The lure of fame

Pheme was the goddess of fame in Greek mythology; the people she favored were notable and renowned, while those who defied her were scorned and plagued by rumors.”


Today, Fame is still relevant. She is a bewitching but capricious entity. Like a spoiled child, she won’t answer when called, and she will cling to you when unwanted.
But despite her shortcomings, she is ardently pursued by many. They want her, believing that she will bring them the recognition that they deserve.

A wise man never seeks the limelight. Sometimes the limelight catches up with him, but he will quickly discourage it and shush it away. Fame seekers, on the other hand, rush to the spotlight like moths to the flame. It can be perilous.

New-found fame is like a first romance. In the beginning, it is exhilarating. Everybody loves you and wants to be seen with you. You get good tables at restaurants and make frequent television appearances.

But the goddess has a dark side… she is bipolar. If you offend her, she will stalk you and bring unwelcome attention to every detail of your life, warts and all. You won’t be able to go or be seen anywhere without being followed by paparazzi and talked about in trashy magazines.

Fame is a two-faced goddess who can enhance or spoil your existence. If you are likable, she will be kind to you. If you are petty and arrogant though, the stalker will take over and slowly destroy you.

Low popularity will bring increased scrutiny… on all the facets of your life. Nothing will remain confidential. Your personal and professional life will be put under the microscope and each of your utterings will be recorded and amplified. And may God preserves you if you lie…

Ultimately, fame could become your Tunic of Nessus. You will die of a thousand cuts, slowly and painfully and be only remembered for your infamy.
People who were previously relatively unknown, but whose vanity propelled them into the limelight, will someday woefully yearn for obscurity.

Be careful what you wish for… mind the old saying: “Pour vivre heureux, vivons cachés » (to live happily, live hidden) …

In other words, don’t make waves… flapping sounds will attract sharks…


Something to think about…
You cannot buy glory with money. —  Isokrates, 436-338 BC

November 10, 2019 tournament

Yesterday was a lovely Fall day and the perfect time to have a tournament. And so, we did. When I say we, I am using poetic license because I did not play. A back attack sidelined me, and I opted instead to photograph this event instead of playing.

Bernard Passemar & Richard Bell

Thirty-two people from all over the Bay Area came to San Rafael, ready to rumble. Teams were then assembled by Christine and Sandra in a transparent, random fashion. And it turned out that most of the teams were evenly balanced.
No superstars were present and everybody had a fair chance to snap some prizes.

The weather was a little foggy (and chilly) in the morning, but it improved in the afternoon and very soon sweaters and jackets were discarded.

Three games were played before lunch and two more after that. The winners of the tournament were determined by a combination of games won and points acquired.

I felt a little frustrated about not being able to play, but I quickly forgot about it while going on the hunt. Because yes, a photographer hunts… and at the end of the day I shot so many people that my lens started to smoke.

I shot over 600 frames which I eventually reduced to around 200. It is a very time-consuming operation and I probably spent at least 6 hours preparing to publish my work.

When I shoot an event, I try to include all the participants, but let’s face it, some people are more photogenic than some others and they probably get more coverage. Sometimes, a person does not photograph well and it is my policy to avoid publishing unflattering pictures.
Yes, it is unfair, but you ought to know by now that life is patently unfair.

The tournament was over around 2:30 pm and the winners were announced, acclaimed, presented with their prizes and photographed.

It was time for me, to reholster Big Bertha and go home.

Final results:

1st place: Bernard Passemar & Richard Bell
2nd place: Donna Von Edelkrantz & Caitlin Woodbury
3rd place: Sandra Shirkey & Albert Woodbury
4th place: Minette Etallaz & Peter Wellington


PS: Don’t be shy about “liking” my pictures.

Obey the Ten Commandments

Estimated reading time: 1 minute, 52 seconds

I don’t understand how God can I have 10 commandments for the whole world and my wife can have 152 just for a house. Kent Graham

Regardless of who you are or what you do, you should always seek advice. From your parents, from your teachers, from scientists, from your president, from the Internet, or a code of law adopted by your state or your nation.

To survive and thrive, you need to have a clear set of rules stating what is kosher and what is not.
In our small community, the Fédération Internationale de Pétanque occasionally issues some technical rules, but that’s not enough. Besides practical rules, we also need moral guidance.
We cannot have among us players harboring wicked thoughts.

So far since nobody has come up with a clear set of moral rules, I took it upon myself to propose the following 10 commandments:

1-You shall have no other gods than Fanny, the Goddess of Pétanque.
2-You shall not idolize any bocce ballplayer.
3-You shall not take the name of the arbitre in vain.
4-You shall keep the Sabbath day jolly.
5-You shall honor your partners and opponents alike.
6-You shall not commit murder over a lost game.
7-You shall not commit adultery with a member of another club.
8-You shall not steal oldsters boule retrieving magnets.
9-You shall not bear false witness against your opponents.
10-You shall not covet your partner’s wife, nor his maidservant, nor his ass.

I am fully aware that these rules do not cover the entire spectrum of moral conduct, but this is just the new dawn of moral rectitude. Anybody playing our game should abide by these virtuous guidelines, and if not, be flogged and let loose in the desert.

The initial Ten Commandments, if you care to remember, were given to Moses by God. My own commandments were inspired by Fanny (the goddess of Pétanque) and also by my friend  Jean-Michel, an ardent disciple of the game and a Fanny worshiper.

He takes the game very seriously and faithfully obeys the rules. He was often close to committing murder after losing a game, but he always managed to restrain himself. It is why Fanny looks upon him with great compassion.

When you go to the field, Make Pétanque Great Again by embracing and following my divinely inspired commandments.

Thank you for your attention.