Posts Tagged ‘France


After Paris, seeing red — and blue and white and black and green

French flag

Bleu, blanc et rouge

A thoughtful friend on Facebook reminded me today of my cultural blindness.

Yesterday terrorists claimed by the Islamic State committed an act of war in Paris: eight known attackers, seven bombs, five locations, and a storm of bullets.

The death toll is currently at 127, with 300 more hospitalized, 80 in critical condition. It’s incalculably tragic. My eyes well up when I think of the bullet holes, the shattered glass, the chaos, the lives cut short, the families damaged beyond repair, a nation terrorized yet again.

Friends of mine posted messages of support on Instagram and Facebook yesterday. I myself changed my Facebook profile picture to a beautiful photo of the Eiffel Tower lit up bleu, blanc et rouge. It was a gesture so simple as to be nearly meaningless, but it made me feel good for a minute.

This morning, dozens more have added transparent overlays to their photos, blue, blanc et rouge. It’s a move familiar to us, whether it’s the purple of anti-bullying or the rainbow of marriage equality. Simple gestures of support. Facebook makes it easy to show we care.

I don’t remember a similar outpouring when 147 were killed and scores more were injured in April at Garissa University College attack in KenyaContinue reading ‘After Paris, seeing red — and blue and white and black and green’


Song Poison

With one more day left at what I am now beginning to think of as my “old job,” I find myself with a certain song from Les Miserables stuck in my head.

Of course my getting a new job doesn’t have nearly the same weight as France’s 1832 student revolution. Neither does the Broadway show that prominently features it, despite its stubborn refusal to fade from public consciousness. Nevertheless, that soundtrack is still gaily playing in an auditorium in my head somewhere, stuck in an endless loop, echoing mercilessly.

I have been song poisoned.

In a way, I’m glad, because it managed to push out of my head another song that held me hostage yesterday: “Grace Kelly,” by Mika. Since (perhaps unwisely) purchasing Life in Cartoon Motion, I’ve been hooked. Despite a rash of stupid lyrics in half of the songs, I have to acknowledge that most of the album is clever, ironic, funny, moving and of course ludicrously catchy.

However, the three-thousandth time I heard Mika screeching “I could be brown/I could be blue/I could be violet sky/I could be hurtful/I could be purple/I could be anything you like,” I kinda wanted to hit my head against something hard and blunt. Repeatedly.

OK, despite my kvetching, I have to admit to still kinda liking most of Les Mis. (At least I didn’t say Cats.) My only hope is that the next song to invade my brain doesn’t leave me worse off than this one.

the untallied hours