Ken Shan Has A Blog

Ken (Chung-chieh) Shan started a blog this year, apparently running on ikiwiki software.  Ken is one of those people whom you want to have a blog.

The focus seems to be linguistics (generally Ken’s academic field) and “miscellaneous.”

Welcome to the blogosphere, Ken.

Rachele on Salute

Rachele is developing a restaurant critic section of her nascent blog. The latest victim: Salute.

Tonight we couldn’t have been more disappointed. The bread was cold, the pizza crust was now a soft, perfectly round, plate size pizza with American style sauce and cheese. (We could have done better at Romano’s down the street). And the lasagne, despite our previous server’s promise, was not the same one. It was an American style lasagne that anyone could have made at home. (I would have made sure it was cooked all the way through as well.)

On the other hand, I thought my pumpkin ravioli was decent.

Skiing Dream

I dreamt that I brought my laptop on a downhill ski trip. Before putting on my skis, I booted up and used my EV-DO connection to get online. I spent the rest of the day blogging about skiing, but never actually got to ski. Can anyone explain what this dream could possibly mean?

Near-Death Experiences

Via the Frontal Cortex (my favorite recently and accidentally discovered blog1), on the cultural relativity of near-death experiences:

Many Africans interpret near-death experiences as somewhat evil, a bad omen or a sign that they were somehow “bewitched.”

Among 400 Japanese NDErs that participated in a study, many reported seeing long, dark rivers and beautiful flowers, two common symbols that frequently appear as images in Japanese art.

East Indians sometimes see Heaven as a giant bureaucracy, and frequently report being sent back because of clerical errors.

Americans and Brits often say they are sent back for love or in order to perform a job or task.

Natives of Micronesia often visualize Heaven as a large, brightly lit American city with loud, noisy cars and tall buildings.

I’m not sure what’s worse — returning from death to rectify the inadvertent omission of a certificate of service on a motion for leave to file a reply brief in excess of the ten-page limit (maybe I should have picked a different profession) or getting additional time on Earth because the powers-that-be failed to complete a 27B/6. I really prefer the beautiful flowers, but it’s probably too late for that.

1Is there a term of art for such blogs? E.g., a blog discovered from an unrelated Google search that turns out to be worth adding to the blogroll.

Quotes on Signs

Does anyone have any idea why this phenomenon is so common? What is the hidden message implied by the quotation marks? A nudge and a wink?

Captured (by cell phone) at Butterfly World in Coconut Creek, Florida.

Language Acquisition

One fascinating experience in parenthood is witnessing language acquisition. My daughter is just over twenty-one months old, and recently hit an asymptote in language development. One of my favorite phenomena probably has a name, although I don’t know what it is. When she wants to be carried, she says, “carry you?” If she wants me to sit next to her while she falls asleep, she says, “sit next to you?” Likewise, “pick you up?” And so on. On the one hand, she’s really getting it. On the other, there still seems to be a missing parsing module.

Although I minored in linguistics, we almost never studied anything having to do with “real” language. The department was virtually 100% Chomskyan, and we spent much of our time trying to figure out what the heck the Minimalist Program was.

As it turns out, the Minimalist Program did nothing to prepare me for the experience of watching my daughter acquire language.

Esther by the Window

Speaking of having a kid, it’s been a while since Esther has appeared in this space. She’s grown up quite a bit:

Everything Gives You Cancer

Recent health news: Does TV pull the trigger on autism? (suggesting that early childhood exposure to television may increase the chances of autism, but see this Time magazine rebuttal); White Bread increases cancer risk.

I’m reminded of the old Joe Jackson song, Cancer:

Everything gives you cancer
Everything gives you cancer
There’s no cure, there’s no answer
Everything gives you cancer

Farm Animals

My domestic animal images are among the most popular hits on my blog, especially among the Myspace crowd. Apparently, everyone under 19 thinks it’s funny to post an embedded image link to a llama or an alpaca, pretending it’s a photo of themselves.

A recent visit to Shelburne farms yielded the following additional specimens — click on any image to see a very large version. If you want to use one of these as your xanga avatar, ask me first. And please don’t borrow my bandwidth to serve it.

The Proverbial Black Sheep
A Surprisingly Accommodating Donkey and His Friend
Sleepy Sheep

New York City Labor Day 2006

We spent the extended weekend in New York City, visiting many friends. Particularly noteworthy was our dinner with my Cousin (Dr.) Matt at Gobo, “Food for the Five Senses.” (The website, by the way, is a fairly effective combination of Flash where helpful and HTML where Flash is unnecessary.) Gobo served quite possibly the best vegan food I’ve ever had. I might even say the best vegetarian food I’ve ever had. (Since I’m a vegetarian, I guess that might just make it the “best” food.) Our dinner included:

  • scallion pancakes with homemade mango salsa
  • crispy spinach & soy cheese wontons
  • salt & pepper king oyster mushrooms
  • natural seitan medallion in sizzling spicy citrus sauce
  • spinach pistachio roll with jade mushrooms
  • beet salad with toasted walnuts

Too bad Boston has nothing comparable. Every time I travel to New York I wonder why Boston can’t borrow at least some of the best ideas — for example, a functional mass transit system.

Some other highlights — click on any image for a full-size version:

Esther watching the traffic go by


A Fountain

The view from my cousin’s rooftop