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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Me and Neil Diamond

Noteworthy moments in my life related to Neil Diamond

1. Every year as our Iberia flight headed into New York airspace, my siblings would hold my hands and we’d all sing “America” together.

2. As a slightly older kid, my BFF and I would dance like crazy to “Kentucky Woman.”

3. During my Boston years, “Sweet Caroline” became the unofficial song for Red Sox Nation thanks to the New England fah-evah movie BEAUTIFUL GIRLS.

4. When ringing in Y2K with my siblings on a roof deck in DC (the better to see the potential end of the modern world) while the Di-Man was singing “America” at a concert in Denver on TV.

5. Finding a CD of his greatest hits in the jukebox at the neighborhood bar my best friend and I frequented and always playing “Forever in Blue Jeans.”

6. Going on a mini-European trip with said best friend and telling him about how my siblings and I would hold hands and sing “America” together when we’d come home from Spain and how I hadn’t realized for many years that their summer experiences weren’t as fun as mine and how they actually missed their friends and wished that we weren’t sequestered on a farm for three months. Then, putting a splitter on my iPod so we could both listen to the song while flying into Dulles.

7. When the same best friend met the actual Neil Diamond and told the real human Neil Diamond the story about me and my siblings and the physical person of Neil Diamond loved the story and signed an autograph to my whole family, writing that we are “wonderful” and I freaked the hell out because the genuine Neil Diamond knows my family’s story and it’s just too much for me to take.

Now, every time I come back to the US, I hold my own damn hand and sing “America” to myself while blasting it on the iPod (regulations be damned!) and I get choked up at the “My country ’tis of thee” part.

even though this is Long Island

Hello, Beautiful (,America the).

Honorable mention

Will Ferrell as Neil Diamond on SNL’s “Storytellers” and selling blue jeans for the Gap.

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Healing through snacking

I can’t bake. As a skill, it combines two of the things I’m bad at (math and science). For the past few years, I’ve also literally not been able to bake since I haven’t lived in a place with an oven. Both of these facts posed significant obstacles when I was looking around for ways to cheer myself up and kept reading about how people were making cookies or cakes after being shaken up by the Boston bombings. I still wanted to do something for myself, so I fell back on my default position: make some variation on peanut butter cups.

Choc pb pretzel 1

Chocolate covered pretzels with peanut butter (for dipping) was the result. Added bonus: they take very little time to prepare and are quickly ready to eat.

Le cul’s Sweet Carolines (they’re “so good, so good“)

  1. Melt baker’s chocolate in the microwave. (I lined the bowl with wax/parchment paper to lessen mess-factor.)
  2. Dip, dredge or drizzle chocolate on pretzels. Place on wax/parchment paper.
  3. Sprinkle with good salt. (None of that table salt business.)
  4. Place in freezer until chocolate has hardened to your taste.
  5. Slather with peanut butter.
  6. Smile quietly while licking fingers (bowl licking optional).

Choc pb pretzel 2 Choc pb pretzel 3