Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Cliff's Notes for political speechwriting

Let's just hope Palin doesn't ever catch wind of this.

Then again, luckily she speaks no foreign languages.

Thanks to the Lonely Trader for sharing!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Palin to step down?

Conservative commentators are now suggesting that that crazy lady from north of the Great White North should step down.

What do you all think? Should she keep on talking le grand BS, or should she be eliminated from the race so John McCain can find a more qualified running mate?

la classe

I'm excited to see this documentary by Laurent Cantet as part of the San Francisco Film Society's series French Cinema Now.

rearing her ugly head

Absurd excerpts from the Palin-Couric interview.

Couric: You've cited Alaska's proximity to Russia as part of your foreign policy experience. What did you mean by that?

Sarah Palin: That Alaska has a very narrow maritime border between a foreign country, Russia, and, on our other side, the land-boundary that we have with Canada. It's funny that a comment like that was kinda made to … I don't know, you know … reporters.

Couric: Mocked?

Palin: Yeah, mocked, I guess that's the word, yeah.

Couric: Well, explain to me why that enhances your foreign-policy credentials.

Palin: Well, it certainly does, because our, our next-door neighbors are foreign countries, there in the state that I am the executive of. And there…

Couric: Have you ever been involved in any negotiations, for example, with the Russians?

Palin: We have trade missions back and forth, we do. It's very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia. As Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border. It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there, they are right next to our state.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

party of one

The last evening of my vacation I find myself in Zurich on a Sunday, meaning most everything is closed, so I decided to stock up on alcohol from the supermarket that was open in the train station and get drunk and walk around and see what jumps out at me. So far the highlights have been a squirrel smelling another squirrel's butt, a beach footie match inside the train station, stange anti-Euro graffitti and two Swiss guys in suits eating McDonald's french fries.

I believe it's time to go home.

Friday, September 12, 2008

bizarre ride to the far side

I've been in la Bretagne with Louis and Jeanine, my adoptive French grandparents, and having a truly Groundhog Day-esque experience. Last night we drove circles around the countryside because Louis couldn't quite figure out where he was. And we are not lacking in topics of conversation because we seem to have the same conversation every five minutes! Louis keeps me laughing by the way he drives, always in second gear and never more than 30 km per hour, usually with the brights on, and often going the wrong way down one way streets or pedestrian zones. When Jeanine and I attempt to advise him that someone is trying to pass him, or that he's about to run someone over, his reply is always the same: "Je m'en fous!"

Ya know what, at his age, I don't blame him one bit! On ne vit qu'une fois!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

taxidermists, twin brothers and exhibitionists

Sound a bit like a bizarre circus sideshow? This was how I celebrated my b-day!

Monday morning at the Marché aux Puces, Mademoiselle La Xara and I cruised the aisles of antiques and curiosities. It had been about 13 years since I had visited the famous Parisian flea market, and since last year I spent most of my days reconnecting to the familiar touristic sites, I was looking forward to a unique experience. And La Xara just went along for the ride.

In the Marché Paul Bert, a caged monkey screamed silently at us to catch our attention. This particular booth displayed the creepiest collection of taxidermy we'd ever encountered. From monkeys, to heads of dog, to a rigor mortis cat, to a mummified human, to the skull of a still-born baby, we wondered what kind of person would collect such dark objects and why. We lingered a while at the stall, snapping photos and discussing the possible origins of these pieces, when the owner finally approached us. Seemed like a nice, normal guy with a great sense of humor! (Still maybe not the kind of guy you bring home to mom and dad... well maybe my dad!)

After the dead animals, La Xara and I grabbed a vegetarian pizza and a salad across from the Marché Biron, and then hopped on the Métro to Charles de Gaulle - Etoile for a bit of Parisian wow factor. It turned into a gorgeous afternoon, perfect weather for a stroll down the Champs-Elysées. I noticed a kitty cat who decided to play Frogger into oncoming traffic and was impressed that the Parisians actually stopped their cars for the dumb little thing! Suicidal cat, I think.

We picked up some Vélibs at the Grand Palais and rode in circles around Rive Droite, finally ending up with some bières blanches at Place des Vosges to watch the sun go down. We crossed the Seine at magic hour, and I think La Xara finally became a francophile, the final rite of passage into becoming a true Tièche. Island girl goes City of Lights.

