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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The thing about dog poo on sidewalks…

We’ve discussed this before and, yes, it’s annoying to step in dog poop and, yes, it’s kinda gross and, yes, it’s pretty rude of the humans to not pick it up…

…But lots of times, I see the poop and I think, “Man, I hope that dog gets to a vet soon ’cause that poop does not look okay.”

[Today’s post is without a photo because you really don’t want to see that stuff that makes me worry about neighborhood dogs.]


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“Jennifer poops at parties and peoples know this?”

This video had me crying within the first minute. Is it just because I love Germans so much? That’s very possible, but I think that it’s because this is hilarious and because English is really damn hard and there are so many things which can be misinterpreted.

WARNING: Do not watch this video if you are eating or drinking. You may choke.

Learn something

A “party pooper” is a person who sucks the fun out of a social occasion. Other ways to express this idea include saying that someone is a killjoy, a wet blanket or a spoilsport.


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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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Housekeeping

Updates on stuff I’ve written and your comments.

→ My mother says that the Spanish aguacate [avocado] comes from the Nahuatl (pre-Spanish Mexican language) word ahuácatl, which also means testicles. Quoth she: “which, if you think about it, gives a new dimension to eating it.” It’s a wonder I make such weird connections to stuff sometimes.

handeggElizabeth mentioned that the term “handegg” had been proposed as a replacement name for that dumb sport hulking Americans play. I approved the change and then found Internet evidence that suggests this may catch on someday.

→ For a show that had elements of many of the things I love, namely 80s music and spy stuff, FX’s THE AMERICANS left me pretty underwhelmed. The highpoint of the first season was during the finale when the big moments were scored to Peter Gabriel’s “Games Without Frontiers.”

→ James Cameron’s movies are horrible. Excepting ALIENS (which was based on pre-existing characters), all of his films feature terrible dialogue, worse plotting and zero character development. Given that I have such strong feelings about him and his œuvre (hi Ethel!), it may be surprising that I vociferously criticize the Spanish translation of “Sayonara” over “Hasta la vista, baby” in T2, but that line actually makes sense. The Terminator has spent the whole of the movie bonding with a young John Connor in Southern California where Mexican and surf cultures collide and where “Hasta la vista, baby” is a thing people actually say. Side note: I think about movies too much.

Actual names are the last thing I get to when considering a thing, but it turns out that there may be inherent qualities to some words that affect how we perceive the things being named. Gods, the last thing I need is more things to think too much about.

→ Oh, man. I didn’t think I could like Brooklyn less. After writing about how there’s a concerted effort to train the French to pick up their dogs’ poo in public, I read about New Yorkers who are now teaching their children to poop “on the ground or behind a tree.” It’s like Americans are becoming Spanish! Dogs and cats, living together! Mass hysteria!

→ I swear I’m going to stop thinking about rabbits soon but all my mental energy has finally cracked a life-long mystery. The Easter Bunny’s chocolate eggs look like rabbit poop. The Easter Bunny is leaving poop-substitutes for children. They aren’t eggs at all. They are turds. I find this sooooo upsetting, I can’t even tell you.

→ To cleanse the palette, here’s David Sedaris’s great story about American Easter and learning French. (Scroll down to “Jesus Shaves.”) I clearly remember the first time I read this in Esquire (my boyfriend), lounging on my sofa in my fourth-floor walk-up in Chinatown. How could it have been 13 years ago?


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No shit, Sherlock

Here’s one of the signs in a new campaign to get French people to pick up after their dogs. (We previously agreed to call this poodle, non?)

The shit doesn't fall from the sky.

“The shit doesn’t fall from the sky.”

As you can tell, this sign is ENORMOUS. What you can’t see is that there are more versions posted every half block to make sure the point is really driven home. We’ll see if it makes a difference.

Cultural Differences

“Poodle” in public walking spaces is a nuisance and should be the responsibility of the canine’s owner. This being said, I never picked up after my own dog when I had one. This is because my dog was the best of his species and would take himself out for walks and return, usually 20 minutes later, and scratch on the door. It helped that I lived in an area where there were practically no fences or sidewalks, but his ability to self-regulate was still unheard of and super convenient.