The Adventures of DoBell and Pyama

My Photo
Location: Minneapolis, MN

Dempsey is a Golden Retriever puppy who is in training to become a Helping Paws service dog for an individual with a physical disability. He lives with his parents Doreen and Paul, and Bailey the cat. None has ever trained a puppy before. These are their adventures. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are strictly those of the blog author. The contents of this blog have not been reviewed or approved by Helping Paws, Inc.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Paris spectacles

It's been cold and snowy in Paris, so Doreen and I have mostly stayed indoors. This week, we went to see a couple of spectacles in Paris: a puppet show and a movie.

Doreen and I met up with Doreen's French friend Alexandra to see Constantine, which is one of the worst movies we've ever seen. Alex wanted to see it because it stars Keanu Reeves, Doreen thought it was about the Roman emperor, and me, well, I have no excuse.

I've seen two movies in France now, and they've both been awful. The first was Mission to Mars, which my sister wanted to see because it starred Val Kilmer, and me because I thought there'd be a lot of action. There wasn't. It was VF (version française), not VO (version originale), so the drama was lost on me. As far as I can recall, Val Kilmer and a scantily clad female are sitting in front of a big panel with knobs and dials. A red light would start flashing. Val and the female would argue, then start pushing buttons, sweating profusely. The light would go out, and they would hug. This repeated about three times before I fell asleep. I can't remember if they ever made it to Mars.

I stayed awake for Constantine, at least, but that's only because it was so awful, I had to watch. Bad acting, bad dialogue, bad directing... bad, bad, bad.

The Guignol puppet show was much better. It was in a theater in Luxembourg Garden, and it's a traditional activity for French kids. (The show we saw should not be confused with the macabre Grand Guignol.) Guignol was invented in the early 1800's by an unemployed silk weaver who could only find work as a tooth puller. He needed a draw, since the screams of his customers were bad for business. Thus was born Guignol, the funny puppet.

Guignol became enormously popular, and there are now Guignol shows all over France. In the late 1800's, Guignol puppets were used to spread political propaganda, and many were banned by Napoleon III. Puppets in politics is a tradition that is alive, if not well, today, as Ralph Nader demonstrates.

Ralph would not be at home in Paris, anyway. The playground at Luxembourg Garden featured a mini roller coaster, except instead of cars, you just hung on to a chain. No seat belts, no airbags -- unsafe at any speed.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Former synagogue in the medieval city of Provins. It now houses the city museum. Posted by Hello

Halloween in Provins. Actually, it is a church that just looks kinda spooky. Posted by Hello

Doreen by the 12th century tower in Provins. Posted by Hello

Doreen in an underground gift shop in the medieval city of Provins. Posted by Hello

Doreen and Trang in a square in Troyes. Posted by Hello

View of Troyes cathedral. Posted by Hello

Joan of Arc was here. Posted by Hello

Doreen by the barbershop in Anglure. Fancy, huh? Posted by Hello

View of Anglure from the canal. Posted by Hello

Doreen by an abandoned warehouse over the canal in Anglure. Posted by Hello

Paul by the canal in Anglure. Posted by Hello

The old city wall in Luxembourg. Posted by Hello

Doreen and Trang by the river in Verdun. Posted by Hello

Porte Chaussée in the city of Verdun. Posted by Hello

Paul at the war memorial in Verdun, overlooking the town and the river. Posted by Hello

Trang at the war memorial in Verdun. Posted by Hello

World War I cemetery near Verdun. Over a million soldiers died in this battle alone. Posted by Hello

Before: Doreen and Trang trying to escape the sleet in Troyes. Posted by Hello

After: Ah, much better. Trang doing a drive-by tour. Posted by Hello

Porte de Mars, a Roman triumphal arch, in Reims. Posted by Hello

Approaching Reims Cathedral. Posted by Hello

Marc Chagall window at Reims Cathedral. Posted by Hello

Johnson in front of some magnums in the Moet-Chandon cellar. Posted by Hello

Trang, Seung-Hyun, Johnson, and Paul in front of Reims Cathedral. Posted by Hello

Each champagne house has a "tombstone" marking their vineyard. Posted by Hello