Thursday morning in Paris

January 25th, 2007 | Uncategorized

I just went out to buy a couple jars of this amazing mustard I had when I was in Paris last fall. Lemon and garlic mustard! Isn’t that a brilliant idea? I brought my camera along, and discovered a theme of mishaps. This fancy lady got a flat tire in a busy intersection.
flat tire
Next I went to the grocery where I bought my mustard. When the guard saw me coming into the store with my camera, he warned me that photograpy was “interdit.” But then I saw this olive oil spill that I liked so much, I risked being collared.

olive oil

This unicyclist is not really falling, he was just dismounting. But I’ll include the photo anyway.


Now I’m off to the University of Tours with my lovely escort Helene.

61 Responses to “Thursday morning in Paris”

  1. Mame says:

    thanks for the travelogue. We all appreciate being able to share some of your observations.

  2. Ovidia says:

    Thanks for the glimpse of things (that were) rolling around in Paris! will mix lemon juice & minced garlic in mustard & think of you on your tour–have a great time!

  3. […] Bart Beaty is blogging Angoulême for The Comics Reporter (part one, part two). It looks like Alison Bechdel might be doing the same as well. As mentioned yesterday, Matthias Wivel has begun covering the event, as well as the Tintin exhibition in Paris. […]

  4. judybusy says:

    Speaking of Paris, here’s a dream I had last night: I was sitting around with some friends and to be funny, I asked, “Hey, what do you think Alison Bechdel is doing right now in France?” Snapping pictures of mishaps, apparently. In the dream, I think one of my friends replied, “Probably eating great pastry!” Has anyone else dreamt about the blog?

    Also wanted to thank Sylvia (I think it was you!) who shared her thoughts on relationships in the last thread. A well-contemplated life is so worth living, isn’t it? I really admire you for taking the time to understand what works for you, even though some would think it unconventional. Also would love to hear more about Cuba, since they are non gratis here in the US.

  5. Ginjoint says:

    That mustard sounds goooooood! (I love mustard.) I wonder if that’s available anywhere in the States. That last picture made me laugh – “I was standing there on the corner, waiting for the bus, minding my own business, and the damndest thing happened…a unicycle came popping out of my ass! No, really! And of course some fool American was there with her camera!”

  6. boltgirl says:

    Either that, or the unicyclist is saying, “What the hell? How did THAT get up there?”

    I spend far too much time around adolescent males.

  7. C.C. says:

    Sorry, i was laughing at Ginjoint. Allison, is that you helping the lady with the flat tire? Such a nice American,

  8. Duffi says:

    Thanks for the travelogue, it helps on a grim day to see Paris. I’ll join Ovidia and put some garlic and lemon in my Dijon with lunch. Enjoy, enjoy.

  9. Deb says:

    OOOoooooooooooo Garlic & Lemon in mustard! I’m off to my kitchen to mix some mustard. Thanks for sharing the pictures Alison. I was looking forward to seeing this sort of stuff when you announced your trip. Look at the cool door next to the unicycle guy. LOL

  10. boltgirl says:

    Ah, the perils of the internets… my tube apparently got clogged (perhaps by internets being sent to Ted Stevens?) just long enough to be beaten to the punch by Ginjoint. Slinking away now back to lurkerdom…

  11. Kynthos says:

    Don’t know how long you’ll be in Paris, but the best fun my GF & I had when we were there was to go on a Segway tour. I’d been just dying to try one of those gizmos since they first hit the streets, and to be able to do it in Paris was just icing on the cake. VERY fun.

  12. shadocat says:

    Wonder what the weather is like in Paris? Is it warm (people in shirtsleeves)? Cold (lady in fur coat)? “Dry” cold? “Wet” cold? Does it smell good? Stinky? (Hey, I’ve been spoiled by too many graphic novels lately…)

  13. silvio soprani says:

    Alison, you took a risk taking that olive oil spill picture after the grocer put you on notice. I wonder if a lot of lesbian tourists try to take pictures of his vegetables?

