Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Princeton Professor Blasts Esperanto

That's a little harsh, isn't it?
The Esperanto movement did not have a friend in Professor Theodore W. Hunt, nor did any movement proposing a constructed language. At the end of 1908, Professor Hunt spoke at the Modern Language Association’s conference, and he made clear that languages ought not be too modern.

Professor Hunt was born in February 1844, so by the time he delivered his comments at the MLA, he was sixty-four years old and had an impressive series of publications, the subject matter of which spanned the Old English period through the Victorians, including Ethical Teachings in Old English Literature, Cædmon’s Exodus and Daniel, and The Prose Style of Thomas Babinton Macaulay. He even wrote on The Place of English in the College Curriculum. Theodore Hunt was born in New Jersey, studied at Princeton University, and taught there as well. Bibliographic data notes that Professor Hunt died in 1930.


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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Subtenu Vian Lokan!

Ni volas la verdan venkon!
La nova jaro venas, estas la tempo kiam ni klopodi iĝi pli bonaj homoj. Ĉiuj faros rezoluciojn, kaj mi havas rezolucion por vi. Subtenu la movadon! Kiel? Aliĝu vian lokan esperantan grupo (se ĝi ekzistas), aliĝu vian nacian grupon, kaj aliĝu la internacian grupon, UEA.

UEA

Jes, mi estas membro de UEA. Mi konfesas ke dum multaj jaroj, mi kabeis, kaj mi ne estis membro, sed nun mi estas en la movado, kaj mi estas membro. Mi ne scias kiom da homoj estas en la UEA dum 2014, sed dum 2013, estis nur 4,903 membroj (malpli ol 2012, kiam UEA havis 5,049 individuajn membrojn). Samtempe, la Facebook grupo por Esperanto havas hodiau 15,555 membrojn. Nur 32% de la Facebook grupo estas membroj de UEA.

Ni bezonas vin! Grupo de 15,000 homoj estas pli forta ol grupo de 5,000 homoj. Ĉu vi volas ke la movado estas malforta? Kiam vi ne aliĝas la internacian grupon, vi diras, “jes, laŭ mi, la movado estus malforta.” Laŭ mi, la movado estus forta.


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Esperanto in the Socialist Utopia

Kamaradoj! Parolu ni en Esperanto!
The Llano Colony was an experiment in socialism that started in California’s Antelope Valley and lasted there just 1914 through 1918 (some of the members relocated to Louisiana at that point and created a commune that lasted until 1939). The colony was formed after Job Harriman lost his bid to become governor of California. Mr. Harriman ran on the Socialist ticket.

The Llano Colony largely turned on agricultural operations, as detailed in A. R. Clifiton’s “History of the Communistic Colony Llano del Rio,” for the Historical Society of Southern California.[1] Additionally, the colony produced rugs, soap, canned fruits and vegetables, and a printing plant where the monthly Western Comrade and the weekly Llano Colonist were produced. The plan was to build houses as well, but during the time the colony was in California, they had tents and adobe dwellings. And they had an Esperanto club.


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Monday, December 29, 2014

Esperanto and Dr. Talmey's Other Languages

Flaws. Dangerous flaws!
A doctor says so.
The New York front of the Ido schism in the Esperanto movement showed some of the bitterest conflicts. I’ve been somewhat remiss as I haven’t had time to write up some of the articles, but there will be future posts.[1] I’ve seen it estimated that most of the people who left the Esperanto movement for Ido were in the leadership. The rank and file members didn’t feel like learning a new set of rules and new words. The leadership seemed to filled with those who liked the idea of an international language more than they liked the actuality of any specific one, and when the prospect came of offering reforms, they saw their chance.

It’s not a coincidence that many who joined the Esperanto movement, then sought to reform Esperanto, went on to propose their own languages, which they proclaimed were even better than their prior allegiances. Not just Esperanto, but the same story can be found among the Volapük reformers; adherence, reformist zeal, independent project. It should come as no surprise that that’s exactly the story found with Dr. Max Talmey, who was until autumn 1907, the president of the New York Esperanto Society. In happier days, he wrote Practical and Theoretical Esperanto. Dr. Talmey resigned with great publicity, abandoning Esperanto for Ido, which was then being called “ILO.” Dr. Talmey even wrote a book, The Defects of Esperanto, its decline and the growth of ILO (which, alas, does not seem to be available online).[2]


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Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Sensorites — Blogging Doctor Who

I think that's the bad guy
The episode starts off with a recap of their adventures since "An Unearthly Child.” Did they find that viewers who had missed the first few stories needed an update? The sequence concludes with the Doctor telling about another adventure, which initially seems to be told as something that he expects Barbara and Ian to remember, but then Susan chimes in that it was before they landed in twentieth-century London. It has the feel of a save by Carole Ann Ford, and then William Hartnell recovers nicely.

There are a lot of flubbed lines in this story, but Hartnell is not the main culprit, for a change. The actors playing the Sensorites seem to be particularly prone to flubbed lines. Maybe the heavy makeup confused them.



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Saturday, December 27, 2014

Jesus, Marx, and Zamenhof

He came to bring
peace to the proletariat
through Esperanto.
It’s an odd grouping, sure, but it is the grouping of “three great Jews who have had a profound influence on the world” that William N. Jones, the managing editor of the Baltimore Afro-American wrote about in his December 27, 1924 column. Mr. Jones wrote that students were asked to identify the three at a social gathering (the students are described as “high students,” which I’m taking as a typesetting error for “high school students”).

You would think that at least one of these names would mean something to students in 1927, but that wasn’t the case. It’s an easy guess which one of the three was someone of whom the students knew nothing. Yeah, Zamenhof. His fame seems to have declined somewhat more rapidly than the other two.

A Google search reveals that Mr. Jones called for African-American voters to support the Communist Party, however Hayward Farrar notes in his book on the Afro-American that “Afro readers obviously did not heed the paper’s managing editor,” as the Communist candidate received only 700 votes from Baltimore in the 1932 election.


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Friday, December 26, 2014

Esperantists in the Coal Mines

Not actually while working in the mines
Somehow the news of the Polish coal miners and their attempt to start a group of Esperanto speakers made its way from Indiana to Washington in order to be reported on in the December 26, 1907 issues of the Evening Statesman of Walla Walla, Washington. The story has some confirmation in that on the same day the Plymouth Tribune of Plymouth Indiana ran a short item also claiming that miners were learning Esperanto.

