Saturday night funk. Covid vaccine. Kylie’s magic.

8 pm on curfew Saturday night in Paris. We’re still under semi-lockdown here. I had my first Covid vaccine yesterday. It went well, but my arm hurts where I was jabbed.

Glanced at the headlines on the online newspapers. Depressing as hell. Why do I even bother?

Blasts target school in west Kabul killing at least 40 people – Attack in Afghan capital injures mainly female students coming out of school.

 

And just when you want to stop the world and get off (although we should be rejoicing over the plummeting Covid numbers), I switched to YouTube to see what Kylie was up to in Tuscany with her fiancé. It’s clear why she has thousands of followers. When you’re feeling blue or overwhelmed by all the violence and terrible things happening in the world, she delivers just the opposite. She brings love, beauty and simplicity. Grazie, Kylie. I needed this tonight.

(308) RELAXING CINEMATIC COOKING: Pasta with Homegrown Artichokes in Tuscany, Italy – YouTube

Billie Eilish, British Vogue

Do the words “empowering” and “corset” constitute an oxymoron?

When I look at these beautifully shot photos of Billie Eilish in this month’s British Vogue, that’s the word that comes to mind. Oxymoron.

Corset, bodice, girdle, truss, bandage, brace, straitjacket.

The meaning of it as a “stiff constricting undergarment for the waist, worn chiefly by women to shape the figure,” dates from 1795.

Long derided as a patriarchal instrument of torture that deformed the female body, corsets began as a close-fitting sleeveless bodice evolved into an undergarment with stays made of whalebone, and then steel, that encircled the ribs and compressed the natural waist. Not only were they painful, they were physically dangerous.

I wish millennials would do their homework before vaunting a historical garment (and saying that wearing one was empowering.) Unless she’s playing the role of dominatrix! And who wants uplifted breasts and a curvy, hourglass figure these days? The words corsetry, feminism and 21st-century all seem to be at odds with each other. Ah, well, I guess she’s just having fun. As long as it’s Instagrammable, that’s all that counts.

 

VOGUE 1939, Horst

the Parisian “It” handbag

This is the new bag in Paris. Don’t you love it? Numéro un, it’s called. Number one.

Handcrafted in Spain and sporting a huge range of colors.

Polène is a Parisian leather goods brand founded in 2016 by two brothers and a sister. The brand’s collections embody confident and classical true line combined with fluid and graceful curves. Inspired by the work of designers such as Madeleine Vionnet, Mariano Fortuny and Madam Grès, folds were incorporated into the collections, thus enhancing the leather’s malleability and strengthening the sculptural aspect of the designs. Passion for quality pushed the founders to use the best hand-made artisan production in Spain.

There is one boutique in Paris. Link to their beautiful website below.

Polène – Maison de maroquinerie parisienne | E-shop (polene-paris.com)

cocktail comeback

What happened to cocktails? It occurred to me recently that no one has offered me one for a long time, nor have I made one. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever made myself a cocktail, unless you count a Bloody Mary or a Harvey Wallbanger from a long time ago. Here, everyone loves a Kir royal: sparkling white wine or champagne with a glug of blackcurrant liquor. Delicious! But not the sort of Mad Men cocktail I’m thinking of.

My weekend drinking habit is always the same: if it’s not red wine (or chilled rosé in the summer), it’s Martini Bianco and tonic. Same old, same old. 

So I thought: what if I made myself a great cocktail this weekend? You know, the kind our parents used to drink. I googled around and came up with a Sidecar and a Daquiri. It’s settled then. I’ll make myself one or the other. I’ll have to buy all the ingredients first, including a cocktail glass and a shaker. And I’ll make that delicious olive-fig tapenade I made on New Year’s Eve, served on those Swedish crackers I’m addicted to.

