May 24, 2007

Snakes on a plane

Amazing. Simply amazing:

Customs officers at Cairo's airport on Thursday detained a man bound for Saudi Arabia who was trying to smuggle 700 live snakes on a plane, airport authorities said.

The officers were stunned when a passenger, identified as Yahia Rahim Tulba, after being asked to open his carry-on bag, told them it contained live snakes.

Tulba opened his bag to show the snakes to the police and asked the officers, who held a safe distance, not to come close. Among the various snakes, hidden in small cloth sacks, were two poisonous cobras.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Weird World at 08:41 AM | Comments (18) | Add Comment
Post contains 98 words, total size 1 kb.

1 No profanity.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at May 24, 2007 08:42 AM (+rSRq)

2 I think in this case, it's somewhat superfluous. (Or rather, too easy!)

Posted by: Avatar at May 24, 2007 09:18 AM (dlP4b)

3 Aw, come on!  They were just trying to go on the hajj!

Posted by: Clyde at May 24, 2007 09:42 AM (5lnpF)

4 Does it count as "smuggling" when you tell the authorities what's in there?

Also, I don't know  why this is, but when I opened this page, it contained Clyde's  (presumably Clyde, the previous poster) information in the Name, Mail, and Web boxes.

Posted by: Jeremy Bowers at May 24, 2007 09:45 AM (cX2wU)

5 I have HAD it with these gosh-darned snakes on this gosh-darned plane!

Posted by: Evil Otto at May 24, 2007 10:54 AM (nu41Q)


The translation of DBZ has some scenes like that. Mirai no Trunks shows up to tell Goku that the androids are coming in three years, and describes how in his time (twenty years later) they've made the planet a hell-hole, killing and destroying, and then he gets emotional about it. "Darn them! They're just too powerful!"

There were several places where kisou got translated as "darn". I guess the translators at Funimation were told they couldn't use anything stronger than that.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at May 24, 2007 11:36 AM (+rSRq)


How do you get 700 snakes to ride nicely together in a single bag?  Do they just cuddle up, like kittens or something?  I guess that's how they hibernate, maybe this wasn't anything new to them.  (The snakes, I mean.)

Posted by: BeckoningChasm at May 24, 2007 12:00 PM (kLWtB)


It would depend on the kinds of snakes. Sometimes snakes do gather in huge numbers. There are garter snakes living on the slopes of Mt. Rainier; they're very successful. It gets very cold there in winter, and snakes are cold blooded. To survive the winter, they gather in huge nests, with thousands or tens of thousands of snakes all together. By pooling such little body heat as they have, most of them can survive the winter that way.

I think it's pretty routine to transport lots of snakes just by tossing them in a box together. You might lose one or two; some kinds of snake kill and eat other snakes. But they don't require separate accomodations.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at May 24, 2007 12:12 PM (+rSRq)

9 I just now noticed that there's a point in Petite Princess Yucie where Beth says "Kuso!" and they translate it as "Darn!" (I meant to write "kuso" for "kisou" above.)

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at May 24, 2007 01:17 PM (+rSRq)

10 I should dig up the notes from my Japanese Language in Popular Culture class. We had a section devoted entirely to vulgarity. It was great. We had this proper little Japanese lady in her 50's teaching the class (the class and it's content were her idea). None of us could keep a straight face. For weeks.

Posted by: Will at May 24, 2007 02:54 PM (SOx9v)

11 "Kuso" actually translates to "crap". It has about that meaning in English. Since "Dragon Ball" was marketed for kids (both here and in Japan)--AND since it was done by Viz, which sucks--I'm not surprised. Actually, though, I prefer that to when they translate Japanese swearing "up" rather than "down". The best example is when a character is greeted in "Sentimental Graffiti" and she replies, "F--king great!" There is no way to say "F--king great" in Japanese, and even as a free translation it's just WRONG. IMHO of course.

Posted by: Ed Hering at May 24, 2007 03:58 PM (PcWND)

12 No, the best example is in one scene in the last volume of Abenobashi. It's literally indescribable. I haven't seen that much use of the f-bomb since reading a Dick Marcinko novel...

