Hunks of CSI: NY

March 4, 2015

(Nothing much of linguistic interest here.)

Watching re-runs of CSI: NY and appreciating three of the actors, who are notable hunks: Carmine Giovinazzo (as Detective Danny Messer), Eddie Cahill (as Detective Don Flack), and Hill Harper (as Dr. Sheldon Hawkes). The first two had serious early lives as athletes, and both are native New Yorkers (so their NYC accents on tv, though exaggeratedly working-class, have some origin in their personal experience). Harper, originally from Iowa, came to acting after a Harvard legal and public administration education (J.D. and M.P.A.).

CSI: NY actor A. J. Buckley (playing lab technician Adam Ross on the show), Giovinazzo, and Cahill, left to right:


And Harper:


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Morning names: two literary women

March 4, 2015

Two morning names today (from waking up at two different times, with a name in my head each time): Marijane Meaker (the writer), Kay Scarpetta (the fictional medical examiner).

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Joshua Fishman 1926-2015

March 3, 2015

On LinguistList (26.1159), two death notices for Joshua Fishman, from Ofelia Garcia at CUNY and from Ghil’ad Zuckerman in Adelaide. From Garcia:

A beloved teacher and influential scholar, Joshua A. Fishman passed away peacefully in his Bronx home, on Monday evening, March 1, 2015. He was 88 years old. Joshua A. Fishman leaves behind his devoted wife of over 60 years, Gella Schweid Fishman, three sons and daughters-in-law, nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. But he also leaves behind thousands of students throughout the world who have learned much from him about sociology of language, the field he founded, and also about the possibility of being a generous and committed scholar to language minority communities. As he once said, his life was his work and his work was his life.

Joshua A. Fishman, nicknamed Shikl, was born in Philadelphia, PA, on July 18, Yiddish was the language of his childhood home, and his father regularly asked his sister, Rukhl, and him: “What did you do for Yiddish today?” The struggle for Yiddish in Jewish life was the impetus for his scholarly work. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania with a Masters degree in 1947, he collaborated with his good friend, Max Weinreich, the doyen of Yiddish linguistics, on a translation of Weinreich’s history of Yiddish. And it was through Yiddish that he came to another one of his interests – that of bilingualism. …Yiddish and bilingualism were interests he developed throughout his scholarly life.

The local connection:

In 1988, he became Professor Emeritus [at Yeshiva University] and began to divide the year between New York and California where he became visiting professor of education and linguistics at Stanford University.

So for part of each year, he and I were colleagues. Learnèd, passionate, and humane — and with a delightful sense of humor.

NGD ’15

March 3, 2015

National Grammar Day comes around again tomorrow (along with Opal Eleanor Armstrong Zwicky’s birthday, the 11th). To recognize the occasion, Dennis Baron has posted an entertaining piece (“Why is National Grammar Day different from all other days?”) on his blog.

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News for penguins: the ice age

March 3, 2015

Passed on by Sim Aberson, a news bulletin (“Genetics reveals where emperor penguins survived the last ice age”) from the AAAS, beginning:

A study of how climate change has affected emperor penguins over the last 30,000 years found that only three populations may have survived during the last ice age, and that the Ross Sea in Antarctica was likely the refuge for one of these populations. The Ross Sea is likely to have been a shelter for emperor penguins for thousands of years during the last ice age, when much of the rest of Antarctica was uninhabitable due to the amount of ice. [full story here]

(A group of emperor penguins is resting and preening next to a tide crack in the ice near the Gould Bay colony.)

Peter Sarsgaard, Harold in Italy

March 3, 2015

Two unrelated morning names today: the actor Peter Sarsgaard, the Berlioz symphony Harold en Italie.

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Since 1895

March 2, 2015

Today’s Mother Goose and Grimm, celebrating the history of the comics:


The cartoon takes Outcault’s Yellow Kid to be (in some sense) the first comic strip. This is disputable, but Outcault certainly deserves recognition.

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Learning to tell jokes

March 2, 2015

Yesterday’s One Big Happy, in which Ruthie works at telling jokes:

Part of acquiring a language is acquiring a large assortment of social routines using that language — including joke patterns. Linguists studying conversation have looked at the acquisition of a number of different joke types, for example knock-knock jokes, where they see the gradual unfolding of the abilities involved in producing and appreciating jokes. For instance, many jokes turn on puns, so that a child has to learn that exact wording can be crucial to the joke; paraphrase won’t do. But children often fail to appreciate that, while still understanding that laughter is called for at a certain point in the joke.

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Inflamed tendon

March 2, 2015

My latest affliction is tennis elbow, inflammation of a tendon on the outside of an elbow, usually set off by repeated use of the joint (as in playing tennis, working as a carpenter, or the like), but often, as in my current situation, of obscure origin. (Discussion of tennis elbow on this blog here.) My right elbow went from being mildly sore yesterday to suddenly becoming excruciatingly painful. I’ve rested it for quite some time (and treated the elbow with cold), and the problem has retreated enough for me to be able to raise my arm some, cautiously.

Friends have been commiserating with me, and one — Max Meredith Vasilatos — passed on a Mark Anderson cartoon for the occasion:

(One earlier Andertoon on this blog, #2 in this 10/14/13 posting.)

St. David’s Day

March 2, 2015

Yesterday (March 1st) was the first of this year’s Saint’s Days of the Lands of the British Isles: Saint David, patron saint of Wales. Land of the leek and the daffodil and the Red Dragon national flag (see my 3/1/12 posting “Take a leek” for some discussion of these symbols).

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