Many Americans seem to take offense at the idea that some of their fellow citizens don’t have English as their first language. It saddens me when I see an entitled diatribe over “press 1 for English.” Could it be that various companies see a profit motive in assisting potential customers whose first language isn’t English? How much of a freaking inconvenience is pressing 1 for English. (I’m more bothered by phone trees in which you have to listen to each series of menu options before you press anything in which it’s easy fritter away minutes just to get to the inevitable hold music.) But we're supposed to be talking about coal miners and their problems.


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Thursday, December 25, 2014

Zamenhof, la Biblio, kaj la Traduk-Problemo

Ho ve!
Denove?
Eble mi ne estas la plej bona homo por paroli pri la biblio. Mi ne estas spertulo de la hebrea lingvo. Mi ne estas historiisto de la antikva mondo. Sed, mi studas malnovajn lingvojn, kaj mi comprenas la problemojn de traduko. Kaj hodiaŭ mi volas paroli pri la problemoj de traduko. Estas fama itala aforismo, traduttore tradittore, kio signifas “tradukisto perfidulo,” aŭ “ciu tradukisto estas ankaŭ perfidulo.”

Mi devas noti ke mi estas ateisto. Mi ne kredas ke dio verkis biblion, ĉar mi ne kredas je dioj. Mi ankaŭ ne kredas ke la unuaj kvin libroj de la biblio estas historio, plejparte tioj estas la mitoj de la judoj. Kaj ni scias ke la biblio diras rakontojn dufoje. Post multaj jaroj, homoj kreis malsimplajn klarigojn de la diferenco. Mi ne havas respektegon por la biblio; ĝi estas (por mi) nur teksto, verkita per homoj.

Frue, mi notis ke mi ne akordas kun la traduko de Readmono 23:17 en la Esperanta traduko de la biblio.[1] Tio ne estas la sola loko kie mi ne akordas kun Zamenhof. Mi devas diri ke Zamenhof tradukis la hebrean biblion (aŭ, por kristanoj, la malnova testamento), sed en 1926, la Brita kaj Alialanda Biblia Societo reviziis la verkon, do eble la problemoj estas pro la BABS, kaj ne pro Zamenhof.


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Esperanto Prodigy Starts Marriage Career

Where do you even begin to correct this?
One of the advantages of looking back at history is that you know so much more than the people who had to live it. And so, with the announcement in the New-York Tribune on December 25, 1921 that Winifred Sackville Stoner had married, we know that it was just for the first time, and that she would go on to marry three more times. But perhaps we can wish the couple a happy time anyway.

By this time, the Stoners seemed to have dropped any interest in Esperanto. Winifred Sr. attached herself to the Esperanto movement as a way of promoting her theories on the education of children. By the time Winifred Jr. was nineteen, all hopes of using her as an example of “natural education” were done for. But although the Stoners seemed to have been less active in the the Esperanto movement after 1910, the association with Esperanto would continue to follow them.


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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Aztecs — Blogging Doctor Who

Don't trust the guy who
overdoes the lip liner.
I still can’t believe that this was the episode chosen to represent the William Hartnell episodes for The Doctors Revisited. Yes, it’s notable for being the earliest surviving historical adventure (until a complete copy of “Marco Polo” turns up somewhere). Like “Marco Polo,” “The Aztecs” was written by John Lucarotti (and it is the only one of his three stories that survives). I’m giving away my final assessment, but the story seems curiously flat after “The Keys of Marinus.”

The episode is notable for the Doctor’s insistence that history cannot be changed, something the series has played with in recent episodes (if you don’t know the outcome, you can’t know if you’re changing anything). Here, Barbara knows that the Aztecs are still practicing human sacrifice when the Spaniards encounter them, yet tries to change this, over the Doctor’s objections.


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Chinese Minister Champions Esperanto

He wasn't opposed to that being Mandarin
May you live in interesting times” isn’t actually an old Chinese curse, but Wu Ting Fang certainly did live in such an era. In 1908, he was the China’s Minister to the United States. The government he served under, the Qing dynasty was just four years before its demise. Wu would go on to serve in the government of the Republic of China before his death in 1922.

It is not clear if Mr. Wu was an Esperantist himself, although in 1908 he had not learned the language. He showed an interest in Esperanto that did not rise to the level of taking the time to learn it himself.


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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Spirits, Telepathy, and Esperanto

A little late for Zamenhof-Festo
Grant Wallace was, according to Wikipedia, “an American journalist, artist, screenwriter, and occultist.” They left out Esperantist. That piece of information comes from an article in the December 23, 1912 San Francisco Call. The main context was simply an announcement of an upcoming meeting, planned for December 26, 1912.

The article gives the name of people who will be speaking at the meeting, one of whom is Grant Wallace, who is identified as “editor of the San Francisco Esperantist.” I’ve encountered a few small literary magazines from the early days of the Esperanto movement, but my supposition is that the San Francisco Esperantist was the club newsletter of the San Francisco Esperanto club.


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Monday, December 22, 2014

Esperanto’s Comeback Stunt

Can't come a moment to soon
It is rare that internal Esperanto politics are reported in the general press, but for whatever reason, the Evening Herald of Klamath Falls, Oregon, covered the merger of the UEA and the Esperanto Central Office in their edition of December 22, 1920.

1920 was a tough time (one of many, really) for the Esperanto movement. The Universala Esperanto-Asocio (the UEA) was founded in 1908 by Hector Hodler, the son of the Swiss painter Ferdinand Holder (when I was wandering around Swiss museums, looking at the many Holders, I kept asking myself why the name was familiar). Hector Hodler died at the age of thirty-three in May 1920, so the UEA was in need of new leadership. The Esperanto Wikipedia article on Hector Hodler only notes that “At the end of his life, during the war, when he was often sick, he turned chiefly to scientific problems.”[1]


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Sunday, December 21, 2014

The New Orleans Scoop on Esperanto

Is this the earliest report in the
US English-language press?
Awareness of Esperanto was slow to spread in the United States, apart from a very prompt reference in the German-language press, American newspapers paid scant attention to Esperanto in its early years. The New York Times got around to mentioning the “well-written little pamphlet” by “somebody named L. Samenhof” in May 1897, just a few months shy of the tenth anniversary of the printing of that little pamphlet. Other major American newspapers also were slow to catch on. The Sun did scoop the Times, since their article appeared more than six years earlier (hell of a scoop), in January 1891.

