Democracy Village, Parliament Square, London.
Democracy Village was established early in May by "a group of concerned citizens" to promote peace and protest the war in Afghanistan. "We want to let our government and the rest of the world know that we are deeply troubled by the way our country is being run and the way our tax money and resources are wasted on illegal and inhuman wars," the group's handout explains.
But London Mayor Boris Johnson is taking Democracy Village campers to court, trying to shut down their "peace strike" and anti-war protests on public land. A high court hearing last Thursday was continued until Monday, after other citizens asked permission to join the suit as defendants.
Tents backed up against a patch of lavender.
One of the group's placard quotes Martin Luther King: "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
The Democracy Village is located directly across the street from Big Ben. Much of the building is hidden under scaffolding, while undergoing renovations.
Tents in the shadow of Parliament.
White-faced street performer with little boy with painted face, South Bank, London.
Update June 5th: Proof that there is some justice in this world: Steve Blair - the bigoted radio talk show host and city councilman who promoted this racist action - has been fired from KYCA Radio. Read more here.
Butterflies are free, Amsterdam.
A bit of frivolity today, as I need a break from all the bad news. In London this week, my friend Lee and I visited the Tate Modern, including an exhibit of Robert Frank photographs from his series The Americans. We also saw them hanging the exhibition Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance and the Camera that opens Friday. The exhibit addresses some interesting issues, including photographers' rights and voyeurism, both public and private.
On Thursday I had an appointment with the dermatologist, who prescribed a remedy for a sudden outbreak of "boutons rouges." Doesn't sound so bad to refer to angry little blemishes as "red buttons," does it?
It's been raining in Paris, disrupting the French Open match schedule at Roland Garros. Earlier this week, the French were aghast at Venus Williams' s choice of tennis outfit, which appeared more fitting for the Folies Bergere than Center Court.
Meanwhile, public transport has been erratic, due to multiple strikes and protests. (Just another day in Paris, then).
Amsterdam: Made by Hand
My lovely friend Pia is preparing to launch her new book Amsterdam: Made by Hand. If you're in Amsterdam on Saturday, June 5th, be sure and stop by the American Book Center in Spui Square at 3 p.m., where Pia will be signing copies!
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Mirrored stances at the stunning World Press Photo 2010 exhibition, Oudekerk Church, Amsterdam.
This weekend I had such fun at the brocante at Vanves, followed by a lovely brasserie lunch with Claudia and Claudia II from New York. I spent Sunday afternoon with Alexandra, a wonderful writer and witty blogging friend from Portland. We had lunch on Ile Saint-Louis, shopped for gifts for her family and friends, then had dessert - tarts and tea - at the charming la Charlotte de l'isle. It is a tiny place, but big on homemade taste!
Overheard conversation in a Paris restaurant: An American woman making no attempt to speak a single word of French, when addressing the waiter: "What do you guys have that's like pretzels or nuts or chips?" The bemused waiter: "We guys don't have pretzels or those things. How about frites or a croque monsieur, ham and cheese?" The woman agreed, as long as it would go with her requested "large glass" of Sancerre.
The three teenagers accompanying her looked mortified. In French, they asked the waiter for a menu. The woman looked at them incredulously. "You know French?" "Duh, Mom, we studied it last year," one boy responded.
Returning from Amsterdam, I overheard an American man on the train, talking loudly on the phone to his bank. "Can you let my wife have $1,200? No, I don't want her to have her own access to the account, because she'd spend too much. I want to control the money." (And her!) "No, I don't want to make it easier for her," he continued. "But I don't want a big panic when I get home on Tuesday. So better give her some money now."
Then the guy phoned a car repair shop and demanded an explanation for the crack in his wife's car's oil filter. He insisted they call him back within two hours to provide details.
Next, he phoned his assistant, who was on a holiday cruise with her mother. He patronisingly told her she's "such a sweetheart" to take time to talk while she's on holiday, then spent nearly 45 minutes asking her questions about work. Such a control freak! Bet his wife is glad he's away.
A sudden reversal backwards in time
During the Cuban Missle Crisis in the 1960s, American children were warned from certain pulpits that the Russians might invade and burn all the books and Bibles. No one suspected the enemy within: conservatives intent on revising history in the pages of school textbooks, slanting the truth with their own narrow-minded prejudices. A sad day for America and especially for Texas schoolchildren.
Of course, many school text publishers are based in Texas. Does this mean the Texas board's paranoid version of history will spread throughout the States?
In other news, why does this man still have a job?
Photo of spiral staircase and chandelier, Oudekerk, Amsterdam.
Technorati Tags: Amsterdam, Arizona governor, Cuban Missile Crisis, Henson Associates, Ile Saint-Louis, Ken Salazar, Lee Renninger, London, offshore oil drilling permits, Oudekerk Church, Paris, photography, Sesame Street Muppets, Tate Modern, Texas textbooks, The Paris Apartment, travel, World Press Photo 2010
Bonjour les tous! You may have noticed a lack of regular blogging lately at Paris Parfait. That's because May is a popular month for visitors to Paris. I've been a mad social butterfly, flitting from one rendezvous to another with blogging friends. Within the last ten days, have hosted three small dinner parties and been all over town for lunches, walks, brocantes, shopping and tea(s). What a treat it has been!
I've been spending lots of time with my dear friends Lee Renninger, Susan Gardner Creamer and Di Overton (all have been to Paris several times). I also had the good fortune to meet the fabulous Claudia Strasser - and her lovely friend, also named Claudia - for the first time.
In 1997, I was living in San Francisco, when I picked up a copy of Claudia's book The Paris Apartment at a bookstore in Monterey. Never did I dream I'd someday live in my own Paris apartment - and meet Claudia in Paris! On Tuesday, Di and I had a couple of hours of non-stop conversation with the two Claudias at Merci's cozy book-lined cafe. Such fun!
