Let me preface this by saying I am not a sports fan.
When it comes to the throwing, passing or kicking of a ball, I’m legs akimbo. There is nothing more unnatural-looking than me running, or doing any sort of coordinated activity. I’m also oblivious to sports played by other people. I couldn’t tell you which team ranks the highest on which ladder, or even what the ladder is.
But when it comes to the Tour De France, I am hooked. And here’s why:
Police wanted to capture Mohammed Merah alive, but in the end a sniper killed him as he jumped out of his window.
The self-proclaimed jihadist who claims to be al-Qaeda killed three French paratroopers, three school children and a rabbi in revenge for the French Army’s involvement in Afghanistan and the deaths of Palestinian children.
He killed them in cold blood, he taped it, he wanted people to see the footage. He is now dead, no tears here. But what if he had been taken alive?
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You’ve all heard of the helicopter parent and the tiger mum, right? One hovers, the other roars. Most probably do both. Turns out, there are 12 different styles of parenting, which is handy for fickle Fannys like me – one for every month of the year.
There are the obvious A types: attachment, positive, unconditional, authoritative; the esoteric Bs: spiritual, permissive, slow (me with maths homework); the Cs: authoritarian, narcissistic, the aforementioned helicopter; and the Ds: toxic, uninvolved – aka the downright useless, whose failure to use a naughty step has bred a generation of stoners.
The problem with categorising is that it presumes some consistency. All credit to you if you are, but I’m not. One day I’m do-re-mi-ing around the place à la Julie Andrews. The next, I’m a witch. “Don’t come within a metre of me,” I ordered the sprogs recently. “That’s 100cm.” Am I the only woman who has PMT three times a week?
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So let’s get this straight. New Zealand teams can perform a ritualised tribal war dance before sporting contests, complete with throat-slitting gesture. But if the opposition has the temerity to encroach upon them, that’s unacceptable.
Worse than unacceptable. It’s a protocol breach apparently deserving of a $15,000 fine, which is the amount rugby’s governing body the IRB plans on slugging the French.
Prior to Sunday’s Rugby World Cup final, the All Blacks assumed their usual formation for their customary bout of tongue-wagging, eyeball popping and general silliness, culminating in the delightfully family-friendly act of throat-slitting.
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If you’re reading this consider yourself lucky. You’ve managed to find time out of a stressful work day to squeeze in a moment of media consumption despite a new study finding we’re all working way too hard and far too much.
The Australian Institute survey Long time, no see will no doubt provoke a round of handwringing from social researchers using it as proof that Australia is slave to a brutal corporate beast that eats up families and destroys “community”. This will be accompanied by calls to move toward a more European model of work, replete with biweekly cheese fairs in our new found tight knit villages.
The glaring problems with this survey and others like it are not the results, but the fact that there’s no recognition of the gap between what people say they want, what they actually want and what they’re willing to do about it.
Over the past week, two 20-something French students protested France’s new law banning the burqa by filming themselves walking through Paris in a niqab (similar to the burqa but with a slit for the eyes) – teamed with mini-shorts and black high heels.
The self-titled ‘Niqabitches’ described it as a tongue-in-cheek criticism of the ban.
You’ve gotta love the French – particularly French students. Although some may see the Niqabitches’ protest as ridiculing the niqab, their message was quintessentially French: vive la différence! or each to their own.
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Lebanon became part of the French Mandate, a provision of the post world war one League of Nations, today in 1918. They gained independence in 1943 when France was occupied by Germany in 1940.
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Not since the Trotskyist student uprisings at the Sorbonne in May-June 1968 have the French bunged on such an entertaining stink - only this time it involves the national soccer team. You can watch a news reports below, but the short version is that the players are in mutiny over their hapless coach Raymkond Domenech and have effectively gone on strike by refusing to train.
The trigger for the showdown was the explusion fron the national team of striker Nicolas Anelka after his four-lettered spray against Domenech who, among other things, he called a “dirty son a whore.” If there was any justice in the world the entire French team would have been sent home and replaced with Ireland, who lost teir qualifier against the French courtesy of a shameless handball by Thierry Henry. The upshot of all the French team’s revolution is that South Africans are now fantasising that after last week’s 3-0 drubbing by Uruguay Bafana Bafana will now come out and flog the fraying French in tonight’s final first stage match.
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Valery Giscard d’Estaing was elected President of France today in 1974.
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Traditionalists worry about the undue influence of American culture on Australia. Republicans stress about our British links. Hansonites panic about Muslims and Asians.
But it’s the French we should be keeping an eye on.
‘What French Women Know: About Love, Sex and Other Matters of the Heart and Mind’ is the latest book by American-in-Paris writer Debra Ollivier. In it, Ollivier decodes the French mystique, arguing French chicks are so sexy because they “don’t give a damn”.
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I once heard a story about a prostitute and a man who claimed to be her husband.
The prostitute, a middle-aged woman had complained about a car that was constantly parked outside her place of work and even sometimes as she made her way home.
Several weeks later, the car was spotted but when the man inside the car was approached and asked why he was parked there, he immediately started to cry. Pointing to the window of the brothel he said, “My wife is in there.”
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No matter what you think of Islamic veiling one thing is for sure – criminalising the women who wear the burqa or niqab is only going to render them more invisible.
France looks set to pass legislation that bans Islamic face covering. The discussion over how this law could be enforced has centred around punishing the veiled woman. She will be taken home, or fined.
This belies the true intentions of those calling for a ban – banning the burqa is less about liberating oppressed muslim women and more about making white people feel more comfortable.
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Hooray it’s Friday @ The Punch
Today in 1996 French President Jacques Chirac promised France would stop testing nuclear weapons in the Pacific.
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Welcome to Wednesday @ The Punch
Today in 1990 Britain and France are linked for the first time when the wall of rock separating the Channel Tunnel is removed.
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If Mr Sarkozy does not sack the French Culture Minister, Frederic Mitterrand, the international community should impose a travel ban on the Minister, tout de suite.
Mitterrand has reportedly confessed to what he euphemistically describes as “offences against the idea of human dignity” – which is French, it seems, for having sex with young prostitutes in Asia. Part of his defence is that such offences are ‘commonplace’.
Apparently the more commonplace an obviously objectionable practice, the less it has to do with morality.
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