Friday, April 30, 2010

One Of Those Days

More like one of those weeks.

It has been a rough week at work, culminating in the worst day today.  If anything could possibly go wrong, it did.  It got so bad that at one point, my supervisor Ronnie paged my group leader Rod.  I turned around and quipped that he'd snuck out the back door.  Ronnie said, "I think I'll go with him!" 

I replied, "Yeah, and you're going to have the rest of us following along behind you."  

But it's over now, and we have the whole weekend off.  I'd though about going shopping tomorrow, but there's more storms in the forecast.  I think I'll stay in and knit instead.


Thursday, April 29, 2010

New Toy

I had to go into town this evening to get milk. While I was there, I decided to go ahead and do my weekly shopping, so I wouldn't have to make another trip tomorrow.  For some strange, odd reason, I went down the toy aisle that had the balls and things.  There, I found this:

So, the box isn't in that great of shape, but it was the only one left. I had to get it.

The other side has this on it:

It'll make a find addition to my collection.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Anniversary 09 Mystery Shawl

Finally, the shawl that never ends has finally ended.  Here it is in its pre blocked state. 

The Anniversary 09 Mystery Shawl, otherwise known as Victorian Romance.  The yarn is Knitpicks alpaca cloud in Tide Pool Heather colorway.   Knit on size 5 needles.  It is supposed to have a ribbon threaded through the center panel, but I'm not going to put the ribbon in.  I've seen photos, and just don't like the way it looks.

We're not supposed to work this weekend, so maybe I can get it blocked.  Even more importantly, I can knit on the Anniversary 10 Mystery Shawl with a clear conscience. 

As if that were ever a problem...


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Devastating Yazoo City, MS tornado

An amazing video of last week's deadly tornado in Yazoo City.

The paper today said that 32 tornadoes touched down in Mississippi that day. We were very lucky to to get hit ourselves.

Monday, April 26, 2010

An Inheritance

Cowboys first round draft pick Dez Bryant has been assigned the number 88.

This has got some Cowboys fans all in a tizzy. "How dare they give him MICHAEL IRVIN'S number!" "He doesn't deserve that number!" "What has he done to earn that number?" "He hasn't proven yet that he has the right to wear that number!"

What these overzealous Cowboys fans need to remember is that some of us felt that same way when they gave DREW PEARSON'S number to Michael Irvin.

Dez has some mighty big shoes to fill, just as Michael did. 

Michael turned out OK.  I'll bet Dez will too. 


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Anniversary 10 Mystery Shawl

I went ahead and started, even though I still have 5 1/2 rows on Anniversary 09 Mystery Shawl. Here it is after clue 1.

The neat thing about this pattern is that each clue will have 4 different charts to chose from. I chose to do Chart D.


Just A Few Thoughts

1.  Facebook has no plans to start charging for its services at this time.  They make enough from advertising that they do not need to.  Therefore, there is no need to fly into a panic and join groups to stop them from charging $3.99, $4.99, $14.99, or 15 British pounds per month.  Even if Facebook did plan on charging monthly fees, joining a group would have no effect whatsoever.  In fact, most of these groups contain malware and should be avoided at all costs.

2.  The status about Patrick Swayze, Michael Jackson, and President Obama being your favorites is a JOKE--albeit a tacky and tasteless one--and should hardly be interpreted as a serious petition for God to strike the man dead.  There isn't really a group of people who meet regularly to pray for Obama's death.  God knows the difference between a prayer and a snark.  Get a grip, people.

3.  Failure to uncheck the "allow" box in your privacy settings will NOT release your birth certificate, social security number, bank account numbers, medical records, or your secret FBI files to the general public.  All this box does is to allow other sites that you visit to read the information you have already and voluntarily made PUBLIC on Facebook so that they can select ads based in your interests.  And if you set your Facebook profile to private, there is really very little information they can glean as it is.  If you are that secretive, perhaps you shouldn't be on a PUBLIC site like Facebook at all. 

There, I feel much better now. 

