Thursday, March 5, 2009

I have sort of received a sort of award, sort of

To be a little more specific, I was selected by Carolina of Nederland or the Netherlands or The Netherlands or whatever it is, author of a blog called Brinkbeest in English (there also is a Brinkbeest in Dutch) to receive the following award:

But what exactly was I awarded? No one seems to know for sure. Many before me have tried to figure it out, with little success. I thought it was an old-fashioned manual typewriter being attacked by a tornado. And after Carolina named all the new recipients, she said, “Does anyone know what it says next to the award? I’m sure it’s something positive, but I haven’t a clue.”

I enlarged the photo thusly:

I was able to discern that what had appeared to be a tornado attacking the typewriter is really a torrent of words coming out of the typewriter and entering, one would guess, the world at large. I was able to make out a few phrases such as “It’s all I wear” and “two of us” and “ through...”. Curious. But by and large the whirlwind thingy is a jumble of incomprehensible words, which is supposed to bring to mind, apparently, my blog.

I also noticed, at the lower left of the enlarged picture, what is apparently the title of the award -- in Spanish, I think, or maybe Portuguese, neither of which I read -- “I Entrega de Premios Dardos 2008” followed by a phrase in English, which may or may not be the translation, “Best Blog Darts thinker” to which I can only respond, with deep humility, “WHA-A-A-T????”

Another recipient, Jay in England, did some research on the history and name of this particular award and posted what she found in a post on her own blog. Jay, we salute you for making the world safe for blogocracy!

Don’t get me wrong. I do appreciate receiving this award, really I do, especially since it “acknowledges the values that every blogger shows in his/her effort to transmit cultural, ethical, literary and personal values every day,” according to Carolina and the person who gave it to her and the person who gave it to that person.

Recipients of this award are instructed to:

1) Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person that has granted the award and his or her blog link.

2) Pass the award to another 15 blogs that are worthy of this acknowledgment. Remember to contact each of them to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

I have done 1) in this post, but I don’t think I will do 2) because this whole blog award business seems to be getting a little out of hand. Carolina awarded it to only eleven people, not fifteen as instructed, so if she can bend the rules then so can I.

Furthermore, I happen to be the seventh person in her list of eleven recipients, not exactly at the top of the heap. In selecting me, Carolina wrote, “This man and his alter ego Billy Ray Barnwell, if that is his alter ego that is, have two very entertaining blogs (so this award is for Billy Ray Barnwell too). Billy Ray has written a book that maybe isn’t a book, I’m not quite sure and neither is he I believe, but he and rhymeswithplague always manage to confuse me even more than I usually am!”

So I am getting an award no one can read, with a name no one can understand, shared with someone who either is or is not my alter ego, from someone who is sure the fine print next to the award says something positive, but she doesn't have a clue, not because of certain namesless cultural, ethical, literary and personal values I transmit every day, not even my EFFORT to transmit those values, but the values that EVERY BLOGGER shows in HIS/HER EFFORT to transmit those values EVERY DAY, and also because Billy Ray Barnwell and I manage to confuse Carolina more than she usually is [confused].

I think this time Carolina has outdone even me.

But it’s the thought that counts.

I am deeply grateful. I especially like that the award depicts an old-fashioned typewriter like the one on which I first practiced fgf fgf jhj jhj and ded kik ded kik and lots of other Dutch-looking words back in the Dark Ages until I became so adept at using a QWERTY keyboard, the only kind I know how to use, that I could type 125 words per minute. I’m not kidding.

I was also the first male student in the history of our school to take shorthand (Gregg Diamond Jubilee) and therefore I can read the top example in the following examples of shorthand systems:

Can you?

My masculinity was, of course, questioned by many of the other male students in my school. But I was valedictorian of my class that year, and the next fall the second male student who enrolled in shorthand in the history of the school turned out to be valedictorian of his class also. Again, I'm not kidding. This skill sure came in handy when I took notes in college lectures in the days before there was such a thing as portable audio cassette recorders.

For the unenlightened among you, there is also a DVORAK keyboard, and anything I typed on it using QWERTY skills would probably resemble Brinkbeest in Dutch.

Except I would understand this wherever it happened to be typed:

Carolina, dank u.


  1. U mag mij wel tutoyeren.
    Graag gedaan.

    Your shorthandexamples puzzled me. I took shorthand at/in school, even came top of my class, but had difficulty in decifering these examples. I've tried to read them all. The top one comes closest to my shorthandversion I think. It must be a prayer. I'm not familiar with those. The only one I know is this one:

    I'm folding my hands together
    I'm closing my eyes
    and pray that after Amen
    my meatball still there lies

    Actually, it's a Dutch poem, written by Levi Weemoedt and the original goes like this:

    Ik vouw mijn handjes samen
    Ik doe mijn oogjes dicht
    En bid dat na het Amen
    Mijn gehaktbal er nog ligt

  2. Kudos to you for learning Gregg Shorthand! My mamma, who was skilled in the system, tried to teach me when I was in my teens, but all that stuck with me was "dray," and "Pat." I understand why I would learn "Pat" but "dray?" How many times would I ever hear the word "dray" and need to write it in shorthand?

