In the course of my long and lugubrious lifetime, I’ve spent a grand total of one afternoon in France. My brother and I, after taking the ferry from Dover to Calais, spent a few idle hours sitting in cafés practicing our French language skills, which consisted of the phrase "Deux bières!" Even so, I had a momentary reverie (after huit bières or so) that I was a member of the Lost Generation arguing with Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, and assorted erudite croissa...

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