During these dreary Covid lockdown-curfew times I guess you have to make your own party. Ideally, I’d love nothing more than to sit in a dark intimate bar with a drink and an interesting companion on the stool beside me. Quiet jazz in the background. Ice cubes tinkling in my glass. Chatting with the bartender and laughing.

Here’s Dushan the bartender in just such a bar. He’ll make you a Daiquiri. Thanks, Dushan. Cheers!

(287) How to make a Daiquiri Cocktail – Liquor.com – YouTube

anytime, anywhere. another terrorist attack in a Parisian suburb.

On Friday, a 49-year old civil servant named Stéphanie, mother of two girls aged 13 and 18, stepped out of the police station where she worked to change her parking disc. (Disc parking is a system of allowing time-restricted free parking through display of a parking disc or clock disc showing the time at which the vehicle was parked.)

Returning to the police station, the woman was followed by her assailant who stabbed her twice in the throat while crying “Allah Akbar!” Minutes later, two people were dead: the 49-year old victim and the assailant, shot by a police officer.

He was a 36-year-old Tunisian national, arrived in France in 2009 in an irregular situation but since regularized.

What, exactly, is “an irregular situation”?

Concretely, a person in an irregular situation is someone who arrived in France illegally (clandestinely) or who remains in France beyond the validity of his or her residence permit at the end of a tourist entry or visa.

Located on the outskirts of Paris, the town where the terrorist attack occurred is Rambouillet, in the department called the Yvelines. The Yvelines is no stranger to terrorist attacks.

On June 13, 2016, Jean-Baptiste Salvaing and Jessica Schneider, two police officers, were stabbed to death in their home, in front of their 3-year-old son. The assailant claimed responsibility on behalf of the Islamic State.

It is also in the Yvelines where the history and geography teacher, Samuel Paty, was beheaded last year on October 16, 2020. In addition to decapitating Paty, the killer Abdoullakh Anzorov inflicted a number of wounds to his head, abdomen, and upper limbs. He could be heard shouting “Allah Akbar!” during the attack.

Minutes after the murder, an account named @Tchetchene_270 (French: Chechen 270), identified by prosecutor Jean-François Ricard as belonging to Abdoullakh Anzorov, posted an image of Paty’s severed head on Twitter. The photo was accompanied by the message: “In the name of Allah, the most gracious, the most merciful … to Macron, leader of the infidels, I executed one of your hellhounds who dared to belittle Muhammad, calm his fellow human beings before a harsh punishment is inflicted on you.”

(Juliet in Paris says – I know this is disturbing, but I posted it purposely. People need to know.)

What do the two jihadists have in common?

The commonality of the two jihadists is that they were both recipients of resident and/or refugee status granted to them by the French government.

The 18-year-old who decapitated Samuel Paty was a Russian refugee of Chechen ethnicity. It should be known that Chechens have a long history of conflict and persecution in Russia. In 1994 there was a near-genocidal repression of them in Chechnya. Anzorov came to France as a six-year-old boy. Offering shelter and safety, the French government granted refugee status and ten-year renewable residence cards to his family.

The Tunisian who murdered the French police employee this afternoon arrived in France in 2009. Offering residence status and the chance to work, the French government granted him an exceptional residence permit in 2019.

But the French people want to know: how is it possible that he escaped identity checks and managed to live and work in France for ten years without papers (undocumented)?

Later, these two individuals became radicalized. Targeting symbols of the French Republic – Education and Law Enforcement – they carried out their heinous acts. Did they work alone or are they part of a network? Since 2017, thirty-two terrorist attempts have been thwarted in this country including two major ones in 2020.

Regrettably, these recent attacks will only serve to strengthen Marine Le Pen’s candidacy for President next year. Because another attack is not a question of “if” but “when”.

Watch this edifying TED TALK called Inside the mind of a former radical jihadist, over a million views –

(294) Inside the mind of a former radical jihadist | Manwar Ali – YouTube

Emmanuel Macron on American television speaking about vaccines

In case you missed it, here’s the President of France speaking on Face the Nation about vaccines in France. Well, I’ve been trying to get one for awhile now, but they’re only available to those over 70 years old and younger people with risk factors. All my friends in the U.K. have had their “jabs”, as they call them. Not so here.