I have found a newspaper that puts the Sun to shame and may be the first English-language newspaper in the United States to write about Esperanto. That newspaper was the Times Picayune of New Orleans, and while they didn’t beat the Sun to press by six years (since that would have involved reporting on the lingvo internacia at a time when just about everyone who knew about it was either named Zamenhof or Silbernik, or married to someone who had started life with one of those family names).


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The Cabin Boys and the Sodomite Master

Mr. Sowle was not the
cabin boys' favorite
Sure, we know the jokes about the function of cabin boys on nineteenth-century ships. Their official function was to wait on the officers of the ship, but it’s clear from eighteenth-century and nineteetn-century records that some cabin boys were expected to provide sexual favors, willing or no. All in all, I’d rather look at documents that hint at early gay love, but this is one case where the situation is a clear case of a young men being raped. Jonathan Ned Katz does mention this case in his book Love Stories; Sex Between Men before Homosexuality, but he makes it clear this is not a love story.

The law cases of Manuel Enos vs. N. W. Sowle and Manuel Viera vs. N. W. Sowle came up as a question of admiralty law in the Hawaii Supreme Court, with the decision published in the Pacific Commercial Advertiser of December 20, 1860. At this time, Hawaii was nearly a century away from becoming the fiftieth state; it wasn’t even part of the United States at that point, since it hadn’t even been annexed by the U.S. This is a case of the Kingdom of Hawaii, and the main issue that had to be decided by the Hawaii Supreme Court was whether the court had any jurisdiction.


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Saturday, December 20, 2014

New Page: A History of Esperanto

I've written many posts on the history of Esperanto, and those are going to keep on coming. However, I will admit that the way I've handled them is somewhat slapdash. It's not like I started with 1887 and have been inching my way to the current day. Instead, I jump back and forth through the years as we hit the anniversaries of various events.

I'm not trying to write a coherent history, but instead write a series of blog posts where I put these events in context. But, as they accumulate, I realized that my readers might like to put them in the larger context (and it might help me as well.

In order to address this, I've added a new page to the top of the blog,


 On this page, you will find the events I've written about listed in chronological order. It's always going to be a work-in-progress, but it's somewhat more of one today, as I've only added entries from the first three months of this blog. I'll catch up soon!

I think this will help those who want to read the blog in a somewhat more chronological fashion. Happy reading!
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Rice Fritters for Hanukkah

Fritelle di Riso
Here's a great way to end your Hanukkah meal (after you’ve had Hanukkah gelt on your dinner plate). Like the carote alla guidia, this dish comes from the culinary traditions of the Jews of Italy. Since I’m of Italian descent,[1] these dishes resonate with me.[2] I really like rice-based desserts, as one of my family’s great traditional dishes is another rice-based dessert.[3]

This recipe comes from The Classic Dolci of the Italian Jews; A World of Jewish Desserts, by Edda Servi Machlin. Machlin was born in Pitigliano, a village in Tuscany, later emigrating to the United States. In a way, they’re sort of the Italian dessert version of latkes, and when they’re cooking in the skillet, if it weren’t for the presence of the raisins, they would look very much like them (rice, potatoes—little bits of starch). The recipes are even fairly similar, as you have starch bound together with egg then fried. No onions in these though. Save those for your latkes.

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Friday, December 19, 2014

A Dark Day for Esperanto

Gabriel Hanotaux
No fan of Esperanto
It was one of those “could have been different moments,” one of those times in Esperanto history when the “fina venko,” the final victory when Esperanto became the international auxiliary language, was at hand. As in all these other situations, the victory didn’t happen (but you knew that already, since if any of them had happened, there would have been at least a moment when Esperanto was the world-wide standard for communication).

On December 18, 1920, the League of Nations voted on whether Esperanto would be the official language of the League. Even now, international organizations have to deal with the cost of translating documents and speeches into a variety of languages. I’ve seen it estimated that the European Union spends about €300 million a year on text translation. The Germans keep suggesting that adopting English as the official language of Europe would help bring the costs down.


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Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Advantage of Esperanto — Proved by Science!

Kiel oni diras "human study protocol"
For all the snark, that’s actually true.[1] You can learn Esperanto more quickly than you can learn any natural language, in part because natural languages tend to all sorts of difficulties and irregularities. It’s bad engineering, that’s what it is! I’d like to say that no one would plan for a language to have irregular verbs, but the desire of conlangers[2] to complicate matters is endless.

Esperanto is free of the irregularities found in English, or for that matter Danish. Wikipedia notes that Danish has “many nouns with irregular plurals.”[3] Oh boy. While my usual (snarky) comment on Esperanto grammar involves the present-tense forms of the “to be” verb,[4] here I’ll discuss the plural: Esperanto plurals are formed by adding the letter j to the end of the word (Esperanto j is akin to the English y and forms a dipthong).

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Hanukkah Gelt for Dinner!

Oh? Were you expecting chocolate?
It’s every child’s dream, right? No, I’m not suggesting that anyone fill their plate with chocolate coins. Sorry. But there is another way. Think: if you wanted to have golden coins on your plate for Hanukkah dinner, what would you use? Carrots!

It’s traditional. The traditional Hanukkah dish for Ashkenazi Jews is latkes. I love latkes, all crunchy and wonderful. I have heard that Israeli tradition is jelly doughnuts, sufganiyot, which are deep fried and then filled. It’s not the same. You can fry carrots. Seriously. Then you have the traditional dish of Italian Jews, carote alla giudia, which I make year round. I only have latkes at Hanukkah: they’re a lot of work and they’re oily. But braised carrots are easy and not that bad for you. You use oil and it looks like coins! What could be more appropriate?

I’ve made this for years, and honestly it works better as a series of ideas, instead of hard-and-fast measurement. It scales pretty well, if you pan is big enough. I use a big skillet and cook about six carrots at the same time, that’s probably about a pound or a pound-and-a-half.


