Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

“Another Word for Babies is Insects”

One of the great wonderful things that has happened with living in Pensacola is that I get to spend a lot of time with my two little grandchildren, one of whom is two months old and just loves to be held, and one of whom is three years old and loves to talk.

I adore them both, but the three year old is so much more interesting, as he can talk and express himself and I love the way a three year old thinks.

We talk a lot. The other day we were talking about breaking things like arms – he had just broken his arm in two places and got a 1 (needs improvement) on “uses playground equipment safely” LOL. I had just told him how my sister broke both of her arms, not at the same time, and how we had each broken a leg skiing.

“You know, Shisha, you’re a lot like a boy,” he said to me, and I knew it was a compliment but I couldn’t help laughing.

“Why do you say that?” I asked, and got some evasive answer – even a three year old has a sense of when a thought might be out of the ordinary.

This week, though, he really gave me a good laugh when he came running in and showed me his weekly sheet, with green happy faces (that is a very good thing) and a photo of himself as a baby.

“Another word for babies is ‘insects!’” he announced, and I couldn’t help it, I laughed.

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“No! No! It’s ‘infants!’” I said, and made him watch my lips as I said it because it’s one of those words where we kind of cut off the t at the end, and he got it right. I laughed, knowing it must be “I” week at his school and how very cool is it that they are teaching three year olds such words as “infant” and “Insect” and so what if it takes a little while to get them all straight, just hearing them and seeing them applied is such a good thing.

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November 3, 2013 Posted by | Communication, Cultural, Education, Family Issues, Humor, Words | 4 Comments

Taliban Says Malala ‘Has Done Nothing To Earn Prize’

Mr. Taliban, did you see Jon Stewarts interview with Malala? (See below) All she wants is an education. She wants an education for herself, but also for all children in Pakistan. Your children, too! She wants them to have that opportunity, that’s all. And she has paid the price for her courage speaking out, and she bravely continues to state the obvious – there is nothing in Islam against educating women.

MIRANSHAH, Pakistan: The Pakistani Taliban Thursday said teenage activist Malala Yousafzai had done “nothing” to deserve a prestigious EU rights award and vowed to try again to kill her.

The European Parliament awarded the Sakharov human rights prize to the 16-year-old, who has become a global ambassador for the right of all children to go to school since surviving a Taliban murder attempt.

Malala survived being shot in the head by a TTP gumnan on October 9 last year and is seen as a leading contender for the Nobel Peace prize, to be announced on Friday.

“She has done nothing. The enemies of Islam are awarding her because she has left Islam and has became secular,” Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman Shahidullah Shahid told AFP by telephone from an undisclosed location.

“She is getting awards because she is working against Islam. Her struggle against Islam is the main reason of getting these awards.”

He repeated the TTP’s threat – made numerous times in recent months -try again to kill Malala, “even in America or the UK”.

Malala and moved to Britain in the wake of the shooting for treatment and to continue her education in safety.

Feted by world leaders and celebrities for her courage, Malala has addressed the UN, this week published an autobiography, and could become the youngest ever Nobel Peace Prize laureate on Friday.

Her autobiography “I am Malala”, written with journalist Christina Lamb, has gone on sale in Pakistan and Shahid warned the Taliban would target bookshops stocking it.

“Malala is the enemy of Islam and Taliban and she wrote this book against Islam and Taliban,” he said. (AFP)

October 10, 2013 Posted by | Character, Civility, Communication, Community, Counter-terrorism, Cultural, Education, ExPat Life, Faith, Family Issues, Free Speech, Generational, Interconnected, Living Conditions, Pakistan, Poetry/Literature, Social Issues, Values | , , | Leave a comment

Hoist by Her Own Petard

I love words; I am a word-nerd. To this day, I always thought hoist by one’s own petard must mean a petard was some kind of edged weapon (knife, dagger, etc) so to know the true meaning is a glorious thing!

From Anu Garg’s A Word a Day to which I have subscribed for around 15 years now. You can subscribe and get a similar daily email here:

A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

What comes to your mind if I say the name Dumpty? Perhaps you’re thinking of Humpty and you’d be right. The two go together. Each of this week’s words also prefers specific company, and usually appears in set expressions.

You can also think of them as fossil words. They are mostly obsolete and only appear as part of idioms. We are used to seeing them bundled and never stop to think about what they literally mean. This week we’ll go behind the scenes to identify their origins.
petard

PRONUNCIATION:
(pe-TAHRD, pi-)

MEANING:
noun:
1. A small bomb used to blast down a gate or wall.
2. A loud firecracker.

ETYMOLOGY:
From French péter (to break wind), from Latin peditum (a breaking wind), from pedere (to break wind). Ultimately from the Indo-European root pezd- (to break wind) which also gave us feisty, fart, and French pet (fart). Earliest documented use: 1566.

NOTES:
A petard was a bell-shaped bomb used to breach a door or a wall. Now that we have advanced to ICBMs, this low-tech word survives in the phrase “to hoist by one’s own petard” meaning “to have one’s scheme backfire”. The idiom was popularized by Shakespeare in his play Hamlet. Hamlet, having turned the tables on those tasked with killing him, says:
For ’tis the sport to have the engineer
Hoist with his own petard

USAGE:
“Her attempt to rub salt in the wound had backfired. She had been well and truly hoist by her own petard.”
Immodesty Blaize; Ambition; Ebury Press; 2010.

“Ned … heard the petard exploding against the doors of the fort.”
Dudley Pope; Corsair; House of Stratus; 1987.

Explore “petard” in the Visual Thesaurus.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Ultimately, the only power to which man should aspire is that which he exercises over himself. -Elie Wiesel, writer, Nobel laureate (b. 1928)

September 30, 2013 Posted by | Communication, Words | Leave a comment

“Is Your Cat Always Fractious?”

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“Fractious” isn’t a word you often hear. Clearly the veterinary tech had just read the word off the record, perhaps there is some warning in there about the Qatari Cat.

The Qatari Cat was born on the streets of Qatar, and had a bumpy start with another owner. While the man and his daughter liked him just fine, the wife and her mother did not. When the Qatari cat came to live with us, he was very wary of me. It took a couple years for him to fully trust me. He watched my feet all the time. He quailed in fear, ears back, if I used a loud voice. He was terrified of the sound of plastic bags.

Slowly, slowly, we built a relationship. Today, ten years later, he is a sweet cat.

He is a sweet cat every single day of the year, but he still has his street instincts. AdventureMan has learned that you can’t play rough with the Qatari Cat; you play rough, you lose. I never speak loudly to him; it just won’t work, it just gets his back up. Because he knows I am the boss, I speak sternly, but softly to him and he will do just what I ask him to do.

Our first visit to the vet went badly. You can read about it here. He was fine until the buzzing razor hit his bottom and then all his survival instincts kicked in. He’s been back twice, and he has been as good as gold, but somehow . . . that notation has stuck.

“No!” I replied, maybe a little bit too loudly.”No! He is a sweet kitty! He is snuggly and loving and quiet and good! But if he is scared, he wants to defend himself.” I told the tech about the Italian vet the Qatari Cat fell in love with in Kuwait, she snuggled him and told him how beautiful he was and how much she loved him and he was putty in her hands. I was almost jealous. I thought maybe she distilled some catnip and mixed it with her perfume or something, Qatari Cat’s eyes glazed a little in sheer adoration when he was around her, and he even drooled a little. She could take his temperature, give him a shot and check his innards and he never complained, just looked at her adoringly.

The tech shot a skeptical look at me and exited the room. I could hear her repeat this to the vet, and muffled laughter before she entered the room again.

So the vet came in and snuggled Qatari Cat, and told him he was pretty, and while she did not say it with an Italian accent, Qatari Cat was clearly intrigued – and on his best behavior. It doesn’t take much . . . he’s a male. Snuggle him a little, rub his fur the right way, chat him up . . . it doesn’t have to be rational, it’s all in the tone of voice and the flirtation. He totally digs it, he eats it up. A little grope here, a quick look at the teeth, a quick injection and he’s finished, not a fractious moment in the entire visit.

On the way home, we laughed thinking of our sensitivity at having our cat called “fractious.” We remember the indignant response of friends whose cat was annotated as “vicious” by a German vet. The cat was diabetic and objected to the roughness with which the vet wanted to take his blood. I think if you are a veterinarian, you might have an understanding that a sick animal, or a scared animal, might act unpredictably or defensively, there are big thick gloves you can wear if an animal seems wired up.

Does this look like a fractious cat to you?

