— Strictly Speaking

pete seeger

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Who’s the Boss (in French) a video by thatgirl on Flickr.

I was recently in Brussels with my sister.  We were flipping around the cable, looking for something to entertain us as we waited for our uncle to stop by, and we came across a rerun of “Who’s the Boss” dubbed in French.  The show is weird enough and amusing enough in English (the hair! the clothes!) but somehow watching Tony Danza speak French adds a whole new level of absurdity.  We started talking about the title of the show.  Why is it a question?  It is very clear who the boss is, because the female is the employer and the male is the employee and there’s no doubt about this.  Nevertheless, the title of the show is still “Who’s the Boss”, presumably because it was assumed to be such an outlandish situation for the time that there still could be some confusion, at least culturally.  “This is crazy! How could a woman be the boss?!”  One hopes that today the male-is-the-default-head-of-the-household concept is at least as out of fashion as those shoulder pads…

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I’ve been climbing at the Bear Rock Climbing Centre at Warwick University and thus far I can say this: you spend a lot of time looking up at people’s rear ends. Here’s mine:

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My kitchen is relatively large by Parisian standards (which really only means that two people can stand in it (but not really work simultaneously in it)), but it is typical in that it doesn’t have a built-in oven, or much counter space. I don’t even have a microwave. I do think, however, that I would be able to find room for this vital cuisine enhancement:

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Sometimes, I do
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and think of you.

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One difference between the Paris Métro and the subway in New York City is that the doors of the métro do not automatically open. On the older cars, there is a little latch that you have to flip to get the door to open, and on the newer cars there is a button you press. This probably saves some energy, and certainly when it’s colder out this means the cars can stay warmer, because if no one needs to get off a stop, then the doors remain closed. Another difference is that the release to allow the doors to be opened is triggered at some point well before the train actually comes to a complete stop. This means that if you flip the handle early, you can jump off a train that is still-moving (although not very quickly). I like to think I can pick out real Parisians as they are the ones that open the door with an insouciant flick of the wrist, and then spring off the slowing car, landing neatly on the platform with nary a feather ruffled.

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I noticed an ad in the métro claiming that some… product (I don’t recall what it was) was in fact “faster!” (than other competing products, I assume). What interested me was the fact that the phrase in French, “plus vite” (literally more fast), could be iconically abbreviated by swapping in the + sign for the word “plus”. Commenting on this fact sparked a long discussion about the words for mathematical operations in French and English. We think of ‘addition’ as a symmetrical function, but adding (as in, say, milk to cereal) does not appear to be symmetrical. Is this a semantic or pragmatic feature of ‘add’? Those who know me will not be surprised that I typically would vote for pragmatic, but it’s rather difficult to see how to work that out in this case. More as I think about it.

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I’m changing things around behind the scenes, so hopefully I’ll start providing more “content” here soon, and hopefully the impending visual alterations will be welcome.

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Test

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suze

Please be advised: I am the friend of the stomach!

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