Sunday, April 29, 2007


Here begins an involutary blog break for maybe 5 days? I am leaving tomorrow evening to work at Le Chateau Vieux Chevrol in the Lalande Pomerol region near Bordeaux. I work there every year in the fall for the grape harvest, but this year due to the very unusual warm weather, I was asked to work doing the Vendage Vert...or green harvest.
We will cut the excess flower bunches off of the vines letting the grapes that remain get the benefit of the vines energy.
It's been warm so far but I think we will be in the muda as there is rain predicted for Monday and Tuesday.
I'm going to be away from computers and most media! This is going to be the hardest part, I do have a radio and probably will be able to glean information from the French locals who work with me. I
I put up a long piece for you to listen to while I'm gone. It is a live performance by The Mothers of Inventtion in Barcelona, Spain in the 80's. They perform Ravels's 2 parts. I hope I got them sequenced correctly!
A Bientot!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Saturday Night Election Update!

Here's a poster that is being printed, posted on wallls and passed around on the internet. It's a take off on the official Sarkozy poster and the slogan translates to "Together, everything becomes possible". In this version, there are a lot of exceptions, the poor, foreigners, welfare clients, the Left, the Extreme Left, the Communists, Gays, temporary workers, people with AIDS, the handicapped, the minister of culture and education, the jounalists, the Independants,Les Noahs, Les Thuram (refers to the French superstar Yannick Noah who very publicly supports Segolene Royal and a popular actor, Thuram) and the guy who is having an affair with his wife.
He's slightly ahead in the polls with a week to go in the race. The numbers are very tight and the voters who cast their ballots for Francois Bayrou are being wooed by each side. Bayrous' UDF deputies have been threatened by Sarkozy to give him their support or risk losing their seats in the next election. Some have caved in. Some have really deserted their electorate because a lot of Bayrous areas were over whelmingly Socialist. The threat is that the UMP will put candidates up in the traditional UDF fiefdoms. There had been a tacit agreement that the UDF supports the UMP and they could exist unapposed. Complicated, eh? Bayrou is leaving his own party to form a new centrist party called the Partie Democrate or as it will be called in the French land of initials, the PD. Now, they thought this one up pretty late at night and didn't quite think it through. The French prononciation of the letters PD is pey-dey which is tthe French slang term for gay, pede. The commentators are already having a field day with that one.
So, in pursuit of the elusive Bayrou, Madame Royal proposed a debate with Francois.
Bayrou agreed and also wanted a dialogue with Sarkozy. He declined. Royal and Bayrou announced they would debate on television and the Sarkozy side freaked. They pulled strings and a few calls were made and the major networks were told that it wasn't politially legal. Soon it was revealed that these were empty threats and the debate was rescheduled and the press began to catch on that there was real supression and arm twisting. It backfired on Sarkozy and he was complaining that he was being smeared and they were ganging up on him. There was a huge rally in Lyon on Friday with a live televised endorsement from Prodi of Italy coming out for Royal. Bayrou has always stated that he supported and admired Prodi centrist philosophy. Dominic Strauss-Kahn, who is a friend of Bayrous' made an impassioned speech at the Rally imploring Francois to fully support Segolene. There were 20,000 people at the rally!
Today, at 11 am the debate took place and was for the most part a good natured discussion in which Bayrou and Royal were able to agree on most points, but of course, Bayrou is very conservative economically and there is where they differed.
On the other hand, the debate left no doubt that Bayrou personally will cast his vote for Segolene. The Freedom of Debate and the Press really got into the public eye today
and it didn't look good at all for Sarkozy.
The speculation is that there will be an "October Surprise" regarding the French hostages in Afghanistan. Today the Taliban released a woman hostage and there has been manuvering all week. The Taleban said it would reconsider and issue a statement next Saturday, the day before the election. I think the government is going to make a major concession to the Taleban, such as cutting French involvment and effect a hostage release at the last minute and try to play up the last minute PR value.
The next big event scheduled is Wenesdays face to face debate between Royal and Sarkozy. This will be an event. Insiders say that he is rattled and prepares with coaches for the encounter. In the past, she has blown him out of the water with a comment.
Sarkozy starts smooth and works himself into aggressive frenzies. He is a true demagogue and it is coming out more and more. He speaks to the press as if he was already president. If you watch him, he is pretty scary, like a good old fashioned fascist fire breather.
Segolene starts cool, stays cool and if she has to be harsh, it is a deadly twist of logic and sarcasm. She simply will not be intimidated by him and he knows it. Sarkozy uses the same stock answers and slogans over and over again. Segolene rarely repeats herself. Don't sell her short. She has whipped her own party into shape following her own instincts and managed to out manuver Sarkozy at every turn as well as dealing with the rest of the extreme left. All this and still looking beautiful and never losing her serenity. This woman will be part of a force that can influence the rest of the world if she is elected. We need Segolene Royal as a world leader now more than ever!

One Hit Wonderful

Today it was announced that "Boris" Bobby Pickett died at the age of 62 of Leukemia.
He was a performer who had one #1 hit in his lifetime butt it never went away...he was the composer of the novelty song THE MONSTER MASH!
This isn't Mr. Pickett performing his song, but a magnificent cover by the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, complete with an electric spoon solo. As an added bonus, the band performs The Sound of Music.
R.I.P. "Boris" Bobby Pickett!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Les Martyrs du Golfe d'Aden

I saw a film on France3 2 weeks ago as part of the series about the sea called Thalassa.
The film was a harrowing segment about the refugees fleeing Somalia by trying to go to Yemen in small boats run by human traffikers. The continuing violence and chaos of the war between the Islamic Tribunal Government and the Tribal War Lords supported by the US Government and aided by the Eithiopian army has led to thousands of people risking their lives to take this journey from the Somalian port city of Bosaso to Yemen. They have to pay about 40 dollars US for the journey which they earn by working as slave laborers in the port. The port is controlled by the anti Islamic Tribunal governor with US armed support. The workers live in cardboard shacks and have to pay to even use the latrines.
Perhaps 4,000 people have perished in the attempt to make the crossing. They are stuffed into little boats that should have a crew of 10 normally. 130 is the average number. People have to sit in a cramped position wiitthout moving for up to 3 days with no food or water subjected to beatings and sadistic abuse by the capos who enforce order through raw fear. People are thrown over board to inspire fear in others.
Entire boat loads of people have been murdered by the traffickers who just go off with the money they collect.
The UN tries in vain to persuade people not to make the trip and even offers trips back to their villages and payments as bribes. For most of these people there is no turning back, the reality they left can't be any better than the reality they look forward to.
Warships from 13 countries patrol these waters including the US Coast Guard and they seem to look the other way most of the time when they see these boats. When the boats think they are going to be stopped and searched, they throw their human cargo overboard.
This misery was documented by a courageous French journalist, Daniel Grandclement. He managed to make a connection with the smugglers and offered them $400 if they would take him and let him film. He was stuffed onto a boat along with 128 others and beaten, threatened with drowning and suffered for 3 days with the rest. Miraculously, he was allowed to take a precious few hours of video tape and managed to document his experience. While on board, he is beaten and the rest of his money is stolen.
The misery on board is relentless. The capos are sadistic and crazed. People are pointlessly beaten. Luckily, on this trip, no one is thrown over board.
After 3 days, the entire group is tied together and made to jump inot the sea off the coast of Yemen. Grandclement manages to wrap his camera in a plastic bag and somehow gets separated from the group. On the shore there is a lucky strok as two women who are documentary journalists have been camping on the beach and filming the refugees for a film they are making. They manage to film the people struggling out of the waves and it is eerily filmed with night vision cameras. The group is taken to Sanaa, the Yemeni Capital. Daniel is found by a Yemeni military patrol and taken to a prison. Some how he manages to get in contact with the French Embassy and is released and finishes his documentary after meeting the women reporters. The film ends with a group of refugees who are made to leave Sanaa and walk into the desert with nothing. There is no way to know how their story ends........
This is an amazingly bleak documentary called Les Martyrs du Golfe d'Aden. It is in French, but this story has to be told. Over a thousand people are murderd a month and with the present out and out war in Mogadicio, the number of refugees have risen dramatically. The link will take you to a web site with a short excerpt from the film.
We were able to obtain a DVD from France3 and it is being sent to friends at the UN in New York. It has been shown in Geneva, but the situation has to be reported to the rest of the world.

