Thursday, February 14, 2008

maybe credits

Here are two F for Fake screen captures from Robert Anton Wilson's Maybe Logic. Click the images for more info.

Note: I think the "Dubya" one needs no further linkage, unless it's for google-bombing purposes.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

dragging it on

About a year ago, BK Marcus quoted verbatim a definition from A.W.A.D. for the word dragoon to which I took a particular fancy, and thus will reproduce here.
dragoon (druh-GOON) verb tr.

To force someone to do something; coerce.

[From French dragon (dragon, to dragoon).]

This is a good example of how a term transferred from an object to a people to an action. Originally it referred to the firearms, either from the fact that they breathed fire like a dragon or from the shape of the pistol hammer. Eventually it began to be applied to a European cavalryman armed with a carbine. Today the term is used in the sense of forcing someone to do something against his or her will.

At the time, I was curious to learn if it was perhaps related to the word goon (when used to connote 'thug') and was mildly surprised to find a bit of disagreement surrounding the etymological origins for the word goon, a word I was convinced was related to the Indian word goonda, slang for ruffian. Most dictionaries attribute to the word goon the following etymology:
1921, "stupid person," from gony "simpleton" (c.1580), of unknown origin, but applied by sailors to the albatross and similar big, clumsy birds (1839); sense of "hired thug" first recorded 1938 (in ref. to union "beef squads" used to cow strikers in the Pacific northwest), probably from Alice the Goon, slow-witted and muscular (but gentle-natured) character in "Thimble Theater" comic strip (starring Popeye) by E.C. Segar (1894-1938). She also was the inspiration for British comedian Spike Milligan's "The Goon Show." What are now "juvenile delinquents" were in the 1940s sometimes called goonlets. doubts the goonda theory; "The Hindi and Urdu term goonda can be translated as rascal or ruffian and even as goon, but there is no evidence to indicate that the English goon comes from goonda or vice versa.

A perhaps less authoritative source argues that "[a]ctually it is one of the many Indian words that crept into the English language during the days of the Raj. It is a modified form of the Hindi term "goonda," which means gangster. This term and a derivative "goondaism" are widely used in Indian English." See here also.

I found a talmudic source which should lend credence to the latter opinion. On daf 32a of tractate Nedarim the word goonda is spelled out in the Aramaic, and in this instance it denotes a destructive fighting force, which can be used to denote a group of thugs anywhere from a squad to an entire army.

What are the odds that the Aramaic word goonda which has been around for 2000+ years to denote a group of fighters in no way influenced the English language, lent to, if not borrowed from the Hindi word for the same? I go with the Aramaic/Hindi theory, at least for the time being.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

jumping the tommy gun

Geez, it's only February 7th, and the criminal gang, writ large decided that they couldn't wait another week for the anniversary of the Saint Valentine's Day Massacre to launch a preemptive strike against a rivalrous mafia clan, albeit one whose coercive power is puny in comparison, and which wholly owes its existence to the larger gang in a parasitic fashion by thriving off the extra-legal scraps they are afforded.


"Materialist philosophers assert that thoughts are a secretion of the brain as bile is a secretion of the gall-bladder."
- Human Action, Part I, Chapter III commenting on Karl Vogt's Köhlerglaube und Wissenschaft.

"For a doctrine asserting that thoughts are in the same relation to the brain in which gall is to the liver, it is not more permissible to distinguish between true and untrue ideas than between true and untrue gall."
- The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science, Chapter I, Subchapter VII

See, I already told you that Mises was no dullard, and was quite capable of deadpan delivery when need-be.


I can't believe I forgot this one from Epistemological Problems of Economics, Chapter IV, Subchapter VIII (pg 172 in the third edition)--
"Even materialism, which professes to have solved the problem of the relation between the psychical and the physical by means of the famous simple formula that thinking stands in the same relationship to the brain as gall does to the bladder, has not even undertaken the attempt to establish a constant relationship between definite external events, which are quantitatively and qualitatively discernible, and thoughts and volitions."

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

bootlegger & real estate developer coalition

Says the NY Times:
"It may seem befuddling that an industry group would favor having to pay higher fees to the government for more intense regulation, but that seems to be the case with developers of condominiums and co-ops in New York."

You know I'm shocked, SHOCKED to find that there is a baptist-bootlegger coalition going on over here!