If you get pulled over in Arizona . . .

July 26, 2010

Has Arizona’s legislature thought about this question?

Si un policia me dice “papeles” y yo le digo “tijeras” . . . gano yo?


Dan Valentine – Romans in ballcaps

June 5, 2010

By Dan Valentine

Ensenada Backpacker. “The hostel of the city.”

Two Italian women – mid-twenties, thereabouts; both beautiful; full of life; educated – walk out of the women’s dorm room, after a night’s sleep.

They’ve been here a couple of days.

One blond, one dark-haired. They both speak several languages. Italian, German, English, Spanish. Fluently. Of course! (It’s a European thing.)

In the United States, we’re lucky to learn English.

“Where are you going today?” I asked. No need for an answer, really. It was early morning. I was making coffee.

“We don’t know yet,” said one. “It’s our last night.”

“Where are you going from here?” I asked. Just making conversation.

“South,” she said.

“Less Americans,” I quipped.

“That’s good!” she said, and meant it.

“I agree,” I said.

And they both laughed. No explanation needed. Humor is identification. And Italians, faster than others, should/can/do connect the dots.

In the eyes of the world, both north and south of the border, across the seven seas, in and around and in between, and to a growing number of citizens born and bred in the United States, we are looked upon as:

Romans in ballcaps!

Chain-store togas (“You’re gonna like what you wear”), Nike clogs.

A nation fast-galloping into its Ben-Hur phase …

Christians and others fed to the lions on “Dancing With the Stars”. Credit card money-lenders …

If Christ were to return any day soon, where do you think He’d end up?

Gitmo is a good guess. No nails but lots of water. If I remember right, Charlton Heston gave Him a much needed sip on His way to, well, you-know-where.

I, myself, think He’d be picked up as a babbling vagrant on the streets of a southern town, locked up in a prison cell at night, tending some rich cattleman’s herd during the day, a short ways from the facility, and after some twenty years – after a lawyer has proven Him innocent of all charges and collected a large fee – let go. Then, looking up to the heavens, I think He would say, “They do not know what they do. Get me the hell outta here.”

In short, deja vu all over again.

Romans in ballcaps.


Kicking U.S. butt even when we’re trying to study their language

May 10, 2010

Who gets the most out of this exchange?

“This country doesn’t value teachers, and that upsets me,” she said. “Teachers don’t earn much, and this country worships making money. In China, teachers don’t earn a lot either, but it’s a very honorable career.”

Ms. Zheng said she spent time clearing up misconceptions about China.

“I want students to know that Chinese people are not crazy,” she said. For instance, one of her students, referring to China’s one-child-per-family population planning policy, asked whether the authorities would kill one of the babies if a Chinese couple were to have twins.

Some students were astonished to learn that Chinese people used cellphones, she said. Others thought Hong Kong was the capital.

Barry Beauchamp, the Lawton superintendent, said he was thrilled to have Ms. Zheng and two other Chinese instructors working in the district. But he said he believed that the guest teachers were learning the most from the cultural exchange.

“Guest Teaching Chinese and Learning America,”  Sam Dillon, New York Times, May 9, 2010, page A14.


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