The Jenoviad Entry #90

October 29th, 2010 by Wordsman

The follow-up was fast dispatched
Suff’ring from a Mindblow
Barret said, “Now we’re home free
Hey . . . where did Tifa go?”

“She stayed back to wait for Cloud”
Aeris promptly explained
Barret said, “The hell she did!”
And curses poured and rained

Tifa was one floor below
Where Rufus and Cloud were
She thought she’d have to fend off guards
But no one bothered her

Soon her friend limped down the steps
With bullet wounds and fleas
Cloud complained, “You could’ve helped!”
“Oh, sorry.  Allergies”

Said Cloud, “We’ll take the stairs, I guess
Back to where we began”
Said Tifa, “Nah.  Don’t wanna walk
I’ve got a better plan”

The much-beleaguered other group
Fin’lly reached the first floor
And found a whole damn army
Right outside the glass front door

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This Day in History Entry #89

October 26th, 2010 by Wordsman

“Clinton’s Folly” they all called the ditch
The Mohawk just had too steep a pitch
The surveyors were new
But they somehow pulled through
And they made the surrounding lands rich

Event: Erie Canal completed
Year: 1825
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Know Your Picture Characters Entry #28

October 25th, 2010 by Wordsman

A. 大阪 B. 京都 C. 神戸 D. 東京 E. 名古屋 F. 福岡

First off, to respond to Dragon’s persistent rice fixation: yes, the concept of sushi refers more specifically to the preparation of the rice.  You can have sushi without the raw fish.  People over here just tend to fixate on the raw fish because, well, it’s raw fish.  Also, delicious.

But now we have bigger fish to, um, not fry.  With typical quickness, Dragon leapt right out at B, identifying it as . . . well, we’re not sure.  The challenge for this week, as you may recall, was to identify either Tokyo or Kyoto, to which Dragon responded, “It’s B.”  Presumably if a waiter in a sushi restaurant were to ask her if she preferred tuna or salmon, she would respond “Yes.”  Lacking further clarification, we at the Wandering Wordsman are forced to assume that she believed that the characters in B represent both Tokyo and Kyoto.

And she is right . . . to a certain extent.  As Shirley discovered accidentally, B is in fact Kyoto (we would accuse her of cheating, but then again she was able to look at a map of Shikoku without stumbling on the answer, so I guess we can’t fault her too much).  The two kanji in Kyoto can both mean “capital city” on their own, which certainly applies to Tokyo as well.  However, together they function only as a proper noun.  Tokyo is hiding out at D, the land of windy days blowing away people’s hats, as A Fan astutely noted.  The person on the right, a tourist unaware of the city’s blusteriness, watches in stunned horror as his precious beret flies upward.  The guy on the left is a Tokyoite, born and raised, and he has taken the common precaution of nailing his hat to his head to prevent catastrophe.  Or, if you want to be technical, it just means “Eastern Capital.”

Theoman, of course, claims to have known all of this already, and also that A is Osaka, the city of the “large slope.”  But we can forgive him for all of his illicit knowledge, because he chose a strategy much more appropriate to KYPC in making his own guess; he picked F because, “the second character in C looks funny to me.”  Fukuoka, as we all know, is an extremely serious place, whose people would not dare associate with a silly character the likes of which is to be found in C.  Or perhaps he did it because F is the first letter in Fukuoka, and he thought that it was not impossible for someone to refer to the city by the first letter of its name (when written with the English alphabet).  Either way, he is correct.  Fukuoka is indeed F City, the “hill of good fortune.”  That wacky place between Kyoto and Tokyo is the home of really expensive beef, Kobe.  The character that tickled Theoman so thoroughly represents one of the funniest objects in the history of the human experience: a door.  I’m barely able to stay upright myself, just thinking about it.  The other kanji in Kobe refers to gods or spirits.

Oh yeah, and E is Nagoya.  Nobody likes Nagoya.

Now it’s time to shift away from geography to history.  Japanese history is divided into periods that are almost always named for where the seat of government was at the time (so I guess it’s still kind of geography after all).  Here we have six of the major eras: the Jomon period (approx. 14,000-300 BC), the Nara period (710-794 AD), the Heian period (794-1185), the Kamakura period (approx. 1185-1333), the Muromachi period (approx. 1336-1573), and the Edo period (approx. 1603-1868).  And I’m not going to write “period” every time because that’s just silly.  Splitting up the tasks seemed to work well last week, so we’ll try it again.  Theoman can try to find Kamakura, when Japan’s first shogunate rose to power.  Everyone else can work their way back to Edo, the era of Japan’s last shogunate.