    TADA!! TADA!! (supposed to be the sounds of trumpets)

    Because of your knowledge of Gregg, and your ability to type 125 w.p.m. on a manual typewriter, I hereby confer on you the Raymond M. Award (no graphics to be displayed here, or anywhere else, for that matter because I just made it up.) Mr. M. was my supervisor/coworker at the bank where I worked, took all his notes in near-perfect textbook quality shorthand, and could type on a manual typewriter at a speed I classified as supersonic (and, with no errors, ever!) He was also one of the most intelligent persons I have ever encountered. Although he looked a bit like Charles Atlas' 97-pound-weakling, and was almost completely bald, I developed a big crush on him.

    I am not trying to infer that you resemble Mr. M. physically, only in intelligence and abilities. :)

    P.S. Congratulations on your Premio Dardo Award from Carolina.

  3. incomprehensible words, spelling, grammar, thoughts, values. do share what is in you and what is important to you even though at times a bore, but we love you and the awaerd was appreciated by the attention you gave to it, almost caressing it in your explanations....i am still in my prison although my spirits are lifting a bit...did enjoy this blogg however, much better than the owl and the pussy cat

  4. Congratulations on the awawd, rhymsie the Georgia fox!

    I'm bowled over by anyone who can type that fast (I never got past 70
    wpm). Also, impressive that you learned shorthand.....I regret not taking that class, which I could have.

    I wholeheartedly agree that the blogging award business gets way out of hand. Glad to see someone say it.

  5. Um, cool award. Congrats. I think. I was always fascinated with shorthand ever since my mom was taking notes on the sermon at church and I noticed she kept writing one symbol over and over, so I leaned over, pointed and whispered, "What's that mean?" expecting some deep philosophical answer. She blushed deeply and finally confessed that it meant "boring." Ah, I thought, the power! I could write anything at all and no one would know! I did learn shorthand, but it didn't do me much good. I could only draw it if the dictator (?) spoke v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y. I also loved typing on a manual typewriter. But I had the opposite problem. I went too fast on it, and the keys jammed all up in the middle. So I bow before your superior skills and I'm glad I never had you as a boss who knew more than I did.

  6. Carolina - I will have to go to a handy-dandy online translator site to find out what you said to me in Dutch. I trust you were kind.

    You are correct, the shorthand is a prayer, the Lord's Prayer, in fact, which is found in the book of Matthew in the Christian New Testament (Our Father, which art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name, etc., etc.)

    Your prayer is a bit sassier. It reminded me of one I heard a long time ago:

    Good food,
    Good meat,
    Good God,
    Let's eat.

    I must remember to install a lightning rod on my roof soon.

  7. Pat - Thanks so much for the Raymond M. Award, I will wear it proudly. I was going to dedicate this post to my typing and shorthand teacher, Mrs. Sue Shadix, but I forgot to, so I will do so now. Here's to you, Mrs. Shadix.

  8. Pat, P.S. - I meant to say that just because I do not weigh 97 pounds doesn't mean I'm not a weakling....

  9. Putz (David) - I'm glad your spirits are lifting a little, but perhaps they are lifting a bit too much since calling me a bore rolled so easily from your lips, er, fingertips, and you keep bringing up that infernal owl and pussycat.

  10. Jeannelle - Thank you calling me "the Georgia fox" (I think). It reminded me of General Francis Marion during the American Revolutionary War. Over in South Carolina he is still referred to as "the swamp fox" -- not that Georgia is a swamp, except in the southeast corner where you will find the Okeefenokee swamp, home of the cartoon character Pogo the alligator (1953 presidential campaign slogan: I Go Pogo) who once said, "We have met the enemy, and he is us."

  11. Rosezilla (Tracie) - Funny story about your mom in church and the shorthand!

    If you typed too fast on a manual typewriter and the keys got all jammed up in the middle, the DVORAK keyboard may be just the thing for you. In fact, I have been given to understand that the QWERTY (traditional) keyboard arrangement was designed to force people to type slower. Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their Rosezilla. Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to find and complete a self-study course on the DVORAK keyboard and then report back here with your opinion of the results. This comment will self-destruct in ten seconds.

  12. Thank you so much for the blown up photo of the Premio Dardos Award. The picture had been bugging me since GUMBO writer blessed me with the first of several I've been given, all now dangling on my chest. A typewriter I can live with. I'd originally thought it was some kind of cannon firing hot air explosives...Not necessarily a good thing to have been given.

  13. I checked out the keyboard DVORAK online and it looks like it would be easy to learn and use. However, in the "teaching old dogs new tricks" category - I don't have access to a manual anymore, and this keyboard works fine on the computer. I can go as fast as I like, and after more than 30 years, that's pretty fast. Now, if I had a manual, which I love, it might be different.

  14. Hahaha! That made me laugh.

    I learned Pitman shorthand, but never used it so it was quickly forgotten. I've kept up with the typing though, so I can still touch type. However, I think the Dvorak keyboard would defeat me. I'm a Querty gal.

    OH wanted to do typing and shorthand at school, but they wouldn't let him. It was 'only for girls' and he's still a tad resentful about that.

    Thanks for the hat-tip! :)

  15. Thanks to Jinksy, Rosezilla (Tracie)), and Jay for commenting.

    Jinksy - Glad to be of service. I'm still not sure what a "Best Blogs Dart thinker" is.

    Rose/Trace - You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink, not that I'm calling you a horse by any means.

    Jay - The only other person I have come across who took Pitman was an elderly aunt of mine who graduated from high school in 1916. You're not that old, are you? Or perhaps Pitman is/was more popular in Britain than Gregg?