Monday, May 28, 2007

That's right! This is your big chance to show the world that you have the right stuff and prove that evolution is just a bunch of hooey once and for all!
We are having a Creationist Anti-Science Fair here at the brain police and entries
will be accepted up until July 4, 2007! I will publish the results and you can vote on the winner! I think I can come up with some kind of appropriate prize by then!
Send me art work, your experiments, proposals, essays, what ever you think
will show the world that science is just a reality based conspiracy to deny the biblical

For example: Prove that women are anatomically designed to be subservient to men and don't deserve equal pay! Intelliigent design will show that they were designed to load washing machines and wash dishes and cook!

Or: Prove that Noah's Ark was possible by seeing how many gerbils you can pack into
into a small box and how long they can stay alive!

Whynot put a piece of carbon, assorted minerals and purified water into a sealed mason jar and leave it in the sunlight for a few weeks and pray that God doesn't decide to spontaneously start life in there to mess up your experiment.

These are just a few hints at the wide range of subjects out there waiting for your closed little minds to mold to your predestined conclusions!
Now, C'mon kids, I'm counting on you to make thebrainpolice Creationist Anti-Science Fair 2007 the biggest and best ever!
Entries can be sent to thebrainpolice email address:


Another Monday, another cheese! Today we are taking another trip to Normandy, the land of apples, fresh cream and butter, calvados and among many others, Livarot cheese. It is made in the region around the town of Livarot and has been an official AOC cheese since 1975 though it has been made the same way since the middle ages.
It is a cows milk cheese sold in a round wooden box, like a camembert, but taller. It is a soft cheese and wrapped in 5 rush leaves to preserve the form while it matures. Some of the Livarot produced commercially today is wrapped in green paper to simulate the leaves, but most is still wrapped when bought in rushes.

The cheese has an orange skin which is edible. It is washed with salt water as it ferments. The orange color in the commercial Livarot is obtained by the use of vegetable coloring, but in the artisanal cheese it is a result of the natural bacteria, brevibacterium linen.

The large size is 450 grams but there is a smaller size sold, Le Petit-Lisieux, 120 grams...also in 130 and 60 gram sizes. The cheese is in season now. The best time to consume it is from May until September after it has aged for 6 to 8 weeks.

This is a strong cheese. It is different than camembert which is pungent. The Livarot is pungent but with a taste of hazelnut. It is one of the French cheeses that you love intensely or can't stand. It is strong and if you want to truly appreciate it, let it warm up for a little while after you take it from the refrigerator. A nice strong red wine and good bread is all you need. Perhaps, it might be nice with a shot of calvados, the apple brandy of the region. It is good with fresh fruit.

It has a nickname, Le Colonel, because of the 5 bands of rushes around it. If you find it, let it age a bit to develop the soft texture and odor which are the real character of this great cheese!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

One Nation Under A Groove!

One nation under a groove, gettin down just for the funk of it! One nation, we're on the move! No one can stop us now!

One of the greatest grooves of all time! Since the beginning of time, since the dinosaurs stomped to it! Funkadelic 1977!

8,000 YEARS B.C.!

