Thursday, May 24, 2007

Was in production the past few days, which means that I had to cut spreadsheets into smaller bits to distribute to a bunch of people who won't actually read them. Soulgrinding.

Nine more work hours until the long weekend.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Just got back from the shrink. We talked about the four times I broke my nose, how an ex m'a posé un lapin ce weekend, about an old job I really loved. This week, she told me I should have a television show. (Last week it was that I should be writing a screenplay.) I wouldn't mind, except that it would force me into a public I am very uncomfortable with.

On the way back to the office, I stopped off at a cafe for something cold to drink. How funny and serendipitous to hear this?

I'd forgotten how positive this one was. And how sweet. Wow. Not much like that around anymore.

Anyway - glad to see that he is doing well. Glad to see that he got rid of the fin, too.
Chick has two daddies.

(Sorry. Couldn't resist.)

A homosexual flamingo couple has adopted an abandoned chick, finally realizing their desire to become parents after several attempts, the British Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust announced on Monday.

Carlos and Fernando had so wanted to be parents that they made unsuccesful attempts at chasing other flamingoes out of their nests in order to steal eggs and hatch them, a spokesperson at the WWT bureau in Slimbridge (near Bristol, in the southwest of England) explained.

Thus it was decided that they were ideal candidates for fostering an orphaned chick whose nest was abandoned by its natural parents. The egg was hatched in an incubator.

Carlos and Fernando, a couple for six years, can produce milk in their throats in order to feed their little one.

Homosexuality among flamingoes is a natural occurrence when there is a dearth of females, Jane Waghorn, the WWT's spokesperson explained.

-via AFP, London

Well, I'll be darned.
"Hi, honey, I'm running a bit late. I'll be at base camp in about three days barring any bad traffic, okay?"

Just hang up and climb, will ya?

Seriously: back when I could do more challenging hikes, there was little else that would piss me off more than reaching a summit full of cell-phone yammerers.


Next up: a Kripalu franchise in Dharamsala.

Monday, May 21, 2007

"Whether you use Bracken or Ostrich Fern, you will find few vegetables that can top a piece of toast with more grace and goodness than fern fiddleheads. They can be boiled like asparagus, sautéed in butter, served in a cream sauce, or, the best way of all, steamed and served on toast with a wine Hollandaise sauce..."

- from Stalking the Blue-Eyed Scallop, Euell Gibbons

Tonight's dinner kind of set the tone. So much for the Dead Greek-types.
Got a postcard today telling me about solitary walks along riverbanks and tables for one. Told me that the Loire has neither a Lorelei nor a water sprite, and that he's missing his mermaid.

Laugh all you want. Applied right, this stuff works incredibly well.
Pablo has been reading for his supper for as long either of us can remember. I think he likes the sound of his declamatory voice. I like having my mind caught up in a yarn while I'm cutting, stirring, kneading.

We used to read articles from news magazines. Now, it's mainly longer works that he picks up from the library.

Heavens, what did we start with? Was it some Mark Twain? Some Arthur Conan Doyle? Couldn't have been Thomas Pynchon, could it? I don't really remember, we've been through so much. Lots of times, he gets a notion in his head (reading excerpts from "Innocents Abroad" along with bits from "Typee," for example...or doing comparative look-sees at Poe and Lovecraft.) Right now, it's Herodotus (Greece's Twain, or was Twain an American Herodotus? - of course, it's all about the translation, and Aubrey de Selincourt's is a wonderfully conversational sounding one) and Heliodorus (the scene in I think it was the third book where Caliseris takes the piss out of Herodotus and his "roving reporter" style is so darn funny).

We're really eating these stories up, so will be finished soon. I'm hoping that Pablo will in the mood for follwing up with this year's birthday present as it looks like a good time and does sort of relate.
A walk in the sun really did me some good. The cobwebs aren't completely cleared out, but I feel a bit more me, anyway.

Really felt like cooking, so have quite a spread here: marinated pork spareribs, corn and potato chowder, steamed fiddlehead ferns. There are some biscuits and some cream left for a shortcake if dessert is in order.

I'm not averse to eating alone (do it quite a lot, actually). Am sort of hoping for some company, as I'd like to be read to tonight. That's a nice alternative to doing the reading myself when my eyes feel as tired and delicate as they have been all day.
Dumb done well.

