This Day in History Entry #81

August 31st, 2010 by Wordsman

All this brand-new American West
TJ thought should be put to the test
Meriwether’d embark
With his buddy Will Clark
To attempt this great land to digest

Event: Lewis and Clark Expedition departs from Pittsburgh
Year: 1803
Learn more:

Posted in This Day in History | No Comments »

Know Your Picture Characters Entry #20

August 30th, 2010 by Wordsman

A. 会葬 B. 改装 C. 回想 D. 開創 E. 階層 F. 海藻

Hmm . . . this past week’s challenge featured a decrease in the number of respondents and an increase in the number of correct answers.  I suppose that says something about my teaching skills . . . or at least it would, if I were trying to teach.

It does certainly help when one of the contestants decides to take a blind, sweeping stab at everything (the Wandering Wordsman staff would like to remind Theoman that we encourage being lost.  It’s often more fun that way).  In remarkable A Fan-like fashion, he chose to ignore the appearance of the characters and guess randomly.  And he scored . . . not too badly, considering.  Two for six is probably better than the KYPC average, though I can’t say I’ve been keeping close track.  For his sake, I will repeat his correct guesses, because his was a stunning double-blind guess, where even the guesser most likely did not know exactly what he was saying.  His right answers came at the beginning (attendance at a funeral) and the end (seaweed).  Dragon inserted herself in the middle, and while she did not come up with as many right answers, she had a significantly better average.  C is reminiscence, but since I feel the need to criticize somehow, I will say that the character representing the memories that are the subject of reminiscence is the second rather than the first.

As for the rest, B is remodeling, D is grand opening, and E is class or level.  I hope you all repeated kaisou over and over to yourselves as you were coming up with your guesses.  It may not have helped, but it probably did look funny if anyone was watching you.

And now it’s time to move on, and on, and on.  We’re going way out for this next challenge, all the way to outer space.  The following list contains six of the planets in our solar system.  Well, five planets and one former planet, really.  You know the one I’m talking about.  That’s right, it’s Ceres!  Just kidding.  I want you to pick out everyone’s favorite recently demoted dwarf planet.  Feel free to engage in rampant speculation about what the last character does or does not mean.

A. 海王星 B. 火星 C. 金星 D. 地球 E. 冥王星 F. 木星

Posted in Know Your Picture Characters | 3 Comments »

The Jenoviad Entry #81

August 27th, 2010 by Wordsman

Wiping off their soggy feet
The group up one floor went
Here they found a storage room
In bad need of a vent

Hojo stood by a glass case
A-talking to a . . . cat, er . . .
As if they needed any proof
He was mad as a hatter

“Hey Cloud, get a load of this!”
They near with laughter died
Cloud, however, did not look
He was preoccupied

Cloud, in classic freak-out mode
Was writhing on the ground
He’d seen something in a case
That struck him most profound

“JE-NO-VA?  The hell is that?”
Barret the nameplate read
“What kind of specimen is this?
This thing ain’t got no head!”

Tifa knelt down next to Cloud
“Are you alright?” she asked
“It was nothing,” Cloud told her
His feelings were well masked

Barret grumbled, “Just get up”
Lifted Cloud bodily
“Did you forget about that girl
We came here to set free?”

Posted in The Jenoviad | No Comments »

This Day in History Entry #80

August 24th, 2010 by Wordsman

My Mom, though educated, was wrong
Showed us nine, but one didn’t belong
Pluto’s fate had been sealed
It sadly left the field
It was too small, so we said, “So long”

Event: The International Astronomical Union redefines the term “planet,” leading to Pluto’s “demotion” to dwarf planet status
Year: 2006
Learn more:

Posted in This Day in History | No Comments »

Know Your Picture Characters Entry #19

August 23rd, 2010 by Wordsman

A. 酸素 B. 水素 C. 炭素 D. 窒素 E. 弗素 F. 硼素

We had a couple contestants jump out quickly this week.  Dragon spotted a familiar character and immediately latched onto it, because really, what’s more familiar than oxygen?  She was promptly backed up by Theoman, who hinted that he was making use of his mysterious insider knowledge.  Surely it seemed that the puzzle was over before it even started!  Or was it?  Let’s take a look.

Dragon presumably recognized the first character in B from way back in the second edition of KYPC, the days of the week challenge.  She may or may not have remembered that it was the character for Wednesday (though why should she?  No one like Wednesday.  It’s essentially a second Monday).  What we can be sure of, however, is that Theoman identified its true meaning: water.  “Aha!” he thought to himself.  “Water is H2O.  The O stands for oxygen, and I’m pretty sure that H business is just filler, so this must mean oxygen!”

A well thought out, scientific approach, to be sure.  Yes, water, or as the Ancient Greeks called it, hydor, from which we get the prefix “hydro-” that we use in so many water-related words: hydroelectric, hydrate, and there’s one more I’m trying to remember . . . ah yes.  Hydrogen.  B is not the O; it’s the H.  Once again another good idea has not panned out for the readers, which just proves that we should always expect kanji to be cruel rather than kind.

The characters used to represent the chemical elements display a mix of those chosen for their meaning and those chosen for their sound.  C, carbon (see what I did there?), is an example of the former, with the first character meaning “coal.”  A Fan’s guess of E, on the other hand, is the latter, but unfortunately for him it does not sound anything like oxygen.  E is fusso, fluorine, with the first character meaning–you’re gonna love this–dollar.  Get it?  Because it’s a dollar sign?  It sounds silly, but that’s what my dictionary tells me.  And still others are unclear, such as D.  It means nitrogen, but it doesn’t sound like it (chisso), nor is the first character’s meaning obviously related: to plug up or obstruct.  Maybe if I knew more about chemistry that would make sense.