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Storms and Tornadoes

Last night and early this morning, strong storms passed through several Southern states, including the one in which I live.  Today, about noonish a massive tornado hit Yazoo City, completely obliterating parts of the city.  So far, 10 deaths have been reported.  Governor Barbour has already activated the National Guard and declared a state of emergency for three counties. 

As far as I know, no one has been sent to Florida for two days of sensitivity training. 

The worst of the storms passed to the south of us, but we did get some heavy rains and strong winds.  I have one friend who is still unaccounted for, but as no deaths have been reported from her city (Columbus), I'm sure she is OK.  She's possibly without power, though. 

The rest of the NFL draft was held today, but suddenly, it just didn't seem all that important. 


Friday, April 23, 2010

Draft News

The Cowboys took Penn State linebacker Sean Lee with their second round pick.  Not having a third round pick, they are done for the night, unless they do some wheeling and dealing.

They should have welt and dealt for Chad "Dreadlocks of Doom" Jones, safety out of LSU.  He was taken in the third round by the New York Giants, which I am totally not happy about.

The second LSU player drafted, also in the third round, was Brandon "JoJo" LaFell.

Here is bit of Draft Day trivia.  This is the first year since 2004 that LSU has not had a player drafted in the first round.  True.

2009--Tyson Jackson, Kansas City Chiefs
2008--Glenn Dorsey, Kansas City Chiefs
2007--JaMarcus Russell, Oakland Raiders
2006--Joseph Addai, Indianapolis Colts
2005--Marcus Spears, Dallas Cowboys

Jordan Shipley is going to play for the Cincinnati Bengals.  And the winningest college quarterback in history will be playing for the Cleveland Browns. As much as I love the boy, I just don't think I can post Gratuitous Colt McCoy photos of him in a Browns uniform.

So here is one more, just for old times sake.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

It's All Set

I got my vacation put in for my tooth extractions.  Wednesday was fine, but Thursday and Friday were already filled.  The plant has a 10 person per day limit.  But, I talked to my supervisor and told him what was going on.  I said that I would NOT be at work Thursday, whether I used a vacation day or called in sick.  I wasn't going to be there.  He told me to go ahead and put down vacation for Thursday and he would approve it.  Then I told him that I would try to be back Friday, but I couldn't make any promises.  I said that I'd never had any wisdom teeth cut out, so I didn't know what to expect.  I was kind of fudging, because from what I've heard, I won't be able to make it that day, either. 

Anyway, I came home and am watching the NFL draft.  The Dallas Cowboys have selected wide receiver Dez Bryant.  Tim Tebow has gone to the Broncos.  Earl Thomas went to the Seahawks.  Colt McCoy is still out there.  His injury in the National Championship game has dropped his value significantly.  The surprise is that Jimmy Clausen hasn't been drafted yet.  He was expected to go high in the first round.  Well, there are still 4 picks left as I type this.

There has not been an LSU player taken yet.  Brandon LaFell was once thought to be the top WR to be taken this year, but he didn't have a good year, and he didn't have a good combine.  Trindon Holliday is still out there, too, but he was never really thought to be first round pick anyway.  Chad Jones neither. 

Four picks, then I'm going to bed. 

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Teeth, Yarn, And Football

I had my consult with the oral surgeon today, and I'm having my teeth out May 5th.  I asked him if I had to be put to sleep to get it done, and he said no, but he highly recommended it.  My wisdom tooth is still mostly in the bone, so he's going to have to cut around it.  I'm going to take that Wednesday and Thursday off of work, and Friday if I can get it.  If not, I'll probably call in sick, depending on how I feel.

Now, the good news.  My yarn from Knitpicks got here!  Woo Hoo!  This first one is Shadow Tonal in Queen Anne. 

This is the yarn I ordered for my Anniversary 10 Mystery Shawl.  The color is pretty accurate in this photo--much more so than on their website or in the catalog.  It's more coral than it appears in those.  I like it.  Now, I've just got to finish the Anniversary 09 mystery Shawl.  Only 10 1/2 rows left.  Think I can do it before Saturday? 

