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. . . Languages & stuff

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linguistic philosophy

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artificial languages

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AI, speech recognition

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encryption, steganography

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language history

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calligraphy

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cognitive psychology

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mathematical linguistics

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animal communication

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language list

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non-language links

to links pages [1] [2] [3] [4] /

phone texts to Skype = mark-griffith

@ / links / languages? / pins / archive / book


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*4
December 14th; Thursday. Poignant image of heroic prewar futurism: the rooftop testing race track Fiat's Agnelli put at the top of a helical production line spiralling up inside the factory building in Turin.

December 13th; Wednesday. At the gym, the slender girl with the blood-sugar catheter pointedly looks straight past me on every occasion as if I'm not there, while her friend the small lithe redhead behind the counter glares at me from under an angry brow. Suppose I should be flattered (*rolls eyes*).
Here's an interesting piece about the academic background to feminism.
December 12th; Tuesday. Some 2018 financial predictions, cleverly disowned as "outrageous".

December 11th; Monday. During long multi-topic chat over coffee & tea, cheerful Jessica shows me her copy of a how-to-control-men book, jauntily titled 'The Power of The Pussy'.
December 10th; Sunday. Meet Zoe & Mark at a restaurant for seasonal good cheer & groaning board. A quick reminder of France's secret 1950s request for political union with Britain. This was before the Treaty of Rome in 1957, whose cover story was preventing another war - although in fact intended to create a currency much stronger than sterling was at Suez in 1956, so as to facilitate new wars.

December 9th; Saturday Science! Interesting botany piece about complex ancient trees. Sensible American neatly skewers metric measures. Someone argues that work on quantum artificial life is already underway, albeit without tackling The Fishtank Problem. And a brand-new optical illusion.
December 8th; Friday. Two interesting articles about the attempted impeachment putsch in progress for a year now in the US against President Honey Monster. Glenn Greenwald points out the media's failings. Someone else praises Greenwald.

December 7th; Thursday. Hallowe'en offer still open of demonic Kentish gin. Haunted apples cursed by a friendly local witch.
December 6th; Wednesday. Wait for a student inside the 'Economics University', standing outside the new library, looking into a brightly-lit classroom through a slanting wall of glass. In the room a slim bearded man in a lilac button-up shirt is lecturing to 3 students. He's giving a slide show. For ten minutes as I wait, the slide on the screen has English headline 'Word Processors vs Document Preparation Systems (2)'. Just before my student arrives, the slide switches (back?) to 'Word Processors vs Document Preparation Systems (1)'. A wave of compassion for those 3 students washes over me.

December 5th; Tuesday. Wake, very cheerful, out of a detailed dream in which I was happily wandering around in some large park in England in sunshine, encountering a large yellow-wood set of doors, cathedral size, not fixed properly to the doorway they're in. I move them bodily aside and lean them against the doorframe. Then a jovial English woman explains to me that wood from the "burling" tree was used a lot for doors and gates between 1590 and 1980, but was now considered not optimal in buildings. To my surprise, I later find after waking up that it's a real wood word, though not a type of tree.
December 4th; Monday. Spirited rendition of 'I Don't Need No Doctor' by the Chocolate Watchband. Somehow better with that tinny-sounding cheap-studio echo.

