A dog-eat-dog world / Un mundo donde perro come pero

La versión en español está después de la versión en inglés.

IN AN EPISODE OF THE American television series “Modern Family” (we were only briefly fans; don’t get me started), Gloria, Colombian and speaking English as a second language, says: “It’s a doggy dog world” instead of “It’s a dog-eat-dog world.” I saw a dog on the beach yesterday and that’s all it took to make me think of it. I’ve included the clip below so you’ll understand.

I spoke with The Kid Brother Tuesday. As I always do, I asked if he had received any mail in the previous week. I send him a postcard every week and my sister-from-another-mother, Susan (in Oregon), sent him a number of cards and letters — although she has never even met The Kid Brother, which gives you an idea of the kindness of Susan. The mail has been slow, to say the least.

Anyway, in response to my question, The Kid Brother said, “I got that postcard.”

“Which postcard?”

“You know!”

“From me?”


“From Susan?”

“That’s right.”

He doesn’t say proper names (except accidentally) and never when speaking to someone directly. San Geraldo is known as The Big Guy (which, in essence, has become his proper name). Our Mother the Dowager Duchess was “The Old Lady” or “Granny” or simply “Her.” When he talked about me with The Duchess, he might refer to me as “Your Big Son.”

But back to postcards. After we talked about how nice it was of Susan to think of him, I told him I had to buy more postcards; I had run out. His comment: “And get good ones this time!”

I guess my scenic postcards form the Costa del Sol aren’t cutting it. I managed to find six new postcards that I think will suit him. Also, I shopped online and put together a care package for him: pretzels, granola bars, breakfast cereal, cashews, and more. I tried to get input before placing my order. “Hey, Chuck, what kind of cereal do you eat?”

“Any kind.”

“Do you like Froot Loops?”

“No Froot Loops.”

“Corn Flakes?”

“No Corn Flakes.”

“Rice Krispies?”


“Special K?”

“Special K’s good.”

“You like those breakfast bars, too, don’t you?”

“Yeah, those are good.”

“What flavours do you like?”

“All flavours.”

I knew for a fact he didn’t like blueberry. “Blueberry?” I asked.

“No. I hate blueberry!”

“What about strawberry?”

“Not strawberry!”

Well, that was helpful (not). The box will be delivered Saturday. I’m sure he’ll tell me what I got wrong when I phone him again next week. Talking to Gloria from Colombia would have been easier.


EN UN EPISODIO DE LA serie de televisión estadounidense “Modern Family” (sólo fuimos fanáticos brevemente; no me hablen) Gloria, colombiana y que habla inglés como segundo idioma, dice: “Es un mundo de perritos y perros” en lugar de “Es un mundo donde perros come perros”. NOTA: La expresión en inglés “Es un mundo donde perros come perros” significa que las personas harán lo que sea necesario para tener éxito, incluso si eso significa dañar a los demás. Gloria dice: “¿¡¿Quien quiere vivir en un mundo donde un perro come otro perro?!?” Ayer vi un perro en la playa y eso fue todo lo que hice para recordarlo. He incluido el clip a continuación para que lo entiendas. Lo siento porque es solamente en inglés.

Otra cosa sobre Gloria:
Llamó a la secretaria de su marido y le dijo que le pidiera una caja de baby cheeses [quesos pequeños] … excepto que sonaba como si dijera Baby Jesus [bebé Jesús].

Hablé con El Hermanito el martes. Como siempre hago, le pregunté si había recibido algún correo la semana anterior. Le envío una postal todas las semanas y mi hermana-de-otra-madre, Susan (en Oregón), le envió varias tarjetas y cartas, aunque ni siquiera conoció a El Hermanito — lo que te da una idea de la amabilidad de Susan. El correo ha sido lento, por decir lo menos.

De todos modos, en respuesta a mi pregunta, The Kid Brother dijo: “Recibí esa postal”.

“¿Qué postal?”

“¡Ya sabes!”

“¿De mi parte?”


“¿De Susan?”

“Así es.”

No dice nombres propios (excepto accidentalmente). San Geraldo es conocido como The Big Guy [El Hombre Grande], que, en esencia, se ha convertido en su nombre propio. Nuestra Madre la Duquesa Viuda era The Old Lady [la anciana] o Granny [abuelita] o simplemente Her [Ella]. Cuando hablaba de mí con La Duquesa, podría referirse a mí como Your Big Son [tu gran hijo].

