Time, Time, Time, See What’s Become of Me

12 Apr

 

words words2

Time to blog again, I tell myself.

Regularly.

Writing should be a practice, like yoga or fine art painting.

You lay the brush down too long, you find you can’t fill the canvas any longer. And if you try, all you get is a waste of time and paint.

You leave that yoga met too long, when you return, you find the only pose you can now execute with any level of accuracy  is the Child Pose.

My mind has been a scattered mess lately. After months of dealing with an ongoing crisis (great blog material, but not quite yet) I turned the corner. Winter was harsh, even by Florida standards, but Spring has arrived. Blue skies. Sunshine.

Work brain, work!

In the past week I managed to lose my keys in a relatively small space, inside my own office. I did not locate them until the next day–in my gym bag. It should have been the first place I looked.

I have managed to send several incomplete messages via email, when instead I thought I had deleted  them without pushing Send. So, this necessitates yet anther message to explain to the other person, “oops. What I was trying to say, meant to say, hoped to say…”

Friends laugh when this happens, but at least one of the messages went to someone I was hoping to impress. Then the conundrum, should I send an additional follow-up message? It makes me think of the scene in the movie Swingers when Jon Favreau can’t leave well enough alone and keeps calling a girl he wants to take out, leaving one message after the other on her answering machine; each message more rambling and pathetic than the one before until, finally, the woman picks up the phone and says, “Never call me again”

I spent pretty much all of last week confused about which day of the week it was. I actually had a moment on Friday when I was certain it was Monday. At least when reality hit me, it was a nice surprise.

I have not been certain what month we are in for the entire first quarter of 2014. This situation is exacerbated by the fact that I have a three month calendar hanging on my office wall. The prior month is on top, in the middle it is the current month, and then at the bottom is the month ahead. This is great for planning ahead and/or reminding yourself what day of the week a certain date fell on last month. But if March 31st has passed and you don’t bother to turn the page, you find yourself–well, not you specifically “you”, it might be better to say “one finds oneself ,”continually scanning the month in the middle because, hey, that is the current month according to the way this particular calendar is supposed to work. I finally turned the page on Thursday (or maybe it was Wednesday) but I still thought Friday was Monday. (But it totally wasn’t! Yay!)

I refuse to embrace the phrase,”senior moment” to explain my scatterbrained moments and lapses of memory. Nor will I use “brain fart” as an excuse for a memory loss. I am sure this is TMI, but I am now at an age when actual flatulence from the usual place is inexplicably on the rise (now no one will let me ride in their car with them again, I just know it) so I don’t need any additional places wherein or from which I “fart.”

A friend of mine recently shared a news story that lifted the spirits of all of her friends of a certain age. German researchers determined that as people get older, they don’t really lose cognitive abilities. The problem is, they know more. There is simply too much information in their brains, so it takes a little longer to sort through it all.

Which explains why I will find myself recalling some long forgotten event from my very distant past–something I had totally forgotten about until that moment. My brain is too full and all of those thoughts are elbowing each other for space, so sometimes memories come unbidden to the surface without any prompting from me. And sometimes all of the concentrating in the world will not access the name of the person standing in front of me.

My cache is busting at the seams. I may have too many cookies too, but…mmmmm, cookies…

In my house, when one of us finds himself frustrated over something forgotten, making him feel old, we break into our On Golden Pond routine:

Norman: I got to the end of our lane and I couldn’t remember where I was…

Ethel: You old poop. Listen to the loons!

For the record, I usually do the Katherine Hepburn part and I’m not half bad, if I do say so myself. My partner’s Henry Fonda isn’t half bad either. Which is surprising because most of his imitations sound like he is speaking in a parody of a Jewish accent crossed with an Italian accent, even when he is trying to ape a French accent.

Which brings me back to blogging. Since I can’t actually reboot my brain, perhaps some exercise will help. Soduko? Crossword puzzles? No, writing is definitely the best exercise for my brain. So, a return to regular blogging is a marvelous start.

Assuming I can remember my WordPress password…

Happy Saturday!

 

 

Arizona Reserves the Right to Refuse Service to Anyone

23 Feb

I cast thee out

 

So, the Arizona Legislature passed something called SB 1062. Lots of people are in an uproar about it, so I thought I’d check and see what all the hub bub is about.