December 3rd; Sunday. On the subway escalator I glide past a poster for a show, some kind of operetta or musical, now on at the Erkel Opera House, bearing the name Englebert Humperdinck. As it flashes past, I struggle to imagine the 1960s and 70s crooner alive now and singing on stage in the same borough I live in. This name I recall from listening to my new transistor radio in my bedroom aged 7 several decades ago. Somehow I decided at that date - probably based on his stage name and his singing which (even when I was in single figures) sounded tiresomely old-fashioned - that he must have been around 50 and therefore almost dead. I briefly grapple with the image of him still alive before grasping he might have been only 30ish then. Eastern Europe does appear to be where old pop stars go to die. Then another vague memory stirs of a 19th-century German composer whose name the singer took. He is of course the man referred to on the Christmas operetta poster. Then yet another recollection stirs in the back of my head where I, aged 7, mention Englebert the Leicester-born schlager singer - a sort of rival of Tom Jones - to my mother over breakfast. Whereupon she rolls her eyes at the ceiling, does a tinkly laugh, and tells me the real Englebert Humperdinck was a Victorian Wagnerian composer while of course 'Tom Jones' was an 18th-century novel. Still inside this freshly unearthed memory, I re-engage thoughtfully with my breakfast cereal, munching and mulling over these intriguing revelations of borrowed names spanning centuries. Back in the present, find that - though more likely to be doing Vegas than Budapest's second opera house - the already dated-sounding Englebert I once heard on the radio is remarkably still alive. He seems even to have been singing in public quite recently while approaching eighty. A man born just 15 years after that German composer died.
December 2nd; Saturday. Perhaps the most important article seen in months: simulated-society research has ethnocentrics dominating again and again.

December 1st; Friday. Sad article about being a single woman.



Recent weblog entries continued:

Who can translate the next 300 words into Korean or Hindi? Contact us and there will be revelry.

Languages dying out each week - who cares?

We do - otherlanguages.org is gradually building a reference resource for over five thousand linguistic minorities and stateless languages worldwide.

Thousands of unique language communities are becoming extinct. Out of the world's five to six thousand languages, we hardly know what we're losing, what literatures, philosophies, ways of thinking, are disappearing right now.

So?

We may soon regret the extinction of thousands of entire linguistic cultures even more than we regret the needless extinction of many animals and plants.

The planet is increasingly dominated by a handful of major-language monocultures like Mandarin Chinese, Hindi, Arabic, Indonesian, Urdu, Spanish, Portuguese, English, Swahili, Russian, Cantonese Chinese, Japanese, Bengali - all beautiful and fascinating languages.

But so are the 5,000 others.

These are groups of people?

Linguistic minorities are communities of ordinary people whose native tongue is not their country's main official language. Swedish speakers in Finland, French speakers in Canada, Hungarian speakers in Slovakia - and hundreds more - are linguistic minorities.

And totally stateless languages are the native languages of some of the world's most intriguing, little-known, cultures. Like the Lapps inside the Arctic Circle, the Sards in Sardinia, Ainus in Japan. Cherokee in the US, Scots Gaelic in Britain, Friesian in the Netherlands, Zulu in South Africa. There are only a couple of hundred recognised sovereign states and territories, so 5,000 languages - more depending on how you count - are the native tongues of linguistically stateless people.

How could I help?

You don't need to learn an endangered language - any more than go to live in the rainforest to help slow its destruction.

A good start is to just tell friends about websites like this.

Broader public interest makes it easier for linguists to raise funds and organise people to learn these languages while there's time.

That's right. There are people who love languages and are happy to learn them on behalf of the rest of us, but they need support, just like zoologists, botanists, or historians.

Fewer languages still sounds good to me

Depends what you think languages are for. They're not just a tool for business. We never said you should learn three or four thousand rare languages - or even one. And which ones we make children learn in school, or whether we should force children to learn languages at all, is another question.


Typical scene in a European city; Chances are, folk here speak some sort of foreign language *5

A century ago - before we understood ecology, and when we cared less about wilderness, most educated people would have laughed at the idea of worrying about plants or animals going extinct. Now we understand how important species diversity is for our own futures, we are more humble, and more worried.

In the same way, linguistic triumphalism by English-speakers who hated studying foreign grammar at school is dangerously ignorant as well as arrogant. Few of us know what we are losing, week by week. How many people realise these languages have scientific value?

Scientific value?

You can think of these languages across the planet as beautiful cathedrals or precious archeological sites we are watching being destroyed. That should be motive enough.

