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November 20, 2005

'De Nyew Testament' — God speaks in Gullah

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Gullah is the Creole language spoken by slaves and their descendants for generations along the the sea islands of the Southeast coast.

Since 1979 a team of Gullah speakers has worked with Pat and Claude Sharpe, translation consultants with Wycliffe Bible Translators.

The New Testament in Gullah (above) is now finished.

Published by the American Bible Society, it went on sale this month.

The three photos below were taken at a November 5 celebration of the translation's completion.

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Here is a sample from John's Gospel 1.1 from De Nyew Testament, compared with the same verse from the King James Version:

    Fo God mek de wol, de Wod been dey. De Wod been dey wid God, and de Wod been God.

    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Here's Bruce Smith's story for the Associated Press on the undertaking.

    After 26 Years of Work, Gullah Bible is Finally Finished

    More than a quarter century after the laborious work began, the New Testament has finally been translated into Gullah, the creole language spoken by slaves and their descendants for generations along the sea islands of the Southeast coast.

    Gullah is an oral language, so the translation was painstaking, beginning in 1979 with a team of Gullah speakers who worked with Pat and Claude Sharpe, translation consultants with Wycliffe Bible Translators.

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    Many efforts have been made over the years to preserve Gullah, which mixed West African languages with English, and experts believe the translated Bible will be a major contribution toward that goal.

    "I think this makes the language universal," said Ervena Faulkner, co-manager of history and culture at the Penn Center, on South Carolina's St. Helena Island.

    The center is dedicated to preserving the threatened sea island culture.

    "People have done Gullah cookbooks, they have done African-American sayings, they have done proverbs," Faulkner said.

    "But for the Bible to go out with the Gullah sends a message. It means we can speak the Word."

    The culture - called Gullah in the Carolinas and Geechee in Florida and Georgia - remained intact with descendants of slaves because of the isolation of the region's sea islands.

    Now, about 250,000 Gullahs live in the four-state coastal area and about 10,000 of them speak Gullah as their main language.

    "De Nyew Testament," published by the American Bible Society, went on sale this month.

    As an example, the verse John 1:1, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God," was translated to read, "Fo God mek de wol, de Wod been dey. De Wod been dey wid God, an de Wod been God. - De Good Nyews Bout Jedus Christ Wa John Write 1:1."

    The Bible is written with the English translation in the margins.

    "That's the beauty of the way it's written," said Emory Campbell, who retired three years ago after 22 years as executive director at the Penn Center.

    "The non-Gullah speakers can easily translate what the written Gullah is about. In a way, we are going to be training other people how to speak Gullah."

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    For generations, the language was something native speakers tried to abandon, because they feared it would hurt their chances of getting ahead in the wider world.

    "It was a put-down," Campbell recalled.

    "You were looked on as being ignorant and at a low intelligence level if that's the language you spoke. We tried at all costs to avoid speaking it."

    For that reason, Campbell at first would not help with the translation, until he spoke with a professor from the University of California who told him Gullah is indeed a language.

    "I thought then it was a legitimate project," he said.

    Creole languages develop when speakers of two languages who can't understand each other remain in long contact, as the African slaves did with their masters.

    David Frank, a translation consultant who joined the project after Pat Sharpe died in 2002, said Gullah was frequently dismissed as "broken English," not a language in its own right.

    "But that is the standard perception of creole languages that doesn't reflect the understanding of those languages and what they are," said Frank, a creole expert.

    There are structural differences between Gullah and English which justify Gullah being recognized as a separate language, Frank said.

    With the New Testament finished, talk has started of translating the Old Testament into Gullah - a task that could also take many more years.

    "It would not be beyond us," Campbell said.

    "We would be glad to make sure that the Word is in our language throughout," he said.

    "I hope that more younger people will join the team and move forward."

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Here's a link to a story about the festivities on November 5 marking the translation's completion.

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You can learn more about Gullah culture here.

November 20, 2005 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Leather Memory Stick

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Sounds like something out of Eton, what?

But no, it's a gussied–up flash memory stick with a USB (1.1 and 2.0) connector.

The leather strap ensures you won't misplace or lose the cap.

Designed to go on your key chain.

