Friday, May 13, 2016

Wisdom spreads from the mouth of a child

There has been a lot of talk on the Internet about a 15-year-old Canadian lad, William Gadoury, who indicated a remote place in the jungle of the Yucatan peninsula where his calculations suggest that archaeologists are likely to discover an unknown Maya temple.

The boy's conclusions are based upon a fuzzy personal theory according to which the Mayans located their temples as mirror images of the layout of constellations in the heavens. This theory is, of course, pure mumbo-jumbo…  but nobody dares to tell the lad that there are few chances that a temple will indeed be found at the spot he has indicated. We are all so accustomed to religious trash that most people like to think that wisdom will flow magically from the lad’s mouth.

Personally, I’ll lay my head on the block. I’m totally convinced that his mumbo-jumbo guess will turn out to be pure childish bullshit.

People in Brittany should teach their cars to swim

The municipal authorities do their best to inform visitors that they must not forget that the tide rises and falls once a day... as it has been doing for many centuries. Some visitors seem to imagine that their precious automobile will surely notice that the water is rising, and climb to higher ground.

Out for a stroll

If you find yourself in this kind of situation, don't forget to check constantly that the appearance and size of the animals are not changing dramatically. In any case, don't ever be tempted to feed them.

Click the YouTube icon

Paris, six months ago

After the terrorist attack, holes left by bullets in the window of
the bar 
La Bonne Bière were filled with red roses.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Making an effort to avoid watching Eurovision

This weekend, I plan to make an effort to avoid watching the world's most idiotic TV show, Eurovision. The craziest thing of all is that my native land, Australia, is pursuing its aims to become a permanent member of this organization. Clearly, Australia is stupid. Here's their candidate, named Dami Im, as True Blue as they come...

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

French Left is lost

The Left has lost its way. They're wandering around in the desert, but without a map or a compass. The prime minister Manuel Valls would surely like to lead his people in the right direction, but I fear it's no longer possible.

His party is in shreds. The situation is sad to watch, like the end of an epoch. The show is no longer amusing. The performers have lost their touch. The clowns are not funny.

I don't know how it will conclude. Maybe in a catastrophe...

Time scanners

This evening I watched a fascinating TV show on ancient archaeology, produced by an excellent US team from the University of Arkansas, whose main speaker was Dallas Campbell. They use an amazing high-tech gadget: a portable scanner that can detect the form of stone structures hidden below the surface. They examined a famous construction in Jordan of the ancient Nabataeans: the site of Petra.

Their spectacular performance opens up revolutionary perspectives.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Allah should get off the bus

Observers are going to say that, in a city whose new mayor is Muslim, it's nice to find Allah moving around on the celebrated red buses. I disagree. God is ugly and disgusting, because he's a harmful falsehood, no matter how he travels around. May he remain hidden. It's time for a change. Let the light of atheism move in, to replace religious stupidity!

French justice steps in

I would imagine that many French people are shocked by this affair. As much as the French are not necessarily narrow-minded about sexual naughtiness, they really hate the idea of a rude randy fellow who tries to use his authority to pick up women. Be that as it may, the judiciary authorities didn’t remain idle for too long. This morning, the parquet (official body of magistrates) decided to launch an investigation into the alleged misconduct of Denis Baupin. As I indicated at the end of my blog post on this subject, Denis Baupin himself charged France Inter and Mediapart with defamation... which, to my mind, was a mistake that will pursue him negatively.

I believe it would be honorable for Baupin’s wife Emmanuelle Cosse to resign immediately from her ministerial job for as long as the above-mentioned investigation is being conducted.

Click here to see severe reactions in the French press.

Here is the infamous photo (Baupin is second on the left) that apparently set the ball rolling:

This group of bright fellows thought it would be a smart idea to celebrate Women's Day by wearing lipstick. Not surprisingly, their idea backfired. They strike me as a bunch of dumb pricks...

Australian researchers searched… but they found next to nothing

Researchers from the University of Sydney in Australia attempted to discover factual data proving that mobile phones, since their introduction into society some 30 years ago, might have been responsible for cases of cerebral cancers. Their conclusions have just been published in The International Journal of Cancer Epidemiology.

Between 1982 and 2012, some 34,000 cerebral tumors were encountered in Australia: 20,000 male cases, and 14,000 female. Meanwhile, the use of mobile telephones increased enormously. In 1993, only 9 % of individuals over 20 years old possessed such a device, whereas they are now over 90 %. For the sake of the study, let us suppose that the use of portable telephones was responsible for a 50 % increase in the presence of cerebral cancers, as numerous observers have suggested. That hypothesis would mean that, in a population of 100,000 individuals, we should discover 11.7 male tumors and 7.7 female. In a male population of that size in 2012, the researchers encountered only 8.7 cancers; in a female population, only 5.8 cancers. So, there’s something seriously wrong with the familiar theory concerning the grave dangers of portable phones.

