Bro No

Bro No

Le Père Noel was worried. Despite reassuring press releases, all was not well at the North Pole.

Christmas was fast approaching and the toy production was hopelessly behind schedule. Le Père Noel’ workshop was in great turmoil with elves complaining about long working hours and inadequate benefits. They bitched regarding an outdated computer system and balked at taking care of the reindeers. They smell, and it is not part of our job description ventured their ring leader.

They also refused to be called “helpers” anymore.  We are full-time partners they said and we want profit sharing! Then there were allegations of sexual misconduct in the group… I have been groped repeatedly groused an “elfette” and management did not do anything about it. I am a victim and want compensations.
And to top it all, the rascals wanted to unionize!

On the domestic front, his second (young) wife kept nagging and telling him that his franchise was in danger. You must go with the flow and present the image of a young, robust, modern CEO, not a frumpy old man she said.

Shave your beard and dye your hair. And instead of these stupid red pants, wear ripped jeans. It will make you look cool and more appealing to the young TV audience. Get rid of those glasses and use colored prescriptions lenses instead. Lose your red hat and wear a beret… It is more Continental…

The name “Père Noel” is also passé. You need to be hip to stay relevant. From now on, you should call yourself Bro No.  Bro sounds cool. In Hollywood (and the Vatican) all the cool people are bros…
Your ratings will go up, believe me.
Le Père Noel sighed …

The reindeers, particularly troublemaker Prancer, also made some rumbling noises. They complained about dangerous working conditions. They grumbled about an outdated guidance system and loose satellites. One of these days, something bad is going to happen they said. We absolutely need anti-collision devices… or else!

To make matters worse, le Père Noel also suspected that his database had been hacked. More “nice” children had been added to his list and a lot of “naughty” brats removed. Who could have done this? The Russians? The Democrats? The LGBTQ?

His wife also warned him about the Chinese. In great secrecy, they were about to launch a socialist version of Pere Noel to compete with Bro No.
Unthinkable. You cannot have two Pères Noel; it would be like having two popes..

Bro No suddenly felt old and despondent. Life is getting too complicated he thought. And why should I suffer every year such terrible jetlag for mostly ungrateful people?

And on the spot, he made up his mind. He rang Jeff Bezos on his private line and asked him to take over his operation. Jeff old friend, I am tired and too old to climb down chimneys anymore… Do me a favor… Take over my job. You are already half there and you seem to be more efficient I do.

And that’s why my friends, Amazon instead of Bro No is now delivering your Christmas gifts to your front door. The big guy’s wife is in a tizzy but he promised her a new fully loaded Tesla and she (temporarily) cooled off.

“The one thing women don’t want to find in their stockings on Christmas morning is their husband.” Joan Rivers

Joyeux Noel to all !

Alain 🥗

Is Paris burning?

Paris is arguably one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and due to the fact that I was born and grew up there, I am extremely biased about it.

March 1971

It distresses me to no end to think that in the last 2 weeks the City of Lights has turned into another Beirut. As seen on vivid video clips, the city was racked by violent riots and senseless devastation.

There was rioting all over France and particularly in Paris where the famed Champs-Élysées were the scene of ferocious fighting. Impressive damage was also inflicted upon the Arc de Triomphe and the Avenue Kleber. Numerous cars were set on fire and stores and buildings were vandalized by the so-called Gilets Jaunes “yellow jackets”.

What happened?

Committed to reduce global warming, French president Emmanuel Macron introduced new carbon taxes to urge motorists to change behavior and protect the environment. The fuel tax was accompanied by other measures including incentives to encourage people to buy electric vehicles.
But considering the high price of gas in France (around $5.54/gal) this well-intended initiative was not well received by the electorate.

Many demonstrators complained about their struggles to stay afloat in world afflicted by a disproportionate gap between the rich and the poor. A great number of these people barely make 2,000 euros per month to cover rent, food, taxes, gasoline and many incidentals. Macron on the other hand has been accused of speaking only for the rich.

Macron’s plight illustrates a conundrum: How do political leaders introduce policies that will do long-term good for the environment without inflicting extra costs on voters that may damage their chances of re-election?”

All demonstrators did not mean to wreck the city, but marginalized young people from the “banlieues” did. These so-called “casseurs” (breakers of things) were not interested in righting wrongs. They descended on Paris with the sole objective of looting and vandalizing.

People have the right to protest government measures that they find unjust or arbitrary, but vandalism of any sort is not the way to do it. A massive, dignified demonstration would do more to rally common folks to their cause than senseless devastation.

On the other hand, profits should not be the only concern of large companies. Board members would be well advised to include philanthropy and altruism in their mission statement. In a perfect world, a percentage of their profits should be devoted to improve the living conditions of the disadvantaged.

To this effect, many protesters are demanding the immediate reintroduction of the wealth tax (ISF) previously cancelled by Macron.

In the latest news development, the so-called “carbon tax” has been postponed for 6 months. Unfortunately, this does mean that calm will prevail.


The joys of writing

“I think all writing is a disease. You can’t stop it.”William Carlos Williams

To be or not to be?

I agree with this. Writing is an affliction difficult to control, and when you start, there is a good chance that you will be hooked for life. As a matter of fact, there ought to be a warning label on your keyboard alerting you to this hazard.

Everybody has hobbies… at least I hope so because if you didn’t you would be a very dull individual.

Personally, I have different side interests, one of which is a fondness for writing. To be candid, I always had a fertile imagination. As a child, I had to write school “compositions” and I always enjoyed making up stories. I was of course writing in French, but it does not make any difference. Writing is writing, regardless of the language.

Writing is also a very stimulating occupation. I call it the “gymnastics of the mind.” To be good at it, you need regular practice, stamina, agility, and occasionally, a square split.

Everybody has a different style and a distinct way of putting a story together. My style is irreverence laced with humor. My very name predisposed me to this; when I was a child every kid naturally called me “effronté” (a play on my name) which in French means cheeky, brazen.
With a name like this, I was clearly destined to be irreverent.

When I tackle a subject, I put pell-mell on paper everything which springs into my mind about my chosen topic. It is like building a house; you bring all the needed material and put in on the ground next to where you plan to build your dwelling. And then you start assembling.

A computer, by the way, is the ideal writer’s helper. When summoned, it instantly helps to authenticate whatever you write about. I don’t think that I could manage without it.

I might write for an hour or two and then take a break. A text is like bread; it has to be kneaded and rested a few times before rising to perfection.

I often sleep on a story and wake up in the middle of the night with a new idea. This is why I sometimes don’t turn my computer off for a few days. I can then get up and easily insert a new turn of phrase to my story.

Writing is above all a kind of introspection. It reflects your thinking and often forces you to reexamine your values. Why do I dislike a certain person? Or a certain philosophy? Why am I enamored of this idea?

Whenever I write I don’t need a confessor; I bare my soul in my scribblings. I always hated anyway the idea of revealing all my dark secrets to a priest. What good would it do me? And this guy might use my confessions to write a best seller thus depriving me of making a bundle with my escapades. No, I would rather confess to my readers than to a bible thumper.

So, if you feel bored during those rainy days, try your hand at writing. It is not easy but the most difficult thing about it by far is to start.

“You can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.”Jodi Picoult