“There was music in the cafés at night
And revolution in the air”
- Bob Dylan, “Tangled Up in Blue”
Finally, a movie has arrived that treats the story of the New Left honestly and in a realistic, mature manner. That film is not Robert Redford’s dreadful The Company You Keep, a paean to the Weather Underground, but the movie by the French director Olivier Assayas, Something in the Air. It takes place in various European locales in the summer of 1971, when the hopes of the European revolutionaries were shattered after the failure of 1968 to lead to revolution. Assayas’ film covers an assorted group of European New Leftists and some American tourist counterparts as they attempt to both get on with their lives and, for some, to keep alive their crushed hopes in a period of ideological and political retreat.
Assayas, who made the quintessential and powerful biographical movie Carlos about Carlos the Jackal, the Left’s most well-known ’70s and 80’s terrorist, now turns his attention in particular to the plight of the young graduating high school student Gilles, played by Clement Metayer, and his new girlfriend, Christine, played by Lola Creton. Each takes different paths. Gilles is guilt ridden over his desire to become an artist and study painting instead of serving the revolution, while Christine, plagued with guilt over her bourgeois existence, opts instead to live with an older man in a revolutionary collective and to devote herself to the task of organizing the proletariat in France and Italy. (All she does, we learn, is shop, cook and clean for the male comrades, as well as provide sex.)
The power of Assayas’ movie is that it takes place in real time, instead of flashbacks and narrative based in the present, as aging radicals try to come to terms with their past. We see these young people facing the options in front of them, each deciding which way to turn, as they experience the pulls to go one way and the warning signs that they had better think twice before acting on their impulses.
I’ve vacationed at Walt Disney World literally all my life, and I can assure you of one thing: waiting in line is part of the experience. It’s often inevitable that you’ll have to wait in at least one long line during your trip. In my younger days, when there were fewer parks and attraction options, we waited in line for hours for nearly everything. The growth of the entire Walt Disney World property has led to shorter lines altogether.
Over the past few years, Disney has taken care to add interactive theming, games, and activities to many of the queues for the most popular attractions. They have also gone to great lengths to help guests avoid some of the longest lines. The FastPass system, introduced in 1999, allows guests to essentially make a reservation to ride certain attractions, bypassing the worst of the lines. This year, the company will introduce new RFID technology called MyMagic+ that promises to “take guests’ experiences to the next level.” Disney even offers specials during off-peak seasons to funnel some of the crowds to different times of the year.
Seasoned Disney travelers find their own ways to stay away from the crowds. Some families leave the parks during the most crowded times of the day and return to their resort to rest. Others ride the most popular attractions during parades and fireworks shows. My family goes in the fall rather than in spring or summer, and we meticulously research which days are more likely to be crowded than others.
And then certain people go to more nefarious measures to avoid long lines at attractions. The New York Post caught wind of a trend among Manhattan’s uber-wealthy: hiring handicapped adults to travel with them, giving the family access to the front of the line:
Some wealthy Manhattan moms have figured out a way to cut the long lines at Disney World — by hiring disabled people to pose as family members so they and their kids can jump to the front, The Post has learned.
The “black-market Disney guides” run $130 an hour, or $1,040 for an eight-hour day.
“My daughter waited one minute to get on ‘It’s a Small World’ — the other kids had to wait 2 1/2 hours,” crowed one mom, who hired a disabled guide through Dream Tours Florida.
“You can’t go to Disney without a tour concierge,’’ she sniffed. “This is how the 1 percent does Disney.”
The woman said she hired a Dream Tours guide to escort her, her husband and their 1-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter through the park in a motorized scooter with a “handicapped” sign on it. The group was sent straight to an auxiliary entrance at the front of each attraction.
Disney allows each guest who needs a wheelchair or motorized scooter to bring up to six guests to a “more convenient entrance.”
Austin, TX, home of SXSW, is known for its live music and its food. The fact is, you’d have to work pretty hard to find a bad meal in Austin. The people here take pride in being one of the food capitals of America. The weary SXSWer may have a hard time sorting the great places from the merely good, though, so as a local, I’m here to help out. Here are the places and meals you shouldn’t miss while you’re in town.
10. Pluckers Wing Bar. Locations: All over town. This chain of wing stops was started by some UT students. Pluckers isn’t fancy but it’s local and good, and has restaurants all over town.
I admit to being fascinated by the Carnival Cruise ship drama (Twitter hashtags—no kidding—#poopboat and #poopship) as we watched the disabled behemoth limp back to Mobile on Thursday with 4000 crew and passengers in a floating soup of raw sewage and onion sandwiches.
As low-information travelers, our family has been on no less than three Carnival cruises, so I know a little about the culture of those ships. It’s an odd mix of senior citizens, families with young children, and the people who purchase the unlimited liquor cards. The seniors play bingo, the children romp around Camp Carnival, and the fun folks with the unlimited liquor cards spend their nights grinding in the disco and their mornings with their heads hanging in the suction-operated toilets. The ship carries a group of people who would never under normal circumstances choose to spend time together crammed onto an opulent miniature city for a week, staged by a crew that works slavishly to serve the needs and the whims of the passengers 24-7.
Suddenly last week, thousands of people who packed their bags for fine dining, magic shows, and romps on the beach found themselves in survival mode. Hollywood couldn’t have written a better reality-show script: grandparents celebrating their 50th anniversary, recent college grads on their honeymoon, a homeschooling family from Waco, football buddies from New Orleans. Who would survive the Sludge Boat?
