Friday, February 2, 2007

Friends and friendship


Word History: The relationship between Latin am cus "friend" and am "I love" is clear, as is the relationship between Greek philos "friend" and phile "I love." In English, though, we have to go back a millennium before we see the verb related to friend. At that time, fr ond, the Old English word for "friend," was simply the present participle of the verb fr on, "to love." The Germanic root behind this verb is *fr -, which meant "to like, love, be friendly to." Closely linked to these concepts is that of "peace," and in fact Germanic made a noun from this root, *frithu-, meaning exactly that. Ultimately descended from this noun are the personal names Frederick, "peaceful ruler," and Siegfried, "victory peace." The root also shows up in the name of the Germanic deity Frigg, the goddess of love, who lives on today in the word Friday, "day of Frigg," from an ancient translation of Latin Veneris di s, "day of Venus."
The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th ed. 2003

Synonyms for friend – “a person you know well and regard with affection and trust”
alter ego - a very close and trusted friend who seems almost a part of yourselfamigo - a friend or comradebest friend - the one friend who is closest to youcomrade - used as a term of address for those persons engaged in the same movement
buddy, chum, crony, pal, sidekick - a close friend who accompanies buddies in their activities
companion, associate - a person who is frequently in the company of another
confidant, intimate - someone to whom private matters are confided
girlfriend, boyfriend – friendship, sometimes amorous, between the genders
light - a person regarded very fondly; "the light of my life"
mate - informal term for a friend of the same sex

Synonyms for friend – “an associate who provides assistance”ally - a person who joins with others in some activityblood brother - a male sworn (usually by a ceremony involving the mingling of blood) to treat another as his brother

What does it mean to be “a friend” ?

IT seems that “friends” can be defined in many ways – though differentiated by the intensity of the relationship in which, for instance, soul mate, alter ego, bosom buddies or best friend would rank at the top of the list, possibly followed by lovers, siblings, offspring or those who share a strong common interest or bond in some way – with acquaintances or neighbours down at the bottom. But in all cases there are certain conditions which make these states possible or may drastically change them: primarily age, time, gender, social circumstance and geography; possibly also cultural upbringing, religion, language or economic status.

We can all remember the strong companionship of our childhood friends, and the friendships we formed at school or college but most of these become lost in time. It
becomes more and more difficult to form relationships as we grow older (though strangely enough this sometimes happens in the terminal stages of life)

Marriage and having children form the centers of other friendships – though it is sometimes difficult to distinguish marriage (or partnership) from friendship, just as it is difficult to distinguish parenthood, or having parents, from friendship.

As we find our place, or places, in society – or move from one part of the country, or world – our friendships may dwindle or disappear, in which old friends are replaced by new friends. But new communication technologies have made a considerable difference to existing friendships. When hand-written letters by ship were the only links with old friends, or family, communication faltered. But the telephone and now the computer and email have allowed old friendships to continue while spawning entirely new friendships in which time and distance have been obliterated. Even face-to-face communication has become possible, though mediated – so we have letter-writing friends email friends and chat-room friends.

Our cultural interests, our language, our religion and our economic status all play important roles in fostering friendships as do our social concerns – our politics, our enthusiasm for sports, for community affairs, for specialized interests like stamp-collecting or reading. But what we do for a living probably plays the major role in making and maintaining new friends. These are the many manifestations of what we might call social friends: as members of organizations like the food bank; as church members; as members of sports clubs or specialized interest groups, as work-related friends, or even shopping friends. However, in the hierarchy of intensity of relationships
these probably form the middle block, just above and possibly intermingled with neighbours or acquaintances.

But THE most important factor in considering “friends” is YOU. What kind of person are you ? What do you look for in a friend, if you look at all ? And if you become a friend of others, what kind of friend are you ? And remember that it takes two to tango.

Some people have no friends at all, which is not necessarily their fault. Most of us would agree that they are very unfortunate in not having friends. Some people have many, many friends – which might be classified as acquaintances - but no best friends.

Some friendships fail: they may start at an unsupportable level of intensity, or they may be lop-sided, or they may just collapse. Mediated or long-distance friendships are prone to this as there is a lack of feedback in which to judge an appropriate level of discourse or emotion.