But these five thousand languages may also hold clues to the structure of the human mind. Subtle differences and similarities

Wireless radio can be a great comfort to those unable to leave the textbooks in which they live *6
between languages are helping archeologists and anthropologists to understand what happened in the hundreds of centuries of human history before written history. And that is one of our best chances of understanding how human brains developed over the thousands of centuries leading up to that.

Study of the mind and study of language go hand in hand these days. The world's most marginal languages are actually precious jigsaw pieces from an overall picture of who we are and how our species thinks and evolves. Every tiny language adds another brightly-coloured clue to this academic detective story.

Yet researchers have hardly started sifting through this tantalising evidence, and language extinction is washing it away right in front of us.

And worst of all, most people have no idea that there is this fantastic profusion of cultures across our world, let alone that they are in danger of extinction. Even just more people learning that there are still five thousand living languages in the world today (most of us would answer five hundred or fifty) is already a huge help.

We English-speakers hardly notice English - it's like air for us. But every other language is also an atmosphere for an entire cultural world, and each of these worlds has people whose home it is. Each language encapsulates a unique way of talking and thinking about life. Just try some time in a foreign prison, being forced to cope in another language, and you'll realise how much your own language is your identity. That's true for everyone.

Minority languages are a human-rights issue?

One of the most basic.

Dozens of millions of people worldwide suffer persecution from national governments for speaking their mother tongue - in their own motherland.

Many 'ethnic' feuds puzzling to outsiders had as their basis an attempt to destroy a linguistic community. Would the Northern Ireland dispute be quite so bitter if we English had not so nearly stamped out the Irish Gaelic language, for example? Almost nowhere in the world does a language community as small as the few thousand Rheto-Romanic speakers - the fourth official language of Switzerland - get the protection of a national government. Next time you see some Swiss Francs, check both sides of the banknote.

But outside exceptional countries like Switzerland or the Netherlands, speakers of non-official languages have a much less protected experience.

Speakers of minority languages are often seen as a threat by both the governments and the other residents of the countries where they were born, grew up, and try to live ordinary lives.

They experience discrimination in the job and education markets of their homelands, often having no choice but to pursue education in the major language of the host state: a deliberate government policy usually aimed at gradually absorbing them into the majority culture of that country.

Mighty oaks from tiny acorns grow, of course *7

Most governments are privately gleeful each time another small separate culture within their borders is snuffed out by a dwindling population or a deliberately centralising education system.

The United Nations is no help. It is an association of a couple of hundred sovereign states based on exclusive control of territory, almost all of them anxious to smother any distinct group or tradition that in any way might blur or smudge the hard-won borders around those pieces of territory.

The usual approach by sovereign states is to deny their linguistic minorities even exist.

::

Mark Griffith, site administrator / contact at otherlanguages.org

back up to top of page

*1 image from , with thanks
*2 "Al-Araby" in written Arabic (read more)
*3 "What?" in American Sign Language; image from , with thanks
*4 "Big" in written Chinese  (read more); image from , with thanks
*5 image from , with thanks
*6 image from , with thanks
*7 image from 'B?ume', with thanks to  Bruno P. Kramer, and Franckh-Kosmos Verlag

useful:

.languages of the world
.Internet free speech
.weights & measures
.5000 English words
.2000+ Chinese char.s
.persian/english dictionary
.currency rates 1 2 3 4 5
.country domain names
.language-learning 1 2
.find old websites
.fine HTML tutorial
.webhost
.minimalist websites

