Thursday, August 8

I tell some bad jokes.

Some jokes I found on the net and changed the wording:

My neighbor René Descartes walked into Rollin's Pub on the corner. The waiter asked "The usual?" René said "I think not." We haven't seen him since - he vanished.

Ernest Hemingway, John Dos Passos, T.S. Eliiot and I stopped by Rollin's Pub for a drink or three the other day, with a French poodle. The waiter said “Get that dog outta here!” and ol’ Dos hunched his shoulders and pretended to be ashamed and started walking out and then we all laughed for a long time and then I said, “Whose poodle is this anyway?” And then we were all quiet. And then the dog peed on Tom. Good times.

Blaise Pascal and I had dinner around the corner at La Contrescarpe last night. Blaise said to the waiter "I bet you a beer that guy over there can't tell me what I want him to wager." The waiter, being French, thought he was God and said "I'm omniscient you know. Did you really think I would take that bet?"

Zeno and I were over in the Lux the other day when we spotted a beautiful French woman. I started to approach her. A bolt of lightening stuck at my feet and the voice of God boomed from the sky "you can only cover half the distance each minute". So each minute I halved the distance between me and the Parisian beauty. Zeno said "why bother - you're never going to get there!" I replied "No, but soon I'll be close enough!"

I was hanging out with Jean-Paul Sartre at Les Deux Magots over on Boul St-Germain earlier this week. He asked for a cup of coffee with no cream. The waiter said "I'm sorry, monsieur, but we're out of cream. How about with no milk?"

Went to Musée D'Orsay with my friends Wilbur and Kate. Wilbur got all excited by a painting and called out "Kay, Seurat! Seurat!" Kate looked at the painting and thought it was boring and replied "Whatever, Wilby, Wilby."

Starting to make plans for after class ends at the end of the month. Thinking about 4 days and 3 nights up in Normandy, staying in hotels in Bayeux and Cherbourg, to see the beaches, the tapestry, the peace museum, and maybe Mont St Michel. Talking to the kids about plans for their 8 days here with me, possibly side trips to Tours and to Amsterdam. Fun!

Listened to a couple more dialogs in class yesterday for oral comprehension. For the first time, I actually managed to hear and understand a couple of phrases. Am I getting better, or were these dialogs a bit easier than the other ones? I don't care - it made me feel just a little bit better. One of the phrases I understood was "elle est bête comme ses pieds", "she's as stupid as her feet", basically the same as our phrase "she's as dumb as a rock". Why did that particular expression get through to my calcified brain? A mystery.

Joel from Sweden gave his exposé (presentation) in class two days ago. He showed a book (in French, of course) that he bought here in Paris and talked about it. Then yesterday Selin from Turkey gave her exposé, also about a book in French that she just bought here in Paris. That gave me the idea of doing the same thing. So I went shopping for a French cookbook as a present for myself. Haven't bought anything yet because I want to look around some more. Are my friends and family in Chicago ready for some more French cooking when I get back?

Yesterday's lecture was a two hour presentation on the "new wave" French cinema. But it was not one of the ones aimed at beginners like me, so I didn't understand much of it at all. Too bad, because I think it was probably very interesting!

We're doing the subjunctive mood in class now, present and past tenses. All of us have seen the subjunctive before and are pretty good at basic conjugation, including the 9 irregular verbs. But we're going a bit more in depth now. Here's an example from my notes for those few of you who are interested in this stuff:

Le subjonctif présent s'utilise pour exprimer une action simultanée ou postérieure à l'action de la proposition principale. Le subjonctif passé s'utilise pour exprimer une action antérieure à l'action de la proposition principale. Le temps utilisé dans la proposition principale n'a pas d'importance pour le choix subjonctif présent ou passé dans la subordonnée.

je suis heureuse que tu sois là.
je suis heureuse que tu viennes demain.
je suis heureuse que tu sois venu(e) hier.

And then we did a dozen or so exercises in class to practice this. And that was only a small part of yesterday's two hour class.