Le cul entre les deux chaises

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


Word Outlier: lata

You are now entering a place… where one strange word… lives alone… separated from its sibling signifiers. This is The Outlier Zone.

Daylight saving time was yesterday meaning that 1) I am now only 5 hours ahead of EST and 2) anything that could be considered “nice” weather will no longer appear on the forecast. No matter, really, as I love bundling up and have already been rocking some Thinsulate™ and hats and gloves for the better part of two weeks.

It does bring to mind happier, sunnier times, though. Times when I’d hanker for a nice cool beer to quench my thirst. Times when my beer would be so cool, it’d wear sunglasses.

cannette Hoeg

Both the English can (a cylindrical metal container) and the French cannette (Contenant métallique cylindrique pour les boissons. [Cylindrical metal container for drinks]) come from the Genoan dialect’s cannetta [reed] but the Spanish differ, as they seem to make a habit of doing.

In Spain, you get a lata (Envase hecho de hojalata. [Container made of tin.]) but the word origin is, according the REA, “disputed” so I can’t tell you where it comes from.

Huh. Now I’m miffed. I don’t like having unanswered questions. I guess I owe you 25¢ for your time. Put it on my tab.

Leave a comment

This is my pea coat.

peacoat 1There are many like it, but this one is mine. My pea coat is my favorite coat. It keeps me warm in coldest weather. Without me, my pea coat is useless. Without my pea coat, I am cold.

peacoat 2I got this coat about a decade ago from the J.Crew clearance catalog. (Do they still mail out catalogs?) There may no longer be many like it in use, though I’ve found it to be incredibly durable. The general construction of the garment is quite good. As you can see, the only wear has been caused by my general insistence to sit on the back of the coat to protect my bum from cold surfaces. Someday, maybe I’ll darn those spots. (Out, darned spots!)

The big selling point for me at the time was that the coat was lined with Thinsulate™, one of the great wonders of the modern world (as far as I’m concerned). I remember there was a non-Thinsulate™ version and I thought then (as I do now) what the hell the point of such a thing is.

peacoat 3Thinsulate™ alone would have been enough to make me favor this coat over the dozen I have for winter wear (each one has a specialized use, I swear!) but this coat earned my enduring love for a secret detail that I didn’t discover right away: an inside breast pocket. In case you don’t know, the percentage of women’s clothes that have an inside pocket is 0. No women’s clothing has enough or appropriately sized pockets. Apparently, designers think that since we carry bags, we don’t need to keep things on our persons. Well, I for one love having the option to go bag-free and this coat is the perfect thing. Back when I still smoked, I could put my wallet in the inside pocket, my smokes and lighter in the left one, keys and phone in the right and gloves in the top hand-warmers. And all was well. And warm.

Learn something, you maggot!

Full Metal Jacket, whose “This is my rifle” speech inspired this post, was filmed entirely in England. Stanley Kubrick was American. There is a Christmas scene in this movie which makes it eligible for my Unconventional Xmas film series.