Pia Jane Bijkerk, June 27, 2009, Amsterdam.
Just back from Amsterdam an hour ago and can't wait to tell you about our fantastic time there! For now, here are photos of the fabulous Pia Jane Bijkerk, author, stylist and blogger extraordinaire. I took these photos Saturday afternoon at the book-signing in Spui Square for Pia's new book Paris: Made by Hand.
If you love Paris, you'll adore this book! It's brimming with insider tips about more than 50 Paris shops and studios that feature hand-made or unique goods. I've lived in Paris for more than eight years and thought I knew my way around many of the hidden gems and treasure haunts. Thanks to Pia, I've learned about some new must-visit places. Her experience as a stylist and her eye as a photographer combine for a must-have guide for your next shopping excursion.
Read Pia's account of her first book-signing here.
Pia decorated an American Book Center vitrine with a DIY (Do It Yourself) theme. Alas, these photos don't do her creative work justice. It was a bright, sunny day and I had only a telephoto lens with me.
Check back Tuesday for more photos and stories from Amsterdam.
A little red Fiat loaded with plants in the courtyard at Merci, 111 Bd. Beaumarchais, Paris. My lovely friend Di Overton and I visited Merci and were struck by its intriguing mix of merchandise and innovative design.
Marie-France and Bernard Cohen, founders of the children's clothing boutique Bonpoint, decided to put their retail skills to good use, while raising funds for charity. Proceeds from sales at Merci go to aid poor women and children in Madagascar.
The view from the second floor.
The store's main entranceway. The large loops on either side of the door are radiators, from the building's days as a factory.
A book-filled cafe.
A tall stack of paperback books.
Bottles made of recycled glass.
Chandelier constructed of wire and clay beads.
Vintage crystal chandelier.
Painted wooden tables, with paper-covered tops.
Vintage grocery sign.
Mid-century folding webbed fabric and metal chaises.
Lawn chairs from the '50s and '60s.
An antique iron garden chair.
Old steel school lockers.
A wirework birdcage filled with pigeon lights.
A child's bed on a ledge.
A clothesline displaying summer essentials.
Merci spelled in twigs and wire. The store is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. Take the metro to Saint Sébastien Froissard.
P.S. I am in Amsterdam for a few days. Back soon with photos and stories.
Bride on a bridge, Paris.
If you're a film buff who loves Paris, then you'll appreciate Paris Movie Walks, a new book by Michael Schurmann. The book guides you on ten tours through the city, featuring famous movie locations.
Paris Movie Walks describes filming at Le Grand Colbert for the American film Something's Gotta Give:
"In the restaurant Le Grand Colbert at 2-4 rue Vivienne, Jack Nicholson 'gate-crashes' Diane Keaton's diner-a-deux with Keanu Reeves in one of the key scenes in the Oscar-nominated Something's Gotta Give. The restaurant displays the movie poster alongside its menu in the window and a 2004 newspaper article tells you what life was like for the restaurant's staff during the nine days of shooting and for a time after the movie became such a big success.
"The table where the couple dined - at the wall opposite the entrance - was apparently booked solid for months. What's more, the clients all ordered the same dish. "We serve nothing but chicken, chicken, chicken," the maitre d' complains in the article. He goes on to describe Keanu Reeves as "polite, but distant," while adding rather icily that Diane Keaton "mainly ate in her trailer."
"Jack Nicholson, on the other hand, apparently ordered copious amounts of brandy and was soon best friends with everyone. We also learn that Le Grand Colbert had to increase its portions for the film. Apparently, they were afraid that the American public would question the main characters' wisdom in travelling halfway around the world for a kid's portion of roast chicken."
(Ed. note: Europeans, when traveling to America, are shocked by the huge amounts of food served at restaurants, with a single portion enough for three French people.)
