Saturday, November 12, 2011

My religieuse experience

On Thursday, to celebrate my last day of classes. I decided it was time to do a first-hand investigation of the "religieuse", a kind of nun-shaped eclair:

She tasted - pardon the pun - divine!

Later that night, as I tossed and turned in bed, in my dreams, my San Francisco trainer, Maggie, appeared in a costume that seemed like a cross between a nun's habit and a dominatrix costume, and berated me soundly for my poor food choices, as she forced me through an entire obstacle course, worthy of bootcamp. I felt like Brian in the relevant episode of "Family Guy".

But, of course, on the internet, nobody knows you're a dog.

Uses for Gooses

From the incomparable QI:

uses for gooses

The Rabelais quote is so delightful that I have included it here for your reading pleasure:

Afterwards I wiped my tail with a hen, with a cock, with a pullet, with a calf's skin, with a hare, with a pigeon, with a cormorant, with an attorney's bag, with a montero, with a coif, with a falconer's lure. But, to conclude, I say and maintain, that of all torcheculs, arsewisps, bumfodders, tail-napkins, bunghole cleansers, and wipe-breeches, there is none in the world comparable to the neck of a goose, that is well downed, if you hold her head betwixt your legs. And believe me therein upon mine honour, for you will thereby feel in your nockhole a most wonderful pleasure, both in regard of the softness of the said down and of the temporate heat of the goose, which is easily communicated to the bum-gut and the rest of the inwards, in so far as to come even to the regions of the heart and brains. And think not that the felicity of the heroes and demigods in the Elysian fields consisteth either in their asphodel, ambrosia, or nectar, as our old women here used to say; but in this, according to my judgment, that they wipe their tails with the neck of a goose, holding her head betwixt their legs, and such is the opinion of Master John of Scotland, alias Scotus.

A delightful visual:

Here at Whipping Cats, we troll the internet so that you don't have to. It's all part of the service.

Orange you glad you asked?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Flûtes de Bâle

As a reward for having finished my book report on "La sagesse de la foule" (The Wisdom of Crowds), and for completing my reformulation and precis of an excruciatingly boring text on the employment of "quinquas" (workers over 50) in French companies, I am relaxing with a refreshing limoncello and some delicious "flûtes de Bâle". These are not actually some kind of demonic musical instrument (as the French pronunciation of their name seems to suggest), but a local confectioner's delicacy from Basel:

They come with three different fillings: caramel, cappuccino, and gianduja. All three are delicious.

The Basel flutes in the picture were kindly provided to me by the Ostland family. Thanks, guys! I had initially thought I might bring them to class tomorrow to share. But that's clearly not going to happen.

As they say in these here parts, miam, miam !

On this date in 2009

I just stumbled across the following in my little Acer documents folder:

San Francisco, 6 de noviembre de 2009

David Giltinan,
3865 19th Street,
San Francisco,
CA 94114

Lonely Planet Guides,
DK Publishing Inc.,
4 Rockefeller Plaza,
Nueva York, NY 10020

Asunto: Errores en la nueva edición de la guía "Lonely Planet San Francisco"

Estimados señores:

Me llamo David Giltinan y soy residente en San Francisco desde hace muchos años. Me pongo en contacto con ustedes para avisarles sobre algunos errores en la última edición de su guía túristica de San Francisco, que salió hace unos meses. Aunque parezcan detalles, me imagino que ustedes quieran corregirlos en la próxima versión del libro.

He descubierto siguientes errores en la nueva edición:

  • El fundador de la Misión Dolores no era Fr. Junipero Serra, como está escrito en la página 42 de la guía, sino Fr. Antonio Calderón. Aunque los restos del Fraile Serra están encerrados en la iglesia de la Misión, él no era el fundador.
  • La guía afirma (página 82) que todos los edifícios del centro fueron destruidos por el gran terremoto de 1906. Esto no es completamente correcto - la gran mayoría de los edifícios fue(ron?) destruida por los incéndios ocasionados por el terremoto. Tampóco es correcto clasificar el daño como una destrucción total - algunos edificíos significativos, como el Cabildo y la Casa de la Moneda, sobrevivieron la catástrofe de 1906 intactos.
  • No hay ninguna evidencia concreta que diera apoya a la afirmación (página 125) que tres presos escaparon vivos de la cárcel de Alcatraz en el año 1949. Esta creéncia es pura ficción, difundida por la película de Clint Eastwood, "Fuga de Alcatraz". No tiene ninguna base en la realidad.

Me doy cuenta de que la versión electrónica de la guía tiene su propia página de red. Debería ser fácil incorporar una lista de correcciones en este sitio y en la próxima impresión del libro también.

Les agradezco la atención prestada.


David Giltinan

Good times indeed! We can only await the day when I am able to toss off this kind of missive in French. Sadly, that day is not yet here.

So, clearly, it will be necessary to continue the process of improving my French, hopefully* as early as next spring. More of this anon.

*: If you are the kind of person who is irritated or distracted by this use of "hopefully", please just go away.

Une sortie alsacienne

I realise that posts to this blog have tapered off alarmingly in the last couple of weeks. This is largely due to the huge number of private classes I have scheduled recently -- these days I often don't get home from class until 20:30. It's exhausting, but lots of fun, and I delude myself that I am actually making progress, particularly with my written French, which has always been my Achilles heel.

This week was a good one, though there were a couple of "Imodium days" in the middle ('nuff said!). Fortunately, I had recovered enough to make a little one-day excursion to Strasbourg yesterday, where I met up with Michael Ostland and his family. Michael is a former colleague from Genentech, who is halfway through a 4-year posting to the Roche mothership in Basel.

Here we are in front of the cathedral:

And here are the incredibly photogenic Ostlands:

(Jill, Sofia, Michael, and Matteo)

It was a terrific day - we had a very nice lunch, did some toy-shopping, some window-shopping, wandered around the city center, and ended up the afternoon at a cafe where we sampled the local baked goods. They are clearly enjoying the hell out of their Swiss adventure, and it was great to see them again and catch up.

But now I have to go prepare my homework for Matthias tomorrow. M is an excellent teacher, but as I get ready for my phonetics exercise, which involves reciting the tongue-twister

"Ces six saucissons-ci sont si secs qu'on ne sait si c'en sont"
(These six sausages are so dry that one hardly knows if they are actually sausages)

with a wine-bottle cork clenched between my teeth, the thought crosses my mind that perhaps he has a slight sadistic streak.

Not that one can't imagine a situation where this particular phrase might come in handy.