Under the auspices of La Marseillaise

Yesterday a sizeable crowd gathered on the Pierre Joske court in Marin County to participate in La Petanque Mariniere’s first official tournament of the season. Besides the 64 players registered to play, a bunch of friends, parents, groupies, and canines also showed up to soak in the atmosphere of this silly French game called Pétanque. And they came from all over… Fresno, Sacramento, Sonoma, Petaluma, Lamorinda… Altogether, I guestimate that around noon we were between 80 to 90 people on the field.

Barry Serota and Wolfie Kurz, winners of the July 11 tournament

Many came to play, but also to escape the oppressive heat of their respective areas. To put things in perspective, it was around 110 degrees at noon in Fresno while it was 72 at the same time in San Rafael. The local weather was unexpectedly cool, even cold, and caught many people by surprise. Many had to run back to their cars to retrieve some warmer garments.

The tournament started a little late (around 10 am) and lasted probably until 7:00 PM. As for myself, I left after 6:30 pm after completion of the Concours’ finals.

In the morning, shortly after Christine Cragg gave us our marching papers, Le Facteur entertained us with an enthusiastic rendition of La Marseillaise. Those who were familiar with the lyrics sang along. Applauds followed and the tournament was on.

Until the last minute, I was not sure if I would play in this tournament or not. I wanted to do it, but my back didn’t quite agree.
Hey dude, it said, don’t be foolish… don’t play, take a raincheck. Your millions of fans will understand…
They might, but I really want to play…
OK then, but don’t blame me if tomorrow morning you walk like an arthritic crab.

I overruled my whiny back and played… poorly.
Tamara and I lost our 1st game 3/13 to Jer and Janice.
We lost our 2nd game 0/13 against Eric and Paulo. A quick, merciless execution.
And to remain consistent we lost our 3rd game 3/13 to Mark and Sandra.
A perfect “triplé”

In the afternoon, we lost our Consolante game to George and Elke 12/13 and we were out.

After I was ejected from the competition, I devoted the rest of the afternoon to record this event. But this time, instead of focusing on different games and players, I chose what the military calls “Targets of opportunity”. “Targets on which attacks are unplanned and which are implemented upon favorable or unexpected circumstances.”
Keep in mind that some pictures are uneven due to the difficulty of taking balanced shots in shaded areas.

I also integrated into my photo album 2 pictures taken by Gilbert Sonnet (Noah and little old me) and 3 others, taken by Christine Cragg after I left the field.

In the Concours finals, Wolfie and Barry defeated Phomenick and Chan by the rather surprising score of 13/3.

1st place: Wolfie Kurz and Barry Serota           $115.00 each
2nd place: Phominick Lee and Chan Lee           $76.00 each
3rd place: Fraser Bradshaw and Ian Colon       $57.00 each

Consolante A
1st place: Antoine and Max Lofaro                      $57.00 each
2nd place: Hans Kurz and Carlos Chavez          $38.00 each

Consolante B
1st place: Jean-Michel and B. Passemar           $38.00 each

It was a grand, glorious day… despite my miserable performance.


As usual, click on “My photos” to look at the pics.

New fashion interlude

Approved. Can wear short shorts.

We are facing another heatwave and people are shedding their garments like Florida strippers. Shorts and bare legs are appearing everywhere, but often with mixed results alas.

It is definitely not my intention to body shame anybody, but rather to caution people about the pitfalls of fashion. Let’s face it, few people look good stark naked or even lightly dressed; and before stepping out in your short shorts, spend a few minutes in front of a full view mirror. And turn around and look critically at your tush, because if you don’t, other people will… often negatively.

Most people are not equal opportunity mannequins, and many would fare much better fully clothed than partially undressed.

“I have a body like a mannequin. I must, because instead of women trying to get me naked, they only want to see me with clothes on.” –Jarod Kintz

It is of course everybody’s prerogative to be comfortable and to dress as they please, but a first glance is all it takes to pronounce a “guilty” judgment.
You should not dress according to fashion magazines, but in the function of the body that you inherited. If you have fat thighs, I beg you, don’t wear short shorts. It hurts people’s eyesight, especially mine after very recent cataract surgery.

Some lucky people (I hate them) can wear anything and look great. But most of us peons, have got to think twice before trying to emulate the showbiz crowd. We, common mortals, have to remain modest… so have ordained Gods.

“Clothes are not Botox. Wearing a miniskirt does not take 10 years off your face.” – Stacy London

But if the deities smiled on you, and if they blessed you with great legs or a superb “derrière », flaunt it. I was about to say “You will make everybody happy” but on second thought, you might spoil the day of hundreds of women who are not that blessed.
Of course, I am speaking as a member of the brotherhood of men, but keep in mind that women can be much more scathing than men. And hell has no fury like a woman scorned…

Out of sheer charity, I have been thinking of opening a street booth, (just like Lucy van Pelt of Peanuts’ fame), to advise women of what not to wear. But on second thought I will recommend a much better-qualified individual. Her name is Abi and she is running a fashion blog called “Update your style”. Sneak a peek, I guarantee that she will provide you with good advice.

Freelance Fashion Advisor

Grandchildren’s tales


“I like children… If they’re properly cooked” … well, personally, unlike WC Fields, I prefer them alive and kicking.

Grandparents are suckers… every youngster realizes this very quickly and stores this precious bit of information in a corner of his brain. Older folks are also somewhat ignorant, and most of them have never heard words such as “discipline” or “rules”. And kids are not about to enlighten them about such trivial matters.

A mini-vacation at Grandma is always welcome because grandparents are way cooler than parents… and they will always try to satisfy any of your whims. For a kid, a few days at grandma is like a stay at a Mexican resort. A non-stop Doritos chips and guacamole fiesta.

Kids learn from their grandparents, but grandparents also pick up a few things from the ankle biters… like how much punishment can you take before crying, uncle?

“An hour with your grandchildren can make you feel young again. Anything longer than that, and you start to age quickly.” ~ Gene Perret

The French came up with an amusing word describing how grandparents feel when grandchildren visit… and when they leave. They call the process “chicouf!”.

 Chic, is a French expression reflecting pleasure, satisfaction; its American equivalent is “swell”. Ouf is an interjection expressing relief, like the American “phew.”

The combination of these two words produces “chicouf”; hence, glad to see you come, happy to see you go.

Good fairies have also endowed grandchildren with superpowers. Like Captain America, kids carry an invisible magic shield that protects them from harm. If you attempt to hurt them, the evil deed will bounce off their shield and hit you back. Can you win a fight with Captain America? In your dreams baby… in your dreams.

A grandkid is somewhat akin to a girlfriend… capricious, but captivating at the same time. And spoiling him/her is often easier than pleasing your inamorata. Ice cream by the way also carries a good deal of magic. It can stop a tantrum and pacify a tense situation instantly. It is roughly the equivalent of the pair of earrings that you buy for your girlfriend to be forgiven for something that you are not even aware of.

“Elephants and grandchildren never forget.”Andy Rooney

Grandkids, even though they sometimes cannot read, have an elephant’s memory. A promise made in the fog of a busy day has to be kept no matter what. If you forget about it, a kid won’t and will remind you of it every single day. For your own good, you absolutely cannot welch on a promise made to a child. Otherwise, they will text you every day and Instagram will hear about it.

But grandkids (especially when they are napping) are captivating, and you cannot help loving them. They are stimulating… but like stimulants, they should be consumed carefully, in small doses at a time.