Paris Movie Walks guides you to locations for An American in Paris, Amelie (Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amelie Poulain), French Kiss, Funny Face, Gigi, The Last Metro, The Bourne Identity, The Devil Wears Prada, La vie en Rose, Marie Antoinette, Moulin Rouge, A Man and a Woman, The Pink Panther, Paris, je t'aime, Sabrina, The Sun Also Rises and many other well-known films.
Technorati Tags: An American in Paris, Books, film, Intrepid Traveler, La Vie en Rose, Le Fabuleux destin d' Amelie Poulain, Le Grand Colbert, Michael Schurmann, Paris, Paris Movie Walks, photography, Sabrina, Something's Gotta Give, The Last Metro, travel
The famous Berthillon ice cream and a pink car, Ile Saint-Louis, Paris.
La Charlotte de l'isle, a chocolate shop on Ile Saint-Louis. Vintage chocolate moulds are on display.
Searching for bargains at the popular bookstore across the street from Notre Dame.
Tourists taking a break at Shakespeare & Co.
On Friday, the daughter of a long-time friend came to spend the weekend with us. Sarah is a smart, funny and engaging linguistics student, currently studying French in Nantes. On Saturday, we met the delightful Jeanie, visiting from Michigan, for a trek to the flea market at Vanves. All three of us bought some lovely things.
For me, the find of the day was a bound set of The Studio for 100 euros. Last week I saw The Studio books, filled with illustrations by Aubrey Beardsley and other Art Nouveau artists, at an Arts & Crafts exhibit in London. The books were priced at £400 each! To get an entire set for 100 euros was incredible; I think the dealer didn't realise their value.
I also found two more aqua opaline Hermes wine glasses to add to my collection; they're so rare, I come across maybe one per year. Saturday, I was doubly lucky.
Jeanie and her friend Jerry came to our apartment for dinner Saturday night, Thanks to my husband the chef, we had delicious food. We also had a lot of fun! Jeanie brought lovely treats from the US, including a beautiful set of her handmade collaged cards. Plus she brought gifts from two other Michigan girls, Judy Winter and Jane Rosemont. Judy sent a signed copy of her book Breakthrough Parenting for Children with Special Needs, while Jane sent cards and a magnet featuring her gorgeous photography. For me, it was just like Christmas! Many thanks to the three Js!
On Sunday afternoon, I took Sarah to the train station. Along the way, we saw well-dressed senior citizens rummaging through the garbage near a grocery store, looking for discarded vegetables. So sad. We often see older people looking through too-ripe or damaged fruit and vegetables that vendors throw out on market days.
I was so exhausted from racing around for three days, I completely forgot about a brocante at Parc des Princes - in my own neighborhood! The weekend was also Fete de la Musique in Paris, so we listened to
noise music from across the street in the Bois de Boulogne until early this morning.
Beginning this Friday, it's Solidays in the Bois, the annual three-day music festival which raises funds for AIDS charities. We're going to skip
impossible-to-sleep-due-to-booming-bass-from-bands-performing-on-three- stages Solidays and spend four days in Amsterdam.
Technorati Tags: Antiques and collectibles, Art Nouveau, Arts & Crafts, Aubrey Beardsley, Berthillon, Bois de Boulogne, Fete de la Musique, Hermes, Jane Rosemont, Joan Walsh, Judy Winter, London, Nantes, neocons, Paris, photography, Salon, Shakespeare & Co., Solidays, The Studio, Vanves
Bas-relief sculpture, Passeig de Gracia, Barcelona, Spain.
The Washington Post is the latest newspaper to cow to conservative and/or corporate critics, firing the excellent columnist Dan Froomkin. Glenn Greenwald has written an insightful article about the abysmal state of the establishment media in the US.
Is it any wonder newspapers around the country are dropping like flies? A newspaper's job is to investigate, discover, question and report; to call the government, as well as corporations and citizens alike to task. A newspaper is NOT supposed to publish bland press releases that suit corporate advertisers' sensibilities. Nor is it the reporter's job to throw up smokescreens or implement spin on a story - that's public relations; not journalism. Just the facts, please!
From Dan Froomkin's statement on his dismissal at the Washington Post:
"...I think that the future success of our business depends on journalists enthusiastically pursuing accountability and calling it like they see it. That’s what I tried to do every day. Now I guess I'll have to try to do it someplace else."
Ile Saint-Louis, Paris. Isn't the expression on the little boy's face adorable? And it's sweet that the groom is holding the bride's flowers, while she tries to keep her wrap from blowing away in the wind.
Posing for the photographer.
Page girls lift the bride's train, as the couple begin to leave the bridge.
Page girls hold the bride's train, as the wedding party walks towards the quai along Notre Dame.
A trio of wedding guests wearing hats.
This bride and groom are waiting to enter the park behind Notre Dame, as a group of schoolchildren depart, clearly thrilled to see the happy couple. The children shout compliments and congratulations as they exit the gate. Click photos to view detail.
Check back this weekend for more photos.
Recently I have been trying to simplify and de-clutter, particularly in my tiny studio/guest room (which formerly was my daughter Jordana's room). Previously, the space was very lively and colourful - but overcrowded. The early 19th-century wine-tasting table from Bourgogne serves as a work surface for art and photography. The baskets beneath the table contain a netbook, books and photo files.
On the wine-tasting table are two 19th-century glass items: a pharmacy measure and cloche covering an orchid in a porcelain pot. Also pictured: a Laura Ashley glass lamp; a handmade journal, a gift from Karen Cole; an oil on panel painting by Taos, N.M. artist Greg Moon; a Pottery Barn retro telephone; a John Derian decoupaged tray, bought at The Paris Market in Savannah, Ga. and my Sony DSLR-A900.
The oeil de boeuf window with leaded glass (one of two) is originally from a chateau in Bourgogne. I hope that someday they will serve as windows in a house. The framed heliogravures are Lehnert & Landrock images of early 20th-century Egypt. Two Moroccan vintage sequinned wedding blankets purchased from Maryam Montague are on the bed, as well as an "eye" pillow by Julochka in Denmark.
I put one blue wooden chest of art supplies inside a closet; other supplies and photo equipment are in this chest of drawers from Agape Deco. The iron arched window frame is from a French chateau. The painting - which reminds me of a Spanish flamenco dancer - is by Vanessa Valencia. The pottery pitcher is by a Santa Fe artist and the numbered books are by Noel Solomon.
But lest you think my job is done, that's just one room; the rest of apartment also needs de-cluttering. I have put some furniture in the cave (wine cellar) and am selling a few antique pieces. As any Parisian apartment dweller can attest, finding enough space to breathe is a never-ending quest!
P.S. Karen Kingston's book Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui will make you want to clean out closets, clear shelves and ruthlessly toss things out to create space.
Technorati Tags: Agape Deco, Antiques and collectibles, Christina Alvarado, Greg Moon, John Derian, Julochka, Karen Cole, Lehnert & Landrock, Madelyn Mulvaney, Maryam Montague, Noel Solomon, Paris, photography, Santa Fe, Savannah, Taos, The Paris Market, the way we live, travel, Vanessa Valencia, vintage Moroccan wedding blankets
Three-way mirrors, fourth floor, Liberty, London.
Stack of painted wooden chairs, Liberty.
Like all big cities, Paris struggles with issues related to globalisation and immigration. The latest issue of the online magazine Triple Canopy explores the phenomenon of monoactivite: Chinese textile wholesalers taking over the Sedaine-Popincourt neighbourhood.
Local residents, angered by the displacement of boulangeries, bistros and longtime businesses, want the Chinese businesses gone. The French government is trying to further regulate the Chinese wholesalers, who sell garments only in bulk and block streets with trucks loading and unloading merchandise.
Chinese employers operate sweatshops behind elegant facades, piecing together goods arriving from China in partially-finished condition and adding “Made in France” labels. The goods are then shipped to developing markets. Jules Treneer, an Oberkamp resident, writes about Parisians' views on French culture and their ambivalence towards immigration and the global marketplace.
