Sunday, March 29, 2015

The future of "Top Gear"

And so Jeremy Clarkson's contract wasn't renewed by the BBC who was put into a very bad situation when Clarkson yelled at producer Oison Tymon for 20 minutes and smacked him around for another five.  I discussed this with a non-Top-Gear watcher at work.  If someone yells at you for five seconds, it's pretty bad; five minutes, it's an eternity; 20 minutes is the length of an episode of "Thirty Rock" without commercials and the abuse.  Toss on the length of the "Queen of Jordan" episode followed by slapping and it's what-the-fuckery at its weirdest. 

Clarkson did it to himself and he knew it as he was the one who called his BBC bosses right after and admitted it.  They were already pissed at him for various reasons -- the N-word controversy, the Argentina special with the Falkland-Islands-War-homage license plate, using a derogatory word in the Burma special  -- so he was the rump roast who stuck himself with the fork and pronounced himself done.  Who might replace him?

This reminds me of Jay Cutler of the Bears.  Jay is a very less-than-average QB.  He is not an elite quarterback like Russell Wilson, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, the Manning brothers.   He might be better than average with the right coach but he will never be great.

I was at a party last summer and talked to my co-worker's partner about it.  I said we needed to get rid of Jay and this man said, "Yeah, we can do that, but who can replace him?  There is no one available.  There are kids coming out of college but they're not ready for the NFL.  None of the really good quarterbacks have contracts that are up.  We're stuck with him and they have to make it work."
The whole Jeremy Clarkson incident/debacle/idiocy/what-the-fuckery reminds me of the Bears and Jay.  How they are they going to replace Clarkson?

For me, they can't.  Maybe Clarkson, May, and Hammond can start another wonderful, exciting show about cars that gearheads and others (like me) will watch.  I can't see sticking in someone else instead of Clarkson because, much like with QB Jay Cutler, there really is no one else.  (To be honest, Jay can be replaced, there's just no one to replace him; Jeremy Clarkson cannot be replaced on "Top Gear.")  If someone else comes in there, it won't be "Top Gear" any longer.  It will be "BBC Presents BBC's Top Gear brought to you by BBC and BBC Americas" and it will be not just different, it will be weird and out of sorts, kind of like Jeremy Clarkson himself when he freaked about not getting a hot meal and ripped Oison Tymon a new one for twenty minutes and then smacked him around for another five.  (Note to Jeremy:  Always have a hot meal provision in your contract.)

Yeah, I know I said I was going to put "Top Gear" behind me but it's "Top Gear" and I honest to goodness love "Top Gear."

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Happy Spring!

Spring arrived in Chicago at 5:45pm on Friday, March 20.  In the spirit of Spring in Chicago, we are expecting about 2-3 inches of snow that will fall most heavily during tomorrow's morning rush.  "Effing swell," she said with great sarcasm.  "Effing wonderful."

So I will take today off to think about this and also watch some of the only season of "Firefly," Joss Whedon's 2002 TV show that really is Ye Olde West with spacecraft.  There are people living by their wits, struggling to make a go of it, fighting to keep their freedoms in a restrictive society.  The most respectable person is the registered Companion, a highly educated and trained woman whose profession is, in essence, prostitution.  She's the most respected person in any room, more trusted and admired than a doctor or a preacher.  If you've not seen "Firefly," watch it on Netflix.  Then rent "Serenity," the movie that tied everything up. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

I was sick, then "Top Gear" news came over

Every fall for the last 20+ years, I've been getting a flu shot.  I've only gotten the flu twice -- once about five years ago when the Swine flu was not part of the influenza cocktail and the second time this past week.  I missed two and a half days of work, extraordinary for someone who prides herself on always going to work unless there's a fever involved.  (I took one day two years ago when I had a fever that went with a rattly cough.)  Well, I did go to work but my supervisor agreed I should go home after a few hours (and I offered to stay until lunches were over).  I talked to my doctor and he said it sounded like flu to him but if I should happen to cough up something dark-yellow-to-green in color, to call back and he'd give me antibiotics.  There was some considerable coughing once I returned to work but the solid evidence of it being an infection never came forth and I say now that it really was flu.

