Just what language is this, anyway?

When something goes awry in Google Translate.

When you go to a website in the Faroe Islands, it’s not in English, and something goes awry in Google Translate. Here’s a sample:

Since it was web-domain and tech-related, I’m fairly sure this is NOT the correct translation, though I enjoyed imagining how “fee slag” and “move the ecstasy” could be played with in English… 🙂

Anyway, since I believe Denmark “owns” the Faroe Islands, and the language looked like Danish to my eyes (after working with Danes for 20+ years), I copied and pasted, and stared at the strange results. Unable to decipher it properly, Google Translate (aka “GT”) led me on a merry chase, a loony loop of languages, yielding only a few recognizable English words and phrases, after toggling feverishly from “auto-detect” and manual language selection!

Much to my amazement and amusement, the translator struggled with phrases, and identified individual words as coming from one of five languages, NOT including Danish, as follows:

  • Afrikaans
  • Greek
  • Icelandic
  • Norwegian
  • Welsh

Icelandic and Norwegian made some sense as both Nordic languages, and related to Danish, though some Icelanders and Norwegians I know might take affront to my saying that. Afrikaans? That’s a bit of a stretch—in both distance (in miles/km), and language structure—not even Dutch, which is geographically nearer! Greek or Welsh? Those two made me LOL, though we all know the UK and its environs were overrun by Vikings long ago, mostly Danish and Norwegian, including Wales. Did the Vikings make it to Greece? I don’t think so…

Finally, I was able to cobble together enough fragments of English words and phrases, filtered through the website’s purpose, and a wee bit of contextual guessing, I was able to navigate and do what I had gone there to do.

Here’s what I THOUGHT some of the column heading words meant, by their position and context on the site:

Their Word in Whatever My Guess in English Explanations…
Økisnavn Web Name (domain name) GT had no idea—I knew “navn” meant “name” from context, and it looks a little like “name” if you stare at it…
Skrásetari Registrar GT thought it was Registrar too! (from Icelandic)
Lokadagur End Date GT said “the final date” and “dag” looks like “day” or “date” from a Nordic language…
Eginleikar Attributes or Settings GT had no clue, but identified it as Icelandic nonetheless, then asked if I meant “Eiginleikar” in Icelandic, which it said was “Properties” and that made sense…
Bólkur No idea… GT had no clue, no idea either…
Rætta Manage or Edit GT said it was Icelandic, and it meant “roots” or maybe “the foot” or “discussed” ???
Vis View GT said it was English at first! LOL But Wikipedia said it was a possessive form of a neologistic gender-neutral pronoun in English (whatever that is!), a Croatian island, a river in France, a Bulgarian village, and/or a Dutch surname. From “vis-à-vis” we know that “vis” is from the French-Latin for “face” as well. However, when I manually set the language in GT to Danish, it gave me the word I’d guessed (because it made sense contextually) as “View” and I was happy at last…

Finally, I tried this phrase, “Dagfør gjaldsupplýsingar” which I guessed meant “Update or Enter Payment Information” — GT came back with, “Submit Fee Information” IN DANISH — see, I was right all along!

Languages, and translations are fun! Especially when you haven’t a clue, and only have Google Translate as your assistant…

In closing, all I can say is, “Fee slag—move the ecstasy!” 😊

–Russ Murray–

Insecurity vs. Security - by Russ Murray

Insecurity vs. Security?

Today, I read a brief article posted on Medium by Elan Gale entitled, “All Hail Insecurity” which I enjoyed and agreed with overall. It’s so brief you should read it before you read my comments and ideas below–click here to read in a new tab–my comments won’t make sense unless you read Elan’s post first…

OK, you’re back! What did you think of Elan’s post? I liked it, but I should point out that he focused mostly on how “bad” people are a subset of “secure” people, which makes it seem as if he’s saying insecurity is good and secure is bad. However, I think he really meant to say that insecurity is NOT bad, NOT a flaw, and may in fact be a good thing, an asset, quite often!

Anyway, perhaps you noticed one of the many comments on Elan’s post was made by a gentleman named Jakob (most likely a very secure fellow!) who began by saying, “I respectfully disagree” and offered quite a few more choice words from his point-of-view. I found myself respectfully disagreeing with Jakob, not because what he said was wrong–he said many good things about society, fragility and mental strength–but because I did not agree with his definition of insecurity, or conversely, security. If you want to read Jakob’s comments, and did not find them already, jump back to Elan’s article and scroll down to them. Beware: you may stumble across mine first! If so, ignore them, and read them below, instead…

OK, you’re back again, or never left, and have just scrolled down to read my views on Insecurity vs. Security!  Before reading my comments below, you should know my own fundamental point-of-view–my emotional makeup–from which I make them. I count myself generally as a lifelong optimist (just ask any of my friends for confirmation). However, life and experiences have caused me to become–in the second half of my life–a more cautious, and somewhat “insecure realist” now, who is unable to do anything blindly, without considering the input and ideas of others. That said, you may read my response to Elan (the post author) and Jakob (he who commented).

