Archive for the ‘Lists’ Category

Twelve Foreign Concepts With No American Equivalent

November 17, 2020

Coming soon to a self-help-inflected Netflix documentary!

Jutpälvirsaippy (Finnish): A warm, fuzzy feeling induced by thinking of your nation’s robust social services

Zzxjoanw (Maori): A secondhand embarrassment one gets when watching foreign political leaders behave poorly  

Voirepergne (French):  The miraculous ability of some women to eat high fat diets and remain slim (alternative, archaic: the miraculous ability of some women to look stylish even when wearing rags, or, the miraculous ability of some women to somehow be pretty even when hideous)

Schnitzengruben (German): a friendliness that nevertheless grates or disgusts the recipient

卞工几と 日ヨ工几呂 (Japanese): the sense of mental well-being that comes from knowing one has the exactly ideal number of possessions

Kamelåså (Danish): a cozy aesthetic that should be easily achieved with purchases from large Scandinavian chain stores yet somehow looks stupid and cheap if you live outside the Arctic Circle 

Dututebatti (Luxembourgish): a fluency with myriad languages, acquired early in life and seemingly with ease

쟁반 받쳐줄게요 (Korean): the ability to blend in to or be embraced by a wide variety of societies and cultures; alt. impeccable social skills (useful idiom: “polite tourist in a china shop”)

Schulleilis (Gaelic): a soft and universally pleasing tone of voice

Darajuiwolo (Yoruba): a combination of perseverance, strength, and optimism, all of which are readily understandable to English speakers, and yet none are able to harness the power of darajuiwolo without purchasing a book or listening to between six and eleven Ted talks on the subject

Title Dropping

September 27, 2020

Every book the narrator of Want by Lynn Steger Strong references reading. This book got a lot of buzz but I hated it for many reasons that I’m more than happy to elaborate on if you would JUST GIVE ME THE CHANCE. I honestly feel like this reading list encapsulates some of my irritation: I’m super highbrow and super, super sad!

Jean Rhys, Good Morning, Midnight

Gayl Jones, Corregidora

Imre Kertesz, Kaddish for an Unborn Child

Marguerite Duras, The Lover

Merce Rodoreda, The Time of the Doves

Nawal El Saadawi, Woman at Point Zero

Claire Lispector, The Passion of G.H.

Henry Tree, Party Going

Dorothy West, The Living is Easy

Gerald Murnane, The Plains

Mariama Ba, So Long a Letter

Svetlana Alexievich, Secondhand Time

Magda Szabo, The Door

Tom McCarthy, Remainder

Jean Rhys, D.H. Lawrence, Colm Toibin, Deborah Eisenberg, Iris Murdoch, Barbara Comyns, Penelope Fitzgerald, Doris Lessing, Jane Bowles, William Faulkner, Virginia Woolf

Anita Brookner, Hotel du Lac

Louise Erdrich, LaRose

Pugwashisms

May 10, 2020

Last summer, my kids and I were lucky enough to be invited to spend a few days at a friend’s family’s summer house, on a rather magical island in the Atlantic with a long, bright beach and a weird little petting zoo and a giant pond of salty water smack dab in the middle.  The friend’s family had an excellent collection of vintage children’s books, including a few about Captain Pugwash, a rather inept pirate who gets his crew into all sorts of pickles (due to said ineptitude) and has to rely on his savvy but unacknowledged cabin boy, Tom, to save the day.  I wish I could find an image of this one page which just depicts Pugwash dreaming about having a normal life and tending to a garden, but humans are idiots and therefore most of the stuff that comes up on Google Images is related to the not nearly as charmingly illustrated film, and not the books.

Anyway, apparently Pugwash has a number of funny sayings he uses when he’s miffed, which Wikipedia has helpfully compiled.  Work this into your every day repertoire, folks.

“Dolloping doubloons/dolphins!”
“Coddling catfish!”
“Lolloping landlubbers!”
“Suffering seagulls!”
“Staggering stalactites!”
“Nautical nitwits!”
“Plundering porpoises!”
“Kipper me capstans!”
“Tottering turtles!”
“Dithering dogfish!”
“Scuttling cuttlefish!”
“Stuttering starfish!”
“Blistering barnacles!”
“Shuddering sharks!”

Keywords

March 4, 2020

related to Zadie Smith’s “The Embassy of Cambodia,” according to The New Yorker.

Africans
Badminton
Cambodia
Children
Choking
Embassies
England
Firings
Hiroshima
Khmer Rouge
London
Nannies
Passports
Rape
Rwanda
Servants
Slaves
Swimming Pools

The Playlist in Hell

February 13, 2020

I was working at a Joe & the Juice in Manhattan a few months ago, and they were playing the following songs on an interminable loop, and while I like a few of these songs on their own, by the end of a few hours I was seriously ready to die.  I think I missed a few titles but it honestly couldn’t have been more than 25 songs total.  I started to write them down for posterity’s sake, but then zoned out every so often as a means of self-preservation.

