word association

Memory is an odd thing. And linguistic memory is perhaps as odd as any.

I know I should remember the name of the flowers in the photo as I’ve grown plenty over the years, but every time I see them I have to sort through and reject a few other words that come to mind first.

They definitely aren’t coelacanths.

And I’m fairly sure they have nothing to do with Clytemnestra.
Continue reading “word association”

pizza again?

Full moon through clouds

All the recent news about the New Horizons mission has brought to mind a poem inspired by Pluto’s demotion from planet status in 2006:

In the dog house

My Very Excellent Mother used to be
the soul of generosity, and her beneficence
a universally-acknowledged truth.
Around the world, students rejoiced
when they recalled that she
Just Sent Us Nine Pizzas.

But as time passes, so it seems, the universe
contracts; mom’s liberality is capped
and scientists decree that students
will make do with
Nothing.

Supperless
I’m banished to my room. I must redo
my fourth grade science project.

 
Apparently the latest discoveries strengthen the argument to have Pluto reinstated as a planet. I suppose that means pizza may be back on the menu.

snail mail

 brown snail on leaf
This morning I went to the local post office to send a book to a friend. There are two separate counters, one for general goods, and one for official post office purchases, so, since I had to buy a padded envelope, I had to get receipts from both tills. The envelope cost me 70p.

Years ago, I worked in a school where the secretary kept a box with pens, glue, scissors etc; it was labelled stationary box because it was not to be moved from her desk under any circumstances. My father had taught me that stationery was what was sold by the stationer (the -er- matches) so I understood the joke.

Today when I got home, I checked the till receipt. Now I am wondering whether the parcel will ever arrive; I think I bought an envelope that is going nowhere:

"stationary" receipt

small worlds

Reading about Makemake on the BBC reminded me of a poem I wrote back in 2006 when they demoted Pluto from planet to dwarf planet.

In the dog house

My Very Excellent Mother used to be
the soul of generosity, and her beneficence
a universally-acknowledged truth.
Around the world, students rejoiced
when they recalled that she
Just Sent Us Nine Pizzas.

But as time passes, so it seems, the universe
contracts; mom’s liberality is capped
and scientists decree that students
will make do with
Nothing.

Supperless
I’m banished to my room. I must redo
my fourth grade science project.

Continue reading “small worlds”

military vices

We were talking about repairing a wooden trunk that we could use as a side table if it didn’t keep falling apart when it’s moved. I reckoned a dab of cola blanca around the dowels would do the trick when we put it back together again.

At which point my partner announced, “Creo que hay un sargento entre las herramientas en el invernadero.”

carpenter's bench vice & other tools
The tools are in the greenhouse

OK. We’ll gloss over the fact that we keep tools in the greenhouse – although this explains the slightly greenish tint to the photo – and focus on the “sargento”.

What was a sergeant doing with the tools, and what was his relevance to the simple repair we were about to undertake?
Continue reading “military vices”

mnemonics

Translating an article on Brazilian beaches, I’ve just learned a new word in Spanish:

carioca.
1. adj. Natural de Río de Janeiro. U. t. c. s.
2. adj. Perteneciente o relativo a esta ciudad del Brasil o a su provincia.

(definition from the Diccionario de la Lengua Española.)

I suppose it’s my lousy accent than makes me connect it to karaoke. It does mean, though, that I should find it relatively easy to remember carioca by picturing the Rio carnival procession all singing karaoke as they dance the samba.

Actually, that’s such a dreadful image that I hope I don’t have much call to talk about the people and activities of Rio in Spanish.