Dogs, man’s ultimate BFFs

“Dogs do speak, but only to those who know how to listen.” Orhan Pamuk

When I think of it, I must have been a dog in one of my former lives… because, even though I never studied that dialect, I spoke doggie fluently from birth. It is a blessing that I deeply appreciate. Upon seeing a dog anywhere, I have to stop, shake its paw and enquire about its health and family. And I don’t care if the beasties are black, brown or yellow… they are all simpatico.

We should actually say “shake his or her paw” because these lovable creatures are not inanimate objects. Like us, they are made of flesh and blood, and as such they deserve our respect. By the way, if you did not know, dogs smile with their tails… and I have rarely met a dog who didn’t greet me with some vigorous tail wagging.

Throughout my life, I have had a few girlfriends… and some fibbed. Dogs never do that; and that is why that you have more dogs than women in Paradise. Dogs, unlike humans, never lie and never talk about themselves. They are just content to listen and smile benevently at your jokes.

They [dogs] never talk about themselves but listen to you while you talk about yourself and keep up an appearance of being interested in the conversation.” Jerome K. Jerome 

 Dogs incidentally are excellent romance ambassadors. If you spot anybody walking with a four-legged companion, it is extremely easy to start a conversation. Any dog owner will respond favorably when you engage him/her about his/her pet. They might not want to talk to a stranger, but a dog lover is no stranger. He is kin and therefore safe to talk and socialize with.

Dogs are incredibly smart and capable of extraordinary feats. They have been working side by side with humans in a variety of fields. Military, law enforcement, space, medicine, therapy… and they are always welcome and accepted with open arms. The same cannot be said for all bipeds.

Unlike humans, I have never (or very rarely) met a dog I didn’t like. Even though I was raised to “vouvoyer” the people I just met, I can instantly “tutoyer” a dog. I know that they won’t take offense and give me the cold shoulder. Instead, they are more likely to lick and kiss me.

Despite my fondness for hounds, I never had the pleasure to live with one. I have cohabited with cats (still do) but never with dogs. This might have something to do with the fact that cats require less maintenance… and exercise.

Occasionally, when I contemplate adopting a pooch, I cannot help but think about our cat. She is a princess and very conscious of her lofty status. She does not tolerate any four-legged intruder and throws temper tantrums whenever she encounters one. Introducing a canine (however friendly) into her kingdom might prove iffy.

Before departing I will leave with this heartfelt thought:

“If I could be half the person my dog is, I’d be twice the human I am.” Charles Yu


Here’s looking at you kid

“Once photography enters your bloodstream, it is like a disease.”

Eddy Pay

I agree with that. There is practically not a single day when I don’t photograph something. It can be a tree, a flower, a bird, or a person. For wherever I go, I always carry my iPhone or a small camera to be ready for any opportunity. And because of this uncontrollable addiction of mine, I have collected thousands of snapshots.

The last time I checked, I found 25 627 pictures on my hard drive. That’s significant, especially when you want to retrieve a particular shot. The key to this problem is to carefully identify each picture after each photo session… but sometimes, due to fatigue or any other distraction, I neglect to do this… and I later pay a price for it.

I recently started to gather some shots for a new photobook, and I became painfully aware of this problem. Finding a particular shot in my stash is almost like looking for a needle in a haystack. Apple does a fairly good job with its photo application, but it is not perfect.
Among other constraints, the program is supposed to recognize and identify any familiar face, but it doesn’t, or seldom does. It seems to be partial to just a few people and if I don’t do it myself, a particular shot will be buried forever within a multitude of anonymous people.

My latest (almost completed) project deals with “visages” (faces)… relatively recent and preferably interesting faces. The difficulty is finding such shots. Not everybody photographs well, and I am not inclined to include a bland face in this book just for the sake of political correctness.

Since I usually operate from a distance, I infrequently manage to catch well-defined faces, especially in poorly lit areas. So instead, I search for a well-focused picture and carefully crop the face I am interested in.

Putting a book together is relatively complicated and time-consuming. But I don’t really mind since I have plenty of time on my hands, and since it is something that I enjoy doing.

Now, who gets to be in my book? Most of our club members (if I have good pictures of them) or familiar faces from other clubs. The number of pictures is also a factor, because the more pages in a book, the higher the cost of it. And cost unfortunately is always a consideration…

The chosen title of this book is “Here’s looking at you kid” (wink) and if you are interested in acquiring one, please let me know.

Go forth and photograph!



Ann Krilanovich, Christine Cragg, Ron Rohlfes

Word-of-mouth rules… I absolutely believe that, but I don’t care much for this awkward Anglo-Saxon expression. It is difficult (especially for a non-native speaker) to quickly comprehend what it means. I far prefer its French equivalent de bouche à oreille» (from mouth to ear).

Originally, “bouche à oreille” meant something shared “in confidence”. It was a tidbit that you would whisper in somebody’s ear under a condition of trust. Today it is almost like a seal of approval for a product or a person.

Lately, we have seen a lot of new faces on our pétanque court, and it is mainly due to the word-of-mouth activity. Women have been the main proponents of this undertaking and they ought to be praised for it.
I am particularly thinking of Abby Danielson who brought her two brothers to the court and Ann Krilanovich who introduced a multitude of people to our game, including her daughter Andorra.
Kudos to these great pétanque ambassadors.

“Word-of-mouth is powerful, trusted, and cheap.” ~ Martin Lindstrom

 Today, advertising is the primary medium of promoting a product, but since the airwaves are saturated with it, it has lost a lot of its convincing powers. Enters word-of-mouth. Somebody tells you about a restaurant and praises it. It will definitely make a bigger impression on you than the tedious messages heard daily on TV. Who would you rather believe, a friend or McDonald’s?

It seems to me that women are better at exchanging confidences than men. They are chattier and manage to include more details in their conversations. In retrospect women (including our long-time president Christine Cragg) have done a lot for our club and ought to be recognized for their contributions. One more time, thank you, ladies.

Everybody knows that women and men are different. For instance, women always worry about the things that men forget; men always worry about the things women remember.
Don’t hate me for saying that; I am just repeating word-of-mouth what I heard.

To conclude on a cheerful note… and to praise women’s creativity, did you know that “High heels were invented by a woman who was tired of always been kissed on the forehead.” Marcel Achard

 Ta ta for now… and keep up the good work.