reviews: ................. books {...or films here}

1 metrologie historique
2 postmodernism & the other
3 disaster (news on sunday)
4 money unmade (russian barter in the 1990s)
5 the sleepwalkers
6 e
7 the kruschev era
8 the end of science
9 don't you want me?
10 the carpet wars
11 zelator
12 life of thomas more
13 faber book of science
14 gilgamesh
15 out of it
16 guns, germs & steel
17 words & rules
18 figure in the landscape
19 life without genes
20 bede's history of the english
21 the nothing that is
22 zoology
23 journey by moonlight
24 heavenly serbia
25 ratkay endre
26 the handmaid's tale
27 the selective eye
28 a megismerese epitokovei
29 intention
30 thirty nine steps
31 princess
32 the pyramids
33 the etruscans
34 moonchild
35 paradise news
36 culture of time & space 1880 to 1918
37 szimmetria
38 babel orokeben
39 astro-archeology
40 a history of islamic spain
41 high gothic
42 among the believers
43 the renaissance
44 augustine
45 mcvicar
46 atomised
47 tangled wing
48 da vinci code
49 nature via nurture
50 termeszet szamai
51 decline & fall of roman empire
52 practical cheesemaking
53 the sufis
54 fra angelico at san marco
55 the cryptographer
56 they have a word for it
57 szamok valosan innen & tul
58 artistic theory in italy 1450 to 1600
59 darwin's black box
60 indiai ejszaka
61 cleopatra: histories, dreams & distortions
63 what mad pursuit
64 language, the learner & the school
65 writing the romantic comedy
66 the blank slate
67 dougal & the blue cat
68 diego velasquez
69 horse nonsense
70 a certain chemistry
71 deterring democracy
72 textiles
73 thief of time
74 bloodsucking fiends
75 right ho, jeeves
76 generativ grammatika
77 1st time i got paid for it
78 galapagos
79 othello
80 understanding media
81 mysticism
82 short history of french literature
83 best on the market
84 art of seeing
85 culture & imperialism
86 food of the gods
87 arabic-islamic cities
88 the alchemist
89 verbal learning & memory
90 building a successful software business
91 don't make me think!
92 memory
93 the u.s. & the arab world
94 hard times
95 spells for teenage witches
97 the pig that wants to be eaten
98 encyclopaedia of stupidity
99 seventy eight degrees of wisdom: part i
100 beach watching
101 the ancient greeks
102 brainstorms
103 seventy eight degrees of wisdom: part ii
104 utopia
105 technical writing for engineers & scientists
106 alphabet versus goddess
107 writing on drugs
108 news from somewhere
109 isp survival guide
110 petrus hispanus mester logikajabol
111 art of seduction
112 stet
113 penguin by design
114 the sense of being stared at
115 the golden ratio
116 dinamikus emlekezet
117 margins of reality
118 hopjoy was here
119 bump in the night
120 box of delights
121 color atlas of immunology
122 fashionistas
123 pi in the sky
124 a new kind of fool
125 one man's meat
126 greek fire
127 the buddha in daily life
128 beginner's dutch
129 private life of the brain
130 solar ethics
131 pedant in the kitchen
132 knots
133 the planets within
134 encyclopaedia of ancient & mediaeval history
135 consilience
136 the age of scandal
137 fashion: the 20th century
138 the tipping point
139 design literacy
140 the silent partner
141 hamlet
142 1421
143 the 1890s
144 godel's proof
145 rosencrantz & guildenstern are dead
146 beyond reason
147 little book of music theory
148 q-basic
149 alone of all her sex
150 social studies
151 eternal darkness
152 drawn from memory
154 a guide to elegance
155 medea & other plays
156 the future of money
157 cheese
158 grammars of creation
159 aquarian conspiracy
160 the climate crisis
161 true fiction
162 the making of memory
163 why most things fail
164 genetikai abece
165 finding fulfilment
166 genome
167 the broken estate
168 inigo jones
169 flashman & the dragon
170 from bauhaus to our house
171 100 great paintings
172 kis spanyol nyelvtan
173 the historian
174 tomorrow's gold
175 charting made easy
176 life after life
177 spanyol igei vonzatok
178 the eclipse of art
179 fire in the mind
180 the human body
181 out of control
182 possession
183 simplified chinese characters
184 the generation of 1914
185 intellectuals
186 world of late antiquity
187 riddle & knight
188 informacio kultusza
189 napoleon of notting hill
190 secrets: palm-reading
191 meet yourself as you really are
192 cat's abc
193 intro to spanish poetry
194 rise of christian europe
195 philip's guide to electric living
196 sins for father knox
197 celtic twilight
198 myths of love
199 snobbery with violence
200 just like tomorrow
201 7 basic plots
202 experiment with time
203 vile bodies
204 icons & images: 60s
205 fisher king
206 new jerusalem
207 born on a blue day
208 surveillir & punir
