BIRD DICTIONARY.

A few years ago I posted a link to Denis Lepage’s Avibase, an amazingly comprehensive bird site (“containing over 4.5 million records about 10,000 species and 22,000 subspecies of birds, including distribution information, taxonomy, synonyms in several languages and more”), but Arthur Smith’s Bird Dictionary, an idiosyncratic potpourri of information dumped onto a single huge page (and for some reason hosted on the site of an antibiotics lab), is well worth bookmarking as well (if, of course, you’re into bird names):

English names for birds are many and varied due to this language being widely spoken throughout many countries of the world and names have differed even from region to region within those countries. This not only provides a wealth of names but also confusion. This author has attempted to collect and identify these names with the relevant scientific names together with some of the legends, collective nouns, etymology, classification and interesting facts for certain species where these are unusual. No attempt has been made to the record the distribution of the various species, and for this the reader is referred to the work of Sibley & Munroe.
Linnaeus started to bring order to the naming of flora and fauna with his scientific naming of the plant and animal kingdoms, but the impact on the layman is negligible; vernacular names are (or were) created spontaneously, sometimes in isolated communities. Currently there is a movement to bring rationality to the English names. When this is achieved the abundant variety will be lost and in time, inevitably, forgotten. It therefore appeared desirable that there be a record made. This is this work’s raison d`etre.

I like the spunky attitude and linguistic focus, and although it doesn’t have equivalents in other languages, it does have etymologies, which Avibase lacks. (Thanks, Greg!)

Comments

  1. Ooh, interesting link. I’ll have a proper look at it tomorrow when I’m more awake. Since the subject came up, I just thought I’d mention a few posts about bird etymologies I wrote a while ago: 1, 2, 3

  2. I’ve spent an hour or two in the last couple years figuring out what the “dogfish” here is. Answer: either an eelpout or, more likely, a bowfin.
    In the process I learned that globally, salt and fresh, there are ~100 different fish called dogfish, very few of them related to one another or even very similar.

  3. I’ve spent an hour or two in the last couple years figuring out what the “dogfish” here is. Answer: either an eelpout or, more likely, a bowfin.
    In the process I learned that globally, salt and fresh, there are ~100 different fish called dogfish, very few of them related to one another or even very similar.

  4. Thanks for the link, Hat! It has encouraged me to chase up a question that has long interested me – whewther other languages have a preferred initial consonant for bird names, the way Māori does with “k”. That list does not quite give the full picture, because it includes many less common birds. In everyday speech, one gets the impression that practically every Māori bird name starts with “k”, and I think it could be interesting to find out if other languages have anything similar.

  5. A.J.P. Crown says:

    ‘Dogfish’ is just the fish’s equivalent of ‘dude’, John. But we have a very tasty and common, but not cheap, bottom feeder called steinbit which is translated as ‘wolf-fish’. Jamessal knows and likes wolf-fish, he told me.

  6. Stuart,
    I’m not sure if it has anything specifically to do with Māori, but you might be interested in a paper by Robert Blust on “Historical morphology and the spirit world: The *qali/kali- prefixes in Austronesian languages” in Issues in Austronesian Morphology: A Focusschrift for Byron W. Bender, ed. by Joel Bradshaw and Kenneth L. Rehg (Canberra: Pacific Linguistics, 2001), pp. 15-73.

  7. A.J.P. Crown says:

    Avibase doesn’t give the Norwegian, only the Swedish. If he can do Icelandic and Catalan, you’d think he could manage Norwegian. Do they even have birds in Iceland?

  8. A.J.P, he is calling for volunteers to translate the site into foreign languages. Maybe Norwegians are busier than Swedes or Icelanders 🙂 Please feel free to step right up and volunteer.

  9. A.J.P. Crown says:

    Aha, hoist by my own Petard. Indeed, Norwegians are the busiest Scandinavian nation. I understand there are some Danes who aren’t doing anything.

  10. marie-lucie says:

    preferred initial consonant for bird names, the way Māori does with “k”
    According to the list, the majority of bird names start with t or with k, and occasionally with other consonants. Among the k-initial words (which are only slightly more numerous than the t- words), a fair number appear to start with a prefix ka- followed by a reduplicated (repeating) form, so those are probably descriptive words (one of them is said to mean “green”, perhaps literally “ka-green”), so ka- might not necessarily refer to birds per se. One thing to keep in mind when researching bird words is that since most birds have a distinctive cry, their names are often formed or derived from that cry, as in English chickadee and others, so it is not surprising to see cuckoo as ka-koekoe.
    I read the “kali/qali” article some time ago. It deals with Austronesian languages in general, and as such, must have Māori examples. This prefix is very common in words designating insects and other small animals, so birds might be included.

  11. Perhaps it’s like how, in French-derived creoles, all count nouns begin with l and all mass nouns with d.

  12. marie-lucie says:

    JC, maybe, but the reason for the l/d alternation in creoles come from the French articles, which are grammatical words. In Austronesian the prefixes in question probably had a lexical meaning, not a grammatical meaning.
    Compare in English the grammatical suffixes such as plural -s to what appear to be lexical suffixes like -wear as in footwear or ware as in silverware. Those words are technically compounds, but the second element us increasingly used as a type of suffix: wear considered as a noun in these compounds is not at all the same as in the wear and tear, and it is not used as a separate noun: as far as I know, nobody talks about buying new wear, or about the wear industry, for instance.

  13. It just takes Norwegians several times as long to perform the simplest task.

  14. It just takes Norwegians several times as long to perform the simplest task.

  15. A.J.P. Crown says:

    I can imagine putting on Ibsen in Minneapolis in nynorsk. We give headphone translations for those of you who only know nynorsk from detective thrillers. We can say anything we damn well like in those translations, we’ll say it’s an Ingmar Bergman production…

  16. As you note, a spunky and idiosyncratic glossary but very cool. Its all-on-one-page presentation, however, managed to crash my browser. Sigh.
    As for Icelandic brids, yes, they do exist and how — including such beauties as harlequin ducks, eiders, ptarmigans, and gyrfalcons:
    http://www3.hi.is/~yannk/index-eng.html

  17. Thanks for the comments, marie-lucie. I had known there were so many Māori bird names starting with “t”, although by my count there are 50% more that start with “k”. Your suggestion of onomatopeia seems eminently sensible. As it’s it’s not entirely off-topic, I’d like to quickly celebrate two pieces of very good news involving the letters “k” and “t” – the kākāpō population has hit the ton and tuatara have bred “in the wild” on the mainland for the first time in at least two hundred years.

  18. Hamsun lived in Mpls. and bummed around the area and absolutely hated it. How an apprentice ropemaker ever got to be as snobby as Hamsun I don’t know.
    Hamsun was fond of Mark Twain and other American humorists, but dislied most of the rest of American culture. Joyce learned stream-of-consciousness writing from Hamsun, of course — the “reading Ibsen” claim was just a cover story. It was via Hamsun that Joyce became familiar with Twain, and the rest is history.

