Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Grammar poetry

Kudos to James Crippen, who may have written it, may have just quoted it:


I dropped a preposition,
It rolled beneath my chair,
Said I, “Now come on up
From down in under there.”

Babbling Babies

Today is a very exciting day for my class because, for the first time in 5 weeks, the class is actually going to hear some Child Speech. This in a class named Children's Speech. We've been doing linguistics review and lots of theory and some hearing. Now, finally we get to babies actually saying something. One of the first things babies do is babble, and so I'm going to play several babbling videos in class.

However, not all babbling is the same, and so I've got to organize the parent-labeled babbling on YouTube into what linguists actually call babbling. Since I have to organize the links anyway, I thought I would stick them on the blog in case anyone is interested.

First up, newborn babies can't produce particularly linguistic sounds at all. Instead, they have sucking, spitting, crying, and squealing noises. These are often called vegetative sounds. Here's an example of those:

Little Samuel sounds a lot like a baby eagle.
Lots of ummm grunting?

Next up, we have baby Leo, who is moving from the vegetative sounds towards babbling. He's able to open and close his mouth in a sort of syllable like fashion, but the actual sounds that come out aren't exactly language sounds. Notice how he has little control of his tongue. He might have produced a baba sound if his tongue had stayed inside. You're getting there, little guy.

Almost there, Leo
Patrick, too, is almost to babbling, but not quite. He can't move, but look how alert and aware he is.

From here, we move to what is called canonical babbling. These are sounds like baba, dada, gigi, and the like. They are adult-like syllables with a full linguistic consonant and vowel. They almost always follow a consonant vowel (CV) pattern, but also VCVC.

The world's greatest hair baby
Here's little Kirsee. Notice how the mom freaks out when she comes out with mamamama. Mama is indeed a word for mothers in many places in the world that have no linguistic connection. The most common explanation for this is that babies babble the sounds "mama" very naturally all over the world. If you just open and close your mouth wide you end up with sounds like mama and baba. Parents seem to adopt these words as words for themselves.
And perfect canonical babbling

As the child gets older, they continue babbling, but the sounds become more varied with different consonants and vowels popping up. This is called variegated babbling.

These two little boys are moving into variegated babbling, though it's still kind of canonical. I crack up every time the one falls over at the end.

Natia's moving into full speech. Notice how she goes from full words into babbling and then back to words, particularly in the 1:00 and on section. Of course, the whole thing ends with the mother saying "ouch, you're hurting mommy." Why do kids always attack their parents while smiling?

And there you go. Speech production in Year One via YouTube. If any linguists would like to correct me on anything here, please do so. And thanks to the parents of the world who cannot help but put videos of their kids on the internet.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Mardi Gras - Hawaiian style!

OK, they're not really Hawaiian, but in Japan. But they have ukeleles. So it counts for me. They even to Don Ho's Tiny Bubbles on another video. Anyway, to get you in the Mardi Gras mood with an uke...

So happy!

For some reason this really cracks me up. So damn happy!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Ello Paca Kalbi BBQ ribs

We've been exploring BBQ pork ribs lately as they've been on sale (getting rid of the SuperBowl stock, I think). OK, we've cooked them twice. Anyway, this time around, I didn't have enough BBQ sauce for all of them, so I sliced the thing in half and marinated half of them in Bullseye BBQ sauce overnight, and the other half in Ello's magic kalbi marinade.

The kalbi idea was something of a risk, as a big rack of pork ribs is both a different meat and a different sort of cut than the real Korean kalbi thingies. Anyway, poured Ello's marinade in there, and then the next day wrapped them in foil and baked them in the oven at about 275 for three hours. Fell off the bone and worked like a charm. N and B actually rated them higher than the BBQ ones.

Go Ello!

More Makapu-u

Last Monday on President's Day, we made our annual pilgrimage to a whale watching spot. This time, it was makapu'u point, the far eastern tip of Oahu. Humpbacks particularly love the cloistered whale sanctuary next to Maui, but they do come over to the eastern side of Oahu as well. Or so people say. This is our 5th attempt to see a whale from the supposed whale watching places, but have never had luck.

Until this year!

Unfortunately, there are no pictures. It's hard to spot those buggers from a few hundred feet up. You're always seeing waves and wondering if it's a splash. But this time, both N and I saw spouts, we're pretty dang sure, and then I think I saw a couple backs. But then that was it. Of course a whale can stay underwater for an hour and more, so you might have to be patient for the next spout.

I've already posted about Makapu'u Point before and here's a couple pictures from that post.

