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Saturday, March 29, 2003


My wife loves basketball. Especially when the University of Kentucky plays.

I just can't into a sport where tall people bounce a ball up and down a small court for long periods of time, but she loves it. I'm so out of it, I didn't realize that several years ago they changed the rules such that there's a "shot clock," meaning you have to try to make a basket within 30 seconds of play. Or something like that.

Mary's busy staring at the television and offering advice to the coach and players.

Francais, c'est moi. That rhymes, n'est-ce que pas?

I usually hoist the tricolor on our flagpole each Bastille Day, but I might have to rethink that this year. France isn't the most popular country in the U.S. right now.

Not that my feelings about France have changed. (I like it.) It's just I'm afraid some dumbass might vandalize or steal my flag.

Here's what I can say about the French. They're even rude and difficult TO EACH OTHER. That's key to understanding them.

Here's one story: I can remember being in line in at the checkout of a store in Paris one day. The elderly customer in front of me made the mistake of selecting an item WITHOUT A PRICE TAG. (This was the late 1980s--before bar codes were the standard.) Anyway, the cashier treated the woman like a criminal and made her go back and find an item that DID have the price marked.

And this is how they treat paying customers.

Well, just remember that France's governmental history goes like this: centuries of feudal servitude to the king followed by violent revolution followed by chaos and bizarre experiments with brutally enforced communism followed by dictatorship followed by monarchy followed by FIVE attempts at republican democracy. (Don't forget the bloody and unsuccessful attempts at maintaining an empire in North Africa and Indochina.) Add two or three invasions by the Germans, and you get a country deeply distrustful of any form of govermental control and military action.

If that actually makes sense to you...God help you. Maybe you're French. ;-)
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