Pero volvamos a las postales. Después de hablar sobre lo agradable que era Susan al pensar en él, le dije que tenía que comprar más postales; me había quedado sin. Su comentario: “¡Y consigue buenos esta vez!”

Supongo que mis postales escénicas de la Costa del Sol no sirven. Me las arreglé para encontrar seis postales nuevas que creo que le irán bien. Además, compré en línea y preparé un paquete de atención para él: Pretzels, barras de granola, cereales para el desayuno, anacardos, y más. Traté de obtener información antes de realizar mi pedido.

“Oye, Chuck, ¿qué tipo de cereal comes?”

“Cualquier tipo.”

“¿Te gusta Froot Loops?”

“Sin Froot Loops”.

“¿Corn Flakes?” “Sin Corn Flakes”.

¿Rice Krispies?”


¿Special K?

Special K es bueno”.

A ti también te gustan esas barras de desayuno, ¿no?

Sí, esos son buenos”.

¿Qué sabores te gustan?

Todos los sabores”.

Sabía a ciencia cierta que no le gustaba el arándano. “¿Arándano?” yo pregunté.

“No. ¡Odio los arándanos!”

“¿Qué hay de la fresa?”

“¡No fresa!”

Bueno, eso fue útil (no). La caja se entregará el sábado. Estoy seguro de que me dirá en qué me equivoqué cuando lo llame de nuevo la semana que viene. Hablar con Gloria de Colombia habría sido más fácil.

I assumed the boy and the dog were together. They weren’t. He didn’t even notice when the dog kicked sand on him.
Supuse que el niño y el perro estaban juntos. No lo estaban. Ni siquiera se dio cuenta cuando el perro le pateó arena.
• Isabel said that while she cleaned the kitchen today, she felt like she was being watched. She turned around and saw this. Time for treats?
• Isabel dijo que mientras limpiaba la cocina hoy, sintió que la estaban observando. Se dio la vuelta y vio esto. ¿Hora de los aperitivos?



Two of the new postcards for The Kid Brother.
Dos de los postales nuevos para El Hermanito.

Your Spanish Friend

A few weeks ago, I told you about my long weekend in Madrid staying with Guadalupe (click here for the last of several posts on that trip).

Guadalupe and a few of her friends can communicate fairly well in English. Other of her friends are fluent — and probably have a much better academic knowledge of English grammar than I do… than do I… than I… In addition, some are also fluent in French, German, and Italian. One friend is even fluent in Hebrew. All I could remember how to say in Hebrew was, “What’s this?,” “I go to Hebrew school,” and “Koopy is a good monkey.” Phonetically, that’s “Koopy cove tove,” if it ever comes up in conversation.

Putting Koopy aside… The core group of five professional women started a business together called “Your Spanish Friend.” They host people in their homes and offer a few days or more of immersion in Spanish conversation while sharing the city of Madrid from an insider’s view.

This all sounds like an advertisement and I don’t mean it to be that. I just thought I’d let you know about it in case you’re interested. Although Guadalupe and I had recently become friendly, we weren’t close friends and really didn’t know each other very well. I agreed to go up for a visit and was kind of nervous about staying in someone else’s home (not my favorite way to travel) and spending so much time in such close proximity to a fairly new acquaintance. I also love to travel independently, so didn’t know how I felt about being taken around Madrid by someone else.

The entire visit was a revelation. First, the homes are large and elegant. I had my own beautiful room and private bath. I know people with apartments smaller than that. So, staying in Guadalupe’s house was like staying in an elegant B&B — with the added benefit of feeling part of a family (and being able to eat whenever I wanted). We spent the entire weekend speaking only Spanish. At times, my Spanish was comical, but I can’t believe how much I improved, and how relaxed I was the entire time.


You may remember the photo I shared of Guadalupe and her friends. They are all gracious, fascinating, classy, relaxed, warm, kind, funny, knowledgable. I could go on an on. I fell in love. I told San Geraldo even he (yes, even he) would have had a great time.

This is not a shameless plug since it’s not about me. Check them out at www.YourSpanishFriend.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/YourSpanishFriend. (You may recognize some of the photos. I sent all of mine to Guadalupe.)


During your next trip to Spain I know you’ll be asked about Koopy the monkey (he comes up all the time, as you can imagine): When asked, all you need to say is:“Koopy es un buen mono,” because Koopy is a good monkey.