Finds 06.11.2008

Making a first foray into a new language can be heavy going. And beginners always start with formal phrases, so even speaking the lingo, you still sound like an Anglophone. But if you’d like to head out for parts unknown with a little slang in your head and a lot more stashed in your backpack, snag a copy of Talk Dirty French or Talk Dirty Spanish, depending on which Romance language you’d like to trash. A couple of favorites (that we could print) are “Quelle huître!” Literally this means “What an oyster!” — French slang for “What an idiot!” Saunter up to a bar in Vera Cruz and ask for “Un caballito de tequila.” What you’ve ordered is “a little horse.” What you’ll get is a shot. Lima y sal on the side. Talk Dirty French and Talk Dirty Spanish, in lightweight paperback, retail for $7.95 a piece. — Mary Tutwiler

Willie Francis made two trips to the electric chair in the late ’40s. The first one didn’t kill him, and the second one caused a rift in the U.S. Supreme Court. Gilbert King takes on Francis’ strange tale, set in St. Martinville, in the new book The Execution of Willie Francis: Race, Murder and the Search for Justice in the American South. King recently was featured on CSPAN’s BookTV, discussing The Execution of Willie Francis at the Barnes & Noble in Lafayette. To view it online, visit and search for “gilbert king.” The Execution of Willie Francis retails for $26 is available locally at Barnes & Noble. For more information, visit — R. Reese Fuller

Turn a chore into an act of grace and beauty. That’s the Zen method of living, and woodworker Ron D’Aunoy is the man to hand you the tool that will change your attitude. D’Aunoy makes screwdrivers with handles turned from hardwoods like cherry, walnut, maple, oak, bubinga, and vermilion (padauk). Each screwdriver has four interchangeable tips, two regular and two Phillips in different sizes. Nicely balanced, with an organic shape that snugs into the palm, these screwdrivers are destined to become heirloom tools. They sell for $32 at Sans Souci Fine Crafts Gallery, call 266-7999 for more information. — Mary Tutwiler