The Petanque President

The American elections are about 2 months away and many voters are still sitting on the fence. Barack Obama is probably wondering what it would take to persuade those rascals to keep him in the “Casa Blanca”.

If I were a campaign advisor, I would have only one word for the Commander in Chief: pétanque.
Yes you heard me, I said pétanque! Because a dynamic presidential candidate should strive for innovation and originality.
Most of the former presidents (Eisenhower, Kennedy, Ford, the Bushes, Clinton) played golf, but they didn’t have any choice. A President has got to play golf, otherwise he will look like a stick in the mud.

To garner more votes, Barack should do something different: break away from old traditions and start with new ones.

By embracing pétanque (a plebeian sport), Bama would show the American people that, unlike the other guy, he is really one of them.
He could show everybody that he is a straight shooter while painting his opponent as a wimpy pointer.

A presidential campaign is about scoring points. Just think of what a few elegant “carreaux” could do (especially when shown in slow motion) for the incumbent.
And I already coined a name for the “pétanque president”: CaroBama.
Carreau-Bama, got it? The world would lap it up.

And the president (instead of engaging in useless debates) could challenge his opponent “mano a mano”. After seeing him shooting hoops, I have faith in his athletic abilities, and I think that he could easily whip Mormon Mitt.

Many celebrities (Mick Jagger, Brigitte Bardot, Yves Montand, Johnny Depp, Morley Safer, Konrad Adenauer, Peter Mayle, Georges Simenon, etc.) took up the sport and gained a significant boost of popularity after doing so. And so could Obama.

Bama should build a pétanque court in the back of the White House and (instead of growing potatoes) he could settle many of the world’s problems with a series of “winner takes all” tournaments. I know that “bare chest Putin” for instance couldn’t refuse a challenge.

Hello Vladimir! I am calling about Pussy Riot. Why don’t you release them? Niet? What about a little game of петанк then? If you win, you can send them to Siberia… if you lose, you let them go. OK? Da?
Atta boy Vlady, I’ll see you on the court!

Bashar? This is Bama calling… yes, the guy in the White House…about your pesky problem…

Like in medieval jousts of yore, winning a tournament would indicate God’s will and important matters could then be settled according to the winner’s (and God’s naturally) wishes.
This is just a suggestion mind you, but I think that it is worth considering.

If the Dems needs additional help, I can be found on the Marin Pétanque field, every Sunday from 1 to 4 pm.

Thank you Ma’am, just trying to help!


PS: To look at pictures of recent events, turn the sound on, click on the “Home” link at the top of the page, and click again on “My photos” located on the right side of the page.

Sonoma Wine Country Classic

Yesterday, the Valley of the Moon Pétanque Club hosted its annual Wine Country Classic tournament. An event also dedicated to the memory of beloved Tino (Nunziato) Lofaro who passed away almost 2 years ago.
As expected, it drew a big crowd. Thirty eight (38) doublettes or 76 contestants to be precise.
The weather was good (not too hot) but in the afternoon the wind picked up significantly and blew clouds of dust all over the field.
The event was ably run and supervised by my good buddy, unflappable Patrick Vaslet.

The format of the tournament was “Select Doubles” and people teamed up with what I assume was (and I could be wrong) their BFF (Best Friend Forever). All the people were too numerous to mention, but  among the players I know I noticed the two Jean-Claude (Jean-Claude Bunand and Jean-Claude Etallaz) and the two Peters (Peter Mathis and Peter Wellington).
I also spotted Carolina Jones and Carlos Couto, Alain Gusella and Jean-Michel Poulnot, Steve Jones and Christine Jones and Antoine Lofaro and Luc Pouget.

Among the players, two lone all-female entries:
Erin Mc Taggart & Barbara Hall, and Antonia Paulsen & Colette Van Der Meulen.

As usual, 3 eleven points game were played in the morning to separate the Big Boys (and Big Girls) from the fray, and thirteen points elimination games were played in the afternoon.

Personally, I teamed up with a little known player named Tamara Semionovna and she did extremely well. We won our first two games (11/7 and 11/6) and for our 3rd game of the morning, we faced John and Cody Morris, a delightful team of father and son.
They beat us 11/9 but it was a real pleasure playing with such gentlemen.

16 teams ended in the Concours, 14 teams in the Consolante A, and 8 teams in Consolante B.

In the afternoon, in the first game of the Concours we faced Mickey and Nicole Coughlin. Shall I say more? They threw us out of the tournament with a resounding kick in the fanny. The almost unmentionable score: 13/0.

The final results communicated to me by Patrick Vaslet are:

Erin McTaggart

1st: Barbara Hall and Erin McTaggart
2nd: Yor Lee and Paul Maua
3rd: Mickey Coughlin and Nicole Coughlin
4th: Mone Lee and Pao Ly

Consolante A
1st: Peter Mathis and Peter Wellington
2nd: Antoine Lofaro and Luc Pouget
3rd: Steve Paulsen and Bill Miller
4th: Nan Walter and Etienne Rijkheer

Consolante B
1st: Thomas Moua and By Vang
2nd: Steve Jones and Christine Jones
3rd: Brendan Cohen and Marco Ilaria.

I find it exhilarating to find an all-female team at the top of the heap.
Congratulations to Barbara Hall and Erin McTaggart for besting the best male players of the tournament.


PS: I forgot to mention the 3rd all-female team in my report and I apologize for this.
The missing team was Shannon Bowman and Holly Sammons.




La politesse française

« Le manque de politesse est l’imitation de la force par l’homme faible » Eric Hoffer

Le français a longtemps été la langue des diplomates, et les français ont longtemps été réputés pour leur galanterie et leur politesse. Hélas, selon un sondage récent, ce sont des temps bien révolus.

Selon ce sondage, Charles de Gaulle, le deuxième aéroport le plus fréquenté d’Europe, est le plus discourtois de la région, alors que l’Aéroport de Copenhague est présenté comme le plus amical.

Une enquête publiée par le site de voyage Skyscanner montre que Charles de Gaulle, qui accueille plus de 60 millions de passagers par an, est l’aéroport le plus malpoli d’Europe avec un score de 4.86 sur 10. CDG se place même devant Moscou qui a toujours eu une très mauvaise réputation

Skyscanner a interrogé plus de 500 passagers qui ont voyagé pendant les 12 derniers mois, et leur a demandé d’évaluer les aéroports européens en fonction de la gentillesse de leur personnel.
La France caracole en tête (ce n’est pas un compliment) avec le score le plus bas de la région.

Voici le classement de Skyscanner :

Cinq (5) aéroports les plus discourtois d’Europe
1. Paris CDG 4.86
2. Moscow 5.03
3. Istanbul 5.91
4. London-Heathrow 5.94
5. Madrid 6.01

 Cinq (5) aéroports les plus amicaux d’Europe
1. Copenhagen 7.08
2. Amsterdam 6.92
3. Stockholm 6.68
4. Barcelona 6.46
5. Frankfurt 6.21

Il faut dire que Charles de Gaulle (inauguré en 1974) montre les ravages du temps et a grand besoin d’un « facelift », autant physique que spiritual.
Comparé a d‘autres aéroports internationaux, Charles de Gaulle fait maintenant bien piètre figure. Ce qui fut un projet d’avant-garde il y a environ 40 ans est maintenant en piteux état. Il est démodé, encombré et très mal balisé.
Et c’est toujours une déception d’arriver en France et d’être traité comme du bétail par un personnel continuellement grincheux.

Et pourtant, « La politesse coute peu et achète tout. »  Montaigne

La prochaine fois que j’irais en Europe, rappelez moi d’éviter Paris et d’atterrir a Copenhague.