Saturday, September 19, 2020

Patrick Maurin

Patrick Maurin is a city councillor of Marmande who went on a 250-kilometer-long walk between Le Touquet and Paris to draw attention to the problem of suicides among French farmers.

Farmers are over-represented in suicide rates. A phenomenon which has lasted "for at least forty years" but which remains taboo.

The suicide mortality of farmers in France is 20% higher than that of the general population and 30% for dairy cattle breeders alone.

According to the survey, there is a farmer suicide almost every other day, mostly men aged 45 to 54.

While agricultural incomes are already among the lowest in the country (350 euros per month for more than 30% of them), the study underlines that the greatest number of suicides "was observed during the months when prices of milk were the lowest ".

Friday, September 18, 2020

Jean Lassalle

Jean Lassalle (1955) is a French politician serving as an Independent member of the National Assembly since 2002. He was a candidate in the 2017 presidential election under the banner of Résistons! and received 435,301 votes (1.21%).

Since 2002 Lassalle has led the World Mountain People Association, an international network of mountain-dwellers active in more than 70 countries. He also leads a Haut-Béarn cultural association.

In 2003 Lassalle stood up in the National Assembly during questions to Minister of the Interior Nicolas Sarkozy and sang the Occitan anthem Se Canta in protest at an announcement by Sarkozy concerning the housing of 23 gendarmes tasked with guarding the Somport tunnel, which links France with Spain through the Pyrenees. The village closest to the French end of the tunnel is Urdos, but it was announced that the gendarmes would be housed in the nearby town of Oloron-Sainte-Marie, on the grounds that their wives would become bored in Urdos.

As he explained in an interview with France 3 later that day, Lassalle took exception to what he saw as a slur on the Pyrenean village and decided to interrupt the minister with his song. The protest was met by laughter from other deputies, disapproval from the president of the Assembly, and bemusement from Sarkozy.

In 2013, Lassalle walked around France for eight months from April to December to meet people. He was afterwards quoted, “Everywhere I went I witnessed a crisis in the standard of living, a loss of identity and the loss of a sense of a common destiny”. He found the situation equally bad in the cities and the countryside. Scepticism about globalization, distrust of politicians and latent racism were common among people he spoke to, he said.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

"Tour Eiffel", by Sylvain Chomet

For non-French speakers the woman at the beginning says : "What's your name ? Don't look at your parents, look at the camera. So, what's your name ?" The kid answers : "Jean-Claude" The woman asks : "Then Jean-Claude, how did your parents get together ?" "In jail" "In jail..? Ok, and tell me their story" "My father was sad because he didn't have wife, and each morning he was alone in his house"
Merci Régis

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Monday, September 14, 2020

Nancy Wake

Nancy Grace Augusta Wake, AC, GM (1912 –2011) (also known as Nancy Fiocca) was a New Zealand-born nurse and journalist who joined the French Resistance and later the Special Operations Executive (SOE) during World War II, and briefly pursued a post-war career as an intelligence officer in the Air Ministry. 

Maquisards (Resistance fighters) in the Haute-Savoie département in August 1944. Third and fourth from the right are two SOE officers.

The official historian of the SOE, M.R.D. Foot, said that "her irrepressible, infectious, high spirits were a joy to everyone who worked with her".

Wake was living in Marseille with her French industrialist husband, Henri Fiocca, when the war broke out. After the fall of France to Nazi Germany in 1940, Wake became a courier for the Pat O'Leary escape network. As a member of the escape network, she helped Allied airmen evade capture by the Germans and escape to neutral Spain. In 1943, when the Germans became aware of her, she escaped to Spain and continued on to the United Kingdom. Her husband was captured and executed.

After reaching Britain, Wake joined the Special Operations Executive (SOE) under the code name "Hélène". On 29–30 April 1944 as a member of a three-person SOE team code-named "Freelance", Wake parachuted into the Allier department of occupied France to liaise between the SOE and several Maquis groups in the Auvergne region, which were loosely overseen by Emile Coulaudon (code name "Gaspard"). She participated in a battle between the Maquis and a large German force in June 1944. In the aftermath of the battle, she claimed to have bicycled 500 kilometers to send a situation report to SOE in London.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Bella ciao

"Bella ciao" by the famous Baron des Abers, Roger le Cras, in a magnificent setting, above Megève (Pays du Mont Blanc-Haute Savoie, France).