When Giants Rocked The Earth!

Here's a little live performance hosted by the great BB King singing the blues Sweet Little Angel. His back up band in order of solos is Jeff Beck, Albert Collins, Buddy Guy and Eric Clapton. Buddy Guy is a national monument in his own right. He sings one verse as well. Who's the greatest? Who cares! They are all different and there is no slacking here! It does make youu wonder why Albert Collins doesn't get more acclaim, he is incredible here!

Thursday, April 26, 2007


Perhaps, there is life already there? Perhaps, it might be interesting to find out. Perhaps, we could see if life exists there and what form it has taken, would it be a test case for evolution? Would it be a case for intelligent design?
Perhaps, it is a blank slate waiting for us to go there and do things right this time!
Perhaps the creationists and intelligent design experts could go there and
show us how it was supposed to be!
Perhaps there are intelligent beings there having this same debate?
Perhaps they are experiencing global warming just like we are!
Would they worship the same gods we do? If religious zealots from earth went there
would they try to convert each other? Would they wipe each other out? Perhaps they are on their way here to convert us!

Treason Or Not Treason

I read a blog piece by Dave Inglesias yesterday in which he talks about a conversation with a Republican Senator, who wished to remain nameless. He lets the un named senator do the talking:

"This is the most incompetent White House I've seen since I came to Washington," said one GOP senator. "The White House legislative liaison team is incompetent, pitiful, embarrassing. My colleagues can't even tell you who the White House Senate liaison is. There is rank incompetence throughout the government. It's the weakest Cabinet I've seen." And remember, this is a Republican talking.

So here you have a United States Senator, who believes that the White House is filled with incompetence, and the cabinet is weak. In other words, this person has first hand knowledge that the White House is harming America. But this person, a United States Senator, will not say so publicly. Why? Because it would hurt his party.

For years now, we've heard Republicans say Democrats were traitors because we told the truth about this Administration and their incompetence. But the real traitors are the Republicans who have first hand knowledge of this incompetence, yet they remain silent.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

because it's my birthday....

Yep, more Jeff Beck...only this time it's 1967 and the Jeff Beck Group featuring the unknown singer, Rod Stewart performing Shapes live. I saw this band in Detroit at the Grande Ballroom and we all thought Rod was a girl with a particularly greasy bouffant hair do. He was very shy on stage, rarely singing facing the audience.
I'm abusing you all with Jeff Beck because it is my birthday and it's my party!
Oh, yeah, Sepp! You're invited to this one!

Media Matters

One of the hardest hitting honest and steadfast media watchdog organizations, Media Matters is doing its job well. So well in fact that the media it monitors and fact checks is attacking with an onslaught of mis information and propaganda smears.
On April 23, Bill O'Reilly went off on a bizarre conspiracy rant and devoted an entire segment of his show to the devious conspiracy against him by Media Matters and its donors.

Referring to Media Matters as a vile propaganda outfit which specializes in distortion of comments made by right wing media people, he placed the organization at the center of a vast left wing conspiracy funded by his nemisis, George Soros.
He's been ranting about Media Matters for quite a while, but it seems to have come to a head last month when he was in Ireland being interviewed live. When confronted with some of his statements from the record, he blew up and asked where they had gotten the transcripts of his show. The interviewer replied Media Matters, of course! O'Reilly then went off on a rampage and called Media Matters an extremist propaganda organization which distorted his comments for poliitical gain.
This is utter nonsense, if you have ever read Media Matters, you would see the they just print the truth, verbatim and point out the mis statements and lies that are the substance of conservative media as well as the inconsistent statements and positions of mainstream media. They are a Media Watchdog. They are protecting us from the misinformation that these guys make a living from. When confronted to the reactions and outrage the public has from reading their words and the fact that Media Matters has createed a forum to fight back against their lies and misinformation has made them a deadly enemy.
The fact that O'Reilly, Limbaugh, Savage, Beck, Melanie Morgan and many others have decided to launch an attack on Media Matters means they are doing something right.
I have had a link on this page for Media Matters. If you have never checked them out, please do so. If you want to help them fight this concerted attack against them, they are asking for donations. They are simply defending your right to the truth!

Jeff Beck Again

Well, it's been a long day and I was looking at some Beck videos on YouTube and saw this piece. It's called Big Block and it was recorded live at the Udo Jazz Festival in Japan last year. It's a 6 and a half minute bluesish jam that demonstrates again that here is a being that is part man part guitar. Total fusion of expression. Technique that is beyond explanation. He was the best in 1965 and is still the best over 40 years later!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


This is called Tuesday night burn out. I want to write something about a lot of things, but I really had a tough day working. I'm trying to finish the restoration job on the house I've been working on by tomorrow and I put in 10 hours mixing cement, brushing cement, cleaning joints in the stone work before I put in the cement and found myself doing a very dangerously silly tired balancing act on top of a ladder trying to finish ...I had to stop. So I will finish tomorrow morning. The last bit of cement and the brushing up. I will take some pictures.
I also got a call asking if I could come and work for a week at Chateau Vieux Chevrol in Neac, where I have worked every fall for the last 5 years on the Grape harvest. It has been breaking records every day here for heat and the grape vines are flowering way ahead of schedule. Normally, there are groups of workers who go from vineyard to vineyard to do the Vendage Vert...the green cutting, and they won't be able to get to Vieux Chevrol in time, so I get to fill in! The excess flower bunches are systematically cut from each vine to insure that the grapes that are left get all the plants energy. The proprietor, Jean Pierre, said this is the earliest flowering he has ever seen. Here spring is flying by at a dizzyingly pace. The garden is in full flower and we want to put in tomatoes and the potato plants, but peasant wisdom tells us that we must wait until the next full moon as is the custom for the Saint-Glace, traditionally the last date that frost will occur. I have to cut the lawn, again!
So a little political news, the number one book in the country is a cut throat tell all expose of Sarkozy by an ex UMP government minister who went to Bayrou. He is on all the talk shows and is a very well liked Algerian fellow who is now whole heartedly endorsing Segolene Royal. The polls tonight are 49% Segolene and 51% Sarkozy.
Both are wooing Bayrou's 18% in the first tour. Many are going to vote for Segolene. She has requested a public debate with Bayrou to show what his sympathies are. He will never do it and UDF ministers will not come out for the Socialists because they have been threattened by the UMP that they will be directly opposed in elections if they do. The UDF exists only because of a tacit agreement between the two parties over territory. Segolene and Sarkozy will debate one on one this week. A debate between the two from 1993 is being broadcast over and over again and Segolene destroys Sarko. The news on all channels is doing features that compare the stands of each party on individual issues and doing a very fair job of it.
The best fallout from the first tour of the election was the utter collapse of the Front National. It was LePens last race. He is very old and he was the glue that kept all the warring factions together. Now the knives are out and the fief is being carved up into mini parties of varying degrees of hate! It will be a long time before the far right can organize itself to be a real threat in an election again!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Doktor Sarkozy, Madam Royal.....

