Bon Voyage: Cybering to Paris

Paris fashion show - one spacey accessory

Thanks to Google, a quickie vacation is but a click away! On my mind is sexy, stylish Paris, where everything seems steeped in je ne sais quoi. Special attention to details distinguishes the French aesthetic in areas ranging from architecture to home furnishings to the garbage collectors' uniforms. It's been a few years since I visited, but right now I'm feeling almost, virtually there again...

Paris subway with mens fashion advertisementAt the L'ouvre, I stood at the foot of a grand, marble staircase in awe of the Winged Victory gracing the landing aboveParis fashion boutiqueParis fashion showPlus-size model in ParisGotcha! I honestly don't recall seeing anyone -- certainly not any woman -- with this amount of girth in Paris... Maybe it's all of the mustard on fish (delish!) that keeps most of them so thin. Mustard, I learned, is as ubiquitous there as ketchup is here.

Check out this American ex-pat in Paris, whose charming blog / photoblog is inspired by delights in the City of Light. You can practically smell the croissants here, as if wafting from a quaint boulangerie on a narrow, winding rue. Our blog host also keeps an eye on European protests over U.S. policies -- stuff not typically covered by traditional news media here.

You can take every type of tour imaginable in Paris. My merry band of six friends and I took one of many Black Paris tours; ours was led by an ex-pat New Yorker. Breath-taking Eiffel Tower aside, you can't help but love historic establishments such as Chez Haynes, a soul food restaurant renowned for the WWII-era African American writers and jazz masters who frequented the spot.

Also, ethnically diverse Barbes Rochechouart, known as the Harlem of Paris, is a must-stop for its distinct, West African flavor. Once I saw all of those unusual animal carcasses dangling in a butcher's display window, I refused to eat anywhere but the McDonald's in Barbes.

Poster for a club in Paris, La Martiniquezze Le Blog La Martiniquezze photoblogs jazz concerts taking place at its dark and cozy-looking cafe. I love jazz, and I love the idea of traveling to Martinique, so this Martinique / Guadeloupe - themed blog out of Paris piqued my interest.
Here's an impressive collection of Paris + Jazz videos at YouTube. Not only can you catch on YouTube good French jazz, there are vintage clips of Miles Davis, Roy Hargrove and other American jazz giants playing Paris on TheTube, too.

For a taste of travel destinations beyond Paris and Martinique, check Chicago's own "Go Girl!," whose travel journal covers Venice, Rio, St. Martin, Sante Fe and more.

Nice trip, non!


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Caption This Photo: Obama as a Child!

Photo of young Barack Obama, playing on his tricycle.

Could the little boy shown in this photo become the next president of the United States of America? Believe it or not, this is a pic of a very young Barack Obama. Care to write a caption for this shot? I'll bet his "wheels" about making U.S. history were turning even then!
Check out the Chicago Tribune's entire gallery of "young Obama" pictures, including cool pics with his high school sweetheart.
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Google : ooooooooooooooooh yeah?

google cheat sheet

Are you a Google fan? Like to know much more about the search engine phenom? Well, Google's webmasters make available a cool and finely detailed company Fact Sheet of sorts: the Google Cheat Sheet. It gives a look at all that's happening behind the cybercurtain of this most revered wizard of SEO and stock markets alike.

Google's multi-page Cheat Sheet lists loads of company details. Everything from the names of key employees and number of links in the system to a round-up of its music/movie files and the company's fifteen blogs.

Get the full scoop and download Google's Fact Sheet as a PDF here.

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YouTube : Success Stories Landing Advertising, Film and Other Deals

NPR's audio interview with the New York Times' Keith Snyder puts YouTube's impact in a revolutionary, new context. The NPR piece serves up several of the latest YouTube success stories -- ordinary people who've landed advertising, television or record deals. But, Snyder warns, YouTube's current legal issues over free, unauthorized use of copyrighted material could bring this seriously competing channel to a grinding halt.

The New York Times writer also says he uses YouTube for research. YouTube, he says, netted surprising footage results of a presidential candidate from long ago. That opens up great ideas for enriching all sorts of projects.

I'll put it to the test soon and post the best of my YouTube research results. It would be awesome to discover that YouTube nearly has Google juice in this regard.

PS, Check out the YouTube piece after the links. It updates the Obama vs. Clinton "1984" viral video strand...

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American Idol: Lakisha, Melinda, Gina & Sanjaya

sanjaya malakar of american idol has captured attention of the american idol television audience with his ever-changing hairstyles

~ Sanjaya Hair Watch: Sanjaya Malakar's peacock-ish hair last night on American Idol was awesome: A Mohawk of seven springy, bouncy ponytails. Sanjaya believes his show-stopping hairstyles will bring him the luck of sevens. I believe this sweetie-pie is becoming more cunning than we know... And it's cool!

~ Go Gina Glocksen, who sang well last night. The Chicago area's American Idol contestant sounded steadier than she has in a while. We got the message, Gina: America shouldn't dare rule you out. I still say that Gina chooses the most interesting pieces of music this season.

~ Last week I noted that Melinda Doolittle and Lakisha Jones would need to step-it-up in the apparel department to win America's heart. Perhaps they're reading South Side Star :-) ... because it seems both made strides to present a more contemporary appearance. (Well, Simon told them this in person, so maybe he deserves some of the credit!)
*** Lakisha accomplished the mission by wearing a pair of sassy, S&M boots that absolutely delighted Simon Cowell. Hmmm...
*** Melinda wasn't as much a hit in the fashion area. She's trying hard to get out of a conservative norm, it seems. So keep trying Melinda...

BTW, both Melinda and Lakisha sounded great, both singing Donna Summers disco classics. Both have undeniable chops and are unwavering in their ability to sound like seasoned, professional performers.

Interestingly, though, Lakisha seemed to turn up her vocal punch a noticeable notch last night. I predict it'll be an exciting race to the finish between these two contestants. It'll be awesome TV.
For more American Idol opinion, check pop culture journalist Mo Rocca's column at AOL.
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EYE ~ ~ ~ Saddam's Bathist On the Come-up : Scott Storch vs. Timbaland : Craig's List Crazies : Sanjaya Hair Download

The Streets Is Watching / Jay-ZEYE On ~~~

1. New Iraq laws created to woo back Saddam's ousted officials.Wish we could bring back Saddam himself and give him back his #*@! country. It was all so simple then...

2. Where's the beef? These days, it's at the top of hip-hop's production echelon, between Lil' Kim's old flame, Scott Storch, and Timbaland, whose tracks do more to save the music than VH-1. Check this great Village Voice piece about the beef between the two (harmless) rap beat titans.

3. Those wild and crazy folk who "Rant & Rave" at Craig's List just don't stop. Check out these posts from today's San Francisco page... But check them out at your risk, as a few are pretty shocking: my girlfriend keeps asking me for... * help, i'm a girly with a... * my 14-year-old daughter won't... * confessions from a christian girl...

4. What's that in the air?? Oh, American Idol's coming to a television near you tonight! Even the Washington Post seems ready for a fix, today really embracing its Inner Sanjaya -- as in Sanjaya Malakar, the American Idol contestant bringing the most sex appeal. Sanjaya of American Idol has such a huge fan base that a download or downloadable Sanjaya has hit the InternetSanjaya fans don't mind that Melinda Doolittle and Lakisha Jones sing better. At the moment, we're mesmerized by Sanjaya's bouncin' and behavin' mane. In fact, the WaPo story provides a downloadable Sanjaya: you can try a range of crazy hair-do's on the American Idol sweety.

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"Urban Islands" Photo Gallery | Viqi French