Une partie de pétanque

La pétanque telle qu’elle est pratiquée dans notre région est un jeu plein de surprises et de rebondissements. Spécialement quand on participe à un concours.

Dans un club, tout le monde se connaît. Nous connaissons les bons joueurs, les joueurs moyens et les joueurs médiocres.
Nous savons qu’un tel est gaucher, que celui-là prend son temps, et que celle-ci a mauvais caractère.
Mais tout ça, comme dirait Daniel Guichard, on le sait déjà.

Quand on s’inscrit pour un concours dans un autre club, on ne sait rien de tout cela.
On connaît bien quelques joueurs mais beaucoup sont des inconnus qui peuvent se révéler redoutables sur le terrain.

IMG_0083 - Version 2Il y a deux ou trois ans, ma copine Sabine et moi avions décidé de faire front commun et d’affronter ensemble les vilains d’un autre club.

En sports d’équipe, pour obtenir une chance raisonnable de succès, il est nécessaire d’entretenir une certaine complicité, souvent basée sur l’humour.
Bien que le rire soit universel, l’humour de différentes régions peut être très dissemblable.
Sabine et moi, étant tous les deux originaires de la région parisienne, parlons le même langage et avons un sens similaire de l’humour.
Tout devrait donc baigner dans l’huile.

Pour en revenir à nos moutons, nous repérons les noms de nos adversaires sur le tableau d’affichage et partons à leur recherche.
Et c’est la surprise. L’homme est manchot du bras droit, et sa partenaire (aux formes plus que généreuses) se déplace en chaise roulante électrique. Il semble qu’elle soit incapable de marcher.
Masquant poliment notre étonnement, nous nous serrons la main et tirons à pile ou face pour déterminer qui choisira le lieu de notre duel.

Ils gagnent et choisissent (par malice ?) un terrain isolé, rocailleux et difficile a souhait. Seraient-ce des vicieux ? Ils n’en ont pourtant pas l’air…
Nous devrions n’en faire que quelques bouchées.

Nous commençons à jouer, et à la première main nos adversaires marquent trois points.
La femme évolue facilement sur le terrain grâce à sa voiturette et lance ses boules en position assise. Elle est remarquablement précise.
L’homme porte un petit sac en bandoulière. Il y garde ses boules et les envoie de la main gauche quand c’est son tour de jouer. Il est poli et d’une nature très agréable.
Il réfère constamment à sa plantureuse epouse par “my beautiful wife ».

A la deuxième main, ils marquent deux points.
A la troisième main, ils marquent deux autres points.
Nous en sommes maintenant a zéro a sept en leur faveur.

La honte, me dit Sabine en pouffant nerveusement.
La honte indeed ! Nous sommes en train de nous faire massacrer par un manchot et une infirme !
Ô rage ! ô désespoir ! ô vieillesse ennemie ! N’ai-je donc tant vécu que pour cette infamie?

Perdre contre de bons joueurs n’a rien de déshonorant, mais perdre contre des invalides…
Si nous sommes battus et si la nouvelle se répand (il y a tellement de mauvaises langues) nous allons être la risée du club.
Nous serons probablement obligés de déménager, de changer de noms et d’avoir recours a la chirurgie esthétique.

Il faut nous ressaisir !
Eperonnés par la honte et le désespoir, nous reprenons petit à petit du poil de la bête.
Nous sommes bientôt a égalité et finissons finalement par l’emporter treize a huit.

Ouf ! Nous avons eu chaud aux fesses.
J’en ai presque fait pipi dans ma culotte m’a dit Sabine

Méfiez vous des manchots et des femmes plantureuses ou sans ça vous pourriez être bons pour le « Witness Protection Program ».



Intellectual Prisoners

When I was about eighteen, I built a TV set as a school project.
It happened in the innocent days when television programs were broadcast in black and white and were (as God intended) commercial-free.
Television was then a thrilling new form of entertainment and it was a big hit.
But little by little, commercial messages found their way into this new media and weakened its appeal by saturating broadcasts with loud and crass messages.
Nowadays, a viewer is literally gasping for oxygen when venturing in TV land.

