Skip to main content

Posts

FREE LUNCH FOR FRENCH OLD FOLKS

TANSTAAFL

There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

I first learned that acronym through my reading of the sci-fi novel The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein. But the phrase probably originated in the 1800s in American bars that offered 'free' lunches. The lunch was, of course, not really free. You had to buy a drink, and the drink cost more than necessary in order to underwrite the lunch. The lunch itself, often composed of salty foods, enticed further drinking.

TANSTAAFL

What has this to do with old folks in France? Well, I've just attended my second free lunch for folks born before a certain year who reside in our village. This year, that year was 1951. So everyone in the room was 69 or older. And there were about 170 of us in the room. No kids. Just lots and lots of grey hair, white hair, bald pates, and red hair. (I don't know why bright red hair is a thing with older French women. But it is.) The occasion? An annual day to show appreciation for the …
Recent posts

BERNIE, BLOOMBERG, AND GEORGE SANTAYANA

You know Bernie. You know Bloomberg. Who the hell is George Santayana?

Santayana was a very interesting guy. He came to the USofA from Spain at the age of eight shortly after the US Civil War. Although he spoke of himself as an American, he lived a Euro-centric life, spending his last years in Italy. A poet, novelist, and philosopher, Santayana taught philosophy at Harvard with T. S. Eliot, Robert Frost, Gertrude Stein, and W. E. B. Du Bois among his students. Very influential.

Santayana had one of those minds that translated thought into pithy turns of phrase.

"There is no cure for birth and death save to enjoy the interval."

"The Bible is literature, not dogma."

"Sanity is madness put to good use."

What does all of this have to do with Bernie and Bloomberg? Here is the relevant Santayana quote:

"Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set fo…

LATEST USA IMMIGRATION NEWS

I've said it before. My liberal friends think that I'm way too politically conservative and my conservative friends think that I'm a wild-eyed progressive. I must be doing something right.

The latest bone of contention involves immigration. The US Supreme Court has allowed implementation of Trump's plan to require that all prospective immigrants demonstrate that they will not need certain forms of public assistance after entry. For something like 30 years, American immigration rules have forbidden recent immigrants from receiving cash payments. The new rules would include such benefits as SNAP, formerly Food Stamps.

I'm conflicted.

Americans can visit France for up to 90 days without a visa. If we want to stay longer, or want to stay more than 180 days in any one year, we have to apply for a long-stay visa. That application includes proof of medical insurance throughout the stay and the demonstration of sufficient financial resources so as not to become a burden …

CHICKEN TIMES BEZIERS: QUICK TAKE

Cathey makes dynamite fried chicken. Dynamite. Once a year. If I insist. Too messy, she says. Makes the kitchen all greasy, she says. Then, today, next to the podiatrist's office, I see a sign.

Fried Chicken.

You're kidding, right?

Wrong.

Real fried chicken. Not Cathey's fried chicken. No, not top tier. But real fried chicken. And better than the local KFC. I tried KFC in Narbonne once. I was desperate. I'll never go back. But I'll go back to Chicken Times in Beziers.

Crispy on the outside, hot on the inside, with just enough grease to let you know that these wing pieces were definitely not oven baked. Real fried chicken. In Beziers. With decent, if pre-cut and frozen, frites.

And Cathey said that her burger was flame broiled.

Real fried chicken. 3 Boulevard Maréchal Leclerc. Cathey visits the podiatrist for a checkup in four months. I can't wait.


SAN SEBASTIAN/DONOSTIA, SPAIN: A FOODIE VACATION (TRIGGER WARNING: FOOD PORN)

The desire to travel in Europe during our active retirement years partly drove our decision to live here in the south of France. Mystery Vacations are a novel way that we have devised to fulfill that desire. Each year, I choose a place to go, make all of the arrangements, and only tell Cathey what the weather will be like at our destination and the type of attire that might be appropriate. Amazingly, she trusts me.

Last year. we spent a long weekend attending the International White Truffle Festival in Alba, Italy. This year, we dove into the distinctive culinary delights of San Sebastian/Donostia, Spain. Given Cathey's pleased expressions, I guess that the planning and execution of the two trips were worth the effort.

Below find a few pics and some commentary concerning our four days and three nights on the Spanish Coast. If I were to pick favorites, I would recommend Hidalgo 56 in Donostia for a pinxtos luncheon and Gandarias in San Sebastian's Old Town for supper. But there…

STUPID STUFF IS BACK, SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2019: BEETLES, STONERS, GRETA, AND STATUES

Beetle Painted on a Bus. That's all. Just that.

Shakespeare, Dumas, Steven King, Quentin Tarantino, and George Carlin are just a few famous wordsmiths who smithed words while stoned on cannabis. And here I am with just a glass of rosé in my hand. No wonder only three people are reading this.

Greta Thunberg is both smarter and wiser than Donald Trump. That's all. Just that.

John Dillinger's niece thinks that someone else is buried in the grave marked with his name. She says that the FBI shot the wrong guy. The FBI tweeted a denial of the allegation. Tell the truth. Did you ever think that you could read that last sentence and take it seriously? The FBI tweeted a denial of the allegations?

Officials on Easter Island are contemplating ways to discourage visitors from taking pictures of themselves picking the noses of the giant statues. That's all. Just that.

I read trashy novels to pass the time. Another trashy novel, another head-scratching scene. The American good g…