No, it wasn't Citizen Kane. Heck, it wasn't even one of Will Ferrell's better movies. Am I a better person for having seen it? Probably not. I did get my money's worth in belly-laughs and snorts, though.
This weekend was much like the previous two in that there was so much interesting going on that I decided to do rather than write. Eventually (hopefully) I'll get to committing some of the adventures on 'paper.'

Generally during times like this, I get really resentful of only having Saturday and Sunday. Last night, however, I didn't even have time to get the blues, as somewhere around 7-8 pm, the awful white-light electric spark started heading up my neck into my head. By about 10:00 pm, it was no longer possible to keep my eyes open between the blinky-light curtain and lead-weights on the lids.

It was only through sheer force of will that I managed to hold down dinner and to drag myself into bed. Once there, managed to arrange the pillows a little in order to support my neck and cradle my head, then attempted to either wall in The Pain or exhaust myself.

I had to forget about anything so complex and tiring as heating my hands or feet up. Instead, I took my time in drawing a curtain to separate me from The Pain. No projecting of numbers, either: I just enunciated (not out loud, hopefully) the numbers as clearly and precisely as I was able to. When I got to about thirty, I think I fell asleep.

It was far from the end of my troubles, though, as The Pain woke me up an hour later, an hour after that, and then two hours later. I took drinks of water and paced a bit, then wondered if it might not be a good idea to try to take any medicine (when my head hurts so badly, the stomach gets upset, too, and I risk throwing up and wasting perfectly good painkillers). Decided against pills, so went back to bed to count myself back to the soft blackness.

I'm lucky that I'm not too tired, as I didn't sleep nearly enough. Also am very surprised to only have felt slightly nauseous. However, my eyes are extremely sensitive right now, and it feels as though I'm separated from the rest of the world, from full consciousness by a shroud of tulle or gauze or something. I see what's going on and can make relatively simple decisions about things, but I'm afraid that my responses to people are slightly off/inappropriate/not jibing. Explained this to my boss (who's dealt with all my brain issues at one point or another) and she just told me to leave when I had to. Hopefully I can manage a full day, as I do have a lot of work to get done and it makes me feel useful to at least be able to make it into the office, anyhow.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The walk home last night was a trip. I got about as far as Union Square (about 1/4 of the way home) when the sky started turning biblical black (wish I had my camera with me!) and the wind started picking up. By the time I'd crossed the intersection, the rain was coming down like from a spigot.

Spent a few minutes under the Reliable awning communing with and feeling like my favorite fish:

Mmm, Fish.

Then, when things let up a bit, continued on my merry way home.

The lightning started in earnest as during my Prospect Hill ascent. As the thunder was still following by quite a margin, I didn't get too worried yet.

Managed to stay fairly dry (save for hot feet) up until about Medford Street where no fewer than five commuters fantasizing about their ski-doos in Winnipesaukee soaked me with their puddle jumpings. It kind of made me wonder how much ruder the drivers in NY or Miami could be.

Did make it home in one piece just before the storm was over head (thank heavens). Saw that the hostas had perked up a bit, so was pleased about that. I'd been worried about them as the ground's been like powder lately and the twice-daily waterings weren't cutting it. They really needed a good, serious, soaking rain and, boy howdy, did they get it. Hopefully they'll get a couple more before the weekend is out.

Changed into dry things, killed a couple centipedes (what is it with centipedes and Somerville/Medford? I think I've killed more of these terrors in my time here than I'd seen in my life previously), baked a potato for dinner, then hunkered down under the covers with a good book.
Dispatches from Abroad.

During his afternoon in Gien, The Frenchie bought two bistro plates at 1 EE apiece, two blue plates at 8 EE apiece, and a couple of teacups. I'm not too crazy about Gien Faience, but he's got a great collection of it (it's a family thing).

Toits et Ancien Pont - Gien

Rooftops and 18th century bridge, taken from atop Queen Anne's castle, August 2006

He decided not to take a walk around town, as it was looking like rain. Instead, he headed back to Sully-sur-Loire to have dinner in a favorite little cafe-turned pizzeria facing the chateau.

