URUGUAY UPDATE: The first question about this country, the second smallest in South America, is how does one pronounce its name? Do it mellow, my friend, mellow. Mellow just like its flag, which is a gorgeous deep blue and white with a humanoid sun-god creature in the left panel that seems lifted from a Santana album—the one with the naked lady—wearing an expression that lies somewhere in that rich field between wisdom and medicated. It’s fitting since the country not only is cool with same-sex marriage and a woman’s right to choose, but also has an innovative policy for the legal production, sale and consumption of cannabis. So many things about Uruguay are awesome: 95 percent of its electricity comes from renewable energy; it’s a founding member of the United Nations; it’s one of the most liberal countries on Earth, ranking high globally for personal rights, tolerance and inclusion; and is a considerate and imaginative lover, we’re assuming.
FRANCE UPDATE: We’ve always thought the French have been unfairly categorized as rude; it’s been our experience that they are no more rude than anyone you meet parking in a too small Trader Joe’s parking lot. Still, it’s regrettable that French President Emmanuel Macron felt the need to bend over backward in his initial dealings with Donald Trump—as anyone who has dealt with Trump will tell you, bending over is just asking for trouble, of course, with that skeeze, as is standing up straight and walking while a woman. As with so many of Trump’s relationships, this one soon cooled, then crashed, then self-immolated, especially after Trump said Macron’s country would get better trade terms if it withdrew from the European Union because, to Trump, leaving the EU is as easy as ditching your gym membership or two or three wives. When asked about his conversations with Trump, Macron has demurred, quoting Bismarck: “If we explained to people how sausage is made, it’s unlikely they’d keep eating them.” Of course, Bismarck never met the “modern” Republican, who just can’t seem to get enough of Trump’s sausage, taking it anywhere, any time—standing up, bending over . . .
CONSENSUS: We love France, but Uruguay sounds almost too good to be true. Which is probably why The Economist a few years back named it “Country of the Year” after the original winner, Denmark, was found to have participated in “modeling” sessions deemed “too sausage-y.” GO U!