It just boggles the mind that modern-day slavery - also known as human trafficking - is so widespread. Read Megan Butel's eye-opening blog post "Stop! Where are you going with this?"
Who's afraid of a book?
Think book-banning and book-burning is a relic of another era? Not in West Bend, Wisconsin, where a few dunces are determined to censor their local library's selection of books. Read Laura Miller's piece about the groups fearful of Francesca Lia Block's book Baby Be-Bop.
I find it infuriating that a small group of ignorant and judgmental people try to impose their narrow views on everyone else, never mind if civil liberties are violated in the process!
Technorati Tags: Baby Be-bop, book-banning, Books, Chinese wholesalers, civil liberties, Francesca Lia Block, French culture, human rights, human trafficking, immigration, Jules Treneer, Laura Miller, leche-vitrines, Liberty, London, Made in France, Megan Butel, news and current events, Paris, photography, Salon, Sedaine-Popincourt, The New York Times, Triple Canopy, West Bend, Wisconsin
"...War will compel nations the most attached to liberty to resort for repose and security to institutions which have a tendency to destory their civil and political rights. To be more safe, they at length become willing to run the risk of being less free." - Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist, No. 8
Shades of The Green Lantern. Click the words below for links to articles.
Technorati Tags: Alexander Hamiliton, BBC, Glenn Greenwald, Guardian Camera Club, healthcare, hostages, human rights, Iran, Iran protests, Iranian elections, Joe Lieberman, leche-vitrines, Liberty, Lindsay Graham, London, meditation retreats, neo-Nazis, news and current events, Obama, photography, politics, racism, Salon, terrorism, The Federalist, The Green Lantern, The Independent, The Middle East, US Army, war in Iraq, Yemen
City canyons: Regent Street, London, with construction cranes altering the skyline.
In city canyons
I wander and wonder... do
we see the same stars?
Does the night find you
awake, memories burning?
Do dreams remember?
Or does sleep erase
its traces fading?
I hold the map close
and escape in the moonlight;
The view obscured, but
this heart's journey home.
An ancient story
written long before we knew
which path to travel.
Worlds apart, we crossed
oceans for our moment in
time, sealing love's fate.
Back from London a bit early; chaos created by the transit strike meant I spent most of my time on buses trying to get places, rather than accomplishing what I'd planned. I love London, but is it any wonder it failed to make even the top 50 of the world's most livable cities? Crowded, noisy, polluted, expensive.
Buses galore, cars, bikes and walking were the only modes of transport available Wednesday and Thursday during the London Underground strike. Hundreds of people were lined up at every stop, waiting to board already over-crowded double-deckers. After waiting in pouring rain nearly an hour for a bus - while several empty ones passed with "Not in service" signs - I paid £25 to hop on a Big Bus Company tourist bus on Gloucester Road. It took more than two hours in heavy traffic to reach Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum on Baker Street. From there I walked to my appointment on Harley Street.
A bus from Regent Street took three hours to reach Speaker's Corner in Hyde Park. The driver then announced he was told he'd worked too many hours (due to the excessive traffic) and passengers would have to depart at the next stop. I got out and walked to my hotel in South Kensington, just glad to be off the bus!
Unfortunately the strike meant I couldn't schedule any meet-ups with friends. But I did visit The Photographers' Gallery and my favourite store Liberty, where an Arts & Crafts exhibit was underway (check back later for photos). I also bought a new laptop. At the computer store, I refused the salesperson's entreaties to consider Dell, due to the large sums the company's founder contributed to Republicans in the 2008 presidential election. (I bought a Sony lightweight laptop with a huge memory, to go along with my HP laptop and Samsung netbook)
I thought this Nike ad on Oxford Street was appropriate for the day, considering the thousands of people streaming by in sneakers or walking shoes.
