Code, nerd culture and humor from Greg Knauss.

You've gotta love Quebec. By which I mean, you have to laugh at them until your ears bleed.

Years ago, Joanne and I took a vacation to Canada -- we flew to Seattle and drove around the whole western side of the Other Half of North America -- and couldn't help but boggle at how far the English-speaking majority has bent over backwards for a bunch of snotty wannabe Frenchmen.

I mean, come on. Spouting Gallic pride five thousand miles from Paris just makes you annoying. Or, rather, more annoying. The silly, nationalist, flag-waving Quebec keeps trying to cede from the rest of Canada over their huffy insistence on all things former-colonizer, but you can't help but think that if they ever manage it, the only difference it will make is to put another name under the "Third World Nation" column down at the UN. Their first official act as a new country would be to request foreign aid from Canada.

Especially amusing is their utter inability to handle the fact that English is the new lingua franca.

Quebec has raised enough of a stink over their forgotten little language that every product in the country is double-labeled, once in English and once in French. Jo and I were in a Vancouver supermarket -- across the continent, in a place where American English is spoken better than in LA -- and everything on the shelves had an English side and a French side: crackers, chips, cookies.

You can tell what I shop for, can't you?

We're walking around, looking for road munchies, marveling at the sheer bureaucratic goofiness of it all when a thought occurs to me.

"Oh, hey," I say.

"What?" Joanne asks.

"I've gotta check something out. C'mon!"

I trot over to the condiment aisle, trailing Joanne behind, and walk it quickly, looking for a particular bottle of thick salmon-colored goo: Salsa, mayonnaise, mustard, salad dressings... There!

"Hee," I say.

"What?" Joanne asks again.

"French dressing," I say, holding the bottle out to her. She takes it, turns it over, and reads:


I wish I'd thought to check the English muffins.

Hi there! My name's GREG KNAUSS and I like to make things.

Some of those things are software (like Romantimatic and Buzz Clock), Web sites (like the Webby-nominated Metababy and The American People) and stories (for Web sites like Suck and Fray, print magazines like Worth and Macworld, and books like "Things I Learned About My Dad" and "Rainy Day Fun and Games for Toddler and Total Bastard").

My e-mail address is I'd love to hear from you!

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