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Showing posts from July, 2018

LA LIGUE CONTRE LE CANCER, CAPESTANG, 11 AUGUST: CONCERT PREVIEW

Last fall, we attended a performance by a Sufi choir and a Whirling Dervish in the seaside village of Meze. Last month, a quartet entertained us with a capella Corsican sacred and folk music in a church in the neighboring village of Ouveillan. In between, we've enjoyed jazz, classical, and world music in a variety of venues at prices ranging from free to 60€ per ticket. When we moved to the very rural southwest of France, I had no idea that our choices would be so diverse and so satisfying.

Typifying such unexpectedly high-level entertainment choices is an upcoming benefit concert in Capestang, just a few kilometers away from us here in Quarante, on August 11th. A senior chorister performing some of the same songs that he sang at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle? Really? The organist during that same wedding performing jazz piano? World premiere of excerpts from a new ballet by a Grammy-awarded company? Show tunes? And a finale led by a mezzo-soprano who has sung at …

THE GOLDEN BEE (A JD WETHERSPOON PUB), STRATFORD-UPON-AVON: QUICK TAKE

As an American, it's hard not to cringe every time that I pass a McDonald's or a Burger King or a KFC along the highway in France. But it makes sense that these joints are highly visible here. McDonald's derives almost 40% of it's worldwide revenue in EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa), Coca Cola nearly one-quarter. Worldwide branding is a serious thing.

In the Colonies, places like Applebee's and Olive Garden might be considered one step up from fast food as represented by McDonald's. Call it quick food if you have to call it at all. There are more than a dozen Applebee's in Saudi Arabia, none in Europe...or the UK. (Best to start getting used to keeping those two separate.) Check out Applebee's menu (such as it is) HERE.

I discovered what may just be the equivalent of American quick food restaurants while in the UK for our Shakespeare pilgrimage this past winter. We'd arrived in Stratford-upon-Avon close to noon, we had tickets for the matinee, an…

ASSIGNAN WALK WITH PICS - JUNE, 2018

There's not much to say about this walk. It's typical of the region. Typical except that Assignan is an interesting experiment in foreign ownership of a French village. (See how they market the "French village experience" HERE.) And don't forget the Belgian-inspired beer available at the end of the walk. The walk itself is partially wooded and shaded, partially open and in the vines, with some spectacular views and an oddity or two.

Visit other walks and my observations on French life HERE. Enjoy.













WHAT'S REALLY IMPORTANT - JULY, 2018: BREAST FEEDING, CAPITALISM, AND KRUSHCHEV

My mother told me that the first time that she breastfed me, I threw back my little head and vomited like a fountain. It was devastating for her and, I suppose though I don't have any recollection of the incident, not a very pleasant experience for me either. Remember, this was 70 years ago. Breastfeeding was the norm. And I was allergic to my mother's milk. The idea that her little baby would be dependent on a store-bought product for his nutrition requirements for months to come was not the scenario that Mom had envisioned for her first born.

At the time, choices were limited. Evaporated milk was widely available and was touted as a nutritionally satisfactory substitute for breast milk, though that claim was later debunked. Similac had been around for a while and had gained a bit of traction. But right around the time that I performed my Trevi imitation, commercially prepared baby formulas began hitting the shelves in a really big way. Today, the four biggest producers genera…

BISTRO GLOUTON, BORDEAUX: RESTAURANT REVIEW

Food, glorious food!

Would you consider me a hopeless Francophile if I said that moving from the USofA to France has been like trading gruel for hot sausage and mustard? (If you don't recognize the reference to the musical Oliver!, the lyrics to the song Food, Glorious, Food can be found HERE.) What I'm trying to say, in my usual roundabout way, is that living in France has been a lesson in how the human need for caloric intake can be satisfied both intellectually and aesthetically. (Except for beef. The French don't do beef very well. But again. I digress.) This realization has resulted in a spate of favorable restaurant reviews because even the lowliest of French eateries understand that fresh ingredients, proper preparation, and thoughtful presentation are the minimum requirements for a fine dining experience.

And then there are restaurants like Bistro Glouton. Not too big, not too fancy, in a line of restaurants across from the courthouse. Easy to pass by. Don't. B…

BORDEAUX: JUST PICS AND PICS AND PICS