Mapping ‘Lobachevsky’

We interrupt our irregularly-scheduled programme of Belarus blogposts to ramble vaguely on about something incredibly pointless, namely Tom Lehrer’s song “Lobachevsky”.  If you don’t know it, have a quick listen here (the song itself starts at 1:05).  In it, Lehrer – in the guise of a struggling Soviet mathematician – is given advice by Lobachevsky that plagiarisation is the only way of succeeding in his field.  Thus, when he is tasked with a paper on ‘”Analytic and algebraic topology of locally Euclidean parameterization of infinitely differentiable Riemannian manifold”, he goes to great lengths to obtain someone else’s research on the … Continue reading Mapping ‘Lobachevsky’

Lesbian Palm Tree Bondage

Now that I have your attention, here is my translation of a horticultural text concerning how to cure palm trees of their undying infatuation with one another.  It’s quite a famous piece amongst my friends and associates, although this translation is fuller than the one I have previously supplied to them.  This is the second of my intermittent blogging translation series in which I translate bits of rather weird Classical Arabic for the general amusement of the kind of people who read my blog, the first being the bat text. NABATAEAN AGRICULTURE Ibn Wahshiyya, 960 Palm trees are similar to … Continue reading Lesbian Palm Tree Bondage

The Rest of the Birds Oppress and Loathe It

I’m well aware of the popularity that the infamous lesbian palm tree text has among my friends, and I thought it would take the opportunity to provide the world with another example.  This is taken from Shihāb al-Dīn al-Nuwayrī’s book Nihāyat al-arab fī funūn al-adab (The Final Goal of the Branches of Art) which, like so many other pre-modern Arabic texts, is concerned with everything.  This excerpt is from the volume about animals, and besides the amusing religious assertion (basically unsupported, and even unmentioned, by anyone else), it is interesting for what it gets wrong – and right – about … Continue reading The Rest of the Birds Oppress and Loathe It

A few minor observations…

…about Argentina: 1. They have cages on sticks outside the houses in Puerto Madryn to put trash bags in. 2. There are people employed to be parking metres (again, this might only be Puerto Madryn).  No, really! They wear orange vests and stand despondently around the city waiting for someone to come and park so they can go up to them and be paid for a certain amount of time. 3. The Chubut police service is very zealous.  One might perhaps even say OVERzealous (guess whose bag was seized on as suspicious by some idiotic guide dog and whose clothing … Continue reading A few minor observations…