The harm in hate
Recently I was alarmed to note someone from a dangerous neo-Nazi group in the US was reading my site. Right-wing ignorance and hatred is spreading: witness European elections this week and right-wingers gaining seats in the European Parliament.
In the UK, the British National Party won two seats in the European Parliament. At a press conference, the group's figurehead was pelted with eggs. On London television, a commenter joked, "He was upset because the egg-throwers didn't separate the whites." Another commenter suggested those with ethnic backgrounds living in the BNP constituencies show up at their surgeries (regularly scheduled to hear constituents' concerns) in groups, forcing the racist leader to deal with non-whites.
It appears the white supremacist suspected of killing a security guard at the Holocaust Museum in Washington has links to the BNP.
If you read nothing else today, these articles are worth your time:
The wrong story
On Eurostar to London, I read Siri Hustvedt's book "The Sorrows of an American." While the book was interesting, I found some of the sidebars distracting, with characters that didn't seem relevant to the plot.
But I am glad I read the book. Three phrases in particular struck a chord. In one passage,the author compared the current rash of television reality shows to the equivalent of people gathering at the gallows to watch a public hanging. A succinct analogy, I think.
And these two lines resonate:
"We found the wrong story. We were looking for one story and ran into another one."
"Maybe you've kept a secret in your heart that you've felt, in all its joy or pain was too precious to share with anyone."
What about you? Did you find the wrong story or are you happily ensconced in a modern-day fairytale? Do you hold a secret close; one so powerful you don't dare whisper it to another?
"London crawling" is a tongue-in-cheek reference to "London calling," the BBC World Service's station identification: "This is London calling," used during World War II in broadcasts to other countries.
Technorati Tags: BBC World Service, Big Bus Company, British National Party, Dell, European Parliament, Intelligence Report, Joan Walsh, leche-vitrines, London, New York Times, news and current events, Paul Krugman, photography, racism, Salon, Sony, Southern Poverty Law Center, The Guardian, The Photographers' Gallery, The Sorrows of an American; human rights, Transport for London, travel, tube strike
Hand-written sheet music at Sophie Pretelat's Anges et Demons stand at the 32nd Foire aux Antiquaires at Saint-Sulpice, Paris. Take Metro Line 10 to Mabillon, then walk to Place Saint-Sulpice. The brocante continues from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. through June 15th.
Histoire de Paris tomes and a heavy iron door knocker.
An antique writing desk, frames and curiosities.
A tableau of decorative items.
Sculptures, urns and plaster medallions.
A painted pillar and candlestick.
Am off to London, just in time for the Tube strike! Will catch up with you at the weekend.
Aqua verre, a marble sculpture and a plaster medallion at the extraordinary Sophie Pretelat's Anges et Demons stand at the 32nd Foire aux Antiquaires at Saint-Sulpice, Paris. The event continues daily from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. through June 15th. Take Metro Line 10 to Mabillion and walk two blocks to Place Saint-Sulpice.
Aqua glass candle or flower hanging goblets and 18th-century documents.
An 18th-century wooden plaque from a ship, an antique urn and 19th-century pharmacy glass.
A tablet of vintage glass, candlesticks and a father-and-child sculpture.
An antique writing desk, decorative boxes and lamps.
Vintage boxes and cylinders and an embroidered band of ribbon.
Amber etched-glass goblets.
A vintage wooden ship, cricket balls, fish plates, shells and framed illustrations.
Two chairs with needlepoint seats.
Le petit maison.
A surprisingly-comfortable 19th-century Swedish daybed and an oil painting.
Check back Monday for more photos from Anges et Demons and other curiosities at Saint-Sulpice.
Anilore Banon's Les Braves sculpture at Omaha Beach, Normandy, France.
Fighting for freedom: Remembering the heroic young Allied troops who stormed the beaches and scaled the cliffs at Normandy, June 6, 1944.