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The Keys of Marinus — Blogging Doctor Who

Who's the bad guy?
The Keys of Marinus shows that Terry Nation can write a script without those pepperpots. The Daleks had, to a degree, the feeling of a set of episodes tied together (first the petrified forest, then the Daleks, instead of bringing the Daleks out early as might be done today). The Keys of Marinus does this to an even greater degree, since the episodes form four different stories. It’s a clever idea and it keeps the interest up.

Throughout the serial, you could play a drinking game of “will Hartnell flub his line?” I didn’t keep count, but it seemed that he misspoke two or three times and episode. We’re in the fifth story and Hartnell’s health problems are affecting his acting. He vanishes for two stories (supposedly going off to accomplish something, but when we catch up with him, he hasn’t really done anything), and when he returns for the final two episodes, he seems a bit more rested.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Actress Wasn’t From Esperanto-Land, Nor from America

That Katherine Mulkins was a Broadway actress is beyond dispute. She appeared on Broadway at least four times, in the plays A Stranger in a Strange Land (1899), On the Quiet (1901), The Luck of MacGregor (1908), and A Lucky Star (1910). She appeared in several other plays, with her appearance in Bohemia in 1896 possibly her first noted role (it seems possible from the contemporary accounts that Ms. Mulkins may have performed his role on Broadway, as she was part of the Empire Theater Company, which produced plays both on Broadway at the Empire Theater and with touring companies outside New York).

She appeared in two plays by William Collier The Man from Mexico (1897) and (aforementioned) On the Quiet (1902). Other plays included The Bonnie Brier Bush (1902), and Checkers (1903). During her time in Checkers two stories were told about her, both of doubtful authenticity: that she was English, and that James MacNeill Whistler had begun a portrait of her before his death. Checkers was a Broadway show, but the entry at the Internet Broadway Database doesn’t list her among the cast, though newspaper accounts state that only the actor in the title role wasn’t in the Broadway production. She went on from there to good reviews for Brown of Harvard (1906). In 1907, she was in The Powers that Be by Avery Hopwood.


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The Real Tale of Hanukkah

Hanukkah is the gambling holiday.
Purim is for drinking.
I’m no expert here, but let me cobble together some of the things I know about Hanukkah. When I converted to Judaism, my rabbi quizzed me about the Jewish holidays. I had to name them in sequence and discuss various matters about them. For Hanukkah, after I answered, he said, “Now tell the story everyone knows.”

“The oil lasted eight days.” If that’s all you know about Hanukkah, you know nothing. Sorry. But that can be helped. The traditional Hanukkah story adds a lot of stuff that early accounts don’t have and leave out a lot found in the early accounts. The primary early account are two books of Maccabees, which are included in the Catholic Bible (but are considered apocrypha by Protestants, as they do not form part of the Hebrew Bible). I keep meaning to re-read these around the time of Hanukkah. Today I’m just going to run from memory.


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La Biblia Eraro de Zamenhof

Majstro, certe vi
scias la hebreon.
Hieraŭ estis Zamenhof-Tago, kaj hodiaŭ nokte, Ĥanuko komencos, do ŝajnas ke mi devas blogi kaj esperante kaj pri religio. Do mi decidis blogi pri tekstero de le biblio, en la esperanta versio.

En 1914, D-ro Zamenhof eldonis tradukon de la kvina libro de la biblio, Readmono. Mi havas la 1988an eldonon de la biblio en Esperanto, sed mi supozas ke neniu ŝanĝis la tekston de Zamenhof. Bedaŭrinde, estas eraro en la traduko de Readmono. Zamenhof ne estas sola, kaj mi supozas ke li uzis tradukon de Readmono, kaj ne la hebrea originalo. Aliaj versioj de la biblio ankaŭ mistradukas la teksteron en Readmono. Oni povas trovi version kun prava traduko en aliaj lingvoj, sed estas nur unu traduko de la biblio en Esperanto. Ni ne povas elekti inter la pli aŭ malpli bonaj tradukoj.


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Monday, December 15, 2014

Malĝoja Zamenhof-Tago en 1918

La Majstro
Hodiaŭ estas Zamenhof-tago, kaj ŝajnas bona ideo ke mi verkas esperante hodiaŭ. Ni memoras la naskiĝtago de Ludoviko Zamenhof, la kreinto de Esperanto. Ŝajnas al mi, ke la vera naskiĝtago de Esperanto estas la 26a julio, kiam Zamenhof eldonis la Unua Libro. Hodiaŭ estas la 155a datreveno de la naskiĝo de Zamenhof.

Por Esperantistoj, Zamenhof-tago estas longa tradicio. Mi legis ke Privat festis la naskiĝtago de Zamenhof en 1908, sed je al 5a decembro! En 1918, en Vaŝingtono, oni havis memorigon por Zamenhof. La Washington Times raportis ke la memorigo estus ĉe la WCTU salonego en Vaŝingtono. (WCTU signifas “Virina Kristiana Abstinemo Unuiĝo,” do ni povas supozi ke neniu tostis la memoron de Zamenhof per vino).

Bedaŭrinde, la Washington Times skribis ne “Zamenhof,” sed “Ramenhof.” Kiu estas Ramenhof? Sed, ankaŭ estis reklamo:
Memorial of Dr. L. L. Zamenhof
AUTHOR OF ESPERANTO
W. C. T. U. Hall, 522 Sixth St. N. W.
Sunday, Dec. 15, 3:15 p. m.
Inquiring public invited.
Esperante,
Memorigo de D-ro. L. L. Zamenhof
AŬTORO DE ESPERANTO
V. K. A. U. Salonego, 522 Sesa strato, nord-okcidenta
Dimanĉo, Dec. 15, 3:15 p. t. m.
Oni invitas la esplorantan publikon.
La Washington Herald raportis pri la kunveno je la 16 decembro, 1918.
Okazigis Esperantan Servon en Honoro de Ĝia Kreinto
Datreveno servo en Esperanto, en honoro de la fondinto de Esperanto, Dr. Louis Lazarus Zamenhof, estis kondukita hieraŭ ĉe la Virina Kristiana Abstinemo Unuiĝo.

B. Pickman Mann, kiu prezidis ĉe la kunveno, donis mallongon enkondukan skizon de la vivo de D-ro Zamenhof. Aliaj paroladoj estis donitaj pri la progeso kio estis farita el al alpreno de Esperanto kiel monda lingvo.
Laŭ artikolo en Amerika Esperantisto, B. Pickman Mann, unue kantis la “Preĝo,” kaj tiam donis vivon de D-ro. Zamenhof. Aliaj homoj parolis pri la progreso de Esperanto en aliaj landoj.

