"Calm grey ocean, Gary, calm grey ocean."
I was reading something, so it took a second for my brain to catch up with my ears.
"Calm grey ocean?" I was worried this was going to be part of his anti-sunshine, pro-overcast worldview, but no.
"Yeah, well, he's colorblind!" Andrew explained.
Of course. I should've known...
Emily Yahr, "Read George W. Bush’s speech at the African American Museum, 13 years after signing the bill to build it", Washington Post 9/24/2016:
Our country is better and more vibrant because of their contributions and the contributions of millions of African Americans. No telling of American history is neither complete nor accurate without acknowledging them.
Full audio is here.
Daniel Deutsch sent me the link, with the comment that "Bush 43 gave a beautiful speech at the museum opening, but this seems overly negative" — referring to the "No telling … is neither complete nor accurate" phrase.
This seems to be an example of a phenomenon known variously as "Multiple Negation" or "Negative Concord". For a discussion of negative concord in languages around the world, see Anastasia Giannakidou, "N-words and Negative Concord", The Linguistics Companion 2002, who observes that "NC is observed in many languages; e.g. Romance, Slavic, Greek, Hungarian, Nonstandard English, West Flemish, Afrikaans, Lithuanian, Japanese".
On the other hand, Johan van der Auwera & Lauren Van Alsenoy ("On the typology of negative concord") claim that "contrary to what is often stated, negative concord is not all that frequent […] based on a world-wide sample of 179 languages".
But be that as it may, the English language has been trying to make up its mind about negative concord for the past millennium or so — for a detailed study, see Amel Kallel, "The Loss of Negative Concord in Standard English", 2011. (Or see the 2007 paper by the same author in Language Variation and Change.)
More accurately, as Kallel describes it, Old English was pretty firmly in the Negative Concord camp; Middle English and Early Modern English "exhibited variable use of [+NC] and [-NC] systems, i.e. speakers belonging to those two periods used both single and double/multiple negations to express the same meaning", while "Modern Standard English exhibits a virtually uniform [-NC] system". In a footnote, Kallel explains that "This study excludes the non-standard varieties of English which exhibit an NC system".
For information and references about those "non-standard" varieties, see the Yale Grammatical Diversity Project's informative page on Negative Concord in English.
But I think that there's a stronger negative-concord residue trying to diffuse into "standard" English than these works suggest. That influence has been one of the alternative explanations that I've suggested for the phenomenon of misnegation — for a few selected examples see:
"I challenge anyone to refute that this negative in not unnecessary", 1/21/2004
"Not doubting that the door could not be opened wider", 6/5/2006
"It's hard not to read this and not do a double-take", 8/1/2006
"Multiplex negatio ferblondiat", 7/14/2007
"I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't", 2/23/2009
"Never no one without Cornish", 8/1/2011
"Everything cannot not be unbelievable, either", 8/10/2011
"The things neither of them don't do", 9/17/2014
Called The Torchbearers it's a crossover between The Charioteer, North Face and the Lord Peter Wimsey novels of Dorothy L. Sayers.
Thanks as ever to caulkhead for betaining and to techsupportbear for graphic design.
Rated PG, canonical or Word-of-God character deaths, advisory for period-typical and source-typical attitudes to homosexuality. Random outbreaks of Polari.
Novella length (about 10K words)
September, 1946. An airman's body washed up on a beach brings Lord Peter and Harriet to Barlock, Somerset. To Lord Peter, the dead pilot represents unfinished business. He is the latest in a series of deaths linked to "X", a shadowy figure who uses his connections within Bridstow's close-knit homosexual community to extort military intelligence from vulnerable men in high-level roles. A chance encounter with an old college acquaintance hands Harriet a loose end which may have the power to unravel all X's intrigues.
For lilliburlero in token of much unsung heroism in the cause of obscure fandoms.
Anyway, The Arrival - it's a fantasy graphic novel told without words, depicting the story of an immigrant family's journey to a strange new place. And I find I don't want to use words to describe how powerful and beautiful it is as a piece of art. I just cried wordlessly at it. This is an unqualified recommendation but it's not something where a brief snippet will give any sense of the enormity of the whole.
So there's that. Here are some other things:
-I've had the flu all week, and am still feeling insubstantial; I went to work on Friday and realised in the middle of the afternoon that September 23rd represents the halfway mark of this posting that is killing me. (I will be glad to have done it I've learned a lot everyone pays their dues etc, you've heard it.) I look back on the last eighteen months and I'm not proud, exactly, because that's not a word that means much in these circumstances, but I have made it this far and I'm glad of it.