209 trial of socrates
210 how to catch fairies
211 conversations on consciousness
212 mind performance hacks
213 conscience of the eye
214 beau brummell
215 evolution
216 the outsider
217 raja yoga
218 rise of political lying
219 occidentalism
220 colossus
221 secret teachings of jesus
222 blue murder
223 nostrodamus the next 50 years
224 homage to catalonia
225 charity ends at home
226 palace of dreams
227 discovering book collecting
228 beyond the outsider
229 the last barrier
230 that hideous strength
231 indian sculpture
232 small world
233 evolution & healing
234 in search of memory
235 campo santo
236 llewellyn's 2007 tarot reader
237 dream of rome
238 why buildings fall down
239 the empty space
240 england made me
241 greek science in antiquity
242 science, a l'usage des non-scientifiques
243 utmutato tarot
243 hunt for zero point
244 william wilberforce
245 viktor schauberger
246 untouchable
247 the vitamin murders
248 straw dogs
249 elizabeth's spymaster
250 the hard life
251 the god delusion
252 the intellectual
253 undercover economist
254 quirkology
255 chasing mammon
256 early mesopotamia & iran
257 the strange death of david kelly
258 the pilgrimage
259 origin of wealth
260 maxims
261 the finishing school
262 the shepherd's calendar
263 islamic patterns
264 lost world of the kalahari
265 german short stories 1
266 electricity
267 liber null & psychonaut
268 born to rebel
269 wittgenstein's poker
270 will the boat sink the water?
271 romeo & juliet
272 why beautiful people have more daughters
273 the crossing place
274 the turkish diplomat's daughter
275 missionary position
276 lust in translation
277 teaching as a subversive activity
278 how german is it
279 empires of the word
280 warped passages
281 the power of now
282 ponder on this
283 sword of no-sword
284 narcissism
285 blink
286 shock of the old
287 basque history of the world
288 truth: a guide
289 who shot jfk?
290 newtonian casino
291 power & greed
292 the world without us
293 5-minute nlp
294 concise guide to alchemy
295 evidence in camera
296 4-hour work week
297 the rosicrucian enlightenment
298 de-architecture
299 how to lie with maps
300 a book of english essays
301 a time of gifts
302 the occult philosophy in the elizabethan age
303 le pelerinage des bateleurs
304 alchemy & alchemists
305 greenmantle
306 the hero with 1000 faces
307 goethe's parable
308 rhedeyek es fraterek
309 letter to a christian nation
310 the tryst
311 7 experiments that could change the world
312 mill on the floss
313 metastases of enjoyment
314 the isles
315 between the woods and the water
316 secrets of the great pyramid
317 life in the french country house
318 the china study
319 tarot: theory & practice
320 the roger scruton reader
321 alchemy & mysticism
322 picasso's mask
323 the rule of four
324 triumph of the political class
325 arts of darkness
326 neuroscience & philosophy
327 the art of memory
328 mind wide open
329 mud, blood, & poppycock
330 society of the spectacle
331 lila
332 de imaginibus
333 electronics
334 giordano bruno & the embassy affair
335 temporary autonomous zone
336 the human touch
337 the fascination of evil
338 the king of oil
339 dowsing
340 the book of j
341 the west and the rest
342 story of my life
343 plain tales from the hills
344 under the influence
345 modern culture
346 50 mots clefs d'esoterisme
347 giordano bruno & the hermetic tradition
348 development, geography & economic theory
349 das kapital: a biography
350 strange days indeed
351 hegel: a very short introduction
352 reflections on the revolution in france
353 history of sexuality: an introduction
354 why we buy
355 origins of virtue
356 the holographic universe
357 a dead man in deptford
358 obsolete
359 137
360 in your face
361 7 spies who changed the world
362 the noetic universe
363 why beauty is truth
364 imagery in healing
365 the craftsman's handbook
366 futurism
367 in the cards
368 dmso
369 les hommes et leurs genes
370 the franchise affair
371 the decision book
372 les harmonies de la nature a l'epreuve de la biologie
373 kibernetika
374 zuleika dobson
375 l'empire de nombres
376 circus philosophicus
377 some girls
378 number
379 island
380 how to get your ideas adopted
381 drive
382 emergence
383 rfid : la police totale
384 the tempest
385 aspects of wagner
386 view over atlantis
387 world atlas of mysteries
388 art of the dogon
389 genesis machines
390 the sirius mystery
391 the cult of the fact
392 anastasia
393 ringing cedars of russia
394 a whiff of death
395 spirit level delusion
396 wavewatcher's companion
397 the kybalion
398 elegance
399 death in a scarlet coat
400 architecture without architects