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Kung Fu Nuns

The Drukpa Lineage, sometimes called either Dugpa or "Red Hat sect" in older sources, is a branch of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism.

In Bhutan, the Drukpa Lineage is the dominant school and state religion.

Some nineteenth and early-twentieth century writers believed the "Dugpas" to be sorcerers focusing principally on the left-hand path traditions and various Tantric practices of Buddhism. Alexandra David-Néel claims that the name "Dugpa" comes from the Tibetan word for thunder, as the first monastery was built during a thunderstorm.

Drukpa nuns are known for their social activism, in particular in teaching self-defense to women due to the rise in rapes in India. The nuns are nicknamed the "Kung Fu Nuns". Drukpa nuns are “the only female order in the patriarchal Buddhist monastic system where nuns have equal status to monks".

Friday, September 11, 2020

Taking the Long Way Home

The Long March Home is a beautiful interactive website, detailing the history and struggles of Allied POW’s “going home”.

In January 1945 the Germans evacuated allied prisoners-of-war away from the advancing Soviet army. There was not just one March route - columns of prisoners-of-war were straggling all over Poland, Czechoslovakia and Germany from January until May, being forced along by their guards, and neither prisoners nor guards knew where they were supposed to be going or where they would end up. The experiences of different groups of men varied enormously.
Corporal Ronald Percy Wright No. 420583, a Trooper in the Royal Armoured Corps, 2nd Armoured Division, was reported missing on 07/06/1941 in the Western Desert (Egypt and/or Libya) and confirmed as a POW on 01/08/1941. Initially he was in POW Camp number 78, Sulmona, Italy and was later moved to Stalag VIIIB (344). His POW No. was 34834.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Alex Waterhouse-Hayward

Alex Waterhouse-Hayward is a Vancouver-based commercial and fine art photographer.
One of Canada's most experienced magazine and portrait photographers, Alex has photographed celebrities (Bob Hope, Candice Bergen, Dennis Hopper), politicians (Larry Campbell, Carole James, Jack Layton) actors (Molly Parker, Nicholas Campbell) writers (William Gibson, Nick Bantock, Douglas Coupland, Mario Vargas Llosa) and enough CEOs and business leaders to start his own capitalist army. 
His favourite photographic subjects are his granddaughter and the roses and hostas that populate his garden.
His pictures have appeared in publications ranging from the New York Times, Vanity Fair, and Stern to Readers' Digest, the Globe and Mail and the Georgia Straight. His commercial work has adorned everything from annual reports to postage stamps.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

From the Musée d'Ethnographie du Trocadéro Collection (1875-1899) #2

The museum was founded in 1878 by the Ministry of Public Education as the Muséum ethnographique des missions scientifiques (Ethnographic Museum of Scientific Expeditions) and was housed in the Trocadéro Palace, which had been built for the third Paris World's Fair that year. 
The palace, whose architect was Gabriel Davioud, had two wings flanking a central concert hall.
The Musée national des Monuments Français was created at the same time in the other wing.
The first director of the anthropological museum was Ernest Hamy, an anthropologist with the Natural History Museum who had urged the foundation of such an institution in Paris since 1874.
Other French cities already had such museums, and there were many collections of materials brought back by French explorers, particularly from South America. 
A temporary museum was housed in the three rooms of the Palace of Industry at the Exposition from January to mid-March 1878, featuring a major collection of Peruvian artifacts recently brought back by Charles Wiener, Columbian and Equatorial exhibits contributed by Edouard André, American exhibits contributed by Jules Crevaux, Léon de Cessac, and Alphonse Pinart, 
a collection from Central Asia contributed by Charles-Eugène Ujfalvy, Cambodian inscriptions from Jules Harmand, exhibits from the Celebes contributed by de La Savinière and de Ballieu, and items from the Canary Islands from René Verneau.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

From the Musée d'Ethnographie du Trocadéro Collection (1875-1899)

