02 March 2006

The things you learn at the gym

Two days ago, the management of the building posted a notice: our elevator is going to be "modernized" in mid-March. This, of course, is good news because the current elevator is a bit scary. (It groans and creaks, and often stops about 6 inches above or below the floor you've selected.) Plus, I've already discussed the ridiculous number of button options that are supposed to help you if things go wrong.

The bad news is that I won't be able to take this "thrill" ride for six weeks.

I won't lie. I hate taking the stairs. I probably hate taking the stairs more than Didge does. But now, I'll have no way to avoid them. As such, I have been re-inspired to visit the gym so that I can train for my six-week marathon of stairs.

Since I don't really know anyone at the gym, I listen to my iPod and let my eyes wander around to see what others are doing. Here are some of my observations from the last few days:

1. There is an elderly man there who wears a "Property of G-Unit" t-shirt. I'll be honest, I didn't think that the older French generation was big into rap, but I can't think of any other "G-Unit" besides the buddies of American rapper-turned-movie-star 50 cent. (By the way, do you think the French call him "Cinquante Centimes"?)

2. An inordinate number of men feel the need to practice pelvic thrusts while laying on their back. It's gratuitous. Today, I saw a 70+ year old man laying on the mats with a large rubber ball under his lower back to aid in the process. Now, I'm all for working your "core muscles," but I have yet to see a woman thrusting her hips into the air.

3. Short-shorts are entirely too popular here. You know what I'm talking about. There's got to be one guy in your home town who goes running in them. You know what the back of his oh-so-white thighs look like. Now, imagine seeing them walk by you while you're doing sit-ups. It's not good, people. It's not good.

4. When the French run out of American TV shows to dub, they turn to the Germans for bad afternoon programming. For the past two days, I've been watching a show called "Rex" while I row away on the rowing machine. The TVs are on mute, so I have to make up my own dialogue. (I'm pretty sure my narration is better anyway.)

The star of the show, Rex, is a german shepherd. And, I'm sorry to say, Rex is not a good actor. He gets all kinds of camera time, usually in the form of face shots where the dog is cocking his head to the side in an inquisitive fashion. The rest of the time, he basically follows around the lead actor, who is a hot-shot detective solving crimes such as kidnapping and murder. What gets me the most is that, when the cops are busting into a dangerous room (i.e. they kick in the door and go in with guns pointed), the dog just trots into the room ahead of the people. The dog never gets shot, of course. Today, Rex was even the hero of the show, when he knocked down a bunch of flags on stands, amazingly collapsing on the bad guy in mid-escape. Of course, the criminal is trapped under an improbably heavy pile of flags and poles, and the hand with the gun in it is flattened out right in front of Rex's handler, who scoops it up triumphantly.

Lest I get too full of my "cultural superiority," I must finish this blog entry by giving full credit to the French for nailing one on the Americans. Last weekend, there was a show on TV roughly translated as "The Night of the Strange." Think of it as David Letterman's "Stupid Human Tricks" for an evening. Our favorite game-show host, Arthur, was on the judge's panel, so we tuned in for a bit to see what he had to say. Over the next 30 minutes or so, we see a parade of such talents as: the guy who puts a tarantula in his mouth and then blows bubbles, then switches to a scorpion; and the guy who can play the fiddle while contorting his body in uncomfortable ways. (Actually, it wouldn't have been so bad, but I'm pretty sure that Wranglers are not supposed to be that tight, and aren't good for doing the splits or putting your leg behind your head.) As this parade of "talent" goes on and on, Colin and I start to notice a pattern: every performer is -- yep, you guessed it -- an American.

So, for all of the snickering that I do in a given day over minor grammar points, I must bow to the superiority of the French when it comes to laughing at other cultures. How brilliant is it to get Americans to willingly display their stupidity on national TV? Folks, that's a much higher form of comedy than any joke I've heard about the Frenchies!


At 3/3/06 12:33, Anonymous Jesse said...

So, does your elevator have a door? I'd say about a third of the Czech elevators I've used have not had doors, plus they were old and rickety. The button options are not usually very complicated here.

I've seen that dog show dubbed in Czech. It's kind of hilarious to see the detective speaking in Czech all the time, and when he addresses the dog it's "Rexi" because that's how you form the vocative form of the name in Czech. The name just seems inappropriate for a police dog, which adds to the general impression you're describing.

At 5/3/06 17:50, Anonymous dawn said...

Aw come on Amy & Jesse, I love Kommissar Rex -- but then again I have seen it in German and I know what's going on. Of course it's a silly cop show, but it is soooooo German. Maybe that's why I like it!
I've become incurably attached to the place, so much so that I even laugh at German jokes and actually like German TV but - shhhh! - don't tell anyone.

(btw you don't know me, Amy, I'm Jesse's friend)

At 6/3/06 16:44, Anonymous Joe W. said...

I suppose you should be content with the fact that if it was an American show, the dog would probably talk and have a wise-guy New York Accent.
"Whose leg does a dog have to hump around hear to get a Milkbone?"


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