And then there are false friends, those who cultivate relationships for selfish reasons – for monetary gain or sexual conquest. Sometimes, apparent friends aren’t friends at all as they are not able to offer truthful answers or trustworthy support; or they are suffused with” schadenfreude” – joy at the misfortune of others.

Paradoxically, sometimes strangers can be friends, though usually for the short-term. You might acquire a one-time friend while travelling, or an occasional friend while commuting on the same route. It seems that we can disclose our inner secrets or fears
more easily to strangers than our friends on the assumption that we are never going to meet them again. In the same category are those who might help you following an accident or injury – or as a response to your cry for help for whatever reason.

Being in the minority (religious, language, cultural, political or with specialized interests, even gender) can produce unexpected friends as we are on the lookout for
support and would willingly bend the usual social constraints to get it.

Finally, can animals be our friends ? There are many who would categorically state that their best friend was their dog (especially the blind) or their cats, or a pony, or a budgie.
But just as many would deny that assertion. What do animals give to friendship? (and what do we give to them ?) that would allow animals as friends ? And do animals include birds, fishes or insects. And what about trees and plants ?

We know that prison inmates can adopt creatures around them as friends. St. Francisof Assisi had animals as friends but what did St. Anthony in the Desert have as a friend – his god ? From the sublime to the apparently ridiculous, Tom Hanks in the film “Cast Away” had a basketball as his best buddy during his years in exile – and very believable and touching it was too.

So it appears as though having friends and friendship is a strong human need throughout life as it offers understanding, sympathy, trust and support so long as this exchange is two-way.

1.Forty words for “friends”
(According to Google/Wikipedia "40 Inuit words for snow" is a myth as they have a polysynthetic language which allows noun-incorporation resulting in the equivalent of a phrase in other languages). I’ve used this as a guide in establishing a working list of “friends”:

Neighbours who may become friends
Members of organizations (Food Bank, Lodges etc) as friends
Church or religious friends (Quakers, Catholics)
Other expatriates as friends
Wife, partner (or ex-wife, ex-partner) as friend (amongst the many other roles they play)
Offspring as friends (also as above)
Grandchildren, grandparents as friends (also as above)
Other family members (aunts, uncles) as friends (also as above)
In-laws and in-law family members as friends (also as above)
Acquaintances who may become friends
E-mail correspondents as friends
Telephone friends
Letter-writing friends
Friends through repetition (frequent unplanned meetings or communication)
Social friends (friends through community activities)
Work-related friends
Strangers as friends
Shopping (clerks, supervisors, telephone operators etc) who may become friends
Same genders as friends
Common interests (sports, drinking, book club etc) as friends
School friends (primary, medium education)
"University" friends (higher education)
Military/service friends
One-time friends (on cruises, in trains, airplanes, travelling)
Very intimate friends (bosom buddies)
Fairly close friends
Bosses/underlings as friends
People who help you (accidents, injuries) as friends
Very long-term friends
Long-term friends now separated but still in communication
"Cry for help" friends (someone in need, answered by another who becomes a friend)
Commuter friends (repeatedly taking same bus, train)
Specialized friends (sharing same interest, or offering advice in that area)
Underground friends (criminals, drug-users, sex-workers)
“Inteellectual” friends (authors, artists, musicians for whom you feel a kindred interest)
Minority friends (speak the same language, share the same culture as a minority
Age-related friends
Friends sharing babies/children as the common denominator
Divorced, separated, singles friends False friends (friends who turn out to be anything but)Failed friends (friendships which end in disaster)Soul mates (born to be friend

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

My favourite music

MY FAVOURITE MUSIC (chronological)…………………as of January 2007
CLASSICAL.(tr.=transcribed; esp.=especially; Op.=Opus)

