Diamonds are not a guy’s best friends

Let me start by saying that I have never been keen on TV commercials.
And in this holiday season I feel (like in the Battle of Britain) that we are literally bombarded into submission by an incessant barrage of commercials.
And not subtle commercials mind you, but loud and crude propositions.
I am neither deaf nor retarded. If you want to sell me something, speak softly and carry a big warranty.

So anyway, besides being sorely averse to commercials, there are some messages that I find particularly irksome.
One in particular makes me shake my head in disbelief.
It shows a guy getting down on his knees (often in front of a huge TV audience) and begging (bribing with a diamond) his girlfriend to marry him.
In these days of gender parity I find this absolutely insane.
It might look extremely romantic (and that’s what the diamond industry would like you to believe) but it is an absolutely demeaning and totally ridiculous gesture.

Let me remind you that a marriage is basically a merger. It is about two people who agree to join forces to start a new corporation.
I am not a business expert, but I am pretty sure that when two corporations consider merging, neither side does any begging.

Getting down on your knees anywhere anytime sets a very bad precedent.
If you start a relationship by begging, your prospective bride will quickly get the message and strive to perpetuate this trend.
Soon you will have to beg for food, for money, for sex.
No man in his right mind should ever start a relationship by begging.

Instead of genuflecting, come to the proposed merger equipped with shield and sword (don’t forget the dagger) to make your proposal in a position of strength.
Your prospective partner will get the message and you can start your relationship on equal footing.

And keep in mind that mergers seldom work as planned. In case of future disagreement, do not be in the position to have your mate remind you that it was YOU who BEGGED her to boss you around.

Beggars seldom get what they want. They most of the time get trampled on.
So I implore you my fellow men, come to your senses and stop this bad theatrical shtick.

When you propose, don’t under any circumstance get down on your knees.
Come instead accompanied by your (preferably Jewish) mother and a good lawyer.
They’ll insist on a smaller stone, some stock options and see that you get a better deal altogether.

Your devoted uncle Alain


New Year wishes

2012 is slowly fading away, and 2013, like an early edelweiss, is already poking its nose on the horizon.
It might be a bit early, but before I get too sloshed to do it properly, I will present you with my best wishes for the New Year.

When I was a kid, a popular song (Que reste t-il de nos amours?) was often heard on the radio. It was first recorded in 1942 and made popular in France by Charles Trenet.

This song later evolved into the American version known as « I wish you love ».

“I wish you bluebirds in the spring
To give your heart a song to sing
And then a kiss, but more than this
I wish you love”

 So for 2013 I shall wish you love of course, and its inseparable companions: peace, health, laughter, and friends.

First and foremost, I wish you peace. World peace. A little optimistic maybe, but still something to wish for.
Peace is the sunshine of mankind and without it nothing much can grow. So peace is my Number One wish.


My next wish is love. The intoxicating romantic attachment to someone. The glue that binds humanity. A man or a woman consumed by passion are totally oblivious of their surroundings and very unlikely to stir any trouble.
So love has got to be on my list.

The next thing is health. When you are healthy, the world is your oyster and nothing is impossible. Health is more valuable than gold.

I wish you an epidemic of laughter. “There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.”Charles Dickens
So I wish you the ability to laugh, at yourself and with others. And I hope that by hugging and kissing you will contaminate everybody around you.

And last but not least, I wish for you to be surrounded by friends.
“For a friend with an understanding heart is worth no less than a brother” – Homer
Life without friends is like spaghettis without Parmesan. Unthinkable.

And finally, in 2013, may the Gods grant you a few (don’t be greedy) “carreaux” and the pleasure to share your delight with friends.

Meilleurs voeux de bonheur a tous!
My best wishes to all!


Walking the line

Quite a while ago, prodded by my wife, my doctor and my personal trainer, I took to daily walks. I am not especially fond of it but everybody says that it is good for you.
It is supposed to make you lose weight (not true), increase your testosterone level (I am not sure), relieve stress (yeah), help you to sleep and make you a better cook.
It is also a good excuse to slip away from your better half, and for me, to quietly mull over some article (like this one) or a blockbuster movie script.

As you well know, there are many different styles of walking.

There is the athletic walk. Energetic and a bit masochistic. These people like to suffer. To amplify their suffering (pleasure?) they will often carry weights on their arms and ankles, and probably on some other parts of their body that I don’t dare to mention.

There is endurance walking. These people will walk until they drop. They will also brag about it and probably drop dead some day from the excessive exertion.

Then there is the congenial walk, especially favored by women. They like to get together and while exercising talk about what men prefer to keep private. They probe deep in each other soul and find solace in each other’s misery. They have no shame.

Me, I walk to keep mentally and physically sound, but also to keep in touch with my neighborhood’s tail-wagging friends. They are in the habit of leaving coded messages on lampposts and shrubs and I have tried to do the same, but I had to stop doing this after some uncomprehending neighbors complained to the block warden.

Walking is popular because it is cheap (you don’t need special equipment to do this) and because shoes are cheaper than tires.

When I walk, I also like to carry a pocket camera. In my upscale neighborhood you never know when a TV reality star will pop up and do something gross.
I want to be able to catch it and post it on YouTube.

But with the proliferation of iApps, walking might disappear some day and be replaced by something virtual.
I keep on walking because I want to be able to tell small children that there was a time in America when men were men, and not soda gulping, video games addicts wusses.