  19. Hamsun lived in Mpls. and bummed around the area and absolutely hated it. How an apprentice ropemaker ever got to be as snobby as Hamsun I don’t know.
    Hamsun was fond of Mark Twain and other American humorists, but dislied most of the rest of American culture. Joyce learned stream-of-consciousness writing from Hamsun, of course — the “reading Ibsen” claim was just a cover story. It was via Hamsun that Joyce became familiar with Twain, and the rest is history.

  20. marie-lucie says:

    Stuart, my suggestion of onomatopeia is hardly original, this has been observed in many studies of vocabulary. But many bird names also have to do with other features, such as colour, or the bird’s habits, and of course if the names are very old their origin might be quite obscure. The kali/qali article cited earlier might be interesting to you as it has a huge number of examples from many languages.

  21. I noticed that the recommended pronunciation of “Jacana” is given as YA-SA-NA, which led me to a wild-jacana chase around the Internet. This revealed that Jacana can be pronounced at least four ways.
    According to “Dr. Language Person’s Guide to Bird Name Pronunciations” (http://www.birds.cornell.edu/crows/birdname.htm):
    “I can almost guarantee you that you will be corrected on the pronunciation of this name, no matter HOW you pronounce it. I don’t think I have EVER heard anyone pronounce it “correctly” as the dictionary lists it. Terres gives four pronunciations, two as “many American ornithologists” do it: jah-KON-ah, Yah-sah-NAH; and two dictionary pronunciations: Zha-sah-NAH, JAK-ah-nah. Then he proceeds to pronounce the family jah-CAN-ih-dee. ”

  22. A.J.P. Crown says:

    What do you think about his work in view of his having been a Nazi? I mean, I think he really was one, he wasn’t just a bit grumpy. I’ve been to Kjærringøy, in northern Norway, the island where he’s from and where he set Pan and a bunch of other stuff. This is a photo of the Sirilund, the trading post there, which is still as it was when he lived there. It is an incredibly beautiful place, Kjærringøy, it’s just north of Bodø. If you look at the Comments on this picture, where it says ‘Dorthin will ich im Dezember 07 umziehen’, it reminded me of my friend who is from Lofoten, who told me that Germans were always visiting in the summer to see the places they’d been during the war (and later on burnt to the ground). Many younger Germans go up there nowadays, still.

  23. A.J.P. Crown says:

    (It’s Wagner, of course, if you look at that last picture.)

  24. I like Hamsun’s writing better than I like Wagner’s music or Pound’s poetry, so I give him a pass on that. I just pretend it didn’t happen.

  25. I like Hamsun’s writing better than I like Wagner’s music or Pound’s poetry, so I give him a pass on that. I just pretend it didn’t happen.

  26. What do you think about his work in view of his having been a Nazi? I mean, I think he really was one
    No, he really wasn’t one, if by “really being a Nazi” you mean “being a member of the Nazi party,” which is the only sensible thing it could mean (though he may have been a member of Nasjonal Samling, the allied Norwegian party). But yes, he was in complete sympathy with Quisling, and yes, he sent his Nobel Prize medal to Goebbels as a gift and met with Hitler, and yes, all of that is extremely repellent today. On the other hand, he didn’t personally do any harm, any more than did Ezra Pound, with his equally repellent views, and he was unquestionably a great writer, and I reject any rejection of writers on account of their political views. Maybe if we knew all about Homer’s life, we’d find his politics equally repugnant (as I find Plato’s, for instance, and had he lived in the last century I’d bet money he’d have supported one of the totalitarianisms on offer); would that make him less of a poet?
    In a sense, Hamsun simply lived too long. He was a Germanophile all his life, as were many people who grew up in the late 19th century, when Germany was a leader in just about every sphere of human activity. Like many Germanophiles, he supported Germany in WWI (as did, for instance, Marina Tsvetaeva, whose own country was being overrun by Germany), and by the time Hitler came along he was in his 70s and unlikely to start revising the intellectual habits of a lifetime. He saw Germany as the culmination of everything great in human civilization; it’s hard for us to appreciate that point of view, looking back across the wreckage of the 20th century, but it was as clear to him as the sun rising in the east. And after all, the Norwegians, who had most reason to despise him, did no more than toss him in the loony bin for a while and fine him. I’m fine with fining him, so to speak, in our posthumous regard, but not with sending him to cultural Siberia. I’d trade T.S. Eliot for Hamsun any day.

  27. There was substantial pro–German sentiment in Minnesota during WWI, though it was suppressed, and a lot more neutralist sentiment. WWI was one of the stupidest, most long-term destructive, most completely unnecessary wars in world history, and I more or less agree with the neutralists (and the anti-war Europeans, who were also silenced or marginalized).
    People read back from Hitler to Kaiser Wilhelm, but in WWII most of the resident Jews (except for the Communists and pacifists among them) enthusiastically supported the Axis, and at that time Jews as a group were more influential and successful in Austria, Hungary, and Germany than they were in any of the Allied nations.
    This is getting far afield, but my belief is that WWII was the last gasp of WWI, and that 1914 was the real turning point of civilization. Ever since then, Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia, unless it’s always been at war with Eurasia, and I don’t see that ever changing.
    May Language Hat return to its wonted apolitical groove, however, and may God forgive me for this post.

  28. There was substantial pro–German sentiment in Minnesota during WWI, though it was suppressed, and a lot more neutralist sentiment. WWI was one of the stupidest, most long-term destructive, most completely unnecessary wars in world history, and I more or less agree with the neutralists (and the anti-war Europeans, who were also silenced or marginalized).
    People read back from Hitler to Kaiser Wilhelm, but in WWII most of the resident Jews (except for the Communists and pacifists among them) enthusiastically supported the Axis, and at that time Jews as a group were more influential and successful in Austria, Hungary, and Germany than they were in any of the Allied nations.
    This is getting far afield, but my belief is that WWII was the last gasp of WWI, and that 1914 was the real turning point of civilization. Ever since then, Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia, unless it’s always been at war with Eurasia, and I don’t see that ever changing.
    May Language Hat return to its wonted apolitical groove, however, and may God forgive me for this post.

  29. A.J.P. Crown says:

    Language: I’m fine with fining him, …but not with sending him to cultural Siberia.
    Pete: May Language Hat return to its wonted apolitical groove
    Yes, I agree that there is little to be gained by judging artists by their politics, but that’s very different from saying that their politics are always uninteresting (ok, Language didn’t say that). If you put aside the ancients, Nietzsche is an example of an artist with political views (not party-political, but politics in its broadest sense, regarding German nationalism, democracy, religion and so on) that are useful to know about when you read him, and there would be very little left to say about Orwell if we were obliged to ignore his politics and the political context of the time he wrote in. The same goes for lots of twentieth century writers, though pretty clearly not all.
    Therefore my question (What do you think about Hamsun’s work in view of his having been a Nazi?) still stands, though you may not be able to answer it, I know I can’t. By the way, if we learned anything from Joe MacCarthy and the HUAC it is that having a party membership is not the point when it comes to inquiring about people’s politics.