Claudia now lives in sunny Miami, writes the eye-candy-packed blog The Paris Apartment and often brings clients to Paris to shop for their apartments, whether a holiday home in Paris or elsewhere. Her friend Claudia Tessler is up to all sorts of philanthropic and green projects in New York. Both women are formidable (in the best, French sense).
Earlier that morning, Di and I had tea at Merci, before heading to the Antiquites Brocante at Place de la Bastille. It was rainy and cold and I was wearing a thin top and lightweight coat, which wasn't helped by a partially-collapsed umbrella. We didn't last long at the outdoor venue, before heading to lunch. I did manage to find a rare and beautiful Tibetan book of prayers at Bastille, but the grey miserable weather dampened the urge to browse (probably a good thing).
After meeting the Claudias, Di and I went shopping for dinner ingredients. Later we were joined by Di's partner Harvey and their daughter Charlotte for lemon chicken, whipped up by the resident chef. Before and after dinner, we were riveted to BBC coverage of events related to the UK election: Prime Minister Gordon Brown resigning and David Cameron taking office, after agreeing to a full coalition with Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats. It's the first time the UK has had a coalition government since World War II! Interesting times, indeed.
These weeks of socialising have come at a price: I have numerous projects piled up, vying for attention. Am working on those now, as this weekend we head to Amsterdam to see friends and explore areas in which to live. Consequently, blogging again will be sporadic for a few days. But I expect to have lots of news and photos to share upon my return late next week. And two more blogging buddies will arrive!
Meanwhile, the brocante at Bastille continues from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily through Sunday. Stalls are lined up on both sides of the Canal St. Martin. If you're lucky enough to be in Paris, don't miss the chance for incredible antiques and vintage collectibles! Tickets are available at the door.
Photos at Merci, Paris, 2009.
P.S. El Secreto de sus Ojos - The Secret in their Eyes - is a must-see! After reading reviews for the award-winning film (including a 2010 Oscar for Best Foreign Film), I discovered it hadn't yet been released in Europe. So I ordered the DVD from Argentina, in Spanish (with English subtitles). It's brilliant - interweaving a dark mystery and a poignant story of love too long delayed.
Technorati Tags: Amsterdam, Antiques and collectibles, Antiquites brocante at Bastille, Claudia Strasser, David Cameron, Di Overton, El Secreto de sus Ojos, film, Gordon Brown, Lee Renninger, London, Merci, Nick Clegg, Paris, photography, Susan Creamer, The Paris Apartment, UK election
Photo of fish kissing, aquarium in South Kensington, London.
Plenty of fish in the sea: must the Lib Dems kiss up to the Tories, Nick Clegg? It would appear a Lib Dem-Labour coalition government is more reasonable, considering your similar political ideologies.Or will Conservative leader David Cameron try to go it alone, without support from the Lib Dems or any other coalition? Without a clear mandate, forming a government could seem like swimming upstream against the current.
In my continuing bid to lighten the load, every day I take a book, a piece of art, a photograph or a household item out the door and leave it where someone will find it. Whatever the item, it's always gone when I walk past the spot on my way home.
But downsizing my household doesn't mean I no longer add to my collections. Au contraire! As you can see by the photos, I collect antique Bedouin, Palestinian and Jordanian jewelry. These necklaces are favourites purchased during recent trips to Jordan. The half-moon necklace (above) features double-sided Arabic inscriptions from the Koran, as well as teal-blue glass beads and antique coins. The pendant's heavy silver chain is handmade.
The necklace is photographed with a "1001 Nights" raw silk wall-hanging. It took six women from the Jordan River Foundation's textiles division six months to hand-stitch each section, then put it all together.
The Italian blue glass beads in the necklace at right are nearly 300 years old. This rare piece started out as traditional Arabic prayer or worry beads. When a baby was born into a family, more beads and silver pieces for good luck were added and the piece was transformed into a necklace. The photograph below shows a close-up of a Palestinian coin from 1942. Note the inscriptions in both Hebrew and Arabic, in less volatile times.
The necklace is photographed on top of a vintage Moroccan wedding blanket, courtesy of my lovely friend Maryam of My Marrakech. You can see her picture in the portraits section of my new photography website.
David and I are just back from a whirlwind trip to London. Thursday we raced around all day for business and errands. I had a fascinating conversation about the Sudan and the Middle East with an Ethiopian cab driver. I also saw a very tall model in a thin summer frock shivering in the cold at a photo shoot in Hyde Park.
After an early dinner in an Italian restaurant, David and I watched the recap of the British election debate, round two. On Friday, we visited family and a certain adorable ten-week-old baby.
Lunch was an excellent red pepper hummous flatbread with feta cheese at The Minnow in Weybridge, before racing off to catch yet another train (by the time we arrived in Paris, we'd ridden nine trains in one day).
Eurostar was packed, due to the backlog of passengers stranded when Icelandic ash halted European air traffic for six days. Even the jump seats between carriages were filled. At a specialist camera shop in London, the dealer told me he'd been booked to fly to Iceland to photograph the volcanic eruptions and celebrate a friend's upcoming nuptials. Instead, they went to Ireland. He said, "Change one letter in the name of the country and by the time we left, we didn't know the difference." In other words, they had quite the merry fete!
Back in Paris and nursing a sore throat, I watched War Photographer, the award-winning documentary about James Nachtwey. I was dismayed to read that Nachtwey's advertising for an UNPAID intern for three-months. No matter the experience an intern would gain from working with Nachtwey, the intern would have to pay his own room and board in New York - an expensive proposition by any stretch of the imagination.
In principle, I don't believe in unpaid internships. At the very least, interns should be paid a minimum wage, no matter how much valuable experience he or she might gain from working with a master photographer!
