Tuesday, March 30, 2010

As long as I'm feeling sorry for myself . . .

Golden Triangle
(Image from Wikipedia)

I received such an outpouring of sympathy yesterday, I feel I ought to go fishing for more of the same today, so I'll open this entry with an intervening comment by my friend 'Sperwer' over at the Marmot's Hole:
Globalization anyone? I'm now sipping the local hootch sitting in a French hotel, managed by an American company, that is perched in the mountains overlooking the junction of the Mekong and Ruak rivers and the borders of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos. The staff comprises peeople from 5 different hill tribes and some down river Thais. The menu has dishes from Thailand, Southwestern China, France, Italy and Japan, all expertly prepared by local sous-chefs under the supervision of a French owner of three Michelin stars. Entertainment during lunch was provided by a three piece band -- guitar, bass and banjo -- played by Thais in check shirts, jeans, straw cowboy hats and shitkickers, who expertly played a mixture of American hillbilly country music that would have made Gypsy Scholar nostalgic for Arkansas and adaptations of local music -- interestingly the banjo is the perfect western analogue of the gamelan. 40 years ago, you might imagine something like this if you didn't have your mind fixated on something else -- after ingesting a significant quantity of the local opium, assuming you lived long enough to score some. I'm going swimming now.
I know little more than Sperwer about that hallucinogenic local crop. All I require to reach seventh heaven is a Mason jar of moonshine and that aforementioned hillbilly music . . . though the hillbilly allusion incidentally reminds me that my cantankerous Ozark character has often acted as the brake on my career -- better than careering out of control, I suppose, which does happen to some. But anyway, since 'Sperwer' mentioned my online persona over at the Marmot's Hole, I figured I ought to offer a comment:
Sperwer, I wish I could show up and hear that hillbilly music . . . but somebody's always gotta pay the fiddler. I'm up to my ears in student homework, proposals, essays, and bibliographies.

And to think, I spent all those years working on Coptic, Greek, and Hebrew when I could have just been getting a TESOL degree and working for the same salary!

I guess I'm still paying the fiddler for all those years of following my own interests . . .

But all the same, you have a good time.
And that goes for all you readers as well. You'uns go on and have a good time. I'll pay the fiddler for this here barn dance, so drink that hootch and enjoy the hootenanny.

Oh, and I hope that one and all reading today's entry know the crucial idiomatic distinction between "'little more" and "a little more" . . .

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At 4:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I an not an expert on linguistists (or anything else for that matter), but let me try to analyze the differeces:

"I know a little more about...."

This is teaser that hints that you have some juicy tidbits that could be teased out of me with a little encouragement.

"I know little more about......"

There are some things I know, but if you want to know, the encouragement level stakes have been raised.

"I know nothing more about......"

Actually, there is a possiblity that I am concealing my knowledge, and if you are really interested, contact me in private, with the proper incentives.



At 4:57 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Maybe my use is an idiolect, but in saying that I "know little more" than Sperwer, I'm suggesting that I know almost nothing about the stuff in question.

Of course, I also don't really know what Sperwer knows . . .

Jeffery Hodges

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At 6:19 AM, Blogger Hathor said...

You get no sympathy from me, since you 3000 miles close than I am. The tropics, the food, the drinks are far better than the four walls I've been staring at and the boredom I've felt since retiring.

At 6:49 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I guess that I'm closer to that Golden Triangle, but I might as well be on another planet. The clouds keep trying to snow here in Seoul this spring! Not today, thankfully, but the morning was chilly at 5:30 as I took my ten-minute walk to the subway station.

I won't beg for sympathy, however, though money would always be appreciated . . .

Jeffery Hodges

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At 1:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I for one enjoy this opening operative, (I'm tempted to add ... "fianlly.")

Yes Cran, you read that correctly, Fianlly, "I an not an expert on linguistists (or anything else for that matter), but let me try to analyze the differeces"... (though I'm uncertain which dictionary you've fused so I suppose you'll grant me the same leniency).

I don't know. I might prefer a single thin dime to two fat nickles.

Depends on whether my vehicle is subjected to weighing before I can access the turnpike so that I might make my way toward your "encouragement" (regardless how level the stakes are).


At 1:47 PM, Anonymous Sperwer said...

Latest 411: I made my way down to the actual triangle last evening - the place where the Ruak and the Mekong meet - the Ruak empties into the Mekong at the point of a narrow triangle of Burma (Myanmar) that juts into the stream between Thailand and Laos. The Ruak here is what us 'mericans would call a creek ("crick", where I'm from) and I only managed to get into it up to my knees when I jumped across for a brief illicit visit to Myanmar. The Mekong, on the other hand, is a mighty river, and there was no way I was getting across undetected into Laos - although the water level was so low because of the Chinese dams upstream that I probably could have waded across. Also visited the nearby pitch (at another 5-6 hotel of the int'l capitalist class) where Thailand holds its annual elephant polo games, and a couple of nearby opium museums. At least on the Thai side you can conclude that the opium trade is pretty much gone given that it's now been fossilized in not one but two local museums - not to mention the two ridiculously garish casinos that a couple of Chinese businessmen who undoubtedly couldn;t get the oney out of the countrries are building within Mark Twain spitting distance of one another in Burma and Laos. Nick Tosches wrote an entire book about traveling this part of the world in search of an "authentic" opium experience (Lionel Trilling would have been appalled), and I was hoping to shortcut the search at the official Opium museum but, alas, they were not providing sample tokes and didn't appear to even have a genuine sample of the real deal on the premises for ogling. So it was back to the hotel and the warm goat cheese custard with a sprinkling of olive oil, some flecks of black olive and a splash of fresh, creamy chevre on top together with another tumbler of the local moonshine.

At 1:55 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

JK, you're the closest thing to a hillbilly linguist on this blog . . . but we could always go ask LeRoy Tucker.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 1:58 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Well, Sperwer, you at least got across and back without getting yourself arrested and put on trial . . . though that might have made for some interesting blogging.

Thanks for the update. Your life is more exciting than mine even if I don't have a career . . .

Jeffery Hodges

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At 5:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Yes, I noticed I had left out an
"n" in differences as soon as I sent my comments.
I always try to make at least one (sometimes more) errata for your viewing pleasure.

In my navy days we Radiomen always were the first to know our itinerary. Also the dates and ports where we would be stopping during our sailing period.

Our first class radiomen used my formula to squeeze some special food treats from the cooks.
He would make them drag the information one steak, or sweet roll at a time, in return for one tidbit of news, out of him.
Each treat would be worth one partial bit of information.
We would also get our share of treats as he would make them give enough sweet rolls for the entire radio gang, for a little more news.
We were everybody's friend for a few days before each cruise.


At 7:13 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I am shocked, shocked to learn of Uncle Cran's abuse of power and corruption of the military.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 8:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This Radioman 1st Class was doing this when I came aboard.
However, by partaking of the sweet rolls, I became an accessory to his deeds.
Also, this was the years of 1957 through 1960. This man, who became a Warrant Officer, and retired after 26 years of military service, passed away about six years ago, so he can't be prosecuted.
In fact, in the military, this is called "requisitioning," and is a common practice.
Perhaps JK may have "requisitioned" an item or two in his day.


At 12:25 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I recall 'requistioning' a couple pieces of gum when I was about 7 and giving a piece to Tim, who would have been about 5. Aunt Pauline caught me in my crime, and Cousin Velna threatened me with Hell, so I never 'requisitioned' any more gum.

Jeffery Hodges

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