...making Linux just a little more fun!
Wed, 28 Dec 2005
From Jimmy O'Regan
I didn't get the launderette in on time last month, so last month's is available.
Over the past few months there have been quite a few recurring topics. Two of them have been the law and Web 2.0
(Also, in the latter thread, I mention some XSLT for photo annotations. Here's an example of that)
Mon, 28 Nov 2005
From Stefan Gustavson
[Thomas] I am liking this.
Thanks for the XTeddy fan mail. It's always nice to hear from people who like him. I don't get more than a few messages per year about him these days, but it's nice to see that he's still out there.
The real life XTeddy is a present from my wife, she got it for me as a stress relief in 1994 when I was a PhD student, and I must say it still works. He still sits on my desk, or rather on a shelf just above my desk, in clear view and ready to comfort me when things get rough. (Although his mere presence actually seems to stop things from getting too rough.)
Like most teddy bears, he has a real life name, and it happen to be "Lufs", which is a cutesy Swedish bear name whose point gets more or less lost in translation, but I'll try anyway:
The name "Lufs" means nothing in particular, but the
kind of slow trotting and wobbling walk that real live
bears tend to do when they are not in any hurry is
referred to as "lufsa" (a verb) in Swedish, and when
we were kids, both my wife and I had read a story
by the Swedish author G=F6sta Knutsson about a little
bear cub named "Nalle Lufs", ("Nalle" is an old Swedish
word for "bear", often used as a synonym for "teddy bear".)
I can't remember whether it was me of my wife who named him. It kind of grew on him more than being a planned naming. I'm not even sure if we were consciously aware of that childhood story at the time, but we both recalled reading it when we saw it a few years ago.
The XTeddy program was my first and so far only attempt at writing a native program for X Windows. It makes very simple use of the Shape extension and a pixmap background, and the original version was about one page of code. It has since been extended with better image loading functions, but the basic window functionality is still just a shaped window with a background pixmap, and a simple, low level mouse event handler to move it around.
It was also a counterstatement to "xeyes", the only other shaped window program that was around in 1994. I thought it was a bad and ugly demo for a good extension. Xeyes is kind of cute the first time you try it, but it is kind of intrusive (someone or something is watching your every move with the mouse) and therefore has very little staying power with most users.
XTeddy is rather the opposite to xeyes: Nonintrusive, motionless unless you pick him up, doesn't really care what you are doing and watches you, not your work or lack thereof, in patient silence. He's basically useless, but cute, and always available.
That was probably more background information than you ever wanted, but you did ask for it.
[Thomas] xteddy has been personified into a bot that gives people hugs.
He's very good at that. Good thinking!
Tue, 06 Dec 2005
From Jimmy O'Regan
"Microsoft has stated on numerous occasions that they believe in and support open standards. But from my experience, they do this not by joining existing open standards efforts, but instead by creating entirely new, parallel (and arguably redundant) "open standards" efforts around their own technologies."
Sun, 25 Dec 2005
Up to you whether I'm late, on time, or early for your personal favorite.
[Ben] I've been running behind on everything - Ulysses is in the final stages of the repairs, and we're spending all our time sanding, grinding, and painting (and learning a hell of a lot, particularly about that last; there's a whole body of science behind it, particularly when you ask as much of it as we do.) Anyway - happy holidays to everyone, whichever version you celebrate; may your upcoming year be filled with love, joy, and happiness!
[Jimmy] And may you have fewer hurricanes!
And my apologies to Jimmy for the #tag-chat teddybear being asleep on the job. Apparently he knows how to serve up the brews right proper, but only serves them correctly on one network. D'oh!
Actually I sit corrected; poor little plushybrains watched his pearl roll under the couch. I had to unload and restart his script, and then it worked fine in both places.
[18:55] <jimregan> Um... Happy cheesy /topic messages to you all too
[Jimmy] For the record:
* Topic is 'The Answer Gang, happy linuxgazette.net to all penguins everywhere | +cgianakop> I just wanted to stop in for a few and wish the gang merry christmas | merry solstice, happy hanukah, and a cheerful xmas too | xteddy serves eggnog and fine brews | happy gnu year'
[19:01] <jimregan> xteddy: beer Heineken [19:01] <xteddy> :) [19:01] <jimregan> xteddy: beer Heineken please [19:01] <xteddy> :) [19:01] <jimregan> xteddy: beer please [19:02] <xteddy> :) [19:02] <jimregan> xteddy: hi [19:02] <xteddy> :) [19:02] <jimregan> xteddy: eggnog
Thanks to my attempts to merge some things, at the moment it's "give me" or gimme.
xteddy, give me a beer xteddy: gimme Heineken xteddy give me Heineken please
...although the result on this one will look a little silly he doesn't know "hi" so all you get is a smily
xteddy, give me eggnog
[19:02] <xteddy> :) [19:02] <jimregan> xteddy :-P [19:02] <xteddy> :) [19:02] <jimregan> xteddy: Heineken [19:02] <xteddy> :) [19:03] <jimregan> xteddy: poprosze wodke [19:03] <xteddy> :)
[Sluggo] If I threw xteddy out the window, would I incur the Wrath of Thomas? Would my Linux questions go unanswered forevermore?
