While going to work this morning, I passed by a rather interesting building nearby my house: a holistic pet products shop. As a friend of mine mentioned a few weeks ago that I was lucky enough to live near the most sought-after "doga"-shala in NYC (Doga meaning yoga for dogs - I am not kidding. I wonder how a dog may feel if you ask it to get into frog or cobra pose - although I guess it should master easily downward facing dog) - I thought this was a clear sign I should write again about my animalistic passion. And during the Holy week - I decided to pick one with a name in tune with such a spiritual subject: the Praying Mantis.
At a time when the Catholic Church is becoming the centre of attention for all sorts of sexual revelations, such a name for an animal with a rather arguable sexual behaviour could be taken as an ironic joke (it actually has the same religious type of name in French, ie: mante religieuse). Let alone the females' habit to eat their partner while having sex (interesting to note that the male can carry on copulating while having been beheaded), this animal is also the best example of a matriarchal system - far from all catholic conceptions where women were considered up until the 19th century as having no soul. Furthermore, as living in a city where the proportion of males and females is clearly unbalanced, eating sexual partners does not only question castration as such but moreover the concept of faithfulness (needless to say that no praying mantis ever has sex twice with the same partner) and the point of getting a partner for life - could it be God himself.
To be fairly honest, I am not trying to open a debate here, take part in the story or be the devil's advocate (although I am pretty good at it most of the time) - and saying who is right and who is wrong. Even if I have been brought up in a catholic family - with a communist mum and a dad traumatised by attending church every morning for 5 years when he was little, my perception of religion has always been pretty complicated and I am not interested in being judgmental. - those of you who know me already know where I stand. Having said that, I never quite understood why for a dogma dating of the 1000's (and not earlier when catholicism was founed) catholic priests could not get married and why the pope clearly refuses to even question it nowadays. As even if this keeps men of the cloth (funny expression really) out of the fact that the term "couple" rimes with "trouble" - the scandals we hear about every day clearly shows that celibacy is a problem for most of them - and might even lead them to commit crimes that will surely get them to burn in hell, in other words, makes them loose their sanity (who more than a priest is aware of what will happen to him in hell, and yet, make him commit such a horrible act?).
Sadly enough, I don't really think sexual abuse is a brand new thing and such horrible stories have been hushed up by the victims sometimes for years, scared to be blamed for making such accusations against the representative of the Holy Spirit itself. The real shame in this all is that in many countries still, the priests are considered as being above suspicion and many children are surely under threat of such crazy individuals. For all these kids, no redemption, forgiveness nor resurrection will ever make it up. And Benedict XVI will just be one more Easter bunny having lost its ears.
"When I do good, I feel good; when I do bad, I feel bad. That's my religion." - A. Lincoln
Note on a bill or bill on a note... That is the question.
No later than last Monday, I celebrated my 5th year out of motherland. No need to say that after 5 years of working hard on learning English and trying the make the best out of the Shakespeare language, I still encounter troubles and more so since I moved to the
Besides the fact that after 5 months, a lot of my co-workers are still trying to avoid calling me - in other words avoiding to pronounce my name, really cute are the smiles I see appearing because of my Britishness. As a matter of fact, a lot of my British friends (not to say all) consider my accent as being foreign - and for the most bloody-minded even French :) For a lot of Americans I actually sound Brit... Whether they are referring to my vocabulary or my manner of speaking - to them, I speak like an English person. Or maybe this is linked to the low volume of my voice as this is not only a "touristic effect": a lot of Americans have loud voices even in their own country. I am still investigating on why - I suppose for now that they all got raise by a deaf grandma' - the healthcare system over here being quite bad... No big headline on that.
Anyway – back to the subject, funny story for Lost in Translation fans, as promised above: I was looking for something in the office the other day - up until someone came to me offering his help. Not being sure of how to name the item I was after - my sometimes logical brain went for the verb - added some strange suffix and went for the term rubber (I wanted to rub, indeed). Looking rather amused, this person whispered in my ear while giving me the item in question that in the
“Language is the blood of the soul into which thoughts run and out of which they grow.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes
Sorry but this title does not means I am going to leave the web to write elsewhere - this is just to mention and explain my recent silence as I recently moved country and even continent. And nope, I did not decide to go back to the old and so-called continent where is motherland but I crossed the pond to live in NYC. So I can wave to the place I was born straight from the bottom of the new island I decided to live in - same ocean, all good.
My neologism will now have a pinch of ketchup then - as I already swapped lifts for elevators. Some things though will remain the same and be sure that my water will remain sparkling...
Don’t worry, I’m not going to go on about the quality of the press in the UK as I’m aware I’d sound like a broken record. But I have to admit that every now and again, I really miss reading about French politics, even those issues which I wouldn’t really care about if I was still living on the continent.
On a trip to France last June, I read in the paper that Nicolas Sarkozy had ordered a parliamentary commission to look at whether to ban the wearing of burqas and niqabs in public. Who knows whether it’s being married to an ex-super model that’s made him take an interest in what his public is wearing, but I have to admit that I was in shock. I have never hidden the fact that I think Mister N. (yes, that’s right, I’m comparing him to Napoleon) is the worst fascist France has ever seen (mainly because he does such a good job of pretending he’s not). But in a country where liberté, egalité and fraternité is supposed to reign, and where you should be able to practice your religion as you wish, I really don’t understand the logic of forbidding a certain type of outfit just because it doesn’t correspond to traditional Christian values (even if you don’t see that many out and about these days, nuns can wear their full outfit without bothering anyone).
Even though this law hasn’t been voted in yet, you don’t need to be a genius to realise that the move will turn France into a potential bomb target for some extremists. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely do not support such barbarian acts and think taking innocent people’s lives for religious or political reasons is the worst thing that’s happened since the H Bomb – and keeping our mouths shut and trying not to step up because of the fear of reprisals is nothing short of blackmail. As a woman, I have to admit that I am not particularly keen on the idea of respecting a dress code because of a religion – but then this is up to each and every individual to decide for themselves. This is their own right.
But to be honest, in such a dodgy economic climate, bringing up a debate on religion reminds me of a certain Mister H. in 1933 … Trying to get people to focus on something other than the downfall of the economy – especially by making them think about religion (a topic that’s bound to get chins wagging across the whole country) – all just seems a bit too easy to me; especially considering that France seems to have just found some stability following the mass debate about the wearing of the burqa in the civil service a few years ago.
Over here, on the other side of the channel – where the memory of 7 July is still very much alive – Nicolas Sarkozy’s actions send a crystal clear message that he is just provoking extremists to blow up Paris. Again, I must stress that I don’t agree with these sorts of practices, but I can’t help but wonder what on earth Sarko is hoping to achieve:
- Does he want to become France’s saviour and secure his seat in the Palais de l’Elysée by coming to the rescue of traumatised people after a series of bombing? (he would not be the first one to use this strategy)
- Is he thinking of carrying out further economical reforms and hoping no one will notice as they are all too busy discussing the burqa issue?
- Does he just want to secure the vote of his fascist supporters?
Whatever the case, I wonder where the interests of the French population really are in all of this. And I reckon that risking the lives of millions of Parisians who could soon find bombs in the Métro all to satisfy the ambitions and megalomania of a French President with a height complex is not really normal. As far as I know, there is only a small minority of Muslim ladies who wear the burqa in France anyway and it doesn’t seem to bother anyone. And it’s probably worth mentioning that when one is married to an ex super model, i.e. someone who used to make money out of her appearance, I seriously doubt whether they can talk objectively about the importance or abolition of any kind of dress code.
Ghost Train was about to get a 4th season since as usual, the day before I go on holiday to Italy, the tube is on strike. 1h30 to go to work rather than 45 minutes... I tell you, it makes you really eager to go on holiday...
Anyway, let's talk about something more positive then... Holiday! Yeah! (can't stop saying it really). Nowadays it is actually quite pleasant to be able to check out on Google where you are going to go and check places before booking. With the latest version of GoogleMap, you can even work out how safe is the street where you'll be staying in Tokyo - with as many details as would provide the FBI itself. Particularly nice when you have nothing to do at work... And it is not without a certain sort of fear that I have just realised what an important era we are experiencing now - seing such tools developing, and how much of a dinosaure I will sound to my children (if I ever have any) when they will realise the word "Broadband" did not exist when I was born...
When I think again to the holiday I spent as a child - stuck between my two sisters in my parents' car, with the dog drooling in our necks, the cat getting sick, my teddy bear and no other tool to find the right direction than the sun, the hand-written itinerary elaborated by my father and the roadmap held by my Mum - arguable co-pilote who got the job in spite of her unability to remember where she parked the car when going shopping. Without being nostalgic, the family D.'s holiday were pretty Rock n'roll (even after Dad decided we would not listen to David Bowie's tape a 30th time). I have to admit, I remain admirative of my parents' bravery and their taste for adventure.
Since back in the days, there was no way to "Google" anything so we were going to our destination without really knowing anything about it - apart from the bad-quality picture seen on the brochure the cousins of the neighbours (who have been 6 years ago) had lent us 4 months before. That's probably why we spent quite often memorable holidays - and not because the sun was shining or because we met cool people... That was rather the opposite... The worst holidays we ever spent are most of the time the funniest ones and the ones we talk about the most...
Anyway, to get back to this beautiful new verb (not so new actually) "To google" (when will we have "to goolemap"?), it indeed offers us the opportunity to express how much of a control-freak we are... Trying to anticipate, check, plan everything we can. Even the time off when we should basically forget the existence of a watch... All these tools are indeed designed to help us to make the "dream holiday" come true (apart from the unexpected wasp sting's allergy while climbing the Etna ;).
But as any new word, I cannot help wondering about how long it will last and if it will be just a trendy-term that will disappear in a blink of an eye. In any case, the other day I actually heard it used with the past tense and realised that apparently it has been decided (God knows by who) that it would be a regular verb : I googled, you have googled, he/she/it has been googled, etc. So the next generations won't have to add this to the never-ending list of irregular verbs they have to learn by heart because of a traumatising English teacher. Thank you Google.
* Even though I am really excited about going on holiday, I could not help "googlemaping" my own house... And don't you dare telling me you did not try it too...
" To be on holiday is having nothing to do, and have the all day to do it. " - Robert Orben