Month: April 2010

Posted in Cross Cultural Comments France Paris

Art Therapy. Photos by Ishtar

Je travaille à peindre Paris en ce moment, et quelques photos me parlent de la saison.

A l’entrée du jardin des plantes, on
Es accueilli en ce moment par cet arbre magique, discret et présent
Rose parme au parfum subtil.

photos by Ishtar Jaulin, artist, photographer, art therapist.

Thank you, Ishtar!

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Posted in Cross Cultural Comments Audio Online Language Resources for English Reading Video

Where do more people speak more languages than anywhere else ?

Where do more people speak more languages than anywhere else ?

New York City!

Here’s where English is the most common language but far from the only language … Enjoy this wonderful documentary about very alive and disappearing languages … all spoken in New York.

I’m sure that there must also be hundreds of languages spoken in Paris. Can anybody help with more information on this???

Thanks to the New York Times.  It speaks of the dangers of languages becoming extinct.  The other danger is for us  … realizing how little we know about our world.

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Posted in Notes on English Cross Cultural Comments Cinema Idiomatic Expressions Reading

“Love – 15”

It’s simply a score!  … A tennis score, silly !

The French, who have a reputation, deservedly or not, in these matters: love or tennis, you choose … just do it … and (whisper?) talk about it.

They say, a little upset for one and self-satisfied for the other,  “Zéro-quinze” and then after the next ball is served, it can be “quinze-quinze” or “Zéro-trente” … followed by “Zéro-quarante” and if the non-serving player scores the next point it’s …

“Jeu.” Game over. No Love. Just a game. On to the next one … A set. Two sets. Match point. Match.

Anglo-Saxons, on the other hand, tend to be much more emotional. We start with “Love” and then the 15s and the thirties and the forties until … someone gallantly says …

“You won!” And then? Well, the next game begins with … “Love”, doesn’t it ? Two winners.

Of course, the British started by playing on … green grass. Lawn tennis. Like love, a little unpredictable as to where the ball bounces.

Fate? Destiny? as in Woody Allen’s masterpiece “Match Point.”

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Posted in About Learning a Foreign Language Notes on English Fluency Hear it, Say it, Write it ! Popular sayings, proverbs & quotes

sense – common sense – sensible … & sensitive

Sense and Sensible :  something dear to the Cartesian mind: reason.

Not to be confused with Sensitive: Feeling.

Use your sense : Use your brain. Use reason – not passion! In this … sense … (meaning) sense means taking the various factors of a situation into consideration … BEFORE acting … My grandmother’s expression for this was … Use your noggin (contrary = that’s meshuganah!)


“Common sense isn’t so common,” she used to say. Common sense. What we all (should) know by now!

What are the contraries to “sense” ? How about these two?


and doesn’t senseless lead us to the idea of something … crazy … mad … insane … > a real absence of reason?

and what about this one … which is a little more fun, isn’t it?


Now who hasn’t been guilty of these … at some point?

Be sensible! Do what reason tells you … you ought to do … (even if it is emotional intelligence …)

Not to be confused with sensitive


[audio:|titles=Actors are very sensitive to criticism … ]

as in “touchy” “high strung” or people very easily hurt or offended,

often unintentionally.

I say: If being “sensible” is reasonable, then being “sensitive” is feeling.

Be both! Sensitive and Sensible. Of course, it’s taken me quite a few years to come to that conclusion …

Next week, I promise you something on the plural of this: senses. As in 5 … or maybe , in fact, 6 or more …

PS/ (My thanks to François and Fred L.  for this subject … as well as dinner chez Matsuri and an artistic evening the other night!)

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Posted in Cross Cultural Comments

A day at the office, Paris

Life could be worse …

when you

share an office.

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Posted in Notes on English Music Cross Cultural Comments Online Language Resources for English

American Folk Music

Folk music is all about folk – people, family, friends, you and me and everyone else;  individuals coping with life’s everyday cares. Happy ones and sad, hard and sweet.

Folk music provides us with a country’s history because it’s the people’s history … and how can we understand the present without a feeling and grasp of the working people who’ve lived before us, built our railroads, plucked our cotton, suffered the dust storms and prayed for rain? Brought us to where we are? Not only with their successes … but also their failures. Folk is about “everyday” people in touch with their emotions, their strengths, their weaknesses, their environments.

American folk music is so incredibly rich that I’d like to introduce you to a few tunes, stories, people and songs. Far from today’s global political stage, these songs are rooted in everyday experience. Pionners. Immigrants. Roamers.Expressions of work, love, family, discovery.

Without the advent of sound recording,  they’d be lost. Fortunately, there are many many recordings and thanks to a fellow whose name was Moses Asch, the Folkways Collection was a lifetime project to guarantee their perennity … and  I, at least, am grateful to him and his team for their work. Vanguard Records, too, as well as major and minor labels produced artists whose souls are still very alive.

Folk music is for listening. And here’s one of the classics: Woody Guthrie, of course.

This Land is Your Land:

PS.The Folkways Collection put about 2 dozen podcasts on the net for free downloads on iTunes (and maybe elsewhere!) … and this leads me to one of my father’s, bless his soul, favorite sayings:  “A word to the wise is sufficient.”

PSS. If French is your native language … be careful not to mispronounce “folk.” The “o” is like “Oh!”

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Posted in Cross Cultural Comments Cinema Paris Paris Favoritz Video

“New York I love you” at the Balzac

Not so long ago, I mentioned some of my favorite movie theaters in Paris. One of them is the Balzac … for cinema off the beaten track, sometimes low budget masterpeices … this is one of the spaces.

Right now, the Balzac is showing “New York I love you.”  And I give it plenty of  ***** !

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Posted in About Learning a Foreign Language Cross Cultural Comments France USA French/English Reading

Expatica – Working internationally

Expatica is the international community’s home away from home on the web. It is a must-read for English-speaking expatriates and internationals across Europe. Expatica provides a tailored local news service and essential information on living in, working in or moving to your country of choice. With in-depth features, Expatica brings the international community closer together. Read the Expatica Story.

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Posted in Photos Cross Cultural Comments Reading

Are we really SO different?

As the prices indicated are in USD, I think this must only apply to American women living within driving distance of a mall … I was about to say that French women have other preoccupations … until I thought about how many pairs of shoes my daughters have … and the rue St. Placide …

A word to the wise:  Note the pronunciation of “women.” The plural of woman. Listen:  


NB. Why do malls work? Precisely because … women are known to go to the major department stores to compare … Malls are designed so that there are competing department stores at opposite ends or multi-polar points  … so the shoppers MUST walk in front of all the other shops as they go back and forth from one to the other … Those mall planners are pretty tricky folk.

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Posted in Notes on English Cross Cultural Comments Reading

Talk … and Tough Talk

It seems that some people “talk …talk … talk …” but when it comes to “doing … doing … doing … ” they can be hard to find!

There are several expressions dealing with these situations. One common one is:

Talk is cheap.

meaning … this is easy because it doesn’t cost anything except your time …

This same notion is used when calling someone’s bluff:

Put your money … where your mouth is.

Yes, it’s direct .. it’s straight to the point. No kid gloves in this one.

But it does mean what it says… If you mean what you say, risk your hard-earned money to prove it.

As much as I can stand by different just and fair causes, I often think that if every protester were asked to open their wallets and volontarily contribute to the cause according to their means … there might be … fewer protesters:

“Putting your money where your mouth is”  describes this.

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