But in the swamps of TV broadcasting there are still a few “organic” oasis offering interesting and educational material. You just need to dig to find them.

Personally I zigzag between commercial-free American and French programs. I also record presentations that I perceive to be interesting and delouse them later by editing out the commercial rubbish.
In spite of it all, some television offerings can sometimes be thought provoking and incite you to question some of your own beliefs.

I am particularly partial to a French program called “on n’est pas couché” which roughly translated means “we are not yet asleep”.
On this three hour talk show, the host invites four or five personalities, and asks two critics in residence to grill them about their latest achievements.
The exchanges between guests and critics can become heated and some personalities have stormed out of the set.

What makes this program interesting is the fact that it is not afraid to tackle controversial topics and that it allows enough time for guests and critics alike to dwell on a specific subject.
Politicians are regularly invited on this show to expose their views and defend their credos.
They are sometimes booed or applauded by the audience.

What struck me about these debates is the fact that many people have become prisoners of a rigid doctrines.
A Communist leader for instance cannot stray from party lines and is often in the position of defending ridiculous ideas even though he might harbor second thoughts about them.
Similarly a priest will defend the Church’s policy of celibacy while secretly longing for female companionship.

Even though you might be inclined to agree with ideas postulated by certain groups, you should not blindly defend all of their views.
If you are not vigilant, you could become prisoner of a cult and get infected with the virus of extremism.
You need to remain a freethinking individual and be willing to disagree with a group’s policies when it clashes with your own ideas or ethics.

When in August 1939 the Soviet Union signed a pact of non-aggression with Germany, Communists worldwide were non-plussed but didn’t protest.
They were prisoners of a doctrine and couldn’t allow themselves to disagree with their leaders.

But I will respect a Republican who will speak out in favor of gun control, and applaud a priest who demands the revocation of celibacy.
I will also applaud those who have the courage to speak against politically correct but often misguided ideas.

It doesn’t do anybody any good to have politicians entrenched in a political ghetto (hello congressmen) especially when the Barbarians are banging at the gates.



Anybody home?

You are surfing the Net and you land on a certain website; suddenly you need some information.
You start looking for a contact, a chat person.
You look under every available link and come out empty handed.
Nada, nichts, nothing, rien!
Yoo-hoo… anybody home?

Obviously somebody is home, but nobody wants to talk to you.
You came to this site and you can look at everything you want, but if you have any questions (or God forbids complaints), tough!
The gnomes pulling the strings of this website live in splendid isolation and don’t want to be bothered by any Tom, Dick or Harry.

Well my friends, this is a big mistake.
No matter how big you are you need to keep your ears close to the ground and stay in touch with your patrons.
You know these pesky little people who pay your salary, your extravagant bonuses, your Mercedes, your mistress’ upkeep.

Failing to listen has proved to be very detrimental to anybody’s financial health.
The arrogance of the powerful is often the seed to their downfall.
“Qu’ils mangent de la brioche” (let them eat cake)” supposedly said Marie-Antoinette.
A few years later her head rolled into a basket.

I am pretty sure that even Barak Obama (or some of his people) would acknowledge your letter if you wrote to him.
They might question you, but they will acknowledge you.

And that’s my point. You want to be heard.
Whether your goal is to praise or to complain, there ought to be an area on any blog or website where readers can communicate with the master of the castle.

Nothing infuriates an average Netizen more than a raised drawbridge.
If you cannot communicate with the people inside the fortress, you can lay a siege (not very practical) or take your business somewhere else.
Smart leaders keep abreast of changing trends and will modify their policies to accommodate malcontents.

The ground is littered with once mighty fortresses and lords who didn’t have the good sense to listen to their subjects.
Does anybody remember Kodak?
A good example of a complacent company that refused to listen to their customers and faded into oblivion.


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