Went on a cheese tour through some of the city today - and while it was interesting, frankly I am all cheesed out at this point. If you asked me if I wanted cheese tonight, I'd say "Nope! All good on the cheese front here." Which is damn hard to pull off in Paris - you can't fart in any given direction without hitting some cheese, no pun intended. But, nevertheless I have managed to get my fill of any and all types of cheese at this point. Even queso which is a type of cheese to my people would be on the "thou shall not pass list." Fromaged-out, as one would say - if one had made up the word "Fromaged".
After the cheese exposition I toured around the city on my own for several hours, and discovered something else - I don't walk like a European. They take quick, rapid steps and I take long, lumbering steps. They can probably hear me coming - if they couldn't hear me coming they could certainly have smelled the remains of the cheese carcasses on me! I know why they walk that way too...it's not just the tight pants, and pointy shoes, it's the freaking mass of humanity with no personal space. They are crammed in here and all walking (the real reason they are thin is that they walk everywhere). But, back to my point, if there is one...I don't do small, quick-steps...I might take long, "quicker-steps" somewhere - but the little chop-chop-chop crap is out for me. Which, frankly makes me a giant nuisance in the Paris sidewalk activity.
So yes, my fellow American's I have discovered the problem overseas and he is me! I am the big ugly American looking for a Starbuck's and saying MERCY here in Paris...and it has dawned on me that nobody is going say anything about it. They just roll their eyes, walk around me, and utter little things under their breath. For example, late last night on the top of the Eiffel tower a pushy Asian man tried to force me into a space that didn't exist, and I reminded him with my elbow that, "NO - I don't fit in your time-frame of exiting the platform, and you can wait!"
In short, I am spoiled with space. I like big rooms, open space to walk and run, and maybe, just maybe some cheese in a can.
Oooh...whole new level of sickness. Went to the Sial show...walked around in the 90 degree heat INSIDE the expo center, with the serious smokers from other countries. The reason French people are so thin is that they don't eat, instead they smoke and drink tiny cups of coffee. Joking of course. On my way back to the hotel I did encounter a wonderful cab driver in a CLEAN Mercedes, who was nice to pull over twice whilst I hurled. They say the second day is the one that kills you - I concur. That's exactly what it did to me.
Next day went to the show and saw some cool cool stuff. Look at the pictures I posted under Paris for images and descriptions of the findings. More tomorrow...
The Art of Peace: Robert Sapolsky and John Stempel discussed the art of hippy-dom and how to make a profit from crafting homemade hacky sacks. Just joking, really interesting take on peace and the perspective these speakers gave made room for thought in my head. Held at the Muhammad Ali Center during it's inaugural year certainly makes sense as The GOAT has been working for peace during the last half of his life. Wish the sessions were made into podcast's as Robert Sapolsky is a fascinating speaker... his delivery method is completely from memory, and his opinion (exactly the way he has couched it up) is really interesting. John Stempel, while being a valid candidate for this topic, has been teaching too long and delivers his content as a syllabus with a reading list and a mountain of references to other people's books. Does the academic community only hold validity in the published word?
Best thing that John Stempel said was that we need to understand the other man's language. He believes that American's are far behind the curve when it comes to speaking, foreign tongues. The U.S. is at permanent war, and there is no division between war and peace. We have to behave our way to peace. As a one time diplomat to the Middle East he heard it said that "diplomacy is the art of saying nice doggie while looking for a bigger rock." In modern diplomacy we need both institutions and actors, that will allow citizens to act in concert. Knowing the other (possible conflict), but not demonizing him is critical to growth.
Mr Sapolsky had some great analogies;
1. We are in some instances the same as animals
2. Have things in common but execute them in a completely novel way
3. Exhibit behavior that is unique only in humans
Oddly enough his examples of aggression, dominance, and murder are all not unique to the human, but exhibited across many other animal species. But according to Robert Sapolsky "the only chance we have to solve this social problem (lack of peace) is to look at those examples where humans are uniquely alone in their approach - like their ability to give selflessly." His example of this is the work of some Catholic Nuns, who have worked with men on death row where they find the worst behavior in humans and give to them their absolute best. Really interesting approach from what appeared to be a real guy...he told a story of how his son was being picked on at school, and his first reaction was to kill the other kid. Instead he told his son to invite the other kid over to play. All other options seemed fallible to him, as they involved death or the involvement of a third party like the school or a counselor for his kid. I found this was an interesting approach to violence...bring it closer to yourself in hopes of creating a relationship that would supersede the action.
I would have found it interesting to have a possible third member of their panel. A military strategists to give some perspective to the obvious questions left in the room. How do we maintain the freedom's we have come accustomed too, without lording our military dominance over the world? However, in retrospect the lineup of speakers made sense in the spirit in which it was given - look for answers outside of the normal set of typical solutions. Peace is not easy.
I am in Louisville, KY at the Idea Festival. Mainly bacause the wonderful tagline..."great ideas can come from anywhere. This fall they'll be coming from Louisville, KY."
I love the concept that great thoughts can come from the most unknown places...and if we keep our eyes open for the right set of cues than we can identify the breakthrough ideas and act on them.
Really I came to the Idea Festival because of the power and diversity of the speakers and events. The lineup includes former editors of Fast Company, chefs, artisans, scientists, and DJ's. That is the kind of event that I can get into...stay tuned and I will update with my thoughts and reactions.
Just wanted to point out that all my cigar postings will be chronicled in a photo album located on the right side of the page under the heading "cigars". Feel free to send me a photo of yourself with a brief description of the cigar if you don't mind me posting it in the section. Would love to get photos of the regulars in here as well.
I've been thinking sometime about recording my cigar-smoking exploits on this blog or maybe a new blog all together. I don't have a cigar everyday, sometimes I won't have one for a couple of weeks. But, I go on stretches of many in the course of a couple of days, I blame Miami, and thought this might be a good way to remember the good ones so I can return to them after inactivity.
My friend Bud believes in one cigar a day...a philosophy I can see serious merit in if the weather permits. Don't see myself sitting outside smoking one in the dead of winter however. Any cigar afecianados (Aficionados - thanks grammar nazi) out there interested in this documentation?