Thursday, March 31, 2005

It just goes to show how little shame I have left…

How obsessed are you with the world of blogs? Do you really really want to listen to Dave Edwards on NPR talk about blogging? With the tiny (and oh so absolutely ditsy-stupid) one minute sentence contribution by the author of Ocean? Go ahead. Listen. Click here. [Webster's def. of ditsy: eccentrically silly, giddy, or inane.] I promise you, in real life 1. I don’t quite sound so much like I just got out of bed and am wrestling with a significant hangover; 2. I am way more intelligent (the bar's not set high by my little contribution). But listen anyway, because the Pew analysis that follows the little Wisconsin blogger snippets is quite informative.

Go ahead, say it out loud: behind (as in, behind every great person…)

What did I just hear? B-hind. From you and on NPR this afternoon, no less.

When did we, even in clear, standard Walter Cronkite English, start incorporating pronunciations into our speech that are not being taught to the foreign-born (like me)? So that the foreign-born always sound…foreign-born?

I am especially confounded by the “b” words. I had to look up in the dictionary my colleague’s rendition of banal (she says it’s b-A-nal, I say it like b-hind, dropping the first vowel: b'naaaal), because I was confused by the sudden appearance of that A. It turns out that I am correct, b’nal is an accepted alternative, but who cares that I am right, if the world listening to me smiles benevolently and says – “how quaint, she follows the textbook.”

So, as I process all the new subtleties and I b’come like one of you, let me just ask, on b’half of all who have the b’lief that the first vowels are there for a reason, don’t drop them or add them without warning. Otherwise we, who don’t know any better, sound b’zarre as we enunciate our syllables, as the good Webster’s d’rects us, or drop them, not knowing that they ought to be retained. Or is it r’tained?

Krakow leading the way, continued

After rhapsodizing about Krakow’s progressive move toward creating a wireless Hot Spot in the Main Square (as well as in a number of other places, such as Kazimierz – the city’s old Jewish neighborhood ) I took a step back and considered the drawbacks (I was assisted in this by an email from Aaron, an American living in Poland).

Indeed, you can bring your laptop, open it up and surf away, right there, amidst flower stalls and groups of school children. True, you need a place to sit. The two or three benches may be unoccupied.

The numerous outdoor caf├ęs! Yes, there are those. But they pose challenges. For one thing, you can’t plug in your laptop anywhere. Thus, it’s at best, an hour’s worth of surfing or writing. (Why do batteries give out so quickly? Why why why can’t they invent a power pack that will keep a computer happily breathing for a whole day?) And there is the weather problem. I just don't see this as a viable option when I travel to Krakow in December.

I am told that if you do take out your laptop, most definitely you will be the only one doing this. And so you will be stared at. Ah well, this in itself can be gratifying. It makes you feel like you are doing something Very Important.

I don’t worry about theft so much, but I do worry about the pigeons. I may be one of the few people around who does not think it’s charming to feed pigeons on St. Marks in Venice and Rynek Glowny in Krakow. I always feel like I want to wash the soles of my shoes when I return from a hike through the Square.

Okay, I’m still shouting yay Krakow from the sidelines, but it’s a quieter shout.

In my Inbox: an email in support of one of the candidates for the presidency of the State Bar

He’s really a warm and fuzzy kind of guy:
He plants flowers and shrubs.
He feeds the birds.
He watches reruns of “Leave it to Beaver.”

My kind of man.
(does a blogger have to explain when she is not serious or will the readers catch on?)