29 November 2005

Coca Cola Worldwide!


One of my most disturbing habits is to visit corporate websites that target small overseas markets in charmingly out-of-touch ways. One of my favorites is Coca-Cola.com, which operates a number of websites in countries where the most organized governing body is ... well, probably the Coca-Cola Bottling Co.

If you have the time, check out these marvelously absurd links to Coca-Cola in Africa.

My friend Chad loves Coke.

This country doesn't even have its own website.

Yeah, you wish you had the best Coke Website Hat and a stable goverment.

But you ain't got nothin' on this.

This is part of France, at least until Coke says so.

The site is in English, the official language, which 4% of the population speaks.

The lowest life expectancy in the world, at 33.5 years. 40% AIDS rate. Yeah, we got Coke.

The Book of Daniel

I have an 11-year old student who lives in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. His name is Daniel. I try to keep at least one 6th grader in my group of students (most range from ages 15-17) because if you can entertain an 11-year old, you can teach anyone. But Daniel, for all of his math wizardry, really craps the bag when it comes to English.

I know that sounded a bit harsh, but that expression (he has most certainly never heard it) would make him laugh his ass off. Daniel makes me work for my pay like no other student I have. He stands for the entire lesson, gives me no sugar-coating ("JD Salinger writes stories because he wants to bore people" he has said), and constantly tries to bribe me into ending the lessons early (his mother gives him the cash, and he pays me).

His parents are Russian and do not speak English at home, so I am the hired hand who gives him weekly instruction in writing. His problems with grammar are no different from other English as a second language students I've worked with: can't distinguish between prepositions, can't put new vocabulary words into context, can't spell, etc. We work on extending both his knowledge of grammar and his vocabulary. Then we write. But his writing is goddamned hilarious.

Here is one of his sample essays. In this assignment, I laid out the following guidelines:

1. Write a letter about your handwriting, specifically how awful it is.
2. Argue that you should be allowed to continue holding your pen incorrectly.
3. Contrast your opinion with mine.
4. Use the following words: amiss, administer, adjoin, artificial, assert, advice.
5. Select an appropriate audience for your letter.

Dear Piece of Apple Pie,

The advice Mark told me which was changing my handwriting is amiss. Mark thinks its time I administer a new method of handwriting. I must assert loud and clearly that Mark is a disgrace to human beings and is completely a retard for thinking my handwriting sucks. I know my handwriting isn't natural but Mark thinks it is artificial.

The party that thinks my handwriting is good and the party that thinks my handwriting is bad will adjoin and discuss ways to punish Mark.


PS I will be looking forward to eating you.

This week I've promised to play xbox with him after our lesson. I'm a little intimidated, because he's always playing video games when I come over, and he stands THE WHOLE TIME. Plus I've never played before, and I don't think losing to him in some sci-fi fighting game will make life any easier for me.

07 November 2005

Listmania Part Three.

My friends, you see, are into making lists. I've tried to determine where all this began, but really it has no root that I can pinpoint. I remember Pat and Bryan making an epic list of "Worst Upstate New York Towns," ranking them on a series of categories such as cultural attractions, sidewalks, downtown amenities, and smell. They drove all the way to Ticonderoga, just to settle on, I believe, Hudson Falls as the worst town in Upstate New York. I could be wrong. Then I remember seeing High Fidelity and thinking, "This guy is into the most superfluous list-making. I am so much more hardcore." As if you were unaware of my list-fetishism or my ability to label degrees of "harcore-d-ness," I am up to another list. This one's in the album vein, and its due in December. I've decided to put down a blueprint for my submission to the big bad Albums List here, and I can work from this. Do you agree? Disagree? Perhaps we need more readers? Perhaps fewer list posts would be a start.

Anyway, here she be:

The Preliminary Top 50 Best Albums Ever List Subject To Change Etc Etc Etc

1. The Rolling Stones, Exile On Main Street
2. Nas, Illmatic
3. Charles Mingus, Mingus Ah Um
4. James Brown, Live at the Apollo 1960ish
5. Frank Sinatra, In the Wee Small Hours
6. Robert Johnson, King of the Delta Blues Singers
7. A Tribe Called Quest, The Low End Theory
8. Bob Dylan, Highway 61 Revisited
9. Kanye West, Late Registration
10. Orchestra Baobab, Pirate’s Choice
11. Bjork, Homogenic
12. Wu-Tang Clan, Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)
13. Miles Davis, Seven Steps To Heaven
14. Stevie Wonder, Innervisions
15. Slick Rick, The Great Adventures of Slick Rick
16. Joni Mitchell, Blue
17. The Magnetic Fields, 69 Love Songs
18. Ornette Coleman, The Shape Of Jazz To Come
19. Jay-Z, Reasonable Doubt
20. Skip James, Blues From The Delta
21. Blind Willie McTell, Atlanta Twelve String
22. Manu Chao, Clandestino
23. Buena Vista Social Club
24. Funkadelic, Maggot Brain
25. Taj Mahal and Toumani Diabate, Kalunjun
26. Cassandra Wilson, Blue Moon Daughter
27. Buddy Guy, Stone Crazy!
28. Ray Charles, Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music
29. Bill Cosby, …Is A Very Funny Fellow, Right!
30. Dominguinhos, Brazil Classics 3
31. The Roots, Things Fall Apart
32. Mississippi Fred McDowell
33. OutKast, Stankonia
34. Chuck Berry, The Great Twenty-Eight
35. Jimmy Smith, The Sermon
36. 2Pac, Me Against The World
37. Gil-Scott Heron, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
38. Dizzie Gillespie y Machito, Afro-Cuban Jazz Moods
39. Cannonball Adderley, Somethin’ Else
40. Grant Green, Idle Moments
41. Cab Calloway, Hi De Ho Man 1930-33
42. Portishead, Dummy
43. The Geto Boys, We Can't Be Stopped
44. Lee Dorsey, The New Lee Dorsey
45. Jarabe de Palo, De Vuelta Y Vuelta
46. Julio Iglesias, Tango
47. Public Enemy, Fear Of A Black Planet
48. Dexter Gordon, Go
49. Terry Callier, Occasional Rain
50. Jimi Hendrix, Electric Ladyland