Wednesday, April 28, 2010

"think" like a native

part of a series on hot tips for doing things well

what do you sound like when you are thinking? in the middle of a conversation, if you have to think for a second, you say something like "umm..." or "uhh...". if you are talking to someone who is not a native English speaker, one of the telltale signs is that they don't properly express "duh." As an accomplished language non-learner* one of the things i look for in a language is how to sound like you are thinking.

En Francais:
the most important thing here is to tighten your lips into as small and as tight of a circle as you can. now everything you say will sound a little bit french. go ahead and try. "baguette", "oui oui mademoiselle". good. to "duh" from here, just say "eh" but with the circle.
advanced technique:
you can stretch these words as long as you have breath in your lungs:
francaispronunciation anglais
parce quuuuuuuuuuuuuue ... parse kuhbecauuuuuuuse ... 
maaaaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis ... maybuuuuuuuuuuuut ... 
eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet ... ayaaaaaaaaaaand ... 
Voila! Tu es TRES Francais!

i haven't quite figured this one out, but i have a couple. the good news is that their "uh" seems to sound just like ours. i've been listening to some norwegian radio, and to my untrained ears, these seem to be good bets.
norskpronunciation engelsk
fordiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii ... fordybecauuuuuuuse ... 
mennnnnnnnnnn uhh ... men uhhbuuuuuut uhhh ... 
og uhhhhhhhhh ... oh(g) uhhand uhhhhhhh ... 
Ja! Du forstå norsk!

now this one is fun. 
rastapronunciation english
brrrrr...rrrrop!! puddin' pop!! (none) 
lord have mercy lawdamerseylord, show thy mercy unto us
(abrupt loud horn noises) (play a horn)(BWAAAAAAH BWAH BWAH BWAH BWAAAAAAH)
Ah wah dis likkle sinting yuh a gi me?

now, if you have mastered the ability of letting other people speak and just leading them with a word here and there, you can now use interminable duh's to bait people into finishing your thoughts. then just point at them (in countries where that is an acceptable gesture) and nod like they just read your mind!


* non-language learner qulaifications: i have taken 4 years of high school french, one pimsleur spanish lesson, and about a week's worth of fumbling with various online resources and one physical book trying to learn norwegian. but so far i still only speak english.

Friday, April 16, 2010

nfrh accident report, brought to you by ACCIDENT BEAR

this a special report from ACCIDENT BEAR!!!

LOOK OUT!!!! or the next accident could be yours. please take a seat and take a moment to mind any slippery liquids, flammable items, or sharp objects that might be located nearby. i don't want anybody to get hurt. EVER!

OK, here is the accident report from a reliable source (ABC):

i couldn't watch it! what happened?! these documented accidents are just a small sample of what can happen if you aren't careful. millions upon millions of wild animals are killed each year on America's roads, so i wear a traffic cone on my head! GO AROUND! oh my god. what are you doing to keep safe? how are you still alive?!

stealing traffic cones is illegal, so it can get you into trouble, which is dangerous! i'm just a bear! you can't arrest a bear! people: don't steal. animals: do what you need to do. are you in a car? WATCH OUT! there could be an animal or a person or a person dressed up as an animal or ANYTHING on the road! there won't be an animal dressed as a person! that almost never happens!!

until next time, "OH MY GOD PLEASE BE SAFE."

Thursday, April 15, 2010


GUYS, i have been so busy. "what have you been doing?" oh, nice of you to ask. things are warming up here so life in general is thawing out a bit. there is more to do and more to see. but! this is only a small part of my business (busy-ness?). i have been working on From America With Love. this deserves a new paragraph.

From America With Love is an awesome project started by some of my friends in Gainesville. the goal is to connect people who need stuff in Haiti, with people who have stuff in America or elsewhere. Haiti is still in dire need of a lot of stuff after that earthquake literally and figuratively rocked the country. we have a database that is soon to fill up with a ton of data about needs and offers for Haiti.

SO, if you know anyone who has aid to give to Haiti, or know of any group within Haiti that needs help, let me know so we can get them involved. this is a fully baked project. we are serious guys with serious donations and serious blessings from the Haitian prime minister and other government officials. we are the real deal!

i know only a few people read this thing, so spread the word! i don't have a great link to share, we are still getting things ramped up, but the database is up and ready so i can personally help people get their offers or needs in the system. there will be more news on this as it develops. reach out to me at