On Tuesday evening, after being in bed for almost 24 solid hours, I decided to see if I had any email of significance.  My very good friend, Suzy, left me a message about Jeremy Clarkson having a run-in with one of the "Top Gear" producers.


This is what happens when I get sick.  Things go all to hell and I hear about them days later.

It seems Jeremy Clarkson, the main voice of "Top Gear" along with James May and Richard Hammond, got into a fight with one of the producers after a taping in Newcastle.  From everything I've read, it seems it was a fracas of the fisticuffs variety stemming from the lack of availability of a post-production hot meal.

I blushed as I wrote that.  Yes, he smacked someone for not making sure they had some hot food when they were done with the taping.  And when the fight was over, Jeremy Clarkson called the head of the BBC and gave him a heads up that he'd done it.  I am blushing again because I'd learned that earlier this year, Jeremy had used a childhood rhyme from the early 20th century that, in the UK, used the "N" word.  My face is hot because I am so ashamed that I admire someone who would be so stupid as to use the "N" word at any time for any reason.  Americans are mostly politically correct always and the Brits are often not.   If you drop the "N" bomb here, you are basically dirt in the eyes of everyone and you remain dirt forever and ever.  No amount of apology can undo it.  BBC did not air that portion of the show and Jeremy was told that that was his final notice.

After the meal altercation, he was suspended from the BBC and the show will not be aired while they determine what to do with him.

Some people are pissed in both directions.  There was a petition on to bring back Jeremy Clarkson which at least 911,861 people had signed.  There was another petition to get rid of Jeremy for good and hire a popular gay UK comedian named Julian Clary and got 6,198 signatures.  A third petition to simply sack Jeremy Clarkson for good had a puny 805 signatures.

Jeremy Clarkson doesn't seem to think before he talks and he likes to end the work day with a meal of hot meat and two veggies and is willing to pound lumps on someone to get it.  But the man knows cars and is really smart and very funny.  He is charismatic and the audience loves him.  They can sack him and bring in Julian Clary -- who is supposed to be great, smart, funny -- but does Julian Clary know cars?  Can he do a handbrake turn?  Can he tell stories about trying to impress dates with handbrake turns?

"Top Gear" has regular viewers of about 350 million.  It brings in a huge amount of money to the BBC.  In the USA if someone brought in that sort of money to their network, said network would be doing anything those hosts/presenters wanted to keep them happy.  From what I've read, the BBC doesn't  go out of their way for "Top Gear" in ways that they would here in the States, although that might be from the perspective of someone who could soon be sacked.   Has "Top Gear" reached the end of its usefulness?  Will all be forgiven and will that cold-food-providing producer be fired instead?

I have watched all of "Top Gear" that Netflix has to offer at the moment so all I am doing is thinking about whether or not I can let go of Jeremy Clarkson making big, fat, racist comments.  (I gather there was another comment he made about Asians in the Burma special and Richard Hammond made thoughtless remarks about the citizens of Mexico.)  I'm annoyed at being put in the position of having to abandon something I enjoy so much.

I do have a good suggestion, however.  If he makes any more comments of a racist nature, I will fly to London at the BBC's expense and kick Jeremy Clarkson in his testicles as hard as I can.  I will then see a play at the National Theatre (also on their dime), spend the night at the Savoy (did you think I would want anything less?), then after breakfast in the morning, I walk over to the Covent Garden tube stop and get on the Piccadilly line out to Heathrow to come home.  The BBC can reimburse me for the work I miss and Jeremy Clarkson can have ice on his naughty bits and be thankful that I don't have more power behind my kick.  My sister is pretty small and has really mighty legs.  She would send his testes way up into his body cavity where they would likely reside forever, giving him something to think about every single day.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Own it

I know you've seen them everywhere.  You've seen, I have, everyone has seen those diners who bring out large DSLR cameras and take detailed pictures of their food and that of the dining companion.  This angle and that, "tilt the plate ... there!"  Photographing and blogging about the food they order has become the primary event and eating the food is secondary.  You wish there were two of them so you could knock their heads and lenses together because when they're done with the photography, they sit back and look smug and satisfied with themselves.  "I have a camera," they seem to think.  "I took a picture of FOOD."