DRUDGE screamed terrifying headlines about the misery in the Gulf:
FLOATING PETRI DISH LIMPS TO PORT
SLEEPING WITH LIFE VESTS FEARING CAPSIZE
HOARD ON BOARD
PASSENGERS FIGHT OVER FOOD
The stories from the Carnival Triumph early Thursday made it sound like a third world county:
Conditions on board a cruise ship stranded in the Gulf of Mexico have deteriorated dramatically, reportedly leaving passengers fighting over food and the vessel caked in urine and raw sewage. Passengers on board the US cruise ship Carnival Triumph, which has been stranded since Sunday after an engine fire, are using mobile phones to convey tales of carpets soaked in urine and passengers sleeping in tents on deck.
Food supplies are said to be running low, with passengers forced to queue for hours for cold onion and cucumber sandwiches, and there are also reports of fights breaking out as groups of “savages” fight over the dwindling supplies.
Speaking to CNN, passenger Ann Barlow said: “It’s disgusting. It’s the worst thing ever”, while her husband Toby told the news channel there is “sewage running down the walls and floors”, with passengers asked to defecate in plastic bags and urinate in showers due to their being only five working toilets between 4,200 people.”
It seemed that every news outlet in the country sent reporters to meet the ill-fated cruise ship in Mobile, no doubt expecting to see horrific scenes of human carnage as medics wheeled feces-caked passengers off the ship. It was clear in the lead-up to the ship’s arrival in Mobile that they fully expected to be greeted by angry, disgruntled passengers looking for lawyers. The media prepared us all day for how bad this would be as they followed the ship into port.
About five years ago, after my husband and I first heard Paul Wilbur perform at a messianic temple in Ft. Lauderdale, we became instant fans. Since then, we have played his CDs in our cars repeatedly.
Wilbur’s songs appeal to traditional Jews and Christians alike. He has performed in Israel on numerous occasions, and his love for that nation, coupled with his own Jewish heritage and love of Christ, is the hallmark of his music ministry, making him a unique performer.
As a result, Wilbur’s popularity as a singer, songwriter and praise/worship leader has grown tenfold around the world since we first heard him perform in a small venue.
His music resonates with me, and not just because we are both Jewish believers in Jesus Christ, but in the extraordinary way his songs fill any room (or car) with passion and love.
Now, as so often happens when I’m inspired to write something with a spiritual theme for PJ Lifestyle, a deeper dimension of the topic is revealed while I am doing “research.” (A quick Google search.)
Such was the case with Paul Wilbur. I had already decided to write about him because I thought PJ Lifestyle Sunday readers would appreciate knowing about him and hearing some of his music.
That was when I discovered, just this past December, Paul Wilbur made history as the first singer to perform at a religious concert event in Cuba with the full permission and “blessing” of the communist Cuban government.
Watch him here as he speaks about this historic trip.
His Cuban concerts were truly amazing events for this struggling nation and its oppressed people.
Perhaps, just the fact that Wilbur’s two “praise and worship” performances were even allowed to proceed, is a signal that some potentially major political, social and or spiritual changes are about to be instituted by the Cuban government.
Which begs the questions, “Is God at work in Cuba and if so, is HE using Paul Wilbur as a catalyst?”
Only time will tell, but in the meantime, check out Paul Wilbur Ministries and discover what a tour de force he has become around the world.
And, if you are ever presented with the opportunity to see him perform live, do not hesitate. Trust me when I tell you your faith walk could be impacted, even if you have little faith or none at all.
Finally, I will close with a video of Paul Wilbur performing a song that ranks high among my favorites.
Please do watch until the very end, for this song builds and soars and I predict your spirits will be uplifted right along with it.
With over 40 million views, this video captures the essence of the article you are about to read.
A funny thing happened “on the way” as I was contemplating writing this piece. While listening to a Christian radio station the announcer said, “Jesus is the reason for the season.”
At that moment this very familiar phrase hit me like a thunderbolt. For not only is “Jesus the reason for the season,” but Jesus is the reason our world, nation, history, culture and society are the way they are.
So regardless of whether you believe in Jesus, practice another faith, or are devoid of faith, Jesus has impacted you by virtue of the fact that you are alive.
For no person has affected mankind – past, present and future –more than this Jewish teacher who lived over 2000 years ago, whose birth we will celebrate with great fanfare.
Although Jesus’ life, death and resurrection were the impetus behind His followers’ establishing Christianity, the world’s largest religion itself is only the starting point for the influence Jesus spawned in countless non-religious venues as people over the centuries were moved and motivated by Him to express themselves in a multitude of ways that we continue to see played out everyday across the planet.
With so many examples of Jesus Christ’s effect on mankind it is impossible to even mention them all in this short piece — the purpose of which is to not only enhance your celebration of “the reason for the season” but to also increase your awareness of just how much Jesus impacts the world around you every day of the year.
If after reading this piece you are moved to delve deeper into this topic, I recommend a book published in 1994 that has since become a “modern classic,” What If Jesus Had Never Been Born?, co-authored by the late Dr. D. James Kennedy and the still very much alive Jerry Newcombe.
This book had a profound influence on me as it oriented my thinking about Jesus in ways that I had never contemplated.
So here in alphabetical order is only a short, incomplete list of the most obvious “non-religious” aspects of how Jesus Christ has impacted the world.
In previous installments of this series, I’ve suggested famous (and not so famous) must-sees on your trip to Israel. You won’t want to miss your chance to float in the Dead Sea, snorkel with exotic fish in Eilat and fire a gun or two at Caliber 3 in Gush Etzion.
Now, onto some helpful hints and observations about everyday cultural cornerstones like food, language and manners.
PLUS: a crash course on words — like “settlement,” “refugee camp” and “checkpoint” — that don’t mean what you think they mean, at least in Israel.
The Jews wandered in the desert for 40 years because they couldn’t decide where to eat.
