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These are all the Blogs posted on Sunday, 22, 2007.
Sunday, 22 April 2007
American Beauty

What is it about women and guns?  As reported at WorldNetDaily:

Tough isn't a word necessarily associated with Miss America, but three thieves arrested after their truck tires were shot out by 82-year-old Venus Ramey might beg to differ.

Ramey, who won the elite beauty crown in 1944, confronted one of the three robbers on her farm in Waynesburg, Ky., about 140 miles south of Cincinnati, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

"He was probably wetting his pants," said Ramey, who balanced on her walking stick as she pulled out a snub-nosed .38-caliber handgun.  [Read the rest here.]

Venus Ramey (Photo: MissAmerica.org)

Posted on 04/22/2007 6:01 AM by Robert Bove
Sunday, 22 April 2007
Take it ee-sy

I dislike the word attendees. Conferences, are full of attendees. So much so that they may run out of seats, and some attendees may have to be standees going forward.

Of course my dislike is not rational. Language changes; suffixes, of all things, are not fixed in their function. I wince at the word attendees, but I have no objection to absentees, escapees or refugees. If the first is objectionable, then so are the last three, and for the same reason. But the last three have been with us for longer, and so the pain of language change is not felt.

Attendees grates because the -ee suffix is believed to refer to the passive recipient of an action. An employer employs, and an employee is employed. However, position is not clear cut, as Michael Quinion explains:

There seems to be something irresistibly droll about words in –ee which leads journalists and other writers to constantly create new ones. Perhaps it is the belittling or diminutive sense that makes it seem funny (by analogy with such words as “bootee” or “townee”, using another sense of the –ee suffix) or perhaps it is the mouse-like squeak of the ending that attracts. Whatever the cause, dozens of such words are generated each year, most of them destined to be used once and never seen again. Here are some examples, mainly extracted from the British newspapers The Guardian and The Independent on Sunday over the past couple of years:

arrestee, assaultee, auditee, auditionee, awardee, biographee, callee, contactee, contractee, counsellee, dedicatee, defrostee, detachee, electee, explodee, extraditee, fixee, flirtee, floggee, forgee, hittee, interactee, introducee, investee, lapsee, mentee, murderee, outee, ownee, phonee, pickee, rapee, releasee, rescuee, sackee, shortlistee, slippee, spinee, staree, tagee, ticklee, trampolee.

Most of these new words denote some person who is the passive recipient of the action concerned or is the one to whom something is done (for example, an extraditee is a person who is extradited; a murderee is the person who has been murdered). For these words the suffix is being used in the same way it was when it was first introduced in medieval times as a word-forming agent in legal English. The two suffixes -or and -ee formed a pair; the first indicating the person initiating the action, the second the one receiving it. So we have pairs like appellor and appellee, lessor and lessee, and mortgagor and mortgagee. When the suffix moved out of legal English into the wider world, it took this sense with it, so we have words like trustee (a person to whom something is entrusted), addressee (someone addressed), referee (one to whom something is referred), transportee (a person who has been transported to a distant colony as a punishment), and so on.

The trouble came when a number of words appeared, derived from French reflexive verbs (where the subject and object are the same), in which the person concerned appears not to be the object of the activity, but the one who initiates it; an absentee is someone who absents him- or herself, not someone who is “absented” by another person; a refugee is actively seeking refuge, though that situation may have been brought about by others. These words have been used as a model for creating new ones and the result has been that we now have a number of words in which the useful distinction in the old legal terms has been lost or blurred. The example which is most often quoted is escapee, because the person who escapes is rarely a passive agent, but takes the initiative; a better word would be escaper...

An argument in favour of such words is that they have the nuance of denoting people for whom the action concerned has been completed: an escapee has actually escaped, whereas an escaper may merely be escaping; a returnee is someone who has actually returned, not just someone who is in the process of returning. But the context usually makes clear which is meant and this argument doesn’t hold for all such words.

Terms in –ee are often unattractive as well as illogical or confusing and, because of the humorous undertones of many of them, can sometimes signal the wrong message. It would be better to be cautious about inventing, or even using, words in –ee which are not part of the standard language, and even then, as in the case of escapee, to consider whether there is a better word.

A better word for escapee might be fugitive, absconder, or, if the person has escaped Islam and is no longer a regular attendee at the mosque, apostate.

