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Author Topic: Geezerville 4  (Read 2362 times)

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Magispook

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Geezerville 4
« on: November 16, 2005, 08:02:21 AM »

Parlez vous a humma-humma? - When I was assigned at Plattsburgh, NY, the comedy series Cheers was very popular.  Among the agents in our detachment, we had personalities that closely matched the characters on the show.  Our big boss was Coach, an occasionally obnoxious narc agent was Carla, we had a probationary agent who reminded everyone of Woody (we even nicknamed him Woody), we had a Norm and a Diane.  No one fit the character of Sam.  Guess who yours truly was?  Cliff Claven.  Always had something to say about any subject.  Guilty as charged.  The thing is, however, I’ve encountered so many things I don’t have to make 'em up.  I’ve lived and worked all over the world and there’s lots I can talk about.  Speaking of travel, I highly recommend learning at least some phrases of the country in which you plan to travel.  You will make friends quickly and earn some goodwill from the locals since you’re showing respect for them by at least trying to speak the language.  That goodwill goes a long way and your efforts, for the most part, bring out the good in people.  Those travel phrase books are good, especially when you simply point to the phrase you want to speak.  Two things are accomplished this way:  you get your point across and you get to hear how the locals say it.  Unless you have had some good instruction on pronunciation, attempts at pronouncing foreign phrases can prove humorous, at least in hindsight.  For example, when I first started speaking Korean, I studied the phrase book for things I could say often such as “do you mind if I sit here” for when riding a bus.  Problem was, there was a “t” on a verb in the phrase that is actually silent but is shown as a “t” in the English pronunciation.  If you pronounce the “t” you change the verb to a noun.  The first time I used the phrase was on a bus in Korea.  The way I pronounced it was to pleasantly ask of the young lady in the seat “do you mind if I sit on my penis?”  (Oh, and I used the vulgar word for penis).  She did not offer me the seat.  Imagine my embarrassment when I later repeated the phrase for my Korean wife and she told me what I actually said.  I’m not alone in making foreign language faux pas.  A friend was on a socializing night out with the local constabulary.  One of the local guys brought his girlfriend along.  Blue jeans were all the craze in Asia at that time.  My friend thought he said “I see you have blue jeans” to compliment the young lady wearing them.  She blushed.  All the locals burst out laughing.  Instead of using a short “o” on the noun, he used a long “o.”  My friend had remarked “I see you have a blue vagina.”  He had used the vulgar term for vagina, too.   I rarely make such mistakes in Korean anymore.  I learned the language by living among Koreans and can even fool folks over the phone.  They are quite surprised to see a white guy when they finally meet up with me.  It was two decades, though, before I got to take a couple college courses in the language.  Got good grades of course.  I was pretty good at it.  I recall writing an insert for my evaluation at work indicating my skill had helped resolve some difficulties and summed up with the phrase “he’s a cunning linguist.”  Yep, we tried to slip stuff in all the time–it kept the proofreaders on their toes.  The insert was rejected and I had to put something else in–sometimes they just didn’t have a sense of humor at all.  Honest mistakes regarding foreign languages happen.  Sometimes they are on purpose.  I recall one of the favorite practical jokes to pull on the newbies when they got to Germany involved the signs on the restrooms.  “Damen” was the ladies room.  “Herren” was the mens room.  When asked which was the mens room, invariably the response was “think about it: da MEN-- HER ren would be the opposite.”  So the guys would dutifully go into the ladies room and get the typical reaction.  Great fun.  Fortunately, I had taken a quick course in German when I knew I was going to be there so they didn’t get me on that one.  No one told me about the putzfrau though. Or Fasching.  A putzfrau is a woman who cleans, among other rooms, the restroom.  She will come into the mens room and start cleaning while the guys are still in it.  It was always disconcerting for me–I have trouble enough getting the pump started, much less when a lady comes into the mens room and starts cleaning the fixture next to me.  I usually packed things away and sneaked back later to take care of business.  That was compounded on Fasching day when the putzfrau carried a big pair of scissors–not something a guy wants to see a woman bringing into the mens room.  Tradition has it that on Fasching Day, a woman has the right to cut off half of your tie if she deems it is not fashionable.  Purely by coincidence, I did not wear a tie on that day.  My taste in ties is poor and I’m sure I would have only half a tie but be compensated by having a great war story to tell.  Oh, and I should note that I have never seen a young and beautiful putzfrau–I would have had different problems standing in front of the fixture if that had happened.  Speaking of the prudish nature of we Americans, there is a clothing optional park in Munich called Englisher Gartens.  I had discovered this fact on a previous trip to Munich.  Being ornery by nature, and finding Munich a great place to do the tourist thing, I took my church deacon wife for a walk through the park without telling her of the "special" nature of the park.  Boy was her face red!  I just enjoyed the view.  I guess it was the total nudity that got her.  I can’t speak for the present situation since I haven’t been to Korea for ten years but the last time I was there, women had to go through the mens room to get to the ladies room at all the interstate rest stops.  Being a white guy that Asians will stare at anyhow, you know I just held it until I got to my destination, back teeth floating and all.  And speaking of practical jokes language-wise, one of my Army friends was stationed in Japan and asked one of her co-workers how to say thank you (domo arigato).  He did not tell her that phrase.  He told her a different one.  So, when she got out of a taxi, she cheerfully told the taxi driver to suck a piece of anatomy that she, being female, did not have.  The taxi driver gave her a quizzical look.  Ah, the joys of language and the exposure to different cultures.  I’m glad I had the opportunities though.  The traditional thing to do when writing the last sentence in a paragraph is to sum it all up and tie it in with the first sentence.  I just don’t see how I can do it with the hodgepodge of stuff above.  So, I will end with what I consider one of the funniest exchanges on Cheers and most folks never even heard it.  It happened during fadeout at the end of the show and concerned one of those philosophical arguments one occasionally encounters over beers: “......if that’s true, then the Roadrunner is actually the Anti-Christ.......”
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weaver

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Geezerville 4
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2005, 01:52:04 PM »

Domo, Domo arigato
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RiJoRi

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Geezerville 4
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2005, 02:09:11 PM »

:lolred  :lolred Oh, my goodness, 'Spook! Ya ought to warn people!  :lolred  :lolred It's a good thing I didn't have my coffee when I read about your Korean problem ! I laughed for two minutes! At Work! (Good thing I learned to bellow in silence  :giggle )

Knowing a little of a language can help here in the States, too. People appreciate it, even if it's just "Good morning!" in their own language. ("Yes" and "No" also help.)

