Friday, 30 March 2007
The condom maker wants a panel of 5,000 people who are single, married, or in couples to report their experiences of using its condoms and lubricants.
Men and women of all ages, ethnic groups or sexual orientation have been asked to apply on its website.
Durex was inundated with 14,000 applicants on the first day it started a similar scheme in France.
"The idea is to create a massive panel of testers who can try Durex condoms, have sex and then give us feedback about their experiences - in strictest confidence, of course," a Durex spokeswoman said.
"It isn't some crazy kind of '60s love-in," she added.
Thursday, 29 March 2007
St Catherine, St Catherine, O lend me thine aid
Sainte Catherine, soyez bonne
Saint Catherine be good
... which is summed up more quickly in this, an English prayer:
A husband, St. Catherine
Wednesday, 28 March 2007
Saint Germain des Prés
Cluny la Sorbonne
The use of double names, such as Reuilly - Diderot or Strasbourg — Saint-Denis, often goes back to two (or more) stations on separate lines that were originally named independently and became associated as interchange stations. For example, the station Marcadet - Poissoniers is an interchange station consisting of the original Marcadet on Line 4 and the original Poissonniers on Line 12. In many instances, however, the practice of double naming was extended to other stations, usually because these stations are located at the intersection of streets carrying these names. Examples include Alma - Marceau and Faidherbe - Chaligny.
Many stations have been renamed during the last century. There have been periods of history during which a significant number of stations were renamed. For example, once Germany declared war on France in 1914, it was decided to rename Berlin as Liège and Allemagne (French for "Germany") as Jaurès. The period during which the most stations were renamed was undoubtedly the post-World War II period. To name a few, Marboeuf at the center of the Champs-Elysées was renamed Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1946 and Aubervilliers-Villette was renamed Stalingrad the same year.
The RER-Métro hub at Châtelet - Les Halles is the largest underground subway station in the world.
March 19, 2007 issue - Even in a country that's long prided itself on its trains, the Paris Métro stands out. It's fast, easy to navigate, clean, inexpensive and, with 16 lines serving 297 stations, remarkably dense—leading many transport experts to consider it the world's premier metro. Since the first few lines entered service at the turn of the 20th century, the Métro has grown into a 218-kilometer network that carries 1.36 billion passengers a year. A train sweeps through the 25 stations of Ligne 1, the city's busiest, every 105 seconds. Paris's Métro authority, the RATP, is apparently not satisfied. Last summer it began an ambitious effort to slice 20 seconds off train headway time and increase rolling speed. It plans to do it by automating the entire line—eliminating drivers and replacing them with computers.
Young Girls at the Piano
Paul Guillaume (1891–1934) rose from humble beginnings, to become one of the leading cultural players and art dealer-collectors of Paris in the early twentieth century. Guillaume died at the age of forty-two, by which time he had amassed an outstanding private collection of works by leading modernists. Unlike many art collectors of the time, Guillaume did not come from a wealthy and cultivated background, nor was he only interested in simply supplying works of art for customer demand like other art dealers. He also actively promoted certain aspects of the artistic and cultural life of Paris, providing moral and material support to artists, and interpreting the art of his time for his contemporaries. This approach, while not uncommon today, was innovative at the time and had previously been attempted by only a few courageous dealer-collectors in Paris, such as Paul Durand-Ruel and Ambroise Vollard. Guillaume was celebrated by the artists whom he supported; for instance in Modigliani's portrait the words Novo Pilota, or ‘new helmsman’, identify the sitter as being at the forefront of modern art.
Guillaume's premature death prevented his dream – of transforming his private collection to a museum of modern art – from being realised.
After his death Domenica, his widow and heir, remarried and modified the existing collection, selling some of the more extreme avant-garde works (and later his collection of African art and modern sculpture) and acquiring works of a more conservative character. Domenica's concern to promote harmony among the works in the Guillaume collection made her edited version of the collection all the more typically a capsule of Parisian taste in the 1920s. Before he died, Paul Guillaume had resolved to give his collection to the Louvre. Domenica, a lover of Impressionist art (Monet's Argenteuil 1875 was one of her last acquisitions), sought to intertwine her late husband's philanthropic impulses with her own.
