I got out of my house with a bag of shoes: I started throwing them, shoe by shoe, at my neighbor, aiming at the face. My neighbor laughed, and could only say nice things to me as a good neighbor. He then explained: you see, o Arab neighbor, in our American culture, throwing a shoe at somebody is not an insult at all. In fact, it is taken as a sign of affection. I returned back to my house, having learned about American culture, what I knew not before. Thanks to you, New York Times (and your intelligent and culturally informed reporters).