COUPERIN, Francois, 1668-1733 – keyboard music tr. piano (esp. Book I and II)
BACH, Johann Sebastian, 1685-1750 – Unaccompanied cello suites Nos. 1-6 (BWV1007-12); English suites Nos. 1-6 (BWV806-11 tr. piano); French suites
Nos. 1-6 (BWV812-17); Goldberg variations (BWV988 tr. piano)
SCARLATTI, Domenico 1685-1757 – all keyboard sonatas tr. for piano (Kk 1-555)BACH, Carl Philipp Emanuel 1714-1788 – cello concertos, keyboard sonatas tr. piano (esp.G.minor – Wq62)
HAYDN, Joseph, 1732-1809 – all piano sonatas (esp. 19,29,31,34,35,46 and 49); string quartets Op. 76, Nos. 1-6
BOCCHERINI, Luigi, 1743-1805 – guitar quintets I to VII
MOZART, Wolfgang Amadeus, 1756-1791 – all piano sonatas (esp. 311,330,331,494,533,545,570); “Haydn” string quartets KV387,421,428.458.464,465;“Hoffmeister”quartet 499; and “Prussian” quartets 575,589 and 590.
BEETHOVEN, Ludwig Van, 1770-1827 – “Razoumovsky” string quartets Nos. 7-9 Opus 59 1-3 and string quartets No.9 Op.127;No. 13 Op.130;No.14 Op. 131; No.15 Op.132;No.16 Op.135 and Grosse Fugue Op.133
MENDELSSOHN, Felix, 1809-1847 – Songs without words
DEBUSSY, Claude, 1862-1918 – Preludes for piano Books I,II; La Mer; Nocturnes
SCHOENBERG, Arnold, 1874-1951 – Verklaerte Nacht
RAVEL, Maurice, 1875-1937 – Gaspard de la nuit; L’Enfant et les sortileges
JANACEK, Leos, 1854-1928 – String quartets Nos.1 and 2
BARTOK, Bela, 1881-1945 – Music for strings, percussion and celesta; Contrasts for clarinet, violin and piano; Piano music for children; String quartets Nos. 1-6
STRAVINSKY, Igor, 1882-1971 – The Song of the Nightingale; Pulcinella; Jeu de Cartes; The Rite of Spring; Dumarton Oaks Concerto.
VILLA-LOBOS, Heitor, 1887-1959 – all Choros
IBERT, Jacques, 1890-1962 - Escales
PROKOFIEV, Serge, 1891-1953 – The Love for Three Oranges; Romeo and Juliet; Violin concertos Nos. 1, 2; Five piano concertos; Scythian Suite.
HONNEGER, Arthur, 1892-1955 – Pastorale d’ete; Pacific 231; Le Roi David
POULENC, Francis, 1899-1963 – Concert champetre for harpsichord and orchestra
SHOSTAKOVICH, Dmitri 1906-1975 – 24 preludes for piano both Op.34 (1932) and Opus 87 (1949); Symphony No. 9; Complete string quartets Nos. 1-15.
BARBER Samuel, 1910-1981 – Cello concerto; String quartet Op. 11; Excursions
FRANCAIX, Jean, 1912-1997 – Wind quintets; L’Heure du berger; L’Horloge des fleurs
BRITTEN, Benjamin, 1913-1976 – Sea interludes from Peter Grimes; Violin concerto
, 1939- Guitar concertos and other guitar compositions BRYARS, Gavin, 1943- South Down; The sinking of the Titanic; String quartets


Jimmy Yancey, 1898-1951 – blues piano player and singer (with Mamie Yancey)
Meade Lux Lewis, 1905-1964, USA – boogie-woogie piano player
Albert Ammons, 1907-1949, USA – boogie-woogie piano player
Oscar Peterson, 1925- Canada – boogie-woogie and jazz piano player
Stan Getz, 1927-1991, USA – tenor-sax jazz player
John Fahey, 1939-2001, USA – blues and folk 6 and 12-steel string guitar-player
Leo Kottke, 1945- USA – blues and folk 6 and 12-steel string guitar player and singer
Michael Kaeshammer, 1977- Canada – boogie-woogie piano player
The Weavers 1947- USA (Ronnie Gilbert, Lee Hays, Fred Hellerman, Pete Seager) folk.