But let us all tip our caps to Shirley as she departs with head unbowed, for she has gone out on top.  Her answer of A was absolutely correct.  It is oxygen, sanso, the “acid element” (for, as I’m sure we are all aware, the name comes from the Greek oxys, referring to the sharp taste of acids).

Oh, and it appears that I have forgotten about boron, all the way over at the end.  And it doesn’t seem at all pleased about it, because my dictionary tells me that that character means “the sound of stones being struck together.”  Let’s just back away quickly and quietly, shall we?

Anyway, it’s time to announce the very first KYPC Homophone Challenge!  In previous weeks the list of choices were related by meaning or usage, but this week what they have in common is their pronunciation.  I have decided to do this to give you a sense of just how confusing kanji can be.  Every one of these words is pronounced kaisou, but they have the following range of meanings: attending a funeral; class, level, or stratum; grand opening; reminiscence; remodeling; and seaweed.  Choose whichever of these interests you most and try to pick it out.

A. 会葬 B. 改装 C. 回想 D. 開創 E. 階層 F. 海藻

Posted in Know Your Picture Characters | 2 Comments »

The Jenoviad Entry #80

August 20th, 2010 by Wordsman

They started talking numbers
Seven would not be rebuilt
Instead, a Neo-Midgar’d rise
Its streets with Mako gilt

“But how can that be possible?”
Said Reeve, caught unaware
Said Prez: “We find the Promised Land
The girl will take us there

“How’s she doing, Hojo?”
Here the man in white did stir
“She’s a fine Ancient specimen
Though her mother I’d prefer”

“And how long ‘til the Promised Land?”
The room was now all ears
“This research will take quite some time
Oh . . . o’er a hundred years”

The Prez: “You must be joking!”
He did not the message heed
Hojo muttered, “It’s no joke
That’s why I plan to breed”

Cloud was filled with outrage
To stop Hojo he’d not wait
Aeris would with no one breed
Until he got his date

Soon the meeting did adjourn
And the three back did sneak
Landed in the john again
“I’m show’ring for a week!”

Posted in The Jenoviad | No Comments »

This Day in History Entry #79

August 17th, 2010 by Wordsman

Jazz is all about trying things new
The album would be modal, all through
Now the critics attest
That this one was the best
So he cannot have felt all that blue

Event: Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue, the best-selling jazz record of all time, is released
Year: 1959
Learn more:

Posted in This Day in History | No Comments »

Know Your Picture Characters Entry #18

August 16th, 2010 by Wordsman

A. 歩 B. 行 C. 来 D. 出 E. 入 F. 走

Okay.  I’ll admit it.  I was kind of hoping to trick you guys with this one.  And it appears I have succeeded.  Both Dragon and Shirley, who most likely were not colluding, went for E, which does look like a man walking (I will not comment on how many arms he appears to have).  This, however, means “enter.”  I did not prepare this grand plot from the get-go, but once I had set up the list, I did notice the potential trap, and I did nothing to remove it.  There, an admission of guilt.  Hopefully that’s “un-Republican” enough for Shirley to forgive me.

A Fan had the right idea this week, which was to guess randomly, thus eluding the snare.  His answer wasn’t correct, but at least he had the right idea.  He gets an A for . . . lack of effort, I suppose.  A is, in fact, the correct answer.  B means go, C means come, D means leave, F means run, and Yellow means, depending on your mood, either slow down or give it all you’ve got.

That ended up not being very exciting to explain.  Hmm . . . what shall we have for next week?  Wait, stand back: I’m going to try . . . SCIENCE!  The next challenge will be on the periodic table of elements.  Fortunately, you don’t have to memorize all of them.  In fact, you only need to worry about one, which, compared to what the chemistry students have to deal with, is remarkably simple.  And hopefully this time people will believe me when I tell them not to worry about the last character, because it appears in every single answer.  It’s elementary, dear readers.  Now, I understand that all the elements are important (with the possible exception of boron), but I can’t see us getting very far without oxygen, so I’ll have you hunt for that.  And if all you aggrieved boron fans want to track your favorite element down, then you can go ahead and do that too.

A. 酸素 B. 水素 C. 炭素 D. 窒素 E. 弗素 F. 硼素

Posted in Know Your Picture Characters | 4 Comments »

The Jenoviad Entry #79

August 13th, 2010 by Wordsman

“We gotta hear that meeting!”
Barret said in a harsh hiss
“Meeting?” said Cloud.  “Boredom time
Let’s just give it a miss”

“But they might say where Aeris is!”
Tifa did quick implore
“Or mention any other
Evil plots they’ve got in store”

Just then, two guys pass’ed by
“Man, that big room does stink”
“I wonder, if ‘tween there and bath
There is some sort of link”

The three snuck to the toilet
Stepped in (“Gross!”), entered a duct
To a bright light their attention
Was immediately sucked

Round a table, bigwigs sat
The Prez was at the head
Still wearing his fav’rite coat
In out-of-fashion red

There was Palmer, the chief space guy
Reeve, head of the building biz
Then Heidegger, the Safety man
And Scarlet, weapons whiz

And one more man in a white coat
Who hung back from the show
Cloud did not know how he knew
The man’s name was Hojo

Posted in The Jenoviad | No Comments »

This Day in History Entry #78

August 10th, 2010 by Wordsman

Their collections are second to none
The Hope Diamond and the Bell X-1
Plus old Honest Abe’s hat
They display all of that
By the will of a man named Smithson

Event: Smithsonian Institution established by act of congress
Year: 1846
Learn more:

Posted in This Day in History | No Comments »

« Previous Entries