However, at the top of most of these ridges/mountain tops, the army built lookouts during WWII, and so I took some pics of those this time. It's hard nowadays to think of anyone invading Hawaii, but of all the places most likely to be attacked by the Japanese army then, Hawaii makes the most sense. And N pointed out that Midway, with the Battle of Midway, is actually part of the northern Hawaiian islands. (I guess "invade" is a better term than "attack". I am aware of the Pearl Harbor thing.)

Anyway, here's what they look like with a chubby dad and a windblown son standing in front. You can see the concrete block remains of two of the outposts.

And one by itself.

Since they've been abandoned for 60 years, they've been graffitied.

And here's a couple pictures of the view. First up, Sea Life Park and Makapu'u Beach. Sea Life Park is where you go to watch the dolphin shows.

And the bigger island is Rabbit Island, so-called because it's supposed to be rabbit-shaped, vaguely, not because rabbits live on it. It's actually home to lots of seabirds. You can see that it's very dry on this side of the island by all the cacti.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Laissez les bon temps roulet maintenant!

Um, did I spell that right?

I got confused this last weekend about when Mardi Gras was, thinking it was two days ago (still Thursday here in the place where time stood still), and got all nostalgic. So what does a Paca do to celebrate anything, nostalgia-related or no?

Food, of course!!

It hasn't been really a New Orleans or Cajun fest as much as a southern Winnsboro, Louisiana style fest. Things that have graced the household this week include:

Fried catfish (corn meal and spice breading and pop it in the grease!)
Chicken and Dumplings, this time with frozen southern biscuits as the dumplings, not Korean duk (rice cakes)
Cheese grits souffle (good, but a lot more work than cheese grits and only a bit better. Still it looks cool presentation-wise, so it could be an entertaining dish).
Green beans and corn

And I think I'm forgetting something, but you get the idea. I had to go looking for the catfish, but found some at Costco, and now, since Costco things are always huge, I've got another couple meals stashed in the freezer. My birth town is the home of the Franklin Parish Catfish Festival, but I've never been. They launched it in 1988 (apparently) in April, but that was my... 10th grade year at boarding school in New Jersey. And so I've never been in the Boro in April in the 20 years since.

Speaking of which, on Tuesday, I gave another department lecture, this time on the Korean apology stuff. At the beginning, the prof wanted to introduce me and asked where I was from. Couldn't answer that. Anyone else have this problem?

Louisiana is a decent answer, but I haven't lived there full time in at least 20 years. I could say Tennessee, but again that was for only 8 years, and I don't know for sure I'd move back there, though I like the place. I could say Hawaii, but this might be temporary as well. For better or for worse, I'm largely in a career path where the job determines where I live, not the other way around. Or to put it in another way, the chance of moving to a place I liked and then finding a linguistics job are slim to none.

Anybody else from nowhere/everywhere?

I now answer the question based upon the context of the question. If they want to understand my accent, I would say Louisiana. If they want to know where I live, it's Hawaii. But if it's just, where are you from? Shoulder shrug. I guess I'm pretty firmly American, however. No crazy McKoala-type international wanderings. Yet.... There are some decent jobs in Korea.... And an announcement for a couple cool postdocs in Leipzig.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The anti-valentine

This month's vocal challenge from robin s (ok, from 'oala via robin s) was to record some romantic text in as unromantic away as possible. So I have now attempted to do that. If you do find this romantic, I have a couple friends I can hook you up with, though you may wish to meet them wearing battle armor.

The text is a poem from Christopher Brennan, "Because she would ask me why I love her." I think it's public domain, so here you go:

If questioning would make us wise
No eyes would ever gaze in eyes;
If all our tale were told in speech
No mouths would wander each to each.

Were spirits free from mortal mesh
And love not bound in hearts of flesh
No aching breasts would yearn to meet
And find their ecstasy complete.

For who is there that lives and knows
The secret powers by which he grows?
Were knowledge all, what were our need
To thrill and faint and sweetly bleed?

Then seek not, sweet, the "If" and "Why"
I love you now until I die.
For I must love because I live
And life in me is what you give.

Here's a link to it with pretty pink hearts all around:

And here's a link to me doing it, the whole point of this post. Um, I recorded it using the karaoke site that I've been using, because that was by far easier than anything else. If people have a hard time hearing it, let me know and I will put it up in some other fashion. Without further ado, here's the embedded version.