I participated in an outdoor art show today in a glorious garden in the middle of the woods with a view of the Chateau de Fleurac on the hill in the distance. The exhibiting artists were an eclectic group. A Belgian woman sculptress, An American making furniture, French man who made wonder Raku pottery, an Englishman making small polished objects out of wood and stone, a French woman who sculptted in clay and another woman who made incredible welded metal planters that had real personality, each on was like a distinct alien being with a complimenting cactus...and an older French couple who I met before, the wife makes very beautiful lampshades and her husband, very beautiful polished wood objects, some of which are lamp bases for the shades.
My wife voted this morning on our way to the show. She remarked that at 8:30 am, the voting box already had a lot of ballots. At the show, no one spoke of politics. We had a group lunch around 1pm and I was sitting next to the older couple and their son. I was joking with everyone in my present level of conversational French...everything works fine and then occasionally I hit a wall, and out of the blue, the son of the older couple asks me "and you, a foreigner, if you could vote, who would you vote for?"
For a second I was taken aback, that's a question that might be in bad taste at so volatile a time, in such an international group. Wthout battiing an eyelash, I replied,"Segolene Royal, bien sur!" Then the fellow asked me why? I jokingly replied, that I thought she was the most beautiful candidate!
Janet immediately jumped in, because she realized that I was being played a fool by the fellow, She launched into a very detailed analysis of Royals positions and why she admired her. He was a little over whelmed by the passion of her position, the command of facts and the fact that she probably speaks much more correct and eloquent French than he does. I don't speak elegant or correct French, but I do speak well enough especially after a few glasses of rose in the hot sun...I added that this election was a good example of how George Bush was elected and if Nikolas Sarkozy was elected, I would never take anyone seriously again who asked me, "How could Americans elect a president like George Bush?"
There was a silence, then a few of the people applauded and told me I made a lot of sense and I joked that I was happy that I could at least express my opinions.
The questioner was silent. After lunch, a number of people came up to me and explained that the son who had questioned me was a Front National Militant and was running for office and they were afraid to speak up in front of him because of the fear they have of their reputation of fascistic violence and backlash.
I made a point of hanging out with his father later and talking to him about printmaking and where he gets his supply of boxwood from and then bought one of his carved wooden pieces. Every one was smiles...but I left with the knowlege of how deep the fear of the FN is and how it lurks beneath the surface here in the country.
We got home and turned on the TV...It was 7:30 and there was a half hour of suspense as we waited nervously for the elction returns...then suddenly, the results came up!
26.4% for Segolene and 29.6% for Sarkozy! The results are still vascillating a 10th of a point here and there, but it is done. The Front National, which every one feared could pull some kind of an upset, never got past 10%, Bayrou was third with 16%
It was the largest voter turnout in French history! 86% of the registered vopters showed up. A number unheard of in America!
Sarkozy has been running for president for 4 years. He has allied himself through his brother with big businesss and the mainstream media. He has been ruthless in crushing his opponents and using his power to coherce supporters to come to him or face destruction. He has played the card of fear over and over again and appealed to basest instincts of racism to woo voters from the FN! He has been omnipresent in the media. He has recieved covert assistance from the Bush administration in his campaign.
Segolene started to campaign a year ago and has pretty much run the campaign by her instincts without much support by the elephants in the socialist party. She has been attacked constantly in the press. She was attacked by all the small party candidtes on the left. Through it all, she has remained strong, serene and toally positive . She has shown that she is Mitterands political heiress. She has offered France a clear alternative to the darkness of Sarkozy. He wants France to get up earlier, work harder and expect less. He wants to take away social programs and close the borders.
He wants to ally himself with American foreign policy. He said recently of his foreign policy,"Sometimes I feel more Amreican than French!"
I believe that given such a clear choice, between light and dark, between the future and fear, that Segolene will win the 2nd tour of the election. She will challenge Sarko to a debate and she will win. If he refuses to debate, he will look like he is afraid of her. Segolene is deadly in debate.
As the commentator said on Channel 3 this evening when she made her speech dressed in white against a white background,"She has the stature now! She has evolved into a leader before our eyes!" Sarkozy made his speech earlier, dark circles and red eyes, looking vaguely Nixonian, talking about the fear of the French people and how, if they would let him, he would protect them....pretty creepy, huh?

Saturday, April 21, 2007


Last night, at midnight, French law declares a moritorium on political debate in the media. No ads, no reporting, no news articles. The campaign is over. The official campaign platform information packet is in the hands of each voter. A day to reflect....
Today was the hottest day of the year so far. It got up to almost 85 degrees farenheit here. Too hot too soon for me. I looked out the window this after noon and decided to take JJ for a long walk in the forest ands check out to see if the warm temperatures had prompted any of the orchid locaion I have been tracking to start early. I spent a few hours getting ready for an art show I'm going to be in tomorrow and weeding the strawberry plants in the garden and it was too hot. I was going to go biking, but JJ has had a hard week recovering from his encounter with a wasp nest. His nose looks much better!
So we took off for the forest down the road.
In the forest, it was a few degrees cooler and the dog was chasing smells and digging holes and I heard a cuckoo not very far away. I have never actually seen a cuckoo but I know about their habits and I could identify one from the bird books I have.

The cuckoo seemed pretty close, so I tried an experiment, after he finished his 6 cuckoos calls, I immediately answered him by repeating 6 cuckoo calls as best as I could. About 30 seconds later, much closer, the cuckoo started to repeat his calls, this went on a few times, me mimicking the cuckoo and each time the calls were nearer, until I heard iin the tall oak above me the flapping of wings and a muttering squawk that was very muuch what I would expect a cartoon version of an annoyed cuckoo to make. I looked straight up and there he was. He was about the size of a large pigeon but sleeker in build and grey with white markings. He started his calls and one last time I echoed him, which must have really annoyed him because the cartoon skwawks started up again and he loudly let loose his cuckoo song.....

We walked on down to the little creek where I thought I might find orchids, I found plants in the grass, but they weren't in flower yet. I did find a patch of solomons seal, which were delicately opening their first flowers. I also saw a lot of eucalyptus.

on the hill going up on the ridge across the valley from our house. In the picture, our house is just visible on the horizon.
We walked around the ridge and under an electric cow wire...very carefully, I've given myself electro-shock treatments on a few occasions! The finally home again where I took this picture of columbines in full bloom in the garden.

So a quiet evening, early night because we have to get up early tomorrow. Janet will go to the new mayors office in Badefols d'Ans and cast her vote. It should be quite a scene, all 850 Badefollois will show up, hang out, gossip, stand in line, go into a booth, select a ballot, then put the ballot in the glass voting box and the mayor will say loudly, "A Votez"!
We will find out who won at 9 pm....

