Where would we be without the bikini, hot-air balloons, and pétanque? (that gives me an idea for a great new televised sport, by the way, but let’s forget that for the moment.)
The problem is that France’s famous inventiveness can go a bit too far … It is May 1, the so-called Fête du Travail, or “Work Party” – a day on which, despite its name, the French don’t work.
[Alongside] the May Day parade (at which the French celebrate their right to work by marching in protest at working conditions), one traditional aspect of the holiday is the brin du muguet, the aromatic sprig of lily of the valley that is given as a gift to loved ones. Walk out into any main street and you’ll find half a dozen improvised muguet stands, with people selling bucketloads of flowers they’ve obtained from I don’t know where – I can only imagine that the autoroutes of France were full of fragrant-smelling lorries last night.
The sellers range from highly professional flower merchants with slick bouquets to kids earning extra cash for the family. The problem with the muguet stands this year was the sheer inventiveness of it all. I saw brins de muguet with a rose, brins in disposable vases of varying sickly colours, brins swamped in jungles of foliage, cut brins implanted in fake plastic “soil” … Where, I wanted to know, were the straightforward sprigs of lily of the valley au naturel? I couldn’t see any.
… this is an inventive time of year in Paris. It’s the week of the Foire de Paris – the trade fair at which inventors and innovators show off their groundbreaking products.
… The biggest novelty … was a new section of the fair, the Espace Coquin, or “naughty area” – a lovely euphemism. This curtained zone, out of bounds to the under-16s, is hosting a mini-fair for erotic products that – according to one report I saw – include vibrators in the shape of the Eiffel Tower, available (bien sûr) in red, white or blue. I suppose it’s the French version of “lie back and think of England.” Now personally, I’d feel that that was pushing patriotism a bit too far. Though you have to admit that the French are lucky to have a national monument that is so perfectly phallic. Imagine the same concept applied to the Pyramids (ouch) or Mount Rushmore (no, on second thoughts, don’t imagine that one at all).
Naturally, this being France, there is a pun to the whole thing. The annual competition for the best invention at the Foire de Paris is called the Concours Lépine. It just so happens that “pine” is a slang word for penis. So, spoken aloud, “concours Lépine” sounds like “concours les pines”, or “dicks competition”. If the vibrating Eiffel Towers win a prize, the headlines will be wonderful. …
Saturday, May 17, 2014
The Paris Fair's Naughty Area: Vibrators in the shape of the Eiffel Tower, available (bien sûr) in red, white, or blue
Stephen Clarke in the Daily Telegraph.
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
France's Sale of the Ultramodern Mistral Warship to Moscow: A massive transfer of sensitive military technology by a NATO ally to the Kremlin
The French government is facing pressure from the U.S. over the sale of two warships to the Russian navyreports Fox News,
amid reports that Paris plans to push ahead with the controversial deal.No Pasarán has been on this subject for the past four years. Indeed, with rare exceptions, I do not think that any American newspaper or blog had until now written anything of consequence about what amounts to as a massive transfer of sensitive military technology by a NATO ally to the Kremlin on Obama's watch — France having decided to sell Russia its ultramodern helicopter transportation ship (to the horror of, among others, Georgia).
Despite broader efforts by the U.S. and Europe to isolate Moscow over the intervention and unrest in Ukraine, French President Francois Hollande said he plans to go through with a $1.6 billion deal to build warships for Russia, NPR reported.
We linked story after story about the Mistral — many of them written by the most conservative pundit in the entire New York Times organization (far more so than David Brooks), the International Herald Tribune's Paris-based John Vinocur. It would have been important for Americans (all Americans, not just conservatives) to understand, pre-Syria and pre-Crimea, to what degree the idealistic Obama White House had already then been deficient (or appeasing) in its relations with the Russian bear.
The money quote comes in the French defense minister's January 2011 excuse:
In Lisbon, I heard Barack Obama tell Dmitry Medvedev: "You're not just a partner but a friend." You can not blame France for delivering boats to a friend.There you have it: that says all about Obama's idealistic foreign policy in a nutshell, doesn't it?!
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
The Swiss artist and designer of Ridley Scott's Alien, H. R. Giger, has died aged 74reports the BBC, after a fall down the stairs at his Zurich home.
Born in 1940, Giger was best known for his 'Xenomorph' alien in Scott's sci-fi horror masterpiece for which he won a visual effects Oscar in 1980.
He studied architecture and industrial design in Zurich and was known for creating strange dreamscapes.
Meticulously detailed, Giger's surrealist paintings were usually produced in large formats and then reworked with an airbrush and usually feature scenes of humans and machines fused together.
Giger described his style as "biomechanical".
One of his pieces in particular - Necronom IV - inspired the alien killer in Sir Ridley's hit film.
… British film director Edgar Wright tweeted: "RIP the great HR Giger. The Swiss surrealist who made night terrors into unforgettable art. We will miss you."
