Tuesday January 27, 2009

This I Believe #35

...that Michio Kaku and Michiko Kakutani should get married, so they can go around being announced as Michio and Michiko Kaku-Kakutani.

I am The Tensor, and I approve this post.
05:03 PM in This I Believe | Comments (5) | Submit: | Links:

Friday September 26, 2008

This I Believe #34

...that in David Bowie's song "Dance Magic Dance" from the film Labyrinth, the part of the chorus that goes:

Dance magic, dance
...
Jump magic, jump

...should instead go:

Pants, magic pants
...
Junk, magic junk

Note the commas.  If you have no idea what I'm talking about, I can only suggest that you probably didn't see the movie on the big screen.  Boy, that was a lot of information about David Bowie.

(For those of you keeping track, yes, this the second "The I Believe" post in a row that's about the lyrics to David Bowie songs.  Will this trend continue?  No man can say...)

I am The Tensor, and I approve this post.
01:47 PM in This I Believe | Comments (8) | Submit: | Links:

Wednesday August 13, 2008

This I Believe #33

...that in David Bowie's "Ziggy Stardust", the phrase "making love with his ego" was intended to have an instrumental, rather than comitative or reciprocal, reading.

I am The Tensor, and I approve this post.
04:00 AM in This I Believe | Comments (3) | Submit: | Links:

Wednesday June 18, 2008

This I Believe #32

It should be considered false advertising to claim that a car is propelled by a "Hybrid Synergy Drive" if that car is incapable of exceeding the speed of light, or, at least, of achieving high-γ sublight speeds.  Here's a rule of thumb: if you didn't have to adjust your watch when you arrived at your destination, no hybrid synergy occurred.

I am The Tensor, and I approve this post.
09:16 PM in This I Believe | Comments (1) | Submit: | Links:

Monday May 19, 2008

This I Believe #31

Eye cannon shall obey.

I am The Tensor, and I approve this post.
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Monday March 31, 2008

This I Believe #30

If you're going to have the operation, you know, have the operation.

I am The Tensor, and I approve this post.
05:05 PM in This I Believe | Comments (0) | Submit: | Links:

Wednesday January 30, 2008

This I Believe #29

"I have come," [Frodo] said.  "But I do not choose now to do what I came to do.  I will not do this deed.  The Ring is mine!"

EPIC FAIL

Continue reading "This I Believe #29"

I am The Tensor, and I approve this post.
12:19 AM in Linguistics , This I Believe | Comments (6) | Submit: | Links:

Monday December 31, 2007

This I Believe #28

...that gastroenterologists, proctologists, and other doctors who deal with the lower digestive tract must, many times each day, have to stifle the impulse to insert "It nearly killed him!" into otherwise professional-sounding sentences.

I am The Tensor, and I approve this post.
06:17 PM in This I Believe | Comments (1) | Submit: | Links:

Sunday December 16, 2007

This I Believe #27

Money will always be paper, but gold will always be gold.

I am The Tensor, and I approve this post.
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Thursday November 29, 2007

This I Believe #26

If wishes were horses, we'd all be eating steak.

I am The Tensor, and I approve this post.
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Wednesday October 24, 2007

This I Believe #25

For squeadlies, mash on the trembalo.  For meadlies, tone up on your chord surpassers.

I am The Tensor, and I approve this post.
03:23 PM in Improbable Sentences , This I Believe | Comments (7) | Submit: | Links:

Sunday July 1, 2007

This I Believe #24

Where there's a whip, there's a way.

Continue reading "This I Believe #24"

I am The Tensor, and I approve this post.
07:49 PM in This I Believe | Comments (2) | Submit: | Links:

Tuesday May 15, 2007

This I Believe #23

...that if I were a doctor, every time one of my colleagues suggested a patient might have lupus, I would say, "Whoa!  Slow down, Dr. Van Helsing—those symptoms are certainly unusual, but I hardly think the patient is a werewolf!"

And it would never get old.

(This might be why I'm not a doctor.)

I am The Tensor, and I approve this post.
03:27 AM in This I Believe | Comments (6) | Submit: | Links:

Monday April 2, 2007

This I Believe #22

...that the upcoming fourth season of Battlestar Galactica should open with Starbuck and Apollo, clad in black leather, traveling the highways and byways of America.

On transforming, flying motorcycles.

Come on, Moore, you wuss.  You know you want to.  You know it's the right thing to do.  You could be responsible for the most epic, the most appalling shark-jump ever.  Your name would echo down the corridors of television history!  Do it for the children!

All this has happened before.  All this will happen again.