films

1 k-pax
2 very annie mary
3 wasabi
4 gosford park
5 arany varos
6 minority report
7 amelie
8 bridget jones' diary
9 arccal a fo:ldnek
10 monsters' ball
11 cube
12 man with no past
13 talk to her
14 szerelemtol sujtva
15 bowling for columbine
16 matrix3
17 zoolander
18 anything else
19 farenheit 9/11
20 8 & 1/2 women
21 madagascar
22 kill bill 1
23 dude, where's my car?
24 the woman in green
25 the hunger
24 nightwatch
25 de battre son coeur s'est arrete
26 wicker man
27 v for vendetta
28 courage the cowardly dog
29 casino royale
30 power of nightmares
31 charlie's angels
32 full throttle
33 foxy brown
34 paths of glory
35 airplane
36 between iraq & a hard place
37 mutiny on the bounty
38 flashmob the opera
39 octopussy
40 bakkerman
41 kiterunner


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November 30th; Thursday. Follow-up news about Cuba's weird sonic weapon affair.

November 29th; Wednesday. Survey of socialist Reddit people reveals some predictable stuff.
November 28th; Tuesday. Hitherto neglected (by me) bit of 1960s garage music, set to a clip from some daringly louche film of the time: The Name of the Game. Proper period piece, complete with slurred lyrics and nasal guitars.

November 27th; Monday. Apparently, Britain's Prince Harry is going to marry an American actress. She's his 15th cousin, explains a newspaper.
November 26th; Sunday. Among the fitness-club machines, the slim lithe girl with the pink sticking plaster on her upper arm (covering a catheter into her skin that moniters her type 1 diabetes blood sugar, she told me a few weeks ago) is studiously carrying out the exercises written into her notebook. I ask how often the needle gets changed. Once a fortnight, she says.

November 25th; Saturday. A return to form from the St Petersburg radio DJ with the static camera. Show #456.
November 24th; Friday. Civil servant confirms that Labour's 1997-to-2010 governments pumped up immigration to push down wages. Oh, and another document emerges confirming that pro-EEC/EC/EU operators deliberately lied to Britain's public.

November 23rd; Thursday. Over at the gym, the "hardener" with the kung-fu physique looks pretty cross as she unsmilingly logs in to coach a woman client through a basic fitness routine. I decide not to flirtatiously ask her for tips about overhead kettle-bell technique.
November 22nd; Wednesday. Man who created anti-virus software now carries weapons at all times. Very politely, the writer plays down the thought that Mr McAfee marrying a prostitute, and getting back together with her after she was paid to poison him, might show lack of judgment.

November 21st; Tuesday. The case against Palestine as a nation clearly set out.
November 20th; Monday. Interesting piece to coincide with his death in prison in recent days about 1960s leftwingers praising Charles Manson.

