Tag Archives: WTF

I’ve learned that certain things which may be considered totally acceptable in one country aren’t okay in another. That customs and cultures don’t necessarily translate. Even the things that we find to be horrifically offensive aren’t universal.

Recently, I visited my family in Italy. I got to talking with my cousin, and she explained to me that the term “finocchio” (literally: fennel) is an offensive term to describe someone who is homosexual.

“You would never, ever use it,” she said, her green eyes wide.

It’s a reminder that words have power, that even something innocuous can be offensive if you are crossing cultural lines.

That being said, I do not consider this to be innocuous. I consider this to be seriously effed up:

This. Just. NO.

 

That is a poster for a recent production of a play (“Othello darf nicht platzen” – literally, “Othello may not burst”) featuring two white guys in blackface. When I saw it in the Munich subway, I found myself just staring blankly, my mouth hanging limply open.

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I’ve noticed a continual trend whenever I visit Europe, and it’s getting downright bizarre: t-shirts with non-sensical English words on them.

I know that this isn’t new – there are entire blogs dedicated to this stuff, but usually it occurs in Asian countries that use a non-Roman alphabet, so the discrepancy sort of makes sense, and it’s very much a two-way street: I knew plenty of girls in college who didn’t speak a lick of Japanese but that didn’t stop them from getting tattoos of what they claimed were the kanji symbols for “harmony” and “happiness.”

I have no idea how they verified that.

But the thing is, practically everyone in Europe speaks English. And they speak it very, very well. And yet there are still lots of shirts like this:

It says (in case you have trouble reading it): “DON’T WORRY BE SEXY -1969- SUPREME LIFE.”

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Rand was in Hamburg last week, while I stayed home and watched American Idol. We were both happy with this arrangement, because he HATES American Idol, and I wasn’t quite feeling up to going to Germany for only two days.

Also, I was able to learn that I kind of hate American Idol, too, and that sort of important introspection can only happen when you are home alone, wincing at the sounds coming out of your TV.

On the way back to Seattle, Rand flew through Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, and he showed me this picture.

It’s hard to tell, but Rand is making a really awesome WTF face, which he happens to give me whenever I’m navigating us someplace.

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Remember how I said, like, just last week that even though I wasn’t a religious person, I could easily get behind the beliefs of those who are religious? Let’s keep that in mind, and remember that I am sometimes open-minded and loving, and accepting of the beliefs of others.

This, however, is not one of those times.

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From the moment Rand told me about the Salton Sea, I wanted to go.

I’m probably one of the few people in the last 50 years to have had that sentiment.

Here’s why:

The Salton Sea is not a hot getaway destination, or even a particularly nice place to kill a couple of hours, but it used to be. The sea was created by accident at the beginning of the last century. Engineers goofed up an irrigation route from the Colorado river, and flooded an area of the Coachella Valley which then became known as the Salton Sea.

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I know it isn’t Wednesday – I didn’t blog yesterday because I spent the entire morning and part of the afternoon downtown, participating in the largest gathering of people in Seattle, ever. It was strange and crazy and a bit magical.

And as I was flipping through my photos from Palm Springs, I came across a photo that was strange, and crazy, and a little bit magical. I took it in Niland, California, outside of the United Food Center. We were coming back from Salvation mountain (which is also strange, and crazy, et al, and I will be sure to tell you all about it next week), and I pulled into a parking lot so we could our bearings.

Rand saw him first, and as is his fashion, was able to distill the situation down to its essence in just a few words.

“That is clearly the greatest human being who has ever lived.”

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This is a cherimoya:

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This is NOT how you eat a cherimoya:

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I’m sorry for the lull in blogging, and the long delay in recounting the highlights of our Philly trip. I promise to get back to all of that tomorrow. Today, though, I wanted to tell you about something that happened during our weekend jaunt to California. Because I think the full force of it hasn’t hit me yet (pun not intended). 

A member of hotel staff tries to figure out what the hell happened outside of our room.

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I often have odd reactions to things, both emotionally and physically. To me, they make sense, of course. But anyone else would think I was a bit strange.

I have slow reflexes, and my flight or fight response is clearly broken. I once saw a car careening towards my friend Lauren, and my response was to rush over to her, put my arms around her and … stand perfectly still. So, you know, she wouldn’t be alone when the car hit her. That was my way of protecting her, I guess. (Spoiler: we were fine.)

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