Champs Élysées

Les Champs Élysées is arguably one of the most famous avenues in the world. You cannot visit Paris without strolling at least once on this majestic thoroughfare. It is synonymous with history, glamor and French elegance. Songs and poems have been written in its honor and it is one the most enduring symbol of France.

Les ChampsElysées means “Elysian Fields” and it takes its name from Elysium. In Greek mythology, it is the resting place of those chosen by the gods, the righteous, and the heroic, where they would remain after death, to live a blessed and happy life, and indulging in whatever employment they had enjoyed in life.”

 Well, nowadays Les Champs Élysées look nothing like an idyllic resting place for the righteous or the heroes. For the last 5 months, it has been the weekly theater of riots and devastation and it was definitely no place for “those chosen by the gods.”

March 1971

In my youth, I have wandered many times on this avenue and like most Parisians, it remains very dear to me. It breaks my heart to witness the devastation brought by hoodlums bent on destruction and looting. Nothing political about it. Just opportunistic plundering.

As I have said many times, it is the duty of any citizen to protest against unjust working or living conditions. But if you feel that you are unfairly treated, before resorting to violence, state your demands and negotiate. Peacefully.

In France, there have been no such initiatives.  No real protest leaders have emerged to present their grievances and parley with the government. It has just been a weekly orgy of fear and destruction reminiscent of the Terreur following the French revolution of 1789.

Extremists of all sorts revel in this weekly chaos. They don’t have any solutions but the destruction of a system they abhor. Regardless of any form of government, these malcontents will protest and riot.

Like Robespierre and most of his ilk, they will eventually (I hope) find their way to the figurative guillotine, but the harm they produced will take a long time to heal.

Extremism has no place in a civilized society and should be severely punished each time it occurs. Personally, I would favor some public caning for the most violent thugs convicted of random violence and vandalism.


 “When good Americans die, they go to Paris.” Oscar Wilde

Food, treacherous food

“We all eat, and it would be a sad waste of an opportunity to eat badly.”Anna Thomas

Yes, but unfortunately many of us eat badly, or more precisely unwholesomely. Enticing dishes are often Trojan horses bent on sabotaging your health from the inside.
And no matter what it says, Big Food (despite its reassuring labels) is not your friend. Few people bother anyway to read the (minuscule) stickers, and if they did, they would be horrified. Basically, everything that tastes good is unhealthy and vice versa.

In order to better control my blood sugar (and my girlish figure), I decided a while ago to scrutinize my food more carefully and eat more reasonably. This measure will alas deprive me of almost everything I like.

I acquired a phone app called MyNetDiary with the idea of keeping me (nutritionally) on the straight and narrow. I admit that it is a great app… and an eye-opener.
It is also easy to use and the guarantor of your commitment.

One of the great features of this product is that it includes a scanner that can identify immediately what you are about to purchase or consume. You just expose the package’s barcode to the built-in scanner and it will tell you instantly… what you did not want to know.

Are you aware by the way of your daily calorie intake? I bet that you don’t.

Would you believe that a friendly “pain au chocolat” contains 470 calories?  And that one ounce (28 grams) of walnuts contains a whopping 185 calories. What about French fries or butter? The truth is often ugly and hard to digest.

“The secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.”Mark Twain

This is what I thought, but it is not “medically correct” and this damn correctness is popping up everywhere nowadays to spoil our fun. Curse you correctness!

Despite a careful tracking of my food intake, my blood glucose (and my weight) are putting up a stubborn fight; they don’t want to change. I should confess though that I am not too fond of veggies. Dead cooked veggies that is. The abominable Brussels Sprouts taste (and smell) horrible, but it is GOOD for you! And I don’t talk to me about cauliflower either… Confidentially, I am more of a carbohydrates type of guy. I love bread, cereals, oats, pasta, cookies… all the bad boys of the food chain.

But being aware and keeping track of what you eat is the first step. Will power is a close second.

In my youth life was simpler:

“As a child my family’s menu consisted of two choices: take it or leave it.” Buddy Hackett

Ta ta for now…


Dislike or hate?

We all have our likes and dislikes… it is human nature and we would not be honest if we denied it.
But there is a difference between disliking and hating. Hate is much more intense and toxic than dislike. Today we are so polarized that we are unable (or unwilling) to differentiate between these two emotions. If we dislike something or somebody, we simply “hate” it.

Well, I am personally averse to many things and many people… without really hating them. I might have a strong dislike to them, but I don’t wish them to swim with the fish…

For my part, I object to people who are dishonest, cruel, ignorant, vulgar, irresponsible, rude, susceptible… In addition, I also dislike braggarts, liars, extremists, religious zealots, and humorless people… and I cannot mention everybody, the list would be too long.

It seems that I am not fond of too many people… but hey, it is my right to like or dislike anybody.

“Do you like people? Most people claim that they like people with, of course, a “few exceptions.” When the exceptions are added together it becomes clear that they include a vast majority of the people. It becomes equally clear that most people like just a few people, their kind of people, and either do not actively care for or actively dislike most of the “other” people.” Saul Alinsky

 As you can see, I am an equal opportunity “disliker.” I equally dislike many people, regardless of race, sex, age or religion.
Now, if I disapprove of a person of color, does that make me a racist? If so, yes, I am a racist. But I never dislike anybody for the color of their skin, I just object to their offensive behavior.

Do I hate some people? Of course.
This does not mean that I want them dead. It just means that I have an intense dislike of them and would like them to magically vanish into thin air… Or maybe like Dorothy and Toto, to be snatched by a cyclone and dropped hundreds of miles from where I live.

It’s not impossible… and one can dream… can’t he?


 What do I dislike about death? Must be the hours. Woody Allen