From what I can gather, this bill redefines and expands the state of Arizona’s definition of “exercise of religion” and “state action” to protect businesses, corporations and people from lawsuits after denying services based on a sincere religious belief.

Basically, as long as a person’s behavior is motivated by a religious belief, and that religious belief is “sincerely held”–that person or business is protected under the law.

A lot of people think this law is intended to provide Arizonians an extra opportunity to be mean to gay people. I can see that this law would certainly do that.

For example, if my religious beliefs tell me that HIV is God’s punishment for being gay, I would be free to deny medical treatment, or anything else to a person who is HIV positive. Of course, if my religious beliefs tell me that your religion is a crock or is just plain evil, I am also free to deny you goods or services because, hey, sincerely held beliefs!

Can you imagine? Like, for example, a country club populated by WASPS could deny membership to people of the Jewish faith because they sincerely believe those people killed Christ.
If I am an atheist, can I discriminate against Christians? Why not? As long as your atheism is a “sincerely held” belief.

Don’t get me started on some people’s sincerely held beliefs about Muslims. Or Buddhists, or Jehovah’s Witnesses, or Catholics, or Mormons…

Pregnant woman without a wedding ring (or worse–pregnant lesbian with a wedding ring!)–I sincerely believe you are a harlot and no,  I will not serve you in my holy restaurant.

You two men–I will not rent you a room in my holy hotel because I suspect you are a same sex couple. You’re not? Then how come you have the same last name? Brothers? Hmmmm, you look like homosexuals to me. So, shoo! I can’t be too careful, what with my sincerely held beliefs and all…

The folks behind this bill say it will not lead to discrimination but will, instead, “protect the religious freedom of every Arizonian.”

Because apparently the state of Arizona is overrun with sinful people who are forcing “people of faith” to do all sorts of horrible things like bake cakes for same sex weddings and all manner of evil. This is apparently the biggest problem facing the people of Arizona today. Once this bill becomes law, Arizona will be OK, I guess.

What’s wrong with that?

Something these legislative people should know, that I know (and I am not even a lawyer or even a paralegal) is that the interpretation of the law will not be determined so much by the people of Arizona as it will be by case law.  When an angry lesbian mothers whose child was denied medical treatment or an upset Mormon family who were refused hotel accommodations start dragging all these sincere people into court. Basically, you won’t know how terrible this bill really is until you’ve unleashed it upon the arid land that is Arizona.

I think the people who want to see this bill pass would do well to provide examples from the Bible that illustrate why this law is so important.

How about that time Jesus fed the multitude with just a few loaves of bread and some fish? Wait–that’s a bad example. I don’t think Jesus even asked if there were any gay people in the crowd who might inadvertently be fed by him, despite his sincerely held beliefs.

And not only did Jesus provide free health care on more than one occasion, he didn’t even bother to screen out the sinners from the people who actually deserved to be healed because they shared his sincerely held beliefs.

Maybe that is because Jesus wanted to reach people who didn’t share his sincerely held beliefs because, you know, why preach to the choir?

It has been a while since I have been to Sunday school, but I am pretty sure you’d be hard pressed to find one example in the Bible in which Jesus touch someone’s heart by being rude.

I believe that the people behind this bill do the true believers a disservice. This bill is going to give all sorts of pious jerks the opportunity to act snotty to other people in the name of Jesus–and feel good about doing so. All the while convincing significant numbers of people that these folks who call themselves Christians are, well, pious snotty jerks.

I am not sure that is the most effective way to spread the gospel, but that’s just me.

When you compare the lessons that Jesus taught with the messages the supporters of this bill are putting forth, you kind of get the feeling that SB 1062 is rather un-Christian.

At least that’s the way I see it. Heathen, though I may be.

Still, there is something I love about this bill.

I love that Arizona often attempts to out-crazy Florida and is usually successful.

Thanks, AZ for making FL look somewhat lucid, at least on occasion.

Happy Sunday.

More Bikes of Paris

26 Jan

paris bike wheel gone

I have not ridden my bike in awhile due to a variety of circumstances (details of which are for another blog), including Winter–damn Artic vortex. I know there are heartier souls who do not let the cold keep them out of the saddle. I have no excuse other than, I am a child of Florida and when the temperature dips below 60, I run for cover.

