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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Updates on stuff I’ve written and your comments.

→ In case you missed it, expatlingo asked me to expand a recent Word Mystery and I did. More about ways to bandage wounds here.

→ I frequently joke that the US started to go to shit after I left, but I do suspect that the lack of my patronage directly led to the end of Linens ‘n Things and Filene’s Basement since they were both stores that I went to monthly and rarely left empty-handed. Now, there’s a new building going up where the original Filene’s used to be in Boston’s Downtown Crossing and I wonder if the guy who ran a cart called Boston Red Dogs (the only grilled hot dog cart in the area) went out of business too.

→ I haven’t read any Junot Díaz yet (Pulitzer winner for The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao), but his place on my list moved up several notches when I saw this:

Junot Diaz quote

→ For the record: this motherfucker will not read a book that’s in Elvish because that shit is BORING. Also: We’re totally taking over.

→ Mavis Gallant is apparently going to be an annual thing. The destitute divorced Canadian writer who lived in Franco’s Spain and who I first heard about last summer is worth another look. Someone quoted in an Atlantic story about her work said,

“The first story I read is called ‘The Ice Wagon Going Down the Street.’ It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that it changed my reading life forever.”

Even though I don’t generally like short fiction, I’ve picked up a couple of her books. The mentioned piece appears in a collection called Paris Stories, so I’ll clearly be starting there.

→ Coming across “jejune” recently, something struck me about the word and I dug a little deeper. Turns out that the modern meaning of “naive, simplistic, and superficial,” comes from the Latin jejunus [fasting] and that “without food” became “not intellectually nourishing.” There’s my old rabid friend! You won’t get by me so easily anymore! I’m onto your tricks.

→ Presented without comment: this Buzzfeed list of things that you love about America after you’re not living there. I will say #1, #5, #13 and #34.

→ While I was offline, so many fun things happened on the Internet, including this gem which will have me laughing forever:

the ham is melting, the turkey is suspended in midair, the salami is hatching from its own egg. why did we even come to the salvador deli.

→ After lots of soul searching, I have definitively decided that my favorite activity is sleeping because I can do all my favorite things while dreaming, like watch movies, eat yummy things and go on adventures. Imagine my astonishment at learning that sleeping could be even better! If I were, say, a sea lion, I could sleep with only half my brain while the other half was awake. This ability is called unihemispheric slow-wave sleep and I would do almost anything to have it. I could sleep while actually being productive which is what I will dream about tonight because that would be AMAZING.

→ Possible evidence that everything in the US really did go to shit after I left: nowhere I’ve ever lived ranked on this beer consumption index. Had I been around, I would have certainly impacted the results. New Hampshire may come as a surprise to people who don’t know that it was illegal in Massachusetts to sell alcohol on Sundays (boo, Puritans!). When I lived in a house full of men, someone always made the drive up to get provisions, so, in a way, I’m pretty sure that I *can* claim that first place ranking. [Ed. This blue law was changed in 2004 (yay, libertines!) so I’m back to being confused.]