A day without laughter is a day wasted

A day without laughter is a day wasted
. Charlie Chaplin


Laughter is an instant vacationIn our troubled times, we need to decompress regularly. So here are three (old) short stories kept cool for you in my joke freezer to make you laugh:

A man comes home and tells his wife that he will take a shower and leave immediately for a last minute business dinner. His wife is a little skeptical and decides to go through his pockets while he is under the shower. She discovers a little note saying:
My love, I am awaiting your arrival. I will cook you a duck in sauce, the dish that you are so crazy about.
The spouse does not lose heart and decides to up her game: she puts on a sexy negligee, enticing makeup and spellbinding perfume. The husband astounded, throws himself immediately on his wife and makes love to her with a long forgotten passion, and renews his feat twice.

But he suddenly remembers his lie and feels that he has to go to his so-called business meeting in order to avoid arousing his spouse’s suspicions. He arrives at his mistress and tells her right away that he is exhausted from working all day and that he is just going to eat and leave early.
After dinner, he falls asleep and the offended young woman goes through his pockets. She discovers her own note on which the spouse had added: I send you the duck, but I am afraid that there is no sauce left….


Attorney: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a
Witness: No.
Attorney: Did you check for blood pressure?
Witness: No.
Attorney: Did you check for breathing?
Witness: No.
Attorney: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began
the autopsy?
Witness: No.
Attorney: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
Witness: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
Attorney: I see, but could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?
Witness: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing


A guy is reading his paper when his wife walks up behind him and smacks him on the back of the head with a frying pan.
He asks, “What was that for?”
She says, “I found a piece of paper in your pocket with ‘Betty Sue’ written on it.”
He says, “Jeez, honey, remember last week when I went to the track?’ Betty Sue was the name of the horse I went there to bet on.” She shrugs and walks away. Three days later he’s reading his paper when she walks up behind him and smacks him on the back of the head again with the frying pan.
He asks, “What was that for?”
She answers, “Your horse called.”

Feel free to thank me: your day has not been wasted.


Do you speak Russian?

“I’m Russian: I’m into men, diamonds, and caviar.” Irina Valeryevna Shaykhlislamova

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а ты говоришь по русски? (A ty govorish’ po russki?)

On American TV good movies offerings are rare… They are like mirages. They shimmer on the horizon but they vanish the minute you try to grab them.

To watch fairly decent flicks you have to stay clear of the networks and fish in foreign waters. You have to turn to Netflix, HBO, Hulu, Amazon and the likes.

After a hard day of loafing, I often relax from the stress by gazing at the BoobTube. Well, it is not a tube anymore… but after spending a sizable amount of money on a large flat screen, I want to get my money’s worth.

The last 3 months I survived a pathetic dearth of Yankee entertainment with a steady diet of Hispanic, Indian, Korean, Danish, Swedish and German offerings.

After exhausting my supply of watchable stuff, I turned to my wife for recommendations.

моя жена (my wife) who watches almost exclusively Russian flicks pointed me to YouTube where there are plenty of foreign and Russian movies.

I am somewhat acquainted with the Russian language and I am familiar with a bunch of words; I also understand some snippets of conversation.

Additionally, when watching a Russian movie I sometimes come accross French “loanwords” such as bagage, bigoudis, bouquiniste, café, cauchemar, chance, chanson, concours, costume, couchette, dame, douche, garage, jalousie, mirage, plage, restaurant, trottoir, voyage, etc.

Let’s not forget that before the Bolshevik Revolution, due mainly to Peter the Great (r. 1682–1725) and Catherine II (r. 1762–1796) the nobility spoke almost exclusively in French.

I found Russian movies very interesting. If it would not be for the omnipresent snow and if people didn’t speak Russian, you could easily believe that the action was taking place is some affluent European country.

The living quarters are nice, people are well dressed and everybody seems to drive late model cars.
This is course a fantasy land, like the 1930’s Hollywood productions.

Many Russian movies feature beautiful women who dress exquisitely (shades of Doctor Zhivago) and act very well.
In many Russian comedies (and dramas) women are unmarried or divorced. They are all brazenly looking for marriageable material and they make no bones about it. But not everybody qualifies. The prospective groom has to be rich, filthy rich. Russia seems to be a very materialistic society where money reigns supreme.

Plots are often convoluted, if not very schmaltzy. But I am not against occasional schmaltz. If you must know, I am a softie and I like happy endings.

In Russian melodramas though, there are very few happy endings. Somebody must die before the movie ends. It sometimes reminds me of exasperating French flicks that do not have an explicit ending.

