Thursday, March 07, 2013

Things I think about

(Not a political post, except for the last bit.)

1. For some reason, I woke up yesterday thinking about The Maltese Falcon, even though I haven't seen the movie in years. It hit me: Joel Cairo (Peter Lorre) hasn't killed anyone, and the D.A. has no case against him. Do you think he continues the hunt for the Falcon? Or does he open a haberdashery in San Francisco?

Some of Bogie's best lines were played off of Lorre. PL: "You always have a smooth explanation." HB: "What do want me to do, learn to stutter?" From Casablanca: PL: "You despise me, don't you?" HB: "I might, if I gave you any thought."

2. Today I woke up thinking about the Pied Piper of Hamlin. Does the story have any basis in fact? Suddenly, I just had to know.

A little research revealed that the very first entry in the town chronicle of Hameln (the original name) opens with these words: "It is 100 years since our children disappeared." No further details. That entry was written in 1384, which places the great vanishing act in 1284. Rats did not enter the story until the 16th century. A 1440-ish manuscript relates:
In the year of 1284, on the day of Saints John and Paul, June 26, by a piper, clothed in many kinds of colors, 130 children born in Hamelin were seduced, and lost at the place of execution near the hilltop.
In that era, in that place, writers their sentences wrote backwards.

Modern researchers have found family names from Hamlin in the Pomeranian region of Poland, so the kids may have gone there. But many of the oldest versions of the legend (including one recorded by the Brothers Grimm) insist that the children ended up in -- I kid you not -- Transylvania. Most of the stories, though, hold that some undefined Awful Thing occurred "on the hilltop" outside of town.

So what do you think happened to those kids? Was one of their descendants Peter Lorre?

3. Do you know the real reason why the Mona Lisa doesn't have eyebrows or eyelashes? Although the answer is dead simple, it hasn't occurred to most art historians because most art historians don't paint. I may do a post on this topic one of these Sundays. (There is no truth to the rumor that Leonardo's model was one of Peter Lorre's ancestors.)

4. Later today, we'll get back to political chit-chat. Right now, let me note that, once again, there is serious talk about filibuster reform, thanks to Rand Paul. At least he's doing the filibuster thing right, and he's forcing the country to confront the drone issue. I respect him for that.

Why didn't Reid end the filibuster when he had the chance? I suspect that senators from conservative states don't want to vote on certain issues. The filibuster gives them political cover. (I can't think of any way to bring Peter Lorre into this one.)
I wonder if Reid ever took a dive. On the filibuster perhaps Reid knows that under Obama's ineptitude Senate Democrats will be the minority and have need of the it. As if any of them had enough spine to stand up to anybody.
In Germany, sentences backward are still written.
I did look up the reason why the Mona Lisa supposedly doesn't have eyebrows or eyelashes. I couldn't help it. The explanation makes perfect sense to me.
Most likely Reid lacked the 51 votes necessary from his own caucus. He and his whips are excellent vote counters.

BTW, nobody has claimed the substantial victory the too-mild reforms entailed, which was eliminating 1/3rd or 1/2 of the potential delays, by disallowing filibustering on motions to proceed (to floor debate from committee), and reducing the time frame after a cloture vote from 72 hours to about 4 hours.

Enough? No. Still a substantial streamlining, nonetheless.

Goddamn Google - I wish you could change the default to something other than "Google account". I haven't logged into those SOBs in years. Anyway:

Normal word order in many Indo-European languages is Subject-Object-Verb (rather than Subject-Verb-Object), although it's often not significant because verbs and nouns are inflected. I think English word order (Subject-Verb-Object) is actually quite uncommon.

The preservation of this order in an English rendition is a sign of an inept translator.
Still a substantial streamlining, nonetheless.

Which we will all come to regret the next time the Republicans assume control of the Senate.

It wasn't so very long ago that the Republicans were trying to "streamline" things so that the Democrats couldn't block Bush's agenda. Of course, now that the Republicans and the Democrats have the same agenda, I suppose that isn't a problem anymore.
The Hamelin Incident was an inside job. False flag/government psyop. The PTB were trying to foment a war with Transylvania to reduce unemployment among the surly churls of the landless peasantry and generate patriotism during a time of poor harvests and concentration of wealth among the 1%.

Regarding the filibuster, the usual suspects, McCain and Graham, have unleashed an attack on Rand Paul for having the audacity to think our Chief Executive shouldn't have the right to assas-
sinate any US citizens he wishes to. On Washington's Blog there is a piece linking Holder's defense of the "too big to fail" banks and
his support for drone attacks in America. Worth looking at IMO.
Rand may be a raving lunatic, but he's certainly on the side of angels when it comes to drones.

Inimicus inimici, as the man said.
My impression from the movie was that Joel was all fired up to head back to Istanbul and take up the lost trail again. Remember, he's relentless. Remember when he demanded to search Spade's office, Spade took his gun away, Spade beat him up, Spade gave him his gun back--and he demanded once again to search the office.
Rand Paul did good. Too bad he believed he had to go to Israel and express sympathy with the settlements as a trade-off. They're kind of a big reason for the "necessity" of drones. Perhaps his dad could explain it to him (see Ron Paul....blowback...9/11/2001.)
SVO is standard clause structure in French, Russian, and the Scandinavian languages, although in Russian it's often varied for emphasis, putting an especially emphasised rheme at the end. As you say, inflection allows this.
Guys, I know about the subject-verb thing. I used to live with a woman who was a professional German-to-English translator. We would talk about subject-verb order all the time. God, we were a dull couple.

I wrote what I wrote because it seemed funny.
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