Estis ankaŭ kunveno en Nov-Jorko. Tie, James F. Morton, Jr. legis pomemo pri la vivo de Zamenhof. S-ro Morton estis avocato, anarkisto, kaj li batalis por homoj rajtoj.

Al la Memoro de Nia Majstro
Por li, kiu gajnojn facilajn rifuzis,
Kaj nur pro homaro la vivon eluzis;
Por li, kies nomo perdiĝos neniam,
Sed restos amata kaj sankta por ĉiam;
Por li, kies agoj la mondon ja benas;
Por li, Nia Majsto, hodiaũ ni venas.
Se laŭdas ni lin per literoj el oro,
Ne estus sufiĉe por lia memoro.

Malfortaj ni estas, malgranda la rondo;
Sed li apartenas al tuta la mondo.
Per liaj laboroj montriĝas la vojo.
Al homa frateco kun paco kaj ĝojo.
Ni ŝparu do laŭdon; la vortojn ĉesigu;
Sed nian fervoron per agoj vidigu.
La paŝojn de l’ Majstro senlace sekvante,
Ni marŝos de venko al venko konstante.
La verda standardo de nia afero
Kondukos la mondon al amo kaj vero.
—James F. Morton, Jr.

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A Somber Zamenhof-Day

Esperantists observe December 15 as the birthday of Esperanto.[1] The date is set not in commemoration of the publication of the Unu Libro,[2] but instead of Zamenhof’s birthday, since he used his nineteenth birthday as a pretext to gather some friends together and release his plan for an international auxiliary language. That language is today…well, completely lost. When Ludovik Zamenhof went off to study medicine, his father assured him that his language would be there when he returned. Marcus Zamenhof promptly burned his son’s papers.

Even though the language of 1887 (that is, Esperanto) has some differences from the language of 1878, it’s the initial release of that language, and its creator’s birthday, that we celebrate as the birthday of Esperanto.[3] Zamenhof died in 1917 (at the age of 57), just short of thirty years after the publication of Esperanto. By that time, celebrating Zamenhof’s birthday as the birthday of Esperanto had become a tradition. I have found any brief reference to Zamenof-day festivities in 1917, but the Zamenhof-day activities in Washington, D.C. in 1918 were probably something of a somber affair, as they were also acting as a memorial to Dr. Zamenhof.


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Friday, December 12, 2014

Professor Schinz, the Accuser of Esperanto

Professor Claims Esperanto a German Plot
To recap: On November 25, 1916, the New York Sun published a letter by Creston Coigne about how Esperanto was progressing despite the war. This occasioned a response on December 2 from Professor Albert Schinz of Smith College, who essentially accused a British Esperantist who was covertly corresponding with a German Esperantist friend of treason, and suggested that the only reason that the Germans were putting war dispatches out in Esperanto was to disrupt the likelihood of French and English being the co-international languages, and advance the cause of German. To this, on December 11, Jozefo Silbernik, Dr. Zamenhof’s brother-in-law, and an active Esperantist in New York City, showed that Professor Schinz’s contention that the Germans did this because they knew they would lose the war was false, since the Germans started the dispatches before getting officially involved in the war.

Not enough for Professor Schinz. On December 12, 1916, he’s back in the pages of the Sun with a further question for the Esperantists. At this point, I had to look ahead; Professor Schinz gets the last word. After initial enthusiasm for Esperanto, French academics had somewhat soured on it, and I suspect Professor Schinz got his view of Esperanto from his French colleagues. His real issue seems to be the prospect of French as one of the world’s languages of international use.


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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Advice to Novelists (circa 1916)

Who said that death of the hero has to be gloomy?
I never liked that Huck Finn guy anyway.
I’m working on a novel. Every once in a while, someone will tell me that she or he (more often she) wishes she (we’ll stick with that) were working on a novel. But it’s the easiest thing in the world! I always tell them to take a sheet a paper and write “Chapter One” at the top of the page. You are now officially working on a novel (you just haven’t gone very far).[1]

Like many an aspiring novelist, I am (generally) happy to get advice from anywhere.[2] I was happy to see that a letter in the Sun of December 11, 1916 offered some advice for novelists. I don’t know if Charles Hooper, of Seattle, Washington, had any particular expertise in the matter. There were several men named Charles Hooper in Seattle at the time, but none of them show any indication of being a reliable critic of novels, a streetcar conductor, a machinist, a tailor, although it’s not impossible that one of those was an astute critic of fiction.


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Silbernick Defends German Use of Esperanto

Acquitted? Was it on trial?
The New York Sun published a lengthy letter about Esperanto on December 11, 1916. It’s long enough that I was inclined to quote it only in part, until I reached the bottom and saw who wrote it: Joseph Silbernik. The first time I wrote about Mr. Silbernik, it was quickly pointed out to me (thanks!) that Silbernik was the maiden name of Klara Zamenhof. Her father, Marcus Silbernik, funded the publication of the the Unua Libro. I have since learned that Joseph Silbernik was Klara Zamenhof’s brother.

Or so says a page on the Esperanto Wikipedia. There is no source for the assertion, but it seems to work out. Joseph Silbernik was about 21 years younger than Aleksandro Silbernik (Klara’s father). Another Silbernik relative, Joseph Levite (Klara’s brother-in-law) lived in Warsaw, and it was at his home that Ludovik met Klara.[1] But like Ludovik, Joseph was born in Bialystok, about seven years before Ludovik. It looks like there were a number of intersections between the Zamenhof and Silbernik families.


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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Oscar Browning, Esperanto, and Homosexuality

La unua geja Esperantisto?
The Wikipedia entry on Oscar Browning mentions Virginia Woolf (Mr. Browning is mentioned, unfavorably, in her work) but not Esperanto. This omission should not stand. Further, there is no entry in the Esperanto Wikipedia on Browning, even though there is ample evidence that he deserves an entry there.[1]

Browning was a Victorian-era educator (which lead to Woolf disfavoring him[2]) associated with Cambridge University. The 1907 Universala Kongreso was at Cambridge, and the history shows that Oscar Browning took part in it. In 1905, he had likely just recently taken up an interest in Esperanto, but that was enough for him to give a lecture on the subject. One of the nice aspects of lecturing about Esperanto in 1905 is that, unless Dr. Zamenhof were in the audience, you likely knew more about it than anyone else in the room.


