muckefuck: (zhongkui)
  1. die Spitzmaus
  2. de spitsmuis
  3. la musaraña
  4. la musaranya
  5. la musaraigne
  6. an dallóg fhraoigh
  7. y llyg
  8. ryjówka
  9. 뒤쥐, 첨서 (尖鼠)
  10. 尖鼠 jiānshǔ, 鼩鼱 qújīng
  11. 尖鼠 (トガリネズミ)
Etymologies: 1, 2. "pointy mouse". 3, 4, 5. "spider mouse" [< Lat. mus aranea]. 6. "little-blind-one of-heather" (cf. dallóg fhéir "dormouse" ["little-blind-one of-grass"]). 7. [< Proto-Cetlic *lukīs (cf. llygod "mouse")]. 8. "little-snouty-one" [< ryj "snout"]. 9. "back?-mouse" 10. "sharp mouse", "shrew". 11. "sharp mouse".

Notes: Giving the striking similarity in composition, I wonder if 尖鼠 isn't a calque of the Dutch or German from a time when these were a major source of scientific vocabulary for Japanese and Chinese. (Although I can't find individual entries for 鼩 or 鼱, I suspect this is a typical yoking together of two very specific terms which are ambiguous on their own. Alternatively, it could represent a truly bisyllabic morpheme like 蝴蝶.)

The Romance forms are interesting to me for two reasons. The first is the retention of the nominative case form. (Most Romance nouns derive from the Vulgar Latin accusative, which in this case would be murem.) The second is that we see a switcheroo in French, with the modern word for "mouse" deriving from the Latin for "shrew", sorex.
muckefuck: (zhongkui)
  1. das Schnabeltier
  2. het vogelbekdier
  3. el ornitorrinco
  4. l'ornitorinc
  5. l'ornithorynque
  6. an platapas
  7. y hwyatbig
  8. dziobak
  9. 오리너구리
  10. 鴨嘴獸 yāzuǐshòu
  11. カモノハシ
Notes: 1. "beak beast" 2. "bird beak beast" 7. "duck beak" 8. dim. of dziób "beak" 9. "duck raccoon dog" 10. "bird mouth beast" 11. "wild duck's beak"

I frankly didn't expect the equivalents to be so varied or so divergent from English. Sure, the Romance languages seem to agree in using a form of the Latin genus name (which is simply the Greek for "bird snout"), but many of the other languages of Europe seem to have taken this designation and made it their own. I'm particularly surprised to see both Korean and Japanese using 100% native names for a creature which could hardly be more exotic to them.
muckefuck: (zhongkui)
  1. das Gänslein
  2. het gansje
  3. el ansarino
  4. l'ocó
  5. l'oison
  6. an góislín
  7. y cyw gŵydd
  8. gąsię
  9. 새끼거위
  10. 小鵝 xiǎoé
  11. 小雁 (こがん)
Notes: Today was a day to be outside, so I went for a stroll along the lagoon. The waterbirds were out napping and foraging on the bank, and among them were two dirty-looking goslings, their dark yellow down moulting to grey. Two adults were grazing alongside them, but a third was keeping watch and hissed as I approached. I gave her a wide berth as I crouched and watched the chicks.

After a while, I saw a young woman approach with an iPhone raised. "Watch out for that one," I warned her, "she hissed at me." She seemed incredulous that geese would attack and bite. When the mother eventually turned on her, too, she responded, "That's so intense! I can't believe she hissed at me!" We had a nice little chat about the geese, ducks, and blackbirds and then we each when on our way. I came across a chunk of bread being attacked by crows and brought it back with me, causing a riot among the mallards and geese when I began ripping off bits and tossing them among them.
muckefuck: (zhongkui)
  1. der Leng(fisch)
  2. de leng
  3. la maruca
  4. la llengua de bacallà
  5. la lingue (blanche)
  6. an langa
  7. y honos
  8. molwa (pospolita)
  9. 魣鱈 xùxuě
Notes: This is a word which brought me up short in O'Flaherty today. Generally, context or, in a pinch, my Dictionary of Hiberno-English suffices, but all I could tell from the sentence was that it was some sort of foodstuff and Dolan had nothing. It was the Old Man who put me on the right track by saying, "Isn't it a kind of cod?" It isn't but it's a fish (or rather a genus of them) of the same order which is apparently similar enough to be a common substitute. According to Wikipedia, in fact, it's the preferred species for lutefisk. Since it's a North Atlantic food fish, it's surprising enough that there's a Chinese name for it. (My sources are insufficient to determine what they'd be labeled in Japan or Korea.)
muckefuck: (zhongkui)
[livejournal.com profile] monshu was putting together a grocery list for the weekend Saturday night so that we could hit the store on the way back from brunch and not have to leave the house again. I can't remember now what my source of inspiration was (other than the cold), but I said, "I could make my father's chowder." Since we've tested for ourselves the recommendation that it tastes better the next day, he suggested I fix it on Sunday and serve it on Monday.