Today in beautiful Petersburg, Kentucky, a suburb of Cincinatti, Ohio, the 27 million dollar Creationist Museum opens amid much controversy and planned protest from supporters of evolution and educators. The Museum claims to show definitive proof that the strict American fundamentalist biblical interpretation of the creation of the world is correct once and for all.
In a series of controversial dioramas they depict humans living along side dinosaurs on a newly created planet where all living things live peacefully side by side.
They will prove that the Earth is only 10,000 years old and the fossil evidence that evolutionists claim to have is just the remains of sinners and unbelievers that were punished in the great flood which laid down all sedentary rock strata on the planet. They also will demonstrate that the faulty evolutionary theory of the progressive stages in mans development are patently false and supposed specimens of neaderthal man are only deformed and sickly specimens of humans who developed severe arthritis from the great flood.
If anything, this diorama of cave women fighting over who has the right to cook dinner for their lord and master, cave man, proves the theory of de- evolution to me, because these cave ladies are much foxier than any normal Kentucky female of the fundamentalist persuasion today!
The next diorama is a tribute to the self proclaimed creation scientist, Dr. Richard Paley, a teacher of Divinity and Theology at Fellowship University and his ill fated expedition in the summer of 2000 in which he set out to prove that pterosaurs are still alive and flying! Only now, the truth can be told! Dr. Paley is back at his job and the investigation into what happened to three of his intrepid team members is still ongoing. This diorama is an attempt to explain the strange nonsense syllables he keeps uttering over and over.
The final diorama I am going to show you in this preview of the museum is probably the most controversial. It not only proves that dinosaurs existed at the same time as man, but modern cars have existed for at leat 10,000 years! Well, this car isn't so modern, it resembles a 1955 Chevrolet, which might as well be 10,000 years old! This disproves the popular nonsense images we all have in our heads of the Flintstones and their Lincoln Log Continental! In this incredible image, a dinosaur of the subspecie cottonus sweatsockasaurus actually attacks and tries to eat the prehistoric proto-Chevrolet like vehicle! Luckily for primitive man, the sweatsockasaurus was easily detectable from a long distance by its very distinctive odor.
Now if that isn't proof!
I think I know where you are going on your next family outing! Beautiful Petersburg, Kentucky, also home of the largest plaster lawn ornament manufacturing company in America!


Friday, May 25, 2007

Glorious George The First

This iillustration was inspired by a post on whatwouldbobbleheadedjesusdo?
Steve wrote of a recent White House Directive giving the president
extraordinary powers to insure continuity in the government in case of an
Read this document and wonder as Steve did, should we be afraid, very afraid?
More over, why hasn't this been commented on in the press?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Deja vu

Today, I read a rather disturbing transcript of an interview with Seymour Hirsch. I was trying to find out the background of what was really happening in Lebabon. All we hear on the media news is that the Lebanese Army is going aggressively after Islamic Fundamentalists Militants and the Palestinian Refugees are caught in the crossfire as they bomb the refugee camps. The reports are that the Lebanese Army is trying to crack down on a militant Sunni group, Fatah al-Islam that it formerly supported.
In March of this year it was reported tht American policy had shifted to opposing Iran, Syria and their Shia allies at any cost. This meant backing hardline Sunni Jihadists.

Last March, everyone was speculating about the trip that Dick Cheney took to Saudi Arabia to meet with Prince Bandar bin Sultan. the Saudi National Security Advisor. The results of this trip seem to have been an agreement to have the Saudis covertly fund The Sunni Fatah al-Islam as a counterweight to the Shia Hezbollah.

What is going on? Israel has been percieved in Washington as having actually lost the war with Hezbollah last summer in Lebanon. This provoked acute anxiety and panic to the point that America is no longer acting rationally and actually supporting the Sunnis anywhere they can to oppose the Shia. "We are in the business of creating sectarian violence." said Mr. Hirsch in his CNN Interview. We were drawn in to support Fatah al-Islam as a covert Saudi program to stop the Shia but, as Mr. Hirsch put it,"It bit us in the rear!"

What's more interesting is that this is the same pattern that gave rise and empowered Al-Qaeda, the same people who were involved in Afghanistan empowering Al-Qaeda in the 80's in both Saudi Arabia and the USA are falling into the same pattern again.

The administration is hell bent on combating the percieved rise of the influence of Iran and has again been creating a situation which is working against our own best interests. We see that the aircraft carriers and destroyers are assembling in the Gulf of Hormuz. Earlier this week, thte administration vaguely warned of an Iranian offensive in Iraq designed to convince the US Democrats to demand we exit now. I read the report in the Guardian that questioned the intelligence behind this report and wondered what the USA was up to.

I think it is obvious, the Cheney cabal which controls US mideast policy is gearing up for its long fantasized assault in Iran. Last week, I published a piece on Religious right leaders meeting at the White House for a dinner in which they were told to push support the Iraq war and preach the neccessity of attacking Iran. James Dobson right off the bat started to compare Iran to Nazi Germany and said they had to be dealt with immediately. The press has been pumping the usual misinformation about Irans nuclear program.

What do I think? I think Bush wants to keep the state of war going so he can exit office to a Democrat President in 2008 who will have to deal with the Iraq situation and will have to go to the UN for help. I think Cheney wants to destroy the Iranian infrastructure and create chaos so he can enable Western Oil Companies to gain access to Iranian oil reserves. I think the Democrats are acting like Neville Chamberlain dealing with Hitler before the Second World War, except that in my analogy, it isn't withdrawing from Iraq that creates the "appeasement", it's failing to have a firm policy and failing to stand up to Bush and company and ending this debacle!

I think in it's attempt to fund another Sunni Militant Islamic Group, America has createds another Al-Quaeda like monster which is already pouring arms and support back into Iraq and fueling the sectarian violence which is killing US Servicemen and women. Same cast of characters, same terrible strategy, will it have the same tragic results?

Monday, May 21, 2007

Wild Orchids 5/21/07

I spent some time over the weekend hiking to some very prime locations of for my wild orchid hunt! I took my dog, JJ who loves to get in the way of every picture I try to take on a long hike through the forest to a few glades that are marshy environments in a valley where two small creeks link up. It has rained a bit lately, so the ground was pretty soggy. We actually saw stags fighting in the forest on the other side of the creek. They make a lot of noise and it seemed very fierce! While I was in the forest, I started to find girolles...chantrelle mushrooms and before I knew it, I was using the plactic bag had the camera in to collect almost a half kilo! I have never found so many in the spring before.
So we got to the little marshy valley clearing and after walking a bit in the high grass, I started to see spike of flowers. As I got closer, I tried to identify the plants but had trouble because of the spotted leaves. As I examined the form of the blossom, I came tto the conclusion that it was a variety or hybrid of dactylorhiza
cruenta, or the blood orchid. These flowers were white with a purplish dot pattern barely discernable on the petals but the form is the same. Normally this orchid with the dappled leaves is purplish red. There were about 15 plants in the location, some whiter than others. I took my pictures and then we moved on and found ourselves in a broad marshy plain covered with tall grass and there were taller thinner but more dense spikes rising
from the grass. I had found a group of orchis incarnata or dactylorhiza incarnata, subspecies ochroleuca. A very handsome plant with sturdy strap like leaves with no dappling. There were around 25 through the grass and in the marshier areas, wild yellow flags. This was a hard picture as JJ wanted to get my atttention and me lying in the grass looked like I wanted to play!
We headed back into the forest and I walked up to the other ridge and found a few very nice 2 leaf orchids or
plantathera bifolia. Much more delicate white flowers that even seem to be a bit green. They grow in clearings in the forest or the sides of trails in sandier dryer environments that the dactylorhizae. There were plants sparsely spred out over a few square meters. At his point the sky which ahd been darkening for a little while began to look threatening and I was using the camera bag for the mushrooms I found so I
began to head back. Luckily I got home before the rain started. Today, I bought a new bike...a nice VTT that I took on a 15 mile test ride! While on the ride, I rode past the village of Raffaillac and the big hill there. I stopped because there were a number of plants growing out of the hillside including bee, hanging man, frog and pyramid orchids! Tomorrow, I plan to bike back with the camera and document those.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Hobby or Habit?

