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Great show of strength and unity by Parisians, but….

… the participation in it by some of the world leaders takes the shine a way somewhat. If indeed the march was also in defence of freedom of speech.

For example:

– Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, who had several journalists jailed for insulting him in 2013.

– Saudi ambassador to France. The Saudis publicly flogged blogger @raif_badawi for “insulting Islam”. He’s due to receive 100 lashes.

– Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel, whose forces killed 7 journalists in Gaza last year.

– The Foreign Minister of Bahrain, 2nd biggest jailer of journos in the world per capita (they torture them to!)

– The foreign Minister of Russia? Seriously? Russia? That bastion of freedom of the press and expression?

A nice summary of those countries who routinely jail – or do worse to – journalists can be found here.

All I’m saying is that Parisians and the French have shown the world that they will not be cowed.

However, some of the leaders that participated in the march should have stayed home until they clean up their own houses… else their hypocrisy taints a very honourable event.


I love Instagram!

Some pics for a Saturday.

Notre Dame Cathedral.



My fave resto in the world! South Beauty Szechuan, Beijing.


Star rated is good…



Columbia ice fields.



Self explanatory.20120929-112726.jpg


Trashy in Paris… so I had better things to do…

… than sit at my laptop!

No matter.

Had a blast with my daughter in the City of Lights. Even saw some lights!

And bones. And food. And monuments, portraits, beautiful parks, amazing vistas and, and…

Paris at its finest!

And the work part of the visit was a roaring success as well! Good to see of old colleagues and learn some new things.

Now it’s on the road back home. It’s my son’s 5th birthday today so I’m anxious to get back and give him – and my other daughter and my wife – big hugs!

Au revoir, Paris!


Trashy à Paris…

… première journée.

‘Nuff said…



A Trashy in Paris, dernière partie….

I’m writing this about 4 ½ hours into the 7 ½ hour flight home. Not a bad day thus far. Long flight, yes, but manageable.

Yesterday was a good day. A day that was well spent in culture and old-world sensibilities. Le Louvre, L’arc de Triomphe, a lunch on the Champs Elysees, Trocadero and something that was damned close to a rugby riot.  The French take their rugby very seriously and the national league final is this weekend…

For the record, the galoots dressed in blue and white were louder than those dressed in orange and red.

The trip was an unqualified success both from the “what-I was –paid-to-go-there-for’ perspective and my own selfish views…

Here’s what I liked the most:

  • The sights and the sounds of the City of Light. No wonder a drunken stoned visionary like Jim Morrison loved it so deeply
  • The food. In its own way. There were hits and there were misses. The hits were the very fine foods – like the canard at the Trocadero at a pretty reasonable price. And the misses? The cost of cheaply made and poor tasting crap… like the 20 Euro “buffet” at the hotel. Waste of money.
  • The coffee was consistently great. Even in the OECD cafeteria.
  • The folks at the OECD… both the Secretariat (Nick and Ysé are very committed, interesting and charming people) and the staff were great to work with and I look forward to seeing them again. As well, my colleagues from around the OECD countries were knowledgeable beyond compare with insights and perspectives I had never considered.
  • Big downside – Colleen wasn’t there with me.

Other thoughts…
I just watched the watchmen… good flick.
Why bowling balls are shaped the way they are?
I miss Colleen and the kids very much and can’t wait to see them in a few hours!


Trashy on the road – part 3

It’s lunch break here at the OECD and I’m giving a presentation in a while. Interesting organization, the OECD. Very large and bureaucratic but a broad range of issues. Makes for good corridor discussion fodder.

Haven’t done much in the way of touristy things yet. Had a nice dinner on a patio with a professor from Australia and another academic from Germany. Very engaging folks, good food and a helluva atmosphere.

We are promised that the session tomorrow may end a bit early. That may let me go a little further afield from the immediate ‘hood. First stop will be to see if I can pick up a camera for super-cheap.

And oh yeah – the coffee is GREAT! And consistently great. I remember that from the last time I was here! None of that weak-kneed Timmies crap here.