Dec 28, 2008

Gay rights: a move in the right direction (except for the U.S)

First and foremost let's thank LOUIS-GEORGES TIN --founder of IDAHO (International Day Against Homophobia)-- who is behind the first gay rights declaration that was read last week at the United Nations.

"United Nations: First Gay Rights Declaration Wins Much Support, United States Opposes It."

'More than 50 countries opposed to the declaration, including members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, issued a joint statement Thursday criticizing the initiative as an unwarranted attempt to give special prominence to gays and lesbians. The statement suggested that protecting sexual orientation could lead to "the social normalization and possibly the legalization of deplorable acts" such as pedophilia and incest. RIGHT. WE ALL KNOW PEDOPHILIA AND INCEST IS A GAY THING, DON'T WE! GAY IS THE EASY TARGET, THE CONVENIENT CULPRIT THAT STRAIGHT PEOPLE USE TO BLAME THEIR OWN DEVIANCES ON.
...
The European nations backing the declaration waged their campaign in conjunction with the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The Dutch foreign affairs minister, Maxime Verhagen, said countries that endorsed that 1948 document had no right to carve out exceptions based on religion or culture that allowed discrimination against gays. SERIOUSLY, PEOPLE WANT THEIR CAKE AND EAT TOO.
"Human rights apply to all people in all places at all times," he said. "I will not accept any excuse."' REALLY, WHAT'S SO HARD TO UNDERSTAND? DOES SEEING A HOMELESS PERSON OUT IN THE COLD MAKE ONE FEEL WARMER?


The countries (names in French) who signed the declaration:
Andorre, Argentine, Arménie, Australie, Autriche, Belgique, Bosnie-Herzegovine, Brésil, Bulgarie, Canada, Cap-Vert, République de Centre-Afrique, Chili, Croatie, Chypre, République Tchèque, Danemark, Equateur, Estonie, Finlande, France, Gabon, Géorgie, Allemagne, Grèce, Hongrie, Islande, Irlande, Israël, Italie, Japon, Lettonie, Liechtenstein, Lituanie, Luxembourg, Malte, Mexique, Monténegro, Pays-Bas, Nouvelle-Zélande, Norvège, Portugal, Roumanie, San Marin, Serbie, Slovaquie, Slovénie, Espagne, Suède, Suisse, ex-république Yougoslave de Macédoine, Royaume-Uni, Uruguay, Venezuela.
IT'S KIND OF MIND BLOWING TO SEE THAT COUNTRIES LIKE ARMENIA, GABON, CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC, ROUMANIA... HAVE SIGNED THE DECLARATION WHILE THE U.S.A HAS NOT.

Dec 17, 2008

Bush, humiliated?



"As our global community transitions from the ill-fated presidency of George W. Bush to the much-anticipated presidency of Barack Obama, we can take comfort knowing the gigantic imprint of history's "shoe" will leave a much more humiliating mark on the Bush legacy than a pair of misguided size 10 Iraqi shoes thrown in his general direction."
-Arsalan Iftikhar

Exactly my point.
I don't really see Bush being more humiliated by a pair of shoes thrown at him than by his own idiosyncrasies. The shoe throwing incident can't possibly be more humiliating than the plethora of bushisms the world has seen and made fun of over his 8 years of presidency. Bush's whole presidency has been punctuated by such humiliating moments that they will forever be part of History. Actually he even managed to turn most of those moments into a joke, laughing at himself with the rest of the world so as to not be the butt of the joke, but rather the joker himself. Killing two birds with one stone Bush made a crack about the size of the shoes thrown at him while at the same time belittling the gesture of the man throwing shoes at him. He actually managed to show the world he has some good reflexes too. It would probably have been a different story had he been hit in the face by the guy's shoes. Imagine Bush with a red size 10 shoe mark on his cheek!
What i did find very humiliating was the G20 summit world leaders refusing to shake hands with Bush, or worse, ignoring him altogether. Here too, it was all gesture, but this time he was completely alone against a whole group of people and there was no culprit to blame for what was happening to him. That to me said much more than 2 shoes he managed to duck, no matter how insulting it is in the Arab world. After all, Bush got tomatoes thrown at him, by his own people, on his way to the White House on inauguration day.