I am The Tensor, and I approve this post.
06:37 PM in This I Believe | Comments (4) | Submit: | Links:

Saturday February 24, 2007

This I Believe #21

...that when borrowing words into English, especially when their number is unclear and they tend to get used as mass nouns, you should invent singular forms for them as if they followed the high-prestige Latin pattern, regardless of their actual language of origin.  Examples:

(First declension)  The warrior class of ancient Japan were the samurai.  Each samura traditionally carried two swords.

(Second declension masculine)  When my wife dances, she wears decorative bindi.  Sometimes, during a performance, the glue comes loose and she loses a bindus.

(Second declension neuter)  Often for dessert at a Middle Eastern restaurant I will order a plate of baklava.  Generally it comes on a plate containing several pieces, so that each person at the table can have their own baklavum.

If you want to go the extra mile, you can even back-form an irregular third declension singular, as in:

I recommend the tempura. When eating it, be sure to dip every individual tempus in the special sauce provided.  (Extra bonus: round trip Romance-language borrowing!)

Finally, if you're really feeling ambitious, you can even do Latin-style number concord:

Traditionally, an order of nigiri sushi consists of two pieces.  Each nigirus sushus is a ball of rice with fish or some other food laid on top.

I am The Tensor, and I approve this post.
03:59 PM in Linguistics , This I Believe | Comments (11) | Submit: | Links:

Tuesday February 6, 2007

This I Believe #20

Demolition of the work ethic takes us to the Age of the Primitive!

[Update: at 1:36.]

I am The Tensor, and I approve this post.
12:51 AM in This I Believe | Comments (0) | Submit: | Links:

Monday January 1, 2007

This I Believe #19

All is quiet.

Nothing changes.

I am The Tensor, and I approve this post.
04:31 AM in This I Believe | Comments (0) | Submit: | Links:

Saturday December 23, 2006

This I Believe #18

"One: cut a hole in a box" is the new "Phase three: profit!"

I am The Tensor, and I approve this post.
12:10 AM in This I Believe | Comments (1) | Submit: | Links:

Monday November 27, 2006

This I Believe #17

When in doubt...throw them into space.

I am The Tensor, and I approve this post.
03:27 AM in This I Believe | Comments (4) | Submit: | Links:

Saturday September 2, 2006

This I Believe #16

The weed of crime bears bitter fruit.  Crime does not pay!

I am The Tensor, and I approve this post.
06:39 PM in This I Believe | Comments (6) | Submit: | Links:

Thursday August 24, 2006

This I Believe #15

Two men need one money, but one money needs no man.

I am The Tensor, and I approve this post.
07:30 PM in This I Believe | Comments (1) | Submit: | Links:

Monday August 7, 2006

This I Believe #14

You can't do a little, 'cause you can't do enough.

I am The Tensor, and I approve this post.
11:42 PM in This I Believe | Comments (0) | Submit: | Links:

Friday July 7, 2006

This I Believe #13

...that once you develop a technology that allows you to clone humans, your first application of  that technology should be the cloning a race of super-soldiers.  Forget all that fooling around with Neanderthals, Jesuses, Lincolns, Einsteins, and Marilyn Monroes—I'm not even going to mention Hitler, because you know better—and surrender to destiny.  It's simple, it's traditional, and it's mandatory: as the day follows the night, when you figure out how to make clones, you clone a race of super-soldiers.

I can't believe I have to explain these things.

I am The Tensor, and I approve this post.
03:56 PM in This I Believe | Comments (8) | Submit: | Links:

Friday June 23, 2006

This I Believe #12

...that automatic language identification systems, which attempt to determine what language a sample of unknown text is written in, needlessly endanger the sanity and survival of the human race.  In particular, such systems fail to take into account that some knowledge has been wisely hidden away from human eyes for millennia, and that such dangerous knowledge is generally preserved in one of a handful of ancient, disturbingly alien languages.

Continue reading "This I Believe #12"

I am The Tensor, and I approve this post.
10:49 PM in Linguistics in SF , This I Believe | Comments (4) | Submit: | Links:

Thursday April 27, 2006

This I Believe #11

...that if you're a student in any kind of engineering program, and no one in your program has yet made a t-shirt that reads, "Holding it down on the engineering tip, y'all", well then I'm afraid your program sucks.  Sorry you had to find out like this.

I am The Tensor, and I approve this post.
01:37 AM in This I Believe | Comments (1) | Submit: | Links:

Thursday April 20, 2006

This I Believe #10

...that, no matter what kind of system it is or how appropriate it may seem, you should never name a computer system Skynet.  Why tempt fate?  In a similar vein, you should avoid naming a child Damien, Hister, or Khan Noonien Singh, just to play it safe.  The fact that I contribute to a computational syntax project called The Matrix is neither here nor there; in fact, I don't see why you brought it up.

