Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Death Danger!


You can find this sign above most of train tracks (I took this one near the St Lazare train station) and it never ceases to amaze me. It says roughly "it's prohibited to touch the catenary : death danger". Really?! It seems to me pretty obvious, but maybe not to everyone... These signs are pretty popular in France, some are even sold on ebay...

58 comments:

  1. Am I first? Love your pix-love your blog!!!

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  2. Often wondered why they put up such obvious signs...but I think it's universal.

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  3. Wow, that's kind of cool. Let us know how much they are, Suzy!

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  4. Well, buzzgirl, it's hard for me to tell how much they are! I've never been good converting euros into US dollars (these days the rate is enough to give me nightmares), and I can't remember what the comma means - does 1,00 mean 1 euro or 1,000?

    I like this photo very much, Eric. Even though the subject is not in the center, it is still very balanced.

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  5. By the looks of the sign "burnt". It's a good clue it's telling you the truth.

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  6. Some are 1 euro (roughly 10 000 dollars)...

    Sorry, I could not help ;))

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  7. What's a catenary?

    Yes i agree it seems blindingly obvious Eric. We have similar signs on electricity junction boxes-whatever-they're-called. I feel moved to say "No shit, Sherlock."

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  8. We have to protect those lacking common sense I guess.

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  9. "It's prohibited to visit PDP blog everyday: addiction danger"

    Lynn, it means something like the electric wires. (does it?)

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  10. It's probably just one of the Have-To-Put-It-Up-Or-We'll-Get-Sued signs! Or at least it would in the United States! So funny. Ebay--wouldn't ya know!!

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  11. Yes I think it's universal. Here we have these signs too.

    Guille, your warning makes a lot of sense. Although it is obvious (that one WILL get addicted to PDP), we just can't help it and we have to come here everyday.

    You see Eric, we're like bugs going towards the light!

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  12. Ah, Eric, if we could only elect George Bush once more, we could make that euros to dollars ratio a million to one!

    I love it when you show us these signs of daily life in Paris. Of course I love it when you show us the unusual things, too.

    Guille is right. PDP addiction warning!

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  13. Maybe just following "duty to warn" or just, I don't know, you'd be surprised what people do...

    Hey, you can find all kinds of stuff on e-Bay! I once drooled in front of my monitor for days ... some dealer in the States had a map of the Parisian metro system circa 1945, and I just couldn't get my eyes off that thing. I waited until the last day, then put a (modest?) bid on it, but the price went through the roof a few minutes before closing and someone got it for next to $350. It wasn't even in good shape, there were holes and pen marks on it, but I was depressed for days after losing that one because for some reason I wanted it so bad I could almost taste it. Then, a couple of months ago, a friend located a very similar one at a flea market in France, paid a couple of euros for it (!) and decided to stick it in the mail without telling me. I got the envelope around Christmas. Let me tell you, I was shell-shocked when I opened the envelope. OK, enough of that.

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  14. hahaha, Nasty Eric! Yes, you're right, our dollar is worth next to nothing these days. Pffff...

    Suzie: the "comma" in France is the equivalent of the decimal point in the US. It's a decimal comma, see. So if someone gives you a check for 25.50 Euros, they really mean to give you twenty five and a half Euros, not 25 thou. Sorry :) (Hey, at least both countries drive on the same side of the raod!)

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  15. The signs are to keep people from touching the wires and dying, and their deaths causing an uprising in the "cités". I think...

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  16. Tomate Farcie, I find myself very happy for you and your Metro map. Not jealous, yet inspired to find one of my own.

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  17. Whatever danger there is, I'm sure the Parisian train frequency is not in any danger! I've been to Paris and was caught in the transport strike of November 2007, yet everything was smooth sailing despite trains running at less than full strength. Man, I was so impressed! This is what I call First-World quality.

    Compared to Singapore, the metro system is a disaster here (strikes are forbidden by the government). Trains take eternity to arrive and sometimes stop in the underground tracks for no reason.

    People always find it hard to believe that I'm describing the Singapore metro but hey, come here and experience it for yourself! ;)

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  18. Love these old signs...even if they are "obvious." Apparently, the graffiti artists also find this an inviting sign. Shocking!!!

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  19. Cool. The signs in Boston are boring compared to that.

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  20. Lynn said...What's a catenary?

    These are the wires that the trains connect to to get electricity.


    A friend once gave me an antique sign that says, "Be sure to look both ways when crossing the tracks (by foot), one train could be hiding another!

    Duh...why would someone want to cross the tracks by foot?

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  21. Good pic...and funny. It's almost like the warning label on my toaster...WARNING: contents may be hot.

    I certainly HOPE so! hahaha

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  22. That's a good one Sherry, LOL!
    Makes you think that toaster users have an IQ of 2.

    Eric, congratulations on your tit for tat photo, it's fantastic!

    And for those of you who didn't go and see Eric's video about Hotel Kube, I suggest they do now. It's fun, creative and very talented. Eric you're a real jack of all trades!