Dec 15, 2008

"Two Cheers for Rod Blagojevich" by Frank Rich

The new hip trio of "caganers": Obama, Carla and Nicolas



Cagar means to shit in Spanish. "Caganer" is Catalan for "pooper".
"The caganer is a particular feature of modern Catalan nativity scenes... The exact origin of the Caganer is lost, but the tradition has existed since the 17th century."
Among the explanations as to why a "caganer" would have its place in a holy scene, here are some of my favorites:
-"The Caganer represents the equality of all people: regardless of status, race, or gender, everyone defecates."
-"The idea that God will manifest her/himself when s/he is ready, without regard for whether we human beings are ready or not."

Looks like Carla's poop's darker than Nicolas'. It is definitely redder — I wonder if that was an attempt from the caganer makers to match Carla's hair with her poop. Lovely. In the realm of good taste we are flying high and fast, we might even have reached the sound barrier.
I don't know how Nicolas Sarkozy feels about this one but I'd rather be represented as a voodoo doll than as a pooper. Knowing how he felt about the voodoo doll bearing his effigy, he must feel pretty fucked up right now! Although now that Obama has his own caganer Sarkozy might feel as popular as the President-elect. And that my friend isn't negligible.

Nov 29, 2008

Nicolas Sarkozy and the Voodoo Doll



Unbelievable. Nicolas-President-Almighty has won the lawsuit against Tear Prod, the company that put voodoo dolls bearing his effigy on the market!
How hypocritical of a man who said, back in 2007, that he fully supported Charlie Hebdo, the newspaper who published the very controversial caricatures of Mohammed(Mahomet). He understood at the time that muslims could be hurt by it but that they needed to understand that the French Republique has a tradition of caricature, a tradition he was not about to compromise. He added being in favor of an excess of caricature rather than a lack of. I wonder what happened to what he used to call his "conception of democracy" and the right to freedom of speech..."Je veux être le président de la libérté d'expression contre toutes les intolérances".

Nov 5, 2008

YES WE CAN



To Rudy Giuliani who attacked, with utter condescendence, Barack Obama's service as a community organizer I have only one thing to say: OBAMA PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.


"In a society that claims to offer religious freedom, the use of the power of the state to enforce private religious sensibilities is an affront to all who would claim the right to worship according to the dictates of their own conscience."
While exulting in Barack Obama's victory I can't help but feel sorry about the vast amount of people who voted yes on California's propostion 8. My joy is tainted by the idea that people exercise their right to vote to discriminate against others. It is not a matter of "sanctity of marriage", it is one of equality. Religious beliefs taking precedence over rational thinking leads to unreasonable choices that harm and divide instead of nurture and unite.

"We cannot accept the view that Amendment 2's prohibition on specific legal protections does no more than deprive homosexuals of special rights. To the contrary, the amendment imposes a special disability on those persons alone. Homosexuals are forbidden the safeguards that others enjoy or may seek without constraint."
-Justice Anthony Kennedy

Nov 2, 2008

Sen. McCain and his wife Cindy alongside Gov. Palin (Fey) in an SNL sketch!



I LOVE the United States of America for its power to utterly surprise me with its appallingly bold moves (picking Sarah Palin as VP) as well as lighting me up with its self-deprecating humor in the midst of a very tense time in history. When I think about "Sun King" Nicolas Sarkozy making a fuss about a voodoo doll bearing his effigy, I wonder if the man has entirely lost his sense of humour - if he's ever had any.

Sarah Silverman: Why you should vote for Obama

Whassup 2008



...and here's the original:

Oct 28, 2008

The voodoo doll bearing the effigy of Nicolas Sarkozy


And what exactly is the big deal Mr Sarkozy?
I say the president of France is acting a little pre-menstruel.

Oct 25, 2008

Coffee


I drink my coffe black but if you come across a place in Paris that serves coffee this way please let me know. Thanks.

Oct 8, 2008

Brigitte Bardot on Sarah Palin: you go girl.

Brigitte Bardot slams Palin as a 'disgrace to women'

PARIS (AFP) — French film legend-turned-activist Brigitte Bardot took a swipe at Sarah Palin on Tuesday, saying the US vice presidential candidate was a disgrace to women.
"I hope you lose these elections because that would be a victory for the world," Bardot wrote in an open letter to Republican John McCain's running mate in the November vote.
"By denying the responsibility of man in global warming, by advocating gun rights and making statements that are disconcertingly stupid, you are a disgrace to women and you alone represent a terrible threat, a true environmental catastrophe," wrote Bardot.
The screen icon from the 1960s, who now heads an animal rights foundation, went on to assail Palin for supporting Arctic oil exploration that could jeopardize delicate animal habitats and for dismissing measures to protect polar bears.
"This shows your total lack of responsibility, your inability to protect or simply respect animal life," Bardot wrote.
In a final salvo against Palin, the 74-year-old ex-star picked up on Palin's depiction of herself as a pitbull wearing lipstick and said she "implored" her not to compare herself to dogs.
"I know them well and I can assure you that no pitbull, no dog, nor any other animal for that matter is as dangerous as you are," Bardot wrote.

