Yearly Archives: 2011

Here is how various on-line translators handle the phrase “Vamos ter outra cerveja!” which is Brazilian Portuguese for “Let’s have another beer!”

FreeTranslation.com:  “We are going to have another one beer.”

OnLine-Translator.com: “Let’s be going to have another beer!”

Babylon.com: “We will be having another beer!”

Babelfish.Yahoo.com: “We go to have another beer!”

BrazilTranslation.com: “Let’s go have another beer!”

Translation-Services-USA.com: “Sorry! We’re having some trouble translating between those languages. We hope we can sort it out soon, but in the meantime, don’t blame us! Blame Google.”

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My Christmas present this year was an Epson R3000 printer, which promises to give me more artistic control over my photos and cards.  A week after I ordered it from B&H Photo, they reduced the price by $15.  I could have let it go, but recalling the words of radio host Bruce Williams (“If you don’t ask, you don’t get!”) I contacted B&H on their chat line and asked if they had a “price-protection policy” within a certain number of days of purchase.  The representative asked me for my order number, which I supplied.  A few minutes later, he told me I could expect a refund of the difference in 5-7 days.

You know, B&H didn’t have to do this.  I didn’t demand a refund, I just asked a question.  And a few minutes later, I was $15 to the good.

This isn’t the first time I have dealt with B&H Photo.  I have been in their New York store and I do not hesitate to recommend them.  B&H must have figured that a goodwill gesture to me would be worth $15 three times over to them, a smart calculation and a nice way to do business.  Happy Hanukkah, B&H.

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• Refrigerators that start to make noise never get quieter.

This article by Gene Collier of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, about athletes who visit sick or disadvantaged children, reminds me what I liked about Pittsburgh, what I now miss.

• It is not simple nostalgia to think back to the days when children used to go out and play.  In some parallel universe, they still do, and those kids are no doubt in better social and physical condition than ours.  Even if six or seven million of them are named Bleen.

• The Occupy Movement decries income disparity but I question its tactics and targets.  Income disparity exists because we feed into it, not just when we buy or sell stock, but every time we go see a blockbuster movie or sporting event, every time we buy designer clothes and, yes, every time we pay our outrageous cable or satellite bill.  These are the actions that put our money in the hands of the superstars and behemoths.  We made the monster, and it will take a sweeping change in our own values to bring it down.

• I make homeopathic martinis, adding just two or three drops of a fruit-flavored vodka where other bartenders would use vermouth.  Plenty of flavor.  Remember who told you.

• Irony is what Americans use to avoid making strong, direct statements.  I am fortunate to have known a British couple who do not use irony — interacting with them was like being plunged into a sea of black coffee with colorful swirls, disorienting in a positive way for a stubbornly ironic American.  Happy Christmas, Guy and Catharine.

• Artists do and say and create things, boldly, without embarrassment.  Rarely do I.  Merry Christmas, Lester.

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