December 2nd, 2005


I've gotten involved in a pointless research project. Over in rec.arts.sf.fandom, thomasyan raised the question of champloo. There's an anime called Samurai Champloo. There's a Japnanese (Okinawan?) dish called champloo, or possibly champuru.

Getting this far took more than straightforward googling. Going from champloo to champlu was the result of contemplating whether champloo actually looked like a normal transliteration. Getting to (Goya) Champuru took checking the indexes of all the Japanese cookbooks at Barnes and Noble. The steamed version (described as being like bi bim bop) took asking a waitress at a Japanese restaurant.

Or (having had the inspiration to google champuru), chanpuru. Here's a recipe:

In general, champuru seems to be a rice, veggie, tofu, and meat dish. I've heard of two stir-fried versions and one steamed. The rumor that it's a Japanese gumbo seems unfounded so far, but for all I know, there are people who do it as a soup.

What I'm still trying to find out is whether the champloo spelling is a different shade of meaning, a mere variant, or a bit of playfulness.

More about champlu:
champuru (or champroo): an Okinawan staple, champuru is a mixed stir-fry with a seemly infinite number of potential ingredients. Goya (bitter melon – see below), somen (noodles), papaya, eggplant, pork, and fu (glutinous bread) commonly serve as the base, while egg, katsuobushi (fish flakes), seaweed, and Spam are often added to round out the flavor.
goya: a bitter fruit that looks like an extra knobbly cross between a melon and a cucumber. Goya finds its way into almost any dish. It is most often stir-fried but is also eaten in salads or tempura and is even made into tea. Some people argue that it is the secret behind the Okinawans’ famous longevity.

And here's the explanation for why there seemed to be more affection around champlu ( than could be justified by even the nicest stirfry with bitter melon:
Over centuries of trade with China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Philippines, Indonesia and the Pacific Islands, Okinawa has developed a unique cultural mix, popularly called "champuru", which is reflected in its exquisite textiles, ceramics, music and lacquer.

And in other news, while I was poking around for all this I found someone spelling spam as spamn, as in damn spam. This might be a good idea. It might even be worth expanding into spawnm (damn spawning spam). Sp@wnm is probably overdoing it.

A joke

Two mathematicians are eating lunch near their college, with one complaining
bitterly about the ignorance of the student population. He gets up to go to
the bathroom, and the other calls the waitress over. "Would you like a nice
tip? Next time I call you, whatever I ask, say 'X squared over 2'. Got it?
Good, you can go now." When his friend returns, he says "Things are much
better than you think. In fact I'll bet even our waitress, who looks like a
humanities major, knows some simple calculus. Ten bucks on it? Good.
Miss, can you come here, please? Now tell me, what's the integral of X?"

"X squared over 2".

"Thank you, that's all."

The waitress leaves, muttering under her breath "plus a constant".

From Mike Schilling over in rec.arts.sf.written--there's a thread of nerd jokes.