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Paris Mismatch
You, Susan Spano, are in Paris, a city not exactly lacking in the compelling, bizarre, and hilarious.



You, Susan Spano, are writing about Paris in a "blog" for a major newspaper -- a job for which you are, most bizarrely (considering the banality of your observations), being paid. What thrilling revelation do you choose to write about this week? How quickly dairy products spoil in your refrigerator, bien sur!

I've noticed that lots of dairy products quickly go bad in my fridge: milk, fromage blanc, yogurt. I suspect it's because the French don't use as many preservatives as we do in America --not a bad idea, but stinky when you keep things too long.

You might say criticizing her stuff is like "shooting fish in a barrel," but I would say it's more like duct-taping TNT to a barrel and detonating it.

Posted by aalkon at August 31, 2004 9:50 AM


Yes indeed, indeed. La Spano also wonders how staff at the Beaubourg instantly had her and her sister spotted as americaines.

Psssst!! Susan!!! *pointing down at the tennis shoes*


....and wtf is an "organic market"???

Posted by: Stu "El Ingls" Harris at August 31, 2004 7:03 AM

Well, on Sundays, there's a "march biologique" on Boulevard Raspail, where all the food (and even the wool socks) are certified to be produced without chemicals, free range, etc. To me, this is kind of redundant in Paris, the organic market, because the regular farmer's markets aren't exactly serving up produce trucked in by Archer Daniels Midland. Just taste an uncontaminated strawberry, and you'll know it wasn't injected with any crap. My friend E's 60-something French friend Pierre always tells her it's good when there are a few bugs in the lettuce, because it means it wasn't sprayed with something nasty. In general, the food in France is much, much less contaminated by preservatives and hormones and such.

PS Learn from one of my many faux pas! Do not ask if food is free of "preservatifs," because you will be asking if the food is free of...CONDOMS! Sometimes, I learn the hard way that you can't just use an English word as long as you say it with a French accent. (FYI: Preservatives are "conservateurs".)

Posted by: Amy Alkon at August 31, 2004 7:49 AM

Who did that painting of me in the photo? I was high on absinthe at the time -- and now I can't remember.

Posted by: Lena at August 31, 2004 9:00 AM

Hrrrmphhhh, "march biologique" sounds like an excuse to overcharge to me. You telling me that the incredibly tasty produce on the Rue Rambuteau, say, or in the little march at Maubert, isn't GOOD for me? Bollocks. There are no inorganic veggies....

Posted by: Stu "El Ingls" Harris at August 31, 2004 10:55 AM

I think someone should tell Susan to turn the temperature down in her "frigo." Maybe that will help. I live in Paris and I don't have any problem with my dairy products spoiling prematurely.

Or maybe Susan does not know that certain really good French cheeses have a very strong odor.

Sad. Very sad.

Posted by: Jason Stone at September 1, 2004 3:29 AM

Isn't the painting Gustave Courbet taking a break from landscapes? In any case I always think of that painting when I see the wax jobs at the gym. What would the painter have thought?

Posted by: Eliza Dashwood at September 1, 2004 4:50 AM

I suppose a jpg, "showing support", is out of the question?

Posted by: Stu "El Ingls" Harris at September 1, 2004 8:58 AM

Sad, indeed, Jason.

PS For anyone who'd like to read an actually INTERESTING blog about Paris, check out his.

And Eliza, very witty.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at September 1, 2004 9:47 PM

This just in from La Spano herself, in response to the tennis shoes theory:


Posted by: Stu "I still think it's something obvious like that" Harris at September 2, 2004 12:48 PM

Stu, you are in contact with our Bore On Foreign Shores?! Do tell!

Posted by: Amy Alkon at September 2, 2004 2:00 PM

Nothing privileged, je t'assure. I just entered my speculation (politely) in "Readers' comments" and, despite the warning that Ms Spano regrets that she cannot ...etc, I did get that one-word e-mail *chortle*. Do I get to claim a $10 bonus?

Actually her latest, on the dreaded Carte de Sjour, is a bit interesting. At least to me, who once tried the same thing and gave up in despair. In those days you had to schlep down to some godforsaken bureau in the 1000th arrondissement and stand in line. And stand, and stand....

Posted by: Stu "El_Ingles" Harris at September 2, 2004 2:45 PM

La Spano and carte de sjour. What a misunderstanding of French bureaucracy! She does not realize that she may have to wait one year to get it. What does it matter anyway? She has a "rcpiss" by the Prfecture de Police that she has applied for one and that is as good as one. From what I understood, she is in France for about nine months and will probably be back in sunny California before it gets dropped in her "bote aux lettres."

Posted by: Frania W. at September 2, 2004 6:45 PM