Saturday, November 17, 2007

And Now the Thanksgiving Torch Passes

I got the picture and this e-mail from my daughter today, describing the Thanksgiving dinner she and her friends put on last night. Made me smile.

Hey! Wanted to let you know that last night was a complete success! I'm attaching a picture of our table, and I would like you to know that of the 14 food items there, I made 9 of them!(with a little help on most of them) The turkey actually worked out! (though I'm not counting it a complete success until next week when I make sure no one got food poisoning) It thawed (mostly) and it cooked! It took an hour longer than planned, but I think that's sort of implied when you talk about cooking turkeys. I made the salad dressing from scratch, and the pumpkin pie has a homemade crust! The stuffing, gravy, and cranberry sauce are all my doing, but they all came from boxes and cans, so I'm counting them, but I shouldn't be. You can tell the cranberries were canned because I cut some into discs and then used cookie cutters to make cranberry cookies! Might be a little trashy, but I'm in college, so for now, it's just cute. There were a few setbacks, I won't lie. The stove caught on fire when the stuffing liquid boiled over. Shortly after that we dropped a pie. But other than that no casualties! No one was hurt, the house is in one piece, and everyone had a great time! So thank you for helping me through my first Thanksgiving. I'll bring the turkey cooker (or the cookie turker, as I kept accidentally calling it) back when I come home tomorrow. I love you.

Monday, November 12, 2007

French Books on the Merde

I got an Amazon gift certificate today as a thank you from a soccer site I write for. This is just the incentive I need to buy the sequel to the book I read a month or so ago entitled "A Year in the Merde."

It is a hysterically funny book, written by an Englishman who moved to Paris, and it's almost entirely about what contrarians the Parisians are. It's filled with funny little tidbits about the French not liking people who make fun of the language, and Paris being filled with people who don't pick up after their dogs, and the fact that somebody in the city is always on strike. And the French, being the contrarians that they are, embraced it wholeheartedly. I bought my copy in the gift shop at Charles de Gaulle airport before I came home from Paris, and I spent the entire flight giggling hysterically, while trying to hide the fact that I was giggling hysterically because I had Frenchmen on both sides of me.

I thought I left my copy in JFK in New York, but it turned up a week or so after I got back in a gift bag for one of my kids. But I spent a week or so after I got home researching how to buy it in the US. And part of that research process involved reading reviews.

A lot of people thought it was funny, like I did, but a fair number thought it was insulting to the French. The funny thing was, the people complaining about it being insulting were always Americans. The French themselves seem quite comfortable with these aspects of themselves. They can both laugh at and embrace their own quirks. An admirable quality, in my opinion.

After the World Cup last year, much of the world was disgusted by the fact that the French loved Zidane ever more after he was sent off for headbutting Materazzi. The general thinking was that he should have been exiled in shame, not embraced. But that's not what happened. The most interesting description I read of the event came from a Parisian, and it was something like this: "Zidane has given us back our wonderful reputation for insolence."

Ah, yes. Vive l'insolence.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Canadian Francophonia

I zipped up to Vancouver, BC this week to catch my beloved L@ G@l@xy playing the Vancouver Whitecaps. (Note to anybody going from Seattle to Vancouver: Do NOT believe Mapquest. Call your hotel and get directions. You will thank me later.)

The game itself was boring -- a nil-nil draw. They only interesting part was the streaker. I don't think I've ever seen a streaker live before. (Because I love you, I'm embedding the video at the bottom of this post. It was hysterical. Although I did feel for the security guy who got stuck with the job of taking him down.)

But anyhoo. My favorite part of going to Canada is the availability of French-language radio and TV. From the time I get within about 50 miles of the border to the time I come back, it's all I listen to/watch. Someday I WILL be fluent. Not that it will make any difference in my life, but hey. A woman has to have goals, right?

The radio station does a lot of French-language interviews with French-speaking Canadians. And they are always asked one question: Are you a francophone?

It gets to be humorous after awhile. There was an interview with four members from the same band and it went something like this:

Interviewer: Music stuff, music stuff, music stuff. And are you a francophone?
Musician 1: Yes, I am. Music stuff, music stuff.
Interviewer: Music stuff, music stuff, music stuff. And are you a francophone?
Musician 2: Yes, I am. Music stuff, music stuff.
Interviewer: Music stuff, music stuff, music stuff. And are you a francophone?
Musician 3: Yes, I am. Music stuff, music stuff.
Interviewer: Music stuff, music stuff, music stuff. And are you a francophone?
Musician 4: Yes, I am. Music stuff, music stuff.

It was as if, amid all of the other stuff being talked about, this was the most important topic they could possibly be discussing. Does this strike anybody else as funny? I mean, I can't imagine an English-speaking interviewer asking English-speaking subjects, "Are YOU a native english speaker?"

I guess this is an obsession that is part and parcel with minority status, eh?

And here's your streaker: