December is a good place to spot idiots. People running around, in crowded/emptied stores, like headless chickens, to find horrible presents, for a hated mother-in-law or a mean cousin, with a mask under the nose, ohlalaaaa.
Our word in France for morons is “con”. You can check on wordreference, “con” is a name AND an adjective.
Yesterday evening I was wondering about the English “Dumb”, therefore I googled “dumb as a” and found silly words, so funny I was hilarious in the streets.
I loved the “bag of hammers“! Haha!
We use hammer (marteau) to say someone is not dumb, but silly or crazy. “Il est complètement marteau” : He is completely hammer. Yess, it’s not “he is a hammer”, but “he is hammer”. I know.
We also say “Il est con comme comme un”, but with other “things”.
Il est con comme un balai (like a broom), comme ses pieds (like his feet), like the moon, or a chair, a suitcase, whatever.
These days I like to say “Il est con comme une bûche” (like a log). It’s more like a super-heavy-dumb, see?
“A very trying summer”? I found this in a Willa Cather short stories book. Who “tried” what?
Dictionaries give me the French “éprouvant” (punishing, demanding, grueling), which comes from “épreuve” (ordeal, hardship).
Question : is “trying” colored with “he tried”, or is it, for English speaker, like another word?
There’s a whole continent to explore : idioms of a language.
In French, if someone asks you something and there’s NO WAY you give it to them, we say “Des clous !” (“Some nails!”) while you say “No way” or “Nothing doing” (which I like a lot).
When something’s fabulous, I hear you say “the cat’s meow” (or whiskers), and I think “aaaawwwww”.
Today, web pages are all somethered with Java and PHP. I’m an old fool and in 1993 I was writing my blog in HTML without any editor. Raw. As French is full of accents, it was much worse than you can imagine :
The word “hétérogénéité” needed : hétérogénéité, yeah. I don’t tell you about the tables and charts. It was a mess to code that!
As I type, I was very fast, and my hands, today, remember the sequence “é” very well.
But at this time, I was getting some emails from guys asking me what was my secret to have “so fast display”. Well, nothing more than HTML, that all.
Make it simple. Decrease sophistication. Small fast units. It’s a little tool.
I remember Robert Fripp thinking about that, against big pop groups’s tours, with dozens of trucks. He preferred small fast groups.
What do we gain?
My fantasy is to explore the States of America in a slantoblique way. Maybe I should visit Bowbells, after all?
One day I was talking about that with a friend, living near Seattle. I asked her : WHY don’t you take the train to go to San Francisco?
In France, the “train thing” is more important. TGV (Trains Grande Vitesse) go 190 miles/h and I can cross my whole country in train in less than 6 hours.
From Seattle to San Francisco by train, I checked : 22h, 1300 km, it’s taller than France itself!
How can I explain? My brain watches the map, and like refuses to get that USA is bigger than that. Of course I knowww the distances and that France is smaller that Texas alone!
Warfare, strategy, tactics, yeah, you know the Art of War, and that it’s useful out of the field of war, too, blah blah blah : in a couple, in a group, sports, trial, business of course : these “applications outside the military” are fascinating, right?
There are many other Chinese strategy books. The best is probably The Thirty-Six Stratagems. Very interesting in itself AND in the way our mind wants to apply them elsewhere.
There are many sorts of humor, and it’s funny to sort and categorize them. I like when humor is to “say the truth” : Demetri Martin & Dilbert are two examples.
I like sports bars. Sports bars are great because they collect all the people I don’t want to hang out with and put them in one room. I’m not against sports. I don’t have a problem with sports. I’m just not good at them. I’m not coordinated. I’m not drawn to sports. I don’t even look like someone who could spend time in a sports bar. I have a very punchable face in a sports bar.
I set a personal record on Christmas. I got my shopping done three weeks ahead of time. I had all the presents back in my apartment. I was halfway through wrapping them and I realized ‘Damn, I used the wrong wrapping paper.’ The paper I used said “Happy Birthday.” I didn’t want to waste it, so I just wrote ‘Jesus’ on it.
One of the best games is to “find a common structure, then differences between things”. Find examples.
When is it you have to work well against your hierarchy? You need a mask. You have to forget about your need of approval, play the hierarchy play, knowing its principles, invent your own laws and principle. Loneliness and autonomy, samurai. It’s exhausting though.
Who likes your little enthusiasms?
What kind of burning tryingness is there? What are ways of escaping?
I was good at school, I mean, with English lessons. But as an adult, as I began to… speak with people, apart from plenty of little mistakes I scattered everywhere and of course the usual lack of vocabulary, it was OK. But… not that OK : Idioms. These were hard.
Same when you learn French, I suppose. There are plenty of books about these, and some are really funny. In this article, I found things we say daily. The most common ones…
Pile-poil! : exactly, dead on time!
Et rebelote! : once more, and yet again, another run and all over again.
J’ai la dalle (I have the slab) means you’re starving.
Au pif (at the nose) or à vue de nez (at sight of the nose) : at the guess, around.
“Shake your fleas!”, we say to someone who needs to wake up and act. It’s hard to find the English one. “To give somebody hell” is too hard – for this we say : “Passer un savon” (to pass a soap). “Shake things up a bit!” is maybe OK.