Technorati Tags: Allied troops, Anilore Banon, Anthony Beever, BBC, Collierville-sur-Mer, D-Day, El Pais, France, France 24, Guardian, Le Monde, Le Parisien, Les Braves, news and current events, Normandy, Normandy beaches, Obama, Omaha Beach, Paris, photography, politics, Sarkozy, the American Cemetery, The Independent, WWII veterans
A pop art take on Barack Obama's presidential campaign rallying cry "Yes, we can!" in a shop window.
Agape special sale
Today my friend Gabrielle and I went to Agape's vente emphemere at La Biscuiterie de France. Alas, there were so many enthusiastic shoppers, I couldn't take a photo without someone stepping into the shot. These photos were taken in May when Di Overton and I went to Agape.
Tableaus at Julie Isore's Agape.
If you're in Paris, Agape's special sale continues from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and from 2 to 6 on Sunday. La Biscuiterie's entrance is at 60, rue de Billancourt in Boulogne-Billancourt. Take Metro Line 10 to Jean-Jaures or Pont de Saint-Cloud.
My friend Sophie's dog Diva in an antique urn on opening day of the Antiquites Brocante at Place Saint-Sulpice, Paris. Like many divas, this one couldn't be coaxed into posing for the camera.
Sophie had to hold Diva so she would look at the camera lens. Check back later for more photos from the brocante.
Leave the white sneakers at home
We witnessed an incident in which an Australian tourist became distraught over something and argued loudly with an antiques dealer. She said, "You're only doing this because I speak English." And an audible collective gasp arose from all the French stall-holders nearby, who demurred, "No, Madam, not at all. We all speak English. You simply misunderstood about the price." But the tourist flounced off, shaking her head and muttering about how they were trying to take advantage of her.
She was wearing khaki trousers and pristine white sneakers/running shoes. A word of advice: leave the white sneakers at home when you come to Paris. They are unacceptable here, unless you're on court at Roland Garros. And if you don't understand something, don't shout at the proprietor!
Thank you, President Obama
I listened to the president's speech in Cairo and was impressed by his respect for other cultures and customs, as well as his evenhandedness in approaching the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I think his speech did much to begin restoring dignity for the United States and our reputation in the Middle East.
At the same time, I was thinking how the narrow-minded right-wingers in the US would have a field day, simply because President Obama quoted the Koran (he also quoted the Torah and the Bible) and spoke a few words of Arabic.
Update Friday, June 5: Add an Oklahoma senator to the list. He must have been listening to a different speech and living in a different reality the last few years, since he seems unclear about how war in Iraq began.
More revisionist history from the Cheneys
Will the Cheneys please stop lying - for that matter, just stop talking? Why is Dick Cheney sending his daughter out to rehash the same false claims and failed talking points??!! Why is the news media giving her a forum, without someone to refute the falsehoods she's spouting? Completely irresponsible journalism by MSNBC, not to mention deceitful behaviour by the publicity-mad Cheneys.
Technorati Tags: BBC, Daily Kos, Dick Cheney, Guardian, Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Liz Cheney, MSNBC, news and current events, Obama, Paris, photography, politics, Roland Garros, Saint-Sulpice, The Middle East, white shoes
French 18th-century satin slippers at Sophie Pretelat's Anges et Demons.
If you're in Paris, you might enjoy browsing for antiques and collectibles at the 32nd Foire aux Antiquaires at Place Saint-Sulpice. Beginning Thursday, June 4, the brocante is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily through June 15. Tomorrow night only, antique dealers will keep their stalls open until 10 p.m. Admission is free.
Stop by and see Sophie Pretelat's amazing antiques and collectibles at Anges et Demons, Stand K8. Sophie's great style and flair for display alone is worth a visit. Nathalie Cottier - who usually has wonderful Guignol puppet theatres on hand, among other offerings - will be at Stand A10.