November 19th; Sunday. Mysteriously, it seems that straight women like men who are good-looking, muscular, rich. Cue anguish from gender morons.
November 18th; Saturday. Interesting rumour says that the October 1st Las Vegas mass shooting was distraction cover for an attempted assassination of the Saudi king who was in Vegas that night. Suggestive, given that several floors of the hotel the shooting came from (several windows of) were owned by Al Waleed bin Talal, now under arrest in the quiet coup sprung inside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia since the Vegas mass killing. Curious how quiet that story has gone, and how quickly.

November 17th; Friday. A rather defeatist elegy by Our Man in Bucharest.
November 16th; Thursday. Slightly precious article about some flower from some person vaguely connected to Patrick Leigh Fermor.

November 15th; Wednesday. Julie Burchill on wannabee-Arab Prince Charles. "Away with the djinns" is nice.
November 14th; Tuesday. 'Male feminist', like some I knew at college, boasts of how proudly he'd humble himself, how mightily he'd grovel.

November 13th; Monday. What did 17th-century food taste like?
November 12th; Sunday. A law lecturer tries to free his students' minds.

November 11th; Saturday. By night find myself at a lovely dinner party. In the middle of the curds-&-semolina dumplings-with-cream stage, a phone pings and the company demands to know of that male guest who has messaged him. An "older woman" he casually replies in Hungarian, later adding with a smile of mystery that she is "an Italian". Our gazelle-like feminine hostess, though not his girlfriend, switches into English and gently but firmly remarks "I'm not gonna cook for you any more. You go to your Mediterranean woman, perhaps she has a more liquidable pussy." General laughter breaks out at the novel English grammar, and an animated discussion starts about the right word (liquify? liquidate? liquidise?), digressing onto the topic of sex robots. Whereupon, just back from his surfing holiday, my table neighbour, not quite catching the thread of the conversation but looking very wise & jaded, says to me "Ah, most ertem. Egy nedvesitheto mupina," with the worldly nod of understanding Hungarians give to such statements.
November 10th; Friday. For a week now, instead of my Serb/Hungarian neighbour, the adjacent flat has been occupied by a French couple, both perhaps about 30 or late 20s. They are there temporarily. They nodded last week when I asked if they were "Air BnB people". Late in the evening, I re-enter the building, come up in the lift, and notice their oblong bathroom window is lit up and open. Too high up to give a view in of course, I can hear echoey speaking. The male seems to be narrating something in a quiet & calm voice, with an occasional watery splosh or agreeing noise from the female. I get the impression she is in the bath, languidly listening to him either reading aloud from a book or recounting some anecdote to her. I cannot quite make out the words, but am reminded of the French Country House history noting that - unlike England - once bathrooms appeared in chateaux, the French immediately saw them as a cosy space to meet friends, socialise, chat about things. Rather than as the chilly, tiled, utilitarian hygiene zone of Dutch and English country homes.

November 9th; Thursday. A comic strip imagines news reporting done by cats.
November 8th; Wednesday. Still thinking about Wim Hof, the Dutch man who, in grief after his wife's death, began to explore the healing possibilities of intense cold. I've been quoting his line "for me, colt ish a noble forsh." from this film to friends for weeks now. Perhaps I overdid his Dutch accent.

November 7th; Tuesday. As the wave of sex-assault allegations (some recent, some old) continues, claims surface that a teacher of Islamic Studies at Oxford has been Weinsteining women for several years, mostly in France. His closeness to the Muslim Brotherhood seemingly helps to silence his female critics. Unlike the case of the Hollywood producer, Ramadan's accusers cannot be said to be getting well-paid roles in films from him. Showing perhaps more boldness than Professor Ramadan, a Syrian man is caught "mounting" a pony in a German children's zoo in front of surprised visitors. No word on whether he is one of Merkel's guests. An American comedian issues an apology confessing that he asked a number of women if they would like to see his todger. A Russian man called 'Mick' apparently has a hobby business making tiny sex-dungeon toys and outfits for Barbie dolls. It seems there's a major wave of rape and violence against women in Sweden.
November 6th; Monday. Saudi Arabia, to go with the recent 'reshuffle' of some rich princes into house arrest (or luxury hotel arrest) and the also very recent move to allow women to drive cars (sometimes), announces more excitingly funky news. A "female" robot has been granted Saudi citizenship. This might be a bold bit of PR about the desert kingdom vigorously modernising under the crown prince, or it might suggest that the view of women as chattels is so ingrained that giving a passport to a robot labelled as a woman seems perfectly natural for them. The artwork for this bit of music suggests a similar idea, with two hands fusing into one under a hive-like Artificial Person graphic.