Since I am not riding my bike today, I thought it  might be fun to look at other people’s bikes. In 2012, during my first trip to Paris, I discovered what a cycling town the City of Lights is–and along with my regular touristy shots, I found myself drawn to photographing the copius bicycles of Paris.

This past summer, when I returned to Paris, I was again drawn to take snapshots of the bicyclettes I encountered all over the city.

Here are a few of my favorite shots from my Paris trip 2013:

paris bike share glow

Bike-sharing is huge in Paris. According to the Vélib’website:  Vélib’ is the largest bike-sharing in the world run by the Paris Town Hall since 2007. With over 20,000 bikes covering the city available 24/7 all year long in 1,800 bike stations located every 300 meters. How does it work? Take a bike, return it where you like, Vélib’ is a self-service bike system available 24 hours a day, all year round. To access the service, buy a 1-day or a 7-day ticket online or at any Vélib’ station or sign-up for a long-term subscription! The image above is a short of one of the bike stations at night.

paris bike pink heart2

I heart bicycles AND cycling is good for your heart so, I think this picture speaks for itself,

paris bike rusty4

The bikes of Paris come in all shapes and sizes and degrees of shininess.  You can tell this bike has been around the block more than once. It wears its rust like a badge of honor.

black bike black and white

Bicycles are beautiful even in black and white.

bike and cannonball2

Did someone shoot a cannon ball at this bicycle or is the cyclist planning to go bowling? Oh, the French–you just never know what they’re up to.

paris bike hungup3

There is more than one way to park a bicycle and this is a case in point.

glowing bike

At night the bikes along the Seine seem to glow…

saddle

Bike saddles are notoriously uncomfortable. I love this old leather bike seat. It doesn’t look comfortable but it certainly has character.

paris bike red reflector

paris bike velo point2

Yet another spotr in Paris where you can rent a bicycle (velo).

street bike bw

Now that is a pretty bike!

paris bike shadow2

A bike in the shadow of a small fountain on a narrow rue.

paris bike reflection3cropped

paris bike notre dame

This is a cyclist (to quote ABBA) “in the tourist jam, round the Notre Dame…”

blue bike

A bicycle waiting patiently for the cyclist’s return…

paris bike checks

…and another.

paris bike cafe shadow

A bicycle parked outside a cafe. Can you get any more French than that?

bike with mirror2

As they say in France (assuming Google Translate is to be trusted):

Merci de vérifier quelques-unes des belles motos de Paris.

Au revoir!

Found Words

25 Jan

poster worn wall

For what feels like a century, I have jotted down notes on papers of varying sizes, at odd times, whenever the muse gave me a kick in the rear, or the ear, or wherever it is muses like to strike. For decades,  I have dropped these pieces of paper into multicolored file folders (there is more to life than the color “manila”, that’s all I’m saying.)

In an effort to clear away some of the clutter in my life, I’ve decided that little handwritten gems (as well as the cubic zirconia versions of same) must be recorded in a single place and/or simply discarded.

What follows are bits and pieces from one particular orange folder labelled “Ideas”. Some of these fragments date back to my teenage years.  I can’t bear to part with the pieces of paper without leaving a record of them somewhere. So, this blog it shall be.

There are  visual artists who assemble their work out of found objects. This blog is a kind of assemblage of “found words.” A place where fragments of dialogue, thoughts, story ideas and poem shavings are dropped.

Exiled or utilized, time will tell.

There seems to be some general consensus that the gays have all the money. I find this depressing. I realize that accepting myself as a gay man just saddles me with one more group in which to underachieve.

She has a boyish face. Oddly, that same face on  a boy would be considered feminine.

After Ilya died, I’d call his phone number in Queens  just to hear his voice on the answering machine.

Within weeks of of Ilya’s funeral,  the answering machine quits picking up and soon thereafter, the number has been disconnected. After about a month, for no realistic reason, I pick up the phone and dial Ilya’s former telephone number. As I’d guessed, the number has been re-purposed to another subscriber. A man answers.  I try to engage him in conversation. He is only mildly receptive. I fantasize that he is speaking to me from the phone in Ilya’s apartment; that he has somehow replaced Ilya. Ilya isn’t dead exactly, he has just been re-purposed into this other man. I try to expain this to him but this man won’t play along. He shares his first name (Winston) but little else.