256 MB is $45 and 512 MB $80 here.

November 20, 2005 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Grindz — World's First Burr Grinder Coffee Mill Cleaner

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I stumbled on this product the other day in a futile search for a device that might be superior to the old disposable wooden chopstick I use every day to clean out the residue of the morning's ground coffee from my trusty Braun coffee grinder (below).

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The reason I happened to be looking is that the end of the chopstick finally broke off and now I'm down to my last one.

I've found that a disposable chopstick — the cylindrical–ended ones are best but the square ones will also work (though not as well) and don't have nearly as pleasant a "hand–feel" — is perfect for going at the grinder from two angles:

1) The dispensing chute on the side, where you can first clean out the external plastic–coated opening and its rubber housing, then repeatedly poke the chopstick really hard inside against the portion of the burr wheel that's open to the outside, causing it to rotate around just a bit, each time knocking loose some old coffee that then comes out when you knock the grinder with the heel of your hand, and

2) The top, where the beans sit and take a vibration–filled ride as they make their way down into the burr grinder proper; the chopstick gets into the outer cylinder and also fits nicely into the little center depression, letting you shake out even more old bean bits.

But the problem of the inner workings of the grinder — the burrs proper (top) — remains.

I tried opening the inner machinery of the grinder but it appears you need special tools and besides, I'm sure not gonna do that on a daily basis.

There are those who say what I do is already way over the top — but they've never tasted the exquisite coffee I brew.

Also, from time to time I take a can of compressed air,

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the very same stuff I use every now and then to blow the bits and fluff and Dorito fragments out of the interstices of my computer keyboard, and give the grinder a few blasts from both directions.

But the grinder burr surface itself... what to do.

Reading the information on the FAQ page of the Grindz website I learned that many people use uncooked rice as a cleaning agent for their grinders, in an attempt to remove "tainted, stale coffee oils and odors."

The site states, "... rice carries the risk of locking up the motor of a grinder as it passes through and is turned into a fine powder. Using rice to clean your grinder also leaves a starchy residue on the inner mechanics of a grinder that is difficult to remove."

Grindz is a "proprietary formula of grains, cereals and pharmaceutical–grade binders in a coffee bean–shaped tablet."

You pour some into your grinder's bean compartment, set the machine to medium and grind the stuff up.

Then you run a load of coffee beans through to purge any Grindz residue and you're good to go (top).

The company recommends using it every 2–3 weeks but that's for large commercial grinders; people like me with home mills can probably clean the burrs every 2–3 months and still keep things fairly pristine.

Tell you what: I'm so excited about this stuff I'm gonna get a new grinder so that I don't have to wonder just how much gunk that nothing will ever remove is embedded in the one I'm presently using.

Nice price ($45.50) on the Braun here.

If you prefer the convenience of amazon it's $49.99.

The Grindz website (scroll down about halfway) states, "[It] is not going to magically remove years of coffee residue, but it will keep a clean grinder in top shape without disassembling the mill and scrubbing the burrs every time. If you have neglected your mill, forgive yourself and start by removing the burrs and cleaning it out with a brush."

As I noted above: no can do.

Grindz comes in a 16.9 oz. (480 g) container and costs $26.50 here.

The company recommends using one capful (about 40 g) per cleaning, which equates to 12 uses.

Used once every 2–3 months a container will last me 2–3 years.

Of course, the company notes that each jar is marked with a "best used by" date that suggests it be discarded after one year.

Since it's composed of grains and cereals and whatnot I suppose they have a point.

Re: my quest for a better daily poker for my machine: I think I'll take the easy way out and order Chinese takeout tonight and ask for a few extra sets of chopsticks.

Since one chopstick lasts me about two months before finally wearing away and breaking off, four sets should give me over a year's worth of happy crevice–cleaning.

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Maybe that'll be my cue to order a fresh container of Grindz.

November 20, 2005 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Magnetic Playing Cards

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Excellent invention.

Now, no matter how windy it is on the sand or wherever you like to play cards you can stay put if you've got this nifty board and deck of cards.

From the website:

    Our Magnetic Card Game is perfect to play with outdoors, even on the windiest of days.

    These cards stick to the game board but not to each other and they're guaranteed to not blow away!

