13 April 2007

The morning news

I turned on CNN International this morning. The news is all good, of course. Just kidding.

There was a big earthquake (6.0 or stronger, according to reports) a few minutes ago in Mexico. The epicenter was between Mexico City and Acapulco, CNN said. I'm waiting for more news.

A big April snowstorm is blowing across the U.S. central plains, from Denver and Kansas City northward and eastward. The East Coast will be affected by it tomorrow and Sunday.

California had a dry winter and the Sierra snowpack is only 46% of normal. Water restrictions are likely to be imposed on millions of people. The news is about flow-restricters in shower heads, less frequent toilet flushing, no car washing, and so on. It reminds me of the late '80s and early '90s, when there was a six-year drought. People of course use more water than ever, and there are more and more people using it. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. N'est-ce pas ?

This morning it is raining lightly in Saint-Aignan. We need the moisture at this point. But it means that the grass will have to be mowed again in the next few days. Walt pointed out that one of the irises we transplanted (with Sue's help) last year has a blossom on it. I planted some tomato seeds in pot yesterday afternoon, in anticipation of being able to set them out in the garden in about a month. Temperatures this weekend are supposed to exceed 75ºF (24ºC). We can't complain.

The CNN morning anchorwoman interviewed the mayor of Blois about an hour ago. He's member of "centrist" presidential candidate François Bayrou's party, the UDF (Union pour la Démocratie Française). Bayrou looks unlikely to make it into the second round of voting between the two top first-round vote-getters on May 6.

The CNN questioning of Blois's mayor included this gem, which I paraphrase: France is a beautiful country. Thousands, hundreds of thousands really, of tourist go there every year and love it. What's wrong with the French people? Why aren't they happy?

Well, first of all, who says they aren't? Why should they be any happier than other people? How does happiness manifest itself? Widespread smiling? Giggling? Abandonment of all hope that things might get better? By the way, the number of tourists who visit France annually is said to be 75 million. It is apparently the world's no. 1 tourist destination.

It's like that Jackson Browne comment I quoted a week or two ago. If the place you live in is the voted the best place in the world to live, don't you get a little depressed thinking there's nothing better elsewhere? Maybe this is as good as it gets. The fact is, people in France have to commute, work for a living, please their bosses, deal with politics and politicians, and fret about the weather.

And then there was the Paul Wolfowitz story: he is the current president of the World Bank in Washington. The World Bank is a supposedly international institution whose mission is to fight poverty in the world, but Wolfowitz was nominated by G.W. Bush. The U.S. President's nomination is tantamount to an appointment in this case, and many in the world view the leader of the World Bank as a U.S. political appointee.

Wolfowitz was previously Deputy Defense Secretary at the Pentagon, under Rumsfield, and he was one of the chief architects of the war in Iraq. He's a neo-con, one of those extreme right-wing radicals who thinks the U.S. should impose itself as the world's only superpower and rule the roost.

So how does Paul W. operate within the government? He uses his influence to get his domestic partner (the French news said his maîtresse, or mistress) a high-level job at the U.S. State Department that represented a big promotion and pay increase. He admitted yesterday that he had made a mistake by intervening in the hiring process for a woman he was dating at the time and apologized for it. But he didn't resign his job, of course. These people are not quitters. They think they own the government, in other words, and they can use it as they see fit. [End of rant]

What I was going to blog about this morning was a recipe for cooking a rabbit. When Easter rolls around, and talk in the media turns to the Easter Bunny, it always reminds me that I haven't cooked rabbit in a while. So I bought one at the Saint-Aignan market last week and cooked it on Easter Sunday. I'll save the recipe and pictures for a later post.


  1. Maybe the reporter had read this week's Time Europe cover story about why so many French people are deciding to leave France.

    It's kind of funny that the story didn't mention the many Brits and others who are moving to France.

    I used to be a big Jackson Browne fan, BTW. I've really lost track of him now, though.

  2. They say there are half a million Brits living in France. I wonder how many Americans we are. I understand a lot of French people are moving to Morocco and Tunisia. And then there are more and more French people in Silicon Valley, for example.

    It's become a borderless world. When I tell French people I moved here from California, they are likely to say: "We all want to move over there — are you crazy?"

  3. Coincidentally, I'm listening to Jackson Browne right now. I heard "The Pretender" when I was driving in to work today, so I'm playing all the stuff of his I have in iTunes (quite a lot, as it turns out).

    Music can be so evocative, and listening to old JB takes me right back to high school.

    I'm glad the nice weather is coming your way!

  4. You and Walt too, Ginny. For me, JB was more like... graduate school!


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