This morning I met my friend, Michael, for a late-morning repast.  Michael is a dear friend and we'd not had a chance to catch up for several months.  When our food arrived, Michael pulled out his iPhone and positioned the plates.  Then he said something that made everything charming and fun.  He said, "I'm gonna be THAT guy."  I laughed, he got the picture below, and we went dug in.

THE DIFFERENCE:  he doesn't act like he's the coolest, the most creative, the hippest (but he is extremely cool, creative, and hip).  He likes to do it.  He knows it bugs some people.  He charmingly apologizes.

Yesterday, I was in Costco and I asked the checker and the packer to please just stick it all back in the cart, "because," I said with a great smile, "I'm a big asshole and I like things packed a certain way."  They smiled, I smiled, I took the cart to the side, and packed my things the way I like them.

Not everyone thinks you're divine so just make it easy on the world and say, "I'm gonna be THAT guy."

It's a pretty good picture, n'est pas?

Svea's Viking Breakfast with a side of Swedish meatballs.  Courtesy of Michael McAfee

Sunday, March 1, 2015

March 1st reflection

It is the first day of March, there is a lot of snow on the ground in Chicago, and the coldest February on record in this town is for the record books.  So long yesterday morning being -7ºF at 7 a.m. and kiss my ass!  I am filled with measured amounts of hope and expectation.  I am hoping it won't be as cold as last month (or last year at this time, for that matter) but fully expect to be disappointed.

Therefore, I take the day off because all things being equal -- which they are -- I would love to talk about "Top Gear" some more but even I could not bear it.

See you on the 8th! 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

"You can try but there's nobody else here and I have a shovel."

 Okay, okay, "Top Gear" has its grip on me.  I watched the episode below where the challenge is Jeremy and James driving to the North Pole and Richard going via dog sled.  Jeremy and James drive in a Toyota Hilux, moving slowly over frozen sea water, getting stuck in a field of snow boulders, having to get out using a chainsaw.  Richard, skiing next to the sled, running next to it, exposed to the elements for days, growing impatient, who, when asked by his very optimistic and cheery female guide if he wanted to try on the lead dog harness as she's looking for a new lead dog, says, "You can try but there's nobody else here and I have a shovel."

If you're easily freaked out by a wintery scenario, it is as scary as anything you can imagine.  And yes, I want a Toyota Hilux and a pair of Icelandic mechanics following me wherever I drive.

You Tube/Top Gear/Not Me has removed it from this blog.  Here is the You Tube link:

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Me + Top Gear = Some kind of love

Just today I had lunch with a friend who was talking about the cable TV options that are available to him and his husband.  He wanted BBC News but that was only available on the premium option.  The middle option had BBC Americas which he said he really didn't like because, "the only thing that seems to be on is 'Top Gear.'" He was shocked when I then said, "Oh, my god, I love 'Top Gear.'"

I am not a gear head, a car lover, an automobile know-it-all.  I know a smidge about cars but not enough to impress anyone at all, not even myself.  At work when I get a client into a rental and I don't know what it is, I will tell them, "I don't know because I'm a girl."  I say this several times a week.  I can't drive a stick and if some rental genius tried to get me to take a car with a manual transmission, I would certainly refuse as the car would be nothing more than paperweight and/or a hotel room.  Ixnay on the ickstay, say I.  So what the hell is up with my affection for "Top Gear," one of the most popular TV shows in the world?