  30. Orwell did write mostly about politics itself and what I guess you’d call meta-politics or the discourse of politics — how we talk about politics, how political actors talk. Whereas Hamsun didn’t.
    It is interesting to compare Orwell’s political activity with his writings. You can see a constant learning process, and some of the sins Orwell denounced in his famous works were sins he himself had committed as a journalist (though not as egregiously as the CP hacks had.)
    Nietzsche’s politics seems to consist of the denunciation of all the politics actually-existing in his own time — radicalism, nationalism, Communism, anarchism, liberalism, Christian Conservativism. He only seems to have respected some of the Italian Renaissance princes, some of the Greeks, and some of the Romans.

  31. Orwell did write mostly about politics itself and what I guess you’d call meta-politics or the discourse of politics — how we talk about politics, how political actors talk. Whereas Hamsun didn’t.
    It is interesting to compare Orwell’s political activity with his writings. You can see a constant learning process, and some of the sins Orwell denounced in his famous works were sins he himself had committed as a journalist (though not as egregiously as the CP hacks had.)
    Nietzsche’s politics seems to consist of the denunciation of all the politics actually-existing in his own time — radicalism, nationalism, Communism, anarchism, liberalism, Christian Conservativism. He only seems to have respected some of the Italian Renaissance princes, some of the Greeks, and some of the Romans.

  32. More on Orwell at my URL.

  33. More on Orwell at my URL.

  34. A.J.P. Crown says:

    I should have mentioned Diana Mitford (aka Diana Guinness, Diana Mosley). She’s a great example of a very committed nazi who was extremely intelligent and interesting to read. I read a while ago the letters of the Mitford sisters and decided that Diana was the one I would have liked to have met. (I did actually meet Jessica once, briefly, at a reading from one of her books, in Berkeley).

  35. A.J.P. Crown says:

    Nietzsche’s politics seems to consist of the denunciation of all the politics actually-existing in his own time
    Yes, good for him, I agree, there was much to denounce. Imagine living with all those Hegelians.

  36. marie-lucie says:

    Thank you for the link, JE, and for your enlightening comments there.

  37. Savitra Devi.
    A friend of mine says that Nazis and ex-Nazis (rather than neo-Nazis) played a major role in the development of American New Age spirituality (e.g. the Aquarian foundation). He had grown up in NYC’s German neighborhood (Staten Island??) and had met some of the principals via one of their sons. But he moved and I lost touch with him.
    New Age spirituality, with all due respect and present company excepted, is not the least of the Nazi crimes.

  38. Savitra Devi.
    A friend of mine says that Nazis and ex-Nazis (rather than neo-Nazis) played a major role in the development of American New Age spirituality (e.g. the Aquarian foundation). He had grown up in NYC’s German neighborhood (Staten Island??) and had met some of the principals via one of their sons. But he moved and I lost touch with him.
    New Age spirituality, with all due respect and present company excepted, is not the least of the Nazi crimes.

  39. Siganus Sutor says:

    Avibase, an amazingly comprehensive bird site
    Some individuals know more about Fishbase than Avibase, Wakį́yą knows why.

  40. zythophile says:

    WWII was the last gasp of WWI, and … 1914 was the real turning point of civilization
    This really, really isn’t the right forum for this discussion, but I can’t let you get away with that, John – the Second World War was Round Three (at least) of a fight that went right back to (at least) 1870 and the Franco-Prussian War/founding of the Second Reich. And the turning-point (if there was one) was when the Germans finally realised trying to take on the rest of Europe/the world wasn’t going to work and agree to join the French in the EU …

  41. A.J.P. Crown says:

    Yes, wasn’t that guy Joseph Campbell — he of the red plaid shirt & hours & hours of Bill Moyers programs — somehow connected to that? I don’t want to go around calling people nasties when they weren’t, however.

  42. The Franco-Prussian War was the starting point, but it was a small war even for the few (two) countries involved. WWI was a major calamity involving everyone everywhere.
    By the France and Germany joined the EU, they were medium-size regional powers. It was a good thing for Europe, but it didn’t change the world. The US will be at war with Eastasia or Eurasia or someone as long as it survives. Right now, Mideastia.

  43. The Franco-Prussian War was the starting point, but it was a small war even for the few (two) countries involved. WWI was a major calamity involving everyone everywhere.
    By the France and Germany joined the EU, they were medium-size regional powers. It was a good thing for Europe, but it didn’t change the world. The US will be at war with Eastasia or Eurasia or someone as long as it survives. Right now, Mideastia.

  44. there would be very little left to say about Orwell if we were obliged to ignore his politics and the political context of the time he wrote in.
    If that’s true, and I’m not sure it is, it would be a devastating critique of him as a writer.

  45. As for the Endless War, of course it’s impossible to make firm judgments about these things, but I tend to agree with JE that WWI and WWII were a continuum, whereas the Franco-Prussian War was just another, relatively minor, step in Prussia’s relentless military expansionism—it certainly needn’t have led to a worldwide catastrophe.

  46. marie-lucie says:

    JE: Savitri Devi, New Age spirituality:
    I guess my horizons have been very limited: I was not familiar with all these people although I recognized a few names, and in just a little browsing on Wiki I am astonished and appalled at discovering all this stuff. I know some people who claim to be “New Age” and they are not in any way connected with Nazi ideas in any shape of form. But I feel I have just been drenched in a cold shower.

  47. A.J.P. Crown says:

    Having recently done “the causes of WW1” with my daughter, for her homework, I was interested to see that a full European war only became inevitable because of all the alliances that had been set up in order to prevent war: so if a Serb shot an Austrian and they retaliated, then the Russians had to protect the Serbs and the Germans then had to help the Austrians and the French had to help the Russians and the British had to help the French because of the Entente Cordiale. All the other stuff about the Germans not having any outlet for their industrial production, and French revenge for 1871, they didn’t make war inevitable or worldwide in its scale.
    When the French and Germans founded the EU in 1956, or whenever it was, the subject was free trade — particularly related to coal and steel production (Britain wouldn’t join). All the stuff about peace and love came later and has always been subservient to trade, in my opinion (but I’m often wrong about these things).

  48. marie-lucie says:

    WWI and WWII were a continuum
    My father (in France) felt that they were indeed a continuum, and that the troubles in Germany and the subsequent rise of Hitler would not have occurred if the Allies in WWI had not tried to crush and humiliate Germany.
    The war of 1870 between France and Germany was started on the flimsiest of pretexts, when Bismarck (wanting to provoke a war) falsified a diplomatic document to make Napoleon III (not the smartest of rulers) believe that France had been insulted. From then on Germany became the “hereditary enemy”, a role which until then had been England’s.

  49. A.J.P. Crown says:

    If that’s true, and I’m not sure it is, it would be a devastating critique of him as a writer
    No it’s not. If you reads any account of what he was like at school or as a child, he was someone who argued the whole time about everything.* That was his personality. His most singular claim as a writer is in the stuff about colonialism or totalitarianism or war or simply poverty, The Art of Donald McGill is fun, but peripheral.
    *I can’t remember who it is I’m thinking of, actually. It may have been Cyril Connolly, but I think there was also a girl, a family friend of around his own age, who said this.

