"No cord or cable can so forcibly draw, or hold so fast, as love can do with a twined thread." - Robert Burton, 1577-1640; photo, spools of thread from a 1920s French sewing cabinet.
The mystery man
Thanks to all the readers who tried to guess the identity of the mystery man. Alas, the answers are incorrect. When I saw that handsome man walking down the street towards me, my first thought was "Brad Pitt!" This was certainly possible, as Brad and his partner Angelina Jolie have been in France recently; some time ago I saw Angelina walking in the same area. Then I decided he was too short to be Pitt, but he looked very familiar. So I turned my camera towards the window, to get his photo in the reflection, as he walked past. I think he's a French rugby player, but don't know his name. The Rugby World Cup begins next month in Paris, so perhaps I'll discover his identity then. Thanks for playing along.
Changes in France
This being August, hundreds of thousands of Parisiens have vacated the city for seaside retreats. Many businesses are closed for renovation, as the store owners receive government tax breaks for physical improvements to their property. On the first day of August, I walked into the pharmacy we've frequented for the past six-and-a-half years to discover the owner had retired, the place had been bought and everything was in a different place! Just two days before, I 'd been in to see the previous pharmacist , Monsieur Altobelli and he'd made no mention of his intentions. This seems to be the norm in France; major changes are made with little fanfare or interruption of service. No chance to say "au revoir" to the old and "felicitations" to the new.
Meanwhile at the post office, I took several packages to mail to a woman in Texas. I am a "picker" for antiques and collectibles for her store. The clerk spent several minutes at his computer keyboard, looking puzzled. Finally he called over a colleague to help, but neither could find a reference to "Les Etats Unis" in the computer. His colleague joked in French, "Maybe Bush has blocked all mail from France now." At last they discovered La Poste's computer listing for the United States is now "Les Etats Unis de Amerique" - yet another bureaucratic change made without warning. When I returned this week to La Poste , the same clerk smiled and said, "We are still allowed to send mail to America - this week. Who knows about next week?" Since Bush and French President Nicolas Sarkozy had lunch Saturday at the Bush family home in Maine, it's probably safe to assume mail services will remain intact.
Intellectual property and copyright issues
As internet usage becomes more widespread, copyright and intellectual property issues continue to arise. Recently, several of my photographs have been used on other websites. While my work is copyrighted, I have agreed to "share and share alike usage" as long as attribution is provided and my work is not reproduced for profit. But in these instances, the only way I knew my photographs were used in other websites was through Technorati links. People who use someone else's photographs or words are required to include written attribution somewhere in their piece - readers should not have to click on photographs to determine their original source.
Further, I have noticed some bloggers - who certainly know better - use photographs from unknown sources, without any attribution whatsoever. This is unfair to the original photographer. If you see instances such as this, ask the blogger to give credit where credit is due. We work hard to produce original content; reprinting it without attribution is not only rude, it's intellectual property theft.
My dear fanciful friend Vanessa has named me as one of five "bathing beauty wonders of the day" on her blog. Best to take a peek now; it's the last time you'll ever see me in a swimsuit - and a crown. Did you notice those delightful paintings? The Mime's Protege soon will be jetting off to Miss Valencia's Paris galerie.
Speaking of travel, we're off on holiday. It will seem strange being away from the computer for two weeks, but I'll return with lots of stories and photos. Will catch up with your blogs and email at the end of August. Hope you enjoy the remainder of the summer. Vivre l'ete!