Monday, June 29, 2009

Heads or Tails - "Tool" - 6/29/09

Barb S at Heads or Tails provides a weekly prompt to challenge our creativity. This week's prompt is "tool". As usual, when I participate, I write the first thing that comes to mind. This week is no exception. Here is my carefully crafted post for this week. It is the most factual post I have ever written:

Bernard Madoff is a tool.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Dutch 101 - 6/19/09

I have recently taken a job as a shuttle driver. I transport interns from their quarters to resort hotels that employ/train them. The company I work for is called American Hospitality Academy. I absolutely love this employment. With my level of road rage, it is surprising that I would enjoy piloting a 15 passenger van through Myrtle Beach summer traffic with house music blaring from the radio. I have displayed to my charges some new hand gestures and words they may not have been familiar with when another driver makes an incredibly stupid maneuver. I will write more posts about my continuing adventures as an underachiever, but today is about my daily encounter with a foreign language. Although I have traveled extensively abroad, I am essentially unilingual.

The majority of the young people that I convey are foreign students. Though they come from the far corners of the world, the preponderance are young ladies from The Netherlands. Oddly, there are no Dutch men in the program, only women. No complaints here. This would be an appropriate place for an inappropriate joke about fingers in the dyke, but I will take the high road. I don't think Hans Brinker even knew Ellen Degeneres.

Though they are exceptionally beautiful women and extremely nice, they speak only Dutch to each other. Through our contact, I have had the opportunity to overhear countless conversations in their native tongue. It is a very harsh language and requires a large amount of guttural throat action, with lots of consonants. Ks and Zs are very prominent. Sounds a little like Klingon. There is probably a reason you have heard many French, Spanish, and Italian songs, but probably none in Dutch. It is not very melodic. It makes German sound like poetry. Hearing this language on a daily basis, I don't think that a woman had anything to do with Vincent Van Gogh cutting off his ear and I now know why Eddie Van Halen never sings.

I will demonstrate by taking a verse of one of the most beautiful poems ever written, translate it to Dutch (very roughly) and then back to English. I invite you to read it aloud in Dutch and enjoy the flow. Then, have some fun imagining if Elizabeth Barrett Browning was Dutch and her works translated to English for our pleasure.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.

Hoe denk ik houd u? Laat mij tellen van de manieren. Ik houd u aan de diepgang en breedte en hoogte mijn ziel kunnen bereiken, wanneer gevoel buiten het gezichtsveld van de uiteinden wordt en Ideal-Standard Gratie.

How think I keep you? Me lets count of the manners. I keep you to the load water-line and breadth and altitude my soul can reach, when feeling becomes outside the face field of the ends and Ideal-Standard Grace.

Don’t get me wrong, I can understand some Dutch words. Let me teach you some:
Hallo = Hello
Pardon = Excuse Me
Ja = Yes
Kat = Cat
Wat = What
Unfortunately, they don’t use enough of those type words to allow me to eavesdrop. There is one word they use constantly. It is “echt”. They tell me it means “really” but it sounds more like they are trying to expel a hairball.
There is another phrase they use often: Onze bestuurder is een vet dit. I will let you translate that if you are sufficiently interested.
As you can imagine, we have a lot of fun on our daily commute.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

55 Flash Fiction Friday - 6/11/09

Each week G-Man of 55 Flash Fiction Friday challenges us to write a piece using only 55 words.

A soulless beauty. Perfect combination of soft and firm. He realized he didn’t have the assets to keep her interested. No surprise she is ending it. She still wants to be friends. He considers that option. She possesses no qualities that he values in a friend. He passes. He watches her sway away. No regrets.