Regular readers are aware that I routinely rotate Paris Parfait mastheads. The current banner contains my photos of beaches at Normandy, France, where American, British and Canadian troops landed on D-Day, June 6, 1944. The large background photo is of Pont du Hoc, the steep cliff that American troops scaled, only to be met by German fire. The smaller photos are of driftwood on Utah Beach; a steel sculpture on Omaha Beach created by French sculptress Anilore Banon to honour American troops; trotter horses training at low tide on Utah Beach and a canal in the town centre of Bayeux.
President Barack Obama will join French President Nicholas Sarkozy, Britain's Prince Charles and others this weekend to mark the D-Day anniversary.
Another suicide at Guantanamo Bay
On a somber note, the constitutional lawyer and columnist Glenn Greenwald has an excellent piece at Salon about the latest suicide at Guantanamo Bay and the government's complicity. Can you imagine what a nightmare it would be,locked in a cell for seven years without charge? It's no wonder prisoners are driven to despair. So much for our so-called democracy's respect for human rights!
Both Republicans and Democrats - even those who called loudly for its closure during the Bush administration - are now blocking Obama from immediately closing Guantanamo Bay. How? In a shameful abdication of responsibility, they've refused to approve needed funding. These "not in my back yard" politicians are also balking at accepting current prisoners for trial within the United States, as though they are some sort of terrible monsters, not human beings.
Most prisoners at Guantanamo haven't even been charged and well may be innocent victims of gross miscarriages of justice. It defies belief that those elected to represent us are being obstructive in the rule of law. Meanwhile, those men in Guantanamo remain prisoners for what reasons, exactly??!!
"We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people." - John F. Kennedy
Stuck in a time warp?
"I'm a guy who sees nothing good having come from the Internet. Period." - Michael Lynton,
CEO of Sony Pictures
It seems Michael Lynton has been spending too much time at the movies and not enough paying attention to the way communications are evolving.
Technorati Tags: Anges et Demons, Anilore Banon, Antiques and collectibles, Bayeux, brocante, constitutional law, D-Day, Democrats, Glenn Greenwald, Guantanamo Bay, human rights, Michael Lynton, Nathalie Cottier, news and current events, Normandy beaches, Obama, Omaha Beach, Paris, Pont du Hoc, Prince Charles, Republicans, Saint-Sulpice, Salon, Sarkozy, Sony Pictures, Sophie Pretalat, US Senate, Utah Beach
Vintage knocker on painted door, Montreuil-sur-Mer, France.
"Courage is one step ahead of fear." - Coleman Young
I have flown hundreds of flights, both international and domestic. But with every year that passes, I am more and more anxious about flying across the Atlantic. The tragic disappearance of Air France 447 just amplifies the worry. Yes, I know flying is considered the safest mode of transportation. Yes, I know it's ridiculous for someone who's traveled as much as I have to give flying a second thought.
But in the past few years, the only way I can endure a long-haul flight is to pretend I'm not on a plane; to distract myself with books, music, movies and conversation. Still, my heart is in my throat during takeoff, landing and during turbulence mid-flight. If you were sitting next to me, you'd never suspect I was nervous; I'm one of those people who remains calm in a crisis. And I'd probably be reassuring you that it's only a bit of temporary turbulence, while silently praying for a safe landing.
So I think long and hard about criss-crossing the Atlantic, when an opportunity arises - even one that could open intriguing doors for me. By happenstance, such an opportunity has just presented itself. This morning, as I was trying to talk myself into being brave about crossing the Atlantic (after all, I did it just last month), this message from Michael Bungay Stanier arrived in my inbox:
"Courage is almost always a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live, taking the form of a readiness to die." - Gilbert Keith Chesterton
"...Even though the etymology of the word harks back to the Latin word for "heart," the truth is that the battle to be courageous first gets played out in your mind. On the one hand you have that little voice saying "play it safe, don't be foolish, don't step away from what you know."
"And on the other, you have the call to something a little bigger, a little different, a little unknown. Notice the chatter. Rather than rushing through, linger a little at these crossroads. If this is a discussion, then it means you'll have a choice. Who's winning the debate? Courage? Or fear?"
