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Posts Tagged ‘France’

Adieu mademoiselle, bonjour madame!


On February 22, 2012, the French Prime Minister François Fillon declared that the word mademoiselle, the French equivalent of "Miss," has been banned from use in official French documents. Many years ago English-speaking countries adopted Ms. to replace both Mrs. and Miss. Germany dropped Fräulein and uses just Frau for all women. French feminists viewed two titles for women as a form of discrimination, pointing out that there is no "mondemoiseau" denoting the single marital status of males.

In a country where linguistic change comes extremely slowly, thanks to the Académie Française — the official French language police that dates all the way back to 1635 — this change is huge! For the time being, it is only on an official, administrative level, but surely the shift will trickle down over time. Here's an example of the three categories of marital status on a non-governmental form.

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Funny French Signs


I love funny signs, and I know that many of my readers enjoy them also. At the beginning of my 38th year (!) of teaching French, I decided to share some French humor. I'll try to do it in a way that all can enjoy, even if they've never studied French.

In a post called Unhelpful Road Signs I poked fun at the following combination of signs:

picture of French sign

I still miss the logic of one sign's saying Toutes Directions, indicating all directions, right next to another sign saying other directions. If all means all, how can there be other?! And yet you see that pairing of signs all over France!

This next pairing is even more illogical.
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Graffiti


picture of McDo sign

Being a person who likes to leave things better than I found them, I have never understood the mentality that does graffiti or other forms of vandalism. Some "graffiti artists" might argue that they are trying to improve things by leaving something eye catching behind, but many of them do not leave something good behind. Much of graffiti is vulgar and unsightly, seeking to show disrespect or to draw attention to the vandals themselves, and most people do not appreciate having their property defaced or having to clean up graffiti. In this post I am in no way trying to encourage or excuse vandalism, but since graffiti happens, I will try to look at some of the effects that are actually interesting or even beautiful. Some graffiti is quite creative ... if only that creativity could be directed into more acceptable activity....

I'll start off with some that are really pretty cool.

Here's a staircase illusion.

picture of graffiti

Here is some modern art done by someone named Banksy, a British street artist with an international reputation.
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Random Funny Pictures


People often ask me where I get the things I post on my blog. I reply that my readers send me the best stuff and that I also run across some great things as I click around online. Pictures go into a "tickler" folder on my computer. Sometimes I spot several pictures in that folder that are thematic — like my post on the Mona Lisa after I noticed quite a few different versions of the painting in that folder. I often have some pictures that are funny, but they're just kind of random and I don't know when I could ever share them, other than in a post like today's.

One source of pictures along certain themes is Google Images. Sometimes I have a picture that's not very clear and can find a nicer version of it on Google Images. Other times I use Google to fill in holes or simply to find a neat picture to use at the beginning of my blog posts. Here's a picture of how the first Google searches were done.

picture of Google postcard

Google has come so far from its early days!

Most people know about Foosball, even if they've never played it themselves. Here's a traditional Foosball game.

picture of Foosball game

In France Foosball is called "baby-foot" (basically pronounced Bobby-foot). One French designer has taken it one step further though.... Last month I read that a Parisian store called Colette had a game called Barbie-Foot in their show window. You could buy the game for only 10,000 euros!

picture of Barbie-Foot

picture of Barbie-Foot

I guess if you collect Barbie dolls, that could be a valuable addition to any collection.

I have often wondered how women walk in high heels. I ran across a picture of a pair of spike heels that might cause even the most intrepid woman to think twice.

picture of spike heels

Does it ever seem as if whatever transportation you are using is going at a snail's pace. Here's a picture of something potentially slower yet.

picture of slow transport

With cooler weather around the corner, some people start to struggle with chapped lips. Here's a new product available that might be just what you need.

picture of lip balm

I have never been further west than the St. Louis, Missouri area, and there are many places out west that I would love to see. For some reason, I have no strong desire whatsoever to see Mount Rushmore — there's just so much natural beauty out west to waste time going to a place like that.

picture of Mount Rushmore

This week, though, I received a picture by e-mail that makes me want to go to Mount Rushmore to see it from the other side. (The Far Side maybe? 🙂 For sure, it's neither the Canadian side nor the Wyoming side! Read comments to discover why I have added that....)

picture of Mount Rushmore from the other side

Hope you got a much-needed laugh or two from this post. I look forward to receiving and finding more funny pictures in the days ahead.

quotation...

