le trajet
un morceau

le tonnerre

Asterix
Read about this photo at Photo du Jour, below.

le tonnerre (tun-ehr) noun, masculine
  1. thunder; thunderbolt

Expressions:
du tonnerre (de Dieu) = terrific, tremendous, wonderful
un tonnerre d'applaudissements = thunderous applause
un coup de tonnerre = a clap, peal, of thunder; bombshell
une voix de tonnerre = a voice like thunder
Tonnerre de Brest (expletive) = Shiver my timbers! Heavens above!

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Citation du Jour
Le tonnerre est impressionnant, mais c'est l'éclair qui est important.
Thunder is impressive, but it is lightning that does the work.
--Mark Twain

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A Day in a French Life...

An ancient stone's throw from Paris, at the Parc Astérix, I observe two types of French people: those who enjoy roller-coaster rides and those who do not. And I do mean enjoy, for there are French who will simply put up with Russian Mountains,* being brave and so forth, but they are not truly amused; I tell myself this as I sit on the curb of a flower-bed, flanked by the other half of the French, watching the thrill seekers exit a ride called "Tonnerre de Zeus" (Zeus's Thunder).

I study their faces. Do they look nauseous? Is there a lingering petrified gaze? Are they so shook up that their faces have not yet registered a verdict? I note their ages. Have I seen anyone over 40? over 50? over 60? over 70 on the ride? Isn't it true that they are all ados*?

At the other end of the amusement park I learn that my brain is loose. I don't know what is more alarming, the reeling metal box I find myself in or the realization that a cerveau* is like the yellow of an egg in a coquille d'oeuf.* It can't be healthful to scramble one's gray matter like that. I let go of the cart's fat metal protective bar and hold my head. I look over to 7-year-old Jackie who is all teeth, cheeks pushed back to her ears, eyes peeled, a flying carpet of golden hair gliding behind her.

Earlier, Jean-Marc, Max and Jackie had given the ride in question (I can't remember its name--probably "Shortcut To Hell," as it's half the size of Zeus's Thunder) an enthusiastic thumbs-up. "You'll like it, Maman.* I promise it won't scare you. T'inquiète pas!"* They showed me the cool picture-magnets they had just purchased at six euros a pop, snapped by the ride's automatic camera at the thrilling-most part of the adventure. I studied the ecstatic faces behind the plexiglass frame. I wanted a picture-magnet too. It was the temptation that led me to lower that fat bar behind the reeling, eye-peeling, head-scrambling cart, boarding the train for a Shortcut To Hell.

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*References: Russian Mountains = French name for roller-coaster (les montagnes russes, fpl); les ados (short for adolescents) mfpl = teenagers; le cerveau (m) = brain; une coquille d'oeuf (f) = eggshell; la maman (f) = mom; t'inquiète pas = don't worry

Photo du Jour
Today's photo--of a faux vintage poster board--was snapped while trying to keep up with my family at le Parc Astérix (north of Paris). We didn't get to see "le spectacle," so anxious were we to find the Shortcut to Hell.

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