[Jimmy] Hmm. Wasn't that the little known Egyptian Plague 6.5? Boils in the shape of Xteddy?
is this the verb for "give me" ? I could add it.
[Jimmy] No, well, kind of... In a bar, you'd say 'proszę <whatever>'. It's probably better for xteddy to not understand Polish, because of the amount of grammar you need to know just to ask for something
Well, maybe not. A sample session'd look like this:
<jimregan> xteddy: prosze wodke (vodka please) <xteddy> jimregan: masz wodke (your vodka) <xteddy> jimregan: wodki nie ma (out of vodka) <jimregan> xteddy: prosze piwo (beer please) <xteddy> jimregan: masz piwo (your beer) <xteddy> jimregan: piwa nie ma (out of beer)
[Ben] It means "I would like", if I understand it correctly; not too far off a similar Russian word, although the usage is somewhat different.
[Jimmy] Kinda... it means "I request". It's the perfective version
[Jimmy] For those who are not familiar with perfective verbs: Wikipedia (as ever) has a good article.
There's precedent. He already does hug in a few foreign languages for some specific people. As I continue to merge his code bits he'll be a multilingual teddybear.
<xteddy> przytulę <whoever> * xteddy przytuli <whoever>
I'm not doing it i18n style yet though.
<xteddy> przytule <whoever>
Or you could use tule/tuli (1st/3rd person of 'cuddle')
[19:03] <jimregan> Hmm. Xteddy nie mowi po polsku [19:03] * xteddy bounces
he saw his proper name... the trigger.pl script wasn't busted, making the bear look hard of hearing rather than simply not there.
[Jimmy] I thought it was something like that
[19:03] <jimregan> xteddy: czy mowisz po polsku? [19:03] <xteddy> :)
What's this mean?
[Jimmy] "Do you speak Polish?"
[Jimmy] And there I was thinking xteddy was trying to tell me something
Like what, have a guiness instead ?
[Jimmy] Nah, like "I think you've had enough, and I think you should give me your keys. No, I don't care that they're house keys -- you're in no fit state to operate any form of door".
Anyways, feature request to have the recognized goodies work without "gimme" is already in the works... I wanted to merge the old features first, but the gimme was too attractive an idea.
Entirely aside of teddybears, it's a nice warm feeling to see progress, so I think it was worth it. For giggles, people can try a few types of snacks, drinks, and baked goods.
Chris G. came in while I was still coding up some of this stuff, and followed me into #fvwm to see him in a little more action (the regulars there are pretty found of our bear). He was delighted.
Which is a damn shame, because I've almost got him handling guiness with proper style too.
I'm off to enjoy nog and partying now...
[Jimmy] Well... Wesołych Świąt, Maligayang Pasko, Nollaig Shona Daoibh, or just plain Merry Christmas.
sudden burst of on-topic: something's eating those characters, and I'm mildly sure it's not mutt, I know I've see diacriticals and odd chars in mail from some people now and then. Did anyone among us get that first couple of words in correct form, and if so, how do you think it did it?
[Ben] Various 10646 fonts suck in arbitrary ways; you're probably missing the glyphs for Polish in whatever you're using. All the stuff in Jimmy's email displayed fine for me in Mutt. Here are my relevant bits:
r!egrep '^xterm.*(utf|font)' ~/.Xresources xterm*font: -misc-fixed-medium-r-normal--18-120-100-100-c-90-iso10646-1 xterm*utf8:1 r!echo $LANG en_US.UTF-8
I used to have to mess about with LANG and LC_ALL and a whole bunch of goodies to get Mutt to act right...
[Breen] This may be a project for me in the new year - I'm currently reading most mail on shell on a FreeBSD box, using mutt displayed on various terminals on FC3 and Mac OS X. Getting the correct invocations to make this all work hasn't been near the top of the list, but this may be the year...
[Ben] You're in luck: I still have the wrapper script I used to use to launch Mutt to read my Russian mail, which contains the previous invocations (commented out) to do various language-related tweaking. I still use it, since I like saving attachments to /tmp by default and prefer opening Mutt in "mailbox" view ('-y').