Middle Eastern/European folk music (Iran, Hungary, Rumania, Bulgaria, Turkey):
Szaszcavas Gypsy Band – Folk Music from Transylvania
Muzsikas/Mareta Sebestyen – Folk Music from Hungary
Teka Band – Csardas Music from Hungary
Bulgarian Womens’ Choir
Kambar family – Kurdish music from Iran
Indonesian folk music (Bali):
Colin McPhee (Canada) – Tabu Tabuhan, and others
Gamelan gong music from Bali

French expressions with no comparable English terms

Adieu – “farewell” when you don’t expect to see the person again until you are in heaven
Agent provocateur – person who attempts to provoke individuals or groups into committing unlawful acts
Attentat – assassination attempt, terrorist attack, bombing
Au fait – to be conversant with, or informed about
Avant-garde – innovative, especially in the arts
Bête noir – something that is particularly distasteful or difficult and to be avoided
Cinéma vérité– unbiased, realistic documentary film-making
Coup d'etat - overthrow of government
Defrisher - to lay the groundwork
Déjà vu – phenomenon of feeling you have already seen or done something when you’re sure you haven’t
Demimonde – marginal or disrespectful group; prostitutes and/or kept women
De rigueur – socially or culturally obligatory
Dernier cri – Newest fashion or trend
En blanc – entire membership of court is in session
Enfant terrible – troublesome or embarrassing person in a group
Faux pas – something that should not be done; a foolish mistake
Folie à deux – mental disorder which occurs simultaneously in two people with a close relationship or association
Force majeure - superior or greater force
Hypercultivé – extremely learned
Je ne sais quoi – used to indicate “a certain something”
Joie de vivre – quality in people who live life to the fullest
Matineé– first showing of movie or film; or midday romp with one’s lover
Risqué – suggestive, overly provocative
Roman-fleuve – long multi-volume novel
Savoir faire – synonymous with tact or social grace
Soi-disant – what one claims to know about oneself, so-called or alleged
Touché – “you got me”
Trompe l’oeil – painting which tricks the eye into believing it is real; also refers, in general, to artifice and trickery

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

German expressions with no comparable English terms

An sich - in itself
Angst – a gloomy, often neurotic feeling of generalized anxiety and depression. Also a feeling of fear, but more deeply and without concrete object. (Many think the meaning is much more specific in English and the German Angst equals "fear". This is not true, as the German Furcht means "fear". The difference is that Furcht is provoked by a specific object or occurrence, while Angst is a more general state of being that does not need to be initiated by anything concrete. It can happen autonomously, i.e. influenced by prior experience of Furcht without reason.)
Ansatz - basic approach
Blitz – sudden overwhelming attack
Blitzkrieg – warfare conducted along these lines
Ding an sich - the thing in itself, from Kant
Doppelgänger - ("double-goer"); a double or look-alike of a person, sometimes the evil twin
Fahrvergnügen - meaning "driving pleasure"
Gemutlicht - cosy
Gesamtkunstwerk - meaning"total work of art" which combines drama, music, and visual arts in equal measure.
Gestalt – Shape, form (Gestalt psychology, a school of German psychology which affirms that all experience consists of gestalten, and that the response of an organism to a situation is a is a complete and unanalyzable whole rather than a sum of the responses to specific elements in the situation)
Gesundheit – “your health” as a toast; an expression of good wishes to someone who has sneezed
Grubelei – grubbing amongst subtleties
Katergefuhl – self-reproachful irritation
Lebensluge – the lie that makes life bearable
Leitmotiv - a musical phrase that associates with a specific person, thing, or idea.
Lied (pronounced "leet") - "song"; specifically in English, "art song"
Lumpen (in lumpenproletariat) – designating persons or groups regarded as belonging to a low or contemptible segment of their class or kind because of their unproductiveness, shiftlessness, alienation, degeneration etc(Proletariat – class of the lowest status in ancient Roman society, ie working class especially the industrial working class)
Realpolitik - (Political science: "real politics"); usually implies the way politics really work, i.e. via the influence of power and money, rather than a political party's given interpretation.
Schadenfreude also Schadensfreude - a malicious satisfaction obtained from the misfortunes of others
Sitz im Leben - Coming to a deeper awareness and understanding of one’s place or situation in life
Sorge - a state of worry, but (like "Angst") in a less concrete, more general sense, worry about the world, one's future, etc.
Sprechgesang - form of musical delivery between speech and singing
Sturm und Drang - "storm and stress" , or confusion (a brief esthetic movement in German literature)
Umwelt – environment.
Wanderlust - the yearning to travel
Weltanschauung - World-view, underlying assumptions about reality. Weltschmerz - World-weariness, senrtimental pessimism and melancholy over the state of the world; despair with the world (often used ironically in German)
Wille zur Macht - a central concept of Nietzsche's philosophy meaning "the Will to Power."
Zeitgeist "spirit of the times"

