Occasional musings, Geistesblitze, photos, drawings etc. by a "resident alien", who has landed on American soil from a far-away planet called "Germany".

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Three Literary Parodies and an Homage

I've finally found the time to collect, in one place, the literary "finger exercises" occasioned by the MOOC (massive open online course) "Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World" I took in the summer of 2012. The course was taught by Prof. Rabkin of the University of Michigan. COURSERA provided the supporting software and infrastructure.

Three Parodies and an Homage

People who do not have first-hand experience with a COURSERA-based course may not get the insider jokes in the Alice piece. But the rest does not rely on such knowledge—you just have to know the literary piece being skewered/paid homage to.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Word of the Month: Pleitegeier

Word of the Month: Index

Pleite means "bankrupt" as an adjective and "bankruptcy" as a noun. A Geier is a vulture. In combination, they may denote a person who has gone bankrupt or the precarious financial situation an enterprise finds itself in, like in the sentence, "Der Pleitegeier sitzt auf dem Dach." (The Pleitegeier is sitting on the roof.)

The term derives from Yiddish plejte gejer—"bankrupt goer," i.e., someone who went bankrupt. Folk etymology turned the gejer into a Geier. [Sick 2012]

[Source: Wild Things in the German Language: Kindle/paperback version | iBooks version]