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[Reprinted from bourboncowboy.blogspot.com. I don't know how to do… - bourbon_cowboy [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
bourbon_cowboy

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[Apr. 12th, 2007|08:34 am]
bourbon_cowboy
[Reprinted from bourboncowboy.blogspot.com. I don't know how to do links on this site---Ive done it before, but damned if I can remember---so if you want to see the pictures, just go to Wikipedia yourself. Then scroll down to the Karen Han link.]


When I moved to New York City and started taking the A train, every so often in the middle of the day on weekends I'd see an old Chinese man playing a strange-looking two-stringed instrument. "How cool!" I thought. "An instrument I've never heard of before!" Here's a link to a video that'll give you a sense of the performance. Just pretend you're on a subway platform, people are conversing nearby, and everything smells vaguely of pee.

Yesterday, while leafing through the introduction to a collection of short stories called San Francisco Noir, I read a sentence that started, "The other day at a bus station I saw a man playing a Chinese fiddle, or erhu."

My eyes gloinked. So that's what they're called! And a quick search on Wikipedia confirmed it. Meet the erhu. Apparently, I'd been staring directly at a crossword puzzle word and had had no idea. And what a word! At four letters, it's actually a bit more useful than the three-letter weird words we're stuck with, and with that letter choice, it's all but begging: "Dave! Please put me running across on the second row down of some wide-open crossword grid of Friday-level difficulty!"

And then a strange thing happened: the word didn't exist. It's there on Wikipedia, it's there in San Francisco Noir. Presumably people in big cities like Chicago have occasion to see them every week or so! But it is not in any dictionary I have access to. Not in Merriam-Webster's Eleventh Collegiate. Or the New International Unabridged, second or third edition. Not in Random House, not in Chambers. I checked the Webster's New World anyway, but I knew I was licked. Nothing. Apparently, those snotty lexicographers in their high, paper-filled, and incredibly flammable towers, feel that "erhu" does not meet an English linguistic need.

So I'm hereby announcing a new mission: to popularize the word "erhu." I'm going to use it in straight definition ("This weekend the erhu player was back at 59th Street"), in made-up idioms ("Oh, sure, it's complicated, but it's not like juggling erhus,") and metaphors and descriptions ("the sound was eerie, like an erhu being played by a baby vampire"). And when I use it, those of you who have read this post can knowledgeably smile and say, "Ah. The erhu. Thank you, Dave, for your continued selfless work on behalf of the crossword puzzle community." And if anyone wants to put me on a stamp later...well, shucks. You just do what you think best
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: qaqaq
2007-04-12 02:03 pm (UTC)
[a href="http://www.somethingorother.com"]your text goes here[/a] -- except replace all square brackets with angle brackets.
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[User Picture]From: qaqaq
2007-04-12 02:04 pm (UTC)
Yeah, ok, I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that my example actually exists. Sigh.
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[User Picture]From: bourbon_cowboy
2007-04-12 02:12 pm (UTC)

Thanks!

I knew you'd leap to my aid, Trip! Thanks. Between this and the Hunt Wiki page, I think I'm going to have to either learn HTML coding or just give up and find a remote cabin to sequester myself in. Baby steps...
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[User Picture]From: qaqaq
2007-04-12 02:16 pm (UTC)

Re: Thanks!

I refuse to learn HTML. I have an index card in my desk that I consult every time I need to do some sort of LJ link (I can never remember if it's lj-cut with a hyphen and lj user without a hyphen, or the reverse, for one thing; it's this way).
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[User Picture]From: jeffurrynpl
2007-04-12 02:56 pm (UTC)

Re: Thanks!

I like and use HTML but the lj-cut/lj cut/lj-user/lj user gets me every time.
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[User Picture]From: cazique
2007-04-12 02:10 pm (UTC)
this whole thing makes me feel sort of igry
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[User Picture]From: toonhead_npl
2007-04-12 02:51 pm (UTC)
Want me to set up a live feed on LJ for you? It'll at least save you the trouble of having to repost.
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[User Picture]From: bourbon_cowboy
2007-04-12 04:01 pm (UTC)
I'd love a feed! Someone (Lunacow, I think) offered to hook me up some time back, and I looked into it and discovered that I would need to become a paid member of LiveJournal, which (if memory serves) was more expensive than I felt was warranted. But if you know a cheap way to do it, God love ya. You have my immediate permission and gratitude in advance.
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[User Picture]From: toonhead_npl
2007-04-12 04:26 pm (UTC)
Oh I have a lifetime account so it's no prob. But it won't let me name it "bourboncowboy" or "bourbon_cowboy" since both are taken. Any other preferences?
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[User Picture]From: toonhead_npl
2007-04-12 04:28 pm (UTC)
(fyi: anyone with a paid account can create an RSS feed for any other website so it doesn't have to be the website's owner)
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[User Picture]From: lunacow
2007-04-12 04:57 pm (UTC)
Actually, I believe the sticking point was that you need to turn on an RSS feed in your blogspot blog so that there's something to create an LJ feed from. I don't see any sort of feed link on your blog, so check the blogspot help documents to see how to get that.
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[User Picture]From: lunchboy
2007-04-12 04:46 pm (UTC)
ERHU is in the New Oxford American Dictionary, so once again Erin McKean comes through.
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[User Picture]From: toonhead_npl
2007-04-12 05:16 pm (UTC)

ta-da!

I hereby dub thy feed: quiz_npl
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[User Picture]From: rubrick
2007-04-13 01:56 am (UTC)
I don't thing juggling erhus would actually be all that complicated.
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