He found Pacific cod fillets at the Safeminick's and I picked up a good chunk of highly-seasoned bacon from what I think of as the Eastern European case at Devon. I had the leisure to slow cook the dice so as to render as much fat as possible and really crisp the bits. For the potatoes, I decided to break with tradition and use a colourful mix of baby red, yellow, and purple potatoes that the Old Man had discovered. I don't think I realised just how much juice was in the last of those and I was worried it would stain the broth an unsavory dirty hue, but actually the pale blue colour that resulted was quite lovely, as was the otherwordly turquoise of boiled pieces of potato. The broth tasted a little thin, however, thus my last-minute dash for some half-and-half to sleeken it up.

The cat was being a particular nuisance on Monday. On a whim, I gave him a bacon bit and he gobbled it up, so I may hang onto a few as rewards. (We used to keep cat treats to give him, but he kind of lost interest in them.) One of my few other accomplishments of the day was tying a string around his wubby. "You're hanging his ducktopus?" the GWO asked in amazement. But I was getting tired of running upstairs to retrieve the damn thing when playing our game, so I'm hoping this will eliminate the need for that.
muckefuck: (zhongkui)
Seems like only yesterday I was giving the cat his first taste of cornbread and marvelling when he actually ate it; in reality, it was three years ago. Since then he's gone from ignoring human food to not being allowed alone in the room with it. Today I heated up some turkey stew for lunch and then left the room for a moment to make a call; I returned to find him standing on my chair, paws on the table and face in my mashed potatoes. Last week he trashed some lunchmeant [livejournal.com profile] monshu had left on the counter; he'd already gotten in the habit of putting uncooked meat waiting to be cooked into the microwave oven after a similar incident some time back.

But he's retained most of his charming old habits (like sleeping on my arm and licking water off his paw) and recently revived one. Now almost every night as I head downstairs to bed, I find him scrambling to the banister in the hopes I'll fling toys up to him from the lower landing. Whether by accident or design, he seems less proficient at schnagging things and better at whacking them away to carom off the walls. Good to learn that my youthful reflexes haven't completely atrophied.
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Today is Tuesday, which means another in our weekly series of pointless "training" sessions. Except, for once, this one wasn't so pointless. People actually (a) met with IT beforehand to make sure that the tech worked and they knew how to operate it and (b) solicited submissions so they could research them ahead of time instead of combing through documentation in front of us in real time. What a difference. (Of course, it leaves you asking, "Why the hell couldn't we have done this from the start?" but that's just slapping a gift horse in the face.)

What really made this session different, however, was an unexpected guest. So unexpected, in fact, I nearly stepped on him. If only I'd had a cameraphone he'd be getting dozens of Likes right now on FB, so adorable was he. Instead we gathered round and alternated between cooing and trying discern what was wrong with him. I mean, no sane healthy mouse stands right in the middle of a well-lighted doorway where there are lots of people and no food at all. The consensus was that rat poison was addling his senses.

Eventually, someone found a disposable water bottle to carry him away in, but until then there was a clumsy process of trying to scoop him up with paper and such which only drove him out of the hall and into the meeting room. My murophobic boss wanted him dumped in the toilet, prompting me to point out the horribleness of death by drowning. "Why don't you just waterboard him?" I asked.
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May. 23rd, 2012 11:06 am

Birding

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Amazing what you find when you clean up for a change: [livejournal.com profile] monshu cleared out the coat closet in advance of a visit from the electrician today and discovered 'Da Bird' which has been missing on the order of two years or so. I knew I'd hidden somewhere so that the cat wouldn't chew it to shreds and I thought it was that closet, but I didn't think of looking on the floor in the corner where it'd slipped down to. It's a timely discovery now that our vet has suggested he lose about two pounds. (I know that doesn't sound like a lot, but that's comparable to me dropping two stone.) It's clear he's lost some of his interest, but he still did more jumping out than I've seen in ages. If need be, I can always slip in a few catnip leaves.