After much negotiation, the French state acquired the collection in two consignments in 1959 and 1963 and housed it in the refurbished Musée de l'Orangerie in Paris, which was at the time attached to the Louvre for administrative purposes. The Orangerie now housed not only Monet's major Water Lilies cycle of paintings, but also the magnificent collection bearing the names of Domenica's two husbands, Jean Walter and Paul Guillaume. The collection has been on permanent display since 1984.
The tunnel, which had a ventilation system, was used to divert the electricity supply to power the 1,000-plant pot factory in a house in the student area of Headingley, Leeds.
Insp Richard Coldwell, of West Yorkshire Police, said: 'We couldn't believe it – the road had actually begun to collapse as a result of the tunnel from the cellar.'
A fifth of managers in a new survey have admitted "Googling" potential candidates to find out personal information about them.
Of the 600 employers questioned, 25 per cent who used the web search engine to research applicants rejected people because of their "dubious personal information".
As part of the research, one employer said a candidate was rejected because of his online personal revelations about "alcohol abuse and disrespect for his job".
Another was found to be on the local police wanted list.
Oh dear! there goes my job in the new assembly (c:=
Adverts promoting Australia with the slogan "So where the bloody hell are you?" prompted 32 complaints.
The UK's Advertising Standards Authority ruled the posters were in breach of the industry code and should not be seen by children.
It has told Tourism Australia to take down the posters and not to use swear words in any future advertising.
A spokesman for the industry watchdog said: "We considered that parents were entitled to expect that poster advertising should not appear to endorse or encourage swearing."
Tourism Australia said it had not intended to cause offence over its posters.
A spokesman said the campaign adopted the "irreverent" Australian tone which was aimed at an older audience.
Meanwhile, the ASA has criticised Cadbury for using Caribbean stereotypes in its commercials for Trident chewing gum.
The authority, which received 519 complaints, said the adverts caused "deep offence" to a significant minority of viewers.
Swearing! that's not bloody swearing if they want swearing I can give them bloody swearing. Why don't the 32 freaking idiots who complained wise up and what the f*£k is a significant minority?
But isn't that typical of Blair's Britain though, it doesn't matter what the majority of people think (the majority of people didn't want the Iraq conflict) if a significant minority want something then that's what the rest of us have to accept and suffer the consequences.
NI Secretary Peter Hain hailed the "triumph of peace over conflict" as the deadline for devolution was effectively extended by six weeks.
It follows Monday's ground-breaking deal between the DUP and Sinn Fein to share power in a new Assembly on 8 May.
The NI St Andrews Agreement Act 2007 cleared all its stages without a vote.
It has received Royal Assent.
The DUP MEP Jim Allister has resigned from the party in protest over its decision to enter power-sharing with Sinn Fein.
He said he was leaving the party with immense sadness but that he felt Sinn Fein was "not fit for government".
It comes after a ground-breaking meeting between Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams at Stormont when they agreed to share power on 8 May.
Mr Allister said he would not be giving up his seat as an MEP.
Mr Allister, who previously left the party after a disagreement in the 1980s, was opposed to the DUP executive resolution committing to power-sharing.
Tuesday, 27 March 2007
The women at today’s devolution press conference tell the real story,
says Ruth Dudley Edwards
Understanding what's going on in Northern Ireland requires attention to be paid to the small print and the bit players. When - at the press conference with Ian Paisley at which it was announced that devolution would take place on May 8 - Gerry Adams spoke of working for the good of the people of Ireland, he was reminding unionists that he is speaking of the whole island, which he hopes will soon be politically united.
When he throws in phrases in the Irish language, he seeks to annoy Paisley's supporters, who believe it to be nothing more than a cultural weapon.
Just as deliberately, Adams chose a southern politician to sit beside him. Mary Lou McDonald has nothing to do with Northern Ireland: a member of the European parliament for the Irish Republic, she hopes after the forthcoming general election to have a seat in the Dail, the national parliament.
