June 2024


Whatchamacallit 91: Renouncement

This hanger was attached to a window somewhere in Germany – it is dual language with a terrible, almost literal, translation of the German text on the other side:

Liebe Gäste,

Sie verzichten gern auf ungebetene Besucher?

Dann halten Sie bitte dieses Fenster geschlossen!

Vielen Dank


always hard 2 red

I must come out of the closet: I am a spelling and grammar Taliban.

Maybe that’s a bit too dramatic. I’m not perfect and I do take shortcuts along the way.

Ultimately my goal is to communicate ideas—and each as clear as possible.

I’ve ceded some strict middle- and high-school rules. I’m not as insistent […]

Ich lese Deutsch

I have to confess that my German skills have been sneaking up on me.

For awhile I’ve realized that I can figure out the proper German structure for relatively simple sentences, but when I try to speak, the vocabulary is missing. Obviously I need to somehow work on learning the vocabulary, but since my mind […]

…cream with that?

I have lots of problems learning foreign languages.

The problems center around two issues: First, I have a terrible memory when it comes to words and the like. It takes me 50 to 100 repetitions of new words before they start to penetrate my consciousness, and then another 1,000 repetitions before I actually know the […]


So today was my weekly German lesson.

I don’t believe that I’ve really explained the history of German and me too clearly, and I’m going to leave it that way. Suffice it to say that right now I have a 90 minute weekly German lesson with a fabulous instructor at my office.

She’s fabulous because […]


During our weekly German lessons, new words are written by our teacher on the chalkboard for reference. Today I was the only student, and these are some of the words that were on the chalkboard—in no particular order.

getrocknet; benutzen; Prostituierte; schwanger; Zwillinge; andre; eineinhalb; zweieinhalb; anderthalb; beschriftet; Möbel; wichtig; komisch; berühmt; wenn

Yes, I […]


Today I was called a “memme.”

By a nurse, in German. I was in the process of going from a bright red shade of pink to a pale white.

Yes, I was having blood taken, taken for a test to see if anything obvious was causing my problem: I have an itchy patch of skin […]

The Story

The English Translation, to the German story.

“To be or not to be.”

I am (called) Carmen and my friend Pavel is practicing Hamlet. I am playing chess with Tom. We’re drinking wine. Not a good idea since we are guards. There is a rail in the office. We are guarding the world famous tapestry. […]

Die Geschichte

Last Saturday night, I accepted a challenge. I had to write a story using 15 words generated from letters in the word “Waschmaschine.” Needless to say, the story was a bit convoluted since the words were not all suggesting one theme.

Here goes the story, in German–required words are in bold:

“Sein oder nicht sein.”



I learned a quick and simple lesson at German class today. Unfortunately it is the second or third time I have failed to learn my lesson, so I could only be considered a fool.

The principle is KISS-or, as you all know, Keep It Simple Stupid.

I fail to do this. We were supposed to […]