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Aucamville Project 14: Qu'es aquò?

Aucamville/Aucamvila, Tarn-et-Garonne.  Photo by Daurade For the 0% of the French population that only speaks Occitan, the Tarn-et-Ga...

Sunday, June 19, 2016

666 by 222 is 3 is the Magic Number

From the use of child labor/slavery to hooking Third World babies on powdered infant formula by doling out free samples, the sales reps dressed in nurse's uniforms, then starting to charge prices the women couldn't pay when their breast milk dried up, Nestlé might arguably one of the world's most evil corporations.

Here's a summary of 5 shitty things Nestlé has done over the years.

And here you have proof.  Buy two get one free, for 6.66 euros.  I think that's all we need to demonstrate that Nestlé is, in fact, a servant of Satan....

Monday, May 23, 2016

Urban Beekeeping, or, Honey Made of Clay

As our last two posts featured beehives, I thought I'd keep the ball rolling with a pair of photos I took years ago with the idea of doing a post on unusual or esoteric symbols found throughout Toulouse, but I never got around to using them.  

So, without further ado, this is a beehive found on a downtown facade about ten feet up and squarely between two first-floor windows.  I've never found out why it's there, or if it was made at the instigation of the neighborhood, an individual, or some sort of guild or fraternity.  All I know is that it's made of terra-cotta, a local specialty, and that it's located on the left side of the Rue. St. Rome when facing Place Capitole, about halfway between Places Capitole and Esquirol.  

Anyone know why this beehive is here?  

For some fine example of sculture groups in Terra-cotta, one can poke around the nearby Musée des Augustines.  In using terra-cotta, the artists of Toulouse were simply using a common and relatively cheap material at hand.  The local tradition stems from the liberal use of brick in local construction, a feature so dominant in Toulouse and neighboring towns such as (Montauban), that Toulouse has been nicknamed "la Ville Rose" ("the Pink City") because of the effect of the sun brightening the reddish bricks (aka "forains") of its buildings.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

"Out of something comes something else"

I was reading Christopher Dawes' book Rat Scabies and the Holy Grail th'other day and he mentioned a product called Lyle's Golden Syrup.  Specifically, the tin; this features an olde-fashioned logo (dating from 1885) featuring a dead lion, above which fly a swarm of bees.  According to Wikipedia:
This is a reference to the Biblical story in chapter 14 of the Book of Judges in which Samson was travelling to the land of the Philistines in search of a wife. During the journey he killed a lion, and when he passed the same spot on his return he noticed that a swarm of bees had formed a comb of honey in the carcass. Samson later turned this into a riddle at a wedding: "Out of the eater came forth meat and out of the strong came forth sweetness". While it is not known exactly why this image and slogan were chosen, Abram Lyle was a deeply religious man, and it has been suggested that they refer either to the strength of the Lyle company or the tins in which golden syrup is sold.
What really struck me about this was the motto on the tin, which reads:

"Out of the strong came forth sweetness"

Readers of LoS will recall that in our last post, we reproduced the coat of arms of Americana, a Brazilian town founded by Confederate emigres; it not only features a beehive and two bees, but the motto "Ex Labore Dulcedo" which I have seen translated as "The Sweetness of Labor" or "Pleasure arises from Labor" but which I think could be translated as 

"Out of Labor comes forth Sweetness"

The Confederados who founded Americana were farmers, specializing in, unsurprisingly, cotton, but also in watermelon.  They probably had their fair share of beekeepers as well.  But the hive here was probably chosen because the Confederados were overwhelmingly Freemasons, and the Freemasons used the beehive as a symbol both of industry and of a well-ordered society.  Both the Mormons and the Jacobins borrowed the symbol from the Masons.  Indeed, Utah is called the "Beehive State".  The Jacobins were drawing on French tradition as well.  

In 1653 the Merovingian King Childeric's tomb was found, containing hundreds of small golden bees, and Napoleon later adopted this symbol for himself as opposed to the Bourbon fleur-de-lys; as a symbol of the first royal dynasty of France, perhaps the bee was far more appropriate to mark the foundation of a new France than the symbol of a recently vanquished dynasty.  To this day, metropolitan France is referred to as the "hexagon" for it's rough approximation of the form.  And of course, honeycomb is a series of hexagons.....

No indication that Abram was a Freemason, by the way, and I'm not suggesting a link between the Mormons, the Confederados of Lyle's Golden Syrup.  Just the common symbolic currency of the era....