Ze French Coronavirus Chronicles, 8

Ze French Coronavirus Chronicles, 8

Reckless ou irresponsible?

Confinement makes us TRY to understand others. I can really get that some guys become crazy without running everyday. In some parts of France (like in Paris), it’s forbidden to jog from 10 AM to 7 PM – to provide some quietness for the rare people who have to go outside to refill the fridge. So, well, they run before, and after. Good.

I never understood runners, though I tried. Is it just a way to get outside, get some air and some change? Or a goal for health (“I’m bored running like an idiot but it’s good for my body”)? Or a drug thing : waiting for the “after” moment, when one slops down in their sofa, drowned in pleasure endorphins?

Out on the plain, running like hell

Or stupid questions about exploding domestic violence in confinement times : “How come people marry violent men? Was this inner trait really invisible at the time?”. Yeah, I suppose, and I shut up.

Questions, questions. What about these three Types?

  • The first is the proud strong halfwit hammerhead, standing on “Nobody tells me what to do!”.
  • The two is the young moronic featherhead, vaguely laughing, partying all night in crowds.
  • The three is the exhilarated religious boss, “God protects us from coronavirus” (with the help of certain psalms, probably). Churchurlishness…

Then death comes around. With this disease, you just drown, suffocated. It’s the sad concept of “too late regret”. It’s universal, in all countries.

Empathically, trying to understand people. It’s a discipline!


To write this I had big laughs with the English synonyms of “idiot” (adjective or noun). I get the nuances (in violence or funnyness), but I really don’t know about chucklehead, goon, halfwit or schmuck. I guessed about the rustic countryside colors of oaf, yokel, lout. But what about bungler, klutz, simpleton or churl? Words are linked with bad manners, others with ungainliness or ways of sitting.

When one ESL like me begins to dig into a vocabulary field, even a funny field like this one, there’s a feeling of terrible loss : I know nothing!


Yesterday I watched Episode 2 of Carnival Row, with pen and paper – in English with English subs. In less than an hour, I wrote unknown nuggets : aught, lively, hoof, ghastly, quackery, snug, squander, shuddering, passerby, beget, shrine, pall, to preen.

Pfff !

Then I search : aught in “For aught I know!”, lively in an order : “Now go!”, hoof for the foot of horse but also as a verb (the GREAT “She had a flat tire, she had to hoof it to work”), and if ghastly is dreadful or horrible, what’s the difference?, and is snug comfortable or tight-fitting (positive or negative radioactivity?), and squander and waste? Is a pall a coffin? What’s that interesting verb, to pall (a domain, a person?), or to cast a pall over? Etc, etc.

I love it, but it’s exhausting!


I watched Underwater (2020) – a group of scientists at the bottom of the ocean encounters creatures after an earthquake destroys their laboratory. Everybody seems to hate this movie (because it looks like Alien, or because many people hate Kristen Stewart). Stewart is great, the beginning is surprising, the monster is Cthulhu-esque, and it’s very stressful. Cons? Some strange ellipses, a so-so sense of locations, scrambled lights at times. The characters (and the way we meet them, the way they talk) are strangely realistic, it’s also a problem (we don’t know them enough, maybe). I’d give a 6/10.


If you’re alone and not allowed to go, you have to find something to explore. Today let’s think about battles.

Interesting battles, what are they? You have to choose one, which IS an activity.

You can choose a star, like the D-Day, Austerlitz or Gettysburg. I’d choose elsewhere. Antietam or Wagram.

Then begins your researches. What’s history around? Who are the generals? The opposing forces? What about the battlefield, the terrain? Phases? Prelude? Ending? Events? Aftermath?

But also : where to find maps? What books to read? History? Remembrances (of whom : officers or soldiers?)? Where is the place today? Is there a way to go visit it? Is there a forum on the Web, where people who know this battle could help you?

There’s an editor I know : https://ospreypublishing.com/ – they have numerous leaflets about many battles.

It should get you busy for a few days…

Thanks for reading! Sorry for my English…

Stay safe!


Snipers & Campers


In the 90s I played a lot, online, with guys around the world, with Myth II. 4 persons at a time in a small map with, you see, forests and hills. Each player had to lead a small company, with swords and spears, the whole magic medieval stuff. “Real Time Strategy”, they called it. And indeed you had to think about strategy : waiting for the enemy, attacking with small fast commandos, etc. It was possible to chat a little with your opponents, and that made it all fun!

What people really hated here, were campers. Some guy who will find a good high spot and wait here, hidden or protected by rocks and trees. Campers, in fact, never lasted long because the 3 other armies often ally to seek, flush out and destroy the camper. Which seemed a good idea (high position means good arrows range, for example) lead to destruction.


