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Thursday, March 31, 2005

Bilingual Joke for the Day...Spanish Computer

Here is a joke forwarded to me by our bilingual expert Sandrita.

A Spanish teacher was explaining to her class that in Spanish, unlike English, nouns are designated as either masculine or feminine. "House" for instance, is feminine: "la casa." "Pencil," however, is masculine: "el lapiz."

A student asked, "What gender is 'computer'?"

Instead of giving the answer, the teacher split the class into two groups, male and female, and asked them to decide for themselves whether "computer" should be a masculine or a feminine noun. Each group was asked to give three reasons for its recommendation.

The men's group decided that "computer" should definitely be of the
feminine gender ("la computer"), because:

1. No one but their creator understands their internal logic;
2. Even the smallest mistakes are stored in long term memory for possible later retrieval; and
3. As soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself spending half your paycheck on accessories for it.

The women's group, however, concluded that computers should be Masculine ("el computer"), because:

1. They have a lot of data but still can't think for themselves;
2. They are supposed to help you solve problems, but half the time they ARE the problem; and
3. As soon as you commit to one, you realize that if you had waited a little longer, you could have gotten a better model.

The women won.


Sunday, March 27, 2005

ˇFelices Pascuas!

¡Felices Pascuas! Happy Easter to all! I've had quite a few inquiries lately asking "where have the newsletters gone??" Well I've taken a bit of a break in the last couple of months, as I've been in the process of moving up to Alaska - my birthplace and a place I'm delighted to be living once again! Our shipping office is still in Seattle (where it will stay, shipping from AK is apparently very slow...), so there's been quite a bit of back and forth in recent months, giving me less time to focus on the newsletter. I've also been working on some software development, and have been taking online courses in programming, which has been fascinating but also provided me with yet another distraction.

I have no plans to abandon the newsletter though! In fact, some of the software ideas in development are for Spanish learning programs - so don't be surprised if you see some interactive web things popping up right here. Technology has been changing so fast lately, it's quite amazing what you can do these days - and it bodes very well for online learning! I've been particularly impressed with some of the e-learning tutorials I've done. Most have a video format where you can follow the instructor step by step. I had no idea e-learning could be so effective - I'm hoping to implement some of this technology on my websites in the near future.

But back to the fabulous holiday at hand: Pascua and Semana Santa! (translation: Easter and Holy Week). This is the holiest time of year in Latin America and Spain, producing the largest celebrations with some of the most elaborate costumes and rituals. As a gringo down there, watching a Holy Week parade can be a bit of an eye opener: they tend to be quite graphic in their representations of the events surrounding Christ's crucifixion. While I didn't do a formal lesson this week about it, you may enjoy reading a bit more in the following articles:

Articles & Links: Easter in Mexico from

This site has a great selection of articles, personal accounts, and photo displays from Semana Santa in Mexico.

Blog: Craig and Stephs Vacations, Semana Santa in Antigua, Guatemala

The processions and celebrations in Antigua, Guatemala are considered by many to be the most elaborate and fantastic in all of Latin America. This blog has a lot of detail and some lovely pictures, definitely worth a look.


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