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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Facebook Advertises Malware — Again

Want my advice? Don't.
Clearly, Facebook just takes the cash, they don’t ask whether this is good for their millions of users, but if you’re a Macintosh user, you’ll want to steer clear of this month’s offer from “BestMacPhoto.com.” Back in October, there was a Facebook ad for MacPhotoPro, which I was able to determine was a browser hijack. As malware goes, browser hijacks are minor things, though it does mean that someone else is making cash off your browsing habits, and you’re probably providing more information about yourself that you’d care to. We’re not talking some trojan that takes over your computer. Still, my view is: Say no to browser hijacks.

Once again the link in Facebook takes you to a long link that looks like it says “BestMacPhoto.com,” but the real link is: http://bestmacphoto.com/nlp/color/fbmacph/Intensifypro?p1=1&utm_source=fbmacph&utm_medium=affiliate&utm_campaign=1&utm_content=Intensifypro#. Because I’m foolhardy (and kinda know what I’m doing), I clicked on the “Free Download” button.


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A Christmas Eve Videocassette

Some videos for the holiday
Only once did I work retail during the holiday season. It was in 1985, and at that time, video store clerk was a typical job for a twenty something. This was the VHS era; DVDs wouldn’t come along for another decade, by which time I was long out of working any retail job. But in December 1985, that was all in the future. Boston was covered with a light layer of snow. The air was crisp. The store was decorated with gold and silver garland, and we were playing Christmas movies on the monitors through the store.

Not that everyone wanted Christmas movies. The store I worked at was notable for a few things. First, it had a fairly extensive collection and rather than compete with the chains that were popping up, went for a broad selection of films, instead of lots of lots of the movie that had been a hit in the theaters six months before. I had been hired for two reasons: for being a science fiction fan who could identify some of the gaps in their science fiction collection, and for being reasonably well versed with computers, since when I was hired the owners were planning on computerizing everything, which they soon did.


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Monday, December 8, 2014

William Reno Escapes Imprisonment for Sodomy — Eventually

"We charged him on the wrong thing"
isn't actually a technicality
It seems that William Reno was already known to the police when he was arrested on December 7, 1910. In 1908, he plead guilty to assault with a deadly weapon and was sentenced from six months to two years imprisonment. The East Oregonian said that Reno “shot a companion named Goodell about three weeks ago as the outcome of a drunken spree.” But he wasn’t just a fighter. Most of the articles on him, are of a quite different nature.

His 1910 arrest didn’t involve any weapons, as far as we can tell from the news reports. Instead, he was arrested for sodomy.[1] The article seems to be inaccurate on several counts, one of which is in describing the other person involved as a “boy,” which strikes me as a little inaccurate for an eighteen-year-old.[2] I don’t know if Oregon had a different age of consent in 1910, but but I think we can be certain that it was no lower than 18 (which it is now). In 1910, no one could legally consent to gay sex, still the East Oregonian’s use of the word “pederasty” seems somewhat misapplied.


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Sunday, December 7, 2014

Mr. Baker’s Brochure and An Esperantist Responds

Why would Arthur Baker ask
for stamps and then just
mail them back?
On December 5, 1910, the Los Angeles Herald ran a letter from O. H. Mayer, a prominent Idoist, promoting a brochure about Ido, must as Arthur Baker had been promoting a brochure on Esperanto. This brought two responses from readers of the Herald, one telling us what happened when he wrote to Arthur Baker for the free Esperanto brochure, and the other attempting to rebut the claims made by O. H. Mayer.

Baker was in Esperanto for the cash, and seemed resentful of competition from other Esperantist concerns.[1] For him, the whole point of the brochure Elements of Esperanto was to get people to buy his book, The American Esperanto Book, subscribe to his magazine, Amerika Esperantisto, or both. The proffered free brochure (available for stamps for reply) was a sixteen-pages long, and largely drawn from Zamenhof’s Unua Libro. Today it can be read without having to send stamps to anyone, since Google Books has made a copy of Elements of Esperanto readily available. Elements of Esperanto concludes with an advertisement for The American Esperanto Book.


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Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Edge of Destruction — Blogging Doctor Who

If “The Daleks” was padded by an episode or two, so is “The Edge of Destruction,” the third Doctor Who story. “The Edge of Destruction” is only two episodes long, so that’s pretty much padding from end to end.[1]

The episode is the show’s first bottle episode, using only the Tardis interiors and the regular cast. And the cast is acting strangely. At the end of the previous serial, as they escaped Skaro, there’s a flash and they all fall to the floor. This happens repeatedly in “The Edge of Destruction.” When they wake, their memories are faulty, they act aggressively toward each other, and generally bicker.

This time, the Doctor isn’t the only one behaving badly, as Ian attempts a little recreational choking, and Susan threatens both Ian and Barbara with scissors. The Doctor is the most unsubtle poisoner ever, telling everyone that he’s giving them “a little nightcap to help us all sleep better,” so it’s no terrible surprise that Ian figures out he’s trying to drug them with a sedative.[2]


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Princess Strikes Blow for Freedom of Writers

The Infanta Eulalia
in her writing tiara
It’s unusual for a member of a royal family to be supporting the independence of artists, but that’s what happened. In December 1911, the Infanta Eulalia defied the wishes of her nephew and went ahead with publishing a book. If you’re king, you get to boss your aunt around, whereas for the rest us, your father’s sister somewhat outranks you. Alfonso XIII was somewhat limited in what he could do about his aunt, according to the pair of articles in the December 6, 1911 Washington Herald, but he did hold the strings to the royal purse, and could cut off her allowance.

The king was fairly young, he was only twenty-five years old and had been king his entire life (his father died at the age of only twenty-seven)[1] His aunt, the Infanta Eulalia, was only forty-seven herself. The Wikipedia article on her uses the word “controversial” three times, twice in relationship to her books, one of which got her in the bad graces of her nephew in 1911.