Update: Paul has raised the issue of whether forms like attendee could be considered ergative. This is where the subject of an intransitive verb behaves like the object of a transitive verb and not like the subject of a transitive verb. Perhaps. And if so, perhaps someone who is sitting, or, in Lancashire parlance, is sat, should be called a sittee. 

I'm Mandee. Fly mee.

Byee.

Posted on 04/22/2007 5:45 AM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 22 April 2007
What was liberty?

What was democracy?  What were national borders? What was legitimate government?

In the course of a long, well-argued essay, the Fjordman quotes Max Boot:

“The word ‘democracy’ in both Greece and Rome had no one man one vote implications and Plato used it in the meaning of ‘mob rule.’ The American founding fathers never used it at all and neither did Lincoln. (…) a freely voting French citizen or British subject of today has every aspect of his life controlled, or at least monitored, by a central government in whose actions he has little say. He meekly hands over half his income knowing the only result of this transfer will be an increase in the state’s power to extort even more. (...) He opens his paper to find yet again that the ‘democratic’ state has dealt him a blow, be that of destroying his children’s education, raising his taxes, devastating the army that protects him, closing his local hospital or letting murderers go free. In short, if one defines liberty as a condition that best enables the individual to exercise his freedom of choice, then democracy of universal suffrage is remiss on that score.”

Boot also warns against the increasing prevalence of Politically Correct censorship through hate speech laws: “Laws against racism are therefore not even meant to punish criminal acts. They are on the books to reassert the power of the state to control not just the citizens’ actions but, more important, their thoughts and the words they use to get these across. (…) A state capable of prosecuting one person for his thoughts is equally capable of prosecuting thousands, and will predictably do so when it has consolidated its power enough to get away with any outrage. (…) It is relatively safe to predict that, over the next ten years, more and more people in Western Europe and North America will be sent to prison not for something they have done, but for something they have said.”

Commenting later in his argument, Fjordman addresses the disappearance of national sovereingty:

Democratic decisions are meaningless if they can be overruled by an external authority. This notion of sovereignty is being challenged all over the Western world both through the United Nations and through the ascendence of international law. Sovereignty is clearly not present in much of Europe, where seventy percent or more of all laws passed are federal EU laws. Democratically elected national parliaments have been reduced to insignificance. It is thus possible to argue that Western European countries are no longer distinct democracies, nor are they part of the “Free World” in any meaningful sense. Europeans thus have universal suffrage, but we don’t have genuine democracy and we certainly don’t have true liberty.  [Read it all here.]

Posted on 04/22/2007 6:22 AM by Robert Bove
Sunday, 22 April 2007
Break out yer hankies
Posted on 04/22/2007 7:35 AM by Robert Bove
Sunday, 22 April 2007
More on Bennett and other nonsense

Paul, in a comment to my post about Alan Bennett, clarifies the matter of Bennett's sexuality. Bennett, he says, is "as gay as a daisy". That's settled then. Paul also tells an amusing anecdote about Bennett, and suggests a new name for me:

One of the funniest stories from Bennett (not published but told to me by a woman  who met him at a soiree) was about Bennett taking home a pal from Cambridge, and his mother being terribly nervous about this upper-class type staying in their working-class house.  She apparently had decided to have something interesting prepared,  which would also give the friend the idea that she knew of the doings of the great and the good.  Apropos of absolutely nothing, during a lull in the conversation,  Mother Bennett said: I see the President of Rumania's mother-in-law has died.  There's always someone else worse off  than yourself, isn't there?

I love Bennett's work: as you say, he hardly ever ventures into the mindset of post-nineteen-fifties characters. He has a very annoying idiosyncrasy of not recognising the difference between sat and sitting, and consistently (both in his writing and in the speech of all his characters - educated and simple) uses e.g.   She was sat listening to the wireless. I was sat in the window watching Miss Shepherd (the Lady in the Van).

Next time you go northwards to your home town you should perhaps make a short excursion (about an hour's drive) to the appositely named Yorkshire village of  Giggleswick where Bennett and Rupert live.  You could announce yourself as Dominata,  Mistress of the Ergative Gerund - your next post Take it ee-sy has some conection with this -  complain about this constant grammatical flaw, and let him have the rough edge of your tongue. (BTW:He's very pro-muslim "Much-maligned minority")

If I am Dominata, Mistress of the Ergative Gerund, can Bennett be my whipping boy?

The answer, strictly speaking - and a dominatrix must speak strictly - is no. "Whipping" in "whipping boy" is a gerundive, not a gerund. In "whipping post" it is a gerund. See my post here for reasons why. However, I may relax my rule for special clients and do the odd gerundive on the side. And the rough edge of my tongue is free to all comers.

