Monthly Archives: February 2008


Mehmet Koksal in “La tribune de Bruxelles”
27 février 2008 – Humeur allochtone

“Après les cigarettes et la télévision, la politique belge nuit gravement à la santé des êtres humains. Yves Leterme vient d’en faire l’expérience suite à son hospitalisation d’urgence aux soins intensifs de l’UZ Leuven. Le futur Premier ministre belge souffre d’une hémorragie interne du système gastro-intestinal, un malaise digestif reflétant bien l’état d’indigestion politique de ce pays de plus en plus imbuvable.

En effet, le climat politique actuel témoigne d’une fabuleuse impuissance qui laisse un arrière-goût de lâcheté et de calcul politique en préparation des maudites élections régionales 2009. Tout laisse croire que rien ne bougera en Belgique sans la redistribution des cartes au niveau régional : pas de plan de relance économique, pas de réformes sociales, pas de débat sur le nouvezau traté européen, pas de discussion sur l’après-Kyoto, le pays est un peu en pilotage automatique où tout le monde laisse tranquillement pisser le mouton pour rebondir l’avant-veille de l’exercice éléctoral.

Entre temps, le monde se prépare à une nouvelle récession économique, le Kosovo déclare son indépendance, les Chinois investissent le Congo, les Russes s’emparent de l’approvisoinnement énergétique européen, les Américains installent leur bouclier antimissile en Europe de l’Est. La terre tourne… et n’attend pas les élections régionales en Belgique.

Two comments:

1) Apparently I did not miss any development in Belgian politics in recent weeks – there has been none.

2) I wish I could write French like this.



To my big surprise and even bigger honour, Mr. Penguin asked me very kindly to become part of game, or let’s say a chain of communication breaching already the continents and especially the blogs. As in every game, there are rules to follow which in this case are four:

  1. Explain the rules
  2. Tell everyone who invited you to play
  3. Reveal six insignificant but curious elements about yourself.
  4. Invite six new players.

Mr. Penguin adds a numeric riddle to this which I still fail to understand while the solution is probably just as close as my glasses are to my nose. Anyway. After a good thought about useless but amusing facts about myself, the best I can come up with is this:

  1. I don’t like Tweety. I clearly prefer Sylvester. While the poor cat is only acting as it’s nature is telling him, the mad “I am always the nice and I’m right” bird messes everything up.
  2. I don’t like Tintin either. Same character deformity as Tweety: too nice and always right. Awful people.
  3. I really like this guy World traveler. Especially as I can communicate with him.
  4. I like English food whether it is backed beans, strong brown sauce, black pudding, or this sweet caramel toff pudding similar dessert for which I can’t remember the name. Yameee.
  5. According to friends, I have the astonishing capacity to make a presentation about nearly any given topic. Even if my knowledge is very limited.
  6. If I had to choose between being plague or cholera – I would prefer plague.

Now, the people, I really would like to bother with this little game are, unfortunately or fortunately, not all bloggers. But tant pis, my nominees are: Heinz and Maik to who I would suggest to use the comments or email if they want to play, Cinnamon because there has been too much time without news, Anke to spread the Stöckchen in the German blogosphère, Umwalker to see how many photos he manages to put there, and Zeta to see if we cannot reveal some Spanish elements there.

Voilà, that’s it.


Anna Gavalda
Ensemble, c’est tout

Ensemble c’est tout

“Ensemble, c’est tout” is a book like a chick-flick movie. Exactly like one of these I usually can’t stand. So maybe it is because it is a book or maybe it is because I’m more romantic then I usually admit but I really like this book. I read a few years ago in German and when I saw it in a second hand book shop here in Brussels in French, I just had to buy it.

As I never watched the movie I still have my own images in mind how the main characters look like, how the flat in Paris they live in looks like and so own. To be honest, I was afraid that the movie would destroy this little world I had made up. So, what is the book about? Well, the three main characters, Camille, Frank and Philibert stumble through life more or less alone, they more or less burdened with problems from the past.

By a decree of fortune, they found themselves living together which is quite difficult for them as they usually avoid relationships to other people out of fear, shame and prior disappointment. Slowly and after a few crashes, they get to know each other and start appreciating of not being alone. They realise how much they need and depend on other people and how lonely they have been. From there to the Happy End, it is still a long way to go but it is a pleasure throughout to accompany them on this way.

Donc, oui c’est beau même si c’est un peu Kitch quand même…

The advantage

of having a really strong cold is that you don’t smell anything when you have to clean the dustbin.

Au moins un, quoi…

Well said

American football is like Rugby played by cowards and cheaters.


I just cannot understand

how anyone could call a beer “Mort subite”*. Well, to be very honest, since I finally managed to go to the famous pub with the same name last weekend, I know why it is called this way.

A la mort subite

However, what I still don’t get is how anyone can seriously enjoy this kind of beer which hardly deserves the name beer. Kriek, Gueuze and all this stuff, is just too fruity sweet and absolutely not conform with the good old Reinheitsgebot. But, de gustibus non est disputandum…

* Sudden death

Word of the week

la tirelire
money box
die Sparbüchse
Qu’est-ce que ça sonne jolie en français… 


“No country for old men” belongs to this kind of movie where I don’t know whether it is me not understanding or if there is nothing to be understood. Not that it would really matter as it is a great film to watch with fascinating characters, outstanding actors and beautiful pictures. It is a film you would not necessarily advise someone afraid of seeing blood or disgusted by violence. Despite this I found it quite pittoresque though this hardly seems to be the appropriate expression for a movie about a psychopathic killer who’s victims best chances are that he flips a coin…

Still, I could have watched the movie much longer, hoping for an end deserving the name. But the moment it finished, I just thought: “I don’t get it”. Somehow, I have the impression that this is exactly the point. It doesn’t make sense – violence never does but I can’t get rid of the impression that this is not the directors’ message. But what it is then?  

Wondering, la puce


Very nice and a tiny bit mean article about English as increasingly important EU language in the European Voice which is not available online, unfortunately. The article comments ironically on the fact that the recently introduced Irish language is hardly ever used at the European Parliament, not even by the Irish. The point is that some of the MEP do not speak Gaeilge very well or that they can “get across the most persuasive points” better in English; followed by the sentence: Tell that to the French.

Vu leur accent, je suis pas sûre que ça soit une bonne idée…

Wonderful world of language XIII

Language Mastery

I guess it would be cautious to say that this is just my own little theory about how to come to master a language and in which vocabulary levels a language is split up. After this little disclaimer, the theory: I think that the mastery of a language is the better the more and divers vocabulary is actively and passively used. Kind of obvious, hein?

Well, the challenge of really having the command is to be able to use the language in any given situation: playing football, going for groceries, reading a newspaper, going out for a beer, writing a PhD thesis, etc. Personally, I have the feeling that I’ll never finish learning French or English, especially in the extreme levels (insults, familiar language, technical terms) though it is true that even native speakers do not know every single word.

The point is that to learn a language, it is not enough to study and to read newspapers, you have to go out, experience, get lost, make friends, learn from them as much as you can withouth necessarily adopting all four letter and similar terms they may teach you and live with the knowledge that you will never make it to 100%.

Après tout, c’est pas si compliqué.