Since early childhood I have been enamored of Greek mythology.

Greek mythology makes a lot of sense. It is populated by gods, goddesses and heroes who often behave like mere mortals, and this makes it easy for us to relate to them. They can be kind but also quick to anger and it is not a good idea to anger them. Just like humans, they are vain, jealous, lustful, vindictive and cruel.

Greek mythology resembles a multinational conglomerate ruled by a bevy of gods. At the top of the pyramid thrones CEO Zeus and his jealous wife Hera.

Zeus is smart and cunning but not exactly fair-minded. He is lording over a bunch of gods and goddesses who run different departments for him, but he knows how to delegate.

A large number of gods (Apollo, Ares, Dionysus, Hades, Hermes, Poseidon, Aphrodite, Artemis, Athena, Hera, Hestia…) preside over different domains. If you have money problems, implore Hermes. If you have sentimental difficulties, seek Eros… And so on and so forth… This way, you don’t have to bother Zeus with your petty little problems.

While the system was working pretty well, some religious crackpots started to meddle. They did not like the idea of shared responsibilities and wanted a strong man in charge of everything.

They started to blabber about monotheism, the crazy notion that there is only one God. A ridiculous idea if you ask me. How could a lone god take care singlehandedly of a very large number of unruly populations?

Religious zealots are a bunch of extremists hungry for power and they will try anything to grab it. They want a strong man, a dictator, in charge of everything and if you oppose them, they will simply kill you… in the name of a merciful god of course. How many thousands of people have been massacred by these nuts over the years?

The Jews, the Christians, the Muslims all came up with their own mythologies… pathetic stories way below the caliber of the Greek saga. A burning bush? The immaculate conception? trees moving on command?
And they want their single God to run the entire Universe. Ridiculous…

Greek mythology has regressed, but mythology itself is still alive and doing well. It flourishes everywhere and it is carefully nurtured by its caretakers. There is a Trump mythology, a Putin mythology, a communist mythology, a religious mythology, etc.

Let’s not forget that all mythologies are fanciful stories based on fiction, not facts. You need to take all of them with a large grain of salt because they are laced with ridiculous fabrications that only the faithful can stomach.

Always check the accuracy of any pronouncement before believing it.

Better a cruel truth than a comfortable delusion. Edward Abbey

Greek mythology was entertaining, modern mythologies are not. Their credo is unhealthy and dangerous.


April 7, 2019 tournament

« Les jours se suivent mais ne se ressemblent pas. »

 Roughly translated this means “Days go by, yet each one is different.”

Unlike previous days, yesterday was a rather odd event for me. I arrived at the field around 8:30 am, and while trying to pay the entry fee to the tournament, I suddenly realized that I had left my wallet at home. This should have told me right away that the stars were out of alignment.

The command bunker by the way, was manned by our bionic president Christine Cragg and lieutenant Mike O’Leary.

The day was a little overcast and the field rather on the damp side; experienced players know that playing on a spongy field can be rather unforgiving. If you are not mindful, your boule will bounce and jump over its target… and as predicted it happened quite a few times.
If you want to win, you absolutely need to know how to “plomber”.

Eighteen (18) select doubles signed up for the tournament, some heavyweight among them.

Around 9:30 Christine gave us the customary briefing: 3 timed games in the morning and Concours and Consolante in the afternoon.

My battle plan was as usual, to play the best I could in the morning, end up in the Consolante in the afternoon and spend the rest of day recording the action. I am realistic enough to know that I don’t stand a chance playing against the Big Boys in the Concours.

My teammate by the way, was renown pointer Tamara Simeonovna (also known as my better half). As luck would have it, Tamara played too well (we won 2 games – 13/7 and 13/7 – out of 3) and we ended up in the Concours.

After lunch, we donned our bulletproof vests again and looked for our opponents. They turned out to be Kevin Evoy and Christophe Sarafian, two tough customers who would eventually end up in the Finals. While not really wishing to remain in the Concours, we also did not want to give away the game. We battled hard, and until the end, the outcome remained in the balance. Kevin and Christophe finally won 13/10, but had to fight hard to subdue us.

OK, I was then free to indulge in another of my favorite pastime, photography. When shooting tournaments, I usually carry two cameras. One small one for proximity shots, and another heavier, more sophisticated apparel for discreet long-distance shots.

I pulled out Big Bertha out of my bag and I suddenly realized that the battery was dead… and that I forgot to pack a spare. I would have to continue shooting with Sneaky Pete, not my favorite option for action shots.

The games went on all afternoon and we finally reached the Concours Finals.

In this decisive game, Peter Mathis and Dave Lanter faced Christophe Sarafian and Kevin Evoy, a fairly even matched game.
Again, while playing on a wet field, it is essential to know how to “plomber” and both Peter and Christophe were good at it.

Peter proved to be a more versatile player than his opponents. He could point, shoot and “plomber” whenever the situation demanded it, while his opponents could not.
Christophe also did a very good job, but Kevin proved erratic.

After a rather uneventful match, Peter and Dave finally defeated Christophe and Kevin 13/5.

Dave Lanter & Peter Mathis

1st place: Peter Mathis and Dave Lanter
2nd place: Christophe Sarafian and Kevin Evoy
3rd place: Wolfie Kurz and Wetzel

1st place: Maryanne Curley and Sandra Shirkey
2nd place: Noel Marcovecchio and Brigitte Davantes


PS: Pether Mathis gave back his prize money to the club. A classy move. Thank you champ!

Feel free to download any of my pictures, but when posting any of them on social media, please include photo credit (Photos by Alain Efron). Thank you. 

Simples pleasures

Jan Toulon

When I am feeling challenged by what I call our “Brave New World” I tend to return to the past in my souvenirs. This is a sign of aging I am sure, but I love to pick out one of my large collection of photo albums and revisit the scenes of years past.

Photos are so satisfying, much more than viewing them on the computer. I have saved matchbooks of restaurants that are long gone, greeting cards, and other bits of the past and I love to read old letters as well. Even perusing my box of old passports, drivers’ licenses, and my children’s art projects from grade school is a simple pleasure of mine.

Louis Toulon

I don’t own a Kindle, somehow, I can’t derive the same pleasure of reading electronically and I revel in losing myself in a good book, one that I can feel, smell, and put a bookmark between it well-turned pages. I hope that I will never go to a museum and view the last book in a glass case in the future!  Even handwriting is on its way out and I know that no one will need to sign a checkbook but will we block print our signature in the future? Perhaps we will sign with a fingerprint or a scan mark imprinted on our skin!

Some of my favorite pleasures are seldom available but I long to experience them again. Lying on the warm sand on a beach, swimming underwater, and diving into a deep still pool or riding the waves on a surfboard. Dancing with abandonment and flexibility, and singing with the Sweet Adelines. Enjoying the excitement of a dramatic thunder and lightning storm and smelling the aroma of the lavender fields in the aftermath.  Hugging my favorite dog Simba, our departed faithful German Shepherd.

Eating with my husband’s large loving family with much laughter, animated conversation, and wonderful simple food of the past with delicious stews that simmered for hours, young lamb chops grilled on branches from the vineyard, sweet home-grown tomatoes and succulent tree-ripened fruit, crusty French baguettes, and enjoying several glasses of chilled dry rose wine under the warm Provençal sun.

We are so blessed

to have a store of pleasurable experiences to weave into the fabric of our lives, I am forever grateful.

Jan Toulon