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Friday, December 5, 2014

An Idist Counteroffers

Free offer:
What's wrong with Esperanto?
Yeah, that sounds tempting.
Arthur Baker made a regular practice of offering a free introductory brochure in Esperanto in order to induce people to learn Esperanto. Since he published books and a magazine in Esperanto, he was just trying to increase his customer base. Eventually, Baker decided to drop any attempts to become the major publisher of Esperanto items in the United States, and in 1911 left the editorship of Amerika Esperantisto, selling it to the Esperanto Association for North America. While he was in it, according to Esperanto Wikipedia, he distributed approximately 100,000 copies of the brochure Elements of Esperanto.[1]

He distributed these by writing to papers across the country, asking them to include the notice that people could write him for a free copy of the brochure. A fellow Chicagoan, O. H. Mayer, decided to offer the same for those who might be interested in Ido. He was published in the December 5, 1910 Los Angeles Herald. There’s no way of knowing how much response Mr. (my assumption) Mayer got with his offer. (The only O. H. Mayer I can find in Chicago in 1910 was an eleven-year old, Otto Mayer. Our O. H. Mayer was a representative for Chicago of the “Delegation for the Adoption of an International Auxiliary Language” and clearly active in promoting Ido from 1909 through 1912 (at least), which seems an unlikely activity for a small child.


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Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Daleks — Blogging Doctor Who

Shortly after I published my first review of a Doctor Who story, it was pointed out to me that if I did these on a weekly basis, it would take me five years to get through the series, if I did one story a week. Yeah, I think I can squeeze that in between now and 2019. Then I went and took two weeks before getting to the second story. Waits won’t always be this long (though expect a long pause between “The Seeds of Death” and “The War Games”). As this is a blog where I managed to write three posts about cranberries, expect some digressions.[1] Thanksgiving cut into the tv watching and blogging.[2]

Back to Doctor Who. In a way, “The Daleks” was the serial that really started things for Doctor Who. This is an iconic episode. First note: it’s way long. The story is told over seven episodes, so that’s about three-and-a-half hours. It’s a feature-length film with a really leisurely pace until the last episode. The last one has a much brisker pace. The script probably certainly could have been a six-parter, maybe even a five-parter.


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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

An Early Birthday for Esperanto

Of course it does, but when?
Ask an Esperantist when the birthday of Esperanto is and they’ll tell you: December 15th, the same as Zamenhof, who made the first public demonstration of Esperanto on his 19th birthday in 1878. Edmond Privat in his Vivo de Zamenhof[1] In a way, the language of 1878 wasn’t really Esperanto. Zamenhof called it the lingwe uniwersala; the letter w is absent from Esperanto. The language that was celebrated on Zamenhof’s birthday in 1878 wasn’t the same same language that was published nine years later in 1887.[2]


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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Esperantists — The Kaiser’s Fools

Professor Albert Schinz
Thought Esperanto
a German plot
So claimed a letter in the New York Sun on December 2, 1916. The Germans had been putting out war dispatches in Esperanto, which some Esperantists viewed as a real success for Esperanto. Albert Schinz, of Northampton, Massachusetts didn’t see it that way.

Just as in 1908, when Esperantists felt that the use of Esperanto by Moresnet would taint Esperanto with regional politics, Professor Schinz felt that the Germans were propagandizing the Esperanto movement. Yes, “Professor Schinz.” It took a small amount of work to determine that Albert Schinz was a professor of French at Smith College when he wrote the letter. He was a fairly prolific scholar with many books and articles to his credit.

If it not clear if he was an Esperantist, however, he does note that he knew Esperantists, and he wrote an article in the January 1906 Atlantic Monthly describing and sympathetic of Esperanto. In the Atlantic article, he states that he is not an Esperantist, yet did say he managed to write a short letter to De Beaufront after an hour of study. Yet, in the December 1916 Amerika Esperantist, there’s a short article on Professor Schinz’s letter, noting that Schinz is responding to a letter by Creston Coigne, which had appeared in the November 25 Sun.[1] The Esperantists at this point, seem to have no idea who the man is, referring to him as "one Albert Schinz."

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Monday, December 1, 2014

Esperantists Say No to Moresnet

Where will the capital of Esperantio be then?
It’s one of those odd bits of Esperanto history, the time it looked like a small nation might form with Esperanto as an official language. It didn’t happen. You cannot travel to the Esperanto-speaking county of Moresnet, because it isn’t there (the territory is now Belgium).

In hindsight, you might think that Esperantists of the period would have viewed this as a great success for Esperanto. There would be a population of Esperanto speakers using the language on a daily basis. Anyone who wanted to do business with Moresnet would have to do so in Esperanto. The language would move from being a sort of idealistic hobby to a living, working language. You’d think Esperantists would be delighted. You’d be wrong.


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Mad Money — Faerie Queene, Book 2, Canto 7

I could take it that way, but
couldn't you just write me a check?
It’s been a while since I last dipped into The Faerie Queene. Initially, I figured I’d treat it like a class assignment and rip through it, but it didn’t work that way. I am still intent to get to the end of this work. Equally, though, I am insisting that this should be a pleasure, not a burden. After a month’s delay (not a single post on this subject in November), I return to the poem.

I’ve been doing some other stuff with some tight deadlines, and let me be blunt (as I frequently am about this): these pages don’t get a lot of traffic. In the last ten days, five Faerie Queene posts have been read, one each, from a four locations. You people might want to get together. Since I was in the midst of something with fixed deadlines, I cut back on the posting, and let my copy of The Faerie Queene gather (metaphoric) dust.


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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Waiter, I’ll Have the “Supo de la Tago”

Kion vi volas manĝi?
It would be nice to see the menus, if they still exist, or ever existed, but the claim made in 1913 was that seven hotels in the United States had restaurant menus in Esperanto, none of which were in Washington, D.C. The article, unfortunately, doesn’t indicate where they actually were.

The suggestion that there were seven restaurants with Esperanto menus is somewhat surprising. After all, the number of foreign Esperantists in the United States at any given time, has undoubtably been so small that they were probably outnumbered by other tourists from their country who didn’t speak Esperanto. Further, the whole idea of menus in a variety of languages seems to crop up in Europe, but not here.

An English-language menu isn’t always a help. I remember being perplexed the choice “Rhenish pickled beef” on a menu in Germany. I asked to compare it with the German menu, and there it was, “Rheinischer sauerbraten.” Sauerbraten isn’t actually pickled, it just gets marinated in vinegar, not nearly long enough to pickle it. Then there are the bad translations, where English just gets mangled on the menu.


