In daily life I speak English ninety-five percent of the time, and if it wouldn’t be for French television, I would have probably forgotten my mother tongue a long time ago.
It is for that reason (and a few more) that I subscribe to TV5MONDE, a French television channel.

It is the paucity of intelligent programs that prompted me in the first place to find an alternative to American networks offerings.
The second reason for my alienation from American television is the brutish, unrelenting force-feeding of commercial messages. Gag me with a spoon!
On TV5MONDE, praise the Lord, they have the good sense to totally exclude that advertising rubbish.

But there are some drawbacks.

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On overly puritanical American television, someone will occasionally drops the F-bomb, but on some French programs we are often subjected to non-stop carpet-bombing.

Some so-called entertainers seem to equate humor with vulgarity.
Short of vocabulary, culture or wit, they manage to extract embarrassed giggles from captive audiences by lacing their monologues with smut.
They compensate their obvious lack of talent with crude references to sex or bodily functions.
Queen Victoria and I are definitely not amused!

I have never been prudish and I am not easily offended, but I strenuously object to vulgarity, especially in a public context.

You don’t need to be vulgar to be amusing and Vulgarians are seldom amusing.
They are like homeless people masking offensive bodily odors with lewd oral pyrotechnics.
Nudity is not offensive, gutter utterances are.

Young children are often listening to those programs and as everybody knows “monkey sees, monkey does”.
The little brats will soon be walking around spewing four-letter words, obscenities and expletives.
Is it what you expect from television?

You don’t have to go to church to be a well-mannered human being. Just keep rinsing your mouth (and especially your children’s) with soap and replacing your obscenity filters as often as you replace your furnace filters.

Free speech yes, vulgarity NO!



June 9 tournament

Last Saturday was hot, well into the 90’s, but Sunday was a different kind of animal. It was about 20 degrees cooler and a pesky Northern wind made at times playing conditions (at least for me) rather uncomfortable.

But this didn’t stop many pétanque fans from attending our annual Steak Picnic/Tournament.
Granted, the attendance was a little smaller than last year, but the spirit was there.

You might not have noticed, but the field was immaculate and you can thank hard working Emily Etcheverry for that. Merci Emily!

The people in charge of the tournament were our three swashbuckling female musketeers, namely Christine Cragg, Verena Rytter and Liv Kraft.

They put together 10 triplettes that were as follows:

  1. Jean-Marc Bohin/Colette Van Der Meulen/Debbie King
  2. Jean-Claude Bunand/Hendrik Idzerda/Judi McCord
  3. Philippe Arnaud/Mireille Di Maio/Robert Belforte
  4. Bleys Rose/Verena Rytter/Richard Heglund
  5. Luc Pouget/Christine Cragg/Marc Di Maio
  6. Maggie Lane/Claudie Chourre/Leo Cantayre
  7. Bill Hansen/Francois Moser/Briana Olson
  8. Teri Sirico/Henry Wessel/Liliane Sebban
  9. Jean Bartkowiak/Sabine Mattei/Henriette Matocq
  10. Alain Efron/Charlie Davantes/Calvert Barton

On Sunday, I did not intend to play and was planning to spend the afternoon schmoozing and taking pictures, but this was not to be.
Due to a player shortage, I was cajoled into handling boules rather than handling my camera, hence the rather small number of photographs.

The people in charge of the barbecue were Alain Marchand, Antoine Lofaro and Francois Moser.
As a former professional butcher, Alain volunteered to buy and handle the meat.
He also prepared and cooked the “Jardinière” (a mixture of spring vegetables) accompanying the steaks.
Thank you gentlemen for volunteering and for a job well done.

Indefatigable Claudie Chourré and Mireille Di Maio also greatly helped. Thank you ladies.

Lunch was served around 12:00 pm and games started around 1:00 p.m..

It was decided that there would be three 13 points games and that no scores would be kept. People would play strictly for fun.
The winning teams of each game received 2 lottery tickets each and the losers one.
At the end of the tournament bottles of wine were awarded by random drawing.

Among the new faces on the field, there was charming Briana Olson who will hopefully soon join our club, Hendrik Idzerda  and Marcy Guiragossian who just did.
Please make them all feel welcome.

During the tournament, I had the pleasure to play with my old pal Charlie Davantes and new comer Calvert Barron.
Calvert happily surprised me by placing some very good shots and I dare predict a very bright pétanque future for this Southern Belle.

The tournament was over around 5:00 p.m. and bottles of wine were awarded to some lucky ticket holders.

Not a bad day after all!


PS: To look at pictures of this event, turn the sound on, click on the “Home” link at the top of the page, and click again on “My photos” located on the right side of the page.


Pretty woman

“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.” Ernest Hemingway

Yes, I lived in Paris as a young man and yes, it was indeed a moveable feast!

Since in those days I was chronically impecunious, the cheapest kind of entertainment I could afford was to sit at a sidewalk café and splurge on a cup of coffee.
Then, like a student of natural history I observed and catalogued the passing fauna.
That’s where I cut my teeth on the delicate pleasure of people watching. For you don’t sit at a sidewalk café for a silly cup of java. You sit there to check out the girls (or the guys, if you are so inclined) with the faint hope of a fortuitous romance.

Humans come in all kind of shapes, sizes and color. But some shapes are more conspicuous than some others. And some lucky women have it. They attract glances like honey attracts bears

nicebuttBecause there is something special about the way some women walk.
Some (wearing “utilitarian” shoes) walk without any particular grace, but some (particularly those with a thin waist and a round bottom) seem to move like models on a runway.
They seem to have this incredible bearing and this subtle balancing of the hips that mere mortals don’t have.
What does it? The high heels, the shapely buns, the smooth gait?
Non lo so!

I don’t know if this walk comes naturally or if it is an acquired skill, but this special stride is pure gold.
If I were a woman looking for Mister Right I would definitely invest in a few catwalk lessons, for there is a pot of gold at the end of that walkway.

Make my day, said Dirty Larry a few decades ago.
When I see such a woman, like an elegant sloop sailing by, she indeed makes my day, everybody’s day.

And the best view is when she walks away… when you appreciate to the fullest the hypnotic effect and the perfect synchronization of hips and buns in motion.

Have mercy on me for I am an inveterate sinner…