Wednesday, September 30, 2009

USS John F Kennedy in Malta

I received this picture today from my aunt. It was forwarded with this question:
Have you ever considered how big a U.S. aircraft carrier really is?
Here is a picture of the USS John F Kennedy (CV-67) docking in Malta. The comparison to buildings, automobiles, and city streets gives some conception of its size.

I couldn't resist posting this picture of JFK, which was the first ship I was ever assigned to in the Navy. Stationed in Spain in the early 70's, I was ordered TAD (Temporary Additional Duty) aboard CV-67 in the North Atlantic (for about a month, as I recall). If memory serves, we were participating in a NATO exercise. We crossed the Arctic Circle aboard ship, making us all Blue Noses. This designation is similar to that of Shellback (for one who crosses the Equator aboard ship) but did not entail the extensive initiation process of Shellback.

I later served on another short TAD trip aboard the Kennedy (CV-67) in the Mediterranean. The memorable part of that trip was being flown off the ship on the carrier's COD, nicknamed Caroline, in honor of President Kennedy's daughter.

I previously wrote about my time aboard aircraft carriers here.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Happy Birthday, Arnie; Long Live the King!

Today is the birthday of the most important name in the history of Golf. If you love Golf and wonder why it has become the popular spectator sport and pastime it is today, you must understand Arnold Palmer, the King. Arnie is 80; long live the King!

I have seen Arnold denying this in a number of venues in recent days. He doesn't consider himself to be a King and has fought the notion until he recognized it was a futile effort. The Golf Channel has made a big deal about his birthday, counting down the days for weeks now. And why not? Without Arnold Palmer, there would be no Golf Channel. Without Arnie there might not be a Tiger Woods.

Without Arnie, I might never have become a golfer. My Mom and Dad introduced me to golf via Shell's Wonderful World of Golf and other TV shows we watched about golf. Many focused on Arnold Palmer. They loved the game themselves, and they encouraged me to caddy at our local Country Club, which at the age of 12, introduced me to a wonderful world that has stood me in good stead over the course (!) of my 57 years on this earth.

At the Country Club of Ashland, I learned to play golf by caddying for some of the best golfers in the area, and by listening to our pro and the top amateurs talking about the golf swing. I caddied for a few years, worked in the pro shop, worked as the caddy master, cleaned clubs, mowed greens, watered the fairways as an assistant to the Head Greenskeeper, worked in the Pro Shop. Basically, I worked everywhere around the Country Club except the kitchen.

Although I haven't always had time to play as much as I would like, when stationed in Rota, Spain, and Yokohama, Japan, I was able to play many weekends a year at the excellent golf courses provided by the U.S. Military.

But this post is really about Arnold Palmer and the effect he's had not only on my life but on the world. If you have paid any attention to the media in recent days (and especially if you watch the Golf Channel) you may have noticed that the King, Arnold Palmer, turned 80 on September 10th. I will not try to recreate all of the wonderful accolades and tributes to Arnie that have been written in recent days, but to give you a taste, here's a link to a nice article, fittingly in a Pennsylvania paper. also has a great collection of recollections of Arnold Palmer by members of the PGA (club pros) who had the pleasure of meeting him.

My main point about Arnold Palmer is how he brought golf into the world of the average person. His advent coincided with the rise of television and the presidency of Dwight Eisenhower, an avid golfer and a friend of Arnie. He spurred U.S. participation overseas with his faithful participation in the Open Championship, for example. He always had time to greet people and to sign autographs. He was the quintessential everyman and the model citizen of the golf world, a courteous gentleman, who made more friends among the throngs of fans than any of us could imagine. His sportsmanlike behavior, emulated by his good friends, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player, became the standard by which golfers in subsequent generations would come to act—to treat one another, and their fans, with honor and respect.

In an age when athletes in most professional sports stand out for their brushes with the law or gambling on their sport or domestic abuse, golf stands apart, seemingly in a world of its own. Arnold Palmer and his wife Winnie created and support hospitals, cancer research, the March of Dimes, and were just simply always involved in using their wealth to help people. Furthermore, Arnie—the friend of kings, presidents, and movie stars—always had a moment to smile at a child or the person who cleaned the locker room. As a guy who worked at that kind of a job as a kid, I know how much that means.

If Arnie had never appeared on the scene, I might not be an avid golfer today, and therefore I owe him a great debt of gratitude. Thank you, Arnold Palmer. Thank you, Arnie, and Happy Birthday from one of your biggest fans.....Long live the King!

This just in: birthday quotes from Arnie's fellow tour professionals and luminaries like Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Hawaiian Nihongo

Our niece, Pam, and her friend, Becky, recently went on vacation in Hawaii. Knowing how I love Japanese, they sent me this picture of a Subway menu in Japanese. Becky pointed out that BLT is in English. What is fascinating is that about 80% of this menu is in English adapted into the Japanese language phonetically. It's something we might call Nihonglish (Nihongo is Japanese for the Japanese language). By learning a 46-character syllabary called Katakana, you could read 80% or more of this menu.

There are only a few actual Kanji (Chinese characters used to write Japanese) on the menu, and since they mostly use the On-yomi (that is the Chinese reading of the Kanji), they represent Chinese sounds/ideas adopted into Japanese.