Friday, April 20, 2007

Saying it doesn't make it so! (slight reprise)

I read the post by dave at his great blog, intomyown about his take on the Virginia Tech Massacre and how America fails to deal with this horror it is capable of unleashing.
Take some time to read it as it is passionate and nails the issue in a way I haven't seen yet.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

French Election Update!

Only 2 days left until the first tour of the election. Out of 12 candidates, 2 will be chosen, or if there is an unprecedented and unexpected miracle, one candidate will get enough of a majority to win on the first. Don't count on it.
This has been a dizzying week in polls. We have seen Segolene rise to the point where tonight in some polls, she is ahead of Sarkozy. In every poll, for the second tour, Segolene and Nikolas are neck and neck, virtually 50/50%!
We have seen Bayrou go up and down. Last night he had a major rally and filled Bercy in Paris with his supporters. He has made a major appeal to the mainstream Muslim Community and just on PR value alone, he may get a large percentage of the older Muslim vote. He still is polling at 17%. Le Pen is around 10%, his numbers go up and down, but as many people are not comfortable talking about him, you never know until the votes are counted. He has launched a major attack against Sarkozy, ridiculing him because he is the son of a Hungarian Immigrant and Sephardic Jewish family and has made anti immigration part of his platform, which is LePens traditional strong point.
Sarkozy was also hit hard by the press he doesn't control. Over the week end, the centrist political journal, Marianne published an expose of his past record, his many initiatives that have failed, his business connections, his psychological problems and the real program he is going to try to rule France with. Liberation followed suit yesterday with a further investigative piece, Today, the gossip is that his wife, Celia has left him 5 weeks ago claiming conjugal violence. He has seemed a bit more unhinged than usual lately.
Tonight, Segolene had a monster rally in Toulouse with Spanish President Zapatero appearing to give her his full support. So far she is the only candidate to get the support from other European leaders. She met with Angela Merkel earlier this month and they held a long far ranging discussion and supposedly are good friends.
Supposedly, Sarkozy has gotten covert aid from the US Government and has said that sometimes he feels more American than French.
I think everyone is a little nervous about the outcome. The little candidates are all holding under 5% chunks of the polls with Besancenot in the lead and DeVilliers at less that 1%. Jose Bove has made his candidacy a platform to attack Sarkozy and promote understanding in the Banlieus. He seems to be really comfortable in the banlieus with out a body guard, just a little video crew hanging out and talking to the people. He got "pied" live on television last week and instead of getting angry, he seemed tyo enjoy the joke good naturedly and no one was arrested. If that had happened to Sarkozy, the perp would probably have been shot by his body guards. His slogan is Osez Bove! Which translates to Dare to Bove!
Besancenot had the best TV spot so far for his ad. He hardly spoke at all, he was just in crowds of people of all kinds, relaxed and let them do the talking for him. All he had to do was agree. For a fire breathing Troskyite revolutionary, he is one heck of a nice guy! Tomorrow will see a major last minute push by the Socialists who have been saving their media time for this.
More than that, I cannot say. It probably will end up Sarkozy/Royal. It could be really crazy and Sarko could end up as Jospin in the last election...the bitter taste of victory turning into acid as he watches the real numbers...then it could be Bayrou/Segolene or LePen/Segolene, or if worse comes to worse, Sarko/LePen...
I know if it was Sarko/LePen, many in the cities would vote LePen just to light the fuse to blow the social situattion sky high.
If Sarkozy is elected, trouble will start the night of the election.
I hope that France has had the chance to look over the edge and see into the abyss and step back and choose another future with Segolene Royal!

Saying it doesn't make it so!

This is a hard piece to write, because like so many others, I begin with an idea and today I have so many ideas that I have to ignore some. I feel compelled to write about the Virginia Tech Massacre and how it seems to what I see as a symptom of the social mental disease of intolerance that is a self fueling cycle that America creates it's problems with.
The day after the massacre, I visited Whatwouldbobbleheadedjesusdo and the blogmiester, Steve had posted a piece expressing his shock, outrage and attempt at finding some kind of answer.
I had read some other blogs, Historymike and a few others and it seems like the first people to have all the answers were the rabid christians, who all were ready to say it was a result of Americas acceptance of homosexuality, Abortion and its sinful ways. One actually said that this was gods punishment for our wickedness.
This makes no sense to me. I see the secular countries of Europe, where there has been a real effort to keep religion out of the daily life of the country, and there is of course the rare violent incident but nothing compared to the regular horrors committed by armed maniacs in America. The Virginia Tech Massacre happened a few days after the 4 year mark of the Columbine High School Massacre. In the last 20 years, there has been one incident like this in France and it occurred when a government employee walked into the Administration building in Nancy and took the Mayor and most of the Municipal Council before shooting himself a few years ago.
Why is America so different? I dared to say that it was not Americas tolerance of evil that was the problem, but its traditions of intolerance!
I'm not saying by a long shot that the perpetrators of the massacres that occur in America just needed understanding. It's deeper, America has a social culture that creates loners, people can feel totally cut off in the middle of a huge city. None of this is distinctly American, but when you look at the kids who committed the Columbine Massacre, you see two loners who came together and became more alone. There was an education system that tolerated their alienation without any support system and tolerated the deepening pit of their madness by allowing them to be totally ostracized by their peers. They created their own world of pain and hate and vengeance.
We are deadened by the violence we tolerate and demand for our entertainment. We are enured to violence by the sanitary reportage of the carnage of war. We scream for vengeance and blood at the drop of a hat. Our children play video games that are obsessed with killing and mayhem unthinkable a few years ago. There was even a christian video game that involved killing unbelievers on the streets of New York!

We have made it a lot easier to cut the bond with reality and slip into this murderous psychotic fugue. We live in a culture fueld by the language of hate, turn on CNN or any talk radio station and listen to the right wing maniacs spew hatred and violence against anyone who is ideologically apposed to them. Do I have to even name names? Children are taught to hate outsiders of all descriptions, immigrants, non believers, homosexuals...You might say that you don't mean to have them hate these people, but the effect of non stop propaganda on a young mind works differently that you might envision.
It is time to step back from the abyss and look at ourselves if introspection is an alternative any more. We say we are a tolerant nation. Saying it does not make it so.
I have already been told by Barb that my opinions are enabling homosexual mass murderers to start on a you don't need to say it dear, I said it for you, try to say something that creates peace and understanding!

Monday, April 16, 2007


This is a video of Jeff Beck playing the piece, Nadia at the North Sea Jazz Festival last year. I have always thought that Jeff Beck was in a class by himself since I was a 15 year old in Detroit. To me he is the direct link between Les Paul and the future.
He is still paving the way, 40 years later, doing things with a guitar that will inspire another generation of guitarists to hear something else.....
This version is great, all finger picking and whammy bar. I was going to post another live version of this piece which he plays with a slide. The slide version had more overtones but this is more like a real voice!

