New Year’s Resolutions to Sweeten your French Speaking Savvy

People speaking

Last week, I started making a list of possible New Year’s resolutions for francophiles wanting to improve their French language skills. Some of my readers thanked me for providing such a thorough list of resources but I was just getting started. When I’m done, I hope they won’t be cursing…

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My French Odyssey and Ways to Improve Language Skills

Learn French!

Like many people, every January I give some thought to my long and short-term goals and come up with several resolutions. This year, however, I’ve been floundering—that is, thrashing about like a flounder hoping to flop its way off the deck of an aircraft carrier. A persistent problem for me…

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Happy New Year 2023 to Friends and Strangers

New Year's Paris

As 2022 comes to a close, it feels more than ever like the pandemic is behind us. Perhaps the biggest indicator of our improving societal health is the return of social gatherings, both privately and in shared public spaces. This year, on December 31, Paris will once again ring in…

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Coup in Detroit! Rare Van Gogh Exhibit Upstages America’s Coasts

Van Gogh's Stairway at Auvers

At the end of September, I drove to Detroit to attend a panel discussion featuring two descendants of Vincent van Gogh. Josien van Gogh, Vincent’s great-grandniece, and her daughter, Janne Heling, had come to the Motor City to help kick off a new exhibition at the Detroit Institute of Arts, titled Van Gogh…

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A Look at Cancel Culture’s Trashing of a Remarkable Filmmaker

Smaker filming in Saudi Arabia

This week I listened to an interview with Meg Smaker, a gutsy yet empathetic filmmaker whose documentary, Jihad Rehab, was initially hailed by numerous film festivals and critics, then condemned and dropped like a hot potato. The claim that the film was Islamaphobic is behind its sudden death sentence. After…

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Hidden Treasure: Watercolors from My Father’s College Days

Watercolor of church lot

For decades, my parent’s basement was the source of many chuckles, curses, and quandaries, along with considerable consternation. My mother, an only child, and my father, the only surviving child, seemed to have inherited not only their own parents’ belongings but also those of many of their grandparents, aunts, and…

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A Brief History of Famous French Fools, Farce, and Fanfare

Bouffon, by William Merritt Chase

From the time of ancient kings, people have appreciated humor arising from the behavior and appearance of fools. Throughout history, such characters have taken many forms. Comedic actors have created entertaining personas that reappear in performance after performance. Others adapt idiotic conduct to real-world figures in an attempt to mock…

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