Couper l’herbe sous le pied
“He cut the grass under my feet!”. Means… To pull the rug out from under, cut off the legs, deprive.
Prendre quelqu’un de vitesse
“To take someone with speed” : outpace (devancer), overtake (dépasser), get a jump on (prendre de l’avance, commencer plus tôt). You got the point…
Un dur à cuire : “A hard to cook” is a hard nut, a tough cookie.
Vas te faire cuire un œuf! : “Go cook an egg!” is our “Get lost!”, or “Go jump in a lake!” (do you use it really?).
C’est du tout cuit : “It’s some all cooked” : It’s all done!
Fourmis are insects (ants), and we make plenty with them :
J’ai des fourmis dans les jambes (I have ants in my legs) : pins & needles…
Fourmiller : to swarm, to teem : to be present in large numbers, to move in large numbers. Interesting to say that we use this verb for flat, “on the ground” events, there’s “crawl” into it. Bees can not fourmiller in France! We have pulluler (to pullulate), grouiller (to bustle with, when it’s busy teeming), and we don’t have any “to mill around”. Lovely!
Un fourmillement (you could say “an antment”), therefore, is a welter, jumble, clutter, but also “the fact that one has pins and needles in one arm”, for example.
In French it’s not heaven, but… the sky. It will help you. Aide-toi, le ciel t’aidera.
I find it interesting that you use “heaven” in English, instead of God himself. “Heaven helps those who help themselves”. Does that mean that people understand that they can NOT ask God himself to help them (find a place for your car, pass your exam, change your life)? Yep : He has probably other and bigger fish to fry.
In French, we would say “Il a d’autres chats à fouetter” : “He has other cats to whip”.
Really? Yes really.
So… Help yourself, the sky will help you.
It seems to be a good advice (even if there’s no God or Heaven or Sky to “help” you). This invitation to act (with an implicit “Instead of complaining”) sounds a little like :
“Move your ass, silly, and maybe you’ll get something”. Okey!
This decision process is a funny thing to study. “To begin, begin”, said the wise man. But how? First, your have to find your goal, right? Then…
Action, go go go, push, push towards your goal, drive your way towards it.
Observe what’s around, find where the flow flows, rotate little things to facilitate flows… towards the goal. The flow. Where it goes. That’s important!
Who says “Help yourself”? Your mother? Your friend? Why? Do they want to help you really? Are they angry of your laziness? What can happen? Where’s YOUR flow? Did you consider it? Or do you constantly work against it?
What’s the worse that could happen? You help yourself, you move, you change things, you try, you… fail?
Well, not THAT a big deal, right? “Y a pas d’quoi casser trois pattes à un canard” is the French way to say “Nothing to write home about” :
This article was triggered by a friend in the USA, telling me that many men from other countries asked her to visit (all this linked to love and attraction, etc…), but… “Who takes a plane to visit ME?”.
I read many interviews of filmmakers, who love to write stories and scenarios, and like to work for days on the editing process, but these directors hate shooting because it’s a compromise of their script – or at least they find it boring and complicated. You’re surrounded by a huge team who spend their time to fix problems, right? With actors who are fragile, lost, or complicated. They know they HAVE TO do it, though.
I think I’m this kind of guy. This is a flaw, and this is bad. I tend to live in a fantasy world. I like ideas, books, and metaphors. I like to say “Let’s keep it a dance”, but I don’t propose real tango lessons. I fantasize about traveling but I don’t even have a passport! I’d love to visit Luca (Italy), Yalta (Ukraine), or Petaluma (California)… and I don’t even have a car.
I’m not a doer, I’m not a strong person, I’m a dreamer and we dreamers tend to overthink instead of moving our asses. I know it can be felt as a betrayal by action people…
I should light a fire under my ass (ohh these American idioms with the word “ass”) but I don’t and won’t. Somebody could light it for me, but that’s lazy to easy to say that, right? And if I don’t move it could hurtburn my bottom, poor me! Condemned to stand up for the rest of my life…
Nevertheless, I think that you could find a sidekick lover, a partner who likes your conversation and dreaming capacities (fair’s fair), who settles in, takes their place next to you, not to become an engine or a pusher, which would be exhausting, but who knows you well enough to guess when to trigger this lever they know about. A single well placed sentence and a dreamer can become a strong action happy man. Tadaaaa.
Let me present you two French idioms about craziness :
Il travaille du chapeau (he works from his hat)
Il a une araignée dans le plafond (He has a spider in the ceiling)
Both say the same of course. I found in english :
He has a screw loose (I love this one!), he has bats in his belfry, but also “go bananas” (more angry? Then we’d say “Il a fait un caca nerveux” : He made a nervous poo) or “Out to lunch” (which seems slightly different and both made me laugh for ten minutes, at least).
OK, we have more too in French :
Avoir les fils qui se touchent (his strings are touching each other)
Parler aux murs (he speaks to walls)
Il lui manque une case (he lacks one compartment)
Il a un pète au casque (he has a bump at the helmet)
Il est pas fini (he’s not finished)
Il a un petit vélo dans la cafetière (he has a little bike in the coffee pot).
Like it? Try this page in French. For example, Portuguese say “He has little monkeys in the attic”.