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Are the French whiny bitches?

by Lupin Tue Apr 10th, 2007 at 07:05:18 AM EST

I've only been here for two thears and I'm certain the subtler points of French society escape me just as surely as most French don't understand America.

But I read in my local rag this morning that the major (or one of...) issue in the current Presidential campaign was "insécurité" which I guess we would translaste as crime.

My question is: what insécurité?

Really. What a bunch of pussies.

When I left LA, we had a  freeway killer (AFAIK still at large) who randomly shot people in their cars during their morning commute.  To keep people happy, our sheriff pointed out that, even with said FK, we still had fewer violent deaths than the year before.

Also, to me, the Frenbch Police already has so much more power than it needs... How much more does it need?

Besides, if the French are so concerned about insécurité, why then vote for the Sheriff (Sarkozy) who was in charge of Dodge?

That makes no sense at all.

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Mrs Lupin's new forum for US/UK expats

by Lupin Sat Mar 31st, 2007 at 05:32:52 AM EST

Mrs Lupin (aka Possumgirl) has started a new forum (in English) for US and UK expats who live in France.

A lot of the membership comes from the LivingFrance forum.

If you're intrerested to take a look or join, it's HERE.

Her blog is HERE.

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Carcassonne meet report (NOW WITH SLIDESHOW)

by Lupin Mon Mar 26th, 2007 at 02:42:21 AM EST

We had a lovely time at the Brasserie of the Hotel Terminus in Carcassonne last Saturday, all six of us (seven, counting the magic dragon) Kossacks and EuroTribbers: John (aka afew), Helen from the UK, Bobby and Kelley from near Beziers and Lupin and Mrs. Lupin from Chalabre.

Topics of conversation ranged from the French elections (understandably) to Tony Blair to the latest news from the US.

Our next quarterly meet will be at the same place, same time, on Saturday, June 23. Pencil it in already.

UPDATE Here is a photobucket slideshow of our lunch!

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Last reminder for our Carcassonne Meet next Saturday

by Lupin Sun Mar 18th, 2007 at 04:19:38 AM EST

Last reminder for our Carcassonne Meet next Saturday.

The Time: Saturday, March 24 at 12:30 p.m.

The Place: Brasserie de l'Hotel Terminus, 2 Avenue du Marechal Joffre, right in the center of Carcassonne, very near the Station. Link to the hotel site with photo.

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Carcassonne Meet - March 24 (reminder)

by Lupin Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 03:32:51 AM EST

Come and celebrate Spring with the Lupins in Languedoc style in Carcassonne on Saturday, March 24.

The Time: Saturday, March 24 at 12:30 p.m.

The Place: Brasserie de l'Hotel Terminus, 2 Avenue du Marechal Joffre, right in the center of Carcassonne, very near the Station. Link to the hotel site with photo.

The Brasserie offers both à la carte and menus, reasonably to median-priced (salads: 8 euros; entrecote: 14 euros).

Directions: If you come by train: exit the Station, cross the canal, it's right there, 500 meters on your left. There are regional trains from Toulouse that arrive at Carcassonne at 11:31 and 12:50 and from Narbonne at 12:43.

If you come by car: The underground parking André Chénier is right across from the Terminus, under the square.

If you come by plane: RyanAir has flights from Dublin, Shannon, London Stansted, East Midland and Brussels/Charleroi to Carcassonne; the flights arrive during the afternoon (too late for lunch the same day however); there is a shuttle from Salvaza airport to the train station.

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Freedom of expression in France (or lack thereof)

by Lupin Tue Feb 27th, 2007 at 04:52:15 AM EST

In 2001, a small press French publisher L'esprit Frappeur put out a book entitled VOS PAPIERS! QUE FAIRE FACE A LA POLICE written by a lawyer member of the left-wing legal organization Syndicat de la Magistrateur on the subject of how to deal with various abuses of power by the French Police.

Immediately, the Mintre de l'Interieur of the then-Socialist Lionel Jospin government sued the Publisher, the writer and the cover artist (!) being accused of defaming and/or insulting the Police.  

The lawsuit was later actively continued by the present ministry of right-wing Nicolas Sarkozy -- the same man who recently expressed his support to the Philippe Val, the editor of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in the matter of the Mohammed caricatures, writing: Je préfère l'excès de caricatures à l'absence de caricature [I prefer an excessive caricature to an absence of caricatures].

In 2005, the Lower Court found in favor of the author, cartoonist and publisher, but the State decided to appeal and, last month, the Appellate Court disagreed and condemned the Publisher to pay a fine of 1000 euro, the writer 800 euro and the artist 500 euro.

