Monday, February 4, 2013

A New Day

You may have noticed that in my last post, I was very much in a blue funk. The French called it Le Cafard.

Now un cafard, is literally a cockroach. Apparently, to alleviate boredom in their garrisons in Algeria and Morocco, French Foreign Legionnaires would kill cockroaches (some sources say, shooting them with their rifles, a practice no good sergeant would allow more than once or perhaps twice). 
At any rate, the term le cafard came to mean an extreme depression or a sense of pointlessness.

So yes, that's where I was at yesterday. Suffering from le cafard. (Hhhmm, can you imagine calling in sick to work and telling your boss, "Yeah, I won't be in today. I'm suffering from le cafard." That might be interesting.)

Speaking of the French Foreign Legion (
la Légion Etrangère Française), here's their song Le Boudin:

The words to that tune, ici: 

En Français
Tiens, voilà du boudin, voilà du boudin, voilà du boudin
Pour les Alsaciens, les Suisses et les Lorrains.
Pour les Belges y en a plus.
Pour les Belges y en a plus.
Ce sont des tireurs au cul.
Pour les Belges y en a plus.
Pour les Belges y en a plus.
Ce sont des tireurs au cul.
1er couplet:
Nous sommes des dégourdis,
Nous sommes des lascars
Des types pas ordinaires.
Nous avons souvent notre cafard,
Nous sommes des légionnaires.
Au Tonkin, la Légion immortelle
À Tuyen-Quang illustra notre drapeau,
Héros de Camerone et frères modèles
Dormez en paix dans vos tombeaux.
2ème couplet:
Nos anciens ont su mourir
Pour la gloire de la Légion.
Nous saurons bien tous périr
Suivant la tradition.
Au cours de nos campagnes lointaines,
Affrontant la fièvre et le feu,
Oublions avec nos peines,
La mort qui nous oublie si peu.
Nous la Légion.

And in English:
Here you are, some blood pudding, some blood pudding, some blood pudding
For the Alsatians, the Swiss, and the Lorrains,
For the Belgians, there's none left,
For the Belgians, there's none left,
They're lazy shirkers.
For the Belgians, there's none left,
For the Belgians, there's none left,
They're lazy shirkers.
1st verse:
We are crafty.
We are rogues.
We are no ordinary guys.
We've often got our black moods,
For we are Legionnaires.
In Tonkin, the Immortal Legion
Honoured our flag at Tuyen Quang.
Heroes of Camarón and model brothers -
Sleep in peace in your tombs.
(Repeat Chorus)
2nd verse:
Our ancestors knew to die
For the glory of the Legion.
We will know to perish
According to tradition.
During our far-off campaigns,
Facing fever and fire,
Let us forget, along with our hardships,
Death, which forgets us so little.
(For) We (are), the Legion.
(Repeat Chorus)

Yes, Le Boudin is blood sausage, quite palatable depending on how it is prepared. I doubt La Légion has three-star* Michelin chefs. But you never know.

So what brought on this case of Le Cafard? Well, I pretty much covered that in my last post. But frequent commenter Tuna had a theory, it's the weather. The lack of sunlight in the winter and the grays and browns of the landscape tend to cause depression. He's absolutely correct there, for most people in the Northern climes. But, being rather a contrarian, in some things, I realized that while Tuna was correct with his weather theory, he was off as to the type of weather.

For you see, I grew up in New England. Bright sunny skies are what you get in the summer. In the winter I expect overcast skies, a heavy feeling in the air and the smell of snow. For it DOES have a smell, as does rain. They're similar but subtly different. The Missus Herself scoffed the first time I said it "smells like snow". The next day, as the accumulation approached six inches, she no longer thought I was crazy. Well, not as it relates to weather smells. In other things? Let's just say the jury is still out.

One thing that always bums me out is not having any snow on the ground at Christmas. Which is pretty typical for Rhode Island. We'll get snow the week before, which will be all melted by Christmas Day. Or we'll get snow the week after, which will linger into mid-January at times. Eventually becoming mostly snirt along the roadsides and heaped in great nasty piles in parking lots. While the brown grass just lies there in the bright sunshine.

Bright sunshine in February? Wrecks my sense of equilibrium. Give me a day like that depicted in the lead-in photo. Aye, that's winter. Not this sun shining, cold as an accountant's heart, brown grass nonsense which has been prevalent for weeks now. Gimme some snow dammit!

Of course, when (if) we get snow, we'll probably get two feet. With winds gusting to 40 mph. Not the gentle snowfall which accumulates to no more than a few inches, making everything look clean and new.

But even that would beat this sunny, brown sterility. Yuck. If we're going to have winter, then let's have winter!

*This originally said "five-star", Michelin only goes up to 3 stars. H/T to Sensei Buck for the correction!


  1. I doubt La Légion has five-star Michelin chefs.

    Point of order, Sir. Michelin operates on a three-star system. Chefs have been known to kill themselves over losing a star, i.e., being downgraded from three to two... or worse.

    And now you know one of my less-than-sterling qualities: I'm more pedantic than most. ;-)

    As for the SAD thing: I'm a believer. TSMP and I ALWAYS got outta Dodg... err, Dee-troit (and later Ra-cha-cha, New Yawk... at the end of February and went someplace for a week or two that routinely served frou-frou drinks with umbrellas in 'em and sand was more common than grass. The girl was born and raised in Michigan's Thumb so she knew winter, as well. Then again, I think it's a bit early for SAD to set in... but we all have different constitutions.

    As for me? SAD is NOT a problem any longer. As a matter o' fact it's a brilliant, sunshiny kinda day here on THPoNM.

    Thanks for educating me a bit more than I was on the la Légion Etrangère. I always think o' Sinatra when someone... anyone... mentions the Legion.

    1. Oops, you're absolutely right, 3 stars is tops. And me a big Gordon Ramsey fan! (I shall make an update, with a H/T as it were to my Sensei!)

      As to the SAD thing, I'm serious, I NEED clouds and snow in the winter. It's what I'm used to. Sunny is for spring and summer.

  2. You know I grew up just a tad north of you in So Maine and I remember lots of sunny skies in the winter unless it was somehow precipitating. Is RI that different than ME?

    1. No RI is somewhat similar to southern Maine climate-wise. But I grew up in Vermont. I'm used to "real" winters. Snow in November which stays on the ground sometimes until early April in the deep woods. We definitely don't get that in RI.

  3. You need clouds and snow? Then don't come out to San Diego in the winter- you just might become clinically depressed! Ha ha.

    1. Only in the winter Tuna. Only in the winter. But Sandy Eggo, I just might be able to "struggle" through a winter there.

  4. Sarge/

    re: "Boudin" My wife is from Opelousas, Louisiana (home of Jim Bowie, btw. A branch bank now sits where his home used to be. All that's left is the historical marker, lol)--you know, the Cajun-Creole part. Talk about GREAT Boudin!! (pronounced Bou-da..."dan" without prouncing the "n" Most is the pork & rice based sausage, but they also have great shrimp Boudin. And also the "blood sausage" version as well! God, I love the stuff!

    1. VX, glad I was able to trigger some gustatorial memories for ya. The sausage sounds good. Of course, just about any kind of Cajun/Creole dish is awesome.


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