Month: July 2011

Posted in Cross Cultural Comments Video

The History of English – The Language of Science



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Posted in About Learning a Foreign Language Music Cross Cultural Comments USA Audio History Off the Beaten Track Online Language Resources for English

The Smithsonian Folkways Collection

Real voices of real people with real emotion. Much of the collection is freely available and downloadable on iTunesU. As Pete Seeger said … “If you’re ever feeling a little down … listen to what these people have to say!” Music from the heart and soul. And what music! Enjoy.

The Smithsonian Folkways Collection

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Posted in Photos Cross Cultural Comments street signs Paris

From our favorite sign maker …

Fortunately, there’s enough traffic to give us time to read it, understand it, digest it and react!

Well, understanding it might take a while … but who cares?  


and then there’s one of my favorites here. …. and you have to pay particular attention when crossing … Boulevard Montparnasse.

For those of you who want to delve into this a little further … on this one, there were clearly good intentions… 

For more … just type “signs” in the search box!

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Posted in Newsletters Cross Cultural Comments Les Newsletters Online Language Resources for English Reading

Newsletter – July 20, 2011

My mother has always had a good way of summing up situations. When something didn’t turn out as expected … and this was the case more often than not in our family, she’d come out with this one:

“It’s a blessing in disguise.”

I think she must have used it after we had a fire in our house in Gary, Indiana when I was a child. She probably didn’t telephone my father and announce the blessing as the firemen were putting out the blaze but after the disaster … there was no choice but to  have a brand new kitchen rebuilt and installed.  The fire? A blessing in disguise.

About a month ago, I looked out my window … and what did I see? Rather, what didn’t I see? It took me a minute to look twice, and then a third time. My bicycle had disappeared … Oh dear! I couldn’t believe it. Stolen. I loved my bicycle. It wasn’t a fancy one but it had taken me many a mile and I took good care of it, too. Catastrophic? No…but I have to say that I really love the new bike I’m riding.

Life’s like that. If you let it be. And that was the name of one of the Beatle’s greatest hits, wasn’t it?

A number of years ago, I was traveling with my two daughters from Savannah back to Paris and, due to stormy summer weather in Savannah, our plane was delayed. By the time we reached Atlanta, the connecting flight to Paris has already left the ground … and … as the luggage had flown without us … we were put up in a very nice hotel and provided with an indemnity for new bathing suits so that we could enjoy the pool …

I just heard on the radio that the annual summer strike planned at Air France is for July 31st and August 1st – among the busiest days of the year as people go on summer vacation.

Surely, for the other airlines … and some of us … in one way or another,
this, too, can only be seen as another …

“Blessing in d’skies.”


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Posted in Cross Cultural Comments

Parisians like … The New Yorker

and with good reason >>>> New Yorker covers

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Posted in Cross Cultural Comments USA Food and Wine Off the Beaten Track Reading

The secrets of a garlic grower

The secrets of a garlic grower. Very nice Sunday reading … just in case you haven’t found anything else!

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Posted in Cross Cultural Comments France USA Reading

The ties that bind America and France

For the ties that bind America and France are more important and infinitely more interesting than most of us know.

Read all about it.

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Posted in Cross Cultural Comments Books!

Book Review. Aristotle and the Higher Good: New translation.

Published: July 1, 2011
Some time in the 1920s, the Conservative statesman F. E. Smith — Lord Birkenhead — gave a copy of the “Nicomachean Ethics” to his close friend Winston Churchill. He did so saying there were those who thought this was the greatest book of all time. Churchill returned it some weeks later, saying it was all very interesting, but he had already thought most of it out for himself. But it is the very genius of Aristotle — as it is of every great teacher — to make you think he is uncovering your own thought in his. In Churchill’s case, it is also probable that the classical tradition informed more of his upbringing, at home and at school, than he realized.

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Posted in Cross Cultural Comments

Minnesota … Beloved Minnesota

For reason or for passion … this is the saga!

Minnesota. (Partly) Closed (Partly) Open. Until Discussion resumes.


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Posted in Newsletters Cross Cultural Comments Les Newsletters Online Language Resources for English Reading

Newsletter: July 3, 2011 – Look before you leap!

One of the more curious aspects of the human being is a taste for zeal. I haven’t looked this up in the dictionary but it seems to me to be expressed by a prefix we often use denoting excess: over.  Which has to do with the idea of “too much” “too many,” “too far,” in short … “too …”

“Overdoing it” could mean going too far, too fast. Providing too much. Too much, too fast.  Answering an unasked question with outrageous action. With an outrageous abuse of power.

Where’s the benchmark? the standard? the reference?

Apparently when the ego feels it’s safe to venture (hence, adventure) out with unhindered, non-defensive aggressivity and in the name of some pretext (read: reason, justification) be it security, law and order, policy, religion, country or tribe or heaven forbid, “justice” … we’re headed for trouble. Common sense has been subjected to some other “idea, some other pulsion.”

Speaking of ideas, years ago, Bertrand Russell, one of the greatest mathematicians and philosophers of our time wrote two essays. One was entitled: “Ideas which have helped mankind,” and the other, “Ideas which have harmed mankind.” Probably went out of print … with vinyl 33s.  My father used to say “A word to the wise is sufficient.”

“I’m right ….  You’re wrong.” It seems to me that this is comparable to the law of the wild west:  “Shoot first, ask later…” And I’m not denying that this may be a means to survival, even a justified one in some case – albeit a potentially dangerous one!

How often do we say:  “You’re right….I’m wrong.”  Same words. Different order. This could be like … asking first.

Acting with enthusiasm is like a fresh morning.  Zeal? More like the militia sneaking out in the dark.

Moral of the story: Look before you leap!

Enjoy the 4th – even if you’re in Minnesota – and thanks for reading The Paris Savannah Connection.

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