How to stay in touch with what is going on? The International Herald-Tribune is a terrific source. Its approach to news is, well, international, with daily in-depth articles on happenings in mainly European, but also African and Asian (particularly Russia) countries. And of course the US.The sorts of stories I don’t read regularly back home. Not just the sad economy everywhere but sports as well, with timely pictures included. I have seen and read about A-Rod and his revelations, even know that Georgia is considering Bobby Knight (will he EVER go away?). Pretty good arts coverage in the daily paper and, of course, the crossword puzzle. Also, CNN International is tops, again with in-depth coverage from all over the place. Wolf Blitzer never sounded better. And funnily, you just don’t see very many TV ads in Lexington promoting vacations in Algeria, India, Madagascar; places like that, but you do on TV here. Kentucky.com let me have a peek at Jodie Meeks with the winning 3-pointer against Florida, the airport board dilemma, and other items of local interest, including the ice storm disaster. Personally, of course, the e-mail is my beating heart. I even received a few photos of my ice house there on Ridgeway. Were it not for the regular contacts with so many (I am actually doing some work via my office while here), it would be difficult. And comments concerning the blog keep coming. By the way, I generally put it together after returning late at night. It usually takes 1 1/2 to 2 hours or so to complete an entry by the time I identify and edit the dozens of pictures I have taken through the day and night, and do enough research on the subjects I touch on to keep me honest. It gets posted about 2:00 a.m. here (8:00 p.m. Lexington time). Then the next morning I have a look to edit and correct errors, sometimes even changing pictures, and so forth. So the later version may be the “keeper.” It is good fun for me, but it is requiring an amazing amount of time and effort. No complaints, just an observation. I hate to toss Paree Spree when I get home, so I may consider compiling it via on-line publishing or something. So many pages, so many pictures, to just highlight and hit “delete” seems a poor choice. After all, I started doing this to keep a record for me on how I spent these Parisian days and nights. Now others are sharing it with me. How on earth did we get along before the Internet?
New subject. Thomas Spencer works with the apartment management team from whom I have leased space. Part-time. His passion and his intellect focuses on medieval church history and archaeology, with several degrees from the Sorbonne, where he now is completing work on a PHD. His subject is Romanesque church history in the Champagne region of France. He is working with a team from the US to develop a television series providing insight on the masterpiece churches in France, beginning with Paris. There is much to learn about Thomas, his resume and the television project, and I strongly encourage you to have a look at www.churchinsites.com to get a clear picture of what he is all about. I am amazed and very impressed. By the way, Thomas grew up in St. Louis rooting for the Cardinals and has travelled to Paducah and other parts of Western Kentucky. What’s not to like? Could I find a better man to walk over to Notre Dame with me for a conversation about the cathedral? For about 1 1/2 hours we stood in front of the facade, “intricate but organized”, as Thomas let me have it. He outclasses the guide books and public tours by a mile and I am very lucky to have had the pleasure of him sharing with me his cumulative knowledge. We spent time looking at those amazing flying buttresses and other architectural highlights as well, so by the time we got inside for more of my “lesson”, there was an early-evening service taking place. Not a good time for chatter (or pictures for that matter), so we moved back outside. This is not blog material, but boy did I learn a lot. If you can’t have Thomas as your personal guide, then I recommend staying tuned for the next chapter. You gotta see the movie! Besides being educated in this most interesting of subjects, Thomas is just a great guy to know. So of course we repaired to several glasses of Chateauneuf du Pape (what else?) for further conversation and laid plans to have another visit or two in the next few days. Thomas had to go off to await a call from the US concerning the work he is doing, and I headed to a Moroccan restaurant I had been eyeing. l’Atlas, it is called and it is quite a beautiful place. Very brightly lit but somehow that is not a bother. Since it offers valet parking, not a feature of most places I have dined, I figured it should be okay. Good choice. I opted for a tangine of lamb and figs and it was beyond belief flavorful. Much too bountiful though, with several figs the size (literally) of golf balls. Fresh and terrific. I declined the dessert called “Surprise du Chef,” which in parentheses translated the dish to be “pancakes stuffed with ice cream.” I probably overate, am probably overserved and certainly am overdue for rest.