  50. I agree with Kruunu, even though he is Norwegian. Orwell’s topic was politics. And as a novelist otherwise — “Keep the Aspidastra Flying” — he’s forgettable. (In fact, I think I’ve read that book, but don’t remember for sure; in either case, I’ve forgotten the book itself.).

  51. I agree with Kruunu, even though he is Norwegian. Orwell’s topic was politics. And as a novelist otherwise — “Keep the Aspidastra Flying” — he’s forgettable. (In fact, I think I’ve read that book, but don’t remember for sure; in either case, I’ve forgotten the book itself.).

  52. I’ve read scattered accounts of the beginning of WWI. One horrifying thing was the silly glee with which much of the public welcomed the war, for a range of silly reasons. But the more horrifying thing was a detailed explanation of how, once the Austrians started to mobilize, an all-European war was inevitable. Mobilization (sending troops to the front) was costly and laborious and took months, and backing down at any point would be humiliating and materially damaging, both domestically and internationally. And once Austria and Russia were at war, everyone was obliged to join in.
    American opposition to WWI was based mostly on objections to “entangling alliances” obligating the US to enter into wars it was not really a party to, and I think that the opposition was correct.

  53. I’ve read scattered accounts of the beginning of WWI. One horrifying thing was the silly glee with which much of the public welcomed the war, for a range of silly reasons. But the more horrifying thing was a detailed explanation of how, once the Austrians started to mobilize, an all-European war was inevitable. Mobilization (sending troops to the front) was costly and laborious and took months, and backing down at any point would be humiliating and materially damaging, both domestically and internationally. And once Austria and Russia were at war, everyone was obliged to join in.
    American opposition to WWI was based mostly on objections to “entangling alliances” obligating the US to enter into wars it was not really a party to, and I think that the opposition was correct.

  54. And WTF is wrong with arguing all the time about everything, Kruunu? Jeez.

  55. And WTF is wrong with arguing all the time about everything, Kruunu? Jeez.

  56. A.J.P. Crown says:

    I agree with Kruunu, even though he is Norwegian.
    Thank god for that, I was beginning to doubt what I was saying.
    I’d love to know what would have happened if the United States hadn’t entered WW1 and the Germans had won (they had an offensive in the spring of 1918 that was nearly successful). What then? Huh?
    The best book I’ve read on WW1 (although it’s from a mainly British perspective) is The First World War by John Keegan.

  57. A.J.P. Crown says:

    I don’t like to argue, John. Not in my nature. Not really polite.

  58. I’m more interested in what would have happened if the war hadn’t taken place, and what the circumstances were, if any, in which a World War might have been prevented.
    I will say that European culture 1880-1940 was weirder and sicker than anything the world has seen since. It makes the American Sixties look like a Sunday School picnic. Half the great thinkers of the period thought of suicide as a goal.
    Not merely permissible, which I agree it is, but as second best only to heroic accomplishments, or to the authorship of immortal works of literature, science, or philosophy.

  59. I’m more interested in what would have happened if the war hadn’t taken place, and what the circumstances were, if any, in which a World War might have been prevented.
    I will say that European culture 1880-1940 was weirder and sicker than anything the world has seen since. It makes the American Sixties look like a Sunday School picnic. Half the great thinkers of the period thought of suicide as a goal.
    Not merely permissible, which I agree it is, but as second best only to heroic accomplishments, or to the authorship of immortal works of literature, science, or philosophy.

  60. Kruunu is a horrible, horrible person. If I’d only know this at the beginning.

  61. Kruunu is a horrible, horrible person. If I’d only know this at the beginning.

  62. A.J.P. Crown says:

    There was something I remember in the Keegan book, about how the Kaiser tried to prevent the war from happening. He sent telegrams to the Tsar and George V, but it was too late. It was during the six-weeks’ mobilization that was governed by European railway timetables — getting all the Austrian boys over to the French border.

  63. A.J.P. Crown says:

    what the circumstances were, if any, in which a World War might have been prevented
    If America hadn’t been in isolationist mood, maybe. The one thing that fucked up the immediate WW1 post-war period, besides the reparations demands of the Treaty of Versailles, was that Wilson couldn’t get America to join the League of Nations, so it was back to square one with the same potential balance of power.

  64. A.J.P. Crown says:

    Oops, dinner time.

  65. Actually I was talking about avoiding WWI, not WWII. Enjoy your rutabagas and kelp.

  66. Actually I was talking about avoiding WWI, not WWII. Enjoy your rutabagas and kelp.

  67. Having recently done “the causes of WW1” with my daughter, for her homework, I was interested to see that a full European war only became inevitable because of all the alliances that had been set up in order to prevent war
    It still wasn’t inevitable. It took luck and hard work for the warmongers to get it going. One thing most people don’t know is that it was essentially two consecutive wars, a limited Austro-Serbian war which almost instantly segued into and was subsumed by a German-Russian war (which is what the warmongers, like Moltke the Younger, wanted, and soon, before Russia became too strong to defeat), which inevitably drew in all the other powers. The Germans secretly encouraged the Austrians to respond vigorously to the assassination of the archduke, promising them support, then when the troops started moving demanded that they forget about Serbia and join in the attack on Russia. David Fromkin lays this out nicely in Europe’s Last Summer, though it’s a somewhat breezy and popular work—if you really want to go into all this you need to read Sidney Fay’s superb The Origins of the World War (and other document-filled compilations, like Albertini’s The Origins of the War of 1914).
    the Kaiser tried to prevent the war from happening. He sent telegrams to the Tsar and George V, but it was too late.
    Meaningless. The Kaiser wanted peace, in his confused and emotional way (belied and undermined by his outward hotheaded belligerence), but he had no more interest in overruling his generals and ministers than did Tsar Nicholas; he seems to have been unaware that it was his own foreign office that was undermining his desire for peace, but in any case, sentimental personal appeals were irrelevant to the course of events.

  68. (I’m not sure how we got to this from bird names, and it’s far removed from the focus of LH, but I sure do love arguing about the causes of WWI!)

  69. [If that’s true, and I’m not sure it is, it would be a devastating critique of him as a writer]
    No it’s not. If you reads any account of what he was like at school or as a child, he was someone who argued the whole time about everything.* That was his personality. His most singular claim as a writer is in the stuff about colonialism or totalitarianism or war or simply poverty
    I’m not sure you took my point. I was not saying that writing about politics is inherently minor, I was saying that if it’s true that “there would be very little left to say about Orwell if we were obliged to ignore his politics and the political context of the time he wrote in,” then he is by my definition a minor writer. A good writer is a good writer whatever the subject. I don’t care about boxing, but I’m happy to read Liebling on boxing; I love Down and Out in London and Paris for reasons that have nothing to do with Orwell’s politics.

