Au Courant Weekly: July 25, 2015

The Simple Sophisticate, episode #47   The inaugural episode of Au Courant Weekly kicks off today as the second weekly episode of TSLL podcast, The Simple Sophisticate. Part of living well is being in the know, whether it is being knowledgable of news from around the world or informed of going-ons right in your own […] Listen now or continue reading below.
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The Simple Sophisticate, episode #47


The inaugural episode of Au Courant Weekly kicks off today as the second weekly episode of TSLL podcast, The Simple Sophisticate.

Part of living well is being in the know, whether it is being knowledgable of news from around the world or informed of going-ons right in your own community, because it’s not what you think, it’s that you think. All of the information shared on the Au Courant Weekly will enable you to go forth into the weekend ready for an engaging conversation or simply mindful of the most recent current events, from which you can formulate your own opinions. So tune in each Saturday morning, and in 15 minutes or less you will be au courant.


Cuban Embassy opens in D.C.On Monday, Cuban flags were raised above Cuba’s embassy on 16th Street, just 2 miles north of the White House in a formal ceremony. After 54 years, the return of the flag marks a significant change in thawing relationships between the two countries which was originally announced in December. The United States also raised its flag in Havana above its embassy on Monday, but will wait until August 14th for a formal ceremony when Secretary of State John Kerry will be in attendance.

United States

President Obama Visits Father’s Homeland: On Friday, President Obama arrived in Nairobi, Kenya, for the first time as President of the United States. Officially, he is attending the Global Entrepreneur Summit of which he is co-host with Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta. Expected to visit with his extended family privately, he will then travel on Sunday to Ethiopia.


Donald Trump travels to Laredo, Texas: After his contentious comments about Senator John McCain last Saturday, Donald Trump has kept above the fold in the world of US politics as polls have him in a commanding lead above other Republican candidates (yes, the Presidential election doesn’t take place until November 2016). Visiting the border town of Laredo, Texas, on Thursday, he mentioned that if the Republican party doesn’t treat him well, he may consider running as an Independent.

Hillary Clinton’s Emails Subject to Potential Criminal Inquiry: Late Thursday, The New York Times released that a two inspector generals are seeking a criminal investigation into whether Hillary Clinton’s emails while she was Secretary of State (2009-2012) which contained “sensitive government information [were] mishandled in connection with the personal email account”.


Teenagers Having Sex Has DecreasedAccording to The Washington Post, compared to a study conducted in the 1980s, teenage boys report 47% (compared to 60% in 1980s) and teenage girls report 44% (51% in 1980s) have had at least one sexual encounter. Thank technology. Yes, thank their constant reliance on smart phones, the article reports. And teenage pregnancies have steeply declined as well, “Births to girls 15 to 19 plunged from 84 per 1,000 teens in 1991 t0 26 in 2013.” Knowledge is power!

Birth Order in Siblings Matters Little: According to the Journal of Research in Personality, after studying 377,000 high school students, it was discovered that birth order amongst siblings has little to no effect (.02%) on a child’s personality, success and intelligence. According to a co-author of the study, Rodica Damian, “The message of this study is that birth order probably should not influence your parenting, because it’s not meaningfully related to your kid’s personality or IQ.”


Dr. Seuss Returns: Harper Lee isn’t the only beloved author to release a book after a long patient wait by readers. Theodor Seuss Geisel, also known as Dr. Seuss, will have his book What Pet Should I Get? posthumously released Tuesday July 28th.

A Documentary to Watch: Airing on PBS Monday July 27th at 10pm, Tea Time, directed and created by Maite Alberdi, will take viewers into the intimate discussions that were filmed over the course of five years capturing a tradition that began 60 years ago of five Chilean women as they gather for tea and scrumptious cakes and sweets. No topic is off limits and tea time begins promptly at 5pm each month. Available online through August 25th if you miss it on July 27th. (subtitles)

Gyllenhaal Impresses Critics: Jake Gyllenhaal stars in Southpaw which hit theaters yesterday, and while the film is somewhat predictable, many critics are praising Gyllenhaal’s performance. As a boxer who is in a custody battle for his daughter after his beloved wife (played by Rachel McAdams) dies, the “orphan-turned-ex-con-turned-light-heavyweight-champion” turns to Forest Whitaker, a trainer who coached the only boxer to ever beat him.