ADV's a little schizo on obscenities. "fuck" is never okay, unless the Japanese character is screaming it and there's no chance you can say it was something else. (Counter-example, Rally in GSC, where it probably was really "taku", just general exasperation.) "shit", same thing. "Damn" was okay in practically every circumstance - I think we took it easy in Yucie, but it's been long enough that I won't swear to it. "Bastard" is almost obligatory; it's great for "yarou", "omae", "kisama", "temee", and the like. "You bastard" isn't exactly the best literal translation, but it gets the idea across pretty well... Same thing with "bitch" and "kono ama" - not literal, but "(obscenity female oriented)", yes.

Generally speaking, Japanese obscenities work a little differently - they have a tremendous vocabulary for insulting people, but not many actual "dirty words". They're a lot more likely to bleep graphic descriptions of crime, like "gang rape" or "slaughter" or whatever, but even that's mostly prime-time TV. (Then again, they self-censored Haruhi saying "gang rape". Comic effect?) In anime, though, rather than censor for language or violence, they'll typically censor in an otaku-oriented show when a cast member makes a specific reference to another show. "Sailor senshi" is okay, but "Sailor Moon" isn't; you can say stuff like famous attack names, but not "Gundam". (Or really you probably could just come out and say it, but typically they're partially bleeped - it's transparent what they're talking about, but they've maintained a modicum of professional courtesy.

Sorry about the length, Steven. Don't mean to chat up your blog - maybe I ought to get one.

Posted by: Avatar at May 24, 2007 06:40 PM (dlP4b)


"Yarou" literally means something like "scoundrel", but it doesn't have the same impact in English; calling someone a "scoundrel" is almost joking. Insults literally translated from one language to another almost never make sense, or at least almost never carry the same kind of baggage.

One of the worst insults you can use in Russian is, IIRC, something sort of like neekooltoorni and what it means is "uncultured", which is at best a very mild reproach in English -- and, at least in America, could even be a compliment under some circumstances. (Pete, what is that word that I just butchered?)

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at May 24, 2007 07:50 PM (+rSRq)

14 If Tom Clancy is to be believed, I think the word is "Nekulturny".

Googling results seem to support that spelling:

Posted by: Dave at May 25, 2007 01:56 AM (mjr3n)

15 I am a bit out of touch with the insults scale. It is somewhat maleable. "Nekul'turnyj" does not sound all that bad to me, but it is insulting. Quite a bit depends on the context, and who is speaking, if he/she has the authority (mother) or automatic pass

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at May 25, 2007 02:47 PM (9imyF)


My authority for the degree of insultingness for that word is something Heinlein wrote in the 1960's about his experience as a tourist in the Soviet Union. Times change and insults do, too. (A hundred years ago in the US, calling someone a "bastard" would have gotten you a duel.) Perhaps that Russian insult no longer has the impact it once did.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at May 25, 2007 03:34 PM (+rSRq)

My authority for the degree of insultingness for that word is something Heinlein wrote in the 1960's about his experience as a tourist in the Soviet Union.
He also put it into one of his novels, the hero saying that he didn't know what it meant, but that it "turns Russians green".

Posted by: Pixy Misa at May 25, 2007 07:10 PM (PiXy!)


Hmph.  Kids these days, what with their Tom Clancys and everything.  

Does nobody remember Ian Fleming's use of "Y*b Tv*y* M*t!" (sic)?  Was supposed to make all Russians blanche... it was so bad, they couldn't even print some of it!

Now get off my lawn.


Posted by: Wonderduck at May 25, 2007 08:14 PM (eCrFX)

Hide Comments | Add Comment

Enclose all spoilers in spoiler tags:
      [spoiler]your spoiler here[/spoiler]
Spoilers which are not properly tagged will be ruthlessly deleted on sight.
Also, I hate unsolicited suggestions and advice. (Even when you think you're being funny.)

At Chizumatic, we take pride in being incomplete, incorrect, inconsistent, and unfair. We do all of them deliberately.

How to put links in your comment

Comments are disabled. Post is locked.
15kb generated in CPU 0.01, elapsed 0.0278 seconds.
21 queries taking 0.015 seconds, 35 records returned.
Powered by Minx 1.1.6c-pink.