November 5th; Sunday. Remember, remember, the Fifth of November, gunpowder, treason, & plot. Yesterday while crossing Pest, I happen to be sharing an empty bench along the inside of an underground railway carriage with a spry old lady of uncertain age whose head was enclosed by a kind of hood or cowl of white material. Peeping out of it, she looked like a minor character featured early in a horror movie to establish an uneasy mood. She was about three feet away along the bench but she had that eerie smile and the bright light in the eyes that speaks of genuine madness. She was gazing out of the window at the dark tunnel walls, occasionally darting small blissed-out glances of glee at me before looking back out into the darkness. I felt a countdown to an event about to happen. Like starting a conversation, using a pretext (We're both looking at the same thing which isn't there!) that insane people and lonely normal people sometimes use. Or something like a sudden lunge for my crotch. I moved down the carriage. I'm at my destination station 5 minutes later, standing still on the crowded escalator taking people up to street level. On the moving staircase, I'm squashed right behind a white-skinned ginger-haired male with a thick mass of dreadlocks spilling down over a dull green jacket or raincoat. Down below his shoulder blades almost to his mid-back, these resemble a large dense mop made from carpet-underlay offcuts. To complete the effect of heroic ugliness, one shaggy ginger worm of matted felt had been threaded through a hole drilled in a white gambling die, then extending another 18 inches below. It was perhaps at the centre of the back of his neck. The cheapest kind, white plastic with black painted spots, it showed a four-dot face and next to that a five-dot face with the paint of the centre dot scratched away down to the white, so that at first glance there were two adjacent faces both showing fours. He was probably Hungarian, but in a town of sulky sneering beauties, a moment of touchingly English naffness.
November 4th; Saturday. Rather sudden wave of allegations of sexual impropriety involving some Labour MPs expands. Now includes a 'dossier' of misbehaving Tory MPs ("I responded excessively to a hug") in what looks like a co-ordinated psyop by some agency to bring down May's government. Perhaps intended to derail Brexit. An ex-Tory aide close to Tony Blair seems to have helped the material 'surface', though he has now faded from news reports. Normal non-spook investigative journalism or dirt released by individuals doesn't usually come packaged in spreadsheets or folders of material on 36 (or was it 44?) people at once. This might be the reason Mrs May is reported to have given in to EU demands that Britain pay over 50 billion euros for permission to leave the association. This is the night people in Britain, when November 5th falls on a weekend, usually celebrate foiling Continental powers' 1605 attempt to sabotage British policy not to their liking.
One of our book contributors reports Saudi kingdom arrests 11 senior princes, including the once-handsome billionaire Al Waleed bin Talal. It was he who memorably said "If I see something priced at 1 billion I think is worth 5 billion, I buy it." Now his steely greying hair & tinted glasses make him look proper dodgy.

November 3rd; Friday. Lawyer on Egyptian television calls it a "national duty" to rape girls wearing ripped jeans. Apparently he's a regular on the TV discussion show, sometimes starting fisticuffs in the studio with other Egyptian luminaries.
November 2nd; Thursday. Confirmation appears that Clinton took control of the DNC apparatus a year before she was nominated as 2016 presidential candidate.

November 1st; Wednesday. Day of the Dead. This evening didn't visit the nearby cemetery as in some previous years.


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