. . .

My response to Elan & Jakob regarding Insecurity vs. Security, etc.

Insecurity vs. Security - by Russ MurrayI respectfully agree with Elan. No, insecurity is NOT a feeling of inferiority, and it’s NOT about measuring your self worth, accomplishments, and/or successes to/by those of others. I suppose those might be the views of someone who is secure, or otherwise unfamiliar with insecurity. And it’s not always about feeling vulnerable either — that’s more fear, anxiety, and/or paranoia — it’s really about being unsure. Insecure people are concerned about making decisions without considering the ideas, positions and results of others. Secure people tend to need less, if any, input from others.

And, as Elan tries to communicate, those who experience life through the lens of insecurity, are more inclined to create and make decisions by evaluating their position and the possible results, with empathy and concern — they are unsure, requiring more input—rather than going forward based solely on their own ideas, thoughts and goals.

Insecurity is more like a guided missile that checks constantly if it’s on the right trajectory to its target, rather than just being launched into the air trusting — boldly and blindly — that it will hit the right target when it falls to earth. Some people will be guided missiles, , while others will be bold, blind rockets launched at a worthy target, expecting to hit it all or most of the time. Insecure people need to check, consider if they can/will hit the target, before they launch; secure people are more willing to launch, and launch again if they miss the target the first time.

. . .

Those are my simplified ideas and views on the subject of Insecurity and Security. Or at least it’s what poured out of my brain onto my keyboard and into the ether today. Why did I take the time to respond, then turn it into this blog post of my own? Because I count myself generally — per my own definition — as “insecure” and thought these things needed to be said, and reach a larger audience. But of course, I count myself as “insecure” by way of empathy, input and consensus-seeking, as opposed to inferiority, vulnerability, fear, anxiety and/or paranoia.

I am a guided missile, apparently.  🙂

 – Russ Murray

P.S. the “guided missile” bit is an adaptation of something I heard John Cleese say in a keynote speech made in 2000, at a conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. I’ve used it–in various forms–to parent both of my children, and often in my professional presentations. Just wanted to credit the source of the original kernel of an idea (since I adore John Cleese).

Impossibility and Risk

Regarding a working definition of “impossible” and “risk”

impossibility and risk - technology - business decisionsIn discussing a difficult, pending project, with many real and imagined obstacles, via email (an imperfect tool) with a partner and colleague. Business and product names have been [obscured] in the text below, to protect the [innocent] and/or [neurotic].  🙂

<I wrote> As the French writer Andre Maurois said, “the world progresses thanks to impossible things, which have been accomplished!”  I suppose this is my approach to life and business and [software name], but of course we have to be clear about what can and cannot be done, on the difficult schedule requested of us…

<He wrote> I like your approach. But to attempt the impossible is to take risk, and when you speak “software system” with  a model agency manager, well…risk is not appropriate. Are we here to attempt the impossible ? It can be dangerous (I like to philosophize at 1am 🙂

<I wrote> Regarding impossibility and risk…  I was joking, having a little fun, by sending that great quote, which I believe in, but would NOT want to live my whole life by!  The word “impossible” in this context really means, “has not been done before” or “has not yet been imagined or attempted”.  Of course, some things may be truly impossible, but as time goes by, technology and knowledge change, revealing new possibilities, and enabling new ways to do things which were previously impossible.  So it is fluid in definition, and possibility, over time.

Impossibility and Risk - definitions and go or no-go decisions<I continued…> To apply these ideas practically and appropriately to our business, I would say that we must SOMETIMES attempt things that at first appear impossible, but are really just very difficult, requiring great effort.  There is risk in this, and I have said before “nothing ventured (risked), nothing gained” but I would NOT want to live or work completely at or in risk, always attempting the impossible – we would all have heart attacks!!

<I rambled onward…> Risk = danger, and to undertake something risky requires caution, clarity and cleverness, with complete confidence in your abilities and knowledge, to find a solution and succeed.  But the risk of attempting the impossible, or very difficult and stressful, is sometimes appropriate, and necessary.  For the right strategic opportunity, we may decide to abandon the safety of our risk-free box, and work outside it…  [Client name] was such an opportunity, as it was presented to us suddenly, imperfectly, and seemingly impossible!  We did a VERY good job in attempting the impossible, enough to impress the client, so that now we can have the opportunity to do it properly on a more normal/reasonable schedule. Truly, if we had not attempted to do the risky/impossible task, we would not have the opportunity to do the big/proper one that is coming.  We passed the “test” and won their confidence – they know we are responsive and capable now….