Now, on that note, the location of the apartment where Mlle La Xara was staying in Paris must be addressed. When she told me a friend of her younger sister's had offered a couch for her to sleep on, I asked her if she knew what part of town she'd be staying in, she said she couldn't remember - neither the Métro, the street nor the arrondissement. So I asked if she was near any monuments and she said something to the effect of, "Yeah, it's right near that big church." Turns out the apartment was on Rue des Grands Augustins, only three doors down from the Seine. So when she offered for me to stay over night with her, the answer, naturally, was OUI.

Sujata had the bone marrow for an appetizer, and that's all that needs to be said about dinner.

After dinner, we roamed the streets of St. Germain, looking for bamboula or simply happy to be on the journey. We encountered a group of guys on bikes, two of whom are twin brothers and dj's appropriately named, Les Twins Brothers. Coincidentally, they have an upcoming show at the End Up in SF. We sauntered on towards the river to snap some photos of the lights reflecting on the water and the quai, when we met couple drunk frenchies, just leaving the bar who invited us to a party on Ile St. Louis with fireworks. Apparently, the idea appealed to Suta, who within seconds, was on the back of this guy's moto, wearing his helmet. It didn't occur to her why the heck there would be a party with fireworks on some random Monday night in September at 3 a.m. The boys were disappointed, but I think we made the right choice to let them go on their own.

By this point, we were ready to call it a night. We were walking along the Seine, minding our own business, when another group of drunk Frenchies pulled over in their car and tried to lure us to join them for a drink. Suta explained that she had to pee, and of course, one of them offered that he had a very nice pee pee, and proceeded to drop his pants for us, as if somehow that would impress us.

So the story ends having witnessed on my birthday a new moon rising over the Seine.

Monday, September 08, 2008


Me voici de nouveau à Paris.

I have experienced a few firsts this time around. Today I woke up and turned the ripe age of [ahem] 21 and a half. To celebrate, La Xara and I will head off to the flea market momentarily and who knows what else will transpire later this afternoon and evening. I have also officially waltzed in Paris. Perhaps a little cliché, but who cares! And last but not least, I have a week-long subscription to the Vélib, the city bikeshare program. Experiencing Paris on two wheels is exceptionnel, and I'm happy to report that the drivers have so far been friendly and polite.

On Friday, Anthony led the group of us around which he of course could do blindfolded. After picking up some refreshments, he brought us to a place I'd never even heard of before - les Arènes de Lutèce, a sort of Coliseum where gladiators fought during the Roman era. Now the only games played there are footie for the youngsters and Pétanque for the older folks.

That's it for now. Gotta go maximize my time here!

Friday, September 05, 2008

OPP or à la recherche du chat perdu

So I've been in Europe for about a week and having severe Cloud withdrawals. Everytime I see a cat in a photograph or poster, my eyes get a little weepy and I start reminiscing about how my furry white feline perches on my lap and rubs her cheek against my hand and purrs and salivates.

Yesterday I took Annick's Dutch style bicycle out for an afternoon spin on the country roads here in the middle of Nowhere, Belgium. I wasn't very far along when a gorgeous little orange tabby ran into the road to greet me. Of course, I had to oblige. Much to my delight, a calico kitty sauntered out to say hello, stretch and pose for me. Two cute furry animals to satiate my lack of feline companionship! While I was snapping photos of my new pals, all of a sudden, their human owner appeared behind me carrying what looked like a basket of onions or shallots. I quickly explained to her my love for les chats, and that I have a pretty white cat at home named Cloud (Nuage) and that I miss her terribly. She replied that she also has a white cat inside the house who recently gave birth to three little kittens, and invited me inside to meet them.

The mama kitty was called Praline. When I arrived she was curled up in a ball, but then rose to her feet, purring proudly, to show off her three little ones. I scratched Praline behind her ears and congratulated her as a new mom. I could have lingered much longer, but when the woman's sons arrived home, confused by this strange foreign woman ogling over their pets, I figured that was my cue to leave.

I've made other feline friends on this trip - a chatty black and white cat in front of Auriane's school, and a fat cat named Baby who loved getting his belly scratched at the Chinese restaurant where we had our "high school reunion" last night in Verviers. Cat portraiture to follow, naturellement!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Adieu Ellesmere

I find it ironic that soon after McCain picked Alaska's governor Sarah Palin, known for her support of drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, as his running mate, a 50 square-mile ice shelf breaks away into the Arctic Sea, another sign that climate change is irreparably taking its toll.

A bad omen if I've ever seen one.