This will be the the label of a new category which I am implementing on this blog right now. It means “Without weapons, nor hatred, nor violence.” That phrase was a note left on the scene of a famous 1976 bank robbery in Nice, France, by thief Albert Spaggiari. I was twelve. I remember the arrest and also the news of his successful escape from court, as he jumped through a window, landed on the roof of a car and fled on a motorcycle that had been waiting. It is said that the car’s owner later received an anonymous check for 5,000 francs for the damage to his roof.

So this note left on the scene of a non-violent crime that was regarded by some as Robin Hood-esque despite the fact that Spaggiari was a criminal, will be my excuse for doing something I normally avoid: criticizing, complaining and condemning. I agree that these are things better left to mainstream media which does a masterful job at it. But sometimes, I, too, need to vent. Or there might be causes that are really worth writing about, and fighting for. But it will be done without weapons, nor hatred, nor violence. And may I be as successful as Spaggiari was. He was never caught again.

The insignificant and oh so trivial event that scratched the complaining itch yesterday was a visit to our neighborhood Union Market. The store is relatively new, upscale, rather expensive and so full of itself. Marie went to the butcher’s counter and asked nicely (she always asks nicely) if they had pork shoulder. The butcher replied in a grumpy tone, waving at the shoulder chops below the counter, “Yeah it’s there.” “But would you have a whole shoulder,” she asked again, lifting her arm to demonstrate. He replied, sounding annoyed: “Well, we might have some downstairs but I’m quite busy right now, you could call us tomorrow.” There was no one else waiting at the counter. I was speechless.

Our last visit was even more incredible. Waiting in line to pay, we were standing next to the bread display. Trying to show buns to Marie that had been thrown in a plastic bag (probably not fresh enough to be left out) I reached over the glass and moved the bag aside. A voice barked at me from the butcher’s corner: “Do NOT touch the bread please.” The please wasn’t meant. This was an order, loud, rude and obnoxious. I must admit I replied quite crudely.

Who do these people think they are? I wish for that store to fail, and fast. Cobble Hill is a small neighborhood where people seem to choose their shopping spots as much for the food as for the personality of the owner and staff. We have choices. We will gladly give our business to Los Paisanos instead, the nearby Smith Street butcher where you are always served politely, and who offered to make, I repeat, make our boerewors sausages for us using our recipe, and who would without a shadow of a doubt have run downstairs on the spot to get us a whole lamb shoulder, with a smile. [Which in fact they just did today, as I was going live with this.]

In a very different set of news, the two black boxes of doomed Air France flight 447 were recovered a few days ago at the bottom of the Atlantic. The New York Times published a long, well-researched article recently that illustrates very well the potential this story still holds for the media. Though there is no evidence, the investigation, French politics and all things crash and aviation safety related have reeked of corruption and manipulation since the beginning. The sudden appearance of these key instruments in determining the cause of the crash may or may not be related to a recent French justice decision to investigate both Airbus and the airline for involuntary manslaughter.

In any case, if intact and useable, the boxes should finally shed some light on what happened to the plane that never arrived. Sadly, however, I am afraid that by doing so, they will open a new can of worms and unleash a draft of renewed anger, criticism and legal battles. After all, no matter how we look at it, on June 1st, 2009, over the stormy Atlantic Ocean, something went very wrong and whether the fault was human, mechanical, weather-related or compounded, most of the above elements belonged to either Airbus, Air France or both. Someone, somewhere, is going to want for heads to roll.

As if enough hadn’t rolled already.