Monday, December 24, 2012

Joyeux Noël!

Just a quick post to wish everyone a Joyeux Noel and a peaceful and prosperous 2013!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Tragedy in Connecticut

One of the benefits of living overseas is I can easily shield my children from heinous crimes that take place back home, like the massacre that took place yesterday in Connecticut. My heart aches for the loss of innocent lives and the loved ones they left behind who are now forced to live with an unbearable pain for the rest of their lives. I also join the swelling chorus of Americans who are voicing their hope that this act of unspeakable evil will enable the President to enact some STRICT gun control laws. Our country is the only country in the world where such liberal gun laws exist and unless we put an end to the ubiquitous nature of these weapons, the violence will NEVER END.
The most difficult sticking point that has, thus far, hindered the ability to enact strict gun control in the US is an amendment to the Constitution that was created over two hundred years ago. When the Founding Fathers of our country enacted the amendment that gives all Americans the right to bear arms it took a minute to a minute and a half to reload your gun after you shot it. If the Founding Fathers had ANY idea what efficient killing machines GUNS would evolve into, I'm certain they NEVER would have included that amendment in the Constitution.
Times change, people change. The original Constitution also included the right to own slaves and prohibited women from voting. Notice that over the years the US legislatures have overturned those laws because they realized that they were ARCHAIC and WRONG. Time for some people in Washington DC to GROW a PAIR and do the same thing for the second amendment.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Four More Years!

Early wake up call today, to the best news of the year: President Obama was re-elected. This news is even more exciting considering that a billionaire from Massachusetts (no, not Willard people, he is not THAT rich) spent over 50 million dollars to try and get Mittens elected and he still LOST! So, basically, the people of American just bitch slapped Sheldon Adelson. And you know what? IT FELT GREAT!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Election Edition

During this heated election season, I have to say that one of the benefits of living overseas that I most enjoy is the fact that I am not bombarded daily with television ads for the candidates. Or people pounding on my door, or calling my house non-stop. Being from New Hampshire, (one of the Swing States still up for grabs), I get a daily earful from my parents and siblings about how they no longer answer the phone or the door because its always someone campaigning. They are anxiously counting down the hours to Election Day so that things can get back to 'normal.'
Important American events, such as this election, also provide unique insight into how the French see my country. Every one of my French friends has an opinion of the candidates and are anxious to share it. Alexandre, a left leaning lawyer is very Pro-Obama: 'How could anyone vote for a man who made his fortune through the misery of others? A man who stashes cash in offshore accounts and pays less taxes than his secretary? Romney disgusts me.' In fact, the majority of my French friends are Pro-Obama (although one of them admitted to me that she finds Mitt Romney's American accented French, 'adorable.')
Another great source of information (and entertainment) is scrolling through the comments of the online newspapers. It's amazing how closely the opinions mirror those of certain groups of Americans.
You have the Conspiracy Theorist: "Obama isn't even an American! How can anyone vote for him again?!!"
The Apathetic: "It doesn't matter who wins, nothing is going to change."
The Wackjob: "Vive Romney and his lovely smelling wife..."
And The Realist: "For 90% of the French this election will change nothing. I will get up the next day, and nothing in my life will have changed. So can someone explain to me why we are being bombarded daily with information on this election?"
Regardless of how you feel about the election, I sincerely hope that all Americans will go vote! Because, if you don't, you relinquish all rights to complain about who is running the country for the next four years!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

"I Wanna Be A Princess!"

My daughters, like most girls their age, are obsessed with all things princess. However, living in Europe lends an added dimension to this obsession primarily because real princesses actually exist here. They are the subject of so many magazine articles that my daughters can practically recite (in alphabetical order) the princesses of all the royal families in Western Europe. My girls are particularly intrigued by the stories of ‘commoners’ who married into a royal family, like Crown Princess Letizia of Spain, Crown Princess Maxima of the Netherlands and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark. I despise this ‘princess worship’ for many reasons, not the least of which being the fact that these women are being exalted for doing little else than finding a rich guy and convincing him to marry them.
For example, let’s take the case of Crown Princess Mary of Denmark (pictured). For those of you who are unaware of her ‘fairytale’, she met Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark in Sydney in September of 2000 at a bar called the Slip Inn. Fred was in town for the Olympics and decided to enjoy a night out with his brother and cousins. Supposedly unaware of his royal status, Mary and Fred struck up a conversation, into which a relationship bloomed and the rest, as they say, is history.
First off, let me say I had this broad’s number the moment she opened her yap during her official engagement interview in October of 2003, wherein she tried to sell the world on her bullsh*t story that she had ‘no idea’ who Prince Moneybags was when she met him at the Slip Inn that night. However, even more troubling were the pathetic headlines that the Aussie newspapers starting running shortly after her engagement was announced (things like, “Local Girl Makes Good”) Plus, in the comments section beneath each online article were gems like this one: “Good job, Mary! I am a grandmother and if any of my three granddaughters became engaged to a prince I would be so proud of them.” I had to check the calendar to make sure I was still living in the 21st century.
In a day and age where young girls are told they can do or be anything, what kind of message does it send when we praise a gal just for marrying someone with a title? I hope that if my daughters ever do become famous, it is for something they did that was truly admirable, rather than for the person they chose to marry.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Dopé! Dopé!

Way back in 2005 when Lance Armstrong retired from cycling (the first time) we were lucky enough to have front row seats to observe his victory lap around the Place de la Concorde. At the time, the American Embassy owned a building on the Place and from our seats on a first floor balcony, three feet above the throngs of people jamming the sidewalk, we could hear the crowd chanting, ‘dopé! dopé! ’ as Lance rode by. Even back then, the majority of French people were convinced Lance was doing drugs. Now, after the mountains of evidence recently released by the USADA, I would say the majority of Americans consider him guilty of doping as well. However, regardless of his guilt or innocence, Lance’s behavior off the bike is what disgusts me the most. He was a HUGE bully and even intimidated the family members of individuals that dared to speak the truth. His character is that of a narcissistic pathological liar with zero concern or empathy for others. Younger aspiring riders literally retreated to their homes crying because he virtually forced them to drug for the first time in their life (in order to remain on his team). Obviously, they had a choice (and many simply left) but these kids spent their lives dreaming of the opportunity to ride with Armstrong. Imagine how disillusioned they felt in that moment (they finally meet their hero and discover the ugly truth). This is about much more than just Lance’s personal doping. This is about his wrongdoings as a human being that go way beyond that. He ruined many people’s lives yet is still letting others celebrate him as a hero.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Where Lobbying is a Dirty Word

This is the BEST story that came out this summer while we were on vacation. Get this: The French Parliament was persuaded to pass a mandatory breathalyzer test law (which requires motorists to have a breathalyzer kit in their car at all times) by the guy whose company MAKES the devices.
The blood alcohol limit (or BAC) for most states in the US is 0.08%. In France, you only need to have a BAC of 0.05% to be considered driving drunk (a standard I wish the US would adopt nationwide). Parliament adopted the new law in an effort to raise awareness of just how few drinks (approximately two glasses of wine) it takes to be considered legally drunk.
Now, I’m all for this law, and again, I wish something like this would be adopted in the US, or even better yet, world WIDE! Drunk drivers are the source of so much devastation in this world; every effort should be made to stop it from ever happening again. Governments should have the freedom and, let’s be honest, the BALLS to take some extreme measures to curb this type of behavior.
That having been said, the reason I’m highlighting this story is not the content of the law but the fact that in France, lobbying is considered a DIRTY word (and a –gasp!) SHAMEFUL PROFESSION. Since this law was adopted on July 1st, Daniel Orgeval (President of Contralco, the non-profit road safety association that persuaded Parliament to pass the breathalyzer test law) has been getting DEATH THREATS!
Wearing a double casquette (literally two caps-doing business while trying to get legislation passed which directly benefits your company) is seen as…wait for it…a sacrilege and the APEX OF CORRUPTION! Imagine what a better place the United States would be if lobbying was considered a shameful profession!
PS: As a side note: foreigners are NOT exempt from this law so if you are renting a car here make sure you have your test d'acoolémie with you at all times!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Vive la rentrée!

Did you know that most French people enjoy five weeks of annually mandated-by-law, paid vacation, which doesn't include all the official holidays and the extra days off associated with them? This a luxury most Americans can only dream of. La rentrée literally means 'the re-entry' and I'm guessing that they have been away from their jobs SO long that they feel like they are re-entering the planet WORK. For families with children, the contrast is even more poignant. I do love the fact that every single child in France returns to school on the same day, but it certainly is a shock to the system for the kiddos. The parents, on the other hand, were literally dancing in the streets after drop-off!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Vive les Vacances!

Just a heads up to all my loyal followers that this blog will be unattended for the next three weeks. It's time for our yearly vacation to the Good 'Ole US OF A to repatriate our daughters. I'm catching lots of merde from my kids' teachers for pulling them out of school two weeks before summer vacay officially starts but I could care less. We do this every year because Air France JACKS up the prices on flights to the US starting in mid-June. We save close to a grand doing it this way and that's well worth listening to the maîtresse bitch about how pulling them out two weeks early is going to 'erase everything they've learned this year.' Yeah, right. Nice try, honey. I'm outta here. Bonnes vacances, tout le monde!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Bonne Fête Des Mères!

Maman j’ai cueilli.
Pour toi aujourd’hui.
Un bouquet joli.
Des tas de bisous.
Une étoile d’argent.
Un coeur gros comme ça.
Ma petite Maman.
Que j’aime tant!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Why I LOVE French!

The recent Presidential election produced a hilarious catchy phrase that cracked me up every time I heard (or saw) it. Back in 2008 when then President Sarkozy was glad handing people at the Paris International Agricultural Show, he had a brief but heated exchange with a man who did not want to shake his hand. Sarko lost his cool and uttered the now famous, "Casse-toi pauvre con!" phrase which his political opponents immediately seized upon and began using against him by creating posters and stickers with that exact phrase on it. Before I moved here I had only ever heard that the English translation of 'con' was 'asshole.' Thus, I thought Sarkozy was calling the guy a 'poor asshole.' However, in discussing the phrase with my French friends I discovered how wrong I had been. Con is actually one of the trickiest words to translate and has a myriad of different meanings depending on how, when and where it is used.
A 'jeune con' is a young fool. Someone with very little life experience.
A 'petit con' is a little moron. Probably a kid who is messing around.
A 'gros con' is just your basic moron (adult version).
'sale con' while the literal translation for this might be 'dirty bastard' it really means someone who has acted in such a way that other people got harmed for no good reason.
A 'vieux con' is an old fart.
A 'pauvre con' is an idiot or a loser and depending on the tone and context it can be anything from a buddy joke to raw insult.
Which brings me back to this fact: as the Merovingian in the Matrix Reloaded said
"I LOVE the French language. I have sampled every language and French is my favorite. Fantastic language! Especially to curse with. It's like wiping your arse with silk."

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Bonne Fête des Mères!

One day is not enough to thank mothers for all that they do and have done BUT, I’m glad there is still a day set aside to make them feel special. Today is Mother's Day in the US and I wish all moms, mommies, mums and women who take on the role of mother for those who do not have one, a relaxing and joyous day!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Americans Weigh in on the French Presidential Election

I loved reading all the Yahoo news stories about the televised debate between Sarkozy and Hollande this past week. And I especially loved those stories which enable comments. It allows a whole cross-section of Americans to weigh in on the hot mess that is French politics. I love how the comments are ALL over the MAP. Some commenting on the French election, others using it to draw parallels to our own messed up political system. While there are too many good ones to list them all, I have included my top 10 below.
10. Sarkozy is a joke, but this clown Hollande will destroy France.
9. The French people are great but they have had the worst leaders in history: the Louis kings, Napoleon, Vichy France, De Gaulle, and now this latest bunch of total losers. Sacre bleu!!!
8. Most Americans can name more members of the cast of Jersey Shore than presidential candidates. We are turning into an Idiocracy.
7. The French tuck a white surrender flag in their pocket each day before leaving their home....just in case.
6. If Sarkozy thinks that Europe is over the crisis then he is living on a cloud in Cuckoo Land.
5. I hope the people of France like what is going on in Greece because if Hollande wins, they will get to experience these conditions first-hand.
4. The problem with socialism is you eventually run out of other people's money.
3. To HELL with those cheese eating surrender specialists!
2. I will not miss the midget, but I will miss his wife. The midget's wife is HOT!
1. Effe Zee Frawgs!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sarkozy will WIN!

So, Sarko survived the first round of voting, but I'm guessing that's only because the majority of French people did not want to see far-right candidate, Marine Le Pen, advance to the next round. And even though I asked all our friends who voted for Sarko if they planned on voting for him again in the second round (and they all said, 'non'!) I'm predicting that Sarkozy will WIN by a razor thin margin. Know why? Because the conservatives who voted for Le Pen are going to pick the LESSER of TWO evils and that means Sarkozy over Hollande. Unless they decide to do what Americans do when their candidate doesn't win the nomination of the party: stay home on election day.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

So long, Sarko!

With the French Presidential election about a month away, its looking more and more like Nicolas Sarkozy (or Sarko as he is affectionately known in French pop culture lexicon) is NOT gonna get re-elected, which is too bad because we really like Sarko. His was the first Presidential election we were witness to, since moving to France. On a related note, I'm guessing right about now Madame Carla Bruni-Sarkozy is thinking: 'How long before I can file for divorce from this dude? Because, let's face it, when I married him, he was the President of France, but if he loses this election, he becomes just a short, ugly old guy. I'm way too hot to be married to a short, ugly old guy.' Once Sarko loses the election in May, I'm guessing Madame will file for divorce within six months.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Vive la Cinnabon!

A week ago today, Jean Dujardin became the first Frenchman ever to win the Oscar for best actor. I didn't see 'The Artist' but I am an ardent follower of everything Oscar (including and especially) the pre-show on the Red Carpet. Watching ABC's Robin Roberts interview him I learned some fascinating facts about 'The Artist' and Monsieur Dujardin. The film was shot entirely in Los Angeles over a four month period AND Monsieur Dujardin (whose last name literally means 'of the garden') had never lived in the United States before making the film. When asked what he liked best about living in Los Angeles he responded: 'the lights, the energy and the cinnamon rolls' (specifically: Cinnabon cinammon rolls). I laughed out loud at that one thinking to myself, "This John of the Garden is full of surprises." Turns out that wasn't the last of the surprises Monsieur would provide at the Oscars. Overcome with emotion during his acceptance speech he excitedly let loose with a string of French words, one of which was 'putain' (which is generally regarded as the F word in France). Of course, it totally slipped by US censors who didn't bleep it out like they should have, which made it all the more hilarious! So, to recap, the key to being able to swear on television in the US and NOT get bleeped out by censors is to do if FAST and in FRENCH.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Epic Fail

And completing the Trifecta of Monaco’s Royal Family Making Headlines for ALL The WRONG reasons: here we have the odd couple, (Prince Fat Albert and Princess Trashlene) at the Oscars last night. They were the invited guests of Disney President, Bob Iger (which is the ONLY reason Robin Roberts held up a microphone for Fat Al’s babbling). She didn't even ask ‘who are you wearing (a standard question always asked in interviews on the Red Carpet). In fact, there was an odd pause at the beginning where it looked for a moment that Robin didn’t even know who the heck he was. Apparently Fat Al’s been working on his stutter because he managed to string a sentence together without LONG pauses between words. Although you'd think he would've been more prepared to answer somewhat coherently. Even I could have predicted he was going to be asked about his mother and yet, when Robin Roberts brought up how ironic it was that this was his FIRST time at the Oscars even though is mother was a regular at the ceremony back in her day, here is what he said: "First, we are thrilled to be here and thanks to Bob and Willow for inviting us. Yes, well it's impossible NOT to think of her at this point. This year marks the 60th anniversary of her winning that Oscar and the 30th anniversary of my mother’s passing. We look forward to sharing this evening with everyone and of course keeping her well within our minds and our hearts." Say WHAT? There is something seriously wrong with him. And speaking of seriously wrong, that pretty much describes Trashlene’s look last night. I would have expected something Va Va Va Voom, but this dress did NOTHING for her. The color, the fit, neither one was right for her. Last night was the night to wear BLING worthy of a PRINCESS, and a gown like that kick ass fuschia colored one she wore to the Red Cross Ball (see photo, above). She wouldn’t even have had to borrow the bling from jewelers, she HAS IT! She should have rocked this event. Total fail. Plus, she looked absolutely MISERABLE. Couldn’t she have at least FORCED a smile? How can you be sad on the red carpet at the OSCARS!? Later on in the evening I saw these two wandering around the red carpet, trying to get interviewed by other networks, but NO takers. Nobody wanted ANYTHING to do with them. If the point of their attendance was to promote MORONACO and get attention it's another BIG fat failure, everything they touch turns to CACA!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Prince Gets Crowned

Monaco's Royal Family: it's the gift that just keeps on giving. In New York last Saturday night, Pierre Casiraghi (the youngest son of Princess Caroline) ended up at Double Seven nightclub where he was involved in an altercation with a man nearly twice his age. According to the New York Post, forty-seven year old Adam Hock was sitting with friends (three of whom were apparently well known models in the New York fashion scene) when an inebriated Pierre Casiraghi came up to their booth, uninvited, and tried to engage the young ladies in conversation. After a heated exchange, Hock punched the Prince AND also roughed up the three friends that came to his aid. Now, I have NO idea what happened inside that nightclub, but I'm guessing it went a little bit like this: Twenty-four year old pretty boy tries to engage three young hotties. The old buck tells him to get lost, the kid mouths off, so the forty-seven year old gets up and kicks his Royal ARSE. Then, three of pretty boy's self appointed tough guy friends get involved and also get their clocks cleaned by the old dude! Note to all foreigners: New York + bar + 2 AM = bad place to open mouth. This is doubly true if your first name is PIERRE!

