It was not fear of such an encounter that was responsible for the delay in paying this most natural duty. Orcs had not been known in the neighbourhood for many years, and had their return to the region been known the party would have elected to travel by the Pass of Rohan, no matter the greater distance. Rather the lady's children had reached the difficult age of the late second millenium when an elf is most in need of guidance from a mother. The presence in Rivendell of their distant cousins the Dunedain had made this guidance particularly essential. None knew more than the daughter of the Lady Galadriel the importance of harmonious relations between kin, and Celebrían had sincerely welcomed the many greats grandchildren of her brother-in-law to her home. But there were limits to how close a connection should be considered, and no count of generations could undo the fact that the children of Elrond and the Line of Elendil were first cousins. It would not do.
This one is a good book.
Julie Rehmeyer, a mathematician and science writer, chronicles how chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalopathy (CFS/ME) crept up on her until her entire life had vanished and she was frequently completely paralyzed. While she desperately tried to find a treatment, she instead encountered an array of quacks, snake oil salesmen, nice but useless therapists, nice but useless doctors, a patients’ community full of apparent crackpots, and medical literature claiming that it was a mental illness caused by, essentially, being lazy and whiny.
In desperation, Rehmeyer finally starts listening to some of the apparent crackpots… and when she applies her scientific training to their ideas, she finds that stripped of the bizarre terminology and excessive exclamation points, they sound surprisingly plausible. With her entire life at a dead end and nothing left to lose, she reluctantly decides to try a treatment which is both radical and distinctly woo-woo sounding.
And it works.
But unlike every other “How I cured/treated my illness by some weird method” memoir, the story doesn’t end there. Instead, she not only researches and theorizes about how and why it might have worked, she interviews scientists and doctors, and even arranges to do a double-blind experiment on herself to see if it’s a real cause of her symptoms or the placebo effect. I cannot applaud this too much. (I was unsurprised to find that every article I read on her book had a comment section claiming that her results were due to the placebo effect.)
Lots of people have suggested that I write about my own horrendous illness, crowd-sourced treatment, and jaw-dropping parade of asshole doctors who told me I was lying, a hypochondriac, or crazy. While you’re waiting… read this book instead. Though it’s not the same disease and she was treated WAY better by doctors, a lot of her experience with being beaten over the head with bad science and diagnoses based purely on sexism was very similar. As is much of her righteous rage. I am way more ragey and less accepting than she is. But still. It’s similar.
Overall, this is a well-written and honest memoir that shines a welcome light on a poorly-understood illness. Rehmeyer's perspective as a science writer provides for clarity, justifiable anger, and humor as she takes apart the morass of bad science, victim-blaming, and snake oil that surrounds chronic fatigue syndrome. It's informative without being dry, easy to read and hard to put down.
Through the Shadowlands: A Science Writer's Odyssey into an Illness Science Doesn't Understand
This involved a certain amount of faff and hassle about making sure we were buying the right kind of ticket for the train which would also give us free rides on public transport, ascertaining which platform the train in the right direction left from, etc etc. And then when we arrived a) finding the right stop for the tram b) missing the stop we wanted and being carried on to a point we didn't want.
Except it turned out to be right around the corner from Hundertwasser's Waldspirale apartment block, which was on the list of things to see.
After which we wandered down in the direction of the Schloss (which can only be seen by way of guided tours, we passed) and had what was a rather more leisurely lunch than we had intended at the Altes Rathaus before going to the Hessische Landesmuseum, based on the collections of the Grand Dukes, which has some nice stuff.
We then went out to Mathildenhöhe, which was where the artists of the Jugendstil Art Nouveau movement hung out. This includes a Russian Orthodox Church (not particularly Art Nouveau) and the Hochzeitsturm, Marriage Tower, which looks as if it might be the HQ of one of those somewhat spooky early C20th New Agey cults that crop up in mysteries of the period, and a rather small museum (but I think part of it was closed) of furniture and objects created by the artists of the colony.
And then back to Frankfurt, whence we flew home today.