The Old Man has taken his birthday week off, but rather than spend it gallivanting around one of the great cities of North America, he's staying at home and getting a hundred little things taken care of. Ten of these are the light in the closet, the halogens under the cabinets, and the trifaceted light fixture in the den. For all I know, in fact, they're all taken care of already since your man was supposed to show up at 8:30. Will he be cuter than the cable guy? We live in hope!
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I sincerely feel sorry for any of you who are not in Chicago right now. It really doesn't get any lovelier than this. Everything is in full leaf now--when I wake up in the mornings, I can't tell if it's overcast or not on account of the shade from the maples--but it's clear, cool, and sunny. Sunday I saw my first mosquito and haven't noticed any more since.

I am still getting used to the clarity of our freshly-washed windows. We finally broke down over the weekend and bought a squeegee on a pole, so the outside faces of the upper panes got their first actual cleaning since we moved in. (There should be some way of tilting these in to clean but I haven't figured it out yet.) Not perfect--[livejournal.com profile] monshu says we really need to drag out the stepladder and go over them with a cloth--but the difference is so amazing I worry about songbird fatalities.

Storms blew in yesterday evening to moderate the summer-like temperatures. (Supposedly it got up to 28℃, though perhaps not in our neighbourhood.) The first wave was barely a drizzle; I stood on the back steps with the cat in my arms and he wasn't bovvered. If anything, I was more annoyed at getting wet than he was. A couple hours later, with thunder booming and rain falling in sheets, it was a different story--but even then he spent a minimal amount of time cowering in the closet compared to when we first got him.

[livejournal.com profile] monshu asked me why he's so scared of storms, and I replied that storms are pretty dangerous for small creatures in the wild. But if some domestic animals don't seem to be bothered by them, then it can't be instinctual behaviour per se. Did his mother take him to a safe place in the corner of a closet when he was a kitten?
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Apr. 12th, 2012 09:57 pm

Hmm...

muckefuck: (Default)
According to the veterinarian who examined him today, our cat is in robust good health except that he's overweight and has bad teeth.

Just like the man who feeds him!
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muckefuck: (Default)
  1. der Bilch, die Schlafmaus
  2. de slaapmuis
  3. el lirón
  4. el liró
  5. le loir
  6. y pathew (N), y bathor (S & W)
  7. an luch chodlamáin
  8. popielica
  9. 동면쥐 (冬眠쥐), 겨울잠쥐
  10. 睡鼠 shuìshǔ
Notes: Where no general term exists, the name given is that applied the edible dormouse (Glis glis). 7. In modern scientific Welsh, pathew has been chosen to designate Glis glis and bathor for Muscardinus avellanarius even though in popular usage these are regional variants which each cover both species. 10. The "native" Korean name is a calque of the Sinitic version, lit. "winter sleep mouse".

I had a very definite idea what I wanted to give my nephews for Christmas this year. During my last visit, I came across ECI watching a video with Spanish audio and French captioning. (Or was it the other way around?) I was impressed with his curiosity and wondered what I might do to encourage it further. I decided to get them some picture books in foreign languages. Those should be rewarding to browse even if they couldn't read them themselves, and if I could find some in Spanish or French, my sister, who has studied both of those languages, should remember enough to read them to them.

I ended up gifting them two books in French and one in German. The latter was apparently designed to expand children's vocabulary since throughout the text certain words were replaced with images and there was a key on the endpapers giving the verbal equivalents. I sat down first with ECI, then with him and IMI, and read out an English version of the German text, pausing at each picture to let them guess it. All went well until I hit the chapter concerning the Siebenschläfer ("seven sleeper") and the Gartenschläfer ("garden sleeper"); I had no idea what either of these were. At first glance, I thought they might be lemurs. They are, respectively, the edible dormouse (G. glis) and the garden dormouse (Eliomys quercinus). Neither of these species is found in North America, so the boys wouldn't have recognised them even if I had known what to call them.
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Today I decided it was high time someone did something about all the bleached daylily stalks out front, and once I was there, it became impossible to ignore all the smartweed and lambsquarters having a party in the parkway. As I was hauling my sheaf back to the composter and felt something clinging to my bare ankle, I casually brushed it against my shorts--and got a start when I looked down at them and saw a huge ugly bug clinging there.