I'd heard about "Top Gear" over the years.  The CBS show, "Sixty Minutes," did a piece on them a long while ago.  I finally saw an entire episode when I was staying at a hotel out near the airport the night before a very early morning departure for Seattle.  It was 100% car driven (pardon the sick pun) and these guys were obviously thrilled with themselves and their jobs.  I should've hated it.  Dear god in heaven, forgive me, but I enjoyed the hell out of it.  Then Netflix started offering it on their instant streaming option and, well, it's a guilty pleasure.

Here's the premise:  Three men test drive cars.  They discuss the pros and cons of said vehicles.  They sometimes take the cars out on the roads and wreak havoc.  They will build hybrid vehicles and wreak havoc.  (The BBC must pay a huge amount to people for repairs of things busted by their new frontiers of havoc.)  They seem to have their own permanent test track which appears to be either adjacent to or on the runways of what used to be a small airport.  They have a "Star in a Reasonably Priced Car" segment where they have celebrities drive the current reasonably-priced car at their disposal around a designated track for a time to see if they could beat the time of another celebrity.  They call each other morons and idiots.  They get cross and play practical jokes on each other usually involving a car.  There is a studio audience, everyone standing among the cars,  excited to be there. 

This show does two things for me:

1.  It makes me laugh out loud.  I laugh more at "Top Gear" than at some sitcoms.  The three hosts -- Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May -- often act like three total boneheads (case in point, the India roadtrip special).  They're also very charismatic and knowledgeable and loads of fun. 

2.  They are a remarkable sedative.  It's the middle of the night.  I wake up for no good reason and how will I get back to sleep?  "Top Gear" on Netflix is how.  The openings strains of the Allman Brothers song, "Jessica," come on, Jeremy Clarkson talks about what's on that night's show, and I grin because I know this sedative will help me to soon knock off.  But please refer to #1 above as during daytime hours I will go back and watch what I missed so I can have a nice solid laugh.

"Top Gear" might make you forget what was bothering you as you watch and think, "What. The. HELL?"

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Super Bowl Sunday!!

Today is the day of Super Bowl XLIX, except let's argue about Roman numerals.  Considering it is 49, and if the I is put in front of a numeral in order for it to be one less, then should it not be IL?  As we have no actual Romans to consult and Latin scholars want nothing to do with this, then we can agree to disagree.

SO!  Patriots or Seahawks?  Gisele Bündchen's husband or Russell Wilson?  At work, the two of us who talk football decided it was Russell Wilson.  While Tom Brady is every kind of great QB and very handsome, Russell Wilson seems like the sweeter guy and wow, that guy is built, so GO SEAHAWKS!!!

Old lady lust is not an exact science.

In honor of Super Bowl XLIX, a good friend told me about the clip below.  Marshawn Lynch has been all over the media for not wanting to talk to the media on Media Day, preferring to say that he was there so that he wouldn't get fined.  He said it in response to every single question.  Watch the clip from the Conan O'Brien Show in which Conan plays a new version of Mortal Kombat with Marshawn Lynch of the Seahawks and Rob Gronkowski of the Patriots.  Not what I expected at all (yes, I laughed out loud).

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Gisele Bündchen's Husband's Balls AND French TV spanks Fox News

Did you seriously think I was going to let something as wonderful as this go by without comment?  Long story short:  Somehow the footballs used by the New England Patriots in last week's final playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts lost air pressure.  This is a big deal because a deflated ball is a ball that is easier to catch and throw.  The QB can get a better grip on it when he throws and whoever catches it also can more easily grip it.  Famed, very, very rich and very, very beautiful supermodel Gisele Bündchen's husband, the very, very rich and very, very beautiful Tom Brady, is at the center of the controversy because allegedly he is the most logical person to have taken air from the balls.  More mysterious still, the balls seemed to gain pressure in the second half of the game.

1.  If the ball is found to have been tampered with, the result of the game will not be reversed.  The Pats will still have royally creamed the Colts' corn and they will still go to the Super Bowl.  If anything, they may lose future draft picks.  NFL season and post-season rules differ wildly it seems.