    It seems an odd rule, in a grocery store. Are they afraid AMericans will steal the copyright on their organic fruit?

    If you had failed to be circumspect enough, there might have a been a picture of the ground flying up from beneath you (taken from the ousted photographer’s perspective.)

  14. rosagrigia says:

    I couldn’t help but notice fancy lady’s car. Nice ride. I have heard of the mustard before. I stumbled upon some gourmet mustards and jellies at a bistro in the SoHo. I haven’t tried that particular mustard though. I bought jalapeno jelly and sweet mustard with horseradish. Yummmmm. Happy travels Alison!

  15. Elisablue says:

    Shadocat, it’s dry cold today , blue sky , beautiful red sunset tonight , and, well, for the smell, I don’t know, living in it so to speak, but I would say , … hang on, just opened my kitchen window, city with a touch of car fumes , coffee , slightly musky smell, but that might be my neighbour cooking upstairs …


  16. Kat says:

    thanks for taking us along on your walk, Alison!!
    I really wish I was in Paris right now…..oh the jealousy….

    …hey, I spent the day ordering small children around in French….does that count???

  17. andy says:

    nice piccys

  18. little gator says:

    For years I’ve yearned to leave a daffodil on Oscar Wilde’s grave.

    Yeah, I know he preferred sunflowers, which are way kewl. But I have my reasons.

  19. Aunt Soozie says:

    Boltgirl and Ginjoint…you both gave me a chuckle!
    I thought maybe his little sister put some superglue on his seat.

    I don’t think that good citizen squatting by the tire is Alison…looks a bit too big…but, maybe the perspective is off.

  20. Jana C.H. says:

    Point #1: I was not only impressed, I was downright alarmed at the sight of the formidable Ms. Bechdel eating a cinnamon roll the size of the Andromeda Galaxy.

    Point #2: One doesn’t have to be a fancy lady to wear a fur coat. I own two. The squirrel-belly coat was won by my grandmother (the famous Floss Forbes) in a raffle over sixty years ago; it was never cared for and is now in shreds. Then a few years ago I found a genuine mink coat (just my size!) in a second hand store for $300. They obviously had no idea what a mink like that is worth. It goes into cold storage every spring so it doesn’t end up like the squirrel bellies. The old lady in the photo might well have had that coat for decades.

    Jana C.H.
    Saith Floss Forbes: If you don’t know the tune, sing tenor.

  21. Ann S. in Madison says:

    Kynthos: AWESOME! I really, really want to tour Paris on a Segway, now. That looks like 100% fun. Thanks for planting the seed of my next travel fantasy.

    (Aside to No Name: Shaddup.)

  22. Maggie Jochild says:

    Ann S. in Madison, et al — We have our first troll. Remember, don’t respond. They do not exist…

  23. little gator says:

    1: I am impressed by Alison and her huge buns.

    2: Alison is not her alter ego.

    3: Shaddup, like Ann S said.

  24. Meghan says:

    Wasn’t there another troll a while back that was upset with Alison’s complete mastery of the English language and ability to spell?

  25. J says:

    I wonder why people would search for someone’s blog spot and then take the time to read it just to get angry….It seems a little “borderline personality” behaviour to me. It seems a bit like calling someone on the phone to ask them to leave you alone….so weird to go on someone’s website and then complain that they had to read the website/see the pictures. Very odd!

  26. Straight Girl Fan says:

    I too assumed the good citizen helping with the flat tire was Alison, but then, who took the picture? Would Alison really stop in the middle of a good deed to ask someone (in French) to photograph her doing the good deed? And if she did that, who knows if maybe the lady in the fur coat was asked to pose too? Or wait . . . maybe the lady in the fur coat caught Alison LETTING THE AIR OUT OF HER TIRE! The possibilities are endless. 🙂

  27. Maggie Jochild says:

    Oh, wow, Straight Girl Fan — if you’re right, then it was Alison who smashed up the olive oil (possibly because it is NOT the right kind of oil used to make Maoist Orange Cake?) and then, rushing out onto the street, pushed that poor unicyclist down onto — well, if that’s what is going on, then this travelogue is really a cry for help, isn’t it? Perhaps there was some personality-altering chemical in that cinnamon bun… We need TinTin to rescue Alison. Or an EMT on skis. Or — Elisablue!

