Forwarding baloney

My mother used to say, “If it is in the newspaper, it must be true”.
Wrong! Utterly wrong!
Unfortunately, my mother (like many people of her generation) was very gullible.
If it was in the newspaper or even on the radio, it had to be the gospel truth.
Those educated people wouldn’t lie to you, she would say.
Well Mother, they did and they still do.

Keep in mind that any piece of writing (like this one) can be distorted, misquoted, or attributed to somebody else.
The same goes for the Internet. And there is practically no censure out there. It is up to you to decide what is accurate, what is misleading or what is worth forwarding.

Many people seem to be predisposed to believe gossips. Any gossip. And the juicier, the better.
Upon receiving something particularly outrageous, some people cannot wait to send a copy of that piece of baloney to all their “friends”.
They copy all their acquaintances (could be as many as fifty) and click the “forward button”. That piece of no-sense then flies over the Internet to promptly land into your mailbox.

Two things, right away.
Before forwarding anything to anybody, check the author and the accuracy of whatever you receive.
It is very easy.

Copy, and then paste the first sentence of any article into the search window of your browser.
Any reference to that sentence will generate a bunch of links, and it will be up to you to pass judgment as to the veracity of that document.
If you are satisfied with the author and the accuracy of the document, you can (carefully) forward it to somebody else.

But for crying out loud, don’t send this to a bunch of people using the Cc: (carbon copy) format. Doing this will expose the names and e-mail addresses of all the recipients to the prying eyes of Internet malfeasants.
They will harvest a maximum of names and addresses and sell them to eager buyers. Don’t be surprised to then be inundated with spam or even more dangerous schemes.

If you send a document to more than 3 people, absolutely use the Bcc: (blind carbon copy) format.
This way the names and addresses of the recipients won’t be visible to the other receivers and won’t put their addresses at risk.

Third, refrain from forwarding anything to more than your 3 BFF’s (Best Friend Forever).
Most of the time what you are forwarding is inaccurate and only plays in the hands of criminals and hate mongers.

Practice good Net etiquette, always use Bcc: utilize “forward” very very sparingly and never ever include my name in a mass mailing operation!

Thank you.



You’ve got mail!

A Priest and a Rabbi (yes, always them) who had been friends for years were always arguing the fine points of their respective religions.
One day as they were riding in a car, a drunk driver cut them off. Their car flew off the road, rolled five times end over end, and came to rest on its roof. The Priest and Rabbi crawled out of the wreckage and were amazed to find out that they were still alive.
As the Priest crossed himself, he noticed the Rabbi doing the same.
The Priest shouted excitedly “Praise Be! You’ve seen the Light!”
“What?” asked the Rabbi
“You crossed yourself. You have seen the True Way! This is wonderful.”
“Cross myself?? No, no. I was just checking to see if everything was still in the right places: Spectacles, Testicles, Wallet and Cell phone.

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I must admit that I was unaware of the practical side of the sign of the cross, and even though I am a non-believer, I would recommend this practice to absent-minded people.

As I have said in the past, snail mail is slowly giving way to electronic mail, and soon the “facteur” (sorry Jean-Michel) will be a Norman Rockwell relic of the past.
Nowadays, you would be utterly irresponsible for not checking your electronic mail, just as you do your regular mail.
And using a smartphone to do this is the easiest way to deal with this routine.

So, check your e-mail (not once in a while like some of you do), but every morning, religiously.
Crossing yourself would definitely help forgetful people and allow them to remain in tune with the rest of the world.
If you don’t, you could be missing some important stuff like the change of venue of Sarafian’s birthday party or the date of the next Doomsday.

I know that when you are getting older you sometimes forget to zip up your pants, but neglecting to check your e-mail could have more serious consequences.
Somebody could be trying to reach you regarding a life or death situation, or there could be some monstrous traffic jam 2 miles ahead of you.

Either way it would greatly behoove you to check your electronic mailbox on a timely basis to stay in tune with what’s happening around you.

“Toto, we are not in Kansas anymore…”

Pax vobiscum my children!



King for a day

Last Sunday (January 6) the Friends of Sarafian Society met at the Villa Inn in San Rafael to celebrate Jacques’ 90th birthday.
I would like at this time to thank Mireille and René Di Maio for, first offering this locale for our little gathering, and second for doing such an excellent job behind the bar, in the kitchen and in the dining room.

Although Jacques’ actual birth date is December 23, we had to postpone this celebration twice due to a series of conflicting events.
But it is not the date that matters, but the intent. And the intent was always there.

We wanted to show Jacques that we care, and that he is an important member of our pétanque family. And people came from far and wide (Sonoma, Petaluma, Glen Ellen, Vacaville) to show their esteem and affection.

Pétanque is very important to Jacques. Rain or shine he is on the field and despite his respectable age, he is still a formidable player. Last week I saw him execute a masterly “carreau” that should put many of us to shame. I am much younger than Jacques and I still cannot match his prowess.

At 90, Hagop is a veteran of the Pétanque Wars and a shining example to us all.
He told me: I will never be an old man. To me, old age is always 15 years older than I am.

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As a token of our affection, about 30 of us (bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh) came to pay homage to one of our most resilient senior citizen.
I want to thank all those people for bringing such a great variety of foods and beverages and I can assure you that nobody went hungry or thirsty.

Among the guests, I noticed Isabelle Sarafian naturally, Bart Zachofsky, Antonia and Stephen Paulsen, Sabine Mattei, Claudie Chourre, Tina Petitou, Gillian Summers, Bill Raffanti, Teri Sirico, Jacques Gautier, Mireille and René, Alain and Evelyne Marchand, Antoine Lofaro, Verena Rytter, Liv Kraft, Jean-Claude and Catherine Bunand, Helga Facchini, Genevieve and Jean-Claude Etallaz and Jacques Lecouturier.

January 6 being the Epiphany (and also my birthday) I thought appropriate to bring the traditional Galette des Rois (Kings’ cake) to share with everybody.

“In France people eat the “Galette des Rois” (puff pastry with almond paste). This is the Kings’ (Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar) cake, with a bean hidden inside. The person who gets the piece of cake with the bean becomes “king” for a day.”

That Sunday, there was no bean to be found but, under the cheering of the crowd, Jacques Hagop Sarafian was chosen to be our King for the day.
Long live the King!

As far as I can tell, a good time was held by all.

Thank you all for coming and honoring a guy who taught many of us the finer points of Pétanque and still can beat the pants off of most of us.

Tsnudat Shnorhavor Hagop!
Happy birthday Hagop!

And many more to come.


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.