#!/bin/bash # Created by Ben Okopnik on Tue Sep 11 14:41:52 UTC 2001 cd /tmp # LANG=ru_RU rxvt +sb -geometry 100x35+-5+-5 -fn 10x20-koi -n RMutt -e mutt -y # LC_CTYPE=ru_RU xterm -fn 10x20-koi -e mutt -e "set charset=koi8-r" -y # LANG=en_US.UTF-8 xterm -fn terminus-20 -T RMutt -e mutt -y # LANG=en_US.UTF-8 xterm -fn -misc-fixed-medium-r-normal--18-120-100-100-c-90-iso10646-1 -T RMutt -e mutt -y xterm -T RMutt -e mutt -y
[Breen] Happy New Year to all!
[Ben] now, using the above font and $LANG variable for all of X takes care of it just fine. And ':dig' in Vim produces a very satisfying result. About the only language that I had trouble displaying was Georgian - 'gnu-unifont' handled it, but 'gnu-unifont' sucks when you try to display anything with line-drawing characters (i.e., Midnight Commander). Oh well; 99.9% functionality is miles better than none.
Fri, 16 Dec 2005
See attached aoler.html
[Rick] How... nostalgic. That seems to have been an instance of an actual confused AOL user, writing manually from AOL, rather than a spam forgery or malware mail pretending to be from AOL. (All of the headers verify this, including SPF, which AOL implements properly.)
What's completely unclear from the information given is why Vladytoe@aol.com is writing, since her headers show only intra-AOL mail previously.
Sun, 25 Dec 2005
I always consider myself a winner by knockout whenever someone distorts my point to something ridiculous and then argues against the ridiculous thing. That seems like an acknowledgement that my real point is unassailable. Why else would someone need to invent a whole new point to argue against?
Sat, 17 Dec 2005
From Mike Orr
===BEGIN This is to inform you that, base on our end of year promotion of The Programmer Charity Foundation carried out on the 15th ,December,'05,the above ticket No. fixed to your email ID surfaced in the third ballot stake. You have therefore emerged as a recipient of the third award of two hundred and fifty thousand american dollars in this annual end of year promotion
I wonder if they pasted the amount out of a 419 email?
The source of fund is majorly from well meaning companies and humanitarian spirited industries selected from european community. Be informed that in line with the sponsors' regulation,you are to contribute a percentage amount( ten percent minimum) to a recognized non-governmental charity project in your environ,after collection of your prize
Any charity or a certain one? What does "my environ" mean?
Application and inquiries should be forwarded to Mrs Mabel Konnindam via ; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Paragraph 2 says I've already won, so why do I need to send an application?
Accept my heart felt congratulations. Ms Daisey Gregson PS:Kindly state your Ticket No in your expected application. The Programmer Charity Foundation, Schalktorrenstraat 673b, 8921CH,Nijmegen. Royal Dutch Federation. ===END
Fri, 18 Nov 2005
From Jimmy O'Regan
We've all heard that the inuit have 20 something words for snow, right? Well, here's a page listing them: http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Forum/7953/eskimo.html
I found this from "The Czechs Have a Word For It": http://www.bohemica.com/?m=catalog&s=258&a=138 having looked up "Nedovtipa" ("one who finds it difficult to take a hint"), after seeing a mention in "The Meaning of Tingo" -- well worth a read.
Some great words are:
(It also mentions that the Albanians have 27 words for both eyebrows and moustaches).
[Heather] [neko-neko] Might be an amusing name for a wiki about dumb things you shouldn't try at home.
As a multilingual amusement, neko is japanese for kittycat, and many kittycats have occasioned exactly this kind of brilliant idea.
Another word: "Backpfeifengesicht", German for "a face that cries out for a fist".
It turns out [the Alb?nian words] are just adjectives that are added to the words for moustache and eyebrows, not separate words.
My favourite Polish word is 'kobietka', the diminutive of the word for woman, that roughly translates as "little girl pretending to be a woman". We have an equivalent word for men in Hiberno-English: "maneen".
[Ben] The Russian equivalent for the latter is "muzhichok";
I know there's a Polish equivalent, but I can't find it. The only diminutive I've heard applied to men is 'dziewcinka', and that means 'little girl'.
[Ben] oddly enough - since I would have expected two closely-related Slavic languages to share a similar concept - I can't think of a parallel to 'kobietka'. There's "suchka" ("little bitch", a fond diminutive sorta-insult), but that's not the same thing.
That's 'suczka' in Polish, so no
[Ben] Yep, I knew that one.
