As today’s is meant to be a day for love, a post about love (ahhhhhhh!).

French is considered to be a romantic language for a lot of non-speakers and in more than one occasion have I heard that even when I swear in French, one may find it beautiful and to some degree even romantic. As my mother language, I cannot really tell. My only comment about it is that to me, by default, the language of love is indeed French as it happens to be the language of my first love words - the ones I received and the ones I gave.

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Aurelie DesmasComment
Make Some Noise (part I)

Recently I came across an interesting website cleverly named: Museum of Endangered Sounds. I warmly invite you all to go to check it out as this turns out to be a rather interesting journey throughout the history of disappearing sounds. Disappearing and collectively known by people of similar generations and across borders.

For instance, I have never heard the sounds of the speaking clock in English but I obviously know its purpose for having heard it in France and outside of the language difference, it is funny to notice how similar the format is.

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I initially read this article passed on by someone I know, on Stock Market to realize this was extracted from Business Insider and finally from Project Syndicate. But I am not willing to discuss in here the copyright question of web publication and how fast web article can easily be spread. At least not this time. The question of innovation will be more today’s subject as a subject of reflection ignited by the article published at the address below.—slow-growth-by-kenneth-rogoff#WtSvmSiIizWIYB4z.99

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Lift spirit - literally

To clarify something a lot of people might not realize - the French accent might sound sweet to an English speaker’s ear, the other way round works just as well. Especially when one can remember a rather complex expression that entered the English dictionary in French and get mentioned at some random stage in a conversation at the moment you expect it the least.

A bit of context: I discovered - en français the expression I am referring to very recently: L’esprit d’escalier to actually discover this could be also used in the US and could be understood as it belongs to the English dictionary too. (And what a pleasant thing to hear than an American person using that expression…) To clarify very quick: L’esprit d’escalier is the after thought you get once a conversation is over and that you missed the opportunity to come up with a very good line (literally: spirit/mind of the staircase).

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Fashionably late

Oh joy! Summer has arrived upon us and NYC is already boiling hot on the first day of the beautiful season.

And as New Yorkers basically appreciate the city’s weather only 2 days a year (1 day in the spring and perhaps 1 day in the fall), the seasonal rumor of complains has already started. The most recurrent and somewhat funny ones are in office spaces as two opposite teams are competing:

  • men constantly complaining it is too hot, and

  • women keeping their jackets, hoodies, cardigans on as the AC has been set to 60 degrees and for some reasons always seems to be broken so the temperature cannot be changed.

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As anyone brought up near the ocean with tides coming and going on a daily basis, the equinox means probably more to me than January first when it comes to new beginning, renewal and good resolutions.

As a matter of fact, I noticed this morning on my way to work - more precisely on Union Square, New York - that the magnolias started blossoming on this day when astrophysics, planet circonvolutions, moon, sun, Earth and everything around that defines us as so little creatures, achieve together once again the perfect balance between day and night.

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As a lot of non-French might ignore, a rather heated debate fuelled recently the press of my beloved home country - not on DSK Sofitel activities or on the financial crisis. No. On the subject of leaving the term ‘Mademoiselle’ in administrative forms or getting rid of it.

As lots of feminists will tell you: it is discrimatory to ask women to tick their marital status by making this field mandatory while men don’t have to do such a thing.

Without being a pro-active feminist, I agree with that statement.

BUT I quite enjoy to be called ‘Mademoiselle’ as 1. it is the proper term since I never married, 2. it creates a really nice alliteration when added to my surname, 3. ‘Madame Desmas’ is my mother and I would find it weird to be called like her.

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La cruauté



A.[En parlant d’une pers. et de son comportement]

1. Qui prend plaisir à provoquer volontairement la souffrance physique ou morale d’autrui (ou d’un animal).

Ca aurait pu faire un joli scénar de rom’ com’ comme on aime les regarder dans les avions - avec un brin plus de rock n’ roll peut être mais rom’ com’ tout de même, avec un coeur de midinette et une ribambelle de Kleenex.

