Month: November 2015

File Under: my failed comedy career

Earlier this week I was going through old saved email drafts, when I stumbled upon something very special from about two years ago that I’d completely forgotten about. It was a page of jokes I wrote for a fake comedy sketch that someone a lot funnier than me should write one day. The concept is one of those parody advertisements for a new perfume called Congresshanel. Let’s be clear, at no point was there a possibility of this sketch being produced. I’ve never been in a comedy group, nor have I ever written a comedy sketch or even performed with an improv troupe. I just spent about 45 minutes one night writing absurd congressional pun taglines in an email that never got sent to anyone because I thought it was funny.  And since my blog doesn’t have enough government-related humor already, I thought I would share them with you lovely people. Please feel free to read them in an overly sensual voice à la ridiculously sexualized perfume ads, and make sure you whissssper the last word to get the full effect. You’ll never …

Learn Something Every Day

I goofed a little on the NaBloPoMo challenge this past week… I was on a trip to visit old friends in New York, then had to catch up on all the work I missed while I was away, then suddenly it’s a holiday and I just haven’t found the time/energy to write. But just because I haven’t been writing much in the past few days, doesn’t mean I haven’t been learning. Here are a few things I’ve learned since my last post. Friday, November 20 – I learned that Chocolate scented teddy bears are apparently in production. I wondered if scented stuffed animals started with Lots’O, the bear from Toy Story 3. Saturday, November 21 – I learned this phenomenal lesson in cause and effect from NYC parks. Sunday, November 22 – I learned that John Oliver love/hates the penny as much as I do! As well as this very important pop culture development. Monday, November 23 – I learned this very salient declaration directed at all “millennials.” Tuesday, November 24 – I learned that the internet literally …

Train Wreck

DC has the Tourist Trolley. Boston has the Duck Boat. France (and many countries in Western Europe) has the Petit Train. These are two- or three-car tiny trains that would fit in at an amusement park or an especially large zoo, meant to drive tourists past notable attractions in any given city.Walk around the city center anywhere in France, no matter the size of the town, and you are likely to hear the clang of the little train’s bell beckoning tourists far and wide to climb aboard. Chambéry has one of these “Petits Trains Touristiques“and from my arrival, I was dying to take a ride on it. Yes, it’s overpriced. Yes, it’s a ridiculous tourist attraction. But, c’mon! It’s just so darn cute! Not too long after I arrived, the train sadly went on haitus, making way for the Christmas market and waiting for the snow to clear up. It is very difficult to understand why and how these trains became such a weird obsession for me. Any time one passed, it gave me a little burst of joy. I think the thing …

Better Know a French…WOMAN!

I’ve been trying to regularly contribute to Better Know a Frenchman, my series about the people behind the names on streets signs and buildings all across France. Shortly after I started the series, I found out about a feminist movement to put more WOMEN’S names in those places of honor. FémiCité is a project by the group Osez le féminisme ! (roughly, Dare to be Feminist!)*. According to their website, out of 63,500 streets in all of France, 20,000 are named for men while only 1,270 bear the name of a woman! 1,270! That is barely 2%! Or as they say, “That’s 2% of streets dedicated to half of humanity.” They also note that of the 302 metro stations in Paris’ extensive system, only three bear women’s names. And of those three, there is a single station where that woman does not share the name with a man! (Interestingly, one of the most recently built tram lines has 9 stations with women’s names, among them Rosa Parks and Ella Fitzgerald.) The problem here is obvious. The names we …

An UnPRESIDENTed Evening

Picture this: three 20-something girls on a wild vacation through Western Europe, make a stop in Lisbon, Portugal. Checking in with them around 9PM, you might expect to find them out dancing, drinking, experiencing the local nightlife. Or you might find them in their AirBnB rental, already changed into sweatpants, winding down from a long day of wandering around in the hot sun. Guess which one was me. No, rather than going out and partying like most sensible people our age, we spent our evening dedicated to creating a series of President puns…on Snapchat. I present to you the results of that evening: We literally did this for HOURS. Then spent an entire dinner the next evening coming up with additional puns. Clearly we know how to have a good time!! Presidents we missed: James Madison, John Quincy Adams, Martin Van Buren, John Tyler, James K. Polk, Zachary Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, Ulysses S. Grant, Benjamin Harrison, William Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Warren G. Harding, Calvin Collidge, Harry S. Truman, Richard Nixon, …

Smell the Roses

In dark times, sometimes we just need to be surrounded by flowers. Being fall, it’s not so easy to find many flowers in nature, so I thought it would be a perfect day to throw way way back to a beautiful and flower-filled place I visited back in 2013, when I interned in Paris. Then, I saw from the Chicago Art Institute that yesterday was Claude Monet’s birthday, and I knew my idea was meant to be. In June 2013, some friends and I took a day trip out to Giverny, famous for the residence and gardens of renowned impressionist  Claude Monet. The village is about 80km west of Paris. To get there, we had to take the train to a slightly larger town called Vernon and then a shuttle bus to Giverny. I remember that we all had major issues purchasing our tickets, because the machines in Gare St Lazare only accepted cards with the little chips. We were so afraid of missing the train that we dared not wait in the long line at the ticket …