“What do you want?”

I am silent. He asks again, “What do you want?” 

Finally I say, “This used to be Ilya’s number.”

“There’s no Ilya here.”

“Oh, I know,” I reply. “I said this used to be Ilya’s number. I knew someone else must have it by now…”

“I have it. This number is mine now.  You’ll have to find Ilya somewhere else.”  He hangs up.

“Yes,” I say to the dial tone. “Somewhere else.”

I am reluctant to say, “I love you,” for fear it will somehow reduce the intense feelings of the moment into something with paperback covers when, in fact, you fill me with hardbound volumes.

I felt a wave of sanity coming over me. Naturally, I struggled to fight it.

How far are you willing to travel to meet someone  half way?

I think it is scary that Ann Coulter is famous enough that topical humor about Ann Coulter is funny.

Pain is a portal to the Collective Unconscious.

Some people have occupations. I have preoccupations,

What came before The Big Bang? The small whisper.

I love the way you look at me and you don’t just see me, but, as you look, you also consider the possibilities.

You think I am a sinner? Really? I’m afraid you’ve romanticized my flaws, all out of proportion.

One day a co-worker said to me, “Your stories about your boyfriend are no longer amusing anecdotes. They are cries for help.”

The passion which surpasses friction.

There was this guy and he had this really unusual relationship with this cat. It was a small orange tabby cat. It would cling to the guy’s shoulder like a small baby, its chin resting on his right shoulder and its little hind legs and tail just sort of dangling. Whenever I went to this guy’s house, that cat would just be hanging on to him. This relationship between the man and his cat was either very cosmic or potentially quite creepy. It got so people just stopped responding to his invitations–because it was such a weird, somehow troubling sight. The problem was, he was such a gracious host, the same people that were too creeped out to go to his house felt obligated to invite him to their parties. Damn if he didn’t start showing up at parties with that cat firmly attached. Eventually people stopped inviting him.

What happened? Is this one of those stories where the cat dies and the man’s hair turns white overnight and he dies in a sanitarium clutching an old rag against his shoulder?

The guy just dropped out of sight. No one was talking to him really, and I think he was just content to spent time with the cat.

Wait–you’re not…?

The guy in the story–Oh, no.

Then why did you tell me this story? What’s the point?

Just that, this guy and his cat. Their relationship. Who are we to judge?

STORY IDEA: A young gay man has a second coming out experience when he informs his parents during a Thanksgiving visit that he has become a Buddhist. The gay thing, they were fairly cool about, but converting to a religion which is foreign to them presents a challenge, His mother asks, “How do the Buddhists spend Christmas?” He doesn’t have an answer for her at the time. But later, while he is helping his neighbors set up an elaborate Luminaria in a neighborhood park, he finds the answer. He recognizes that your community accepts you when you accept your community.                                                                                                            

“How do the Buddhists spend Christmas?” Why, being Buddhists, of course.

Let’s go slow so we can fall in love.

If we go slow, I will fall asleep.

Sometimes a reach is as good as a touch.

Thanks for reading.

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things, Dammit!

31 Dec

1913 2013 is drawing to a rapid close. I realize I haven’t shown my blog all of the love I intended to show it this year, so I thought I’d slap something together see what I can do about crafting an end of the year blog.

So, 2013 dawned on January 1, 2013….

OK I guess you knew that.

I don’t really feel like recapping this particular year. Not until I have consulted with my lawyers, anyway. Suffice to say, any year in which you have to retain an attorney, can’t be all good.

Still, I do not like to be negative. At least not ALL the time. So, I tried to think of some sort of mood enhancer that might help me.

When I say mood enhancer, I mean something that doesn’t come in a bottle or a container with a child proof cap (which, by the way, any child can open with ease, but elderly older people have a bitch of a time opening those prescription bottles. I should know. Every time I need to reach for my meds I have to carry the bottle across the street so my neighbor’s 7 year old can open it for me.)