My Favourite Films

MY FAVOURITE FILMS (chronological)……………….in January 2007

Wizard of Oz 1939 USA – dir. Victor Fleming; with Judy Garland and Toto
Grapes of Wrath 1940 USA – dir. John Ford; with Henry Fonda and John Carradine
Dumbo 1941 USA – DIR. Ben Sharpsteen; with Disney animation
Dead of Night 1945 UK – dir. Cavalcanti; with Mervyn Johns and Googie Withers
Hue and Cry 1947 UK – dir. Charles Crichton; with Alastair Sim
La Strada 1954 Italy – dir. Federico Fellini; with Giulietta Masina
Walkabout 1971 Australia – dir. Nicholas Roeg; with Jenny Aguitter
Harold and Maude 1971 USA – dir. Hal Ashby; with Ruth Gordon and Bud Cort
Don’t Look Now 1973 UK – dir. Nicholas Roeg; with Donald Sutherland, Julie Christie
Amarcord 1973 Italy – dir. Federico Fellini; various
When a Stranger Calls USA – dir.Fred Walton; with Carol Kane and Charles Durning
(The original 1979 film and NOT the 2006 remake)
The Blues Brothers 1980 USA – dir. John Landis; with John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd
Blade Runner 1982 USA – dir. Ridley Scott; with Harrison Ford, Joanna Cassidy
Brazil 1985 USA – dir. Terry Gilliam; with Jonathan Pryce
Raising Arizona 1987 USA – dir. Joel Coen; with Nicholas Cage
Men in Black I 1987 USA – dir. Barry Sonnenfeld; with Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith
(also the less successful Men in Black II – same director and cast)
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen 1988 USA – dir. Terry Gilliam, John Neville
A Woman’s Tale 1991 Australia – dir. Paul Cox; with Sheila Florance
Strictly Ballroom 1992 Australia –dir. Baz Luhrmann; Paul Mercurio and Tara Morice
Fearless 1993 USA – dir. Peter Weir; with Jeff Bridges and Rosie Perez
Babe 1995 USA – dir. Chris Noonan; with James Cromwell and Magda Szubanski (and the sequel Babe: Pig in the City 1998 – dir.. George Miller with Szubanski
Toy Story 1995 USA – dir. John Lasseter; with PIXAR animation
Fargo 1996 USA – dir. Joel Coen; with William H. Macy and Frances McDormand
The Fifth Element 1997 USA Luc Bresson ; Bruce Willis, Ian Holm, Milla Jovovitch
Cast Away 2000 USA – dir. Robert Zerneckis; with Tom Hanks

Microcosmos 1996 France – dir. Claude Nuridsany and Marie Perennou
Winged Migration 2001 France – dir. Jacques Perrin
The Story of the Weeping Camel, 2005 – dir. Byambasuren Davaa and Luigi Falorni (Mongolia, National Geographic)
The March of the Penguins, 2005 France – dir Luc Jacquet

Monty Python and the Flying Circus – BBC 1969-1974
Northern Exposure – CBC 1990-1995

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

The Clerihew

The Clerihew is a very specific kind of short humorous verse, somewhat like a limerick, typically with the following properties: it is biographical and usually whimsical, showing the subject from an unusual point of view; but it is hardly ever satirical, abusive or obscene; it has four lines of irregular length (for comic effect); the first line consists solely (or almost solely) of a well-known person's name. The rhyme scheme is usually aabb.
The form was invented by and is named after Edmund Clerihew Bentley who produced the following examples:

Sir James Dewar
Is better than you are.
None of you asses
Can liquefy gases!

Carl Gustav Jung
was very well hung,
a fact which annoyed
Sigmund Freud

Monday, January 1, 2007

Words To Live By

Grubelei - grubbing among subtleties
Katergefuhl - self-reproachful irritation
Schadenfreude - joy at others' misfortuntes
Zeitgeist - spirit of the age
Gemutlicht - cosy
Lebensluge - thre lie that makes life bearable
Doppelganger - double or look-alike of a person, evil twin