Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Sometimes I look around the apartment back on 19th Street, piles of books strewn everywhere, and wonder how things got to such a pass. Of course, there's no mystery about it really. For instance, late Sunday evening I was wandering through VIPS in search of a decent corkscrew, when the following item caught my eye:


The Argentine word for "dictionary" is "mataburros", or "donkey-killer". I daresay that one could kill an entire family of donkeys with this particular tome. Certainly, more than a fair share of trees are killed annually to produce books this fat.

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But who could resist a book that contains so much raw information, not to mention sample business letters (as mentioned previously, business letters in Thpanish are much on my mind these days)? Not me, obviously.

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Then, to make matters worse, there was the fine volume of Thpanish proverbs on sale at the Casa del Libro last night. The selection of proverbs is a fine one, but many of the english translations do leave something to be desired. For instance:

Give a thing and take a thing, to wear the devil's gold ring
An old dog bites sore
Good ware makes quick market
Pleasing ware is half sold
Old thanks pay not for a new debt
A black sheep often has a white lamb
Like will to like
A bleating sheep loses her bit
Goose, gander and gosling are three sounds, but one thing
The master's eye makes the horse fat
Death's day is doom's day
Great strokes make not sweet music
Long ways, long lies
Ne'er cast a clout till may is out
Desperate cuts must have desperate cures
Nothing crave, nothing have
Where we least think, there goes the hare away
Man is to man a wolf
Nothing is a man's truly but what he came by duly
Money makes the mare to go
My word is my bone
He that comes of a hen, must scrape
Good cheap is dear
All that is sharp is short
If the cup fits you, wear it
The cat purrs, for his own good
Let no one say I will not drink water

Even allowing for obvious typos ("if the cap fits", "my word is my bond"), some of these are pretty baffling.


jared2 said...

"If the cup fits you, wear it"

Of course, especially before soccer games.

DingaThing said...

Sounds like a Triumph, jared.