I also watched Annie Leibovitz's Life through a Lens, produced by her sister. Such a contrast between the ways Nachtwey and Leibovitz work. On the train to London, I read Susan Sontag's essays On Photography, which seem just as relevant today as when she wrote them in 1977.
My artist friend Lee is in Paris and if I can kick this cold to the curb, we're planning some photo jaunts at obscure spots around town. I also have a photographic essay to finish and a jaunt to Amsterdam to plan, as well as some routine doctor's appointments. Am hoping to catch up with your blogs, too!
What's keeping you busy and energised these days?
A Palestinian coin from 1942 is among silver talismans added to antique glass prayer beads.
Technorati Tags: Annie Leibovitz: Life through the Lens, antiques and collectibles, documentaries, Eurostar, Iceland, internships, Ireland, James Nachtwey, Jamie's List, Jordan, Jordan River Foundation, Journey to Jordan, Lee Renninger, London, My Marrakech, Paris, photography, Saudi Aramco World, Tara Bradford Photography. UK elections, War Photographer
Seeing red, London.
If it becomes law, the UK's Digital Economy Bill is basically a license to steal, allowing commercial use of any photograph whose creator cannot be identified "through a suitably negligent search." Further the bill seeks to ban "non-consensual" photography in public places.
For months now, UK police have been stopping ordinary citizens and press photographers alike - as they were taking photos of public buildings and at tourist sites - and deleting their photos. Under Section s44 of the Terrorism Act 2000, police do not have the right to delete photos - or even view them, other than in very limited circumstances. In response to such over-zealous and unwarranted police action, photographers formed a group "I'm a photographer, not a terrorist."
With the proposed Digital Economy Bill, it appears the British government wants to provide virtually free online content for businesses, while insuring photographers aren't easily rewarded or recognised for their work. In a country where an estimated 4.2 million CCTV cameras located every few feet record its citizens' practically every move, it is deeply ironic that the government is trying to censor photography in public.
I can't imagine these latest Draconian measures will prove popular with the tourism industry, or with the press trying to cover news events.
Downward arrows, shop window and reflection of Oxford Street, London.
What could you do with less? These days, many of us are asking ourselves that question.
While the family that sold their house and moved to a smaller one, using proceeds to help fight hunger in Ghana is laudable, one doesn't have to travel to Africa to find poverty. Vast pockets of impoverished people live in the United States and in most countries. Shockingly, in the developed world, the only place where poverty is worse than the USA is Mexico!
As a child growing up in the Southern United States, I saw plenty of poverty, particularly in Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Tennessee. In all these states, many families didn't have enough to eat, much less adequate health care. They sent their children to school with ill-fitting hand-me-down clothes and often lived in squalid or substandard conditions, as that's all they could afford.
Poverty, ignorance and oppression are at the root of most of the world's ills. Education, in particular, is often unavailable to the poor and this, perhaps more than any other factor, matters. Without education, people are unable to think for themselves or rise above their humble beginnings. They're unable to better their environment or make wise choices that will inform their future.
In the West, we are spoiled. We have too many material things and we keep accumulating more. We're besieged with endless advertising and marketing, suggesting we're not good enough. So we scramble to purchase a particular dress, a designer handbag, a luxurious mansion that we've been persuaded might make a difference in our lives. But the truth is, none of it matters.
We are enough. Without the designer clothes, the flash sportscar, the expensive jewelry, the fancy address, we are enough. If we have been educated to think for ourselves, be kind to others and use our talents to benefit not only ourselves, but others, we can move mountains. There's nothing stronger than sheer will and determination as a powerful force for good.
Living with less so that others have more doesn't suggest we must surrender all our comforts. It means that we deliberate more, when making decisions about how to spend our hard-earned money. In my case, I've started selling some of the antique furniture and collectibles I've accumulated over more than ten years in Europe. I'm donating clothing, furniture and money to charity. I'm discarding many beautiful pieces of decorative art in favour of useful tools, i.e. camera and computer gear that will help me generate income.
I'm reconsidering the clothes and shoes in my wardrobe and giving away items that no longer suit. Instead of purchasing hardback books (I consider books a necessity), I'm saving money by buying ebooks for my Kindle (unless the books are MacMillan's, who insist on charging considerably more than other publishers, even though ebooks cost them very little).
While still frequenting brocantes and flea markets, I'm thinking twice before buying. Am only scooping up rare things that I know I can re-sell for a profit. But I allow myself the occasional purchase, if something tugs at my heartstrings. After all, no reason to be fanatical about living with less! But for every item that comes into the apartment, something else goes out. I've adhered to this rule for over two years and it's proved surprisingly effective.
I also donate my writing and photography skills to human rights work and political causes. Sometimes time and energy can be more effective than money.
Do you see signs of poverty in your city? Have you made any major changes in your lifestyle and spending habits?
It's the weekend. Have some fun. Fix your hair in a daring new way. Get together with friends and make some music. Sing opera in the supermarket. Laugh, then laugh some more. Hug someone you love.
This group of musicians was entertaining patrons at Covent Garden, London.
A musical conversation.
Posing for the photographer.
Welcoming ladies descending the stairs.
Singing opera with passion and gusto.
Challenging the photographer.
Whatever your weekend plans, make the most of your time.
Dear readers, thank you for all your lovely comments and kudos for my four years of blogging! I appreciate each and every one of you. Alas, I can offer blog birthday prizes to only four readers.
Tonight my husband drew names from a French policeman's hat, as in the film Casablanca. Am happy to report the prize winners are Mary Ann, Mary H., Vida and Georgie. Each will receive a souvenir from the Paris flea markets. Please email your address to Bradford.Tara@gmail.com. Merci bien!