This one is Gloss Lace in Dandelion.


I'm saving this one for a summer shawl/stole, and I may just actually keep it. Now, that would be something different.  I keep very little of what I knit.  I'm most definitely a process knitter. 

In football news, Ben Rothlisberger has been suspended for 6 games for violating the league's conduct policy. Now, last year, I thought the first sexual assault charge sounded really fishy. But, when the second charge came up within a year's time, well, let's just say that it was too coincidental to be a coincidence.  Latest news is that now the Steelers want to dump him, too.   They contacted the Rams, who weren't interested.  I guess they figured he's more trouble than he's worth, and that's saying something, considering it's the Rams Dude.

Finally, the 2010 schedule was released yesterday.   Interestingly enough, the Cowboys have the third hardest schedule--based on their opponents '09 won/loss schedule.  The defending Superbowl Champion Saints have the 27th hardest schedule.  You would think the world champions would rate a much more difficult schedule than the 6th easiest.

One last thing, today is our favorite quarterback's 30th birthday.  Happy Birthday, Tony!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Teeth and Stuff

First the stuff. Given the circumstances, I decided not to take Rylea on her walk this evening. I didn't seen anything in the paper that they'd caught the fugitive, but I'm sure they did.

Ok, on to the teeth...

I finally talked to a lady at church about driving me to the oral surgeon. She said she'd be glad to. I knew she would, but like I told her, it's easy to put it off when your teeth aren't hurting. So Monday, I called the oral surgeon when I got home from work, only to find out that their office was already closed. We had to work until 4 that day, and that's when they close. Today, we got off at 3:15, so I called as soon as I got home and made an appointment for a consult. I'll have to leave work early to go, but that's ok. My boss has been getting on my last nerve anyway.

Monday, April 19, 2010


I was taking Rylea on our evening walk. I'd just turned off the paved road onto the dirt road down between the cotton fields that we like to walk on. I hadn't gotten very far when I saw a vehicle traveling towards me at a high rate of speed.

"He's in a hurry," I thought.

As the vehicle got closer, I saw that it was the K9 unit of the local police department. He passed me, and continued down the road at a breakneck pace. We stared after him, then kept on walking. After about 20 more yards, I let Rylea off her leash so she could run.

A few seconds later, I looked over my shoulder and saw another vehicle traveling in the opposite direction at a high rate of speed. I reached down to grab Rylea because, well, she's already been run over twice. About that time, the vehicle pulled along side me and stopped. The guy driving leaned out the window and told me they were hunting a fugitive, and it probably wasn't a good idea for me to be walking back there.

Deciding that discretion was the better part, I leashed Rylea and we went back home. I haven't heard anything more, but will probably stick to the paved roads until I find out if they caught him.

The good news is, the azaleas are in full bloom.

Friday, April 16, 2010


Some good news for a change.  They announced at work that our first quarter sales were much higher than projected, and sales appear to be strong throughout the summer.  Therefore, we will actually be getting a raise this year!  It'll take effect at the end of next month. 

This will be the first raise we've gotten in about 5 years. 

Yeah, I'm happy. 

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tax Day

With the recent government take over of the American health care system, many people have begun referring to the U.S. as the U.S.S.A--the United Socialist States of America. 

To a point, they would be right, but what most people don't realize is that America is already a socialist nation, and has been for a long time.  America became a socialist nation, not on March 21, 2010 when the health care bill was signed into law, nor on January 20, 2009 when the most openly socialist president America has ever had was inaugurated, or November 8, 2008 when he was elected.  America didn't become socialist in 1965 when Medicare was signed into law, or even 1935 when Social Security was enacted.

No, America became a socialist nation on February 3, 1913 with the passage of the 16th Amendment.  For those of you who don't have a copy of the Constitution handy (and why not?), the 16 Amendment reads thus:

The Congress shall have the power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.  