For the last week, I have been playing catch-up. I was gone for 2 weeks and suddenly it's mid spring and there is a vegetable garden to plant! Two weeks of heat and rain inspired grass and weeds to deal with. Then there are various and sundry home repair and improvement projects I want to finish before summer and we have guests.
I have been meaning to write this post...
For two weeks at the end of April and the first week of May, I was working near Libourne, near the village of Neac at the Chateau Vieux Chevrol. This is my 6th year as a worker in the vineyards. Last year I posted a piece about the grape harvest, the vendange. This year was the first time I worked on the spring care of the vines. There are almost 20 hectares of Merlot and Cabernet grapes which are mixed for the final product each year. The Chateau is located in the Lalande Pomerol Region which has been an official Bordeaux appelation since the late 1800's. Vieux Chevrols produces a classic oak aged Lalande Pomerol. It is deep and the flavor is highlighted by notes of framboise and cassis. There is some inported to the United States. The wine is best aged for around 6 years, after which it may get better or it may not. Usually, to my taste, it becomes better!
I worked with a small group of Dutch, French and Morrocans. The group size was 4 to 7 people but usually 5. Each day I got up at 6:30, and was readyy to start working at 8 am. Unfortunately, this year it rained almost every day, but we had a few nice days.
The work consisted of 2 procedures. The Embourgeonage, which refers to removing unwanted buds and Empampranage which refers to the cleaning up of the pied, the foot, of the vine. We used a neat little tool called an Empamprette which has a distinctly

medieval look to my taste. Basically, we each would take a row and work on each plant, removing the unwanted vine branches, leaves and growth from the pied that would draw energy from the formation of healthy bunches of grapes. It is important to leave the plant able to have bunches of grapes that won't be smothered in leaves which promote rot. I really want to thank my professor of empampranage, Avida, who was extremly patient with me. Avida also made a grand cous cous dinner one night for

all the workers and the Champseix family!
Then, we would cut the growth from the base of the plant. All grape vines in commercial wine production in France have been grafted onto wild stock because it is resistant to the disease called phylloxera, caused by a small insect, which practically wiped out the industry in the late 1800's.
The wild grape is an American native and is called L'Americain. It tries to grow and sends out shoots from the base which have to be suppressed with the Empamprette!
That was it, trying to work at a steady pace, each plant was a separate problem. There were thousands of them and lots of unpleasant bending in the steady light rain.
We were compensated with very good food for lunch and dinner.. Jean Pierre Champseix, the owner of the chateau has made it his duty to educate us and make us experience the best wines in the world. He explains the process of making a great wine and we learn a little more each year! The compensation is also the good friends I see every time I go back, the good humor and good nature that make this hard work something I look forward to each time.
I think I may go back for the Vendange Vert, which is the removal of bunches of unripe grapes at the end of June, again to help promote the maximum growth and quality of a few bunches on each vine. I will definitely be back in the end of September for the Harvest!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

We Have A Dream!

This Resolution to Impeach George Bush and Dick Cheney was passed unanimously by the Detroit City Council in session yesterday May 16th. The City of Detroit has joined a number of towns and cities across the United States brave enough to stand up and demand the impeachment of this tragically inept, corrupt and criminal administration.
I am printing the resolution in full. The administration hasn't failed us only in its insane pursuit of Folly with its nebulous goals in Iraq, but on such a tragic national level, its total abandonment of any responsibility to the needs of the survivors of Katrina, it's neglect of any real solutions or goals regarding the plight of Americas great Industrial cities. Ineptness abounds, but ignoring the United States Constitution and thumbing its nose at all international law is where the real criminality lies. Torture, illegal abductions, secret prison camps, illegal spying on it's own citizens, ignoring all boundaries of the separation of church and state, using the government as a tool for personal enrichment......
Of course, I've left things out and missed a few specific reasons for impeachment, add your own favorites. The important thing is to talk impeachment! Make it part of of the daily discussions of the people around you! The more people who dream of an idea, the more real it becomes!