Barbie at 50? A vitrine at Galeries Lafayette, Paris.
Galeries Lafayette. What about that cotton candy-like hairdo? This look may be a little risque for Barbie.
Vitrine on Boulevard Haussmann.
When you were a child, did you play with Barbie and/or Sindy (in Europe)? My favourite was Solo in the Spotlight Barbie. Remember Midge, Francie and Skipper?
Do you still have your childhood Barbies? My two brothers demolished mine, but my daughter Jordana still has a few of her favourites from childhood. However, she lost about 30 Barbies, when we left nine suitcases in the Middle East (when she was eight years old). A friend was supposed to bring them to London, but it never happened. Guess some other little girl enjoyed playing with Jordana's Barbie collection.
A cosmetics and perfume shop in Covent Garden, London. That slogan is so Barbie-like, isn't it?
Bridge of Aspiration, Royal Ballet, Covent Garden, London.
Have you seen the delightful film Man on Wire? It is the thrilling tale of Frenchman Phillipe Petit's 1974 stunning wire walk between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. The story is fascinating, not only because Petit made history, but because he took a huge goal that seemed impossible and step-by-step - and with the help of his friends - made it happen. By sheer will, determination, courage and imagination, he spun his gossamer dreams into reality.
Each of us has a dream that we actively pursue or one hovering at the edge of our subconscious; perhaps we try to suppress it, concerned about what others may think. Maybe we worry that we're too old; too tired; too unprepared. Negative thoughts that we're not "good enough" are always ready to undermine any tentative progress. But the dream stubbornly persists, nevertheless. It tugs at our heartstrings and infiltrates our thoughts. We have flashes of wistfulness, wondering, "what if?" We have triumphant moments that seem to move us closer to our desire; at other times, setbacks - no matter how minor - leave us feeling confused and disoriented. And we wonder if the outcome is worth the effort.
Well I suggest to you, any obstacles that may appear are temporary. We are powerful. We have capabilities and strengths far beyond our imagination. We are blessed with magic and possibility. We may try to suppress the light we carry within us - for fear of outshining others - but that does no one any favors. Each of us has a purpose on this earth; a unique talent; a special gift.
"If you bring forth what is within you,
What you bring forth will save you.
If you do not bring forth what is within you,
What you do not bring forth will destroy you." —Jesus, from The Gospel According to Thomas
In the early years of my childhood, my family attended a Southern Baptist Church. The minister shouted terrifying hellfire and brimstone sermons, in contrast to the soothing songs we sang. One that lingers in my memory is This Little Light of Mine. An excerpt:
"This little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine...
...Hide it under a bushel? No! I'm going to let it shine. Let it shine, all the time, let it shine..." In case you haven't guessed, my theme word for the year is "light." Light as bright as the eyes can stand: sparkling, dazzling, intense light, sometimes filtered in shadow or softened to a candle's glow. Through writing and photography, I plan to shine the spotlight on people, places and issues of interest in Paris, as well as in my travels. Won't you join me?
...Hide it under a bushel? No! I'm going to let it shine.
Let it shine, all the time, let it shine..."In 2010, my hope and prayer is that each of us will be bold enough to shine our own light; to follow our own path; to make our dreams real. Why not?
In case you haven't guessed, my theme word for the year is "light." Light as bright as the eyes can stand: sparkling, dazzling, intense light, sometimes filtered in shadow or softened to a candle's glow. Through writing and photography, I plan to shine the spotlight on people, places and issues of interest in Paris, as well as in my travels. Won't you join me?
As the world turns, Selfridges, London.
Ten years ago today, David and I met in New York. A few months later, my daughter Jordana and I moved to London. A year after that, we moved to Paris, for David's job with an international organisation. Jordana attended high school at the American School of Paris and I resurrected my college French and struggled to adjust to French logic. It was my first experience not working for a salary since age 16; initially I didn't appreciate the loss of steady income and control. To lift my spirits, I began frequenting brocantes, flea markets and antiques shops. Soon our apartment was filled with an eclectic collection of art and antiques.
After discovering the endless bureaucracy required to get married in Paris, Jordana, David and I flew to Santa Fe, N.M. Our wedding ironically was at (French) Archibishop Jean-Baptiste Lamy's private chapel. Jordana's friend Vince played acoustic guitar, while she sang Bruce Springsteen's "If I Should Fall Behind." A dozen friends witnessed the happy occasion and later joined us for dinner at the Inn of the Anasazi.
We traveled to many, many places in Europe and the US. At home in Paris, David honed his cooking skills as we hosted hundreds (!) of guests. I became a fan of rugby and horse-racing at Longchamp (although I never bet on horses; just admire and photograph them). My daughter went off to college in the US.
I started this blog and picked up a camera for the first time in many years. I took Eurostar to London at least once a month. I worked on my novel. I wrote poetry. I campaigned for Barack Obama and worked on human rights initiatives. I had a few health woes, but was lucky to have quality medical care in both Paris and London. I studied Spanish in Seville, Spain and photography in London.
I have lived in Paris longer than any city in my adult life (followed by San Francisco and New York). Ten years ago, when David was a guest speaker at an e-commerce conference (at the World Trade Center) and I a writer, covering the conference, I wouldn't have imagined this life. It's had its ups and downs, but for the most part, it's been rich with blessings. While Paris has never felt like home to me, I know we are fortunate. Having traveled as a journalist for much of my adult life, I've learned, as John Cage said, that "we carry our homes within us, which enables us to fly."
Balancing act, Selfridges, London.
P.S. Don't miss your chance to win a copy of Leonard Pitt's new book Paris Postcards! Go here to enter.
A combination of beauty, fragility and strength...
The courage of one's convictions and faith that never wavers...
Unexpected, whimsical delights...
The road to success, always under construction...
