Tags: reference library

English Is

50 Years of Stupid Grammar Advice

According to Geoffrey Pullum, head of linguistics and English language at the University of Edinburgh, The Elements of Style, the classic Strunk and White grammar guide, is filled with errors and he is happy to list them for you.


Reality just warped a little for me. If you can't trust Elements of Style what can you trust? 
Reference Library

Say it in Latin

Latin Quotes and Phrases

Some are classic quotes, some are silly, and a lot of them would make great sig lines.

Cave canem, te necet lingendo - Beware of the dog, he may lick you to death
Estne tibi forte magna feles fulva et planissima? - Do you by chance happen to own a large, yellowish, very flat cat?
Estne volumen in toga, an solum tibi libet me videre? - Is that a scroll in your toga, or are you just happy to see me?

Reference Library

Scribe Figaro Explains It All

I've been trying to figure out which sect of Buddhism Miroku belongs to for nearly as long as I've been reading the series so that would be something like four years. My best guess was some variety of Jodo (Pure Land) but we don't get a lot of details in canon and repeated attempts to find clues based on the design of his clothing via Google were just confusing.

I should have known that scribefigaro, author of THE guide to what the clothes in IY are would have figured out the answer.


If you go to the main page of her recently updated Hagakure Productions site you will find the clothing guide, the article on Miroku's faith, and the two articles that he recently posted to her Live Journal that I've previously recommended as well as several other really informative and helpful articles. You'll also find links to his excellent fan videos and fanfiction.


Edited 3/31/08 to fix gender.

Reference Library

Ice Rocket Trend Tool

This is a fun little tool that will do a search on any key word you want and show you a graph of how often it's been mentioned in blogs for up to the last 90 days. For instance:


Doctor Who:

That silly Photobucket meme that it seemed like everyone is doing right now but apparently aren't:

The drawback is that there is no way to freeze the data so no matter when you click on this the results you see will be for the last 90 days, not the last 90 from when I'm posting. You would have to do a screen print if you wanted to preserve the data at a particular point.

Reference Library

Sengoku Jidai & Japanese Castles

scribefigaro has written two extremely excellent articles on things Japanese.

Japanese Castles gives us an overview of the history and architecture before giving us her first person impressions from her tours of some of the remaining castles. From explaining what a honmaru is to pointers about rest rooms and gift shops at the modern sites this is filled with useful information.

Sengoku Jidai Primer gives a great overview of the period for the non-historian. Special emphasis is given to people and events with an impact on the Inuyasha storyline.

These are indispensable to anyone writing anything set in feudal Japan.
Reference Library

Project Gutenberg


If you need to read a book for fun or research that is old enough to be in the common domain then your first stop should be Project Gutenberg, not the library or bookstore. Here you will find electronic additions of 20,000 books available for free download and links to other sites with a total of approximately 3,000,000 books available and you never have to worry if it's been checked out or is out of print.

Save a tree, read an e-book!

Plus you can search an e-book much more easily than you can a paper one. You can read the books on your computer or laptop using Word or Open Office or you can transfer most of their titles easily to your PDA (if it supports text files) or specialized e-book reader (such as the Kindle). I regularly download titles to my Palm Zaire.

Books are available in over 40 languages and there are even some audio books for your IPod. You can search by author, subject, or title.

To give you a sense of the variety here are the top 25 downloads for yesterday:

  1. The Outline of Science, Vol. 1 (of 4) by J. Arthur Thomson (1417)
  2. Manual of Surgery Volume First: General Surgery. Sixth Edition. by Miles and Thomson (918)
  3. Manners, Custom and Dress During the Middle Ages and During the Renaissance Period by Paul Lacroix (837)
  4. The Art of War by Sun Tzu (729)
  5. Searchlights on Health by B. G. Jefferis and J. L. Nichols (565)
  6. History of the United States by Charles A. Beard and Mary Ritter Beard (560)
  7. Our Day by William Ambrose Spicer (523)
  8. Illustrated History of Furniture by Frederick Litchfield (478)
  9. Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great - Volume 01 by Elbert Hubbard (452)
  10. The People's Common Sense Medical Adviser in Plain English by Ray Vaughn Pierce (423)
  11. Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great - Volume 03 by Elbert Hubbard (367)
  12. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (365)
  13. A Text-Book of the History of Painting by John Charles Van Dyke (364)
  14. Myths and Legends of Ancient Greece and Rome by E.M. Berens (355)
  15. The Practice and Science of Drawing by Harold Speed (323)
  16. The Tribes and Castes of the Central Provinces of India—Volume I (of IV) by Robert Vane Russell (312)
  17. Across Unknown South America by A. Henry Savage Landor (303)
  18. The Mafulu by Robert Wood Williamson (264)
  19. Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 1, Complete by Various (263)
  20. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (256)
  21. Amusements in Mathematics by Henry Ernest Dudeney (256)
  22. The Marvelous Land Of Oz by L. Frank Baum (252)
  23. General Science by Bertha M. Clark (240)
  24. Custom and Myth by Andrew Lang (237)
  25. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (236)

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Reference Library

Sake Brewing in Shrines and Temples

Sake World Newsletter Issue #75
Sake Brewing in Shrines and Temples


There is a reason Mushin has a constant supply, he probably makes it himself.

In addition to the history of Sake brewing there are some interesting tidbits about the interaction between Buddhist monks and Shinto priests. At one point they happily shared temples as well as the results of their brewing. 

OMG Magic

Japanese Lifestyle


I can almost guarantee that if you haven't read the rest of this post your first reaction upon clicking that link will be to think I've lost my mind. The big ads for hot Japanese girls and hotels give it a particularly tabloid trashy look. What could be of interest here?

Quite a lot actually once your eyes adjust and you can focus on the text. Here you will find links to dozens of articles on just about everything Japanese, many of which are illustrated. Some are better than others, and most are drawn from other sources, but there is a lot of good information here.

Do you want to know how the Japanese celebrate Christmas? What a wedding kimono looks like? What is the climate like? Need a map of the country or of a particular city?

Here you go.

Mini Me

Foxtrot's Research on Kitsune Lore


Kit LaHaise has written a nice introduction to kitsune mythology. He draws heavily from the book, Kitsune: Japan's Fox of Mystery, Romance, and Humour  by Kiyoshi Nozaki tsune.

He covers  the various types of kitsune, famous kitsune from legends, kitsune magic, and stories of possession and spiritual vampirism. An effort is made to separate the real folk beliefs from modern interpretations.
Mini Me

Oops:! Confrontation II: Trials and Tribulations

Confrontation II: Trials and Tribulations by Simonkal of Inuy http://www.mediaminer.org/fanfic/view_st.php/130285

The action takes place in Japan in the mid-sixteenth century. In chapter 12 she describes the wall around a fortress made of "thick robust cinderblocks" A pretty neat trick since they won't be invented for a few hundred years. Closest I could narrow it down was some time between the late 19th and early 20th century.

Then in chapter 14 she has a character wear "a halberd on one hip, a sword at the other". Okay, so it's a bear youkai who is about eight feet tall, but even so, wearing a weapon that is at least six feet long on your hip has to be awkward. I suspect that the word does not mean what she thinks it does.

A halberd is a kind of European polearm with an axe and a spike at the end. The term has been used by Viz in it's translations of Inuyasha to refer to Banryuu, Bankotsu's polearm, which is a fantasy variant on the zanbatou, or horse killing blade. While the article at Wikipedia says that these are not known to be used except as temple displays I have seen an article that has a reference to these huge blades as being used experimentally at one point. I have lost the link and can't locate it at this time though.