This entry will be a hodgepodge, so please don’t expect continuity. Thanks.

So. Some of you may already know that I occasionally tarry in ghostwriting. One items to which I apply my (quickly fading) English-language wit and wordsmithery is the blog of a 50-something Realtor in Somewhereville, Connecticut. Today, whilst researching topics for this man’s blog, I came across an advertisement for Litchfield County’s Monastic Art Shop Abbey of Regina Laudis Christmas Shop and Monastic Holiday Art Hut. Holy good fuck. And I thought I was having trouble with English?

Also. Would anybody but me like to see what a Monastic Holiday Art Hut looks like? Oh, you would, would you!? Really? Oh, splendid! Google Image told me it looks something like this


Two perverse things I’ve experienced/had foisted upon me in the past two days:

Perverse thing #1:

One of the things I love most about Spain around the holidays is that this country, as a whole, spares NO expense on decking the halls–or the streets. Streets are elaborately strung with vast, twinkling, l2-D light sculptures, featuring Christmasy symbols including (but not limited to!) hollyhocks, wreaths, glistening holiday bells, and more. Generally, they’ve all been outrageously pleasant to see at and I look forward to each new street with anticipation for what kind of delightfully festive holiday insignia might be ablaze.

And then yesterday happened.

On Calle Serrano over in the ritzy Salamanca neighborhood there is a strange, triangular, vaguely teepee-like structure strung above the streets. Bemused, I stopped, peered at it, paged through my vast mental repository of Navidad symbology and wondered, “what on earth might that triangular thing POSSIBLY be?” I then realized that the fantastical triangular holiday lightscape was not at all a holiday shape, nor did it have anything to do with the holidays. It is a big, triangular, larger-than-God ham leg. A Serrano ham leg. For Calle Serrano. Ha. Ha. Ha ha. Or should I say Ja. Ja. Jajaja. Really. This obsession with ham escalated to a level which is no longer entirely appropriate.

No. I mean it. No longer funny. Ahem.

Perverse thing #2:

My metro from school is boarded at least once, if not twice, a week by a sly looking man in a denim jacket and shiny shoes–a different man each time, mind you–wielding an accordion and a memorized version of “Hernando’s Hideaway,” which he plays poorly and with gusto for anywhere from one to four metro stops. He then expects to be paid for a rather shoddy rendition of said song on a rather shoddy squeezebox. All I can say is that if I hear “Hernando’s Hideaway” one more time I swear to God I’m going to snap.

A random moment from teaching, before I forget:

I’ve been doing individual reading sessions/evaluations with all of my second graders, in which I pretty much just make the cute little buggers read to me, correct their pronunciation, and then read a new book with them. Now that I’m into round two, I’ve sniffed out who can read in English and who can’t. Carlos, I learned early on, can’t. However, today he was speeding through “Dom’s Dragon” with alacrity and gumption. I was shocked. “Oh my God!” I thought, “It’s a nearly-Thanksgiving miracle! Carlos can read!” And then he got to the sentence that read “Do dragons have green eyes, blue eyes?” and enunciated very clearly, very confidently, not “Do dragons have green eyes, blue eyes?” but, “And here’s some of my face.”

Yeah. Carlos can’t read. The pilgrims didn’t do him any favors.

Another random tidbit:

This is snared from a conversation I had with Anthony today about the foos tournament for which my Fathom loves have been training and will attend on Friday. It is in NYC, and because he is now a suburban hipster with a chip on his shoulder, Anthony (soon to be a dad) has a grudge to settle. He plans to steal, cheat, and wreak havoc in all ways possible, including graffiti in the bathroom. He says:

amp: if i dont come home with a bag full of pens and post it notes.
amp: a black eye
amp: 3 less teef
amp: and a ‘ban’ from nyc
amp: i will be disapointed

me: Mr. Acock, you’re going to be the best role model/daddy ever.
amp: fuck yeah i will be.
amp: I’ll be like “kid, this is a rock, it doesn’t look like much, but hold it like so, and you can carve your name into glass.”

And holy shit, I love my friends here. Excerpts from two of the best emails I’ve received in at least the last 3 years of my life, both from Amber, who just got back from a weekend in Czechoslovakia:

Prague was FREEZING!!! but they had amazing english translations on menus such as the following fine print below all of the dinner options:

“meat noodle on your choice”

to which i respond:

on MY choice? really?? a meat noodle??

and then I receive this email. Written, and to be understood, in a thick, meat noodley, Czechoslovakian accent:


This invitation you give to us reminds me of mashed potatoes. Music for me is like song which reminds me of love for you, lady. On this thursday I will be so much of the pleasure to in time of concert. Will you be of the pleasure of eating some food or of the dining with myself and friend other lady who is also very much of your liking?

In time we speak, on your choice.

I remain,
meat noodle

Life is so fucking good it isn’t really fair.


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