Friday, October 4, 2019

Notre Dame Update

We finally walked by Notre Dame yesterday. The entire block is circled with an 8 foot high fence of corrugated metal topped with razor wire. They are serious about security! The playground/park behind the cathedral is now home to stacks of containers used as construction offices. The pretty garden along the river side is now storage for scaffolding. Most of the center of the building is covered in scaffolding. (The scaffolding contractor will make a fortune from this job) The flying buttresses are all supported with framing made from heavy timber. There is temporary roof over the center of the building. (If the tarp was blue it would remind me of New Orleans after Katrina.)  Word is that this will be going on for 5 years.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Climate Change in Europe

Recently a 16 year old Swede got international attention for her rants on climate change. It's understandable if you are aware of how climate change is part of everyday life in Europe.

In almost everything you do in daily life in Europe, you are reminded of you carbon footprint. If you use Google Maps to find direction somewhere, you will be told how many grams of carbon you will be emitting depending upon your transportation option - car, public transportation, or walking. If you buy a train ticket, the amount of your share of carbon will be printed on the ticket. If you want to buy an apartment, it will have an energy rating which is shown on the advertising. If you want to drive a car within the periferique in Paris, you will need a special air emission sticker making it difficult for drivers from other countries to come into the city. In the news, climate change is treated like a scientific fact with no comments about the validity of the data. The term is used casually to explain every weather anomaly.

Is it any wonder that this amount of propaganda produces teenage angst?

Myself, I read that there recently 5 earthquakes within one hour in Missouri. That is much more of a concern to me.

A Little Excitement

My wife and I were walking back from the Bastille market towards the Isle of St Louis and our apartment when I hear a helicopter circling low over the area. They never fly helicopters over the city unless there is a problem. (The last time I saw it was when the police was tracking an armed bank robber on a motorcycle.) Then I see the pilot setting up to land on the very bridge that we had to walk across to get to the island - Pont Marie. Rotary wing guys hate to land anywhere that is not a certified landing pad because of the obstructions that they can run into, like light poles, but this guy did it anyway.

The gathering crowd was puzzled and curious and we found someone who spoke English and was able to see the news on his phone. Someone had attacked police officers at the Prefecture (HQ across from Notre Dame) and this operation was obviously part of the response. You will probably learn more about it on the news.

It just goes to show that you never know what you will find in Paris.

Here's a link to the story with a picture of the helicopter on the bridge.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Head Count

In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, drugs and murder will make you lose your head. The KSA beheaded 17 this month, playing catch up to last month. Year to date head count is 152.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Aviation History

In case you were wondering, this is where Antoine de Sainte-Exupery was born on June 29, 1900. Aviation pioneer and author, this house is on a street in Lyon, France now named for him. He disappeared on a mission in 1944. The remains of his aircraft were found in April 2004.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Paris News

Over here I've been watching the France24 English channel and BBC. Fox News is usually not available. Obviously, you get a different twist to the news.

For example, we get Brexit news all the time, even down to a real time live feed about the UK Supreme Court deciding on the suspension of Parliament.

Another thing is, all reporters talk about global warming like it is proven fact with no attempt to provide a second opinion. Greta has been in the news almost continuously. BBC reported the storm surge from Hurricane Sandy as proof of sea level rise and they have stories about a small island off Bangladesh that is disappearing with no scientific explanation about alternatives like coastal erosion or subsidence.

We get a lot of news about Africa.  Did you know that there is ongoing strife between French speaking and English Speaking Cameroon? And I was really glad to see Mugabe finally put in the ground as we heard about his funeral every day.

And if you are interested in rugby, Japan beat Russia in the first game of the World Cup. Who da thought?

We get very little about Trump or the Democrats and I'm almost glad about that.

Interestingly, there was almost no coverage of the violence that erupted in Paris during the global warming march yesterday although 7000 French riot police shot tear gas and there were 100 arrests.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Paris News

Today, Friday the 13th, was a transportation worker strike. Most Metro and Bus lines were shut down. The workers were striking over Pres Macron's plan to consolidate the some 42 retirement plans to save money. The workers were not happy but in true French style, the one day strike was on a Friday so some people could plan a three day weekend.

In sports, the US team lost in the quarter finals of the basketball world cup. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!!!!! An American Team lost in America's sport????? Worse, they lost to France. Mon Dieu! And what the heck is the world cup????? Turns out there is an International Basketball Federation (FIBA) A quick look showed me that several of the players on the French team were American. I guess it's a way for young NBA players to keep in shape in the off season. I bet that didn't make the local sports for you!

And three women have come forward with claims against Jeff Epstein in France. Seems he had a swanky apartment on Ave Foch (the street where the Gestapo had their HQ) and is therefore subject to French law.