The writer is appealing to the French supreme court, but the artist is thinking of throwing in the towel.

You can read more details about the case IN FRENCH HERE, read the artist's communiqué and view the allegedly offensive cover art.

French justice and French politicians -- from both sides -- ought to be ashamed.

From the diaries - afew

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EuroTrib/Kossack Spring Meet in Carcassonne 3/24

by Lupin Fri Feb 16th, 2007 at 03:51:37 AM EST

Come and celebrate Spring with the Lupins in Languedoc style in Carcassonne on Saturday, March 24.

The Place: Brasserie de l'Hotel Terminus, 2 Avenue du Marechal Joffre, right in the center of Carcassonne. Link to the hotel site with photo.

The Brasserie offers both à la carte and menus, reasonably to median-priced (salads: 8 euros; entrecote: 14 euros).

Directions: If you come by train: exit the station, cross the canal, it's right there, 500 meters on your left. There are regional trains from Toulouse that arrive at Carcassonne at 11:31 and 12:50 and from Narbonne at 12:43.

If you come by car: The underground parking André Chénier is right across from the Terminus, under the square.

If you come by plane: RyanAir has flights from Dublin, Shannon, London Stansted, East Midland and Brussels/Charleroi to Carcassonne; the flights arrive during the afternoon (too late for lunch the same day however); there is a shuttle from Salvaza airport to the train station.

The Time: Saturday, March 24. There will be two of us and we'll be there at 12:30 p.m. We'll have a stuffed dragon on the table as rallying point.

Do let me know if you plan to attend as I'll have to make a reservation a couple of days before, but you can still squeeze in if it's a last minute thing.

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simple life in Languedoc

by Lupin Tue Jan 23rd, 2007 at 05:45:32 AM EST

Here are some photos of sunrise in our little village in Languedoc.

Also photos of Shmoo, the dog, the latest addition to the Lupins' household.  We found him abandoned, freezing, starving and injured before XMas and we took him in.

We had the pleasant surprise of a contact, then visit, by Kossack activist Devtob  (who helped elect one of ours in NY-20) who enjoyed a home-cooked mean of potatoes roasted in duck fat with chives and garlic and a simple herb omelette.

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A book about the Cathars...

by Lupin Fri Dec 15th, 2006 at 05:54:41 AM EST

...or another somewhat self-serving diary.  :-)

Last summer, we helped our local town (Chalabre, in the Aude) organize a short story competition, an activity that seems somewhat popular amongst French cities.

The theme was the Cathars, because of the region's rich historical past, and personally, I thought of the theme of the bloody conquest of the region by the venal French North in the guise of religion struck a chord in light of today's events.

Eighteen of the winning stories have now been collected in a handsome book entitled DIEU RECONNAITRA LES SIENS now on sale on the internet here

If I may quote from my introduction:

Si dix-huit écrivains, de talent, ont choisi de se pencher avec fougue et émotion sur le sujet du catharisme, c'est que la flamme de cette religion continue de brûler dans nos mémoires. Certains ont choisi d'en traiter l'aspect historique, d'autres d'en exhiber les tragédies personnelles, et d'autres enfin, d'en imaginer les multiples survivances, à notre époque, et même dans le futur.

Car le sort des cathares nous concerne tous. On ne peut pas, ou plutôt, on ne doit pas, oublier les milliers de victimes, des deux bords, de cette page si sinistrement ensanglantée de notre histoire.

Aujourd'hui encore, hélas, guerres et croisades modernes utilisent toujours de grands principes, tels la foi ou la démocratie, pour dissimuler leur vil désir d'annexion de territoires ou de richesses naturelles. Si la tragédie de Montségur doit porter ses fruits, c'est dans l'éclairage des pages de nos quotidiens qu'il faut les trouver.

We're doing a new short story competition this year, the theme being Carnival.

(Also, if you like science fiction and read French, you might enjoy browsing through the rest of the site.)

I of course apologize for this bit of barely disguised advertizing.

Comments >> (26 comments)

Expat's breakfast musings

by Lupin Sun Dec 10th, 2006 at 04:42:37 AM EST

I just posted something smiliar on Kos.

I found two items this morning in the local rag, LA DEPECHE, that made me feel real good about France.

One was that a survey showed that 94% of 18-30 years-old want to vote in the Presidential, 35% identifying themselves on the Left and 35% in the Center.

94% I thought. Boy, what a difference.

