Happy Birthday, Republique Francaise.

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My homestead is a year older today. It's only been a republic for... 217 years, but it's been around for a really, really long time. If you've never heard of France, we're famous for our bread, our cheese, our food, our landmarks, our museums, our beaches, our ski slopes, our signature bike race, tennis tournament and film festival, our accents (myself excluded), our Legion Etrangere, our spectacular military failures, our revolutions, our street riots, our addiction to football (soccer to some of you), our remarkable history, our literature, our poetry, our guillotine, our fashion designers, our painters, our sculptors, our philosophers, our kings and emperors, our snooty attitude, our bathing habits, our impossible language, our fascination with Jerry Lewis (it's all true), our peculiar taste in shoes, our cultural chauvinism, our croissants, our cafes, our passion for arguing and complaining, our wines, our bidets, our lovemaking (again, all true), our car races, our beachwear (or lack thereof), our cigarettes, and now our penchant for head-butting.

Cheers to liberty, equality and fraternity. (Or in a pinch, great wine and good friends.)

Vive la France.

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