2.  Dear god in heaven, Tom Brady is a fine, fine, fine, fine specimen.  He's tall, handsome, and is very passionate about how he selects a game football, which he abbreviates.

3.  Balls deflate then reinflate thereby proving that the New England Patriots control all things related to the physical sciences in Boston during game play.

4.  I don't know if they cheated, I don't know who cheated, I don't know why they would want to cheat; I just want Tom Brady to talk about balls some more.

Below is a "deflategate" clip:


Fox News is not a news station.  It's a cable channel manned by people who say things they probably don't mean at all but they get paid well and have so many commercial sponsors that they keep saying outrageous crap so they can keep making money.  Their "journalists" like Christmas in Vermont; they enjoy fine shoes and clothes; they like April in Paris (but they probably don't go all the hell around Paris on the Metro or by bus, which is something I do, sometimes by accident, usually on purpose).

The whole thing about various parts of Paris being as bad as Iraq or Afghanistan is outrageous, dangerous, and, really, defamation.  The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, talks of suing Fox.  (Yes, please!)  The French TV show, Le Petit Journal, took to the the streets of Paris in its own way.  I am officially in love with Le Petit Journal.


Sunday, January 18, 2015

I won't get fooled again

Chicago's many fans of the Bears are rejoicing because there is a new head coach -- John Fox, who has taken the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos to the Super Bowl -- and there is a new general manager -- Ryan Pace, who started as a very young college graduate with the New Orleans Saints organization.  There is already much speculation about how soon the Bears will be going to the Super Bowl again.  People are happy!  Joyous!  Delighted!

Hold your horses, I say.  We still have Jay Cutler as our number one QB.

Maybe Mr. Fox can make a silk purse out of Jay's ear of sow, but I am so wary about all this that I just can't be so elated.

So these points:

1.  Phil Emery did the stanky bad deal of the century when he extended Jay for so many years with a guarantee for two years.  (Jay's agent?  Really very bright, that one.)

2.  Marc Trestman was not a very good fit with the Bears.

3.  It will be a building year.  (I am weary of building years.)

4.  Jay Cutler is not now nor will he ever be an elite quarterback.  This means he will not be one next year either.  I'm just sayin'.  Maybe John Fox can get an offense that features Jay's strengths but that remains to be seen.  Hell, the schedule isn't even out yet.

I am cautiously, guardedly optimistic, wary, and, if I give it too much thought, oddly tense about it all.  But I won't be fooled by false hope again.  And yet I say Go Bears!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Here's where

The Paris march against terror earlier today started from the Statue of the Republic -- whose name is Marianne -- at the Place de la République.  According to Le Figaro, 3.7 million people turned out for the rally in the capital, including 40 world leaders who walked arm in arm.  To encourage people to attend, subway rides in Paris were free.  (Bus rides might also have been free, but with 3.7 million people clogging the streets, would you want to be on a bus?)  In Lyon, 300,000 turned out; 150,000 in Toulouse; 100,000 in Bordeaux; 60,000 in Marseilles; 115,000 in Rennes; 100,000 in Grenoble; the list goes on.  In just the provinces, 2.5 million people turned out to march against terror.  The population of France is 66 million.  At least 10 percent of the population -- all religions represented -- turned out to say they were against terror.

Here is the Statue of the Republic, taken on that one November vacation day when it didn't rain. Allons enfants de la Patrie, etc.

Marianne, from behind, Place de la République, Paris

Sunday, January 4, 2015

It's been a while

Yes, it's been a while since I yakked on and on about the Bears but it's the new year and the topic needs to be put to rest for the rest of the season.  Why?  The playoff season's just getting started, you might say.  Not for the Bears it isn't.  This year they plumbed the depths of sucking.  The Bears are known for their defensive line.  The defensive line bit.  The offensive line, on the other hand, brought out at least three real stars -- Kyle Long, Kyle Fuller, and Alshon Jeffery.  Jay Cutler, much reviled by me, has proven himself to be as poor a prospect as I've been saying he is.  The coach, Marc Trestman, so popular and successful in the Canadian Football League, was a flop.  The general manager, Phil Emery was a flop because he brought in Trestman and gave Jay Cutler such an impossibly-good-for-Jay-bad-for-the-Bears contract (seven years, $126 million, with three seasons of guarantees) that the Bears can't really get rid of Jay.  They were fired the day after the regular season was over.