Posted on 04/22/2007 7:49 AM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 22 April 2007
How Crazy Is Al Qaeda?

From AP via the Houston Chronicle (h/t Wretchard at The Belmont Club):

American commanders cite al-Qaida's severe brand of Islam, which is so extreme that in Baqouba, al-Qaida has warned street vendors not to place tomatoes beside cucumbers because the vegetables are different genders, Col. David Sutherland said.

Posted on 04/22/2007 9:29 AM by Andy McCarthy
Sunday, 22 April 2007
The Latest Inveiglement of Bush

“I’m very worried about a nuclear arms race in the Middle East,” Bush said in answer to a question from a member of the audience at Tippecanoe High School after a speech about Iraq. --from this news item


This means one thing: the Sunni Arabs, who are just as hostile to Infidels, possibly in the long run even more so, than the Shi'a Arabs and Shi'a Iranians, have managed to convince  Bush and Cheney and Rice to now do the Sunni Arab bidding, by keeping American forces in Iraq in order to go on the second fool's errand -- the first being the transplanting of "democracy" in the Western sense to Iraq, which is not possible --an errand of keeping Sunnis and Shi'a from waging large-scale war, and getting the former to acquiesce in their loss of power, and the latter to compromise by giving the Sunnis something, but never possibly enough, of what they demand.

Shi'a in exile, westernized, secularized, charming, helped to persuade the Administration to invade Iraq.  Now Sunnis, claiming a hysterical fear of a so-called "Shi'a crescent" which does not and cannot exist (and the shrill cries come from Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia), wish to inveigle the Americans into remaining in Iraq and somehow forcing the Shi'a to give up far more of their new power, economic and miitary, than they conceivably would or could.

And they threaten, those Saudis and Egyptians and Jordanians, that they will "reluctantly" be "forced" to have nuclear weapons projects of their own, in order to counter the Iranian threat (and apparently Bush swallows this blague), unless the Americans remain in Iraq, for many years, perhaps forever (and it would have to be forever) to ensure that the Sunnis in Iraq are not threatened, are in fact somehow put back in the position they enjoyed in those halcyon antebellum years, when the Sunni despot Saddam Hussein was riding high, and killing only Shi'a and Kurds by the hundreds of thousands, and all was right with the world.  

Posted on 04/22/2007 11:29 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 22 April 2007
Tomatoes - the seven deadly sins

The tomato looks harmless enough, but it’s one red juicy ball of evil: 

  1. It tastes like a vegetable, but botanically it is a fruit. This is confusing and unfair.
  2. Beef tomatoes don’t taste of beef at all. This is also confusing and unfair.
  3. There is a very boring film called “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle-Stop Café”.
  4. The tomato causes communication problems. The British, correctly, say tomato. The Americans, wrongly, say tomato.
  5. Tomatoes fall victim to the greengrocer’s apostrophe: “tomato’s for sale”.
  6. Cooked tomatoes taste very good, but look like the faces of newborn babies. This causes problems when you see somebody’s newborn baby and feel obliged to say something nice about an ugly, red, wrinkly thing that doesn’t even taste good when cooked.
  7. According to this juicy morsel the tomato is far from puree. In fact she is any cucumber’s for the taking. This is because she is a fruit, and therefore inherently smutty, like melons, pears, cherries if you lose them, plums if you pull them out,  and – most appealing of all – bananas. On the concupiscence of fruit, see my post here, or read any book by Jeanette Winterson.
Posted on 04/22/2007 11:39 AM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 22 April 2007
When criminal strategies are banned...

... only criminals will have strategies.  A self-identified Iranian national comments on the latest of the Scotsman's predictable anti-gun pieces today:

To say that ordinary people have a constitutional right to have and use fire guns to defend hearth and home is easy but in practice it is impossible to guarantee that the guns are used only in defense. In other hand why US should face some bloody disasters for misusing this right . This alleged constitutional right is contrary to other’s constitutional rights such as freedom and security . The experience of other countries in banning guns can teach US good lessons .for example in Iran nobody is allowed to even carry a fire gun . carrying guns is punishable up to 10 years in imprisonment, but we Iranians have not rejected this policy and this criminal strategy has resulted in security for us and always welcomed . What happens if selling guns is banned in USA? WHAT COUNTRIES LIKE IRAN HAVE LOST IN BANNING FIRE GUNS ?  [Comment #26, by Faramars]

Posted on 04/22/2007 1:45 PM by Robert Bove
Sunday, 22 April 2007
AFP probes Somali terror fundraising

From The Australian

THE Australian Federal Police have launched a wide-ranging investigation into suspected terrorist fundraising by Somali Islamic extremists in Australia.