I assume there's something like 'żoneczka' ('little wife')
[Ben] No, the diminutive for 'wife' doesn't have any extra connotations besides the obvious ones.
Oh, I was just translating literally -- no extra connotations here.
Fri, 25 Nov 2005
From Pete Savage
Hi all, I'm sorry I just had to post these here, my father-in-law almost paid for a Navman ICM 550 off of eBay, but being a shrewd man, he did some feedback chcking and immediately noticed something was wrong. I looked at these and oh......my sides doth split. I don't know if they have constructed a mechanism for creating comments from a load of random words, but the poor translation says it all.
Visit them soon, for you never know when they will be taken off eBay.
Here's a sneak preview
Positive feedback rating - I will chase the friend whom your item introduce to me of.
Hope you all get a laugh from this
[PeteJ] Oh my sides are they splitting!
May I fondle your nipples?
[Sluggo] "You are a seller of honesty." ???
That would make a great cartoon, that one.
I think this is one of my favourites
Useless buyer,is an ebay humiliation not at live under go to, you choose suicide
I wonder exactly what the meaning was supposed to be, if there was a meaning at all.
Mon, 21 Nov 2005
From Jimmy O'Regan
(Be warned that it may not work, and may even royally screw up your browser)
See attached lg.src
Oh yeah: works for me. (Only tested in Flock, though)
[Thomas] So much work, for such a large browser. For those of us that use Elinks as their browser, then here's something similar, using "Smart Prefixes". Essentially:
Options Manager -> Protocols -> URI rewriting -> Smart Prefixes
... from there, one can "Add" a new prefix -- I called mine 'lg'. When that's done, scroll down to it, and "Edit" it, adding the following to it:
... the "%s" variable above expands to whatever search term was entered in. Then click on "Save", and voila. Now one can search LG, by either pressing 'g' or 't', and typing:
lg: my search term
- More information can be found on my own Elinks site here:
So much work, for such a small browser
Mozilla &c. can do the same thing: bookmark the above URL, and add 'lg' as the keyword. Searching is similar, but without the colon.
[Thomas] Well, the colon is optional -- the delimiter is either the first space after the keyword ("prefix" as I would call it), or a colon.
The point of the file I posted is that it adds the search to the little search bar at the top of Firefox.
[Thomas] Yeah - it's very cute. I suppose it's just preference at the end of it all.
Nah, it's laziness: I can't be arsed remembering the keywords for different searches
Tue, 29 Nov 2005
From roadtripper8 at 43 Things
[Jimmy] This started here where the theme music from "The Heights" was mentioned
[Jimmy] To where you are.
It's like trying to catch a falling star.
*Don't* blame me -- you started it!
That has to be the crappiest song ever written. And yet we still remember it!
[Jimmy] No, I can think of worse
"Barney is a dinosaur..."
"I want to be the very best, like noone ever was"
All TV themes. Eerie.
No, wait... Celine Dion's back catalogue!
Funnily enough, I left my MP3 player at home last Friday, and that song popped into my head for the first time since the show was on. Your comment... well, it reopened a fresh wound. Damn you!
Make it stop!
I spoke too soon. You have managed to find songs that really are crap.
Hopefully your revenge won't sneak up on me over the next few days. 'Cause I may have to throw myself in front of a truck if Celine Dion starts playing in my mental jukebox.
[Jimmy] It's not hard to find crap music -- just look at the charts. (Quote: "There's more evil in the charts than an Al Qaeda suggestion box" -- Bill Bailey)
Not quite unrelated: my sister has been a bit upset with me since MTV played all of Kelly Clarkson's videos and I told her they sounded like Diet Coke ads. And she had to admit they did. (At least I didn't have to admit I thought one of them was catchy).
Oh, and as for poor old Celine: I shared a house with one of my friends for a year in college--without checking his CD collection first. 9 CDs, all Celine Dion.
I roomed once with a Backstreet Boys fanatic. I when I say fanatic, I mean she actually put up a poster of them...*IN OUR BATHROOM!*
[Jimmy] You have bested me
I can normally think of a smart ass comment for every situation, but... overload!
Consider it payback
I am the one who had the Barney song going through my head for a day!
Fri, 18 Nov 2005
From Pete Savage
A lot of you seem to be well up on foreign languages.
I need to find out how to "write"
"Lisa, I love you." In Japanese.
I think I'm ok with the Lisa part, needs to be written in katakana as Risa.
Once again Any help greatly appreciated.
[Kat] Well...Pete, why do you want to write this in Japanese? I can help you say this in Mandarin, but the Japanese just don't say this. It sounds horribly stilted and overblown, even though there is a literal translation. Even the more commonly used declaration sounds well, kinda dorky.
