Thursday, August 30, 2012

WHY THE FRENCH DON'T LIKE AMERICANS


I think it's fair to say that Parisians of my generation aren't overly fond of Americans. That's too bad, but it doesn't bother me because the truth is that Parisians don't really like anybody. They don't even like other Parisians. Look at the aloof way they behave to each other on the Metro. In that respect they're like New Yorkers. They have to have a reason to like you.


Oddly enough, if you ask Parisians why they don't like Americans there's half a chance they'll say it's because we're rude. One thing they don't like is the way we treat waiters. Yes, you read it right...the way WE treat waiters!!!!



On entering a store or restaurant Parisians always say "Bonjour, monsieur," or "Bonjour, madame" to the first salepeople they lay eyes on. They frequently say goodbye when leaving. No American does that. Where's our manners, the French wonder? They think we were brought up in a barn.



They also don't like the way we eat. From their point of view we wolf food down like there was no tomorrow. Parisians eat slow, cutting the food first then using the knife to steady the food while they carefully spear it with a fork. Even bananas are eaten this way. You never put down the knife til you're finished eating.



Last but not least...I'll just say it without equivocation...they think we pee too much. Not only that, we always expect to use the bathrooms of others, which they'd prefer to keep private. Parisians learn to hold it in from an early age. The older generation used to maintain public pissotierres, which was great, at least for men, but the new generation removed them. You can use a bathroom in a restaurant, but only if you've bought something substantial first. The consensus is that people of breeding don't use other peoples' bathrooms with frequency.

Interesting, huh?


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BTW: Some of what I've said here was written up in a book, "The Sweet Life in Paris" by Lebovitz



Wednesday, August 29, 2012

TWO INTERESTING WORKSPACES

The workspace above would be close to ideal for somebody like me. That's because I like a workspace that's only that...a place where work is done. No couch, no pictures on the wall except pictures I've done myself. 

Unfortunately this is another artist's space. My own is cluttered with every distraction imaginable. 


I do get tempted by other artists' spaces, though. Here's (above) Ronald Searle's. I like the way the room is darkened and his art materials are in a kind of lit-up stage in front of him. It's pretty crowded, though.

I imagine the desk continues out of frame on the right, or maybe he has multiple desks.


I'm conflicted about whether to add things like books, computer, music collection, etc. All these are useful, but if you're easily distracted like me.........


Monday, August 27, 2012

THE WEIRD FILE

Aaaaargh!!!! I got home late and I'm just too sleepy to post anything of substance. Hmmmm...I've gotta post something. Maybe there's something I could use in the "weird file." Let's see...no, not that one...not that one either......mmmmm okay, maybe this one ....yeah and this one, too.

Gee, I was saving this (above) for a special post. Oh, well....


Here's a Picasso-type chair (above) but I don't think Picasso did it. It doesn't look very comfortable, does it?


That's me (above) surrounded by my beatnik friends.


Above, a boy and girl. Who's the boy? Raymond Navarro?

Friday, August 24, 2012

WHAT HAPPENED TO FUNNY ROCK & ROLL?

EDDIE (VO): "Hey, Milt! Good to see ya! How are ya doing?"

MILT: "Doing!? I'm in Heaven! I just came from a used record store where I got a vinyl of the old Coasters song, 'Down in Mexico.' "

EDDIE (VO): "Oh, right...you're really into 50s pop, bubblegum and all that!"


MILT: "Bubblegum!? No way! No, I like the kind of thing blacks were doing in the 50s. You know, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, The Coasters, Screamin' Jay Hawkins...funny stuff like that."


EDDIE (VO): "How about Elvis? He was funny!"

MILT: "Yeah, he was a little funny. I like his song, 'Hard headed Woman.' That first line cracks me up: 'Hard headed Woman/ Head like a rock/ Makes a man go crazy/ All around the block.' No wait a minute, that's not it. Aw, I'd have to look it up."


EDDIE (VO): "What about The Beatles and the Stones? Mick Jagger had funny lips!"

MILT: "Weeeeell, funny lips can only take you so far. After the Beatles everything got too political, too...druggy. I don't like music that you have to get stoned to listen to."


EDDIE (VO): "Maybe you're on to something. There was a lot of funny music in the 50s and early sixties, then in the mid sixties it suddenly went away."

MILT: "Yeah, funny music like The Coasters', 'Smokey Joe's Cafe!' A customer comes into Smokey Joe's and Smokey's girl starts flirting with him. Smokey lays down the law...'Stop lookin' at my woman/You better eat up all your beans boy, and get on out!' Wow, there's so much gritty atmosphere and humor in a song like that."



EDDIE (VO): "What happened to funny music? Why did things change?"

MILT: "Interesting question! I remember reading something about it at the time."




MILT: "The radio stations got cold feet. Even though the funny records were selling well, they thought of those songs as one joke wonders. They thought the public would eventually get tired of them, and they were looking for an excuse to bail." 

EDDIE (VO): "Holy Mackerel! That sounds plausible. Imagine a whole art form going down in flames because of the timidity of a few Nervous Nellies. "


MILT: "That's okay. I got my 45 of 'Down in Mexico,' so I'm happy!"



Thursday, August 23, 2012

MORE PICTURES FOR A BOYS ROOM

I'm always thinking of what pictures to put on the walls of a boys room or on the walls of the kids section of a library. I've blogged about this before but I can't help returning to the subject with new pictures. What do you think of them?

