Mont St Michel in Normandy

Mont St Michel in Normandy

Yesterday was Martine’s birthday. In the mailbox was a card and letter from her half-sister Madeleine in St-Lô in Normandy. In her letter, she wrote that she hoped her sister could come and see her soon, as she is getting on in years. On a day when she should have been celebrating, there were tears in my little girl’s eyes. As it happened, I had the power to change that around. Martine is afraid of going to France alone because she is not good at transportation planning. As it happens, that is my specialty, and my French is better than hers, even though she was born in Paris.

So, I suggested to Martine that I could take a rain check on Peru and join her in France. I don’t think I could have given her a better gift. Martine started dreaming about croissants and how I could have great cheeses for breakfast (yes, I am a devoted cheese-eater). Within minutes, I came up with a plan: Fly to Paris and stay there for a couple of days while visiting her friend Angéla in Montmartre, then take the TGV direct from Gare Montparnasse to St Lô and visit Madeleine and a couple tourist sights, such as the big rock illustrated above. From there, it’s back to Paris to transfer to the TGV from Gare de Lyon to Avignon. A couple days there, then Arles, Nice, and Monte Carlo. Finally, we could take a train to the Cinque Terre in Italy for several days of peace and rest. Then a train to Milan, from which we would fly back to LAX. Martine approved on the spot.

It would have been easy for me to be selfish at this juncture, but I cannot be happy unless Martine is happy. Else my trip to Peru would have been an anxious dirge. Now there is a chance I can get Martine to accompany me to Peru in the future—if our health prevails. I think the trip to France would be a powerful motive for Martine’s back pain to disappear altogether. (So many ailments have a psychosomatic trigger.)

War on Xmas Begins in Earnest

Papa Bear Told Us This Would Happen

Papa Bear Warned Us This Would Happen

Just as Bill O’Reilly predicted, the War on Christmas has begun in earnest. Guantanamo is being stripped of terrorist chauffeurs and brothers-in-law to make room for the Clauses and their adherents, including a particularly sinister lot of elves. Breaking news has reported the death of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, whose bleeding carcass was last seen draped over the front of a Humvee, and of the Little Drummer Boy, who took a load of PAHRUPPAPUMMPUMM between the eyes. Grim, sooty smoke spiraled up from stacks of burning greeting cards and gift wrapping paper. Creches were attacked with anti-tank weapons and blown to smithereens.

People who voted in Obama over Mitt Romney in November 2012 are shaking their heads in dismay. Even losing candidate Mitt Romney commented: “Look, fellas, I may be a Mormon; but we’re all Christians here, aren’t we? Aren’t we?”

You wouldn’t think so if you saw the forces arraigned to fight The Former Holiday, as it’s now being called in the news media. In a brave show of resistance, the Faux News Channel began calling itself The Christmas Station until the Federal Communications Commission threatened to shut them down with an attack column headed toward their broadcast headquarters. With many of its pundits under arrest, including O’Reilly, for promoting Christian values, the channel has turned mostly to agricultural reports and generic ethical sermonizing until the situation is clarified.

According to General Mohammed al Scroogey, the Pentagon spokesman, “We have made contact with the forces of Christmas and, on a large scale, torn down their flocked trees and ripped out their strings of lights. Our aim is to confiscate all Santas, elves, sleighs, bells, snowflakes, and other holiday paraphernalia until all that remains is devoid of religious or other celebratory intent.”

All radios played martial music while the brave heroes of the attack brigades wipe out every trace of the despised holiday. President Barack Hussein Obama offered prayers to Allah for the speedy success of what has come to be known as Operation Grinch.