The Musée d'Ethnographie du Trocadéro (Ethnographic Museum of the Trocadéro, also called simply the Musée du Trocadéro) was the first anthropological museum in Paris, founded in 1878.
The museum closed in 1935 when the building that housed it, the Trocadéro Palace, was demolished; its descendant is the Musée de l'Homme, housed in the Palais de Chaillot on the same site, and its French collections formed the nucleus of the Musée National des Arts et Traditions Populaires, also in the Palais de Chaillot.
The primary museographic purpose of the institution was to show the continuing progress of humanity.
Numerous modern artists visited it and were influenced by its "primitive" art, in particular Picasso during the period when he was working on Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907).
The museum held a collection of primitive masks from various areas of the world; Picasso said that he discovered in the African masks "what painting was all about", seeing them as having been created "as a kind of mediation between [humanity] and the unknown hostile forces that [surround us]" and to have been influenced by the masks in the forms of the figures in his proto-Cubist painting Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, which eventually led to Cubism. 
Later, during the reform era under Rivet and Rivière that began in 1928, certain Surrealists aligned themselves with the ethnologists in promoting a view of objects within their social and human context, rather than from a purely aesthetic perspective.

Monday, September 7, 2020


The word "scythe" derives from Old English siðe. 
In Middle English and after it was usually spelt sithe or sythe. However, in the 15th century some writers began to use the sc- spelling as they thought (wrongly) the word was related to the Latin scindere (meaning "to cut"). Nevertheless, the sithe spelling lingered and notably appears in Noah Webster's dictionaries.
A scythe consists of a shaft about 170 centimetres (67 in) long called a snaith, snath, snathe or sned, traditionally made of wood but now sometimes metal. 
Simple snaiths are straight with offset handles, others have an "S" curve or are steam bent in three dimensions to place the handles in an ergonomic configuration but close to shaft. The snaith has either one or two short handles at right angles to it, usually one near the upper end and always another roughly in the middle.
The handles are usually adjustable to suit the user. A curved, steel blade between 60 to 90 centimetres (24 to 35 in) long is mounted at the lower end at 90°, or less, to the snaith. Scythes almost always have the blade projecting from the left side of the snaith when in use, with the edge towards the mower; left-handed scythes are made but cannot be used together with right-handed scythes as the left-handed mower would be mowing in the opposite direction and could not mow in a team.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Grace Kelly

Grace Patricia Kelly (November 12, 1929 – September 14, 1982) was an American film actress who, after starring in several significant films in the early to mid-1950s, became Princess of Monaco by marrying Prince Rainier III in April 1956.
After embarking on an acting career in 1950 when she was 20, Kelly appeared in New York City theatrical productions and more than 40 episodes of live drama productions broadcast during the early 1950s Golden Age of Television. From 1952 to 1956 she starred in several critically and commercially successful films, usually opposite male romantic leads 25 to 30 years older than her.
Kelly retired from acting at the age of 26 to marry Rainier, and began her duties as Princess of Monaco. It is well known that Hitchcock was hoping she would appear in more of his films which required an "icy blonde" lead actress, but he was unable to coax her out of retirement.

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Alfred Brendel

Alfred Brendel KBE (1931) is an Austrian pianist, poet and author, known particularly for his performances of Mozart, Schubert, Schoenberg, and especially Beethoven.
Brendel was born in Wiesenberg, Czechoslovakia (now Loučná nad Desnou, Czech Republic) to a non-musical family. They moved to Zagreb, Yugoslavia (now Croatia), when Brendel was six and there he began piano lessons with Sofija Deželić. He later moved to Graz, Austria, where he studied piano with Ludovica von Kaan at the Graz Conservatory and composition with Artur Michel. Towards the end of World War II, the 14-year-old Brendel was sent back to Yugoslavia to dig trenches.
After the war, Brendel composed music as well as continuing to play the piano, to write and to paint. However, he never had more formal piano lessons and, although he attended master classes with Edwin Fischer and Eduard Steuermann, he was largely self-taught after the age of 16.
Brendel's playing is sometimes described as being "cerebral", and he has said that he believes the primary job of the pianist is to respect the composer's wishes without showing off himself, or adding his own spin on the music: "I am responsible to the composer, and particularly to the piece".
In November 2007 Brendel announced that he would retire from the concert platform after his concert of 18 December 2008 in Vienna, which featured him as soloist in Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 9 in E-flat; the orchestra (the Vienna Philharmonic) was conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras. His final concert in New York was at Carnegie Hall on 20 February 2008, with works by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert.