30 July 2006

'Just one more. I swear.'

The robust air-conditioner at Corcoran's on Blvd. Clichy could inspire anyone to become permanently affixed to a bar stool. The place is an Arctic refuge. But, just as high petrol prices help to deter unnecessary driving, the price of a pint of Guinness at Corcoran's prevented me from becoming a serious drinker.

Most people drink too much because of their thirsty strands of DNA. It appears that genetics, behavior and other elements align to make an alcoholic. And with alcohol being an integral part of daily life, it is definitely the most socially-acceptable addiction to have. Life for the expat can be a complicated endeavor, even for the most well-heeled, evenly-keeled person.

Fortunately, the Paris anglophone community has a solution and a network for just about everything. This includes a strong link to the international support system of Alcoholics Anonymous. Meetings are held in Paris everyday, although some meetings don't meet during the August break or on national holidays.

The folks at AAPARIS.org have published their summer 2006 meeting schedule and offer support and advice to people with questions. A lot of my friends and family members have maintained sobriety using the A.A. program. They've all said it starts with that first meeting...and then another.

25 July 2006

Sing, sing a (Rouget de Lisle) song

The New York Times carries a column called "Metropolitan Diary," in which readers submit accounts of random occurances in The Big Apple. Having witnessed Americans in Paris, I enjoyed the following entry about Parisians in America. Apparently, we CAN all get along.
Dear Diary: Recently, on a beautiful sunny day, I was riding downtown on a Fifth Avenue bus, sitting in the back and surrounded by what sounded like a group of very noisy French students with their American guide.

As we passed the French Embassy, with the Tricolor flying majestically in the breeze, the students suddenly stopped talking and, as if in one voice, began singing "La Marseillaise."

When they stopped, this lovely spontaneous act of patriotism was greeted with a round of applause from the riders, all of whom had a big smile on their face.

I did, too.

20 July 2006

La Petite Anglaise makes former employer 'incandescent with rage'

A terrible thing has happened to popular blogger "Petite Anglaise" (aka Catherine Sanderson.) As reported in the expat blogoshere and now in The Guardian, Daily Mirror and elsewhere, "Petite" has been sacked from the Paris branch of British accountancy firm, Dixon Wilson. The firm cited her legendary blog, Petite Anglaise, as the central reason for the dismissal.

From all accounts it seems to be a baseless action on the part of her employer. Her French lawyer agrees. I've always assumed that "terminating" a worker in France is a complicated process, to be avoided at all costs. Do British firms have it easier or are they willing to take legal risks that French firms don't dare? Her firing may indicate that some "old school" chap at Dixon Wilson took the blog entries personally when they were discovered. Nevermind that the firm was never named or identified.

Sanderson has always omitted her name from blog entries, calls her daughter "Tadpole" and her daughter's father "Mr. Frog." It's such an endearing dose of anonynimity. Where is the crime in all this, I ask you? I suppose misuse of the firm's computer is a viable charge against our "Petite Anglaise." But, that could be a petty and laughable claim, given the daily atmosphere at so many firms in France.

On her site, Sanderson offers readers a chance to defray her legal expenses by making a donation using PayPal. Petite Anglaise's more daring fans might be tempted to share their thoughts directly with Dixon Wilson. I suppose one could also apply for Sanderson's job and start the process all over again, with another blog about Dixon Wilson adventures. Infiltrate. Replicate.
Ms Sanderson's employers, the Paris office of a British accountancy firm, allege that her anonymous blog La Petite Anglaise brought it into disrepute, even though it was never named - a judgment that seems harsh. -- Guardian
This is sure to be an ongoing story. I hope that references to Bridget Jones' Diary will cease, and I'm sure Catherine...err..."Petite" agrees. Stay tuned.

15 July 2006

U.S. voter registration abroad

Registering from afar: it just keeps getting easier. Let's all praise the fact that registering expatriates to vote in their "homeland" does not involve any french governmental agencies or french government workers. Click, click, print, and mail: that's all there is to it. It takes less time than waiting to purchase a bottle of water at Monoprix.

Military and expatriate voting is an overlooked, but important part of America's democratic Republic. Perhaps we've learned a valuable lesson recent elections; every vote counts, especially when every vote is not (always) counted.

Spend a couple minutes at the site linked here. Register if you'd like, and vote your conscience (end of sermon.)

Superman Returns to Paris

Brandon Routh is the latest Superman to be cast in a decades old franchise that now seems dated; but, in a charming way. Routh's hair (pictured) has sued Warner Bros. Pictures for second billing on "Superman Returns." As you can see, it played a prominent role in the film. Although, it was often found laying down on the job and looking like a wig. This will not diminish the film for viewers.

"Superman Returns" opened in France on 12 July.

>Read the entire post

14 July 2006

Paris: A new bridge, a floating pool and a fake beach

Apparently Simone trumps Josephine on the hierarchy of special events and logistics. To accomodate the opening of Passerelle Simone de Beauvoir (below left) on Thursday, the brand new - and operationally challenged - Piscine Josephine Baker was closed. Yes, again.