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September 23, 2013 Posted by | Civility, Communication, Community, Customer Service, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Pensacola, Pets, Qatteri Cat, Relationships | 4 Comments

Anthony Weiner’s New Yorker Cover

LLOOLLLL, oh please, please do NOT vote for this man!

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July 27, 2013 Posted by | Communication, Humor, iPhone, Mating Behavior, Photos, Political Issues, Values, Women's Issues, Work Related Issues | , , | Leave a comment

Capital or Capitol?

As I worked on my earlier map post, I needed to know if it is “capital city” or “capitol city.” Yes. It matters.  Here is what I learned at About.com:

Capital has multiple meanings: (1) a city that serves as the seat of government; (2) wealth in the form of money or property; (3) an asset or advantage; (4) a capital letter (the type of letter used at the beginning of a sentence).

Capitol refers to the building in which a legislative assembly meets. (Remember that the o in capitol is like the o in the dome of a capitol building.)

Examples:

  • The dome of the United States Capitol may well be the most famous man-made landmark in America.
  • Juneau is the capital of Alaska.
  • “It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data.” (Arthur Conan Doyle)
  • Capital punishment would be more effective as a preventive measure if it were administered prior to the crime.” (Woody Allen)

Practice:

(a) The United States Capitol is the ______ building that serves as the location for the United States Congress.

(b) It is located in Washington, D.C., the ______ of the United States.

July 16, 2013 Posted by | Communication, Education, Words | Leave a comment

Korean Air Pilots Mistakenly Identified in TV News Prank: Sum Ting Wong

Someone will lose their job, if it is ever discovered who pranked this totally politically incorrect news broadcast.  This from Reuters via Huffington Post on AOL:

NTSB Intern Mistakenly Confirmed To KTVU Wrong Asiana Names, Statement Says

(Please note offensive language in paragraph 6)

July 12 (Reuters) – The National Transportation Safety Board apologized on Friday after an intern mistakenly confirmed to a local television station racially offensive fake names for the pilots of an Asiana flight that crashed in San Francisco.

“The National Transportation Safety Board apologizes for inaccurate and offensive names that were mistakenly confirmed as those of the pilots of Asiana flight 214, which crashed at San Francisco International Airport on July 6,” the NTSB said in a statement.

“Earlier today, in response to an inquiry from a media outlet, a summer intern acted outside the scope of his authority when he erroneously confirmed the names of the flight crew on the aircraft,” the NTSB said.

The crash of the Boeing 777 plane resulted in the deaths of three teenage girls in a group of students from eastern China who were visiting the United States for a summer camp, one of whom died on Friday in the hospital. Over 180 passengers and crew members were injured.

On Friday, an anchor for Oakland, California, station KTVU read a list of the supposed names of the pilots of the South Korean carrier on its noon broadcast after an employee apparently called the NTSB seeking to verify them.

The names appear to mock the events of the crash. The prank names were: Captain Sum Ting Wong, Wi Tu Lo, Ho Lee Fuk and Bang Ding Ow.

 

 

July 13, 2013 Posted by | Communication, Cross Cultural, Cultural, Humor, Joke, Lies, Words | , , , | 2 Comments

Arabs wary of expressing their opinions online

Fascinating study results published in Qatar’s Gulf Times:

 

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Northwestern University in Qatar has released new findings from an eight-nation survey indicating many people in the Arab world do not feel safe expressing political opinions online despite sweeping changes in the aftermath of the Arab Spring.

From over 10,000 people surveyed in Lebanon, Tunisia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Jordan and the UAE, 44% expressed some doubt as to whether people should be free to criticise governments or powerful institutions online.

Over a third of Internet users surveyed said they worry about governments checking what they do online.

According to the report, “The implied concern (of governments checking what they do online) is fairly consistent in almost all countries covered, but more acute in Saudi Arabia, where the majority (53%) of those surveyed expressed this concern.”

The study – titled ‘Media Use in the Middle East – An Eight-Nation Survey’ – was undertaken by researchers at NU-Q to better understand how people in the region use the Internet and other media. It comes as the university moves towards a more formalised research agenda and is the first in what will be a series of reports relating to Internet use.

The survey includes a specific chapter on Qatar, the only country where those surveyed regarded the Internet as a more important source of news than television. “We took an especially close look at media use in the State of Qatar – a country with one of the highest Internet penetration rates in the Arab world—and internationally,” said NU-Q dean and CEO Everette Dennis.

