Runway Couture SoHo

If you look the part and you play the part, you get the part without an audition!
A PLACE TO VISIT:
Claude Monets House and gardens in Giverny, France.
Open daily From April 1st to November 1st, 2011From 9.30 AM to 6.00 PM 
There are two parts in Monet’s garden: a flower garden called Clos Normand in front of the house and a Japanese inspired water garden on the other side of the road. The two parts of Monet’s garden contrast and complement one another.
When Monet and his family settled in Giverny in 1883 the  piece of land sloping gently down from the house to the road was planted with an orchard and enclosed by high stone walls.
A central alley bordered with pines separated it into two parts. Monet had the pines cut down, keeping only the two yews closest to the house to please Alice.
From this Clos Normand of about one hectare, Monet made a garden full of perspectives, symmetries and colours
The land is divided into flowerbeds where flower clumps of different heights create volume. Fruit trees or ornamental trees dominate the climbing roses, the long -stemmed hollyhocks and the coloured banks of annuals. Monet mixed the simplest flowers (daisies and poppies) with the most rare varieties.
The central alley is covered over by iron arches on which climbing roses grow. Other rose trees cover the balustrade along the house. At the end of the summer nasturtiums invade the soil in the central alley.
Claude Monet did not like organized nor constrained gardens. He married flowers according to their colours and left them to grow rather freely.
With the passing years he developed a passion for botany, exchanging plants with his friends Clemenceau and Caillebotte.  Always on the look-out for rare varieties, he bought young plants at great expense. “All my money goes into my garden,” he said. But also: “I am in raptures.”
In 1893, ten years after his arrival at Giverny, Monet bought the piece of land neighbouring his property on the other side of the railway. It was crossed by a small brook, the Ru, which is a diversion of the Epte, a tributary of the Seine River. With the support of the prefecture, Monet had the first small pond dug ; even though his peasant neighbours were opposed. They were afraid that his strange plants would poison the water.
Later on the pond would be enlarged to its present day size. The water garden is full of asymmetries and curves. It is inspired by the Japanese gardens that Monet knew from the prints he collected avidly.
In this water garden you will find the famous Japanese bridge covered with wisterias, other smaller bridges, weeping willows, a bamboo wood and above all the famous nympheas which bloom all summer long. The pond and the surrounding vegetation form an enclosure separated from the surrounding countryside.
Never before had a painter so shaped his subjects in nature before painting them. And so he created his works twice. Monet would find his inspiration in this water garden for more than twenty years. After the Japanese bridge series, he would devote himself to the giant decorations of the Orangerie.
Always looking for mist and transparencies, Monet would dedicate himself less to flowers than to reflections in water, a kind of inverted world transfigured by the liquid element.
500 000 visitors discover Monet’s gardens each year during the seven months that it is open.
To prevent people from treading on the plants, and thus retain the garden’s beauty, the inner alleys are closed to the public. Visitors walk on the side alleys and can walk all around the garden to admire all its perspectives.
To get to the water garden you go through an underground passage (at the time of Monet it was necessary to cross the railway and the road). You will step on the Japanese bridge and explore all the hidden recesses of the water garden.

A PLACE TO VISIT:

Claude Monets House and gardens in Giverny, France.

Open daily
From April 1st to November 1st, 2011
From 9.30 AM to 6.00 PM

There are two parts in Monet’s garden: a flower garden called Clos Normand in front of the house and a Japanese inspired water garden on the other side of the road. The two parts of Monet’s garden contrast and complement one another.

When Monet and his family settled in Giverny in 1883 the  piece of land sloping gently down from the house to the road was planted with an orchard and enclosed by high stone walls.

A central alley bordered with pines separated it into two parts. Monet had the pines cut down, keeping only the two yews closest to the house to please Alice.

From this Clos Normand of about one hectare, Monet made a garden full of perspectives, symmetries and colours

The land is divided into flowerbeds where flower clumps of different heights create volume. Fruit trees or ornamental trees dominate the climbing roses, the long -stemmed hollyhocks and the coloured banks of annuals. Monet mixed the simplest flowers (daisies and poppies) with the most rare varieties.

The central alley is covered over by iron arches on which climbing roses grow. Other rose trees cover the balustrade along the house. At the end of the summer nasturtiums invade the soil in the central alley.

Claude Monet did not like organized nor constrained gardens. He married flowers according to their colours and left them to grow rather freely.

With the passing years he developed a passion for botany, exchanging plants with his friends Clemenceau and Caillebotte.  Always on the look-out for rare varieties, he bought young plants at great expense. “All my money goes into my garden,” he said. But also: “I am in raptures.”

In 1893, ten years after his arrival at Giverny, Monet bought the piece of land neighbouring his property on the other side of the railway. It was crossed by a small brook, the Ru, which is a diversion of the Epte, a tributary of the Seine River. With the support of the prefecture, Monet had the first small pond dug ; even though his peasant neighbours were opposed. They were afraid that his strange plants would poison the water.

Later on the pond would be enlarged to its present day size. The water garden is full of asymmetries and curves. It is inspired by the Japanese gardens that Monet knew from the prints he collected avidly.