Sep 16, 2008

A week around Brittany


1st day: Paris-St Malo via Chartres for its cathedral and some of the most beautiful stained glass.
We stayed at the San Pedro hotel, a great two star with view on the ocean and an amazing host. Thank you Mireille for your infinite kindness. Dinner at Coquille d'Oeuf (20 Rue Corne de Cerf, 35400 Saint Malo - 02.99.40.92.62) was very enjoyable.


2nd day: the Mont Saint-Michel. Dinner in Cancale at le Pied d'Cheval (10 Quai Gambetta, 35260 Cancale - 02.99.89.76.95‎), a great seafood restaurant.



3rd day: St Malo - Ploumanch via the Côte d'Emeraude (Dinard, Cap Fréhel). Dinner at le Mao, Ploumanach, for a delicious and unbeatably cheap seafood platter. Stayed at the Castel Beau Site Hotel and wished i had never seen that white stain on the curtain. I found the best Kouign Amann ever. It is in Ploumanach at the Fournil St Guirec (148 rue St Guirec, 22700 Ploumanach - 02.96.91.41.16). If fleur de sel caramel were a pastry it would be Ploumanach's Kouign Amann. I also tried the apple Kouign Amann and it was as if Mrs Tatin and Mr Kouign Amann had a child. The apple was a perfect compliment to the decadently sweet and buttery Breton pastry. If I didn't eat another Kouign Amann until the end of my life, it would be alright because I have tried what could possibly be the best.




4th day: Ploumanach - Morgat
We stayed at the Grand Hotel de la Mer, a Belle Epoque building with a very kitschy interior. The beautiful view from the terrasse overlooking the ocean and the deserted pebbled beach to the right compensated for the shitty cold stinky rooms. The lack of any outstanding restaurants in the vicinities and the really bad instant coffee served in the morning were quickly forgotten when we hit the road to get to the very end of the continent: the Pointe de Penhir. A magnificent sight.


5th day: Morgat - Douarnenez
On our way to Douarnenez/Tréboul we stopped by what is probably one of the most beautiful village in Brittany: Locronan, where I ate the best galette ever. Aside from its very common name, nothing about Ty Coz (Place de l'Eglise 29180 Locronan - 02.98.91.70.79) is average. The crêperie is extremely charming, the service is great, the cider delicious and the galettes made me think that since nothing else will ever compare, it would be fine if I didn't eat another galette for the rest of my life.
We spent the night at the lovely Hotel Ty Mad, a place I highly recommend both for its wonderful restaurant (the dinner and breakfast were equally delectable) as well as for its tasteful interior design, cozy atmosphere and warm welcome.
I loved Tréboul's cemetery overlooking the ocean.

6th: Douarnenez - Vannes
Our last night in Brittany was spent in a lovely place, away from everything, in the middle of nowhere near Vannes (it took quite a bit of driving back to where we came from and missing the right exit over and over) in a place called le Clos du Gusquel. Charming hostess with a gift for fixing an exquisite breakfast.

Sep 11, 2008

Bloggingheads—the oral fixation


John McWhorter, left, of the Manhattan Institute and Glenn Loury of Brown University debate whether we can believe in Barack Obama.




Heather Hurlburt of the National Security Network and Eli Lake of The New York Sun examine the media's conflict with the conservative base over Sarah Palin.



Political scientists Daniel Drezner, left, of Tufts and Elvin Lim of Wesleyan explore the appeal of politicians who shun intellectualism.



Jane Hamsher, left, of the blog Firedoglake and Ann Althouse of the University of Wisconsin debate whether Sarah Palin can attract disaffected Clinton supporters.




Robert Wright, left, of Bloggingheads.tv and Ann Althouse of the University of Wisconsin debate the candidates' understanding of evil.




Peter Beinart of The New Republic, left, and Jonah Goldberg of National Review debate whether racism explains why Barack Obama isn't dominating in the polls.

Sep 8, 2008

Annie Leibovitz: A photographer's Life, 1990-2005


Imagine this picture: "Donald Trump, seen as the proud possessor of a fancy car, a private jet and a beautiful young wife also heavy with child. Wearing little more than a golden bikini, Melania Trump stands on a stairway leading to the underbelly of the jet" and right across the hallway, facing that picture, one of Queen Elizabeth II, posing in her usual formal manner. Priceless.