-Gaelic restarted this week, and I trundled down to the class on Wednesday and enjoyed it moderately. It's the beginners' class, and the teacher kindly suggested afterwards that gratifying as it may be for one's ego to be the best in the class, it's much better for me to be remedial. So I've been bumped across to the second-year class, which is scary because I really will be the worst in it. Tha mi ag ionnsachadh an-dràsda, etc. After a couple of months away, I still love the language inarticulably outwith its own terms.
-A. and I are going out tonight to celebrate our wedding anniversary. We have been married for three years, together for nine. I ran out of things to say about this years ago. We are what we are; we go on.
-I have several batches of beta comments on the novel, and keep crying at these also; not because they're sad - they're helpful and heartening - but because I've been working on this thing alone for a long time and the externalisation has been a process. (And also because I've now got to pick it up again, in a while, and go on with the work. The first six months I was writing it I never backed it up, because of a secret hope that I'd knock my laptop off a table and bam, I wouldn't have to write it any more.)
But: in a while. The next book on my to-be-read pile is Lavie Tidhar's The Violent Century. Right now I'm going to sit on the couch and watch Star Trek on Netflix.
But work is making me feel gross these days - my boss has introduced drastic changes and no one knows what it will mean yet, really, but it's entirely possible I and my entire team have been de facto demoted, which sucks, and I already feel like responsibilities are being taken away from me and people are talking about quitting, and there's so much gossip and backstabbing and everyone being uncertain and looking out for themselves and trash talking quietly in dark corners and just... ugh. Ugh ugh ugh. Such a gross working environment and not much prospect of things ending well, and my back is still fucked up and leaving this job is still not an option and it's just... worrying and gross. :/ I've gotten so used to the independence I enjoy, to mostly setting my own schedule.
Anyway, between this and the anxiety about moving and the new apartment and the hellishly busy week that's coming up, I slept very little last night. I mean I stayed at my parents' for the weekend, which meant I had to get up before 6am to have any prayer of getting to work in less than an hour, and I didn't go to sleep early enough and then couldn't really fall asleep properly, and well. Today I am a barely animated corpse at work, and my ability to handle the complex grossness is even lower, and my appetite is all screwed up due to lack of sleep, and well.
This morning after getting to work dressed like a clown (not really, but in my own internal estimation) from the tidbits of things I have at my parents' I drove to roga's and showered and changed and read fic for like 10 minutes and felt altogether more human when I came back to work. But still just... too exhausted to handle the day.
Anyway, I spent the weekend immersed in Black Sails. I haven't had the luxury of downloading TV and movies in months (moooooooonths) since I lost my computer upon moving out of my previous apartment, but being at my parents' and them having an essentially "disposable" machine (my dad reformats that PC every few months anyway) meant I could download ALL THE SEASONS and watch in luxurious high quality on my ipad screen instead of streaming the episodes (especially inconvenient considering I like to skip past bits a lot).
Anyway, I've now watched all of S2 and S3 and now I'm going back to watch select bits of S1, lol. I have to say, S3 is probably the most competently written and DEFINITELY the most competently made season (wow some parts of it were BREATHTAKINGLY directed and shot - I completely understand now why most of the people I know IRL who watched this show are fellow film school grads), as demonstrated by the fact that it managed to hold my interest despite having maybe 10% of the gay that S2 did. (This show's politics are still atrocious though and I can only avoid getting angry at it by focusing entirely on the pretty.)
( spoilers for canonically queer pirates )
* Tolkien (turlough)
So while we already have some recs to look forward to in October, it would of course be awesome if we had more recs. There is still plenty of opportunity for you to jump in and volunteer to rec next month (or to convince your friends to do some reccing). And many cheers for all of our members who volunteer to rec, especially if you rec regularly. Your valiant repeat efforts keep the comm alive.
Looking even further ahead so far NO reccers have volunteered for November, so that month definitely still needs some love (and recs! *g*) too. So please consider reccing in a fandom of your choice, whether small or huge, and comment on the sign-up post and volunteer for October, November or even further ahead if you are so well organized, that you know your fannish interests and time commitments in advance. It's only four recs as a minimum, and you can rec any genre or rating. Or promote us to your friends or in your favorite communities so others do the work.
Open Rec Posting
The monthly open reccing period for all members starts now and lasts until the end of September. If you are looking for something to inspire you, the prompt for this week is "space opera", but that's totally optional for the recs. However they do still have to conform to the usual rec format and follow the rules for what is allowed to be recced here.
(Comments here are disabled, because I want to bundle volunteering in the sign-up post so that nothing gets lost, and you can see the list of claimed slots there too.)