And in other news, spotted this in today's Guardian: the strange world of book thefts:
“We caught a gent last Christmas with £400-worth of stolen books in his trousers and elsewhere.... As we showed him the door he told us: ‘I hope you’ll consider this in the Žižekian spirit, as a radical reappropriation of knowledge.’”As an anarchist friend of a friend remarked when his car was nicked, 'Property is theft: but so is theft theft'.
Sonnet VI from Sappho & Phaon, Mary Robinson
Is it to love, to fix the tender gaze,
To hide the timid blush, and steal away;
To shun the busy world, and waste the day
In some rude mountain’s solitary maze?
Is it to chant one name in ceaseless lays,
To hear no words that other tongues can say,
To watch the pale moon’s melancholy ray,
To chide in fondness, and in folly praise?
Is it to pour th’ involuntary sigh,
To dream of bliss, and wake new pangs to prove;
To talk, in fancy, with the speaking eye,
Then start with jealousy, and wildly rove;
Is it to loath the light, and wish to die?
For these I feel,—and feel that they are love.
Mary Robinson was an English actress, royal mistress (her role as Perdita from A Winter's Tale gave the future George IV his early nickname of Florizel), and (after those two careers washed up) popular early Romantic poet. While there had been a few sonnets written in the decade before this was published, after being totally out of fashion for over a century, her Sappho and Phaon was the first sonnet cycle of the Romantic era, and a significant part of rehabilitating the form. If you like any of Wordsworth's sonnets, thank Robinson. If you like this sonnet, go read the rest: it's good.
Subject quote from "Who's Next?" Tom Lehrer.
(from A Wizard of Earthsea)
Only in silence the word,
only in dark the light,
only in dying life:
bright the hawk's flight
on the empty sky.
Just in case some of you aren't aware - or you need a reminder - I ought to mention that one of this site's most popular posts is my guide to London's perfume shopping scene. If you're planning on visiting the city this summer, you should find that almost all the info in the guide is correct, as I update it quite regularly.
One of the latest additions to my listing is the new
President Xi Jinping is fond of calling on the Chinese people to "roll up our sleeves and work hard" (lū qǐ xiùzǐ jiāyóu gàn 撸起袖子加油干 / 擼起袖子加油幹). No sooner had Xi uttered this stirring pronouncement in a nationwide address at the turn of the year (2016-17) than it became a viral meme (here and here) that has inspired countless signs, songs, and dances; enactment; and also this one, presumably in a poorly-heated environment
Xi didn't just encourage people to roll up their shirt sleeves. He himself famously rolled up his pantlegs:
"Why This Seemingly Innocuous Photo of Xi Jinping Is So Important: A simple act of rolling his pants up — and holding his own umbrella — shows a president eager to show a common touch."
Matt Schiavenza, The Atlantic (Jul 23, 2013)
The picture, which shows Xi standing in the rain holding his own umbrella and with his pantlegs rolled up and looking very derpy, was taken by the official Xinhua News Agency during the president's trip to Wuhan, in Hubei province, in July 2013. It might not seem like a particularly noteworthy photograph –- neither dazzling technically nor artistically framed. But even when it was first released, foreign observers were surprised by the photograph, and it went swiftly viral on Chinese microblogging sites. This image was particularly notable for the pro-democracy Umbrella Movement that arose during the Hong Kong protests of 2014 (see here and here).
Although, as is his wont with umbrella, pantlegs, steamed buns, favorite jacket, and so forth, Xi wanted it to come across as folksy, his choice of vocabulary and manner of expression put him on precarious ground.
In the first place, the normal, most common and straightforward way to say "roll up sleeves" in Modern Standard Mandarin (MSM) is juǎn qǐ xiùzi 卷起袖子 / 捲起袖子. Xi, however, used a Northeastern Mandarinism which has nuances that are just asking for trouble:
- (Beijing Mandarin, Northeastern Mandarin, Jilu Mandarin, Jiaoliao Mandarin, Central Plains Mandarin) to rub one's hand along; to stroke
- (Beijing Mandarin, Northeastern Mandarin, Jiaoliao Mandarin, Central Plains Mandarin) to take away; to remove (one's position, job, etc.)