Chateau a Sully sur Loire

Siège du duc de Sully, taken August 2006

Since the weather was holding up, he thought to wander around the perimeter of the castle. I wonder if he ran into the flotilla of geese (With some new recruits, of course: it's Spring, after all.) that entertained us so last summer.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Just peeked over my cube wall and saw how dark it was outside. Ooh, it's going to be neat walking home tonight.
Have been doing a lot of reading lately -

Partly because I work next door to a library, partly because it takes the place of actually doing work on certain things I think I want to accomplish.

I Don't Know What I Want, but I know It's Not This: A Step-by-Step Guide to Finding Gratifying Work, by Julie Jansen

The Career Fix-It Book: How to Make Your Job Work Better For You, by Diana Pace

One of my problems is that though I'm an extremely fast learner, have developed some marketable skills, and am unintimidated by any new task set in front of me, I get bored, frustrated and demoralized very easily. How does this happen? I guess because, though I'm good at some things, it doesn't mean that I enjoy doing them. I've been learning the hard way that it's important to do more than barely tolerate what one spends 8-10 hours a day on.

What do I enjoy doing? How to translate this into a career?

Both questions are pretty complicated for me, as I like lots of things, but none of them seem (right now) to be able to support me in as expensive a part of the country as where I live. I often fear that my dream job faded away when the music company shut its doors. I also fear that, if I do try to nail down that 'obscure object of my desire,' I'll end up hating it or being disappointed in it...kind of like getting to really know a guy one has a crush on and finding out that he wasn't all that, after all.

Same-Day Resume: Write an Effective Resume in an Hour (2nd edition), by Michael Farr

My resume's needed an overhaul for some time, but I have a block against doing it. Just thinking about it upsets me sometimes. To an extent, this book's been a good little kick in the be-hind. Now, I just have to take my notes, pare them down and format them into something distributable.

The Power of Nice: How to Conquer the Business World With Kindness, by Linda Kaplan Thayler and Robin Koval

I devoured like 1/2 this book while waiting in a cafe for a friend the other day... Somewhere during my tenure (in not-for-profit human services - some seriously unhealthy environments), I lost the will to be anything beyond just courteous or civil. It's been nice to read something that gives lie to the notion that you have to walk all over people, steal their work, stab backs in order to be successful.

Don't know where any of this will take me, but it has been interesting. Guess I'll have to get off my duff make some decisions eventually, though.
Spring Cleaning

Went through the closet last night to cull the wardrobe a bit...mainly to get rid of stuff that past beaus gave me. I figure if I haven't seen most of them in (at least) three years, why keep the leftovers. It's not like any of it was anything I would ever be caught dead wearing.

What's been so striking has been looking so coldly, so clinically at what images or phantasmes were being imposed on me. I know we all do this to an extent; heck, there's a whole treatise on this phenomenon by some dead French guy. (Wasn't it called crystalization? It is a bug-in-amber sort of feeling.) Still.

Anyhow, I'm thinking of selling the lot on e-Bay or something, although that sounds kind of tawdry and unromantic. Can't see myself doing the heroine of the bodice-ripper thing by burning the bomber bras and leather pants, though. I'm too pragmatic for that, and besides, I could use the money. Flights off the continent are expensive in the summer.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Il faut cultiver son jardin.

Got home late tonight to spend some quality time with the hostas I divided and transplanted over the weekend. Boy, how the soil is dustbowl-like.

While I was watering, one of the kids who live next door stopped by to thank me for the stuff I planted on their property years ago.

"Such a pretty rose," he called it. "Did you plant that?"

"Heavens, it's a parrot tulip, and I must have planted it like five years ago. It's gone now. Would you like a hosta? I've got plenty of them."

He grinned. "I don't know what it is, didn't see it last year. What happened?"

I explained that sometimes the bulbs and the perennials skip years or disappear completely; that his tulips probably were taking a breather the previous year.

I got another sunshiney-like smile. "Crazy. I don't know anything about all that. I just like what you did here. Thanks...Bebere, right? It looks really good."

(How on Earth did he remember my name?)

"Sorry...what's your name again?...Bri...thanks. I'll put a hosta down later in the week so you can have something blooming the whole season."


Ordinarily I'd say that I was reading too much into this all, but, well, I just get a feeling, you know? Usually that sort of thing just bounces off my shell of cluelessness, but, for some reason (just like the first time we talked), this hasn't.