Food is a very big deal in Jewish culture, so it’s not surprising that you can eat well in Israel, and as cheaply or as expensively as you wish or can afford.
Contrary to what you may think, not all restaurants there are kosher.
Many people believe that kosher food, wherever it is served, is healthier and cleaner. I for one do get this sensation when I’m in Israel, that somehow the food is fresher and more carefully handled. When it comes to kosher food, a bug on your lettuce isn’t just a faux pas — it’s a serious violation of the law.
Every hotel offers a breakfast buffet. It’s an Israeli institution, and differs little from a similar spread in North America except for the addition of chilled fish like herring, and the absence of bacon and ham.
In fact, the presence of dairy at these buffets means that no meat — pork or otherwise — will be on the menu. Milk and meat are not combined because — to put it simplistically — milk represents life and meat represents death. (So while there are McDonald’s in Israel, they don’t serve cheeseburgers. Coffeemate was invented so that Jews could enjoy “cream” in their coffee while eating, say, a steak.)
One dish that’s standard fare in Israel, and that we fell in love with, is shakshuka. “Dr. Shakshuka’s” restaurant was closed the day we visited Jaffa, which is too bad because it is world famous:
We went to the charming Nelly’s Kitchen instead, and really enjoyed it.
In the evening, across Israel, a “switch” takes place in restaurants and dining rooms: meat is offered but dairy is not. The types of cutlery at your table setting will be different, too.
Expect your lunch or dinner order to come with bountiful plates of appetizers like humus and salad. THEN your main meal arrives. Keep this in mind when ordering (and eating.)
Since I’m from Toronto, I’m familiar with the cuisine of most cultures, and have long been a falafel fanatic. The falafel is the “hamburger” of Israel, so be sure to try one. If you’re a bland “meat and potatoes” person, this and other Israeli dishes may be an acquired taste.
Starbucks isn’t there yet, but the Israeli equivalent — Aroma — is arguably superior anyhow. You get a little piece of dark chocolate with your cup of coffee, and their sandwiches are exceptional.
In Jerusalem’s Old City, treat yourself to a poppy seed bun or other fresh pastry sold by the Muslim merchants who push their wares along on old wooden carts.
Check out the previous installments in Kathy Shaidle’s Israel Travel Series:
- 5 Places to Visit in Israel (Once It’s Safe To Go Back): Part One
- 5 Places to Visit in Israel (When It’s Safe to Go Back): Part Two
5. Caliber 3
This Gush Etzion range is one of the few places in Israel where tourists are permitted to fire guns. That makes its 2-hour courses for tourists incredibly popular, even though they aren’t exactly a walk at the beach:
At our program we combine together the values of Zionism with the excitement and enjoyment of shooting which makes the activity more meaningful. The contact with real soldiers who have experienced anti terrorism fighting means that everything shown and taught is authentic.
Don’t worry: you aren’t expected to run an obstacle course, but there is some running back and forth, yelling, and briskly paced team competition with lots of surprises.
Stick it out and you’ll be rewarded with the chance to fire a Ruger (too heavy!) and an M16.
They’ll even serve you lunch. (This is Israel; food is VERY important.)
Definitely one of the highlights of my trip.
(P.S.: Remember to wear long pants, and leave the flip flops at home. Ask permission about whom and what you can film and photograph.)
Our trainer was Steve Gar (below), an impressive guy originally from South Africa. Besides being a weapons expert, he is studying to be a rabbi and he works with special needs youth (one of whom served as Steve’s range assistant). Sorry, ladies — Gar’s married (to a Toronto girl!).
In Part One, I told you a bit about Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. My mini-travelogue continues with an absolute must-see on any trip to Israel:
First, some background on Masada:
Masada is a symbol of the ancient Jewish kingdom of Israel, of its violent destruction in the later 1st century CE, and of the subsequent Diaspora. The palace of Herod the Great at Masada is an outstanding example of a luxurious villa of the early Roman Empire, while the camps and other fortifications that encircle the hill constitute the finest and most complete Roman siege works to have survived to the present day. (…)
With the end of the Herodian dynasty in 6 BCE Judaea came under direct Roman rule, and a small garrison was installed at Masada. At the beginning of the Jewish Revolt in 66 a group of Zealots led by Menahem, one of the Jewish leaders, surprised and slaughtered the garrison. The Zealots held Masada throughout the revolt, and many Jews settled there, particularly after the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple by Titus in 70. They occupied some of the Herodian palace buildings, and added more modest structures of their own, such as a synagogue, a ritual bath, and small houses.
Two years later Flavius Silva, the Roman Governor, decided to eliminate this last remaining centre of Jewish resistance. He sent the X Legion and a number of auxiliary units there, with many prisoners of war for manual duties. The Jews, led by Eleazar Ben Yair, prepared for a long siege as the Romans and their prisoners built camps and a long siege wall (circumvallation) at the base of the hill. On a rocky site near the western approach to Masada they constructed a massive ramp of stones and rammed earth. A giant siege tower with a battering ram was constructed and moved laboriously up the completed ramp. It succeeded in breaching the wall of the fortress in 73, allowing the Roman soldiers to enter.
The Zealots defended stoutly, but there was no hope of resisting the Roman attack for long. Josephus reports that Ben Yair talked to the 960 men, women, and children who survived, telling them that “a glorious death is preferable to a life of infamy.” All but two took their own lives on 2 May 73.
Masada is now a potent symbol of Jewish resistance to tyranny, but that wasn’t always the case.
It wasn’t until the 1920s that a poem about the siege reintroduced the story to the world. (That poem is said to have inspired the Warsaw Ghetto uprising.)
One of our group bravely walked up the side of the mountain — in flipflops! — but most visitors elect to take the cable car to the top.
You’ll be rewarded with spectacular views and a stirring history lesson.