Now, the question is, who decides how much of our incomes to tax?  Or in other words, who decides how much of our incomes we are allowed to keep?  That's right, the government.  What that means is, with the passage of the 16th Amendment, we no longer own the fruits of our labors.  The Government does. It is they, not you, who decide how much of your money they get to spend.  It is they, not you, who decide how much of your money you get to keep.  In short, we all live on a government allowance--and they, not you, decide how much that allowance will be. 

And that, my friend, is the very definition of socialism.

Remember this, as you rush to get your taxes filed today.  Even more importantly, remember this next November.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Texas Stadium

may be gone, now, but a part of it will live on. Back when they first moved out, almost everything in it was auctioned off. Unfortunately, most of it was wayyyy out of my budget, but I was able to pick up these two pieces.

This first one is a tile made from one of the lockers in the stadium. Of course, there's no way of knowing which locker it came from, but I can always think, maybe Roger Staubach used this locker, or Bob Lilly, or Drew Pearson, or Troy, or Marion, or Jason.  Who knows? 

This second treasure is a bit of the concrete from the stadium itself. 

Yeah, I know.  But Texas Stadium has been a part of my life--even if by long distance--for the nearly 40 years.  I was there for the first season, and I was there for the last.  I remember when my dad told me it was being built (I was 6), and I watched it come down Sunday morning.

Now, a little piece of it sits on the top of my computer desk, with the rest of my Cowboys memorabilia.  And it will always be a part of me.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

WIP Tuesday

I know, I know--it's supposed to be WIPs on Wednesday, but I didn't want to wait. I thought y'all might need a break from all the politics and football I've been posting about here lately. So here we go...

1.  Vernal Equinox--I've started chart 4.  This is a really easy knit, and is working up pretty quickly.  Of course, the later charts get larger, so it's still a long way from done. (The pattern is in the right sidebar and is in English.)

2.  Anniversary '09 Mystery Shawl--which actually has a name now.  Victorian Romance.  I'm only about 20 rows from the end, and need to get it finished soon, but it has fallen prey to the siren song of the Vernal Equinox

3.  Orkney Pi--  It, too, has fallen prey to the siren song of Vernal Equinox.  I made it through chart 3, before setting it aside.

4. Simple Garter Rib sock--Yes, this is as far as it has gotten.  I cast on to see how this yarn knits up, and I like it.  I'll pick it back up soon.  The yarn is Knit Picks Imagination in Gingerbread House. 

5. Bubble Wrap Socks--  The yarn is Knit Picks Imagination in Pixie Dust.  Just for the record, the yarn doesn't look anything like the photo on the website or the catalog. 

6.  Charity Scarf-- This one has been on the needles so long that I don't even remember when I cast it on.  I'm sure a blog search will reveal the answer, but eh, it just isn't that important.  The pattern is one I based on this pattern.  I just couldn't follow that pattern, so I looked at the picture and started knitting it based on that. 

7.  The Friendship Blankie--Yep, I'm still slowly but surely getting it done.  I just received some yarn from a swap, so I should have some new squares knit into it soon.

That's it for my current WIPs.  I'm also planning on casting on for a hat made from fingering weight yarn.  I've swatched and figured out how many to cast on, I just haven't done it. 

Then, I have another mystery shawl that will be starting next week.  


Enough WIPS?  There is no such thing. 

Now, I must get back to knitting...

Monday, April 12, 2010

Blind Loyalty and Neutrality

Almost everyone agrees, whether Democrat or Republican, conservative or liberal, black, white, or pink and purple polkadotted, almost everyone agrees that Adolph Hitler was an evil man. 

Almost everyone agrees, except Hitler himself.  He never considered himself evil, or that what he was doing was so very wrong.  He just wanted to do what he though was best for his country, the world, and the human race in general.  His eugenics programs were designed to purify and strengthen the human species, at least in his mind.  Not just by eliminating the 6 million Jews he murdered in his concentration camps, but also the other 6-7 million people euthanized in his medical facilities.  The elderly, the infirm, the physically disabled, the learning disabled.  Those with Down's Syndrome, or any other genetic condition.  Homosexuals.  Even something as relatively minor as a cleft palate or club foot was a death sentence in Hitler's world.  He felt it was his duty to eliminate these types of defects from the gene pool. 

