From the Editor:

    Peter O'Keefe first visited St. Barths in 1968, and has been a permanent resident since 1978. He lives with his Franco-American family on a hillside overlooking Lorient from which he gazes fascinated by the unfolding panorama of a halcyon and unique way of life.

    October 2004
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    Songs of Sirens
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    After long and careful consideration, the French government has decided to intervene in behalf of the legions of unsupervised pre-toddlers that may be putting themselves at risk by crawling around in the vicinity of private swimming pools.
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    St. Barths' pool owners are now required to encircle any private pool with a physical barrier which can be entered only through a gate with a special latch: a latch specifically designed to frustrate small children.
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    Alternatively - the legislators are not without aesthetic sensitivity - an owner can install an electronic device that senses any disturbance to the pool's surface and immediately activates a sonic alarm, thereby alerting nearby adults to dash to the water's edge and rescue the errant tyke.
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    Or a confused pelican.
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    Or a neighbor's dog.
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    Or a suicidal lizard.
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    Or anything else that has enough substance to make a ripple.
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    In the event that there is no one at home, the persistence of the alarm should eventually gain the attention of a neighbor or someone passing by, and although it is unlikely that a well-meaning intruder responding to an alarm could be successfully prosecuted for trespassing, the matter has yet to be tested in the courts.
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    In any event, it appears that the sound of jackhammers, which we have gotten use to and even come to admire - "Did you hear the two in Camaruche yesterday? Sounded like early Stravinsky." - will be enhanced by the sirens of the swimming pools, echoing across the cactus-studded hills and valleys.
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    Brought to you by the same people that forbid the wearing of religious symbols in public schools, and then gave the kids the day off to celebrate the Bodily Ascension of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven.

    More to come,
    Peter O'Keefe
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