Bonus: the gift shop is amazing and they’ve just added a shiny new “food court.” (However, do NOT buy the AHAVA Dead Sea beauty products at Masada — there’s an AHAVA discount store in Eilat.)
Wear a hat and sunscreen, and carry lots of water. (I bought a lumbar pack with two water bottle holders for this trip.)
Folks who say visiting Israel is like traveling back in time don’t know the half of it.
Say: Do you find yourself missing the 1970s — even though, like me, you vowed you never would?
That is: Do you miss litter, graffiti, off-leash dogs, free-range cats, smoking on the beach, 13 TV channels, no wheelchair ramps — plus polyester everything?
Seriously: This shiksa just got back from her second trip to Israel — not a moment too soon, from the looks of things — and I’m here with the first of a series of articles that will go from macro to micro.
PJMedia’s own Barry Rubin literally wrote the book on Israel. I read it before I left and recommend it highly. But he’s a Jew who has lived there for years. I’m writing as a gentile two-time visitor.
To that end, I’ll start off with an overviews of major cities and regions in Israel, then drill down in the coming weeks, to cover specific attractions; define words that don’t mean what you (or more accurately, your dorky grad student nephew) think they mean (i.e., “check point,” “settlement,” “refugee camp”); then offer tips on food, language, manners and more.
I recently returned from Vienna, Austria, and was intrigued to see this report from Reuters that the Leopold Museum has decided to self-censor posters throughout the city advertising its exhibit on male nudity. As it happens, I encountered these posters during my stay: they depict three male soccer players, naked except for their socks, standing in the middle of a confetti-filled stadium, facing the camera in full-frontal glory.
The first time I saw this poster, as I walked from my hotel to the U-Bahn station at Schottenring, I did a double-take. I realized that, while I don’t know exactly what the laws are in New York regarding nude advertisements, I certainly had never seen one walking down Broadway. I wouldn’t call it culture shock — more of a quick poke, actually. Austria generally has a more lax attitude toward nudity, despite being a nation that is very particular about etiquette and manners (and this despite its more well known reputation as a laid-back version of Germany).
Those attitudes notwithstanding, the Viennese public was evidently perturbed by the posters, and the museum agreed to cover the men’s genitals with a large red bar (running horizontally, in case you’re wondering).
“Many people told us that they wanted to or had to protect their children,” said a museum spokesman. Some Viennese warned that “if we won’t cover it they would go there with a brush and they would cover it with colour. Already somebody did that.”
Related at PJ Lifestyle:
I spent this last week vacationing with my wife in Paris. Between visits to historic sites like the Louvre and Versailles, my wife and I noticed something very odd: nobody seemed to be working. The sidewalk cafes were chock full of people sitting around in the middle of the day, watching the world pass them by. It seemed wonderfully relaxing.
Then we entered the Metro – the Parisian subway system. And there we saw the downside of the lax life of the Parisian coffee set. Dozens of beggars roamed the subways, passing out notes asking for a few Euros. Many brought their young children to beg.
This didn’t wash. What happened to France? Just why was this country – a supposed socialist paradise praised by those on the left as the ultimate example of a redistributionist society gone right – so unequal? Why was poverty so evident? Hadn’t the wealth been spread around enough?
I found the answers to my questions in David Limbaugh’s devastating new tome, The Great Destroyer, which together with his last book, Crimes Against Liberty, forms an encyclopedia of Obamaism – the philosophy of anti-American redistributionism that characterizes this administration. Obama wants us to become France. It doesn’t matter that France is hardly paradise. It aspires to paradise. And it’s the thought that counts.
Related at PJ Lifestyle:
And Part II: How to Shop for Wine in the South of France
For as long as Leslie Barr and Richard Perle have vacationed in Southern France they have tried to entertain their friends and neighbors with an authentic, American-style cookout.
At first their house — built by my old friend Jackie for some of her staff — featured a kitchen the size of a walk-in closet. With the kitchen in the house much expanded, the cookout became a summer feature in the area. In recent years they stayed for most of the summer, not just August, and scheduled the event for the Fourth of July, transforming it into an Independence Day celebration.
The biggest challenge: the logistics of acquiring the necessary foodstuffs and decorations down there. However the menu changes, the basics remain the same: Hebrew National hot dogs, grilled hamburgers, and — an addition by Leslie’s mother of blessed memory — chocolate chip cookies.
At first, friends in Frankfurt stopped at the commissary for what was needed. More recently, the necessaries have arrived packed in our suitcases. This year Sheral Schowe (our wine guide from part II) brought red, white, and blue balloons, paper plates, napkins, and tablecloths. Richard supplied the hot dogs and held his breath while his luggage temporarily disappeared at Charles de Gaulle.
As scary: the fact that the suitcase we brought contained the chocolate chips and didn’t arrive until the night of July 3, a day after Leslie — who’d been stuck in Chevy Chase’s power outage with their dog — arrived to lend a hand.
I saw on CNBC that more people would rather save for their vacation than for the kid’s college fund:
“We have seen this in recession eras before,” says Larry Hugick, chairman of Princeton Survey Research Associates, which conducted the interviews with 1,508 financial decision makers over two weeks in May. “People want to give themselves some sort of treat. They want their vacation.”
Hugick also speculated that short-term goals, like a new car or vacation may seem attainable by comparison to college expenses. The rapid rise in tuition in recent years has seemed to dwarf the most conscientious saver’s account balance, and Americans wouldn’t be blamed for feeling hopelessness toward covering their children’s college expenses.