We Have "Credibility" Issues

On March 31, I posted a piece called Monica Goodling and 149 Others. It was about the fact that Monica, the attorney aide of Alberto Gonzalez implicated in the ever growing "Attorney Gate" Scandal was a graduate of Pat Robertsons Regents University. She is one of 150 graduates who went straight from the school into Justice Department positions and is the official who saiid that she would have to take the Fifth Amendment to prevent having to incriminate herself. I listed some of the credentials and "acomplishments" of some of the other members of the university teaching staff who have had positions in the Justice Department.
It is becoming clearer that the Bush Administration worked in league with Pat Robertson to place these graduates in positions to further his "Religious Revolutionary" seizure of power in our government and further his aims. These aims are the Administrations aims, to wage culture war from the inside.
Today it was revealed that George Bush may be at the center of the political plot to fire David Inglesias and the lost email scandal may be at the center of plot to protect him!
Today, I recieved this very interesting post from a blogger called jstraight. I checked out his claims and they are absolute fact!
He wrote:

Regent University has scrubbed from its web site any mention of its 150 graduates that work for the Bush administration.

Google cache has a screen capture from April 6 2007 of a Regent University’s “facts” web page where they proudly boast “150 graduates serving in the Bush Administration”

Their current “facts” page has that info removed:

Hmmm. Isn’t Regent University proud of those graduates anymore?

Or perhaps the number of graduates they listed as working for GWB was a bit overblown?

I have read elsewhere that there were 150 graduates working in the Justice Department. I would think that they are trying to erase the links to their "Cultural War, Religious Revolution" rhetoric before it becomes a catch phrase as the scandal becomes even bigger and engulfs them as it swallows more victims falling on their swords for the President.
Even Dick Cheney admitted "We have a credibility problem" today on Face The Nation!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Who's The Decider?

This was in Saturday, April 14's Washington Post:

"After intense internal debate, the Bush administration has decided to hold on to five Iranian Revolutionary Guard intelligence agents captured in Iraq, overruling a State Department recommendation to release them, according to U.S. officials.

At a meeting of the president’s foreign policy team Tuesday, the administration decided the five Iranians will remain in custody and go through a periodic six-month review used for the 250 other foreign detainees held in Iraq, U.S. officials said. The next review is not expected until July, officials say. . . .

Differences over the five Iranians reflect an emerging divide on how to deal with Iran. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice went into the meeting Tuesday advising that the men be freed because they are no longer useful, but after a review of options she went along with the consensus, U.S. officials say. Vice President Cheney’s office made the firmest case for keeping them."

Obviously, Dick Cheney again is demonstrating that it is he, and his insane policies that are driving American Diplomacy. He has over ruled the State Department and insisted that the US keep 5 Iranian Diplomats who were illegally siezed on Iranian Embassy Property. After 3 months of interrogation, they were found to be of no use as the "smoking gun" Mr. Cheney so desparately is looking for to start the phase of his war for energy domination. It's almost ridiculous to point out that the Iranians were invited to Iraq by the Iraqi government. Since when do the have any say in what goes on?

Who's the decider?

Boeuf aux Carrotes

Here is a variation on one of the classic bistro regulars of French Cuisine. This is a comforting inexpensive meal that takes some time to cook, but is well worth it.
Extremely simple, the most important thing to remember, this is a way to deal with a cheap tough piece of beef. In fact, do not use better cuts of meat for this. If you go to a butcher, ask him for stewing beef or short ribs. A tender cut will dissolve.
I made this tonight using a large piece of shoulder with some gristle and bones. It was in the freezer and it was time to use it...I think I got it on sale months ago.
You will need a piece of dried orange peel and a cinnamon stick. You could use fresh orange peel, but dried gives a different flavor and stick cinnamon is less intense, but not less flavorful than ground.
In a big pot with a cover...a cast iron pot is great, brown the piece of meat in some butter. Then add a big cut up onion and say four cloves of garlic. when the meat is browned and the onions sauted until they are clear, cover the meat with water and add the orange peel and the cinnamon stick.
Cover it and let it simmer on a low burner for at least 2 hours. Add cut up carrots. I just peel them and cut them into nice lengths. I suppose you could get fancy and use little baby carrots, but this is about how to make a cheap piece of beef wonderful, so the carrots just have to be a nice size. I add some salt and pepper and let it cook covered for another 30 minutes or more. That's it! The cinnamon and orange add a subtle flavor to a hearty standard. I suppose you could serve it with pasta or a boiled potato, but the sauce is good just with a piece of bread to sop it up! I hope you know a good bakery! Bon apetit!

Saturday, April 14, 2007


What good is photoshop if you don't abuse it?
Hair courtesy of Farrah Fawcett.

Friday, April 13, 2007

She Has Faith, I Have Faith....

The Presidential Race in France is becoming a manic dash. There is chaos in the Party headquarters as each side tries to check eachg statement as is uttered by the other.
Party members jump ship and ally themselves with an opponent hourly. Sarkozy tries to garner attention LePen style by making outrageous statements that appeal to the basist prejudicial instincts of the common man.
Through all of this, Segolene Royal seems an island of calm serenity. When asked about the polls, she dismisses them with a wave of her hand. She says that things will crystalize for her in the last hours of the campaign and procedes as if she totally believes that she will be the next president of France. Perhaps she is correct. I'm beginning to believe it. After a widening lead in the polls by Nicolas Sarkozy, suddenly, the gap is closing at a rapid pace. Sarkozy is beginning to scare his middle base by his blatant overtures to the Front National to form an alliance. His statements out of nowhere last week about genetic predisposition to homosexuality, pederasty and suicide have left a lot of people scratching their heads, wondering what kind of strategy is this? This is scary talk! Frances' leading astrologer was on a TV this week and said that Sarkozy may win, but if he did, it would mean a period of devastating social upheaval and violence!
Segolene was born in 1953 in Dakar, Senegal into a large family with a military background. Her father did not believe that women should strive for higher education and against his wishes and then to his surprise, she was admitted to the prestigious Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris, the school that most successful French politicians have attended. In 1971, she worked as an Au pair in Dublin, then successfully sued her father to have him pay for her education. Her family includes her controversial brother, Gerard, who was a French Secret Service officer who was involved in the plot to blow up the Greenpeace ship, The Rainbow Warrior.
In the Institut d'Etudes Politiques, she was in the same class as the present Prime Minister, Dominique de Villepin. In the late 1970's she met Francois Hollande, the present first secretary of The Socialist Party and they became a family, but never married. They have 4 children.
She was recruited by Francois Mitterand in 1982 to become a member of his staff and has been a deputy in the National Assembly for the Deux-Sevres departement since 1988. She won the election to the assemblyy against the odds, upsetting the long standing UMP Deputy. She was Minister of the Environment from 1992 to 1993 and then vice minister of education in 1997 under Lionel Jospin, then vice minister of family and childhood from 2002 to 2003. On March 28, 2004, she was elected President of the Poitou-Charentes region with a large majority of the vote upsetting the UMP prime minister, Raffarins' protege, Elizabeth Morin. A position she retains to this day as well as her deputy office.
On the 16th of November, 2006, Segolene was nominated Socialist party candidate for President in a party wide election throughout France. In February, she unveiled her platform called Desires d'Avenir. Last month there was a falling out with the finance minister of the Party, Eric Besson when she brought in other younger experts which disputed his numbers. The feud became personal and Mr. Besson publicly left the party and wrote a smear book which seems to be fueld by his rancor rather than facts.
Her platform is strong on family values, protecting children focusing on violence and sex on Televison. She advocates a national service to deal with deliquency and has a program to provide housing for the homeless. When she was in the Environmental ministry she passed a number of landmark laws to preserve the environment and preserve the natural regional products. Environmental issues are an important part of her campaign. She has taken a very strong position on womens rights and is very active in the fight against violence inflicted on women in France. She is very strong on gay rights and would legalize gay marriage and adoption.
She has done a lot of traveling to the mid east and China and recently Germany to acquaint herself with foreign affairs. The opposition reaction to these trips reveal the macho attitudes she battles in her campaign. They have tried to paint her as incompetent and unable to grasp the complexities of international politics, quick to grasp any slip of the tongue or misinterpret any statement.
Most of this has backfired as Sarkozy time and time again has proven that he knows less and his eagerness to be Bush and Blair's new best friend has not worked for him.
Segolenes greatest asset is her personal contact. When ever she appears on Television, talking for an hour or more with out notes, her raitings always jump a few points in the following days. There is a sure calmness she exudes. She believes she will be president and her belief is infectuous......I believe and I think more and more French voters are beginning to believe every day.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Wild Orchids 2007

