Post 466: Bastille Day…um…have a happy one?

From the land of revolting Republicans, I send a message to the land of revolting republicans: Happy Bastille Day! (Or whatever the appropriate greeting is for a day observing marking the start of republican France and the end of many fine, frivolous, and frou-frou heads….)

Let’s see: Bonne fête de la Bastille à la belle France, suggests one site, though they also note there is no particular greeting used. Curious.

What the heck is it about? Here’s a link that can help.

And what’s more French than escargot? Why, their bellicose and stirring national anthem, La Marseillaise, of course! I think it even out-bombasts the US national anthem, and that’s pretty bombastic.

Here’s a video with French and English side-by-side lyrics for a sing along.

Then there is the Hector Berlioz version. If you know Berlioz, you realize he went over the top then added 10 stories to an already kick-butt tune! Turn the volume up to “burst blood vessels” level for the full experience. Whew! The only thing he left out was a chorus of angels, but I’m sure the thought and possibility occurred to him.

Yeah, happy Bastille Day. Whatever!

Post 465: random hands and stuff…

Here we are. Back in 1971-1972 again! I took lots of photos when I was in the US Army because I bought Nikon cameras and lenses then and had to do something with them. 😉

I had a vase in my barracks room but nothing in it. I bought some flowers at the farmers’ market on Schillerplatz, and took this photo:

still life flowers and hand 1972

One of the military trips I took was Operation Tom Sawyer. A selected group of soldiers rode a rubber raft down the Rhine River. The purpose was a good will visit to NATO bases along the way.

The Rhine was full of the normal commercial water traffic. I remember little of the trip other than the guys in the raft got swamped by a barge, got dumped in the polluted water, but managed to get to shore. We stayed at NATO bases along the route (British, French, German) or slept on the bank. Fortunately — I’m a poor swimmer — we on the photo team didn’t ride in the raft, though that would have been the best place to get great shots.

At one stop, one of my team members and I saw this church door that intrigued us. When we were setting up this shot, a nun (with more right to use the door than we!) apologised when she arrived and needed to get in. Oops! In confused German, I assured her she wasn’t bothering us, and we held the door for her.

I note we were in our uniforms, so she might have thought we had legitimate cause to be there. Germans — and I don’t mean this to be snarky — tend to respect people in authority, something suggested by the uniforms.

monastery door and hand 1972

The arm is army friend Tim’s. The staircase leads to Ralph and Deborah’s apartment on rue des Boulangers in Paris. The building was centuries old, though the apartments were remodelled.

ralph's rue des boulangers apartment hand 1971

Curiously, the toilet in Ralph and Deborah’s apartment was an honest-to-god American Standard brand toilet, a pleasant surprise considering some toilets you ran into in Europe still looked like this one I encountered in Greece. For the record, the hole on the left is for women and the one on the right is for men.

turkish toilet

Hey, I’m from Nebraska, and I’ve used worse! This toilet is deluxe accommodations compared to some outdoor biffies you encounter in the country here.