Who can blame them? A fun vacation might be worth more today than a college education tomorrow. At least the family will have the fun memories vs. the potential debt of college and no certainty about a job from all that money for the kid. Another reason for the reluctance to save is that the less parents have in their bank accounts or savings by college time, the more financial aid junior might receive. Savings in this country often makes one a sucker, so why scrimp and save to pay full freight when your neighbor gets aid or financial help for making more impulsive decisions?
For about three decades the Luberon area of southern France has enchanted me, inspiring regular returns. While the region and its customs, foods, and winemaking remain largely unchanged, they are not immutable and we are lucky when records survived and recipes passed on to apprentices, allowing us to duplicate what would otherwise have been lost forever.
Chef Pierre Hiely’s eggplant in Avignon was a dish that I, along with thousands of his patrons, adored. Several years ago, after Hiely sold his restaurant, I returned to find to my disappointment that the dish was no longer on the menu. Luckily others published the recipe so that it was not lost and you can duplicate it. The version below is from The Independent. In brackets I have offered alternative suggestions by Simon Hopkinson who, in his book Roast Chicken and Other Stories, offers up the recipe, too.
4 small aubergines, peeled and thickly sliced
fine sea salt
olive oil [about 2 oz worth]
50g butter[about 2 oz worth]
8 ripe tomatoes, blanched, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and chopped[Hopkinson uses 5 chopped garlic cloves]
salt and pepper
3 pieces of pith-less lemon zest
2 heaped tbsp chopped fines herbes: tarragon, chives, chervil and parsley (you may include some basil too, although it isn’t strictly “fine”)
juice of half a lemon
400ml whipping cream [450 mil or ¾ pt crème fraiche—in which case you skip the lemon juice]
[Fry the eggplant slices in hot olive oil until pale golden. Drain and cool.]
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375F.
Melt the butter in a roomy pan and add the tomatoes to it, together with the garlic, seasoning and lemon zest. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes, or until nicely thickened and mulchy, but not too dry. Remove the pieces of lemon zest and put to one side.
Lightly butter a shallow oven-proof dish, preferably oval in shape. Start to fill the dish, beginning with one slice of eggplant swiftly smeared with a spoonful of the tomato mulch. Slightly overlap with a second slice and smear with tomato once more. Continue in this fashion until the dish is full and neatly layered. Now pour the cream into the (unwashed) tomato pan, together with the chopped herbs. Bring to the boil and then simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until reduced in volume and showing signs of thickening to the consistency of custard. Whisk together to smooth and amalgamate and pour evenly over the eggplant. Shake the dish a bit to allow the cream and herbs to sink in, then slide into the oven and bake for about 25 minutes, until bubbling and blistered with little points of brown.
Another food I cherished over the years: the exquisite, savory tarts of Madam Dromer. I remember dreaming of their taste for months before a visit, arriving and telling our hosts, the hospitable Richard Perle and his wife Leslie Barr, that I had to have one. My heart shattered to learn she’d sold her lovely bakery in Cabrières-d’Avignon and there’d be no tarts that trip. Fortunately, once again, others shared my high opinion and she now sells them at the weekly market in Coustellet. I have not seen her recipes anywhere nor have I tasted their like, but now that her family is intimately engaged in the operation, I hope the tradition of her pastry making will continue.
While her bread is no longer available, we have found a very good substitute in Robion, where baker Jean Honorat makes, among other things, pain au levain using a 92-year-old recipe and a wood-burning stove. He was nice enough to allow me to observe and photograph his work, and I hope you will find the process as interesting as I did.
(We take a break from the usual day to day political and media bias stuff for a long rambling discussion on modern architecture and aesthetics written in the first person voice. As with our earlier explorations of the topic, we’ll understand if you bail on this one. And yes, that’s my use of the royal we. At least for this post.)
I’m not sure what initially attracted me to the aesthetics of modernism. I do remember studying Art of Western Civilization in college, which, as with Western Civilization itself, largely concluded with the arrival of the 20th century. But modern art fascinated me — unlike traditional aesthetics, cracking modernism, whether it was architecture, or artists such as Mondrian, was a bit like deciphering a puzzle box. Of course, that complexity was considered a feature, not a bug, by the men who founded the movement. Reviewing C.P. Snow’s 1959 book, The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution, Orrin Judd of The Brothers Judd book review site and blog wrote:
As Snow notes, as late as say the 1850s, any reasonably well-educated, well-read, inquisitive man could speak knowledgeably about both science and the arts. Man knew little enough that it was still possible for one to know nearly everything that was known and to have been exposed to all the religion, art, history–culture in general–that mattered. But then with the pure science revolution of which Snow spoke–in biology and chemistry, but most of all in physics–suddenly a great deal of specialized training and education was necessary before one could be knowledgeable in each field. Like priests of some ancient cult, scientists were separated out from the mass of men, elevated above them by their access to secret knowledge. Even more annoying was the fact that even though they had moved beyond what the rest of us could readily understand, they could still listen to Bach or read Shakespeare and discuss it intelligently. The reaction of their peers in the arts, or those who had been their peers, was to make their own fields of expertise as obscure as possible. If Picasso couldn’t understand particle physics, he sure as hell wasn’t going to paint anything comprehensible, and if Joyce couldn’t pick up a scientific journal and read it, then no one was going to be able to read his books either. And so grew the two cultures, the one real, the other manufactured, but both with elaborate and often counterintuitive theories, requiring years of study.
Or at very least, a crash course for an enthusiastic auto-didactic to pick up the basics. I began by taking out books on modern art and New York’s Museum Modern Art from my college library and my local public library. Eventually, I came across Henry Russell Hitchcock and Philip Johnson’s early 1930s book, The International Style, which put modernism on the map in America, and Peter Blake’s mid-‘60s book The Master Builders: Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, and Frank Lloyd Wright, both of which have been perennially in print and still available from the gift shop at NY MoMA. And given that I had loved the Right Stuff, The Purple Decade and The Bonfire of the Vanities, I also read Tom Wolfe’s From Bauhaus to Our House.
