Disparity Between Political Translation and Human Transliteration

Words are toxic and dangerous things. We currently have a Presidential contender who threatens his opponent with prison if he wins, and if he doesn’t win the election, then that means the election was rigged against him. That sort of clear and obvious threat against Democracy is not just craven and crass, but unwise — however, his threats are precise and clearly inform us all of his intentions and insanity.

We only need to travel back to the United Nations on October 12, 1960 and watch Russian leader Nikita Khrushchev take off his shoe and bang it on the podium while threatening to “bury us” all!

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Return of the Deaf-Mute: Our Next Deaf Culture Conversation

Did you know there’s a troubling, but rich, history using the term “Deaf-Mute” in America?  Janna and I have written a new book “conversation” about that pejorative label released by David Boles Books Writing & Publishing titled — Return of the Deaf-Mute: The Lost Legacy of the Greatest American Deaf Generation — and in our book, we examine the “Deaf-Mute” stereotype in history, its effect on common culture, and the role of human tolerance in society today. How did the “Deaf-Mute” label become such a colloquial monstrosity that it has repressed generations of Deaf people in America — just because it was a convenient, default, categorization that had nothing to do with context or fact of condition?

BUY NOW!

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A Romanov in a Pau Garden: A Glorious Last Moment in Living History

One sunny morning in Pau, one of the neighbors came to take some plants for his garden.  The elderly gentleman in the photograph on the right is Monsieur Romanov — a  descendant of the Romanov family, rulers of Russia from 1613 until the Russian Revolution in 1917.

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Comcast in the Philippines

I have had my share of joys and troubles with Comcast as my “Triple Play” provider, but I’ve never before experienced a total failure to communicate with a company — as I have this week — in trying to get my voice and cable modem replaced.

When you used to call Comcast customer support, you dialed an 800 number and you were then connected to the regional office that served your area.  Having that sort of local connection was important because, “Jersey Understands Jersey” and you could speak in cultural semaphores that clicked understanding that helped quicken resolutions to any technical or billing problem.

It now appears Comcast have outsourced all their technical support and billing to the Philippines, and that is causing a lot of widespread and furious grief for customers.  There isn’t just a cultural separation between the Philippines and the USA, but, like it or not, there is a language difference that often bears down on not understanding each other because of natural accents.

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Why I Only Speak Romanian to My Son

Toward the end of the Passover holiday, I was out at dinner with Chaim and Elizabeth at a friend’s home and was in the middle of telling Chaim that he had to wait only a little bit longer before food would be served, and someone decided that it was the perfect time (mid sentence) to ask me why it was that I chose to speak to Chaim only in Romanian. After I got over the initial shock that he could not seem to wait until I was finished with my sentence (perhaps he thought it was okay to interrupt because he didn’t understand me) I responded, and as I explained it occurred to me that it might be prudent to explain it here as well — for the record.

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Metaphoric Synesthesia and the Myoclonic Tick

Synesthesia is one of the most fascinating phenomena.  In its simplest example, one hears a sound and sees a color associated with that sound.  Stevie Wonder has stated that, even though he’s blind, his music is specifically filled with colors he sees in his mind depending on the key and rhythm of the sound:  Visual Hearing.  In its more sophisticated form, Synesthesia changes the colors of words or numbers in a sequence depending on the context of arrangement.  

For example, an outline of the number 7 might be perceived as being “seven” and trigger the color blue, but when you look closer — and learn that the 7 is actually made up of many tiny number threes — then the color changes from a 7 trigger color to a 3 trigger color like, say, gold.  Some synesthetes can actually taste the colors as they view them.

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My Portuguese: Neighbourhood Watch

As I am new to Portugal, and as I do not speak the language apart from a few basics, I had expected that there would be times when I would feel lost or be at a loss as to how to approach certain things.

I had also anticipated a fair amount of anonymity and had certain expectations — false ones it turns out — about how I would be able to live my life in and around my house and how I would be able to carry out my everyday business and chores such as shopping, banking and other vital necessities.

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