I used to sell books on eBay when it was a smart company. I had to think a lot about strategies : when to sell, how many days, how to present a book, the price, etc. It was fun (and good for business) to see some bidding battles too : how two persons fought to get something.

One strategy (and there are apps and websites for that) is sniping. Snipers do nothing until the last second of the bid. Then they place their price. It works well because they all in a sudden appear for nowhere, and can get a good price for an object : it comes one dollar over the higher bid. So if you attack at €100 something who is, at the moment, at €36, you’ll get it at €37 – unless there’s another sniper around!


What is interesting here? Efficiency, of course. And feelings.

  1. Snipers and Campers sometimes win. I wonder if it’s a guilty pleasure, though – because it is like cheating, right? Act with surprise, cunning. Aren’t ashamed?
  2. Their opponents are frustrated and angry if they lose.

And : 

  • They can be tempted to use the same trick, next time.
  • They can seek revenge, or “act worse” (on eBay they can contact the seller and propose a higher price), or use a better cheating skill.
  • They can quit (for example in the game : “You’re not funny, camper”).
  • They can invent counter-strategies (ally against a camper, use a better tool to snipe).

What is your type? Where else do we encounter snipers and campers? Companies? Love? Art? Can we put them in a box with other cheaters, boot-lickers? What happens in real war time? What’s the thing to do against a sniper? What did Napoléon do with campers?

Thanks for reading!

“Clean Mud” : Game of Thrones against Come and See

One should not compare these things!

Battle of the Bastards is the S06E09 of Game of Thrones, 2016, full of Awards and watched by almost 8 millions people on HBO the first day. There are spoilers here so beware.

Come and See is 142 minutes 1985 Soviet “war drama” film about Nazi’s atrocities in Bielorussia.

One should not compare these! Therefore I do.

Drama, war, mud, enemies, and cruelty. In both films!

I don’t watch TV Series, but watched The GoT episode with a grin : actors are well hair styled, seem satisfied, the mud is pretty clean, and I’m pretty sure they have great dry warm underwear under their fur coats.

But with a smile, because I’m a guy and I loved 300 and Lord of the Rings and Gladiator, therefore I have fun like in front of a Video Game Trailer : wings of arrows, swords and flying blood, giants and other catapultings of balls of fire. Geronimo!

So : I watched this, afflicted by the obvious smugness of all these well fed actors, sorry to see Mr Snow falling in a trap exposing himself in the no man’s land, facepalming with the happy cavalry charge at the end – which saves the day (I waited the John Ford bugle call but they didn’t dare).

I noticed the esthetics efforts : views from the sky, slow motions, silhouettes, walls of shields, but I couldn’t stop imagining this battle led with real mud/dirt, good actors, some Bisleyic exaggerations, or showing how horrible is that kind of battle. If was like made for teens, right? I’m probably too old for this. Probably I forget it’s from a heroic fantasy book.

Oh, I didn’t talk about “Come and See”. I won’t, it’s too much. I just put a photograph.

Thanks for reading!

The Propensity of Things

Your task is not to foresee the future, but to enable it.
L’avenir, tu n’as point à le prévoir mais à le permettre.


A propensity to do something is a natural tendency to behave in a particular way, to move in a particular direction.

This is a Chinese tool I found in a François Jullien’s book. You won’t read any, so I offer it to you.

First, let’s talk about Goals and Efficiency.

A Goal is an altered state of reality, probably a better one, you wanna reach. Well you hope to achieve this !

Then you PUSH towards the goal – the American Way probably – because you wanna reach it, silly. It’s a task ! Being able to do that is called Efficiency.

This is the typical way to live in Occident. If you make war, if you flirt with your date, if you write a poem, this is what you do : you PUSH towards your goal, right ? Efficiency is : win the battle, kiss the girl, impress the reader.

In China, instead of pushing like bulls, they do something else. They use the propensity of things.

Which is totally different.

You watch your goal, then you forget it, you don’t care, you don’t PUSH.

You watch what you have now, here. HERE. Then you watch the propensity of things, the natural tendencies they have to move. If it’s in the good direction, then, in the appropriate moment, you just turn little things, open little doors. The energy of propensity works alone. It’s an inner energy. Just watch it moving ! Towards… yeah…

Tool : This tool makes you think. Makes you think about how heavy and loud we are. We “want”. So there : China’s Art of War is really different than Napoleo’s. You can just spend some time with your crush and dance with what you see, instead of acting like a fake alpha-male puppet. You can try subtilities and complexity in your poetry, instead of playing the smartassy poet with idiot metaphors.