    They shuffle just like ordinary cards.

    The cards have metal foil in between their plastic–coated faces and backs while the game board has a magnet underneath the surface.

    Whether you're outside lounging by the pool or on a car trip (the game continues, even on bumpy roads!) these cards are sure to keep you entertained.

    Comes with a case for the cards.

Dimensions of board: 20" x 20" x 0.25".

$39.95 here.

November 20, 2005 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

bookofjoe Football Clinic: How to get away with holding

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The penny dropped at 5:17 p.m. ET yesterday while I was watching the Penn State–Michigan State game.

Mike Gottfried, the ESPN analyst who talks rather slowly but whom I've developed a real liking for, what with his rather monotone, droll delivery of some awfully funny remarks, noted that a tight end who'd just been penalized for holding made it obvious because he'd extended his arms and hands away from his body and the official will usually see that.

It occurred to me that it would be much harder for the official to see that if the tight end wore gloves and arm coverings (under his uniform) that matched the color of the opponents' jerseys.

Much harder to see green on green than white on green.

Obviously, if a whole team did it the opposing coaches would soon figure it out and then everyone would start doing it and the advantage would be lost.

So if there's one joehead out there who plays football as a day job — this post's for you.

November 20, 2005 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Garden Glove Planter

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Made of waterproof ceramic so it won't get soggy no matter how wet it is inside or out.

6.5"H x 4.5"W x 6"L.

$35 here.

November 20, 2005 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

'The Summer He Didn't Die' — by Jim Harrison

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What a unique and interesting writer is Jim Harrison.

I've been a fan of his for years, mostly his magazine articles.

Only years after I saw the wonderful movie "Legends of the Fall" did I learn that Harrison had written the novella upon which the film was based.

"The Summer He Didn't Die" is likewise a novella, the first of three in a volume of the same name (above).

I very much enjoyed the second, "Republican Wives"; tonight I'm going to read the third, "Tracking."

But back to "The Summer He Didn't Die."

It takes place in Northern Michigan, an area Harrison knows well, and in a feat that can only be termed magic lets you somehow become a part–Indian man named Brown Dog during one tumultuous season of his life.

Here are the first two paragraphs:

    What is life that I must get teeth pulled? Brown Dog thought, sitting on a white pine stump beside the muddy creek with a swollen jaw for company. It was late April and trout season would open in two days. Brown Dog was a violator and had already caught two fine messes of brook trout, not in contempt for regulators but because he was hungry for brook trout and so were his Uncle Delmore and his stepchildren, Red and Berry. Despite this Brown Dog put the highest value on the opening of trout season which meant the end of winter, though at his feet near the stump there was still a large patch of snow decorated haphazardly by a sprinkling of deer turds.

    Here I sit in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, one hundred eighty pounds of living meat with three separate teeth aching and sending their messages of pulse, throb, and twinge to each other, their secret language of pain, he thought. Brown Dog was not what you call a deep thinker but within the structure of aching teeth mortal thoughts tended to arise in the seconds–long spaces between the dullish and the electric, the surge and slight withdrawal. Sitting there on the stump he blurred his eyes so that in his vision the creek became an immense and writhing brown snake emerging from the deep green of a cedar swamp. Until the autumn before the creek had run clear even after big rains but the bumwads from the County Road Department had done a sloppy job on an upstream road culvert and now the water was the color of an average mud puddle.

Here's a link to a Salon interview with Harrison.

Here's a link to a site featuring a bibliography of Harrison, including reviews, interviews and other materials, "intended as a resource for both general and academic audiences."

Here's a link to a great interview Harrison did last year with Robert Birnbaum after a reading in New Hampshire.

November 20, 2005 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Solar Atomic Clock

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Solar power via built–in photovoltaic panels activated by sunlight, a lamp or wherever light's happening.

Clock with an internal antenna that picks up radio signals from the U.S. atomic clock.

Self–adjusts twice a year for daylight savings time.

Nice big (3"–high) numerals you can actually see.

Map shows your time zone.

12 or 24 hour display.

For walls, tabletops or desktops; built–in hanger and easel stand.

10" diameter.

$59.99 here.

November 20, 2005 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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