Le cul entre les deux chaises

An American Spaniard in France or: How I Learned to Make an Ass of Myself in Three Cultures


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Technical Problems

stand byIf you are seeing this message, it means that I am experiencing technical problems and that this blog has run out of scheduled posts. Most likely, my Internet connection has crapped out for reasons I can not explain.

Please return to this space in the future for more amusement.

[August 2013: since many people are on holiday during this time, I’m less concerned about updating than I normally would be.]


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Are you my mother?

Are you the person who entered all of these search terms in one day?

WP search terms

If you are, and are not my mother, you should be my new best friend. If you are my mother, just bookmark the damn blog already or subscribe to get new posts in your inbox instead of getting me all excited that there’s another weirdo just like me out there.

are you my mother

[Apologies to P. D. Eastman. I would have sworn Dr. Seuss wrote this book.]


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Word Mystery: flip-flop / chancleta / tong

Every Wednesday, I explore the linguistic origins of one word in different languages I speak.

My brother sent me this funny video which is as good of an inspiration for a Word Mystery as any other.

EN → flip-flop — a light sandal, typically of plastic or rubber, with a thong between the big and second toe. ORIGIN mid 17th cent. from “flop” this from “flap” this from Middle English imitative [: onomatopoeia].

ES → chancleta — Chinela sin talón, o chinela o zapato con el talón doblado, que suele usarse dentro de casa. [Backless slipper with folded-over heel, generally worn indoors.] ORIGIN Disputed, but possibly from chanca denoting the Chanka people of Peru and their footwear, diminutive form.

FR → tongChaussure de plage, formée d’une semelle et d’une bride en V. [Beach show formed by a sole and a v-shaped strap.] ORIGIN English “thong” [a narrow strip of leather or other material, used esp. as a fastening or as the lash of a whip].

→ Wikipedia says that this type of footwear originated in 5500 BC. That’s a long time ago.

→ Thinking about this reminded me of a great piece in The New Yorker about the shoes of a Stone Age man, called Otzi by archeologists. The story is behind a pay wall, but it’s a really good one.

→ More about the shoes, the oldest of their kind in the world, is here.

Tough one today. All entries have their merits, though I think the win goes to English since I love onomatopoeias almost as much as puns.


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Loot 5, Part Deux: The Winter Soldier

Oh man, am I excited about it getting colder this year. I’m not saying that only because it’s been stupidly hot here, frequently in the 90s, but because I can’t wait to deploy my new leg-warming strategies!

Cutting-edge technology I will be sheathed in for the first time this year includes Spanx (falling down tights are among the worst things), SmartWool® (applied fancy sock science) and tights that have fleece inside them! You read that right — there is FLEECE lining the tights. It is entirely possible that these things will surpass the iPod as the thing which most drastically improved my quality of life because FLEECE! + TIGHTS! could = BLISS.

Winter loot


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James Brown v. Kool & The Gang in Paris

Saw these signs at the train station at CDG airport and couldn’t help but giggle a bit because they immediately brought to mind an epic showdown.

In this corner, The Godfather of Soul, Jaaaaaaaaaaaames Brown!

SNCF Get uphttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fMjOn7YjtWI

Aaaaaand in this corner, the New Jersey funksters, Kool & The Gaaaaaaaaaang!

SNCF Get down

I know that English is hard and I know that phrasal verbs (verbs + particle and/or preposition which form new meanings) are hard, but I laughed all the same because I am Spanish, and, therefore, an asshole.

For the record

I’m not sure who would win in this epic battle of funktacularness, but since Eddie Murphy used to do James Brown on SNL in “James Brown’s Celebrity Hot Tub“, he gets the edge because I have all the SNL sketches in my brain all the time.