Are you likable?

“I am remarkably likable. Few people have ever been as likable as I am. There is, frankly, no end to my likeability. People gather together in public assemblies to discuss how much they like me. I have several awards and a small medal from a small country in South America which pays tribute both to how much I am liked and my general all-around wonderfulness. I don’t have it on me, of course. I keep my medals in my sock drawer.” ~ Neil Gaiman

Just like Neil, I am also remarkably likable. Like him, I just ooze likeability… I am dripping with that stuff…
But enough talking about myself. People might think that I am vain… Let’s discuss your case instead, it is probably more interesting.

So, how likable are you? Are you generally friendly… distant? Are you a serial kisser or a reserved observer? Are you liked by your peers? let’s examine your personality…

First, do you smile often, and most important (to me), do you have a good sense of humor? Do you laugh easily at shaggy-dog stories, and can you laugh at yourself? If you can, it is a big plus for it is difficult to dislike a laughing person. I wish that politicians could do that… Can you imagine for a minute sourpuss Mitch McConnell smiling broadly?

Second, are you friendly? Are you approachable and can you sustain a light conversation without talking uniquely about yourself? Or are you usually rather distant and dispassionate?

Do you possess empathy? Can you recognize and commiserate with your friends’ difficulties? Even if you cannot help, empathy is a precious balm that is known to greatly relieve pain. A bunch of bonus points if you can empathize with your amigos.

What about promises? Do you usually honor your word? A promise (like a wager) is sacred. Your honor and integrity are in the balance. If you welch on any promise, you are definitely not likable. A five-year-old kid can tell you that.

And most important, can you keep a secret? Remember, a secret is not something you tell everybody to tell nobody. Secrets like vampires are afraid of broad daylight; they feel more comfortable in the darkness of their caves. And that is where they should remain.

Are you cool under pressure? Or do you start ranting and raving when things get difficult? If you do, you lose a bunch of points. A likable guy is a James Bond in disguise. No matter the situation, he remains cool and composed.

Lastly, do you like animals? If you do, you are my kind of person… We are of the same holy faith. If you ask politely, we could easily become BFFs.

“If I wasn’t an actor? Hmm, I’d probably be a serial killer. I’m just so damn likable, no one would ever suspect me.” ~ Zach Braff


2021 Commemorative Cup

Erin McTaggart & Hans Kurz

Yesterday, 16 mixed doubles teams gathered at the Pierre Joske court in San Rafael to compete for the annual Commemorative Cup. The weather was perfect…  very propitious for a good tournament

The games started around 9:30 am with the regular setup: 3 timed games in the morning, and Concours and Consolante in the afternoon. I had not planned to compete, but since Christine Cragg happened to need a partner, against common sense, I agreed to fill in.

Christine and I played 3 games in the morning (won one) and were promptly sent back to our locker rooms after completion of the 4th game in the afternoon. Ultimately though, everything went according to plan. After our ignominious exit from the tournament, I changed costume and reappeared on the field as Alain La Foudre, club photographer.

In Marin County, we have a gorgeous field protected from the sun by tall, mature trees. It is great for players, but not so great for shutterbugs. The shaded areas make it difficult to shoot well-contrasted pictures… but “a la guerre comme à la guerre » you have to make do with what you have.

The problem with pétanque tournaments is that many games are taking place at the same time, and this makes it difficult for a photographer to adequately cover the event. You try to include as many games as possible, but you cannot be everywhere at the same time. Thereof the scarcity of a great variety of pictures.

Late in the afternoon, I sat down, along with many other spectators to watch the Concours’ finals. Hans Kurz and Erin McTaggart faced Mark and Sandra Shirkey, two very good teams.

The bout started badly for Hans and Erin who at one time were trailing 1 to 7 in favor of Mark and Sandra. I thought for sure that their goose was cooked. But the mark of the champions is to be resilient, and this is what happened. Through Hans’s absolutely remarkable shooting (the best of his I have ever seen) his team slowly climbed back and won the tournament 13/8. A well-deserved victory.

This is not to say that the other protagonists did not play well. Everybody did, pointers and shooters alike, but the shooters gathered the most attention. Mark also did a great job but was ultimately outclassed by (always colorful) Hans Kurz.

All in all, a great ending to a pleasant (almost family-like) Commemorative Cup tournament.

1st place: Hans Kurz & Erin McTaggart ( name on the trophy)
2nd place: Mark & Sandra Shirkey (medal)
3rd place: Peter Mathis & Holly Sammons
4th place: Eddy Pay & Beth Caetano

1st place: Don & Linda McPherson (medal)
2nd place: Bernard Passemar & Maggie Lane


PS: Go to “My Photos” for a series of related pictures

Bebel, the hero with a tender heart

Jeudi lors de l’hommage à Jean-Paul Belmondo. (Reuters)

I just watched Jean-Paul Belmondos national homage on YouTube and I am not ashamed to say that I was moved to tears. And I was not the only one… many people, men, and women alike were seen wiping their eyes while listening to President Emmanuel Macron’s eulogy.

The ceremony which took place in the courtyard of the venerable Hotel des Invalides in Paris was attended by family, friends, and hundreds of adoring fans. A military band and various branches of the armed forces were present and added a somber solemnity to this poignant ceremonial. I was particularly impressed by the slow, steady roll of drums accompanying the public appearance of the actor’s coffin.

Bebel represented to perfection the quintessential image of the devil-may-care French man. He was loved by the common folk for his simplicity, friendliness, and great sense of humor. He could, and would, talk to anybody and even have a drink with total strangers. He was athletic (he did all his stunts himself), self-deprecating, “gouailleur” (cheeky, a typically Parisian trait) and loved by all, men, and women alike.

He was also an improbable leading man. It is usually an asset for a male protagonist to be good-looking, and it did help his rival Alain Delon to some extent, but Bebel’s broken nose proved more effective than Delon’s Roman profile.

Belmondo was a versatile actor and did some theater before (and after) devoting most of his time to cinema. Starting in the late ’50s, in a career spanning 6 decades, he made over 80 movies, some thoroughly memorable. Among them, “A bout de souffle”, “Un singe en hiver », “L’homme de Rio”, “Le Professionnel”, and « Les miserables ».

Bebel was a man’s man adored by millions of women. He was “Un héro au cœur tendre » (a hero with a tender heart) and his memory will linger with us for a very long time.

Adieu Bebel… you were second to none, and you are already missed.