The other item was about a TV guy (Pascal Sevran - no idea who he is) being widely shunned and criticized because he wrote that Africans had too many children and should be sterilized, and he might even lose his job.

Again, I contrasted this with our TV personalities like Malkin and Coulter and Pat Roberson who spew their venom unhindered, and I thought, that's what it feels like to be in a "normal" country.

I remember "normal" In America; I just don't know what happened.

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Lupins' photo-journals: Cote Vermeille & Cadaqués

by Lupin Wed Nov 8th, 2006 at 11:20:00 AM EST

It's two years ago exactly, right after the disastrous 2004 election, that Mrs Lupin and I made the fateful decision to leave Los Angeles and relocate to Southern France.

Perhaps in anticipation of today's wonderful turnabout, and taking full advantage of the glorious weather we've been having lately, we've taken a couple of days off to roam through the countryside, explore the beautiful Cote Vermeille, and drive down to the Costa Brava village of Cadaqués, Dali's favorite hangout.

Lots of photos on the links below:

Autumn in the Pyrenees

Destination: Cadaqués

And of course:

blog

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site for English-spakers interested in the South of France

by Lupin Wed Sep 6th, 2006 at 05:29:21 AM EST

The website frenchentree.com which is chockul of useful and entertaining info for English speakers planning to move to France has just opened a a new section  on the Aude & Pyrenees Orientales region (managed by two lovely local new arrivals from Britain) which among its other features, is doing a bit of promotion for Mrs. Lupin's book of our own relocation. But there are also several other interesting articles.

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Memories of WWII (in French) (now translated)

by Lupin Mon Jul 3rd, 2006 at 01:27:14 PM EST

The mother of a friend of mine, a French woman who grew up in Bordeaux, recently wote this moving essay about being a child during the German occupation. I thought I would share it with you.

from the diaries. Now with English translation below the fold, as well as the original in French.

And let me link again to Sirocco's story on the Battle of the Somme posted Saturday, and which generated an extremely interesting thread.

Read more... (5 comments, 2487 words in story)

ET Toulouse Meeting

by Lupin Fri Jun 16th, 2006 at 07:00:59 AM EST

Shouldn't we advertize the Toulouse meeting on the front page?

Just saying.

Bush Jokes

by Lupin Wed May 31st, 2006 at 11:01:38 AM EST

By public request (Jerome Q. Public), the latest Bush joke I heard; it's quite subservive (like the old Soviet jokes) -- pass it on.

George Bush goes to a primary school to talk to the kids to get a  little PR. After his talk he offers question time. One little boy puts up his hand and George asks him his name.

"Stanley," responds the little boy.

"And what is your question, Stanley?"

"I have 4 questions:

First, why did the USA invade Iraq without the support of the UN?

Second, why are you President when Al Gore got more votes?

Third, whatever happened to Osama Bin Laden?"

Fourth, why are we so worried about gay-marriage when 1/2 of all Americans don't have health insurance?"

Just then, the bell rings for recess. George Bush informs the kiddies that they will continue after recess.

When they resume George says, "OK, where were we? Oh, that's right,question time. Who has a question?"

Another little boy puts up his hand. George points him out and asks him his name.

"Steve," he responds.

"And what is your question, Steve?"

"Actually, I have 6 questions.

First, why did the USA invade Iraq without the support of the UN?

Second, why are you President when Al Gore got more votes?

Third, whatever happened to Osama Bin Laden?

Fourth, why are we so worried about gay marriage when 1/2 of all Americans don't have health insurance?

Fifth, why did the recess bell go off 20 minutes early?

And sixth, what the hell happened to Stanley?"

Comments >> (9 comments)

US Homeland Security Averts Threat

by Lupin Wed Apr 26th, 2006 at 08:49:23 AM EST

The latest success story in US Homeland Security has gone widely unnoticed (not!) by the MSM.

Supermodel May Andersen, arrested after allegedly hitting a flight attendant on a plane from Amsterdam to Miami, was refused entry into the United States on Monday and will be returned to the Netherlands, officials said.

I don't know about you, but I feel more secure already.

This is the face of the enemy.

And the breasts.

In a spirit of personal sacrifice, I did offer to have imprisoned in my personal dungeon -- one can never be too secure.

Comments >> (3 comments)

"My life is my own."

by Lupin Tue Apr 25th, 2006 at 06:04:14 AM EST

This is a quote from the Prisoner, when No. 6 concludes his angry tirade: "I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered... My life is my own!"

