Is Yiddish really a language? Or is it a dialect of German? And does anyone speak it anymore? The quick answers are yes, no, and yes, respectively. It used to be a dialect of German—12 centuries ago—but both languages have… Read More ›
Month: December 2021
That long-awaited model railroad update: finally a progress report!
As the estimable Barry Popik observes, “A model railroad [is] never finished. There is always something to add or to remove or to modify.” So I can’t simply postpone this report until my model railroad is finished! But “I’ve been… Read More ›
A Jewish Christmas, in two parts (Part Two: Dreaming of a Jewish Christmas)
After we got home from our requisite Chinese meal on Christmas Day, Barbara and I watched the requisite movie: in this case the Canadian documentary Dreaming of a Jewish Christmas. If you’ve never heard of it, go find it and… Read More ›
A Jewish Christmas, in two parts (this is Part One: the requisite Chinese meal)
Barbara and I chose to have our traditionally Jewish Chinese Christmas meal this year at Chau Chow, on Morrissey Boulevard in Dorchester. I am delighted to report that it was delicious. Of course there was too much food, so we… Read More ›
Rudolph in Old English
In recognition of Christmas 2021, here is Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer in the original Old English, a.k.a. Anglo Saxon, from exactly one thousand years ago, courtesy of All Things Linguistic: Hwæt, Hrodulf readnosa hrandeor – Næfde þæt nieten unsciende næsðyrlas! Glitenode and… Read More ›
Netflix cares about the length of a sentence in a given language. You should too.
Here’s the problem. Netflix shows shows in many different languages. Some languages, like English, allow compact phrases like that “shows shows” (which looks confusing); others use circumlocutions that take up more room on the screen. Why does matter? Because it… Read More ›
All aboard! MRR at the MoS
Go see the small but magnificent model railroad exhibit, All Aboard!, at the Museum of Science! I just got back from visiting it. This labor of love by the dedicated volunteers of the HUB Division of the National Model Railroad… Read More ›
Trains, Rock Paper Scissors, & Hannah Fry: What do these three have in common?
How can Rock Paper Scissors (RPS) have a winning strategy? It’s all just luck, isn’ it? Well, no, actually. It’s true that if your opponent plays strictly randomly, then you have no winning strategy. It’s really all just luck. But… Read More ›
The Bicentennial Man
“One has mixed feelings about the movie” would be my comment if I’m going to speak in Andrew’s style. As usual, I recommend seeing the movie before reading the book. In this case the first version was a long short… Read More ›
A classic mystery—written in 2021!
Agatha Christie was, I believe, the originator of the locked-room mystery. If not the originator, she was at least an early and very successful practitioner. But this post is not about Agatha Christie. It’s about Anthony Horowitz and his latest… Read More ›