Tuesday, September 30, 2008
After all that good food I definitely could not zip up that jean jacket. I felt like a sausage about to burst its skin! We took a stroll over to the area in the 9th where we stayed the first time we visited Paris together. We walked through the lovely passages which are covered shopping arcades and did a little shopping. Of the forty plus passages that existed between the late 1700s and mid-1800s, only seventeen survive today. They contain interesting book and print shops as well as upscale toy and houseware stores and charming restaurants and cafes. The Grevin Wax Museum and the affordable Hotel Chopin are also located in the passages. Here's a photo of one of the ones we visited today:
Monday, September 29, 2008
Distant siren screams
Dumb-ass Verne’s been playing with
A New Moon
Flashlights pierce darkness
No nightcrawlers to be found
Guess we’ll gig some frogs
Joyous, playful, bright
Trailer park girl rolls in puddle
Of old motor oil
See much more redneck haiku at Miss Cellania
The Chateau was filled with teeming humanity. After two hours in line I regretted not buying tickets in advance.
There was a show of artist Jeff Koons' work both in the Chateau and in the gardens. Although I took plenty of photos, this site has better ones. I am not a fan of Koons' work so was not particularly impressed by this exhibit. In my opinion, with the exception of the big red heart near the exit and the purple mirror in the Hall of Mirrors, most of the pieces were a distraction. These for example:
Inflatable lobsters? A porcelain Michael Jackson? I guess I just don't get it.
I much preferred the Petit Trianon and Marie Antoinette's hameau, a recreation of a quaint village and farm for the Queen's amusement when the grandeur of the Chateau became too much for her to bear.
I understand how she felt. The Chateau overwhelmed me and the uncrowded country feeling at le hameau was a welcome respite.
It was a very full day topped off with a good dinner at a restaurant on the market square in Versailles and a short train ride back to bed.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
Here are some fragrant roses:
Lavender was featured:
This was a demonstration of the distillation of lavender oil (I wish I could do a smell-o-vision thing here) :
I visited the home and burial place of sculptor Aristide Maillol in Banyuls-sur-mer last spring and made a promise to myself to visit the Paris Museum dedicated to his work. I was doubly pleased when I found that the museum was hosting an exhibit of the work of modern Chinese artists.
Visitors to the exhibition are greeted by a sculpture of a large golden astronaut with a missing finger by Sheng Qi, followed by provocative paintings, prints and numerous images mixing photography and other media. Sheng Qi, who after the events of Tiananmen, cut off his finger and buried it in a flower-pot before leaving China only to return to his country years later.
I really enjoyed it. They didn't allow photos but I snapped a couple of surreptitious ones.
Does this Mao make me look thin? I thought so.
Here's a Maillol sculpture:
Thursday, September 25, 2008
One of my favourite cookbook authors, Patricia Wells, sings the praises of Allard. We ate there today:
Beaujolais, salads of frisée lardons, and meats and poultry roasted whole, on the bone. Yet even in Paris, those old fashioned spots remain a dying breed. As good as ever is Allard, the well-worn 1940’s Left Bank bistro once the home of Fernande and André Allard. More than 60 years later, you can still find a very dependable duck with olives, tender Bresse poultry served with a sauté of wild cèpe mushrooms, and – my very favorite – the giant lamb shoulder, with portions large enough to feed an army.
I enjoyed my green beans with salty lardons in a creamy dressing and a navarin d'agneau accompanied by the 2001 burgundy house wine. Huge helpings of French home cooking that I almost managed to walk off.
It is dedicated to the 200.000 Jews, Jehovah's Witnesses, gays, criminals, gypsys and the mentally ill who were deported during WW2.
This is a quote from Antoine St. Exupery that appears there:
This wall of tiny lights represents the 200,000 deportees:
We underwent a thorough search before being admitted to this subterranean monument.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
I guess I'd say that my wishes would centre around the future of my sons. To a lesser degree I wish that my packing for France gets finished and that, despite the confusion that has become my life, I don't forget anything important.
Exploded Views Remapping Firenze comprises two industrial treadmills placed in front of a huge screen showing, part film, part computer graphics, the deserted streets of a virtual Florence. The action of the observer’s body is the determining factor: the 3D images are set rolling by the physical effort made by the viewer, revealing an imaginary, “poetic” Florence where real architectural shots explode into an infinity of pixels. The speed of the observer/runner has a direct impact on the intensity of the aesthetic experience. In the work of Marnix de Nijs, the observer becomes the protagonist. The interface between the body and technology hands over control to the viewer who decides which direction to take and how to up the intensity of the images traversed.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
I guess other folks didn't like it as much as I did because it was canceled in short order.
See Chris Elliott in conversation with Dave Eggers Via Metafilter
Long Islanders and New Englanders have always spoken of the event, long before hurricanes were named by the government, as the Great Hurricane of 1938. See the slideshow
This site has a whole bunch of information on the hurricane and its effects.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
This is the story of our Grandmothers, and Great-grandmothers, as they
lived only 90 years ago. It was not until 1920 that women were granted
the right to go to the polls and vote.