Jerome's latest bit of brouhaha on Kos made me reflect about the individual and society. Obviously, one single person, by him/herself, can't change the world... but one can certainly take steps to change one's life, and such steps, cumulatively, eventually have an impact on the whole of society.

This is the province of economics, sociology... and psychohistory. :-)

Besides, even if one believes one can't change society (and I'll admit I'm a bit too old to entertain such hopes myself), at least one can try to take care of one's "family unit". :-)

In my own case, I purposefully left a high-paying job in the mid-80s to become independent; both my wife and I built careers that were far less rewarding financially, but where we were indebted to no one.

Freedom over security, or servitude.

We bought a house at  exactly the same time we made the jump from regular employment to self-employment, because we thought that was another way of gaining control over our lives.

We never refinanced... correction, we never took out any equity, never traded up, only refinanced from 30-yr fixed to 30-yr fixed to take advantage of dropping rates. Eventually, over 15+ years, we  built up a lot of equity in a rising market.

We only bought small cars (our current one is a 2003 Toyota Echo) and paid cash for them. We generally paid our credit cards in full every month.  We saved money by living modestly.

One of the reasons we decided to move to France (obligatory plug for my wife's book here) was that we felt things were, are, spinning out of control in the US; plus, once you hit 50, you might as well look for an ice floe to die, health insurance-wise.  

When the time came, we purposefully chose a Southern village with all the amenities; we're as close to the food supply as can be, almost self-sufficient, and drive maybe 5000 miles in the year if that. (And a chunk of that are special trips that could be eliminated.) We have no debt, own our home free and clear (with a "declaration d'insaisissabilite" on it, meaning it can never be seized) and can live comfortably on about 1000/1200 euros a month.

We could just as well moved to a small village in Canada or New Zealand or the UK (alternatives we explored), but ultimately, France made more sense for us, and was quite appealing.

Maybe we've made all the wrong decisions over the last 15 years or so: we should have lived high in the 90s, piled up debt, squandered money, and just stay in our high six figures home in Encino, with the certainty that the Good Life will go on.

I certainly have a lot of very dear friends who live mortgaged to the hilt in huge mansions in the Hollywood hills, trapped by what Rod Serling called the "velvet cage."

A high income is like a drug addiction; you come to rely on it so much that one day, you're ready to do anything, just about anything, if someone threatens to cut off your supply.

We chose to restructure our life differently in 1985; maybe we did a foolish thing -- though even if that was the case, at least, we're happy fools. :-)

So, as No. 6 says, "your life is your own." If you think the concerns about our society that we discuss here, on Kos, etc. are valid ones, even worrying ones,  then it is incumbent upon you to change your life accordingly.

Just do it.

Comments >> (19 comments)

French book on British expats

by Lupin Mon Apr 17th, 2006 at 04:11:32 AM EST

Un nuage de vin dans votre thé ?

This is a review in Le Monde of a book entitled AU SECOURS, LES ANGLAIS NOUS ENVAHISSENT ! by José-Alain Fralon (Michalon, 168 pages, 17 €).

I haven't read the book, but the review, IN FRENCH, is interesting.

As the reviewer notes, it's about the perennial question of lifestyles, "to be or to have, that is the question."

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Man-on-Dog: Europeans have nothing to live for

by Lupin Sun Apr 2nd, 2006 at 01:13:51 AM EST

Rick Santorum spoke to the conservative Pennsylvania Leadership Conference last night. During his address he spoke about faith in the United States and compared it to the role of faith in western Europe. Here's what Rick claims is happening to western Europe because of secularism, "Those cultures are dying. People are dying. They're being overrun from overseas... and they have no response. They have nothing to fight for. They have nothing to live for."

link

So what is it about Europe, America? Too many protests? Not enough protests? Make up your mind.

Yeah I know the Racist Zoophile is knowingly pandering to its herd of lobotomized sheep, but still, what passes for political discourse in today's America will never cease to amaze me.

Comments >> (5 comments)

The Louvre at the Bastille according to NYT

by Lupin Sat Apr 1st, 2006 at 05:20:29 AM EST

I'm not Jerome and I don't have the skills to debunk articles from the FT or the WSJ the way he does, but this bit from the NYT reprinted in today's HERALD-TRIBUNE made me jump:

Thousands of students were already in the streets, disrupting traffic on the Rue de Rivoli near the Louvre museum at the Place de la Bastille.

Here is the link - the actual quote in on page 2.

The Louvre Museum is not at the Bastille, last I checked.

From the diaries ~ whataboutbob

Comments >> (23 comments)
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