Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thought for the day

From Los fantasmas (Ghosts) by César Aira:

"And while habits, sedentary or nomadic, are made of time, dreams are free of it. The dream is purely spatial, a placement of the human race in eternity."

Monday, January 18, 2010

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A new drawing

celebrating my attempt to learn a bit of Maltese. If you click on it, you get a slightly bigger version of the drawing.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

An important Maltese phrase

hanut tal-kotba = bookstore (literally, store of books)

The singular book is ktieb.

I'm hoping that the very fine small hanut tal-kotba in Sliema will still be in business when I arrive. I can't remember the name, but I remember how to get there. In the malls there is a chain called Agenda, which also sells pens and pencils.

The Jones Thing

About a quarter of a century ago, when I was teaching high school world history, one of my students was Jeff Jones. If you like smart pop music--the kind you might hear from Elvis Costello, XTC or the Magnetic Fields--you ought to take a listen to Isolated Twins, the Jones Things' record. You can hear samples (and buy it) here and probably other places as well.

Friday, January 15, 2010


One of my sisters gave me a Learn Maltese CD-ROM for Christmas, and I've been working with it to get some basic words and phrases down. It's nice to hear the correct pronunciation.

Here's your question: What is xemx (pronounced shemsh)? Here's your clue: We get very little of it in south Texas. (Answer below.)

Today I picked up my special order from the bookstore: Grazio Falzon's Maltese Dictionary & Phrasebook. It will help me build a broader vocabulary, as well as giving me some basic information on the structure of the language and so forth. Trying to pick up some words in a new language is fun. Right now, for example, using words I've learned from the CD-ROM, I can tell you I'm wearing: flokk, qalziet qasir, kalzetti and zraben. (T-shirt, short pants, socks and shoes. Yes, I'm wearing boxer shorts too, but I don't know how to say that yet!)

ANSWER to "What is xemx?": Sun

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

"All it ever does here is rain."

One of the best sounds in the world is the quiet after the rain finally stops pelting the roof.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Howdy, folks

Even though I don't get on the ship to return to Europe and Malta until April 19, I thought I might go ahead and crank this up again. I may include information on the trip's planning as it develops, but otherwise I'll probably just blog about what I'm reading or thinking or who knows what? Maybe it'll even be interesting.

Stay warm!