Tag Archives: musings

Untranslatable words of love and longing

22 Nov

The English language sure has a lot of nifty words. For example: Sandwich. Muleskinner. Iguana. Those are just three random words – they were the first that came to mind. I don’t know what that might mean, and frankly I don’t want to know.

But I recently read an article over at bigthink.com that pointed out some of the shortcomings in our language. The author listed 10 relationship words that have no equivalent in English – or that at least need more than one word to be explained. There’s mamihlapinatapei, a Yagan word for “the wordless yet meaningful look shared by two people who desire to initiate something, but are both reluctant to start”, through to ya’aburnee, Arabic for “You bury me” (not an order of assisted suicide, funnily enough, but a statement of wanting to die before one’s beloved does, so life doesn’t have to be experienced without them).

I was also really interested in the almost throwaway line referencing the Chinese proverb meaning “have fate without destiny”. The author pointed out the differentiation between fate and destiny, which are often seen as being interchangeable in our language. This proverb is said to describe “couples who meet, but who don’t stay together, for whatever reason”. Aww, bittersweet.

You can read the full list of words and their meanings over at Big Think.

And let’s start making up some of these words ourselves – it’s like a love-only version of Balderdash! I’ll start. Transchell: a fellow passenger on your regular public transport route that you have a crush on, but you don’t want to ask them out in case they say no and you’ll be so embarrassed you’ll have to change your public transport routine and it would be all really inconvenient, so it’s probably just better to keep quiet and dream from afar.

Catchy, no?



14 Sep

It’s been a while since I’ve had a chicken-related post, so here’s a photo for you. Adorbz!

Cute cute cute!

Insert obligatory "hot chick on p***y" joke here (if you're that way inclined)...

This one’s not a chicken, but it is a bird. Look at the mum! She’s got all her babies on her back! And she’s yelling at them to just hurry up and get on her so they can leave already, goddamnit!

A swanback of goslings

Awkward Gully and questionable town mottos

8 Aug

I recently drove over Awkward Gully, then Purgatory Creek. A while later came Skeleton Creek. The names made me laugh (what can I say, there wasn’t much else around to keep me amused). Once upon a time, they must have been called those for a reason. But why? For the former, I’d like to think that it wasn’t the gully itself that was awkward, but that it was named after an embarrassing event that occurred there. “Let’s sit down, Astrid, I have something to tell you. I… I love you. Passionately. I want you to deflower you right here in this gully.” “Well actually, Arthur, I asked you here today to let you know that I’m your biological mother. Good day.”

Tidy Towns: Another amazing tourism drawcard.

While I’m on the topic of ‘Things I Saw While Driving Between Tamworth and Byron Bay’, I would like to say to the tourism committees of small towns everywhere: Look, we know you have a tough job coming up with a motto that encapsulates what you’re about while also attracting tourists. But really, WHAT THE HELL? To wit:

“Find yourself in… Uralla”

So I get that they’re alluding to the spiritual sense of “finding yourself”. But as this is emblazoned across a sign not so far out of this small town, it comes across as more of a geographical help than anything. “Keep going along this road and you’ll find yourself in… Uralla”.  Was it a statement of fact… or a warning?

“First town of the North Coast: Grafton”

Well, it’s technically correct, I suppose, so full marks for geographical relevance. The excitement factor, however, is nil. Minus nil, if possible.

“Byron Bay Arts & Industrial Estate – a uniquely Byron experience”

As my passenger at the time mentioned: “Yes, sheds are a uniquely Byron experience”. Well put, passenger, well put.

“Worth a visit: Mayfield”

Okay, this wasn’t on my trip, but damn if it doesn’t make me smile every time I see it. WHY is it worth a visit? Well, it’s really not, as any Novocastrian will tell you; there is literally NOTHING of interest there (apart from a fish and chip shop oh-so-humorously called ‘Happy Hookers’, and you can only find that interesting for a VERY brief period of time).

The encouragement award goes to the Guyra caravan park, by the way – a sign proudly proclaims that it’s the caravan park at the highest altitude in Australia. I guess in the crowded tourism park market, you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do to get those travellers in…

Encyclopedia Irrelevantia

31 Jul

There’s no doubt about it: the internet has killed the encyclopedia.

That’s a pretty sad story. Remember when you really really wanted your own set of encyclopedias? I used to think only rich people had them, because they seemed so expensive (were they expensive? I have no idea what they actually cost).*

Which isn’t to say that we never had our own. We first flirted with serialised learning with Messrs Funk & Wagnall, when the books were being sold at a heavily discounted price from Coles in the late ’80s. You could collect the whole set if you went back every week, but we stopped after one. I believe it covered the first part of the letter A (so my sister and I were good for projects on Aborigines, but Ants were out of bounds).

Later, Mum and Dad invested in our education, and we became the owners of an entire World Book set. School projects had never been so exciting! Until the thrill wore off after about a month.

Now, in every Rotary book sale and select secondhand bookstores, you’ll find rows and rows of outdated Britannicas, World Books and Funk & Wagnalls taking up space. I can’t imagine people buying them anymore**… they’re just gilt-edged headstones of a time before google.


*So I just looked it up and it seems a new World Book set costs $2,255. But if you’re not choosy about how current the information is, you can always check out eBay (full sets from 99c!).

**Apart from people who can do this, of course.