In this water garden you will find the famous Japanese bridge covered with wisterias, other smaller bridges, weeping willows, a bamboo wood and above all the famous nympheas which bloom all summer long. The pond and the surrounding vegetation form an enclosure separated from the surrounding countryside.

Never before had a painter so shaped his subjects in nature before painting them. And so he created his works twice. Monet would find his inspiration in this water garden for more than twenty years. After the Japanese bridge series, he would devote himself to the giant decorations of the Orangerie.

Always looking for mist and transparencies, Monet would dedicate himself less to flowers than to reflections in water, a kind of inverted world transfigured by the liquid element.

500 000 visitors discover Monet’s gardens each year during the seven months that it is open.

To prevent people from treading on the plants, and thus retain the garden’s beauty, the inner alleys are closed to the public. Visitors walk on the side alleys and can walk all around the garden to admire all its perspectives.

To get to the water garden you go through an underground passage (at the time of Monet it was necessary to cross the railway and the road). You will step on the Japanese bridge and explore all the hidden recesses of the water garden.

If you are not ready to exchange your own happiness for the suffering of others, you will never know happiness, in any other life.

—Shantideva

Learn something new! French words that are commonly used in English!

Over the years, the English language has borrowed a great number of French words and expressions. Some of this vocabulary has been so completely absorbed by English that speakers might not realize its origins. Other words and expressions have retained their “Frenchness” - a certain je ne sais quoi which speakers tend to be much more aware of (although this awareness does not usually extend to actually pronouncing the word in French). The following is a list of French words and expressions which are commonly used in English. The literal English translation is provided in quotation marks and followed by an explanation.

adieu   ”until God”
   Used like “farewell”: when you don’t expect to see the person again until God (when you die and go to Heaven)

agent provocateur   ”provocative agent”
   A person who attempts to provoke suspected individuals or groups into committing unlawful acts

aide-de-camp   ”camp assistant”
   A military officer who serves as a personal assistant to a higher-ranking officer

aide-mémoire   ”memory aid”
   1. Position paper
   2. Something that acts as an aid to memory, such as crib notes or mnemonic devices

à la carte   ”on the menu*”
   French restaurants usually offer a menu with choices for each of the several courses at a fixed price (how to read a French menu). If you want something else (a side order), you order from the carte. *Note that menu is a false cognate in French and English.

à la minute   ”to the minute”
   This term is used in restaurant kitchens for dishes which are cooked to order, rather than made ahead of time

à la mode   ”in fashion, style”
   In English, this means “with ice cream” - apparently someone decided that having ice cream on pie was the fashionable way to eat it.

amour-propre   ”self love”
   Self respect

apéritif   ”cocktail”
   From Latin, “to open”

après-ski   ”after skiing”
   The French term actually refers to snow boots, but the literal translation of the term is what is meant in English, as in “après-ski” social events.

à propos (de)   ”on the subject of”
   In French, à propos must be followed by the preposition de. In English, there are four ways to use apropos (we leave out the accent and the space):
   1. Adjective - appropriate, to the point: “That’s true, but it’s not apropos.”
   2. Adverb - at an appropriate time, opportunely: “Fortunately, he arrived apropos.”
   3. Adverb/Interjection - by the way, incidentally: “Apropos, what happened yesterday?”
   4. Preposition (may or may not be followed by of) - with regard to, speaking of: “Apropos our meeting, I’ll be late”; “He told a funny story apropos of the new president.”

art déco   ”decorative art”
   Short for art décoratif

art nouveau   ”new art”
   Characterized by flowers, leaves, and flowing lines

attaché   ”attached”
   A person assigned to a diplomatic post

au contraire   ”on the contrary”
   Usually used playfully in English.

au fait   ”conversant, informed”
   Au fait is used in British English to mean “familiar” or “conversant”: She’s not really au fait with my ideas.

au gratin   ”with gratings”
   In French, au gratin refers to anything that is grated and put on top of a dish, like breadcrumbs or cheese. In English, au gratin means “with cheese.”

au jus   ”in the juice”
   Served with the meat’s natural juices.

au naturel   ”in reality, unseasoned”
   In this case naturel is a semi-false cognate. In French, au naturel can mean either “in reality” or the literal meaning of “unseasoned” (in cooking). In English, we picked up the latter, less common usage and use it figuratively, to mean natural, untouched, pure, real, naked.

au pair   ”at par”
   A person who works for a family (cleaning and/or teaching the children) in exchange for room and board

aux trois crayons   ”with three crayons”
   Drawing technique using three colors of chalk

avant-garde   ”before guard”
   Innovative, especially in the arts

avoirdupois   ”goods of weight”
   Originally spelled averdepois


bas-relief   ”low relief/design”
   Sculpture that is only slightly more prominent than its background.

belle époque   ”beautiful era”
   The golden age of art and culture in France in the early 20th century

bête noire   ”black beast”
   Similar to a pet peeve: something that is particularly distasteful or difficult and to be avoided.