Marc Trestman really seems like this nice, soft-spoken man.  If a nice, soft-spoken man can't get the team to work with him and each other, then there's no room for him in the NFL.  Jay Cutler can't go because, honestly, who would they get?  A quarterback position is very hard to fill as there are not that many great quarterbacks lying around.  QBs come out of college and often tank.  I think we need to find a coach who can work with Jay's few strengths (which are not getting rid of the ball, throwing the ball accurately many yards in the direction of the goalpost, and finding the wide receiver at all).  Phil Emery, well, dude, you screwed your own pooch.  When I heard the deal you negotiated with Jay last year, where Jay was getting so, so much money and a guarantee of much of the loot, I thought whoever did that deal must be out of his mind.  Phil, you were out of your mind!  Where would Jay go?  Who would want him?  Nowhere, man, and no one.  Jay should've paid the Bears to be a quarterback.  True, there's not a lot of choice but maybe  no one would choose him and the Bears could've turned a tidy little profit.

For Bears fans, the true believers, this is a very exciting time.  All fans look to Hallas Hall to see what George McCaskey and Ted Phillips do with advice of Ernie Accorsi, whom they hired as a consultant via the NFL Career Development Advisory Panel.  We do know that Virginia McCaskey, age 91, is pissed off with mediocrity.  Unlike Mrs. McCaskey, I have no monetary gain from the success or failure of the team and I see her point.  Except they're not mediocre -- they have just sucked. 

So it's another "building year."  I am sick of "building years."  Fingers crossed that this time they get it a little closer to right.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Something to end the year

A few years ago I spent several weeks giving props to the late Jacques Brel -- to the passion, the talent, the face like a foot.  Below please find the link to a live 1966 concert at Olympia in Paris, part of a series of farewell concerts.  It ends with Ne Me Quitte Pas, Jacques all sweaty with Those Teeth and me hoping that maybe she might give him another chance.

Enjoy the master singing his own tunes and a happy new year to you.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

2014 Retrospective

Another year has been kicked in the crotch and left in a pile by the side of the road or did another year hit me about the head and neck and leave me concussed and stupid?  Either way, I am taking the rest of 2014 off.

I wish you happy holidays and a wonderful 2015.  See you on January 4, 2015!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Not Charlie Brown's Christmas Tree

The City of Chicago has managed to get trees donated from area residents the last few years.  (They used to lash together many smaller trees to make the bigger one and I thought that was pretty ingenious although labor intensive, i.e. expensive.)  Two or three years ago, they had a tree that was just terrible -- thin, rangy, not anything like bushy.  I thought I was alone in this estimation but I had a bus driver going east on Washington past Daley Plaza who opined, "Where did they manage to get Charlie Brown's Christmas tree?  That looks terrible."  Since then, the donated, former-front-lawn trees have been improvements and this year's looks kind of pretty.  I went to Christkindlmarket at Daley Plaza this year with coworkers for a private thing (hardly a party; it was a thing) in one of the rent-a-tents.  I ate and ducked out early and took this picture of the crowd and the tree before I got on the El. 

The annual Christkindlmarket in Daley Plaza, Chicago.  Let the sauerkraut reign!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Taking pictures of people taking pictures, French edition

Taking pictures of people taking pictures.  I love it so.

Just married, just finished raining.  Place des Vosges, Paris
Making art inside Church of Saint-German-des-Prés
Smile for your parents (might be an unintentional photobomb from me)
Courtyard at the Louvre and no, he didn't fall in

"We can send this to your mom saying we didn't fall in."