A. 江戸 B. 鎌倉 C. 縄文 D. 奈良 E. 平安 F. 室町

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The Jenoviad Entry #89

October 22nd, 2010 by Wordsman

The greater part of AVALANCHE
Was rushing to get free
Of course they skipped the long, long stairs
They’re much slower, you see

The three did not anticipate
The troubles of the ride
In fact, just one shaft over
Was the Shinra’s joy and pride

The fabled Hundred Gunner
Quickly caught up with their car
They’d no choice but to fight it
For the fall was fairly far

Barret raised his trusty gun
“You all should jus’ stay back”
Red, wanting to prove his worth
Used his Sled Fang attack

“Not bad for a cat, I guess
You sure know how to run
But sit back in your chair
And let me show you how it’s done!”

Aeris did as Barret said
‘Twas prob’ly best that way
Wild midair combat
Really wasn’t her forte

The Gunner felled, they all sat back
But their reprieve was brief
One more robot followed it
Whined Aeris, “Oh good grief!”

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This Day in History Entry #88

October 19th, 2010 by Wordsman

An ancient battle full of drama
Horns sent elephants back to their mama
Scipio had hands full
Going ‘gainst Hannibal
But he beat the tactician at Zama

Event: Roman victory at Zama, last battle of the Second Punic War
Year: 202 BC
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Know Your Picture Characters Entry #27

October 18th, 2010 by Wordsman

A. 銀杏 B. 酒 C. 寿司 D. 照り焼き E. 豆腐 F. 松茸 G. 山葵

Hopefully all this talk about food has made you hungry.  Hungry for answers, that is (answers are, sadly, all I have to provide).  I’m not sure where Dragon heard that “sushi” means “rice”–like many traditional Japanese words, there’s some argument about the exact etymology, though the theory I’ve heard most commonly is that it comes from an adjective meaning “it’s sour,” referring to the vinegar used to make it.  But this has nothing to do with why she was wrong when she said that B meant sushi.  As a matter of fact, she picked the closest thing to vinegar that appears on this list: sake, which is pretty important too, I suppose, depending on who you talk to.  The real sushi is hiding out at C, which is only one of several ways to write it, some of which are one character: and .

Theoman–for whom my suggested responses were not crazy enough, apparently–leapt upon D, the only answer to contain non-kanji characters.  KYPC has clearly taught him to seek out whatever hints he thinks he can find, and, for once, these hints did not lead him astray.  D is indeed teriyaki.  I was also glad to see that everyone agrees with me that tofu and mushrooms are gross, because none of you went for E or F, which represent the bean-curd and the fungus, respectively.

Shirley, it seems, had classic comedy on the brain.  Not only did she want to make sure that everyone remembered Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s on First?” routine, she was also clearly thinking about the movie Some Like it Hot, because instead of ginkgo she accidentally grabbed some wasabi.  In this case the stuff at the top of the second character might not represent the faulty memory burdening the small person but rather the clouds of steam shooting out of his ears as he takes a bite of the green stuff.  And yes, I understand that wasabi is not really “hot” or “spicy” in the same way as we usually think of it, but as long you don’t take some of the ginkgo over there at A, you probably won’t remember what I said here anyway.

It’s been a few weeks since we had a geography-themed puzzle, and I know that Dragon loves geography, so I think it’s about time we had another.  This time let’s try to identify some Japanese cities.  And to avoid any wild cards, I’ll tell you what to look for.  Theoman, you get to try to pick out Fukuoka.  Everyone else can hunt down either Tokyo or Kyoto.  They’re more famous, so they should be easier to recognize, right?  Right?

A. 大阪 B. 京都 C. 神戸 D. 東京 E. 名古屋 F. 福岡

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The Jenoviad Entry #88

October 15th, 2010 by Wordsman

At Rufus’ side, a black feline
“You’re fighting with your cat?”
The cat, Dark Nation, cast a shield
“What do you think of that?”

“First, it’s totally unfair
‘Cuz shields are really lame
Secondly, is ‘Dark Nation’
Something you’d a cat name?”

