At the Ref Desk (8/28/18): Bingo! Got my first 'Do-U-Have-My-Textbook???' question -- and the school year doesn't even begin till next week! [more...]
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Paris

Hommage à Madame - 21 Rue Soufflot, Paris

Submitted by Leo Klein on Mon, 6/20/11 (8:08pm)

This is where it all started -- as anyone who took the year abroad program organized by UIC's French Dept. under the directorship of the incredible Prof. June Moracevich ('Madame') will tell you. Most left after the first year. I stayed for ten.

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Some Things Never Change: Bibliothèque de la Sorbonne

Submitted by Leo Klein on Tue, 6/12/07 (8:49am)

I was a student at the Sorbonne for two years. For most of that time, I was in the library. This was in the early Eighties -- way before "automation" (i.e. computer catalogs). You'd look the book up in the Card Catalog, fill out a form -- literally in triplicate, and then hand it to one of the attendants at the "guichet" (i.e. service window).

"Vingt minutes", they'd invariably say, and you'd sit around looking at the mural of Francois I while they fetched your book. "Vingt minutes" -- I'll never forget it. I'm happy to see things haven't changed a bit...

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They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (Not in Illinois)

Submitted by Leo Klein on Wed, 5/16/07 (10:56pm)

Mayor Daley has famously said that the law banning fois gras in Chicago is the "silliest ordinance that was ever passed".

I kind of look at the recent vote by the Illinois State Senate banning horse slaughter in the same light.

The head of the Illinois Department of Agriculture says horse slaughter "is inhumane because our society considers horses to be companion animals or pets".

That's one perspective.

My approach comes from the years I spent in Paris when they served it on a regular basis in the student university restaurants. I was short of money and this meal would literally be my only one of the day. Sometimes they'd serve something really gross like rognons, tripes or cerveaux fouettés which I was unable to eat no matter how hungry I was.

So you can imagine my relief when they'd have something like cheval which kind of resembled boeuf in color if not completely in texture. The truth is, I ate it with relish.

I haven't had the dish since then but it doesn't strike me as the end of Western Civilization to contemplate it being produced here and sent out to the four corners of the world. At least we've got something we can still export.

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