In fact, the only real native Japanese on this menu, in one sense, are the few Hiragana (another 46-character syllabary, used to write native Japanese words and to add grammatical endings to the Kanji) along with a couple of Kanji using the Kun-yomi (Japanese reading of the character)!

Top Line says "Sabuay"-wa furesshu de Shinsen dakara itsumo oishii!" Subway fresh. Because it's fresh, it's always delicious). The two Kanji are read Shinsen, a second way to write the meaning "fresh."

Second line: "Okisa-wa 6 inchi to 12 inchi, rappu mo arimasu."—Sizes we have: 6-inch and 12-inch, and also wraps.

Third line: "Yasai-wa oSukinamono o oErabi Kudasai." Literally (Regarding) vegetables (polite prefix) favorites or choices (polite prefix) choose please (humble word)—Choose the vegetables you would like. The prefix "o" added to the beginning of Sukinamono and Erabi is an example of word beautification and makes the language more polite. The word Kudasai is a form of please that shows humility on the part of the speaker (writer). When written as a Kanji, it points downward, as follows:
* Beji Deraito (Yasai to cheezu)"—Vegi Delight (Vegetables and Cheese)

* Tahkee Buresto (Shichimencho Muneniku)—Turkey Breast (Turkey Breast, but the word Shichimencho is interesting. It is the designation for a Turkey, but literally it means something like "Seven-Faced Bird," perhaps in reference to the various colors reflected by the turkey’s wattle.)

See more discussion of the word turkey in various languages on my blog here.
* Roesto Bifu —Roast Beef

* Sheefudo to Kurabu (Sheefudo to Kanikama) — Seafood and Fake Crab

* BLT (Baykon, Retasu, tomahto)—BLT (Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato)
* Hamu—Ham
* Roesto Chiken Buresto—Roast Chicken Breast

* Sabuay Kurabu (Tahkee, Roesto Beefu, Hamu)—Subway Club (Turkey, Roast Beef, Ham) (Notice crab and club are both transliterated the same into Katakana.)

* Itarian BMT (Peparoni, Sarami, Hamu)—Italian BMT (Pepperoni, Salami, Ham)

The BMT was supposedly originally named after the "Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit," but now is called Biggest, Meatiest, Tastiest.

* Tsuna (Tuna—this is the closest we can get in transliterating Tuna into Katakana).

* Teriyaki chiken—Teriyaki chicken

* Korudo Kahto Conbi (Hamu, Buroeni, Sarami)—Cold Cut Combi(nation) (Ham, Balogna, Salami)

* Chiken, Baykon Ranchi (Chiken, Baykon, Yasai)—Chicken Bacon Ranch (Chicken, Bacon, Ranch) (Note here that the word Lunch would also be transliterated Ranchi.)

* Steiki to Chizu—Steak and Cheese

* Pasutorami—Pastrami

* Beji Maxu (Yasai Hahmbahgah)—Vejimax (Vegetable Hamburger)

* Kizzu Paku (Kora Paku)—(Hamu, Tsuna, Softo Durinku, Tahkee something and it fades out-can't make out the characters, Durinku, and more unreadables)--Kid's Pack (Children's Pack) (Ham, Tuna, Soft Drink, Turkey, ........, Drink,....

* Onomimono: Softo Durinku (Okii, Chui, Chiisai) Kara oErabi Kudasai, Gyunyu, Uroncha, Kocha mo Arimasu—Beverages: Soft Drinks (Large, Medium, Small) Choose, We also have Milk, Oolong Tea, and Black Tea.

* Supu: Kuramuchyaudah, Burokkari Chizu, Chiken Nudoru, Bifu Vejitaburu—Soup: Clam Chowder, Broccoli-Cheese, Chicken Noodle, Beef Vegetable

The Black Circle in the upper righthand corner says that you can add Bacon for 50 cents to the 6-inch or a dollar to the 12-inch sandwich.
This was also posted on Bonnie's Beans Blog here, with some additional Japanese language information.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Oxford English Dictionary Online

I discovered an interesting and useful piece of information today. The Oxford English Dictionary, with its wonderful wealth of information about our language, is available on line through many libraries, one of which is the Denver Public Library. This link will take you to the entry point. All you need from there is a library card. Fantastic stuff!
The OED site home page is here.

Following is a quote from the site concerning the genesis of this historic work:

"The Oxford English Dictionary has been the last word on words for over a century. But, as with a respected professor or admired parent, we count on its wisdom and authority without thinking much about how it was acquired. What is the history of the Oxford English Dictionary? Exploring its origins and development will give new insight into this extraordinary, living document.

How it began

When the members of the Philological Society of London decided, in 1857, that existing English language dictionaries were incomplete and deficient, and called for a complete re-examination of the language from Anglo-Saxon times onward, they knew they were embarking on an ambitious project. However, even they didn't realize the full extent of the work they initiated, or how long it would take to achieve the final result.

The project proceeded slowly after the Society's first grand statement of purpose. Eventually, in 1879, the Society made an agreement with the Oxford University Press and James A. H. Murray to begin work on a New English Dictionary (as the Oxford English Dictionary was then known)."

Read more here.