  28. Aunt Soozie says:

    it’s the cinnamon bun that gets stuck on you
    not you who gets stuck on yourself
    while eating the cinnamon bun…
    shit, everybody knows that…
    or wait…
    maybe it’s the unicycle
    that gets stuck on your ass…

    Thanks Maggie Jo for the internet tutorial and for reminding us not to indulge the trolls.

    Speaking of indulging…Alison’s buns are actually pretty trim doncha think litte gator? All that cross country skiing keeps her in tip top condition…and the working out with the metrosexuals at the gym. I find that impressive.

    Also, speaking of alter egos I did have this little fantasy that one of the regulars here could be Alison…I mean, I honestly don’t think that is the case but I thought..wouldn’t it be funny if… Since it’s all anonymous Alison could make up a name and write all kinds of things about herself. She could be no name…an anonymous provocateur.

    Yes, that was my little alter ego fantasy. And then I had to think…if one of you was Alison, which one would it be…hmmmm….Deb? Maggie Jochild? Ann S? MLK? Jana CH? Kat? Elisablue? Silvio? Shadocat? Meghan? Duncan? Alex? Well, I can’t name all of you but you get the idea, right? hmmmm….

  29. Josiah says:

    Well, I know it’s not Meghan, because she’s my sister-in-law’s partner. (Does that make her my sister-out-law?)

    Of course, I could be Alison just pretending that Meghan is my sister-out-law…

    (cue obligatory Spartacus/Life of Brian jokes…)

  30. Maggie Jochild says:

    Josiah, what a riot. Here’s a coupla insider dyke tips for you, boyfriend: In my world, we call them wimmins what’s related to us via woman-to-woman coupling our “lez-in-laws”. And, instead of Spartacus, we all stand up and say “I am Kathy Power.”

  31. Deena in OR says:

    OOOOkaaaay….so what does that make my gay housemate who lives with dyke me and my kids, and attends my extended family gatherings, and takes an active coparenting role?? For the sake of parent teacher conferences, he calls himself the “fauxfather”.

    Family for the new millenium…what a gas!

  32. Straight Girl Fan says:

    All this talk about Alison’s buns reminds me of a cartoon I saw years ago, that showed various fictional characters with their exercise videos. Superman, of course, had Buns of Steel. The Tin Woodman had Buns of Tin. Pinnocchio had Buns of Wood. And the Pillbury Dough Boy had Buns of Buns. Still makes me giggle.

  33. Kaitlin Duck Sherwood says:

    At some point after hubby and I got engaged but before we got married, my mom started calling him her “son-in-custom”. You could call your housemate your “father-in-custom”.

  34. Ovidia says:

    Following on Straight Girl Fan’s cartoon lineage, Alison’s would be ‘Buns of Cinn’… interpreted as either lascivious temptation or innocent confectionary…

  35. shadocat says:

    No no Soozie–I made a promise, and i’m stuck with this name forever…I hope it is AB—would be funny if she tried to fake us out. So much better than your run of the mill billy goat eater.

  36. Elisablue says:

    Maggie ……. some personality-altering chemical in that cinnamon bun …… mmmmmm …… yes ….. oui , oui …. or rather sudden amnesia induced by lemon and garlic moutarde overdose …let’s see , changing her into a French southerner coming, let’s say, from Toulouse …. mmmm … Alissonne Bèchedelle …. forgetting her American persona (and all her numerous alter egos on the blog, including a small variety of trolls ) , drawing an underground avant-garde strip like … mmmm … Schtroumphettes lesbiennes :anatomie d’un genre post-moderne … and mmmmm .. commenting the French election campaign (and its large variety of trolls … )
    Mmmmm …

    Yaisse …..


  37. AnnaP says:

    If I can`t bake to it, it`s not my revolution

  38. Em says:

    Enjoy, fellow mustard lover.