Resolution to Impeach President George W. Bush and Vice-President Richard B. Cheney

Introduced by Council President Pro Tempore Monica Conyers and Council Member JoAnn Watson

Passed in the Name of the Full Council, Wednesday, May 16, 2007

WHEREAS, George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney conspired with others to defraud the United States of America by intentionally misleading Congress and the public regarding the threat from Iraq in order to justify a war in violation of Title 18 United States Code, Section 371; and

WHEREAS, George W. Bush has admitted to ordering the National Security Agency to conduct electronic surveillance of American civilians without seeking warrants from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review, duly constituted by Congress in 1978, in violation of Title 50 United States Code, Section 1805; and

WHEREAS, George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney conspired to commit the torture of prisoners in violation of the "Federal Torture Act" Title 18 United States Code, Section 113C, the UN Torture Convention and the Geneva Convention, which under Article VI of the Constitution are part of the "supreme Law of the Land"; and

WHEREAS, George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney acted to strip American citizens of their constitutional rights by ordering indefinite detention without access to legal counsel, without charge and without the opportunity to appear before a civil judicial officer to challenge the detention, based solely on the discretionary designation by the President of a U.S. citizen as an "enemy combatant", all in subversion of law; and

WHEREAS, In all of this George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney have acted in a manner contrary to their trust as President and Vice President, subversive of constitutional government to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice, and to the manifest injury of the people of the City of Detroit and of the United States of America; and

WHEREAS, Petitions from the country at large may be presented by the Speaker of the House according to Clause 3 of House Rule XII;

Be it resolved that George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney, by such conduct, warrant impeachment and trial, and removal from office and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States;

Be it resolved further by the City of Detroit, that our senators and representatives in the United States Congress be, and they are hereby, requested to cause to be instituted in the Congress of the United States proper proceedings for the investigation of the activities of the George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney, to the end that they may be impeached and removed from such office.

Be it resolved further, that the Clerk of the City of Detroit be, and is hereby, instructed to certify to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, under the seal of the City of Detroit, a copy of this resolution and its adoption by the City of Detroit, as a petition, and request that this petition be delivered to the Office of the Clerk and entered in the United States Congressional Journal. The copies shall be marked with the word "Petition" at the top of the document and contain the original authorizing signature of the City Clerk, Janice M. Winfrey.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

In His Own Words

Jerry Falwell died yesterday. I don't have to comment on him and his carreer except to say I believe he is part of the disease that is eating the soul of America. I don't have to eulogize or curse him. If there is a heaven or a hell, he will finally know the truth. Here's to a grand scam artist and I'll just let his words and deeds in his public life give him the send off he deserves!

March 1980
: Falwell tells an Anchorage rally about a conversation with President Carter at the White House. Commenting on a January breakfast meeting, Falwell claimed to have asked Carter why he had “practicing homosexuals” on the senior staff at the White House. According to Falwell, Carter replied, “Well, I am president of all the American people, and I believe I should represent everyone.” When others who attended the White House event insisted that the exchange never happened, Falwell responded that his account “was not intended to be a verbatim report,” but rather an “honest portrayal” of Carter’s position.

August 1980: After Southern Baptist Convention President Bailey Smith tells a Dallas Religious Right gathering that “God Almighty does not hear the prayer of a Jew,” Falwell gives a similar view. “I do not believe,” he told reporters, “that God answers the prayer of any unredeemed Gentile or Jew.” After a meeting with an American Jewish Committee rabbi, he changed course, telling an interviewer on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that “God hears the prayers of all persons…. God hears everything.”

July 1984: Falwell is forced to pay gay activist Jerry Sloan $5,000 after losing a court battle. During a TV debate in Sacramento, Falwell denied calling the gay-oriented Metropolitan Community Churches “brute beasts” and “a vile and Satanic system” that will “one day be utterly annihilated and there will be a celebration in heaven.” When Sloan insisted he had a tape, Falwell promised $5,000 if he could produce it. Sloan did so, Falwell refused to pay and Sloan successfully sued. Falwell appealed, with his attorney charging that the Jewish judge in the case was prejudiced. He lost again and was forced to pay an additional $2,875 in sanctions and court fees.

October 1987: The Federal Election Commission fines Falwell for transferring $6.7 million in funds intended for his ministry to political committees.

