The curse of beauty

Last night I watched a recording of the Golden Globes. On this television show, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association bestows ugly looking trophies on Hollywood’s fame-hungry fauna.

Like many people, I prefer to watch recordings rather than live shows.
When watching a recording, I use the Fast Forward feature to bypass all the commercial crap and keep my blood pressure in check.
That’s my small personal stand against crass commercialism.

Anyway, Sunday night was a gathering of Hollywood’s Who is Who, and Who is that Broad?
It is a good occasion for producers to parade their trophy wives or newly discovered nymphets.

Among that illustrious gallery I couldn’t help to notice some aging stars. Despite artful makeup, slick hairdos and beautiful outfits they could not conceal the ravages of time.
And that’s the hidden curse of beauty.

Beautiful women and handsome men who were once blessed (?) with good looks are suddenly engaged in a deadly battle against time and gravity. And everybody notices.

Beauty is the result of a pact made with the Devil a long time ago.
– Mister Devil, I want to be beautiful…
– Of course sweet child, I think that I can arrange that. Where did you hear my name by the way?
– On the Internet.
– Ah yes, they now me quite well out there. I will grant you your wish and I promise you that you will be noticed, forever.
– Thank you very much Mister Devil.
– De nada Chiquita.
The Devils speaks many languages.

Lucifer will grant you Beauty and the wish to be noticed, but this wish will cling to you eternally, even when you don’t want to be singled out anymore.

Average looking people (like me) don’t have this problem.
Nobody ever noticed me and nobody will ever notice the way I age.
I am not saying that in my heydays some women didn’t throw their panties at me, but I was never a “looker”.
When I started to mellow, nobody paid attention and nobody wrote about it.

But the press will note and blab about it when they see a puffy Sylvester Stallone or Arnold Schwarzenegger. Rambo and the Terminator are not what they used to be, they will say snidely.
And what about Elisabeth Taylor or Brigitte Bardot? Were they not gorgeous? Poor things…

Me? I don’t have to worry about the Beauty Curse.
My rugged look made me attractive without interfering with my life.
When you see me today, you never think of what I looked like when I was the toast of Club Med.
I can have my regular cup of coffee, unshaved and looking scruffy without fearing snoopy paparazzi.
My picture is not worth much and nobody will bother to plaster it on the Internet or on the front page of the local paper.
And that’s the way I like it.

You can have Beauty. I’ll take anonymity.




Winter pétanque

When you think of pétanque, what usually comes to mind is a bunch of people in shorts and sandals, drinking Pastis and talking with their hands.
But what about when the temperature drops below 30 degrees as was the case yesterday in Marin County?
Is it going to prevent die-hard pétanque fans from doing their thing?
No siree Bob!

A true “boulomane” will play in any type of weather. You just need to dress adequately that’s all. When it is really cold, if you don’t want to freeze your boules, long thermal underwear is highly recommended.
Generally speaking, as long as it doesn’t snow, “boulistes” will show on the field, eager to rumble.
Jacques Sarafian, our soon to be centenarian wouldn’t have it any other way.


The main problem when playing in subzero temperatures is that initially “boules” are very cold and difficult to handle.

Somebody once said, “find a need and fill it”. That’s good advice.
A far-seeing entrepreneur could start a “boule-warming stand” and, for a modest fee warm up your boules to a comfortable temperature.
He could also provide hot drinks such as “gløgg” or hot cider, and crêpes naturally.
Just an idea mind you, but worth considering. That’s the way kids are becoming millionaires nowadays; implementing screwy ideas.

In Europe, the ruling class used to laugh at anything that was not “mainstream”. It took a bunch of brash college dropouts (Zuckerberg, Jobs, Gates, Ellison) to set them straight. So, don’t ever laugh at a kid with screwy ideas; he might very well be the one laughing all the way to the bank!

Sunday turned out to be a nice day after all. Cool, sunny and pleasant. After 4:00 p.m. the sun disappeared behind the Civic Center and it started to be cold again.
Like a flock of sparrows, players dispersed and flew home.

As for me, I won one big dollar from Jacques Gautier.
Not a bad day after all!



The Living Dead

Here we are. Twenty thirteen. A brand new year. But like most Americans I have few reasons for being optimistic.
America is facing a lot of pressing problems and with an ever-deadlocked Congress I don’t see even a flicker of light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.

Prior to being blissfully retired, I worked for a large corporation.
Every year I went through a “Performance Evaluation”.
I was given pen and pencil and asked to list my accomplishments for the year past. Based on those results I would or would not receive a pay raise. In case of really bad performance I could even face dismissal.

Unfortunately (sigh) this philosophy doesn’t seem to apply to our political fauna.
Regardless of their (meager) accomplishments, politicians are forever seeking reelection, without ever having their record scrutinized.

We need to understand that a politician’s Number One job is getting reelected. And this requires a lot of time and money. While trying to protect their job, politicians can’t waste their time dealing with national issues.
They will get reelected mainly by providing Pork for their constituency and by stonewalling issues like gun control, healthcare, etc.

If I had my way, any politician running for reelection would be required to make public the list of his achievements. For instance, how many bills did you sponsor last year? None? Interesting…
If those accomplishments were judged below par, the candidate would be disqualified from running again.

Lately, public perception of Congress has been extremely negative. Many people call it the Congress of the Living Dead.

According to Wikipedia, in 2006 members of Congress received a yearly salary of $165,200. Congressional leaders were paid $183,500 per year and the Speaker of the House of Representatives earned $212,100 annually.
And I am not even talking about perks!

That’s a lot of moola for subpar performance and unabashed junket trips (enjoyed by government officials at public expense).

In an ideal world, those incompetent hacks would be shown the door and asked to never show their faces again.

But politicians are a resilient kind.
After having been kicked out of Congress, many politicians focus on lucrative careers as lobbyists.
They are indeed the Living Dead. No matter how many times you kill them, they’ll come out of their graves to haunt you again.

So one more time, put ideologies aside and demand tangible results from your elected officials.
And compromise (regardless of what Tea Party zealots have been saying) has never been a dirty word.