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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

A January Wednesday

Mia nomo estas Chris.

I've been toying around with the idea of learning Esperanto for years. There's something about a language with no nationality that appeals to me...

Esperanto is a "made-up" language, built by a Dr. Zamenhoff over a hundred years ago. It seems to be a very logical language, and they claim it's easier to learn than any other language. (As an example, if you put a "J" at the end of a word [pronounced like a "Y"] it turns that word plural. Logical! If there's an "ino" at the end of a word, it's feminine. Simple!)

La granda virinoj estas varmaj.
The large women are warm.


So, after reading the introduction and part of the first lesson in a "Learn to Speak Esperanto" book, I'm ready to tackle the world... Or at least I'm ready to tackle simple grammar. It's hard, however, to learn a new language in a vacuum, especially when I can only spend fifteen minutes at a shot at the task. I'm hoping that by the time I chew my way through the book I'll be able to find a few people on-line to chat with every now and then. I'm not sure I'll find any real live Esperantists here in Sioux City...

Mi kato estas granda.
My cat is large.


Can you imagine how much money the European Union would save in a year if the diplomats all took six weeks to learn Esperanto rather than insisting that each of the 27 nations' delegates be allowed to speak their own language when in session? The way it stands now, the French delegation to the EU needs a translator for each and every other language in Europe - someone to translate Polish into French, English into French, German into French, Italian into French, etc. Same with all the other delegations. Imagine how much easier it would be for everyone involved if they all learned the same language. Esperanto is perfect for that, as it's not tied to any particular nationality...

Vi odoras kiel krokodilo.
You smell like a crocodile.

But, for the moment, I'm getting tired of playing around with the six words I know, and I'm impatient to learn all the rest of them pesky words. I hate being a neophyte. I want to be proficient. Now.

Plian bieron, mi petas.
Another beer, please.


Speaking of beer...


Tonight's the weekly jam session at the Chesterfield. I do think I'm gonna take my own bass this time... I'm supposed to be the "club photographer" (click HERE to see the photos) but I always end up playing anyway (which is fun!), so I might as well take my own bass so I can be comfortable whilst trying to remember that pesky chorus to that odd AC/DC song I played once twelve years ago... The "Club Bass" they have available for everyone to use is a fine bass guitar indeed, but it always feels like I'm trying on someone else's shoes or something when I play it.

I encourage everyone in and around Sioux City to pop in to the jam session every once in a while. It really is pretty fun! And they sell beer there, too, which is always a bonus! The jam happens most every Wednesday...


Inundation Galore!


"Are you okay?" hollered my little Austrian Chickadee from the other room. "Are you choking on something?"

"No," I answered. "I'm okay. Just checking my e-mail." I stared at the screen, agog.

"Vhat's mit der funny noise you just made?" asked my wife as she put a freshly washed plate in the cupboard.

I got up from the computer and wandered towards the kitchen. "I didn't mean to make a funny noise. I was just surprised is all. Something's wrong with our e-mail."

"Ve hardly ever get any real e-mail," my Snookums replied. "Just junk mail."

"That's the problem. I have over one-thousand three hundred junk mails in my in-box, just from this afternoon." (That number still astonishes me. 1,300. Wow.) I paused for a second. "And none of them are even addressed to me. They're all 'Message Undeliverable' junk messages, sent by someone else, with my e-mail as the return address."

"Thirteen hundred messages? Wow! We need to do something about that," said my wife. She kissed me on the nose, then turned her attention back to the dishes.

Back at the computer I started doing a little poking around. I went to my cPanel and changed my catch-all address to "black hole" messages that aren't addressed specifically to Dagmar or myself (it used to be that if anyone send an e-mail with our domain name in the address it would come to my in-box, no matter what the specific address was). Then I checked the on-line spam catcher. There were another 5,800 bogus e-mails waiting for me there. Over seven thousand spams in one day.

A day or two later it looks like my changes at the cPanel worked, at least for one of my e-mail accounts. Between Dagmar and myself, though, we're still getting over 200 junk mails a day. It makes it VERY difficult to sort through all of it to find the two or three "real" messages we get. I'm afraid we've probably missed a few good e-mails in the past few weeks and deleted 'em along with the bad...

So, if I can't find a way to get rid of those last 200 spam messages we get every day, I may resort to whitelisting two of our e-mail addresses. (That means that if you send us a message, you'll get an e-mail back right away asking you if you're a real live human. You have to answer once, then you can e-mail us hassle-free from then on.) I hope that no one will be offended if we go to that system - we're not trying to limit our e-mails from real live people by any means! We're just getting tired of going through so much junk mail all the time...


Oh, man... Another case of the "Gottahaveits."

Apple just announced that they're releasing a new cell phone next June. Normally, the announcement that someone's making a new cell phone wouldn't get my attention, but when Apple does anything, it's exciting. No exception with the iPhone...

The thing's just plain cool... You can poke around and see all the neat features it has on Apple's website (which is worth doing). It's a cell phone, iPod MP3 player, and Blackberry all rolled into one, with no buttons. It has the coolest touch-screen I've ever seen... Just looking at pictures of it makes me happy. Go buy stock in Apple. This is gonna be a big seller.

The problem? The battery only lasts six hours between recharges, and the blessed thing's expected to cost $600. Six-hundred dollars is a lot of money for something I'm gonna carry around in my pocket. I'd be afraid to use it...

But I want one anyway. (I'll get over it, I know. The first thing is to pay my myriad debts. THEN I'll get the toys.)


Hypocrisy

One small bit of the world just got a bit more sane. About a zillion years ago when I was in National Guard the federal government proclaimed that There Shall Be No Smoking on Government Property. Except, of course, for Congress. They could still smoke... Until today. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi just banned smoking in the Speaker's Lobby.

'Bout time.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Katrocket said...

I'm not sure if you've ever seen a TV comedy called SCTV (Second City Television, 1976-84). It was Canada's version of SNL, and launched the careers of John Candy, Harold Ramis, Rick Moranis, Martin Short and so many others. In the late 80s, they aired an episode that was entirely in Esperanto. The fact that root words are so recognizable, yet so odd and funny-sounding, made this hilarious experiment a longtime cult fave here. I looked all over for a YouTube clip to share with you, but I came up empty. Darn. You would've loved it!

(HEY! Get this! The word verification for this post is "dagmjr" !!! spooky!)

3:21 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Yeah, I used to catch SCTV every once in a while -- some of it was pretty corny, some of it was excellent, it was all interesting... I'll have to see if I can find the "Esperanto" episode! I didn't know they did that - what a cool idea, to do a comedy routine in a language hardly anyone knows, but almost everyone can almost, but not quite, recognize...

Dagmar, Dagmjr - cosmic coincidence?

3:33 PM  
Blogger mwd said...

Esperanto?
But ENGLISH is our official language! Living in your congressional district, you should be more sensitive to these things.
:-)

3:34 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

HA! I saw that our esteemed elected lizard from the Fighting Fifth District has now sued Iowa's head election guy for having Spanish on the ballots or some such rot. I'd like to learn a new language just to be able to swear at narrow-minded people more effectively.

Besides, "I'd like to learn Esperanto. It'd be fun to go there someday..."

4:41 PM  

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