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Saturday, November 29, 2014

A Cranberry Tart, A Seasonal Treat


The finished tart, shiny and yummy
We were off for a post-Thanksgiving gathering and I told our host that we would be bringing something “seasonal.” I wouldn’t say what, because I like there to be some element of surprise. What I brought was a cranberry tart. It was seasonal (needs fresh cranberries), yummy, and it’s not difficult to make.

I will offer the caveat: I’ve got some kitchen skills, and (at least) I think I’m pretty good at making desserts. I made this more difficult by baking it in a tart shell, because I like the way that looks. It could be done in a pie shell, but even then I would use the richer tart crust. The tart really is akin to a pecan pie, but with cranberries (and that’s good because I don’t much care for pecan pie).

I finished it off with an apricot glaze, as a result of binging on episodes of The French Chef. Once again, this is not difficult, and the glaze isn’t simply pretty, the apricots give the tart another level of flavor. You can paint this stuff on practically anything.
Docking. Almost ready to bake


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Friday, November 28, 2014

The Lawyer, the Rug Merchant, and the Sodomy Charge

With whom did Benny attempt this?
Articles about sodomy charges in early-twentieth century newspapers tend to be a bit on the opaque side, often not disclosing the name of the other individual involved. Since at the time, opposite-sex couples could be, and were, charged with sodomy, sometimes it’s not clear whether or not the report of transgressive sex is a matter of early (and somewhat hidden) gay history. In this case, I have the suspicion that there’s a bit of gay history underneath it all.

In 1910, Benjamin A. Younkers was a lawyer in Des Moines, Iowa. He was thirty-five years old, married, and though native born, the son of immigrant parents. Martin J. Loftus was a rug salesman in Des Moines, Iowa. He was thirty-five years old, married, and though native born, the son of immigrant parents. How did these two men differ? Younkers had been married for three years, and had no children. Loftus had been married for fifteen years, and had two. Younkers was Jewish, with parents from Russia and Germany. Loftus had parents from Ireland.


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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Germ Warfare and Other Intimidations

Mark that one "Return to Sender," would you?
A Colorado judge received a gruesome package in the mail in November, 1909, as reported in the Spokane Press. The box contained two small strips of human flesh. I’m ready to heat sterilize my mailbox just for reading that. But it gets worse, and when you’re starting with medical waste in your mailbox, worse must be pretty bad. The title of this post isn’t “Yucky Mail.” According to a note in the box, the skin was from a smallpox victim. So the anthrax attacks of several years ago, were just kinda copycat.

Wikipedia notes that smallpox was almost completely eliminated from the United States by 1897, so it’s not actually clear that there was any smallpox-infected skin for someone to easily obtain in 1909. To do this, you have to be certain that you’re immune, and it only works if your prospective victim is not immune (flip those around and it’s suicide and annoying, disgusting mail).


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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Professional Esperantist

He wasn't actually looking at
Esperanto, but was getting others to.
The early Esperanto movement had its share of celebrities, people who tended to get mentioned whenever the subject of Esperanto was brought up, or whose connection to Esperanto was mentioned whenever attention was being turned to them specifically. Chief among these was Dr. Zamenhof himself, but in the United States, the same was true of the Stoner family, and every time Mrs. Stoner’s educational theories were discussed in print, readers would be reminded of her connection to the Esperanto movement.

But Zamenhof didn’t make money from the Esperanto movement (it actually was a drain on his resources) and Mrs. Stoner’s interest in Esperanto seemed to be largely based on self promotion.[1] One celebrity’s fame came from his promotion of Esperanto, and in traveling around promoting Esperanto, Edmond Privat was one of the early professional Esperantists, and preeminent among them.


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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

I Tried to Write Click Bait… And You Won’t Believe What Happened Next!

Just one click. It won't hurt.
I promise.
Actually, you’ve probably already sure what would happen if I tried to write click bait. The main purveyors of click bait won’t be wondering how to contact me to get me to write for them. After all, the click bait version of my blog is This Man Invented a Language — And You Won’t Believe What Happened Next or Two Men Met in Washington, D.C. — What Happened Will Make You Cry![1]

I admit it: if I saw something with a titles like this on a friend’s Facebook feed, I wouldn’t click it. (I’m happy to do the experiment.) So maybe, I’m dooming this post to No-Click Hell. I don’t know. The reason I’m writing this it to point out that I have very little idea what posts are and aren’t going to catch on, beyond some really broad parameters. Also, because the New York Times just looked at click bait, under the title “You Won’t Believe What These People Say About ‘Click Bait’,” though what they say is exactly what you expect.


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An Esperantist in Motion Pictures

Esperanto: They ought to
make a movie!
There was little find about Creston C. Coigne, who as a young man in New York wrote a letter to the Sun which appeared in their November 25, 1916 edition, in part because Mr. Coigne died young. When he died, he was probably about twenty-six years old. The 1915 New York State Census says that Mr. Coigne was eighteen years old and worked as a motion picture actor.

It was a family business. The same census lists his father as a motion picture director and his mother as a motion picture actress. Coigne’s brother Armand, was at sixteen and a stenographer. His grandmother, Ella Brous, kept house for the family. The family business was named after him, Creston Feature Pictures. Like many short-lived silent movie studios, it’s a struggle to even find out what they produced. The Catalog of Copyright Entries does list both Ireland a Nation and St. Joan of Arc among their pictures. The firm did advertise that another film, The Scapular, was nearing completion.[1]


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Monday, November 24, 2014

Some Thoughts On Genre

Some books. American 20th
century writers.
A friend once asked me if I shelf my science fiction books apart from “literature.” I don’t actually recognize a separate category called “literature,” and my books are shelved in Library of Congress order. This means that writers are grouped by historical period, not their names, or the intent of their fiction. It would get muddy otherwise. Should you lump Charles Dickens, a writer for the masses, in with the popular fiction, despite that his work is taught as literature today.[1] I shelve Dickens in with the other Victorians.

I read something today that I think got genre a bit wrong.[2] In his view, genre fiction puts character subordinate to plot. I could doubtless fill his home with genre works that gratify that opinion. He noted that (and I will quote here) that “people are good or bad (sometimes evil)” (I"m quoting, but not naming. I have my reasons.) And I could fill his home with genre works that refute that claim.


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