When you can't live without bananas

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Saturday, February 08, 2014

Links - 8th February 2014

No, Women Don’t Make Less Money Than Men - "These and other differences in employment preferences and work-family choices have been widely studied in recent years and are now documented in a mountain of solid empirical research. By now the President and his staff must be aware that the wage gap statistic has been demolished. This is not the first time the Washington Post has alerted the White House to the error. Why continue to use it? One possibility is that they have been taken in by the apologetics of groups like the National Organization for Women and the American Association of University Women. In its 2007 Behind the Pay Gap report, the AAUW admits that most of the gap in earnings is explained by choices. But this admission is qualified: “Women’s personal choices are similarly fraught with inequities,” says the AAUW. It speaks of women being “pigeonholed” into “pink-collar” jobs in health and education. According to NOW, powerful sexist stereotypes “steer” women and men “toward different education, training, and career paths.” Have these groups noticed that American women are now among the most educated, autonomous, opportunity-rich women in history? Why not respect their choices? For the past few decades, untold millions of state and federal dollars have been devoted to recruiting young women into engineering and computer technology. It hasn’t worked. The percent of degrees awarded to women in fields like computer science and engineering has either stagnated or significantly decreased since 2000... All evidence suggests that though young women have the talent for engineering and computer science, their interest tends to lie elsewhere. To say that these women remain helplessly in thrall to sexist stereotypes, and manipulated into life choices by forces beyond their control, is divorced from reality—and demeaning to boot. If a woman wants to be a teacher rather than a miner, or a veterinarian rather than a petroleum engineer, more power to her. The White House should stop using women’s choices to construct a false claim about social inequality that is poisoning our gender debates. And if the President is truly persuaded that statistical pay disparities indicate invidious discrimination, then he should address the wage gap in his own backyard. Female staff at the White House earn 88 cents on the dollar compared to men. Is there a White House war on women?"
Perhaps 'patriarchy' has become worse since 2000

▶ Ramen Noodle Bath - YouTube

The Chinese New Year according to the BBC - The People's Funny Pictures Blog - Quora

78. Excel Tips - Why Is My Excel File So Big ? | ExcelExperts.com - "There is a way to separate out each object in your file, and examine it's contribution to the overall file size... SaveAs Web page
Sort descending by the file size
The largest ojects will be named, and at the top"

Privatised rail has meant 'higher fares, older trains and bigger taxpayers' bill' - "Researchers said the five largest private train companies received almost £3bn in taxpayer support between 2007 and 2011. This allowed them to make operating profits of £504m, over 90% of which was paid out in dividends to shareholders, the TUC said. In contrast, they argue that the east coast mainline, which is currently state-run, is reinvesting profits into the railway. The report said the average age of trains had risen by two years since rail privatisation and carriage space had not increased to match the growth in passenger numbers. The majority of new rail investment had been financed by Network Rail via taxpayer funding or government-underwritten borrowing. Private sector investment in new technology, such as the Pendolino tilting trains, had been underwritten by the state"

艾未粉果 Ai Wei Fans' Nudity

What to make of Ai Wei Wei’s “Gangnam Style”? - "There are two clear signs that Ai Wei Wei’s Gangnam Style is meant to challenge Chinese authorities. About a minute into the video, Ai Wei Wei pulls out a pair of handcuffs and spins them, which is hard not to read this as a comment on the Chinese government’s tendency to arrest and detain the artist for any number of arbitrary reasons. And his version is titled “Grass Mud Horse Style”, a reference to Chinese censorship that’s immediately understandable to viewers in the know. “Grass mud horse” – “cao ni ma” – is a homonym for a rude and graphic Chinese insult, one of the many terms censored on the Chinese internet. Chinese netizens subvert automated censorship, using homonyms, and “cao ni ma” was introduced into the lexicon by an activist who created a viral video where children sang a rousing song about the victory of the grass mud horse over the evil “river crab”, another homonym animal that symbolizes the Chinese censors. But if the video is a commentary on Chinese censorship, why is it so… lame?... Subversive defiance, or an attempt to stay relevant? Or just some harmless fun? As Freud once said, sometimes a grown man doing a horsie dance is just a grown man doing a horsie dance."

Social Media Street Art: Censorship, China’s Political Memes and the Cute Cat Theory - "with Chinese political memes, the cute cats are the activist message."

Why Some People Become 30-Year-Old Virgins - "The longer you wait to have sex, the less likely you are to actually do it... More than one in eight (about 12%) of the 18-year-olds who failed to initiate sexual activity remained virgins into their 20s... "Among those individuals who reported no sexual experience as adults, only half of both males and females reported never having experience a sexual attraction to either sex. These results were consistent with prior research indicating that asexuality and sexual inexperience are not one and the same"... 50% of of sexually inexperienced 18-year-olds gained some experience between the ages of 19 and 21... Of the remaining virgins, only 5% gained sexual experience between 27 and 30 combined. Approximately 3% of participants in the survey reported never having sex at all... Many reasons cause people stay virgins, but the main factors "may have been [inability] to attract sexual partners or ... little interest in sexual involvement," the authors write. In other words, they can't get any or don't want any. Lower cognitive performance, obesity, lower alcohol use, lower parental educational levels, and lack of sexual attraction may have contributed to individuals' sexual inexperience... Late onset of puberty, however, only affected males. Non-Hispanic Asian males were also more likely to have sexual inexperience after age 18 than white male respondents. "Across the board, Asian males tend to be among those who are less sexually active and have fewer partners. There are different sets of values, different motivations for the future and thoughts about how sexual experience may or may not affect achievements down the road""

Prevalence and Predictors of Sexual Inexperience in Adulthood - "Males also had lower odds of initiating sexual activity after age 18 if they were non-Hispanic Asian, reported later than average pubertal development, or were rated as physically unattractive (aORs = 0.6–0.7). Females who were overweight, had lower cognitive performance, or reported frequent religious attendance had lower odds of sexual experience (aORs = 0.7–0.8) while those who were rated by the interviewers as very attractive or whose parents had lower educational attainment had higher odds of sexual experience (aORs = 1.4–1.8)."

Fighting Back In India - Bollywood Films - ELLE
I found this quite ridiculous because the men in the ad weren't staring offensively. However a friend who lives in India says that they don't look this innocuously but leer (and some other women point out that it happens in Little India too)

Catalog Reveals NSA Has Back Doors for Numerous Devices - "The list reads like a mail-order catalog, one from which other NSA employees can order technologies from the ANT division for tapping their targets' data. The catalog even lists the prices for these electronic break-in tools, with costs ranging from free to $250,000."