Some of you may have heard of a little musical I like to call The Sound of Music. Apparently a lot of people like to call it that, because that is it’s title. It is based on some stuff that happened to this family who would not stop singing no matter what  circumstances, and the nun who came to love them and eventually marry their father–thus ruining her nun career forever. Also, there are Nazis and Nazis are bad.

I think that sums up The Sound of Music very well. It was a big hit on Broadway,  so Hollywood made it into a movie starring Julie Andrews back in the 60′s. Apparently  NBC recently did a live television production of this show starring Carrie Underwood.

Personally, I don’t know who Carrie Underwood  is, but I assume she is the heiress to the Underwood Deviled Ham fortune. I think it is better to use real actors and singers when putting on a play, but these rich people are always shoving their heiresses on us and  calling them entertainers, so why not this deviled ham lady?

I did not see the NBC production, as I once had to sit through the original movie at a family gathering when it was broadcast on TV one Thanksgiving a decade or so ago. One of my cousins (one of my relatives that did a lot of drugs at the time) insisted on singing along to every damn song in the movie and, make no mistake, there are a LOT of songs in that movie. Some movies do not live up to their titles but The Sound of Music most definitely does. The movie is going along and people are having a conversation like people do and then, “oh shit–I think they’re going to sing again!” Even the Mother Superior sings and she isn’t even in the family! (Really? I’d like to see her Climb Every Mountain in that habit!)

If said cousin had perhaps offered me some of whatever it was she was on at the time, I too might have enjoyed the movie. Instead, that Thanksgiving got placed on the Holidays From Hell list. (Not  a short list, either. Not by a country mile.) So I couldn’t bring myself to watch this new production for fear my PSTD might kick in.

I heard that a lot of people who watched the live version starring the deviled ham heiress were not impressed. People who love the movie were all, “it’s a classic!” or “Heresy!” WTF? It is an old Broadway musical. Can you imagine how many truly awful high school and dinner theater productions there must have been in the last 50 years of so? Get over it!

I really only thought to mention The Sound of Music because there is a song in the show called My Favorite Things.

Maria, the naughty nun who eventually shacks up with the singing children’s father, provides a list of her favorite things (in song form, natch) and says when something goes wrong (biting dogs, stinging bees, etc,) she makes a point of remembering her favorite things and then she doesn’t feel so bad.

Yeah. Like that will work. “I just totaled my car—let me remember how much I love whiskers on kittens. That will make me feel much better!’

So getting back to the beginning of whatever it was I was trying to do with this blog, I thought I’d take a page from Maria Von Trapp’s songbook and, since I don’t feel like discussing this year, I will instead focus on some of my favorite things, I’m pretty sure, unlike Maria, I will still feel bad, but then I will just make a pilgrimage across the street and get that little boy to open my prescription bottle for me. (One or two of those pretty light blue pills should do the trick…)

In the mean time, here are a few of my favorite things:

Old typewriters

Old typewriters

Neon

Neon

Sunflowers

Sunflowers

Street Art

Street Art

Actually, I like a lot of different art.

Actually, I like a lot of different art.

Old books

Old books

I also like new books and bookstores.

I also like new books and bookstores.

Journals and blank books.

Journals and blank books.

It might be possible that the only reason I keep a journal is because it gives me an excuse to buy interesting notebooks and blank books.

Writing in my journal in cafes and coffee shops..

Writing in my journal in cafes and coffee shops.

Then again, I might also keep a journal because I love hanging out  and writing in places that serve really good coffee.

Bicycles. I definitely love bicycles.

bike with mirror2 Bicycles. I definitely love bicycles.

May the New Year bring you all of your favorite things along with the blessing that comes from having a special someone in your life who can open the child proof caps on your prescriptions.

Happy New Year!

Ghosts of Christmas Past

22 Dec

(This is a repost  an encore presentation of the Christmas blog I posted last year.  Or, if you prefer, I am re-gifting this Christmas blog from last year. If you remember it, try to act surprised. If you don’t remember it, well—Merry Christmas! I hope you like it. It’s the right size, isn’t it?)

 

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

I suppose, even for procrastinators, that’s appropriate, what with it being a day or two before the actual holiday and all.

