Typical plural mistake - documented!

This is a typical mistake: using an apostrophe to create a plural form. Why do so many people do this? And it's a business--you'd think they'd proofread their sign before putting it up for all the world to see. And the team is called "Cubs", not "Cub". Bottom line: this is lame, especially because it's on a public sign on a major street in a major city.


When Detroit looked normal

Here's a video of Detroit in 1954 that I saw at Rethink Detroit. It looks so normal with all the people walking around and the bustling atmosphere. Not like the decaying carcass that I visited last summer.


It's not "shitaki"

Wow, there are all sorts of words that are pronounced differently in English than in Japanese. Example: karaoke. The word is カラオケ in Japanese, so it should be pronounced "kara-oh-keh", but most people pronounce it "carry-okie". Another word is "sake". It should be pronounced "sah-keh", but people say "sah-kee".

Well another mispronunciation that I just saw in a commercial is for the shiitake (aka shitake) mushroom. I guess a lot of people pronounce it "shi-tah-kee" because I found out that even Merriam-Webster has that pronunciation. So it's official. Though that's not how it's pronounced in Japanese: it's シイタケ "shi-tah-keh".

I guess people feel like there has to be an "ee" sound at the end of Japanese words because "eh" isn't as strong. But what makes it sort of weird is that in English, an "e" at an end of a word isn't usually pronounced "ee". Oh well, there are a lot of people who aren't purists, including moi :D


One week later...a Chinese menu

I've flipped my work schedule, so now I'm teaching in the morning rather than the evening, and I'm doing my radio and paid writing stuff at other times, in addition to my podcast. So I've had to get used to my new schedule and get enough sleep to avoid getting sick again, so I let this blog lie fallow for a week.

But here's a picture fresh off the presses from Rebelx: he makes a Chinese take-out menu look so sophisticated. Enjoy :D


Western guy speaking fluent Taiwanese

Mad Minerva told me about this video: a Western guy speaking incredible Taiwanese. She said it's better than hers. I can't tell how good it is, but it's certainly impressive that he can do that!


A good blog that he forgot we're reading

I've been reading comedian Dobie Maxwell's blog, and it's very good. He's been writing there every day about the comedy biz, radio biz, and whatever else is on his mind for six years. I've only met him offline a couple of times, and he certainly didn't express as much as he does at his blog.

I let him know at Facebook that I like it, and he said, "It's a great discipline, and I forget that anyone reads it. I do it for me, and it feels good to have kept it up this long."

It's nice to see someone still write so much in a blog since it seems people have abandoned theirs because they've become busy, disinterested, or have moved on to social media. And then there are the blogs that are all about self-promotion and marketing. Dobie just seems to really want to express himself.


the Brazilian Kraftwerk site is done

First of all, I was going to post something yesterday, but Blogger was down for a couple of days. Plus, my crazy work schedule caused me to get sick again--this time, I've had a very bad cold all week. It's totally my fault because I did way too much this year. So this week I've been taking it easy and will resume a better schedule next week. I will also resume language study, which was also compromised due to the cold.

Anyway, I'm here to say that the Brazilian Kraftwerk fan site has been discontinued, though they still have the archive (what they call the "old frozen website") posted online. This is the same website that I did a huge translation for, which ended up being heavily edited (I was not happy about it, but that was five years ago).

I have no idea why they discontinued it other than what the site says, for "personal reasons". They put a lot of work into that site and were very nice people. It's too bad they couldn't continue.

Maybe now I can repost my translation and the original text :o


A bit of Chinese in a sneaker blog

Kesan, the Chongqing-born Chinese teen who first made his appearance here as the funny Chinese clown, now has a blog where he posts pictures and words about sneakers. Well I'm happy to report that he included some Chinese in a post about Air Force 1 Year of the Rabbit sneakers. He said the design is inspired by 大白兔奶糖 = Big White Rabbit Milk Candy. Thanks for the translation, and enjoy your sneaker obsession :D


I guess I've been wrong about possessive "s"

Uh oh...I've been following the wrong rule for years when it comes to possessive "s" after words that end with "s". According to IIT/Kent Law:
If a singular noun ends in an "s," use "'s" to create the possessive form only if the noun ends in a "s" sound. However, if the noun ends in a "z" sound, use just an apostrophe without adding an additional "s." This produces a more pronounceable possessive.

Correct: The car in question was Roger Weiss's red convertible.

Also Correct:

I was a student in Professor Abrams' Torts class.
I've assumed that you don't add an "s", though I've noticed Brits tend to add an "s". I better start writing correctly :o


Brief French and Japanese encounters

For two days in a row, I had some exposure to languages I understand but don't hear much: French and Japanese. A lot of languages are represented in Chicago, but for some reason, I don't hear Japanese much, unless I go to Mitsuwa, and rarely hear French, unless I go to the Alliance Française.

But yesterday, I was in a store and heard a couple behind me speaking Japanese, and it was so great to finally hear an Asian language I understand. At one point, the guy looked at a sign, read the English, then said in Japanese that he didn't understand what it said. I was tempted to say "I do" in Japanese and freak them out, but they probably wouldn't have processed it anyway and would've looked at me baffled.

Then today, I was walking down the street and heard a guy speaking to a woman in French. The guy sounded like a native speaker, and the woman sounded American, and she ended up being someone I haven't seen in a few years. Very weird. But unfortunate too, because my spoken French is lame. I told the guy in French that I can read it, and we exchanged some small talk, but I didn't attempt a real conversation.

I can't believe I finally had a chance to talk to a French person about whatever I wanted, and couldn't do it. I need to go to France to get that language in my head beyond the reading level :(