Babelfishing for Taigans

Are you familiar with the translation program Babel Fish ? It may work sometimes, but usually the effect is surreal.

Background: a friend in Finland informed me that I was being accused on a site in Kirgyzstan of trying to take taigans out of the country illegally– maybe a confusion with my actual ongoing tazi project in nearby Kazakhstan. Wanting to see what was going on, and with inadequate Russian, I “Babelfished” the forum entry. What came up was this:

“To husbands Bodio urgently is required…

“Itself Of kurmankulov, is created impression, no longer rad of this popularity by dilute and with great care guarded by it species. Only in the recent three months in its office were saved about two thousand (!) letters from the most different corners of planet. We obtain at random one. “dear mister almaz…” this family couple from THE USA on the surname Bodio places in the reputation of our compatriot about the fact that the in summer present years of miss and mister will arrive to Bishkek “for the purpose to acquire one tayganchika”.

“Otherwise as triumphal the procession of kyrgyzskoy borzoi in the countries peace you will not name. According to the chapter of public fund, even now confirmed their arrival for the acquaintance tayganom as by species representatives 34 (!) the states of Europe and South America, CIS, and also USA. Accretion is planned to the autumn, when in Bishkek THE III national canine exhibition starts. But the thus far American and German specialized publications excitedly issue form into a snuff article and historical information about our taygane.

“Control, if you please, the binding”.

I actually do know Almaz Kurmankulov, but as to the rest….??!!

To be continued, if I ever unravel it– I have some friends who speak good Russian on the case. meanwhile, control that binding!

“Refugees with Laptops”

… is the phrase Chas at Nature Blog used when he e-mailed me that he and Mary (and their dogs, cat, etc.) had been evacuated from their house by the Forest Service at the approach of the Mason Fire. It is already VERY close– they could lose their house. Chas is fireblogging, with pics, but it’s no joke. Send good thoughts, prayers, support, & encouragement.

Update– Chas is back blogging, and all– humans, dogs, cat, and house– are well. Go to Nature Blog for the whole story and an amazing shot of the fire’s aftermath.

Forgive my language but..

.. or, Good Things from Britain #5. Andrew Stuttaford of NRO sent me to this hilarious and touching site with these words: “Here’s one American’s gesture in the wake of the horror in London. It’s oddly moving, very nostalgic, rather nice, and a terrific read, but, not for people troubled by the f word”.

You’ve got that right. But it is a fascinating digest of all that is English, high and low. Warning: in adition to the F word, it has over 900 comments, and is irresistible.

My additions:

Captain Sir Richard Francis and Isabel Burton FUCK YEAH!
Flashman FUCK YEAH!
The Two Fat Ladies, ESPECIALLY Clarissa who defends such unpopular traditional British liberties as fox hunting and coursing– may they rise again! FUCK YEAH!
Coursing FUCK YEAH!
T H White and The Sword in the Stone FUCK YEAH!
John Buchan FUCK YEAH!
Best London shotguns– Purdey, Boss, Holland and Holland, Evans– FUCK YEAH!
The Pitt Rivers Museum at Oxford FUCK YEAH!
The Sladmore Galley FUCK YEAH!
Ted Hughes, Philip Larkin (I know they have been done) and Roy Campbell who hasn’t FUCK YEAH!
The Mitfords FUCK YEAH!
Evelyn Waugh FUCK YEAH!
Mallory and Irvine FUCK YEAH!
Shipton and Tilman FUCK YEAH!
English lurchers, especially ones bred by David Hancock FUCK YEAH
D. Brian Plummer FUCK YEAH!
Jack Russell terriers FUCK YEAH!
Twitchers FUCK YEAH!
Darwin’s heirs: Matt Ridley, Richard Dawkins, William Hamilton, Jonathan Kingdon FUCK YEAH!
Reginald Farrer and all the other plant explorers FUCK YEAH!
Colonel Richard Meinertzhagen FUCK YEAH!
Shackleton FUCK YEAH!
Bruce Chatwin and Redmond O’Hanlon FUCK YEAH!

That’ll do until I think of more…

Good Things from Britain 4

The Alpha Environmentalist couldn’t make the comment link work, which is just as well,as he gets his own guest post.

He says: “I couldn’t make your “comments” link work, but:

. . . the best beer. Sorry, Germany, but England’s breadth of
choices makes her the top beer country. Not to mention having (still)
the best places to drink it. I remember the owner of the White Dog
Pub outside Hastings apologizing to us as he descibed the building:
“Unfortunately it’s not all original. The west room burnt down in the
sixteenth century and had to be rebuilt.”

“Others: While England’s major auto manufacturing industry entered its
La Brea stage two decades ago, the little cottage makers–TVR,
Morgan, Ariel, etc.–seem to thrive, and produce some of the most
interesting vehicles on the planet.

“Bespoke clothing, lurchers, Harrier jets . . . all is not lost”.

The lurcher 'Plummer,' Relaxed

Steve’s lurcher ‘Plummer,’ relaxed…

Honor in Animals

From Shelley on Tazi List comes this fascinating Time article on play and fairness in dogs and other social animals. “…Thanks to Bekoff and other researchers, ethologists are also starting to accept the once radical idea that some animals–primarily the social ones such as dogs, chimps, hyenas, monkeys, dolphins, birds and even rats–possess not just raw emotions but also subtler and more sophisticated mental states, including envy, empathy, altruism and a sense of fairness. “They have the ingredients we use for morality,” says Frans de Waal, a professor of primate behavior at Emory University in Atlanta, referring to the monkeys and chimps he studies”.

“Pull down thy vanity, it is not man
Made courage, or made order, or made grace,
Pull down thy vanity…”

(Which is also one of the very few late Ezra Pound lines worth quoting).

Striking Image

From Chas Clifton’s OTHER blog, Letter from Hardscrabble Creek, comes via two other links this striking image and message of a strong black woman with a gun: “Free People Own Guns”

Hardscrabble Creek is another example of how simple categories tend to break down these days– it’s Chas and his opinions on academia, contemporary paganism, and the Right To Bear Arms.

I have added it to my blogroll. Though now, despite Miss Mary’s teasing [see Hardscrabble or Nature Blog for her] I just might have to balance it with a good punk conservative Catholic intellectual like Eve Tushnet.


Michael Blowhard has posted on his experience of finally yielding to getting a cellphone, and his experiences are an eerie parrallel to mine. Most young people seem to use them without effort, resistance, or inhibition, but we both have some trouble. Is it generational?

For instance: both of us were more or less convinced by our wives to get them because we no longer used the landline except for an answering service.

Both of us are uncomfortable with the sound quality of the cell as opposed to the landline– I can’t always tell if anyone is there– and tend to save long rambling (rare) conversations for the non- mobile.

If either of us have to talk outside we find a doorway (Michael fears he looks like a bum pissing in a doorway).

We only give our number to our wives and in my case a VERY limited amount of friends, mostly without computers, who would otherwise never get us.