billet-doux   ”sweet note”
   Love letter

blond, blonde   ”fair-haired”
   This is the only adjective in English which agrees in gender with the person it modifies: blond is for a man and blonde for a woman. Note that these can also be nouns.

bon appétit   ”good appetite”
   The closest English equivalent is “Enjoy your meal.”

bon mot, bons mots   ”good word(s)”
   Clever remark, witticism

bon ton   ”good tone”
   Sophistication, etiquette, high society

bon vivant   ”good ‘liver’”
   Someone who lives well, who knows how to enjoy life.

bon voyage   ”good trip”
   English has “Have a good trip,” but Bon voyage is more elegant.

bric-a-brac
   The correct French spelling is bric-à-brac. Note that bric and brac don’t actually mean anything in French; they are onomatopoeic.

brunette   ”small, dark-haired female”
   The French word brun, dark-haired, is what English really means by “brunette.” The suffix -ette indicates that the subject is small and female.


café au lait   ”coffee with milk”
   Same thing as the Spanish term café con leche

carte blanche   ”blank card”
   Free hand, ability to do whatever you want/need

cause célèbre   ”famous cause”
   A famous, controversial issue, trial, or case

cerise   ”cherry”
   The French word for the fruit gives us the English word for the color.

c’est la vie   ”that’s life”
   Same meaning and usage in both languages

chacun à son goût   ”each one to his own taste”
   This is the slightly twisted English version of the French expression à chacun son goût.

chaise longue   ”long chair”
   In English, this is often mistakenly written as “chaise lounge” - which actually makes perfect sense.

chargé d’affaires   ”charged with business”
   A substitute or replacement diplomat

chef d’œuvre   ”chief work”
   Masterpiece

cheval-de-frise   ”Frisian horse”
   Barbed wire, spikes, or broken glass attached to wood or masonry and used to block access

cheval glace   ”horse mirror”
   A long mirror set into a moveable frame

chic   ”stylish”
   Chic sounds more chic than “stylish.”

cinéma vérité   ”cinema truth”
   Unbiased, realistic documentary filmmaking

comme il faut   ”as it must”
   The proper way, as it should be

cordon bleu   ”blue ribbon”
   Master chef

cordon sanitaire   ”sanitary line”
   Quarantine, buffer zone for political or medical reasons.

coup de foudre   ”bolt of lightning”
   Love at first sight

coup de grâce   ”mercy blow”
   Deathblow, final blow, decisive stroke

coup d’état   ”state blow”
   Overthrow of the government

crème brûlée   ”burnt cream”
   Baked custard with carmelized crust

crème caramel   ”caramel cream”
   Synonym of flan - custard lined with caramel

crème de cacao   ”cream of cacao”
   Chocolate-flavored liqueur

crème de la crème   ”cream of the cream”
   Synonymous with the English expression “cream of the crop” - refers to the best of the best.

crème de menthe   ”cream of mint”
   Mint-flavored liqueur

crème fraîche   ”fresh cream”
   This is a funny term. Despite its meaning, crème fraîche is in fact slightly fermented, thickened cream.

crêpe de Chine   ”Chinese crepe”
   Type of silk

cri de cœur   ”cry of heart”
   The correct way to say “heartfelt cry” in French is cri du cœur (literally, “cry of the heart”)

crime passionnel   ”passionate crime”
   Crime of passion

critique   ”critical, judgment”
   Critique is an adjective and noun in French, but a noun and verb in English; it refers to a critical review of something or the act of performing such a review.

cuisine   ”kitchen, food style”
   In English, cuisine refers only to a particular type of food/cooking, such as French cuisine, Southern cuisine, etc.

cul-de-sac   ”bottom (butt) of the bag”
   Dead-end street


debutante   ”beginner”
   In French, débutante is the feminine form of débutant - beginner (noun) or beginning (adj). In both languages, it also refers to a young girl making her formal début into society. Interestingly, this usage is not original in French; it was adopted back from English.

décolletage, décolleté   ”low neckline, lowered neckline”
   The first is a noun, the second an adjective, but both refer to low necklines on women’s clothing.

dégustation   ”tasting”
   The French word simply refers to the act of tasting, while in English “degustation” is used for a tasting event or party, as in wine or cheese tasting.

déjà vu   ”already seen”
   This is a grammatical structure in French, as in Je l’ai déjà vu=> I’ve already seen it. It can also disparage a style or technique that has already been done, as in Son style est déjà vu=> His style is not original.
   In English, déjà vu refers to the scientific phenomenon of feeling like you have already seen or done something when you’re sure that you haven’t: a feeling of déjà vu = une impression de déjà vu.

demimonde   ”half world”
   In French, it’s hyphenated: demi-monde. In English, there are two meanings:
   1. A marginal or disrespectful group
   2. Prostitutes and/or kept women

demitasse   ”half cup”
   In French, it’s hyphenated: demi-tasse. Refers to a small cup of espresso or other strong coffee.

démodé   ”out of fashion”
   Same meaning in both languages: outmoded, out of fashion

de rigueur   ”of rigueur”
   Socially or culturally obligatory

dernier cri   ”last cry”
   The newest fashion or trend

de trop   ”of too much”
   Excessive, superfluous

Dieu et mon droit   ”God and my right”
   Motto of the British monarch

double entendre   ”double hearing”
   A word play or pun. For example, you’re looking at a field of sheep and you say “How are you (ewe)?”

droit du seigneur   ”right of the lord of the manor”
   The feudal lord’s right to deflower his vassal’s bride

du jour   ”of the day”
   ”Soup du jour" is nothing more than an elegant-sounding version of "soup of the day."


eau de Cologne   ”water from Cologne”
   This is often cut down to simply “cologne” in English. Cologne is the French and English name for the German city Köln.

eau de toilette   ”toilet water”
   Toilet here does not refer to a commode - see toilette, below. Eau de toilette is a very weak perfume.

embarras de richesse, richesses   ”embarrassement of wealth/richness”
   Such an overwhelming amount of good fortune that it’s embarrassing or confusing

en banc   ”on the bench”
   Legal: indicates that the entire membership of a court is in session.

en bloc   ”in a block”
   In a group, all together

en brochette   ”on (a) skewer”
   Also known by the Turkish name: shish kebab

encore   ”again”
   A simple adverb in French, “encore” in English refers to an additional performance, usually requested with audience applause.

enfant terrible   ”terrible child”
   Refers to a troublesome or embarrassing person within a group (of artists, thinkers, etc).

en garde   ”on guard”
   Warning that one should be on his/her guard, ready for an attack (originally in fencing).

en masse   ”in mass”
   In a group, all together

en passant   ”in passing”
   in passing, by the way; (chess) the capturing of a pawn after a specific move

en prise   ”in grasp”
   (chess) exposed to capture

en rapport   ”in agreement”
   agreeable, harmonious

en route   ”on route”
   On the way

en suite   ”in sequence”
   Part of a set, together

entente cordiale   ”cordial agreement”
   friendly agreements between countries, especially those signed in 1904 between France and the UK

entrez vous   ”come in”
   English speakers often say this, but it’s wrong - the correct way to say “come in” in French is simply entrez.

esprit de corps   ”group spirit”
   Similar to team spirit or morale

esprit d’escalier   ”stairway wit”
   Thinking of an answer or comeback too late

fait accompli   ”done deed”
   Fait accompli seems more fatalistic to me than done deed, which is so factual.

faux   ”false, fake”
   I once saw an ad for “genuine faux pearls.” No worries that those pearls might be real, I guess - you were guaranteed fake ones. :-)

faux pas   ”false step, trip”
   Something that should not be done, a foolish mistake. 

femme fatale   ”deadly woman”
   An alluring, mysterious woman who seduces men into compromising situations

fiancé, fiancée   ”engaged person, betrothed”
   Note that fiancé refers to a man and fiancée to a woman.

film noir   ”black movie”
   Black is a literal reference to the stark black-and-white cinematography style, though films noirs tend to be figuratively dark as well (e.g., morbid, bleak, depressing, etc).

fin de siècle   ”end of the century”
   Hyphenated in English, fin-de-siècle refers to the end of the 19th century.

fleur-de-lis, fleur-de-lys   ”flower of lily”
   A type of iris or an emblem in the shape of an iris with three petals.

fleur de sel   ”flower of salt”
   Very fine and expensive salt

foie gras   ”fat liver”
   The liver of a force-fed goose, considered a delicacy

folie à deux   ”craziness for two”
   Mental disorder which occurs simultaneously in two people with a close relationship or association.

force majeure   ”greater force”
   Refers to superior/greater force, or to an unexpected or uncontrollable event, such as “an act of God” like a tornado or earthquake.


gamine   ”playful, little girl”
   Refers to an impish or playful girl/woman.

gauche   ”left, awkward”
   Tactless, lacking social grace

genre   ”type”
   Used mostly in art and film - “I really like this genre…”

grand mal   ”great illness”
   Severe epilepsy. Also see petit mal


haute couture   ”high sewing”
   High-class, fancy (and expensive) clothing styles

haute cuisine   ”high cuisine”
   High-class, fancy (and expensive) cooking or food

hors de combat   ”out of combat”
   Out of action

hors d’œuvre   ”outside of work”
   An appetizer. Œuvre here refers to the main work (course), so hors d’œuvre simply means something besides the main course.


idée fixe   ”set idea”
   Fixation, obsession


je ne sais quoi   ”I don’t know what”
   Used to indicate a “certain something,” as in “I really like Ann. She has a certain je ne sais quoi that I find very appealing.”

joie de vivre   ”joy of living”
   The quality in people who live life to the fullest


laissez-faire   ”let it be”
   A policy of non-interference. Note the expression in French is laisser-faire.


maître d’, maître d’hôtel   ”master of, master of hotel”
   The former is more common in English, which is strange since it is incomplete: “The ‘master of’ will show you to your table.”

mal de mer   ”sickness of sea”
   Seasickness

mardi gras   ”fat Tuesday”
   Celebration before Lent

matinée   ”morning”
   In English, indicates the day’s first showing of a movie or play. Can also refer to a midday romp with one’s lover.

ménage à trois   ”household of three”
   Sexual threesome

mot juste   ”right word”
   Exactly the right word or expression.


née   ”born”
   Used in genealogy to refer to a woman’s maiden name: Anne Miller née (or nee) Smith.

noblesse oblige   ”obligated nobility”
   The idea that those who are noble are obliged to act noble.

nom de guerre   ”war name”
   Pseudonym

nom de plume   ”pen name”
   This French phrase was coined by English speakers in imitation of nom de guerre.

nouveau riche   ”new rich”
   Disparaging term for someone who has recently come into money.


nouvelle cuisine   ”new cuisine”
   Cooking style developed in the 1960’s and 70’s that emphasized lightness and freshness.

objet d’art   ”art object”
   Note that the French word objet does not have a c - you should never write “object d’art.

oh là là   ”oh dear”
   Usually misspelled and mispronounced “ooh la la” in English.

papier mâché   ”mashed paper”
   Used for art

par excellence   ”by excellence”
   Quintessential, preeminent, the best of the best

pas de deux   ”step of two”
   Dance with two people

passé   ”past”
   Old-fashioned, out-of-date, past its prime

passe-partout   ”pass everywhere”
   1. Master key
   2. (Art) mat, paper, or tape used to frame a picture

peau de soie   ”skin of silk”
   Soft, silky fabric with a dull finish

petit   ”small”
   (law) lesser, minor

petite   ”small, short”
   It may sound chic, but petite is simply the feminine French adjective meaning “short” or “small.”

petit four   ”little oven”
   Small dessert, especially cake

petit mal   ”small illness”
   Relatively mild epilepsy. Also see grand mal

petit point   ”little stitch”
   Small stitch used in needlepoint.

pièce de résistance   ”piece of stamina”
   In French, this originally referred to the main course - the test of your stomach’s stamina. In both languages, it now refers to an outstanding accomplishment or the final part of something - a project, a meal, etc.

pied-à-terre   ”foot on ground”
   A temporary or secondary place of residence.

pince-nez   ”pinch-nose”
   Eyeglasses clipped to the nose

Plus ça change   ”More it changes”
   The more things change (the more they stay the same)

potpourri   ”rotten pot”
   A scented mixture of dried flowers and spices; a miscellaneous group or collection

prêt-à-porter   ”ready to wear”
   Originally referred to clothing, now sometimes used for food.

protégé   ”protected”
   Someone whose training is sponsored by an influential person.


raison d’être   ”reason for being”
   Purpose, justification for existing

rendez-vous   ”go to”
   In French, this refers to a date or an appointment (literally, it is the verb se rendre [to go] in the imperative); in English we can use it as a noun or a verb (let’s rendez-vous at 8pm).

repartee   ”quick, accurate response”
   The French repartie gives us the English “repartee,” with the same meaning of a swift, witty, and “right on” retort.

risqué   ”risked”
   Suggestive, overly provocative

roche moutonnée   ”rolled rock”
   Mound of bedrock smoothed and rounded by erosion. Incidentally, mouton means “sheep.”

roman à clés   ”novel with keys”
   Novel with real people appearing as fictional characters

roman-fleuve   ”novel river”
   A long, multi-volume novel which presents the history of several generations of a family or community. In both French and English, saga tends to be used more.

rouge   ”red”
   The English refers to a reddish cosmetic or metal/glass-polishing powder, and can be a noun or a verb.

RSVP   ”respond please”
   This abbreviation stands for Répondez, s’il vous plaît, which means that “Please RSVP” is redundant.


sang-froid   ”cold blood”
   The ability to maintain one’s composure.

sans   ”without”
   Used mainly in academia, although it’s also seen in the font style “sans serif” => without decorative flourishes.

savoir-faire   ”knowing how to do”
   Synonymous with tact or social grace.

savoir-vivre   ”to know how to live”
   Manners, etiquette

soi-disant   ”self saying”
   What one claims about oneself; so-called, alleged

soigné   ”taken care of”
   1. Sophisticated, elegant, fashionable
   2. Well-groomed, polished, refined 

soirée   ”evening”
   In English, refers to an elegant party.

soupçon   ”suspicion”
   Used figuratively like hint: There’s just a soupçon of garlic in the soup.

souvenir   ”memory, keepsake”
   A memento

succès d’estime   ”success of estime”
   Important but unpopular success or achievement

succès fou   ”crazy success”
   Wild success


tableau vivant   ”living picture”
   A scene made up of silent, motionless actors

table d’hôte   ”host table”
   1. A table for all guests to sit together
   2. A fixed-price meal with multiple courses

tête-à-tête   ”head to head”
   A private talk or visit with another person

toilette   ”toilet”
   In French, this refers both to the toilet itself and anything related to toiletries; thus the expression “to do one’s toilette” - brush hair, do makeup, etc. See eau de toilette, above.

touché   ”touched”
   Originally used in fencing, now equivalent to “you got me.”

tour de force   ”turn of strength”
   Something which takes a great deal of strength or skill to accomplish.

tout de suite   ”right away”
   Due to the silent e in de, this is often misspelled “toot sweet” in English.

trompe l’œil   ”trick the eye”
   A painting style which uses perspective to trick the eye into thinking it is real. In French, trompe l’œil can also refer in general to artifice and trickery.


vieux jeu   ”old game”
   Old-fashioned

vis-à-vis (de)   ”face to face”
   In French, when vis-à-vis precedes a noun and means facing, next to, or towards, it must be followed by the preposition de. In English it means “compared to” or “in relation with”: vis-à-vis this decision => vis-à-vis de cette décision.

vive la France   ”(long) live France”
   Essentially the French equivalent of saying “God bless America.” Note that it’s vive la France; “viva” is Spanish, not French.

Voilà !   ”There it is!”
   Nearly every time I see this in English, it is misspelled as “voilá” or “violà.”

vol-au-vent   ”flight of the wind”
   In both French and English, a vol-au-vent is a very light pastry shell filled with meat or fish with sauce.

Slide seat rowing is the most magnificent sport there is, according  to Fritz Hagerman, Ph.D., a professor in the Biological Science  Department at Ohio University. Hagerman, who studies exercise physiology  such as aerobic and anaerobic capacities, metabolic response, and the  effects of blood lactate levels on athletes, found that competitive  rowers expended almost twice the number of calories on a 2,000-meter  course as a runner in a 3,000-meter steeplechase. He says the latter is  considered one of the toughest events.
Doctors say there are now 1,000,000 joint replacement surgeries  performed each year due to high impact sporting related activities. In  1999, 440,000 people had joint replacement surgery in the United States,  with the hip and knee making up 98 percent of those procedures. For hip  surgeries, the average age was 66 and for knees, the average age was  68.
Both competitive and recreational rowing are unique in comparison to  most sports in that they exercise all of your major muscle groups.  Everything from your legs, back, and arms are engaged while rowing. In  addition, rowing is a low-impact sport. When executed properly, the  rowing stroke is a fairly safe motion, providing little room for the  serious injury often found in contact and high-impact sports.  The motion of each stroke is made up of four parts that flow into one  another. These are the catch, the drive, the finish, and the recovery.  The following is a description of the bio-mechanics of rowing.
The catch  is the start of each stroke and it is the  moment when you place your oar into water. The legs, hips and shoulders  in use during the catch involve the following muscle groups:  quadriceps, gastrocenius, soleus, gluteus maximus, and biceps brachii.
The drive As you begin to push with your legs,  you are entering the drive of the stroke. During the drive your l egs,  back and arms are working with the trapezlus, posterio deltoid,  quadriceps, pectorals major and biceps brachii muscle groups.
The pull Once the legs are fully extended, you  begin to pull the oar in with your arms and swing your shoulders  backward, bringing yourself to the finish position. You have just  utilized the rest of the entire body’s muscle groups as follows:  g  luteus maximus, quadriceps, brachioradialis, and abdominal.
The recovery The entire process is repeated, each movement flowing into the next, forming another stroke.

Achieve fitness goals faster A  University of Stockholm study has confirmed the added benefits of  recreational activities when performed in an outdoor setting. Many of us  already suspected that we exercise harder with outdoor exercise without  feeling as tired or even like we have worked hard. We also know that  the higher the exercise intensity, the sooner fitness goals can be  reached. Achieving fitness goals more quickly with the improvements that  are gained such as weight loss, reduced stress levels, shaping and  toning are the rewards that help us stick with our workout program and  continue to see improvements.
In a recent conversation with Dr. Grant Gainor, Chiropractor to local  Olympic rowers and professional athletes, about rowing in the real  world versus on a rowing machine, further advantages were clarified.  According to Dr. Gainor, the range of motion required when rowing on the  water is dictated by the need to shift the hands at the “catch” and  “release” which require a deliberate alteration in the plane of motion  in the movement. This in conjunction with the variables of the water  surface and surrounding obstacles takes you into a constant state of  awareness and hence pro-perceptive activity that is hard to emulate on a  rowing machine. He stated that on a physical, structural level this is  true but on a mental or emotional level it is even more so. He believes  that the impact on us in dealing with the stress of modern society is  hard to calculate, but the effect of consistent and all encompassing  activity combined with the environment, in his experience, has an  unparalleled impact upon helping the individual to maintain health,  which to him is more that just fitness.
Rowing is also a time-efficient work out and a low impact sport enjoyed by all ages.
Reduce the health effects of stress and increased cortisol  Stress causes chemical changes in the body such as increased cortisol  levels that, left unchecked, can have negative effects on both mental  and physical health. High levels of stress contribute to health issues  as diverse as depression, insomnia, heart disease, skin disorders and  headaches. Interestingly enough, stress has been the subject of more  than 20,000 scientific studies.  One 10-year study by  Kiecolt-Glaser looked at the effects of stress on health of medical  students. The research revealed decreased levels of the body’s natural  killer cells, which fight infections and tumors, during even the  familiar stress periods of exams. Whether you are studying for a test or  just trying to cover extra bills, stress can have a negative effect on  health.  Another study from “Circulation: Journal of the  American Heart Association” showed that mental stress can actually  reduce blood flow to the heart. Combined with bad cholesterol and  smoking the risk factor of stress on coronary heart disease patients was  notable.

 Even though studies confirm stress can have devastating  consequences for our overall heath, we sometimes pride ourselves on  working longer and harder, staying on top of the competition and working  late at the office. This may set us up for the stress cycle.  To break free from the vicious stress cycle and stave off emotional  fatigue and depression, try regular rowing along a local waterway. Your  overall health will improve as your tension melts away with each breath  of fresh, negative ion rich air.

Be environment friendly Lastly while rowing you  abstain from using an outboard motor and can enjoy the added peace of  mind knowing you are not contributing the abrasive sounds, awful smell  and heavy pollution levels of outboard power boating. For further  information on this I recommend the book “Polluting for Pleasure” by  Andre Mele. In 1993 his initial calculations showed that 50 million  gallons of oil per year, or the equivalent of 5  Exxon Valdes oil spills  were being released by pleasure boaters into the US waterways per year.  In the end he concluded that outboard pleasure boating produces as much  hydrocarbon pollution as all the road vehicles in America.
Aside from full body conditioning which builds lean muscle mass while  burning 600 calories per hour, rowing allows you to release stress,  lose weight and reduce your blood pressure. It’s a great opportunity to  enjoy movement and your connection with the water as you take each  stroke. It can also be the opportunity to push yourself beyond limits  you ever thought possible.
  For more articles and information on rowing visit Whitehall Rowing and Sail’s extensive web site at www.whitehallrow.com .

Slide seat rowing is the most magnificent sport there is, according to Fritz Hagerman, Ph.D., a professor in the Biological Science Department at Ohio University. Hagerman, who studies exercise physiology such as aerobic and anaerobic capacities, metabolic response, and the effects of blood lactate levels on athletes, found that competitive rowers expended almost twice the number of calories on a 2,000-meter course as a runner in a 3,000-meter steeplechase. He says the latter is considered one of the toughest events.

Doctors say there are now 1,000,000 joint replacement surgeries performed each year due to high impact sporting related activities. In 1999, 440,000 people had joint replacement surgery in the United States, with the hip and knee making up 98 percent of those procedures. For hip surgeries, the average age was 66 and for knees, the average age was 68.

Both competitive and recreational rowing are unique in comparison to most sports in that they exercise all of your major muscle groups. Everything from your legs, back, and arms are engaged while rowing. In addition, rowing is a low-impact sport. When executed properly, the rowing stroke is a fairly safe motion, providing little room for the serious injury often found in contact and high-impact sports.

The motion of each stroke is made up of four parts that flow into one another. These are the catch, the drive, the finish, and the recovery. The following is a description of the bio-mechanics of rowing.

The catch is the start of each stroke and it is the moment when you place your oar into water. The legs, hips and shoulders in use during the catch involve the following muscle groups: quadriceps, gastrocenius, soleus, gluteus maximus, and biceps brachii.

The drive
As you begin to push with your legs, you are entering the drive of the stroke. During the drive your l egs, back and arms are working with the trapezlus, posterio deltoid, quadriceps, pectorals major and biceps brachii muscle groups.

The pull
Once the legs are fully extended, you begin to pull the oar in with your arms and swing your shoulders backward, bringing yourself to the finish position. You have just utilized the rest of the entire body’s muscle groups as follows: g luteus maximus, quadriceps, brachioradialis, and abdominal.

The recovery
The entire process is repeated, each movement flowing into the next, forming another stroke.

Achieve fitness goals faster A University of Stockholm study has confirmed the added benefits of recreational activities when performed in an outdoor setting. Many of us already suspected that we exercise harder with outdoor exercise without feeling as tired or even like we have worked hard. We also know that the higher the exercise intensity, the sooner fitness goals can be reached. Achieving fitness goals more quickly with the improvements that are gained such as weight loss, reduced stress levels, shaping and toning are the rewards that help us stick with our workout program and continue to see improvements.

In a recent conversation with Dr. Grant Gainor, Chiropractor to local Olympic rowers and professional athletes, about rowing in the real world versus on a rowing machine, further advantages were clarified. According to Dr. Gainor, the range of motion required when rowing on the water is dictated by the need to shift the hands at the “catch” and “release” which require a deliberate alteration in the plane of motion in the movement. This in conjunction with the variables of the water surface and surrounding obstacles takes you into a constant state of awareness and hence pro-perceptive activity that is hard to emulate on a rowing machine. He stated that on a physical, structural level this is true but on a mental or emotional level it is even more so. He believes that the impact on us in dealing with the stress of modern society is hard to calculate, but the effect of consistent and all encompassing activity combined with the environment, in his experience, has an unparalleled impact upon helping the individual to maintain health, which to him is more that just fitness.

Rowing is also a time-efficient work out and a low impact sport enjoyed by all ages.

Reduce the health effects of stress and increased cortisol
Stress causes chemical changes in the body such as increased cortisol levels that, left unchecked, can have negative effects on both mental and physical health. High levels of stress contribute to health issues as diverse as depression, insomnia, heart disease, skin disorders and headaches. Interestingly enough, stress has been the subject of more than 20,000 scientific studies.

One 10-year study by Kiecolt-Glaser looked at the effects of stress on health of medical students. The research revealed decreased levels of the body’s natural killer cells, which fight infections and tumors, during even the familiar stress periods of exams. Whether you are studying for a test or just trying to cover extra bills, stress can have a negative effect on health.

Another study from “Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association” showed that mental stress can actually reduce blood flow to the heart. Combined with bad cholesterol and smoking the risk factor of stress on coronary heart disease patients was notable.


Even though studies confirm stress can have devastating consequences for our overall heath, we sometimes pride ourselves on working longer and harder, staying on top of the competition and working late at the office. This may set us up for the stress cycle.

To break free from the vicious stress cycle and stave off emotional fatigue and depression, try regular rowing along a local waterway. Your overall health will improve as your tension melts away with each breath of fresh, negative ion rich air.

Be environment friendly
Lastly while rowing you abstain from using an outboard motor and can enjoy the added peace of mind knowing you are not contributing the abrasive sounds, awful smell and heavy pollution levels of outboard power boating. For further information on this I recommend the book “Polluting for Pleasure” by Andre Mele. In 1993 his initial calculations showed that 50 million gallons of oil per year, or the equivalent of 5 Exxon Valdes oil spills were being released by pleasure boaters into the US waterways per year. In the end he concluded that outboard pleasure boating produces as much hydrocarbon pollution as all the road vehicles in America.

Aside from full body conditioning which builds lean muscle mass while burning 600 calories per hour, rowing allows you to release stress, lose weight and reduce your blood pressure. It’s a great opportunity to enjoy movement and your connection with the water as you take each stroke. It can also be the opportunity to push yourself beyond limits you ever thought possible.

For more articles and information on rowing visit Whitehall Rowing and Sail’s extensive web site at www.whitehallrow.com .

Our shopping Party!

Move always toward greater simplicity

—Zen practice

skepttv:

The Brain: A Secret History

In a compelling and at times disturbing series, Dr Michael Mosley explores the brutal history of experimental psychology.

Mosley embarks on three journeys to understand science’s last great frontier – the human mind – as he traces the history of the attempts to understand and manipulate the brain. Experiments on the human mind have led to profound insights into how our brain works – but have also involved great cruelty and posed some terrible ethical dilemmas.

Mind Control. To begin, Michael traces the sinister ways this science has been used to try to control our minds. He finds that the pursuit of mind control has led to some truly horrific experiments and left many casualties in its wake. Extraordinary archive captures what happened – scientists systematically change the behavior of children; law abiding citizens give fatal electric shocks; a gay man has electrodes implanted in his head in an attempt to turn his sexuality.

Emotions. In this film, Michael investigates how scientists have struggled to understand that most irrational and deeply complex part of our minds – our emotions. Michael meets survivors – both participants and scientists – of some of the key historical experiments. Many of these extraordinary research projects were captured on film – an eight-month-old boy is taught to fear random objects, baby monkeys are given mothers made from wire and cloth, and an adult is deliberately violent before a group of toddlers.

Broken Brains. Dr Michael Mosley concludes his series exploring the brutal history of experimental psychology by looking at how experiments on abnormal brains have revealed the workings of the normal brain. He meets remarkable individuals like Karen, who suffered from a rare condition – alien hand syndrome – which meant that one of her hands constantly attacked her. And Julia, who seems to have recovered from her stroke – until experiments reveal she is unable to recall the name of any object.

(Source: documentaryheaven.com, via skeptv)

Inaugurated in 2002, Paris Beach (or “Paris Plages” in French) is a free summer event that transforms several spots in Paris into full-fledged beaches, each with a distinct theme. The brainchild of Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe, well-known for launching ambitious municipal events, Paris Plage, which was initially criticized by some as costly and frivolous, has become a permanent fixture in the Parisian summertime scene. From sunning in the sand to swimming in pools suspended over the Seine, kayaking, or enjoying free evening concerts, Paris Plage offers activities for everyone.
Paris Plages 2011 will be open daily between July 21st to August 21st, from 8:00 a.m. to midnight. 

Inaugurated in 2002, Paris Beach (or “Paris Plages” in French) is a free summer event that transforms several spots in Paris into full-fledged beaches, each with a distinct theme. The brainchild of Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe, well-known for launching ambitious municipal events, Paris Plage, which was initially criticized by some as costly and frivolous, has become a permanent fixture in the Parisian summertime scene. From sunning in the sand to swimming in pools suspended over the Seine, kayaking, or enjoying free evening concerts, Paris Plage offers activities for everyone.

Paris Plages 2011 will be open daily between July 21st to August 21st, from 8:00 a.m. to midnight.