- (Beijing Mandarin, Northeastern Mandarin, Jiaoliao Mandarin) to reprimand
- (neologism, slang, of males) to masturbate; to jerk off
Liāo 撩 and lū 撸 are two of those mysterious "physical action" verbs with initial liquid and first tone in Mandarin — untraceable to Middle Chinese. Someone must hav written about that. The topic has come up on LL: see this comment by Bill Baxter.
The word for "sleeve" (xiùzǐ 袖子), in this context, might also be thought by some to have unwelcome overtones, since "cut sleeve" (duàn xiù 断袖) is an old euphemism for male homosexuality. It doesn't help that a synonym for xiùzǐ 袖子 ("sleeve") is xiùguǎn 袖管 (lit., "sleeve-tube / pipe / duct"), which invites one to think of lūguǎn 撸管 ("rub the pipe", slang for male masturbation).
Next comes jiāyóu 加油, which literally means "add oil / gas"), but which is a common cheer at sporting events and in other situations where people exhort others "to make an all-out / extra effort" (see here and here).
And then there is the monumentally problematic gàn 干 / 幹 ("do; fuck" — frequently confused with gān 干 / 乾 ["dry"]), with which long-term Language Log readers will be intimately familiar.
(and many other posts)
Taking the last two elements together, jiāyóu gàn 加油干 ("add oil and do it") in this context makes one think of personal lubricants (rùnhuá yóu / jì / yè 润滑油 / 剂 / 液). (Since we're at it — milestones in the history of lube branding include things like júhuā yóu / yè 菊花油 / 液, or in [faux?] Japanese kiku no eki [??] 菊の液, playing on the Chinese [and apparently also Japanese] chrysanthemum~anus metaphor.)
Xi's phrase in its original context (8:44): notice the extremely heavy stress on the gàn 干 / 幹 ("do; fuck").
With all of these suggestive hints prompting him, it was inevitable that a snarky wit would do something salacious with Xi's dorky call to action. Few, however, would have expected that the person who rose to the challenge was a ranking member of the CCP, Zhang Haishun, top official of the Bureau of Quality and Technical Supervision of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. And he did it not once, but twice, after which he was promptly dismissed from office.
A picture and fuller account is provided by Radio France Internationale.
Notice how the news items focus on the impropriety or indecency of Zhang's words, and on how it violates Party discipline, perhaps by mocking Xi's motto and exerting a "bad influence". I see no mention of how disturbing a call to "lift up skirts" during a meeting he chaired can be to any female (or skirt-wearing) subordinates. Even if he wears a skirt to work himself, his position of power makes participation in the skirts-up implementation he advocates sound non-consensual. That Bureau might not be the ideal workplace for such a campaign.
The fuller context of Xi's slogan is as follows:
`Zǒng shūjì hàozhào “lū qǐ xiù zǐ jiāyóu gān”, wǒ jú yào rènzhēn luòshí! Yào “liāo qǐ qúnzi shǐjìn gàn”!'
"The General Secretary called for 'rolling up sleeves to work harder', which our Bureau [of Quality and Technical Supervision] must conscientiously implement. Time to 'lift up skirts for a hard shag!'"
Who is this Zhāng Hǎishùn 张海顺, so full of chutzpah? I haven't been able to find any English language description of the man, but there's a brief Wikipedia article on him in Chinese. From all that I can glean, he is 59 years old, a Han from Shanxi. He went to Inner Mongolia as a rusticated youth and studied in Qiqihar. Zhang majored in Chinese, and it shows: he has now achieved international fame as a poet-official.
The "rolling up" doesn't have to stop at sleeves. Now that "sumer is icumen in", everyone's rolling up their shirts. Western commentators never tire of commenting on that (the "Beijing Bikini") (witness the Gray Lady), which Chinese metacommentators then metacomment on.
