Dec 27, 2007

Joel Osteen—Mc Self-Help

This is not a commercial for whitening gel or couple's therapy.
At the head of a mega church with, not one, not two, not three but seven million viewers, Joel Osteen and his glittering smile will lecture you on how to better yourself and improve your life in 7 steps. I'm all for the self-help tools (minus God as being part of the solution because not everybody believes in it) that offers something to anyone who seeks help. I can see how powerful it must be to feel the energy of 16000 fellow followers praying in unison while feeling like they all belong to something big. Personally, i'd rather be part of a choral of 16000 (better big when you can't sing) or in a one-on-one therapy session (easier to park when you get there.)

I hope that Joel won't turn out to be another fervent anti-gay preacher who ends up sleeping with Ted Haggard (whose name just happened to cross my mind), even if i don't have a problem with the two of them hooking up. Well, i'd much rather imagine Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal in Brokeback Mountain...
I love the juicy scandals that put people back into their place but hypocrites, especially the ones who drag thousands of people into their scheme, shouldn't be given the attention they get, with all the lucrative business that follows.

Joel Osteen also says: "God wants you to be successful in business".
Sex scandal or not, America will never cease to entertain me.

Dec 20, 2007

The neighbor's homemade cured ham

Papy pollo (that's what they call him in the village) had a pig. Then the time came to bring the pig to his friend Christian—a former butcher who still slays pigs for his homies in the back of his garage— to cut it into pieces and start the curing process.
Several months later, papy pollo brought back his now ready-to-eat pig's leg to have it sliced. Nobody was home when he arrived so he went to the pub. When Christian came back home he saw papy pollo's electric blue car in front of his garage with a big piece of ham left right there on the hood and no one around to keep an eye on it. So fresh and so rural. Christian cut down the leg into small chunks and the chunks into slices and oh my, there's nothing like your neighbor's homemade cured ham (Billy and Oh, you are missing out! you too Brook—bacon lover!)

Dec 19, 2007

Nicolas Sarkozy - Carla Bruni: what happens when power meets celebrity (and when you start imagining the president in his bedroom)

A first in the history of french presidency: when the president of France makes the news for hooking up with a(n) (ex)top model you know times have changed. Here's enough juice to feed gossip magazines for awhile and help the french middle class and the rest of the world (why not) live by proxy. They sell dreams -power, fame, celebrity and fortune are a good combination for attention- and the rest of the world keeps asking for more. Newsworthy magazines sell out by publishing "celebrity gossip" news so that they can maximize their profits. I wonder how far Nicolas Sarkozy's need for attention will go? So far he still hasn't topped the level of juiciness and exuberance that some of the american news has offered the world. I wonder how far the Sarkozy saga will keep us entertained?

Dec 18, 2007

Paris—Pierre Hermé (when decadent rhymes with succulent)

The front of his pastry shop looks like a jewelry store, the inside like a casket of very precious, highly talked about, edible jewels.
Here are a few of his macarons' flavor:
-white truffle & hazelnut
-Mogador passion fruit & milk chocolate
-Fleur de Sel caramel
-chocolate & foie gras (my vegetarian girlfriend won't get to try that one.)
-chocolate and caramel
-black truffle
-balsamic vinegar ("tradizionale di Modena" aged for 25 years)
-olive oil & vanilla (that's right)
-eglantine, fig & foie gras

These macarons are so pretty, such a treat to look at, the pearl effect of some of them remind me of my mama's powder blush. Flash back. It's no longer "les petites madeleines de Proust" but rather: les petits macarons d'Hermé.

Dec 16, 2007

Paris—Ladurée (take your mama out)

Ok, i didn't think i would write about this but here i am (another blog about Ladurée/french pastries...)
Last year after my grand-father's funeral my mother and i went back to Paris and spent a day walking and "window-licking" (lèche-vitrine = window shopping) in the Madeleine/Palais-Royal neighborhood. And then it was tea time, time for a pause at Ladurée. Their was a crazy line snaking all the way out but most of it was from the people buying pastries at the counter. We sort of had to force our way up to the tea salon. If you are walking the cold streets of Paris and you need to warm up (in a cozy, elegant and sort of bourgeois atmosphere), that is the place to be: it is sort of overheated and makes you kinda melt. And then you melt some more when you see the list of desserts. French pastries are the bombe!


Métro Arts et Métiers (all coppered out and looking like you're inside a submarine.)
One summer, a few years back, we went to Song Heng restaurant for some Pho but the place was closed for the whole month (August in France...)
We gave it another shot this week, and eventhough we thought we might arrive too late for lunch (it was 3.30pm) we got there half an hour before it closed.
It's a very small place with an even smaller menu: 3 tables of 6, 1 table of 4 and 2 dishes to choose from (Pho and Bun bo). When you walk in they sit you wherever there's a seat left: you fill in the space. It's like a human scale video game with the host placing its pawns as they walk in. And it doesn't matter if you don't know the person sitting in front of you, next to you and kitty corner from you because it's France and you don't have to make conversation. Depending on the angle you look at it, it might work for you or not. It's non-vegetarian and if you want it meatless that's fine but as they will make sure to tell you, everytime you come in, "c'est la même plix" (that is " c'est le même prix" which means: it's the same price.)

Dec 15, 2007

Paris—Les Jardins du Palais-Royal

Paris, mid-afternoon, walking from Gare-de-Lyon to Place des Victoires, strolling through the stylishly "pimped out" Galerie Vivienne with all its mono-color Christmas ornaments and then moving onto one of my favorite gardens: les Jardins du Palais-Royal. It's sort of raining at first, then the sun rays find their way between the menacing dark grey clouds and come hit the golden statue of Joan of Arc: a totally unexpected bling-bling vision of a parisian statue.

Dec 5, 2007

Early round

7am. There was nothing in the sky, nothing except for Venus and the moon; it was very quiet. And then came the starlings... for a change.

Dec 2, 2007

What else is new?

Bird shit, lots of it.

Bare trees and a wandering sheep

There's a sheep in the village. I thought i heard it the other day but it didn't make any sense because the beast is just too far, even the crazy wind could not carry its voice all the way to the house. I told myself i was hearing voices -i've been hearing things lately- but it turns out i wasn't totally trippin'.

The sheep followed my neighbor home. When she got out of her car there was a sheep in her garage -a four legged surprise that needed to be taken back to where it came from. So, the neighbor got on her bicycle and led it back to its grazing field.

Why doesn't this sort of thing happen to me? All i get is to hear voices,
some weird stuff that could be linked to some circulatory problems. Too much butter and cheese i'm telling you.
Or is it not enough wine?

The french expression that sounds like a retarded onomatopoeia

There was a young chinese man who came to study in France and ended up in Angers, in the Loire valley, where the castles are made of white stones and slate roofs. The young man came over for lunch a few times and asked several times what a certain expression meant, trying to repeat something he kept hearing here and there, something nobody at the table quite understood. The guy spoke very little french and the little he knew was so distorted by his accent that sometimes we simply smiled at him, not knowing what to answer, and nodded trying to save face when it was obvious that something had gotten totally lost in translation.

"AHBAHNDIDONK"(to be read in french with a chinese accent) was the word that nobody, no dictionary, no soul could manage to explain to him. It turns out the dude was hearing something that was a contraction of words, that when put together express astonishment: "ahbendisdonc!" which comes from: "et bien dis donc!"
(english translation: daaang!)
and that is a piece of french vernacular; not proper french but perfectly understandable (when pronounced without a foreign accent.)

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