Breast Implants Improve Sexual Satisfaction In Women, But Why? - "“When we have exerted a great effort, spent a great deal of money and effort and time on something, we tend to justify that effort,” she told HealthDay. “Our good feeling is increased because of the effort, not the thing itself … Feminine heterosexuality is very much about our sense of whether or not we are pleasing our partner, and here we have 45 women who have spent a great deal of money to that purpose. If these breasts are now pleasing to their male partners, then they are likely to feel more sexually attractive.” On that point, Dr. Reath also agreed, saying that a lot of his patients who come in for follow-ups tend to tell him their partners “are having a lot of fun.” “Why not?” he said. “It’s an important part of life.” Roberts believes the study would have done a better job at assessing the overall happiness with the breast implants if the researchers had also looked into other issues, such as their ability to breastfeed or their comfort while jogging. A recent study looked into breastfeeding among women with implants and found that women who breastfed after an implantation weren’t likely to experience sagging — news that may be comforting, and improve their overall happiness"

My Eyes Are Up Here: The Nature of the Objectifying Gaze Toward Women - "participants focused on women’s chests and waists more and faces less when they were appearance-focused (vs. personality-focused). Moreover, we found that this effect was particularly pronounced for women with high (vs. average and low) ideal body shapes in line with hypotheses. Finally, compared to female participants, male participants showed an increased tendency to initially exhibit the objectifying gaze and they regarded women with high (vs. average and low) ideal body shapes more positively, regardless of whether they were appearance-focused or personality-focused"

Clean desk or messy desk? Both have benefits, study finds - "Do you prefer to work at a tidy desk with everything arranged just so? Congratulations - you're probably a healthy eater, generous with your cash, and good at following rules. But if you've got a cluttered desk piled with magazines, Post-its and paperwork, take heart - you might be a creative thinker and an idea machine."

Female Marines Not Required To Do 1 Pull-Up - "Females in the Marine Corps currently are not required to do even a single pull-up, and a deadline mandating that by Jan. 1, 2014, they be able to do at least 3 pull-ups as part of their training has been delayed for at least a year, the Corps quietly announced on social media... Currently, “women aren’t able to make the minimum standard of three pull-ups,” Marine spokesman Capt. Eric Flanagan told CNSNews.com. Fifty-five percent of female recruits tested at the end of boot camp were unable to do three pull-ups (1 percent of male recruits also failed). Marine officers told NPR off-the-record that, given the three-pull-ups rule, they were afraid of losing “not only new recruits, but also current female Marines who can’t pass the test... Pull-ups have been used to test Marines’ upper body strength for over 40 years. The ability to pull-up one’s own body weight over a bar shows the upper body strength that, in combat, is needed to lift fallen comrades, pull one’s self over a wall, and carry heavy munitions. Combat Marines also carry a pack that weighs around 90 pounds, with gunners carrying an additional 50 or 60 pounds. Women in the Marine Corps will be allowed into ground combat in 2016. The delay in meeting men’s physical standards has raised questions about “whether women have the physical strength to handle ground combat,” reported NPR. “‘If you can’t pull yourself up, have the decency to pull yourself out,’ Ralph Peters, a retired Army officer and military historian, told Time.com. “‘The military, despite all the post-modern technology, is still essentially physical.’”"
More "male privilege"

Dutch beat French and Swiss to top Oxfam’s new global food table - "The Netherlands is No. 1 in the world for having the most plentiful, nutritious, healthy and affordable diet, beating France and Switzerland into second place. Chad is last in 125th spot behind Ethiopia and Angola"


"Chez Balzac, cependant, le cliché se nuance : s’il apparaît dans la bouche vulgaire de la Cibot, il ne correspond pas au personnage de Pons. Celui-ci attribue son célibat à sa laideur: le mariage aurait été toute son ambition : « J’ai toujours été laid, et je n’ai jamais été aimé. » Pourtant, les types balzaciens ne brillent pas par une éclatante beauté... à commencer par le couple Cibbt, qui résume la sagesse du mariage en un vigoureux proverbe: « Il n’y a si vilain couvercle qui ne trouve son pot. » Le drame du cousin Pons, comme de beaucoup de personnages balzacien, est de vouloir, consciemment ou non, un mariage d’amour. Le romantisme est passé par là ; un de ses effets pernicieux pourrait être d’écarter du mariage ceux qui ne peuvent se faire aimer.

Premier cliché du vieux célibataire, donc : nécessairement un libertin, fût-il resté vierge comme le cousin Pons. C’est aussi un personnage d’un autre temps, ou plus précisément qui a cru pouvoir arrêter le temps à la mode de sa jeunesse. Ceux que met en scène Balzac sont des personnages d’Empire perdus dans la monarchie de Juillet. Pons et décrit tout entier comme un « homme-Empire », « comme on dit un meuble-Empire » ; le docteur Poulain, à trente ans, vit avec sa mère dans un appartement inchangé depuis quarante ans et qui « sentait l’Empire ». La cousine Bette transforme tous les vétements qu’on lui donne en « un costume qui tenait des modes impériales et de ses anciens costumes lorrains ». Le chevalier de Valois traîne en 18l6 le « vestige des modes du dix-huitième siècle » et son rival Du Bousquier a longtemps maintenu « le costume à la mode lors de sa gloire », en particulier ces bottes à revers qui firent jaser Alençon.

Le mariage est une étape de la vie à partir de laquelle l’homme peut accepter de vieillir, puisque, dans un monde qui ne connaît plus le divorce, il n’a plus à séduire. Inconsciemment, celui qui le refuse prolonge indéfiniment un état auquel il aurait dû renoncer. N’est-ce pas cela que traduit l’expression, qui se répand alors, de « vieux garçon » ? Le cliché se transmettra au XXe siècle : dans Les Célibataires, de Montherlant (1934), le vieil Elie porte une casquette à la mode de 1885 ; pour Odile Lamourère, en 1987, le célibataire risque de conserver le pantalon à pattes d’éléphant qui lui rappellent son dernier succès amoureux.

Cliche tenace, également, auquel le siècle de la statistique va donner une autre dimension: la mortalité du célibataire. Le scoop tombe dans le Journal de Paris en 1807. A Gênes, « on a remarqué aussi que les hommes mariés mouroient en moindre nombre que les célibataires, & cela dans la proportion de deux à trois .» Et c’est prouvé par la statistique, déjà ! En fait, la remarque avait déjà été lancée en 1746 par Nicolas Deparcieux, qui avait entrepris la lourde tâche d’évaluer les chances de vie des différentes strates de la population française pour établir des tables de rentes viagères. « Il paroît, soutient-il, qu’on vit plus longtemps dans l’état de mariage, que dans le célibat. » Mais son analyse statistique est rudimentaire: il se contente de comparer le nombre de célibataires morts depuis l’âge de vingt ans à celui des hommes mariés et veufs morts depuis le même âge. Les totaux n’étant pas établis par tranches d’âge, les nombres absolus n’ont guère de signification. Il ne tient pas compte non plus de l’âge tardif du mariage à son époque — vingt-neut ans pour les garçons. Et l’on s’aperçoit que, dans les nombres même qu’il avance, c’est entre vingt et trente ans que les jeunes gens meurent avant d’être mariés. Au-delà de cet âge, les chiffres s’inversent tout naturellement et démentent son hypothese.

