Say that again?

When I say Québec, I say it the French way — kay-bek.  The English version usually sounds like kwa-bek or kuh-bek.  Which is right?  Since I have several French-speaking friends in Québec, I will stick with the French way.

In Italy, there is a very famous city called Milan (mi-LAHN).  In Tennessee, there is a not-so-famous town called Milan (MY-lunn) .  In Brazil, there is a very famous city called Rio de Janeiro — but most people just call it Rio (ree-oh).  In Florida, there is a not-so-famous town called Rio (RYE-oh).

KISS-i-me, (Kissimmee) Florida sounds very romantic, but the town is called Ki-SIM-me by the natives.

How you say a word is its pronunciation.  Everyone pronounces words a little differently.  This is how I pronounce the place names I mentioned earlier.

Do you know of any places with unusual sounding names?  Leave a comment with your favorites.

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Happy Friendship Day! (Feliz Día del Amigo)

On July 20, 1969, the world watched as American astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins made history with the first landing on the moon.  One man who watched was an Argentinian teacher, musician, and dentist named Enrique Fabbraro. Later, he lobbied to make July 20th Friendship Day, Día del Amigo, because on that day, the world was friends with the three astronauts.

Although not a national holiday, Día del Amigo is celebrated in Argentina and Uruguay by spending time with friends and calling old friends.   I think we should celebrate, too.  Tell a friend how much he or she means to you today!

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A New Symbol for India

It is an exclusive club.  Only a few economic powers belong to it — the United States, Great Britain, the Eurozone, and Japan.  Is it some secret society bent on world domination?  No, it is the group of nations that have an internationally-recognized symbol for their currency.

India just joined the club.

India has a new symbol for its currency, the rupee.  To choose the symbol, India held a design contest.  The winner, D. Udaya Kumar, received 250,000 rupees (about $5,300) and the honor of having his design represent India’s currency.

Now India’s rupee has its own symbol, just like the U.S dollar ($), the British pound (£), the Eurozone’s euro, (€), and Japan’s yen (¥).

It may be a few months before the new rupee symbol is readily available on every computer, although an internet engineering company called Foradian Technologies has already created a font set featuring the new symbol.

The Rupee Symbol

The rupee symbol, courtesy of Foradian Technologies.

To learn more…

Heather Timmons, “India Adopts a New Symbol,” New York Times, July 15, 2010, Global Business.

If you could create your own currency symbol, what would it look like?  Leave a comment.

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World Juggling Competition

Did you know that there is an international competition for jugglers?  I didn’t until I read a story about a boy from a neighboring town who will be competing.  Seventeen-year-old Daniel Brown of Seminole, Florida spends up to 15 hours a week practicing his juggling, and his hard work has prepared him for the World Juggling Competition in Las Vegas, Nevada (USA).

Daniel won’t be the youngest juggler at the competition.  Australian Cody Harrington will be competing in the Junior Division against other young jugglers from the United States and the Czech Republic.

The World Juggling Federation is hosting the event in Las Vegas, July 21-25.  In addition to the competition, the Las Vegas Summer Family Event offers workshops.  The World Juggling Federation website is worth a visit.  You’ll find videos there, including one on the science and math of juggling.

You know what they say … the planet that juggles together, stays together.  Okay, no one really says that, but maybe we should.

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A Québec Corn Party

The unusually warm weather in Québec, a French-speaking province of Canada, has caused the corn to ripen earlier than usual.  That means it is party time — time for an épluchette de blé d’inde. We might call it a corn-shucking party.

People get together to enjoy corn, grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, drinks, and dessert.  Beer for the adults, sodas or juice for the kids.  They enjoy the last warm days of summer outside, playing pétanque, (a kind of lawn bowling like bocce),  horseshoes, and washers, which my friend from Québec says they stole from the Americans.  His words, not mine.

Traditionally, two special ears of corn are dyed — blue for the boys, red for the girls.  If you get the special ear of corn, you are the king or queen for the party.

Do you have a harvest or end of summer tradition or celebration in your family?

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Bangkok is the large capital city of Thailand.

Bucksnort is a small town in Tennessee, U.S.A.

At least I think it is.  A couple of weeks ago, I drove past a sign on I-40 between Nashville and Memphis which indicated the exit for Bucksnort.  I still giggle when I think of it.  I did not follow the road to Bucksnort, however, and from what I can find on the Internet, there may or may not be a town still active there — something to investigate another day.

What do Bangkok and Bucksnort have in common — besides being places that start with the letter B?  People live there, and where there are people, funny things can be found.

I want to share some of the fun, silly, interesting, happy, positive world news with you.  We are all passengers on this spinning ball — let’s enjoy the ride together.

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