Which reminds me–that TV they have in the break room at work continues to be a source of angst and amusement. I wandered in on Rachael Ray’s show this past week and she had some woman on explaining the finer points of selecting a Christmas tree, along with tips on how to tie it down and transport it in your car.

Why is this woman on TV the week before Christmas explaining this stuff? In my experience, if someone hasn’t put up the Christmas tree by this stage of the game, they aren’t planning to put one up at all. Rachael must have needed some filler. Anyway, getting back to what I was saying…

“It’s Beginning to Look at Lot Like Christmas” is actually one of my least favorite Christmas songs of all time. I am also not so fond of “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” I am sure that is why that particular song gets stuck in my head and plays over and over from Halloween until after the New Year.  One of those cruel musical jokes I play on myself.

“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” includes the somewhat baffling line, “There’ll be scary ghost stories and tales of the glories of Christmases long, long ago!”

Who the heck tells ghost stories when they get together for Christmas?

I mean, besides Charles Dickens.

As for “the glories of Christmases long, long ago,” I am not trying to be pathetic here, but while I do have some fond memories of the holiday, some of my worst memories also involve Christmas. You throw family together and it can be a joy or a terror, you know?

Not to dwell on the negative–for that would be wrong, seeing how it is Christmas and everything–one of my fondest memories of Christmas was the first Christmas my long time bachelor friend/boyfriend/significant other and I spent together after we moved to San Francisco. For reasons I do not entirely recall, we fashioned a Christmas tree together out of various broken off tree limbs. It was very Charlie Brown, but it was our first Christmas together in our own home:

San Francisco Christmas2

That’s a view of our Potrero Hill living room, looking out on the sun porch circa 1981.

At that time, I was working at an answering service where I befriended a co-worker  named John, who called himself Need. Need was the boyfriend of a guitarist in an all female punk rock band from Boulder, CO. He and his beloved lived with the rest of the members of the band in an apartment on 18th Street near The Castro.  We were invited to a party at their place on Christmas Eve. For a Christmas tree, they had placed a plastic garbage bag over a microphone stand and decorated it with homemade cardboard ornaments. They had also constructed a Nativity tableau that included Godzilla, along with Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus.

Ah, my first San Francisco Christmas.

(I was reminded of that microphone stand Christmas tree when I first heard of Festivas on a 1997 episode of Seinfeld. The aluminum Festivus pole harkened back to my memories of the punk rock band’s version of O Tannenbaum.)

Within a couple of years, my significant other and I were back in Florida.

The first Christmas after we returned to the Sunshine State was unusually cold. I remember my significant other cooked a duck and a goose for our Christmas dinner.

Cold weather is not all that unusual in our part of Florida. Residents are still talking about December 1989 when we actually had snow. It was nothing compared to say, Minnesota or even Tennessee, but it was enough to bring our humble town to a screeching halt, Here’s some photographic evidence of the famous winter of 1989:

Snow in San Marco2

My mental file of fond memories includes December 2007, when my best friend and I took a quick trip to our nation’s capital. We didn’t stay through Christmas, but the city was dressed up for the holiday.

We were greeted by a gorgeous Christmas tree at Reagan International Airport:

HPIM0552.JPG

There was a beautiful lighted wreath at Union Station:

wreath

One of my favorite places to go in Washington is the National Cathedral. It seemed especially beautiful during the Christmas season.

HPIM0202.JPG

candles

The archway to the gardens behind the Cathedral was covered in snow:

HPIM0208.JPG

The Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool was encrusted with ice:

HPIM0305.JPG

Government buildings were decked out for the holiday:

HPIM0284.JPG

There were even wreaths at the Vietnam War Memorial:

HPIM0352.JPG

As well as the White House:

HPIM0268.JPG

I love sending this out on my Christmas card so people who don’t know better think I live in a big fancy house! “Yes, that’s the wreath we hang on the front gate…”

Garrison Keillor, in Leaving Home wrote,  “A lovely thing about Christmas is that it’s compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together.”

I can recall more than one memorable thunderstorm as well.

However and wherever you celebrate this particular season of the year, I wish you much joy and most of all, wonderful memories.

And now, one of my favorite Christmas memories from popular culture. You may need to be of a particular age to appreciate the bizarre and beautiful juxtiposition of these two particular singers.