I tried to learn Russian many times but the devilish Cyrillic alphabet always prevented me from getting ahead. With subtitled Russian movies, I have the feeling of gaining ground. Maybe someday I will be able to finally understand моя жена.

до свиданья мужики. Goodbye peasants!




“I’ll come and make love to you at five o’clock. If I’m late start without Me. “Tallulah Bankhead


That’s cool… And I like cool people. I think that most of us secretly do.
Paradoxically, guys are always trying to look cool and girls always try to look hot.
Do opposites attract? Apparently so.

But who really qualifies as a “cool” person?
Is it somebody who wears his cap backwards? Somebody slumming with torn jeans? Somebody covered with ink? Nose rings, tinted glasses, hoodies?
I don’t think so.

Is it somebody who talks loudly and makes outrageous statements? Somebody who (like a teenager) tweets impulsively?
Definitely not!

In my book, people qualify as “cool” not by the way they dress or talk, but by the way they conduct themselves. A cool dude to me is somebody who doesn’t get easily rattled and remains composed in a stressful situation.
It is somebody who thrives in adversity. A cool person is like a glowworm; he shines in darkness.

We were young, gullible and somewhat cool.

Franklin Roosevelt was such a person. He remained cool when he declared war on Japan and his speech was brief, just seven minutes.

He didn’t bellow like Hitler or bark like Mussolini. He simply stated:

“No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might, will win through to absolute victory.”

I like somebody who rarely uses superlatives . Somebody who is sober in speech and action and who does what he says.

A hero is not automatically cool. A hero often acts before thinking. A cool guy thinks before acting.

Being cool means to be able to make rational decisions while being afraid or under extreme pressure. It is not given to anybody.

Think before you act and follow through calmly but decisively.


The Art of the Lie


“I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.”  Friedrich Nietzsche


As the song says “it’s a sin to tell a lie.”
Since I am an atheist, I am not sure about the “sin” part but lying is definitely not nice… it is demeaning.

In view of the post-election announcements I have been pondering a nagging question: what exactly is a lie?

Wikipedia is formal:

“A lie is a statement made with the intention to deceive. The practice of communicating lies is called lying, and a person who communicates a lie may be termed a liar. “

 In other words, lying is not telling the truth, deceiving.

After an extremely loutish presidential campaign, we are discovering that practically none of the pledges made by our Commander in Chief have been implemented. I am actually glad to hear that, but what does it tell us about the character of our new boss man?
If you lie to me once, chances are that you will lie to me again. And once bitten, twice shy.

Since I have been deceived far too many times in the past, I am less innocent, less gullible. I take everything with at least three grains of salt. And everybody should.

And now this unreal Comey/Trump saga…
Who do I believe? The FBI chap gentleman (yes), without any doubts.

An outright lie by the way is quite different from a “white lie”. A (harmless) white lie is usually told to avoid hurting someone’s feelings and I have probably done that a few times.

But I don’t condone untruths, falsehoods, made-up stories, inventions, fabrications, deceptions or what ever you call it. Few people do.

To be believed is important, especially for a head of state.
Once the trust is gone, the rot sets in.

Alain 👺

“If America forgets where she came from, if the people lose sight of what brought them along, if she listens to the deniers and mockers, then will begin the rot and dissolution.” Carl Sandburg 




When you have got it, flaunt it! Step right up and strut your stuff. ♫

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Painting by Fernando Botero

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that most women are exhibitionists. When they have got it, they definitely want to flaunt it.
Even when they don’t quite have it, they still crave attention. They try (not very hard) to make you believe that it is not so, but we are wise to their wicked ways.

Facebook (or any social media) is a prime example of my assertions. It is full of women’s selfies provocatively showcasing their assets.
I am not against it mind you for you cannot look a gift horse in the mouth.

I imagine by the way, the frustration of some Muslim women who would love to emulate their western sisters, but can’t. I am surprised that more of them have not rebelled against their oppressors and burned their bras (or whatever garment they would burn).

They ought to sneak a pick at the history of suffragettes! In my humble opinion, what the Middle East needs (much more than 110 billions worth of armaments) is a Joan of Arc, Elizatheth Cady Stanton or a Gloria Steinem.

Women, over the centuries have perfected the art of seduction. They have weaponized just about every part of their bodies to coyly ensnare their quarry. And they dutifully transmit all their knowledge to their progeny.

Bosom and caboose have always been women’s primary weapons but nails, eyelashes, lipstick, hair are also part of their stealthy arsenal.

Men have been slow to follow the trend. Granted, they are starting to get manicures, wear makeup and don earrings but they are far behind the women in this strategic field.
Some guys can also be exhibitionists but they don’t have enough material to seriously compete with women.
Bodybuilders are an exception. Regardless of the weather, they always wear short sleeves garments to emphasize their bulging muscles. But this is pretty crude.

It takes more than muscles to seduce a woman, or so I believe. Intellect (or if you come short in this filed, hard cash) can be as much an aphrodisiac as six-pack abs.

So, while exhibitionism might be frowned upon, I am no Tartuffe. It is not beneath me to appreciate whatever body parts women choose to put on display.


MRI story


What can you do when encumbered with a persistent backache problem? Pills? Patches? Acupuncture? Physical therapy? This is what thousands of people (myself included) are asking themselves every day.
Pills and transdermal patches offer only temporary relief, so what else could be done? Fringe medicine? Shamanism?
I struggled with this conundrum for quite a while.

The main question you should ask yourself before seeking any treatment is: what is causing the problem and what would be the best treatment. Personally I would be partial to osteopathy… or maybe a series of Nuru massages to alleviate the pain. What? It is a recognized therapy…

My doctor, unable to provide a clear diagnosis, suggested trying an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) procedure, a medium designed to show detailed pictures of the human body. It seemed to make sense. So after a little computer-driven investigation, I booked an appointment with my care provider.

There are 2 important things you should know about an MRI. It can be very expensive and if you are the least bit claustrophobic it could be a very stressful experience.

Upon my arrival to the hospital, I was asked to disrobe down to my skivvies and invited to put on a unisex patient gown. Two burly men then led me to the site of my execution.
I was ordered to lie down on my back on a narrow metallic bed, fitted with earplugs and given a handheld alarm switch to stop the treatment if I felt any discomfort or anguish. I was then stuffed into a narrow cylindrical tube that hardly seems large enough for a person and regaled for about 20 minutes to loud dissonant noises.

Fortunately I am not claustrophobic. I just closed my eyes and let my mind wander.

The session felt like a combination of a cannabis influenced episode and watching an old Frankenstein movie at the same time. What were these people doing to me? Would I wake up a different person after this experience? A Trumpist maybe… blistering barnacles!

After 20 minutes of this cacophonic symphony I was extricated from my narrow mineshaft and set free.

Now experts have to scrutinize the MRI images and tell me what could be done to restore my body to its prime condition.

I am breathlessly waiting for results. You will be the first to know.




He, who does not thank for little will not thank for much.
Estonian Proverb

 🍎 🍎🍎🍎🍎 

 A few days ago, a friend of mine who had been mentoring a younger person for about 2 years, was snubbed by his mentee. He was not asked to attend a significant celebration hosted by his protégé.

Ignoring past favors is not nice. As a matter of fact, it is downright insensitive and discourteous.
A cashed favor is akin to a friendly loan. There is no deadline, but the favor should never be forgotten. Ignoring this basic principle  makes you a welsher, a person never to be trusted again.

Trust is essential in a civilized society. You need to trust your bank, your cops, your judges, and above all your friends. By failing to acknowledge past favors, you will alienate people close to you and ruin many relationships.

When doing a good deed you should not expect a reward, but it does not mean that the Good Samaritan should be discarded like a Kleenex after use.

When I was younger, I remember reading a fable by Aesop called Androcles and the Lion. In short, Androcles, a runaway slave, helps a lion in distress. The lion doesn’t forget and later on spares his benefactor’s life.
It is a naïve little story but it conveys the right message. A favor freely granted (no matter how small or old) can yield surprising results.

Since I am a strong believer of Karma, I am convinced that “what goes around comes around.”

So, watch out you ungrateful SOB’s out there, Karma is watching.

“She is just sharpening her nails and finishing her drink. She says that she will be with you shortly.”

She will appear when you least expect it, and she won’t be smiling.


Mad as a March hare


While trawling the web I unexpectedly came across the biography of Joseph Stalin. His career was summarized as follows:

Joseph Stalin, General Secretary of Soviet Communist Party 1922–1952 and Dictator. Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Paranoid Personality Disorder, manic-depressive.

I was not the least surprised to notice that the old comrade had numerous personality disorders.
My curiosity aroused, I followed this trail trying to find out how many world leaders actually suffered from mental problems.

Mad King George III

According to the “History.com” website there were plenty of these loonies over Europe and in many parts of the world.

The most notorious were:

King Charles VI of France (1368–1422; ruled 1380–1422), known as Charles le Fou (Charles the Mad)

King Henry VI of England (1421–1471; ruled 1422–1461 and 1470–1471
Suffered numerous breakdowns and bouts of madness.

Queen Joanna of Castile (1479–1555; ruled 1504–1555), known as Juana La Loca (Joanna the Mad)

King Eric XIV of Sweden (1533–1577; ruled 1560–1568), he suffered from alcoholism, explosive rage attacks, serious mental instability and paranoia. Ordered mass executions and murdered his own son.

Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II (1552–1612; ruled 1576–1611).

Tsar Ivan V of Russia (1666–1696; ruled 1682–1696) 11th child of Tsar Alexei, joint ruler with Peter the Great, he had serious mental and physical disabilities.

King Afonso VI of Portugal (1643-1683; ruled 1656-1668), he had serious mental and physical disabilities.

King Charles II of Spain (1661-1700; ruled 1665-1700), known as el Hechizado (the Bewitched)

Queen Maria I of Portugal (1734–1816; ruled 1777–1816), known as Maria a Louca (Maria the Mad)

King Christian VII of Denmark (1749–1808; ruled 1767–1808
Christian’s reign was marked by mental illness which affected government decisions, and for most of his reign Christian was only nominally king.

King George III of the United Kingdom, suffered from Porphyria which gave him explosive rage attacks, panic attacks, delusions and visual and auditory hallucinations. (1738–1820; ruled 1760–1820)

It is to be noted that most of these people were forcibly removed from office after numerous excesses.

So as you can see, there is nothing new about a narcissistic, paranoid individual hopelessly trying to run a country.

Covfefe you all!



2017 Spring League


Last night, the 2017 Spring League of La Pétanque Marinière ended brilliantly with the encounter of two evenly match teams. The Boules Brothers and the M & M faced each other in an exciting match truly worthy of the Finals.

This was the last phase of a series of games in which 19 doublettes teams (38 people) took part over a few weeks.
Let’s not forget by the way, that most of the proceeds of this event will end up in the club’s coffers for the betterment of our association.

Last night 10 teams were selected to play in the Concours and 8 teams in the Consolante. This was the Sudden Death phase of the series. Upon losing a game you were out of the tournament.

My team (Claudie Chourré and I) made it to the Concours, won a single game and were swiftly routed by the Boules Brothers (who ultimately won the tournament).

In the finals, the Boules Brothers (Ken Lee & Carlos Couto) faced the M& M (Mireille and Marc Di Maio).

As I previously said, it was an evenly match with both teams taking alternatively the lead. Everybody without exception played brilliantly. Mireille pointed exquisitely, often drawing applauds from the crowd. Ken also pointed very well and was instrumental in his team victory.

Both shooters also excelled and Marc Di Maio particularly impressed me. He managed some long, difficult shots with a surgeon’s precision. He also funnily encouraged his mother with this seldom-heard call in a sports arena “Allez Maman” (Go Mother) and it seemed to work.
I won’t say anything about Carlos. He completely destroyed us on our first game and this is not something that you easily forget.

Around 8:30 pm, with the field becoming darker and darker, Brigitte Moran had the good idea to bring in a truck and use its headlights to illuminate the field.

The game finally ended in total darkness (around 9:00 pm) with the victory of the Boules Brothers (Ken Lee & Carlos Couto) with the razor thin margin of 13/11.
Both sides truly deserved to win.

On the Consolante side Tamara and (in the absence of J-C Bunand) William LaVelle managed to beat back the opposition and won 1st place.

My only complaint: smoking should not be allowed on the field. It is not in FPUSA sponsored tournaments and should not be in local events.

Smoking is a custom loathsome to the eye, hateful to the nose, harmful to the brain, dangerous to the lungs, and in the black, stinking fume thereof nearest resembling the horrible Stygian smoke of the pit that is bottomless. King James I of England.

“Smoking helps you lose weight, one lung at a time!”Alfred E. Neuman


PS: To look at photos of this event, click on the “My Photos” link located on the right side of this page. For best viewing, go Full Screen.

Most Improved Player Award

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time. Thomas A. Edison

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The most satisfying thing about hosting a blog is that you feel free to verbalize whatever pops in your mind… After all, it is my party and I’ll cry if I want to…

So what I want to say today without fear of being censured is that I chose Susan Wyatt as the Most Improved Player of the season.

Despite an obvious handicap, this gallant lady persevered and has become an excellent pointer. A few months ago her boules came awkwardly off the mark. But today I noticed that most her shots are landing within 12 inches of the cochonnet.
A vast improvement upon last year.

“Sport is not about being better than someone else; it’s about being better than you were the day before.”

 And Susan is definitely better and can dare to play with the Big Boys.

Regardless of whom you play with, you should always recognize and applaud a good player. And I applaud Susan for playing well. It is the sporting thing to do.

Wyatt, as she likes to be called, was initially very shy and reserved. But buoyed by success she has finally come out of her shell and seems to be  much more assured and confident than last year.

Three cheers for Wyatt! She may look like a lamb but she has the heart of a lion.