At the celebrated Institut Gustave-Roussy in France, the cancer epidemiologist Catherine Hill is outspoken: “The evolution of the incidence of cerebral tumors has nothing to do with portable phones. If there were indeed a slight relationship, it would be too small to detect. It’s amazing that people who are afraid of the possible danger of their portable phone are prepared to carry on smoking!”

Monday, May 9, 2016

Prominent French politician loses his job due to allegations of sexual misconduct

Denis Baupin is a deputy of Paris, and a vice-president of the National Assembly. After a fortnight of investigations, two prominent press organizations—Mediapart and France Inter—revealed today that this prominent political personage has a serious reputation of inappropriate sexual conduct. Within a few hours, as an outcome of these allegations, Denis Baupin resigned from his post at the National Assembly. For the moment, nobody has filed charges against Baupin.

His wife Emmanuelle Cosse is a minister in the present government.

Shooting the messengerL'avocat de Denis Baupin, Emmanuel Pierrat, a fait savoir mardi 10 mai que son client déposait plainte "à l'encontre des journalistes signataires et des directeurs de la publication de Mediapart et de France Inter", pour "diffamation publique" selon les informations de l'AFP. 

That news is truly sickening. From now on, I'll be wary of believing in randy French arseholes who like to call themselves "ecologists".

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Family history can be confusing

Here's a studio photo of my grandfather Ernest Skyvington [1891-1985] with his parents William Skyvington [1868-1959] and Eliza Mepham [1865-1899].

During my youth in Grafton (Australia), I was in constant contact with my grandfather, who had become a successful businessman in the Ford automobile domain. After my move to France, I became most interested in genealogy, and my grandfather—whom I called Pop—tried to provide me with as much information as possible on this subject. I was disappointed to discover, though, that Pop's knowledge of his English ancestors was amazingly flimsy, as if his ship voyage to Sydney in 1908 had discarded all "luggage" about his background in London. Here, for example, are two blatant cases of missing information that alarmed me for years:

• Pop could offer me no serious information whatsoever concerning the destiny of his own father, William Skyvington. He imagined vaguely that this man had been killed during World War I, but he could offer me no serious information whatsoever on his death. Now, if Pop had been an ignorant hillbilly, abandoned by his London relatives, I might have understood his ignorance. But that was not at all the case. Members of his mother's family were smart individuals, interested in literature and music, and relatively well off.

• When I asked my grandfather whether he could recall his own grandfather, Frank Skyvington, Pop amazed me by saying that he had never once heard such a name!

There was clearly something weird and disturbing in this curious state of affairs! A deep psychological problem? In the family-history domain, Pop seemed to have been brainwashed. I simply don't understand...

• Click here to read my very first blog post, entitled Family-history shock, published on 3 May 2010, on what culminated, several years later, in the Courtenay Affair.

• Click here to read the major blog post in this affair, entitled Chromosomes reveal the truth, published on 3 August 2014.

• The final step in understanding the Courtenay Affair consists of acquiring my book:

They Sought the Last of Lands
My Father’s Forebears
© William Skyvington 2014
Gamone Press, Choranche
ISBN 978-2-919427-02-4

This book can be ordered by dropping in at your local bookshop.

Plantu can imitate perfectly the style of any fellow cartoonist

Click to enlarge slightly

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Nice weekend

This is the kind of sweet weekend that I've been looking forward to constantly since my return to my wonderful mas de Gamone six months ago. Choranche is a spring poem.

Gamone is such a paradise of greenery that I can't avoid the temptation to ask myself whether dangers could emerge here. Terrified above all by images of today's horrors in Canada, I'm thinking of the possibility of bush fires. Normally, that's not a typical threat in our corner of the world. But we shouldn't refuse to think about it.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Popularity of our French president is lower than ever

A poll published yesterday indicates that the popularity level of François Hollande has descended to its lowest level ever since the start of his presidency. Only 16 % of the people who were questioned said they had confidence in the head of state to “tackle efficiently the major problems” of the nation. That’s a drop of 2 % since the previous survey. This fall is surprising in that France’s latest economic figures have been rather reassuring.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Space odyssey

The movie 2001 : A Space Odyssey by Stanley Kubrick made a huge and lasting impact upon me.

The monolithic slab seems to be a giant silicon chip that programs and powers our earthly existence.