De Beauvoir becomes the first woman to have her name given to a Parisian bridge; in this case the 37th bridge in the city and one that leads to a library. How fitting, eh Simone? But, back to this pool…

It’s never been easy for me to wrap my brain around the idea of a floating pool. People in Manhattan have been begging for these contraptions, but the pools remain uniquely Parisian (so far as I know.) They are quite odd. Plain and simple. But, given the real estate required for a real live pool, it's no wonder Parisian and New Yorkers don't mind jumping into the drink...which floats in the drink.

I once took a swim at the Inter-Continental in Montreal in the dead of winter. The room that contained the terrace level swimming pool was enclosed in glass on two sides. It was over-heated and the air in the room was swampy. As I swam, a blizzard raged outside. I’ve never recovered from the sensory confusion of swimming in a hot pool while snow was falling overhead.

The Piscine Josephine Baker replaces the Piscine Deligny (pictured) that sank more than a decade ago. I never saw the Deligny and, to be perfectly honest, there’s something peculiar about an eighty-foot long container of over-chlorinated water floating atop a natural body of water, even if tethered to the dock.

Compared to the sight of those oddballs who willingly swim in the Seine, however, the idea of swimming in a buoyant body of water is not so strange. One would assume there are fewer microbes in the pool than there are in the river.

Despite its €17 million price tag, the Piscine Josephine Baker – and the complex itself - has been closed several times since it opened earlier this month. This is a monumental case of bad timing, given that temps will climb past 35-degrees by Tuesday. Perhaps Josephine’s troubles will cease and swimming will resume.

Paris Plage...coming soon! Mister mister might be able to cool the air for a moment or two.

10 July 2006

World Cup finale: Zizou sings the blues after seeing red

"Madness can descend in just one second, an aberration from nowhere. So it was in the 110th minute of the World Cup final as Zidane, the greatest player of his generation and in his last game for France, decided to head butt Marco Materazzi in the chest...Zidane's evening rapidly went from the threshold of glory to a slow ignominious trudge from the field." -- International Herald Tribune

"J'espère que ce qu'on a fait jusqu'à la finale va nous servir de base pour les qualifications à l'Euro-2008. Si on garde le même état d'esprit, on devrait y arriver. Arriver en finale et perdre aux tirs au but, c'est difficile de retenir quelque chose au niveau sportif, mais on retiendra notre merveilleuse aventure humaine et cela, ça n'a pas de prix. Jedis merci à Zidane, Thuram et Makelele pour ce qu'ils ont fait mais maintenant on va essayer de se débrouiller sans eux." -- Teammate Willy Sagnol, Les Bleus.

Zidane une icône française
LE MONDE | 08.07.06

© Le Monde.fr

09 July 2006

Paris, New York...Memphis: "Give me your tired, your poor...your zealots"

I don't often apologize on behalf of my countrymen. Je suis Americaine, but I also have an EU passport. So, if need be, I could momentarily claim not to be associated with that fat family-of-five from Phoenix who sprawl out on their bus seats and loudly complain about the lack of air-conditioning.

Something has come to my attention and I am compelled to step forward and issue a loud "mea culpa" to the families of Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and his friend Alexandre Gustave Eiffel. These men worked hard to give the United States a gift that has become its most iconic symbols, the Statue of Liberty.

A church in Tennessee has installed their own version of the Statue of Liberty, based on Bartholdi's Liberty Enlightening the World. Their version has caused a stir, due to its crossing a line between a once understood, now blurred, division between church and state.
Said the local paper: "Onlookers, confused by the statue's message, stared in disbelief. 'I had to come out here and see it for myself,' said Yolanda James. 'I can't believe they put the cross in America's hand.'
A police car has been stationed near the cross-wielding Lady Liberty statue on the church grounds in Memphis. Even tacky people's liberties are protected in the United States. I guess that's something.

06 July 2006

"Let them eat bandwidth!"

Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe plans to install 400 WiFi access points all over the city in 2007. Actually, he'll probably have someone else do it (I don't think he's keen on manual labor.)

There is nothing more democratic than free access to a high speed Internet connection. Many cafes and hotels offer WiFi for free - or a small charge. Even the cafeteria at Alliance Francaise provides WiFi, although bravery is required to use the electrical extension cord next to the drinking fountain.

Wifi picnicing (pictured) is another way to use WiFi while socializing. One wonders if the spread of WiFi Gratis throughout Paris will diminish people's interest in mobbing together to share tips and conversation. Given the insular nature of technology, my guess is that WiFi picnics will prevail thanks to free access in parks and public spaces.

First he gave us free toilets...and now this! Thanks Monsieur Delanoe. Free PeePee and free WiFi are both inalienable rights of The People.


Site au hasard
Voir la liste