And here's a link to it on their site

It would have been best to put in sound effects and maniacal laughter, but 1) I'm in my office at work and it's not that soundproof, and 2) I'm behind on editing a paper.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Pork Tenderloin and Strawberry Shortbiscuits

Here are a couple more recipes, since I know you folk can't wait for more recipes. OK, they aren't really recipes at all, because they aren't of sufficient quality to share, so maybe they are just ideas.

Pork Tenderloin Smorgasbord

Anyway, a week ago, there was a sale on pork tenderloins, so pork tenderloins graced the household. (Apologies to all the vegetarians for the top part of this post; you may like the second part, unless you are vegan.) What's on sale at Safeway and Foodland pretty much determine the menu in the Paca household. The only exceptions are special occasions... and milk. Always buy milk.

Tenderloins as you may recall typically come two to a package in the U.S., so last Monday I took the two pieces and then sliced them each in half length-wise to yield 4 thinner tenderloins. Each then got a special marinade treatment. One went in a bag with a bunch of Bullseye BBQ sauce, which is a Texas style sauce. Another went in a bag with a bunch of Frank's Red Hot Buffalo sauce. A third went into my own lime ginger concoction (some white wine, lime juice, ginger, honey, garlic, salt, pepper, I think). And one remained plain.

On Wednesday, I cooked them up. Two were broiled in the oven and two were cooked in a skillet.

And here we have the results

We each had our favorite. I think the BBQ one came out as the best example of what it was meant to be, if that makes sense, so if you like BBQ, then I recommend that one. N's not a huge BBQ fan and said the ginger lime was best. B liked the plain one (with some seasonings). The Buffalo one was fun, but, well, perhaps Buffalo wings became famous and not Buffalo pork for a reason.

Strawberry Shortbiscuits

I'm still trying to use up all those berries I mentioned last week, so today I pulled out a recipe for "strawberry shortcake" from a cookbook I recently picked up with a name like New Orleans Home Cooking. Louisiana people, have you ever had strawberry shortcake in Louisiana? Because I think of it as having little spongecake type things, while this recipe basically had you create biscuits. Is that the standard in South Louisiana?

The biscuits didn't quite work for me, and that's pretty much the entire recipe other than making whipped cream and cutting up strawberries, but the whole thing looks very nice.

The finished product:

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Musical Charts

Someone took stock charts and other lovely graphs from the last few years (like the unemployment rate) and converted them into music using software called SongSmith. Tis amusing.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Ahi Poke Tower! and Wahoo Potato Cakes

Ello has been asking me, ok she asked me once, to post a Hawaiian recipe. I haven't done all that much that's Hawaiian. I got my butter mochi going and I've done some spam musubi, but that's about it that's classic Hawaiian, but now I've done a...

Ahi Poke Tower!!

OK, not exactly a tower. It's my first try and ahem, well, let's go back to the beginning.

Ahi is tuna. Poke means chopped up chunks and poke is the most popular way I'd say to eat fish in Hawaii. You can get ahi poke in tons of different flavors, (shoyu = soy, oyster sauce, limu, spicy, etc.) salmon poke, tako=octopus poke, shrimp poke, crab poke, and even tofu poke. It's also completely raw. You get a sashimi grade block of ahi and cube it up. Actually, you can just buy it at any grocery store already poke-ed and flavored, which is what we do.

Took me a while to warm up to poke even though I have a pretty broad palate. It is chunks of raw fish after all. No rice or anything like sushi. Just fish, and we don't do that kinda thing in northern Louisiana much, y' hear?. But I slowly learned to add some to a salad. You can also get pan-seared ahi in lots of restaurants and I'd recommend that for the person who might be trying to work themselves up to it, but not sure they really want to eat straight poke. It's flash fried or whatever so that the inside is still raw and the outsides are cooked.

Anyway, a few weeks ago, we went out for Saturday lunch to Uncle's Fish Market here in Honolulu. Good place, but too expensive. However, they have a very yummy poke tower that was one of the first times I really enjoyed poke instead of just getting by with it. So I wanted to recreate my own tower here.

Here are the ingredients:

This is a slightly weird version, but not too crazy. It's very Hawaiian because of the mix of cultures in the dish. We've got the Hawaiian poke, an avocado and salsa, giving a sort of Southwestern / Californian feel, some Furikake seasoning (seaweed) from Japan, and some Korean sesame seeds. I've also got a leaf of shredded lettuce in there. But don't put lettuce in yours because you just can't make a tower with a lettuce layer. It will fall apart. I know.