  39. […] Dirk Deppey’s Journalista provides the following links – Alison Bechdel’s Blog and Matthias Wivel […]

  40. Okay, I had to delete a mean comment. I can take the stuck-on-myself remark–god knows it’s true or I wouldn’t be doing this ridiculous blog. But hateful comments about anyone else will get zapped.

  41. Aunt Soozie says:

    Who is Kathy Power??
    (and will my lesbian id card be revoked for asking that question?)

  42. meg says:

    Alison, I love the blog; it’s the only one I read regularly. It’s like hanging out at the small cafe in your favorite independent bookstore (which no longer exists) and chatting on a wide variety of subjects with a bunch of generally very interesting people. What better ways do I have to spend my time?

    Take the word of the once and future Copy Goddess on it; this is a good thing.

  43. Meghan says:

    I think maybe sister-in-law would be appropriate. You can use it in the hopes that your wife’s sister will one day make an honest woman out of me (although lez-in-law and sister-out-law are both amusing and descriptive).

  44. Jana C.H. says:

    I used to use “un-sister-in-law” until my brother and his girlfriend finally tied the knot (on top of a mountain in Hawaii, about six weeks ago. He called home and told my folks about it afterward.)

    Jana C.H.
    Saith Floss Forbes: If you don’t know the tune, sing tenor.

  45. mlk says:

    I’ve heard of “out-laws” as former inlaws. I was 1 of 2 outlaws who recently attended the funeral for my former mother-in-law, it was kinda strange, but I’m glad I went.

    this is completely off topic, but life will never be the same for me since watching Cold Case. the service was at a church that I haven’t attended for 30 years and I saw people there who’ve been living their own lives in circles outside my own, and speaking w/them was like watching a CC episode.

    anyway, the outlaw-as-former-inlaw seems like a useful word for these times. for us, though, I guess any person related to a partner would be considered an “outlaw”.

    I love the term fauxfather!

    and I, too,would like to know who this Kathy Power person is!

  46. Maggie Jochild says:

    Kathy Power was a Brandeis University student who on 23 September 1970 was part of an anti-war group that robbed a bank in Brighton, MA to help fund their activities and buy guns for the Black Panters. During the robbery, police officer Walter Schroeder was killed. Kathy stood guard and drove the getaway car. This group, which also included Susan Saxe (another lesbian political icon), had a few days later stolen guns from and fire-bombed a National Guard armory. Kathy and Susan both went on the run. After almost five years in hiding, Susan was captured and went to prison for eight years. Kathy went underground for 23 years. And here’s where it gets interesting.

    During the 1970s, the FBI especially targeted radical lesbian communities — a 1973 FBI report labed “Off Our Backs” as “armed and dangerous extremitists”. (Those from my generation don’t use the term revolutionary as a joke.) Once they were on the trail of Susan and Kathy, the FBI went out all infiltrating and blowing apart lesbian-feminist enclaves. The very strong, very active dyke political communities of Knoxville and Lexington, Kentucky were devastated by grand juries used by the government as forms of poliltical punishment, and several lesbians there went to prison for long periods of time for refusing to testify. And, in fact, Kathy was hiding out in lesbian communities, at least in the beginning. Our worlds were that far removed from the mainstream. She wound up in Corvallis, Oregon, where in 1993, after having successfully created a new identity for herself as a baker, wife, mother, etc. she gave herself up, tired of living a secret existence. Interestingly, one of my former lez-in-laws actually knew her, had worked with her, and had no idea who she was until after her surrender.

    Anyhow, when the FBI decided that Kathy was now in the Washington, DC lesbian community, they began their tactics there. But someone (I don’t know who, although I heard this story from a prominent lesbian attorney who claims to have been there at the time) printed up hundreds of buttons that said “I am Kathy Power” and distributed them to the political dykes of DC. Everybody began wearing them daily, and the FBI were stopped in their tracks.

    According to Curve Magazine, Susan Saxe is now a Jewish and same-sex activist in Pennsylvania. One of her poems, about the FBI and revolution, can be found at My favorite line from one of her poems, which I think was written while she was in prison, is “I see no humor in uniform”.

