23 September, 2008

Catch 22

A good phrase to use when you are getting the runaround on getting something done. You may have a choice between two things, lets say X and Y. But you cannot choose Y because X prevents you from doing Y. Thus you cannot choose X because Y prevents you from doing Y.  

Let's say you go to the local country office to obtain a construction permit.  The requirements say that you must have the blueprints of the project and must have hired contractors to work on the project, plus you also need this, that and the other forms. You have the blueprints, this, that and the other forms, however the contractors will not sign off on the project because you do not have a construction permit.  So unless you bribe, I mean, "convince" the county clerk to grant you the permit so that the contractors sign off on the project or you "convince" the contractors sign off on the project so that you can obtain the permit, there will be no construction permit issued. *

In other words, there is no way to win or get ahead or accomplish anything. This is a lose-lose situation. 

The term was first coined by Joseph Heller in his satirical, historical novel Catch-22.  The novel is set during the later stages of World War II from 1943 onwards. The author cited an "Air Force rule whereby a pilot continuing to fly combat missions without asking for relief is regarded as insane, but is considered sane enough to continue flying if he does make such a request." (source).

For a extended treatment of the novel, read the Wiki article

* I made up this example, but the more I re-read this, the more it sounds like something Mexican bureaucrats do. 

18 September, 2008

Importance of Learning your Lines Well

In my line of work I frequently teach occupational Spanish:  job-specific language that allows you to do your job in Spanish in a short amount of time. This is achieved by learning crucial expressions pertaining to your occupation.

One of my fellow trainers came a cross these scenes from "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" movie.  They are perfect to show that in a short period of time you can learn key phrases needed to perform your job in another language.  Just remember that you need to spend the time to learn those key phrases in order to be able to perform once you leave the classroom. You need to stand and deliver your lines. Remember "your line of work requires specialized vocabulary," and requires you to do it without the help of cheat sheets, if you catch my drift  ;)  



15 September, 2008

Día de la Independencia.

¡Vivan los Héroes que nos dieron Patria y Libertad!

¡Viva Hidalgo!

¡Viva Morelos!

¡Viva Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez!

¡Viva Allende!

¡Vivan Aldama y Matamoros!

¡Viva nuestra independía nacional!

¡Viva México, Viva México, Viva México!

Happy Independence Day!

14 September, 2008


I have just learned how to use a video editing program, well, I am just learning how to use it.  As part of my lesson I used some of the pictures I took in Paris along with 4 little clips I took.  I tried using the music that came with the software but for some reason when I would burn the final copy the sound track would disappear. So I found La Vie en Rose with Edith Piaf and decided to use this classic song. Voilà!! This song did not disappear on the final cut.  C'est la vie!!!


Find more videos like this on Magix Movie Edit Pro Users Group

03 September, 2008

Mano a Mano

My friend Susan asked me the other day about the Spanish idiomatic expression “mano a mano”. I’d never thought on how to explain it. The first thing that comes to mind when I hear it is a boxing match or a lucha libre match. Two adversaries against each other, a one on one event.

So here is what I have learnt and found out: It is an idiomatic expression that is widely used in Spanish when two bullfighters alternate at a given bullfight. In everyday language it is used to describe that two people, on equal footing, are against each other whether at a competition, match, confrontation, duel or conflict.

Wikipedia mentions that possibly the term “mano a mano” in the English language was imported by Ernest Hemingway. Further research shows that in his non-fiction article for Life Magazine “The Dangerous Summer,” Hemingway uses the phrase “mano a mano” to describe the rivalry on the ring between Antonio Ordoñez and Luis Miguel Dominguín during the bullfighting season of 1959 in Spain. This was the last work he wrote before his death. It later was publish in book form.

In April, however, the feud was resolved, and in June a series of cartels matched the two masters. At Zaragoza , Luis Miguel cut three ears, Ordoñez one. In Barcelona the result was the same, and again at Puerto de Santa María. The luck changed at Tudela— Ordoñez cut four ears, Dominguín none. This brought them to Valencia

and Tuesday, July 28. If they fought well on that date, a mano a mano—an admitted and open duel on the sands with each matador taking three bulls—would be scheduled for Thursday, July 30. Ordoñez cut two ears, Dominguín none, but the crowd was wildly enthusiastic and the mano a mano was scheduled.” (source)

1) left: Hemingway watching a bullfight. 2) right: Hemingway and Ordoñez 3) center: cover of "El Verano Peligroso", Spanish version of "The Dangerous Summer".