Courtesy of Jichang Lulu, here are half a dozen Tibetan translations of Xi's "lū xiù gàn 撸袖干" ("roll up the sleeves and do it") slogan, from various official-ish sources:
phu thung brdzes nas ngar shugs sgrims
phu thung brdzes nas nus shugs 'don
phu thung brzes nas hur thag byed
phu thung brdzes nas 'bad brtson byed
phu thung brdzes nas 'bad brtson byas (te)
phu dung brdzes nas las la 'bungs
All the translations agree on the lū qǐ xiùzǐ 撸其袖子 ("roll up sleeves") part (phu [th|d)ung rdze), although they use two different spellings for "sleeve". For the second part (jiāyóu gàn 加油干), there are many different interpretations: 'bring forth power/energy', 'exert oneself'….
In Mongolian (from PRC sources, both in traditional script for domestic consumption and in Cyrillic for ("Outer") Mongolia):
ᠬᠠᠨᠴᠤᠢ ᠰᠢᠮᠠᠯᠠᠨ (ᠴᠢᠷᠮᠠᠢᠢᠨ) ᠠᠢᠯᠯᠠᠶᠠ
Qancui simalan (cirmayin) ajillay-a
Ханцуй шамлан хичээн зүтгэ[е]
Ханцуй шамлан гавшгайлан ажилла[я]
where again there's universal agreement on the rolled-up sleeves, but the second half can be "exert ourselves", "work" in some gung-ho way, or just "work".
[Thanks to Jichang Lulu, Melvin Lee, Meiheng Dietrich, and Yixue Yang]
By quality of fur of the cat, the hairstyle of the cat brush changes.
This is an ambitious story. Its theme, basically, is "Snobbery with Violence." It's set in the place where I learned to sail, and I wanted it to have a ferocious sense of place; I'm not sure how successful that was.
( Read more... )
Yesterday we got the second recital by the song fellows of the Toronto Summer Music Festival. In the week since the first concert they have been working with mentor Soile Isokoski and it showed in the programming. There was quite a bit of Strauss and more Finnish and Swedish music than I have ever heard in such a recital. Among other things this highlighted just how difficult Strauss songs are to sing well. They are exceedingly tricky yet have to sound absolutely effortless. Three of the four sopranos on show tried. None of them succeeded completely(*). So it goes. And so to the details.
First up was soprano Megan Miceli with Strauss’ Einerlei. It was typical of the Strauss singing of the day. The top notes sounded a bit forced rather than effortless and that rather messed up the phrasing. Sibelius’ Men min fågel märks dock icke was much better. It sounded appropriately bleak and was expressively phrased. Stauss’ Morgen finished the set and at least allowed for some elegantly paced and phrased piano from Jared Tehse.
Mezzo Evanna Lai had impressed in the first concert and she did again. She sang expressively in Madetoja’s Heijaa, Heijaa sounding perfectly confident in Finnish. Her rendering of too Mahler songs was also spot on with excellent control of her upper register and fine musicianship. Jack Olszewski sounded suitably virtuosic in the rather overwrought piano part in Erinnerung.
Soprano Sinéad White is interesting to listen to. The voice is quite “slicey” and I would rather like to hear her with an orchestra. She made a good job of Sibelius’ Törnet and showed some considerable agility in Strauss’ Wie sollten wir geheim sie halten which also got a really fine performance from Chelsea Whitaker at the piano.
The only soprano not offering Strauss was Bahareh Poureslami. She gave us a very controlled and enjoyable version of Alfvén’s Skogen sover and some enjoyable Brahms and Sibelius. She has a rather beautiful voice but the text tends rather to disappear under pressure.
After the break we got a welcome innovation. Evanna Lai was joined by four members of the chamber music academy for a performance of Resphigi’ cantata for mezzo and string quartet Il Tramonto. This is an excellent idea and I’ve been canvassing for the Schoenberg Quartet No. 2 next time (assuming of course there’s a soprano who can do it – not a given). Anyhow, Ms. Lai showed that when drama is appropriate she can be dramatic as well as exceptionally elegant and controlled. Fine work too from Ji Soo Choi and Yeajin Kim (violins), Ekaterina Manafova (viola) and Nicholas Dento-Protsack (cello).