The move reflects growing concerns that small groups of radicalised Somalis in Melbourne have been raising terror money and sending it to fund Islamic jihad in their war-torn homeland.  The east African nation has become a fertile ground for terrorists, with al-Qa'ida using the lawless country to regroup and plot new attacks abroad.

Somali Community of Victoria president Abdurahman Jama Osman has told The Australian that a small group of Melbourne-based Somalis are suspected of helping to fund extremists in the capital, Mogadishu.

"There was a fundraising in Melbourne and they said they were going to give the money to the Arab parts of Mogadishu," Mr Osman said.  "But many Somalis believe that the money was sent to the Islamic military in Somalia.

In a speech to Somali community members in Melbourne last week, Sydney Somali leader Herse Hilole warned that young Somalis were being seduced by Muslim extremists.  "We know there are supporters in Australia who want to recruit young Somalis to go back or support financially the Islamic Courts," he said.  "The community must be made aware of this, and we must put a stop to it.”

Some Somali leaders believe more than a dozen young Somali men have returned to their homeland to take up arms for the Islamic jihad.

Posted on 04/22/2007 3:43 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 22 April 2007
You Say Tomato, And I Say Tomato

Experimental demonstration of the tomatotopic organization in the Soprano (Cantatrix sopranica L.)

Georges Perec
Laboratoire de physiologie
Faculté de médecine Saint-Antoine
Paris, France

Sommaire:

Démonstration expérimentale d'une organisation tomatotopique chez la Cantatrice.

L'auteur étude les fois que le lancement de la tomate il provoquit la réaction yellante chez la Chantatrice et demonstre que divers plusieures aires de la cervelle elles etait implicatées dans le response, en particular, le trajet légumier, les nuclei thalameux et le fiçure musicien de l'hémisphère nord.

As observed at the turn of the century by Marks & Spencer (1899), who first named the ``yelling reaction' (YR), the striking effects of tomato throwing on Sopranoes have been extensively described. Although numerous behavioral (Zeeg & Puss, 1931; Roux & Combaluzier, 1932; Sinon et al., 1948), pathological (Hun & Deu, 1960), comparative (Karybb & Szyla, 1973) and follow-up (Else & Vire, 1974) studies have permitted a valuable description of these typical responses, neuroanatomical, as well as neurophysiological data, are, in spite of their number, surprisingly confusing. In their henceforth late twenties' classical demonstrations, Chou & Lai (1927 a, b, c, 1928 a, b, 1929 a, 1930) have ruled out the hypothesis of a pure facio-facial nociceptive reflex that has been advanced for many years by a number of authors (Mace & Doyne, 1912; Payre & Tairnelle, 1916; Sornette & Billevayzé, 1925). Since that time, numerous observations have been made that have tried to decipher the tangling puzzle as well as the puzzling tangle of the afferent and/or efferent sides of the YR and led to the rather chaotic involvement of numberless structures and paths: trigeminal (Loewenstein et al., 1930), bitrigeminal (Von Aitick, 1940), quadritrigeminal (Van der Deder, 1950), supra-, infra-, and inter-trigeminal (Mason & Ragoun, 1960) afferents have been likely pointed out as well as macular (Zakouski, 1954), saccular (Bortsch, 1955), utricular (Malosol, 1956), ventricular (Tarama, 1957), monocular (Zubrowska, 1958), binocular (Chachlik, 1959-1960), triocular (Strogonoff, 1960), auditive (Balalaika, 1515) and digestive (Alka-Seltzer, 1815) inputs. Spinothalamic (Attou & Ratathou, 1974), rubrospinal (Maotz & Toung, 1973), nigro-suiatal (Szentagothai, 1972), reticular (Pompeiano et al., 1971), hypothalamic (Hubel & Wiesel, 1970), mesolimbic (Kuffler, 1969) and cerebellar (High & Low, 1968) pathways have been vainly searched out for a tentative explanation of the YR organization and almost every part of the somesthesic (Pericoloso & Sporgersi, 1973), motor (Ford, 1930), commissural (Gordon & Bogen, 1974) and associative (Einstein et al., 1974) cortices have been found responsible for the progressive building-up of the response although, up-to-now, no decisive demonstration of both the input and output of the YR programming has been convincely advanced.

