Posted by Dennis » 2 Comments »
Sarah and I love Psych, a comedic take on Sherlock Holmes, which appears on the USA network.
Gus and Shawn from USA's Psych.
Shawn Spencer, a slacker with daddy issues, pretends to be psychic so that he can do the detective work his father trained him to do from boyhood without having to fulfill his father’s dream of actually becoming a cop (and having a boss and responsibility, and all the rest).
His best friend Gus (Burton Guster) is his Watson and provides the transportation (his little car, affectionately called the Blueberry), the common sense, the awareness of the outside world, the credit card, etc., (as well as ‘the super-sniffer’: his superior sense of smell, which helps the duo from time to time).
Detective Lassiter is Lestrade, and you might stretch things to say that Shawn’s father (played by Corbin Bernsen) is a sort of Mycroft Holmes, whom Sherlock consults when he’s stuck, but that’s gone far enough. If you think the psychic detective bit sounds like CBS’s the Mentalist (also worth watching), Psych came first and never tires of making fun of the similarity.
I bring this up not only because we’re fans of the show but because the latest episode, set in a town eerily like Twin Peaks (and populated by its cast), features Latin used by a teenage girl as a kind of code to keep her last diary entries private. (You can watch the episode online.)
Here’s a bad photo of the diary page in question:
And here’s a transcription:
EGO sentio sit absens haeres non erit.
Coepi seeing R quod sum valde gavisus. Must non dico J ut is mos non exsisto gavisus. Volo EGO could dico quispiam.
R est sic populus EGO cannot puto sit interested in mihi, totus meus amicitia es jelus.
Hodie EGO sermo ut R quod is said nos postulo impetro
It’s not Latin, but a kind of cypher that can be frustrating for a Latinist. Actually, it’s not really a cypher either, which I’ll explain in a minute. [Read more →]
Posted by Dennis » 3 Comments »
We’re having lunch at the Ram at Univerity Village in Seattle, and came across a bit of bad coaster Latin:
MAGNUS, MELIORIS, MUSTUS
This is supposed to say ‘Bigger, Better, Fresher’, but says ‘Big, of a better, unfermented wine.’
Without the commas that would say ‘a better person’s unfermented wine.’
I should prefer something like this:
MAIOR, MELIOR, VIRIDIOR
(The pictures may or may not upload.)
But what is ‘bigger, better, fresher’? Why is it masculine?
If it’s a thing or a concept, then let’s use the neuter:
MAIUS, MELIUS, VIRIDIUS
Or perhaps neuter plural:
MAIORA, MELIORA, VIRIDIORA
Any suggestions for a better word for ‘fresher’? I’m at a loss as I blog from my phone.
Posted by Sarah » 5 Comments »
Jami Rodriguez jewelry demonstrates bad numismatics (click to see larger)
It seems as though jewelry designers like using ancient coinage as inspiration for their pieces, but aren’t as concerned about the accuracy of the description on the websites that sell them. In Bad Jewelry Latin (well, History), I discussed a ring that was described as depicting Caesar, but was clearly actually a coin depicting Alexander the Great. In this instance, the sample sale website Billion Dollar Babes calls this item “Goddess Bangles” and describes them as “14k Gold Filled Bangles with Gold Goddess Coin.”
Unfortunately, though the coin is purported to depict a “goddess,” it is immediately recognizable to those who study numismatics as the obverse of the coinage of Rhodes, which was unique among the major producers of coinage for using a 3/4 face instead of the more common full profile for much of their coinage. This face is of course no “goddess,” but the god Helios, a god so important to Rhodes that they commissioned a monumental statue of him, the Colossus of Rhodes, to overlook the city. Here is a nice image of the coin that is being recreated on the bracelet. Note the reverse image, the distinctive Rhodian rose.
Those familiar with ancient iconography can probably tell that the image depicts a youthful god, even without knowing the Rhodian coin. The CAMPVS’s own Dennis, who doesn’t have the same training in numismatics as I, guessed that the coin might depict Apollo, but hadn’t even considered a goddess. If only the people that write these descriptions of coins had some sort of classical training, or consulted someone who does, when their pieces draw on ancient iconographical traditions, then perhaps this sort of error wouldn’t keep occuring.