  47. little gator says:

    I am impressed by Alison’s huge cinna buns. I’ve never seen her other buns.

    I am not Alison.

  48. Josiah says:

    Meghan, we both know that it would take more than marriage to make you honest. 😉

  49. RI Red says:

    What is the brand of the lemon garlic mustard? I have a friend in Paris who likes to send us French culinary “care packages” and it would be great if she could include that mustard in her next shipment. Just think of the sauces you could make with a mustard like that. Mmmmm….

    The hotel pics were great. Who knew that Microtel operated in the EU?

  50. Aunt Soozie says:

    Little gator,
    Thanks for the clarification…
    now we know you’re not Alison.
    Josiah and Meghan and either not Alison or both Alison.
    Thanks for the info Maggie Jochild.
    I remembered the news as you shared it but not the names!
    (and I never knew about the FBI and the grand juries hassling lesbians to shake out Susan and Kathy. Maybe it’s “FBI” that gets your post deleted…I’ll let you know!)

  51. Aunt Soozie says:

    Nope…that’s not it…

  52. Maggie Jochild says:

    Yeah, Aunt Soozie, I wondered that too. Or “fire-bombing”. We’ll see if that goes through.

    I’m not Alison but I am Kathy Power.

    I never worry about getting my lesbian card revoked — guess I’m not attached to mine. But, oh, girls, how I’ve imagined the lesbian posse riding up out front. I can hear the squeak of leather in their saddles, the jingle of spurs, and the rustle of a rope. Must be my Texan heritage.

  53. Pam I says:

    That story (Kathy Power) passed me by over here at the time, reminds me of Astrid Proll ex RedArmyFraction in Germany, who lived in the london dyke world for several (?) years in the 70s. She got found, served out her sentence, and is now a respectable picture editor. But Maggie I have had my historic mental pictures revised by the idea of the Black Panters…

  54. Maggie Jochild says:

    Some typos are more revealing than others, eh?

  55. Ginjoint says:

    *knees buckling in laughter*

  56. Virginia Burton says:

    Why did everyone assume that No Name was serious? Surely someone can make a facetious remark and have it understood as such without having to append “LOL.”

  57. Maggie Jochild says:

    Hey, Virginia — first of all, I’d prefer it if I never again in my life saw LOL. Ginjoint, for example, finds amazing ways of conveying humorous responses, even with IM abbreviations, that avoid the ubiquitous cliche of LOL. (Said with a grin, just so you don’t think I’m being totally snotty.)

    But — facetious is one thing. Certainly we can be extremely silly here, talk piffle as I think Silvio put it. And, at times, tease each other, tease Alison, make fun of ourselves. But there was a mean tone to that particular post which came through, and add that to the use of “No Name”, and it was jarring. I’d be willing to reconsider my judgment if this same poster had not returned later, getting no satisfying response, and gotten seriously mean in a subsequent post — one which Alison has deleted, with my thanks. Perhaps you didn’t see the second post.

  58. Virginia Burton says:

    Oh, thanks Maggie, I didn’t see that post. I’ve been trying to overcome my addiciton to this blog because I was feeling like such an elderly groupie, hoping Alison would notice me and then we’d meet and I’d become her best friend, ever. Anyway, all the discussion about prying into her private life was making me self conscious. But, as you can see, my addiction got the better of me and I started catching up on the blog this morning. Thanks for filling in the missing information.

    I agree with you about LOL~I have never once laughed at anything that was marked that way.

  59. Natkat says:

    Being stuck on yourself is a bad thing? Oh. I’d hate to have to break up with me. I’ve been together for so many years.

    I love the cinnamon bun photo. I’d like to see this photo show up as a drawing in the background of a future DTWOF episode. I imagine Sidney noshing in the background while a serious debate takes place in the foreground.

    I love this blog. I’ve been reading DTWOF since 1992 – what is that 15 years? I lost all my books in a breakup but hope to buy them all again once I get through college.

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