April 17, 2010 | Spanish

Spanish Sports and Supermen

I now have the vocabulary I need to talk about superheroes who like chess and baseball.

I estimate I did at least five hours of work today in Dorothy Richmond’s book Spanish Verb Tenses. I find the writing—yes, there is writing involved, even in a grammar book—to be sly and witty. 

I was, however, stymied by a vocabulary exercise that required me to state what sports and games certain famous people play or played. I was good on Tiger Woods, David Beckham, Venus and Serena Williams, Bobby Fischer, and others. But I got stuck on two. The questions in question were:

  • ¿Qué juega Gordie Howe?”
  • ¿Qué juega Minnesota Fats?”

This will probably horrify some people, so my apologies in advance, but I wrote:

  • Gordie Howe juega al voleibol.
  • Minnesota Fats juega al hockey.


I am enjoying learning the present tense vosotros forms: estáis, coméis, vivís, etc. Vosotros is an informal plural form for “you” that is used only in Spain. I never studied vosotros forms in my high school Spanish classes in Los Angeles, so they are brand new to me. One challenge: the forms look and sound fancy to me, which keeps making me forget they are for informal use.

I learned today that Superman in Spanish is Superhombre. So cute.

Midtown Manhattan, on the Way to MOMA

In the late afternoon Brandt and I went to the exhibit Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present at the Museum of Modern Art. The New York Times had published a front-page story Thursday about how museum visitors have been fondling the nude performers who are part of the exhibit. To clarify: we went not to fondle, but rather, because the article reminded us of the exhibit’s existence.

On Friday from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m., you can in theory get into the museum for free, but the line of people waiting for free admission stretched all the way from the museum entrance on 53rd Street to Sixth Avenue, continued up Sixth Avenue to 54th Street, and then wound around the backside of the museum on 54th. It was bedlam. We paid.

A dancer that Brandt knows and I have met, Jill Sigman, was one of the performers in the exhibit. She sat, nude and facing forward, on a bicycle seat mounted high on a wall. It was visually very striking, not like anything I have ever seen before.

I Think It's Great That This Many People...

...Want to Spend Friday Evening in a Museum.

One thing I love about New York City is that there are so many different things one can do for work, and so many different ways one can express oneself and find a receptive, interested audience. I am not being snide when I say that; I mean it with all my heart.

To return briefly to the subject of this blog: I heard lots of different languages, including Spanish, while we were wandering around the museum. That is generally how it is in any of the city’s major art museums. It is pretty thrilling.

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