Thursday, November 28, 2013

In Thanks

How often do we meet someone to whom we owe thanks without remembering that?

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Eiffel Tower During The German Occupation

A German soldier on the Champ de Mars, being photographed with the Eiffel Tower in the background, during The German Occupation.

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Eiffel Tower In January

I like the Eiffel Tower in Las Vegas more than the actual one.

Photographer David LaChapelle


I have never been to Las Vegas, but I doubt I would share LaChapelle’s sentiment.

I would like to return to Paris in January 2014, but it will not be possible.

Andrew and I will be going to Oklahoma for Christmas. Early next year, we have planned an extended weekend in New York for February and an extended weekend in Boston for March.

Vacation time is not elastic.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Place des Vosges

The serenely beautiful Place des Vosges in January of this year.

26 April 1925: The DNVP Campaigns For Hindenburg

Supporters of the German National People’s Party (DNVP) campaign for Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg in Berlin in April 1925.

Believing that a Leftist candidate was destined to win that year’s Presidential Election in Germany, the DNVP withdrew its own candidate and—with the support of other conservative parties—pressured Hindenburg to enter the race.

Hindenburg, always a political independent, agreed with great reluctance to become a candidate—solely to prevent the election of a Leftist.

Hindenburg, as expected, won the election for a seven-year term—and won reelection in 1932, dying in office in 1934.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

“There’ll Always Be An England”

As Vera Lynn sang:

Surely you're proud,
shout it aloud.

Alas, Britain no longer has anything of which to be proud. Because of post-war actions and policies, it ended up giving back its victories in both World War I and World War II.

It used to be said that the sun never sets on the British Empire.

Now it is said that the sun never sets on the British Welfare State.

New Adventures In British Dentistry

Ricky Gervais, known here—to the extent he is known at all—for his bad teeth.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Musée Cognacq-Jay

Musée Cognacq-Jay, which we visited in January.

1943: Oslo

Hirden, the paramilitary wing of the Norwegian Nazi Party, marches through Oslo in 1943. The Hirden insignia, seen on the banner, was ubiquitous in Norway from 1940 until 1945.

I am amazed that crowds lined the streets, not even bothering to turn their backs on the Norwegian Nazis.

Norway has an unpleasant if not sordid history, going back hundreds of years. Among other things, the Constitution of Norway prohibited persons of Jewish faith even from entering the country between 1814 and 1851—and the provision was enforced.

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Auditorium Of Palais Garnier

The auditorium of Palais Garnier.

I do not think Marc Chagall’s ceiling panels, added in 1964 and as instantly obsolete as living room furniture from the same period, are a suitable addition to what may be the world’s greatest Beaux Arts building, inside and out.

For the pasting of 1960s decoration onto one of the world’s most sublime spaces, the world has André Malraux to thank.

Kaiser Wilhelm’s Library At Manor Doorn

After abdicating the German throne, Kaiser Wilhelm lived in exile in The Netherlands for the final twenty-three years of his life. Twenty-one of those years were spent at Manor Doorn, a stately mansion the Kaiser purchased as his residence-in-exile.

Wilhelm spent hours and hours in his library at Manor Doorn, corresponding with a wide range of persons.

The anti-Semitic comments in his letters are legion. In a 1940 letter to his sister, Princess Margaret, Wilhelm wrote:

The hand of God is creating a new world and working miracles. We [Germany] are becoming the United States Of Europe under German leadership, a united European continent. The Jews are being thrust out of their nefarious positions in all countries, which they have driven to hostility for centuries.

Wilhelm’s death occurred at the height of German conquest: he died seven days before Germany’s invasion of Russia.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Downtown Saint Paul

Saint Paul, 150 years ago, was little more than a cow patch.

In contrast, the center of Vienna has changed very little over the last century-and-a-half.

January 1917: Military Conference

Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg, Kaiser Wilhelm II and General Erich Ludendorff confer in January 1917.

Hindenburg and Ludendorff were at each other’s throats from 1916 onward—and they continued to battle, mercilessly, until Hindenburg’s death in 1934 (Ludendorff died in 1937).

During the war, they argued about military operations and domestic wartime policy.

After the war, they argued about who should receive credit for wartime military victories and who should receive blame for wartime military losses—as well as which of the two was more responsible for the final war settlement so disastrous for Germany.

During The Weimar Republic, both were important politicians with important power bases. Both were inherent conservatives, yet both men diverged on all important issues of the day.

Their personal grudge was to outlast The Weimar Republic and continue into The Period Of National Socialism, a period during which Adolf Hitler learned to play both men like violins.

Downtown Minneapolis

Built from scratch over the last 150 years.

All American cities West of the Mississippi River—Saint Louis and New Orleans being the exceptions—were villages, if that, prior to 1850.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

1918: The Kiel Mutiny

The Kiel Mutiny began on November 3, 1918, and spread like wildfire throughout Germany.

Within six days, the Hohenzollern dynasty had fallen.

“Islands In The Stream”

An outtake from Franklin Schaffner’s 1977 film, “Islands In The Stream”, adapted from Hemingway.

“Islands In The Stream” is a heartbreaking yet emotionally-tough tale of loss. Schaffner caught the tone of Hemingway’s posthumously-published book to perfection—which cannot have been easy to do.

It is Schaffner’s finest film, and captures radiant performances from George C. Scott, David Hemmings (at left), Hart Bochner (at right) and Claire Bloom.

Upon its initial release, “Islands In The Stream” did not fare well at the box office. It was a difficult film to market and its producers surely intended to rely upon glowing notices, which the film did not receive (but should have).

The film has since acquired an admiring audience and a high reputation.