  70. A.J.P. Crown says:

    A good writer is a good writer whatever the subject.
    Yeah, you’re talking about craft, I’m talking about whether it’s interesting to read. Good writers don’t write about boring stuff. I absolutely hate that pathetic Roger Angel who writes endless boring pieces about fucking baseball. He’s not a good writer just because of his mother, or whatever it is, and he’s certainly not a good writer because he likes baseball. Ugh.

  71. A.J.P. Crown says:

    You are way too focussed on the war with Russia, in my opinion, and given your interests that’s not surprising. Also it’s something that is usually completely ignored in W. Europe, so that is a good thing to emphasise. HOWEVER, there was the Western Front where millions died, as well as the Dardenelles, where my sixteen-year-old great-uncle fought (he held the horses, he told me). And the various other Ottoman regions of influence and occupation. The latter we (you) are still fighting today, a hundred years later, for god’s sake. You really lucked out with President Obama. Gotta go and eat.

  72. AJP, I fear you have Issues.

  73. That was a response to your baseball rant, not the WWI comment. But in what sense am I “way too focussed on the war with Russia”? Are you under the impression that the Germans and/or Austrians were itching to go to war with the French and British? Hint: They weren’t. I’ve read a great deal about the war, and I know all about the massacres of the Western Front, thank you, but we’re talking about the origins of the war, which had everything to do with Germany and Russia and nothing to do with Britain and France.

  74. And nothing to do with the Ottomans, either, who were dragged in after the fact.

  75. New Age spirituality, with all due respect and present company excepted, is not the least of the Nazi crimes.
    IME, pagans, or rather neo-pagans are not particularly interested in politics. On the other hand, Nazis, or neo Nazis seem to be very interested in spirituality, or at least its symbolism and the uses that symbolism can be put to. Don’t forget the swastika is a very old sun worship symbol. The people who do historical reenacting for any length of time become aware of them and are concerned about how to keep them from discrediting an organization. For some reason they are attracted to Odin. There was a writer named Stephen Flowers (possibly a pseudonym) who supposedly wrote about historical Viking symbolism whose book turned out to have a lot of neo-nazi material in it. Several Viking reenators saw it and were creeped out by it. I’ve never seen the stuff he considered to be Viking published anywhere else. You would think there would be photographs, museums exhibits, etc if it was genuine.

  76. What were the chances that the war ever would have remained a simple Austro-Serbian war? It only got serious when the Russians came in, but what were the chances that they wouldn’t?
    Once the Russians were in, as I understand, it was clockwork.

  77. What were the chances that the war ever would have remained a simple Austro-Serbian war? It only got serious when the Russians came in, but what were the chances that they wouldn’t?
    Once the Russians were in, as I understand, it was clockwork.

  78. People talk about tripwires in this context. Tripwires were set up to make the cost of going to war greater. Pretty soon the whole continent was tripwired. The result was that the disaster, once it was begun (was not deterred by the tripwires) was much larger than it would have been.
    Were Austria-Serbia-Russia tripwired in some way?

  79. People talk about tripwires in this context. Tripwires were set up to make the cost of going to war greater. Pretty soon the whole continent was tripwired. The result was that the disaster, once it was begun (was not deterred by the tripwires) was much larger than it would have been.
    Were Austria-Serbia-Russia tripwired in some way?

  80. Wasn’t the whole continent at peace for ages because of the way Queen Victoria arranged her grandchildrens’ marriages?

  81. There were also secret mutual assistance treaties in case of attack by another party, but I’m not sure what era.

  82. Given the original theme of Hat’s post, and the detour the commenhts took, I’m surprised that no one has yet cited Godwit’s Law.

  83. What were the chances that the war ever would have remained a simple Austro-Serbian war?
    Well, nil, obviously, but the point is that the Austrians didn’t realize that, their brains having been softened by years of waltzes and excessively lush desserts.

  84. And poor old Franz Josef was, what, 150 years old by then? You can’t expect him to have been on top of things.

  85. I’m surprised that no one has yet cited Godwit’s Law.
    Heh. The Uferschnepfegesetz (as the Germans call it) says that as a bird-related discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving the First World War approaches 1.

  86. Some of the things I’ve read recently about the A-H-E / Dual Monarchy / HRE develop a systematic polarity between the pastries / waltzes / adultery / operettas on the one hand, and the angst / nihilism / expressionism etc. on the other.
    Imagine Trakl or Wittgenstein in a cafe — watching to a Lehar operetta, eating an enormous, decadently delicious pastry, and flirting with rosy-cheeked society ladies in revealing, frilly dresses.

  87. Some of the things I’ve read recently about the A-H-E / Dual Monarchy / HRE develop a systematic polarity between the pastries / waltzes / adultery / operettas on the one hand, and the angst / nihilism / expressionism etc. on the other.
    Imagine Trakl or Wittgenstein in a cafe — watching to a Lehar operetta, eating an enormous, decadently delicious pastry, and flirting with rosy-cheeked society ladies in revealing, frilly dresses.

  88. Or both of them at once. Which one is the wing man? Trakl, probably.
    Herr Wittgenstein, what is your favorite torte? Do you happen to know what kinds of Torte the other members of the Wiener Kreis prefer? I know that Herr Popper is too lowborn to associate with, but could you send an intermediary to ascertain which kind of tirte is his favorite?
    [I could go on for hours. Just shoot me].

  89. Or both of them at once. Which one is the wing man? Trakl, probably.
    Herr Wittgenstein, what is your favorite torte? Do you happen to know what kinds of Torte the other members of the Wiener Kreis prefer? I know that Herr Popper is too lowborn to associate with, but could you send an intermediary to ascertain which kind of tirte is his favorite?
    [I could go on for hours. Just shoot me].

  90. This may seem presumptuous, Herr Wittgenstein, but perhaps your circle could create and market a unique Weiner Kreis Torte in order to fund your philosophical enterprises. And maybe your friend Herr [some composer Wittgenstein hated less than Mahler] could write a delightful waltz to go with it, which would advertise your scrumptious torte to anyone who heard it.

  91. This may seem presumptuous, Herr Wittgenstein, but perhaps your circle could create and market a unique Weiner Kreis Torte in order to fund your philosophical enterprises. And maybe your friend Herr [some composer Wittgenstein hated less than Mahler] could write a delightful waltz to go with it, which would advertise your scrumptious torte to anyone who heard it.

  92. It’s your fault for not shooting me. I can’t stand it. My brain is exploding.
    How was Heidegger on tortes, waltzes, operettas, and frilly decollatage? He was Prussian, right, so maybe we could do a comparative study going, or put tohgether a variety plate with Kierkegaard’s and Sartre’s favorite pastries too.

  93. It’s your fault for not shooting me. I can’t stand it. My brain is exploding.
    How was Heidegger on tortes, waltzes, operettas, and frilly decollatage? He was Prussian, right, so maybe we could do a comparative study going, or put tohgether a variety plate with Kierkegaard’s and Sartre’s favorite pastries too.