Those are Maori above. Maori photos were just made for boys rooms.


 So are maps. Blank maps (above) are great because they let your mind fill in the details.


I don't think this company (detail above) makes historical maps anymore, but maybe I'm mistaken.


Old maps (above)...you can look at them endlessly. 


Every boy needs a picture of the jungle (above).


Ditto the Greeks (above). The ancient Greeks earned our respect by opposing barbarism with strength and intellect. That's a bit of a simplification since the Persians weren't exactly barbarians, but the image of the Greek hoplites still projects a primal power.


This picture (above) would have earned a place on my wall when I was a little kid. I was aching to fly. The airplane rides in amusement parks filled me with longing for the real thing. I feel like I betrayed my young self by not promoting kid flight as an adult but, really, how could I? That's a tough nut to crack.


A letter-size version of this picture (above) needs to be on every kid's wall. What's on the island? I don't know... King Kong? Doc Savage's lab? Dinosaurs? The Cyclops?  This mysterious island seems to demand that the viewer drop what he's doing and commit to a life of adventure.


I used to love the pictures in the National Geographic. If Tin Tin had been a real kid he'd have no doubt had pictures like this on his bulletin board. 


When I was a kid I was smitten by, of all things, The Hippocratic Oath. I would gladly  have put it on my wall if I'd found a copy. This version (above) isn't designed very well,  but the content is terrific. I love the way it starts, by invoking the gods and binding the student to care for the teacher and his sons. It's interesting that the doctor is forbidden to use a knife to remove stones, but must hand over the task to a surgeon, which is considered a seperate, and maybe lesser trade.


Also when I was a kid: drug stores were covered with Parke-Davis illustrations of medical innovators like Jenner and Lister. The one that moved me most was the one of Louis Pasteur, the great bacteriologist. Spurred on by the famous Paul Muni film, I'd have put his picture up in a heartbeat if I'd had one.

Actually, I have a post card picture of him up now, on a bulletin board in my bedroom. I figure I owe the guy.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

"NGANGA"



Better think twice before reading this post, because the subject is downright creepy. It concerns an artifact found in parts of Central and South America called "nganga." If you haven't heard of it, and you're willing to risk being creeped out, then I recommend watching the above video, starting at the 2:50 mark.

Oh, and a caveat...I know next to nothing about the subject, so if I write something misleading I hope a reader will correct me.

If you've seen the video then you know that ngangas are carefully sealed iron cauldrons which contain evil spirits. Everything the owner had which contains a bad vibe or an evil spirit is put into a heavy iron pot and buried. Just to make sure the spirit doesn't get out, the container is packed with sharp nails, knives, bullets, hangman's nooses, etc. After that, the entire thing is sealed and wrapped tight with thick iron chains and heavy padlocks. 


Apparently there's such a thing as a communal nganga. A place is set aside where the whole community can get rid of their voodoo dolls, hex paraphernalia, items owned by deceased trouble makers, etc.  Maybe voodoo dolls retain their potency after use and have to be decommissioned this way. 


At the appropriate time the items are gathered up and placed into a large nganga, which is immediately buried. After that the villagers can finally rest easy. I'm guessing that the grave is unmarked lest some hippie or souvenir collector find it and release the spirit.

Interesting, huh?


Sunday, August 19, 2012

IN AN ITALIAN RESTAURANT

ANITA: "Eduardo! Playing Solitaire in restaurants again?"


EDUARDO: "Anita, my pretty, come sit with me one instant. It is necessary that I speak to you. Sit you."


 EDUARDO STANDS SO THAT ANITA CAN SLIDE IN.

ANITA (STUGGLING):  "Umph...my legs, they do not fit in."

EDUARDO: "Too much dress. Perhaps if you lifted..."

ANITA: "What roguish!"


EDUARDO: "Because you are a roguish! Here, here's a menu. I am going to feel you a good small dish of ravioli. Waiter! Bring us a ravioli!"


EDUOARDO (VO): "Anita.....er, there is one thing I must ask.....do you like me?"

ANITA: "Ha! Yours is a name scratched on bathroom walls."



EDUARDO: "Hush! We are in a church...the church of fine pasta.
(THEN)
Anita...is what you say mingled of your cuckold's dirty horns?"


ANITA: "If you mean my boyfriend, he's a gentleman, unlike some people."



EDUARDO: "Tell him he is a dunce! Anita...let me....let me.....TONIGHT....."

HE GRABS HER HAND AND BEGINS KISSING IT.


EDUARDO (VO): "You are all, Anita. Do you know that you are all?"



EDUARDO (VO): "You are the first woman of the first day of creation. You are the mother, the sister, the amante, the friend...the angel, the devil, the Earth, the home...."


EDUARDO: "So whaddaya say, eh?"


ANITA: "Ha! You are such a character! Look, I must be going."


EDUARDO (VO): "Come back Little Angel! Come back!"


WAITER (VO): "Your ravioli, Senor!"

EDUARDO (VO): "Huh? What ravioli? I didn't order ravioli."

WAITER (VO): "But...but, you did...."

EDUARDO (VO): "I definitely did not! Take it away!"


WAITER (VO): "Okay Senor, I take it away. You won't have to pay for it."

EDUARDO (VO): "Huh? I won't have to.....? Wait! Give it here....just to dispose of it, you understand."

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Many thanks to Dylan Chavles who posed for the great girl pictures! Poses of myself are taken from other blog posts I did. I just wanted to see if I could make them fit.