Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Six Degrees of Senator Al Franken

Al Franken
I scanned the bookshelves in Annemiek's Paris apartment. No, I'm not cheating on Kellie. Annemiek is the French woman we exchanged homes with. She's currently in our house in Oceanside, California, critiquing the books in my library, no doubt. I wanted something to read, preferably in English, or with pictures, since I don't understand French. I couldn't find anything interesting so selected Al Franken's book Liars: And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, one of three books in her collection by Franken. I was a little curious about Annemiek's Franken fetish. Why would a French woman be interested in an obscure American comedian turned senator of an even more obscure state? (I believe Minnesota is a state and not a Canadian Provence.) Franken is a liberal, and the French are almost communists. Liberals and communists are essentially the same thing, at least according to Rush Limbaugh, which might explain her fascination with the senator.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

That's when the wet T-Shirt contest began.

The only picture Kellie will allow.
We stood in line for three hours to get into the catacombs hidden below Paris. For the first two hours we broiled beneath an unrelenting sun, feeling and smelling like stale bread plucked from a fondue pot. The next half-hour brought relief as thickening clouds and a quickening wind interrupted the heat wave that had suffocated Paris for days. Then, in the final half-hour, the sky split open like a ruptured waterbed mattress. That's when the wet T-shirt contest began.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The French Condition

Photo Credit
The French are a morose people, and I'm not the only one to make this assessment. Roger Cohen recently wrote about France's Glorious Malaise in the New York Times. Cohen thinks that the French temperament reflects a fatalistic realism. I don't think it's necessary to get quite so philosophical to explain the French condition. They simply haven't mastered some of life's basic routines.

The problem starts with a horrible night’s sleep. I’ve been to France multiple times, slept in many hotels and few French homes, and I’ve yet to find a comfortable bed. In France, any rectangular object with a sheet qualifies as a mattress. I'm staying in a Paris apartment right now where my bed is a pair of wooden shipping pallets.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Who Was That Helmeted Man?

I was sitting on a park bench, engrossed in Nissim's Taleb's new book Antifragile, when I detected a new aroma. I lifted my head and saw a woman and her dog walking away. On the ground, five feet from where I was reading, sat a fresh pile of dog crap, glistening in the late morning sun. Moving to another bench wasn't an option. Shaded park benches with free WiFi connections are a rare find in Cannes, and it was going to take a lot more than olfactory assault to dislodge me.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

I Had A Dream

Photo Credit
Kellie awoke from a two-hour afternoon nap and plopped down next to me on the couch. "I had dream," she said.

I dreamt we monkeys. We had just arrived on a tropical island with a baby monkey and loaf French bread wrapped in plastic. The island was already populated by other monkeys and they wanted to kill us and take our bread, but we hid in a tree behind a sleeping baby bear. The cub began sniffing the air, he smelled our bread. He grabbed it from me but couldn't manage to claw his way through the plastic wrapping. He was making so much noise I was afraid he would alert the other monkeys, so I opened it for him and gave him some bread. The bear fell from the tree and when he hit the ground all the monkeys turned their heads in our direction. We fled and they started chasing us. Swinging on vines through treetops, we nearly escaped, but I had epic swing fail that left me dangling. One of the female monkeys grabbed me by my big toe. I screamed for your help and when you arrived she released my toe and started making goggly eyes at you. Music began playing, Jungle Boogie, I think. She turned blue and the two of you started undulating in unison. Then the dream ended.

I asked Kellie what she thought the it meant but she couldn't explain it. I think it means she should do whatever is necessary to ensure that I'm not tempted by undulating blue monkeys, but I'd like to hear your interpretations.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Excuse Me Miss, Are You Ovulating?

Photo Credit
Daniel Bergner's new book, What Do Women Want? Adventures in the Science of Female Desire, is packed with useful information. In a previous post, I told you about women's secret predilection for porn. Researches have also discovered that the strength of a woman's desire for smut is predicated upon the time of the month when she first views an x-rated video. Women whose first exposure to porn occurred just prior to ovulation showed greater interest and excitement than women who first viewed porn in different phases of their menstrual cycle. However, the women whose first exposure coincided with ovulation maintained their level of interest in watching porn throughout the rest of their cycle, whereas those whose first viewing occurred at other times in their cycle never achieved the same level of interest. The importance of this finding did not escape Kim Wallen, the researcher responsible for this discovery: "One lesson is that you don't want a woman to form her first impression of you when she's in the wrong menstrual phase. You'll never recover."

Sunday, July 7, 2013

A Day At The Beach

There's nothing like a day at the beach on the French Rivera where the locals enjoy overexposing themselves. Who can't help but smile at seeing the joy on a young boy's face as he frolics in the surf, playing paddle ball with his bare chested mother, her drooping breasts glistening with oil, flopping to and fro as she leaps through waves.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Geography With Kellie

Relaxing on a sixth floor balcony of a beachfront vacation apartment in Carnet-Plage, France, Kellie asked if we were looking at the Atlantic or the Pacific Ocean. Dumbfounded, it took me a moment before I responded to her question.

"It's the Mediterranean, my dear."

Kellie claims that traveling is the only way she can learn geography. There has to be a less expensive way to receive an ineffective education.