These findings follow a preliminary report NU-Q released last April that showed web users in the Middle East support the freedom to express opinions online, but they also believe the Internet should be more tightly regulated. “While this may seem a puzzling paradox, it has not been uncommon for people the world over to support freedom in the abstract but less so in practice,” Dennis explained.

Among other findings, the research shows: 45% of people think public officials will care more about what they think and 48% believe they can have more influence by using the Internet.

Adults in Lebanon (75%) and Tunisia (63%) are the most pessimistic about the direction of their countries and feel they are on the ‘wrong track.’

Respondents were far more likely to agree (61%) than disagree (14%) that the quality of news reporting in the Arab world has improved in the past two years, however less than half think overall that the news sources in their countries are credible.

Online transactions are rare in the Middle East, with only 35% purchasing items online and only 16% investing online.

The complete set of results from the survey is available online at menamediasurvey.northwestern.edu.  The new interactive pages hosting the survey on the website have features that allow users to make comparisons between different countries, as well as between different demographics within each country.

Dennis confirmed that the research report is the first in an annual series of reports produced in collaboration with the World Internet Project; one of the world’s most extensive studies on the Internet, in which NU-Q is a participating institution.

NU-Q and WIP signed an agreement earlier in the year, providing a global platform for the current research.

June 29, 2013 Posted by | Blogging, Bureaucracy, Communication, Community, Cross Cultural, Cultural, ExPat Life, Jordan, Leadership, Living Conditions, Middle East, Privacy, Qatar, Safety, Saudi Arabia, Social Issues, Survival, Transparency, Tunisia | , , , | Leave a comment

Countdown

“We’ve started the count-down calendar,” said my beautiful and very pregnant daughter-in-law, “We have so many things we want to get done before the baby comes.”

We were gathered at one of our favorite casual lunch places, a place where we could eat well and our 3 year old could be both free to roam a little, and safe to roam, while the grown-ups talked.

“We’ve started, too,” I smiled at her, “I need to finish up her baby quilt, and two quilts for the homeless project I have due in September. And of course, we will be out of the loop the last two weeks before she is born, so I need to keep motivated now.” I know she will call on me once the new baby is here; I am the back-up, the “can you fix dinner / wash the dishes / hold the baby while I shower / clean up the baby spit / run to the grocery store/ feed the cats”  person. I love it. It’s why we moved here, to be here when they need us, when they need the help. Being close to family, being there to help when they need the help – this is one of the great lessons we learned from our friends in Amman, in Kuwait, in Doha, in Tunis.

We also have an Alaska adventure in store, planned before any of us knew the new baby was en route. It’s not Africa, but we aren’t up for another of those 17 hour rides from Atlanta to Johannesburg this year. Alaska will be fun, a sentimental journey back to my origins for me, and a whole new environment for AdventureMan.

“We’ll also have the school break to cover,” beautiful D-I-L added, “but I know there is going to be a cousin’s camp; I just don’t know when it is going to be.”

Cousins camp – oh what fun. All the little like-aged cousins get together for a week of hell-bent-for-leather activities, from water parks to fire departments to scavenger hunts, they keep those little rascals so busy that they just fall into bed at night. It’s all good.

“I know it’s all going to fall into place,” she sighed, smiling at our son, “but we need that calendar to keep us on track.”

Yeh. Us too!

June 23, 2013 Posted by | Alaska, Arts & Handicrafts, Circle of Life and Death, Communication, Community, Cross Cultural, Cultural, Eating Out, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Generational, Living Conditions, Pensacola, Travel | 2 Comments

Gulf Power and Customer Energy Use Monitoring

I love this! Yes,  I am a nerd, yes, I get excited about geeky things, but after my first year in Pensacola, paying electrical bills in the $400′s because I like to be cool, I have learned a few tricks about spending less, like turning the a/c up when leaving the house, it really makes a difference.

And now, we monitor our energy use on a DAILY basis. I love it! When you log into your Gulf Power account, you can see your energy usage calculated against the daily temperatures, with a range of your estimated end-of-month bill. No more bad surprises!

I think I inherited a small bit of my father’s engineer mentality; I love being able to manage my energy use :-)

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Thank you, Gulf Power, for making it possible.

June 22, 2013 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Communication, Community, Customer Service, Environment, Financial Issues, Living Conditions, Statistics, Technical Issue | Leave a comment

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