"All the great things are simple and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom; justice; honour; duty; mercy; hope." - Sir Winston Churchill.
Photos above 1. St. Mary's Church, South Kensington, London. 2 and 3. St. Mary's, Oxford. 4. South Kensington, London and 5. Oxford.
P.S. Scroll down the page for your chance to win a copy of Leonard Pitt's new book Paris Postcards.
Bronze ballerina and phone boxes, Covent Garden, London.
You may have noticed that lately I've been a bit quiet on the blogging front. That's due to a combination of travel, work and particularly, health issues. I was born with a hole in my heart, although it was detected only four years ago. Since then, I've been made aware of the importance of remaining vigilant, particularly as heart disease is the single biggest threat to women's health.
Turning 50, unwittingly I joined a high-risk group. Not only do I have a hole in my heart - and therefore more susceptible to migraine, stroke and blood clots - there's a family history of heart disease. As one Western doctor noted, "Genetics load the gun; lifestyle pulls the trigger."
At the moment I take no medication, only vitamins. But my body is changing; I can no longer eat or drink anything I want and shrug it off. I have to walk and exercise nearly every day to see any effects. I need less stress and more sleep; rarely do I achieve either.If I have any dental work done, I must take antibiotics an hour before, due to the risk of infection to the lining of my heart. The key to managing the situation with my heart - just as with any health issue - is awareness. Occasionally, warning signs suggest something is off-balance. Consequently, this week I'm undergoing numerous cardiology tests; the most-extensive ones on Thursday. I am lucky to have good cardiologists and specialist medical attention, as well as excellent health insurance. I shudder to think of the financial costs of such care in the US.
I'm writing about dealing with my heart problem, not to garner sympathy, but to encourage you to see your doctor and get regular medical check-ups. Cardiovascular disease is a silent, stealth killer, responsible for one in four women's deaths. In Europe, 55 percent of women die of heart disease. Cardiovascular disease kills more women than breast cancer, cervical cancer or any other serious illness.
Learn to recognise the warning signs of heart attack or stroke. But see your doctor regularly; don't wait for warning signs. The American Heart Association and the British Heart Foundation have information online about education, treatment and care.
Moss on a stone cross in a small graveyard at Church Norton, England.
Today we pause to pay tribute to those soldiers who fought to uphold the principles of freedom we hold dear.
This person dressed like a banana and standing on a plinth is part of an art installation last month at London's Trafalgar Square. But the photo reminds me of the latest over-the-top activities of so-called "teabaggers" on Washington's Capitol Hill.
John Cole's article about the health care debate, the Republicans' just-released "alternative" bill and the clueless mainstream media coverage is priceless:
"Why is this not a bigger story:
"Late last night, the Congressional Budget Office released its initial analysis of the health-care reform plan that Republican Minority Leader John Boehner offered as a substitute to the Democratic legislation. CBO begins with the baseline estimate that 17 percent of legal, non-elderly residents won’t have health-care insurance in 2010. In 2019, after 10 years of the Republican plan, CBO estimates that …17 percent of legal, non-elderly residents won’t have health-care insurance. The Republican alternative will have helped 3 million people secure coverage, which is barely keeping up with population growth. Compare that to the Democratic bill, which covers 36 million more people and cuts the uninsured population to 4 percent.
"But maybe, you say, the Republican bill does a really good job cutting costs. According to CBO, the GOP’s alternative will shave $68 billion off the deficit in the next 10 years. The Democrats, CBO says, will slice $104 billion off the deficit.
"The Democratic bill, in other words, covers 12 times as many people and saves $36 billion more than the Republican plan. And amazingly, the Democratic bill has already been through three committees and a merger process. It’s already been shown to interest groups and advocacy organizations and industry stakeholders. It’s already made its compromises with reality. It’s already been through the legislative sausage grinder. And yet it saves more money and covers more people than the blank-slate alternative proposed by John Boehner and the House Republicans. The Democrats, constrained by reality, produced a far better plan than Boehner, who was constrained solely by his political imagination and legislative skill.
"I seriously do not get this country. The subservience to the Republicans by the media at least made sense when they were in the majority and held the Presidency in 2001. But this is 2009, the Republicans have been routed electorally for the past few years, everything the Republican party believed in failed miserably the last eight years and they have been exposed as total frauds. They released a budget with no numbers on April Fools Day; they have been whipping up teabaggers and gun nuts into a froth for months and screaming about death panels because they have no ideas or solutions and when they finally do release their health care “plan,” it totally and completely sucks. It is nothing but fail, fail, fail, from the GOP: they just lost two more seats in the house; they are going through a horrible (yet delicious) civil war; yet according to the media, everything is bad news for Democrats.
"You know what is bad news for Republicans? They used to be able to get elected and be incapable of governing and as the House elections on Tuesday and the CBO score today show, now they are incapable of getting elected and governing.
"And yet somewhere, Chuck Todd or one of the other Beltway drooling class is typing up their next thought piece explaining how all of this is bad news for Democrats and David Gregory’s staff is probably getting touch with McCain and Boehner’s chiefs of staff to see if they are available for Meet the Press on Sunday.
"I can’t tell what is a bigger joke- the Republicans or our failed media experiment. Three decades of screaming liberal media bias is about the only smart long-term thing Republicans have done in my lifetime."
Giant plastic hexagons, Selfridges, London.
It feels as though I'm in some surreal game of Twister, all tangled up, copying files from a laptop that needs to be shipped to the UK for repair and maintaining another laptop filled with unprocessed photos, as well as a netbook. Plus, I'm figuring out how to use my new Macbook Pro.
As a lifelong PC user, I was concerned about the Mac learning curve, but so far, so good! Luckily, my friends Nic and Leonie are coming from London for the weekend. Nic is a wizard when it comes to computer technical issues; his advice already has proved invaluable in the PC-Mac transition.