--Rich
You mean the Roadrunner is not the AntiChrist??? :giggle
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Magispook

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Re: Geezerville 4
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2006, 07:20:21 PM »

Newspaper- Saw a guy reading a newspaper while standing in line at the store today.  With so much news available on TV, radio, and the internet, it's a wonder newspapers still survive.  Sure, they can be recycled and there's so much you can use 'em for other than just reading but I believe they will stay awhile longer for another reason, at least to us "older" folks.  Reason:  you can touch 'em.  You can feel the texture of the paper, hear it crinkle when you turn the page, and smell the smell of ink.  If you write a letter to the editor, you can see, on paper, your opinion plastered on the editorial page for all to see and discuss.  When I gather info from the electronic mediums, I am in gathering mode and I want the info fast.  So fast sometimes, it's liking taking a drink from a fire hose.  I'm in working mode, you see.  When I read the newspaper, I take my time and savor how an article is written, try to find the nuances there, look at the ads, try to see if there is anything local about folks I know, etc.  In short, newspaper reading is recreational for me.  Electronic reading is work.  Whaddaya think?  Is that a sure sign of a geezer or what?
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Magispook

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Re: Geezerville 4
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2006, 07:47:23 PM »

Hang gliding - I’m reading essays written by Mark Twain this week.  His writings are timeless.  Right now, I’m reading his essay on learning to ride a bicycle at age 50.  For some reason, I have no idea why, my thoughts turned to hang gliding.  I took a hang gliding course fifteen years ago in Germany.  Was all gung-ho about it after the class and was going to buy my own kite when I had the money.  One of my classmates, whose wife is German, thought he could convince his brother-in-law to let us fly off a hill on his farm.  Alas, I never was able to get the funds to buy a used glider, much less a brand new one.  My classmate never bought one either–we met a few times after Germany-I had recommended him for a position similar to mine and he got it.  I have a friend who is currently visiting at Nag’s Head.  I encouraged her to get a tandem flight with one of the hang gliding outfits there.  Hang gliding (solo or tandem) is a rush that has to be experienced if you ever get the opportunity.  Would love to take it up again (still can’t afford even a used kite) but the intervening years have put some obstacles in my way.  I’ve gained about ten pounds, developed a bum wrist so I would be hard-pressed to hold the kite properly to launch, my knees are slowly going all achy on me, and then there’s the insurance problem.  I make it a point to read insurance affecting me and my policy specifically states it is null and void if I’m injured hang gliding.  Pure male bovine effluvia!  Any actuary  will tell you that golf is statistically more dangerous than hang gliding.  No, really, it’s true!  But try to convince an insurance company of that.  I guess it’s all for the best.  Hang gliding is addictive and can be expensive if you travel to fly or have some form of accident.  Also you end up hanging around the terminally young, try to keep up with ‘em, secretly put liniment on your aching joints, and sneak aspirin when they’re not looking.  Plus you have to hold in your protruding belly when the good-looking ladies are around.  You can only hold it in for so many minutes at a time before you face turns blue.  I always thought a hang glider would be an excellent bug-out vehicle if I was Lone Rangering it.  Not good for use for a family since you can only get two people at best aboard.  It would be great to fly over the grid-locked traffic evacuating below.  Fly over your proposed bug-out location and get realtime info on the lay of the land and possible problems.  During youth one can do stupid things, not worry about the outcome, and most often survive without significant injury.  As one ages and gains more responsibility and, hopefully, more knowledge and experience, one finds it necessary to shift their view and actions from what is fun to what is safe even though the spirit is still willing to do the edgy things. Gee, it would be great to get back in harness again.  Ain’t gonna happen, though.   At some point I’ll disagree with the following observation about the geezer shift but not as of yet: “sucks, don’t it?”
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Magispook

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Re: Geezerville 4
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2006, 08:20:04 PM »

Frog - The joke goes:  an 84 year old guy is fishing and dozes off.  He hears a tiny voice say "pick me up,"  looks around, sees no one, and concludes he must have been dreaming.  He again hears the same voice say "pick me up."  Sees no one again.  He hears the same phrase again, looks down, and sees a frog who says "pick me up."  So he picks up the frog.  The frog says "kiss me and I'll turn into an attractive woman and I'll be your love-slave for the rest of your life."  The old geezer asks the frog to repeat.  The frog says "kiss me and I'll turn into an attractive woman and I'll be your love-slave for the rest of your life."  The old guy picks up the frog but hesitates.  Then, without kissing it, he places it in his pocket.  The frog incredulously asks "what are you doing--didn't you hear my offer?"  The old guy patted the pocket containing the frog and replied "at my age, I think I'll be happier with a talking frog."  Geez, I hope I never get to that stage.  There are certain aspects of my life I am unwilling to give up, ever.  Of course, at one time, I thought people over 30 were ancient.
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CountryLady

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Re: Geezerville 4
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2006, 10:01:45 PM »

Magispook said....“sucks, don’t it?”

CountryLady replies....“Sure does!” :lol
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