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In my interests below, I list French language, cinema, theatre, politics, art, and wine. And while French brought me to a lot of these things, I also like all of them in a more general way. I really love languages and their connections. I also have a thing about how theatre and cinema, art, politics and wine all hook up in some way. As I think of these ideas, I can hear the thwonk of the cork coming out of the neck of the bottle, and the gentle squeak as the cork is twisted off the tire-bouchon. Ah, that oakey, musty, acidic aroma wafting, wafting and people talking and talking and talking. And, oh they found out we have some sets of boules and they want to play pétanque. "Let's pick teams and play in the shade of those plane trees." The sounds of summer resonate: the crunch of the terrain under foot, the click of the iron bocce knocking in the players' hands, and the soft kiss of the wooden cochonnet as it hits the ground scuttling down to its resting point where it will await the arrival of each team's battle-worn aggies.

Friday, November 8, 2013

I found this article to be informative and also close to the heart since I know Saint Etienne really well.  My wife's family is from this area and I have spent many weeks in the city, visiting its mining museum and I took students there during my days at Cleveland State University.  I think the analogy from  Louis Paris, a 25-year old man from Saint Etienne to be quite a incisive and worth discussing: “You cannot take away guns from Americans, and in the same way you cannot take away social benefits from French people.” Here is the link to the full article: The Strain and the Safety Net.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Is France in the lead ecologically?

The recent banning of fracking in France is a courageous move that moves away from a dependency on oil and towards a less damaging way of fueling our transport systems.  Here is the NY times article:

Sunday, March 17, 2013

I am quite fascinated by Carla Bruni and her relationship with Nicolas Sarkozy.  She seems so much more of a playful and warm personality compared to his cantankerous and belligerent manners.  She shows her playfulness once again, as the Huffington Post reports on a cut from her new album.  The track is entitled the Penguin and it seems to be poking fun at France's new president, François Hollande.  Read the article; watch a French report with excerpts from the song.

Monday, March 4, 2013

France-USA: to work or not to work, is that the question?

This report on NPR highlights the different attitudes towards work in the USA and France. Throughout the twentieth century, beginning in 1936, French workers fought for and won the right to longer paid vacations.  Because France has a centralized government, the rights applied to all workers in France - paid vacations went from 2 weeks in 1936 to 5 weeks in 1981.  By contrast, employers in the USA are not required to grant any vacation.  According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, about 25% of employees in the USA receive no vacation at all.  On top of this, there are a number of official holidays that are observed by France nationally.  Therefore the  issues surrounding attitudes to work, the issue of work ethic, and perceptions of productivity versus actual statistics on productivity are quite complex tied in with actual facts and figures and societal attitudes. 

Check out this article on NPR's "All Things Considered" from February 28, 2013.