1. Mark in Boston, oddly enough I was thinking about Anthony Burgess earlier this week. One of these “on this date in the past” blogs or radio bits I follow made a note that it was the anniversary of first publication of Shakespeare’s Sonnets; and they (oh, it was WFMT classical music radio) were going to play two settings of “probably the best-known or most popular of Shakespeare’s Sonnets”. Well, that turned out to be Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? but the first one that jumped into my mind was (My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun — the one most familiar to me because it provided Burgess with a title for his fictional bio of Shakespeare.

    Burgess often enjoyed talking about language and linguistics, as you must know. One particular I think I did not see him discuss but others suggested, is that he must be familiar with Malayan after his colonial service there (as reflected in his Malay Trilogy later given the name The Long Day Wanes). So he would know orang- as the root in that language for “man” or “human”, as reflected in our name for the ape “orang-outan” or “man dwelling in the woods”. Okay, now with orang having the buried echo of man, can we insert that into our understanding of the title A Clockwork Orange?

  2. This morning I was confronted again by the clock on the microwave, which insisted it was 9:35 PM; there is no similar AM designator, and I have never bothered to figure out how to set it properly. Random brief power outages are enough to have me need to reset it, and they occur often enough that I figure that one of these days, by sheer happenstance, I would set it in the way that I usually do, and it would for once correspond to the proper position of the sun ante or post the median, but this has apparently never happened, which I find unlikely to the point that I suspect malicious intent on the part of the microwave — it’s doing it deliberately. Just exactly why the clock on the microwave should care one way or the other if it is AM or PM I have never quite figured out, especially since it doesn’t really care enough to unambiguously state one is AM, one is PM, it just sort of half-assedly marks only one of them, leaving the other as an exercise for the reader.

    The oven clock, which is right below the microwave, and usually needs to be reset about as often as the microwave, but not quite, being on a separate circuit, does not have any sort of am/pm indicator at all, at least none that I have ever noticed, so the makers of regular ovens don’t seem to think you really need to care one way or the other if it is morning or night, at least not as far as your baking needs are concerned. (The two analog clocks in the kitchen also don’t seem to think they need to tell you explicitly whether it is morning or night, assuming you have enough basic intelligence to figure it out on your own, and for those few cases either self-inflicted or otherwise where you might truly get it wrong, I think they must enjoy the spectacle of watching you go about exactly 12 hours out of sync with the day, and see how long it takes you to slowly realize it.)

    If you are going to only bother to indicate one of the possible meridian positions, which one is the more logical to have as the assumed default, especially for a microwave? Should AM be explicitly stated for those who are bleary-eyed and confused until they have their first cup of possibly microwaved coffee who might otherwise assume it is 7 PM unless told explicitly? Is the assumption that a microwave is more likely to be used in the morning than in the evening, so that if you stumble to the microwave at 6 in the evening, it is assuming more likely you have overslept the whole day and need to be explicitly reminded that it is now in fact 6 PM? Or are they afraid that if they had chosen instead to only indicate AM, you might assumed that when it’s not AM, it must be FM?

  3. Mitch4: The book is “Little Wilson and Big God” by Anthony Burgess, or John Anthony Burgess Wilson to use his full given name. It’s well worth reading, and not just because he’s a great writer. It’s a self-portrait of a young Catholic boy in Manchester, England, learning to draw and play the piano. He also writes about his military service during the war, and his teaching career in Malaya.

  4. larK: My microwave has no AM/PM indicator. It assumes 12-hour days. But I don’t bother to set the clock at all because it appears to make no difference when cooking something. I don’t know if it has a programmable timer like an oven. It probably does, but when do you need a timer to start dinner at 5:50 so you can eat at 6:00? If you’re not home to push the button at 5:50, you’re likely to still be stuck in traffic when it’s time to take it out at 6:00.

  5. Hunk-Ra sounds a lot like Ramtha, an ancient warrior who fought the Atlanteans over 35,000 years ago.

    According to the Wikipedia page on “J. Z. Knight”:

    “‘Ramtha’ is the name of a reputed entity whom Knight says she channels. According to Knight, Ramtha was a Lemurian warrior who fought the Atlanteans over 35,000 years ago. Knight claims Ramtha speaks of leading an army over 2.5 million strong for 63 years, and conquering three-fourths of the known world. According to Knight, Ramtha led the army for 10 years until he was betrayed and almost killed.”

    Regardless of whether you think Ramtha/Hunk-Ra is real, some people think he’s real, and some people think he should be vaccinated, even if he is reluctant.

  6. Switching channels on TV one night I came across a movie on the Jewish Broadcasting Service channel which caught my eye. It was a black and white movie in Yiddish called Tevye – made in 1939 in NYC. (First foreign language film to be considered culturally important enough to go into US National Film Registry of the Library of Congress.) It was subtitled – but subtitles were in Hebrew. Between knowing the basic story (only part of what it is in “Fiddler on the Roof”) and the few words of Yiddish I know and watching what was going on it was easy to follow the story and interesting to see.

    (I have watched this channel many times as it helps greatly when one cannot attend Jewish religious services for the High Holy days as they do not belong to a congregation or dealing with saying Kaddish on anniversary of my father’s death when dealing going to the synagogue when services is same as time as dinner – they rerun later in the evening. They run Orthodox, Conservative and Reform Jewish religious services at different times.)

  7. Meryl, do you mean the subtitles were actually in the (Modern) Hebrew language, or that they were captions for the Yiddish spoken dialogue, written in Yiddish but using the Hebrew alphabet, as was traditional for a long time?

  8. Mitch4 – from what I read about it the subtitles were Hebrew, my assumption would be modern Hebrew, and they were talking in Yiddish both based on the info about it and what I was hearing with the limited Yiddish I know. (In the same way Robert’s family did not teach him Italian, my family did not teach me Yiddish so they could talk to each other in front of me when I was young and I would not know what they were saying.)


    These were the references I used about it – there are others online. It went into Library of Congress in 1991 if you want to look for info about it there. It seems to be available to be watched online.

Add a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.