Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Phrase of the day

The phrase that made me laugh so hard I cried today:
"an octopus made by nailing extra legs onto a dog." Link

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I have been examined.

Hebrew exam yesterday. Interestingly, one of the few words from Hebrew with an Indo-European cognate is bań•an, "test, try, examine." It shows up in Greek as basanos, "touchstone," and the word came into English as "basanite."

The exam, meanwhile, went pretty well: the known passage was Job 1; the unknown Joshua 8. I don't think I had any majr screwups; I do have a small fear that I didn't go fast enough. Is it good or bad (or just a fact) that I got through more of the unknown passage in the allotted time than the known passage?

The grammar questions (about words in the known passage) went well, I think, though I was stumped by one of them.

Results by the end of the week.

Monday, October 15, 2007

In lieu of substance

Too busy for posting (also too busy for nominatives and copulae, it seems), but in the light of some queries from my loyal readers, I've tweaked the colors of links so that they're more visible. Now you can go back and see what the hell I'm talking about. Unvisited links are now purpleish, like this.
In case you're wondering, I am working on substantive posts, editing them into comprehensibility, and will put them up over the next couple of days.

Friday, October 5, 2007

What I do all day.

In publishing we sometimes say that what we do is reject things, and so if we have a lot of things going on, it's because we're not working enough. Here is a nice summary of rejection. Rejecting isn't as bad as it might seem, Rachel Toor tells her audience of academics. And, by and large, she's right. Were her column more in the genre of bleak humor, she might have mentioned that no one inside a publishing house says "reject"; "kill" is the preferred term. And that the flipside to the "nice kill" is the "short kill." "We cannot express interest in your manuscript," it might say, and, since the topic of killing is close at hand, it's unsigned and unattributed to one editor, lest that act be literalized (or, I supposed, actualized) while it is turned around on the editor.

See also Sturgeon's Law.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Ora et labora

I suppose it is, on some level, always orare to study the Bible; I can guarantee you it is laborare. Job ch. 3 kicked my ass tonight: poetry is always slow going, and Job uses a good deal of LBH (that's late biblical Hebrew) vocabulary which I don't have at the tip of my tongue. And if that wasn't enough, the rewards of three hours of hearing Job curse with impeccable thoroughness the day he was born and the night he was conceived are so far proving elusive. But I'm only halfway through the chapter.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Eliphaz the Temanite

This is not a post about Eliphaz (rich though that subject may be), rather it's about Temanites. "Temanite" is a gentilic, coming from the root YMN: you add some vowels and a t-prefix (that's a fairly common thing in Hebrew), and you wind up with Teyman. Now, "YMN" means, "right hand." YMN also shows up in "Benjamin": it's, etymologically, "Ben-Yamin," "son of my right hand." So the Temanites were some folks who lived in the south (relative, of course, to the Hebrew speakers who dubbed them this), because the directions are given relative to the facing sun.
This right-hand/southpaw duality, of course, explains why Sandy Koufax pitched left and batted right.

And they sat with him on the ground, for seven days and seven nights, and said not a word to him, for they saw that his pain was very great.

Back on track: Job 1 read & reviewed, Job 2 read. Lots of new vocabulary, which tends to slow one down a bit (note the time stamp on this post).

Edit: That's Jb 2:13 up there in the title of the post.

The Patience of Job

Job didn't have to handle studying in a warm room on 5 hours of sleep. Last night's intention: Vocab cards (will post my vocab card system anon), review Jb 1, which I'd read a month ago, and read Jb 2. But I joined students already studying and they had the study room warm as spit, so I got through the vocab cards and half of ch. 1. But not bad for the first night back to work in a while, and a Monday night at that, which are always difficult.
And I skipped movie night in favor of Hebrew, which betokens some form of virtue.
Tonight, it's my study session: I set the time and the temperature!

Monday, October 1, 2007


I'll be taking my Hebrew exam on Monday, Oct. 29th. (Time TBD) It will consist of "at least one text from this list [below] and at least one not from this list with a range of questions over grammar, interpretation... No less than two hours, no more than three; no aids allowed." The list: Exodus 1-15, Job 1-3, Ruth 1-4.
That makes 22 chapters to be known forwards and backwards (well, it's all backwards--or at least right-to-left) over the next 28 days. So, in addition to hardcore use of the vocabulary cards I'll be going through one 'new' (I've read almost all this material in Hebrew before) chapter every day as well as reviewing the previous day's chapter.
Further updates as events warrant.