Check back later for images and stories from my travels.
Glass baubles and fishermen's ropes in a vitrine at Selfridges, London. I like how the reflections suggest passersby are walking among the giant balls. As always, click photo to view detail.
"We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have, if only we seek them with our eyes open." - Jawaharlal Nehru
Am off on a little adventure; see you later this month. Check back Thursday, Oct. 15 for my post for Blog Action Day 2009: Climate change.
Rain-spattered window, Oxford Street, London. If you and I look out this window, chances are we won't see the same things.
A tsunami in Tonga and the Somoan Islands; an earthquake in Indonesia. Refugees driven from their homes by the conflict in Yemen. Children going to bed hungry; others dying of malnutrition or curable diseases. These are real people grappling with serious issues; huge problems that cross socio-economic divides and traverse geographic borders.
The world has trouble enough. We don't need manufactured hatred and fear-mongering spread by right-wing talk show hosts and conspiracy theorists, polluting the atmosphere. We don't need personal prejudices of two former drug-addicted radio and television hosts foisted on a gullible and too-often ignorant public. The irresponsibility of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and their ilk (including the RNC and its ill-advised collaboration with "News"max) and the cynicism of their reckless and inflammatory behaviour beggars belief.
Of course those who shout the loudest don't worry about dangerous consequences of their actions, as long as they're raking in big bucks. Money is power in America; just ask Rupert Murdoch and other corporate media moguls and companies who encourage and sponsor ever-increasing vitriol in the name of ratings. Just ask Hollywood moguls (and French politicians) eager to overlook Roman Polanski's crimes, simply because he's an artist and a celebrity (and his films take in big box-office receipts).
Peace begins at home and we need to dial the hysteria register down a notch or two. We need to THINK FOR OURSELVES; read and be informed about the facts, not speculation or conjecture. Searching for common ground - rather than constantly focusing on our differences - would be a good start.
As Jalaladdin Rumi said, "Out beyond ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing, there is a field. I'll meet you there."
And an excerpt of Mary Oliver's poem Mysteries, Yes:
"...Let me keep my distance, always, from those who think they have the answers."
"...Let me keep company always with those who say
"Look!" and laugh in astonishment
and bow their heads."
"Look out any window" is a reference to Bruce Hornsby's song of the same name.
Technorati Tags: BBC, Bruce Hornsby, earthquake in Indonesia, film, Glenn Beck, Mary Oliver, music, news and current events, poetry, politics, politics, refugees, RNC link with Newsmax, Roman Polanski, Rumi, Rupert Murdoch, Rush Limbaugh, Sony A900 series, tsunami, UNHRC, Yemen
If you're in Paris, you may enjoy visiting the 79th Foire Nationale aux Antiquites a la Brocante et aux Jambons at Chatou. Opening day is Friday, Sept. 25th. The brocante - my favourite in the area - continues from 10 a.m. through 7 p.m. daily through October 4th.
Tickets are available at the gate. From Charles de Gaulle Etoile metro station, take the RER A1 train (direction Saint-Germain-en-Laye) to Rueil-Malmaison or Chatou-Croissy. Follow the signs at the exit and walk across the bridge to Ile de Chatou.
Or you can drive or grab a taxi from Paris. But don't count on a taxi bringing you back to Paris, unless you specifically book one in advance. More likely, you'll need to take the train back to Paris, no matter how much loot you've collected!
I'll be there opening day with an antiques enthusiast and store owner visiting from San Francisco. I'll also be there next week with Di Overton, searching for items she can revamp for Ghost Furniture. Stop by and say hello to my friends Blandine Bavoux (72 Allee Nouvelle), Gunnar Petterssen (1-3 rue Pele) and Geraldine Michelis (Une Chanson Douce). You'll be amazed at the stylish antiques and collectibles these clever dealers have on offer.
See you at Chatou!
Technorati Tags: 79th Foire Nationale aux Antiquites a la Brocante et aux Jambons, Antiques and collectibles, Blandine Bavoux, Chatou, Geraldine Michelis, Gunnar Petterssen, Jolietrouvaille, news and current events, Paris, travel, Une Chanson Douce
Vitrines at Debenham's, Oxford Street, London, depicting backstage dressing rooms for runway shows during London Fashion Week.
Mannequins depicting local trend-setters Victoria and David Beckham.
A vitrine dedicated to A-listers on the front row at fashion shows, including Grace Coddington and Anna Wintour of Vogue magazine.
P.S. I'm juggling too many balls in the air this week, with four sets of friends here, plus work obligations. This is why you're seeing an abundance of photos (taken last week in London) and few words. Hope to address that imbalance soon.
Just back from London, where I've spent the last week taking a photography class. Our assignment at lunchtime Friday was to approach strangers in the street and ask permission to take their photo.This photogenic couple on Oxford Street agreed to pose, then took my photo while I was taking a second shot.
London police officers and two guys who had stopped them to ask directions happily posed for a photo.
Shy guy at bus stop on Oxford Street, who managed a hint of a smile. Turns out the women I approached individually didn't want their picture taken; they were too self-conscious. The men were happy to oblige.
These people were amused that I was stopping strangers on the street to take their photos.
I was lucky to have a fantastic instructor and fun and talented classmates. We spent the entire week taking photos from dawn to dusk and beyond, walking all over London. It was a relief to have some technical questions answered; now I know what to do in most photographic situations and am confident I can hold my own with the big boys (and girls). Of course, I'll be practicing the tricks I learned, until adapting camera settings to varying situations becomes almost second nature.
Check back later for more photos, including department store vitrines featuring London Fashion Week, currently underway.