Then you just layer everything. According to recipes I found, you're supposed to have this ring thing that you stuff. I had no such thing, so I found a bowl that wasn't too wide and made do. Anyway, take your bowl and stuff 1/3 lb. of ahi poke in there. Next a layer of salsa. Then a layer of sliced and diced avocado. I then sprinkled some furikake and sesame seeds on the top/bottom. After each layer press down pretty hard to try to make a compact unit. I then covered the top with a couple pieces of construction paper and flipped it. You can serve it on chips (these are Tostito's tortilla chips) or wonton strips (just take some wonton wrapper, slice them up, and throw them in hot oil for 5 seconds). Uncle's fish market finished off with a layer of rice at the bottom of the tower, but both N and I preferred the chips, and so I left the rice out.

Here it is flipped but not removed with a nice circle of chips

And then you slowly lift up the bowl to reveal....

that every layer below the lettuce fell out in a nice tower, the lettuce goes everywhere, and the poke layer is stuck to the top/bottom of the bowl. And you scoop it out and have a nice poke salad!

Moral of the story. Don't put in lettuce. You can actually think of this as a very Hawaiian-style nachos. Avocado, salsa, and a meat on top of chips. The mean just happens to be raw tuna and you've got some seaweed flakes hiding in there.

If you follow the Uncle's link above, you can see their tower. Here's a link to a full recipe at a blog and here's a link to Sam Choy (the famous Hawaiian chef)'s recipe (no pic).

In news that's more palatable to a mainland palate, N got busy at the same time with some Wahoo potato patty things. She went to American Samoa for work a few months ago. The main industry there is canning the tuna from the Pacific fleet. Apparently, the tuna nets also catch some smaller fish called the Wahoo, which all her hosts in Samoa insist is far superior to canned tuna. And so they sent her back with tons of cans of Wahoo. Anyway, she adapted some salmon cake recipe. These things involved grating a few potatoes, some parsley, some wahoo, some bread crumbs, and that's all I know. Here they are pre-cooked

And cooked

Shhh... Don't tell her, but these might be the best of the things we've been cooking. So N and I were eating poke towers and wahoo cakes. What about B? Did he try? He had fish, too, actually.

Gordon's fish sticks. The Hawaiian delicacy found in your freezer aisle near the waffles.

Blackberry Tartlets

N and I have been doing a fair amount of cooking in the last 3 days. In this instance, I went to the store on Sunday (as a note, never ever go to the store 2 hours before the Super Bowl kicks off. The place was insane and half of the grocery carts had nothing but soda, chips, and bbq ribs in them.) and found a crazy berry bonanza going on: Strawberries are 'buy one, get one free'. Blackberries that are usually $6 were a simple buck fitty. A buck fitty I tellz ya.

Anyway, so we're now stuffed to the rafters with berries. But how to use them all before they go bad?!

So I attempted to make little blackberry tart things today. We have these little ramekins here

And so I found a blackberry tart recipe online, which was this one. I basically used the linked recipe except I only had 2 6 oz. things of blackberries, which I guessed was about a pint, and so I cut the whole recipe in third. And then instead of making a homemade almond crust I, ahem, sliced up a Safeway premade pie crust from the package. Probably cut 20-30 minutes out of the recipe that way.

Anyway, you get out your ramekins and ingredients

Those really are blackberries in the bowl. See

OK, trust me on that.

Next step is you wander around the house wondering where the pie crusts are! What the hell?! They were just here. I was holding them in my hand! This is stupid. Where could they have gone in the last 3 minutes? Did I put them back in the freezer for some unknown reason? Oh, here they are. On B's table of toys by the TV. I apparently had stopped in the middle to turn on Dinotopia and the Ruby Sun Stone.

Once you find your crust, you try to cut out little circles that are the size of the ramekins and stick them in. I was able to get one complete piece and one 3/4 piece. I then added bits here and there to finish it off and make the lattice top. I did have to cut a couple strips from the second pie crust to finish.

Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees. Put the bottom crust in the ramekin. Then mix all your ingredients up in a bowl

2 6 oz. packages of blackberries
1/2 c. sugar
3 TBs of butter cut into cubes
1 tsp lemon zest
1 TB lemon juice
little less than 1/4 c. flour

Stir it up gentle. Then heat the mixture in a skillet until it melts and a syrup forms. This was like 2 minutes tops. Next pour it into your crusts and cover with the lattice. I had prepped 3 ramekins and had the fourth ready, but it just made two in the end. Here they are pre-cooked.

Then bake it for about 30 minutes. Take out and let cool for an hour or so. They weren't bad! N and I split one little tartlet or mini pie, whatever you want to call it.