Almost everyone today recognizes that he was evil.  But what people want to forget is that he could not have risen to such power, he could not have completed the evils he did without two things:  the blind loyalty of the German people, and the neutrality of the Swiss. 

Now, there were some Germans who fled the country.  There were others who resisted, and still others who risked everything--even their very lives--to hide Jews or help them escape.  But for the most part, the German people as a whole were blindly, fiercely loyal to Adolph Hitler.  They wholeheartedly supported him in his efforts.  Deep within their consciousness, they had to have known that what he was doing was horrible, terrible wrong, but that didn't matter to them.  He was their Fuhrer, their Messiah, and they were going to be loyal to him, no matter what.  Loyal to the point of turning in their neighbors, co-workers, friends, even family members to be imprisoned or as was more likely, executed.  One can't help but wonder how many lives might have been saved if the German people as a whole had stood together and said, "This has got to stop."  But they didn't, and 12 million people died at the hands of the one they considered their savior. 

One can't help but wonder also, how many lives would have been saved if Switzerland had stood up and said, "This has got to stop."  But they didn't.  They chose to remain "neutral".  Think about it, while Hitler was conquering and plundering Europe, murdering millions of people, Switzerland basically said, "Eh, we don't want to get involved in this.  Leave us out."  And he did.  I'm sure Poland, France, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Holland, etc. would have love to have been left out of the fracas, too, but they weren't.  Hitler conquered them.  This begs the question, why then did he leave Switzerland alone?   There had to be a reason he didn't conquer them, also.  Could it be that he was afraid of the Swiss?  Could it be that he felt that Switzerland was strong enough that he didn't want to risk defeat by attacking them?  And if they were that strong, could it be that they could have stopped him? 

Instead, they chose to remain neutral.  Yet, in a situation such as this, one cannot truly remain neutral.  There is an old saying, "silence is consent."  By their silence, Switzerland was in effect giving their consent to what Hitler was doing.  And in so doing, they became his allies.  They became his silent partners. 

And in so doing, the blood of 12 million people was on their hands as well. 

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The First Iris

The first iris bloomed this morning. Spring truly is here.

The azaleas are covered in buds, and soon will be a riot of color.

And wonder of wonders, my Christmas cactus is still blooming.

I'm on chart 4 of the Vernal Equinox shawl.

That's about it. 

Saturday, April 10, 2010

We Will Remember

Early Sunday morning, while most of us are still sleeping, a Great Lady will be laid to rest. At around 7:00 AM, a button will be pressed. An implosion will occur, and Texas Stadium will be brought down, finally and forever.

Washington Redskins v Dallas Cowboys

For the players, the team, Cowboy fans everywhere, all of us who bleed blue and silver, a part of our lives will be gone. Gone as surely as if it never existed. But it did exist, and the memories will remain. Memories that can never be lost.

Good memories, mostly. The five Superbowls. The twenty straight winning season. The heartache and the joy.  The heroes.


 Troy, Emmitt and Michael

Too Tall, Too Mean, and The Manster.


The Terrible Twosome--Charlie and Cliff.

 Mr. Cowboy

The Man in The Funny Hat

And the moments.  Harvey Martin and the funeral wreath. Singing Happy Birthday to Joe Theismann. The comebacks, the victories, the losses. Breaking the all time rushing record.

Emmitt Smith carries

Defending the Star.

Always Defending The Star.

The Stadium holds these memories, whispering them in her now empty corridors, sharing them with the stars through the hole in her roof--the hole that was put there so God could watch his favorite team play.

Washington Redskins v Dallas

If you close your eyes and listen closely, you can hear them. The whispers. The rustling. The ghosts of long retired players laughing in the locker room. Calling plays on the field, now stripped of its turf--and the star.  The thump of the ball. The crack of pads clashing. The crunch of bone. The roar of the crowd.

