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

  • ouistiti

    (literally: marmoset)
    Etymology: onomatopoeia from the sound a marmoset makes. Actual meaning: this is what you say in France when you want people to smile for the camera.

    Selon une étude réalisée par le fabricant d’appareils photo Nikon, le « ouistiti » utilisé en France au moment de se faire prendre en photo est le petit mot le plus efficace pour s’assurer un joli sourire.

Who's en colère today?

  • Private sector

    First strike in 43 years at an aeronautics company in Toulouse, Latécoère

    Public sector

    The SNCF (toujours eux), regional train employees in the Lyons area guaranteeing unpleasant travel from the 17th-21st December
    Also yet another strike by Sud-Rail, a particularly truculent SNCF union in the south of France, this time five days in January: 6,7, 21, 22 and 23. "We have no choice." Right.

    Marseilles trams on strike until February

Go back to school in Paris!

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There has not been one incident (reported, anyway) of anyone contracting the virus from eating poultry, only from handling an infected, live bird. It really upsets me how ignorant people can be, and how many farms will suffer needlessly. I will continue to buy chicken as long as they're selling it.

Sorry for the rant, and safe travels to Germany!

Hi Vivi !

/*/There has not been one incident (reported, anyway …/*/


a) the "vignette", the monies of which were supposed to go to the senior citizens (and never did);
b) the cloud of Cherobyl radioactivity which "stopped at the French border" (which, of course it didn't);
c) the AIDS-contaminated tranfused blood which killed thousands ("responsables mais pas coupables");
d) the "vache folle", which "never affected more than several hundred cows";
e) the "tax free" assurance-vie (which has now, of course, been taxed, 1);
f) the "tax free" epargne-logement (which has now, of course, been taxed, 2);
g) the selloff of the state toll motorways;
i) the thousands dead from the heatwave a few years back (which the gov't denied, at first);
i) the promise of "a better life if the Maastricht Treaty is adopted" (it was – where's the improvement ?);
j) the promise of "a better economic situation with the euro" (fat chance); and
k) the "no privatization of GDF" promise – hey, the GDF is being privatized as you read this …

… a goodly percent of the French people - and others residing here - are not stupid or naive enough to believe whatever the government says about the bird flu, and have stopped consuming chickens and other poultry – as has Amerloque and many, many people he knows.

(As Amerloque writes this, LCI is headlining that a dead cat carrying the H5N1 virus has been found in Germany. LCI also states that there are other "analyses du cadavre en cours".)


It's been found in a cat in Germany, now. Good news, though, is that no one has yet contracted bird flu from eating cat. So, you should be okay.

Hi l'Amerloque,

although you are absolutely right in your a) to k), I would like to stress the fact that viruses are extremely sensitive to external factors such as ... heat. When meat is cooked, viruses are destroyed. Unless you eat only uncooked eggs or "tartare" meat, I think poultry and such are still reasonably safe. And as for foie gras or confit de canard, which are overcooked for hours in fat, they are even safer !!!
You might not believe me, but it comes down to basic virus biology, so maybe you would like to check that up in your textbooks or internet websites of research institutes.
Anyway, I agree with you about the government : I don't trust the way they handle the problem.

Hi Nanette !

Oh, Amerloque believes you. (smile) He just doesn't trust the government on this one ... after all, the French gov't is always talking about the "principe de précaution" (in res GMOs, e.g.), yet in this case, one is supposed to throw the "principe de précaution" out the window ... (smile)

Faut savoir ce que l'on veut, tout de meme ...


It's hard to imagine any government being frank about a big danger.

Jadis il y avait pourtant un carnaval à Paris… Souvenez-vous : "Les Enfants du Paradis" de Marcél Carné. Tout cela est fini et peut-être pas à cause des Parisiens. La modernité : le caranaval, c'est (c'était ?) vulgaire. Allez-donc à Dunkerque.

"Les enfants de paradis" is one of my favorite movies, and I even own the script! I believe it was filmed in Nice, though, during the war. There was a story that the carnival scene allowed certain people sought by the Nazis to escape. I hope it's true.

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Today's quotation

  • In Paris, the purest virtue is the object of the filthiest slander.

      –Honoré Balzac (1799-1850), in Scènes de la vie privée

    À Paris, la vertu la plus pure est l'objet des plus sales calomnies.

Le petit aperçu d'Ailleurs

  • Annual Geminids meteor shower (shooting stars!) coming this weekend, if it's not too cloudy out at night.

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