The bloodshed continues, unabetted

Today in America, there is practically no single day going by, without hearing about another bloodshed. According to the statistics, we now have more mass shootings than days in the year. Yes, I have bitched about this subject many times before, and I will do it again until something significant is done about gun violence.

This is the elephant in the room, which everybody studiously ignores despite its loud trumpeting. Especially the Right, always so full of piety and patriotism.

We are now facing another type of pandemic, where instead of wearing facemasks, we will soon have to wear helmets and bulletproof vests before venturing to any public area.

According to the BBC, The US ratio of 120.5 firearms per 100 residents, up from 88 per 100 in 2011, far surpasses that of other countries around the world.”

In many ways, we seem like Russian citizens, afraid to say anything derogatory about the carnage in Ukraine. But unlike Russia, instead of being thrown in the slammer, we might get shot if we do.

New Zealand showed the way how the gun problem could be solved. After the March 15, 2019, mass shooting in Christchurch, the government swiftly passed a series of reforms.

According to the International Bar Association

The reforms included a ban on all assault rifles, military-style semi-automatic guns, high-capacity magazines, and parts that can be used to build military style-semi automatic weapons.”

The only reforms we seem to do in America, are laws preventing women to get abortions or birth control medications. I am afraid that “the land of the brave and the home of the free” has become the laughingstock of the world.

Our timorous lawmakers are afraid to lose their precious “gagne pain” if they dare to bring this subject to the table. It seems that the only way they will finally tackle this endemic bloodshed will be when one of them becomes a casualty.

Today, make no mistake, nobody is safe. You never know when a deranged or vindictive individual is going to strike. Is that a way to live?

Pressure your elected official to shorten their exotic vacations (hello Clarence) and get to work to pass life-saving reforms!


Are there any good news anywhere?

I am sick of bad news… Every morning after leaving Morpheus’ arms, I turned on the boob tube to watch the news. It has been part of my regular routine for a long time, and I do this almost without thinking.

But instead of paving the way for a pleasant day, the news makes me unhappy and cranky. Almost invariably, every broadcast is overflowing with Bad News. I would not mind hearing about it occasionally, but a daily diet of this toxic fare is quite upsetting. It feels like the disgusting cod liver oil that we were fed regularly while in elementary school.

Before the day even begins, we are reminded of all the countries engulfed in violence: Ukraine, Haiti, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Venezuela, most of Central Africa… and many other obscure spots that we know very little about.

OK, OK, are you going to say, but this violence Thank God, is not happening in America. Well, I am not so sure… Recurrent mass shootings, robberies, muggings, unruly flight passengers, the specter of bank failures, strikes, unending migrant crossings, drought, floods, tornadoes, pollution, cost of living…

“Bad news travels fast. Good news takes the scenic route.”Doug Larson

And I almost forgot France. I don’t get a better fare when I tune in to TV5 Monde (the French broadcasting channel). Egged on by powerful unions, the country has been rioting non-stop for months… it has been conditioned to believe that they have the God-given right to stop working at 62… and be well compensated for it until they croak. Let’s be realistic, folks… France is not Saudi Arabia.

Protest is nothing new in the land of crêpes and croissants. You might not know this, but every Frenchman (and Frenchwoman) is born with an obscure but powerful gene. It lays dormant for a few years, but as soon as the individual enters college (or gets his/her driving license), the gene wakes up and pressures the individual to protest. Protest everything and anything.

Protest is meaningful when it happens occasionally and for a noble cause, like the cessation of the uncalled-for (and unjust) war in Ukraine. But it loses much of its impact when it happens almost routinely.

To sum it up, I wish to keep my sanity and would like TV stations to give us a more balanced share of good and bad news. Is it too much to ask for?


2023 Wine Country Open

Where do I start? I just finished processing over 500 pictures, and I am a little bit drowsy, but this is what I witnessed yesterday in Sonoma.

As you probably already know, there were 50 teams (100 players) participating in the 2023 Wine Country Open. I understand that some participants came from far away to compete for the title but ultimately the big prize remained on our own turf in California.

The event started on Saturday and ended Sunday evening after an excellent final game.

I am not going to talk about everything that transpired that day, but basically, there were 4 categories: Concours A, Concours B, Consolante A, and Consolante B.

Sunday, starting around 11:00 am, I took pictures of everything in sight without really knowing what was taking place. The only thing I know for sure (and witnessed from beginning to end), was Concours A finals.

It was a game opposing Paul Moua and By Wang to PJ Malette and Christophe Sarafian. It proved to be a great finish for this 2-day event, and a lot of people stayed late to watch that game. The 2 teams were evenly matched, with good pointers and good shooters on both sides.

Both teams played very well and took the lead back and forth until 6:24 pm when both squads reached a score of 10-10. At this point, any team could have won, but By Wang’s awesome shooting (despite a desperate attempt by PJ to drown the jack) made the difference. On the last “mène” he scored 3 points and closed the deal.

Paul Moua and By Wang won the event with a final score of 13/10.

This is all I will say. I will let the pictures do the rest.


PS: the pictures are shown in 2 albums Part One and Part Two (featuring Concours A finals). Enjoy.

Just received from Joe LaTorre:

Concours A
1st.       Paul Moua / By Vang
        2nd       PJ Mallette / Christophe Sarafian
        3rd        Jean-Michel Poulnot / Pascal Tisseur
        4th        Kham Chounlamany / Tim Peppel

Concours B
1st          Will Poire / Lizzie Poire
        2nd        Dave Lanter / Chan Xiong
        3rd        Peter Mathis / Carlos Pez
        4th        Lisa Skerl / Barbara Hall

Consolante A
1st           Adair Hastings / Ashlee Dencklau
        2nd        Maggie Lane / Ernesto Santos
        3rd/4th     Ed Porto / Antoine Lofaro, Philippe Arnaud / Paulo Custred (prizes split)

Consolante B
1st          Hendrik Idzerda / Peter Taylor
        2nd        Phillipe Guerit / Serge Hanne
        3rd         Joe Danielson / Sara Danielson


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