So with those caveats,
"Lisa, anata aishiteru" is probably as good as it's going to get. (Lisa, you(familiar) loving) (If you add in the "I" , it sounds like the emphasis is on I love you, rather than "you are loved by me".)
"Suki da yo" is what a guy tells his girl, but IMHO it has connotations of "yeah yeah, I'll TELL you I like you because you asked, but it should be obvious")
[Jay] Oh, so Japanese guys are just like American guys. Got it.
Thank you for the reply.
It's for my wife for christmas, she is very fond of the Japanese culture, in particular Manga and Anime. I wanted to write her almost like a scroll that I could frame for her for christmas
[Rick] Well, good for you.
I personally had to sit down, a bit over five years ago, and figure out how to write?"Deirdre, will you marry me" in Esperanto.
[Thomas] Wow, it took you all this time?
[Rick] She, in turn, set herself the task of figuring out the equally daunting challenge of how to say "Yes" in Irish.
[Jimmy] Ooh! I just sprayed cereal all over the place! Did she manage to find something shorter that "I will marry you", or did she go with "is d=F3cha..." ("I suppose...")
[Rick] She did indeed go with "I will marry you."
[Sluggo] I suppose this "I suppose" sounds better than it does in English? ("Why not, I have nothing better to do today?" "Nobody better has come along yet, so what the hell?")
[Rick] That does remind me, as it happens, of Deirdre's favourite Irish joke:
John and Mary had known each other, and gone out to dinners and dances, for well on twenty years. Mary, being rather shy, eventually gets around to raising the subject, reminding him of this and adding:
"John, don't you think we should be marrying, then?"
"Aye, but who will have us now?"
[Jimmy] Um... OK, when you were in Ireland, you must have heard the phrase, "sure why not", or "sure we may as well" (where 'sure' is pronounced 'sher' and not emphasised)... it'd sound like that.
[Sluggo] I don't remember that but I've heard "sure" alone in Scotland (and in the movie Local Hero ) . Quiet and monotone. I'm used to a strong "sure" meaning "I really like the idea",
[Sluggo] a short but still forceful sure being concessionary ("OK, that's fine"), and a long up-down-flat "suurrrre" being ironic ("Sure you're going to the mall" [but I don't believe it]). A quiet, flat "sure" to me sounds very concessionary, as in "I don't want to do it but I'll go along with your wishes." I had to tell myself, "That's not what they mean," and trust the words rather than the intonation.
[Jimmy] Um... I'm not sure (sure sure, not sure sure , but I think the Scottish use it the same way as we do. It doesn't really mean anything, it's kind of an introduction to a sentence -- in fact, most of the time it means you're unsure. Most Irish-type uses could be replaced with "well" (or even "uh..."): "sure, you can take a later train if you miss this one".
[Sluggo] That's a different context. I'm talking about a one-word response to a proposal or a yes/no question. In Local Hero , when the Texas oil negotiator gets off the plane in Aberdeen and meets his assistant Olson, he asks about logistics like "Do you have a car?" Olson replies, "Sure." The negotiator is surprised that Olson just says it like a boring fact ("Apples grow on trees") rather than anticipating that the question imples, "Let's go." So half-exasperatedly he says, "Well, let's go then." Probably Olson did not mean it that way, but that's how it sounds to yankee ears, extremely detached, like the speaker really doesn't care or something. It's hard to describe because we just don't say "sure" that way, so we interpret it like other phrases that are said that way.
[Jimmy] (IIRC, there's a region in Poland (Poznan, possibly) where they do something similar ("??ucho", I think)).
[Sluggo] What struck me about Ireland was how so many accents sounded indistinguishable from American. Only if you listen hard could you hear faint traces of "foreign" intonation. At least a quarter of the people I met were like that, if not a third.
[Jimmy] Heh. You obviously weren't in Cork, North Dublin, Cavan, or rural Tipperary, to name but a few of the areas with indecipherable accents. I'm from rural Tipperary, but I rarely stand a chance.
Partly it's because there's a Hiberno-English tendency to speak short sentences as if they were single words: "bulnfrish" or "blinfrit" are two renderings I've heard of "bullin' for it" (i.e., horny).
[Sluggo] Like Mumbles in Dick Tracy.
[Jimmy]  Thankfully, we managed to contain that phrase before it could infect other areas, though there is still a high risk of breakout.
[Brian] I would suspect that the easiest route would be to head over to Ireland, get out in the countryside a bit, stop in pub and ask the first person you see if they'd like you to buy them a pint. Virtually any answer you get there should be fairly equivalent to "Yes!".
