Tag Archives: france

Teddy Roosevelt and The Man in the Arena

On April 23, 1910, Teddy Roosevelt presented a spectacular speech at the Sorbonne in Paris, France.

The title of his argument was — “Citizenship in a Republic” — and here is the famous “Man in The Arena” excerpt:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

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Four Corners Revisited: My People

I am cheating a little and using the Four Corners concept to quickly introduce to you people and ideas so that future articles on Portugal make a lot more sense.

Introducing Mr P — who does not really wish to be on the internet at all. Ironically, I met Mr P online playing a rather silly game called Tribal Wars. Mr P was born in Morocco of French parents and has been living in Portugal for most of his life. He has a degree in Biology from Pau University. He speaks French, Portuguese and English extremely well and has knowledge of Spanish, Italian and German as well. He has a strong sense of history and of culture. The mix of our cultures and our language brings a lot of humour to our lives. We love to travel — not just in the broadest sense — but in the everyday sense of exploration; not only of ourselves and our lives but in the beauty found all around us. We have adventures everywhere! This picture was taken at our handfasting where we took our vows in front of friends and family.

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Teachers in France Have The Right Idea: Strike!

The other day, I was watching television and I saw a commercial for a certain credit card company that showed a teacher shopping for their own school supplies. I was reminded how bad our education system currently is — bad enough that it supplies teachers with a certain budget for the year but when that budget is exhausted, as it often quickly is, they have to pony up if they want to give their students crayons or colored paper or project supplies — regardless of how important those supplies may be for their education. I couldn’t imagine a bank teller being told by their employer that they could only have a certain number of pens at their station, and that they would have to pay for any others if they needed them.

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Banning the Veil: Show Me Your Face or Go To Jail

In France, the fight for the right to stay a completely secular state has just taken an interesting turn. I remember in 2004 when head coverings were banned in public schools thinking that I was glad that I was not a student in France as being a Jew as I am involves wearing a head covering.  Covering your face is now prohibited in public places in France, and I’m not sure it’s necessarily a step in the right direction for France. In addition to banning the niqab, the full face veil that Muslim women wear, the ban also includes masks, hooded jackets as well as anything else that covers the face.

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Concrete Bombs in The Age of Drones

One of my fondest memories of history class in grade school was learning about how the British redcoats in their keen formations were thwarted by the colonists using techniques they learned from the Native Americans — hiding among the trees and taking cover while attacking the well formed British troops. Unfortunately, I recently found out that this story was somewhat fictional — rather, “…on occasion the Americans used cover, hiding behind trees and rock walls. The start of the war at Lexington and Concord is a prime example, and the New Jersey Militia, used it well also, both being examples of partisan warfare.”

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Stick a Pin in Sarkozy: He is Done

What we bind together and choose to fight defines our cultural values and our inherent morality and immoral choices.  When a French court ruled that voodoo dolls of French President Nicolas Sarkozy must be sold with a warning label indicating sticking pins in the toy hurts Sarkozy’s feelings, a small slice of intellectual freedom was preserved in the presumptive ridiculousness of the ruling:

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