Archive for February 12th, 2008

12
Feb
08

Air Guitar Nation

Last Saturday night, Heather and I were flipping through the channels looking for something decent to watch.  I had just finished watching the end of something like “Top 100 One Hit Wonders” on VH1 and they said that the next show would be a documentary called “Air Guitar Nation”.  It looked pretty entertaining, so I thought I’d give it a try.

I’m glad I did: it was hilarious.  The basic synopsis is this: in 2002 two American guys find out about the World Air Guitar Championships held in Finland so they go – not as competitors – only observers.  They are struck by the fact that there are no Americans in the competition, so they resolve to organize championship events in the US in order to send a US champion to the world championship the following year.  I don’t want to give much more than that away because the story is really good.  Anyway, if you’ve ever pretended to perform a guitar solo in your bedroom, this documentary is for you.

The documentary is out on DVD, so you can get it on Netflix or something.  Or, if you want to watch it for free, it’ll be on VH1 at 1PM tomorrow (Feb. 13th), so set up your Tivo.  The trailer (which I think doesn’t really do it justice) is here.

12
Feb
08

Things you don’t learn in German class

I was just going through some old papers of mine and I found a little scrap of paper in amongst all the other papers with 4 German words written on it. I’m not quite sure what I had in mind when I wrote them down, but they are a few of my favorite German words, so I thought I would write about them here. I first heard them while I lived in Germany and I came to like them and be very amused by them. I think when you learn words like this in a non-native tongue, you start to see the personality of the language and really enjoy speaking it. Anyway, without further ado:

  1. Zack!” (Interjection) This was used often by my coworkers as a sort of onomatopoeia when something happened quickly or unexpectedly, not unlike “Boom!” My German dictionary translates it as “just like that” or “before you knew it”, but “Zack!” is much succinct and expressive, so I like it much better.
  2. Ratzfatz” (Adverb) This word is used to denote that something is or should be done quickly. I like the fact that its two syllables rhyme.
  3. Schwuppdiwupp!” (also just “Schwupp”) (interjection) This is similar to “Zack!”, although it carries with it more of sense of the unexpected or out of control. So, while I could say “… and then I punched him in the face. Zack!”, “Schwuppdiwupp” would not be appropriate here. Instead, it could be used like this: “I stepped out the door and schwuppdiwupp, I was on the ground thanks to the ice on the step.”
  4. Dingsbums” (noun) This roughly means “thingamajiggy” or “doodad”. It’s a word you use when you can’t think of the correct name for something. This word is becoming less popular in polite society because of the “bums” part, which is reminiscent of the verb “bumsen” which literally means “to bump”, but which has become a vulgar slang word for sex. In order to get past this problem, people often use “Dingsda” instead.

Fellow German speakers, what are you favorite German words?




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