  94. I think the Prussians frowned on tortes, waltzes, operettas, and frilly decollatage. That’s why they mopped the floor with Austria in 1866.

  95. A.J.P. Crown says:

    You know, about Austria, Wittgenstein didn’t leave Austria because of the WW1. Quite the opposite. He left Austria to study mechanical engineering (i.e. ductwork) in Manchester. He actually RETURNED to Austria for WW1, the silly boy. Then he went back to study with Russell & co in Cambridge. But don’t think it was WW1 that ruined everything. No. Mahler died in 1911 and that was after he’d been conductor of the NY opera or whatever it was for several years. And Freud never left until 1938. Nor did Adolf Loos. Karl Kraus actually got his supposedly greatest work, Die letzten Tage der Menschheit, out of WW1. So I don’t really know what you guys are complaining about regarding the Austrians. Considering the preexisting state of the place, they got off easy. Sure it was bad for the Russians, but everything is always bad for the Russians.

  96. Sure it was bad for the Russians, but everything is always bad for the Russians.
    With a deliriously upbeat title like “Die letzten Tage der Menschheit” for his greatest work, it certainly doesn’t sound like Kraus’s life was one big tortenvalz.

  97. A.J.P. Crown says:

    And of course part of the origin of WW1 is in the rivalry between Britain and Germany, Language. What are you, nuts? Haven’t you read The Riddle of The Sands? Does the name Dreadnought ring a bell? Have you heard of the British Empire?
    Alma & I got an ‘A’ on the origins of WW1, thank you very much.

  98. A.J.P. Crown says:
  99. According to Ludwig, Mahler himself, personally together with his complete works, represented the utter collapse of western civilization and should just go shoot himself.
    The only completely accurate part of that paraphrase was “should just go shoot himself.”. Ludwig was a hard man. Hard, but fair. When he was fair, at least. But always hard.

  100. According to Ludwig, Mahler himself, personally together with his complete works, represented the utter collapse of western civilization and should just go shoot himself.
    The only completely accurate part of that paraphrase was “should just go shoot himself.”. Ludwig was a hard man. Hard, but fair. When he was fair, at least. But always hard.

  101. A.J.P. Crown says:

    You must mean the casus belli.

  102. By the time Mahler was instructed to shoot himself, it was too late to burn his works because they’d already been published.
    I seem to remember that Wittgenstein called for Mahler’s suicide after M. was already dead. How like a philosopher!

  103. By the time Mahler was instructed to shoot himself, it was too late to burn his works because they’d already been published.
    I seem to remember that Wittgenstein called for Mahler’s suicide after M. was already dead. How like a philosopher!

  104. A.J.P. Crown says:

    Look, Wittgenstein was a great guy. He liked Norway, I respect his opinions on matters of philosophy and sizing air-conditioning ductwork — and he liked Norway, as I say — but why should I give a monkey’s what he thought about Mahler? I like Mahler, that’s what counts.

  105. You know, I now mistrust my Mahler-Wittgenstein story. I occasionally remember things that happened in dreams.
    Another thing to worry about, and the Wiener Kreis Torte Walz is constantly running through my head already.
    Nietzsche had a fondness for a certain kind of hard sausage, but I can’t remember the name. I wonder if they still make it.

  106. You know, I now mistrust my Mahler-Wittgenstein story. I occasionally remember things that happened in dreams.
    Another thing to worry about, and the Wiener Kreis Torte Walz is constantly running through my head already.
    Nietzsche had a fondness for a certain kind of hard sausage, but I can’t remember the name. I wonder if they still make it.

  107. A.J.P. Crown says:

    His family probably didn’t like people who came from Mähren.

  108. A.J.P. Crown says:

    God, I had a terrible dream last night. I can’t remember what happened, so now I can repeat it. No, I don’t think you made that up.
    I don’t like hard sausauge, and I doubt that Nietzsche had much experience with good food, I’d trust Wittgenstein when it comes to food.
    Actually, there’s a woman I’ve mentioned before called Leslie Chamberlain who wrote a great book called Nietzsche in Turin, about his last year, but she’s also a cookery writer. She would know. You can email her. I did once, she’s very nice. She’s married to the former Czech ambassador in London.

  109. I have read that book, and it may be where I got the sausage reference. A good book with certain flaws, but I’m very lad I read it.

  110. I have read that book, and it may be where I got the sausage reference. A good book with certain flaws, but I’m very lad I read it.

  111. And of course part of the origin of WW1 is in the rivalry between Britain and Germany, Language. What are you, nuts?
    Oh, I’m almost certainly nuts (why else would I spend so much time doing this instead of earning money?), but I’m not that nuts. Sure, part of the origin is the rivalry between Britain and Germany, but I was talking about what was immediately responsible for the war—not the casus belli (which was the assassination of the Erzherzog), but the force that got the armies marching, which was Germany’s determination to crush Russia before it was too late, using Austria as a cat’s-paw. They could have fought the Brits any old time.

  112. So your theory was that the war was inevitable mostly because of the German strategic plan, and that the various details merely, at worst, exacerbated and intensified the war?
    Am I right, though, in thinking that once Russia responded to Austria, most of the rest was inivitable, except maybe America’s entry?
    Sounds like the whole goddamn world was tripwired, actually. Everyone all the way to Dutch Indonesia was signed on to support either Germany, or else Russia or someone else whom Germany would attack, and Germany was determined to attack Russia. (Or at least, everyone not signed on was fair game).
    Everything being relative, except for the nuclear weapons our world actually sounds saner.

  113. So your theory was that the war was inevitable mostly because of the German strategic plan, and that the various details merely, at worst, exacerbated and intensified the war?
    Am I right, though, in thinking that once Russia responded to Austria, most of the rest was inivitable, except maybe America’s entry?
    Sounds like the whole goddamn world was tripwired, actually. Everyone all the way to Dutch Indonesia was signed on to support either Germany, or else Russia or someone else whom Germany would attack, and Germany was determined to attack Russia. (Or at least, everyone not signed on was fair game).
    Everything being relative, except for the nuclear weapons our world actually sounds saner.

  114. Am I right, though, in thinking that once Russia responded to Austria, most of the rest was inevitable, except maybe America’s entry?
    Yes. At least, that’s the way I see it. I may be nuts.

  115. It’s like the smartest people in the world, and leaders of the world’s most efficient, best-organized states got together to figure out how they could work together to get the worst possible result, and triumphantly found the right answer to their question.

  116. It’s like the smartest people in the world, and leaders of the world’s most efficient, best-organized states got together to figure out how they could work together to get the worst possible result, and triumphantly found the right answer to their question.

  117. The “Wiener Kreis Torte Walz” is my idea, BTW. No stealing.

  118. The “Wiener Kreis Torte Walz” is my idea, BTW. No stealing.

  119. A.J.P. Crown says:

    I think in some cases they had peaceful intentions when they made their alliances, and, unlike with WW2, they had no precedent to be forewarned of the scale of the danger. What we can learn from history is that a potentially violent “deterrent” will not deter in all cases, and the consequence is that the violence will, in fact, be unleashed.
    You appear to have been very hungry yesterday, John. I do hope you’ve got food out there, otherwise we’ll airlift in some lutefisk and cases of fiskeboller in white sauce.