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Even though the term ‘routine’ is French, I must admit having a problem with anything that tends to be close to this concept. Anything but one: my morning ritual. While my eyes barely opened try to put together the pieces of my Italian coffee machine to be sure this will be happily burning on the stove - giving to my morning coffee an arguably but yet delicious taste of burnt plastic mixed with a touch of coffee. 

Personally, this is in this rather foggy state that comes a special element that will surely be considered as old-fashioned by youngsters: the radio. And since I live alone, this very first voice in the morning tends to become a rather important part of my connection to the rest of the world. When living back in France, I was particularly enjoying listening to French radios named France Info and France Inter - first free radios to come up back in the days it became legal (in 1981 to be precise, the year I was born ;). Their morning programs are in fact the most efficient one can think of to see the world come to life at the same time as the light comes through the curtains (I am translating this from French and in my mother language, this sounds rather nice).

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Bien qu’ayant une trouille bleue de l’ennui et de la routine, il est des petits trucs auxquels je ne peux échapper : le petit rituel du matin, alors que les yeux encore endormis, mes mains cherchent à tâtons les différentes pièces de ma cafetière italienne, renverse la moitié du café à côté ce qui fera à coup sûr brûlé le précieux breuvage et lui donnera un petit goût de serre-joint rouillé.

Le matin c’est un moment que l’on ne partage qu’avec soi-même - que l’on vive seul ou à plusieurs. 

Personnellement, c’est dans cette brume qu’intervient un élément spécial dédié à ces précieuses minutes de la journée (je vais sembler très vieux jeu à certains) : la radio. Et depuis que je vis seule, cette première connexion avec le monde a pris des proportions jusqu’ici insoupçonnées. Lorsque je vivais encore en France et sans être patriote pour deux sous (sinon je ne me serai pas exilée), j’avais un petit faible pour France Radio, en particulier France Info et France Inter. Leurs émissions matinales sont en effet des plus efficaces pour mettre doucement le monde en marche à la lumière du jour naissant (ou pas d’ailleurs, tout dépend de l’heure à laquelle on se lève).

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I was walking on a line of fire
and all of the sudden lost my balance,
got set on fire,
got my feet stuck in this long white gown
I was wearing for you.
I don’t know.
You were looking at me
while I was falling down.

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As everyone is asking me about the question -how is it going for that French dude? Are all Frenchies like that?

Quick recap on the situation - not being necessarily a big fan of the man himself, I must admit he was probably the most serious competitor of Sarkozy for the Presidential elections next year. His arguably left heart but clearly right approach when it was coming to finances could have somehow got France out of the crisis and to some extend rescued Europe of the spiraling problems it is currently facing (or not, we will actually never find out now). In other words, his downfall is a tad suspect to me.

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I am better at writing than talking. I am better at taking pictures than giving endless descriptions.

There would be so many things to mention about this trip and so few words to express what is in my mind. Anyways, I don’t even know where I could start.

I discovered so much, in such a short amount of time – this was the sort of experience that shows you school taught you very little after all.

- I climbed a volcano on which cactuses grow.

- Baby turtles are as cheeky and playful as any other baby animal (they climb on top of one another, bite each other’s limbs etc).

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Not a sweet note

Like millions of New Yorkers, I take the subway every morning. And the other day I got shocked by what I saw in the Q trains on my way to work while I was trying to maintain my balance, holding a pole with one hand and my beloved soy cappuccino with the other.

I am no stranger to the fact that sweet beverages are most of the time filled up with more sugar than you really need included the beloved cappuccino mentioned above. But I have to admit I nearly vomited when I saw the carriage I was in was actually covered with these ads. I also cannot ignore that obesity is a major health problem in the USA and that it is mainly in a packed train during rush hour that you come to realize how big is the problem (at all levels really) since there is on average one seat per carriage that is not available due to overweight passengers who need 2 seats.

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