So, now you know my views on “impossibility and risk”, at least in the related realms of business, software, and consulting (where I make my living).  Sadly, my colleague on the receiving end of this diatribe, on the aforementioned subject did NOT share my views, even after this eloquent and heartfelt email exchange. Not even the exquisitely apropos quote from the French (my colleague’s home language) writer was enough to sway him, and change his mind.

However, finally, ultimately, I DID accomplish my objective, and my colleague agreed to move forward with my idea and approach to the complex project we contemplated. How did I change his mind?  I didn’t.  But I DID overwhelm him with the passion, eloquence and tenacity of my arguments, so that it seemed to him there was no alternative but to go forward as I demanded (strongly suggested). Oh, and the project turned out to be a huge success, just as I knew (believed) it would!

I believe this is a common thing in business and life. That one person arguing to attempt the impossible – in spite of the obvious risks – may effectively “win the argument” without actually convincing, or changing the mind of, the other person.  Thus, the impossible may be undertaken, and becomes possible, because at least one person – alone, or part of a team – believes fiercely that it was possible all along.

This is something powerful and empowering to contemplate, as you consider undertaking your next impossible, risky task or project.  Or better yet, don’t think about it at all – just believe it to be possible – and make it so!!

Good luck with undertaking your next impossible (risky) task. 🙂

 – Russ Murray –

I am so thankful / that I can choose what I want / to be thankful for.


Twoku: So thankful / I can choose what I’m / thankful for.

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George Murray / Poet, Word-Lover / and Father.

My latest labor-of-love project – a blog about my father, his poetry, and his other words…

George Murray, Poet

Thanks for stopping by!  This blog is about my dad, and his love of words.

George Murray / poet, word-lover / and father.

He left us in February 2010, but his words, typed and written, live on…

Please come back often, as we post his work, published and unpublished, public and personal, in the days ahead.  Oh, and be sure to Follow, Like, and Subscribe to George Murray, Poet…

We hope you enjoy the words and wordplay of George Murray, on this site!

  – Russ Murray, on behalf of my other two siblings (grown children), and the many grandchildren, etc., of George Murray, Poet…

P.S. Some of you may realize the title of this post is a 3-5-3 haiku (senryu, actually), which I wrote, mindful of my father and all his wordy lessons…that’s why I have a poetry blog of my own at haikumages.com focusing on the short, micro-poetry of haiku & senryu, but inspired by him…

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Inspiration from Mr. Einstein…again!

I got an email this morning (a common occurrence), but this particular one was a sales/business-oriented, inspirational-type of email (actually, I get a lot of those too).  It wasn’t very good or inspiring, but the snippet of a quote from Albert Einstein they included in the email was wonderful.

Reading and enjoying the mini-quote, I knew (I’m intuitive about these things) it was out of context, and only part of what Mr. Einstein had said at the time, so I searched for the rest of it.  Yep, as expected, the rest of the quote was great, and truly inspirational…worthy of contemplation, interpretation, and application in our lives.  I present it here for you, as inspiration and affirmation, first in text (so the search engines can find it), and then in a graphic I cleverly created using the font “Albertus” which I thought was apropos and fitting…  🙂

~ Russ Murray


“Great spirits have always encountered opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly.”

~ Albert Einstein

Great spirits have always encountered opposition from mediocre minds. Albert Einstein


Celebrate the moms! / children, fathers, husbands say / thanks for mothering.

Books are Friends that Never Leave…

Taking in strays?  Books?  Looking around you, suddenly, you realize you’ve been taking in and collecting stray books, filling your shelves, boxes, corners, attics, nooks, and crannies…only to find yourself overwhelmed!  Collecting books can easily go from an interest, to an addiction, especially if you were raised in a house full of books (as I was), where language was loved, and words (the correct ones of course!) were more important than any thing else…

And this taking in of strays, and collecting books still goes on, despite the rise of Internet publishing, social media and e-Books!  In fact, it may be that the internet and e-Book revolution has put even MORE stray books on the street, as people eschew their bookish lifestyles, give up all or most of their collections for adoption by libraries (already overwhelmed by taking in too many strays!) , and even leave their books in unmarked brown paper bags in the trash or on the stoops and porches of those who may still love and collect stray books…

In the spirit of word-worship, ink-on-paper-loving, and book-collecting-to-the-point-of-being-a-fetish, I found this “Stray Books” cartoon by Grant Snider of Incidental Comics posted on Mashable.com, and had to re-post it with comments, and share it with you…


Direct link to the Mashable article/post: http://mashable.com/2013/04/02/stray-books-comic/

So…be careful of taking in too many strays!  See you at the library?  🙂

 – Russ Murray

This Page Intentionally Left Blank

I have always marveled at receiving official-type snail-mail from various companies and government agencies, which contained not only the important, printed page(s) which were the reason for the piece of mail, but also one or more blank, empty, extra (usually white), envelope-filler pages with nothing on them. Even more marvelous, these printed and blank pages were accompanied by one or more pages stating, “This Page Intentionally Left Blank” to be sure I was not confused!

