Au Courant Weekly: August 29, 2015

Aug 29, 2015

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The Simple Sophisticate, episode #57


~Three Americans, one Briton and one French-American received France’s highest honor, the Legion of Honor on Monday in Paris from President Francois Hollande for their heroic thwarting of a terrorist attack last Friday on a high-speed train traveling to Paris from Amsterdam.  Mark Moogalian, a 51-year-old French-American academic, who was wounded in the attack also received the medal (his wife attended the ceremony as he had to remain in the hospital). Airman First Class Spencer Stone, 23; Alek Skarlatos, 22, a specialist in the Oregon National Guard; and their friend Anthony Sadler, 23 — received their medals in the Élysée Palace, where they were joined by Chris Norman, 62, a British consultant.

~71 firefighters from Australia and New Zealand arrived in Boise on Sunday to help with the wildfires on the west coast as well as receive training on current wildfire behavior. The last time such help arrived from Down Under for western wildfires was in 2008.

~Immigration into Europe is at an all-time high since WWII. The on-going civil war in Syria as well as the strife in the middle east caused by self-proclaimed ISIS and military conflicts in Albania, Serbia and Kosovo have prompted hundreds of thousands to seek refuge in Europe. The Economist reports that 270,000 illegal migrants have reached European shores this year. And while Germany is said to be expecting 800,000 asylum seekers this year (a record), reaching Germany is quite the task as was evidenced by the 50 refugees found dead in an Austrian truck left abandoned by smugglers on Thursday.

National: United States

~The 10th anniversary of Hurricane KatrinaOn nearly every broadcast this week, the commemoration of the 10 year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina was a central focus. President Obama even made a special trip to New Orleans on Thursday reminding NOLA citizens and the country “Our work here won’t be done when almost 40% of children still live in poverty in this city. That’s not a finished job. That’s not a full recovery.” But he did add,”The people of New Orleans didn’t just inspire me, you inspired all of America.”

~NYSE drops MondayDue to the slowing economy of China and seeing their stock market drop 8.5% on Monday, the New York Stock Exchange dropped to an 18-month closing low, losing 588 points after a day that saw the Dow drop almost instantaneously 1000 points at the bell on Monday morning. However, stocks have slowly rebounded this week as many stock analysts and economists cite the drop as a correction rather than a catastrophe. Many suspect however, that the volatility will likely delay the expected interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve until December rather than on September 17th.

~A reporter in Virginia and her cameraman were shot and killedTragedy unfolded Wednesday morning at approximately 6:45 am in Virginia when CBS news affiliate WDBJ7 reporter Allison Parker and Adam Ward, her cameraman, where shot repeatedly and killed by former disgruntled employee of the station Vester Lee Flanagan II (aka as Bryce Williams). The shooter, having appeared to have carefully planned the attack, led police on a chase and soon after shot and killed himself, crashing his car. Parker was 24 and Ward was 27.


~Second cancers are on the riseWhile the headline sounds dreary, it is actually the result of good news in many ways. More people are surviving their first cancer diagnosis and living longer. Nearly 1 in 5 people in the United States diagnosed with cancer have had the disease before; however, a second cancer as defined by doctors is a different cancer or found in a different spot. Why the second diagnosis? The Associated Press reported that, “Second cancers can arise from the same gene mutations or risk factors, such as smoking . . . and some of the very treatments that help people survive their first cancer, such as radiation, can raise the risk of a new cancer forming later in life, although treatments have greatly improved in recent years to minimize this problem.”

Generosity leads to a happier lifeLooking to lower your blood pressure, reduce your stress and risk of cardiovascular disease as well as lessen your chances of depression or feelings of anxiety? Oh, and don’t forget improve your odds of feeling happy? Give and give often. By choosing to be generous, we are fully present and are able to let go of rumination on the past and worries about the future. Stony Brook University School of Medicine in New York shares that simply thinking about giving to someone else lights up “a part of the brain called the mesolimbic pathway, which is responsible for feelings of gratification.” Other happiness chemicals in our minds our bodies are released such as “dopamine, endorphins that block pain signals and oxytocin, known as the tranquillity hormone.”

Arts & Entertainment

The US Tennis Open begins on Monday and Serena Williams is the athlete to watch when it comes to setting records, tying past tennis champions and making an even more impressive mark in the sport’s world. Running through September 13th, the 135th year of the US Open set in Queens, New York, at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, Serena has the opportunity if she wins to be the first woman to win all four Grand Slam tournaments in a single year since 19-year-old Steffi Graf in 1988 (Graf retired at age 30). Williams would also tie Graf at 22 career Grand Slam singles titles, the most in the post-1968 Open era, and move closer to Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.

~Facebook reported for the first time one billion users used the city in one dayOn Monday, Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg reported that Facebook, in one single day, had seen one billion people log on and use their Facebook accounts. To put that into perspective, that is 1 in every 7th person on the planet Earth used their Facebook pages in some way on Monday.

Women’s Stories of Interest

~The Chicago Tribune reported that couples who share parenting responsibilities report a better sex life after having studied 500 heterosexual couples. Georgia State University found in their research that couples who both pitched in stated having a stronger relationship with their partner, “less conflict, better communication and more intimacy”. Child care was defined as “making and enforcing rules for children; monitoring and supervising; doling out punishment when rules were broken; issuing praise when appropriate; and playing with the kids.” An interesting finding as well showed that relationships were worse off when the female was responsible for the lion’s share of the parenting responsibilities, but intimacy was not diminished if the male took on the majority of the role.

Bendite Event of the Week

~Tickets for author Elizabeth Gilbert’s visit to Bend go on sale September 1st which is hosted by the Deschutes Public Library Foundation’s annual, Author, Author, Author series.  Bringing fantastic talents to central Oregon this coming year, this event is on my calendar. The author of the international best-selling book Eat, Pray, Love will be at Bend High School on November 13th, so be sure to get your tickets when they become available. Ticket prices range from $25-$75.

French Word of the Week


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.

Friendship is very important in France. We call it “l’amitié”. Just like in English, it contains the word friend, “ami”.

In France, there’s an unofficial scale of friendship, and the status of your friendship evolves. You won’t be “un ami” straight away. You might be “un pote” (for youger people only), then “un copain” then “un ami”. “ami” has a very strong meaning. If you met when you were children, you will be “des amis d’enfance”.

Also, a very French thing is to add “petit” to change the meaning. Un copain and un ami are friends, but “un petit copain”/”un petit ami” is a boyfriend! Same for the girls “une copine” or “une amie” is a friend, but “une petite copine” or “une petite amie” is a girlfriend! Yes!

Don’t mix amitié et amour either. Concepts such as “my wife is my best friend”, make no sense in France. You might have a best friend AND a wife… or husband I mean. But love and friendship are really 2 different ideas.

If you want to go further on friendship, read “Le Petit Prince”, all French schoolgirls and boys learned what The Little Prince has to say about it. Friendship makes people unique in the world.

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


~AU COURANT WEEKLY posts from the Archives:

~August 22, 2015

~August 15, 2015

~August 8, 2015


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