How the OECD Quiz changed my life
To be right or not to be right, that is the question. Or at least it is the one that concerns anyone who has ever sat on a quiz team. But what if you are asking the questions?(435 mots)
Lifting hard times from French rugby(638 mots)
Ireland: More on the facts
David, I remember your public speaking not that long back, just before the crisis finally broke: you were sure there’d be a reckoning for all the private Irish debt v German savings, you sensed there was trouble ahead, but you were unsure about when. Others had similar fears, you voiced yours clearly, but it was not a forecast as such, and you occasionally expressed doubt, given what seemed like gravity-defying property prices. Your fears were based on something more sophisticated than “what goes up must come down”, though not sure if you saw the tsunami building in the US. Maybe you did.(264 mots)
BBC WS: please tune in to reality
The official reasons given by the BBC to close down 648 don't stack up. How is an MW antenna costly and how can switching it off save money? This is not clear; expert friends point out that MW is not costly to run.(302 mots)
David Sterboul, photographer, cultural activist, campaigner against unnecessarily over-sized display advertising, particularly here in Paris, left us in November 2009 at a brutally young age. Unlike Banksy, David was not into graffiti as far as I know, but Banksy's words nonetheless capture how David felt:(148 mots)
Here's a poignant piece in today's Guardian on the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks as seen by a movie maker. It reminds me how egocentric and sensationalist our western media can be. During the terrorist attacks we were fed stuff about how much westerners were the prime targets, particularly British and US passport holders. We were also treated to battle scenes outside and inside a few luxury hotels, the kind westerners stay in. In reality, most of the 200 or so victims of the attacks were mowed down in the train station. They were also mostly Indian. Only a score or so were westerners, and most of these were neither British nor American. Think about it.
©What's the Story Rory, RJDoyle-Clarke, Paris, 2008
Mitraillettes à Paris
Les visiteurs à Paris remarquent la présence banale des soldats dans les rues de la capitale.
En voilà quelques exemples...
Iberia version 08
Here I am back in Iberia. Two years ago we drove through eastern France and down to Valencia along the east coast, via Barcelona. This year we took the western route, via bright Burgos and magnificent Salamanca, then to Merida and into Portugal towards the lovely walled town of Evora, before striking south for Sagres. The last time I did this route was in 1989. How both countries have developed since. More highways, motorways, though luckily not much traffic going into Portugal. In fact, for 20 minutes there was not a car or truck in sight along the hot spanking new asphalt. Sagres is in the south western tip of Portugal, nestling among cliffs that mark the gateway to southern Europe and the lands of the Mediterranean.(127 mots)
François- Michel Gonnot nul points
François-Michel Gonnot, Député UMP de l’Oise, se plaint pour rien.(208 mots)
Thought for the day
The night before I was first interviewed on this programme I didn't sleep a wink. I arrived here with hours to kill and wasted time nervously drinking coffee with the tramps in Shepherd's Bush. I could almost feel my heart pumping through my rib-cage.(487 mots)
It was Jo's 70th birthday recently. We drove Jo mad. We all had a big party on the 15th-16th May, and then I drove her across Wales and England to visit her sister in Gloucestershire, and a recently widowed friend in Surrey. Then on to the Channel tunnel, and to our house in Picardy where we downed plenty of white and red.(175 mots)
The global village
Globalisation and economic progress are splendid things in so many ways, but how much more splendid they would be if they did not appear to steamroll everything in their path. A touch of "localisation" would make a huge difference.(731 mots)
Light and life
Hey, it must be time to buy another lottery ticket! Fat chance of winning though, eh? Think about it, a friend once said. We were in a soccer stadium in London watching a game. See all these people? He asked, gesturing towards the sea of faces around us. Well, multiply that crowd by 10s or 100s. Just one of those people might win.(683 mots)
October 4 was another national day of striking in France and one thing is for sure: strikes are not what they used to be. The French government is finally setting the machinery of slow, arduous social reform in motion in an effort to lift the country out of the mire and today was supposed to be the day that all of France stood up and said Non. But they didn't this time, certainly not unanimously.(591 mots)
How wonderful to fly home for Christmas. I so look forward to my complimentary whiskey, the in-flight mag and the bumpy descent, through the broken cloud and sunbeams, to Dublin-sur-mer.(573 mots)
Teheranie ? Teherists?
What a great state of the union speech! Bush really showed us how dumb we all really were! Why, it was all a code. Bagdad was just the first step on the road to Teheran, the country of terrorists. Teheran, teherists, teherany: it all adds up. I wonder were they behind the Twin Tehers too?(276 mots)
De-stress tip: Online radio enligne
Music radio online is a lifesaver. No need for all that MP3 hassle, just point and click. Right now in the background DR Jazz is playing away. You can listen via Microsoft Media Player's pre-selected jazz stations. This Danish-based station plays everything all day, from cool to rag, with just little a chat from time to time, all in a low, mumbling Danish. No ads. Worth a go. Today, two pieces below caught my attention.(138 mots)
A la Campagne
I still cannot get over today's property prices, and how impoverished they make me feel. In Paris I could perhaps afford a two-bedroom flat, in Dublin maybe someone's upstairs. That's too small for a family of five. It may be just a phase, but for now the dream that flickered years ago of a lofty Left Bank pad or a cosy cottage overlooking choppy Dalkey Sound has faded.(760 mots)
Bricks and Porter
A new buzzword has entered the Hiberno-English lexicon, sidling in between Beautiful Ireland and Dear Old Dirty Dublin: Rip-off Ireland. The Irish have a gift for coining phrases, but this one is an import. I heard it often when living in London in the 1990s, and now, living in the pricey French capital, sometimes wonder whether Paris Pas Cher is not just a bad blague. The cost of food, houses, cars, medical attention, child care: return-ing to Dublin recently gave me a sense of déjà vu all over again.(852 mots)
For sale: Residential Foodstore and Newsagency with Lotto, Funeral Undertaking and Petrol Pumps, €500,000(1287 mots)
You have to be an optimist to be in the tourist trade, they say, particularly with today's tense international climate. And sure enough, beautiful Ireland, just like belle France, is eagerly looking forward to a fine summer season. Business was up slightly in 2003, but staying competitive is tough. No one can afford to be complacent, even with Ireland's many natural attractions.(818 mots)
Latins, crimes and crooners
The French sometimes call the Irish the Latins of the North. But what have the two communities got in common? Sadly, both communities have been dealing with tragic youth crimes of late. One quality they appear to share is a love of words. But why have the Irish in particular been so slow to appreciate the lyrics of great French songwriter legends, such as Claude Nougaro, who passed away in March 2004?(1586 mots)
France has lost another 6 Nations rugby match. Yet again. Wales did a good job, but without taking away from them, there is clearly something amiss in the state of French rugby.