Just when you thought the French gay marriage debate couldn't get any more childish, a particularly unenlightened Subway franchisee (of all people!) comes along and lets you know that the abyss of petty bigotry is, in fact, bottomless.
Saturday 16 February 2013
By Baron von Rupp on Saturday 16 February 2013, 13:15 - In the News
Saturday 9 February 2013
By Baron von Rupp on Saturday 9 February 2013, 16:57 - distance running
Wow...and I didn't even know adults ran cross-country races! As it turns out, most of them don't: however, cross as it is called in French is alive and well amongst a small but alarmingly fit section of France's never-boring sporting landscape.
Saturday 12 January 2013
By Baron von Rupp on Saturday 12 January 2013, 10:13 - In the News
Socialist President François Hollande's attempt to follow up on his campaign promise to legalize marriage for same-sex couples has met surprisingly boisterous opposition. Who knew that the land of Voltaire, the birthplace of the Republican ideal and the first European country to reject the authority of any church could be so reactionary?
Thursday 20 September 2012
By Baron von Rupp on Thursday 20 September 2012, 22:45 - Pardon My French
When Bernard Arnault, top dog at LVMH and one of the five richest people on earth, applied for Belgian citizenship during the run-up to the application of France's new 75% tax bracket for the filthy rich, he had to know people weren't going to take it well. But left-center media outlet Libération threw more merde into the fan than he ever could have anticipated...and left bemused Anglophone journalists in a very difficult position.
Friday 31 August 2012
By Baron von Rupp on Friday 31 August 2012, 22:44 - distance running
I'm in this picture. 100 clams to anyone who can find me.
Tuesday 14 August 2012
By Baron von Rupp on Tuesday 14 August 2012, 16:24 - Cycling
Here are the rules: two hours, can't leave the city limits, and no photos that require getting off the bicycle. Go!
To start things off on a good note, I rolled through the botanical gardens in the magnificent Parc de la Tête d'Or and visited the lotus ponds. Om.
Wednesday 11 July 2012
By Baron von Rupp on Wednesday 11 July 2012, 20:39 - Pardon My French
So you get out of a business meeting in which your new colleague, a smarmy young lad with a freshly minted MBA and an Armani suit that he probably bought on credit, has just ingratiated himself to your boss while treating you like the butler.
What do you say to your buddies over lunch?
"That new guy sure thinks he's hot shit": nope, too Road House.
"He must think his shit doesn't stink": not clever, and a little gross for table talk.
"That guy thinks he's the bee's knees": c'mon, you're not 12.
"Does he think he's the cat's pajamas or what?": Say that with a straight face and get ready to be hazed.
It's all just so boring and unoriginal.
If you were speaking French, however, you could lay this one on him:
"Il pète plus haut que son cul, ce type."
Quite literally, "he farts higher than his asshole, this guy."
How brilliant is that?
What's more, in a French context it's not nearly as vulgar as we uptight Americans might be inclined to think: in fact, the phrase appeared in the title of a 2008 blog post published by mainstream left-center news outlet Libération...in reference, incidentally, to Barak Obama.
(While I don't really know what to make of that, the author also refers to President Dubya as Bush le Très Petit, which makes him OK in my book.)
Historically speaking, it seems that this elegant turn of phrase has been around awhile: most phrase dictionaries suggest that the expression dates to at least the era of Louis XIV, with different variants reflecting changing linguistic norms and, of course, differing degrees of acceptable vulgarity. Some sources deliciously suggest that the phrase is often followed by "et se faire un trou dans le dos," which adds the idea of creating an additional orifice somewhere upon ones back for expelling intestinal gas in a more dignified manner.
I've not yet heard anybody say that, but I will be listening.
Monday 18 June 2012
By Baron von Rupp on Monday 18 June 2012, 15:44 - Pardon My French
I've come to realize that taking French classes in other countries (or even here) is of limited value for those intrepid souls who want to communicate with actual French people in their native habitat. While there are some very good systems out there that can help you learn to speak French, almost none of them tell you that the French themselves have little use for the fancy tenses and carefully-constructed elocution that populate advanced French textbooks...
...while what you really need to be learning is how to swear.
I believe the Merovingian puts it best: "swearing in French is like wiping your ass with silk."
