Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Vacay in the USA

We are returning to the USA for the next two weeks to repatriate our kids and enjoy a little R&R. I just wanted to let all my peeps know why this blog won't be updated until after August 5th. We are staying at my Dad's house a man who doesn't believe in paying 'extra' for a fast internet connection and thus he still has what I like to call 'Dino Dial Up' (the internet connection that is still hooked up to his phone). I refuse to blog via Dino Dial Up. Also, DH just informed me that you're not supposed to tell anyone when you go on vacation, because they'll come and rob your house. And to that I say, bienvenue and bonne chance. See, we live in a building that has not one but TWO coded security doors. On top of that, the door to our apartment is as thick as a bank vault. Really. The exterior is all lovely embossed wood, but once you open it, it is 18 inches of thick, heavy, steel. Donc, mes amis, see you in aout.

Friday, July 22, 2011

French Language a Hoax

Back a few months ago, around the time that Wacko from Wikileaks published all that embarassing stuff he had on the US and other governments, an online British paper called the News Biscuit published a story saying that French President Nicholas Sarkozy had admitted that the French language was a 1,000 year old hoax. The story drove my Parisian friends nuts! I adore the everlasting love/hate relationship the French have with the Brits. It makes life here so much more interesting watching and listening to them interact. But, I digress. If you haven't read the complete article, here it is:
"After yesterday’s Wikileaks revelations, Nicolas Sarkozy has today confirmed that the “French language” is indeed a one thousand year old hoax. The president of France revealed that what purported to be his native tongue was in fact complete gibberish, admitting the French really speak English, except in the presence of the British. This comes as Wikileaks published cables sent by French diplomats to countries such as Spain, China and Russia which were all found to be written in English. During a speech given in received pronunciation, the French President came clean, stating that it all started off as a joke during William the Conquerer’s invasion to make the aggressors seem a bit more exotic. “What was initially a prank snowballed and after a few years we realised we’d look silly revealing the truth, so we had to keep up the façade,” said the Premier. “In the company of any Brits we would try to make convincingly “French” sounds, a mixture of guttural grunts and rapid-fire syllables.But as soon as we were on our own we’d all heave a huge sigh of relief and revert to English. We developed a heavy reliance on hand gestures to cover up when we ran out of likely noises, and the shrug was a particular boon if inspiration dried up. In the end we became quite the raconteurs, with an impressive array of supposed vocabulary. So what began as a game for the élites, became a hobby across all levels of society, and it shocked us that the Brits were so naïve as to not see through the charade.”

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Huit à Huit

Just down the block from me is a little convenience store, it’s called the huit à huit (the eight to eight) because it is open, as you can imagine, from 8 am until 8 pm. It’s also the only thing open on Sunday (which is usually when we run out of milk). Imagine a 7-11 without the prepared food and combined with a liquor store, all of which fits neatly into a large walk-in closet. My new hobby is playing "where the hell are you from" with the owner. He doesn't know what my nationality is, and it seems to be driving him slowly mad. I have never, EVER, spoken anything but French to him, but he has decided I am not French and is intent on figuring out what country I am from. He has already guessed Canada and Belgium, to which I said ‘non’. Tonight he guessed Switzerland. I simply smiled,said ‘non monsieur’ and waved goodbye as I left.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Ticket Price Discrimination

We came to London for a couple of days and to humor my older daughter who was intent on seeing the final Harry Potter film in the country of Harry’s birth (it was awesome by the way!). We knew London was expensive and thus expected to pay more for movie tickets here, but never before had we encountered the employment of price discrimination based on where your seats are in the theater. Seats closer to the screen cost more, while the ones furthest from the screen cost a lot less. We paid NINE pounds per person (that’s nearly 18 US dollars) for a ‘standard view’ (which wasn’t even in the first tier of seats). And get this, in order to make sure that people don’t buy tickets for the ‘cheap seats’ and then sit in the more expensive seats once inside the darkened theater, a bunch of theater employees stand in each section of the theater for the ENTIRE film, surveying the crowd to make sure no one moves. I can’t imagine it is cost effective for the theater to pay an employee to stand around watching a bunch of people watch a movie. I bet if they stopped paying all those extra employees to monitor the crowd they’d save enough money to employ a single ticket pricing schedule. Thank god the French don’t do this because we’d never go to the movies.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Today's Language Tip

Seeing that it is the summer season and France is full of tourists, it's time for a handy tip from Madame Language Person.
When looking at a French menu, you might see the following:

steak à cheval
steak de cheval

There's a BIG difference between the two! Steak à cheval means 'an egg riding horseback--on top of--a steak' while 'steak de cheval' IS a horse steak.

It's amazing, isn't it, the difference one little preposition can make?

Bon Appétit!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Runaway (Princess) Bride, Part Deux

According to the British Newspaper, The Mirror, Charlene Wittstock tried to bolt, not once but THRICE before her nuptials to Fat Albert III. The first time was in early May when she travelled to Paris for a fitting of her wedding gown. The paper says she ‘took refuge’ in the South African Embassy for an undisclosed period of time. The second took place later that month when she tried to flee during the Monaco Grand Prix. The third and final attempt was made last week, just days before the three day nuptials were set to begin. The reason for all these escape attempts? News that her dear fiancé was facing not one, but TWO more claims of illegitimate children: one already born, one still in utero. According to The Mirror, Prince Fat Albert and his bride came to an ‘agreement’ so the wedding could go on as planned.

Although, for such a happy occasion, the bride looked rather tense. She spent most of the time looking down at the ground, even as she walked down the aisle with her father. At one point she even burst into tears as Fat Albert looked on, passively. But the real temperature gauge of this marriage are those kisses. Just check out the two photos included in this post.

In this one, taken just after the civil ceremony on July 1st, Fat Albert is kissing his new wife who looks as if she just threw up in her mouth a little bit. (Although, I can’t blame her since I would also throw up in my mouth if I was forced to kiss him).

In this one, taken at the conclusion of the religious ceremony, he appears to kiss her, but clearly she isn’t kissing him back.

Although, to be honest, I’m having a hard time feeling sorry for Princess Charlène. Fat Albert’s reputation as a Man Whore has been VERY well known for years by the entire world, so if she was surprised to learn he was screwing around while they were together, well, then she is thick as a brick. So, Charlene, honey, here is some free advice: lay still, produce a legitimate heir, then live the rest of your life in luxury. That's the job you signed up to do, so STOP trying to run away!