.brian (the empirical linguist)
[Sluggo] Just be sure not to say "I will accept a beer" when you meant "I will marry you".
[Jimmy] Well, you know, think of Vegas weddings and it's not much of a stretch...
So, the more I read of this "Meaning of Tingo" book, and the accompanying blog, the less I doubt the veracity of anything I read in it,
[Ben] Do you mean "less" or "more"? Those double negatives are tricky. As to "veracity", it doesn't apply to books; veracity is a habit, not an absolute measurement. "Accuracy", maybe?
[Jimmy] sigh Yeah. I'd just woken up, and my brain still hasn't started working yet.
[Jimmy] especially as the only Irish word so far is: "nabocklish: don't meddle with it", which is... well, that may be a Hiberno-English word in some part of the country, but "ná bac leis" means "don't pay attention to *him*".
[Ben] Ya gotta figure: in a book like that, effect is very important, so bending the truth a bit to achieve it, well, it's not really that big of a stretch...
[Jimmy] Plus, it has to be taken into account that linguists are at the mercy of the sense of humour of the person they are questioning; especially difficult on the internet, where you can't see if they're having difficulty keeping a straight face (one of the Philipinos at work told me that "putang ina mo" means "hello", for example. If you're really good friends with the person you're talking to, maybe...)
[Jimmy] So, Kat, can you confirm that "ariga-meiwaku" means "an act someone does for you that you didn't want to have them do and tried to avoid having them do, but they went ahead anyway, determined to do you a favour, and then things went wrong and caused you a lot of trouble, yet in the end social conventions required you to express gratitude", because I can think of several times where that would have summed things up
[Kat] Other than the fact that I know this word as "arigato meiwaku", yes, that's about the gist of it. "meiwaku" means bother/annoyance/imposition.
Of course the etymology of "thank you" in Japanese is peculiarly Japanese in concept as well. Quoting from someone quoting the sci.lang.japan faq:
The word derivations are different too. Arigatou is related to arigatai .kind, welcome. and arigatagaru .be thankful., which conveys a grateful feeling for something that was done in favor of the one using the word. The first kanji is aru (. Unicode 6709) .exist, happen. and the second one, gatou < katai (. Unicode 978F) means .hard, difficult..
What would be most appropriate in this instance
[Kat] Eek! That's really sweet, but in a Japanese context it's even more bizarre. Declarations of love like that are meant to be private in Japan, so something that would be framed and on a wall... Aiee.
[Jimmy] At least he's not going for a tattoo
[Kat] I'm not going there. I can't afford the bus ticket back.
[Jimmy] Heh. I've been planning to geta tattoo of my son's name in Ogham. After 8 years of research, I'm reasonably confident that what I've chosen is his name and not, say, "Price reduced for a limited time only" or some such.
[Kat] The trick now is to make sure it says "name", rather than "nayyun" or some such close but not quite thing.
I'm still trying to figure out how someone got "Opoka" out of "Okopnik".
[Sluggo] My Russian roommate Was Valeriy Pronin (vah-LEHR-ee PRO-neen) but the border guards anglicized it to Valerie Pronine. So not only was he stuck with a girl's name but people pronounced the last name "pro-nine".
Then he married an Irish-American girl and changed his name to Michael Sean Kennedy. That really throws people.
I went to Russia and his family met me at the airport. I was expecting the Pronins but found the Dmitrochenkos. Turns out his nickname was his given name. He and several buddies had changed their name to Valeri Pronin after a buddy by that name died. I was irritated that he hadn't told me his family's name was different than his, because if his brother hadn't recognized me at the airport I'd be looking around for Pronins and never have found them. Which was scary because it was my first time abroad and Russia is not a very familiar place. ("What if I get to my hostel at midnight and it's closed?")
Another friend was named Chris Norman. I went to visit his cousin in Russia. Since it was his cousin I expected a different name. They met me at a metro station in Moscow so it was easy to find them. (I still don't like taking Russian suburban trains alone. So easy to take the wrong train, and good luck recognizing the station when they announce it.) Later in St Pete I saw posters for Chris Norman, a musician, so I don't know if he did something funny with his name too.
[Ben] Heh. That would be a local dockmaster (from the UK, originally), with an interesting policy on spelling:
(me) -- "Just backspace until you get to 'O'." (him) -- "Naow, naow, mite. Oi *never* goes backwards, only forwards." [clickety-clickety-click] "There, 'at should do it!"
[Kat] I'd swear it was a hand-written receipt, though.
That's okay, at least it wasn't like having one's drycleaning filed under "rat".
[Kat] Would she go for a Chinese hanzi (i.e. looks like Japanese kanji) thing instead?
What you'd want in that case is "Wo ai ni", which is just fine.
Yes that'd be fine, what is the literal translation?
[Kat] I love you, in Mandarin Chinese.
I should state rather strongly at this moment that I think you should find a Chinese calligrapher to do this, as most people who are not learned in the writing of Chinese characters make an embarrassing botch of it. You can try googling "kanji tattoo" to see what most native speakers think of the currently trendy usage of kanji.
[Rick] Using a language in a culturally inappropriate way can actually be an art form, y'know.
[Jay] "Somehow, I knew who said this, without even looking at the attribution."
[Sluggo] Exactly, and haikus have developed an independent life in English that doesn't always fit with the Japanese tradition.
[Rick] The interdependencies of language and mind are always fascinating, as I started to realise when I learned French and realised that there were particular modes of thinking that come naturally when "thinking in French" but not in English, and vice-versa. (I'm straining to remember examples, and, unfortunately, failing.)
[Ben] I can't swear a tenth as well in English as I can in Russian. It doesn't roll off the tongue, it doesn't sound natural, and... it's not polite. %->
I love the russian langauge, don;t know squat, just like the way it sounds
I wonder if there are other phrases that may write better if you know what I mean? Sound more traditional, even though you said declarations like this are private, they must be "said" ? I know not. I understand little.
[Kat] You could do "Lisa daisuki" (Lisa (is) (my) favorite), which has a certain "adolescent carved on a tree" charm to it.
I suppose the traditional thing would have been to compose a cryptic impromptu haiku.
[Rick] There you go! Pete, if I were you, I'd fire up my mad haiku (or at least senryu) skillz.
[Heather] Speaking as a girl here a haiku sounds sweet
I have a haiku
Beauty stealing breath, Grace compared to angels high, Always in my heart.
[Sluggo] That's good. She'll know what it means. it's like the one we have about Tux. Hints at it without explicitly saying it.
Bottom of the world Fat, dark and handsome Herring taste great
Now I need someone to show me what it is in Japanese I need it written, so symbols, not just the words If anyone has any clue, please let me know
[Kat] Languages unfortunately are tied to cultures, and don't do well as simple word substitutions.
[Rick] Except as a form of comedy, e.g., the gentle art of "speaking Latin like a native":
You're fired. Ego te demitto. Look out, I'm going to barf! Cave, vomitorus sum! Oh! Was I speaking Latin again? Vah! Denuone Latine loquebar? Your fly is open. Braccae tuae hiant. You're beautiful! Pulcher es! Your mother is so old, she speaks Latin. Tua mater tam antiquior ut linguam Latine loquatur. Show me the money. Monstra mihi pecuniam. Luke, I am your father. Luke, sum ipse patrem te. You don't know the power of the dark side. Potestatem obscuri lateris nescis. I think Elvis is still alive. Credo Elvem ipsum etaim vivere. Fuck you and the horse you rode in on. Futue te, et ipsum caballum. I have a catapult. Give me all the money, or I will fling an enormous rock at your head. Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam. I have a terrible hangover. Crapulam terriblem habeo. Your toga is backwards. Tua toga suspina est. We're off to see the wizard, the wonderful wizard of Oz. Imus ad magum Ozi videndum, magnum Ozi mirum mirissimum. Only you can prevent forest fires. Solum potestis prohibere ignes silvarum. I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream. Clamo, clamatis, omnes clamamus pro glace lactis. Stand aside, plebians! I am on Imperial business! Recidite, plebes! Gero rem Imperialem! I hope we'll still be friends. Spero nos familiares mansuros. God, look at the time! My wife will kill me! Di! Ecce hora! Uxor mea necabit! You know, the Romans invented the art of love. Romani quidem artem amatoriam invenerunt. Nobody dances sober unless he's insane. Nemo saltat sobrius nisi forte insanit. Nu, everyone's a comedian. Quisque comoedum est.
[Heather] For the record this made me giggle out loud:
> Oh! Was I speaking Latin again? > Vah! Denuone Latine loquebar?
I swear I could hear Rick saying this in my head...
[Sluggo] Of course I couldn't resist translating these to Esperanto.
Ho! Cxu mi parolis latine refoje?
But more colloquially:
Ho! Cxu mi krokodilis latine refoje?
"to crocodile" comes from a character in a children's TV show. The crocodile kept babbling in his native language at Esperanto events.