Oddly enough, reading From Bauhaus to Our House, I found myself loving the satire, but also finding myself strangely fascinated by the images, in spite of Wolfe’s best efforts to take the mickey out of them. Reading Blake’s Master Builders, and other books on modern architecture, initially, I admired Corbusier’s works, particularly his pre-WWII buildings, but found myself increasingly put off by his post-war efforts, which replaced the white stucco of the homes he designed for his earliest wealthiest patrons with massive forms built largely out of raw concrete. Corbu’s postwar style was dubbed Béton Brut, and the New Brutalism, and brutal it was indeed. (Even Blake, the former editor in chief of Architectural Forum magazine, would have second thoughts.)
But Mies van der Rohe had worked out an architectural language that was logical (or at least seemed logical), and at its best a sort of industrial poetry. It was also the vocabulary of post-war American cities. As Wolfe wrote in From Bauhaus to Our House, Mies, the Bauhaus’s last director, and Walter Gropius, its founder, both settled in America after fleeing the Nazis in the 1930s, and both we’re welcomed by academia, as Wolfe famously wrote, as…The White Gods!
Gropius had the healthy self-esteem of any ambitious man, but he was a gentleman above all else, a gentleman of the old school, a man who was always concerned about a sense of proportion, in life as well as in design. As a refugee from a blighted land, he would have been content with a friendly welcome, a place to lay his head, two or three meals a day until he could get on his own feet, a smile every once in a while, and a chance to work, if anybody needed him. And instead—
The reception of Gropius and his confreres was like a certain stock scene from the jungle movies of that Bruce Cabot and Myrna Loy make a crash landing in the jungle and crawl out of the wreckage in their Abercrombie & Fitch white safari blouses and tan gabardine jodhpurs and stagger into a clearing. They are surrounded by savages with bones through their noses—who immediately bow down and prostrate themselves and commence a strange moaning chant.
The White Gods!
Come from the skies at last!
Mies in particular created a sort of systems-based design philosophy, which he taught to his students at the Illinois Institute of Technology, which was essentially his private educational fiefdom in the 1940s and ‘50s. By the 1960s, it became common to say that Mies’s architecture was the easiest architectural language to teach, as Blake himself writes in The Master Builders. But as Chicago-area architectural historian Franz Schulze, Mies’s best biographer, would write in 1985, “Indeed it was not at all, and may have been among the least teachable. The acres of stillborn design in the Miesian manner that transformed the American cityscape in the 1950s and 1960s are a palpable indication of this.”
The Transformers ride builds on the success of the park’s King Kong attraction, making good use of 3-D and flight simulator technologies that rapidly immerse passengers into a compelling and easy-to-understand story line. Just after boarding the 12-seat passenger car, we’re told to protect the AllSpark, a bright and sparkly substance that is apparently very important to gigantic robots. Naturally, the chief bad robot, Megatron, wants it and makes clear he’s willing to kill all humans to get it.
And off we go. As it turns, spins, bucks and dives through the streets and skyscrapers of Chicago, the ride conveys a thrilling sense of movement and travel that is superior to other attractions in its class – namely, Universal’s The Simpsons and Disney’s Star Tours and Indiana Jones Adventure. The ride is intense – in-your-face objects, dramatic falls, robot-on-robot violence and being sucked into a grinding vortex; it’s like being in a video game (or being a parent).
You feel the wind, heat and water and smell the smoke. So, if your kid isn’t comfortable with the previously mentioned attractions, this one is probably not for them yet.
The film was shot by George Mann in 1938, at the Steel Pier in Atlantic City. It’s like a two-minute time machine: Full color film, not colorized, with beachgoers in the background having a good time while the original Stooges play their parts. Plus, it’s Atlantic City in its heyday. Atlantic City was the vacation spot on the eastern seaboard at this point. Today it’s a mere shadow of that old, rambunctious self.
This wasn’t a commercial film. It’s a home movie that happens to have been directed and shot by a professional, using professionals who would become legends. And it happens to follow the basic storyline of nearly every Three Stooges film ever made.
According to this site, it’s among 50 reels in the archive left by Vaudeville comedian George Mann. He is the tall Ric Ocasek look-alike that appears in the film as the Stooges’ foil. He was half of the Barto and Mann duo, and was a big deal at the time. You can see a photo of the pair, with George in a fetching evening gown, here. Here’s a photo of George and Moe, probably from the same moment in time: It’s 1938, and Moe is already doing his Hitler bit. Moe appears to be wearing the same shirt as in the home movie. Maybe one of the other Stooges, or the woman in the film, took the photo.
The woman is George Mann’s wife, Barbara Bradford. The YouTube posting says Taylor was a successful model who appeared in Coca-Cola ads and was voted the most beautiful woman in New York in 1937. She had also appeared on the cover of Cosmopolitan, so she was already famous when this film was shot. She and George might have been the Brangelina of the day, though hardly anyone today is even aware that they ever existed.
Barbara was either tall as models tend to be, or the Stooges were really short. Or both.
The Three Stooges would have been about five years into their long film careers when George shot this home movie, so they might have been recognizable to the people on the beach. Five of the most famous celebrities of 1938 were thus captured here, and now have a kind of immortality on YouTube. One YouTube commenter notes that at about 1:17 it looks like some on the beach have started watching the filming. In the still above, it does look like one woman on the right is watching. Even if the stooges weren’t familiar faces (they really became popular when their films started appearing on TV in the 1950s), the sight of a group of people clowning around for a film camera might have been enough by itself to attract attention, in 1938. Movie cameras, let alone one capable of shooting in color, were exotic at this point in time. But the camera and the film were harbingers of things to come: Feature film took over and crowded out acts like Barto and Mann, who would dissolve their partnership five years after this film was taken.