There: now we're getting somewhere. And I'm not talking about the artless sentence-finishers that pass for profanity in English. We're light-years behind the French in this respect: they've taken the practice of cursing to levels approached in English only by a few talented rappers and perhaps the Cohen Brothers.
Anyhow, this needs to be fixed and I've got the powder: With this blog post I officially inaugurate a series of French lessons here at Living in France, le blog designed not to increase your French grammatical awareness but your ability to sound smooth, natural, classy and a tad raunchy all at the same time. So turn off your profanity filters, settle in and keep your eyes peeled for the next breathtaking installment...
Monday 11 June 2012
By Baron von Rupp on Monday 11 June 2012, 12:37 - Vacation/Travel
France is the most visited country on earth (in raw numbers, not per capita—remarkable, non?), and a certain number of those visitors are bound to come by car. Fine: but most of those people are other Europeans who are either intimately familiar with (Italians, Greeks...) or at least casually aware of (Germans, Britons...) life in a world where automobile safety and traffic laws are met by the local population with something between tired indifference and a giant middle finger.
In other words, they're used to it.
But what about those of us from the land of giant traffic lanes, cavernous parking spaces, authoritarian traffic police and the belief that our cars are sacrosanct enclaves of freedom and independence? WHAT ABOUT US???
Saturday 19 May 2012
By Baron von Rupp on Saturday 19 May 2012, 14:24 - Weird stuff, à la française
So my first year as a season-ticket holder for local top-flight basketball squad ASVEL Lyon/Villeurbanne is in the books. And what a finale! The home team's highly improbable last-second victory was, in fact, far from the strangest event of the evening.
Saturday 12 May 2012
By Baron von Rupp on Saturday 12 May 2012, 17:28 - In the News
Alas, a second term was not to be: in the aftermath of Sunday's French presidential election, one cannot help but wonder what could have been had the incumbent made an effort to be just a little more likable...and to what extent François Hollande's narrow victory really represents the socialist revolution that his supporters claim it to be.
Friday 4 May 2012
By Baron von Rupp on Friday 4 May 2012, 11:33 - In the News
Before the first round of the 2012 French presidential election, I made the suggestion that this contest had grown tiresome and predictable, and it had. The results of the first vote, however, have injected some much-needed piss n' vinegar into the whole affair.
Saturday 21 April 2012
By Baron von Rupp on Saturday 21 April 2012, 19:10 - In the News
We're finally there.
Tomorrow, French voters will go to the polls to decide who will be the next Président(e) de la République, ending a rather tiresome and tedious campaign whose most interesting moments played out around the catastrophic, worse-than-Gary-Hart implosion of Dominique Strauss-Kahn last summer. Ho-hum. Anyway, here's how it looks to this expat on the eve of the big vote.
Thursday 5 April 2012
By Baron von Rupp on Thursday 5 April 2012, 23:00 - distance running
True, the pioneer European urban trail race is still experiencing some growing pains; however, the 2012 edition was nevertheless a day to remember.
Friday 30 March 2012
By Baron von Rupp on Friday 30 March 2012, 10:38 - In the News
As the great Lyon garbage strike of 2012 reaches its endgame, I thought this would be a nice time for a photographic review of the neighborhood during the past few weeks.
Saturday 3 March 2012
By Baron von Rupp on Saturday 3 March 2012, 10:16 - Gardening
As a cold winter winds down and another garden season heats up, I thought this would be a good time for a retrospective on last year's effort, our first in Beaujolais and our first experiment with "square-foot gardening."
Wednesday 15 February 2012
By Baron von Rupp on Wednesday 15 February 2012, 15:57 - Living in France (general)
Babies: who knew they could be so
Friday 3 February 2012
By Baron von Rupp on Friday 3 February 2012, 11:33 - French cuisine
Winter finally came to Lyon. It's been too cold and windy to do much outside, and one can only amuse oneself for so long looking out the window and making fun of people who refuse to buy hats and gloves for the ten days a year that the temperature stays below freezing. What to do?
Cook warm, delicious, fattening things! Duh.
Saturday 21 January 2012
By Baron von Rupp on Saturday 21 January 2012, 15:28 - Weird stuff, à la française
Sunday 15 January 2012
By Baron von Rupp on Sunday 15 January 2012, 16:15 - In the News
As a contentious Republican presidential nomination process finally moves into its endgame, Newt Gingrich pulls out his trusty French-bashing niblick and uses it on...fellow conservative Mitt Romney?
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