French Win Rugby, Somehow

photo: american dream

Honk-tonk carnival in Paris - the
'Amerian Dream' of a nightmare.

Yet More Origins of Halloween

Paris:- Sunday, 31. October 1999:- Late last week, TV-news prominently featured the New Zealand rugby squad, the All-Blacks, in such a fearsome manner that no French rugby fan could hold a grain of hope for today's semi-final match with France's own mild-mannered 'Bleues.'

Le Parisien, in its Saturday edition, even went so far as to label All-Blacks' 118-kilo player Jonah Lomu as 'Public Enemy No. 1' on the paper's front page.

While stopping in a café today to check its supply of café, I saw part of the pre-game warm-up - which featured the All-Blacks being extremely fierce. So fierce in fact, that only three other café customers could bear to watch.

What joy, what amazement then, to see on the evening's TV-news that the mild-mannered French 'bleues' simply outfinessed the fearsome All-Blacks at Twickenham, to win with a score of 43 to 31.

Madame TV-news reader was thrilled, but the 'Bleues' spokesman-player Adelatif Benazzi, who has played 70 timesphoto: joe allen restaurant for the French national team, was very cool about it all - perhaps not realizing the final result on account of concussion or something - although he was shown wearing an All-Blacks' shirt.

Joe Allen's laid-back American bistro in the Les Halles area.

As quoted, also by Le Parisien, Benazzi said if he looks at the calendar and if he sees he is scheduled to play against the All-Blacks in two years, he begins immediately to put on 25 extra kilos.

With this - surprise! - win, France goes to the Rugby World Championship finals, which will be held next weekend in the hard-rock Welsh town of Cardiff. There the 'Bleues' will face Australia, who pulverized the South-African Springboks yesterday at Twickenham.

I can't wait to see the week's coming TV-news, showing terrifying videos of Ozzie Wallabie feats such as eating rails like soft noodles and kicking field goals from the Melbourne airport over the goalposts in the stadium in Sydney.

Meanwhile last week's visitor, Nigel, returns from Barcelona on Tuesday. Will he weep for New Zealand where he was born, or will he cheer for Oz, where he lives? Update: next week.

The Origin of Halloween, Version 87

The French are fascinated by Halloween. They have only been becoming aware of it over the past few years and this has been due to various resident foreigners supplying the media with tales of its origins, and acting weird on the eve of Toussaint.

Within the past couple of years, the true origin has been pinpointed as Ireland. This in turn allowed an 'origin' to be 'found' in Brittany, because of itsphoto: harry's new york bar Celtic connection with the little Green island - which is also known as the birthplace of 'Blarney.'

But with this years' total and blanket coverage of Paris - and possibly France? - with the full bogey of Halloween, Halloween origin number 87 has been turned up - where else? - in France!

This is Harry's, which says it all.

This I personally learned with my own eyes and ears from tonight's TV-news. Video images and sound were broadcast from the capital to the whole land - plus offshore territories, ships at sea, and Corsica - showing 'native' Halloween festivities in the Alsacian town of Logelheim.

Apparently without even knowing the word 'Halloween' Logelheim's residents have been holding a pumpkin party for years if not centuries.

That they do know about jolly pumpkins with eyes and mouths carved in them; lit from within by candles - that Logelheimers dress up in 'witch' costumes, and even have scarecrows with pumpkin heads - a true novelty to me - it was all amply shown on the news.

The report's narrator claimed that Logelheim had no foreign residents; thus its fête is a local one. As the town is not listed in the index of the great - but concise - 'Times' atlas, it is possible nobody has a Sony TV set or Japanese pickup truck there - which opens the possibility that Logelheim may in fact, be the 'home' of Halloween.

The Origin of Halloween, Version Monopoly

Meanwhile in downtown France, Philippe Cahen claims to have single-handedly 'imported' Halloween from the United States to France in 1995. He admits the 'importation' was not to a Halloweenless France - "The French never ceased to celebrate Halloween," he is quoted as saying.

The first thing Mr. Cahen did for Halloween in France was reate a cake for it - Le Samain - in 1997.

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