Don't even care for younger guys, either. Heck, if anything, I tend to go for the older types (the young ones being too much like the kids I never had). Still, it's a strangely not so unpleasant feeling to get that *zing,* even from roe.

The Frenchie called this morning to say bonjour from St. Benoit. Said that the sun shone for the first time since May 6th and that the clouds were hanging heartbreakingly low over the Loire.

Oh, what I wouldn't do to be there right now.
Until recently, I thought their site a bit unprofessional-looking, but they did have a cool little freebie that amused me to no end. After reading this, however, I'm thinking of changing to another stat counter.

For the time being, I've replaced the java code with HTML, so the cookie problem should be solved.

This is disappointing.

Monday, May 14, 2007

It's heartwarming to see all the celebrity resources being put into finding this little girl. However, after everything gets resolved, I certainly hope someone will ask why the parents even thought of leaving three toddlers alone in order to go out to a restaurant.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Je m'arrache.*

Long, painful few days at work.

Thank heavens it's over...for this week, anyway.

*I'm gettin' the HELL out.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Discrediting the UMP and Sarkozy based on the past performance of the party and Sarkozy's job in particular should have been like shooting fish in a barrel. Based on what what I saw of it, though, the Anti-Sarko camp's campaign wasn't so great; in fact, in some of the internet marketing-type drives - this (note cartoon on left sidebar. Nice, huh?) or this (more moderate, but all the talking points are almost direct translations of the Anti-Bush leftish sorts), or this (sloganeering without explanation) look like they got their playbooks from Move On or something.

Really sad, but Sarkozy wasn't dishonest about his desire for power at all. The other side just fumbled it bigtime.
Banana Republic All Over Again

"Chirac's were small potatoes compared to Sarko." Chirac: "Boy, I look like an idiot with my Citroën and my Chateau de Bity."

Majority ruled; France got the politician they deserved.
My hair felt too long, scraggly and frizzy, so I decided to do something about it last night.

A girlfriend of mine who has hair similar to mine told me that she used a technique she learned about in an old Glamour magazine in the 1970s: put your hair into a ponytail at the top of your head, then trim the ponytail even.

I guess I could have used a bit more research before moving forward, but what the heck...I plunged right in (for better or for worse). The weather being humid as it is, I was a bit worried about looking like a character from The Wedding Singer. Instead, it appears as though I did pretty well and ended up with a lovely, non-frizzy cascade of curls down my back and framing my face. The girls in the office checked out the back for me and declared it all even and un-choppy. Even got a couple of compliments from coworkers I don't normally hear from.

Am very happy with my new hair and summery clothing: I feel kind of like Artemis or some other pretty/strong female.
Not bad for a guy whose platform revolved around economic and environmental reform.

Nicolas Sarkozy on a yacht May 8 in Malta: Mr. Sarkozy will return "late" at night, according to his campaign manager Claude Guéant, after spending all day Wednesday on the private yacht of business man Vincent Bolloré. Photo: AFP

Of course, he doesn't see the problem with this and feels that there is no reason to apologize. (I tend to agree with him: he's got his constituency to look after, after all.)


I read somewhere yesterday that the head of the Socialist party (Monsieur Sego) simply responded that "he needed his rest." Wish I could find the citation somewhere, as it was a hoot.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


I feel as though I'm pining away.
Same sh*t, different day.

Dissident Frogman explains his reasons for voting the way he did in Sunday's elections. He also offers some advice to Americans overly eager to embrace their newest "best friend:"

"Hey, Sarkozy is pro-American right? I mean, he's had his picture taken with the Evil Texan W. Ain't that a proof?

You know, like when it was Jacques C. formerly-known-as-the-French-President, who was the very first head of state to rush to America right after 9/11? And wasn't that a proof too?"

Just something to keep in mind as you read all the hagiographic accounts in the American/Anglo news.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Sometimes it's better not to struggle and to just let the bellyrub run its course.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

The signs are never wrong.

"Apparently, Sarkozy is going to be elected."

From what I've read, though the polls keep predicting a Sarkozy win, one still needs to keep in mind that about 1/3 of those intending to vote may not yet have even decided whom they're going to choose. Polls close at 8:00 pm there, so there's still an hour and a half to go.
Yesterday afternoon: the Beach.