Today was a warm Easter Monday Holiday here in La Sechere. I spent the day doing outdoor house and garden work and attending to my dog, JJ who has had an unfortunate encounter with a wasp nest. He got stung on the nose a few times on Friday in the woods and last night it must have itched so much he scratched his nose raw. It looked a lot worse than it was. Why do these things always happen on holidays? Our vet was nice enough to give some very good advice over the phone and I had some iodine ointment which seems to be working nicely!
But, I had a feeling and we took a walk to a field that is one of the highest points around here and there is a great view of Badefols d'Ans.
There, every year in the spring I see hundreds of purple orchis male plants. They are the first orchids to bloom in the spring and sure enough, there were about 30 plants already blooming. The latin name is orchis mascula and are on average 6 to 8 inches tall.
This is a close up of a plant. (Click on the image to enlarge.) I came home checked to see if the pictures in the camera were okay then took off in another direction into the forest to a glen down by the creek where another variety of orchid plentifully grows, but, too early, the plants aren't even above the ground yet. It's warm enough here, suddenly in the last week, the garden is blooming. We turned over the vegetable garden soil to air it before it gets tilled.
The raspberry plants are looking very good. I have 24 new strawberry plants on order, but the ones in the ground are already showing flowers!
The tree in the picture is a Marron d'Inde, which is really a European Buckeye! In a week it will be covered with hundreds of flowers. I'm going to include 2 more pictures in a small format which you can click on to view if you like. One is the glade in the forest I went to looking for the other variety of orchids and the other is of the tiny white flowers that carpet the ground there at this time of the year.

I hope that his orchid blog is interactive! Where ever you live, if you take an interest and there are wild spaces near you, you can find orchids. I will publish your orchid pictures and your notes about them. Happy hunting!

Sunday, April 08, 2007


There, you have it, from his own mouth. In case you ever wondered what was up with Joe Lieberman, he irrevokably proves that he is undeniably insane. He clearly claims that Syria was responsible for 911 among other things in his manic attempt to smear Pelosi's Trip. This was on this weekends Wolf Blitzer show here in France on CNN International.
Arlen Specter is the voice of reason.....

SPECTER: I believe that Assad can be negotiated with. I’ve made 14 trips there, Wolf, in the last two decades, and have been able to be helpful in a number of situations that I can document. And I think opening discussions with Syria are very, very important, and I’d rather Condoleezza Rice did it, but if not, it’s up to Speaker Pelosi and Arlen Specter and others.

BLITZER: What about Senator Lieberman, what do you think?

LIEBERMAN: I respectfully and strongly disagree with Arlen Specter and with Nancy Pelosi. I believe her visit to Syria was a mistake, that it was bad for the United States of America and good for the Syrians. And I say this because we’re in a war. We’re in a war against the Islamic terrorists who attacked us on 9-11-01. Syria is a state sponsor of terrorism.

BLITZER: But they had nothing to do with 9-11.

LIEBERMAN: But they have — but let me tell what you they have to do with what we’re into now. The Bashir Assad Syrian government has allowed terrorists and arms to flow across its country into Iraq that are being used to kill Americans today. Syria has been implicated in the assassination of a very strong popular Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri. Syria is supporting Hezbollah, which is trying to unseat our ally, Senora, in Lebanon. Syria is supporting the terrorist group Hamas against our allies in the Fatah Palestinian movement, and of course, Israel. The administration, in all fairness — people in Washington should know, if they don’t know, the administration has been trying in many ways, in diplomatic discussions with Syria since 9-11, to get Assad to change his behavior and he has not. When Nancy Pelosi goes there, she sends a message of disunity. She legitimizes the Syrian goverment.

BLITZER: So I assume you disagree with Senator Specter’s decision. I want Senator Specter to respond. Why do you think Senator Lieberman, Senator Specter, is wrong?

SPECTER: I believe in the maxim, hold your friends close and your enemies closer. President Ronald Reagan declared the Soviet Union to be the evil empire, and immediately thereafter undertook negotiations with them. Look, Assad is not a boy scout, but we have to deal with him. he’s there. In my conversation with him, I think there are ways to get him to stop arming Hezbollah and to stop arming Hamas. They came on the brink of a solution to the Golan Heights in 1995 and again in the year 2000. That was done by active negotiation that President Clinton engaged in. So there are ways to move through it, and to isolate them has not been successful.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

The Canyons of Your Mind

Again, what compels me to do these things? Why should you want to hear what is probably the most spectacularly awful guitar solo ever recorded played by Neil Innes? Why? Why would you want to hear the massively strange Vivian Stanshall moan, grunt and belch like an effete giant inflatable Elvis Presley doll? Why? I keep asking myself, Why? WHY? WHY?????

Friday, April 06, 2007

But Cheney Was Right!