The movie culminates in a vast journey through the so-called Star Gate, which ends up in an old-fashioned bedroom, often referred to as the renaissance room. I have always imagined this kitsch bedroom as the attempt of  a nouveau riche American to create a fake copy of a supposedly stylish place.

Last year, when I had an accident at Gamone that could have killed me, followed by a few months of convalescence in Brittany, visions of this Kubrick bedroom reoccurred to me constantly. I tended to think that I had in fact moved through the Star Gate and that this was my tomb.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Breathing my mountains

For the Nth time, this evening's main TV documentary showed me an album of glimpses of my extraordinary "back yard", the Vercors.

Click to enlarge slightly

I realize the extent to which I breathe constantly the atmosphere of these glorious limestone mountains that surround me. I must remain in their midst. I cannot ever leave them. That would be unthinkable.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

I once had a crush on a French movie star

The theme of this blog post is silly, which explains why I've never mentioned it before... neither in my Antipodes blog nor even in private conversations. But I'm amused when I recall that old crush, which involved a TV series of 2005: Les rois maudits directed by Josée Dayan. The date of my crush was trivially significant: long before the election of François Hollande as the president of France.

I was totally bewitched by the vision of a French movie star, who happened to play the role of an English queen. In fact, the lovely lady played several roles, as the personage herself had explained:
Autrefois, on m’a donné les noms et les titres les plus divers : princesse de France, fille de Philippe le Bel et de Jeanne Ire de Navarre, sœur de princes et de roi, femme d’Édouard II, duchesse d’Aquitaine, reine d’Angleterre, mère de rois et de reines, rivale de Hugh le Despenser, adversaire d’Eleanor le Despenser, maîtresse de Roger Mortimer, louve de France. Fille, sœur, épouse, amante, souveraine, ennemie, traîtresse. On oublie trop souvent qu’avant d’être tout cela, je n’étais qu’Isabelle...
The wife of Edward II of England,
accompanied by her son Edward, turns
to soldiers ready to arrest her at Harwick.

At that time, I was deeply involved in my study of English history,
concerning research into the ancient Skeffington family.
That's the only plausible reason I had for my silly crush.
It's a fact, though, that I've always found that actress superb.

Movie I won't need to watch

I'm always pleased to hear about a movie that I won't need to watch. News of that kind saves me time and money, and enables me to stay in my delightful home in the hills, instead of feeling obliged to take a trip into the city. Over recent years, I've rarely felt obliged to step into town to see a movie... and I've surely missed next to nothing. The most reassuring situation is when in-depth TV shows prove beyond beyond all possible doubt that I'm perfectly free to avoid such-and-such a movie, with no feelings whatsoever of shame. That is exactly what has happened in the case of a new movie featuring Jean Dujardin and Virginie Efira: Un homme à la hauteur (An Elevated Gentleman).

It's a fashionable girl-meets-boy film with a small hitch: the girl discovers that her nice fellow is a dwarf. The entire movie, if I understand correctly, is a startling demonstration of all the ingenious cinematographic tricks that enable the lady and her gentleman to coexist as if they were an ordinary couple, with a certain difference in size. You should know now that this movie will surely thrill you... provided that you're generally thrilled by that kind of movie.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Prime ministers of my two countries

For the first time ever (if I'm not mistaken), the French press shows a photo of Manuel Valls alongside Malcolm Turnbull in Australia. This provides the French PM with an opportunity of promising his Australian colleague that the Franco-Australian submarine affair will be handled with the utmost attention.

I'm convinced that, in the context of this affair, the two nations are truly operating on the same wavelength. I'm also certain that Australia has made the right choice.

TV journal of Elise Lucet

Click here to see a few samples of the journal of Elise Lucet. She's an excellent journalist, whose highly successful achievements have transported her into a larger TV arena.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Weasel in the works

This is the famous Large Hadron Collider, the world's most powerful particle accelerator, located near the border between France and Switzerland, and operated by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN).

This extraordinary device has been knocked out of action for a week or so. Technicians believe they've identified the problem. Was it caused by deadly high-energy radiation from far away in the cosmos? No, it was simply a tiny weasel that chewed through an electricity cable, causing a power cut.

Scientists have not yet told the world whether the weasel survived. I fear however that the dear little animal surely disintegrated in an instant, in a flash of energy, as soon as it was hit by the powerful charge of electricity. If that were the sad outcome, then the weasel's soul is probably moving currently (no intentional play on words), at the speed of light, towards the distant confines of our Solar System. That is the way the weasel ends, not with a bang, but an echo of a squeal.