For my friends in London, I'm sorry there wasn't time and opportunity to get together! Between shooting and editing photos, I barely had time to sleep.
Last Sunday afternoon, I did manage to see the film Julie and Julia and do some power shopping in record time (had to buy an extra bag to bring back fall clothes). This was necessary, as in Paris it's nearly impossible to find clothes to fit normal women with curves. Plus, London has a unique style that's hard to resist.
Between the weight of the extra bag and the heavy camera gear, my neck and shoulders are rebelling today. Four sets of friends are in town this week, so I will be busy playing hostess. Also, the 79th Foire Nationale aux Antiquites a la Brocante et aux Jambons at Chatou kicks off Friday; I plan to escort some friends. Want to come along?95k723fane
Bikes, boats and canal houses at twilight, Amsterdam.
You may not be ready to kiss summer goodbye, but the prospect of fall fills me with excitement. In September, it's not just a birthday that makes me happy; it's the sense of possibility; the first hint of a chill in the air; the colours; the clothes. To mark my birthday, I'm joining other September babies in donating to Charity Water, which helps provide clean drinking water around the world.
My fall diary looks promising. First, there's a week-long photography course in London, fall clothes-shopping and chatty dinners with old friends. Later in September, there'll be teas and dinners with friends visiting Paris. I'll meet my blogging buddy Marilyn for the first time. My friend Joan, the fascinating proprietor of San Francisco's Timeless Treasures will be in town. I'll also be escorting my partner-in-crime Di Overton to the brocante at Chatou, hunting for goodies for Ghost Furniture.
Photo shoots in both Paris and the Loire Valley are planned for an upcoming book about French antiquaires and their private spaces. Early in October, David and I will holiday in Scotland and various points in England. In Northumberland, we'll visit Di and Harvey. Can't wait to see their renovated cottage (and sneak a few photos)! In Oxford, we'll visit David's daughter Marie-Claire, as well as Barbara and Barry, the lovely couple whose wedding the gorgeous Gillian and I were privileged to witness last December in New York.
November kicks off with the usual brocante at Bastille. I'll be brushing up on my Arabic in preparation for spending Thanksgiving and early December in Amman and Petra, Jordan, working on interviews and photo essays. I'll also make sure arrangements for our expedition March 1-8, 2010 are exactly as expected.
This fall I'll also be making a concerted effort to walk and bike more to build up my stamina (to carry heavy photo gear around for extended periods of time); to clear more clutter by selling some antiques and collectibles and to read more and worry less.
What's kick-starting your fall? Any plans for travel or launching new projects or creative ventures? Do tell!
This is a story of fraud and forgery; of deception and theft. I've waited a long time to write this piece, hoping that Dixons would do the right thing and honour their legal and contractual obligation and client commitment. Instead, the company has chosen to drop the matter, apparently hoping I'll tire of fighting for my rights.
In a nutshell, I bought a Toshiba laptop computer from Dixons on Kensington High Street, London (the store has since folded). I felt like a mug when purchasing their three-year extended warranty, but was glad I had when the computer crashed with a hardware problem. I reported the problem via phone; had an IT specialist in Paris verify the technical issue was beyond repair and as per Cover Plan Customer Care instructions, filed a claim. I was told the claim was approved and a cheque in the amount of £920.98 (about $1,509.68) had been issued to replace the defective computer.
I reminded Customer Care they knew very well I wasn't living in London - all our conversations and my correspondence had come from France, plus they'd verified my address in France. I informed them if they had in fact issued a check, it had been stolen and forged. I urged Dixons to file a theft report with the bank, as well as a police report in Blackheath, London, where they supposedly had mailed the check.
Dixons refuses to accept responsibility
Over the next five months, various Customer Care representatives assured me the matter was under investigation by their finance department. Yet they refused numerous requests to provide any paperwork confirming their actions or a photocopy of the check - and the forged signature - to provide to my UK bank and the police.
I advised the manager of their "World Wide Product Support" that their company was participating in fraud and encouraging theft, by refusing to pursue the matter. But Dixons' customer care representatives were rude and uncooperative. They informed me they weren't going to do anything else; they'd issued a check and it wasn't their problem if it was sent to the wrong address, stolen and fradulently cashed.
A so-called customer care representative provided a mailing address for Dixons litigation department, where I sent a copy of the file. Yet my correspondence has remained unanswered, despite repeated queries. I wonder if the company's CEO has any idea about his Cover Plan's reckless disregard for customer care?
So the moral of the story is don't buy a computer from Dixons and by all means, don't fall for the false assurances of their Cover Plan Extended Warranty. Dixons is quick to take your money to pay for an extended warranty, but extremely slow to bother with fulfilling their obligations under that warranty. Dixons still owes me £920.98 - plus interest.
Photo of potted tree root and marble sculpted head, Amsterdam.
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
Jigsaw windows, High Street Kensington, London. These photos were taken during London Underground's transit strike last week. You'll notice an abundance of bus, bicycle, motorcycle and pedestrian traffic reflected in the background.
For a few hours earlier today, you may have noticed a "strike" of sorts with my blog. To some readers, Paris Parfait appeared in garbled form; others were treated to a raw version of my upcoming photography website. Somehow among the domain name host, the website host and Typepad, "wires" got crossed. Thankfully, the talented tech guy who's designing my website got Paris Parfait back up and running. Meanwhile, we're working to finish the photography site design, load content, etc. to launch soon.
Thanks for all your emails about the problems today in accessing Paris Parfait. I appreciate your patience.
Besides these issues, I've spent the entire day copying files from my HP laptop, before sending it off for repair. Oh and did I mention a guest arrives tomorrow morning - probably to general chaos? Check back later for another post.
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.
A vintage Indian sari, The Paris Market, Savannah, Georgia.
