Definitions, Writers and Manifestations…

Ladybird!  All I could think of at first was Ladybird Johnson!  Who knew?  My friend taught me the name for a bug with a red shell and black spots. Coccinelle. I said lady bug.  She said lady bird.  She was adamant

At first I thought I was forgetting my English. Then we discovered it is “bird” in the UK and “bug” in the US.  Thank God for French/English dictionaries that differentiate between UK and US.  Whew.  But isn’t there a phrase…  Ladybirds?  Like the girlfriends?  Not the Yardbirds!   Or maybe it’s more an English expression… as in the UK?

Then we talked about roofers. Their roof in Normandy needs repair.  And I said that roofers in CA have a reputation to be flakes.  Whole ‘nother discussion    I didn’t like the Merriam Webster definition: oddball personality.  Hmmm.  I think of flakes as people who aren’t really responsible.  Weigh in if you want.

This conversation was over a lunch of Caesar salad after the pastel shop tour (see next blog).  But let’s address the failure of the salad.  Not romaine.  Horrors!  And green beans.  And asparagus.  And a dressing not quite an American Caesar.  But white.

From cuisine to literary culture.

You must remember the Music Man – such a hit show.  One of my favorites.  I bet you can sing along with all the songs.
And remember when the ladies were singing about the library?  Like cheeping hens?  Let me refresh:

Pick a little, talk a little, pick a little, talk a little,  Cheep cheep cheep, talk a lot, pick a little more
Pick a little, talk a little, pick a little,  Talk a little, cheep cheep cheep, talk a lot, pick a little more
Pick a little, talk a little, pick a little,  Talk a little, cheep cheep cheep, talk a lot, pick a little more

Maud: Professor, her kind of woman doesn’t belong on any committee. Of course, I shouldn’t tell you this but she advocates dirty books.
Harold: Dirty books!
Alma: Chaucer
Ethel: Rabelais
Eulalie: Balzac!

Et voila.  You now know that you know a medieval French writer of dirty books – Rabelais!    I have no idea why the subject of Rabelais came up in a conversation with Albert this week – but it did.  And he was astonished that I knew of him.  And I must admit to reading an excerpt of his book Gargantua and Pantagruel in a 10th grade World Lit class.  (I believe the style has changed and I don’t have to underline the title of books but it’s a habit that does not die.)  That’s where we get the word gargantuan.  AND he’s referenced in the Music Man.  Et voila.

And now from literary culture to disruptive culture.

Manifestations.  The French word for a demonstration.  Greve.  The French word for strike.  Lots of them happening right now.  Many workers and many students are very upset and oppose the proposed new labor laws.  The government is trying to help the economy by helping business.  The workers see only their rights taken away and the students see – maybe more jobs although probably they don’t see that – less likelihood of job security.  Don’t get me started on the issue of entitlement here.

Yesterday the trains were on strike – meaning 1 in 3 trains would be running.  Today all over France there were demonstrations.  In Paris 3 police officers were wounded.  Trust me.  I stayed away.  The hotbeds are Place de la Republique and Place de la Nation. (on the opposite side of Paris from me.)  And if taxis are involved, then Porte Maillot which is very close to me.

I had a nice day out and about – see Pastel blog to follow – and saw nothing amiss.  Except for a nice French woman who chatted with me about deviations of the bus because of the manifestations.  (YES!  Chatted with me IN FRENCH!)