[Ben] I don't suppose you recall the Russian humor gazette, "Krokodil", or "Krokodil Gena" (a cartoon croc who later featured as the butt of many jokes; most of these were, unusually for Russian jokes, characterized by a certain innocent sort of humor.) For some reason, Russians seem to associate crocs with humor.
[Sluggo] I've seen it. That doesn't mean I understand the jokes.
I remember one political cartoon. One side of a chessboard was all lined up orderly; the other side was squabbling. One from the unruly side goes up to the other and says, "U vas yeschyo korol' s korolevoy? A u nas uzhe yest' parliament." (You still have a king and queen? We have a parliament.)
> Luke, I am your father. > Luke, sum ipse patrem te.
[Sluggo] Luk, mi estas via patro.
Not "Luke" because "luko" means skylight, so "luke" means skylight-ly. "luk" alone would be a preposition or interjection, but since there's no such word it's safe for a foreign name. The accusative would be "Luk'on", the standard way to add a suffix to a non-Esperantized name.
> You don't know the power of the dark side. > Potestatem obscuri lateris nescis.
That was pretty good too.
[Sluggo] Vi ne scias pri la povo de la malhela flanko.
But this combo takes the cake:
> I have a catapult. Give me all the money, or I will fling an enormous > rock at your head. > Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum > immane mittam.
[Sluggo] Mi havas katapulton. Donu al mi cxiun vian monon, aux mi jxetos grandegan rokon kontraux vian kapon.
> I have a terrible hangover. > Crapulam terriblem habeo.
[Sluggo] Mi havas teruran postebrion.
[Heather] Final translation? Go ahead, shoot me. I won't notice, because the chariot racers of Saturn already ran me over.
[Sluggo] Nu, pafu min! Ne gravos al mi, cxar la cxaraj konkursantoj jam superkuris min.
Oops, "cxaro" (chariot) looks like a nounization of "cxar" (for/because). Perhaps it slipped into the language without people noticing. Also, I substituted "it doesn't matter to me" (ne gravos al mi) for "I won't notice" (mi ne konscios) because it sounds more typical.
[Heather] But how do you say: Argh, I cannot get my wireless to work! Hand me that ubuntu disc.
[Sluggo] Fusx, mi ne povas funkciigi la radiofonon! Donu al mi la diskon de Ubuntu.
[Ben] Yeah, I often say that - at least the first word - when I'm feeling that kind of frustration. Only you've misspelled it.
[Sluggo] That's a different word: fik.
[Sluggo] fusx: exclamation saying you're too scatterbrained to do something right, or something just isn't working out.
[Ben] Yah, I use it that way too. A lot.
[Sluggo] funkciigi: to cause to work.
The most amusing phrase is:
Ho, kio jenas en mia posxo? Cxu molaso? Diable. Dacxjeto!  Well, what's this in my pocket? Molasses? Damn. Davey!
jen: behold, voila. Turned into a verb.
Dacxjeto: from "Davido" (David). "cxj" makes an affectionate nickname. "et" is a diminutive, in this case implying a child.
 From Being Colloquial in Esperanto by David Jordan.
[Rick] As we say in California: "Habetis bona deum."
[Sluggo] Perhaps look for an expression that's similar in English and Japanese rather than the closest translation to "I love you". I don't know Japanese but maybe something like "Lisa is my favorite" or "Lisa is the one". Even if it doesn't say all of "I love you", she'll remember the unspoken part every time she sees it. And when a Japanese guest sees the scroll, maybe they'll think, "I wouldn't say that but it sounds pretty cool."
[Kat] While you're not far wrong in principle, I think what you're missing is that any sort of declaration like that is by its very nature (of being a public declaration) somewhat juvenile from a Japanese perspective. It's not just about the wording.
Now, doing the equivalent of building the Taj Mahal, that would translate just fine.
[Jimmy] "We have to include a lot of adjectives and adverbs to get across details of people's feelings, while Japanese verbs often contain these subtleties already. One result of this is that Westerners make strange blunders in Japanese because they are unaware of which emotion the verb they have chosen conveys."
Something like that?
(From "Japanese for the Western Brain", http://www.mindspring.com/~kimall/Japanese)
[Kat] Sorta. Ish.
It's not that "love" has unusual subtext, it's the action of declaration is sort of...Hmm. It's like "I'm going to kiss you now". That would be weird, yes?
[Jay] Not if you're going to Antioch.
[Sluggo] Maybe just "Lisa" then, or "Lisa the painter" or "Lisa -- mathemetician" or whatever she's good at. Then it can look like a simple gift rather than a "declaration".
[Kat] Oh, now that would be more than a simple gift, it would be very very appropriate. Even better would be getting her a seal that she could sign her work with.