Backpacks filled with flowers, Les Passages, Boulogne-Billancourt, France, snapped with my pocket camera.
Another flower-stuffed backpack at a store entrance.
Window display, Les Passages.
Giant Easter eggs, birds and birdhouses in a chocolate shop vitrine in my neighbourhood.
It doesn't look as though Miss Universe will choose a career in diplomacy.
And Avigdor Lieberman certainly is starting off on the wrong foot in his role as Israel's new foreign minister.
On the eve of the G20 Summit in London, most protests have been organised and peaceful. But live news feeds showed a group of 30 to 40 hooded and masked guys shouting obsenities and deliberately trying to provoke police in a cordoned-off area near the Bank of England. Some of these "protesters," - who weren't carrying any signs, so appeared to be just thugs and troublemakers - were brandishing sticks and throwing smoke bombs; one young man even bashed a police officer in the head. Still, the police showed admirable restraint, refusing to rise to the bait.
Other "protesters" smashed windows of the Royal Bank of Scotland and entered the building.
Scroll down the page for an additional post today.
Technorati Tags: Avigdor Lieberman, BBC, Boulogne-Billancourt, Country Living magazine, diplomacy, G20 protests in London, leche-vitrines, Les Passages, London, Miss Universe, news and current events, Paris, Royal Bank of Scotland, Savannah, The Middle East, The Paris Market, travel
18th-century millinery forms, Val d'Loire, France.
Today I've been having fascinating conversations about some upcoming projects and a visit soon from a lovely artist and blogger. My favourite Gypsy Girl is featured in a Nine to Five magazine piece. And please take a few quiet moments to read my fellow adventurer Gillian's enchanting essay.
As if all that isn't enough to spark your creativity, check out the inimitable Vanessa Valencia's latest whimsical creations - guaranteed to put a smile on your face.
News of note
A rather intriguing conversation took place between the United States and Iran, on the sidelines of a meeting at the Hague. Both countries were participating in the meeting about aid for Afghanistan. Dialogue is always a positive step, in my opinion.
But before the G20 Summit Thursday in London even begins, France is threatening to walk over disagreements about stricter financial regulation. Not exactly a helpful way to approach a summit designed to address the global recession.
Meanwhile the Paris-based Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has warned that the UK lacks ample funds to fuel its faltering economy.
As for Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai is playing dangerous political games with womens' rights. Karzai apparently is trying to curry favour with voters by backing a law the UN Development Fund for Women claims legalises rape within marriage. Further, the law bans wives from leaving home without their husbands' permission and would grant custody of children only to fathers and grandfathers. Where is the justice in that equation??!!
More antique millinery forms.
Technorati Tags: Afghanistan aid meeting in Holland, Alex de Souza, antiques and collectibles, BBC, French government, G20 Summit, Gillian da Silva, Hamid Karzai, human rights, Karen Cole, Nine to Five, OECD, Paris, Richard Holbrooke, The Guardian, UK economy, UNDP, US-Iran dialogue, Vanessa Valencia, women's rights in Afghanistan
A corner of my cabinet d'curiosities, Paris.
Update March 26: Read Di Overton's take on the subject: "Twitter away, I'm not playing."
Lately, I've been feeling completely overwhelmed by the tasks at hand. Book rewrites that are taking longer than expected, forcing me to revisit old wounds; an apartment that feels claustrophobic, after spending too many hours at the computer; a family situation that's made me realise how little control we really have in this life.
So today, instead of doing what I was supposed to, I went for a walk. I had tabouleh and coucous and yoghurt with cucumber and olive foccacia for lunch. I wondered if having breast-reduction surgery might make it easier to carry heavy camera gear around - but when would I have the time? Of course, the real reason to consider that surgery is back pain from being top-heavy. Can you imagine what it's like to live in a city filled with glamorous lingerie, but all the bras are the sizes we wore as teenagers? Sigh. But I am very reluctant to undergo surgery that requires anesthesia, unless absolutely necessary. Have you had this surgery? Were you pleased with the results?
OK, that was an unexpected diversion in this stream-of-consciousness post. And here's another: Why are girls still being force-fed in Mauritania? This is child abuse, not to mention barbaric!
Last night I watched the DVD of The Tudors until 3 a.m. (and slept in today). All that palace intrigue - thank goodness women no longer are subjected to having their children housed elsewhere, at the whim of their husbands.
I also edited some photos for a magazine piece and played with my camera. I talked to my husband, who's in Vienna for a conference; then answered some email. Why do companies keep emailing about "unique partnership opportunities with Paris Parfait," which really means they want me to link to their company, without them paying for a text ad? Do you get such requests?
But don't ask me to Twitter - I get lots of those emails too - because if you've waded through this post, that's pretty much like a day's worth of Twitter feeds. I don't have the time for Twitter - and how do YOU find the time? And who really cares about the minutia of my life? Isn't that just too much information?
I was at a BlogHer seminar in San Francisco last July and the girl next to me spent 90 minutes "twittering" to her friends about buying clothes online. I wondered why she bothered to attend the session, as she obviously wasn't interested in the subject. But all you Twitter followers, don't let me dampen your enthusiasm. Twitter away! If you find the time, please tell me why you find the Twitter trend so appealing.
P.S. Some of my dearest friends have enthusiastically embraced Twitter; please don't take my opinion as a personal affront. It's not you, it's Twitter!
Technorati Tags: Arab-Israeli peace prospects, BBC, BlogHer, breast-reduction surgery, economy, force-feeding girls in Mauritania, French hostage, French lingerie, Gaza, medical machinery, Obama, photography, politics, Salon, San Francisco, school curriculum in the UK, The Guardian, The Independent, The Tudors, travel, Twitter
"As a tale, so is life; not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters." - Seneca.
Remembering Natasha Richardson, 1963-2009.