An emphatic No to theocracy

Ali Khamenei

Every morning I watch American news on ABC and French news on TV5. And not surprisingly, the content of these 2 broadcasts can be widely different.

Right now, America is preoccupied with midterms elections and Ukraine. The French are paying more attention to Iran and its convulsions.

In Iran and Russia, the leadership picked fights with the wrong adversaries. After Russia’s blatant aggression against Ukraine, the determined neighbor had no intention to throw in the towel and is punching back ferociously. Any idiot (listen up Vladimir) knows that it is always better to “let sleeping dogs lie.”

After 40 years of mullahs’ petty harassment, Iranians are finally waking up and protesting the persecution of the “Holier than thou” clerics and the hated “morality police”.

These last few weeks the Islamic Republic of Iran has been shaken off its foundations by angry mobs demanding an end to the subjugation and marginalization of women. And it’s not only women urging the end of this nefarious “theocracy”; men are also joining in, demanding an end to this barbaric oppression.

Mullahs are now the target of their former disciples. I watched with glee on television young passersby harassing their former tormentors and knocking off their turbans.

There is nothing more nefarious than a theocracy. Under the guise of piety, religious bullies are grabbing power and imposing absurd rules to control every aspect of their countrymen’s lives. Thankfully, the clergy is now losing ground in educated democracies around the world and toning down their crude rhetoric.

“I believe in an America … where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches, or any other ecclesiastical source.” ~ John F. Kennedy


Iranians should know that few people around the world are fond of meddling clergy. After the French Revolution of 1789, “approximately thirty thousand priests had been forced to leave France, and several hundred who did not leave were executed.” 

In Iran, the ruling class headed by a powerful (and antiquated) “Supreme Leader” does not give a damn about common people or women. The Shah was no pussycat, but the mullahs are much worse.

It is my fervent hope that the Iranians will succeed in overthrowing their present leaders and start anew with a real democracy a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of state, typically through elected representatives.”

Democracy, fragile democracy is in trouble around the world, and in America. If you don’t want red-hatted fanatics to take over and take away your basic rights, hurry to the voting booths and cast your vote. Every single vote counts!


Mastering the new toy

I have always asserted that, periodically, regardless of age or sex, everyone needs deserves a new toy. You do because the routine can be numbing, and the lack of excitement can lead to creeping unhappiness. 

So, a few months ago, I bought a new “joujou”… A 2022 Honda Accord Touring… the hybrid model.

A new man is like a new toy. Fresh and interesting. Almost intriguing. It’s like when you get a new car. Everything is different. The smell, the sound of the horn and seats, and it even ride good for a while. That’s what a man is like to me.” –  Jeanette Michelle

 Everybody knows how to drive a car. “It is elementary my dear Watson…” Well, that’s what I thought, but my previous car was almost 10 years old, and it is surprising how, in just a decade, so many innovations can be implemented.

Today’s car is nothing like yesterday’s jalopy. It is loaded with push-button applications, and it takes a certain time to master them all some. I have been driving this car now for almost 5 months, and (with the assistance of my inquisitive wife) I am still discovering new features almost every week.

 Sure, the new toy comes with a thick owner’s manual, but you cannot read it “au galop” like a “San Antonio” trashy novel. You need to peruse it like a bible, verse by verse… and take a few minutes to reflect on what the scribe initially meant.

And like a piano, you need to practice almost every day to play without partition… which you should not try on the freeway. It could be a little “pericoloso”.

A new car is like a new wife. You have to know which button to push to make it go smoothly… and you don’t learn this in a few weeks. For some people it takes years… Take Adaptive Cruise Control for instance. When you know how to use it, it is great, but the vocabulary explaining it was a little confusing.

Maybe it was the translation from Japanese to English that was a little deficient… But now, due to my persistence, I know how to use it. The same cannot be said for my wife though; after many years of coexistence, I am sometimes still hesitant about which button to press to steer her the right way… I need to review the manual which was originally written in Russian…  « Traduttore, traditore ».

But as long as I can drive my car knowing only 3/4 of its features, I will be happy. And that’s what matters.

See you on the road!


LPM 50th anniversary

Time flies. About 50 years ago a handful of French expats decided to start a pétanque club… a ridiculous enterprise in a land where this “mysterious” game was almost totally unheard of. But to a valiant heart nothing is impossible”, and after many false starts, La Pétanque Marinière was born.

MarieAnne Curley & Bernard Passemar

Of the original protagonists, only 2 people are still alive: Louis Toulon and Charlie Davantes. And to prove that pétanque is good for you, both over 80, are still (occasionally) playing. How many athletes do you know that can boast such records? Most of the time, past 35-40 you are a has-been and out to pasture.

“Pétanque and sex are the only two activities you can enjoy while being mediocre”

Yesterday La Pétanque Marinière celebrated its 50th anniversary and many people came to take part in this party. Among them, the Joske clan, lead by their matriarch Maryse Joske. For those who still don’t know, Pierre Joske was the person most responsible for the creation of our beautiful field. Thank you very much Joske family.

 Many people participated in the success of the club, but one stands out, and for many, she is the only Club President that they have ever known. Her name is Christine Cragg and yesterday (as always) she was instrumental in the favorable outcome of our celebration. Among many other things, she spent a long, long time putting together a collection of photographs displayed during this event. She was also helped by her faithful husband Larry who, among other things, set up the very professional sound system.

Personally, I give Christine a lot of credit for leading the club for so long. Being president is not an easy job, and very few capable people are postulating for the post… Above all, unlike some other deranged president, she will never attack any other club to enlarge her following. Thank you, Christine, for keeping the peace with all the other independent clubs.

“What is exciting about pétanque is that even if you play very badly, it is always possible to worsen your game.”

As I said earlier, many volunteers lent a hand to the party. On the food side, Sabine Mattei and Mireille Di Maio did an excellent job purchasing and arranging the eatables. They were also assisted by Nina, Tamara and Wendy. Thank you all for a job extremely well done.

I cannot mention all the volunteers that were of assistance, but I also noticed that Sara Danielson and Shama were part of the working crew. Thank you very much, ladies.

In the afternoon, after the speeches and personal testimonies, a little Concours consisting of 3 untimed games took place. The tournament ended around 4:00 pm and medals were awarded to the best players.

They were:

1st place: Bernard Passemar & MarieAnne Curley
2nd place: John Morrison & Patricia Biscay
3rd place: Frazer Bradshaw & Helen McGill

Thank you all for coming and making this event memorable.


PS: Don’t forget to look at the pictures that took me a very long time to choose, crop, and correct. I hope that you will like them.

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