debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
I am currently teaching a very basic level of English, to five men, three of them Turkish-speaking. Today, one of my Turkish speakers came out with these two gems:

"I want to shit in class."

"At Ramadan, we eat cock."

Another of my students asked, "What does George mean?" The word he was asking about was "choice."
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Mr. Miles)
Tempura Pedic Mattress For Sale - $275

Comes with soup and your choice of beverage?
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
The task was to write about a celebration. This was written by an African student (not mine), shared by a teacher who wishes to remain anonymous:

I was been for two days in Chicago for my friend wedding. the particularity of this celebration was "homosexual marriage gay".
I never seen before I came to u.s ,and in my life the gay wedding. The groom was my friend from Georgia. 70% of the people was just a handsome men. with a strong physical body like an athletic. I was thought about their life. Because the organisation was wonderfull, in the front of the river, the multicolor light has been deposit on the grown, around the red table. It was not a surprised for me, when it was the time to kiss a bride, that was one of the amazing moment, upon hugging each over, watever you know or not.
I will never forget this party, because I never saw that, and everything was great foods, clothes, and all organisation. I wonder that I change my mind about gay people.
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
... was, of course, found in a student essay:

One of personalities which I can introduce myself to other people is that I am organized.

For your enjoyment.
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
This from the Having Your Say section of BBC News:

Iceland's people should be ashamed of their head of nation who is married to a lesbian friend.

Please note: while your spouse should be your friend, most people don't refer to their spouses as "a friend."
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
This from Alert DC:

FEMS reports the smoke coming from the escalator at the DuPont Circle Metro was a defected elevator.

The smoke from the escalator was not smoke but an elevator?

Even better, where did the elevator defect to? What secrets is it telling? A lot of people with a lot of confidential information take that elevator! Are the Swiss now going to know all about it?
debboamerik: (Sapphist)
This week has been particularly quotey, and I feel that I haven't shared enough with you lately.

"The King could decorate a song and built a sail."

"I prefer planned tours because I don't trust myself."

"When I took it out, I thought, 'Oh my God, it's a shoe.' To find a shoe has always been my dream."

Two of these quotes are from students. One is not (hint: it's in a New York Times article). I challenge you to figure out which is which.
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
I thought, reading this book, that calling it "Bill Moyer's show" was a simple misprint, but then the error was repeated. The sentence is so typical of everything I hate about the book, and at the same time so unintentionally funny, that I thought it worth repeating here:

"Moyer was one of the handful of people whom Mack would love to meet; a brilliant and outspoken man, able to express intense compassion for both people and truth with unusual clarity."

*blink*

This isn't even the most incoherent part of the book. In the next line, the author seems to think it's possible to have visions of gravity. Which I suppose it is, in a quantum physics sort of way, but that's not how he meant it.

The book is The Shack, and please don't read it if you want to keep any of your brain cells or faith in God. Madeleine L'Engle once said that God finds bad art painful, just as we do, and that bad religious art is sacrilegious, and I agree. This book is sentimental to the point of being maudlin, ungrammatical, fulsome, and entirely lacking in humanity or complexity. It tries so hard to be a great spiritual tale that it practically hits you over the head with it. In short, this is the worst book since The Notebook, which I consider the worst book I ever read. (I didn't have much choice but to read The Notebook all the way through; I was young and needed the money. In other words, I was in Africa with very few English-language books available to me.)

I am thinking of burning this book instead of giving it to The Book Thing of Baltimore. I can't bear to think that other people may be polluted by it through my fault.
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Today, in the middle of lunchtime conversation, my coworker E. suddenly said, "Did anyone have a guy in a gorilla suit hand them a banana this morning?"

Apparently, this really happened to her as she was coming off the Metro. I came out of the same exit five minutes later; how did I miss that?
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
I had a discussion a few weeks ago with a student who argued that Alabama was the world's biggest center for organized crime and human trafficking. Now, coming from a Russian, that means a lot, but I let him know that Alabama could not be the center. I have in fact done some work in this area (organized crime, trafficking), and Alabama has never come up. Further, it doesn't have enough international traffic in the first place to come up... no major sea or air ports. Today, when I walked in to the school, he was waiting.

Student: You know how I was talking about the mafia in Alabama?

Me: Yes.

Student: I meant Albania.

...
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Mr. Miles)
As tired as I am of snow, this comment on the Washington Post Capital Weather Gang blog cracked me up:

fellow snow dancers,
should we synchronize our dances? do the gods monitor that? or are they more concerned about the quantity/quality/intensity of dance?


A good question.
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
"Two manholes reportedly experienced explosions earlier this afternoon."

