What is this Bird?

Don’t laugh if it’s a really dumb question, but what is this UFO? We saw him/her in Paris in late March, outside our little flat, flying about with a buddy. Very large, with a LOUD voice that it was using an awful lot. I’m sorry I couldn’t get a better picture, but it had lovely markings which you can sort of see here. So what birdie is this, dear readers? One of you must know.
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Italian Little League

In honour of MLB season starting up, and for my friend Gerry — who loves baseball — and in memory of my late brother, Alan — who used to regale me with tales of his Little League days — I give you a few seconds of Italian Little League batting practice. I stood next to this young man’s proud parents last Saturday morning in Perugia, and chatted with them. (The video is very short, because they seemed a bit perplexed that I was filming/taking pics. Can’t say I blame them.) It was a complete fluke that I discovered the league. I was just out for a walk in some green space on the periphery of the city. They are under-14s, and from what I could see, quite passionate. Mind you, Italians seem passionate all the time about everything.

Dreams

I finally had a  nice dream about my mother! Very pleased. Right after she died, I had a couple of truly awful dreams about her that involved death camps. They were so awful that I still remember them. Both my sister and sister-in-law have had really nice dreams about her, and up until last night I hadn’t. But last night I dreamed that she was young(er than she had been at death) and healthy — in her 50s or 60s, I guess. I was having a hard time with something in the dream (as I am right now in life), I broke something and felt very foolish and angry and she hugged me and told me everything would be alright. I had been afraid in the dream that she would yell at me for what I did. But she didn’t.

So I’m taking it as a sign that everything will be alright. Here’s hoping, dear readers.

Happy Easter, and/or Passover

I took this picture on Palm Sunday in Paris, a short walk from our little (borrowed) apartment. We had gone for a walk that day and noticed people carrying greenery everywhere — very lovely, though clearly, someone discarded or dropped theirs on the rain-soaked cobblestone. When I was a kid, Palm Sunday was something that made me envy my Catholic classmates. To me, it seemed very meaningful, remembering the crowds waving branches at Jesus when he entered Jerusalem.
We were reminded, by the way, that Notre Dame is an operating church, as we saw crowds even larger than usual leaving it that day, and leaving it with (not sure what kind of) leaves in their hands. I imagine that today, as well, it is packed to the rafters with tourists of all faiths, now all able to say they attended Easter Mass in such a famous place (though between you and me, I prefer Italian churches. Far more beautiful, both outside and inside).
Happy Easter and/or Passover, dear readers.
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Montparnasse Cemetery

We spent a few hours wandering around Montparnasse Cemetery yesterday and today — peaceful and yet full of surprises. (I’ll post more pictures on this site later, I hope, but do check my instagram and Twitter feed, as well.) I wanted to post this picture not because I admire these two dead souls — I rather don’t, thinking them to be contenders for two of the top spots in my Gallery of the Overrated — but because I find it so bizarre that there are lipstick marks on the headstone. Yes, those marks are from girls (and maybe guys) slathering on gloss or lipstick and kissing the headstone. Ew! And really, do these two clowns deserve it? I think not. (Still, rest in peace and all that.)
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In Frankreich

Dear readers, I am in France. Paris. Parigi. My better half (he is here, as well) asked me why I always call it “Frankreich” and it is because when I was a student at the Sorbonne, many moons ago, I had nowhere to be at Christmas one year and a Swiss-German classmate invited me to come to Switzerland with her and stay with her family at Christmas. So I did. And as our train pulled past the French border she screamed out — in contempt — “auf wiedersehen, Frankreich!” I  might have forgotten that but for what ensued when we arrived at her family home. “Judgment at Nuremberg” happened to be on TV that first night and when I expressed a desire to watch it — her mother asked me what I wanted to watch — the entire family went bonky and were all, like, oh wow, the war ended over 40 years ago, why do we still have to hear about Jews and how  bad they had it?

It was truly creepy. I could not get out of there soon enough, but unfortunately, I had to wait till December 27th. Have never spoken to that girl or her Jew-hating family since. (I had the good manners to send them a thank you note, though.)

If you want to see some pics of our time here, please do check my instagram and my twitter feed. Will try to post here, but ’tis a bit difficult to do so on a regular basis.

I’m Still Here and I’m Callling all Yentes

As the song said.

I’m still here. Just been a combination of busy and dealing with a great upsurge of various emotions. My better half pointed out that we are coming up on the anniversary of my mother’s death, so I’m guessing that is a trigger. Will try to post more devotedly, but right now I direct your attention to My Uncle’s Letters from the War, a tumblr I started a while back (and which I have already linked to on this site). I have been so happy (though ’tis also rather bittersweet) to be in touch with people who either knew him or are the children of those who knew him and I’m hoping for more such feedback as I continue posting his letters.

Currently, I am calling all Yentes.

Leonard Nimoy: Of all the Souls I Have Encountered…

Sad about Mr. Spock’s death. I became a classic Trek fan thanks largely to one of my brothers. He used to watch it religiously in re-runs in the ’70s and I really had no option but to watch, as well. (We probably also watched the original together, though I don’t remember that far back.) My first thought when I heard Nimoy had passed was to that brother and to a dear friend in Ottawa who has always adored him. I also thought of Sheldon Cooper — speaking of, here is an article (in Italian) about Mr. Spock’s legacy and influence, including said influence on the Big Bang theory characters.

Of course, Nimoy was a fine actor in other roles, but he will always be Spock to most of us. And what was great about him was that he didn’t seem too ungrateful about that — he appeared in the Star Trek movies and had tremendous humour about the role that made him so famous. He was proud of his Jewish heritage, incorporating it into the “Live long and prosper” sign. He was also a vegetarian, I recently learned, and he loved cats! What is there not to admire here, people? As I tweeted yesterday, I have rarely seen the internets so united in grief. And no wonder.