  120. Wilson also had peaceful intentions. Everyone had peaceful intentions! Though I think that there might have been people in the back rooms whose intentions were other than peaceful who successfully manipulated some of their stupid, peaceful leaders.
    The WWI era American isolationists look good to me at this point, not only as opponents of America’s entry into WWI but as analysts of the world system. They’re caricatured as dreamy, ignorant, moralistic hicks, but the people who need to be caricatured are the big Austrian, Russian, German, British, and French players. (In which order, I don’t know. Hat’s interpretation, which I cannot contest, seems to be that Germany is the perp, Russia the victim, and Austria the dupe.

  121. Wilson also had peaceful intentions. Everyone had peaceful intentions! Though I think that there might have been people in the back rooms whose intentions were other than peaceful who successfully manipulated some of their stupid, peaceful leaders.
    The WWI era American isolationists look good to me at this point, not only as opponents of America’s entry into WWI but as analysts of the world system. They’re caricatured as dreamy, ignorant, moralistic hicks, but the people who need to be caricatured are the big Austrian, Russian, German, British, and French players. (In which order, I don’t know. Hat’s interpretation, which I cannot contest, seems to be that Germany is the perp, Russia the victim, and Austria the dupe.

  122. A.J.P. Crown says:

    Yeah, well he would say that, wouldn’t he. But he’s only talking about the immediate causes, so he claims, and there were much worse-off victims later on — including Russia herself, of course. Austria got out of the whole thing amazingly well, considering. I blame David Marjanovic`.
    No one’s mentioned Italy. They batted for both sides in WW1.

  123. To this day Italian children sing songs about Italy’s heroic retreat from Caporetto.

  124. To this day Italian children sing songs about Italy’s heroic retreat from Caporetto.

  125. A.J.P. Crown says:

    Sorry, Dave. I fink I spelt your name wrong again. Sily me.

  126. there were much worse-off victims later on — including Russia herself, of course. Austria got out of the whole thing amazingly well, considering.
    All true, although losing 90% of your territory can be considered getting out of the whole thing amazingly well only by comparison with what Russia and Germany went through. But all those waltzes and tortes obviously had some benefits. Nobody takes you as seriously as they do the stern-faced types with the pointy helmets.

  127. The beginnings of an answer. Operetta, in fact, was a guilty pleasure for Schoenberg.
    Schoenberg’s mother-in-law Henriette Kolisch was famous for her 12-layered Dobosch Torte, which his daughter Nuria Nono still makes.

  128. The beginnings of an answer. Operetta, in fact, was a guilty pleasure for Schoenberg.
    Schoenberg’s mother-in-law Henriette Kolisch was famous for her 12-layered Dobosch Torte, which his daughter Nuria Nono still makes.

  129. Unifying the Dual Monarchy is my new mission. Tortes and Operettas on one side, Angst and Expressionism on the other. What is the unifying principle?

  130. Unifying the Dual Monarchy is my new mission. Tortes and Operettas on one side, Angst and Expressionism on the other. What is the unifying principle?

  131. For Freud it was the Sacher Torte at the Hotel Sacher Wien, built by the creator of the torte.

  132. For Freud it was the Sacher Torte at the Hotel Sacher Wien, built by the creator of the torte.

  133. Trakl may have said “Die Dinge selbst sind in den Strudel…” Behind a paywall at one of those horrible bloodsucking internet sites (Blackwell’s, in this case.)

  134. Trakl may have said “Die Dinge selbst sind in den Strudel…” Behind a paywall at one of those horrible bloodsucking internet sites (Blackwell’s, in this case.)

  135. I couldn’t find anything about Wittgenstein and pastries. Perhaps I should change my medication.

  136. I couldn’t find anything about Wittgenstein and pastries. Perhaps I should change my medication.

  137. A.J.P. Crown says:

    Yes, the Apfelstrudel was a logical outcome of the Council of Trent. It is still available at their cafeteria, apparently, but I couldn’t find it online. I think I’m right in saying that it’s a myth about the Sachertorte from the Hotel Sacher first coming, but I might be thinking of the Schwarzwälder Kirsch Torte. That I’m fairly confident they don’t even sell.
    I like the look of that Apfelstrudel.

  138. A.J.P. Crown says:

    If you look at the great man’s enormous head, always out of proportion to his slight form, you can see that this is not the body of a pastry chef. However I will search the web.

  139. Musil said that Austria’s strategic goal was to be the second-weakest of the great powers of Europe. I believe that the Ottomans were the weakest; I don’t see how it could have been any of the others.

  140. Musil said that Austria’s strategic goal was to be the second-weakest of the great powers of Europe. I believe that the Ottomans were the weakest; I don’t see how it could have been any of the others.

  141. “The Strudel That Lost Two World Wars:. Mmmmmm.

  142. “The Strudel That Lost Two World Wars:. Mmmmmm.

  143. A.J.P. Crown says:

    Here’s something from the Smithsonian Magazine, 2002:

    More than 50 years have passed since two philosophers squared off against each other at England’s Cambridge University. Wittgenstein had sent Karl Popper an invitation to discuss “some philosophical puzzle.” That got Popper’s goat. He had real problems on his mind, not puzzles. Wittgenstein insisted there were no real problems in philosophy, only the puzzling way philosophers talked about the world. Wittgenstein, picked up an iron poker from the fireplace and waved it at Popper. Or maybe he only waved it in the air for emphasis, as he shouted “Popper, you are wrong! You are wrong!” Taking the goat by its lead, Popper tried to escape upstairs to the King’s refectory, claiming he had left a piece of strudel there earlier — but Wittgenstein was adamant, “There will be no strudel for you this evening, my little friend, not until I have seen you thinking for yourself. What are the first two syllables of the word ‘philosophy’?” “Of course!” cried Popper. “Philo: It is a kind of dough, is it not?” But Wittgenstein had more universal fish to fry. In fact, he wanted philosophers to shut up about most of what matters in everyday life: ethics, aesthetics, nature, religion. “Pastry! This is the crux. It was right under our noses all the time, but all you would talk about was this empirical falsification, these equations, this critical rationalism of scientific method bullshit. I’m surrounded by idiots.”

    It goes on, but that’s the only part about pastries.

  144. That’s a valuable contribution, provided that you, or the Smithsonian, did not make it up out of the whole cloth.
    But if you did, no problem! I’ll still use it!

  145. That’s a valuable contribution, provided that you, or the Smithsonian, did not make it up out of the whole cloth.
    But if you did, no problem! I’ll still use it!

  146. A.J.P. Crown says:

    Bloody hell. No, of course I didn’t make it up. Not totally. It’s a sort of postmodern making up.

