Monthly Archives: December 2011

‘Twas brillig in Arabia

Lewis Caroll’s poem “Jaberwocky” from Through the Looking-Glass has been translated into Arabic.

The major inspiration for this translation, in addition to Jabberwocky itself, is Al-Asmai’s equally nonsense, much more ancient poem “Safiru Sawtu Al-Bulbuli” (The Bulbul’s Song). Al-Asmai was an important 9th century Arabic scholar and poet, known for his books on subjects as wide-ranging as zoology, natural science, and anecdotes.

The poem, and the rest of the story behind it, is here. If you want to hear what a nonsense poem in Arabic sounds like, someone has thoughtfully uploaded a recording of the Bulbul song to YouTube, along with the Arabic so you can follow along.



Happy Solstice


Riyadh flood

Riyadh – November 29, 2011

The soil of Riyadh will absorb water up to a point, then the flooding begins.

The ring road exit is high and dry. On one side of it, the high side, small rivers drain downward from the side streets, but when the water hits the newer construction of the exit road, it can go no further. Cars hydroplane through the standing waters, while floodwater is pumped into tankers and dumped into drains on the other side.

Meanwhile, on the other side, the low side, water boils up out of the drains.