One of my pet peeves (and with advancing age I harbor quite a few) is that too many people are unable to express any concern clearly and succinctly. You must go through a litany of questions to ultimately comprehend what they are trying to say. It is annoying and it raises your blood pressure unnecessarily.

In the 17th century, Nicolas Boileau famously said:
« Ce qui se conçoit bien s’énonce clairement, et les mots pour le dire arrivent aisément. » (What we understand well can be clearly stated, and the words to say it come easily.)

It is an ancient saying, but it still holds true today. Unfortunately, most people are still unable to enunciate clearly what is on their minds. They speak too fast, they mumble, they stutter, and they make it impossible to be understood. To add insult to injury, they often use bizarre expressions unknown to most of the academic world.

When I was young, I could hear a fly fart, but today my hearing is a little rusty, and if you don’t speak clearly, your message will never get through. You might get annoyed if I ask you to repeat, but I feel that the burden is mostly on you and not on my shoulders.

Don’t be offended, speech delinquents, it is not entirely your fault… but it is never too late to improve your image. Repeat slowly after me:
“The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain!”

And keep doing it until I say, by George, you got it!

You might not be a “looker” but if, like Cyrano de Bergerac you acquire a gift for gab, all previously closed doors will suddenly magically open for you.

“And why not? If you love her, tell her so!”

 Alain Continue reading “Speech-impaired”

3rd Annual Women’s Pétanque Day

Yesterday, I went to the field to play a little pétanque, but mainly to cover the 3rd Annual Women’s Pétanque Day.

Driven by my (adopted) sister Ann Krilanovich, this event proved very popular and was very successful. Ultimately, about 20 ladies responded to Ann’s call to arms and came to compete and enjoy the day. And enjoyed they did.

Entirely organized and run by women, this event is here to stay and will become even more popular as time goes by. I believe that yesterday, women outnumbered men almost by 2 to 1, and men prudently chose to remain aside to mind their own business.

However, the women proved to be unselfish and graciously offered to share their goods with the male population. The mood was very festive, but I refused to kiss or embrace anybody. A recent little bout with COVID made me a little skittish, and for a while, I will avoid all unnecessary close contact with my fellow pétanquers. Sorry ladies, but I am temporarily off-limits.

Besides fulfilling my duties as a highly paid-paparazzo, I also played a few games with the guys. I ended up teaming up with Eddy and facing John-Philip and Antoine, both excellent players. Antoine is as everybody knows an excellent shooter, but he was greatly helped by John-Philip who despite an injury to his right arm played amazingly well with his left arm. I certainly couldn’t do this. I am a strict righthander and am not allowed to use the left side of my body under any circumstances.

As I previously said, I played with Eddy who proved to be a deadly accurate shooter. We lost 2 games against John-Philip and Antoine but managed to win the 3rd game. Nothing my friends tastes better than success.

To sum it up, it was an excellent day, enjoyed without a doubt by everybody present. Thank you, Ann (and Christine) for putting together such a great event.


PS: be sure to watch the pictures, on a full screen if possible.

COVID odyssey

I hail from a land where we are prone to kiss and hug. “La bise” in France is as natural and spontaneous as butt-sniffing in the canine world. It is why last Saturday in Sonoma, I freely exchanged kisses and hugs with dozens of friends and acquaintances. The once greatly feared COVID threat seemed to have vanished, and among extroverted people, it was an orgy of kisses and cuddles. Who does not appreciate this genuine sign of esteem and sympathy?

So, in the morning I went about mon petit bonhomme de chemin … and tried my best to help my team. But unfortunately, we lost almost every encounter. My squad had the misfortune of losing every coin toss in the tournament, and our opponents deliberately took us to rugged areas to have their way with us.

For pétanque boules, these gravel-strewn areas are the Promise Land. In these no-mans lands, boules suddenly feel free to do whatever they please; and I think that I distinctly heard them say “Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty we are free at last” while gleefully, deliberately, wandering away from their designed targets.

To sum it up, it was a very inauspicious day for our formation. Our team captain Bernard Passemar played extraordinarily well but was unable to turn the tide.

Around 3:30 p.m. that day, I felt a tightening in my throat, but didn’t pay too much attention to it. I attributed it to fatigue and stress.

The next day, I woke up with a severe sore throat, coughing, runny nose, headache, and a general sense of uneasiness and fatigue. I first thought that I had caught a common cold and that it would disappear the next day, but I was wrong. A COVID home test quickly confirmed that the malfeasant bug had breached  my body defenses and was occupying the premises.

I was a little surprised by this outcome because for the last 2 years I had dutifully subjected my body to all the preventive shots available, and I thought that I had acquired some kind of immunity to the bug. But such was not the case. The evil virus is still marauding and will seize any occasion to do harm.

I found out during this time, that my best remedy was an uninterrupted flow of hot drinks and plenty of rest. My wife also proved to be a real Florence Nightingale and greatly helped to stem the tide.
Спасибо большое Томашка!

I am still mending and won’t be around for a while, but don’t bury me yet. We old bastards are tough and not easily disposed of. As Gen. MacArthur once said “I shall return”, and so will I.

In the meantime, hold off on kisses and hugs and settle instead for a safer closed-fist greeting.

Soldiering on…

Private Alain

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