01 February 2009

The Origins of the Spanish Phrase...

Some of these links may not work as the page was created a long time ago.

It was March 2002, and some of my friends had a hankering to learn some ess-pan-yole. I decided to send them some funny Spanish phrases every couple of days to help them learn the language. It seemed like a natural thing, being half-Cuban and a big fan of the language. The first Spanish Phrase was this:
Mi mono no sabe conducir el auto (My monkey does not know how to drive the car)
Real genius, eh? The acronym SPOTD was born in the second edition, and soon there were other things creeping their way into the e-mails, from random quotes to various thoughts to movie reviews. My political views didn't manifest themselves in the e-mails for some time, but I am too much of a political junkie to have avoided it for too long. These days I try to keep the politics to the weblog and save the light stuff for the e-mails. I have a particular interest in issues involving Cuba and other Latin American states.
The following is a poem by a Cuban patriot, José Martí. My decision to start the SPOTD is reflective of my love of the language, and Cuban culture in particular. Martí died while trying to make Cuba free. Sadly, his vision has not yet been realized. Perhaps someday it will.

Cultivo una rosa blanca En julio como en enero, Para el amigo sincero Que me da su mano franca.
Y para el cruel que me arranca El corazón con que vivo, Cardo ni ortiga cultivo, Cultivo una rosa blanca.

Phonetic with emphasis on bold syllable:
Cool-tee-voe oo-nah row-sah blahn-kah
Enn hoon-yo co-mow enn ay-nair-oh,
Par-ah ell ah-me-go seen-sair-oh
Kay may dah sue mah-no frahn-kah
Ee pah-rah ell crew-ell kay may a-rran-kah
Ell core-ah-zone cone kay vee-voe,
Car-doe nee or-tee-gah cool-tee-voe,
Cool-tee-voe oo-nah row-sah blahn-kah.

I cultivate a white rose In July as in January For the sincere friend Who gives me his hand frankly.
And for the cruel person who tears out the heart with which I live, I cultivate neither nettles nor thorns: I cultivate a white rose.
So why do I write the SPOTD? There are a few reasons, but I think one of the most important is that I love to learn new things and share those with others, whether that means something funny, interesting, or inspirational. It allows me to keep some kind of contact with people that I know and like, even if I don't have the time to send individual e-mails with the same frequency.

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