Wednesday, December 29, 2010


I pay debts in time,
the only true currency
I have to my name.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Found in Translation - Part 3

There's nothing super-wrong about this, grammar-wise (which is more than I can say for this sentence), but the enterprising individual or individuals who decided to market this gold mine phrase forgot that idioms don't always survive translation.

At first I assumed that "angle" was a misspelling of 'angel', but since I don't know what treating someone "like potato" means (not "a potato", mind you, just "potato"), I'm willing to admit that calling someone your angle means something that I don't know about. Perhaps it is the antithesis of potato.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


"Naughty" versus "nice"?
Seems Jolly Old St. Nick loves
that works righteousness.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Found in Translation - Part 2 (T-Shirt Edition)

The next best thing to tattooing a foreign language upon your flesh is the less permanent option of wearing a shirt that bears said language. Bonus points if you know what the shirt says.

I'm pretty sure these people had no idea.

But they were usually happy to pose for a picture. Usually.*

These matching shirts read, "Harry Potter Wizard". Trying to connect with another culture via the hit book series, I held up my camera, pointed to their shirts, and said, "Harry Potter!" They did not know what I was talking about. Or if they did, they didn't act like it. Maybe the boy wizard pronounces his name differently in China.

Ah, the Union Jack. A symbol of Britain and a beacon of the English language the world over. Especially in New York.

These girls were nice and wanted to take a picture of/with us. So we returned the compliment. Except we sort of did it because of the taller girl's inspirational shirt, which I could only assume was meant to encourage the next generation of Picassos and Monets.

*It may seem odd that I have a bunch of pictures of Chinese people whom I don't know. It is not strange. In China, and especially when we were in Beijing - during a national holiday - it was not uncommon for people to ask to take our picture. Many of them were tourists themselves, not from big coastal cities and therefore not used to seeing Westerners. My height and Lindsay's blond hair were interesting enough to snap a photo. After a few hours, we became used to this. So it wasn't odd for me to start asking to take photos of people I found interesting. More on this in an upcoming post.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Made It

When have you “made it”?
What constitutes true success?
“Made it” is a myth.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Found in Translation - Part 1

Please do not deny the following assumption:

You have at least one friend who has a tattoo of a Chinese and/or other Asian character.

Yes? Yes. Now, it might not just be a character. It might be two. Or it might even have the English "translation" underneath it. Something like honor, or power, or love, or some combination of characters that your friend insists mean harmony or balance or stoic warrior or something.

But does your friend speak or read or even understand Chinese? No, he does not. He just thinks it looks "fierce" on his arm.

I discovered that this phenomenon is not limited to Western culture. It exists in China, too. But not on skin. On t-shirts, mostly. And magnets and some bumper stickers.

When I was in China this fall, I took pictures of these things. I will post them until I run out. They are found in translation. Get it? Because I found them and they are translations? And it's like that movie but the opposite? Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Once upon a time
there was a dull ninja star.
His life was pointless.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Victor Westbury
never left home without it.
(“It” being his gun.)