Yesterday, our Vice President and serial liar, Dick Cheney was on Rush Limbaughs show trotting out the same tired sideshow of factoids and out right lies about the connection of Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda. At the same time, the Pentagon was issuing a report that analyzed the cooked informationa and presentations that were used to convince a panicked nation to go to war in Iraq. The report soecifically debunked the connection to Al Qaeda.You begin to think that Cheney actually belives what he is saying and ha s succeeded in brainwashing himself.
But I want to point out that there was a connection between Bin Laden and Hussein!
Perhaps Dick Cheney is right after all! They had the same banker, BCCI. The link went beyond the dictator and the jihadist, it passed through Saudi Arabia and stretched all the way to George W. Bush and his father.
BCCI, the Bank of Credit and Commerce International was a dirty off shore bank tht Ronald Reagens CIA used to run guns to Hussein, finance bin Laden, move money in the illegal Iran/ContraScam and finance the other agency black operations. The Bushes also benefited. One of the bank's largest Saudi investors bailed out George W. Bushes troubled oil investments, Harken Energy Corp. in 1987.
The bank was founded in 1972 by a Pakastani Banker, Agha Hasan Abedi with the support of the Sultan of Abu Dhabi. Its corporate strategy was money laudering. It became the banker for drugs and arms traffickers, corrupt officials, financial fraudsters, distators and terrorists.
The CIA used it to fund bin Ladens Mujahadeen to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. Itt moved some 2 billion in cash skimmed off from US aid to Pakistan. It also moved money as required by Saudi Intelligence Services.
This experience gave bin Laden an education in offshore black finance which he used to finance Al Qaeda. He moved money through the Al-Taqwa Bank operating in Nassau and Switzerland.
At the same time, BCCI was helping Saddam Hussein from 1985 through 89 funneling 4 billion dollars in secret US loans to help him buy arms.
Kickbacks from these loans which were funneled through the Italian BNL, Banco Nazionale de Lavoro, into bank accounts of Iraqi leaders in a BCCI branch in the Cayman Islands. BNL was a client of Kissiinger Associates and Kissinger was on BCCI's international advisory board along with Brent Scowcroft, who became Bush Sr.s Nattional Security Advisor. That connection in itself makes the Administrations surprise and indignation at the "oil for food" payoffs in Iraq seem disingenuous.
Many of the top Saudi banking families were represented on the board of BCCI including the Saudi ruling family who bought 30 percent of the of the stock.
The Arabs interest in the bank was more than just financial. A classified CIA memo from the 1 mid 80's on BCCI said that many of the prominent shareholders from Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi were less iinterested in profits than the promoting the Muslim cause.
The Bush family link was through the Texas business man, James R. Bath who invested money in the US in the interest of the Saudis. In 1976, George Bush Sr. was head of the CIA and sold some of the Air America planes ,used during the Vietnam War, to Skyway, a company owned by Bath and the Saudi financer Bin Mahfouz of BCCI. Bath then helped finance Bush Jr.s Oil Company, Arbusto Energy, Inc. in 1979 and 80.
Arbusto was absorbed by Harken Energy( Harken Energy was located in the Enron Headquarters) and then merged with Spectrum 7 Energy, got into financial trouble in 1987, a politically powerful Arkansas financer, Jackson Stephens helped it secure $25 million from the Union Bank of Switzerland. The Harken shareholder, Sheik Abdullah Taha Bakhsh whose cheif bank was BCCI was given a place on the Uion Bank board as part of the deal.
In 1988, George Bush Sr. was elected president. Harken benefiited by getting some new investors, including Salem bin Laden, Osama's half brother and Khalid bin Mahfouz. Osama was busy at the time else where, organizing Al Qaeda.
BCCI was shut down in 1991 when it collapsed, effectively stealing over a twenty year period between 9.5 and 20m billion dollars, the biggest bank fraud in history!Most of it was never recovered due to the murky trail of offshore financing.
In 1992, Mahfouz was still flush with cash and founded the Muwafaq (Blessed Relief) Foundation in the Channel Islands. The U.S. Treasury called it an Al Qaeda front that recieves funding from wealthy Saudi businessmen.
When the BCCI Scandal beagan to break in the late 80's, the Sr. Bush administratiuon did all it could to sit on it. The Justice department went after culprits after it was virtually forced to by New York District Attorney, Rober Morgenthau. The evidence of BCCI's broader links existin numerous other U.S. and international investigations.
Now is the time to start looking at the BCCI-Osama-Saddam-Saudi-Bush connection!
Perhaps if we connected the dots, Mr. Cheney wouldn't be the delusional liar he seems to be!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


Here is what everyone in France was watching at lunch time on TV yesterday.
The TGV hits 574.8 kmh or 357.2 mph! Revolutionary new system actually feeds power back into the grid when it brakes! When it goes under the bridge near the end, the people on the bridge said it jumped! If America had this train it would mean New York to Washington DC in 40 minutes!


I haven't written about cheese for a few weeks and today we were at the farm produce market in Objat and they had fresh cabecou. Cabecou is the only cheese officially from the Dordogne. Other cheeses are made here, but this is the only AOC cheese of this region.
They are little disks made of goat milk.
Creamy and mild when they are young and they get harder and sharper as they age. There is a famous variety made further south in the Lot called the Cabecou de Rocamadour. Rocamadour is famous as a medieval pilgrimage site with its Black Virgin in a chapel on a cliff top that is reached by a tortuous stairway carved in the rock. For penances, even the kings of France would sometimes journey there and make tthe climb on their knees. There are many Black Virgins that are venerated in this part of France. They are carved wooden statues of the Virgin Mary and Child that are very old and have been the objects of veneration for centuries. They are called Black Virgins because the wood has turned black many centuries ago from age and exposure to the oily smoke of incense.
The little cheeses are pressed in forms and ready for market in 10 days in their moist fresh form. In the summer, they might be presented on a bed of chestnut leaves. The peasants would enhance the sharp flavor by brushing them with goat urine as they aged, but I assure you, this is not a commercial practice.
They have a sharp, nutty flavor with the characteristic metallic tang of goat cheeses. They are delicious fresh with red wine or a dry white but they have some great culinary uses that are pretty special. Often they are presented in markets with a thin slice of dried ham or dried smoked duck breast wrapped around them. The very best use for them is to quickly saute them in a hot pan and try not to make the cheese melt into a gooey mess and then served with a salad of simple dressed greens like a batavia or frisee...a lettuce that has a little bitterness to it. You can do this with a un ham wrapped cabecou if you fry it quickly in a little oil. Even better, bread the entire disk of cheese before you fry it for a little crispiness! I love that. When fresh figs are available, we take figs and open them with two cuts like a star and put the cheese in the center and then under the broiler fopr a few minutes. Serve the cheesey fig on a little lettuce!
I have seen cabecou available in New York. It is quite different than other goat cheeses, sharper and firmer. Fresh figsand cabecou! Bon apetit!

Frederic Nihous

Frederic Nihous is the candidate for President in the 2007 French Presidential election from the Hunting, Fishing, Nature, Tradition Party. He was born in 1967 in Nord-Pas-de-Calais in Northern France but now lives in the Pyrenees Atlantiques, in the South west. His origins on his mothers side are Polish Communist and his father is Dutch. His father is currently the president of an association for pigeon hunters.
He is a lawyer who obtained his doctorate in European and International economic rights.
In 2002, he ran the presidential campaign for Jean Saint-Josse who recieved 4.23% of the first turn votes. In September 2006, Frederic was nominated to run by his party witth 82.94% of the votes. On the 16th of March this year, he obtained 655 mayoral signatures to sponsor his campaign and on the 19th, he became an official candidate.
His partys' position is against the ratification of the European Union Constitution as it now stands. He is for the rights of hunters and the traditional uses of the land. He is a member of many hunters associations in France, on one hand for the preservation of natural lands and on the other against the ecological legislation that he sees crippling the small businesses and farmers. He is against the avalanche of rules and regulations governing all manufacture and sale of food items in Europe, hence removing all the natural differences of the regions, such as the pasturization of milk for all cheeses, the rules for the manufacture of chocolate which allow the use of vegetable fats and coconut oil in products designated as chocolate. The rules about the preparation of food have been a great burden on the small farm producers of foie gras and pates and traditional products as well as local cheeses.
I don't see him as a candidate who would ever even entertain the notion of winning, but he will get a micro percentage of the vote and his alloted media time will force his views and constituency to be listened to and taken seriously.
As a candidate, he is soft spoken and very understanding of the rights of others and seems to have a great sense of humor!!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Love Is a Cylindrical Piano

Oh why oh why am I doing this?...a compulsion I think. Why can't we have this kind of fun anymore? Why does everything have to make sense? Should I care what you think? Why ask these painfully boring questions when we could be watching The Bonzo Dog Band and Eric Idle from the pre Monty Python era illustrating why the Bonzo Dog Bands full name was The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band. This is sheer Da Da lunacy of the highest grade. 100%.