February 1988: The U.S. Supreme Court strikes down a $200,000 jury award to Falwell for “emotional distress” he suffered because of a Hustler magazine parody. Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, usually a Falwell favorite, wrote the unanimous opinion in Hustler v. Falwell, ruling that the First Amendment protects free speech.

February 1993: The Internal Revenue Service determines that funds from Falwell’s Old Time Gospel Hour program were illegally funneled to a political action committee. The IRS forced Falwell to pay $50,000 and retroactively revoked the Old Time Gospel Hour’s tax-exempt status for 1986-87.

March 1993: Despite his promise to Jewish groups to stop referring to America as a “Christian nation,” Falwell gives a sermon saying, “We must never allow our children to forget that this is a Christian nation. We must take back what is rightfully ours.”

1994-1995: Falwell is criticized for using his “Old Time Gospel Hour” to hawk a scurrilous video called “The Clinton Chronicles” that makes a number of unsubstantiated charges against President Bill Clinton — among them that he is a drug addict and that he arranged the murders of political enemies in Arkansas. Despite claims he had no ties to the project, evidence surfaced that Falwell helped bankroll the venture with $200,000 paid to a group called Citizens for Honest Government (CHG). CHG’s Pat Matrisciana later admitted that Falwell and he staged an infomercial interview promoting the video in which a silhouetted reporter said his life was in danger for investigating Clinton. (Matrisciana himself posed as the reporter.) “That was Jerry’s idea to do that,” Matrisciana recalled. “He thought that would be dramatic.”

November 1997: Falwell accepts $3.5 million from a front group representing controversial Korean evangelist Sun Myung Moon to ease Liberty University’s financial woes.

April 1998: Confronted on national television with a controversial quote from America Can Be Saved!, a published collection of his sermons, Falwell denies having written the book or had anything to do with it. In the 1979 work, Falwell wrote, “I hope to live to see the day when, as in the early days of our country, we won’t have any public schools. The churches will have taken them over again and Christians will be running them. What a happy day that will be!” Despite Falwell’s denial, Sword of the Lord Publishing, which produced the book, confirms that Falwell wrote it.

January 1999: Falwell tells a pastors’ conference in Kingsport, Tenn., that the Antichrist prophesied in the Bible is alive today and “of course he’ll be Jewish.”

February 1999: Falwell becomes the object of nationwide ridicule after his National Liberty Journal newspaper issues a “parents alert” warning that Tinky Winky, a character on the popular PBS children’s show “Teletubbies,” might be gay.

September 2001: Falwell blames Americans for the 9/11 terrorist attacks. “The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the Pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say, ‘You helped this happen.’”

November 2005: Falwell spearheads campaign to resist “war on Christmas.”

February 2007: Falwell describes global warming as a conspiracy orchestrated by Satan, liberals, and The Weather Channel.

Thank you Mr. Falwell for sliming our world!

White House of Dark Shadows Continued

I don't know about you, but I found this highly disturbing:

Dobson, religious right meets with Bush on Iran.

“President George W. Bush met privately with Focus on the Family Founder and Chairman James Dobson and approximately a dozen Christian right leaders last week to rally support for his policies on Iraq, Iran and the so-called ‘war on terror.’”

“I was invited to go to Washington DC to meet with President Bush in the White House along with 12 or 13 other leaders of the pro-family movement,” Dobson disclosed on his radio program Monday. “And the topic of the discussion that day was Iraq, Iran and international terrorism. And we were together for 90 minutes and it was very enlightening and in some ways disturbing too.” […]

“You know, the President seems to me does understand this, as I told you from that meeting I had with him the other day, but even there it feels like somebody ought to be standing up and saying, ‘We are being threatened and we are going to meet this with force — whatever’s necessary.’”