Now Rufus, he was a crack shot
Dark Nation slashed and roared
But neither one could stand up
To the mighty Buster Sword

The shield did break.  Cloud raised his blade
“The Shinra line ends here!”
But then the chopper swooped down low
And he cowered in fear

Rufus hopped back on his ride
“My reign ends not today
Nor will I allow you to
All my great plans delay”

Cloud declared, “We’ll get you yet!
You better say your prayers!”
“Worry for your friends instead
They should’ve took the stairs . . .”

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This Day in History Entry #87

October 12th, 2010 by Wordsman

On a blue planet, far, far away
Mostly harmless, as some like to say
Starts the tale of a book
Give the cover a look
“DO NOT PANIC”: a friendly display

Event: Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is published
Year: 1979
Learn more:

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Know Your Picture Characters Entry #26

October 11th, 2010 by Wordsman

A. 指名打者 B. 代走 C. 中堅手 D. 投手 E. 捕手 F. 遊撃手

I like to think that I am teaching something in these weekly challenges.  Is it actual knowledge of Japanese?  No, not really.  Guessing techniques?  Perhaps.  Psychology?  Somewhat.  But the more I think about it, the more I come to believe that the primary lesson imparted by KYPC is that life is cruel and unfair.  This week we had Shirley looking for patterns, Dragon performing in-depth analysis of one character, and Theoman attempting to use actual knowledge.  And then in came A Fan, who hasn’t participated as much over the past few weeks and who seems to guess almost entirely at random.  Now I ask you, to see if you’ve learned anything at all: which of these four do you think correctly identified not only the shortstop but also the pitcher and the catcher?  A Fan, naturally.  Who ever said life was fair?

My favorite guess from this week was Shirley’s identification of A as the pitcher because she could see that he had all four pitches.  I couldn’t help but wonder which pitch was which.  The first, I feel, has to be the knuckleball, both because it looks a little funky and because, on its own, it means “finger.”  Next comes the curve, with that gentle slope as it passes over the plate.  The third is obviously the fastball shooting straight down the pipe, powerful and unsubtle.  Shirley seemed to feel that the last one might be the spitball, but I prefer to give the pitcher the benefit of the doubt and call it the slider- watch as it cuts sharply past the outline of the crouching catcher.  Now, in a perfect world, this combination of four characters would actually mean “pitcher,” but it doesn’t work that way.  However, they do indicate a position that is closely associated with the pitcher.  Whether you think it’s an abomination or the only sane way to play, you have to admit that if it wasn’t for the pitcher, there would be no designated hitter.

Dragon and Theoman both settled on C as the shortstop, Dragon because she likes puns and Theoman because he thought he had cracked the code.  The first character does in fact mean middle, though if he had remembered that a synonym for middle is “center,” he might have had a better chance at spotting the center fielder.  D and E make up your battery (the “throwing player” and the “catching player.”)  B is a pinch runner–see that little bit of something being pinched up at the top?–which may not technically be a “position,” but I don’t care.  F is the shortstop, with the characters indicating a sort of “raider,” I guess because he goes around and snatches up baseballs.

Whew!  All that talk about baseball made me hungry.  I think it’s time for the second, specially food-themed edition of the “Japanese words used in English” puzzle.  I’ll leave the choice of target up to you this time.  If you like vegetables and gross stuff like that, hunt for tofu or matsutake.  If you want to give this challenge a little extra kick, grab some wasabi.  If puzzles like this make you worry that your memory is failing you, you might want to look for some ginkgo.  I personally would go for the sushi, but it’s your choice.

A. 銀杏 B. 酒 C. 寿司 D. 照り焼き E. 豆腐 F. 松茸 G. 山葵

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The Jenoviad Entry #87

October 8th, 2010 by Wordsman

“AVALANCHE?” the young Prez asked
“You’ve tangled with the Turks
And here I was just thinking
You were all disgruntled clerks

“Sorry for the rudeness
You all know I’m new at this
I see now you’re not a group
That I can just dismiss”

Cloud, who was still half-asleep
Thought he had heard enough
Plus he saw the perfect chance
To show that he was tough

“Aeris!  Tifa!  Other two!
You all get out of here!
I’ll fight this guy alone
For reasons not completely clear!”

A hand dragged Tifa back inside
“We’re going now?  That’s it?”
“My quarrel was with his dad
I’ll let him live . . . a bit”

Rufus said, “Fight me alone?
In that there is no shame
I think it’s cute that you assume
That I would do the same”

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