Wednesday, April 20, 2005


Just back from a few days in London. Lovely time. Saw an amazing play, went clubbing in Brixton, and relaxed briefly in Hyde Park.

BTW, I finally wrote part II of Spy vs. Spy. Long, long story. And Blogger ate it. Bugger Blogger.

Short version: Half Malian, half Russian Jewish atheist intellectual with a devout Muslim wife asks for a cigarette on the street (we oblige), makes a cosmic connection with Abdul when he discovers that Abdul also has a West African father and a Russian Jewish mother (which Abdul politely nods at), launches into a nearly sotto voce soliloquy in both French and English about the suffering of the half-caste (which we can't understand because motorcycles keep drowning him out), tells me that I am a nice, intellectual man, but that I cannot possibly know the suffering of the matrisse (both of which I acknowledge as correct, the former gratefully, the latter sorrowfully), accompanies us to a cafe (where these conversations are most appropriate), tells us that he fired Kalashnikovs about 30 years ago near Russia (we couldn't tell which side he shot from), insinuates that Abdul's beard makes him an Islamic fundamentalist or terrorist (we couldn't tell if he thought that was a good thing, although he kept asking what Abdul thought their Russian Jewish mothers would think of it), asks if we'd like him to shoot us with a Kalashnikov (no), talks in Russian with Abdul (Abdul translates for me), starts drinking double whiskeys (we had coffee), screams at the waitress over and over again to give him a cigarette and play Bob Marley (she says she has neither, and he screams the same request), begins reciting Russian poetry and singing Russian folk songs at the top of his lungs with a tear in his eye (Abdul sings along where he can), invites us home to meet his wife and kids (we decline), tells me "je suis le diable" (which I correctly translate as "I am the devil"), tells us his name is Suleyman Solomon (we thought that was made up too), gives us his number (which we never called), and leaves (which was both a relief and a disappointment). He was carrying a briefcase. We should have kept ordering whiskeys for him, then run away with the briefcase, because we were sure he was a spy.

Sorry, but I just don't have it in me to write the long version again. It's somewhere out there in the ether with all the other posts Blogger has digested but never passed. Guess it will have to go in my paper journal.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005


Just got back to Paris. Slept 14 hours last night. How's this for an itinerary?

Apr 5: Paris to Baltimore
Apr 7: Baltimore to Washington and back
Apr 11: Baltimore to Washington to Montreal
April 12: Montreal to Washington to Baltimore
April 13/14: Baltimore to London
April 17: London to Paris

I know I'm lucky to get to all these places, and I got to see a lot of wonderful people I hadn't seen in a while. But right now, I'll be happy if I never see a plane, train, car, or bus again.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Pigeon des Tuileries

Can't begin to tell you how gorgeous Paris is right now. Canoeing at Bois de Vincennes today was sublime. Check out my April in Paris photo set at Flickr to see a whole bunch of photos of, well, April in Paris.

I suggest going to Amazon to load up a clip from the best version of "April in Paris" ever, Count Basie's (yes, it's better than Ella and Louis), to listen to while you look at the pics.

Speaking of biking...

Found this on the sidewalk across the street from the Esplanade des Invalides.

Bike Friendly

How bike friendly is Paris? We even get our own traffic lights. In the States, legislators are fighting to let drivers pay for their own "HOT lanes." Bluh.