He walked on wet concrete and pedestrians got the measure of his boots to follow his steps.
I watched the daughter peppering her salad secretly. When she tossed the lettuce and got eating everyone at table was sneezing.
When Edmond Rostand took a new mistress, Sarah Bernhardt, his ex-lover, send her a box of hankies. And it wasn’t to blow the nose of the author of Cyrano de Bergerac.
The Pope is a Redhead
The French rugby team were preparing for the Six Nations Championship in Canet. I went to see them as a spy for Ireland. As I expected the traffic on the coastal roads would be bottled up, I took the route national and approached the seaside resort from the city side. Since this is unusual the signposts are erratic, and I lost my way.
Since everyone was apparently at the stadium, or indoors watching it on television, there was nobody on the road to ask. I arrived as the training sessions was ending. Wanting to get back to my car before the traffic, I slipped out a gap in the fence, and found myself confronted by the French team bus.
A little boy had followed me and he was clutching a notebook and a pen.
I noticed the giant red-haired captain, Pascal Pape, approaching, and I shepherded the timid boy towards him. As Pascal Pape signed his autograph I said, ‘Good luck against Ireland. Most of the Irish are Catholics, and you have the right name to get them to toe the line’. He gave me a weary look. ‘It’s not the same. I’m Papẻ (with an accent)’, and asked me did I want his autograph.
I had only a paperback in my pocket, and I turned to the blank page at the back and wrote my rugby-mad nephew’s name. Papẻ signed it, and turned to look at the title of the book, Cannibale by Didier Daeninckx . ‘They’re all cannibals in Ireland’, I said, and he laughed more heartily than the pleasantry deserved. I subsequently learned that in his last match against Ireland he got bitten.
There is an office boy in the local newspaper who doesn’t want the next mayor to be Front National. The announcement for their public meeting
reads ‘the candidate and his team will present their planned pogrom’.
How Long is a Piece of Theological String?
Thomas Aquinas says that ‘God is not a person, but a metaphysical hit or miss’, and that ‘The world was not made out of any contingent need, but out of love.’
When Aquinas had a vision of his own death he stopped writing his masterwork Summa Theologia. Church scholars say it was nearly finished. Seven-eighth according a German theologian, basing his calculation on the structural frame of Aquinas’s thinking.
A French theologian claims Aquinas’s silence is part of his argument. It signifies that it is for his readers to conclude it. The Church took him up.
Suicide Note Found in the Pocket of an Accident Victim
‘All my life I made my own decisions, and death is not going to be an exception.
I have not allowed anyone or anything to surprise me. This you all know. That you will not be surprised is the achievement of my life.‘
Gilbert Rodrigues Leal
kidnapped by Islamic Fundamentalists and put to death because ‘France is our enemy’. Senor Leal is Portuguese
A Nasty Fact
Although Hitler’s Germany tortured and murdered domestic opponents on a scale unmatched by the German Democratic Republic, the degree of popular support and consent was such that the Gestapo was a relatively small organisation compared to the Stasi in Communist East Germany. Subjects could be relied upon to inform on their fellow citizens without coercion.
Every rock has its vein.
Every saint has his sin.
My fault, you claim,
is I have a thin skin.
‘Which is ridiculous’
I said with a smile.
‘Say that again and I’ll
burst your face. I’m
Neighbours in the Cemetery
Norbert Tousourire, ancient combatant (1927 – 2012), and the Popoff family: Boris
(1899 – 1986), and Ludmilla nẽ Ivanof (1899 – 1995). ‘Tousourire’ means ‘all smiles’.
My car wouldn’t start. ‘A fault of anti-pollution’, the screen read. So I decided to take my boat to Argeles. However, when I arrived at the leisure port, two men were standing in my little motorboat, one dressed in a frogman’s suit, the other was wielding a gaffe to pull a yellow buoy in the water. I asked an onlooker what’s happening. I got the usual philosophic French ‘Je ne sais pas’.
I noticed the gaffer had a gendarme armband, and I introduced myself as the owner. The diver apologised and said ‘We’re recovering a body’. I responded ‘Pas grave’.
A few weeks ago I noticed a babacool lodged on a bench on the main square facing the Port. Not a rare event , except it was young girl, not a hardened clochard. I looked out for her. She slept in the eaves of the cinema. Over the past few days I saw her dog wandering around the streets alone.
I was relieved to read in the fait divers column of the paper that it was a sixty nine year old man. He died dead drunk, as they say, trying to embrace the moon. The dog has disappeared.
A Fate Worse Than
Philip Roth, who was betrayed by his shrink.
In the volcanic region of Spain, the town of Olot I stayed in a hotel opposite a block of flats from which I heard a woman shouting a litany of complains against the world. I traced her to a window with the blinds half down. I could see a cardigan. No head. The rant went on for hours. When the police arrived she moderated her speech to a quiet pleading. Once they left she erupted again. There was no stopping her verbal lava. As I passed the window I gave her a little wave. A hand responded without affecting the force of the flow.
Andre Citroen made his money from ammunition. Like Alfred Nobel with dynamite, he had qualms of conscience, and diversified into ecological cars. Unfortunately the evolution of petrol didn’t keep up with his aspirations. And his new product killed more people from lung disease than his bullets in war.
The Madiba Legacy
President Zuma: 4 official wives, 20 mistresses, 21 recognised children. Cost to South Africa £150 million a year, not counting £27 million for security in his house.
HIV/ Aids: 22.4% amongst pregnant women (2012). Mbeki, Mandela’s chosen heir as President, denied Aids is a viral infection sexually transmitted. So retroviral drugs
were withdrawn. It cost an estimated 300,000 lives.