This afternoon: the Opera.

Entretemps: Brahms and Bond Graphs.

More later!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Ghosts of '68?

The battle lines have been drawn. (on banner: "forbidden to forbid.") Sego rallies for the old student socialist movement. Sarkozy is dressed in riot gear; the new face of the police during his tenure as minister of the interior.

People are voting in greater numbers than ever in France. There have been grim warnings of manifestations and even civil unrest. This is going to be interesting. Interesting, but frightening.

Friday, May 04, 2007

And who's going to be be courted now?

"Politics are based on Forgetfulness."

Sarko: "Now, to get everyone to forget" Sego: "All the awful things we said about Bayrou."

We have the answer to that one already: Bayrou said that he would absolutely not vote for Sarkozy. Will this non-endorsement help Segolene, who according to the polls is trailing by quite a margin? We'll see, I guess.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

How'd the debate go?

The debate continued at home: "Oh, so you had dinner in front of the TV last night."

I don't watch debates for American candidates so I certainly wasn't going to do so for the French. Personally, I don't see much point in them, as they tend to be pretty scripted rehashes of stuff we've all heard before.

Both sides, of course, are claiming victory: The Sarkozy camp because of Royal's "imprecision" and not directly answering questions. Royal's side is crowing over the coups she gave regarding Sarkozy's lack of knowledge about Nuclear power and its environmental impact, his proposal to not tax overtime, and regarding the (lack of) facilities for handicapped students in schools.

One thing that surprised a lot of people was the role-reversal: Sarkozy, the aggressive one, appeared calm and restrained, whereas Royal (called the nurturer, the Mother-type) was on the offensive. Of course, there are scads of analysis regarding this political "sea change."

More particulars here (in English). Personally, I can't wait until Monday, when (hopefully) it'll be all over.
Opinion Polls

Words about politics don't come easy to me. Words about pictures do, however.

The French Hesitate: (on newspaper: "Opinion Polls") "50% of the French hate Sarkozy, 50% Ségolène."

One could call this an election Style Américain what with the branding, the soundbites and the scores of polls being taken. Candidate-wise, it's also a bit like our past two presidential elections: neither is particularly well-loved, and many people are voting against rather than for.


Relying on opinion polls can be a double-edged sword: several politicians here have been accused of conducting policy based on polls. Reliance on the shaky data of exit polls has caused quite a bit of grief in recent elections.

From a francophone site in Morocco:

"Presidential Elections 2007: Opinion Polls, the Drug of the French.

We're not speaking of anything but that now. On all the television stations, in all the newspapers, the fora, the blogs. What will become of France in 2007? Who will take up residence in the Champs Elysee? Bayrou, Ségolène, Sarko, Le Pen, or one of the eight other candidates?...

...What has been grabbing my attention the most during these elections has been the usage of opinion polls. Why so many of them? Are the French afraid of (bad) surprises? It becomes even more complicated when we start hearing about "voting intentions" and from the undecideds who "could vote pour so-and-so."

All this leads us to the following questions: What role do these opinion polls play? How are they calculated? Most importantly, what is their impact on voting intentions?

An opinion poll, by its very definition, is based on a sample of the population. Thus, it cannot objectively represent the intentions of all French people. Even less so when something as important as presidential elections are at stake.

Certainly, it is easier to say in the framework of a poll that "I'll vote for Ségolène," rather than to actually do so on election day (More tension in the air, more hesitation and of course, last-minute fears.)

The 2007 opinion polls are taken, either by institutions like the CSA or Médiamétrie. There are also plenty of newspaper sites that offer online polls. The latter are even more dangerous, as in the majority of cases, the sites don't have a means of guarding against bad data. For example, someone can always vote multiple times, thus

What one needs to keep in mind is the impact on intentions to vote...take, for example, Le Pen at the bottom of the list: why couldn't he get more people to vote for him? Whereas Sarko, leading in all the polls, might well encourage more anti-Sarko types (and not pro Ségolène types) to vote for Ségolène Royal?

In this case, opinion polls are much more dangerous than simple numbers and could very well be used to manipulate the voters."
I'm usually not such a big jewelry girl, but something about pearls brings out the latent Lorelei Lee in me.

