Welcome to Al-gul

The Middle East and More

Archive for the ‘Blogroll’ Category

Obama and Honey Boo Boo

leave a comment »

From this month’s Vanity Fair:

Honey Boo Boo “trends” in the same way that Barack Obama “trends.” There’s no difference between the two.

Advertisements

Written by mokane

May 7, 2014 at 2:16 am

Posted in Blogroll

A Few Poetry Recommendations

leave a comment »

There are a few interesing things being done with poetry. James Merrill’s The Changing Light at Sandover is incredible. Start with the first part, the Book of Ephraim. Merrill claimed that the poems were dictated by spirits he contacted through a Ouija board. Craig Raines elegy on the death of his lover is another book-length poem well worth a read. Unfortunately, it has the same title as Proust (A la recherche…) and so is hard to find unless you mention Craig. Going back a bit, there’s Nathaniel Tarn. Ted Berrigan’s Tambourine Life. After the 1960’s poetry was sidelined, but it’s always been there.

Written by mokane

March 26, 2014 at 10:21 am

Posted in Blogroll

Spanish Time and The Third Reich

leave a comment »

Even today there are surprising vestiges of the Third Reich which survive. The persistence of relatively innocuous Nazi-era laws is the subject of frequent comment in Germany, but somewhat more surprising is the issue of time in Spain. Fascism was a force which swept Europe in the 1930’s. More than one country fell victim. Portugal, Spain, Italy, Germany, Hungary, Romania, Turkey and others heeded the call of a government led by a king-like individual. In Spain, the Republican government had solid popular support and only fell to Franco because of assistance from the Reich. Most feel that without this assistance, Franco would have died an obscure general. In gratitude, and to align his country closer with Berlin, Franco moved Spanish time one hour ahead of GMT. To be on the same time as England was no longer seen as a virtue. Portugal’s dictator decreed that his country would do the same. Hitler came and went, but Spanish time even today remains one hour ahead of GMT. Even Portugal eventually abandoned the change. Though the Reich is no more, Spain marks its hours as if a red, white and black flag still flew over the German state.

Written by mokane

February 21, 2014 at 1:50 pm

Posted in Blogroll

What’s up with English? (New Murakami Novel)

leave a comment »

Many European languages have already seen the publication of the translation of Murakami’s latest novel. I can start reading the Spanish version today but I have to wait eight months for the release of the text in English. 

Why is that?

English is almost universally taught in Japanese schools. There are many, many people who are bilingual in Japanese and English. There are even more who do not consider themselves bilingual because of rusty conversational skills yet read and write English with no problem whatsoever. You would think then, that English translation would be the first translation achieved. For better or for worse, it is the most commonly used world second language.

Translation into the world’s top five languages should not just be a priority, it should be easier than for lesser-spoken languages for the simple reason that there is a greater statistical chance of finding a competent Japanese translator into that language. 

Since Spanish is one of the world’s top five most spoken languages, it is no surprise that there is already a translation ready. 

Some languages are “book devouring”.  That is, there is a great hunger for books in that language. French is one example that comes to mind. While there are many more Arabic speakers than French, more books are printed in France in a month than in the Arabic-speaking world in a year. So that might explain the lack of an Arabic translation and the existence of a French translation.

Publishing a work in what a country deems a “minority” language might be the reason for a political delay to await translation into the dominant tongue. But there do not appear to be any political issues with respect to a translation into English.

Could there be legal issues? If say, a British publisher were to claim that it had North American rights this could slow down or halt release of a work while the squabbling went on in the courts. 

Or is something else going on? I read that the English version of 1Q84 has 25,000 fewer words than the Japanese version. Putting aside the concept of “word” as it applies to East Asian languages, this is a novella-sized chunk of text that is missing from the English. Given that Murakami is a translator himself, is he taking an active role in the English translation, a role so active as to constitute a partial revision of the text? This would certainly explain the delay. If Murakami is indeed so involved, then it would be worthwhile to wait for the English version. Otherwise, the Spanish version (or the French, or the German, or the [fill in blank]) is just as good, for after all, none of these languages can measure up to reading the text in the original Japanese with all of its nuances. 

Written by mokane

January 15, 2014 at 3:32 am

Posted in Blogroll

American Workers don’t Save Enough for Retirement

leave a comment »

Reuters: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/13/us-retirement-freelance-idUSBREA0C0NK20140113

If you’re working as a freelancer, there will be months–sometimes several–where you have no income, and then months when there is. If you’re in a good month, do you put money away for retirement or for the lean months? The reason why there was been a rush towards self-employment is because of a combination of the decline of American industry and a national fetish towards outsourcing. For many years, taxicab drivers were employees of cab companies with regular paychecks and contributing to Social Security. Now most are independent contractors. How much do you think they are able to save? And meanwhile, service has gone south. From the perspective of the American worker, the economic system is paycheck based. Take away the paycheck and inevitably you get the results highlighted in this article.

Written by mokane

January 14, 2014 at 6:26 am

Posted in Blogroll

No to Electronic Communications in the Courts

leave a comment »

E-service Requirement
I read with interest the article “Move underway to require e-swapping of documents” in the February 15 News. I would like to express my concern about the proposed rules from both a historical and technological point of view.

There is no question that the advances in technology have made communication among attorneys easier. The problem is the reliability of the systems. I am not referring to the occasional downed systems or power outages. I refer to the fact that with spam filters and the like, it is not always possible to know if an e-mail has been received. This is less of an issue in litigation, because if a scheduled event has not occurred, one can always check with opposing counsel, such as when interrogatory answers are due. In fields that are not so predictable, it is often impossible to tell whether the addressee has received a document. There is simply no reliable equivalent for certified mail.

There is also an archival reason why e-mail should not entirely supplant paper. The court system does not exist as a private forum for dispute resolution. Because ours is a precedential system, even casual decisions often affect many more than the litigants before the court.

Paper and electronic systems are complementary: Each has different advantages. We know that paper lasts for at least 100 years and perhaps more. Retrieving an e-mail written in the early 1990s is an adventure. Hard drives are mechanical and fragile; other currently available storage media have similar disadvantages.

The rules allowing for a certain number of days before responses are required were not established solely because of the length of time it took to deliver mail satchels by horseback. Part of the reason was to allow counsel a sufficient time to prepare a considered, reasoned response.

It is ironic that in these days of case dockets in the thousands and trial delays of up to four years that attorneys are pushing not only for instantaneous communication, but to eliminate reliable archives.

Michael O’Kane
Miami

Written by mokane

October 13, 2013 at 11:56 am

Posted in Blogroll

John Kerry, Edward Snowden and Ryan Fogle

leave a comment »

Written by mokane

June 25, 2013 at 11:55 pm

Posted in Blogroll