Sausages and lentils picnic

Yesterday in Marin County, Antiques Show enthusiasts and pétanque players engaged in a subtle parking war. I am sorry to say that overwhelmed by the sheer number of treasure hunters the pétanque players lost that conflict and had to scramble for parking spaces.

My online dictionary defines “antiques” as follows: “Collectible objects that have high value because of their considerable age”.
America is one of the few countries where “the considerable age” is generally less than fifty and where one can become an antique in his own lifetime.

Nevertheless, our traditional “Sausages & Lens picnic” went well and this was due in part to Minou, our official cook.
IMG_3879It might not be common knowledge, but Jean-Claude Etallaz (from the celebrated Minou & Minette duo) hails from the French region of Savoy and as a « savoyard » he must cook his sausages with white wine. Some of the wine I understand goes into the cooking pot and some (I suspect) finds its way into Jean-Claude’s throat. It is called a balanced performance.
Once again he did a splendid job and I heard nothing but compliments about his gig.


The lentils I was told were prepared (without wine) by our own top dog, Christine Cragg.
A few of us were also privileged to sample Alain Marchand’s excellent “flan”. Merci monsieur Marchand!

While people chomped on the sausages, they might not have noticed our new tool shed discreetly tucked away in the back of the court.
This structure was badly needed and now, thanks to Sabine Mattei (who did the research) Alain Marchand, Francois Moser, Roger Mattei and Charlie Davantes who provided the heavy lifting, we finally have a secure place to store our cooking equipment and various tools.
I won’t dwell on this story right here, but the full account of this affair (with scores of pictures) will be published on this blog very soon.

As far as the “tournament” was concerned, it was a friendly happening open to all and there was none of the harsh competitiveness generally associated with “official” events.

The contestants were:

  1. Bill Hansen & Mireille Di Maio
  2. Philippe Arnaud & Jim Johnson
  3. JC Bunand & Gustave Foucher
  4. Joss Krauer & John Krauer
  5. Shannon Bowman & Christine Jones
  6. Etienne Rijkheer & John Morrison
  7. Steve Jones & Bernadette BB
  8. Bernard Passmar & Claudie Chourré
  9. Blaise West & Sabine Mattei
  10. JC Etallaz & JM Poulnot
  11. Ken Lee & Calvert Barron
  12. Patrick Vaslet & Larry Cragg
  13. Eric Jarrey & Robert Belforte
  14. Alain Gusella & Eva Lofaro
  15. Joe La Torre & Minette
  16. Alain Efron & Henry Wessel
  17. François Moser & Teri Thiebault
  18. Ed Porto & Christine Cragg

After a random pairing, three games were played after lunch and no scores were recorded.
The gods smiled on me when they gave me Henry Wessel as a partner.
Thanks to Henry’s excellent pointing, we managed to win 3 games out of 3.
Especially satisfying was the last game where after being led 4 to 9 we managed to pull (by the skin of our teeth) a 13 to 12 victory.

Many people were surprised to see Alain Gusella among the contestants. A month after suffering a stroke he was back on the field fiercely determined to make an early comeback. More power to him.

The party was over around five thirty and many tournament participants helped to store cooking and pétanque items in our new shed. Thanks a lot!

Yesterday I didn’t take too many pictures. Very few as a matter of fact. I was too busy schmoozing and gossiping. Sorry about that.
If I get a substantial salary increase I promise to try harder next time.


Oldies but goodies

It is sometimes difficult to imagine (especially for whippersnappers) that grizzled old codgers were once cute babies and energetic, attractive grownups. But as unbelievable as it sounds, they were.

These people might be now up in years, but as the name “oldies” implies they were once very popular.
You might be surprised to discover who those individuals are and how they turned out.

IMG_0025As promised, I have assembled a collection of pictures that are at least 30 years old and pertaining to people that you know or heard of.
Many of these shots are in black and white, but are in some respects more striking than color pictures.

I have not identified the protagonists of this exhibit, but if you show me yours, I will show you mine or at least tell you later who these mystery people are.

If you care to look at this album you will see that in my bag of goodies, I have a bunch of oldies, babies, nannies and grannies but no boobies, booties or selfies (all patented by Kim Kardashian).

Enjoy, and as soon as I get your old pics I will include them in this album.

Alain La Foudre

PS: To look at these photographs and listen to the accompanying music, turn the sound on, and click on the light blue link “My Photos” located on the right side of this page.


What is worth a thousand words?

c9Ml7I-jBJCDqNisYJwmYP9Rff0Does the name Gustave Eiffel ring a bell?
It ought to.
It is the name of the French engineer who conceived and supervised the construction of the Eiffel Tower.

The Tower by the way, was built in two years, two months, and five days. Quite a technical achievement in those days.
For the record, it is possible to walk to the top but there are 1,665 steps and if you feel a little winded after climbing two flights of stairs I would strongly advise against it.
And you should not be afraid of height. Some people freeze mid-way (it happened to me once while walking down -not up- from the 2nd to the 1st floor) and it was a rather hair-rising experience.
Most people wisely elect to take the elevator.

The Eiffel Tower was inaugurated on March 31 at the 1889 Word Fair to mark the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution.
Last March 31st was the 125th anniversary of that famous structure.

At this occasion I read somewhere that some publication was asking readers to send old pictures of the tower.
This is one of the reasons why I posted two pictures of myself (with the tower in the background) on Facebook.

Those pictures were probably taken about 40 years ago and some people find it hard to believe that the person shown there is the same guy that you see nowadays dragging his feet on local pétanque courts.
I understand.

With time, we all go through some kind of metamorphosis and after forty years of wear and tear, few of us manage to look like the superb creatures (yes) we once were.

IMG_0012I thought that it might be fun to publish pictures of what we looked like before the introduction of the personal computer and challenge everybody to put a name on those mugs.

Who do you think is the person on the left?

So that’s why I am asking you to send me pictures (preferably electronically) of what you looked like before your warranty expired, and shortly after that I will publish them in a special album accessible on this blog.

What do ya think? Can I count on you?
You might be very surprised and amused by what you will see.

So don’t procrastinate and send me your best (old) shots as soon as possible. Merci.


My photographs don’t do me justice – they just look like me. Phyllis Diller.

Love them flashmobs!