The Anticipated Finale: The Tour de France penultimate race up the excessively challenging Alps d’Huez on the 20th stage of the race takes place today and culminates Sunday at the Champs-Élysées. Chris Froome from Britain will begin Saturday’s jaunt with the yellow jersey ahead of the grand finale at l’Alpe d’Huez. Curious about the meaning behind each of the jerseys that are earned along the race? Find the answers here.

Women’s Issues

Alzheimer’s and Women: Alzheimer’s Association Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures reported last week in Washington D.C. that women appear to be more vulnerable to Alzheimer’s than men, in fact their cognitive abilities tend to decline twice as quickly as men’s. But why? Michael Weiner, senior author of the study cannot pinpoint it directly, but stated, “there are other differences . . . such as hormones, lifestyle, childbearing, diet, and exercise” that must be taken into consideration.

Bendite Event of the Week

Enjoy Opera, Ballet, the Symphony and Special Events: Many readers have brought this opportunity to my attention as I was physically in attendance at The Audience on Broadway last month, so I wanted to make sure everyone was aware. Even if you don’t live in New York City, San Francisco or any other top cultural metropolitan city, you can still enjoy the star-studded performances in high definition at your local theater. This past Saturday I went to the Old Mill District’s Regal Cinemas and for $12 watched Lehar’s Operetta The Merry Widow. This coming Wednesday, Bend theater will show Aida at 7pm (tickets can be purchased in advance online or at the door. Visit, type in your zip code and discover what is available in your area.

French Word of the Week with Géraldine Lepère from Comme Une Française


Bonjour, this is Géraldine from Comme une Franç I’m here to share the latest French Word of the Week: a simple very French word for your Simply Luxurious Life in France.

Today, we’ll talk about a French delicacy. Not the smelly cheeses nor the baguettes. But the marvelous macaron.

Le Macaron is a masculine noun, we say UN macaron. This little treat reached worldwide fame in just a few years. Why are we talking about this funny little sweet? Because it’s hard to pronounce it like we natives do and I thought I’d help. Not “macaroon” but “un macaron” “ON”. Try it. “un macaron”

Le macaron can be “au chocolat”, “à la framboise” (rasberry) and many other flavors. My favorite is “à la rose”.

Le macaron is mainly made of “de la poudre d’amande” and “du sucre glace”. That’s “powdered sugar,” but literally it translates to “ice sugar”.

Many brands now claim they offer the best macaron : Ladurée, Pierre Hermés, Fauchon, Lenôtre, Dalloyau, among others. My advice here is clear. Form your own opinion: taste them all!

And remember : macaron.

Allez, bon appétit !

If you want to add more French in your Simply Luxurious Life, join me on Comme une Franç for weekly video tips to sound French, even to the French! And it’s free.

Thought to Ponder


Thank you for joining me in discovering the top news stories of the week from around the globe as well as a dash of inspiration and a brush up on the French language and culture. Until Monday, bonne journée!

~Questions about the podcast, the music or to view of list of all of the previous episodes, click here. 

Image source of T to P

8 thoughts on “Au Courant Weekly: July 25, 2015

  1. Au Courant is truly fantastic, inspiring, innovative. What else can I say ? BRAVA! I always look forward to reading you.

  2. I am so looking forward to this Shannon, such a lovely list of goodies to enjoy. I’m driving to and from Canberra tomorrow (four hours all up) so Au Courantwill be be very welcome.

  3. A delight during my Saturday cleaning routine. I just wish it was longer. I listened twice! Thanks for adding Saturday Shannon!

  4. I really enjoyed your podcast! It was very well done and have me something too think about. I am really looking forward to upcoming Saturdays now. Oh and I’m happy to find out the real pronunciation of macaron.

  5. Love Au Courant! My husband and I listened on Saturday morning and can’t wait for the next installment. I love the Women’s Issues and Science subsections. I hope that you include new non-fiction books in your Arts section too, because I am always looking for more titles! Keep up the great work; yours is my favorite podcast.

  6. Please note that the article about Hillary Clinton was completely wrong and fraught with inaccuracies! This was a high profile disaster for the New York times and was corrected and then corrected again. Because you are repeating their inaccuracies I thought it should be pointed out.

    1. Patricia,

      Actually much has yet to be revealed, and the two inspector generals who requested further investigation haven’t necessarily been given access. What is in question now, reportedly, is whether classified information was shared inadvertently (either sent or received) on her private server or not. Here is the article that went live the day after Au Courant was produced:

      I appreciate your close attention to the current events. Thank you for your contribution.

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