Full figure and no, he didn't fall off
A full-sized tripod:  a novel concept for me as I don't like to schlep
The gentlemen below were taking pictures of each other with their own cameras.  I offered to do the deed with their cameras so they were all in each picture.  When I was done, they insisted I take their picture with my camera, too.

Beaux, oui Et heureuse, aussi.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Parisian panorama, please

The Courtyard of the Louvre, hotbed of people taking pictures of each other

La Défense, the largest business district in Europe

Lunchtime at La Coincidence, Rue Mesnil, near Place Victor Hugo
La passage des grand cerfs:  Once you see the cat, everyone sees the cat.

Galeries Lafayette:  Noel Monstre outside at night

Opéra Garnier, viewed from the Metro entrance

Galeries Lafayette has just one ornament, but it's a monster
View of that ornament from below, non-panorama
Place de la Concorde, standing on the traffic light divider
Yes, those cars were shaving my legs
Air France Terminal 2E, the one that collapsed and was rebuilt -- now quite solid

Sunday, November 23, 2014

I went to Paris and all I got was pictures of people taking pictures of people (and things)

Yes, I went to Paris and was gone for a whole week.  Here is what it did in Paris:  It rained.  When I went out to dinner without my camera, it would suddenly stop and all the clouds would clear from around the Eiffel Tower and I would see it in the distance, looking fabulous with the twinkling light show on the hour.  When I brought my camera hoping the rain would clear out, it wouldn't clear and would, instead, rain.  I went to the Christmas market on the Champs Elysees -- way tackier than anything you could imagine in the States -- and it seemed so clear that I decided I'd walk to the Arc de Triomphe, get some pictures, then walk to the Eiffel Tower from there.  Instead it rained with great purpose and I went soggily back to my hotel. 

There were, however, pictures to be taken.  The Saturday I walked from Rue Réamur down to the BHV then all around the Marais was a few hours that even offered a little blue sky and sun.  The day before I left was great, too, with no rain at all.  When I got to the Eiffel Tower that last day, fog (la brume) encased it, making it look romantic, enshrouded, mysterious.  I am not a fan of a romantically enshrouded Eiffel Tower of mystery.  I like crisp, clean pictures but, alas, after standing in the dampness for 30 minutes, I gave it up and went to eat duck confit (as tasty as I'd hoped it would be).

SO ROMANTIC!  I'd have preferred crisp, cold, and clear.
Of course, there were lots of people taking pictures of others but I also got into taking pictures of people who were standing there.  One guy saw me and took a powder (after I waved at him and he waved back).  A mom and her daughter at the Musee du Carnavalet were delighted and would have sat doing pose after pose.  Then there was the cat in La Passage des Grand Cerfs which everyone loved.
They were happy to have their picture taken.  Beautiful faces, oui?
La passage des grand cerfs:  the shadow at the top is indeed my finger.

And once you see the cat, everyone sees the cat.

My fave is still taking pictures of people taking pictures or even making pictures.
La passage des grand cerfs gave us this.

Over by Centre Pompidou, this man apologized to me because he thought I wanted a picture of the same wall art.  No, sir, I want your picture with the wall art.

Making art across from Centre Pompidou.

The Louvre Pyramid was a hotspot for taking pictures of people taking pictures.
I really enjoyed taking panorama pictures with my iPhone.  Those will be for next week.

Sunday, November 9, 2014


I am going off on vacation, but before I do, let me say these few things:

1.  Brian Urlacher is right:  Jay Cutler is not an elite quarterback.  (Brandon Marshall personally attacking B. Urlacher -- talking about the man's personal life -- just makes B. Marshall look like Jay's bitch.)

2.  Marc Trestman may be a good coach -- he was very successful in the Canadian Football League -- but their bottom-of-the-division standing makes me wonder what the hell is going on at Hallas Hall (besides Jay being the head QB).

3. See you in two weeks with pictures, including more pictures of people taking pictures.


Yesterday I followed this person on Belmont for many blocks.  Yes, that's a howling wolf in the picture window:
I beg to differ.