A few more days left before the end of the show at the Maison Européene de la Photographie.

Sep 2, 2008

Fontfroide Abbey






"To the south-west of Narbonne, in a rocky vale of the Corbières, this glorious Cistercian construction is hidden in the hollow of a valley. The abbey quietly shelters in a typical Mediterranean landscape, surrounded by trees such as cypress, box tree and pine.
The Abbey's origins go back to the end of the 11th century. Having originally followed Benedictine rule, Fontfroide finally adopted the Cistercian order in the middle of the 12th century. The monastery rapidly came to hold an immense estate which spread as far as Catalonia. As early as the beginning of the 13th century, Fontfroide had set up eight subsidiary abbeys.
During the Crusade against the Albigensians, Fontfroide rose as a powerful stronghold of Catholic orthodoxy confronting the Cathar religion which it fought against virulently. Two monks of Fronfroide stand out particularly at that time: Pierre de Castelnau and Raoul, who were appointed Papal Legates by Innocent III.
Of all the famous abbots, it is also necessary to mention Jacques Fournier who became Pope under the name of Benoît XII (1334-1342).
After a slow decline, Fontfroide fell under commendam from 1476 to 1764, when it finally lost its abbatial title and thus its subsequent income.
During the 18th century the conventual priors carried out many adjustments before the monastery's adjudication in 1791. The buildings were relatively untouched by the French Revolution, and were occupied once again by the Cistercians of the Immaculate Conception from 1858 to 1901."
A law of 1901 put an end to monastic communities, and the last of the monks fled to Spain. The abbey remained uninhabited until 1908 when the property was sold at auction to Gustave Fayet. He undertook an extensive restoration: stained-glass windows were fitted, decorative wrought iron filled the window openings, and statues and reliefs were added to the walls and gardens. In 1990, a rose garden of more than 3000 rosebushes was planted. He was an aesthete and an all-round artist who owned paintings by, and to name a few, Degas, Manet, Pissarro; he was Gauguin's main client. The stained glass artiste he hired was one of the greatest of its time: René Billa, also known as Richard Burgsthal. His work is beautiful and particularly stands out for the quality of the colors he uses.
Fontfroide abbey has been the property of his family ever since and visits are by guided tour only.

Sep 1, 2008

The towel that grabbed my attention


I was sipping my coffee staring at the neighbor's laundry drying in my dad's backyard until my brain made sense of the green and red shapes on the towel. I was suddenly taken out of my morning torpor.

I know you're tilting your head to the right.

Aug 27, 2008

Family drama in one act

South of France. Midday. Drunk. Naked.
A heated conversation. Drunk man number two zigzags his way back to the bedroom of naked drunk man number one and wrestles with him. Giggles, fag this fag that, screams, barks, more giggles and then silence. A few hours later I checked on the two close-to-40 drunks: drunk man number one's passed out naked across his bed and drunk man number two's asleep on his side facing his naked friend.

Donkies in dad's backyard

Aug 23, 2008

A few hours at the Louvre: close ups and crops


Minerve chassant les vices du jardin de la Vertu by Andrea Mantegna


Minerve chassant les vices du jardin de la Vertu by Andrea Mantegna


Minerve chassant les vices du jardin de la Vertu by Andrea Mantegna


Minerve chassant les vices du jardin de la Vertu by Andrea Mantegna


Minerve chassant les vices du jardin de la Vertu by Andrea Mantegna


Minerve chassant les vices du jardin de la Vertu by Andrea Mantegna


Minerve chassant les vices du jardin de la Vertu by Andrea Mantegna


Liberale da Verona circa 1470


A fifteen century rocket-like Saint: Le bienheureux Ranieri délivre les pauvres d'une prison de Florence by Stefano di Giovanni (also known as Sassetta)


La Damnation de l'âme de l'avare de Citerna by Stefano di Giovanni


Portrait of Jean-Frederic le Magnanime by Cranache


Portrait of a young lady by Cranache


Portrait of a woman holding a carnation by Jacob Claesz


La tentation de Saint Antoine by Peter Huys


Portrait of a young woman holding a dog by Matthijs Naiveu


L'Ecole de Fontainebleau: the nipple pinching by her sister would refer to Gabrielle's maternity.


"What What In the Butt". The carrying of the cross by le Maître de la repudiation Agar