The Jenoviad Entry #77

July 30th, 2010 by Wordsman

They were on Floor Sixty
And to top were drawing near
‘Cross the hall was a staircase
But they could four guards hear

Barret whispered, “We’ll sneak by
Avoid this one combat”
Cloud, still dizzy, dropped his sword
“Oops.  Sorry about that”

Guards dispatched, the big man groaned
“There goes our chance at stealth”
“What’s the matter?” chuckled Cloud
“You worried ‘bout your health?”

“Charging in was fun, for sure
I’d do all that for free
But even I don’t wanna fight
whole damn company!”

AVALANCHE trudged up the stairs
Not showing much aplomb
On Sixty-one they found a scene
Of most surprising calm

A man whose suit was sharp as tacks
Approached, gave them a key
“Now go and clean that bathroom
And be quick!  I’ve got to pee”

“You . . . didn’t hear a fight below?
Shots fired?  Busted doors?”
“Good lord!  I’ve no time to keep track
Of all those
lesser floors”

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Know Your Picture Characters Entry #15

July 28th, 2010 by Wordsman

Okay, vacation’s over.  Time to get back to work.

A. 雨 B. 風 C. 雷 D. 霧 E. 雲 F. 晴 G. 雪

Some of you may have noticed that many of these characters contained a shared element, identified by Shirley as “the cloud.”  It is, in fact, a compressed version of character A, which means rain.  Now, as I may have mentioned before, if you see a part of a kanji character that you recognize from another one that you already know, you can guess that they have similar meanings, though since I told you these were all weather-related, that probably wouldn’t help much.  And also, shared elements sometimes indicate similar pronunciation rather than similar meaning, so it’s a tricky process at best.  However, none of that has anything to do with wind, one of only two characters here to not include the rain radical (a term used to refer to parts that show up in multiple characters, such as in this example).  Wind is B.  Nobody got it.  Better luck next time.

This is not to say, however, that none of you got anything correct.  Shirley, who boldly set out to take stabs at all of them, walked away with a decent score–though I regret to inform her that “This time, No rhyme.  Except that one.” is not a haiku, as the haiku form is one of three lines of five, seven, and five syllables.  She picked out rain right off the bat, one of the few easily identifiable kanji characters, in my opinion (it looks like rain falling outside a window).  She missed the next couple, though I award partial credit for her guess of “radio” for C, because C is thunder, which is caused by lightning, which is a form of electricity, without which radios could not function.  She also gets partial credit for guessing “hail” for D, even though the character means “fog,” because I was considering using the character for hail instead.  E, A Fan’s flying hibachi, is a cloud, and F was correctly identified by Shirley as meaning “sunny.”  I almost tripped up Dragon by throwing in a character with a backwards E in order to get her to accidentally guess E, though you might wonder why I bothered, as neither answer was correct.  G is the weather my hometown is best known for: snow.

50 points to Theoman for locking himself in the house and trying to avoid all this weather.  That’s the only smart thing to do.

I’ve been thinking a fair amount about going back to school recently, so this week we’re going to have a back-to-school themed puzzle.  The following is a list of things you can study in school.  Now, this may seem like a lot of characters to deal with at first, but really it’s not so bad.  Notice how five of the six end with the same kanji? That just means “study” or “learning,” so for the purposes of this quiz you can basically ignore it.  Anyway, go ahead and pick out from the list the one discipline in which I never took a class in college, which, in this case, will be political science.

A. 外国語 B. 心理学 C. 数学 D. 政治学 E. 文学 F. 歴史学

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This Day in History Entry #76

July 27th, 2010 by Wordsman

No opponent that he cannot mock
No hunter’s gun he cannot block
Don’t want to get hit hard?
You’d best be on your guard
When you hear him ask, “Eh . . . what’s up, doc?”

Event: The character known today as Bugs Bunny makes his first “official” appearance in the animated short “A Wild Hare”
Year: 1940
Learn more:

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July 26th, 2010 by Wordsman

The Wandering Wordsman is not in today.  He is in New York, celebrating the 222nd anniversary of the state’s admission to the Union, among other things.

Clearly you are here because you want to see this week’s edition of Know Your Picture Characters.  It has been said, though, that you can’t always get what you want.  And this statement bears repeating.  However, it has also been noted that, if you try sometimes, you’ll find you get what you need.  What you need is reassurance that the entry you seek has not disappeared but is merely delayed, and here it is: Know Your Picture Characters will appear on Wednesday, or, in case of unforeseen delays, Thursday.

Happy birthday, Mr. Jagger.

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The Jenoviad Entry #76

July 23rd, 2010 by Wordsman

Past hails of bullets, stray grenades
They ducked in elevator
“Which floor?” asked Cloud. “Just hit one!
We’ll worry ‘bout it later”

Doors slammed shut, the ‘vator rose
They all sighed with relief
Then suddenly it went berserk
And caused them no small grief

“What’s happ’ning? Tifa! Save us, please!”
“You’re one who eas’ly scares
We never would have been stuck here
If we’d taken the stairs”

Tifa hit a button
And the ‘vator came to rest
The door popped ope’, a man looked in
“I’ll . . . wait. That would be best”

This scene repeated many times
They scared off lawyers, traders
Floors One through Fifty knew them as
The Elevator Raiders

Finally they reached a point
From which ‘twould not ascend
Cloud was not sure his poor gut
Would ever truly mend

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This Day in History Entry #75

July 20th, 2010 by Wordsman

That our small human world had expanded
That no longer on Earth were we stranded
Watching with great intent
Did we know what it meant
When we heard that the Eagle had landed?