Of course, I was immediately and completely confused, each time I discovered one of these intentionally blank pages, with their ominous warning, which rendered each page on which it was printed, somewhat less-than-blank. But I was also amused and intrigued — I had to understand WHY these not-so-blank warning pages were printed and sent — for what intent or purpose? I began to search for answers…

Anyone who has attempted stealth by mail (innocently or otherwise) knows that plain, blank paper is not effective at masking text to ensure privacy of a message (or check) inside the envelope. Common knowledge, right? Obviously, that’s why “security” envelopes have patterns printed inside. So I asked around, but as I asked around, nobody had an answer for me, even at my bank, the most prolific sender of blank pages. However, I did get a lot of blank stares, which seemed to say,

“Is it not obvious why they exist?”

Nope, not obvious to me. But with this unspoken, zen-like question lingering in my mind, I wrote a haiku about the mysterious pages:

The page today / is left intentionally blank / a negative space.

You can see the haiku blog post with its accompanying photograph of a “blank page” at: http://haikumages.com/2012/05/30/the-page-today-is-left-intentionally-blank-a-negative-space/

The concept of “negative space” comes from art class: it refers to the unused, untouched, unpainted, blank area of the canvas or paper on which you create a work of art. Logically, we can assume the area where you draw or paint can be referred to as the “positive space”, though I never heard anyone call it that. My best art teachers were consistent in telling me to consider the negative space as part of any artwork’s composition, affecting its message, meaning, and the feeling(s) provoked by the artwork. The same approach can be (and is) applied to graphic design, or a well laid-out page of correspondence.

Can we conclude that the senders of blank pages, are sending us messages in the form of negative space? Are there subliminal messages written in invisible ink? Is there some dark purpose to these unseen messages, which is entering our subconsciousness secretly, compelling us to change our behavior?

My best guess is that this blank page mystery has its roots in the printing, numbering and binding of legal and business documents, tracing back to the early days of computers. Maybe it goes further back to book-binding and layout, with chapters always beginning on the odd or even page, or on the right-hand side, leaving a blank page on the left. And, whatever the source of the “blank pages” may be, I guess the warning message “This Page Intentionally Left Blank” was spawned by the automation of printing and mailing of multi-page documents, which resulted in one or more blanks per mailing, requiring an official explanation…

So, over the years, I have watched these strange, inexplicably, partially and/or intentionally empty pages go by, and placed them in the recycling bin with a sigh…as a few more trees were killed unnecessarily, to prevent (unsuccessfully) my confusion.


I originally wrote and blog posted a while back about the “blank pages” without searching online for answers — just asking around. However, as I prepared to publish this silly, updated diatribe about them, I decided to hit the search engines with phrases like, “why the blank page” and “this page intentionally left blank” to see what is out there. I was promptly rewarded, and deeply gratified to find that I was not alone in wondering why they exist!

Here are links to some of what I found — just my three favorites — which are odd and/or amusing! I offer these links here for your enjoyment, and education, if reading this post has not already sucked up what little free time you had available today:

Wikipedia: naturally they had an article about blank pages, and it seems my best guesses were pretty much on target (there were several, similar Ask, Yahoo, and other FAQ site posts on the topic)…

Writer: this post was from an author’s perspective — a guy like me, contemplating the “blank page” and why it might be left “intentionally blank” sometimes — from writer’s block, Zen ideation, or just waste…

Organization — offering a quiet place on the web? This one had me truly laughing out loud, especially with their home page as a BLANK PAGE with the message, “This Page Intentionally Left Blank”…

I guess my quest for answers about blank pages, especially those with warnings about blankness printed on them, is somewhat of a waste-of-time, and a fool’s errand. Well, I’m apparently not the only fool who has been on this errand, with many other fools like me having written about it as well! And — admit it — you have probably wondered why blank pages exist, perhaps smirked in disbelief, or shaken your head incredulously at receiving a page with the “This Page Intentionally Left Blank” message printed on it. I guess we are not so different; we are all human, and we wonder about the strange things around us, like blank pages…

— Russ Murray

P.S. Hit me up online: Twitter | Tumblr | Haiku | Photography | Email

Haikumages = Haiku + Images (mine)

Please check out my haiku and images blog at http://haikumages.com

My love of words, writing and language came from my father.  The love of photography came from a desire to say something in images captured from the world around me…