I can't really speak any language but English, but I have basic reading knowledge of French, German and Spanish. I can puzzle out headlines in Russian, and briefly participated in an Italian conversation group; I can read simple things in both languages, with a dictionary handy.
Languages come easily, which is convenient for looking up original source material online. I'm more or less resigned to the fact that any time I enter my email address -- as I often need to do, for access to newspaper websites -- I put myself on dozens of electronic mailing lists, forever.
What I don't understand, though, is why I've been getting so much Portuguese-language spam lately. I don't think that any of these messages are that important -- I don't need cheap prescription medications, male enhancement products, or foreign financial agents -- but it's a minor irritation to get messages I can't read.
Portuguese baffles me. Since it's a Romance language, I shouldn't find it any more difficult than French, Spanish or Italian, but I do; the nouns decline, and the o's throw me. One of these days, if I live long enough, I might take a class, although I'd be more interested in Romanian or Dutch.
How do we get on spam lists, except by visiting websites? Has anyone else noticed a big surge in Portuguese spam?
Five Random Songs
"Big Yellow Taxi," Joni Mitchell. "Don't it always seem to go/That you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone?" One of those songs that's so essential it's hard to remember someone actually wrote it.
"Paperback Writer," The Beatles. Yes, I watched Michael Jackson's memorial service yesterday afternoon. I noticed Paul McCartney's absence, and wondered whether he'd been invited.
"Your Sweet Voice," Matthew Sweet. The most romantic song on one of the most romantic pop albums (Girlfriend) of all time.
"Wimoweh," The Weavers. You know what's a good movie? A Mighty Wind is a good movie. I gave it to my mom, years ago, as a Christmas present. Wonder which of my siblings has it now, and whether they'll let me take it back.
"Ebudae," Enya. I like how the "random" function on iTunes can sometimes put together a very cogent playlist. I'd never have thought to follow The Weavers with Enya, but it makes perfect sense.