Note to self: if I must fly to Paris in the future, make sure to use Orly airport and not Charles de Gaulle. Better yet, avoid French air travel altogether:
[O]n Monday, four days after the police at Roissy-Charles de Gaulle International Airport planted explosives in an unsuspecting passenger’s suitcase, nobody yet knew where the explosives went.
Even by French standards, this is one of the absolute nadirs of stupidity in the history of human endeavor.
So, biotechnology is bad, it’s “Frankenfood”, it’s unsuitable for human consumption, it poses a grave danger, yada yada.
Except, you know, when the French are trying to develop GM grapevine stock.
The vines to be tested were genetically engineered in a laboratory to be resistant to fanleaf disease virus, which is a significant problem in France’s cooler wine regions and throughout the world. The virus is transmitted by the tiny nematode xiphinema index when it feeds on the roots of infected plants and then on healthy ones. Scientists inserted a gene fragment from the virus into the genome of a healthy grapevine rootstock.
French researchers have been trying to fight fanleaf disease for a long time, said Guy Riba, scientific director for the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA), a government-run network of research centers. “[INRA] looked for means to fight the virus, and when it didn’t find any, it decided to go after the disease with GMOs,” Riba said.
I’m sure the starving Africans who are denied opportunities to grow GM crops will be very happy at the news.
Remember the furore that erupted when the Reagan-era government tried to classify ketchup as a vegetable? I have a feeling that this will not attract nearly as much opprobrium: International > Europe > Paris Journal: A Campaign to Drink Another Glass of Wine for France” href=”http://www.nytimes.com/2004/07/23/international/europe/23fran.html”>French to Classify Wine as Food.
“Wine is not a food like any other,” said Alain Suguenot, the head of the wine growers’ study group of France’s National Assembly and the Commander of the Chevaliers de Tastevin, the exclusive fraternity of Burgundy wine connoisseurs. “It’s a special food. It has nutritional value. Of course, you cannot eat it alone. It’s a food you have to eat with other food. But it is a food.”
All to combat a slump in the French wine market. Gee, I wonder what could have caused that? (Hints: that big heat wave that killed all the old folks last summer? It affected the wine harvest too. And oh yeah, something about a war…)
Besides, if you want a good wine, you could do a heck of a lot worse than my adopted country’s sensational Dionysus Winery 2003 Merlot. And fans of fortified wine should look no further than Bethany’s revelatory white port.
Watching the pre-game show to the Rugby World Cup semifinal between France and England, I witnessed an astonishing sight.
Fans of the French team (whose official team nickname is Les Bleus) were proudly wearing cocks-comb hats, feathers and plastic beaks.
That’s right, the French were dressed up as CHICKENS.
I swear to Gods I am not making this up.
Reading my“Language Police” post below, Papa Castel writes to remind me of a story from my adolescence…
We were walking down Seventh Avenue in New York together and peered at the menu in the window of a très chic French restaurant. Pop (who by the way, teaches languages professionally) wondered aloud what on Earth “boeuf haché au fromage” might be.
I looked at him, puffed up on my high-school French, and said, “Dad, it’s a cheeseburger.”
I wasn’t kidding in the post below when I said the French have their own language police ready to fight back at the slightest intrusion of English (and other languages as well presumably, but who are we kidding, English is the real enemy). The latest target of their ire is e-mail, to be replaced tout-suite by “courriel”.
You know, I tres like my native laguage, with its multitude of bons mots from all over le monde. Why, just yesterday I was discussing this very subject with my chauffeur while eating a croissant, “English is so laissez-faire, so relaxed”, I said, while sipping my cafe au lait. “It would be impossible for us to have a language police like les Francais do. Quel horreur! I much prefer Anglais, which as that good Mr Greenberg says in the article which I haven’t seen yet, was multiculturelle before it was even an idee fixe. How very au courant! So “peuh”! I say to the stodgy French, who, the way they’re going now, will be the custodians of a tongue every bit as mort as Latin or Sanskrit in a few years. Au revoir, chiens!”
“Fred the Frog” renowned among these parts for his incoherent comments on the infamous “French Boycott” post, is back, opining on the tragic death of scant 10,000 of his countrymen(A hot story):
You’re complaining about French inefficiency facing unusual hot weather. Why ?
About 3000 french are dead, you must be happy ! Death of cowards, traitors, pieces of nothing ( of shit : according to Jeff B…) mustn’t be a big deal to you. Am I wrong ?
Afraid so, ol’ Fred. Unlink some of your compatriots, I never rejoice at the deaths of innocent people whose only crime was to be alive in France in summertime.
Talking about inefficiency : I must confess France is not able to copy your wonderfull, north american sized blackout.
The magic number is 50. 50 million people out of electricity, 50 billion dollars cost. Only america can afford such a tremendous example of loss of money.
Funny that, we got the power back on in a matter of days. How many of your fellow citizens have come back to life?
Frankly speaking I do not understand this raising for hate of french people, but nevertheless we have a sentence in France for that : “Being considered as stupit [sic]by an idiot is a deep intellectual pleasure”
You know, the French would take deep intellectual pleasure in that.
Fred corrects himself in the next comment:
Sorry for “stupit” I really must be stupid…
Hey my friend, if it walks like a canard and talks like a canard…
A little clue for Sasha (But you surely know) Castel is the old french for castle, you must be so ashamed with a name of french origin…
A little clue for YOU, Fred. Did you know that Castel is also old Spanish for castle? And that there is an entire region of Spain called Castile? That’s where my ancestors come from, not France.
Castel and castle also show a lot of english words are french origin.
Indeed many are. I’m very proud of my language, which acquires words from every single region and culture.
Sorry you will have to live with that, unless Bush’s administration take advantage of “freedom fries” syndrome in order to create a specific language cleaned of french origin words.
I’m fully prepared to live with it, Fred. I would hate to see English turned into a language that has its own police force to guard against the intrusions of any eeeevil foreign words.