It had a sticky-webby look, as if still drying out from its emergence in the early hours of the morning, an impression reinforced by its general sluggishness and inability to fly. Once I'd determined that it wasn't crawling up towards my crotch, I calmly shut the lid on the rotting vegetation and made my way inside. Upon reaching the head of the hallway, I called the cat and dropped trou.

At first, he showed little interest in it--probably because it was so lethargic. But after I made a trip to the toilet and the office, I found him merrily chasing it down the hall--onto the Persian rug! I hovered over him, envisioning bug guts spread all over the rich mahi-pattern. But he soon took it in his mouth and carried it back to where he'd first discovered it.

From there, the chase continued into the dining room, enlivened by the cicada's sad attempts at buzzing. Meanwhile, I put my pants back on and went outside. When I returned a moment later, the little beast was licking his lips and looking up to me as if to say, "Did you bring me another?"
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Where have all the butterflies gone? When we first got our little parcel of topsoil, the Old Man said he wanted something to attract them. So I planted chives and bee balm (Monarda). Powdery mildew afflicted the latter so we gave up on them. More to the point, though, they never attracted any bees and butterflies.

At the time I ascribed this to being an outpost in a desert of asphalt. If you were a nectar-seeking insect cruising down the parkway, how would you know that turning in at the alley would lead you to a refreshing oasis of purple blossoms? But one of the houses further east on Arthur has a magnificent front garden (curse y'all with your south-facing lawns!) in full bloom with a conspicuous stand of horsemint, but not a wingèd creature in sight. Have we poisoned them all?

Sure, the heat and humidity are staggering these days, but yesterday we had some blessed relief. Cold air blew over us from the Lake, bringing fog along with it; eating on the porch was quite pleasant. I don't think you'll find us doing that again for a bit. I was out there with [livejournal.com profile] monshu at 3:30 this morning, though, rescuing some items left there that I thought he'd overlook from the storm.

Like last Monday's, this one was over almost as soon as it began: fifteen minutes, start to finish. Unlike that one, there was thunder and lightning but almost no wind. The rain poured down in lines almost perpendicular to the ground. Kitten must be upset with my rearrangements in the bedroom closet because now he goes to the coat closet in the front hall to hide. I successfully coaxed him out only minutes after the storm had ended.

So it will be a steamy day for our annual staff picnic. I can't imagine the grass will have dried out by this afternoon either. Should make the water balloon toss even more interesting.
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On était au lit, tous nousaut'--moi, le Chenu et le Mistigris. Moi, j'étais après me sentir réellement foutaise, so je m'avais couché joliment de bonne heure. Le chat était élongi ent' nousaut' deux et il était après dormailler.

J'ai attendu quéque affaire qu'a sonné pareil comme ein coup de tonnarre et j'ai d'mandé [livejournal.com profile] monshu si ça était après expecter ein ouragan. La réponse a v'nu comme ein grand roulement. Tout d'eine éscousse il était tout réveillé, nôt' minou, tout deboute au milieu du lit. J'ai assayer de lui dire que c'était pas rien qu'ein gros traîn, main il se lassait pas calmer.

Je m'ai levé pour m'allégir et quand je m'a viré de bord encore, il avait foutu le camp. J'ai gardé dans la closette main je l'ai vu pas. J'étais parti en haut pour aller chercher d'la médecine et quand j'ai r'venu, c'était tout fini, l'ouragan. Aussitôt que j'ai v'nu de rentrer dans le cham', Ti-Gris a sorti d'la closette comme si rien avait arrivé. Je me fais aucune idée éyoù il était après se coucher.
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Yesterday [livejournal.com profile] monshu and I made our first stab at picking up where we left off when I broke my foot and putting this place in order. We started with what seemed the easiest job to tackle, the Harry Potter closet. (You can thank the realtor for that name.) But we ran out of steam partway through. By nightfall, the coffee table in the den was covered with boxes and cds and boxes of cds and the downstairs hallway was littered with debris. But at least the closet was empty enough to vacuum thoroughly!

When I came home yesterday evening, [livejournal.com profile] monshu announced that he had tossed out the boxes I'd broken down, but we still hadn't fully agreed on what should go back in the closet, so everything else is still sitting about in tidy piles. I thought it was odd that the cat wasn't at the door to greet me as he usually is. I even stood at the top of the stairs hoping he'd wake and come up, but he never did.

