(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘Paris

“Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears”*…

 

“‘A woman’s place is in the home’ has been one of the most important principles in architectural design and urban planning in the United States for the last century,” Dolores Hayden, an urban planning historian, wrote in her 1980s essay What Would a Non-Sexist City Be Like?

Now we’re at a crucial point in urban planning because some of our age-old systems have been upended by innovation or economics. We have Uber and other ride shares replacing traditional transportation systems and Elon Musk trying to build the high-speed Hyperloop and underground tunnels. And our lifestyles are in flux: More young people are sharing homes before they get married, and they’re living with their parents longer.

We can’t design away sexism or the creepy dude waiting at the train platform. These are some of our culture’s oldest, most insidious problems and urban planners alone can’t solve them. But urban planners are now looking to new designs and technology that, for the first time, should include the other half of the population…

Toward a more inclusive city: “Sexism and the City.”

* Italo Calvino

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As we muse on metropoli, we might recall that it was on this date in 861 that the Viking burned Paris to the ground (for the third time since the Siege of Paris in 845).   The invaders also torched the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, which they pillaged again in 869.  in 870, King Charles the Bald ordered the construction of two bridges, the Grand Pont and the Petit Pont, to block the passage of the Vikings up the Seine.  In 885, Gozlin, the Bishop of Paris, repaired the city wall and reinforced the bridges, enabling the city to resist an attack by the Vikings, who tried again twice (in 887 and 888), but were repelled each time.

Paris then enjoyed 90 years of (relative) peace, until 978, when the city was laid siege by The Holy Roman Emperor Otto II.

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Written by LW

May 28, 2017 at 1:01 am

“Goodness had nothing to do with it”*…

 

“Restaurants are a classic way to move money,” says Kieran Beer, chief analyst of the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists. Beer adds that pretty much any cash-intensive business can be used to launder money — laundromats, used car dealerships, taxi services — but restaurants tend to crop up again and again in money laundering cases…

“In basic terms, money laundering is when a business has ties or connections to organized crime and suddenly starts to book incredible — or even normal — sales,” says Beer. “That’s what criminals want to achieve — take dirty money from drugs or human trafficking or another criminal endeavor, and put into the system to make it look clean. Then, they can buy homes and cars, and it looks like the money was made legitimately.”…

Cleaning dirty money along with the dirty dishes: “How Do Criminals Launder Money Through a Restaurant?

* Mae West

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As we think about tipping, we might recall that it was on this date in 1989 that the Treasury Office of the City of Paris confessed to a computer glitch:  41,000 Parisians with outstanding traffic fines had been sent official notices charging them with major criminal offenses– murder, extortion, prostitution, drug trafficking, and other serious crimes.  For example, a man who had made an illegal U-turn on the Champs-Elysees was ordered to pay a $230 fine for using family ties to procure prostitutes and “manslaughter by a ship captain and leaving the scene of a crime.”  The City subsequently sent letters of correction and apology.

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Written by LW

September 6, 2016 at 1:01 am

“I can excuse everything but boredom”*…

 

that’s very interesting… oh, that’s very interesting… THAT’S very interesting… that’s VERY interesting… that’s very INteresting… THAT’s VEry INteresting

 

oh, how INTERESTING… yes, how INTERESTING… that sounds so INTERESTING, doesn’t it, Claudine?…  oh my yes, i’m extraordinarily INTERESTED in it DO GO ON…  yes please, go on, do it’s so terribly interesting

 

Much more conversational coaching at “Women Trying To Politely End Conversations With Men In Western Art History.”

* Hedy Lamarr

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As we demur, we might trip the birthday fantastic for Freda Josephine McDonald– better known by her stage nameJosephine Baker– the dancer, singer, actress, and civil rights activist born on this date in 1906 in St. Louis, Mo.  By the mid-1920s, the “Black Venus” had become the toast of Paris and a celebrity throughout Europe; in 1934, she became the first black woman to star in a major motion picture (Zouzou) and to become a genuinely world-famous entertainer.

Baker was a vocal opponent of segregation in the U.S.; she worked closely with NAACP and refused to perform for segregated audiences.

Known for assisting the French Resistance during World War II, Baker received the French military honor, the Croix de guerre and was made a Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur by General Charles de Gaulle.  Her funeral service in Paris in 1975 drew 20,000 people, and she was the first American woman to receive a twenty-one-gun salute from the French government.

[Update from friend Ted Coltman: “Not to quibble, but I thought France, like most nations, reserves a 21-gun salute (i.e., with artillery) for heads of state, including the president of the French Republic.  Are you sure it wasn’t a “3-volley salute” by a 7-member rifle party, which would still constitute ‘full military honors’?”  Ted may well be right about this– as about so much else.  FWIW, my source was this piece from the National Women’s History Museum.  Either way– quite a woman.]

Carl Van Vechten’s 1951 portrait of Baker

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Written by LW

June 3, 2015 at 1:01 am

“Her hat is a creation that will never go out of style; it will just look ridiculous year after year”*…

 

An opportunity to get in at the very beginning of a fashion trend…

“Le Grand” is a new hat concept: a hybrid between the baseball cap and the top hat! Help us bring a new fashion icon into reality!

Le Grand

* Fred Allen

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As we cover our crowns, we might recall that it was on this date in 1910 that French chemist, engineer, and inventor Georges Claude switched on the first public display of neon lights– two large (39 foot long), bright red neon tubes– at the Paris Motor Show.  Over the next decade, Claude lit much of Paris.  Neon came to America in 1923 when Earl Anthony purchased signage from Claude, then transported it to Los Angeles, where Anthony installed it at his Packard dealership…  and (literally) stopped traffic.

Claude in his lab, 1913

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Written by LW

December 3, 2014 at 1:01 am

Helpful Hints…

C’est ne pas fixer une passagère avec insistance, quand bien même elle aurait les yeux revolver. (Don’t stare at a female passenger, even if she has eyes like a revolver)

Being stuck in a grimy, crowded metal box deep underground doesn’t bring out the best in the average subway commuter. And Parisians aren’t exactly known for their willingness to keep their complaints to themselves.

Last year, the regional transit authority Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens launched an ad campaign to discourage rude behavior on the Paris subway. They used images of hens, warthogs, and sloths to scold riders for holding loud phone conversations, eating gross foods, and taking up too much space.

When public shaming failed, RATP turned to an equally Parisian solution: charming PSAs that look straight out of the Belle Époque. The newly released ebook Manuel de Savoir-Vivre a l’usage du Voyageur Moderne names 12 essential, if slightly tongue-in-cheek, rules for getting by on the subway. Local graphic designer Marion Thomas-Mauro created some very French illustrations to accompany the rules, offering a slightly wacky take on the recommendations…

C’est les jours de grosse chaleur, tel le manchot empereur, bien gardes les bras le long du corps et prendre sa meilleure prise en bas du poteau, pas tout en haut. (On very hot days, be like the emperor penguin — keep your arms along the sides of your body and grip the lower handholds, not the ones on top.)

Read the full story, see more of the instructive illustrations, and find a link to the full guide at “Keep Your B.O. to Yourself, and Other Friendly Tips for Paris Metro Riders.”

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As we just say “non,” we might recall that it was on this date in 1944, that Glenn Miller and the plane on which he was flying disappeared over the English Channel.  The musician, arranger, composer, and bandleader– the biggest star and best-selling recording artist of Swing Era– had put aside his career when the U.S.. entered World War II to enlist and lead The Army Air Force Band.  He was on his way to Paris to perform for troops there; the wreckage of the plane was never found, and he remains listed as “missing in action.”

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Written by LW

December 15, 2013 at 1:01 am

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