Quoi qu’il en soit, le thème va faire fureur: quel plus sûr moyen de dissuader les candidats que de leur exposer le risque fatal auquel ils s’exposent? Il sera repris par Legoyt (1867), Cadet (1870), Bertillon (1880), Cheminade (1884), Lagneau (l885), Gamier (1887)... La même statistique est répétée de confiance à la fin du siècle : après vingt-deux ans, assène Lagneau, la mortalité est de trois chez les célibataires pour deux chez les hommes mariés. Lagneau a dressé des statistiques comparant, chez les deux populations, le taux de morts, de suicides, de folie, de criminalité, de prostitution, de maladies sexuelles... À chaque fois, les célibataires sont bon perdants.

Encore faut-il interpréter le phénomène, pour peu que les chiffres soient fiables. Le taux de prostitution est nécessairement plus élevé chez les filles célibataires, et l’on peut supposer que l’absence de liaison stable y pousse plus souvent les hommes seuls. Les maladies sexuelles se répandent plus vite avec la multiplicité des partenaires, et la folie peut en être une conséquence. Pour le suicide, c’est plus délicat, même si l’on peut soutenir que les responsabilités familiales retiennent le geste désespéré. En tout état de cause, la lourde pression pesant sur le célibataire dans une société où le mariage constitue la norme peut être une des causes de cette sursuicidité, ainsi que la solitude : elle touche aussi, au XIXe siècle, les veufs et les divorcés.

Bertillon invoque pour sa part, pour expliquer les meilleurs résultats des hommes rangés, une vie régulière, l’usage plus modéré des plaisirs vénériens, des repas plus réglés, une vie de famille... La maladie, en revanche, est plus fréquente chez les célibataires : dyspepsies, gastralgies, alcoolisme, excès vénériens... et jusqu’aux maladies de Pott, les affections de la moelle, goutte et rhumatisme, syphilis, hypocondrie, névralgics... Cheminade établit par ailleurs un lien entre la criminalité des célibataires et la frustration: « La non-satisfaction du besoin de reproduction rend les hommes vicieux. M. Sainte-Claire-Deville a réussi à donner certains vices à des animaux en les empêchant de satisfaire leur besoin de reproduction. On sait combien est violent ce besoin chez les animaux sauvages. On a reconnu que les instituteurs congréganistes, voués au célibat, commettaient plus d’attentats à la pudeur que les instituteurs laïques. » Remarquons d’emblée que ls deux argumentations partent de clichés opposés : abus de relations sexuelles pour Bertillon ; absence pour Cheminade. Mais la crainte est la même : celle d’une sexualité excessive et débridée, par habitude vicieuse ou par excès de contention. La dénonciation du célibat doit être replacée dans la hantise sexuelle du XIXe siecle.

Bien sûr, pour que de telles statistiques puissent être valables, il faudrait les mener sur une vaste échelle: ne peut-on penser, par exemple, que la proportion de célibataires sera plus grande chez les jeunes gens cacochymes et rachitiques qui ne trouveront guère à se marier, et dont la mortalité sera certainement plus précoce? Le célibat est peut-être la conséquence, plus que la cause, d’une constitution chétive. C’est ce que souligne notamment Durkheim, dans un vocabulaire qui trahit les intentions moralistes de son temps : la classe des célibataires « se trouve ainsi comprendre tout le déchet humain du pays. C’est là que se rencontrent les infirmes, les incurables, les gens trop pauvres ou nottament tarés. » Les antiques clichés sur les vieux garçons sybarites cachent peut-être aux moralistes ceux qui meurent doucement au fond des sanatoriums.

Le cliché le plus répandu, cependant, est celui de l'égoïsme. Dans un monde où l’homme propose et la femme dispose, le célibataire a fait un choix conscient, dont il est pleinement responsable ; la femme, dans bien des cas, n’a pas été choisie, et n’est coupable que si des refus répétés ont motivé son célibat. Dans la vision pessimiste de Balzac, héritier en cela de l’époque classique et de dix-huit siècles de christianisme, l’égoïsme est naturel à l’homme. Si, dans la tradition chrétienne, c’est l’humilité de la foi qui l'en corrige, dans la société décrite par le romancier, ce sont les relations sociales, et en particulier le mariage : « Il est nécessaire à l’homme d’éprouver certaines passions pour développer en lui des qualités qui donnent à sa vie de la noblesse, en étendent le cercle, et assoupissent l’égoïsme naturel à toutes les créatures. » Le vieux garçon est celui qui s’est refermé sur lui-même, et qui a laissé croître en lui le germe d’égoïsme dont le mariage délivrerait l’homme. Ainsi s’expliquent les « manies » dont il parsèmerait son existence, et son goût pour les collections — le cousin Pons en est un bel exemple — qui tentent de ramener autour de lui des éléments du monde dont il s’est coupé.

Ces deux derniers clichés peuvent d’ailleurs se conjoindre, chez Mlle Rogron, par exemple, la vieille fille de Pierrette, chez Balzac. A quarante-deux ans, elle a peur qu’un accouchement lui soit fatal, ce que lui confirme bien volontiers un médecin opposé à son mariage. La peur de la mort est ici liée à l’égoïsme : « Elle eut peur de mourir, idée qui ravage le fond en comble les célibataires. »

C’est aussi dans cette optique que se situe Durkheirn lorsqu’il voue le célibataire au « suicide égoïste ». Il y a en effet contradiction, selon son analyse. entre l’égoïsme que traduit le choix du célibat et l'inanité d’une vie qui n’a pour horiion que l’anéantissement. C'est dans cette contradiction que germe l’idée du suicide. « Quand donc nous n’avons pas d’autre objectif que nous-mêmes, nous ne pouvons pas échapper à cette idée que nos efforts sont finalement destinés à se perdre dans le néant, puisque nous y devons rentrer. Mais l’anéantissement nous fait horreur. Dans ces conditions, on ne saurait avoir de courage à vivre, c’est-à-dire à agir et à lutter, puisque, de toute cette peine qu’on se donne, il ne doit rien rester. En un mot, l’état d’égoïsme serait en contradiction avec la nature humaine, et, par suite, trop précaire pour avoir des chances de durer. » La peur du néant peut amener à en hâter la venue. Le vieux garçon est une image de la mort. La vie du célibataire se résume alors à un parcours de clichés inexorables : libertin à vingt ans, débauché à trente, égoïste à quarante, maniaque à cinquante, désespéré à soixante."

--- Histoire du célibat et des célibataires / Jean-Claude Bologne

Friday, February 07, 2014

Sino-Jingoism by the Chinese Diaspora

A (who has never been to China): "If anyone wants to dispute the DiaoYu islands, i will make sure you will regret it...

For me, i am holding a pink IC, but i am willing to give it up anytime should war happen between China and anyone, even the US. But for now i will fight with facts and history. In fact i hope i can move to China soon enough to start getting my Chinese ID. While i may seem to be a Chinese nazi and totally anti-west, but i am not, you respect us, i will give you back that respect, you fuck with us, i will make sure you wish you hadn't...

You know what the best thing is? Chinese with anti-Chinese sentiments. We have a special name for these people: Han Traitors."

"It's my people, my home, my land. I will die for them even if we are quarreling everyday or what. This is not about politics. it's about my culture, my people, my land that i am willing to die for. Even if i am not or could not be a PRC, i will die for them, that simple.

I will do anything to protect my bloodline that's 40,000 years old, my culture that's 9000 years old, my language and script that's 8000 years old, my civilisation that's 5000 years old, my empire that's 2200 years old.

That's all. That simple, no politics, but simply because i am Chinese. I am Chinese and therefore i should be a citizen of the owner of the central plains and the nine states. No matter how my people are, there are still my brothers and sisters, i will not abandon them simply because they are crude or they spit everywhere. Tha'simple"

Does any other political entity inspire such passion in its diaspora?

Thursday, February 06, 2014



À vingt-cinq ans, Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) s’était déjà fait connaître par ses travaux philosophiques. Mais il n’avait pas pris le temps de chercher femme. Ses amis lui font-ils remarquer que Mlle Evans, une admiratrice, remplirait parfaitement cette mission? Il se récrie. Il trouve la jeune fille « trop morbidement intellectuelle >>. Qui se ressemble ne s’assemble pas toujours.

Quelques années plus tard, à trente et un ans, il commence quand même à s’interroger sur son célibat. La perspective de finir ses jours dans la solitude l’enchante moins, mais celle de devoir gagner la vie de sa famille l’effraie davantage. Il se resigne: « En tout cas, je suis absolument décidé à ne pas faire de moi-même un esclave. Et comme je ne vois pas qu’il soit probable que je puisse me marier sans me consacrer tout entier à gagner de l’argent, j’ai presque renoncé l’idée du mariage.» Philosophe, le philosophe...

Les amis ne désarment pas pour autant: la mode est alors aux dangers physiques auxquels s’expose le célibataire, surtout l’intellectuel. C’est ce que lui écrit son ami Potter: << Mariez-vous donc. Votre existence purement intellectuelle ne vous vaut rien. » Désormais convaincu que « le célibat est un état contre nature et nuisible », Spencer se déclare disposé à essayer ce remède contre le rationalisme »: le mariage lui a été recommandé « comme moyen de me remettre le cervcau d’aplomb »... A la suite de quelques troubles physiques, en effet, son médecin, le docteur Ransom, lui a conseillé de ne plus vivre seul, « Il voulait impliquer par là, sans doute, qu’en l’dbsence de distraction mon cerveau avait été actif pendant un temps qui était normalement celui du repos. » Mais, à présent, il se reconnaît « très difficile », avec un choix « très limité ». Car il lui faut une femme à la fois belle et intelligente. Les beautés morales et intellectuelles seules ne suffisent pas, « et, étant donné la stupidité de notre système d’éducation, il est rare de trouver ces qualités unies à un physique agréable ». Et puis il y a les raisons pécuniaires. << La littérature - surtout la philosophique — ne rapporte que peu de chose. » Il y a donc toutes chances de rester toute sa vie un « mélancolique vieux garçon ». Il lui faut une familie ? Des enfants ? Qu’à cela ne tienne: il prendra ceux des autres. En 1855, il prend pension chez un avoué en difficulté financière. Les deux fillettes, de cinq et sept ans, lui permettent d’exercer son instinct paternel et de satisfaire son « désir naturel d’être entouré d’enfants, surtout de filles ». Ainsi conçoit-il son essai sur l’éducation — sujet qui peut paraître surprenant pour un philosophe vieux garçon. « On a souvent été surpris de ce que, étant un célibataire, je me sois intéressé à des questions concernant les enfants, et que j’aie pu dire là-dessus des choses exactes. Mais, comme la plupart des célibataires, j’ai eu l’occasion d’observer les enfants, de voir la façon dont on se conduisait envers eux, et les effets produits. La remarque déjà faite que les spectateurs sont souvent ceux qui voient le mieux le jeu peut s’appliquer à la vie domestique comme à beaucoup d’autres choses. » Après tout, les études les plus pertinentes sur le mariage, à l’époque, ne sont-elles pas dues à cet autre célibataire qu’était Balzac ? Mais les annees passent, et la famille des autres ne se transforme jamais en famille d’accueil. Après de multiples déménagements, Spencer s’installe enfin dans une pension, en 1866, où il réside encore lorsqu’il écrit ses souvenirs, vingt et un ans plus tard. Un bon poste d’observation, cette fois, pour étudier les célibataires. On y trouvc des officiers de marine ou de l’armée de terre, dont un amiral qui porte un toast quotidien à la reine, un fonctionnaire retraité, un Mauricien qui regrette l’époque du duel, une vieille demoiselle de quatre-vingts ans.. Ceux-ci sont à demeure. En demi-pension, on y trouve aussi des gens mariés: la femme d’un juge des Indes, qui reste en Angleterre pour raisons de santé; un Australien avec sa femme et sa fille, un évêque avec ses enfants... De quoi repeupler la pension Vauquier! A près de soixante-dix ans, le vieux garçon laisse enfin percer un regret: « Pendant toutes les années où j’aurais pu travailler ayant à côté de moi une femme et des enfants, l’exiguïté de mes moyens me rendait le mariage impossible : pouvant à peine subvenir à mes besoins, je n’aurais pu subvenir à ceux d’une famille. Quand enfin mes moyens se trouvèrent suffisants, le moment était passé. » Mais un regret mitigé. « Ma nature n’est pas faite pour une vie commune qui exige d’incessants compromis et beaucoup de patience. [...] Après tout, le célibat était probablement ce qui me convenait le mieux, comme il était aussi ce qui convenait le mieux à la femme inconnue que je n’ai pas épousée. » Décidément philosophe, notre philosophe. En 1817, un poète aujourd’hui justement oublié, Jean-Jacques Deleau, publie L'Heureux Célibataire ou les Avantages du célibat. Il y entreprend l’éloge de l’inconstance, de la vie joyeuse et libre. Le célibataire est comme le papillon qui va de fleur en fleur, de femme en femme.

Des ris et des plaisirs rassemblant tous les charmes,
Le célibat jamais ne fait couler nos larmes.

Mais la pièce ronflante est aussitôt suivie du Célibataire converti : l’âge venant, le protagoniste finit par se laisser séduire. La raison a enfin chassé ce « préjugé ridicule et vulgaire ». La hantise d’une vieillesse solitaire, surtout, invite à se caser avant qu’il ne soit trop tard. Jeune gandin et vieux garçon vont de pair dans les clichés du XIX siècle sur le célibat.

Le thème du « vieux garçon » — expression qui jouit alors d’un grand succès dans la langue — triomphe dans tous les genres à l'époque romantique. Casimir Delavigne fait monter L'École de vieillards (1823). Béranger chansonne le « vieux célibataire», Balzac fixe in saecula saeculorum le portrait du cousin Pons... Le cliché en est souvent resté à celui du Héron de La Fontaine, tout heureux de rencontrer un limaçon après avoir dédaigné les poissons. « Un célibataire est presque toujours un sot qui, après avoir craint de faire quelque mariage d'amour avec quelque belle et charmante jeune fille, dans sa jeunesse, finit, sur ses vieux jours, par faire un mariage de convenance avec sa cuisinière . » Quand ce n’est pire ! Pour Louis de Couailhac, le pauvre homme en est réduit à s’unir << à quelque coureuse d’aventures, femme de lettres ou veuve de la Grande Armée, bien tannée, bien ridée ». Le « vieux célibataire » de Béranger est un libertin épuisé qui lutine sa servante en lui faisant miroiter un héritage, mais que trahissent ses forces au moment de consommer.
Fais donc si bien, que ta douce influence
Rende à mes sens la chaleur qui me fuit
Allons, Babet, un peu de complaisance :
Un lait de poule et mon bonnet de nuit.

Le cliché est tellement bien ancré dans les mentalités que, dans Le Cousin Pons, de Baliac, les deux veux célibataires, Schmucke et Pons, trop timides pour avoir jamais abordé une femme, son traités par leur concierge, Mme Cibot, de « vieux libertins ». Craignant que Pons n’ait des héritiers cachés qui revendiqueraient sa collection de tableaux, elle l’accuse, pour tâter le terrain, d’avoir semé des bâtards : « Vous êtes tous comme ça, vous autres vieux garçons ». Le lien entre libertinage et célibat, hérité de l’époque classique, pénètre les esprits par l’image pieuse, comme ce catéchisme mural comparant la « bonne mort » du père de famille entouré de sa femme, de ses enfants et d’une religieuse, à celle du libertin solitaire dont les diables emmènent l’âme en enfer. Chaque détail de la composition est soigné, jusqu’aux lithographies pendues au mur (une Vierge à l’Enfant et une nymphe cabriolante), jusqu’à la chemise de nuit vêtue par le pudique père de famille, quand le célibataire dort et meurt nu."

--- Histoire du célibat et des célibataires / Jean-Claude Bologne

The Politics of Hair in Singapore

From Harrying Long-Haired Men to Embracing Casinos | Singapore Armchair Critic

"Kitaro was not the only casualty of our government’s revulsion at long-haired males. Back in the 1970s, Cliff Richard, Robert Plant and others also suffered the indignity of being turned away at the Singapore immigration. Some complied to get in.

Ludicrous as it may sound, this insane policy was enforced from the 1970s because our holier-than-thou government had equated long-haired males with gangsters and morally depraved persons who had succumbed to the undesirable influence of the western hippie culture.

An Anglo-Chinese school spokesperson was convinced that long hair would transform our youth into hippies. The then Permanent Secretary of the Education Ministry was reported as saying, “It is in the national interestfor our youth to have short hair.” (“Bringing back the ‘botak’ look,” ST, 29 July 1970).

Perhaps taking inspiration from China’s ongoing Cultural Revolution, the Singapore government actually launched a campaign in May 1973 to coerce and humiliate men into keeping their hair short (“The long-haired may get the sack,” ST, 8 Oct 1974).

Unions, chambers of commerce, associations, government institutions, schools, private companies and evenhairdressers were mobilized in the nation-wide effort to get rid of long-haired males. Management-labor enforcement teams were set up in firms to make periodic checks on men and they had to submit reports to the Home Affairs Ministry regularly, detailing the names of those who flouted the rule and the disciplinary action taken.

Under this “snip snip drive,” if you were a citizen and a man sporting long hair, you would be served last at all government offices (see image below), refused entry into institutions such as schools and fire stations, and would have a hard time getting employed.

If you were a civil servant, refusing to trim your mane could cost you your job (“5,700 long-haired men warned,” ST, 11 Dec 1974)...

The government’s recent decision to block access to the Ashley Madison website... If you believe this is a move by the government to uphold our moral and family values, you are grossly mistaken.

As some astute netizens had pointed out, it all boils down to economics. Unlike the gambling industry that has more deleterious effects on families and society but contributes more than 3% to our GDP, there is no government revenue to be collected from the extra-marital dating site.

If we look deeper, economic calculations also drove the 1970s campaign against long-haired men.

Ostensibly, the campaign was presented as a moral battle against the creeping influence of undesirable “western” culture. In truth, the young nation then needed its people to slog for its economic survival, and thus slovenly long-haired males, as a embodiment of the anti-materialism hippie lifestyle and values that would undermine productivity and retard Singapore’s economic development, had to be swiftly brought into line.

So do not be beguiled by the government’s rhetoric: what has always underpinned PAP’s policy is neither morals nor conservatism but GDPism. This has never changed from day one...

“Why we declared war on long-hairs by Raja,” ST, 16 Jan 1972:

“What the government was attacking was hippism or ‘the lifestyle which matted locks concealed,’ he said.

“This lifestyle could destroy Singapore because hippism ‘is a new version of opium of the people.

‘It is the kind of Opium War an enemy would launch for the successful conquest of a country,’ said Mr Rajaratnam…

In a way, the champions of the shaggy dog look were right. More than sartorial and tonsorial styles were involved.

‘They know and we know that behind the sartorial style, which has become a target of official displeasure there is a lifestyle the critics are loathe to discuss either because they do not understand it or because they are attracted to it,’ he said.

‘They are not defending tonsorial styles but a lifestyle which has its own social, political and moral values.’”"

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Links - 5th February 2014

Putrajaya imposes ‘very high’ restrictions on religion, global study finds - "Placing Malaysia on par with countries like Egypt, Syria, Somalia, Russia, Sudan and Iraq, the report measured “government laws, policies and actions that restrict religious beliefs and practices” for its Government Restrictions Index (GRI)... Some 10 churches and several mosques were attacked or vandalised in early 2010 after the Kuala Lumpur High Court ruled in favour of Herald. Arson attacks in the form of petrol bombs and Molotov cocktails were thrown at churches, sparking public outcry and condemnation. In 2009, Muslims opposing a relocation of a Hindu temple had protested by desecrating a cow head, an animal sacred to Hindus. Then Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein had defended the protesters, calling the proposal by the Selangor government to build a Hindu temple in Shah Alam as unsuitable since it is a majority Muslim neighbourhood."

‘Kangkung’ row: Grow up, minister tells critics - "Universiti Malaya Law professor Dr Azmi Sharom said it should not be treated as a racial issue. “It is disingenuous to turn it into a racial issue. Hopefully it will blow over anyway. If a joke is told too often, it will not be funny anymore,” he said."

Miss America Nina Davuluri: Too 'Indian' to ever be Miss India - "in India, our beauty pageants serve merely as a qualifying exam for Bollywood-dreaming contestants, none of whom would deign to pursue any other kind of career. No wannabe doctors or scientists — well, not since 1966 Miss India winner Rita Faria who refused all modelling and film offers to pursue medical studies. Not like Miss America where this year's first runner up Crystal Lee possesses two degrees from Stanford, a bachelor's in biology and a master's in communication. Her platform is "Women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math)". In any case, it's probably good that Davuluri has no Bollywood aspirations. Dance routines aside, even a Miss America crown won't propel Davuluri to a celluloid screen near us — not unless she makes the miraculous colour 'adjustment' achieved by leading Bollywood actresses who have successfully paled into significance."

National Flags Made From Each Country's Traditional Foods

What It Feels Like To Be Fisted - "The best thing about getting fisted is the emotional connection it can bring on (though not always). I can get off with two adept fingers (or a less adept penis, or an even less adept strap-on) for sure, but there’s something special about being spread-eagle on a bed and letting another person insert a rather large portion of their body in me. My junk is all out in the open, for their eyes to see. That’s hard for me to do as a trans person — let it all hang out. And if I want a person’s fist in me, I want their eyes to look at me while they’re doing it. I want them to know what they are doing, and how I am reacting, and I want to know how they are reacting. Having a fist in me promotes communication. “Is this okay?” Those are magical words to me and get me even hotter. Don’t even get me started with “Does this hurt?” Yes, it hurts and it is wonderful, and please, please do it harder. To me fisting can be a very intimate act. There are a few moments when a chosen partner is working their hand into me, before it’s a fist, and the situation is all body language, eye contact, and verbal communication."

Protest against latest fare hike takes place at Hong Lim Park - "Mr Goh also said that there were plans to burn an effigy of Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew which was shown to the crowd during the protest. However, Mr Goh said he did not go ahead with this as the police told him that doing so is illegal."

I'm gonna use Firefox from now on! - The People's Funny Pictures Blog - Quora

Los Pakistaníes de Barcelona - "this gives Barcelona the largest Pakistani population in any city in Europe outside the UK. Most of them live or work (or both) in El Raval and their main businesses are barbershops, fast food, mobile phones, net cafes and minimarts. The pimping and peddling of less halal services is done by everyone else: the Morrocans, East Europeans, Romanians and others of seemingly untraceable origin. Not everyone is an immigrant; on the pavement outside a Pakistani butcher stood a Spanish woman. She was also in the meat business, advertising her goods to all male passersby with a word and a wink... Butt feels there is ‘thora bohut’ racism in Barcelona, but passes this off as something you’ll find in every country – in fact, much more so in Pakistan, he admits... Pakistanis are much-loved by everyone in the city. Her reason is far from romantic, though it is credible for its honesty: “They keep their shops open even on Sundays, all day, when there’s nowhere else to buy bread and milk.”

Authors' Sleep Patterns & Productivity - "Having researched each author's wake-up time from journals, biographies and interviews, the chart illustrates their preferred hour of rising with a clock-like marker. The author's productivity is indicated with a small count for each of their books, poems or works, adjacent to the time. Literary awards are indicated with a coloured smudge around the author's portrait. The writers are ordered according to their hour of rising. It makes for an interesting read, demolishing any notion that there's a 'perfect hour' to rise. We're all for adopting Charles Bukowski's approach to mornings..."

50-year-old woman hired for $4,500 nanny job at Sentosa Cove - "the ad had attracted 200 applications within a month. They were women aged between 21 and 56. However, not all of them made the cut. Only three suitable applicants were selected and recommended to the client, said the agency. One was rejected after the client took a look at all three resumes."

Rebound Sex Is Real Confirms Scientific Study of College Students - "One-third of the students in the study who had recently experienced a breakup went on to have rebound sex within a month of the end of the relationship, which we probably could have guessed. But the experiment had other, more surprising results. “Having sex to cope with distress and to get over or get back at the ex-partner were elevated immediately following the breakup and then declined over time, as did the probability of having sex with a new partner”"

Song of the Grass-Mud Horse (Cao Ni Ma) - YouTube

Studies show women find men more attractive if they hold a guitar - "Interestingly, they report that a woman holding a guitar did not appear to change the likelihood of having her Friend request accepted. Thus, it appears that guitar holding only works to boost male attractiveness."

Ann Summers bra claims to give you breasts THREE sizes bigger in an instant
Whoever brings this to Singapore might just strike it big

Parents Accidentally Confuse Their Children’s Names More Often When the Names Sound Alike - "“Because name substitutions are increased by factors like name similarity and physical similarity, they should not be seen as purely Freudian or reflecting preferences for one child over another,” Griffin says. “In other words, people shouldn’t read too much into the errors.”"

Media Influences on Social Outcomes: The Impact of MTV's 16 and Pregnant on Teen Childbearing - "We find that 16 and Pregnant led to more searches and tweets regarding birth control and abortion, and ultimately led to a 5.7 percent reduction in teen births in the 18 months following its introduction. This accounts for around one-third of the overall decline in teen births in the United States during that period."

Susan Moy's answer to U.S. Politics: Is it possible to be both a feminist and a Republican during this current campaign? - Quora - "There isn't a "war on women" in America except as defined by those on the Left who ask for birth control pills paid for even by Catholic institutions and 3rd trimester abortions...
I also recognize that there is a very real war on women but it's occurring in some middle eastern cultures/countries and not in America. This is a war where girls can't go to school because they will have acid thrown in their faces, woman are treated like the property of men and are tortured, maimed (see that Time Mag cover with the girl without her nose) or killed for asserting a right to wear certain clothing or even speaking with a man, let alone having a lover of their choice. For the Left to label their disagreements with the Right as a "war on women" trivializes the term"

Chap Goh Meh singles party - "The event which marked the end of the 15-day Chinese New Year celebration, saw maidens, including foreign tourists, throwing oranges into the sea with the hope of getting good life partners. At the Esplanade here, single women wrote their names and telephone numbers on the oranges, while some even scribbled their Facebook addresses on the fruits. Julie Olson, 22, from the United States who threw two oranges, said it was a fun way to find a suitor. “I don’t have a boyfriend, so why not give it a try? I’ll never know who may call or chat with me on Facebook,” she added. Two of her friends Stephanie Loo, 23, and Kathy Houng, 22, from the United States, threw three oranges each with witty messages, date of birth and heart symbols drawn on them. Houng said she put down her passport number on the oranges “to be different from the others”... Sales promoter Candy Tan, 25, said she hoped to find a boyfriend this year. “All my friends have managed to find partners, so I think it’s about time I have one too,” she added... Tan Siew Lin, 25, said it was exciting for her to participate in the festival although she didn’t believe that she would find her Mr Right by throwing oranges."

Babylonian tale of round ark draws ire from some Christian circles - "The Book of Genesis includes detailed specifications for the giant boat on which all kinds of animals were placed, two by two, to shelter from 40 days and 40 nights of rain. The wooden ark was to measure about 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 30 feet high (300 by 50 by 30 cubits, or 137 by 23 by 13 meters). All well and good: But the specifications listed on the Babylonian "Ark Tablet," which is now on display at the British Museum, are totally different. The Babylonian boat was supposed to be made of braided rope, stiffened by wooden spars and sealed with bitumen. And it was supposed to have a round base, measuring 230 feet wide (70 meters wide)... Finkel said the account of the flood and the ark was probably passed along to the Jews during their Babylonian exile in the 6th century B.C. and served as the basis for the Genesis story. Biblical Archaeology Review's Noah Wiener said the cuneiform tablet was created "a full millennium before the Genesis narrative was written down." But Ken Ham, who founded Answers in Genesis-U.S. and is trying to raise $73 million to build a full-scale replica of Noah's Ark in Kentucky, says it must have been the other way around: The true account must have come first in Genesis, and was corrupted by the time the Babylonians set down their details on the Ark Tablet... Fans of Ham's Facebook page took up the argument and rejected Finkel's claims. "This is just another clever attempt from Satan to try to disprove or distort the existence of the ark," one said. Another wrote, "A round ark would have sunk.""

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Amusing Lunch Actually survey

Views on dating in Singapore Survey
(all answers are binary, mutually choices unless otherwise stated)

1. Are you comfortable kissing on the first date?

2. Would you go to bed with someone on your first date?

3. Would you go on dates with another person if you are already attached to someone?

4. Would you mind dating someone who is not a virgin?

5. Would you prefer your date/potential partner to be sexually experienced?

6. Do you want to have children after marriage?

7. Are you for or against abortion?

8. Are you in favour of living together before marriage i.e. cohabitation?

9. Would you travel and share a room with someone that you’ve just met?

10. What do you think of married people going on dates? Do you think married people can date others?

11. Do you want to know your date’s views on sex, marriage and children?

12. What is the one thing that you most want to know about your potential partner before you date him/her?

a) nationality/race
b) looks
c) personality
d) educational level
e) religion
f) financial background/status
g) attitudes towards sex, marriage and children
Other (please specify)

13. On a scale of 1 (least important) to 5 (most important), how important to you is the financial status of someone you wish to date?

14. When considering dating someone, which is more important...sexual compatibility or financial security?

Hsien Loong in the Sandcrawler

"Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy" - Winston Churchill


Singapore targets 'creative ecosystem'

"Singapore aims to create an open, vibrant economy and promote a spirit of inquiry - vital ingredients for the success of its growing interactive and digital media industry, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said...

Addressing an audience that included Star Wars creator George Lucas and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, he said: "The magic lies not in the equipment or processes, but in the creative spark that resides in human minds... These can only light up in an environment which inspires people, promotes creativity and helps people to realise their dreams and to dream big.

"That is what we are trying to create here."

His speech, which kicked off with an emphatic "May the Force be with you", included several other Star Wars references.

The welcome party for Lee at the Sandcrawler - named after a moving fortress in the franchise - also comprised Darth Vader and several Stormtroopers. Lee later unveiled a statue of Yoda, the Jedi Master."

Somehow I read that he unveiled a statue of Lee Kuan Yew, the ex-Minister Mentor.

Anyhow, I'd been looking for a transcript of the speech for a while to see how bad the jokes were. Unfortunately the government speech repositories are in a mess:

- eGov's Singapore e-Government Speeches stops in June 2013
- What used to be STARS and is still called such by the Archives, and anyway it's not there (as of the time I publish this)
- SG Press Centre (which we are directed to via gov.sg for "recent press releases and ministerial speeches" ) does not have a speeches section and doesn't seem to have speeches

In the end I found it on the PMO website - by Googling "lee hsien loong" "may the force".


"Ms Kathleen Kennedy
President, Lucasfilm

Mr George Lucas
Founder, Lucasfilm

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen

May the Force be with you!...

In Star Wars, the Sandcrawler is a slow moving fortress, home to the Jawas, scavengers – what we in Singapore call “karang guni” or “rag and bone” men. But in real life, this Sandcrawler building is anything but slow moving or a home for desert crawlers. It is the base in Asia for Lucasfilm in a rapidly developing industry; a cutting edge office equipped with latest technology, and a training ground of young Jedis under your Jedi Masters Programme...

I like to thank Lucasfilm for your trust and confidence. We started this dream “a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away” at the Skywalker Ranch in Marin County"

I'm not sure if we should be happy that there were only 2 Star Wars references.

Some other lines he could've used:

“I’m Lee Hsien Loong, I’m here to dole out massive tax breaks.”

"These aren't the foreign talent you're looking for."

"Johor Bahru: You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious."

"You just sold Lucasfilm to Disney. I have a very bad feeling about this."

"Don't be too proud of this modern office building you've constructed. The ability to erect infrastructure is insignificant next to the power of Creativity."

France 2012 - Day 11 - Arles (Part 3)

France 2012
Day 11 - 23rd October - Arles
(Part 3)

Next was the Cloister of St Trophime.

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Statue of Jean Turcan the Blind and the Paralysed

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On the Episcopal City

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What the cloister looks like normally and what it looked like when I was there

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Coat of Arms

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On the tapestries

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Pillar fragment

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Coats of Arms

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Other side of cloisters

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Church Tower from cloisters

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Children in front of church

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Obelisk and German speakers

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"Plumbing. Heating. Water of plants"
It must be expensive to hire them to water your plants

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Durex dispenser on street

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"Do not stick posters or we will sue you"

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Side of Baths of Constantine

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"We are not sheep" - Chicken
I think this is just a general protest against people who are allegedly trying to con others

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Next was the Musée Réattu. Despite the name (Jacques Réattu was an 18th/19th century painter from Arles) it had mostly modern art (I was told all modern, but luckily there were odds and ends). Unfortunately it was the only museum open in Arles since it was Tuesday (go figure - they had to choose to all close on the same day, and a different day from normal museum closures too), so I went in (it being free due to the passeport didn't hurt either).

