Le cul entre les deux chaises

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


Links Day

On this day, God said, “Let there be links!” and there was much rejoicing.

→ The most miserable US states, according to a 2013 Gallup poll. I admit that I’m disappointed that the state I grew up in is not number 1. Makes me think they didn’t collect enough data ’cause that place is the worst.



→ What would the world be like if ads were replaced by art? Pretty great, I’d say after looking over Etienne Lavie’s “OMG who stole my ads ?” project.  [h/t]

→ Apparently, everyone else in the world is washing their hands wrong. If I were still as germphobic as I was when I lived in the US, this would seriously disgust me. As things stand now, I’m just disappointed in you.

→ People have always (weirdly) been drawn to me, and Mike White (actor / director / screenwriter / AMAZING RACE contestant) may know why. He says he wants people to see him and think,

“Oh, he seems like he’s having a good time. Maybe he has the secret to something that I haven’t figured out.” 

(I’m totally not telling you the secret.)

→ National flags made out of each country’s typical foods. Warning: this will make you hungry. 

→ Jenny Lawson, blogger extraordinaire and author, is someone you should be reading. She’s funnier and more foul-mouthed than I am though we feel the same way about the Important Things In Life, like The Princess Bride.

“I used to think that it was a small sin to waste time rereading silly books you’ve already read. . . but then I grew up and realized that those things were the only things that mattered. . . I’ve decided to give up on caring about wasting time and, in doing that, I’ve suddenly saved so much time I would have spent hating myself for reading The Princess Bride for the 89th time.”

Amen, sister. 

→ British actors with fantastic voices reading aloud. They make even the poetry palatable. 

desmoinespolice→ Buildings that used to be Pizza Huts were featured on the great 99% Invisible podcast. I ate so many free pepperoni personal pan pizzas in buildings just like the one pic’d at right as RIF / Book It! rewards. I wish I could still get free stuff just for doing things I like. 

→ I don’t have tattoos because I think they’re a bad idea. My friends who have them all regret the decision to varying degrees, the most mild being, “I don’t really mind this one too much.” A column in the NYT Magazine nailed my issue with scarring yourself with colors:

“Getting a tattoo is a way for your past self to exert power over your present self.” 

Your past self is always an idiot compared to your now-self. Knowing this when you’re younger helps prevent mistakes in the future. This is the reason I’m not on Facebook.

Next Week

In honor of the Academy Awards (which are this Sunday), I’ll be doing all movie-related posts next week. I can’t keep track of basic holidays (or even my birthday) but I mark the Oscars and the BAFTAs in my calendar because those are important (to me). Priorities, people. We’ve all got them.


“Amazing” Americans

“The Amazing Race” is the only reality show I really enjoy. The premise is that eleven teams of two compete against each other in a race around the world for a $1 million prize, but the show is actually about different kinds of Americans showing varying degrees of ignorance or competence in foreign lands. If I were in charge of marketing it, I’d call it “Travel Schadenfreude” and edit it to maximize people doing awesomely idiotic things like yelling “rapido, rapido” to cab drivers in China which is a thing that regularly happens.

I love the show so much that when I went to Berlin a couple months after the city was a featured stop, I reenacted one of the races to the finish line, just ’cause.

Running to "meet Phil" at the Brandenberg Gate in Berlin (2006)

Running to “meet Phil” at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin (2006)

Recently, the long-running series had its 22nd season finale, with the finalists landing in Washington, DC and chasing clues around places I knew pretty well. One of the challenges involved one member of each team running around the Tidal Basin, approaching men dressed as “secret agents,” hoping to elicit the correct counter-response to a code phrase. One of the questions was “Where can I get a good half-smoke with chili?” which elicited a response from me, sitting on a couch outside Paris. “BEN’S CHILI BOWL!” I yelled at my screen.

Ben’s is an iconic luncheonette-type place in the (now historic) U Street corridor in NW Washington. Famous people associated with the place include Nat King Cole, Stokely Carmichael, Bill Cosby and President Obama. You should go there if you’re in DC. The chili cheese fries are among the more ridiculously good things I’ve ever had.

For the record, the producers of “TAR” chickened out and gave this half-assed response to the half-smoke question.