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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Rainy Day Thoughts And Questions

1. Les Miserables:

When you take a clay impression off a manhole cover, the lettering is always reversed. It means we are inquiring backwards in time.

                                                         [Hanging ceramic plaque made by Daughter}
What if Jean Valjean wasn't in such good shape?

When he carried poor injured Marius to safety through the sewers of Paris, it advanced the plot of the story and defined Valjean as a hero who could love unselfishly, but what if he was only strong enough to carry Marius halfway through the sewer? It would just clog things up.

2. Vegetarians:

Here is the tripartite motto of France stamped on a coin:  Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité.

I think  Fraternité  was added after the revolution. It means getting along with each other, which is much easier to do after a revolution than while one is going on.  Liberté, means freedom, and is symbolized by Americans and French people alike as Lady Liberty.
However, in France, Lady Liberty is known as Marianne. They are on a first name basis with Liberty and we are not. There are other differences. Here is an American platinum bullion coin showing Marianne playing pin-the-scale-on-the-eagle:
The observant reader may identify the bird above as an American Bald Eagle. The bird on the French gold piece is, of course, a barnyard rooster. This brings us to the problem of  Egalité , which means "equality" and is practiced by Egalitarians. It is, among meat-eaters, acceptable to eat a rooster.
 
Vegetarians eat vegetables. I am afraid to imagine what Egalitarians eat but I think it is why the French put a rooster on their coin.

3. Marianne:

The name, Marianne, means "like Marius", beloved. Both names are rooted in "Mars", the god of war. Yet both characterizations are dedicated to peace, justice and the end of confusion about roosters

4. Jean Valjean:

Jean Valjean translates literally as "John, here's John". Why give him the same name twice? We can only guess. But I suspect naming him Jean x2 was instrumental in getting him twice halfway through the sewer.  

28 comments:

  1. Silly me. I always thought the crowing rooster on the French coin meant something about shouting and boasting.

    My gr-daughter asked about JOHN ball JOHN. "Does that mean he wants John to get the ball?" I told her yes.

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    1. Merci, Susan! I believe John ball John was a great center-fielder whose skill unfortunately predated baseball. Your granddaughter's charming question was answered correctly!

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  2. Impeccable reasoning.

    My first thought was that the rooster was for eating. Maybe because it's so close to Thanksgiving? Birds = food...

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    1. IAh, but roosters enjoy an impeccable peak in the pecking order, yet we eat them ahead of hens. This is the stuff and stuffing of revolution. "Birds=food", now that is impeccable reasoning!

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  3. In reference to 'Les Miserables' it has always interested me that most of my friends and others I meet who love the musical make no connection between its message and the homeless and jobless of our times. So much for the comprehension strategy of making connections!

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    1. I hope, at least, the lyrics of Alain Boublil, Jean-Marc Natel and Herbert Kretzmer will touch people enough to think of our over-deployed service people and "bring [them} home".

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  4. Your posts are always so informative and thought-provoking that I am rendered useless in trying to come up with clever comments. If egalitarians have equality in their diet, then I suppose they would eat both roosters and eagles......

    I'm still upset over the fact that Jean Valjean was imprisoned for so many years merely for trying to steal a loaf of bread.

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    1. As Willie has pointed out, there are injustices addressed by the novel that were not diluted in the musical but people have got accustomed to the tunes. How does one hum to extremes of poverty and oppugnant opulence? The loaf of bread and its importance was clearly not lost on you!

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  5. So many questions, so few answers. I just go along for the ride and eat a cookie every now and then. However, I may ask for the ingredients because I am always interested.

    But I love Jean Valjean even if I have to call his name twice.

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    1. In beauty there is justice, and there is much love in Les Miserables. Our memories, our hearts, invoke Valjean at least twice --oftener with every newscast.

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  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. Don't be alarmed. Still tripped up by this threaded comment format!

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  7. I read the history of the US Pledge of Allegiance and it said that Francis Bellamy, who wrote it originally and was a socialist Baptist minister had included the word “equality” in it, but at the time, it was taken off because there was no equality for women and African-Americans in the US. Also the word “under God” was added by The Knights of Columbus in the 50s as PR against communism. I do like “fraternite” and equality, meaning that we are all brothers and sisters and equals. Of course in the US it is hard since there are so few very rich and so many poor – not too much equality. Here is the history I read: http://oldtimeislands.org/pledge/ .

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    1. Thank you, Vagabonde, for this link. I remember 60 years ago, in kindergarten, reciting an abbreviated pledge: "I pledge allegiance to the flag." It seemed quite complete in its brevity. Later, we had to memorize the whole pledge as modified by the American Legion, Knights of Columbus and the DAR, which shows what happens when exclusive lodges get out of hand. By age 15, I had stopped reciting the pledge because it pressured me to embrace ideas about which I was uncertain. Although my patriotism is beyond question, as is my belief in the American Experiment in liberty, equality and tolerance, I have not recited it since.

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    2. We had a meeting at my daughter's high school recently, and when the Pledge came on the loudspeaker everyone snapped to attention, whipping around to face the flag and clapping hands over hearts. I hadn't been in a school at pledge-time in years so it really struck me how very odd that little ceremony is.

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    3. "I think Fraternité was added after the revolution. It means getting along with each other, which is much easier to do after a revolution than while one is going on." Made me laugh, a little sadly. "We'll have peace once I kill all the pesky people who disagree with me."

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  8. Dear Geo.,
    I always thought the rooster (I almost tipped the synonym) is the symbol for the French male. As in coq au vin. Though the coq au vin doesn't crow anymore, as chanticleer and the French male do. Cock-a-doodle-doo.

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    1. Indeed! There's something about being braised with wine, lardons, mushrooms and garlic that really quiets a rooster down.

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  9. Your brain sure is crammed full of imagination. In fact, you have so much of it, I'm quite sure hundreds of people are walking around without benefit of their fair share from the imagination pool, Where's the egalite in that, dude?

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    1. Most kind, Susan! I have always imagined the imagination pool to be bottomless --equally available to all. Anything less would be unimaginable.

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  10. And so, Javert, you see it's true,
    This man bears no more guilt than youuuuuuuuuuuuuu

    I shall now have that song going through my head the rest of the day. Happy Saturday!

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    1. It's the tinkley-dingley high-pitched introduction that has haunted me since you said that. Happy Sunday too!

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    2. My wife loves the novel and refuses to see the musical or the most recent film. I saw the show when I was in high school. Good stuff, but I can see how the devotees wouldn't care for it.

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  11. I hear the French will eat anything as long as it's served with a glass of wine.

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    1. I don't know, but I will as long as it's not got pepper in it. Wine can only anesthetize against milder seasonings.

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  12. I think egalitarians eat whatever they want except if they want to eat each other, which is not allowed unless the whole group, including the person to be consumed, is in agreement. That's more consideration than roosters get and less consideration than eagles get....what does that mean?

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