This wouldn't make a bad paperweight, actually.
Méduse des Profondeurs

This reminds me of something I saw in the David Attenborough series Blue Planet. (Highly recommended, by the way.) The Frenchie says that his inspiration came from a watercolored tissue-paper collage a friend made to put on her front door window.
Just got an HR bulletin stating that we're having a salsa and guacamole cook-off tomorrow in honor of Cinco de Mayo.

I guess if they were having a margherita-judging contest, I'd consider going. Stuff I eat at home regularly for a manufactured 'diversity' shindig I can do without.

(Yes, I am a crank and a party pooper, I know. I just don't see the need to celebrate the Mexican casting off of the French Yoke of Imperialism.)
Boy, the allergies are kicking my be-hind today.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Pattern Recogniton

Together everything becomes possible

Sound familiar?

-via Pablo who credited Sarkozy's campaign managers for at least using a complete sentence for a slogan.
About that sexual predator on the loose in the neighborhood -

A girlfriend of mine forwarded me an announcement from the Somerville Commission for Women:

The Medford Police Department Community Services Unit will dedicate its monthly community meeting to providing information regarding the recent Medford assaults on Wednesday, May 2 at the Medford Police Academy at 90 Main Street, located next to the police station at 100 Main St. at 7 p.m.

Attached was an article from the Medford Transcript (with a picture of the suspect):

Again, he's described as a Latino male in his 20s, height between 5'5"-5'10", medium build, some facial hair, and often wearing a hoodie. He's also been seen driving a red or burgundy SUV.

Ladies: keep an eye out, keep your wits about you and be safe.
Just like every other morning, I peeked in to wave hello and got the cheery "good morning!" in return. The only thing that set today apart from other days was the presence of a TV truck across the street.

I had absolutely no idea about what happened the night before.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Happy May Day

Normally, I'd go collecting lilies of the valley to give away, but they haven't bloomed here yet. How about some peach blossoms instead?

Flowers from Raphaella's tree. Hopefully we'll actually get some fruit this year.
"Anti Sarko Subtitle"

"France 2 Humor: The translator in charge of subtitles for the daily news programming in the US left of his own accord, Sarkozy claims.

Francois Bayrou accused French Television Stations of being "Pro-Sarkozy." Apparently, at France-2, someone decided -rather discreetly- to reestablish some balance and push the "anyone but Sarkozy" line. Monday evening, the TV news was devoted to election results. The same night, this program aired with English subtitles on several cable networks in the US (channel 25 in New York City, nightly at 7:00 pm, namely). Only, this time around, the subitles were working independently. Nicolas Sarkozy said: "J'invite tous les Francais(...) a s'unir a moi. (I invite all French people to rally around me - B.)" The translator as a joke submitted "(...) to rally my inflated ego."

(Translation of the translation: "a rejoindre mon ego surdimensionne.")

You can joke about the short guy syndrome: he definitely has it. Save it for the salons, though.

An attentive viewer did not catch any other 'jokes.' The joke in question, however, carries some heavy risks: this broadcast's continuation in the United States is, in fact, at this time, under threat. The stakes revolve most notably around the cost of subtitling, partly funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which was withdrawn. If Nicolas Sarkozy is elected on the 6th of May, it's not certain that he is going to have any desire to restore said funding..."

Response (in French) from France 2 here.

Response (again, in French) from the French Language Ministry to the Senate here.


I have no love for Sarkozy: of the candidates the French are able to vote for, Royal is most likely the lesser of the two evils.

However, the sort of stunt that the translator pulled is extremely unprofessional and childish. Sure, it might have seemed funny or cool at the time, but there was a lot more at stake than the perpetrator's personal enjoyment: namely, the media outlet's professional image, the competence of their staff, the opposition's image.

I was turned against the Democrats in our last election not because I thought that the Republicans were any better, but because I was disgusted by the dirty pool played by the (largely left; further left than your average Joe) media in support of their preferred candidates.

In France, it is highly likely that media support (particularly television) is largely skewed to the right. Completely understandable, as power attracts power; especially in a political/economic system such the French have. Getting past this relationship isn't going to be accomplished through childish pranks, but by well-thought-out arguments levied by serious people. As I keep saying to my friends in France: rather than mock us, watch what we do and learn from it, as you're going to be living it later on.