"Courage is doing what you are afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you're scared."- Eddie Rickenbacher
"A courageous act isn't necessarily a grand thing. It doesn't necessarily involve fireworks and marching bands and unfurled banners against the sky. But it does involve action. A small step.
"It might be a step towards something, the beginning of a Great Work project, a Yes. It might be a step away from something, a breaking of an unproductive pattern, a No. But it's a step. When your mind is log-jammed, sometimes the easiest way to break things up is just to get moving."
"Anxiety is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained." - Arthur Somers Roche
"If the choice we face - and we face this in a thousand different ways every day - is between courage and fear, then it's a delicate balance that can tip either way. Just as if you let fear hold sway, it eventually cuts a deep channel (and Roche's metaphor is actually a good description of the neuroscience behind the way we think), so, too courage can cut its own path over time.
"You will of course occasionally tip to fear. But practice one or ten, or a hundred small, even invisible acts of courage a day and you tip the balance inexorably to your favour."
"A great deal of talent is lost to the world for want of a little courage." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Photo of rusty door hinge and peeling paint, Montreuil-sur-Mer, which seems like a predictor of what happens when we remain stagnant too long.
Bob Herbert has written a brilliant piece slamming Republican faux outrage against racism, as they denigrate Sonia Sotomayor.
Pink roses, Paris.
Anxious friends and relatives are gathered at Charles de Gaulle, waiting for news of the Air France flight that disappeared en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris. The flight was carrying 216 passengers and 12 crew members.
The Airbus 330-200 encountered turbulent weather and Air France authorities say they fear the plane's electrical system failed, causing the plane to crash. A search and rescue operation is underway in the Atlantic.
Scroll down the page for two other posts today.
Paris apartment, June 1, 2009.
"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. Each of us must learn to work not just for oneself, one's own family or nation, but for the benefit of all humankind. Universal responsibility is the key to human survival. It is the best foundation for world peace." - The Dalai Lama
Scroll down the page for another post today.
Today much of Europe is on holiday, commemorating Pentecost. Photo, candles at the historic St. Saulve Abbey, Montreuil-sur-Mer, France.
It is deeply tragic when the religious right - whether Christian, Muslim, Jewish or any other faith - decide they are above the law. For decades, religious right groups targeted Dr. George Tiller, before he was murdered Sunday morning in church. No matter one's views about abortion, the law provides this option for every pregnant woman. Dr. Tiller operated strictly within the law. And he did not deserve to die.
Dr. Tiller is the latest victim targeted by extremists or domestic terrorists. Five police officers were killed in recent weeks. And hate groups are on the rise - no doubt fueled in part by the ignorance and intolerance espoused by certain irresponsible talk radio hosts and faux "news" television commentators. Read Mark Potok's editorial in the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Report about the dangerous resurgence of hate groups.
Cecile Richards at Planned Parenthood issued a statement about Dr. Tiller's murder:
"...Dr. Tiller was the epitome of high quality medical care underscored by deep compassion for his patients. While he was not a Planned Parenthood provider, Dr. Tiller provided critical reproductive health care services, including abortion services, to women facing some of the most difficult medical circumstances. He was continually harassed by abortion opponents for much of his career - his clinic was burned down, he was shot by a health center protestor and he was recently targeted for investigation, only to be acquitted by a jury just a few months ago.
"None of this stopped George Tiller from his commitment to providing women and their families with compassionate care that others were unwilling to offer.
"His death is an enormous loss for the patients who relied on him, his dedicated staff and the medical community. And it is also a loss for each of us for whom Dr. Tiller represented courage against unbelievable adversity."
Technorati Tags: Cecile Richards, domestic terrorism, Dr. George Tiller, hate crimes, human rights, Intelligence Report, Mark Potok, news and current events, Planned Parenthood, religious right, Salon, Southern Poverty Law Center