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Inspiration, People

Episode 10: Your Guess is as Good as Mine

My wife is going to Saudi Arabia day after tomorrow, and it’s weird, the most terrifying thing to me is that I don’t know what’s up there at all. I’ve heard stories where if the powers that be feel like you’re out of line, you’re screwed, regardless of the rule of law? But honestly, I simply just don’t know much about what goes on over there at all, besides stories that are sensational enough to make the news. Beyond the fact that booze is illegal there and that things ended badly for at least one dissenting journalist, my guess is as good as your Fox-News-watching grandpa’s, if I’m really being honest.

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Culture, People

Traditional Table: A German Food Primer

When we think German food, we often envision the bratwurst and beer that is so ubiquitous in Oktoberfest celebrations. However, like the German language, German cuisine differs from region to region and reflects the influence of neighbors like Poland, Denmark,…

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Inspiration, People

Episode 9̷ 666: Sh*t’s Getting Spooky

“Ho la peste” means “I have the plague” in Italian. The plague, as we all know, refers to the bubonic plague, or Black Death, which struck Italy hardest between 1629 and 1631 and was probably pretty terrifying, since it ended up killing somewhere around a million people, according to most estimates.

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Inspiration, People

Episode 8: Lost in the Supermarket

When I was first approached about doing this here column for Rosetta Stone, the premise, if you can believe it, was pretty open ended and it was more or less this: “You learn a language using our software and then write about what it’s really like to do in the wake of navigating making time for it and retaining it with regards to your actual day-to-day existence.”

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Culture, People

Honoring the Harvest: Celebrating Sukkot and Breaking Challah

Sukkot, written in Hebrew as סוכות‎ or סֻכּוֹת, sukkōt, is a religious and symbolic celebration for the Jewish people referred to as the Feast of Booths. This week-long biblically-based holiday is one of three Jewish celebrations known as the shalosh regalim. Sukkot marks the end of harvest time and commemorates the exodus of the Israelites and their reliance on God to provide sustenance. This pilgrimage celebration’s origins are also closely tied to an ancient agricultural festival which was a thanksgiving of sorts for the fruit harvest.

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Inspiration, People

Episode 6: All I Know Is That I Don’t Know Nothin’

They say that you shouldn’t ever start out any sort of conversation or extended monologue with negative vibes, and I agree, which is why I’m bringing this up at the top of this entry. See, I’m about to talk about something I hate, and I didn’t want to offend the rules of order by starting this whole thing off negatively. I think the above is a smart maxim, and also, just to start off on an unrelated positive note, I think Townes Van Zandt’s song, “Nothin’” is a hauntingly beautiful masterpiece. Okay, on to the negative stuff.

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Inspiration, People

Episode 5: Catching Flies with Chopsticks

Are y’all familiar with the idea of “avoidance behavior?” Clearly, even if you’re not, it doesn’t take a brain scientist to figure out the gist of what it is, but for those of you who would rather not think, it’s a theory that posits that many, many facets of behaviors that we tend to lump in with the notion of addiction are really just ‘avoidance behavior,’ that is, something you train yourself compulsively to do rather than deal with the less savory parts of being a sentient human and all the messy frustrating crap that goes along with that.

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Inspiration, People

Episode 4: Scenes from an Italian Restaurant

In my most recent Italian lesson, the Rosetta Stone in-app police stringently discouraged me from moving on and told me to go back and retake the last lesson, which, well shit, I kinda thought we were past that, so I skipped ahead and oh mercy goodness was I not ready for that. I will say this though: up to now I’ve been sober as a judge when I’ve done these things and this time I kinda let my natural proclivities towards being a wild and crazy individual fly and decided to do this one with two drinks in me.

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