Monday, April 02, 2007

le petit nain de jardin

Another week in French politics flies by dizzyingly. Segolene fires up a crowd and they sing the Marseilles twice with passion. She releases her book, Matignon and it is barely mentioned in the media and very hard to find in the local book stores. Meanwhile, Nikolas releases another this overkill? The book has a vivid Red White and Blue cover in blatant violation of campaign rules. Simone Veil, the holocaust survivor who was very instrumental in the womans rights movement here, left the Bayrou campaign and shockingly went over to Nikolas. The only reason anyone could imagine is the illogical support the Jewish intellectual community has given Sarkozy. He is the only candidate that is sympathetic to Israel in their persecution of the Palestinians. He also supports George Bush and the "War On Terror". He seems to be taking a lot of pages from the Neo Con and Karl Rove textbooks. The support of Simone Veil lasted 5 days, then she publicly broke with him yesterday over his ambiguous statements on his "Ministry fo Immigration and National Identity". Meanwhile the personal smear campaign by the ex Finance director of the Socialist Party, Eric Besson seems to have backfired. His little book sold, but now the sttory is that the big mans' delicate ego couldn't stand that Segolene had brought in younger economists to formulate the Socialists economic strategy.
That's why the attack was so personal and vicious, it also explains why the book is not being taken seriously. Meanwhile, Nikolas' Neuilly apartment scandal has gone to another level with an investigative article in last Thursdays Nouvelle Obs, bribery, theft, intimidation and a mysterious murder all swirl around the multi million dollar apartment and its renovation in the swank quarter that Sarko is mayor of.
Last week saw a provoked riot in the Gare du Nord by kids who saw a man beaten by the police for jumping the turnstiles. Instantly, an army of police appeared and battle lines were drawn and the action was caught by the startled bystanders on their cellphone cameras. It seemed to be custom made to order for Sarkozys speech later that evening. He criticized all the other candidates on their soft stance on crime when they tried to analyze the cause of the trouble. Segolene said his commentw were ignoble, and he stated the next day that she said that he was ignoble! Tonight she called him an out and out liar on a live TV program...the sparks will fly because of that.
This is the first time she has personally attacked him after weeks of being the victime of attacks and smears from his side and she was strong! The velvet gloves are off, she was dressed in black leather.
A lot of press about how the corporations that support Sarkozy also control the polling here. The great thing about Segolene is that her campaign is grass roots and covers hundreds of kilometers everyday with small and large meetings of give and take. She is by far the most traveled candidate. Bove is all over the place and has stated that he supports Segolene and will give her his whole hearted support in the second tour of the election. He seems to have a real rapport with the city minority kids. His record of putting himself personally in danger and on the line for his beliefs has made him a folk hero. LePen is a real threat, he is the real third man in this election. In the south, the mindless racism he espouses is a real thing. The numbers don't show up in the polls because many people are ashamed to say they support him, but the numbers of secret Front National votes are always shocking. Bayrou is running out of steam, now at 17%, slowly sinking into irrelevance. The 4 communist party candidates are a mystery to me. Tthey all seem to be competing with each other and spending more time attacking the Socialists than Sarkozy. I sometimes think that there is an unspoken strategy, draw enough votes away from the Socialists to force a LePen/Sarkozy race which would assure an outcome of utter chaos, no matter which one won. I really like Olivier Besancenot and in a better world, I would give him my whole hearted support, but his rhetoric is undeniably revolutionary and the chaos that would result from a LePen or Sarkozy win would only make the Communists stronger as a force and insure the survival of another way in a world where the choices were becoming too much like Coke or Pepsi.......?


What can I say but April Fool! The two boxers are the Kipper Kids, one of them is Bette Midlers husband. This is a musical number from the wonderfuly tacky surrealistic film Forbidden Zone. The first film scored by Danny Elfman while he was a member of Oingo Boingo, it was made by his brother and some how they got Viva and Herve Villachaize, (you know, the plane, the plane!). I have a copy on video tape and there are some wonderful moments...Danny Elfman as the devil singing Minnie the Moocher....Cardboard and tinfoil sets, cheap animation, lip works to make something like you've never seen before!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Sarkozy Part 2

Does Sarkozy think he’s already sitting on the Elysée throne? Is he already having orgasms in anticipation of his coming up unlimited powers?

No doubt drunk in the wake of his popularity in the polls - which put him in the lead - the UMP candidate has recently decided to throw a little tantrum of authoritarian nature in the facilities of “France 3″ TV channel studios. A kind of regal tantrum reminding one of past centuries. Mr Sarkozy in effect threatened to “sack” France 3’s management. Just like that. Just because France 3 didn’t unfold the big red carpet due to his majesty Sarkozy and did not all rush to go kiss his gown when he turned up at their studio, 18 March 2007, invited to participate in the program “France Europe Express”, presented by Christine Ockrent.

As soon as he got there, Mr. the Minister-candidate starts abusing people, and lets it known that the program “gives him the shits”.

Then he gets pissed because he has to wait in the studio’s corridors - waiting for the “make-up” studio to be free as it was being used by another guest. But this is apparently a clear case of high treason against his majesty Sarkozy and therefore the entire management is now guilty of this crime. “The entire France 3 management team must be sacked” says Sarkozy, as reported in the “Canard Enchainé” on 21 March 2007. “I can’t do it now yet, but just you wait, it won’t be long”.

The French people is now warned. One of Sarkozy’s priorities if elected president will be to chop the heads off France 3’s management.

[skipping not very important and very-hard-to-translate section]

The “Société des Journalistes de la Rédaction Nationale de France 3″ is outraged by the attitude of someone bidding for the highest office in the land. We are very worried that Mr. Sarkozy can openly display such a stand of disregard to the independance of public television services.

No Mr. Sarkozy, the journalists of “France 3 National Rédaction” are not and never will be your lackeys. They will fight any threat against their independance. The only accountability we are binded by is to that of the French public, not to you.

Our chart of integrity means we will never submit to any form of political influence let alone dominance. Neither from you nor any other candidate.

Best regards.
La Société des Journalistes de France 3. Le 23 Mars 2007

This was a translation of an email sent to me that was originated by the staff of the France 3 television Network. I referred to this incident in my last post on Nikolas Sarkozy, part 1.
I've seen a change in the reporting in the last week, the people are beginning to see a clear threat to their liberties because of this man. The use of fear came to the forefront when there was a police provoked riot in the Gare de Nord in Paris on Wednesday.
The police used unecessary force to subdue a young Arab man who was turnstile jumping. Suddenly, a phlanx of cops with riot shields appeared and it turned into a real melee and it's unclear who the provacatuers were. It seemed to be an incident custom made for Sarkozys appearance that evening. He was ready with a speech which appealed to the fears of the common people. He tried to portray his opponents as soft on crime because of their conciliatory statements calling for calm and understanding.
So far it seems to be backfiring. The Sarkozy supporters seem to be passionate, but the opposition has suddenly discovered that this is a fight for the soul of a Nation!
Thanks to WhyNot of the blog Pouqoui Pas? for the great translation!
He wrote a great piece on this today and used my illustration!
I will write more on Sarkozy very soon, but first I will profile some of the candidates I haven't written of as of yet!

Terrorisme Grolandais

J'ai devenir un citoyen Grolandais! Regardez-vous comme nous nous occupons de terrorisme Grolandais! Facile, simple, efficace!