It's all gone now--all but the empty shell of what was once the finest stadium in the league. Tomorrow morning, at 7:00 AM, a button will be pressed.  An implosion will occur, and that too will be gone.

New York Giants v Dallas Cowboys

Gone as surely as if it never existed.  But it did exist, and the memories remain.  Memories that can never be lost.

Memories that will never be forgotten.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Football News

The big news of the day is, the Eagles have traded quarterback Donovan McNabb to the Redskins. Now, most Philly fans seem to be glad to see him go, but the question remains, why strengthen a division opponent? In the 2009 season, the Redskins did not win a single division game. They went 0-6 in the NFC East prompting one commentator to quip, "The Giants owned the Cowboys, the Cowboys owned the Eagles, the Eagles owned the Giants, and EVERYBODY owned the Redskins." Now, the analysts seem to think that this will benefit the Redskins, enough so that they may actually keep the Eagles out of the playoffs this year. Whether that happens remains to be seen. However, the move doesn't bother Cowboys nose tackle Jay Ratliff. Said he,"mcnabb to redskins. makes no difference to me. he'll still have to answer to me twice a year."

Dallas Cowboys v Kansas City Chiefs

In other football news, the Cowboys have cut safety Ken Hamlin and pro bowl left tackle Flozell Adams. Now, Hamlin won't be missed. He was pretty much a non factor in the Cowboys defense. He had been cut by the Seahawks because he just wasn't a player. The Cowboys picked him up. He had one good season, but when he got his long term contract, he became a non factor in the Dallas secondary. Get this-- seven passes defensed. Yep, that is his official stat for the 2009 season. Seven. And when the best thing the coaches can say about you is that you tell everybody where to line up, that says a lot.

Minnesota Vikings v Dallas Cowboys

Flo, on the other hand, well that breaks my heart. He is one of the best left tackles in the league. Now, before you all start squealing about his false starts, he only had 5 last season. And did you know that Jason Witten had more than that? Nobody is squawking for him to be cut. And you know why? Because the only time an offensive lineman gets noticed is when he doesn't do his job. And Flo was good at his job. Good enough to cause Justin Tuck to lash out in frustration, calling Flo a "dirty player". Good enough for Tuck to start fights, for which Flo always seemed to get blamed--and fined. But Tuck started them, every one.

The Cowboys opponents this year featured some of the best pass rushers in the league. But they were a non factor. Justin Tuck--zero sacks; Osi Umenyiora -- zero sacks; Julius Peppers -zero sacks; But then, we all saw what happened in Minnesota when Flo went out with an injury. In case you missed that game, I'll tell you what happened: the Minnesota D ate Tony Romo for lunch setting a single game record for sacks allowed in a post season game. Yep, Flo was good at what he did, but age is creeping up on the old man. He'll be 35 next month, and in football years, that's great grandpaw. Still, three other teams have already contacted him. It was a big gamble Jerry took in cutting him--much like the gamble he took last year in cutting Terrell Owens.

Doug Free is to be Flo's heir apparent at left tackle. The question, though, is if he can do the job. He couldn't handle Jared Allen, but then he was just a backup. As starter, he will get all the reps in practice, and that will definitely improve his game.

That's how Flo got so good. Because in practice, he had to go up against....

Baltimore Ravens v Dallas Cowboys

DeMarcus Ware.

And that'll make a man out of ya real quick.


Sunday, April 04, 2010

Happy Easter

Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, for he is risen!

Saturday, April 03, 2010

An Easter Story

Back when I was coming up, we didn't have spring break in our schools. We had Easter holidays. We were off the whole week before Easter. I didn't even know what spring break was until I got to college.

Every year, my aunt and uncle, and my four cousins from Alabama would come visit us at Christmas. Every year, my parents, and us four kids from Texas would go visit them at Easter. We always came home before Easter, though.

One year, my grandparents decided that they were going to go, too. Now, when my parents drove, we went about half way then stopped and spent the night. My grandparents drove straight through. It was only a 10 hour drive, but my mother couldn't stand being in the car with us for that long. Well, that year that my grandparents went, it was decided that my brother and I were old enough to go with them. I was 8 or 9, and Rus was 10 or 11.