Another YouTuber has taken the time capsule and done the one thing to it that could possibly improve it: He added the Stooges’ theme and sound effects.
*The model’s name is Barbara Bradford, not Taylor as I originally wrote. I cross-Googled myself.
What a smart Alec.
Hot-head Alec Baldwin was kicked off an American Airlines flight this afternoon in Los Angeles because he refused to turn off his cell phone, the actor said.
On his Twitter account, Baldwin wrote: “Flight attendant on American [Airlines] reamed me out 4 playing WORDS W FRIENDS while we sat at the gate, not moving.”
Fellow passengers stuck on the runway at Los Angeles International Airport quickly tweeted about the incident moments after it took place.
Michael J. Wolf, founder of the website Activate.com, tweeted at around 4:20 p.m. ET that Baldwin had been tossed from the flight.“On an AA flight at LAX. Alec Baldwin removed from the plane. We had to go back to the gate. Terrible that everyone had to wait.”
Henry Hyde could not be reached for comment.
Is it just me or are airport terminals getting longer and more difficult to navigate? And, at the same time is the area that skycaps are available to help passengers shrinking?
For Thanksgiving we made our usual trek to our children’s home in Los Angeles using the recently renovated facilities at Dulles. On our previous trip I noticed that the walkway from the end of the new rail system to terminal C was unusually long and largely uphill, a strain on a back that needs some tender care these days. I called the airline (United, if you want to know) and was assured that there were skycaps available, and I went to the Dulles website where I was assured that skycaps were available “throughout the terminal”. This was news to me and when I arrived at Dulles to the skycaps as well.
It seems that even in the absence of people movers at that terminal, skycaps are not allowed beyond the security checkpoint. In fact they seem to simply be available to take your bags from the entryway to the airline check-in area, a matter of a few yards . Given the easy accessibility of rental carts, that’s something few people really need.
That left me, and most others for whom carting bags about one mile often up an incline or on carpets which create enough friction to require substantial yanking to pull rollaboard luggage over them, two choices: a wheelchair ride up to the gate sans everything but an under the seat bag or checking luggage and trekking to the gate.
I don’t know about you, but the notion of checking my suitcase for a short trip on the heaviest travelled days of the year, fills me with almost as much dread as another sciatica attack, and fortunately my husband (who also has a less than perfect back) helped me out.
But isn’t this ridiculous?
Doesn’t the Department of Transportation have an obligation to help travelers at Dulles? Surely if the airport facility were a private operation, you can be certain it wouldn’t avoid lawsuits under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Why can’t skycaps be allowed to work in the ever greater distance between the security checkpoint and the departure gates?
(Thumbnail image on Lifestyle blog homepage by Shutterstock.com.)
Greetings from occupy the Eurodam. No not Europe, damn. I’m here with over 500 conservatives on the National Review cruise on Holland America’s Eurodam. So far the natives (the other 1500 or so passengers) seem mostly oblivious to our cause. Of course our cause is pretty similar to theirs – have a great time and relax while cruising the Eastern Caribbean.
Well maybe the Nation Review group does have a political cause too, but I’ll leave that to others to discuss. I’m reporting on the cruise part.
Non-cruisers know they won’t like a cruise because:
- There’s not a lot to do, I’ll get bored
- There’s too much to do, I won’t be able to relax.
- I’ll be claustrophobic.
- Those ships are so large I’ll feel lost.
- If the weather’s bad, well I don’t know what will happen but it wont be good.
Bah, I say! Balderdash! This morning my husband Ed (you know him, he’s the editor of Lifestyle Blog) slept in because he stayed up till 1am solving the world’s problems with James Lileks, Johan Goldberg, Michael Walsh, and Kathryn-Jean Lopez, while I went to meet some folks from a cruising website.
Today is a sea day – no port stops. So there were probably 50 things going on, NOT including the National Review sessions. You could learn Tai Chi, attend an art lecture, take a tour of the ship’s kitchen, play games, work out at the gym. O you could sit around in any of hundreds of nooks and crannies and read a book, or do what we’re doing now, hang out on the Lido Deck around the pool.
Did I mention it’s cloudy and might rain. No problem. This pool deck has a retractable roof like the new Cowboys stadium.
Ed and I rented a “Lido Deck Cabana” this trip, as we did on the last one. It gives us a little bit more privacy and luxury. In addition to our own table and chairs, and lounge island thing, we have Renan and Ian to cater to our needs, so unlike the 99% on the cruise, we don’t have to walk 50 steps to the Lido Deck Grill, we have our burgers delivered.
Yesterday we asked for a power cord so could plug in our laptops, kindles, tablet – and this morning, there it was. We have a never ending basket of fruit, water bottles in ice, iced tea delivered in a pitcher not by the glass, and chocolate dipped strawberries and champagne delivered in the afternoon.
But just sitting by the pool without the cabana isn’t too shabby either. Instead of Renen and Ian they have 20 or so other pool servers, happy to bring them drinks; and of courses they have the entire Lido Buffet to choose from a mere 50 or so steps away.
The point is not merely that there’s luxury to be had, but that cruising is about choices. Some people pay the base price and not a drop more, and have a terrific vacation with what’s included at a cheap price. Some people are here for the shore excursions, and wake up each morning (except on sea days) with a new port delivered to them. They spend their money on zip line adventures through the rain forest, snorkeling, ATV rides, sightseeing tours and the like.
Last night was the “Welcome Reception” where the whole NR crowd could meet & greet, mix and mingle. Dinner is always with the NR gang, and each speaker has a table over which they preside each night. Us peasants are assigned tables, and 2,3 or 4 nights we sit at a speaker table. Our dinner companions last night were intelligent and interesting and we sat and talked until the waiters taking away the flowers and peppermill lead us to the conclusion they were trying to close down. But it was 10:15 so I guess that’s fair.
And then Ed went up to the bar to schmooze and I want to the cabin, finished some work and watched the original Producers, laughing myself to sleep.
I’m a major Disney fan — I grew up on Disney, and it has been a key influence throughout my life. From films to music to television series there’s always been some type of Disney entertainment playing in the background. I can’t think of a period in my life without Disney.
Growing up in a family that’s nutty for Disney, Walt Disney World has always been our favorite vacation destination. My parents honeymooned there and they first took me as an infant. By my count, I’ve been to Walt Disney World 25 times, though others in my family think I may have been more times. Since my nieces were born, we’ve tried to make our pilgrimages at least once a year.
I love planning our trips to Walt Disney World almost as much as I love going there. Planning helps us build anticipation and makes our trips that much sweeter. There’s no greater excitement than the expectancy that comes with a Walt Disney World trip.
My whole family have become experts for our friends and acquaintances when it comes to Walt Disney World. People constantly ask us for tips and trip-planning advice. In fact, my sister and I have talked about opening a travel agency specializing in Disney trips.
So without further ado, here’s a list of ten essential Walt Disney World experiences. If you’ve never been or if you haven’t been in a long time, hopefully these tips will help you plan and know what to expect. If you’ve been many times like me, maybe this list can inspire some good-natured debate about what’s best at Walt Disney World.
Next: Heaven for the Disney collector…
“It was a $15 bullet vibe from Babeland, about the most basic sex toy you can imagine. It has now been officially retired, since I have no idea if the TSA agents manhandled it.”
She discovered the note on Sunday after she landed in Dublin, she said. She wrote on her blog, Feministe, that the message was “wildly inappropriate” but she “died laughing” about it in her hotel room.
But she told FoxNews.com in an email Monday evening that she’s transitioning to being “pretty disturbed” by the note. She said these agents are given a lot of authority with little oversight.
She wrote that she suspects “whoever left the note felt comfortable doing so (I also suspect that they believed most women would be embarrassed to be “caught” with personal items and wouldn’t file a complaint),” she wrote in the email. “That is certainly cause for concern.”
TSA said in a statement to FoxNews.com that there is no evidence to suggest one of its agents was behind the note.
Greg Soule, a TSA spokesman, said Filipovic has not filed a complaint about the incident, but the TSA “takes all allegations of inappropriate conduct seriously and is investigating this claim.”
Filipovic said she is not looking to get anyone fired over the incident, but she received a lot of feedback from others with other stories of public humiliation at the hands of TSA. She said she hopes the TSA addresses the larger issue, not just this one case.
Why not? The person who did that should be fired, which would be an excellent first step in addressing the larger issue. (How hard can it be to track down the TSA staffers who would have been on duty at Newark when her bags were inspected and require a handwriting sample?) A rather large lawsuit against the TSA would be a logical second step.
Why do I ask? Because Rasmussen Polls just released what struck me as an absurd poll result: that 59% of those polled said the best years of their lives were before the age of 40. The first 20 of those 40 years include adolescence and late adolescence. Twenty-to-thirty typically includes entry-level jobs where you’re treated as fungible and disposable. That feels really great.
Please cast your vote in the Comments section, and then we’ll compare our poll figures to Scott Rasmussen’s. I’m going to roll the dice and bet that at least 59% of PJM Lifestyle readers say that their years after 40 have been their best.
When you comment, please make clear which way you’re voting.
It’s not for nothing that one of the most popular television series in TV history was Life Begins at 40. No one said it better than the divine Miss Sophie Tucker:
Just reading the words (emphasis added by yours truly) should stuff the PJM ballot box in favor of post-40 being the best years of our lives:
LIFE BEGINS AT FORTY
(Jack Yellin / Ted Shapiro)
A Musical Monologue by Sophie Tucker
I’ve often heard it said and sung
That life is sweetest when you’re young
And kids, sixteen to twenty-one
Think they’re having all the fun
I disagree, I say it isn’t so
And I’m one gal who ought to know
I started young and I’m still going strong
But I’ve learned as I’ve gone along…….
That life begins at forty
That’s when love and living start to become a gentle art
A woman who’s been careful finds that’s when she’s in her prime
And a good man when he’s forty knows just how to take his time
Conservative or sporty, it’s not until you’re forty
That you learn the how and why and the what and when
In the twenties and the thirties you want your love in large amounts
But after you reach forty, it’s the quality that counts.
Yes, life begins at forty
And I’ve just begun to live all over again
You see the sweetest things in life grow sweeter as the years roll on
Like the music from a violin that has been well played upon
And the sweetest smoke is from a mellow, broken and old pipe
And the sweetest tasting peach is one that’s mature, round and ripe
In the twenties and the thirties you’re just an amateur
But after you reach forty, that’s when you become a connoisseur
Then it isn’t grab and get it and a straight line for the door
You’re not hasty, you’re tasty, you enjoy things so much more
For instance, a novice gulps his brandy down, he doesn’t understand
Observe a connoisseur, the way he holds it in his hand
How he strokes the glass, fondles it, warms it as he should
Smaks his lips, aahhh, slowly sips, hah, boy, it tastes good
Life begins at forty
Then it isn’t hit and run and you find much more fun
You romance a girl of twenty and it costs you all your dough
But when a forty thanks you, she hates to see you go
And girls of twenty, all they want are big men
Big men with strong physiques
I don’t say that it’s bad
But you do get tired of those damn Greeks
Life begins at forty
And I’m just living all over again