Transcript of Surreptitiously Taped Conversations among German Nuclear Physicists at Farm Hall (August 6-7, 1945)
Thought some of you (sovay, seekingferret, e_pepys...) would be very interested.
Apparently the complete edition is Hitler's Uranium Club: The Secret Recordings at Farm Hall by Jeremy Bernstein. It is now on my Amazon wishlist.
2. I managed to get a fair bit of translating done today, including finishing up the last of the "must do" stuff for this month. (I hope to still get a couple more things finished, but the major ones are done.)
3. The kitties were sooooo cute this morning. Chloe often likes to sit on the bathroom counter and watch "kitty TV" as we call it (aka looking out the window at birdies and such), but this morning they were both sitting there together. ♥
Faroese is in amazingly good health given the years of Danish rule, when Danish was the language of church, school, law, politics, literature and pretty much everything else. Faroese only returned to being a written language in the mid-nineteenth century (hence the wacky orthography): the first notable novels seem to be from the 1930s, and the Bible wasn't fully translated until 1949!
But Faroese is absolutely the language of daily life in the Faroes. Apparently 5% of people have Danish as a first language but this wasn't something that I noticed. All the signs, brochures, menus, announcements are in Faroese. Everyone started off speaking to me in Faroese (which would have been great if I had any speaking/listening skills....) It has a thriving little literary scene, and a radio station, and a TV station I guess although the broadcasting hours seem to be very restricted.
You can definitely see the difference in cultural production between the Faroese and Iceland. As an independent nation with a population of 300k rather than 50k, Iceland puts out much more material in terms of books, films, TV, newspapers. You could quite happily read Icelandic literature all year, unless you were a very voracious reader, whereas the selection in Faroese was limited and dominated by translations.
Most of the books in the bookstore were Danish. Iceland's second language is clearly English whereas in the Faroes it's clearly Danish. Most of the Faroese seem to be fluent in Danish, whereas the Icelanders are required to learn it in school but never seem to manage. I found it funny that there were no Icelandic books on sale in the Faroes: the written languages are mutually intelligible, so you would think they would take advantage of the literary output there, but no.
While in the Faroes I did buy a couple of books in Faroese, one a translation and one in the original language. I plan to try reading these without too much prior study, and we'll see what sticks. There are a few key Faroese words that I've already had to look up. For instance, "but." We shall see!
I was searching for an interest on LJ, and I ended up at the Popular Interests page. I found most of the entries (the non-Cyrillic ones, anyway) dubious. And I noticed they all had the same count: 16,777,215. This turns out to be one of those magic computer numbers ((2^24)-1), and suggests that the data fields for counting these interests are too small (24 bits) and the results are counting overflow. There's 477 "interests" with this max count, and 29 and 4 interests with 1 or 2 fewer total accounts – also suspicious. I wonder whether these common Interests indicate accounts that have been compromised, and are interests that hackers have set? Some of them have misspellings, and it's hard to believe that 16 million people would have picked the same misspellings. (I spotted a couple of my interests, Renaissance composers Dowland and Rossi, in the 2^24-2 group. Also not believable.)
Then I wondered whether LJ even has 16 million members.
The Statistics page says there are 34 million accounts. (So maybe the code for counting interests needs to be able to count bigger numbers, yah?) A little subtraction indicates that almost 16 million of those accounts have never updated, and 32 million are not "active in some way". (I'd think there should then be at least 32 million that have never updated, hmmm?) There's a strange peak of 31-year-olds in the age distribution. The gender counts – male, female, and unspecified – come up 18 million short of the total. It looks like there's errors in these statistics too.
After the suspicious entries at the top of the list, the counts drop below 2 million per interest, and many do look like things that lots of people would pick – music, movies, reading, writing, friends, art, photography, dancing, computers, books, drawing, singing, harry potter, shopping, anime, love, poetry, swimming, sleeping, sex, food, video games, painting, cats, rock, boys, cooking.... Female accounts are 60% of those self-identified in the stats, if you want to read gender stereotypes into some of that list.
Dreamwidth statistics also have a spike of 31-year-olds, but not nearly as extreme as LJ's. The gender imbalance is much greater (among those that declare) – more 4:1 female:male. DW's gender categories add up to only 1/10th of their accounts; LJ's added up to half. Why are these sites having such problems with basic math, counting their accounts? They've got catch-alls like "Unspecified" or "Rather not say", so the numbers should add up.
I didn't find a Popular Interests page on DW, but I did find the raw data. Like LJ, there were overflow-count entries (37) that didn't look like they should be that popular, and DW claims to have 1 million accounts, so Interests wth 16 million members can't be right.