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Entries from May 2008

Me (right) with Penelope Le Masson from the Red Wheelbarrow Bookstore in Paris. brouette (broo-et) noun, feminine : wheelbarrow La prochaine fois que vous êtes à Paris, arrêtez vous à "La Brouette Rouge". The next time you're in Paris, stop by the Red Wheelbarrow (bookshop). The Red Wheelbarrow Bookstore 22, rue St Paul, 75004 Paris. Nearest metro... Read more →

A field of provençal poppies for my mom. Note: The next word will go out on Thursday... acrostiche (akro-steesh) noun, masculine : acrostic Here is a French definition, from Le Petit Larousse: Acrostiche: pièce de vers composée de telle sorte qu'en lisant dans le sens vertical la première lettre de chaque vers on trouve le mot pris... Read more →

If French plumbing could talk... Water Fountain (to Shutters): "Ever heard the one about..." une plaisanterie (play-zon-tree) noun, feminine : joke, jest, prank You might enjoy "The World's Wackiest French Joke Book"... "A madcap primer that makes learning French a joking matter. This zany joke-fest makes mastering French vocabulary riotous good fun for your kids ages 10... Read more →

Marseilles is the setting for today's story. (Photo taken in the fishing village of Callelongue). Who hasn't had the fantasy of leaving his or her old life behind to start over? What would happen if you gave up your job, city, state, and routine to move to another part of the world? Critically acclaimed writer and aspiring... Read more →

nom d'emprunt

My brother-in-law, Jacques, a.k.a. "Marcel". Find out why in the following story... nom d'emprunt (nohm-duhmpruhn) noun, masculine : alias (literally: "borrowed name") Synonyms (beginning in English and ending in French...) include: anonym, pseudonym, un sobriquet (an unofficial name), un "nom de plume" (pen name), and un "nom de guerre" ("war name" assumed name). * * * Check... Read more →


A child care center in Flayosc. Seems like yesterday that my son went to the crèche... read on in today's column.ado (adoh) noun, masculine, feminine : teen (short for un(e) adolescent = teenager) Note: the audio file feature will return on Monday. . :: Does "ado" mean adieu to childhood? :: There is something in the air... Read more →

huile de coude

A lot of huile de coude will go into polishing up these guys, in Saint-Maurice-Sur-Eygues huile de coude (weel-deuh-kood) noun, feminine : elbow grease Did you know: the French use more than their elbows to work up a good idiom... they use their wrists and arms, too! Synonyms to "huile de coude" include "huile de bras" (arm... Read more →


Near the town of Roaix (Vaucluse) poppies mix-n-mingle with valerian (a French cat fave). In books: The story of John Hu, a lowly but devout Chinese Catholic who in 1722 accompanied a Jesuit missionary on a journey to France -- one that ended with Hu's confinement in a lunatic asylum. At once a triumph of historical detective... Read more →


In place of a picture of Ardèche (I didn't have a camera with me in the canoe--see today's story...) here's a picture taken at Giens, near Hyérès, in the South of France. Book: Le Ton Beau De Marot: In Praise Of The Music Of Language Pulitzer Prize-winning author and pioneering cognitive scientist Douglas Hofstadter hints at what... Read more →


A couple of French turkeys, each pouting in his/her own corner après l'engueulade. Photo taken in 2005 at Château Miraval in Correns, France. "Arguing is to the modern Frenchman what thinking was to Descartes, a proof of existence....Vitupero ergo sum: I bicker, therefore I am." --from the book "Culture Shock! France" by Sally Adamson Taylor engueulade (ongh-lahd)... Read more →