Saturday, May 14, 2011

Geek's Corner (7) : French Expressions You May Not Learn in School (Part 1)

À boire ou je tue le chien!
Bring me something to drink or I kill the dog!

Arriver comme un cheveu sur la soupe
About a remark in a conversation, to be completely irrelevant (literally: "to arrive like a hair in the soup")

Attaquer bille en tête
He didn't beat about the bush (literally: "to attack with a marble in head")

Avoir chaud aux plumes
To escape a danger (literally: "to have one's feathers hot")

Avoir des atomes crochus avec quelqu'un
To have a lot in common with someone (literally: "to have hooked atoms with someone")

Avoir le cul entre deux chaises
To be caught between two stools (literally: "to have one's ass between two chairs")

Avoir les dents du fond qui baignent
To be overfed (literally: "to have one's back teeth swimming")

Avoir les jetons
To be scared (literally: "to have the tokens")

Avoir les chevilles qui enflent
To be very full of oneself (literally: "to have one's ankles swell")

Avoir des casseroles au cul
To be haunted by a scandal (literally: "to have saucepans hung on the ass")

Avec ma bite et mon couteau
To do something with very few tools (literally: "with my dick and my knife")

Avoir le cul bordé de nouilles
To be lucky (literally: "to have the ass full of noodles")

Avoir trois métros de retard
To always be one step behind (literally: "to be three metros late")

Avoir un chat dans la gorge
To have a frog in one's throat (literally: "to have a cat in one's throat")

Avoir un fil à la patte
To be tied down (literally: "to have a thread at the leg")

Avoir un poil dans la main
To be lazy (literally: "to have a hair in the hand")

Avoir une peur bleue
To have a bad scare (literally: "to have a blue fear")

Ça me fait une belle jambe
A fat lot of good that does me! (literally: "It makes me a nice leg")

Ça ne casse pas des briques
It has nothing to write home about (literally: "It doesn't break bricks")

Ça ne casse pas trois pattes à un canard
It has nothing to write home about (literally: "It doesn't break three legs to a duck")

Ça va chier des bulles
There'll be one hell of a row (literally: "It will shit bubbles")

Ça va être pour ma pomme
It's for yours truly (literally: "It will be for my apple")

Ça vaut son pesant de cacahuètes
Ironical: That's priceless (literally: "It is worth its weight in peanuts")

C'est dans la poche
It's in the bag (literally: "It's in the pocket")

C'est le pied
That's great (literally: "It is the foot")

C'est une autre paire de manches
That's another story (literally: "It's another pair of sleeves")

Chat échaudé craint l'eau froide
Once bitten, twice shy (literally: "A warmed cat fears cold water")

Coincer la bulle
To bum around (literally: "to wedge the bubble")

Courir sur le haricot
Get one someone's nerves (literally: "to run on someone's bean")

Shakespeare and Company

For the most part, I've been very restrained about buying books here in Paris. But this afternoon Paddy and I went to Shakespeare and Company, so I allowed myself to splurge a little bit.

I bought a fine new translation of Rilke's poetry (the only decent English translation I have found so far, by someone called Edward Snow). Then, for just an additional 3 Euros, I picked up a copy of the November 1971 edition of "Encounter", which was apparently an English literary magazine of that era. At the time it sold for the whopping sum of 35 pence. Here is a photo of the ad on its back cover, which - needless to say - I find completely hilarious:

I especially like the smartly outfitted lady in the bottom center panel, who tells us

There's imagination in Pan Am menus. I like this new thing of serving the food of the country you're going to. That's a nice idea.
Not to mention the gentleman on her right, who finds it "very civilised" that Pan Am sets aside a section of their 747 for non-smokers.

Those were the days.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Remembering May 10th, 1981

This was a recurrent theme across the French media today, and it took me most of the day to figure out why. The answer is straightforward - May 10th, 1981 is the date when Francois Mitterrand became President of France.

He was the only leftist politician to become President of the Fifth Republic, as the day's headlines constantly remind us. Like most politicians, he enjoyed mixed success during his time in office, but was elected to a second term with 54% of the vote, in 1988. He was weakened during his final years in office by the prostate cancer that eventually killed him, in January 1996, eight months after leaving office. According to Wikipedia:

A few days before his death, he was joined by family members and close friends for a "last meal" that attracted some attention because, in addition to other gourmet dishes, it included the serving of roast ortolan bunting, a small wild songbird which is a protected species whose sale is (and was at the time) illegal in France.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Fred and Oscar

This afternoon we went to Pere Lachaise. By far the most visited graves were those of Chopin and Oscar Wilde. Though I have to admit that we didn't make it over to Jim Morrison's tomb:

The cemetery is enormous. Thus, though we did see Rossini's grave, among those we missed were Colette, Proust, and Bellini.

It was a fun outing, nonetheless, though I was a little horrified at all the graffiti on Wilde's memorial. One suspects that he may be enjoying the posthumous adulation, however.