So we did. My parents and younger siblings came later. They also left before we did. I think they left on Thursday, and Grandma, Grandpa, Rus, and I stayed through Easter Sunday. Our mother told us that our Easter baskets would be waiting for us when we got home.

That Saturday, the day before Easter, my Aunt Shirley called Rus and me into the kitchen with her. She had something to tell us. Our mother had sent some candy with us to Alabama (which we didn't know), but Aunt Shirley had forgotten to get it out of the back of her car where she had hidden it. She had called us in there to tell us our candy had melted. Once she reassured us that we could still eat it, it just didn't look like a rabbit any more, it was all OK.

That Sunday morning, there amidst our cousins' baskets, with their lovely dyed eggs, jelly beans, and chocolate bunnies, were our two misshapen blobs with their little candy eyes staring up at us.

But you know, of all the Easter bunnies I've had throughout my life. Those are the ones I remember.


Friday, April 02, 2010

Even More Adventures In Italian

Back when I was in the Navy, I spent three years stationed in Italy. I picked up quite a bit of Italian, though I was never fluent in the language. Often times, the language barrier caused humorous misunderstandings. I've recounted a couple of them in two previous posts. However, not all the gaffs were on the Italian side of the story.

I'd gone downtown with a friend of mine named Jon. Usually, when we went downtown, we took the Metropolitana--or the mass transit train system -- into Piazza Garibaldi, the main square in the center of Naples. But on this day, for some reason we got off at a different station. I don't know why. Maybe we just wanted to see a different part of Naples. Anyway, we walked around a bit, saw the sights, then decided we were ready to go back to base.

Problem is, we were lost. We had no idea where the train station was. We looked for it for a while, then Jon stopped three Italian men and asked them were it was. They were going that way, they said. We could walk with them and they would show us.

While we were walking, one of the Italian gentlemen pulled out a cigarette and lit it. Jon also pulled out a cigarette and asked the Italian man, "Luce? Luce?" (Pronounced LOO-chay) The Italian guy looked confused, and Jon held up his cigarette and made a gesture as if lighting a lighter. The Italian understood that, and lit Jon's cigarette.

Then Jon turned to me and said, "Doesn't luce mean light?"

"Yes," I said, "but it means light like sunlight or a lightbulb. If you want to light a cigarette, you have to ask for a fiammifero (match) or fuoco (fire)."

It had been a damp, drizzly day all day, and about that time, the rain started in earnest. Jon asked the three Italian men if it snowed much in Naples. Mind that all this conversation was taking place in a combination of Italian and English. A couple of them understood some English, but not that much. Jon understood some Italian, but not that much. By combining the two languages, we managed a fairly decent conversation.

So, Jon asked them if it snowed much, and they responded that no, it hardly ever snowed in Naples. With an exaggerated expression of confusion, Jon looked up at the sky, and held out his hands as if to catch the rain.

"Jon," I said, "You just asked them if it snowed."

"No, I didn't. I asked them if it rained," was Jon's response.

"No, neve means snow."

"Neve means rain," Jon argued.

"Piove means rain. Neve means snow," I insisted.

"No it doesn't," Jon said, still arguing.

One of the Italians, the one who spoke the best English, jumped in at that point and backed me up. "Neve is snow. Small, white, cold."

By that time, we were at the train station. We thanked the Italian men, and they went on. We got back on the Metropolitana and headed back to base.

That's kind of the way it was with me, when I was over there. I understood quite a bit of Italian, but was always too timid to try to speak in the language. Jon had no idea what he was saying half the time, but he would talk to anyone--or at least he'd try to.

I wish I'd been a little more like that.


Thursday, April 01, 2010

No Joke

As much as I might want it to be, this is no April Fool's joke. The man is serious.

This really is one of your elected officials. I have to admire the admiral for managing not to burst out laughing on the spot.

(Sorry about the formatting. I tried to resize the video, but it was just determined to stay that big.)


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