He then goes on to speak about other topics. It’s funny to hear him speaking English.

(284) Full interview: French President Emmanuel Macron on “Face the Nation” – YouTube

mushroom lasagna. cold and sunny. London.

The weather has been glorious all week: cobalt-blue sky, abundant sunshine … and cold! Dropping down to as low as 1° centigrade at night. I love it. Walking to work is sheer joy: few people on the streets because most are working from home. Not me, though. I like going to the office and having the space to myself.

Last Friday I booked a 5-day holiday in London. I have no idea what the Covid or travel-restriction or vaccination situation will be in early June, but I went ahead and did it anyway. Haven’t been to London since August 2019. I miss it. All my fave, familiar and inexpensive hotels are either closed permanently due to Covid (The Penn Club), or closed for the summer of 2021, so it took me awhile to find a centrally-located, reasonably-priced hotel.

Last week I made a delicious mushroom lasagna with spinach, ricotta and sundried tomatoes. I think I’ll make it again. Who doesn’t like lasagna?

Earlier, I was gazing wistfully at my photos and travelogue of my last trip to London in August 2019. COVID hadn’t hit yet and we were blissfully unaware. Here are two blog posts from back then: Leafy London, heatwave and an evening stroll I took from Sloane Square to the Chelsea Bridge and the river Thames:

leafy London, heatwave | Juliet in Paris

Chelsea Bridge and the Battersea Power Station

an evening with Hilary Mantel

My editor in London had just mentioned that she was about to start Hilary Mantel’s The Mirror and the Light, the final instalment in her trilogy.

And then I saw this special online event while reading The Guardian: an evening with Hilary Mantel. I’m going to sign up, it’s only a fiver! (five pounds). Click on the link below for details. See, also, the other events and masterclasses offered by The Guardian (e.g. 100 days of Biden’s presidency; book clubs, Brexit, women’s equality).

This event is being streamed globally.

An evening with Hilary Mantel | The Guardian Members

 

Kylie has a massive rock on her finger. an Italian fairy tale.

So Guido proposed to Kylie and now she’s sporting a huge diamond ring on her finger!  Felicitazioni, Kylie!

So impressed by this creative young woman (originally from Australia), I had put up a few posts in the past as she blogged and filmed (with a drone, no less) and led us around Italy with her sparkling travelogues. She speaks Italian beautifully. Now, it appears that she and her fiancé are renovating a historic, rundown villa in Tuscany. So Kylie will become a chateleine. In French, “une châtelaine” (the mistress of a château or manor house) and “una chatelaina” in Italian.

Take a look –

(280) MOVE TO ITALY, LIVE & WORK IN THIS HISTORIC VILLA IN TUSCANY (Renovating a Ruin Part 6) – YouTube

the heinous video that went viral

The video of the man kicking and stomping on the 65 year old woman on a New York City sidewalk is horrendous on many levels:

  1. no one came forward to help;
  2. why was the aggressor, a convicted criminal, walking freely in the streets? He murdered his mother back in 2002;
  3. the inaction of the three men in the lobby – big beefy men – who just stood there watching the attack occur right before their eyes before one of them closed the door.

In France there’s a law called – Non-assistance à personne en danger (non-assistance to a person in danger) – Article 223-6 of the French Penal Code and punishable to 5 years in prison and a 75,000 euro fine.

Which raises the question: does a person have a moral duty to rescue another person in danger? To witness this appalling assault … what does this say about us? Sometimes I feel ashamed to be part of the human race.

This attack could happen anywhere in the world, not just in NYC. In any case, the video went viral and it’s deeply disturbing.

(272) Man suspected of attacking Asian-American woman in New York arrested and charged with hate crime – YouTube