Au Courant Weekly: January 24, 2016

Jan 24, 2016

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—The Simple Sophisticate, episode #82


—The World Economic Forum in Davio, Switzerland, released this past Wednesday the top countries to live in. Looking at 60 countries around the world and using 24 different categories compiled into nine broader categories, more than 16,000 people were surveyed. The nine categories consisted of adventure, citizenship, cultural influence, entrepreneurship, heritage, movers, open for business, power and quality of life. The top five in reverse order: (5) Sweden (4) United States (3) United Kingdom (2) Canada and (1) Germany.

—The mosquito-born virus, Zika, is raising concern and prompting four Latin American countries to ask women to delay pregnancy for up to two years. As an outbreak has taken place in Brazil with 4,000 cases discovered since October, as babies born with microcephaly or abnormally small heads has been on the rise. Confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the first baby detected with effects upon the brain due to the Zika virus was born in Oahu, Hawaii, last Friday. As his mother had spent time in Brazil during her pregnancy, the United States has offficially issued a warning to pregnant women advising them not to travel to 20 different countries in the Americas where the Zika virus has registered cases.

—The BBC and BuzzFeed reported that illegal betting in ATP tennis matches has been going on for nearly a decade. Citing 16 players who have been in the top 50 rankings of the world and alleging that eight are currently playing at the Australian Open in Melbourne, the accusations have caused a bevy of consternation. Click here for the latest results at the Australian Open.

—On Wednesday, armed militants entered a Pakistan university, killing at least 20 students. The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the tragic event at Bacha Khan University in the city of Charsadda. Within hours, the army had located the four shooters who are now dead.

—Earlier this week, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced that the government, in an effort to “build community integration and counter extremism”, will be creating a £20m educational fund to teach Muslim women English. Estimating that there are more than 19,000 Muslim women in England who speak little or no English, the fund is “aimed at reaching the most isolated women and will be targeted to specific communities based on the ongoing review into segregation.”

—Globally, oil-prices hit a 13-year low on Wednesday and with the addition of Iran’s supply due to the lifting of the sanctions, U.S. stocks were trepidatious to say the least as they dropped three percent on Thursday before rebounding slightly on Friday.

National: United States

—The mid-Atlantic east coast was and continues to be walloped by an impressive blizzard. Washington D.C., Baltimore and now New York are being doused with up to two feet of snow. While thankfully advanced warnings keep many people off the roads, near London, Kentucky, thousands were stranded on a freeway for multiple hours due to the inclement weather.

—In the fashion world, the stylistic talent Grace Coddington made the announcement that she was stepping down from her role as Vogue‘s (Anna Wintour’s Vogue) creative director and chief stylist. Not leaving Vogue entirely, she will be taking on a “at-large” position and begin projects with Comme des Garçons on perfume. Having worked at Vogue for 28 years, Anna Wintour is reportedly supportive of her move. Coddington will work on at least four editorial projects a year, continue attending shows and remain on the masthead.

Health & Science

—As reported in The New York Times, 2015 was indeed the hottest year on record. According to scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, as reported on Wednesday, 2015 broke the record set only last year in 2014.

Arts & Entertainment

—The Academy of Motion Pictures, under increased scrutiny regarding the lack of diversity represented in last week’s Oscar nominee announcement, made news late this past week that they would consider changing their rules to include more people of color in their membership to improve diversity. Spike Lee, Jada Pinkett Smith and her husband Will Smith were a few of the actors announcing they were going to boycott the Oscar Awards ceremony this year due to the lack of diverse representation.

—One of the founders of the American band The Eagles, Glenn Frey passed away on Monday at the age of 67 due to complications and a lengthy battle with “rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis and pneumonia”. Link to song “You Belong to the City” (as heard on the show)

—Premiering tonight on Fox, The X Files returns. With the season finale taking place in 2002 and the feature film in 2008, many fans are curious, yet highly anticipating its return. In the 6-episode “event”, Scully and Mulder will put their partnership back on the small screen to see if it was worth the wait.

Bendite Event of the Week

With many art galleries around Bend, an exhibit I have been wanting to check out is currently at the Jenny Green Gallery and runs through the end of January. The exhibit is titled Cons & Icons and each image is constructed entirely of fingerprints. The black and white images depict well-known singers, actors and historical figures as seen in their mugshots, such as David Bowie, Martin Luther King Jr. and Jim Morrison. The artist Jennifer Hannaford blends her artistic talent with her professional experience as a forensic fingerprint examiner and the real life forensic scientist to create unique portraits.

French Word of the Week

Le dimanche

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.

Sunday in France, is sacred. Le dimanche  you can do many things, but not work. It’s a day dedicated to you and your loved ones. Les magasins sont fermés, shops are closed.

If your family is around you’ll probably see them for a 4 hour “déjeuner de famille”, a family lunch, with the products you bought from “le marché”.

Maybe you’d like to go out to “visiter un musée ou une expo (une exposition)” (a museum or an exhibition). If the weather is nice, stay outside pour “prendre l’air” and “se balader au parc”, or “dans la forêt” or even better “à la campagne”. Get some fresh air and go out for a walk in the park, the forest or the countryside.

Or maybe you’d prefer to stay home instead pour “faire le ménage”, “jardiner” ou “bricoler”. Cleaning, gardening or do some home improvements.

At last, it’s your day so maybe you’d like to sleep in : “faire la grasse matinée”, relax “se reposer” and do nothing : “glander” in slang.

It’s Sunday after all!

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 


~Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Big Magic and much more~


Images: quote image source

4 thoughts on “Au Courant Weekly: January 24, 2016

  1. Dear Shannon,
    Thank you for another excellent edition of “Au Courant”. It is such a lovely addition to your collection of articles throughout the week, and it really does make me ponder throughout the day. As always, I enjoy checking in to your blog.
    I have one quick question, if you don’t mind. I am also an English teacher, and I find it sometimes difficult to make the switch (mentally) from work to home and vice versa. You are obviously so productive in both spheres, I was wondering if you have any little “leaving one workplace/ moving to the other” rituals that you might care to share on the blog?
    Many thanks. I wish you a wonderful week ahead.
    Best wishes from Ireland,

    1. Anne, thank you for your comment. Honestly, my dogs have a lot to do with it as I walk them when I get home, and I truly do leave schoolwork at school and do my blog work at home. As far as completely separate, sometimes one inspires the other and I think that is okay. They help enhance each other in small ways. If you have further questions, just email me. 🙂

  2. Hi Shannon,
    Thank you for all these valuable information! I agree with Anne I’d love to read a post on the several ways and rituals to ‘make the switch between work and home. Sometimes I come back home at night and surprise myself to think about work way too much. I’d love to hear your advice in that matter! Sure you have great strategies to share?:-)

  3. I love the Elizabeth Gilbert quote. It was something off-handed that she said in her podcast that inspired my blog’s theme and title. I was happy to have read Big Magic a couple of weeks ago and see that, as she tells it in her book, I’m on the right path. I highly, highly recommend it! I think of you, Elizabeth Gilbert, and Kimberly Wilson as my fairy godmothers! Where you’re all going resonates with me and it’s so nice to have the extra guidance as I make my own way.

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