Monday, May 12, 2014
We can’t have the American people thinking that hard work leads to success; people might start asking why liberal constituencies don’t just work harder instead of demanding more money from those who actually produce something
Liberals have a new word for what normal people call “success”says Kurt Schlichter (thanks to Instapundit).
They call it “privilege,” as if a happy, prosperous life is the result of some magic process related to where your great-great-great-grandfather came from.To see a number of ways to answer the various accusations of liberals, both in America and abroad, don't forget to check out Americans Anonymous, which gives a myriad of examples…
It’s the latest leftist argument tactic, which means it is a tactic designed to prevent any argument and to beat you into rhetorical submission. Conservatives, don’t play their game.
It’s easy to see that this notion that accomplishment comes not from hard work but from some mysterious force, operating out there in the ether, is essential to liberal thought. To excuse the dole-devouring layabouts who form so much of the Democrat voting base, it is critical that they undermine the achievements of those who support themselves. We can’t have the American people thinking that hard work leads to success; people might start asking why liberal constituencies don’t just work harder instead of demanding more money from those who actually produce something.
This “Check your privilege” meme is the newest trump card du jour on college campuses and in other domains of progressive tyranny. It morphed into existence from the “You racist!” wolf-cry that is now so discredited that it produces little but snickers even among liberal fellow travelers. After all, if everyone is racist – and to the progressives, everyone is except themselves – then no one is really racist. And it’s kind of hard to take seriously being called “racist” by adherents of a political party that made a KKK kleagle its Senate majority leader.
…The plain fact is that what they understand to be “privilege” is really just what regular people understand is a “consequence.” It is a consequence of hard work, of delaying gratification and of sacrifice. No one came and bestowed this country upon us. We built it. Some of us died doing so. If we have privilege, it was earned at Bunker Hill, Gettysburg and Normandy. It’s not a function of skin tone or the number of vowels in your name; it’s a function of character.
Unlike them, many of us have lived overseas, and often in rather bullet-rich environs. Our life experience consists of more than reading Herbert Marcuse and showing solidarity with oppressed Guatemalan banana pickers by boycotting Chiquita. What we have today in this country is not anything to be ashamed of or to apologize for, but to be proud of.
Their poisonous notion of privilege is really just another way for liberals to pick winners and losers based not upon who has won or lost in the real world, but upon who is useful and not useful to the progressive project at any given moment.
This is why you see young people descended from Holocaust survivors tagged as bearers of “privilege” when their tattooed, emaciated grand-parents landed here with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Others who grew up in luxury get to bear the label of “unprivileged” because ten generations ago some relative came from a particular continent.
It’s idiocy. It’s immoral. We need to say so. For too long we’ve put up with this silliness.
What’s particularly amusing when you push back on these clowns is that they are so surprised to experience resistance to their petty fascism. Many of them, being the special snowflakes that they are, have never had anyone express to them the notion that they might be wrong. University administrators are too terrified of these whiny pipsqueaks to correct them. Certainly their helicopter parents never did – Gaia forbid that their little psyches be harmed by confronting them with their foolishness.
For too long we conservatives have played nicely, being good sports about being slandered and returning respect when offered contempt. It didn’t work. It’s time to try something new. And that something new is not taking guff from some 20 year-old gender studies major with a stupid tribal tatt, a sense of entitlement and a big mouth.
What they say is privilege is what we say is a reward for doing more with our lives than waiting for Uncle Sucker to refill our EBT cards. “Privilege” is a result of not being a human sloth, of not doing drugs, of not having kids we can’t afford them, and of not living our lives as a practical exercise in chaos theory.
Sunday, May 11, 2014
Austrian drag act Conchita Wurst has been crowned the winner of the 59th annual Eurovision Song Contest held in Denmark's capital, Copenhagen
reports the BBC (video at the link) which decided to stay clear of Bruno jokes.
The singer, whose real name is Tom Neuwirth, won with the song Rise Like a Phoenix, collecting 290 points.
I'm all for voting for a bearded transvestite's song if/when it is the best. Austria's song wasn't bad. But it wasn't fantastic either. Like the Swedish entry, the Dutch entry, and the Russian entry.
It was political correctness all the way around. With gays all over the continent voting for Conchita and with all the Soviet ex-republics voting systematically for one other.
BBC watcher Andy Den Haag adds,
Update: And Hervé adds:
Singing a song called "Rise like a Penis".Furthermore, the CBC quotes a Thomson Reuters story on the creeping in of geopolitics:
That's all you need to win the Zerovision.
The Eurovision competition, which has been held annually since 1956, was created to help foster unity after World War Two and is meant to be non-political. But political strife slipped between the cracks at this year's contest.
Many in the audience booed when the Russian contestants, the 17-year-old Tolmachevy twin sisters, were presented at Saturday's opening ceremony and again when they were awarded points from other, mostly neighbouring, nations.
… Ukraine's song was voted the sixth best of the 26 songs, and Russia's came in at seventh.
Since politics had played a role in the voting in the past, half the points are now awarded by professional judges and half by the public via phone and SMS.