  147. I’ll call it “Kruunu’s strudel” for the moment and use it to introduce my Wittgenstein-Hitler-Popper narrative.

  148. I’ll call it “Kruunu’s strudel” for the moment and use it to introduce my Wittgenstein-Hitler-Popper narrative.

  149. When the movie millions roll in, I expect a facilitator’s cut.

  150. Considering how this all started, the movie could be called Return of the Birds: The Fuhrer’s Strudel.

  151. With Brad Pitt as the Fuhrer and Angelina Jolie as the Strudel.

  152. “My book could not have been written without the help of Mr. L. Hat, who provided the forum within which a supposed A.J.P. [unintelligible] provided with key facts of his own devise.”

  153. “My book could not have been written without the help of Mr. L. Hat, who provided the forum within which a supposed A.J.P. [unintelligible] provided with key facts of his own devise.”

  154. Down and Out in London and Paris
    Wonderful! Must read it again sometime. It reminds me of an early period in my own checkered life.
    Birds segues to wars? In “Story of Isaac” Leonard Cohen does it the other way around, with a transparent commentary on America’s persistent tendency to sacrifice its children when directed to by “high command”:

    Thought I saw an eagle
    but it might have been a vulture,
    I never could decide.

    And the end:

    When it all comes down to dust
    I will help you if I must,
    I will kill you if I can.
    And mercy on our uniform,
    man of peace or man of war,
    the peacock spreads his deadly fan.

    I couldn’t find anything about Wittgenstein and pastries.
    As this source remarks, Wittgenstein “did not care what he ate so long as it was always the same”.
    Operetta, in fact, was a guilty pleasure for Schoenberg.
    Wittgenstein on the other hand was seriously addicted to detective stories (including Agatha Christie’s), and had no wish to change his medication. Amiable anecdotes here and here.

  155. Goedel apparently did not regret Vienna. He did have severe bouts of depression or some similar problem, but he adjusted to America quite happily and preferred American pop music to Viennese. (It was actually a great age of pop, the end of the swing era. It’s a pity he didn’t thump some sense into Adorno.)
    The “indifferent to food” anecdote has been told about Chairman Mao, Wang Anshi (Chinese statesman and poet) and Henry David Thoreau.

  156. Goedel apparently did not regret Vienna. He did have severe bouts of depression or some similar problem, but he adjusted to America quite happily and preferred American pop music to Viennese. (It was actually a great age of pop, the end of the swing era. It’s a pity he didn’t thump some sense into Adorno.)
    The “indifferent to food” anecdote has been told about Chairman Mao, Wang Anshi (Chinese statesman and poet) and Henry David Thoreau.

  157. The “indifferent to food” anecdote …
    Also told about Julius Caesar, Thomas Hardy, and Stephen Foster.

  158. A whole book could be written.

  159. A whole book could be written.

  160. That was some pretty good dialog, AJP. It should be presented as one of the “4 plays in 4 minutes” at the International Hat Meetup and Boozeless Drinking Party.
    The tuba people upstairs have been extremely quiet since I played the first hour of a two-hour North American Union Bilderberg Conspiracy Video with a lot of scary low notes and clips from Rahm Emanuel’s speeches (while I was out at the library),— but I just now laughed out loud so hard they’re going to think I’m trying to reignite the Mariachi Wars.
    Which reminds me–it should be late enough now that I can get a booth and a wee margarita in the smoke-free environment over at Cocula’s; hopefully they’ll have some loud mariachi music.

  161. I can’t understand how a perfectly pleasant question about the pronunciation of jacana careered off onto a discussion on strudel.

  162. Strudel and torte. Did these two pastries define the two major trends within the Dual Monarchy? Tune in next week to find out.

  163. Strudel and torte. Did these two pastries define the two major trends within the Dual Monarchy? Tune in next week to find out.

  164. A.J.P. Crown says:

    Don’t law students spend a lot of time struggling with tortes?
    Chairman Mao didn’t get to look like that by being indifferent to food. Thoreau was nuts and berries, but just add chocolate and you’ve got a Sachertorte. If Wittgenstein went ‘Hot ziggety!’ for a piece of toast that’s not indifference to food, that’s a reaction to his upbringing. Of the Russians who came to England and became philosophers, Isaiah Berlin was addicted to blintzes*; so you can see that the pattern is not one of indifference.
    *(I made that up for my argument, John.)

  165. Karl Popper: milkshakes. That tells you everything.

  166. Karl Popper: milkshakes. That tells you everything.

  167. A.J.P. Crown says:

    With Brad Pitt as the Fuhrer and Angelina Jolie as the Strudel.
    This is another of those things like foxes and hedgehogs, or Alice and MMcM, isn’t it?
    Fuhrers vs Strudels.

  168. marie-lucie says:

    Very informative table of contents, JE.

  169. A.J.P. Crown says:

    Yes, you can tell Part Two is a real page turner.

  170. A.J.P. Crown says:

    …Fuhrers and strudels: Sure, they’re both vegetarian, but there’s a subtle difference.

  171. Noetica’s first source–was anyone else as amused as I was by the book’s title?:
    There are two errors in the the title of this book By Robert M. Martin

  172. A.J.P. Crown says:

    Not that original, but it looks like a fun book to have in the bathroom to get people interested in strudel and torte.

  173. A.J.P. Crown says:

    (I see strudel as being an Anglo-American dish and torte as Continental.)

  174. Trying to count the errors (isn’t there only one?… but wait, that’s the second error, so there are two errors after all, but wait, if there are two errors it’s not an error after all…) in the title reminds me of the pet rock that says on both sides, “how do you keep an idiot busy for hours (over)”. Maybe in a blog full of descriptivists, there is no such thing as an error.

  175. interested in strudel and torte
    They’re not in the low cholesterol zone, for sure. Did you see how the grease got smeared all over the thing? The video was interesting though, even if German annoys me. I don’t know how she can cook and not get the place all messy.
    But an Anglo-American dish? For anyone who used to watch Hogan’s Heroes, there can be nothing more German than Sergeant Schutze’s beloved strudel.

  176. A.J.P. Crown says:

    It’s all from Austria, but Anglo-Americans can like strudel. Poor old Dave Marjanovic` can’t eat Sachertorte or warm apple strudel, because of his hatred of fruit. So near, and yet …so far. I guess he has to stick with raindrops on roses and schnitzel with noodles, that and the linguistics.

  177. A.J.P. Crown says:

    Was it in this thread that Language said I have unresolved Issues because I hate Roger Angel? I don’t want it to slip by.*
    Roger Angel writes three-hundred-page nostalgic pieces in the New Yorker about the baseball ‘season’, dotted with irrelevant remarks about how he went to Harvard and Andover or some other prep-school. They are b o r i n g. He’s only in there because of his old-timey connections and no one wants to be the one who kicks him out. But that doesn’t mean I have to like his work.
    There, that’s resolved.
    *What about you and the Log People’s hatred of his stepfather? That surfaces about once a month, is that resolved? Poor old EB White, who wrote that nice pig & spider book Charlotte’s Web.

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