the best thing ever!

I know that I have done a lot of music posts, but that is what I’ve been wrapping my mind around when I’m not entrenched with graduate school in(s)anity. There will be times when I shall once again describe travel debacles and provide decent exposés in that regard. Little Joy is a band that – even with the mention of the name – kindles beachfront scenes, trees hovering over the sun, bungalows in woods, outlooks over oceans, bonfires in July, full moons above the shore, a cold beer as I lie under a too-thin umbrella. The quintessential modern summer album was created in 2008. Little Joy’s eponymous gem creates these scenes and keeps them with you even after the final song produces its final guitar strum. This final guitar strum comes from the song I wish to share with you now. Evaporar. The language is Portuguese. I have read the transcription. It apparently is difficult to transcribe word-for-word. There are so many metaphors and plays with words in this song … it just makes it better that I don’t care. Rodrigo Amarante’s voice purrs above the faint guitar. That’s all you hear. And no matter the season the beauty that arises from both voice and strum is indescribable. Here are the words. It doesn’t matter if you don’t understand. Try to find the mp3 and listen. Then buy. Buy it. It is worth every single penny.

Tempo a gente tem
Quanto a gente dá
Corre o que correr
Custa o que custar

Tempo a gente dá
Quanto a gente tem
Custa o que correr
Corre o que custar

O tempo que eu perdi
Só agora eu sei
Aprender a dar
Foi o que ganhei

E ando ainda atrás
Desse tempo ter
Pude não correr
Dele me encontrar

Ahh não se mexeu
Beija-flor no ar

O rio fica lá
A água é que correu
Chega na maré
Ele vira mar

Como se morrer
Fosse desaguar
Derramar no céu
Se purificar

Ahh deixa pra trás
Sais e minerais, evaporar!

For those who might want to know the English interpretation, go to this website. In the comments section, someone who knows Portuguese attempts to describe what is said. There’s a lot of wordplay involved.

we are family.

As I’m taking a History of the English Language this semester, we spent a good long time discussing the Indo-European language family. English along with an endless number of languages came from this now-unspoken tongue. In the text we’re reading, there’s a rough map of where the languages moved without a decent timeline or colors. You need a map of colors and dates scattered about, not just arrows and shadings where oceans and seas are. The basic area where the Indo-Europeans lived were regions in present day Russia, Ukraine, Iran, and the Caucasus. There’s not a 100% agreed-upon spot.

To my surprise, some of the languages that are a part of the Indo-European family (apart from the Romance, Germanic and Celtic tongues) are Farsi, Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Albanian, Armenian, Bulgarian, Serbo-Croatian, and Hittite. Others like Basque, Finnish, Hungarian, and Estonian are not.

The Hittite language originated or – to put it more correctly – was spoken in the Anatolian region, particularly around Ankara thousands of years B.C. Obviously this language is not spoken any longer – but these people are mentioned occasionally in the Old Testament. Another language not spoken any longer is Tocharian, found in areas of western China (Xinjiang Uygur); the connectedness that many Turks in grade and high school are taught has a large ounce of truth to it, even if what they learned is stretched a bit from what is considered as “true” by other areas around the world.

Turkey – in that very rough map in my textbook – is mostly blank. Turkish is (duh) Turkic in origin, taken from Ottoman Turkish. But it’s so interesting how the languages surrounding it to the west and east are Indo-European in origin; there had to be some intermingling of dialects and words in – for example – Farsi, Armenian, and Bulgarian even before Ataturk created the modern day Turkish language. There is not a lot of delving into exact languages in my readings, since the class is most concerned about how English in its Modern and Present Day sense came into being.

For Turkey, there’s Arabic from the Ottoman Empire and other regions to the south. And we can’t ignore the other Turkic languages to the east and northeast of Iran! It’s astounding how similar the Kazakh, Uzbek, Azeri, and Turkmen languages are to Turkish, but maybe I shouldn’t be that astounded by that. If it weren’t for the fact that I’m focusing upon English (in the ESL context), I’d so try to write a thesis on the connection between Turkic and Indo-European language families. I doubt that would fly with my advisers.

steakhouse mafia.

Mary and I went to a steakhouse two weekends ago for a more spendthrift-y night-out. After a few calls and finally a reservation at this one place that looked appetizing, we ventured away from my apartment to the steakhouse in question. Inside the establishment we went; it had a rustic vibe to it, wooden walls, dim lights, multiple nude paintings of women in forest springs and other such landscapes, and near the bar was a metal spiral staircase leading to a second floor. It was roped off, but waitresses and the host(esse)s kept walking up and down it despite this barrier.

Even though we had made a reservation, we waited for a good 10 minutes, looking at the liquor shelves and the out-of-place flatscreen TVs by the bar. We tried to ignore the smug Manhattan-swilling execs and retirees sitting and boisterously talking about some such claptrap.

We were seated eventually in a nice spot in a corner. I had a gin martini (but had to request more olives); Mary had some cocktail that had raspberries in it. It was too sweet for me, but the presentation was nice. It had a lemonade-like look in the tapered lighting.

The food was delightful… and it had better have been good for the price. Mary went for the filet mignon, it smothered with shredded onions and garlic. I chose the smoked salmon with green beans and Hollandaise. Just for kicks, we both decided to have something for after-dinner purposes: for Mary a slice of cheesecake, for me amaretto on the rocks. As the bill was brought to us, we noticed that the onions and garlic for Mary’s dinner was $5 extra! Who charges that much for a topping that you might normally expect on a dish such as this? When the waitress asked Mary if she wanted onions or anything else on it, she made the question seem as if the additions did not cost extra. So Mary had said yes. The menu did have extras listed in the bottom right corner (in microscopic print). The question posed did not assume I’d be burrowing to the bottom of my wallet for a few onion straws.

Of course we complained and asked it to be removed from the bill; I’m sure most people would if they did not know it cost the same as an amaretto on the rocks! The waitress wasn’t the most gracious and tried to worm out of it. In the end, she said she would ask the manager. She came back and took it off the bill and we left relieved that we did not have to pay $5 for onion drowned in olive oil and steak juice.

We even had to deal with a group of 45- (or 50-) year-olds being loud and obnoxious and – of course – drunk, this being a restaurant where you would not really find such boisterousness. One of the women in the party at least walked past us apologizing for the noise of her fellow restaurant-goers. That was nice of her; it was something we did not expect.

I told Mary midway through their bacchanalia: “I did not think douchebaggery got that old…”

Well, later next week, I found out that the restaurant we went to (along with a few others in the area) are owned by the mafia! At least that is what the rumor is. It makes me wonder if our waitress truly did go to the manager after we’d complained. If I had known about the mafia connection, I might not have been as outspoken about the onions. I can’t fully speak for Mary though…

Or wait. Maybe the douchebags we saw were buddies with the owners?