out Naxi music if you get the chance. A minority tribe on the western edge of the Chinese Empire preserved the traditional imperial music better than anyone else because generals and officials sometimes retired there and taught classes in their spare time, and they were too far away for each century’s Cultural Revolutionaries to care about them. The music sounds is much more harmonious than Chinese opera.
9/16: Self-help article of the year?
9/18: I’m planning a one-week trip to Sichuan over Thanksgiving.
9/20: I was unhappy with how much time I was sedentary last year, but even so I have to use a computer to read, write, and communicate with friends and family. Youth hostels, of all places, showed me how to thread the needle. The public computers there were on top of bars without chairs, so I could only use them while standing. Now that I’m home, I’ve put a couple boxes between my desk and my laptop. I’m typing this from my feet.
9/20: Last fall, 7-11 Taiwan ran a promotion where if you bought enough products (like $50US worth), you could select a random vintage Hello Kitty keychain. It was so popular it almost broke the economy.
9/21: I wondered: if I were running a 30-minute news program the day the Japanese solar sailor IKAROS captured this event, at which minute would I run this story? It’s the biggest kinds of explosion in the universe! A galaxy only sees one every few hundred thousand years! …But it’s so far away it will never affect us. And there are so many galaxies that one of these star-shattering explosions happens somewhere every day. Or perhaps a hundred of them do, and we only see one.
9/22: Why am I so good-looking? For the glory of God.
9/25: When did we become afraid to do what is right? When we didn’t feel secure.
9/25: Tartle: A Scottish verb meaning to hesitate while introducing someone due to having forgotten his/her name. (Source: Altalang.com)
9/28: I could shoot at a clay pigeon blindfolded and still be more accurate than the average non-American describing gun ownership in the United States. Everyone I’ve spoken with about this subject thinks that the sale and carrying of guns is completely unregulated (so anyone can buy anything and take it anywhere), and many have an image of firearms being drawn in saloons and schools with regularity like it’s the Wild West. They don’t understand that most firearms are owned by ordinary people and kept in the home for protection, where they collect dust (I always tell them our family has a gun but I’ve never seen it), and that the most active users are hunters and target shooters. As my cousin alluded to, if your image of America came from movies and TV news, and your own elites all thought letting citizens own guns would be madness, you’d be in the dark, too.
About Translation (9/21)
The second Wikipedia paragraph about translation is interesting: “Translators always risk inappropriate spill-over of source-language idiom and usage into the target-language translation. On the other hand, spill-overs have imported useful source-language calques and loanwords that have enriched the target languages. Indeed, translators have helped substantially to shape the languages into which they have translated.
”The translator of the Bible into German, Martin Luther, is credited with being the first European to posit that one translates satisfactorily only toward his own language. L.G. Kelly states that since Johann Gottfried Herder in the 18th century, “it has been axiomatic” that one translates only toward his own language.”
BTW, when I translate it’s annoying to go find the special vowels, so I keep them all saved on the bottom of the Notepad file like so:
¥ōū ÁÍŌ áéíóú ñç°€
Long vowels for Japanese, accented vowels and inflected consonants for Spanish, plus the degree sign and currency symbols.
Which Professional Sports Team Has the Most Wins Ever? (9/23)
Friend: On Aug. 13, the Giants became the first professional sports team in the world to win 10,500 games.
James: As great a franchise as the Giants are, every year for decades now they’ve fallen farther behind the true winningest professional sports team ever, the Harlem Globetrotters, who have over 22,000 victories on their ledger. The Trotters started 44 years after the Giants but have an incredible schedule: in the 1960s, they played 505 games per year!
Friend: I seriously dispute your designation of the Globetrotters as a “professional” sports team.
James: They’re professional in the literal sense, they make their livings exclusively by playing basketball, and in the figurative sense, they are highly skilled and take their jobs very seriously. I imagine they’re also more famous and have less margin for error from game to game than the Giants do. The results of their games may be decided in advance, so their wins aren’t equal in the competitive sense, but like professional wrestlers, they deserve respect and recognition. Ultimately, the Giants, just like the Globetrotters, are paid to entertain us. The concept of entertainment is just different.
Friend: “The results of their games may be decided in advance, so their wins aren’t equal in the competitive sense.” That means their wins mean nothing. It is, in a sense, like professional wrestling. You go more for the show and the tricks than for the sport.
James: And does the Giants’ win total signify they are the greatest sports franchise of all time? No other sport can be played 154-162 times a year. No other league is as old as the National League. Even the worst baseball teams win 40% of their games.
Friend: I’m not saying the Giants are necessarily the greatest sports franchise of all time. But I would much prefer that the team I root for reach this milestone first than some other team. And if cricket were reformed, that could be done as often as baseball.
James: Hahaha, okay. I’m happy you’re happy. Cricket fans would say a reformed cricket with 2-3 hour games wouldn’t be true cricket, right?
Friend: True dat. A rushed afternoon tea is to no one’s benefit – the players, the umpires, the fans, or the tea.