Thus unfolded the ‘Night of Terror’ on Nov. 15, 1917, when the warden at
the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia ordered his guards to teach a lesson
to the suffragists imprisoned there because they dared to picket Woodrow
Wilson’s White House for the right to vote. The women were innocent and
defenseless. And by the end of the night they were barely alive. Forty
prison guards wielding clubs and their warden’s blessing went on a
rampage against the 33 women wrongly convicted of ‘obstructing sidewalk
They beat Lucy Burn, chained her hands to the cell bars above her head
and left her hanging for the night, bleeding and gasping for air. They
hurled Dora Lewis into a dark cell, smashed her head against an iron bed
and knocked her out cold. Her cell mate, Alice Cosu, thought Lewis was
dead and suffered a heart attack. Additional affidavits describe the
guards grabbing, dragging, beating, choking, slamming, pinching,
twisting and kicking the women.
For weeks, the women’s only water came from an open pail. Their
food–all of it colorless slop–was infested with worms. When one of the
leaders, Alice Paul, embarked on a hunger strike, they tied her to a
chair, forced a tube down her throat and poured liquid into her until
she vomited. She was tortured like this for weeks until word was
smuggled out to the press.
So, refresh my memory. Some women won’t vote this year because–why,
exactly? We have carpool duties? We have to get to work? Our vote
doesn’t matter? It’s raining?
Last week, I went to a sparsely attended screening of HBO’s new movie
‘Iron Jawed Angels.’ It is a graphic depiction of the battle these women
waged so that I could pull the curtain at the polling booth and have my
say. I am ashamed to say I needed the reminder.
All these years later, voter registration is still my passion. But the
actual act of voting had become less personal for me, more rote.
Frankly, voting often felt more like an obligation than a privilege.
Sometimes it was inconvenient.
My friend Wendy, who is my age and studied women’s history, saw the HBO
movie , too. When she stopped by my desk to talk about it, she looked
angry. She was–with herself. ‘One thought kept coming back to me as I
watched that movie,’ she said. ‘What would those women think of the way
I use–or don’t use–my right to vote? All of us take it for granted
now, not just younger women, but those of us who did seek to learn.’ The
right to vote, she said, had become valuable to her ‘all over again.’
HBO released the movie on video and DVD. I wish all history, social
studies and government teachers would include the movie in their
curriculum. I want it shown on Bunco night, too, and anywhere else women
gather. I realize this isn’t our usual idea of socializing, but we are
not voting in the numbers that we should be, and I think a little shock
therapy is in order.
It is jarring to watch Woodrow Wilson and his cronies try to persuade a
psychiatrist to declare Alice Paul insane so that she could be
permanently institutionalized. And it is inspiring to watch the doctor
refuse. Alice Paul was strong, he said, and brave. That didn’t make her
crazy. The doctor admonished the men: ‘Courage in women is often
mistaken for insanity.’
A promenade through the monumental heart of Paris in the time of Balzac, as described through some of his works, and as documented in maps and engravings of:The Vernon Duke Collection
Special Collections Department
University of California Library
Had we a time machine to transport us physically to Balzac’s Paris, we would discover a dynamic yet totally alien place. Where Balzac mentions monuments and places that seem familiar, we need to look again. The documents displayed from the Vernon Duke Collection—either taken from contemporary histories and guidebooks or reproduced from such books—allow us to see, wander in and explore the maps of Balzac’s Paris. We invite the viewer to retake the central circuit of today’s tourist: Arc de Triomphe—Louvre—Ile de la Cité—Quartier Latin. This time this trip becomes an exercise in defamiliarization.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Melanie MacDonald was born in St. Catharines, ON in 1976. Today she lives in downtown St. Catharines and is an active member of the Niagara Artists' Centre, the region's only artist-run centre.
Although I despise dirty dishes I like her paintings of dirty dishes.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
This article by K. Fred explains Curiosity Cabinets:
The first museums were collections privately held. These collections were started during the 16th and 17th centuries. They were usually named Curiosity Cabinets in the English speaking countries. Though other names were used such as, Cabinet's of Wonders, Wunder-kammer, Rariteitenkabinett, and Chamber's of Curiosities. These collections usually were divided into three segments. Natural, artificial, and scientific. The collectors could be found from the Pope to a local Tavern with the most spectacular ones largely owned by the wealthy.
Phantasmaphile provides some examples of curious museums that you can visit like the weirdly lovely Necromance in Los Angeles.
Thanks for directing me to this, John.
Seen at I Let My Fists Do The Talkin’
To the untrained eye, mathematician Lasse Rempe's vivid images might appear to be random sets of colourful swirls and circles.
But they are in fact precise visual representations of mathematical theory known as dynamical systems.