The rules of the game

If you ever win anything, don’t gloat. It is not nice and if you do, it will eventually come back to bite you in the “derrière”.
There is no better way to antagonize and make enemies than by taking a malicious pleasure in somebody’s miseries.

Look at the elections.
Obama won, but he didn’t gloat. He is too smart for that and he knows that soon or later he will have to deal with those he defeated.
He even acknowledged his opponent in his victory speech.

Mitt Romney whose political fortune took a turn for the worse on Tuesday night also played nice. But he couldn’t gloat.
Reluctant at first to admit defeat, he finally came out, and with a frozen smile on his face, he congratulated Barack Obama on his victory and wished him the best.
He might not have exuded sincerity but there was no other way, for nobody likes a sore loser.

Gone are the days when the victors crucified their enemies. Nowadays it is much smarter to treat them with humility and respect than humiliate them publicly.
It is also wise to remember that the bite of a humiliated foe is worse than the bite of a king cobra.

So, even on the pétanque field, don’t ever gloat. Even if you “fanny” the other team. At the end of the game, modesty is always in good taste.
Tell your opponents how lucky you have been and how well they played.
No need to upset a recoiled king cobra, don’t you think?

If you absolutely must boast, do it in the privacy of your own home or go to some Latin America country where machismo rules.
In California, avoid showing off in public. Nobody likes an egotistic braggart.

To conclude, it is far wiser to remain humble in victory and gracious in defeat rather than to gloat like a flea on a dog.

Alain

 

Les élections de 2012

Ca y est, je viens de voter et de remettre mon bulletin de vote aux autorités conséquentes.
Demain je l’espère, nous auront les résultats de cette campagne électorale interminable.

Cela fait plus de deux ans que cette guerre civile a commencé, et les gens en ont leur claque de ces bombardements médiatiques aveugles et incessants.
Cela fait également plus de deux mois que mon téléphone n’arrête pas de sonner et que ma boite a lettres se remplit de pamphlets politiques qui prennent directement le chemin de la poubelle.

Comme je l’ai souvent dit, ce martelage de crâne continu n’a absolument aucun effet sur les fidèles. Ils ajustent leurs casques, s’entèrent dans leurs tranchées respectives et attendent que le tir de barrage cesse.
Quand les obus arrêteront de tomber, ils retourneront à leur poste, sûrs de leur cause et prêts à sauter le parapet pour l’offensive finale. « Gott mit uns » pas vrai ?
Quelles que soient les nouvelles diffusées par Vichy, leurs opposants écouteront et suivront néanmoins les consignes de Radio Londres.

En ces temps difficiles, beaucoup de gens sont également scandalisés par les dépenses obscènes encourues par les candidats.
J’ai lu que cette campagne électorale avait couté un milliard de dollars au bas mot. Un milliard de dollars ! Mille millions !
Savez-vous ce qu’il serait possible de faire pour améliorer le sort du peuple avec mille millions ? Ne serait-ce que renflouer la Sécurité Sociale.

J’avoue que je n’ai pas voté pour le meilleur. J’ai voté comme tout le monde pour le candidat qui est le plus en accord avec mes idées.
Cela ne veut pas dire qu’il est meilleur que l’autre, cela veut simplement dire qu’il a des conceptions gouvernementales différentes de son adversaire.

Personnellement, je ne suis pas en faveur de cet assistanat outrancier tel qui est  pratiqué en Europe.
J’estime que les gens doivent faire l’effort nécessaire pour assurer leur survie avant de toucher les primes de toutes sortes accordées par le gouvernement; mais (à l’encontre du prêche Mormon) j’estime aussi que le gouvernement doit quand même avoir quelques garde-fous pour protéger les plus faibles et les moins nantis.

Et c’est une des raisons (parmi beaucoup d’autres) pour laquelle j’ai voté pour la « Perle Noire ».
Obama n’est pas parfait, qui l’est ? Mais a l’encontre de Romney qui est totalement débordé par les extrémistes du « Tea Party », Obama se place solidement derrière la « middle-class » qui est l’ossature de la société américaine.

Romney lui, préfère prendre position derrière un nombre restreint de millionnaires qui psalmodient rituellement « ils n’ont pas de pain ? Qu’ils mangent de la brioche ! »

Quoi qu’il en soit « alea jacta est ».

Alain

 

 

Le Petit Cirque

I just finished reading a book called “Le Grand Cirque” (the Big Circus).
It was written by Pierre Clostermann, a young Frenchman who enlisted in the RAF at the beginning of World War Two and scored 33 “kill” between 1942 and 1945.
In his book, he describes the fears and exhilaration of a fighter pilot engaged in almost daily dogfights with the enemy.

So, it is all pumped up that on November 4, I boarded (parachute, oxygen mask, regulation Smith & Wesson, Escape Envelope*) a 4 seat, single engine Piper PA-28-161.

Our pilot is Volodia, a family friend and a cool, skinny young chap in his mid-thirties.
The plane also carries his 7-year-old son (who, through regular flights with daddy, knows more about flying than most of us) plus Tamara and myself.

The Gnoss Novato field doesn’t have a control tower and I am surprised to see airplanes landing and taking off without seemingly any kind of supervision.

We strap ourselves to our seats.
Our pilot hands us a set of headphones so that we can all communicate with each other, and most importantly with some guys on the ground who are keeping track of our position in the big blue yonder.

Cockpit drill. BTFCPPUR (Brakes, Trim, Flaps, Contacts, Pressure, Petrol, Undercarriage, Radiator) and after a very short dash on the runway we are airborne.

“Hello Filmstar, Yellow and Blue climb and attack fighters above. Pink, Black and White engage Huns below. Filmstar Red diving for strafe… Go!”

Actually, we are flying at about 80 mph and climbing unhurriedly. It seems that we are moving slower than in a car.
The day is beautiful, with lots of sunshine, and very soon it becomes fairly hot in the cockpit.
I look above and under but cannot see what is behind us.
Careful, “the Hun is always in the sun”.

Very soon we are at 2000 feet flying leisurely at 120 mph.
We are heading toward San Francisco. We are flying over Marin County, San Quentin, Sausalito, Alcatraz, the Oakland Bay Bridge, the Golden Gate Bridge and finally over San Francisco.

The pilot occasionally tips his wings to give us a better look at some famous landmarks and allow us to take photographs. Unfortunately the yellowish plastic canopy of the plane prevents us from taking clear pictures of the ground.

Coming over San Francisco I am surprised to discover that a plane is allowed to fly over such a densely populated area.
I am expecting any minute to see the back venomous mushrooms of ack-ack guns exploding around us.

We are loitering over the city for a while and follow the coast up to Stinson beach.Things look amazingly different seen from the sky.

We spend about 45 minutes over the Bay Area and head back to Novato.

I suggest a “victory roll” over the airport to Volodia. Surprisingly he nixes the idea.
From the co-pilot seat, I can see the landing strip approaching, but very soon the nose of the plane obscures the runway and I cannot see the ground anymore.
I trust Volodia who swore on holy icons that he already landed a plane more than twice.
The landing is extremely smooth. Spassiba Volodia!

On the ground again.
Time to go to the officers’ mess and gulp a few beers while bragging about our encounters with nasty Focke Wulf 190 and even nastier Messerschmitt 109.

Alain

PS: I was not really carrying a parachute, oxygen mask, regulation Smith & Wesson and Escape Envelope, but it sounded much better that way. Don’t you think so?

*The Escape Envelope contained 20 000 French Francs, 5000 Belgian Francs and 1000 Dutch guilders. Its purpose was to facilitate the escape of a pilot shot down over enemy territory.

***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.