Event: Apollo 11 lands on the moon
Year: 1969
Learn more:

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Know Your Picture Characters Entry #14

July 19th, 2010 by Wordsman

A. 鈴木一朗 B. 野茂英雄 C. 福留孝介 D. 松井秀喜 E. 松坂大輔

Before we start, I would like to offer special congratulations to Shirley, for making part of her response rhyme, and to A Fan, for bravely ignoring the fact that I said these were all players who had played in Major League Baseball and pulling out Sadaharu Oh.

It should come as no surprise that participants were 3-for-3 in identifying A, Suzuki Ichiro, the first and only man to hit an inside-the-park home run in an All-Star Game.  After all, his page comes up on Wikipedia when you search just “Ichiro,” (a name that means nothing more than “first son”) and on this page it quotes his agent as saying that if you send a letter to Japan (a nation of over 127 million, roughly half of whom are someone’s first son) labeled with just that name, it will get to him.

We had a tie for the batting championship, with both Dragon and Shirley putting up a formidable .400.  Dragon cleverly identified E as Matsuzaka Daisuke (or “Dice-K,” a nickname that more closely reflects the actual pronunciation than it deserves to), the first Japanese pitcher to win an MLB playoff game.  Shirley, understandably, after having watched him play in the outfield of her beloved Cubs for the past few years, picked out C as Fukudome Kosuke, the man with two olympic medals (but, sadly, no gold, and, even more sadly, no World Series ring.  But hey, there’s always next year.)  A Fan, the pitcher’s best friend (the batter who swings at the same pitch every time) got only Ichiro.  Perhaps he, like Brian Buchanan, should try spending a few years in the NPB in an attempt to revive his career.

There was no love for D, the 2009 World Series MVP, Matsui Hideki (or “Godzilla,” as he prefers to be called), but he played for the Yankees, so why should there have been?  Batters were also perplexed by the forkball of Nomo Hideo, B, the first Japanese player to permanently relocate to the American major leagues.

Now I don’t know about you, but around here we’ve been having a fair amount of weather lately.  Let’s see if you can dive into this list of basic weather-related kanji and pick out “wind” (and anything else you may feel jumps out at you.)

A. 雨 B. 風 C. 雷 D. 霧 E. 雲 F. 晴 G. 雪

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The Jenoviad Entry #75

July 16th, 2010 by Wordsman

The three strode in, quite purposeful
To show they business meant
Barret said, “‘Scuse me, we’re here
To see the President”

“No one sees the President!
Not no one, not no how!”
The unobservant desk clerk
Looked up, saw the gun, said, “Wow”

“Oh, we got us an appointment
Check it: ‘AVALANCHE,’ at 9”
Cloud asked, “How long did you take
To come up with
that line?”

“Shut up!” Then, to lobby whole:
“Now, everybody MOVE!
We’re here to wreck this place up good
To leave would you behoove”

Sirens blared, civilians fled
The lobby filled with guards
Barret cocked his gun. “It’s time
To send my fond regards”

AVALANCHE took some good time
To work out their aggression
There wasn’t anything like this
In the guard training session

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This Day in History Entry #74

July 13th, 2010 by Wordsman

Much to Pompey’s and Cato’s dismay
He marched on Rome; so they ran away
The man who conquered Gaul
Wanted to rule it all
But he ended with, “Et tu, Brute?”

Event: Birth of Gaius Julius Caesar
Year: 100 BC
Learn more:

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Know Your Picture Characters Entry #13

July 12th, 2010 by Wordsman

A. 猪 B. 兎 C. 龍 D. 虎 E. 鼠 F. 羊 G. 蛇

The first to step into the fray this week was Dragon, who pounced with cat-like celerity on E.  We can applaud her enthusiasm, though not her accuracy.  She must have seen that other movie, Crouching Rat, Hidden . . . uh . . . Walrus.  Next to bat was Theoman, who watched the correct film but, unfortunately, the wrong half.  C, named by Shirley as “the most aesthetically pleasing,” is the dragon, which, in his case, is an appropriate guess, I suppose.  Our friend A Fan, as always a fan of elegant simplicity, chose the character with the fewest strokes, F.  While not the right answer, it is at least an animal whose ferocity nearly equals that of the tiger: the sheep.

But they were all outshone by Shirley, our cleanup hitter, who, refusing to be distracted by Blake, settled on the correct answer, D.  And let’s not forget our other participants, who rounded out our lineup in their own quiet way: the boar (A), the rabbit (B), and the snake (G).

Now for our weekly reminder about the complexity of kanji: these characters only represent the animals.  For the astrological signs associated with these animals, there is an entirely different set of twelve characters.  I’ll pull them out some day if I’m feeling malicious.

This week is a special week.  As those of you who follow baseball know, tomorrow is the All-Star Game, in honor of which I thought we could have a baseball-themed challenge.  But not just any challenge!  As the brightest stars assemble in Anaheim, so too will this week’s puzzle bring out the mightiest of the KYPC participants.  Before today, we have worked only with single characters. Now you must deal with . . . names.

Below is a list of five famous Japanese Major League Baseball players.  Their names have been kept in the traditional Japanese “Family name first, given name second” order, just in case that means anything to you.  And, because I know that some of my readers pay limited attention to our national pastime, I will identify the players by their accomplishments rather than their names.  Feel free to match as many or as few as you like, and, if you’re feeling extra confident, you can even try to add in a name.

On this list are: 1. The first Japanese player to permanently relocate to MLB, 2. The first Japanese pitcher to win an MLB playoff game, 3. The first player to hit an inside-the-park home run in an All-Star Game, 4. A man who has won two Olympic medals (one silver, one bronze), and 5. A World Series MVP

A. 鈴木一朗 B. 野茂英雄 C. 福留孝介 D. 松井秀喜 E. 松坂大輔

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