Thursday, December 31, 2009

German Chinese Restaurant

December 31, 2009. I haven't posted anything in a while because of holiday travels (spent a few weeks in Europe). Before I resume my regular postings, I thought I'd share a particularly memorable experience: eating dinner in a Chinese restaurant in a small German village.

Here's a picture of what was on the table when we arrived: each setting included a quintessential German beer coaster and a napkin teaching Germans various Chinese phrases. Left hand column: "Guten Appetit" = 請您慢用 (qǐng nín màn yòng) - more literally, "please eat slowly." Note the German orthography here: "jon" = "yòng" since J = Y sound.

Our fortune cookies came with fortunes in 4 languages (English and German on one side, Dutch and French on the other).

Here's a picture of the spread. The duck, in foreground, was eine Haus-Spezialität (house specialty). Yum!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Lambda Departing

Dupont Circle, December 2009. Lambda Rising (the only LGBT bookstore in DC) has just announced it is closing at the month's end. The Greek letter "lambda" (λ) has long been associated with the gay rights movement and is often used as a symbol for the LGBT community. Incidentally, this stylized lambda logo vaguely resembles the Chinese character 入 (ru) = "to enter" (a place), "to join" (a group).

For more on the closure of Lambda Rising, see the coverage in the DC Agenda (the LGBT publication that recently rose from the ashes of the abruptly-closed Washington Blade).

P.S. For some speculation on how "lambda" came to be associated with the LGBT movement, see this website.

(Photo courtesy of Suite101).

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Sneaky Typo Corrections

Eastern Market. Today I noticed that the misspelled manhole covers (which I mentioned in a recent posting) have now been replaced with new ones! I love that the replacement covers have a "fake rust" paint-job to make it look as if these are actually the original "old" ones.

I wonder if my blog had anything to do with these things being replaced?
Turns out the Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee is responsible for replacing these and even sold off the old ones as collector's items (see comment section below).

Below, one of the old (misspelled) manhole covers.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Upside-Down Latin

It's the season of Advent for many folks I suppose a 15th-century Annunciation image is appropriate. Jan van Eyck adapts Luke 1:26-38 (Archangel Gabriel tells the Virgin Mary she'll bear the Son of God). An inscription (left) bears Gabriel's words: AVE GRA[TIA] PLENA = "Hail, full of grace." Mary responds (right): ECCE ANCILLA D[OMI]NI = "Behold the handmaiden of the Lord."

Mary's words are upside-down. Is this so God can "see" (hear) her words?

A full picture of the image is below. National Gallery of Art, November 2009.

P.S. See this post for a different example of Latin speech in medieval art.