söndag, februari 27, 2005

Joke #3

- Att hoppa fallskärm är faktiskt alldeles ofarligt.
- Verkligen?
- Jadå. Men betydligt mer riskfyllt är det att ta mark.

To jump from a parachute is in fact just not dangerous.
Oh, really?
Yes. But by far more risky is it to take ground.

Bad joke, but interesting phrase:

ta mark - take ground. In American we say, touched ground or touched down. Taking the ground sounds like a military maneuver, including a roll and some flying dirt and a strong desire to be and remain alive, which seems equally the case with skydiving.

lördag, februari 26, 2005

Floor Golv Flor

"'I have hardwood floors.' How would I say that," I ask.

He: Why do you guys call it hardwood? Floors are not made of hardwoods, but softwoods. Pine.
Me: Maybe once upon a time the wood used for flooring was of non-coniferous lumbar.
He: It is always pine, I think. We do not reference hard or soft. We just say wooden floor.
Me: Okay then, how would I say, "I have wooden floors"?
He: We say only "trägolv."
Me: Trägolv.
He: Trägolvvvvvv, not trägolf.
Me: Trägolvvvvvv.
Me: How about the whole sentence? How would that go?
He: Jag ha trägolv.
Me: How do you say "pulling teeth"?

Jag ha trägolv. Jag tycker om trägolv. Min man tycker om trägolv, men ibland vil våra flickor har mjuka mattar.

Flor is a perfect solution. They are not as thick as the girls seem to dream of (wall to wall cashmere shag, I believe) but they are so cool. How often does one get a chance to really structure a floor? Peddada Rugs, deeply hidden within the Peddada website offer intense design concepts in the area rug genre. (Hint, go to "What's New")

onsdag, februari 23, 2005

Right? Right?


"'Vi ska vara snälla.' Plural
'Jag ska vara snäll.' Singular. So to answer your question, it is 'Vi ska vara snälla.' Right?"

What did he mean, "Right?" He said that as if he had explained this to me before.

I used to love a London accent. It sounded cultured and sophisticated. Then I spent time around English folk. This habit of ending every sentence with the word "right" began to grate. I could hear a second grade teacher saying, "Right? Don't you see? Hmmm?"

Which brings me to an odd phenomenon, Eats, Shoots & Leaves, by Lynne Truss. I have the audio cd of the bestselling bathroom book, the latter of which developed out of the radio program Cutting a Dash. I was hoping for a few tips, some insight into punctuation issues that stop my rambling fingers dead in the keys.

What I got instead was a telling account of the "urbane, witty and very English" Ms. Truss' EQ. The story goes like this. As an English middle schooler, she was assigned an American pen pal. The American girl wrote first, being fearless and optimistic and ready to make a friend. Twas a shame, however, that the American girl's handwriting looked like that of an infants, all big and loopy and all. The American chicky went so far as to adorn her "i's" with bubbles instead of centered dots. Let's not even start on the insipid content. Eager to set the record straight on mental supremacy and emotional distance, Ms. Truss wrote back in splendid one-upsman form, hoping that her use of a semicolon within the text would deliver the ultimate coup de grace. Blimey, the little American girl sure got the short stick on that draw.

It is possible that Truss made the whole pen pal episode up, as an illustrative literary fiction. But if young Carrie Ann did exist and overcame this slight only to experience it again via big Lynne's commercial enterprise, just remember these three things, Carrie Ann:

1. It's easy for someone to win when she is the only one competing;
2. Little ghastly prigs grow up to be big ghastly prigs; and
3. The best pen pals come from Japan.


tisdag, februari 22, 2005

Surf's Up

He: Chamberlain taught everyone the lesson on negotiating with a tyrant. Remember, "Peace in our time" and all that.
Me: "Yeah, yeah, we'll be good. We'll be good."
He: What?
Me: You know, "Yeah, yeah, don't worry. We'll be good."
He: What?
Me: I'm imitating the Germans.

He paused for a second, then laughed all the way to work. He said something about filling a book or writing a book or putting a book over my head. I had struck his funny bone, just mumblypegging about. Christ, I live to make him crack a smile. My best jokes rarely make the grade, but turn a Nazi into a surfer dude; the non sequitor slayed him. I need a drink.

So, translation for the day: We will be good.
Hmmm. Vi ska vara snäll.
That is my guess.

Groundhog's Day, Like the Movie

"How do you know that it is seeing its shadow and for that very reason popping back down into its hole? I mean, you cannot say that you understand the workings of the groundhog's brain, or have a crystal clear, groundhog's view of its eyeshot, now do you? So, I don't understand the significance of the holiday."

No one's utensil moved from its position, somewhere between plate and mouth. The girls knew that if I tried to explain our goofball tradition to my Swedish husband, their stepfather, the dinner would be a lost cause. They looked at me out of the corner of their eyes. They held their breadth.

"Well, it's not exactly like that, you see . . ." I started.

They groaned.

See the difference between us and the movie version is that Bill Murray, eventually, got out.