Next on was soprano Sydney Baedke with a couple of Strauss songs and a rather emotional and effective version of Sibelius’ Flickan kom ifrån sin äisklings möte. This got very sympathetic accompaniment from Amy Seulky Lee.
So, all the out of towners had sung so it was time for the three locals. The first of them was baritone Adam Harris. Last week’s restrained hairdo was gone and it was back to the shaggy look we are used to. It was also back to the restrained and elegant singing we are used to. This was almost the Germanic “half a twitch of an eyebrow is too much” approach but it was highly effective in Brahms Die Mainacht and Kilpinen’s Om flotusen år. He unbuttoned a bit dor Poulenc’s rather silly Hôtel and Voyage à Paris. It’s a real pleasure to listen to someone who is so obviously in his comfort zone with artsong. Lovely accompaniment from Ms. Whitaker.
Mezzo Victoria Marshall started off with Schumann’s Singet nicht in Trauertönen. She sanf with agility and excellent attention to the text and that wonderful dark timbre that she has. Jack Olszewski was equally agile at the keyboard. She sang a pleasing version of Fauré’s Clair de Lune and wrapped up wuth Tchaikovsky’s Zakatilas’ Solntse. She seems very comfortable with Russian and it’s an excellent fit with her timbre.
Finally it was baritone Joel Allison’s turn with Wolf’s Michelangelo-Lieder with Jared Tehse at the piano. These are pretty dark pieces and both musicians showed some subtlety and restraint in performing them. There were some impressive low notes from Joel in Alles endet, was entsehet. There was appropriate drama too in the final number Fühit meine Seele das ersehnte Licht. It was a fine and fitting finale to a very decent concert.
There’s one last chance for a look at these singers this afternoon when Soile Isokoski is giving an open masterclass (Walter Hall 2pm).
Photos if and when.
*The problem common to all the Strauss performances was that the singers didn’t quite have full control of the awkward high notes. That meant that the phrasing got messed up and without effortless sounding phrasing these deceptively simple songs just don’t really work. That said, full marks for effort and who wouldn’t want to use time with Ms. Isokoski to work on their Strauss?
There was a book I read in high school, maybe 10+ years ago, and I'm struggling to recall the author and title.
I don't remember the main plot or character names, just a few scenes and descriptions the author used.
It's an older book and it's cover style was similar to other older books I read at the time like Through Wolf's Eyes by Jane Lindskold and The Outstretched Shadow by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory, therefore the book I'm searching for might've been published in the early 2000s like those 2 books.
The book had a hardcover and I think it showed a town by the sea with a ship to the left (but my memory might be off)
The first thing I remember is that I think the story starts with a town by the sea. There is a mention of the first strawberries of the year being brought to the market, that people will be clamoring for them. The author compares the fruit to rubies and then says they are nearly as valuable.
The story changes perspective and kinda jumps around. I remember it being told from a guys perspective and then sometimes by a girl.
I also remember the author describing in passing how one character witnesses a small figure of a woman pinned by two guys while a third rapes her.
I also remember there were these traveler people like gypsies that came during that time of year to perform and entertain. That later hide a mysterious woman who is described as very beautiful with nearly white hair, creamy skin, etc. There was a guy who desired her a lot and wanted her as a wife but the gypsies kept him away from her until near the end of the story where we find out she's the sister of someone (either a god or a king, someone important but I can't remember).
I faintly recollect that the gypsies give the male protagonist something to help him out but can't do anything more to help him. I think he might've been one of them but he was orphaned and I think he has magic too.
Lastly the scene that I can recall vividly is when the girl protagonist is injured, her hands and side of her face are burned. Later this old woman heals her using fire and a knife to "carve" and reshape her fingers since the fire fused them together. While the old woman is doing this another character shows up, sees the knife, freaks and kills the old woman. Her last words to him are something like "don't you know it's bad luck to interrupt a healing." The old woman dies and the girls burns are healed along with her 'new' fingers.
--If anyone can help me find this book I would be so grateful. I'm sorry if it's not a lot to work with!