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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Whenever I get into one of those weird "U.S. knows all" conversations, I just say the U.S. is such a big place that it's impossible to keep a secret for long. I'll add your comment about surprise parties!

I just discovered your blog. It is quite funny/ insightful. I studied French for 9+ years.
I did not know people in France believed that the US government is playing puppeteer. That is quite funny. I'm pretty sure the moon landing is a conspiracy theory that floats among crazy Americans as well... It was addressed during an episode of Mythbusters... HIV/AIDS is also a conspiracy that floats that it was created by the CIA to wipe out blacks and gays. The scientific community thinks it jumped from monkeys to humans in the 1930s. The polio vaccine one has me scratching my head... What's that about? Americans don't engineer financial crises. It's all about the invisible hand of the market. Seriously, no way the government is involved, it'd be the private sector (which crosses international waters and they don't want to watch the profits decline). Sad to say but I would have to say most Americans don't even know what's going on in Ukraine and if they do it's limited knowledge. The government is so partisan it can't come to an agreement on anything, so it it masterminded that O.O. Americans forgot about that plane lol. I think that almost zero Americans believe that 9/11 was an inside job, but we did look on it as an epic failure of our government.
I think they are giving the federal government way too much credit. Our state governments are much more effective than the federal government ever is. Then you keep breaking it down when city's implement laws that differ from the state's.
I don't believe in conspiracy theories either- eating organic, using no "chemicals", etc. I consider myself jaded.

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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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