Archive for the ‘My life’ Category

Tinnitus, tinnitus, semper tinnitus

November 25, 2015

It’s Thanksgiving Eve, so we’re about to embark on the official season of Christmas songs and Christmas shopping (though both have been upon us for some time, and Christmas decorations have been up for some time as well — at the restaurant Reposado in Palo Alto they went up right after Halloween). Periodically I post about about Christmas music, especially weird stuff; my daughter Elizabeth, grand-daughter Opal, and other friends feed me great stuff. In 2012, among my Christmas music postings was “The multicultural Christmas playlist, mostly Jingle Bells”, where I mentioned in passing the Latin translation of the song that I learned in high school, nearly 60 years ago. The part I still recall is the chorus:

Tinnitus, tinnitus, semper tinnitus
O tantum est gaudium dum vehimur in trahā

(There are other translations into Latin out there.) Now to look at the Latin.



November 1, 2015

Recently among specials offered by Reposado in Palo Alto, dishes featuring mussels (which I’m very fond of). Mussels have been mentioned a number of times on this blog, but have never gotten special attention. Now their day has come. Mussels in Spicy Tomato Sauce, on pasta (not from Reposado):



From the 80s

October 11, 2015

The restaurant Reposado, where I regularly have lunch, plays Mexican popular music, in Spanish (more on this below), on its sound system on weekdays, but popular music in English on weekends, when visitors to Palo Alto might prefer it. Yesterday I noticed that I recognized almost all of the songs, even while I was mostly concentrated on reading and taking notes. It started with Madonna’s “Material Girl” and went through a range of other songs. Here’s a list of the ones I caught, with the dates of their release:

“Material Girl” (1984), “Owner of a Lonely Heart” (1983), “Electric Avenue” (1982), “Relax” (1983), “(I’m) Bad” (1987), “Tainted Love” (Soft Cell version, 1981), “Take My Breath Away” (1986)

Oh my, hit songs of the 80s. The 80s were my 40s, and a very complex time in my life — my first stint at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, my wife’s death, the shift to an Ohio State/Stanford split schedule, and more — but I seem to have been attentive to the music of the decade.

Two things: the categories of popular music, the song “Relax”.



October 3, 2015

Back on 9/23, I got e-mail from a representative of a California public radio station, sent at 9 a.m. (though I didn’t get to it until later), asking me to do an interview by phone for them at 11:45 that morning, on Yogi Berra and his language. Now, I was offended at the extremely short notice (though journalists do this to me a lot), and I had other reasons for not wanting to do it. After some thought, I decided to meet rudeness with rudeness and just delete the message.


Muhly grass

September 30, 2015

From a recent visit to Palo Alto’s Gamble Garden, a glimpse of a very pretty ornamental grass. Photo from the web:


This is a white variant (White Cloud) of Muhlenbergia capillaris, Muhlenbergia being the genus of muhly grasses. (Note that the common name is derived by clipping from the botanical name.)

The botanical name will take us on an adventure in U.S. history, starting in the early 18th century.



September 28, 2015

From Ned Deily yesterday, a Facebook posting announcing:

Last night’s last meal in Berlin: Leberkäs, what else? — at Berlin Friedrichstraße station. … The joke is that it is neither liver nor cheese and definitely not Berlin-ish.

with a photo:


More photos to come.


Birthday flowers

September 6, 2015

I’m a few hours into my 75th birthday — 75 is a seriously round number — and already I’ve gotten (electronically) two wonderful cards, both with flowers on them, both leading to another plant family, the Asparagaceae, though neither depicts an asparagus (instead, a lily-of-the-valley and a  Joshua tree, which are, amazingly, in the asparagus family). As a bonus, the first card introduces (via four flowers) three more plant families I haven’t discussed in my recent postings on plant families —  one of which, the Primulaceae (which comes via the pimpernel plant), I’ll talk about here. As a further bonus, the second card has a nearly naked young man with notable abs (and a woolly mammoth).


Eat your weeds

August 31, 2015

Laboring on WWI (Weeds, Wildflowers, and Invasives), I was reunited with the work of Euell Gibbons, who (50 years ago) served as a cheerleader for eating foods from nature, rather than agriculture. Eat your weeds!


Twyla Tharp, truncation, and more

July 9, 2015

It starts with a New Yorker Talk of the Town piece (July 6th & 13th), “The Horde” (by Claudia Roth Pierpont), about a Twyla Tharp performance. That led me to my files, where Tharp’s piece “Push Comes to Shove” came up because of the truncation in its title. And then to other Tharp dances in my experience. And to Tharp’s first name.

Tharp in a recent photo:


Aspects at 50

June 25, 2015

Geoff Pullum’s column in the Lingua Franca blog (of the Chronicle of High Education) on the 22nd, “Revolutionary Methodological Preliminaries”, went back 50 years to a signal event in linguistics publishing. Geoff begins:

It is rather surprising that more has not been done this year (thus far, anyway) to commemorate a significant semicentenary: the 50th anniversary of what could reasonably be called the most influential linguistics book of the 20th century. [Aspects of the Theory of Syntax] was published by MIT Press in 1965 as “Special Technical Report 11” of the Research Laboratory of Electronics at MIT, and has recently been re-released with a new preface, but it doesn’t seem to have inspired any major conferences or other celebrations. Yet it gets more than 25,000 citations, according to Google Scholar, and it laid the foundation for 50 years of interdisciplinary research on how human minds could possibly create and manage the extraordinary complexity of language.

I was there for the occasion.



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