Maîtres mots

  • Il y a longtemps que notre pays est beau mais rude.

       --Newspaper editor Olivier Séguret, 25 January 2012

    The USA are entirely the creation of the accursed race, the French.

       --Evelyn Waugh (1903-1966), writing to Nancy Mitford, 22 May 1957

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French Freedom of Speech

Today the cheminots are:


  • "À nous de vous faire préférer le train!"
    "Voyager autrement"
    "Avec le SNCF, tout est possible"
      --Former ad slogans of the SNCF (French national trains), each in turn quickly dropped

Fun French words

  • grouillot

    (minion)
    Etymology: from groule, an apprentice who must se grouiller, rush around on errands.

    Mais enfin je ne suis pas tout à fait le grouillot de service.
      --Anne Baldassari, fired as director of the Picasso Museum, on reports that she might be asked to supervise the hanging of the paintings for the reopening of the Museum.

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Today's quotation

  • In 530 [BCE] their [the Persians'] great king Cyrus died in an aggressive war against a tribal army out east in central Asia beyond the river Oxus. The Greek historian Herodotus claimed to know at least seven Persian versions of Cyrus' death, but the one which he chose to tell had none of the others' solemnity. Cyrus' opponent, he wrote, the tribal queen Tomyris, had taunted him for being "insatiable for blood." When he attacked her army and was killed, she proved her point by filling a bag with blood, hunting for King Cyrus' corpse and stuffing its head into the bag to give it more of the blood it had craved.

      --Robin Lane Fox (1946- ), British historian, in The Classical World: An Epic History from Homer to Hadrian (publ. 2006)

Le petit aperçu d'Ailleurs

  • The cheminots or employees of the SNCF (French national trains, toujours eux) go on strike so often that there is now a card game called the "Cheminot Simulator," in which the goal is to cause as much grief to passengers as possible.

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