"Personal holiness not political dominion is what changes people." - Phil Johnson

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

Have a great weekend ... unless, of course, you have other plans.


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Mug Shots


picture of the Mona Lisa

Have you ever seen the Mona Lisa? I'm not asking if you've seen a picture of the painting — I'm talking about the painting itself. I saw it for the first time the summer of 1972 with my French cousin Annie. Her family lives in the suburbs of Paris, and I was visiting them and other relatives on my first trip to France. (My paternal grandmother was French.) In my mind's eye I pictured what this most famous portrait in the world would be like. Since it attracted millions of visitors each year, I assumed the painting would be "larger than life." I was surprised that it is only 30 inches × 21 inches (77 cm × 53 cm). Below is a picture of the Mona Lisa, known in France as La Joconde and in her native Italy as La Gioconda.

picture of the Mona Lisa in her protective case

It's a good thing this world famous "mug shot" is in that protective case — earlier this month (August 2) a Russian woman pulled a ceramic mug out of her purse and threw it at the Mona Lisa in anger and frustration. The deranged woman was sent to a psychiatric ward afterwards. Because of the protective case, this woman's attack was an unsuccessful, literal "mug shot."

The painting has a long history of attacks. It was stolen in 1911 by an Italian nationalist, a Louvre employee named Vincenzo Peruggia. My French grandmother was a 12 year old girl at the time of the theft — I wonder if she even heard about the theft.... The painting was finally returned in 1913. In 1956 it was doused with acid. Later that same year a man damaged the painting by throwing a rock at it. Sometime in the 16 intervening years between those attacks and my 1972 visit, Mona Lisa was put in that climate-controlled, protective case.

I know it seems a bit irreverent to call this celebrated portrait a mug shot. But that term took on a new meaning last month at the 12th annual Rocks Aroma Festival in Sydney, Australia. The festival featured the huge picture of Mona Lisa made of 3604 coffee cups. 564 pints of milk were used to lighten some of the cups of coffee cups to achieve the required shades for the design. Here are two pictures of the picture.

picture of the Mona Lisa coffee cups

picture of the Mona Lisa coffee cups

Now that is a mug shot!

Many other items have been used to recreate versions of the Mona Lisa. This one was done by 300 employees at a department store in Osaka, Japan. They built their rendition with nothing more than old train tickets — several hundred thousand of them.

picture of the Mona Lisa made with train tickets

A mystery artist used about 800 Rubik's cubes to create the image below. He twisted each cube to get the colors he wanted on the top face before placing them next to each other on a board.

picture of the Mona Lisa made with cubes

Lego has its own Mona Lisa.

picture of a Lego Mona Lisa

That wasn't enough for Eric Harshbarger who used Legos to create "Mona Lego," composed of over 30,000 Lego blocks. It measures six by eight feet and weighs over 45 pounds.

picture of the Mona Lego

Chinese artist Ju Duoqi did a version of Mona Lisa with vegetables. Her veggie Mona Lisa ("Mona Tofu") is made out of rice, sea kelp, and tofu.

picture of the veggie Mona Lisa

In addition to various versions of the Mona Lisa, there are plenty of perversions. Here she is with bubble gum.

picture of the Mona Lisa with bubblegum

Here's Goth Mona Lisa.

picture of goth Mona Lisa

Here she is in a burqa.

picture of the Mona Lisa in a burqa

Here are some animated "gif" images of Mona Lisa.

picture of animated Mona Lisa

picture of animated Mona Lisa

picture of animated Mona Lisa

picture of animated Mona Lisa

picture of animated Mona Lisa

picture of animated Mona Lisa

I'll end this part of the post with a Mona Lisa comic strip.

picture of Mona Lisa comic

Some of my regular readers may have noticed that I didn't do my usual Thursday blog post last week. I had to make a quick trip up to Ohio to help deal with some issues that my mother is having. If you are one who prays, please pray that Mom's thinking will clear up soon. She is having some exceedingly dark thoughts right now, and it's hard to know why this started happening all of a sudden.

What are your thoughts about the Mona Lisa? Do you think it deserves the status it enjoys?

quotation...

"God calls dead rebels to life." - Joshua Pegram

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

If you look like your passport picture, you probably need the trip.


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