An 8-year old email: why?

A very good question, indeed.

No reason, really.

Perhaps because I can — as I have officially accepted, now, the self-absorbed and pointless nature of this here blog. And thus it is more of a personal journal — (which just happens to exist for anyone in the world to read, should they so desire).

While searching for something completely unrelated, I happened upon this old email (“Spotlight” is a strange and beautiful thing…).

So, without further ado: An 8-Year-Old Email To My Brother:

Date: Sun, 11 Apr 1999 19:09:47 -0700 (PDT)
From: “Dustin Hansen” <——————> | Block Address | Add to Address Book
Subject: tuna-salad recipe declassified to the elite
To: “Shane A Hansen” < ——————> >

High, they’re, Coloradicalisticals. First[ly] (and perhaps
foremost[ly], though I’m not convinced), I wish (and am gratified to
have been granted the opportunity of fullfilling forthcoming wish
thanks to the glories of modern technology, without which I would be
forced to lick glue for greater than .8 seconds) to thank you with most
of my heart (the rest having been leased out to my pet gosling or
reserved for special occasions, such as birthdays, funerals, attacks,
aches, murmurs, or when snuck up upon from behind unwittingly) to thank
you muy mucho for the gift bestowed upon me recently in celebration of
my not having been aborted. It drew me into a lengthy consideration of
art invovling aesthetics and form vs. or following function–but after
a minute 48 seconds I resolved to suspend judgment and thereupon
snuffed out a butt in it. It seems fully operative. (Though it has
some trouble with the really high notes.) Welt, I am theoretically in
the middle of researching for a 12-page sociology paper that is due in
two days, so . . . Incidentally, the following are snippets of
pseudo-philosophical rabbit-hole-link-sites I ran across (or fell into)
while hypothetically researching, and thought you might get a kick in
the teeth or the pants out of one or both of them, so here you are.
(The site is worth checking out too, if you still have access to the
Net somewhere; just type in “virtualschool” on whatever search engine.)
So enjoy and back to work then you slovenly ‘crassinater.


Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things

What Categories Reveal about the Mind

by George Lakoff

The University of Chicago Press; (C) 1987.
Lakoff, George.
P37 .L344 1987
Psycholinguistics. Categorization (Psychology), Cognition.
Thought and thinking. Reason.
Chicago, IL : University of Chicago Press, c1987.

Page 92

Borges attributes the following taxonomy of the animal kingdon to an
ancient Chinese encyclopedia entitled the Celestial
Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge.

On those remote pages it is written that animals are divided into

those that belong to the Emporer
embalmed ones
those that are trained
suckling pigs
fabulous ones
stray dogs
those that are included in this classification
those that tremble as if they were mad
innumerable ones
those drawn with a very fine camel’s hair brush
those that have just broken a flower vase
those that resemble flies from a distance
(Borges 1966 p 108).

Borges of course, deals with the fantastic. These not only are not
natural human cateogires — they could not be natural
human categories. But part of what makes this passage art, rather than
mere fantasy, is that it comes close to the
impression a Western reader gets when reading descriptions of
nonwestern languages and cultures. The fact is that
people around the world categorize things in ways that both boggle the
Western mind and stump Western linguists and

An excellent example is the classification of things in the world that
occurs in traditional Dyirbal, an aboriginal language
of Australia. The classification is built into the language, as is
common in the world’s languages. Whenever a Dyirbal
speaker uses a non in a sentence, the noun must be preceded by a
variant of one of four words: bayi, balan, balam, bala.
These words classify all objects in the Dyirbal universe, and to speak
Dyirbal correctly one must use the right classifier
before each noun. Here is a brief version of the Dyirbal classifcation
of objects in the universe, as described by R.M.W.
Dixon (1982):

Bayi: men, kangaroos, possums, bats, most snakes, most fishes,
some birds, most insects, the moon, storms,
rainbows, boomerangs, some spears, etc.
Balan: women, anything connected with water or fire, bandicoots,
dogs, platypus, echidna, some snakes, some
fishes, most birds, fireflies, scorpions, crickets, the stars,
shields, some spears, some trees, etc.
Balam: all edible fruit and the plants that bear them, tubers,
ferns, honey, cigarettes, wine, cake.
Bala: parts of the body, meat, bees, wind, yamsticks, some
spears, most trees, grass, mud, stones, noises,
language, etc.

It is a list that any Borges fan would take delight in.

And, well, there it is.

(But, then, I should really just shut my bloody trap. Shouldn’t I.)

Leave a Reply