 

 
Genesis “Invisible Touch”
Chaka Khan “Ain’t Nobody Love Me Better”
Dolly Parton “9 to 5”
A horrible updated 80s version of “In the Jungle”
Fleetwood Mac “Everywhere”
Luther Vandross “Never Too Much”
The Proclaimers “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)”
Hall and Oates “You Make My Dreams”
A-ha “Take on Me”
Kim Carnes “Bette Davis Eyes”
Eric Carmen “Hungry Eyes”
The Pointer Sisters “I’m So Excited”
Wham! “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go”
Michael Jackson “Beat It”
Rick Astley “Never Gonna Give You Up”

Want To Read All These

December 12, 2019

Bernd Brunner (born May 27, 1964) is a writer of non-fiction and essays. His best known works are peripatetic explorations of the relationship between people and deceptively simple subjects, such as bears, the moon, and lying down.

Chapter Titles From The Favourite

January 10, 2019

 

  1.  This Mud Stinks
  2. I Do Fear Confusion and Accidents
  3. What an Outfit
  4. A Minor Hitch
  5. What if I Should Fall asleep and Slip Under
  6. Stop Infection
  7. Leave That I Like It
  8. I Dreamt I Stabbed You in the Eye

Thimble Islands

May 28, 2018

A few of the Thimble Islands in Connecticut (there are between 100 and 365 of them “depending on where the line is drawn between an island and a mere rock,” according to Wikipedia.  Twenty-three are inhabited.)

Horse Island

Money Island

Governor Island

Rogers Island

Bear Island

Davis Island

High Island

Pot Island

Outer Island

Hen Island

East Stooping Bush Island

Potato Island

Smith Island

Cut in Two Island (East and West)

Phelps Island

Wheeler Island (aka Ghost Island)

Mother in Law Island (aka Prudden Island)

West Crib Island

East Crib Island

Little Pumpkin Island

Lewis Island

Kidd’s Island

Reel Island

Beldens Island

Burr Island

Jepson Island

Wayland Island

Frisbie Island

Who Is This Reader

April 12, 2018

On my favorite listserv of all time, Freecycle, a Brooklynite gives away the following selections from his/her library.  What kind of picture can one draw from this?  (Keeping in mind, of course, that these books are the ones the poster does not feel inclined to hold on to… )

1. Portnoy’s Complaint
2. The Romanov Prophecy
3. Captain Underpants
4. The Mysterious Affair at Styles
5. The Deep End of the Ocean
6. Sybil
7. The Kiss and Other Stories

Personally I am not planning on schlepping out to Bensonhurst to grab these.  Portnoy’s Complaint was hands down the most aggravating book I have ever read.

A Very Brief History of Women Marrying Inanimate Objects

March 29, 2018

Recently I was browsing the web and I saw a news item about two women in Fort Myers, Florida, who married a ficus tree.  Now, this wasn’t (probably) a case of objectophilia, as the women mostly had the wedding in order to prevent the tree from getting chopped down, which the town planned to do as its roots were encroaching on a neighboring property.  Still, it has echoes of object love: an affinity for a thing, a wedding ceremony with white gowns and cakes, and even, somewhat miraculously, an acknowledgment from the public (city officials are now working to save the tree).  It reminds me of how whenever these kinds of stories come up in the news, I always want to write a listicle of sorts, with the above title.

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So, herewith, my favorite ladies marrying things:

Eija-Riita Berliner-Mauer: I’ve written about her before.  Apparently she died in 2015.  Still waiting on someone to translate her documentary for me.  The only information I would like to add to my original piece on her is this quote:

“I find long, slim things with horizontal lines very sexy.  The Great Wall of China’s attractive, but he’s too thick – my husband is sexier.”

And this poem, which she allegedly wrote:

I Dream About You

You beautiful Berlin Wall.
You are so very sexy, my Darling.
I will always be here for you. My love for you is
so strong as the concrete blocks which
holds you standing.
I often think of the times when you in my loneliness
has made me so happy.
My kisses will warm you, when the night comes.
My life begins and ends with you.

Finally you should all know she observes a yahrzeit of sorts on the anniversary of the fall of the wall.

Erika Eiffel: In 2007, Erika Eiffel observed a commitment ceremony with the Eiffel Tower, whose curves she admired.  I’ve always thought the Eiffel Tower to be a bit cliched but I wouldn’t want to yuck someone’s yum, so get it, Erika!  Eiffel says that prior to her union with the Tower, she had an affair with an F-15, with whom she was besotted she ended up becoming an expert on it and earned a $250,000 scholarship to the United States Air Force Academy.

Jodi Rose: Also in France, Jodi Rose married Le Pont du Diable, but I kind of call bullshit because she spoke (for her bridge lover!) and said that “he understands that I love other bridges––and men.”

I found a few others but there isn’t really enough information on them (a woman who fell in love with a metal processor, a woman who married a fairground ride) to make it into my Very Brief History.  And thus we come to my favorite of the bunch: artist Tracey Emin marries a rock!  Emin, the famous wild child of British art, decided to marry a rock in the garden of her summer home in France.  She wore her father’s funeral shroud as her wedding dress.  “Somewhere on a hill facing the sea, there is a very beautiful ancient stone, and it’s not going anywhere,” she told the press, which is just about the gosh darn most romantic thing I’ve ever heard.  More than you can say for many partners, anyway.

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A field of eligible bachelors, in Brittany