(This post was inspired by trochee's suggestion in class that an automated speech recognition system for air traffic control could be named Skynet.)

I am The Tensor, and I approve this post.
05:10 PM in This I Believe | Comments (4) | Submit: | Links:

Tuesday March 28, 2006

This I Believe #9

...that New Caprica is Earth during the last Ice Age.

Continue reading "This I Believe #9"

I am The Tensor, and I approve this post.
04:59 PM in Science Fiction , Television , This I Believe | Comments (8) | Submit: | Links:

Friday March 3, 2006

This I Believe #8

...that there is a single, perfect sentence you can say upon being introduced to a famous actor or actress of the form, "Oh, I loved you in X."  This sentence varies from celebrity to celebrity; the trick is choosing the most seemingly complimentary, but actually insulting, X.  Finding the perfect X is a subtle problem, but most fall into two categories: embarrassing jobs and misidentifications.

Continue reading "This I Believe #8"

I am The Tensor, and I approve this post.
02:15 AM in This I Believe | Comments (12) | Submit: | Links:

Tuesday January 17, 2006

This I Believe(d) #7

As a kid, I believed that the chorus to the Archies song "Sugar, Sugar" went:

Sugar
Oh, honey, honey
You are my kin, girl
And you've got me wanting you

In my defense, I didn't know what kin meant at the time—it was just that word that went with kith, which I also didn't know the meaning of.

Continue reading "This I Believe(d) #7"

I am The Tensor, and I approve this post.
01:39 PM in This I Believe | Comments (3) | Submit: | Links:

Monday October 31, 2005

This I Believe #6

...that there should be published, at the earliest opportunity, a new comic book series about the adventures of a sexy, cybernetically-enhanced conservative jurist with no memory of his past, fighting for survival in a dystopian scrapheap of a city.  It should be drawn in the manga style, and its title should be:

Battle Angel Alito

(It's at times like this I wish I knew how to use Photoshop.)

I am The Tensor, and I approve this post.
10:07 AM in This I Believe | Comments (3) | Submit: | Links:

Saturday October 22, 2005

This I Believe #5

...that there should be a drink, consisting of 7-Up, grenadine, and some kind of alcohol (probably rum) called the "Shirley Temple Black".  This would be an example of the back-formation of a drink: instead of the usual process whereby a "virgin" drink is derived from an alcoholic drink by leaving out the liquor, in this case a new alcoholic drink would be created by adding liquor to a soft drink.  A Shirley Temple Black should therefore not include a cherry.

I am The Tensor, and I approve this post.
11:34 PM in This I Believe | Comments (6) | Submit: | Links:

Monday October 10, 2005

This I Believe #4

...that mizithra cheese is actually the hip, "urban" version of the better-known mithra cheese.  The name mizithra was formed from mithra by the addition of the hiphopifying infix -iz-, -izn- (c.f. hizouse, shiznit).  The origins of the name of mithra cheese are obscure, but a connection with the ancient mystery cult cannot be ruled out.

[Note to readers who find this page via search engines: yes, it's a joke.]

I am The Tensor, and I approve this post.
11:17 AM in This I Believe | Comments (2) | Submit: | Links:

Saturday October 8, 2005

This I Believe #3

...that the word gorgonzola should no longer be pronounced gorgonZOla, because that sounds like the name of a cheese—how pedestrian!  Instead, it should be pronounced gorGONzola, which sounds like either the name of a monster from a Japanese movie, as in Godzilla vs. GorGONzola, or a synonym for gigantic, as in, "My God, that mole on her cheek is gorGONzola!"

I am The Tensor, and I approve this post.
09:50 PM in This I Believe | Comments (1) | Submit: | Links:

Tuesday October 4, 2005

This I Believe #2

...that the rotation of the Earth, at the earliest possibly opportunity, should be slowed until the day is 26 hours long.  That way, I could go to bed tired every night and wake up well-rested every morning.

I am The Tensor, and I approve this post.
09:42 AM in This I Believe | Comments (0) | Submit: | Links:

Monday October 3, 2005

This I Believe #1

...that the national anthem of Japan should be changed to the original theme song of Uchuusenkan Yamato (a.k.a. Space Battleship Yamato, a.k.a. Star Blazers).  If I ever sing karaoke, that'll be my song— I already know most of the words, and I've got the manful-yet-wistful crooning down pat.

I am The Tensor, and I approve this post.
05:28 PM in This I Believe | Comments (2) | Submit: | Links: