Monday, May 12, 2008

Concours Lépine (Foire de Paris)


If you're in Paris, this is the last day you can visit La foire de Paris (the Paris Fair), probably the largest in France. The greatest part - in my opinion - is the Concours Lepine (named after the guy who created it), a competition for inventors. Walking down the aisle of this part of the fair is like watching the Shopping Channel all day, only 100 times better! Frankly, who would have thought of inventing this "Champagne cork stopper" that prevents corks from hurting people when they pop out of the bottle?! Il Signore Michele Procopio (who is actually Italian) did, and he sells them for 25 € each. Pretty cheap!

81 comments:

  1. Wow, watch out for this champagne cork, it could take your eye out!! Very cool angle, and now I feel like pouring myself a bit of bubbly! How's vacation Eric????

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  2. Well, no need to watch out for the cork if this invention actually works; but 25 euros seems a bit steep to me!

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  3. How does it work then? I'd like one of those, i'm not keen on popping my cork. Especially with lots of people around - sort of makes me nervous.

    Hey GF Katie!

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  4. Oh heavens Lynn, I hope you don't get any grief for referencing popping your cork. Nudge nudge, know what I mean! Can't believe I got GF, as I was just taking a quick look before turning off my laptop for the trip home! Now I really am shutting down!

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  5. Voilà qui exclut l'utilisation du sabre. Le prix de 25 EUR me semble cher payé pour cette invention.

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  6. Oh no, I love when the cork pop out of the bottle! It's one of my favorite moment!
    I'm sure this guy made the demonstration just for you Eric. THE question is: how many bottles of Champagne did he use/open during the fair?! All this good Champagne lost, it makes me sad. ;)

    I remember that I learnt to Michael that the corkscrew he brought to the picnic was called in French slang a De Gaulle corkscrew. Pour la petite histoire.

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  7. pops* out

    Matthieu, c'est surement moins dangereux que le sabre! ;)

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  8. I'm with Guille - I love it when the cork goes flying across the room!! Cheers!

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  9. During the SF PDP picnic, we opened a bottle of champagne and it poped. Katie screamed -- I looked over at her, and she had a big smile. I'm with you, Katie, Guille and pont girl -- It's the best sound.

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  10. That's the fun of opening a bottle og champagne, the moment the cork flies and hits the ceiling - or someone.

    It really feels like a celebration when the cork goes out. In the way Lynn meant too.

    ;-)

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  11. This new profile photo is for the amusement of Lynn.

    I know you liked the "summer" photo (don't know why you call it summer). But the truth is it's autumn here now and I don't look "summerish".
    I'll leave the bikini marks for Guille this season.

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  12. Hey thanks Monica I AM amused! For more reasons than one. You look absolutely fabulous for a start, but look again - we have swapped countries! You're all warmly dressed, even wearing Burberry! Whilst i am in beach attire! he he what a giggle. You're sweet to amuse me whilst i'm stuck at home. Much better though today! In a few days i'll be back to one-profile-pic Lynn

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  13. I enjoy the cork flying out and the noise yes i do too, i just hate to do it myself. My eyes screw up, i point it away from everyone and i squeal. That helps.

    By the way, that contraption he's got, if you look, i imagine the chain is supposed to contain the cork but the chain is still long enough it could take someone's eye out!?

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  14. Lynn now I am amused TOO!
    Love your photo, we definetely changed countries. I love to see you enjoying the good life like that, even though I'm gueesing this is from the 80's series too?

    And look, your cool hairdo is back!

    PS: the Burberry scarf I got at a bargain at Galeries Lafayette last year. See how good Paris can do for us!!!

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  15. Guille it's a marvellous portrait of you. You have a great face. The black & white is perfect. She must have been so pleased - and you.

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  16. He he yep the hair was plaited on the beach in St. Lucia. Same wonderful holiday in 83.

    Michael hasn't popped in yet has he. I wonder if he will take time out from his holiday to make us all jealous. I know the answer.

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  17. In order to keep a high velocity, just released, champagne cork from inadvertently giving someone permanent monocular vision, kind of like in that silent film classic "Journey to the Moon", in my wine class we learned to drape a towel over the top of the champagne bottle then hold the cork tight and twist the bottle itself slowly, easing out the cork. That's after twisting the wire loop on the cage six times counterclockwise and removing it. Without doing that getting the cork out can be decidedly time consuming.

    Given the choice between a towel and a 20 € pain in the ass I guess I'd stick with the towel.

    Ah, I get, it after checking out some of the other inventions here I can see it's kind of tongue in cheek, maybe like the Japanese Chindogu.

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  18. Guille: Thanks for the translation! I'm sorry it's taken me so long to get back to you, but my internet connection has been irritatingly unreliable over the past twenty-four houyrs. As soon as I get the time (the next few weeks are going to be very busy because I have a major research essay to write), I will polish the lyrics of 'Padam...Padam...' and post them alongside the original French ones.

    By the way, I assume your new B&W profile photo was taken during your Albert Camus period - long before you were crowned queen of this little corner of the blogosphere.

    As always, your loyal and obedient servant,

    LCDC (the rockin' 'n' rollin' aristocrat)

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  19. I wonder if Eric took the photo on the sly, with his camera down by his waist, perhaps. I've been working on my "on the sly" technique, per suggestions from Bibi and Letty.

    Cork must fly or it's not a party, I say.

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  20. I beg your pardon, but at the current rate of the dollar, 25 Euros is not all that cheap right now.

    Nifty little invention, but wondering what the cork is gonna hit is part of the experience of drinking champagne, no? ;)

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  21. At first sight I thought it was a kind of condom for corks, but on closer inspection I can see that it's actually bondage for bottles.

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  22. Intriguing invention, but I'm in the camp of "let the cork fly and see where it lands." Inventions I think we all wish we would have thought of would be "white out" or "sticky paper."

    Funny Lucio!

    Whoa...a lot of photos on the PDP Carousel!

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  23. I have never heard a cork pop in person, so I wouldn't know for sure. I don't drink alcohol but I do love a good sparkling juice. My favorite is a lovely organic pear juice I've found here. But Cheers to everyone and may your champagne cork fly to your heart's content!

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  24. Christie, you may know about this product:
    http://tinyurl.com/6cbrqm
    Very nice, festive stuff. I can recommend it and it has a cork that pops!

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  25. Coltrane your picture is rather small so we can't see you very well.
    But the place you're in looks lovely! seems like a very cosy house (well don't know if it's a house or what but it does look fabulous)

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  26. Monica...it's actually the Porta Hotel Antigua in La Antigua, Guatemala and is fabulous. Recently got back from adopting a beautiful little girl there. As for the "rather small" photo, I had little luck in enlarging so just gave up and shot this one myself. Certainly not as good as Eric would take but it does give a face to the words...not that this is always a good thing as I am known for sticking my foot in my mouth more often than not. Ciao!

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  27. Coltrane, now we can see you!!

    Did I understand it right? You just adopeted a little girl from Guatemala? If so, let me congratulate you right now!!!!!!! I think this is a wnderful gesture, one of the most beautiful acts one can do in a lifetime. Shows how much love and generosity you have to spread around.

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  28. *adopted / wonderful (sorry for the typos)

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  29. Thanks Monica! What kind words...just shows the kind of person you are. Of course, we've known this all along. :-) Honestly, the adoption journey was one of the most heart-wrenching journeys I've ever been on, but so worth it. Again, thanks for the sentiments.

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  30. Coltrane, this proves my point about your gesture. It's well known that the adoption process is often a very difficult one. Good for you that this part of the journey is over. Really, congratulations!

    I've just realized I've been mispelling a lot here at PDP. Although I don't apologize for my errors here as often as Guille, I want to apologize now for my sometimes "weird" English.

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  31. No need to apologize, Monica. I'm certainly not correcting anyone's grammar on this forum. I couldn't imagine speaking Portuguese (which BTW is one of the most poetic of languages to my ear). Right up there with...ah, erhh, ah...oh yeah,...French. ;-)

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  32. Lynn, I've been laughing all day about that comment you posted, Wait Eric, I'm in my bikini. You are too funny.

    Nice photo Coltrane-lives. Congratulations on your new addition to your family.

    Hmmm, Italian inventions. I do drawings for patent inventions. I bought an easel from Italy once, and the instructions were in Italian. The pictures for assembling the easel were patent drawings. Cool, I can understand those -- I can't read Italian. Well, I can read it; I don't know what I am saying though. Anyway, I assembled the easel. I was talking to an attorney the next day (an Italian-American) and I told him what had happened. I asked him if he thought the artist knew that their drawings were being used as instruction drawings, and shouldn't they be compensated for that. He said, the artist probably does not know. I asked him what if I found out my drawings were being used without my permission, and I wanted to be compensated? He said, we would have to let you go. LOL

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  33. Coltrane, congratulations. I honor you more than I can say.

    Monica, you can apologize to me for your imperfect English as soon as I speak perfect Portuguese.

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  34. Coltrane - i excitedly scrolled up to read about your miracle. You've adopted a baby girl! That is just wonderous! I have goosbumps. Congratulations!

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  35. I was just reading about Hemingway's favorite champagne cocktail... Champagne with pastis! It sounds like a delicious anis sensation.

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  36. Oh my goodness...
    If it wasn't for Lucio, Petrea and Katie photos I would have thought I landed in the wrong blog!

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  37. Boy, I could have used one of these years ago when I pulled and tugged, albeit gently, on a champagne cork. It finally gave way, and popped up to hit me just under my left eye. I had a beautiful, round "bleu" for a long time...

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  38. Hey Marie, I love your photo. We are connecting the dots. bisou bisou, for showing us your face, ande what a beautiful smile.

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  39. Lois - You have such a flair for making us all feel so special. Hooray for Lois!

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  40. Like the photo.It sounds as if it's a great fair. I would love to have some Champagne and strawberries today, we have a beautiful summersday in DK, and what would be more delightful.

    Tall Gary;you're righr about opening a bottle of Champagne. I went to a "lecture" with Mireille Guiliano the former President of Clicquot, and she told exactly what you just did. So I haven't popped a cork since. But you're all right, it's not as festive, but then again you don't loose all that lovely Champagne.

    Coltrane; congratulations on your little girl. I hope You'll be a happy family !!!

    I love all your new photos.
    Yes Rose, I almost thought I was in the wrong blog too.

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  41. Great invention, but I like to see where the cork flies to. :)

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  42. Lynn I have a bikini photo too; except I am really pissed off in the photo. You know the paparazzi. I would share this photo -- except I look so pissed off.

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  43. Marie
    You are so right about Lois.
    I love people like her because if you can't say something nice about someone please shut the hell up, will you!

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  44. Kudos to all those sporting PDPers who've taken the plunge and posted a fresh photo of themselves, are currently rummaging through their archives for old one, or intend taking a completely new one for our collective edification! It's great to have such genuine and glowing portraits of you all!

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  45. Do it Lois do it! he he well my bikini plea might have been a little amusing but it didn't pull Eric in did it...sigh... oh well i suppose i'll have to put the nude one up....sigh...the things i do for PDP........

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  46. Petrea, you said this so well: Monica, you can apologize to me for your imperfect English as soon as I speak perfect Portuguese.

    Absolutely for me too!

    Virtual cuddles for your little girl Coltrane! How lovely. You could always put a pic for us in your profile?

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  47. i hope that the coltranette becomes his profile picture too! Good idea Lynn:)

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  48. LOL Coltrane, Petrea and Lynn

    I know Portuguese is pretty difficult, you don't need to bother learning!!!!!!


    Marie is great to see your smiling face here, you look so cheerful!!!

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  49. Great tip on the sparkling juice, Petrea. I only wish we had those here! (I'll have to start importing them. ;))

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  50. Portuguese is an intriguing language, to me it's like a mixture of French and Spanish - and you only understand half of it - if you're lucky. Sometimes I don't understand anything at all, so yes, I'd agree that it seems to be difficult. Would love to learn it though!

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  51. Marie you look great!

    I agree about Portuguese, i can pick out bits here and there, knowing some Spanish and French, but really it's just...Portuguese! When i was at school i had two friends from Brazil, Carla and Olivia de Souza, i recall. They were soooo interesting to meet and taught me some words here and there, i was utterly fascinated in the language. Wonder where they are now... Monica... I wonder if she knows them? LOOOOOOL!

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  52. i have to toot my blogs horn. i just blogged about heminway's favorite champagne cocktail!

    My little boy noah (8) is trying to learn Portugese. He listens to language learning podcasts everyday! He's doing it just in case he meets a famous football player! It is truly a gorgeous language:)

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  53. Vamos todos aprender Português Monica para você! Então, todos nós podemos conversar em conjunto na sua bela língua.

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  54. I guess this is a good idea Eric but I rather think that half the fun is seeing where the cork will land!

    Scrolling down, I read about your recent adoption of a little girl from Guatemala, Coltrane. Congratulations. I think Monica's sentiments speak for all of us.

    Our country has intercountry adoptions with only a few countries and our laws are much more strict than the US I think but we had mass adoptions of Vietnamese children after and during the Vietnam war and Korean children too. China is now a country which allows its children to be adopted here and Romania too but when Rwanda suffered its horrific genocide, so many families offered to take the orphans but Rwanda would not relinquish its children.

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  55. Mme Benaut, That was interesting. Thank you for sharing.

    Again Lynn, I am still smiling. A nude!?

    I had a boyfriend when I was in art college, Pissarro, grandson or great grandson to the famous painter Camille Pissarro. He's Portuguese. He is/was very handsome and he wanted to be a sculpture. For his mid-term he sculpted me as a sphinx, sort of Byzantine style. I was so flattered. He wanted to marry me. He had inherited property from his family. He had a farm on the seaside in Portugal. He wanted me to move there with him. I said, you mean like chickens and pigs and cows. You mean I would have to get up early in the morning and feed them? (Can you picture me in my spiked heels feeding animals.) This city girl declined the offer as sexy as he is/was -- I cannot leave the city;-)

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  56. It was a desperate moment, Lois, a desperate moment. I've not had an Eric for days. I'm beginning to forget what he looks like. Oh there he is over there, yeah...but... it's not the same, not the same. However, I have since revised the decision and appear here clothed, for my very best chance, since i tried the effect this morning at the supermarket of being 'nu' and, well let's say, it wasn't my best moment. Market research: check.

    I loved your Portuguese memory. I could see it all, the beautiful countryside, the sexy man, mmmm. Though, I wouldn't have wanted to feed his animal either in heels. The nerve to ask! Some men...

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  57. Lynn, what are you doing in this photo. Is this strip-tease? Nude at the market?!!! That can't be you. Who is that? You know, you are crazy, you know that, right? I'm laughing so much that I'm crying. I can bearly see the keyboard.

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  58. Lynn naked?
    Hahaha...where where?

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  59. I understood you, Marie! I did!

    he he nowhere fast, that's where, Rose!

    It IS me, Lois! he he glad i made you giggle. No i must say i've not been out of the house today so no supermarket; i jest. lol. It's me in the pic though yes, same hols. Ready to go out in the evening. My husband at the time was a very good amateur photographer and used to direct; to tell me "arms up, now move your legs apart" but that's enough about our private life... ! No, he just was very artistic, didn't like standing-about poses and would always say what he wanted. This was just a quick snap really but he took some marvellous shots ... but took them with him on divorce! I'd love to see them again.

    Me, naked? Noooooo no no. Who would start a rumour like that. Goodness Eric should get back and soon, the tone is going down here in the comments box quicker than he can say "fromage", and i fear i am not entirely blameless.

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  60. Another inventor story. This one is from last week. I was walking out of the art museum and passing by a man. He was looking straight at me and said, I like your look. You look really great. Well, he was handsome about 6 feet something 220 lbs. Ya know, tall, dark and handsome. So I walked over to him and asked him what he was doing. He had a lot of papers on the park bench. He said, he was trying to save the world. I said, no, really. He said, really. He works for PG&E and he is trying to invent alternative energy sources. He told me again that he thought I was beautiful and he liked the way I was dressed. I told him that actually the outfit I was wearing was for the previous night. I was suppose to have gone to a party. I got sleepy and did not make it. So, when I got up this morning, I didn't want to think about what I should wear, I just put on the clothes I was suppose to have worn the night before. He said, your closet must be packed. I said, yes, all three of them. He said, I like your sweater. I said, oh, when I bought this I could not decide on what color to get. So, I bought it in all the colors. He said, like two other sweaters. I said, no, about six or seven. I told him that I had to go, and that I would let him get back to his work. BTW his name is Adea (pronounced Idea). With a name like that, I'm betting he can invent something to save the world.

