2017-08-06

Video: המגפיים של ברוך

Here is a LEGO animation to go along with the Kaveret‎‎ (כוורת) classic song, Barukh's Boots (המגפיים של ברוך), which was a part of their debut album (1973), Poogy Stories (סיפורי פוגי). I am a friend of the guy who made this, and I suggest that you watch his other videos and subscribe to his channel. He also made series about pirates and clone armies, as well as various silly shorts (all in English). You can find more songs by כוורת in my playlist.

2017-07-22

An Apology to My Readers

I haven't read the blogs on the front page for a while. It has recently come to my attention that two of the blog posts made since last time I checked Nina Paley's site were offensive posts about Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminism. I am sorry for anyone who was offended and have taken her blog off my list. I wish that I could read every blog as soon as it was posted and prevent something like this from happening again. Sadly, I can't. So, if you find links to posts like that on my blog list, feel free to contact me
As an apology, here's a dik-dik:

2017-07-13

Hazel Scott: Swinging the Classics

I came across an inspiring jazz and classical performer, Hazel Scott (1920—1981), while browsing Frislander's tumblr (I highly recommend occasionally browsing the tumblr, he finds very interesting things). Hazel Scott was a star in her time period (30s to 50s). One of the most famous musicians of her day, she was a bigger celebrity than Oprah is today. A child progidy, she played piano even before she moved to Harlem from Trinidad at age four. Throughout her entire career, she followed her convictions, refusing to play demeaning roles in films or play in front of segregated audiences (unlike most American musicians of any race during that time). In 1950, the Hazel Scott Show was the first television programme hosted by a black woman. She faded into obscurity after having been falsely accused of being a Communist. For more, see this documentary by Eve Goldberg:


Here is a clip of her playing the song Black & White. I couldn't find any references to a song of this title from the time of that performance (1943, from the movie The Heat's On), so I suspect it's an original:

More clips (from 1955):
"Foggy Day"
"Les Feuilles mortes"
(Dead Leaves in English, but the song title is usually translated as Autumn Leaves)

The documentary sparked my curiosity about Harry Cohn, co-founder of Columbia Pictures (I'm a fan of a lot of its films). What I found was disturbing. He was an abusive, tyrannical boss who demanded sex from his female workers. He makes modern Hollywood, with all of its sexism and whitewashing, look progressive. I hope that after reading about him, the whole world can just get together and say "Screw that guy!" We need more Hazel Scotts to push against the ugly bits of our world and stand for what is right.

For more interesting music, see my youtube channel. It has a wide variety of instrumentation, ranging from bagpipes to theremins to Mongolian throat singing, and an equally wide variety of genres, from polyphonic chants to steampunk rap. Feel free to post suggestions in the channel's discussion page, and I'll add the videos to my public playlist if I like them.

2017-07-12

TEDx Talk Artifexian

After a long hiatus, Artifexian is now posting videos again. He has also recently given a TEDx talk about worldbuilding that I thought was very inspirational.

2017-05-28

Update on why this blog is doing nothing

Hi! It's been several years months since my last post. I've kind of had trouble thinking of what to post for most of the time I've been blogging. When I do have ideas, I write drafts and never finish them. But I haven't been twiddling my thumbs for the last year or so. I've been working a lot on the languages of kårroť, as well as some of the history and culture. Hopefully I'll be able to turn some drafts of that into posts on the Zompist Bulletin Board (a forum for language geeks and creators) and/or on this blog. Speaking of which, I've started a little sandbox for ideas on kårroť which you can find on the ZBB here. A user on that site called Frislander (tumblr) started an alternate history project. Despite getting a lot of advice, I am the only person who has opted to become a collaborator (distinguished from other posters by having editing privileges over the project's documents and by basically having taken over the project :D ). Here's a link to the discussion thread. Email me if you want to become a collaborator (my email can be found in the "About this Weblog" page). I've started a YouTube channel to make a public playlist of all my favourite songs (901 videos as of posting this!) Feel free to suggest songs to add, but I must see the video and like it in order to add it. More importantly, I've started reading George Lakoff's Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things, an important work on semantics and metaphor, because I need to know more about those areas to make my conlangs truly unique rather than remixes of the languages I know from home and the languages I am learning. As an apology to those of you wondering if I fell off a cliff or something, here's a cool video I found on the interwebs:


Check out the webcomic by the people who made this video, ChaosLife! If you like spooky stuff, check out their other (actually, their main) webcomic, FindChaos! Links can be found in the new links page in the navbar.

2017-03-10

History of Toilets

I watched The Toilet: An Unspoken History, a great BBC documentary presented by Welsh poet Ifor ap Glyn.

2017-01-15

周有光

周有光, Zhōu Yǒuguāng, passed away yesterday. He is famous for being the head of the committee which invented Hànyǔ Pīnyīn. Pīnyīn is the most widely used method of writing Standard Chinese in a Latin script alphabet, as well as the only official such system in the People's Republic of China. Pīnyīn is purely based on the sounds of the language, rather than roots or meaning. Each consonant sound is matched to a single letter or combination of letters, while each mark above a vowel represents a specific tone (tone marking is sometimes eliminated for typing convenience, but this is considered bad practice). The vowels are more complicated (see the Wikipedia page for a more accurate and expanded explanation), but there still is a one-to-one correspondence between sound and spelling. For example, Pīnyīn is actually the Pīnyīn representation of 漢語 (or 汉语 in simplified characters). 漢 is represented by "pīn", while 語 is represented by "yīn". 周有光 breaks down as 周 = "zhōu", 有 = "yǒu", 光 = "guāng".
The project of creating the script took several years before it was published by the government in 1958. This project helped 周有光 avoid being purged, but, like other intellectuals, he was sent to live in the countryside for “re-education” during the Cultural Revolution. He turned 111 the day before he died.
Pictures:
1920s With his wife in 1953
In 2012