Posts Tagged ‘France’

Up The Wrong Tree

April 23, 2018

The most powerful man in China is in les Etats Unis this week, and he has come bearing a gift … of sorts.  But while traditional media ‘analysts’ are focusing their attention on weighty policy matters such as global commerce and the AIPAC vendetta against Iran, the material meaning of Macron’s visit has been mostly overlooked.  Perhaps that’s because M. le President‘s real message has flown from Paris in an Airbus cargo hold, disguised by festive trappings of tricolor ribbons.

French President Emmanuel Macron will give his American counterpart an oak sapling to be planted at the White House as a symbol of lasting friendship.  [In an interview with le Reynard], Macron said “During the First World War, during the Second World War, when we were attacked, when our liberty was attacked, thousands of your people came here and died here for my country.  That’s a story of our relationship. That’s why my gift to your president will be an oak taken in a very symbolic place, especially for your Marines in north of France –that together, I mean, we will put in his garden because that for me is a great symbol of this long term relationship.”

The face-value meaning of this statement suggests that Macron is evoking the 1918 WWI battles of Belleau Wood and Château Thierry, in which U.S. Marines of the American Expeditionary Forces assisted French troops in stopping a massive German offensive at the Marne River.  United States forces suffered 9,777 casualties, included 1,811 killed.  Belleau Wood (and nearby Château Thierry) subsequently became known among (some) military historians as the turning point of the war, and American propagandists did nothing to discourage circulation of this view.  Belleau Wood has become a key episode in the lore of the United States Marine Corps (“Retreat?  Hell, we just got here”).

But That Ain’t All

However, peeping through the oak tree’s branches, Lunghu also sees further aspects of this gift:

  • In Greek mythology, the oak is the tree sacred to Zeus, king of the gods.
  • In November 2004, the United States Congress designated the oak as America’s National Tree, and it is also the national tree of England, France, and Germany.
  • Perhaps most importantly, the oak is a nut tree: it produces thousands and thousands of nuts.  Unfortunately, the leaves and acorns of the oak tree are poisonous due to the presence of tannic acid

Furthermore, as every American schoolboy (and girl) knows, when we think of Washington and trees, the oak isn’t what comes to mind.  Especially at this time of year, when the National Cherry Blossom Festival has just concluded its seasonal run in our nation’s capital.  Instead, Americans think of the cherry tree … and the young George Washington … and his shiny new hatchet.  We then contrast the mythic past with the mendacious present.

Thus, Emmanuel Macron has presented us with two trees, both rooted in a distant historical past: a hundred-year oak and a two-hundred-seventy-five-year cherry.  Tied together by a glossy ribbon of bleu-blanc-rouge.

On April 23, Macron will be given a tour of Mount Vernon, the Virginia plantation home of U.S. first President George Washington, where he [and his wife Brigitte] will have a private couples’ dinner [with the Trumps].

 

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Plus Puissant Que Jamais

January 17, 2018

Back in 2016 I never would have imagined that “the most powerful man in China” would end up demonstrating feng shui savvy (savoir-faire) in governing his own homeland, but at the moment it looks as though Manny Macron is doing just that.  What does Lunghu mean by this?  First let’s briefly review the feng shui flying star forecast for the Year of the Dog.  Then we can note the ways in which Macron’s recent policies may be construed as preemptive responses to the possibility of negative qi associated with specific malign or beneficial flying stars.

As you all surely remember from your grammar school lessons in feng shui fundamentals, the events of each year are influenced by nine invisible “flying stars.”  They’re called flying stars because –unlike ordinary stars– every year their positions rotate through the cardinal and semi-cardinal points of the celestial compass.  Each year one flying star is in the center position and the remaining eight are arrayed in their appointed peripheral locations (it’s a 3×3 matrix). Each star performs a specific role in affecting/interfering with/governing/influencing a particular aspect of human existence.  Taoism requires yin-yang balance and interaction, so some of the flying stars have negative influence on events, some have positive influence, and some are a mixed bag.  The “power” of each flying star is most evident along a directional vector relative to the position of the observer (i.e., a star residing in the northeast octant affects both Bob and Alice regardless of their own mutual proximity, distance or directional orientation).

In YoDg the flying stars are arranged as follows:

Traditional seers in the Sinosphere are oriented (intentional pun) to the South, and that’s where they ordinarily begin their analysis of flying star influences, rotating clockwise around the points of the compass to describe what each star portends. As a Euro-American navigator who has been indoctrinated to use the fixed star Polaris as a celestial point of reference, Lunghu will instead begin with the North to recount the catalog of this year’s flying stars.  First, the bad news:

  • North — The #5 Yellow Misfortune Star is in the north during 2018.  This brings chaos, tumult, bad luck and potential danger.  The San Sha (3 Killings) accompany the #5 Yellow Star to the North: death in the family, loss of wealth, and loss of personal reputation.
  • Northeast — The #3 Conflict Star brings hostility, arguments, litigation and misunderstanding.  This star can lead to violence, with tragic consequences.
  • East — The #7 Robbery Star is in the East this year.  In addition to monetary losses, the Robbery Star increases violence, aggressive behavior and political confrontation.

Now the good news:

  • Southeast — The #8 Wealth Star brings auspicious financial success, prosperity, happiness and joy.
  • Center — The #9 Future Prosperity Star arrives in the center.  Its effect won’t be immediate, but benefits will accrue down the road.
  • South — The #4 Peach Blossom Star increases knowledge, creativity and amorous interaction.  Spring Break on the Gulf Coast during the Rabbit Month will be sexier than usual.  Cote d’Azure?  More like Cote d’Amour!
  • Southwest — The #6 Heaven Star brings good luck, personal power, helpful mentors and lucky assistance when you need it most.

It’s not all good:

  • West — The #2 Illness Star increases risk of health problems and overall danger. This can be manifest as disorder in the body politic as well.

But it’s not all bad either:

  • Northwest — The #1 Victory Star brings personal success and triumph over the competition. You may need the help, because Tai Sui is also seated in the Northwest during YoDg.  If you don’t confront him by facing directly toward the Northwest, Tai Sui may support you with the #1 Victory Star –he’s got your back, so to speak.  Otherwise, unexpected obstacles may arise, friends can suddenly become adversaries, and good luck can turn into calamity.

Ca Veut Dire … Quoi?

OK, it’s now the Ox Month in the waning year of Yin Fire Fowl and almost the Year of the Double Yang Earth Dog, but (as Walter Mondale once said) “ou est le boeuf?” Where is Lunghu’s feng shui analysis of Emmanuel Macron’s gouvernance? Yeaux, we got dat right heah.  I’ll admit that I haven’t been paying a lot of attention to developments in France for the past several months, but that’s at least partly because I predicted a tough time for le pays gall during a period in which they would be “offending the year.”  Sometimes it’s best to avert your gaze while the really ugly stuff is underway.  Lactalis was only a mere droplet in the milk bucket of woe.  Did you notice that singer France Gall has died?  Unfortunately, things may only improve a tiny bit in 2018, because the Dog considers the Fowl to be among his foes (along with the Dragon and Sheep).

Hence the remedial measures which M. Macron has set en marche. Thus far I have only three examples of policy decisions which appear to indicate feng shui situation awareness, but I’ll be looking for more as YoDg progresses.

Exhibit A: France ditches plans for divisive Nantes airport

Macron’s deuxieme Edict of Nantes: plans to build a new airport at Notre Dame des Landes are summarily cancelled.  A Republicain apostate, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, delivered the news: “The project cannot go forward in an atmosphere of bitter opposition between two sides of the population that are nearly equal in size. The project is therefore abandoned.

First envisioned in the 1960s, plans for the airport were relaunched in 2000. A regional (Pays de Loire-Atlantique) referendum in 2016 found that 55 percent of local residents were in favor of the project. Environmentalists countered that the area had unique flora and fauna and that the new airport was unnecessary in light of the relatively low traffic at the existing terminal 30 kilometers away. The project’s cost, estimated at 730 million euros ($890 million), would have been about twice the cost of expanding the existing airport.

Where’s the feng shui? Nantes is the largest city in Western France.  The airport project has been a divisive political issue there for the entirety of the current century, not least because it was correctly viewed as a gigantic pork-barrel project primarily intended to enrich politically-connected construction companies and real estate developers.  Cancellation of the NDL airport project is intended to “cure” the maladie civil that has beset Loire-Atlantique for almost twenty years. This measure attempts to avert damage to the health of a fragile estuarian ecosystem in the West… and at the same time remove a focal point for dissent and hostility toward the state. Don’t ignore the #2 Illness Star in the West: address it.

Of course, there’s also a dimension of hardball realpolitik to this policy decision. The airport principals were part of an entrenched Nantes Republicain-PS coalition that couldn’t/didn’t jump ship to the Macron En Marche team when they had the chance in early 2017.  They remained loyal to party and patron, lost, and now pay the price.  Their more nimble confreres in Bretagne took the leap to the winning side and will be rewarded with funding for airport expansion and renovations at Rennes-Saint Jacques.

Exhibit B: France to lend Bayeux Tapestry to Britain

On Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron is expected to announce the proposed loan of the Bayeux Tapestry during a Britain-France summit meeting at Sandhurst with British Prime Minister Theresa May.  The tapestry depicts the invasion of England by Duke William of Normandy, better known as William the Conqueror, and his victory over the Anglo-Saxon King Harold at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. The loan of the tapestry is contingent on tests showing whether the 11th-century embroidery can be moved safely.

#1 Victory Star in the Northwest!  Personal success and triumph over the competition.  Bayeaux (Normandy) is itself in northwest France, and of course England is located to the northwest of France.  As a former investment banker, Macron knows that all those London finance jobs –and the multi-billion euro deals that go with ’em– will be moving to Paris before and (especially) after Brexit.  Macron will also be handing T-May a tidy invoice for all those security improvements at the Calais end of the Eurostar Chunnel and ferry terminals.  And he’ll be completely charming throughout.

Harold_1066

Exhibit C: Macron plays the ponies in Xian

French President Emmanuel Macron bet on equine diplomacy during his first state visit to China — [by] presenting his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping with a horse as a gift. The eight-year-old dark brown horse, a retired Republican Guard mount named Vesuve de Brekka, arrived in China on a special plane accompanied by the Republican Guard’s chief veterinarian and a member of the unit on January 4.  Vesuve de Brekka will remain in quarantine before joining Xi’s presidential stable.

This particular coup d’eclat is a two-fer: not only is the #9 Future Prosperity Star located at the Center this year (Zhong-guo = “central nation”), but –even better– the Horse is an ally of the Dog, so this diplomatic gesture is doubly auspicious.  Of course it’s also a triply appropriate gift because Xi Jinping loves horses … and will someday appear on equestrian statues throughout the nation (or at least in his hometown).

c’est pour la patrie, mon cher.

And speaking of hometowns, some folks here and there took note of the fact that Macron began his China visit in the city of Xian rather than in Beijing as is customary for yang guizi dignitaries.  Those who sought meaning in this choice of itinerary were inclined to accept at face value Macron’s own explanation of the choice: that Xian was the eastern terminus of China’s historic Silk Road, which Comrade Eleven is now seeking to revive with his global trade Belt and Road Initiative.  Not exactly.  There’s quite a bit more to the story, as Chinese well know.

Xi Zhongxun was born on October 15, 1913 to a land-owning family in rural Fuping, Shaanxi Province. He joined the Chinese Communist Youth League in May 1926 and took part in student demonstrations in the spring of 1928, for which he was imprisoned by the ruling Nationalist authorities. In prison, he joined the Communist Party of China in 1928.

Subsequently, he joined Communist guerillas north of the Wei River. In March 1933, he joined Liu Zhidan and others in founding the Shaanxi-Gansu Border Region Soviet Area, and became the chairman of the Soviet area government while leading guerillas in resisting Nationalist incursions. Eventually, in 1935, Xi’s guerilla base in the Northwest gave refuge to Mao Zedong’s Third Route Army and the Chinese Communist Party, allowing them to end the Long March. The base area eventually became the Yanan Soviet, the headquarters of the Chinese Communist movement until 1947.

Who is this Xi Zhongxun? The (now-deceased) father of President Xi Jinping, that’s who.  Shaanxi Province is the ancestral homeland of the Xi clan, and Xian is its capital.  Now do you understand why Macron went there first?  It’s what you call showing respect to the ancestors.  Which is why finesse is a French word.  Yeaux.  Even if there’s no immediate payoff, Macron is laying the groundwork for future prosperity with this initiative.

I can’t think of any way to end this blog post other than with a jarring thud. There are nine flying stars in the feng shui firmament, and Macron appears to have preemptively dealt with three of them so far this year.  Much work remains to be done, because there are still three negative flying stars demanding his attention:

  • The #5 Yellow Misfortune Star in the North
  • The #3 Conflict Star in the Northeast
  • The #7 Robbery Star in the East

He also has the opportunity to activate three auspicious flying stars:

  • The #8 Wealth Star in the Southeast
  • The #4 Peach Blossom Star in the South
  • and last but scarcely least, The #6 Heaven Star in the Southwest

That should be enough to keep him busy for a while.  I look forward to further feng shui magic from this most unlikely source.

 

Eggs-actly

August 9, 2017

Self-penalty appears to have arrived a little early (at least in Europe) during the Year of the Fowl, manifesting in the eighth Gregorian month rather than waiting for the eighth (rooster) month of the luni-solar calendar.  To what does Lunghu refer?  Merely this: back in January, my half-assed feng shui predictions explicitly foretold problems for the poultry industry in 2017.  The specific verbiage was …

The Fowl’s self-penalty can be expected to cause bottom-line problems for major corporations that use a Fowl image as part of their logo … or operate in the poultry business.

However, in the spirit of “America First,” I had been thinking primarily about the potential threat to industrial poultry production in the United States rather than what might befall our plucky and gallant NATO allies on the front lines of a global food security battleground.  But of course, before there was a chicken there had to be an egg:

Dutch authorities have ordered eggs pulled from supermarket shelves, have temporarily closed 138 poultry farms and may cull millions of chickens [because] the presence of a potentially harmful insecticide —fipronil— has been detected in Dutch eggs.  Supermarkets in Germany, Belgium, Sweden and Switzerland have since pulled millions of eggs from their shelves.  The scare has hit major egg exporter the Netherlands the hardest, where the scandal erupted on August 1.

Fipronil is commonly used in veterinary products to get rid of fleas, lice and ticks. It is banned from being used to treat animals destined for human consumption.  The problem [has been traced to] a substance used by a Dutch company, Chickfriend, that farmers in the Netherlands and Belgium hired to treat their chickens.  The French government says a Belgian company mixed fipronil with a [treatment approved for poultry use].  The Belgian company, Poultry-Vision, says the firm sold a shipment to Chickfriend but has not said where it got the substance.

It would be very distressing to learn that Poultry-Vision sourced its inventory through alibaba.com or yandex.market because then we’d have to consider the hypothesis that Lunghu’s January “prediction” was less an unlucky coincidence than the roadmap to a self-fulfilling prophecy, one engineered by certain folks intent on corroding the bonds of social trust which hold the EU more-or-less together.  On the other hand, this chicken-or-egg conundrum may merely be the result of inexorable “market forces” that take the form of race-to-the-bottom corner-cutting practices in a cutthroat capitalist environment.  Either way, the fowl’s self-penalty is just beginning: the lunar Rooster month won’t fully arrive until the Full Corn Moon on September 6th.  I haven’t even begun to think about what the combination of yin earth over yin metal might mean in a yin Fire year, but it probably won’t be good.

R.I.P. Mynheer Bosch

 

Toute En Famille, Mis En Scène

July 19, 2017

If anyone on either side of la mer Atlantique is truly “shocked, shocked” that Pierre de Villiers has been maneuvered into resigning as chef de l’armee de France, s/he can never again credibly claim any standing as a connaisseur of French cultural discourse and politics.  Beneath the surface patina of policy differences and budget contraction, here’s what Macron‘s tempête de théière with de Villiers really means:  more than merely a two-fer, more than a three-fer, it’s a four-fold declaration of defiant independence.

— an implicit critique of Donald Trump;
— an outright rebuke of Vladimir Putin;
— a conciliatory gesture toward the Muslim world, especially the Maghreb and the Gulf states;
— a coup de poing maçonique directed at the institutional and cultural influence of the Roman Catholic church in France.

The simultaneity of all these unmixed messages is made possible because of the existence of one man: Pierre de Villiers’ frère, Philippe.  How so?  Because in many ways, Philippe de Villiers is a French (and thus somewhat classier) version of Donald Trump.  He’s a conservative nationalist entrepreneur-turned-politician whose worldview is based in (and biased by) his Catholic faith.  He has achieved notoriety in Europe (and throughout the Mediterranean region beyond) for his strident criticism of Islam and the purported threat it poses to “European” culture.  He consorts with billionaire Russian kleptocrats like Konstantin Malofeev, and in 2014 traveled to newly-annexed Crimea, where he met with Vladimir Putin to advocate development of a joint-venture Crimean theme park designed to “promote the history of Crimea as part of the long history of Russia.

This all sure sounds familiar, but leaves one wondering which of the two –Trump or de Villiers– is the “original” throwback patriarch.  Does it really matter?  Probably not.  Perhaps we should be thinking about who wrote the playbook.

Meanwhile, back at Palais Elysée, by maneuvering brother Pierre into a position where his honor as a warrior/aristocrat required démission, Manny Macron has begun a campaign to diminish Philippe de Villiers’ access to information and key nodes in the social networks that constitute the command structure of French military and intelligence institutions.  Friends of François Fillon won’t be far behind.  Best of all, those in the know will get the message:

Trumpisme n’est pas bon
ni Putinisme
nous avons besoin de nos amis (riche) Arabes
l’eglise hors d’ici

Any questions?

Mea Culpa

February 3, 2017

Waking The Dragon sincerely apologizes for the unprecedented accuracy of its feng-shui predictions (thus far) in the Year of the Fowl.  As always, the key to “successful” feng-shui prognostication is the preemptive construction of vague, broad, wide-ranging and sweeping statements about possible future events in every corner of the globe.  That way, at least a few “predictions” are almost certain to “come true,” permitting the soothsayer to take credit for being correct.  But still: this is way, way outta control.  Let’s review:

Fowl “Self-Penalty”

Wife’s TV clip poses new problems for France’s Fillon

 

Rabbits in clash with the Fowl

 

The East Under Tai Sui’s Glowering Gaze

 

Discredit Where It’s Due

Back in the day (a half-decade ago), I jokingly claimed that Waking the Dragon had somehow become “an uncompensated, unacknowledged strategic brand advisor to the Russian Federation.”  I made that quip after (at least) two instances in which my blogposts were followed by the eerie echoes of subsequent events in the wild, weird world of neo-Soviet Russia.  Somewhat more recently, I indulged in extended musing on the ways in which literary narrative can shape adversary intent … and how intelligence agencies can thus gain greater insight into the minds of their foes.  Little did I realize that an unintended audience was paying more attention than the intended one, and that –in some ways– I may have been ghostwriting a few chapters of the game plan for a truly improbable presidential campaign.  Truly ironic, given the theme of that post.

Therefore, although I’m continuing to organize and refine my thoughts concerning the cultural implications of narrative form and its uses in shaping mass opinion, the Neighbors are going to have to work quite a bit harder to learn my conclusions.  It won’t be handed to them on an earthenware platter labelled “Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread.

Out.

 

Fowl Bawl

January 29, 2017

My previous post introduced some of the salient feng-shui characteristics of the Year of the Fowl and mentioned a few top-of-the-mind/out-of-the hat forecasts offered by self-styled feng-shui specialists who regularly opine on such matters.  Now it’s amateur hour, time for my own outlandish predictions on what may lie ahead in the Year of the Yin Fire Fowl.

Last time I focused the bulk of my remarks on the various misfortunes likely to be caused by clashes between the annual Celestial Stem and this year’s Earthly Branch.  However, friction between various members of the Earthly Branches also causes upheaval every year.  2017 will pose special problems for two particular animals in the Chinese zodiac, the Rabbit and the Fowl itself.  This is because the Rabbit is in direct clash with (Fowl) year, and the Fowl is said to be in “self-penalty” during its 12-month service as the year’s Earthly Branch.

Tai Sui, the Grand Duke of Heaven (arbiter of celestial justice), is partly responsible for this situation. During the Year of the Fowl, he takes up residence in the Fowl’s sector of the Heavens: the West.  Thus he’s keeping a very close eye on any and all transgressive or non-harmonious developments that may occur there.  The Fowl will be held responsible and called to account.  At the same time, from his celestial throne, Tai Sui is gazing directly across the Heavens toward the East, where the Rabbit resides.  A similar dynamic is at work in the East: merely by facing the Grand Duke, the Rabbit is looking for trouble and is likely to find plenty of it.

So what might be the likely ramifications here on earth during 2017?  Old-school feng-shui seers tend to emphasize the fate of particular well-known celebrities who were born in prior Fowl or Rabbit years, but I prefer to cast a wider net by looking at entire groups in jeopardy rather than just a few individuals.  So, first and foremost, organizations that use a Fowl or a Rabbit as their emblem can expect the unexpected in 2017.  Ordinarily we might first think of business entities or sports teams as the principal vectors of risk, and they’re certainly in the mix this year.  However, while it’s always good to think big, in 2017 it’s better to think even bigger:  not just major corporations, but entire nations under Tai Sui’s scrutiny.  Which ones?  For starters, two perennial woe-magnets  –France and Israel.

France is the obvious case, since their national emblem is the Rooster, which appears on the logo of their Olympic national teams and –in a different form– for the national rugby team as well.

fr_logos

The pending French presidential election of 2017 has already exacerbated tremendous social tensions in the country, so establishment (i.e., maçonique) candidates from the traditional parties of the left and right have been facing a disenchanted and hostile electorate that doesn’t much care for the far-right/nationalist/populist alternative either.  For the right-wing Republicains, things just recently went from terrible to worse: their candidate, former Prime Minister François Fillon, has (allegedly) been carrying his wife as a no-show employee on the parliamentary payroll and may have to withdraw from the campaign. (As a matter of egalité, French law doesn’t permit officials to hire their mistresses either.)  His principal virtue as a candidate has been that he isn’t Marine Le Pen, but that probably won’t be enough.  The only good news for French citoyens is that the election will occur in late April and early May during the Snake (yin Fire) month. But first they have to survive the Rabbit month … in March.

As long as we’re speaking of the Rabbit, let’s consider the topic of the second nation in jeopardy this year: Israel.  Why is the Rabbit an unacknowledged emblem of Israel?  Admittedly, this feng-shui association may seem applicable only in the English language (mother tongue of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu) … but you can’t spell the word Rabbit without “Rabbi.”  Bah-dum-bump! [rimshot sound effect]

rabbi_5

But seriously, folks: every year is a bad year for Bibi-land.  Netanyahu is being questioned yet again in a corruption scandal –is this for the third time? Fourth?  Likud thinks they have Donald Trump in their pocket and have an inside track to Putin, but they’ve completely alienated the rest of the world and are now more of a pariah apartheid state than ever.  The Israeli economy relies heavily on outside investment and laundered money from organized criminal activities around the world, so even partial consumer boycotts of Israeli products in global markets are beginning to sting.  And in a yin Fire year we shouldn’t expect much soothing rain on the Galilee Plain –or anywhere else in Palestine.

Here’s what the usual feng-shui suspects are predicting for the Rabbit this year:

  • The animal sign Rabbit clashes with the year of Yin Fire Rooster. Clash means confrontation with others. [Meh \_^^_/: same old, same old.]
  • The Rooster is in clash against the Rabbit.  This is yin Metal cutting into yin Wood, which is manifested as stabbing with a knife [if you catch my drift], risky surgical operations, or injuries to the backbone and neck.
  • It is a traveling year for the Rabbit, who should avoid going to the West (the Tai Sui) direction, which will increase the intensity of the clash for Rabbit.
  • Rabbits must control themseves and be calm or their work will bring them distress.
  • Both Rooster and Rabbit are “Peach Blossom” animals, so their clash can manifest as serious sex scandals. [for an Onion-esque perspective, see here]
  • Rabbits should avoid risky sports such as auto racing, piloting aircraft, scubadiving, or parachuting. [So attacking Iran is definitely out this year.]
  • In March 2017 the yin Water Rabbit month is in total clash against the yin Fire Fowl year, with Flying Star 5 in the South sector.  In this direct clash between Fire and Water, we can expect fire disasters and explosions, heart attacks and strokes.

Apart from France and Israel, there are other nations which are also likely to experience difficulty because their national emblems are rabbit-like or fowl-like.  Here are a few:

  • Australia: the kangaroo … looks like a rabbit to a drunken Aussie.
  • Malta: the Pharoah hound, Kelb tal-Fenek, means “Rabbit dog” in Maltese.
  • Monaco: one of its three national animals is the European rabbit.
  • Wales: its official emblem is the dragon, but it’s known for the March hare … and Welsh rabbit.
  • Denmark: swan
  • Finland: swan
  • Israel: the hoopoe
  • Japan: pheasant
  • Lithuania: stork
  • Mauritius: the dodo, an extinct fowl.  Not a good choice for 2017.
  • Iraq & Pakistan: chukar partridge
  • New Zealand: kiwi

Profit Prophecies

A bit closer to home, the Fowl’s self-penalty can be expected to cause bottom-line problems for major corporations that use a Fowl image as part of their logo … or operate in the poultry business. For example:

 

seeing more red in 2017.

… seeing more red in 2017.

 

the Colonel's military rank emblem is also a bird

the Colonel’s military rank emblem is also a bird

 

 a French word meaning "lost"

a French word meaning “lost”

 

tyson

butterball_

will the brand still be cool in 2017?

will the brand still be cool in 2017?

 

paper sales in a Fire year may be "stationary."

paper sales in a Fire year may be “stationary.”

 

Here are just a few rabbits to round out the threat picture for 2017:

 

the original "Peach Blossom" brand.

the original “Peach Blossom” brand.

 

Volkswagen can't outrun trouble this year, either.

Volkswagen can’t outrun trouble this year, either.

 

qantas

 

o-hare

u_ft_hare

rainbow_hare

… will the skein run out for Rainbow Hare?

 

... things may not be smooth as silk in 2017.

… things may not be smooth as silk in 2017.

 

... profits may be more of a red hare-ing.

… profits may be more of a red hare-ing.

Sancerre

April 8, 2016

Emmanuel Macron –the gift that keeps on giving.  Not content with being the most powerful man in China, M. le Ministre has decided to conquer all tripartite Gaul as well.

French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron has set up his own political movement, saying he wants to find “new ideas” for France. Macron, 38, announced the creation of “En Marche” (“On the Move”) in Amiens, portraying the movement as a think-tank that would listen to ideas from other parties of the right and left — providing they held “republican” ideals, a euphemism often used to exclude the far-right National Front (FN).

“I’m in a left-wing government, unashamedly, … but I also want to work with people from the right, who commit to the same values.  This ambition, it’s radical, it’s a bit crazy, but there is such an energy in the country.  I see all the things I don’t manage to get done, all the things that are blocked, and this movement is [intended] to get beyond these [obstacles].”

demi-fenetre-elysee

You may be especially interested to learn that …

A macron is a diacritical mark, a straight bar ( ¯ ) placed above a letter, usually a vowel.  Its name derives from the Greek μακρόν (makrón), meaning “long”, and it [usually] marks a long vowel.

Of course, when dealing with the French language, it’s always important to remember the significance of diacritical marks –those little typographic addenda which ornament various vowels and consonants.  The ones most commonly used in French are the accent grave, the accent aigu, the circumflex, and the cédille (which itself contains an accent aigu).  The cédille transforms pronunciation of the letter ‘c’ into an ‘s’ sound (as in François), while the accent aigu changes pronunciation of the letter ‘e’ into an ‘ay’ sound (hay is for horses).

So what happens when we add un petit accent aigu to the final letter of M. Macron’s movement En Marche?  We get the phrase En Marché.  And although a strictly literal translation of en marché into English would be rendered as “in the market,” a more colloquial formulation might instead be “up for sale” or perhaps “looking to deal.”

Former RPR prime minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin said this week he could even imagine Macron as premier under a center-right president such as Alain Juppé, who is currently leading opinion polls ahead of the 2017 presidential election. “The best prime minister for a president from the moderate right would be Emmanuel Macron,” Raffarin said.

Bearing this in mind, what happens when we playfully pivot the letter ‘r’ in M. Macron’s surname clockwise 180 degrees?  It becomes une cédille positioned below the preceding letter ‘c’ –thus giving us … un maçon.

Macron_1

Hence the primary question remaining open:  is Macron affiliated with GLF, GLNF, or GOF?

 

Don’t Embarrass The Bureau

January 26, 2016

J. Edgar Hoover had two principal mottos pronounced as guides for his FBI special agents: “No left turns” and “Don’t embarrass the Bureau.”  In Comrade Eleven‘s newly-renovated People’s Republic, left turns are once again mandatory, but Hoover’s second motto is still fully applicable.  And when the public embarrassment occurs under an intense media spotlight on the world stage, suddenly French economy minister Emmanuel Macron is the most powerful person in China.

Last week at Davos (Switzerland) M. le Ministre Macron impishly remarked,

“I said a few months ago that I don’t believe for a second the figures [for China’s economic growth] that are being given.  I think those [figures] that are still being officially announced are probably well above the [actual] reality but we just have to live with it,” Macron said.

the latest pretty face of imperialist running-dog capitalism?

the latest pretty face of imperialist running-dog capitalism?

After a weekend of earnest reflection and self-criticism among senior cadres in Beijing … Lo and behold:

China’s anti-graft agency –the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection– announced on Tuesday that Wang Baoan, the head of the country’s National Bureau of Statistics, is being investigated for severe disciplinary violations, a phrase which usually refers to corruption.  Wang, 52, was appointed chief of the statistics bureau in April last year.  He previously served as vice minister of finance.

The lesson to be learned?  Don’t embarrass the National Bureau of Statistics.

 

FourPlay

July 3, 2014

July Fourth:  twelve-score years ago or so, Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley was at the center of attention in the English-speaking world.  This year, not so much. Instead, American eyes turn to the Deep South –the very Deep South– to Fortaleza (Brazil) and points far beyond.

That’s right, it’s time for the 2014 World Cup quarter finals.  Only half of the eight teams predicted by Goldman Sachs analysts have actually made it to this stage of the tournament: Argentina, Brazil, France and Germany.  The investment bankers pick Argentina, Brazil, and Germany to advance to the semis –so do many other “experts.”  Lunghu ain’t quite so sure the script won’t be subject to some last minute revisions.

Here’s one pundit’s picks:

  • Germany 1-0 over France
  • Colombia 3-2 over Brazil
  • Argentina 2-1 over Belgium
  • Netherlands 2-0 over Costa Rica

Paddy Power punters prefer:

Lunghu doesn’t know enough about the teams, referees, and climate to predict final scores, but he’s going to stick his neck out and predict some (unlikely?) winners:

les Bleus

New Granada

no default of their own

tico-power

 

July 4th Update:

PaddyPower gamblers: 1, Lunghu: 0

 

July 5th Update:

PaddyPower gamblers: 1, Lunghu: 1      Lunghu is out of the tournament, having lost the penalty-kick shootout.

 

Poverty As A Parable

March 31, 2014

For reasons that may as well remain obscure, Lunghu was recently reading a slapdash historical survey of seventeenth-century Europe.  Amid stories of court intrigues, dynastic struggles, religious wars and outsized egotism, an allegorial folk tale appeared:

One day long ago, two travelers appeared in front of Poverty’s miserable hovel in the countryside.  Custom of the age required that he provide his visitors with hospitality and refreshment, so from his threadbare larder Poverty scraped together a scanty meal of bread, cheese, fruit and a little wine.  The travelers accepted gratefully, and soon completed their repast.

Humble_hut

When they had finished eating, the two guests apologized to their host, explaining that they had no money to pay for the meal, but would grant any favor he might ask.  Little suspecting that his lunch companions were actually Saints Peter and Paul in disguise, Poverty modestly asked that anyone climbing his pear tree should be obliged to remain there so long as he, the owner, pleased.  This wish was granted, and the travelers proceeded on their way.

Not long thereafter, Poverty was able to catch some of his dishonest neighbors trapped among the limbs of the pear tree, but he released each of them with a warning to sin no more.  (Although none admitted his attempted theft, word quickly got around the neighborhood.)

At last Death appeared in person, intent on carrying Poverty to the grave.  The quick-witted peasant promised to come quietly … if only he was permitted to taste one last sweet fruit from the highest bough of the pear tree.  Death obligingly climbed to the top of the tree to pick the desired morsel, only to find that he was unable to descend.  With time a-wasting and millions more souls yet to be carried to their Maker, Death was forced to strike a bargain:  if released from the tree, he would not come again for his captor until Judgement Day.

Thus it is that Poverty will be among us until the end.

In its original formulation, this parable no doubt assisted the higher orders in rationalizing their thoroughly systematic exploitation of the lowly peasant, thus permitting noble, clergy and bourgeois to salve their consciences with the consolation that inequality and suffering has always been divinely ordained.  Modern folk have more or less dispensed with the need for any celestial explanation for poverty: they prefer rationalization to have a pseudo-scientific basis –in which the poor are poor because of their own deficiencies, genetic or otherwise.  But Lunghu isn’t sharing this story merely to observe that “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.”  Nope, he’s announcing that he’s hungry, and that a succulent, ripe pear sure sounds delicious right about now.  Fortunately, there are no pear trees in the neighborhood, and in any case it’s much too early in the season.  A grocery pear will have to suffice.

In ancient China, peaches were the fruits that promised immortality.   In France, apparently, it’s pears.  As far as Lunghu is concerned, dou ke yi –both are good.