24 April 2014

Scary Masks

Need some new source material for your nightmares? The Musée du Quai Branly can help you out, as I discovered on a quick trip to Paris a couple weeks ago.

Included among its large permanent collection of traditional art from Oceania, Asia, Africa and the Americas are enough masks to populate a poker tournament. Some are intricately crafted with inlay of shell and bone, some are so crudely hewn from wood or stone you can almost hear their makers grunting. Some masks show a vacant expression, some are a nearly abstract map of shapes and lines leading to the soul. Others are almost goofy, though toothy.

Others still, utterly terrifying.

Does he look familiar, comic book fans?
I was glad each mask was behind thick glass.

The guy below managed to be both scary and funny. Can you read his lips? Isn't he asking for a hamburger?

Until May 18th there are even more masks at the Branly, thanks to the temporary exhibition, Bois Sacré (Sacred Wood), masks from West Africa. If you're in Paris, you gotta go. Just don't expect sweet dreams that night.

15 April 2014

Paris Hotel Humor

I suppose 5-star hotels are quite nice in their own way. But they are not known for their sense of humor.

I prefer a hotel with humor. Like Hotel Fabric in Paris.

This cool little hotel does not ask for stars, it makes them.

No surprise Hotel Fabric is in quatier Oberkampf.

08 April 2014


suspendu entre les vents froids et forts
des nuages des vagues et son Dieu
il est resté
et gelé

04 April 2014

A Little in Love with Lausanne

Just back from another exploratory expedition to one of Switzerland's most intriguing cities.

This beautiful passage is one of the few flat places in this city built on three hills.
Inclined to like Lausanne living.
A weekday market on Rue de Bourg, one of the city's oldest streets.

At the cathedral. The dark side ...
And the light side ...

And my new favorite neighborhood in all of Switzerland: Flon.

31 March 2014

Getting Reconciled

“It’s the kind of soup your mother gives you when you’re sick -- and then you’re reconciled with civilization.” ~ Marie-France, Mezdi Restaurant, St. Moritz.

06 March 2014

Switzerland to Create New Canton?

Today I “Liked” the Facebook page for Canton Marittimo even though all the other posts are in Italian, which I don’ta speaka. I “liked” the page because I “love” their cause: to convince Switzerland to buy the beautiful Italian island of Sardinia.

The creators of this page have persuasive reasons for their proposal: The sale would put a dent in the Italian national debt, and enable Sardinians to convert to the world’s most coveted currency. And even though they don’t say this out loud, obviously, if Sardinia becomes part of CH, their air force could work shorter hours.

All molto buono for them, but what’s in it for Switzerland? First of all, at last we’d have our own Swiss beaches sprinkled with seashells and gorgeous olive-skinned formerly Italian babes and boys splashing in a real ocean full of calamari ready for the grill.

Also, we could suddenly brag that the heady, delicious Sardinian wines are “Swiss.”

But the best reason for CH to buy this idyllic Italian isle (where Mafia dons go mostly to molt, not to murder), is that we could thumb our nose at the European Union. They think that just because a miniscule majority of ill-informed Swiss voters recently decided in favor of quotas on immigrants, that we’ll no longer have access to the many thousands of cross-border workers who keep our economy well oiled every day. Possibly true, but guess what EU, with Canton Sardinia joining Svizzera, we’ll have a generous supply of eager, able, gorgeous workers – and calamari.

Seriously, it’s a complicated question we should consider carefully: Should Switzerland actually purchase Sardinia? Maybe Mykonos would be a better buy.