Through the magic of Facebook, I have discovered at least one German relative of mine. From what I have gathered in conversations, Lydia and I share the same great-great-grandfather; and if my calculations are correct, Lydia is my third cousin, once removed.
Lydia has been kind enough to answer my questions about family, German culture and the German language. She speaks English very well, and I joked with her some time ago that she speaks better English than many Americans who are native English speakers. From time to time, I even try speaking German with her.
Yes, I am working to learn some German.
In some ways, German is pretty easy. It is closely related to English and has a lot of cognates. Der Sohn is the son, Die Tochter is the daughter, Das Auto is the car. Like English, there are a lot of exceptions to the rule in how it conjugates verbs. I also see that the word order often is different. To ask if someone speaks German, you’d say “Sprechen Sie Deutsch?” or, literally, “Speak You German?”. The German verb for “to do” or “to make” is machen, they do not have an equivalent of our “do” helping verb when we ask questions. Frankly, I like the German way better.
Here’s a little of what I’ve learned:
Allo! Mein Name ist Richard, und mein Nachname ist Zowie (ausgesprochen “Sau-ie”). Mein Frau heißt Jennifer. Wir haben drei Söhne: Jonathon, Charles, und Robert.
Ich arbeite als Journalist. Ich bin siebenunddreiß ig Jahre alt.
Ich verstehe ein biß chen Spanisch, Ruß isch, und Chinesisch.
Ich lese gern, und spiele gern Schach.
Ich trinke gern Tee, aber Ich mag kein Bier.
Ich habe zwei Schwestern (Sabrina und Misti), aber keine Brü dern.
Yes, I used the word “Ich” a lot. (The German word for “I”). Sorry.
Someday I would like to travel to Germany and visit distant relatives and visit castles in the country. In the meantime, I am trying to learn some German so that I’ll know how to speak some.
Richard Zowie is the great-grandson of Sebastian Zahnweh, a German immigrant. Post comments here or e-mail Richard at email@example.com.
People back home have called me a traitor and a sell out because I don’t want the Texas Rangers to win the World Series. In the American League Division Series I cheered for the Tampa Bay Rays and in the ACLS I did the unthinkable and cheered for the New York Yankees. And now, in the World Series, I am cheering for the San Francisco Giants.
Yes, I moved to Texas in 1981 when I was eight and, yes, I consider myself an adopted Texan (I also have a grandmother, two aunts, five nephews, one niece and a son born in Texas). Most of my family still lives in Texas. And, yes, I bleed blue and silver for the Dallas Cowboys and blue and orange* for the Houston Astros.
Notice, I said “Astros” and not “Texas Rangers”. That is because I am not a Ranger fan. Never have been, never will be.
Yes, I know there are Texas residents who like both teams, but you will often discover about Texas that allegiances are similar to those in Chicago and New York: you like either the Cubs or White Sox or you like either the New York Yankees or Mets. In Texas, you like either the Texas Longhorns or Texas A&M Aggies. Houston Texan fans hate the Dallas Cowboys, and Cowboy fans hate the Texans.
So, therefore, as a staunch Houston Astros fan, I don’t want to see the Rangers win the World Series.
Yes, I know I have bitterness because Nolan Ryan finished his career in Arlington due to the stinginess and stupidity of the late former Astros owner John McMullen (Ryan is also enshrined as a Ranger in the Hall of Fame), but truth is, I’ve never liked the Rangers.
Some Astros fans may cheer for the Rangers, but this one won’t.
Post comments here or e-mail Richard at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A few comments on current events…
…One news report says that rocker Ozzy Osbourne is angry with Watercloset “Baptist Church”* (a.k.a., Westboro Baptist Church) for using one of his songs at a church function without his permission.
That’s perhaps fitting, since, outside a seminar preaching about the evils of rock music, I don’t think there is a single Baptist church that would be caught dead playing Osbourne’s music–whether it’s him as a solo artist or him as the lead singer of Black Sabbath.
With all the anti-gay controversy regarding the church, I am beginning to suspect that Watercloset cult leader Fred Phelps is a closet homosexual. His anti-gay stands make me wonder if he’s overcompensating for latent desires he has.
In other words, ladies and gentlemen, I suspect that Phelps deep down knows he’s gay and is doing these things to rebel against himself.
Just my opinion.
* Yes, I know the Topeka, Kan. church is actually called Westboro Baptist Church, but in future blog postings I will likely refer to it as Watercloset “Baptist Church” since, in my humble opinion, it is neither Baptist nor a church…
Speaking as a Dallas Cowboys fan, I wonder if there is a more overrated team in football than Dallas. Before the season, the talk was that Dallas would become the very first team to host a Super Bowl since this season’s Super Bowl XLV, will be played on my 38th birthday, February 6, 2011, at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Now, one journalism colleague tells me he thinks Dallas will finish the season at 6-10 or 7-9.
In their recent game against the Tennessee Titans, Tony Romo put up wonderful numbers but also threw three interceptions. And, of course, when you play no defense, it really should be no surprise that you are 1-3.
Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips probably has his realtor on speed dial. My guess is by this season’s end, unless Dallas miraculously rebounds and makes it to the NFC championship game, Phillips will be depositing his buyout check at his bank…
…I would not be surprised if a Democrat is governor of California come November. Conan the Republican, a.k.a., Arnold Schwarzenegger, came to office in 2003 with high hopes of controlling the Golden State’s spending and red ink. Never happened. My guess is Ah-nold tried cooperating too much with politicians who never met a dollar they didn’t want to spend…
…Nope, never watched Jersey Shores. Absolutely, 100% could not care less. I know who Snoopy is, but couldn’t care less who Snooki is…
…Finished watching Nip/Tuck on Netflix instant view last month. Amazing how quickly you can zoom through episodes when you skip over the racy content. One friend joked I must’ve zoomed through some episodes in five seconds. Still, great acting on Nip/Tuck by Dylan Walsh, Julian McMahon, Joely Richardson, Kelly Carlson and Jessalyn Gilsig. Every single episode seemed to have the emotional impact of a season finale of Lost.
Funniest scene? When drug lord Escobar Gallardo’s wife shoots him (“Business was better without him, and he made love like an adolescent boy,” she curtly explained) and Doctors McNamara and Troy have dump his body in the Florida Everglades, followed closely by Gallardo trying to leave the country with a new face and new identity, only to learn from police his new face is identical to another wanted drug lord…
Post comments here or e-mail Richard at email@example.com.