Photography was banned but I was so revolted I took some choice pieces (mostly non-modern ones).

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Shadow of Maltese Cross

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Crests of the Grand Masters of the Order of St John of Jerusalem

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Portrait of the Honoured Grand Master Quiqueran of Beaujeu

I was quite surprised by Picasso's Portrait de Maria Picasso Lopez (1923). It actually was a real portrait. It wasn't just an era thing since there were earlier works that were more grotesque. So maybe he was respecting his mother by portraying her as a real person (and not a grotesquerie).

In Picasso et Catherine Hutin sur la plage du Gonnet, Cannes, Août 1965 by Lucien Clergue, he looked like a pervert (unfortunately I can't find a photo online).

Lucien Clergue's "La Grande Récréation" was interesting: kids in jester and ballet garb in a ruined landscape.

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Naval battle

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There were a lot of Christian Lacroix costumes. Apparently he does historical costumes.

Since photography was officially prohibited, I didn't take a picture of a particular artwork, but here is a picture from the museum's site:

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"Book for your reactions to Le Griffu" ("The Claw")
Me: "What the fuck???"

At first I thought this was part of the exhibition, since the display extended in with no sign:

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This was the kids' part of the museum.

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"We have stuck this foam rectangle which we like to look to look at and touch. It is used by the museum to protect works, like bits of blue foam which serve as frameworks for photographers. In putting it here we are proposing it as a work of art like Marcel Duchamp with his 'Ready Mades'"

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The Moon

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On Javier Perez's "El baile de la Soledad" (The dance of solitude)
This was good (bad) enough to record
This one's good: "Alone in the room, two pairs of shoes turn to the accompaniment of chimes. Their bodies - a man's and a woman's - are mere suggestions, and in their absence the shoes perform a dance which exists only as a memory. This peotic moment repeats itself endlessly. Time dilates and we are intimately drawn into the moment"

The work:


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Grade Sculpture, Anonymous. Vanuatu.

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Jacob's Vision

Albert Ayane/Ayame died in June 2012, and there was already a special exhibition. Wah.

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Death of Tatius

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Path of the Sun

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Coats of Arms, including one with a Cricket (I thought it was a grasshopper then I asked a woman there)

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River Rhône

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Alley. No entry except for bicycles. How privileged.

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Merde ! Literally. Dogshit on Quai Marx Dormoy.
There were piles of dogshit on almost all the paths. One could code a game where the goal is to avoid the shit. On this stroll along the Rhône I encountered the most dogshit of any place I'd ever been. Maybe Arles can be the dogshit capital of France (i.e. the World).

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Trinquetaille Bridge

I then set off on the first real steps of my journey to see the Van Gogh bridge (which involved leaving the city). The original location of the bridge was much closer to Arles, but they moved it for god knows what reason (maybe to stimulate tourism in the godforsaken area it was located).

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Notice you're supposed to cycle there. I was the only idiot walking (actually I think I was the only idiot going there).

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Where the bridge used to be, and where it was painted in March 1888 by Van Gogh.

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Har. Presumably this is so the kids can do a "look how tall I've grown".

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"We want more pay!"

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There was a bus that went there. Maybe I should've waited for it, but then reservations were needed.

After I walked past some industrial buildings (i.e. Formule 1 territory):

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Finally. Again, close but no cigar.
It wasn't very impressive to boot either grr, especially considering it was 3km there and 3km back.

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Other angles

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On the way back I finally saw taxis, waiting at the roadside (literally on the border of Arles - at the "Welcome to Arles" sign).

I bought some Lemonade Beer at a petrol station. It was only €1,5. Unfortunately it also tasted awful so I dumped it.

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Back in town: pretty Rue Baudanoni

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Rue de la Roquette

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More nice windows

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Behind a fridge in a pastry shop: a pastry for every occasion. The lady pushed the fridge so I could take a photo, aww.

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Mmm. North African pâtisserie. I decided to have dinner there. Unfortunately I'd already bought breakfast from the previous pâtisserie or I'd have tried this.

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Super sweet Mint Tea, €1,2 (cheaper than a soft drink). They had no more thé aux pignons (mint tea with pine nuts, apparently) so I had normal mint tea.

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Around the cafe. The pharmacy symbol was unusual - it's the Bowl of Hygieia (not an alcoholic cocktail)

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Dinner (assiette tunisienne, €5) and more tea
I was quite disappointed. I think I was misunderstood: I didn't know the Tunisian salad was tuna salad (with tomatoes, onion, egg, cucumber and maybe potato, dressed with what seemed like lemon juice). To add insult to injury the bread wasn't even crusty.
I should've ordered the brick, which looked like a Cornish pasty.

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Suspicious pseudo-Asian menu at "Le Pot Chinois" ("Chinese Pot")
I talked with the guy and said many were not Chinese. He agreed that they were Vietnamese and admitted that "pot chinois" sounded better to the French than "pot vietnamien". He also admitted that his mother (a Vietnamese woman) cooked different stuff. I was still pissed off from my Tunisian salad and was curious so I bought supper from here.

Apparently Sprite has fewer calories than Coke - the can said 91 calories.

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This comes from "Hotel Megastore", presumably selling tiny bottles of shampoo/conditioner, white towels, white comforters, ugly wallpaper etc.

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Suspicious chopsticks from place with suspicious pseudo-Asian menu
The French tells you how to use chopsticks. The Mandarin tells you that the chopsticks are hygienic.

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Suspicious food from place with suspicious pseudo-Asian menu
Sadly the Porc au caramel with riz cantonnais was pre-cooked but that's why it was even cheaper than a kebab. There was a lot of what I thought was bamboo.

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Chou something (Cream puff) with crème anglaise and chantilly

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Van Gogh Cafe at night. A bit closer, but still...

There was no plaque for Starry Night Over the Rhone, so I used my GPS to match up with the map.

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Cloudy Night Over the Rhone
Night view of river. Not sure why the lights show up as purple
I heard something I hadn't heard for a while - crickets

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Caravans beside river. The French have trailer parks too!

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Other side of river

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The joys of modern technology: now you see it, now you don't

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Price discrimination (you pay different prices depending on where you sit). Also, easy to read prices. Everywhere should do this.

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Chestnuts (roasting on an open fire). Well I don't know about that but the Chinese style was way better since that's evenly cooked. Some of these were a bit burnt. On the up side they were pre-shelled/the shells were cracked unlike gao laak.

An advantage of common showers: if one is spoilt you can use the other. On my first night my room had no cold water and towards the end it was too hot because the tape couldn't turn. So I had to mix the hot water in a cup with tap water. On the second night there was no hot water so I used my SAF training. Also the shower cubicle was very tight so I had to hold my stomach in to squeeze in, and my chest was brushing the door - good luck to well-endowed women (this might be France but I'm sure they get international tourists).
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