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Princess & the Playboy...again

Since the beginning of the year the tabloid mags here have been going nuts over the news that Princess Caroline of Monaco's twenty-six year old daughter, Charlotte, is dating a well known French comedian fourteen years her senior. Gad Elmaleh is of Moroccan descent and has an out of wedlock son. Ironically, Caroline's first husband, Philippe Junot, was SEVENTEEN years her senior when they wed in 1978 (A marriage her parents, Prince Ranier and Princess Grace VEHEMENTLY opposed due to the fact that the groom was a notorious PLAYER). In fact, the story about their marriage in Time Magazine was entitled,The Princess and the Playboy(their marriage lasted LESS than TWO years). I'm guessing Caroline and the other stuffed shirts in Monaco are hoping pretty hard that Gad doesn't turn out to be Charlotte's Junot. Apparently Gad is introducing Charlotte to his close friends and family members as his 'girlfriend' and there seems to be a NEW picture each week of her exiting his Paris apartment in the early AM. I personally can't imagine what a beautiful and privileged you woman like Charlotte would see in Gad (what the HELL kind of name is THAT anyway?)although perhaps that is the whole appeal. She’s probably been surrounded by pretty boys her entire life. Men that your average French gal would consider Prince Charming. She has probably grown bored by them and wants to push some boundaries. And LORD knows a middle aged comedian with a teenage son is pushing the boundaries!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Strike Two

Here is Michelle Williams at the Oscar Nominee luncheon wearing a dress designed by Victoria ‘Posh Spice’ Beckham (another individual who has NO business designing clothing). The clouds on top look like men with huge chins and snot dripping out of their equally huge noses. For those of you keeping score at home, this is strike TWO for Ms. Williams, who wore the purple monstrosity pictured below to the Golden Globes. She’s nominated for an Oscar for her portrayal of Sex Goddess Marilyn Monroe; wouldn’t ya think she’d try and wear something a bit more Marilyn and a lot less Matron? Can’t wait to see what she turns up in at the Oscars.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Oscar Nominees Luncheon

Glen Close plays crazy better than any actress working today and it makes me wonder if she isn't a little insane in real life, especially when I see her wearing something like this. Why do OLD WOMEN continue to wear housecoats? *shudder* And with the money she makes how about some teeth whitener? This monstrosity was designed by none other than Stella McCartney, a faux celebrity who has NO business designing clothes. And those shoes are just tragic.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Mittens Speaks French

Knowing how to speak French can kill a Presidential campaign. Just ask John Kerry. While running for President in 2004 there were multiple soundbites floating around of Kerry speaking French. The Republicans learned that Americans tended to view someone who speaks French as 'elitist' and 'out of touch.' Worse still was the fact that many Americans thought Kerry LOOKED French as well. This information, coming on the heels of the 2003 ban on FRENCH fries at lunchrooms all over America due to France's refusal to support our invasion of Iraq, was basically the political kiss of death for Kerry. Now, political foes of Mitt Romney are using his ability to speak French against him in an effort to derail his campaign for the White House. Drudging up a video which shows Romney speaking French in an informational video for volunteers for the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, they hope to paint him as an elitist or, even worse, a SOCIALIST! Even though another contender for the Republican nomination for President, Jon Huntsman, also speaks a foreign language (Chinese), but apparently that is seen as an asset rather than a liability since we owe China a ton of coin. There is also no downside to harassing someone for their ability to speak French because there is no French lobbyist organization to push back against the criticism, nor does the French government give a crap that they're being called Elitist Snobs because, well, let's face it, they are Elitist Snobs.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Mammography à la Française

I had my very first mammogram ever today, and I feel compelled to comment on how such delicate matters are handled in France. Once again, no drape or covering was supplied to me in the changing room. I was simply asked to take off 'everything above the waist' and step out into the exam area. Me and my breasts were then then unceremoniously (and without so much as a drink to loosen me up) manhandled by a petite woman who was shockingly strong for her size. Feeling as if I had just checked into an all female prison, I was then left to wait, topless and alone, while the doctor looked over my films. After an agonizing ten minutes, he came in the room, introducted himself and shook my hand as if we were meeting at a cocktail party. He then proceeded to explain the results of my mammo. I tried to concentrate on what he was saying, but all I could think of was how I was still topless, and cold. Really, really cold. At the end of his diatribe, he once again shook my hand and then took his leave. I'm guessing this isn't how mammos go in the States, but I can't be sure 'cause I've never had one done there.