I seek this out every year at this time:

Eiffel and I

7 Oct

eifel tower postcard

The Eiffel Tower was built by Gustave Eiffel  for the 1889 Exposition Universelle.  It took 2 years, 2 months and 5 days to construct. Originally intended to last only 20 years, it was saved, in part, because of the advent of radio and the fact that really tall metal things are a choice way to broadcast radio signals and (later) television signals as well.

Last year, on my first trip to  Paris, I remember the moment my friend lead me from the subway and we rounded a corner and there it was! I actually gasped. It was like coming face to face with a celebrity.

I took the picture at the top of the blog from our vantage point at The Trocedero.  This is where you go if you want to take one of those tourist snapshots with the Eiffel Tower sitting on your head and such.

eifel tower danceFor example,  in this picture, an Asian couple in full wedding attire are being photographed from an angle that will place the Eiffel Tower in the center of the heart they  have formed with their arms.

eifel tower handstand

And here we have some guy doing a handstand,  while his friend snaps a picture that will make it look like the Eiffel Tower is jutting out from between his legs. I know his mother will be so proud.

This was as close as I got to the Eiffel Tower on my first trip to Paris. When I returned to The City of Light this summer, going to the top of the tower was on my must do list.

door with view

Wherever you go in Paris, the Eiffel Tower is seemingly never too far from view. Glance out a window or turn a corner and–whoa, there it is!

neiborhood

See what I mean?

      rodans backyard2

In the garden of the Rodin Museum you can take in The Thinker while the tip of the Eiffel Tower photo bombs the scene.

eifel as seen from arc As unique and special as the Eiffel Tower is, it is not the only place in the city where you can enjoy a panoramic view of Paris. This is the view from the top of the Arc de Triumphe. Oh, look–there’s that tower thingie again!

basillica2   One of the most spectacular views of Paris (and the Eiffel Tower) is from the top of  the Basilica of the Sacré Cœur.

eifel and pigeon You have to pay extra and climb 300 narrow winding steps to get up to this vantage point, but it is definitely worth it.

As you can see, I made a new friend while I was up there.

French pigeons, I discovered, are very much like American pigeons–always bobbing their heads and giving you the eye with that look that says, “Feed me or I will surely poop on you.” Or, as the French pigeons say, “Nourris-moi ou je vais sûrement merde sur vous.” (Hey–Fun Fact: the French word for pigeon is pigeon.)

Having seen the Eiffel Tower from street level and from lofty heights, I continued to circle in closer  and closer to the beloved monument.

eifel and tree

 paris bike bike tour

This is the view from the Parc du Champ de Mars. This park is a great place to spread out a blanket or a table cloth and have a picnic—especially when dusk arrives and the tower lights up.

eiffel lights

One of the things that I love about the Eiffel Tour, is that from some angles and vantage points, it looks almost delicate, like lace.

eifel lace

Of course, the tower is actually quite substantial. It has been standing there for a long time, after all.

eifel light

eifel innards

On July 10, 2013, I finally made my way to the top of  La Tour Eiffel. Not surprising, there is a champagne concession at the top (this is France, after all.)  I shared a toast with my  friends and snapped pictures of the beautiful city below.

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view of paris

Having snapped some great shots of the Eifel Tower from atop  Sacré-Cœur Basilica, it seemed only fitting that I got a shot of the church from atop the Effiel Tower.

view of the basillica from Eifel

Although the tower is now one of the most beloved monuments on the planet, there were many very vocal critics when the structure was first proposed and even after it was constructed.

One of the famous Parisians known for his disdain of La Tour Eiffel was writer Guy de Maupassant. Despite this fact, Monsieur de Maupassant dined at the Eiffel Tower’s restaurant nearly every day. When asked why, he replied that it was the one place in Paris where the Eiffel Tower wasn’t visible.

While I don’t share his negative feelings about the tower, I have to say that Mr. du Maupassant was right about one thing–from atop the Eiffel Tower you can see all of Paris except, of course, the monument that is the universal symbol of the amazing City of Light.  It is almost surprising to take in a panoramic view of Paris without seeing the ubiquitous tower.

Where it is? Oh, wait–I’m standing on it…

Not to worry–once you leave the Eiffel Tower, it will reappear, sometimes when you least expect it.

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