I did think of it again until hours later when I went downstairs to check on the old man and found no cat on the bed. I woke him up and asked, "When's the last time you saw the cat?" It turned out to be at about 4:30, when he fed him. I put two and two together and opened the door that connects our downstairs hall to a narrow common area where the meters reside. Almost instantly, the cat was mewing at my feet.

His fur was chilly, but he didn't seem otherwise worse for his experience. I swept him up in my arms and snuggled him, but he soon ran off. I followed, wondering what he could possibly be after, and he checked back occasionally to see that I was still there. We ended up back at the door the common space, him meowing insistently to be let out again. This prompted me to return to the bedroom and berate the GWO a second time. Here's hoping the idea floats back out of that teeny dandelion mind of his.
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Brushing my teeth last night, I spotted a house centipede squirming around inside the tub. So I did what any responsible thoughtful pet owner would do: I went out into the hall, scooped the cat off the carpet, and lower him in.

As I suspected (I've seen him hunt these critters down before) he was immediately fascinated and began emitting a low threatening growl. But if I was expecting a quick and grisly end to things, well, let's just say it was less cinematic and more amateur videogame-atic. His technique consisted of staring at the thing for a while, then trying to pick it up with his mouth. But fluffies' bodies are small and low in contrast to their legs, so after a half-dozen attempts, all he had to show for this was a couple of appendages sticking to his whiskers.

At times, he seemed to look back to me for encouragement, so I'd scratch his rump a bit and he'd refocus on the prey. Repeat that at least three times, and finally you'll see him get the drop on the harried bug and leap out of the tub to crunch it squatting on the bedroom floor. Victory!
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Caught the cat pissing on a mop today. We were both quite taken aback, because he's never done anything like that before--or at least so we thought. After [livejournal.com profile] monshu shooed him away, I wiped up the pee and then sprayed the mophead with that enzyme solution that supposed to destroy all traces. As I was rinsing it out in the tub, I saw a lot more filth than I expected, leaving me to wonder if he's actually been doing this for some time and we never noticed it because, well, the mop stands in the same small room as the catbox, so the smell of kitty wee is not surprising there.

Other than that, he's been pretty good lately. Nothing more objectionable than sleeping on the dining room table--and that's totally understandable, given that we covered it with a quilted throw that practically has his name on it. It's the very definition of "attractive nuisance".
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  1. der Nacktschneckenköder
  2. het naaktslakkenlokaas
  3. el veneno para babosas
  4. el verí per llimacs
  5. l'appât pour limaces
  6. yr abwyd malwod duon
  7. an baoite drúchtíní
  8. przynęta na ślimaki
  9. 蛞蝓誘餌 kuòyúyòu'ěr
Notes: Our attempts to protect our sorrel from the depredations of gastropods have yielded their first grisly harvest. Monday night I buried plastic winecups up to their rims and then filled them with leftover Lithuanian beer from last summer. Upon inspecting them this evening, I found three tiny corpses floating in one--and I do mean "tiny". This were not the multi-inch monsters of memory but three nubs of flesh too small even cover one of my pinky nails.
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I may have mentioned before that our beast is a little beggar. Virtually every time you prepare something at the kitchen counter, he's there crying for a look. He's even more bold at dinner time, placing his little white paws on the table edge and hoisting his face up to solicit sympathy. Generally, I find that the easiest way to get rid of him is offering him a sample of whatever it is--cookie, cocktail, chicken part, you name it--I happen to have in my hand. Invariably, he sniffs it (sometimes rather thoroughly; other times he recoils immediately, particularly where tea or alcohol are involved) and turns away.

Did I say "invariably"? Well, you all know there's been at least one exception; now there are two. This morning, I held out my toast with Knoblauchquark, expecting the usual sniff-and-release. Instead, he licked the bread clean. So, for the record: No interest in cream or butter or yoghurt or ice cream or any other dairy product, but give him some quark with chives and he'll devour it. WTF, cat?
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I'm not at all surprised that no one guessed the one and only human food our cat has been confirmed to eat. Cornbread is something we never would've come up with either. I would've expecting something saltier, fattier, sweeter, or, indeed, all of the above.

By comparison, guessing his absolute favourite plaything for the past five days should be a breeze. I'll even give you all a helpful hint and tell you it's naturally something that was never brought into the house with any intention of it becoming a cat toy.
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