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  61. Monica, It's Fall in Rio? Wow, so that means on Christmas you are wearing a bikini on the beach?

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  62. So much goes on in the PDP comments!

    My sparkling wine method is much as tall gary describes, but I keep the towel loosely tented over the bottle, so you still can get the *pop* but without the chaos and insurance claims.

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  63. lois - you live such a charmed life! Your daily tidbits are bookworthy:)

    uselaine - insurance claims! lol .. your towel method saves you an extra 25 euros too!

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  64. Oh I feel so out of it. I'm on May holidays just checking in but feel like I've missed so much.

    Has Lynn gone to hospital?
    Has PHX-CDG landed yet?
    Has Eric posted the rest of his video yet?
    Has Jeff come down from the Eiffel Tower wıth his macarons?
    Have Monica & Petrea stopped crying from missing the party?
    Is Tomate still red? (she's never red I promise!)
    Is Guille still being insupportable?

    Well, it will all have to wait a week or so. See you again soon!

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  65. Marie, you are so kind to say that. I think that everyone here at PDP has an interesting life (at least that is what I have noticed). I put my life's events into stories:-s Two of my favorite writers are Charles Dickens and Mark Twain -- both were story tellers.

    Thank you Lynn -- I'm taking that as a compliment.

    I'm going downtown (to the Financial District of San Francisco) now. So I will miss the new photo posting. I won't get to be GF. See you.

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  66. Michael how lovely to see you! Yes you've missed a lot but we've all missed you dreadfully, more.

    Oh thank God you're here. I'm not in hosp, no, getting better thanks i hope. But (whispering now) Michael they've all been behaving most awfully, changing their profile pics etc., telling saucy jokes, well! I've only just been able to keep up. LOOOOOOLLLLL you watch them get me now! he he. Come back soon Michael you just can't miss all this. x

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  67. Well..in my restaurant days...it was the proof of an accomplished Maitre d'Hotel, Captain or Waiter to be able to "silently" remove the cork from a bottle of Champagne. The sound should be just a soft, shoooooshing sound and then the trickle of the champagne entering the glass. Explosive corks bouncing off the walls sounds fun...but really quite dangerous. Works better in the movies!!

    A "May vacation" sounds great right now! Lucky Eric and Michael...but it is the week after Pentecost right now, so it all makes sense.

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  68. I have to open or be near people who open champagne bottles every time I am at work.....and I RUN the opposite direction, as they scare me.This is the greatest invention ever.
    I am in NYC using a friend's computer ,so Lucio, this is the first chance I had to read your comment from yesterday.It was easy to guess mostly everyone for the quiz as all our different personalities shine thru in our comments. Since I also did the one one ME, it didn't work as well I guess because, who can really see themselves!!!

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  69. We had to watch a video on how to properly pour champagne. One fills the glass partially with the bubbly, wait for the foam to subside,then pour the rest in and it will never overflow. I wonder if that works with soda, I never thought about it till now. Well, off to work and I will find out soon enough.
    Michael: PHX has landed a couple of time already!!

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  70. You're in NY Phx...are all girls miffed because we got the premiere of Sex and the City here in London? I would be if i were them! I've been watching the evening on the news but soooooo wish i could be there. Can't wait to see the film! Anyone else fans here?

    Decent profile here. Michael's already popped in. Who knows, it could be Eric next and i've got to be decent-looking! he he. Butter wouldn't melt in my mouth huh?

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  71. J'ai vu que tu servais du Champagne, alors me voilà! Hmm, mais le bouchon qui s'envole ça fait partie du folklore!

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  72. Oh I'm sorry I missed the Portuguese forum! You all are all crazy to ever think of learning this language (except Marie's little boy, children can learn anything they want very easily and very fast!), it is wayyy to difficult.

    But I'm delighted to know that you guys have some interested in my language. Actually Marie seems to speak it very weel!!!

    No Lynn, I don't know Carla or Olivia. I'll let you know if I bump into one of them one of these days...!

    ;-)

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  73. No Michael I'm not crying anymore. But I will if we don't get to see the other part of Eric's video!!!

    Where is your interview?!

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  74. Le concours Lépine is a joke. It seems each year, they award the Champagne cork (with the inventor explaining it is the main cause of eye accidents in France) or the magic sweeper.

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