“It’s just a jump to the left…”

May 29, 2010 at 6:07 PM (Uncategorized) (, , , )

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I’ve been trying to remember… Autrefois, j’etais…

May 24, 2010 at 11:02 AM (Uncategorized) (, , )

And my journal from my studying in France was lost between JFK and Cleveland back in 1983.

There are gaps.  Things I don’t remember anymore.  So I’d best get them down before I forget.

First, in the Brussels airport.  Learning that the French word for wheelchair was “chariot”

Second, feeling stinky and exhausted upon arrival at the youth hostel in Paris, only to discover that it was *ice cold.*  I don’t mean cool, or even chilly,,,the water felt like just melted ice.

The next day was a big day,,,but I’m not sure of what we saw…it could have been Notre Dame, or the Louvre, or the Hotel DeVille,  We saw these things. I’m just no longer sure of the order.

Then there was the fact that my wheel on my wheelchair lost it’s restraining nut (and no I don’t mean *me* LOL. ) so every twenty minutes or so for the rest of our time in Paris…the group developed a question regarding how often they should manually tighten the wheel.

“Is it time to screw yet?”

I know I missed the Eiffel tower and Sacre Coeur on that Friday.  Because I was just too freakin tired.  I slept that afternoon.

Again I don’t remember the order. Versailles, when the cobblestones threatened to decimate my kidneys as the wheelchair went over them.  Les Invalides a military museum with all sorts of weaponry. (Big bunches of Napoleonic stuff.)

The tomb of some of the French Kings.  I wasn’t spooked at all.  It was sunny that day, and even with the thin high windows enough light got in.  It was a peaceful  quiet.

Taking an elevator up the Arc De Triomphe…and having to walk down the whole thing…

Shopping.  Just a bit.  That got me a wonderful dark cloak that went missing between moves in Colorado in 1998.

Swiss chocolate (or Toblerone’s) and Orangina.

Bookstalls in the Quartier Latin.


Sitting outside Saint Germain-des-Pres in my wheelchair and being mistaken for a beggar,  trying to decline the coins dropped into my hands.  Some asked our professor, “Ou est la temple Protestant?”  and he laughed at the thought that apparently he should know everything. “Monsieur Sait-Tout.”

Some parks in Paris.  Other museums.  (What is the name of that one close to La Petite Triannon?) Wait Wait, Jeu de Paume?  I’m misspelling it dreadfully.

Being silent and intimidated in Notre Dame, and wondering about the completely different vibe in La Madelaine.  (Felt more like social climbers go to Mass…)

The students from Paris that spoke with us. (One had a distinctly Southern accented English, because she’d been an exchange student to one of the Southern states.)

Eating a bit of horsemeat until I learned it was horsemeat ( “C’est du cheval.”)

The cool hostel in the Loire Valley.

Thank goodness for the owner of the bicycle shop in Blere (sorry no way to place the correct accent marks)

He fixed my wheelchair, so the rest of the trip, when I needed it, things proceeded without incident.

Watching US TV with French subtitles, mostly Star Trek episodes and the 1950’s Phantom of the Opera film with Claude Rains.

I loved most of the food, but tripe and squid passed up my tolerance level.

Chenonceaux, and other chateaus. I’ve talked about the long cold walk back from Chenonceaux before so I won’t rehash it here.  (forget the names, but I remember loving Chenonceaux and another one originally built bv Francois I, and really disliking one owned by one of the Ducs d’Orleans.)  I seem to remember we did a bit more studying on this leg of the trip and a bit less rambling about…that was actually fine by me.

Everyone crying a bit after they came out of the phone…had decided on the time to call home….

And then the TGV to the south of France and another hostel in Boulouris.

The staff told jokes.

And taught us drinking songs.

and some drink made of kirsch liqueur and white or rose wine.  Favorite drink ever.

The food was awesome…amazing fish, and tartes. Also fresh bread, fruit and cheese brought from the farmer’s marked by the more able bodied.  A simple kind of meal, but it was often our lunch. Studying in the morning, the beach in the afternoon 🙂

Seeing a part of the US naval presence in the Mediterranean at midday, when I and our professor had a day to ourselves.

The one morning that one of our number suddenly decided he had to call home to check on his twin brother…something had happened, but it wasn’t serious…

“Ce sont des jumeaux,” the idea that connection between twins happens all the time.

The last night in the south…when I saw a great sunset  and fell down a flight of stairs.

(Unfortunately it has turned out that some tissue or my back was damaged by that. A little painful all the time)  But my  docs have never investigated this, (snark to follow)  because after all, I’m fat, and all injury will be cured by weight loss. (end of snark)

That, and my pictures, is most of what I remember.

Why now?  Because yesterday I was struck by the thought that I’ll quite probably never be able to travel abroad again.

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If only I could cook…

May 20, 2010 at 1:30 PM (Uncategorized) (, )

Rand Paul recipe: 1/4 cup privately grown racism, 1/4 cup cheap disability accommodation . Mix with 1/2 cup weak tea. Enjoy.

