2021 Spring Collection

Some things might have slowed down a bit during the pandemic, but everything did not come to a complete standstill. And interestingly enough, it seems that the interest in pétanque (especially among women) has increased significantly since the covert invasion of Covid-19.

In the pétanque sphere, even though we have not had any tournaments for a while, the beat still goes on. Games are played everywhere, and attendance has not wavered. Some people, I have been told, are so addicted to the game that they keep playing (with the help of flashlights) even after the sun has had the impertinence to disappear.

I have been playing fairly regularly, even though a stubborn backache has prevented me lately from any energetic participation. But fortunately, I have a second passion to fall back on, and my “lumbago” has not stopped me from (figuratively speaking) shooting targets of opportunity.

When I am not playing, I am likely to roam the field with “Sneaky Pete” my very versatile little Canon camera, and catch players in the act of being themselves.  They are never more natural than when totally absorbed by the game.

When taking pictures, I also look for flair and unusual situations or expressions. Form, even though it is not indicative of superior performance, is esthetically more pleasing to watch than some unstylish execution. But in general, a fluid delivery is generally more effective (and attractive) than a clumsy one.

Since one picture is thought to be worth a thousand words, I will stop talking and offer instead a little collection of pictures recently taken in the San Rafael pétanque field. If you don’t like your form, it probably means that you need to improve your game and generally speaking throw your boule higher in the air. Boules are like geese; they like to fly high and fast.

Since Easter is around the corner, I cannot leave you without making a corny joke about it. So here goes:

Q: What did the Easter Bunny say to the carrot?
A: It’s been nice gnawing you!

Happy Easter and Passover everybody!

Alain

PS: to watch the photo album, click on “My photos

If you liked this piece, reserve your seat for the next show. Become a regular and Subscribe for more. Merci for your attention.

 

Stop the pandemic, I want to get off

After months of forced abstinence, I finally sat down (maskless) at my favorite watering hole for a cup of java. It is not by any means a repudiation of the facemask; I am not that irresponsible (stupid). But after getting my second shot of the Covid-19 vaccine, and sitting in an open-air area, I felt reasonably safe from catching or transmitting the virus to anybody.

Like Zorro, I still don’t go anywhere without a mask; it is a common courtesy. I just shudder, looking at throngs of thoughtless (unvaccinated) juveniles partying maskless throughout the night. The virus is an equal opportunity  supplier and won’t spare you regardless of your age or your skin color.

The pandemic, no matter what some moonstruck officials are saying, is not something that stops instantly at the flick of a switch. The virus is resilient and crafty; ignore it, and like SMERSH operatives it will inject you surreptitiously with a nerve agent. You will never know what hit you and will end up like Alexei Navalny in some hospital bed fighting for your life.

According to The Charlotte Observer, religious Americans believe that God will protect them. I am a little more skeptical. God is tired and a little overwhelmed by the pandemic and its consequences. He is besieged every day by thousands of various requests and his computer network is outdated. Do everybody a favor and give the man a break! Don’t call him… he will call you up to him… if you don’t wear a mask.

Religious Americans also blame a variety of reasons for the pandemic.

Human sinfulness accounted for 11% of respondents, followed by immigrants at 9%, climate change at 7%, people of non-Christian faiths at 3%, non-religious people at 2% and Christians at 2%.”

I was never very keen on religion. I am too crass for this kind of thing. Like good old Uncle Karl Max, I believe that religion is an opiate that dulls the senses and temporarily soothes troubled individuals. When everything looks bleak and hopeless people will grab at anything for comfort.

In life, you seldom appreciate your blessings until deprived of them. Drinking a cup of coffee at a sidewalk café is a simple pleasure, but after months of forced austerity, it feels like nirvana.

“Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.” — Voltaire

Alain

Caution, landmines ahead

You might not have yet realized it, but America has become a gigantic minefield. Wherever you venture, proceed with extreme caution, or you might inadvertently trigger some landmines.

Landmines are strewn everywhere, and it is easy to step on one, especially if you are a well-known personality… or if you have a loose tongue. Today, political correctness reigns supreme, and woe to anyone who utters anything even slightly equivocal.

Politically correct agents (like Iran’s morality police) are patrolling the media, ready to pounce on any offender. They will jump on you if you dare to disagree with the PCP’s (Politically Correct Party) party line. Their strategy, by the way, is strangely reminiscent of Middle-ages Christianity when you could be declared a heretic and burned at the stake without any trial for your blasphemous thinking.

The cost of political incorrectness can be high. If you err on the wrong side of the track, you might lose your job and your livelihood. Whenever you broach the subject of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, immigration, and God knows what, you better be on your toes because the guardians of correctness are watching. One loose remark can trigger a landmine.

Recently British TV broadcaster Piers Morgan got in big trouble for doubting Meghan Markle’s thoughts about suicide.

He said, “I’m sorry, I don’t believe a word she said, Meghan Markle. I wouldn’t believe it if she read me a weather report.”

 Meghan fans (41,000 of them) were deeply offended by his remark and demanded Morgan’s head. They got it. He left (or was pushed out) of ITV’s Good Morning Britain following this incident.

I also doubted Meghan’s suicidal thoughts. Should I be ostracized for it? I don’t think so. Mental health is not a trivial matter but doubting one’s assertions is not a crime. In any case, I am my own (unpaid) boss, and I refuse to quit my job.

Today, no matter what you say, you are bound to offend somebody. I am not advocating insulting or slandering anybody, but one should be entitled to his own (hopefully fair-minded) opinions without fear of retribution.

In Cambodia, they are using sniffing rats to detect landmines. An excellent idea that saved thousands of lives. I might trade my worthless cat for such a rat to keep me on the straight and narrow.

Speaking your mind is becoming increasingly hazardous, and it is unfortunate. Blindly toeing the party line has never done much for society.

Respect yes, censure no.

Alain