Recent observations by Unsofort & Tchetera pointing out that ``the more you throw tomatoes on Sopranoes, the more they yell' and comparative studies dealing with the gasp-reaction (Otis & Pifre, 1964), hiccup (Carpentier & Fialip, 1964), cat purring (Remmers & Gautier, 1972), HM reflex (Vincent et al., 1976), ventriloquy (McCulloch et al., 1964), shriek, scream, shrill and other hysterical reactions (Sturm & Drang, 1973) provoked by tomato as well as cabbages, apples, cream tarts, shoes, buts and anvil throwing (Harvar & Mercy, 1973) have led to the steady assumption of a positive feedback organization of the YR based upon a semilinear quadristable multi-switching interdigitation of neuronal sub-networks functioning en desordre (Beulott et al., 1974). Although this hypothesis seems rather seductive, it lacks anatomical and physiological foundations and we therefore decide to explore systematically the internal incremental or decremental organization of the YR, allowing a tentative anatomic model.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

Preparation

Experiments were carried out on 107 female healthy Sopranoes (Cantatrix sopranica L.) furnished by the Conservatoire national de Musique, and weighing 94-124 kg (mean weight: 101 kg). Halothane anesthesia was utilized during the course of tracheotomy, fixation in the Horsley-Clarke, and major operative procedures. 5 % procaine was injected into skin margins and pressure points. Animals were then immobilized with gallamine triethyiodide (40 mg/kg/hr) and normocapnia was maintained by appropriate artificial ventilation. Spinal cord transections were performed at L³/T² levels, thus eliminating blood pressure variations and adrenaline secretion induced by tomato throwing (Giscard d'Estaing, 1974). The fact that the animals were not suffering from pain was shown by their constant smiling throughout the experiments. Internal temperature was maintained at 38 °C ± 4 °F by means of three electrically drived boiling kettles.

Stimulation

Tomatoes (Tomato rungisia vulgaris) were thrown by an automatic tomatothrower (Wait & See, 1972) monitored by an all-purpose laboratory computer (DID/92/85/P/331) operated on-line. Repetitive throwing allowed up to 9 projections per sec, thus mimicking the physiological conditions encountered by Sopranoes and other Singers on stage (Tebaldi, 1953). Care was taken to avoid missed projections on upper and/or lower limbs, trunk & buttocks. Only tomatoes affecting faces and necks were taken into account.

Control experiments were made with other projectiles, as apple cores, cabbage runts, hats, roses, pumpkins, bullets, and ketchup (Heinz, 1952).

Recording

Unit activity was recorded through glasstungsten semi-macroelectrodes located au-petit-bonheur, according to the methods of Zyszytrakyczywsz-Sekrâwszkiwcz (1974). Spike recognition was performed by audiomonitoring: every time a unit discharge was heard, it was carefully photographed, tapped, displayed on a monograph and, after integration, on a polygraph. Statistical evaluation of the results was made using a tennis like algorithm (Wimbledon, 1974), that is, every time a structure responds up to win the game, it was recognized as YR-related.

Histology

At the end of the experiments, Sopranoes were perfused with olive oil, and 10 % GlennFiddish, and incubated at 421 °C in 15 % orange juice during 47 hours. Frozen 2 cm unstained sections were mounted into delta-strawberry sherbet and observed under light and heavy microscopy. Histological verifications confirmed that all the electrodes were located in the brain except four that were found in cauda equina and filum terminale and disclosed from statistical analysis.

RESULTS

Stereotaxic explorations of brains during tomato throwing showed that most of the areas respond differently to the tomesthetic stimulation. As can be seen from table one, where the results are summarized, three (3) distinct areas gave definite, unambiguous and constant responses: the nucleus anterior reticularis thalami pars lateralis (NARTpl), or nucleus of Pesch (Pesch, 1876; Poissy, 1880; Jeanpace & Desmeyeurs, 1932), the anterior portion of the tractus leguminosus (apTL), lying 3.5 mm above the obex and 4 mm right of the tentorium and the dorsal part of the so-called ``musical sulcus' (scMS) of the left hemisphere (Donen & Kelly, 1956). It is of interest to notice that, if the left hemisphere was kept for analysis, the right hemisphere was left.

For the rest of the paper see Biochimica Biophysica Acta, August 1975, pp. 278 ff. or go here.

Posted on 04/22/2007 8:33 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

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