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Rand Paul: Views on ADA and the Civil Rights Act

May 19, 2010 at 9:52 PM (Uncategorized) (, , , )

Trust, but verify.  That’s what I’ve been trying to do this evening regarding Rand Paul and his views on the Civil Rights Act and the ADA. After Rachel Maddow’s takedown of the gentleman, It’s taken me nearly three hours to find an original interview that she may have based her assertions on. but I have found it…It’s very, um, illuminating. Listen on through to the end. Link is here if you cannot see the video

And, from CNN, His Democratic party opponent Mr. Conway, puts Paul back in his place, at the video linked at CNN (you may need to allow cookies for session if you want to see the video link. ) I’m quite comfortable saying that I figure Rand Paul himself on a day to day basis would be courteous to any constituent affected if he actually had the power to make the above laws dissapear.

And, lets be fair.  Mr. Paul has said that he agrees with a legislative solution to discrimination,  as long as it’s the big bad government that has enacted laws or policies that foster discrimination.

I’m also quite comfortable saying that I believe that up in Washington, where all he’d have to deal with is his own ideology, rather than a trip back in time to: “We’ve decided not to serve your kind here…” he’d push for the modification of these laws to protect private discrimination.  He wants, he says, to protect the rights of private business owners.  A *consequence* of what he says he wants to protect is the sanction of private discrimination. You own a grocery.  Minorities, gay people and gimps want to patronize you.  But, it’s more important to you to make an example of your deeply held views on private ownership, than to take their money.   So, in order to show that you own what you own and government interference be damned you refuse them.  To show that you can, and are allowed to do so per your interpretation of our system of government.

You own a haircut joint.  You own a bar.  You own a fitness center.  A party hall. You get to decide who can patronize it.  Never mind that it’s the nearest such place to a minority, gay, or gimpy customer..(or any other group you find a  reason to ban )

Mr. Paul states that he, being a decent guy, has accessibility features that would permit the visit of a constituent with disabilities. He suggests moving a new hire with disabilities to an office on the first floor rather than installing a 100,000 elevator.   But having been the victim of an apartment complex that *wouldn’t* move me to the first floor when the single elevator in my building developed a serious ongoing malfunction (and yes, like his hypothetical elevator, the management whined to me that it would take 100K to fix.  ) I don’t take kindly to that simplistic illustration.

Mr. Paul, the reason we wrote these laws is that not everyone is…decent.

Private enterprise (Insurance Companies? Banks? Oil Companies, Mining companies, Big Pharma) have shown time and time and time again that most of them will not self-correct for decency’s sake if left to their own devices. Legislation is therefore in order.  Some of them  (allegedly) cause death in the course of their day to day business, and only correct after the fact.

There’s your freedom.

And Mr. Paul, lets take this down to street level for a moment.

If you became disabled…

Would you calmly accept a business owner’s denying you access to a business that you feel you *need* to frequent, never mind one that’s just a *want* to frequent.

I’d bet you wouldn’t.  But I’d also bet that you’d *buy and build your own* similar business, rather than publicly admit to a change of heart on your ideas re: legislation on civil rights.

That’s what you need to truly understand the disturbing nature of this argument.

This guy…is…

You know what? I’m out of freakin’ adjectives.  I can’t be decent, so I’ll be offensive, (watchers, take your hand away from food and soda)

He just makes me puke.

Update:  I inadvertently deleted a comment from this blogger with an opposing viewpoint, because it had listed twice, so in order that they be heard, I’m reposting the comment here, and linking to his site.

His comment here read as follows:

Indeed private businesses, organizations and individuals should be able to create rules for or refuse service to whomever they choose. That includes allowing or refusing service to those that are white, black, brown, gay, straight, handicapped, obese, retarded, cross dressing, transsexual or whatever type of irrelevant characteristic you can conjure up. Not only that but they should be able to allow or refuse smoking, guns, dogs, drugs or anything else on their private property. At the same time, all competing businesses should have the right to do the exact opposite to attract those that don’t approve. If the offending business can’t attract enough customers, then they go out of business. That is how freedom works. Maddow can’t seem to fathom anything other than the use of violence (government) to force her subjective views on everyone else. What an evil excuse for a human being.

Updated above to linkback to CNN video of Paul’s Democratic opponent response.

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Is Glen Beck an American Citizen?

May 15, 2010 at 12:14 PM (Uncategorized) (, , )

Or, was he born offplanet?

He’s persona non grata at the
Vulcan Embassy — banned for emotional outbursts.

Both the Romulans and the Cardassians kicked him out of their secret police, because propaganda and coup d’etats etc, they are something you don’t see coming and Glen is too obvious.

The Borg spit him out of the collective. Too oogy to assimilate.

The Federation didn’t want him, because he was always going around to primitive planets, flouting the Prime Directive by selling The Plan to any old body who would pay for it.

And the Klingons have a hit out on him because he called the leader of the High Council a fascist progressive communist socialist…

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