For his part, when Ian Paisley promised to work for the good of all the people of Northern Ireland, he was pointing out to nationalists that after decades of violence, they remain under British rule and that a united Ireland is a pipe dream.
That he had Arlene Foster sitting just behind him was not just to show that his party too can field a young, attractive woman, but to make it clear to Sinn Fein that they will not be allowed to forget the violence of their past.
Foster, who was brought up in a part of County Fermanagh where local protestants were assassinated by the IRA with grim regularity, is eloquent, tough and unforgiving.
These two parties loathe each other and have no intention of working together constructively: they will however find a way of divvying up the spoils of office and entrenching their stranglehold over their respective tribes. It is a curious kind of
FIRST POSTED MARCH 26, 2007
A fireman is facing disciplinary action after plunging into a river to rescue a drowning woman.
Tam Brown, 42, is the subject of an internal investigation by Tayside Fire and Rescue because he breached safety rules during the rescue in the River Tay in Perth.
He spent eight minutes in the cold water and at one stage feared that he would be swept to his death. But after dragging the 20-year-old woman to safety he was told by his employer that he had acted improperly by risking his life.
Mr Brown said: “We had seconds to act. The girl was losing consciousness. We had one harness, so I put that on and went down 20ft on a safety line, grabbed her and held her out of the water. My colleagues tried to pull us towards steps, but the current was so bad and the rope was pulled so hard it snapped.
The brigade’s rules state: “Personnel should not enter the water.” The fire crew should instead have tried to haul the woman out using poles and ropes.
Stephen Hunter, chief fire officer of Tayside Fire and Rescue, admitted that fire engines in Perth were not equipped with the correct poles and ropes, but insisted that Mr Brown had broken the rules.
He said: “Firefighter safety is of paramount importance to us. Although our duties include rescues from flooding, there is no statutory obligation to carry out rescues from moving water.
“We know they broke procedure because we know he went into the water. We are investigating exactly what happened, and once that is concluded we will consider what action is necessary. That could include disciplinary action.”
Steve Hill, chairman of the Perth branch of the Fire Brigades Union, said: “Not one senior officer has congratulated Tam or the other officers who attended that night. They should be elated they saved a life but are traumatised that they face disiplinary action instead.”
He added: “Contradicting an order can lead to dismissal. If Tam hadn’t gone in, the public might have tried to save her and we could have ended up with several dead.”
Thank heavens there is somebody who can see sense and not stick to what the rule books say. In my opinion Stephen Hunter is the person who should be disciplined, especially since he did not ensure that fire engines were equipped with the correct poles and ropes. Here we have someone who did not do his job properly and is trying to shift blame on to someone else.
But the makers of Ribena are reportedly facing a £1 million fine after two schoolgirls found it contained almost none.
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is accused of misleading advertising in New Zealand after Anna Devathasan and Jenny Suo, both 14, made the discovery.
The pair tested the children's drink against advertising claims that 'the blackcurrants in Ribena have four times the vitamin C of oranges' in 2004.
Instead, the two found the syrup-based drink contained almost no trace of vitamin C, and one commercial orange juice brand contained almost four times more than Ribena.
'We thought we were doing it wrong, we thought we must have made a mistake,' said Devathasan, now aged 17.
Ribena, first made in the 1930s and distributed to British children during World War Two, is now sold in 22 countries.
GSK paid little attention to the claims of Devathasan and Suo until their complaints reached the Commerce Commission and have now ended up in court.
It now faces 15 charges related to misleading advertising in an Auckland court.
A tenant is suing her landlords after falling through a skylight while dancing on the roof.
Anna Mayers was celebrating her 24th birthday party at the flat she rented with university friends when the near-fatal accident happened.
Although she has recovered from severe head injuries, she is seeking damages from Piyush and Naginbhai Patel, of Hendon, North-West London.
Mrs Mayers, now 29, used a window to get on to the roof of a garage attached to her flat in Islington in February 2002, the High Court in London heard.
She and friends had gone out to dance but she stepped backwards on to the glass skylight, falling through it.
