2013 Lentils & Sausages cookout

“Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get.” Mark Twain.

Spring has officially been with us for about 3 weeks, but you wouldn’t know it judging by the kind of meteorological conditions we experienced yesterday.
The day started fairly well, but little by little the wind picked up and by mid-afternoon we were engulfed in a real windstorm.

As we say in my native land “Il faisait un vent à décorner les boeufs » (the wind was strong enough to dehorn cattle).
The wind knocked down chairs and attempted to steal anything not properly secured.
Dust flew everywhere blinding people and making babies cry.

This sorry state of affairs didn’t stop pétanque enthusiasts from participating in our annual Lentils & Sausages/Tournament.

The field looked great, thanks to the efforts of some dedicated club members (Claudie Chourré, Emily Etcheverry and Christine Cragg) and some hired help.
We ought to have a special award to express our gratitude toward these people.

The following randomly-mated teams participated in this tournament:

  1. Eva Lofaro/Steve Jones/Claudie Chourre
  2. Jean Etcheverry/Carolina Jones
  3. Teri Sirico/Lilian Sebban
  4. Ernest Lucero/Luc Pouget
  5. Bernard Passmar/Danielle Gusella
  6. Bill Hansen/Jenny
  7. Jean Barka/Shannon Bowman
  8. Barbara Hall/Jean-Michel Poulnot
  9. Monique Bricca/Patrick Vaslet
  10. Joe La Torre/Dolly Ebolito
  11. Sabine Mattei/Alain Gusella
  12. Henry Wessel/Philippe Arnaud
  13. Minette Etallaz/Alain Efron
  14. Tamara Efron/Pierre P.
  15. Gustave Foucher/Jean-Claude Bunand
  16. Bleys Rose/Christine Cragg
  17. John Morisson/Jean-Claude Etallaz
  18. Helga Facchini/Jean Krauer
  19. Calvert Barron/Gilles Karpowicz
  20. Joss Krauer/Emily Etcheverry
  21. Etienne Rijkheer/Mireille Di Maio
  22. Christine Jones/Carlos Couto

But before the competition started we enjoyed sausages and lentils expertly prepared by maestro Jean-Claude Etallaz. Wine will always improve any dish!
It would be unpardonable of me to forget mentioning that Jean-Claude was assisted by René (jack of all trades) Di Maio.
Rene helped! I can testify to this!

The tournament started after lunch and was orchestrated by Dave Riffo.

I forgot to mention that the format of this particular tourney was “a la mêlée”. Not my favorite arrangement.
I understand that is done to allow “newbies” to mix with seasoned players, but if luck assigns you a third-string partner, you could be in for a rather frustrating afternoon.

The games started around 1:00 p.m. and ended around 5:00 p.m.
There were no official winners and no cash prizes were awarded. Bottles of wine were instead randomly given away to participating players.

To everyone surprise (to mine anyway), the Mardirossian family had arranged a little party to celebrate Colette Mardirossian’s 80th birthday.
At the end of the day, flowers, a large cake and plenty of fine champagne (Veuve Cliquot) were bought to the field and served to everybody.
Happy birthday Colette!

And that’s the way it was in San Rafael, on Sunday April 14, 2013.



Is a bra necessary?

I always thought that it is a good idea to peruse foreign websites to see what people across the pond are thinking.
Especially the French! Those untrustworthy mollusks chomping/Beaujolais quaffing rabble-rousers!

Anyway, yesterday I came across an interesting tidbit .

After conducting a study of a large group of women (aged 18 to 35), sports medicine doctor Jean-Denis Rouillon is proffering that wearing a bra is totally unnecessary. At least for young women.

Eugène_Delacroix_-_Liberty_Leading_the_People_28th_July_1830_-_WGA6177 - Version 2

He is postulating that if a woman starts wearing a bra right after puberty, it will inhibit and weaken breasts natural suspension mechanism.
Holy Toledo!

If women start wearing bras at an early age, they will start relying on them and remain hooked for the rest of their lives.
And that’s, by the way, is what Victoria’s Secrets is pushing women to do.

But In fact, says the good doctor, women don’t need to wear bras. It is a scientific fact!

This is a fascinating bit of news and I suspect that the powerful bra-lobby is not going to take this hanging down.
Just like the gun lobby, they are prepared to mount a large twin counterattack.

Victoria’s Secrets and Frederick’s of Hollywood are already saying that “it is the inalienable right of women to keep and bear bras” and “It is not bras that need breasts, but breasts that need bras”.

Breasts in America have acquired an almost mythical status.
You must have breasts, women are told, and the bigger the better.
And if pobrecita, you are breast challenged, we will sell you some.

Young girls already traumatized by the onset of puberty will do almost anything to attract the attention of the opposite sex.

And since in America everything is outrageous, be prepared to see nubile girls sporting gigantic mammary appendages hanging around.
But with these big guns you will need some support and that’s what the bra lobby, working hand in hand with the plastic surgeons pressure group, is pushing for.

Do you need to wear a bra? Judging by their gravity defying attires, Hollywood hotties have already spoken and it is certainly not up to a man to weigh what’s good for women.



Pétanque psychology

I play pétanque about once a week. Friendly little games on the local field.
Everybody meets on the court, teams are formed and we go at it.

Some players are known as “shooters” and some as “pointers”.
There are also some bi-players (it’s not what you think) who can point but also shoot if the designated shooter runs out of ammo.

Shooters come in all shapes and sizes. Some are tall, some are short, some are skinny and some are chubby. They all can shoot of course, but what differentiates them from one another is their approach, their conception of the game.

Some shooters do not hesitate to fire their balls while some dither, preferring to take a “wait and see” attitude.
This is not my cup of “pastis”.

To me, a shooter has to be proactive. He should shoot without any hesitation if the situation calls for it. Procrastination is the antithesis of success.
If right at the beginning of a game, an enemy ball is hugging the cochonnet, it has to go. And sooner than later.
Waiting to shoot can become problematic, especially when enemy boules begin to mass in front of the target.

IMG_6407 - Version 2At the same time, a shooter shouldn’t target a ball just because it is in the close proximity of the cochonnet. He has to weigh the pros and the cons of his action and be in agreement with the pointer.
If they constantly differ about what to do (it happens), disharmony will sink the ship.

A true shooter is somebody who can shoot “au fer” (to the iron) and who can send his balls flying over enemy lines.
If you are shooting “ a la rafle” or “a la rasbaille” (your ball hitting the ground before hitting the target) your options are more limited. The minute a ball blocks a direct path to the intended target, your shooting is impeded.

Useless to say that if you are a “rasbailleur” you are not considered a true shooter and are often looked down by “real” shooters.
A “rasbailleur” nevertheless can be successful, but he is definitely not as effective and glamorous as a “tireur au fer”.

In pétanque games both sides have artillery, but big guns need to be used judiciously. A gunner has only a limited number of shots in his quiver and the strategy of a weaker team is to quickly defang the opposite shooter.
That’s the job of the pointer; to place exquisitely accurate shots and force the opposing shooter to spend his ammunition.

But games are not won by shooters alone. Pointers deserve a large part of the credit.
They are the foot soldiers of pétanque wars and without them victory can prove elusive.

To sum it up, a game is won by the skills of both, pointers and shooters, but ultimately by the cooperation and the decisive strategy adopted by the team.