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The New Lawn

France has a brand new lawn!
Keep off the grass! No littering!
Nikolas Sarkozy has been working steadily to become president of France for the last 5 years. He manipulated, destroyed people, used friends and enemies and
cultivated some of the most powerful allies in France to achieve his goal.
During the campaign, he quoted Socialist leaders, compared himself to Mitterand to reach out to Left. He blatantly ranted about undesirealble foreigners who
practice polygamy and slaughter goats in their bathtubs to appeal to the basest eacist instincts of the Far Right. During the campaign, his marriage dissolved in a violent rage. His wife filed charges against him and yesterday it was revealed that she did not vote in the election and they have not been seen together for months.
Now that he has it, maybe he will cool it a bit. He seems to be the ever clever politician today offering the position of Foreign Minister to Socialist Bernard Kouchner as well as reaching out to other prominent Socialists to fill positions in his government.
This has angered his party, the UMP. He resigned his position as head of the party only yesterday and today there are muffled cries of traitor from those who were expecting the apples of power to fall into their laps.
Whether the Socialists take the positions is a matter of conjecture.
The Party is in disarry. The Socialist Party is being reformed by its roots and the old wood at the top is furiously trying not to be lopped off. The statistics proved that the base of the party is young France. They overwhelmingly voted for Segolene Royal.
Old France voted Sarkozy. The old "elephants" of the party seemed to be in shock that Madame Royal had the force and power to fight such a fierce campaign. She found herself often trying to deal with the conflicting statements released by her own party members without consulting her. Near the end of the campaign, she stated that she was only going to listen to herself and follow her own course. In spite of all this, she finished strong and instead of walking away like Jospin did, she began to fight back the night of the defeat. First, she did not make her speech of concession from Socialist Headquarters. She refused to go there and went to the Latin American Center and stayed for a few hours on the balcony evoking critics to try to compare her to Evita Perone, but it was a great move and her speech was strong and full of the future.
As she gave the speech, I watched the face of Dominque Strauss-Kahn droop into a scowl of disapproval. He knew that she was seizing the reigns of power in the party and the machine she had built was going to push him aside.
In the press, she is called The Pink Panther or the Gazelle to counter the name Elephants that has been given to the old guard. They had no plan to win and it was her machine that put the platform together, the force of her personality that propelled it and her sheer tenacity that pushed it so close to winning.
This woman has captured the imagination of France and has entered into the realm of legend. I really believe she is going to reshape the Socialist Party into a true party of the young and the future and I even think she is going to ditch the term Socialist and become something completely different.

Sunday, May 13, 2007


Sunday night and I have a lot of things kicking around in my head to write about, but then I have to go to a French class at 8 am and I'm still recovering from the 2 weeks of grape vines....
I just found this incredible music video on YouTube. It's Fred Smith's Sonic Rendezvous at the Masonic Temple in Detroit. This is the same Fred Smith who was a guitarist/song writer in the MC5 and later married to Patti Smith for years in East Detroit. She always invited members of the MC5 on stage to play. That's how they met, married and raised a family. The band also included the legendary Scott Morgan of the punk/soul rock band The Rationals. The Rationals were the first band to cover Ottis Redding's Respect back in 1965, before Aretha! It was a big hit in the midwest. Scott hit national fame for a few few months in 1968 with his solo #1 R&B ballad, I Needed You.
These guys played the clubs in the Detroit area for years until Fred's untimely death in the early 1990's which spurred Patti Smith out of retirement.
The song is City Slang. There is a great Sonic Rendezvous tribute album with Scott Morgan, Dennis Tek and Wayne Kramer, the other guitarist in the MC5, called Dodge and Main. I highly recommend it!

Saturday, May 12, 2007


So, I was away for 2 weeks, out of blog circulation, getting up at 6:30 am
and working 8 hours a day in the vineyards of the Chateau Vieux Chevrol, where
we were cleaning the grapevines. While I was there, I slept in the old house and
got to eat very well. The meals were supervised by Madame Champseix and she made sure we had great food everyday!
I try to present a cheese once and a while on this blog and I haven't written about
Camembert yet. Camembert is a soft creamy cheese named after the village of Camembert in the Orne departement in Normandy. Supposedly, it was first made in 1791, but the technique is probably much older. Until the beginning of the 20th Century, it was greyish and the color was unpredictable, but the production and the knowlege of the fungi which influences it color and flavor became much better understood. Since 1970, the pure white color has become standard.
The cheese is made from unpasturized cows milk which is inoculated with penicillium candida and penicillium camemberti and aged for at least 3 weeks in small round molds. It is then wrapped in waxed paper and put into the familiar wooden boxes.
Wooden camembert boxes are a familiar part of French life and the labels have always been collectible.
When it is fresh, it is firm and crumbly with a mild flavor and aroma but as it ages, it becomes creamy and the flavor becomes intense and the aroma becomes very apparant. Usually it is eaten fresh with bread and wine. Interestingly, the same organisms which influence the taste of wine are the same as the cheese which lead to speculation as to why wine and cheese complement each other so perfectly.
Though to fully enjoy a ripe camembert, it should be eaten fresh, there are a few ways to eat it incorporated into cooking. One evening, after a particularly delicious meal, Madame Champseix offered us this version instead of the usual cheese selection.
In a small dish that can be heated in the oven, place a portion of camembert. Cover the cheese with a coating of breadcrumbs and bake for a few minutes until the cheese has mented and the crumb topping is toasted.
Serve the individual dishes of warm cheese to your guests with slices of good toasted bread and fresh garlic cloves. The garlic is rubbed on the warm toast and then you put the eat the melted camembert with the garlicky toast. You need to have a good strong red wine to accompany this. The night we ate it, we had a hearty Spanish Rioja and it was perfect!

where to start?

This is where I have been for the last 2 weeks. I just got back last night and I am
slowly starting to think about other things than the
embourgeonage and empamprage of hectares and haectares of
I am catching up with reality, I watched a lttle TV one night of the pre election debate here, but my radio earphones were broken and I was really cut off from media for the last 2 weeks. I will write a piece about my experiences here. I am going back perhaps in June to take off the excess grapes....
I will probably post something later today!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

still not here

An experiment, I'm blogging remotely. I am still on Blog Vacation! I thought I would be back this weekend, but one week turns into two weeks!
I am working with a small team of people, carefully primping and gussying up about 20 hectares of merlot and cabernet grapes, one vine at a time so Chateau Vieux Chevrol can have a great harvest this fall.
We are about half way done and it is Sunday, a day off and French election day.
It is oddly silent and a very nice sunny, breezy and pleasant spring day. The last week has been chilly and wet and next week looks wet as well.
I have my fingers crossed for a miracle for Segolene Royal. There seems to be a real ocean of support for here in the Southwest of France. I saw a lott of tthe Sarkozy/Royal debate and she was straight forward, confrontational and unrattled by Mr. Sarkozy's tactics. Her economic figures may have been a little vague, but she didn't outright lie as he did and does.
The best moment was near the end when the discussion turned to the handicapped and education and she accused him passionately of not having the same definition of Morality as she did. She lit into him for five minutes and it was fun seeing him use every ounce of his will to keep himself under control.
Of course the pundits immediately called this as unpresidential, but I saw passion, the very thing that in another era and atmosphere would create a great leader instead of an authoritarian technocrat.
I hope we are all surprised tonight. I hope that if Mr. Sarkozy wins, the associations in the banlieus that were able to mobilize so successfully for Madame Royal can keep the lids on the unrest that is brewing.
The more violence, the easier it will be for him to grandstand for his tougher security and repressive laws. France needs time to breath. This being France, if he wins...the people who were hood winked into supporting him thinking that he was going to bring them magical prosperity and security will learn that here was a crucial third part to his "work more, earn more" slogan....PAY MORE!
This guy is beginning to remind me of Nixon.
Hopefully, I'll be back at the end of next week. Until then...a bientot!