The garage was not part of the property she was renting. The outcome of the hearing could affect the warnings landlords have to give their tenants about dangers in and around their properties.
SO .... apart from trespass there is also criminal damage and she has the nerve to sue the landlords.
Monday, 26 March 2007
The plans for the new basilica called for an edifice of Romano-Byzantine style, and the first stone was laid in 1875. Abadie himself died in 1884 with only the foundation having been completed.
Completed in 1914, it was not consecrated until 1919 after World War I had ended. The final cost was 40 million francs.
The interior of the church contains one of the worlds largest mosaics, and depicts Christ with outstretched arms. The nearby bell tower contains the "Savoyarde''. Cast in Annecy in 1895, it is one of the worlds heaviest at 19 tons.
By 1939 the station's short platforms had become unsuitable for the longer trains that had come to be used for mainline services. After 1939 it was used for suburban services and part of it became a mailing center during World War II. The station's hotel closed on 1 January 1973.
In 1977 the French Government decided to convert the station to a museum and it was opened by President François Mitterrand on 1 December 1986.
La Méditerranée: Aristide Maillol
L'ile de France: Aristide Maillol
Maillol was born in Banyuls-sur-Mer, Roussillon. He decided at an early age to become a painter, and moved to Paris in 1881 to study art. After several applications, his enrollment in the École des Beaux-Arts was accepted in 1885, and he studied there under Jean-Léon Gérôme and Alexandre Cabanel. His early paintings show the influence of his contemporaries Pierre Puvis de Chavannes and Paul Gauguin.
The subject of nearly all of Maillol's mature work is the female body, treated with a classical emphasis on stable forms. The figurative style of his large bronzes is perceived as an important precursor to the greater simplifications of Henry Moore and Alberto Giacometti, and his serene classicism set a standard for European (and American) figure sculpture until the end of World War II.
This life-sized portrait is striking for its deliberate lack of depth. The young woman, her profile sharply cut out with a vigorous, supple line, is standing in front of a seascape. Her studied pose gives her a stiff look, despite the artificially floating ribbons of her dress. The disparity between the figure and the background clearly shows that the portrait was painted in the studio. It has been added to a simplified landscape, treated as bands of colour. Far from producing the outdoor sensations that the Impressionists strove for, Maillol has painted a motionless figure in a classical, decorative manner. The figure seen from the side against a flat background suggests a tapestry, an art in which Maillol also excelled.The pale, contrasting colours contribute to the sense of harmony that emanates from the picture. The symbolic nature of this large, still figure by the sea is nonetheless attenuated by the painstaking description of the face and the care taken over certain details of her clothing, such as the gloves, parasol and hat. Midway between an allegory and a faithful portrait, Woman with a Parasol is regarded as the masterpiece of Maillol's career as a painter.
The statue was commissioned in 1889 to decorate the new medical school in Bordeaux. A young woman, the allegory of nature, is slowly lifting the veils she is wrapped in. When he had finished the first version in white marble for the school, Barrias designed a second statue in polychrome, for the ceremonial staircase of the Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers, in Paris. He used marble and onyx from the newly reopened quarries in Algeria.
Carefully carved to enhance the decorative qualities of the materials, the various parts of the statue play on the veins in the ribboned onyx for the veil, the mottled effect of the red marble for the robe, the preciousness of lapis lazuli for the eyes and malachite for the scarab and coral for the mouth and lips. The overall effect is surprisingly rich.
The work belongs to a major revival of polychrome sculpture launched by archaeological discoveries and illustrated fifty years earlier by Cordier. The statue was very popular and many copies were made.
Schoolchildren learning about Paul Signac's Women at the Well.
In 1892, Signac decided to leave Paris for Saint-Tropez where he was to spend six months a year until 1913. After making several small-format paintings of the harbour in Saint-Tropez during the summer 1892, Signac, the following year, set about a large composition, Le Temps d'Harmonie, an allegory of the ideal society and an illustration of happy life. In one of his first sketches for this painting, one can see two women busy drawing water from a well. Signac decided to isolate these two characters and to devote a painting to them. All the elements of the landscape in which he set the scene really exist in Saint-Tropez : the hill with the citadel at the top, the sea and the jetty of the harbour, the Maures hill and the Estérel foothills, but the painter synthesised them at his will, creating a new landscape on the canvas after several drawings and preparatory studies.
For me the Musée d'Orsay is the museum to visit in Paris (forget the Louvre) followed closely by Musée Maillol. The d'Orsay has paintings by many of my favourite impressionist painters along with a fantastic collection of Sculpture, Decorative arts, Photography, Graphic arts and Architecture. If you haven't visited the museum then follow the link above to the official web site, where you can see many of the items on show along with background information.
The Dreyfus Affair is a story about an egregious abuse of the legal system, driven primarily by a powerful current of French antisemitism and by a desire to shield the French military from its own mistakes. It involves procedurally flawed court-martials, secret evidence, conspiracies, theft of government secrets, deportation to a brutal island prison, leaks to the press, leak prosecutions, riots by antisemitic mobs, and a cover-up and whitewash perpetrated at the highest levels of the French military.
The affair began when French intelligence officers intercepted an unsigned letter to a German military attaché giving away military secrets. Based on unfounded suspicions, his Jewish ancestry, and a ludicrously lax handwriting comparison, Dreyfus was court-martialed for treason. The court-martial was closed to the public and the evidence used against Dreyfus was classified. To firm up the weak case against Dreyfus, the judges were presented with a secret document the existence of which was not even revealed to Dreyfus's defense counsel. On the basis of the secret evidence, Dreyfus was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment at the penal colony at Devil's Island in French Guiana. He was first forced to undergo public humiliation in the courtyard of the Ecole Militaire by having his insignia stripped from his uniform in a "degradation" ceremony. An antisemitic crowd of around 20,000, whose antagonism had been whipped up by the press, was there to jeer at him.
Dreyfus's family urged his innocence at every opportunity, but they were stymied. In 1896, a second letter was intercepted, this one specifically naming Infantry Major Ferdinand Walsin-Esterhazy as the spy. The new chief intelligence officer, Lt. Col. Georges Picquart, immediately re-examined the Dreyfus file and became convinced Dreyfus was wrongly convicted and that Esterhazy was guilty. His attempts to get the General Staff to reopen the case, however, were met with resistance. Instead, the existence of the secret file against Dreyfus was leaked to the press in an effort to cinch Dreyfus's guilt, and a newly forged document specifically naming Dreyfus as the guilty party was also leaked. Picquart was soon transferred to Tunisia, but while on leave engaged in leaks of his own: he confided the information about Esterhazy to a civilian friend, who in turn provided it in confidence to Vice-President of the Senate Auguste Scheurer-Kestner. But Scheurer-Kestner was unable to make any headway in uncovering further evidence.
At a meeting, General Billot, the Minister of War, General Gonse, the Deputy Chief of the General Staff, Major Joseph-Hubert Henry, the forger of the new evidence against Dreyfus, and Dreyfus's biased prosecutor, Commandant Armand du Paty de Clam, decided to warn Esterhazy, the spy, of the suspicions against him so that he could act more discreetly in the future. Indeed, after Esterhazy met with his German handler one more time, he met with du Paty de Clam, who promised him protection. Not long after, however, Esterhazy's banker recognized his handwriting on a copy of the original 1894 letter to the German attaché, which Dreyfus's family had circulated. Scheurer-Kestner publicly declared Dreyfus innocent, and Dreyfus's brother filed suit against Esterhazy. Responding to the charge, the military conducted a hasty court-martial against Esterhazy, again in closed session, and he was promptly acquitted. Instead, Lt. Col. Picquart was arrested and jailed for passing secret military information to civilians. More:
Sunday, 25 March 2007
... and this was the scene earlier in Jardin du Luxembourg as Parisians took advantage of the spring sunshine and took some time out to relax. I just love the fact that you can find seats in the parks in Paris - no sitting about on damp grass.
Destination: Notre Dame - well .... after browsing through the book and art stalls along the Quai. I found a new, unwrapped DVD of Edith Piaf (see below) at a bargain price with 18 of her classic songs (including l'Accordéoniste, la Vie en Rose, Hymne á l'Amour, Non, Je ne regrette rien) - superb stuff --- worth every penny!!! I can't wait to see the new film of her life but don't understand why we have to wait until June??? C'est la vie! I must say I am really pleased about this photo, because of the light: as you can see the stalls are dark (because of the shadow of the nearby buildings) while Notre Dame is light coloured because it is receiving the full glare of the sunshine (really like to rub that bit in about the sunshine because I know the weather back here in N.I. wasn't so hot).
Police chiefs in Australia are investigating after a photograph of a policewoman's breasts was circulated by email.
Why do women keep doing this? .. and why do they not cc: to me? perhaps I should publish my email address? (firstname.lastname@example.org will reach me - all contributions gratefully received) (c:=
"The ethical standards department has been notified.
"They are aware of the incident, which involved the circulation of a photograph, and they are examining it to see if an offence has been committed."
I bet they are !!!!! Can't you just see the scenario ....
1st Police Officer: G’day Bruce. Cop a look at this mate.
2nd Police Officer: ‘S truth Bruce, what have you got there?
1st Police Officer: Dunno, Bruce. Looks like it might be a picture of some Sheila’s bloody tits.
2nd Police Officer: Bloody tits? Do you think she was bloody stabbed?
1st Police Officer: Naw, Bruce – I mean it might be a picture of some bloody Sheila’s tits.
2nd Police Officer: So you don’t think there has been a bloody crime?
1st Police Officer: I didn’t bloody say that – we shall have to bloody investigate.
2nd Police Officer: Good bloody idea, Bruce. Why don’t you print it off on that bloody high res printer so we can have a bloody good gawp.
4 Hours later:
2nd Police Officer: You know Bruce, I think you might be bloody right.
A team of maths experts has cracked a 120-year puzzle - even though many boffins do not even understand what it's all about.
I don't understand why they bothered!
If they don't understand what it's all about - how do they know they have solved it? perhaps there is a clue in the title of the project??
The 17-year-old had grabbed a pensioner's bag outside a field where local police were staging a road safety day.
Hysterical laughter !!!!
Saturday, 24 March 2007
Thursday, 22 March 2007
The 27-year-old tourist snatched his sports bag out of the hands of the thief and ran into a nearby police station, with the thief frantically chasing behind.
Police spokeswoman Wilma Verheij said the thief 'realised too late that he had run straight into the long arm of the law'.
Once the 28-year-old thief realised where he was, he tried to run away from the police station, but the man, who hasn't been named, was quickly captured and arrested.
A dim-witted German burglar tried to pry a lock using a credit card, which subsequently snapped in two, leaving half the card that featured his name and account details, for police to recover.
The 29-year-old man tried to open the door to his neighbour's flat in Moenchengladbach, western Germany, police revealed.
A police spokesman said: 'He tried to copy what he'd seen them do on television, but the flat owner woke up and the criminal ran away. The victim called up and read us the details off the card.' He continued: 'When we got round to the burglar's house, the other half of his credit card was sitting on his kitchen table.'
Vincent Lloyd Massey was in the passenger seat of a car that was pulled over by police in Annapolis, Maryland.
The officers discovered that the driver had a suspended licence. He was taken into custody by the police, which left Mr Massey, 48, to drive the car away.
However, when the officers asked to see his licence, Mr Massey said that he'd left his details at home, but offered his name, address and date of birth.
The police checked the details and moments later were told that they had a man with several criminal warrants, including some from the US Marshall's Service.
Realising that they had a wanted criminal on their hands, who had charges involving drugs and counterfeiting, the officers called for immediate back-up, obtained a warrant and arrested Mr Massey.
Once he was in custody, Mr Massey revealed that he'd lied about his identity and showed officers some identification. Police later confirmed that Mr Massey wasn't the wanted criminal.
However, he didn't get away with just a caution; he ended up being charged with giving a false statement to police.