Patriotism consists not in waving the flag

The New Oxford American Dictionary defines patriotism as “Devotion to, and vigorous support for one’s country.”

At first glance, this definition sounds innocuous, but it is only one of many others. Numerous people embrace a much different interpretation of this polarizing subject.

GEORGE BERNARD SHAW for instance said, “Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all other countries because you were born in it.”

Doesn’t it sound familiar?

You might wonder why I suddenly came up with this topic, and the answer is: the relentless, abominable war taking presently place in Ukraine.

It would seem, that most people would be against such blatant aggression, but many Russian “patriots” seem to support it. I came to this conclusion after watching many videos produced by a Young Russian YouTuber named Daniil Orain .

This young software engineer is using his channel called 1420 to record the present mood and the opinions of his countrymen. It is a risky enterprise in a country tightly controlled by the police, but he seems to be very cool about it.

Many Russian citizens are Nationalists, while some are Patriots, but as George Orwell pointed out, Nationalism is different from Patriotism.

“Nationalism is about power: its adherent wants to acquire as much power and prestige as possible for his nation, in which he submerges his individuality. While nationalism is accordingly aggressive, patriotism is defensive: it is a devotion to a particular place and a way of life one thinks best but has no wish to impose on others.” Orwell 1968 

Nationalism is not only inherent to Russia. It seems to exist everywhere, notably in the US as proven by the infamous January 6 violence. It is noxious and threatening.

Patriotism consists not in waving the flag, but in striving that our country shall be righteous as well as strong.” James Bryce

 Righteous, is the key word to remember.


November 13, 2022 mêlée

Mireille and Eddy

On Sunday, November 13, La Pétanque Marinière hosted a mêlée tournament. Nothing unusual about that, except that it was pretty cold that day, and as the saying goes “only mad dogs and Englishmen go out on a frigid day.”

So, being neither an Englishman nor a mad dog, I decided to stay in bed a little longer and not expose my delicate body to the biting cold of November. I showed up at 10:30 am and I was glad I did it. By then the sun was shining, but the temperature never went above 62° F and after 4:00 pm, when the sun disappeared behind the Civic Center, it became extremely cold again.

Upon my arrival to the field, I checked the bulletin board and noticed that only 20 people signed up for this event. Brave or loopy individuals I thought…

Anyway, 2 games were to be played in the morning and 3 more in the afternoon. The players were few, but their caliber was high, even very good.

I particularly noticed Mireille Di Maio, who at 86  is still pointing like a champ. But she has had a lot of practice… she probably started playing petanque when most of you were not even born… She teamed up with “Eddy la Mitraille” and together they proved a fearsome formation.

My good friend Ann played with Dennis Casad, who is also a good player besides being a dog lover. A big plus in my book.
If you pay attention, you might notice a few pictures of Dennis and his pooch named Yaya in my accompanying photo album. A very friendly and playful beast.

Our friend Shama didn’t play but took care of the entrance fees and the scores. Besides doing an excellent job, I noticed that she was also a great ambassador for the game and gladly answered questions about pétanque from passersby. We love you Shama.

Ben Pierce who played with Tamara seemed to be handicapped with the flu and was wearing a mask. This didn’t prevent him from doing an excellent shooting job and helping Tamara in her glory quest.

I also noticed the fellow (unknown to me) who was playing with Richard Bell. I noticed him because he was an excellent player, but also because he was probably out of his mind. When the temperature was hovering around 50/55° F, he kept playing in a short sleeves shirt without minding the cold. Could he have been on some mind-altering substance? Who knows…

Cynthia Heinricks (mindless of the cold), accompanied by her daughter also paid us a visit. She introduced many of us to her daughter and chatted excitedly with everybody. Good to see you, Cynthia.

The tournament ended mercifully around 4:30 pm, but not before Cristine Cragg and Ron Rohlfes settled their score with Richard Bell and the short sleeves guy (Rick Ziesche I found out).

It was a fight to the death that finally ended late in the afternoon with Richard and Rick defeating Ron and Christine 13/12.

Final results:

1st place: Mireille Di Maio & Eddy Pay
2nd place: Jerry Wilkinson & Steven Payette
3rd place: Tamara Efron & Ben Pierce


PS: don’t forget to look at the pictures

First, set the mood

Last Tuesday I went for another Covid-19 booster shot. Unlike the previous occurrences, it left me a little woozy and irritable, and 3 days after the deed my arm is still sore and itchy.

Your mood and your thinking are very often controlled by your body’s shenanigans. When you don’t feel well, you are more likely to be bad-tempered and uncooperative. If the condition persists, you might even become permanently depressed and misanthropic. But be careful…

“A sad soul can kill you quicker, far quicker, than a germ.” John Steinbeck

So, when you meet somebody, instead of the ritual “hello” or any other kind of greeting, it seems reasonable to me to start a conversation with a friendly “how do you feel?”. If the other person does not respond reassuringly, avoid asking for money or any other favor.

The same goes for diplomacy. Before negotiating any deal, diplomats should enquire about each other’s health. If they don’t get a positive answer, they should postpone the deal… or have a few drinks prior to negotiating. For instance, do not try to parley with Putin unless you have been assured that he had a few shots of vodka ahead of time.

In America, we just voted, and many people cast their ballots angrily because of the cost of living. Egged on by a red-hatted second-rate politico, they blamed Joe Biden for that. Joe does not have anything to do with this. The real culprit is Vladimir Putin, with his reckless war with Ukraine. Everybody should know by now, that Ukraine has not been called “the granary of Europe” for nothing.

Unbeknown to many, it has fed the world for decades and has always been the envy of its big neighbor. The only way to stop inflation is to force Putin to back off or vanish.

 “The right to vote is not the expression of a mood, it is a decision with regard to one’s country, with regard to its children.” Jacques Chirac


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