I wonder how they reported that experience?
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] papertigers's best friend is here with her two kids: G., aged 10, and A., aged 3. This conversation just took place:

A.: "[livejournal.com profile] papertigers, play the thing [piano] for me, please."

[livejournal.com profile] papertigers: "I don't know how to play the piano, honey."

A: "You just press the things!"
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
I just finished this novel/series, and then tonight someone reminded me of this:

"Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony."

Real Quote

Jan. 7th, 2010 04:15 pm
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
"If you used [drug x] and suffered... death, please call the Fox Law Firm."

That would be one heck of a phone call.
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
Today, I had my students write letters to Santa. I then typed them in to an "email Santa" program. They will have replies in two days. A few of the best letters (not edited, with initials used instead of names, school name and email addresses removed):

Dear Santa,

I'm Thai. I born in Thailand. In Thailand, we don't have Christmas Day. 25th December is a normal day for my country but, I know you when I was young. I know you from some movies and some books. There are tell me about your story. For long time, I belive Santa's a real. I waited for a gift from you every year. I have my sock under my bed; There for, Santa's give me some gife for me. But it never happen. May be, because I'm Buddist. This year is the last year that, I wait a gife from you. Mr. Santa

Sincerely your
T.


I particularly enjoyed the hostile tone of that ending. The next one is another funny, "I'm not Christian, who the heck are you?"-type letter:

Dear Santa,
Hi Santa, I'm B. I am from Mali. Mali is West Africa. I'm student in [school]. I'd like to met you, because I never celebre chrismas. My teacher and my classmates talk about you. I would to know, if really you do something. I want to give you my email: me@malien.com . I think chrismas is spacial day for Christians. As my first time to celebre chrismas with christian, I would to know too. Think you and see you leter. bye-bye.

Sincerely
B.


The next two made me feel warm and Christmas-y.

Dear Santa, I'm writing this letter to say thank you for this year because was a very happy year for me. I came for here and now i'm learning English and this is very important for me because next, I want to go to university here. My family and me are healthy and happy and this is the most important things. But now, I'm just a little beat sad because I will stay my Christmans with my mother only. I apreciate my life, my parents, my friends... and I will hope that next year to be the same or better. I don't need any gift because my life it's a gift. I love everything to be happy!
Thank you!

O.A.L.


Read them out loud and they'll make more sense; a lot of students write phonetically, according to their own accents.

I saved the best for last.

Dear Santa,

This year was very busy for me and I worked a lot, but I like my job. You know I work with children like you. I have the school in Brazil for poor children and the majority don't have nothing for the Christmas. Fortanetly, I can to give the education for them. I think this a great gift! Because, usually the children stay on the street and don't make nothing for their education. Now I have 130 children in my school, next year I will have 160 children. Fortunatly I have two fundation for help us, but I think is better have more fundation, because every year I open my school for news children the children love the school. they stay there all day. Every day I prepare a little party for Christmas and you every year go to school. Last year the party was great! This year the children wait for you again. Really, the children want receive a lot gifts, because in their houses don't have. For me I want to receive more help to my children and I hope this next year have good work again and have good time with my son and my hundsman. My son wants to receive a little car. Can you give for him? I hope so and I hope everything is good for you!

Thank you and
Happy Christmas.

C.

Ah! Here is my e-mail:
c@schoolinbrazil.org


Nothing can top that.
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
A good laugh on a hard day.

Also, yesterday, when talking about Danang, Vietnam, one of my students said, "The pollution here is very fresh."

It's cold and dark and gloomy outdoors and in my soul. Funnies are good.
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
Conversation a bare few minutes ago in the lunch room:

Person 1: I like the idea of ostracism. If there's someone who's gotten a little too big for his britches and needs to be thrown out for a while -

Person 2: Because he eats too much?

The best part was that Person 2 was genuinely puzzled.
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
This is a little gem of an addition to the quotes file; the utterance was made by the apparently wonderful and amazing Robert, who is my friend Patti's driver (Patti lives in Uganda).

"When caught doing an impromptu nail trim in the car today while waiting for me to come out of a meeting he said, 'Sorry Boss, I know I shouldn't be nailing myself so publicly in the car. It is improper. Please don't think of me as a craze.'"
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
Overheard on the Metro:

Guy 1: ... Skeletor.

Guy 2: Dude, he's awful! He's like the next Jeffrey Dahmer.


This gave me a much-needed laugh today. [livejournal.com profile] klaughingbrook's mother, and my adoptive mother, is in the hospital with what they think is cancer. She had a bone marrow biopsy yesterday. I saw her today, and she was apparently much better... but to my eyes, red and exhausted and a bit out of it. She was also in a great deal of pain.

For those who would like to put out a prayer for her, it would be much appreciated. Her name is Denyce.

I hate cancer.

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