Le cul entre les deux chaises

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



Updates on stuff I’ve written and your comments.

In the day after being Freshly Pressed, there were over 1200 clicks on my blog. Which is nuts. If you commented or “liked,” I’ll be checking your blog out eventually but there’s a lot to get through. #FreshlyPressedPeoplesProblems

Responding to all the comments on the post about spying, I started to wonder if American men have defensive tactics that they employ whenever they leave the house. Anyone care to comment?

More proof that the pop vs. soda debate is the defining schism in the US: Tweets reflect the rift.

After reading about my drinking problem, my mother suggested I may have potomanía, an ailment described as “excessive and uncontrollable drinking of water.” I’m adding it to the list of things that are wrong with me which I will blame on her.

I learned why Japanese master chef Jiro pointed to his nose. Turns out the Japanese for “I” and “nose” are similar so people touch their noses when they talk about themselves.

I was right about children not needing to identify with fictional characters and Harvard academic Maria Tatar proves it. According to something AS Byatt cites (which I can’t find), Tatar

has observed wisely that children do not usually ‘identify [with fictional children]’ – they stand a little apart inside the fictional world and intensely observe the people and the action.

I only listen to one podcast from Spain, “180 Grados” (which plays really good music). They didn’t broadcast between Dec 21 and Jan 7. This reminded me that many of the businesses in the country, including state-run radio, close down between those dates for the winter holidays. In the US, having two weeks off for Christmas is called “being in college.” It’s no wonder Spain’s in the shitter.

According to the most recent “Freakonomics” podcast, I may owe Winston Churchill money which is concerning.

Speaking of prolific famous English guys, if you want to listen to Alastair Cooke’s “Letters From America” (which I recommend) but don’t want to deal with iTunes, you can download them directly from BBC4.

Don't be such a pillow case

Don’t be such a pillowcase.

A while back I asked bilingual readers if they could do things simultaneously in two languages. I think I asked the wrong question since everyone said they can, proving nothing. I guess the question should be posed to monolingual people, so I’m going to try again.

What I want to know is if you can do two things at once in whatever language you speak (presumably English if you’re reading this). For example, can you read while listening to the radio? Please answer ONLY if you speak ONE language:


I’m Freshly Pressed!!!

I got an email on Friday alerting me to my imminent Freshly Pressed-status* from Cheri, a WordPress editor, and promptly started to freak the hell out. The email said

We really enjoyed this succinct yet well-written post about using “spy techniques” at a bus stop, and your exchange with this woman. I like how writers can take quick, seemingly mundane encounters and create interesting pieces/reflections out of them.

I read this many times, trying to soak in the meaning of the words but I got stuck on whether she intentionally put a pun in there (“reflections”) for my benefit. Does she know I love puns? How did the editors even come across this post? There weren’t any more readers than usual that day, so I guess WP can read as many things as they want without leaving a trace making them pretty damn sneaky themselves.

What does this all mean? I guess there will be more people here for a day or two and maybe some of them will stick around. I feel a weird pressure to write something more superlative than usual, like funnier or more insightful or more educational or incredibly clever but I don’t know if I can. Christ, being Freshly Pressed is almost enough to make me stop blogging all together, but then I’d lose that feeling of accomplishment I get from posting every day and I won’t let anyone take that away from me!

So… I guess I will continue as before. Thankfully, I usually have a week or seven days’ worth of posts done and scheduled at any given moment so by the time I calm down from the excitement of my fleeting virtual fame, I’ll be able to think clearly and not be so self-conscious.

In the mean time, welcome, bienvenido, bienvenue and benvinguts to any new people. I hope you are entertained and join into the collective amusement at my expense. I’ll be over here, Paris-adjacent, smiling so big, I may split my face.

Grinch glowing

I totally looked like this all weekend. (Illustration by Dr. Seuss)

*For people (like my mom) who don’t live in WordPress, being Freshly Pressed is like being on the cover of a cool magazine. Top of the world, ma!

Woo-hoo! Top left corner!

Woo-hoo! Top left corner!