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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Housekeeping

Updates on stuff I’ve written and your comments.

→ There’s a whole cool-sounding book about fun punctuation marks, like the @, called Shady Characters: The Secret Life of Punctuation, Symbols, & Other Typographical Marks by Keith Houston. I will have to √ it out.

→ Almost as good as being able to sleep while doing other stuff: getting paid by science for sleeping. Science!

→ There is a Dairy Queen in New York! There is a Dairy Queen in New York! At this rate, I’ll never have to go back to the Midwest ever again.

→ Reading about the behind-the-scenes drama and near disasters surrounding the unveiling of the original iPhone reminded me of Francis Ford Coppola’s TUCKER: A MAN AND HIS DREAMS. It also helped me possibly identify the root of my many problems with the device. According to one of the engineers on the project,

“The story was that Steve wanted a device that he could use to read e-mail while on the toilet — that was the extent of the product spec.”

→ No good, except this SNL commercial for the “Bathroom Businessman“, ever came from an idea that capitalized on being able to multitask while defecating.

→ My sister sent along this story, rightly suggesting that I probably want to learn German because of all their awesome word-building. When I first learned Schadenfreude (deriving pleasure at the misfortune of others) I thought, “That’s a culture that understands me.” Now there’s a book coming out with some great (satirical) examples of German ingenuity which I may have to acquire because it looks like exactly the kind of thing which will amuse me forever.

→ Living in Barcelona as I did for five years, I’ve been to the Sagrada Família more than a few times. For over a year, I went by it at least ten times a week as it was on my way to work. I’ve foolishly climbed all the steps in it and taken lots of pictures of the inspired-by-the-natural-world details. But I’ll probably never see it completed because life’s too short and it’ll never get finished. Thankfully, there’s now a video of what it’ll probably (maybe? eventually?) look like, so I can pretend.

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Euro Adapter: football vs. soccer

Patterns, habits and ways of expressing myself that I thought were set in stone before I became an expat have evolved and I now recognize that sometimes, the Old World’s got the New World beat.

The world’s most popular sport is called football, not soccer. For starters, it’s a game played almost exclusively with feet. In theory, you could be an arm-less person and still play. In terms of compound word creation, it doesn’t get much more basic than “foot kicking ball game” = foot + ball.

Visca! Barça! (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap)

Visca! Barça! (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap)

That thing that Americans play? It should be called something else, like lamerugby. Or runningball. Lexically, “soccer” is a bullshit word anyway as it’s an incredibly dumb shortening of Association Football.” Do you even see where they got the term from? It’s the “soc” in “Association.” Dumbest. sport name. ever.

My brain says

→ When I read S. E. Hinton’s book The Outsiders in elementary school, I thought the antagonists, the Socs, were called “Socks.” It took me many years to realize they were “sohsh-es” as in “society.”

Letters of Note has a good one about a California librarian’s correspondence with Francis Ford Coppola’s production company about the latter’s adaptation of The Outsiders. The world was so different then (1980) that it freaks me out a little.

→ Speaking of mispronouncing things, if you’re an “Arrested Development” fan (and YOU REALLY NEED TO BE), I recently laughed for several minutes after watching the officially-unofficial* “The Arrested Development Documentary.” Scott Baio, (“Happy Days,” “Charles In Charge,” “Zapped!”) played Bob Loblaw on “AD” and had this to say:

“I’m from New York and my accent got in the way of the name, so I looked at it and said, ‘Bob LAWB lawhr’ and I was doing a scene with [Jason] Bateman and he said, ‘And here’s our attorney, Bahblahblah,’ and I went ‘THAT’S THE NAME?!'”

→ → → →”Arrested Development” returns in two weeks!

* They interview most of the cast and the writers and producers, but did not get clearance to show clips of the series which isn’t that big of a deal since you know it backwards and forwards, right? RIGHT?