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  23. michael, the sign your friend gave you is seen in country places, where road and railway cross each other

    pedestrians do have to cross the track by foot ;o)
    we do not drive all the time, we happen to walk!

    and drivers, cyclers or motobikers have to be cautious too
    we do not only have these warning signs but also a barrier that gets down or lifts automatically according to train arrival

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  24. On the subject of dire - but perfunctory - warnings, health officials in the Philippines have today spoken out against the Easter flagellation and crucifixion rituals participated in by a handful of fanatical Christians. Their main concern is that dirty nails and whips might lead to tetanus. Predictably, no mention was made of the MINDS of these poor people.

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  25. Lucio
    I agree with you. It is tragic.

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  26. Nathalie...
    Eric, Jack of all trades? You haven't seen it all yet!

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  27. > one train could be hiding another!

    In the original French, that notice is an example of redundant but extremely correct grammar. "Un train peut en cacher un autre". It's the equivalent of "One train could be hiding another of them".

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  28. Tomate I love your saga story about the old metro map.
    I can only imagine your delight when you opened the envelope and saw a map just for you!

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  29. slightly off-topic, but i see that this sign does not show a rabbit on it. i remember seeing a lot of danger or attention signs that show rabbits getting electrocuted (or in the case of the metro, the rabbit's hands getting caught in the door). any explanation why rabbits are used instead of humans?!

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  30. Great blog, keep the photos and comments coming! :)

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  31. Thanks Michael & Guille, so now i know. I wouldn't go near a track on foot!

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  32. Rabbits are used in posters to protect our "human rights", otherwise we could sue!
    Its all to do with "Elfin Safety" whoever he is.

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  33. Thanks Petra. Well, good luck, they're hard to find in the States :(

    Monica: it was a good moment, kind of like you being presented with a box of macarons, right? ;)

    Michael "why would someone cross the tracks on foot?" Er... why did the chicken cross the road? ;) Just kidding. Actually, in Paris, it's redundant but when you go out to the country, then yes, you may have to do that a lot (if you're biking or hiking). Gosh, I love trains. I miss them! We do have the Amtrack around here (the trains are 10 miles long and they're LOUD!) but I wish we had a lot more trains tracks to get around in the States, like in Europe (yeah, I realize there is a size difference, I guess size matters after all..)

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  34. Eric, they are referring to the Jack Rabbit of all trades. You see, years ago rabbits not only were used for testing cosmetics, but also for testing transportation devices. This expanded into testing of electrical devices of all sorts. History is not clear on the point, but many believe that the first use of rabbits for testing electrical components was conducted by Jack, Ltd. Thus the term "Jack Rabbit." Other sources say the term refers to the deceased rabbit after the test, which is unable to think or know anything anymore and thus the expression "you don't know jack". Either way, considering this dire history, the resurrection theme of Easter not only led to the Easter bunny myth, but should give rabbits hope for an afterlife.

    Thank you, Dr. Science.

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  35. Eric, a "jack of all trades" is someone who's good at just about everything.

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  36. Aaah Michael, as a parisian you don't know what are the "passages à niveaux"! In the countryside there are still lot of them (19 000), very dangerous btw.
    Look why you have to watch out !

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  37. Jeff: LOL!

    Eric: A brief etymology of this phrase (which apparently dates back to 1618) can be found here.

    It is also important to know that it can be used in both a complimentary and a condemnatory fashion. In the first mode, the implication is that the person in question is simply – and admirably - multi-skilled; whereas in the second, it is being suggested that he or she is deficient – and therefore not so admirable - for knowing a little about a lot of things (“a jack of all trades…”) but lacking the expertise to be considered fully competent in anything at all (“…but master of none”).

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  38. OMG Guille, that is terrible. The report about the colision I mean. Coliding with a TGV... that 's got to be one of the worse things ever.


    Tomate, you're right, the same feeling! That's why I know exactly how delighted you must have been.

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  39. I'd love to see an enlargement of this photo but I'm terrified to mouse over it and click on the image.

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  40. Great stuff here today! Guille, thanks for the article. I want you to notice that the TGV looks totally undamaged!!

    Jeff...I mirror Lucio's remark only I'm ROFLOL!

    Lucio, the MIND is a terrible thing to waste...but a Jack of all trades would know what to do about that problem over there!

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  41. Oh yes Tomate and Lili, you are certainly right...the country is not for me! I'm glad you warned me about this dangerous habit they have out there!

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  42. ilginç gerçekten ebay'de de herşey satılık
    (i'm sory i dont write english)

    reading rss parisdailyphoto
    great blog

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  43. I noticed that too Michael: French trains...it's not rubbish! ;)

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  44. hi celine, as i said pictures of paris - the last ones i do not like so much but usualy they are wicked. grobegni

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  45. Michael: It is always possible, if one has multiple talents and occupations, to become either a universal man/woman or an out-and-out dilettante. Fortunately, I've always considering myself an amateur in everything I do, so the question of specialization, which obsesses so many "professionals" nowadays, has rarely bothered me. It does, however, trouble others - but this is something I can do very little, if anything, about. Having said that, I would hate to think that the quality of things I do has been compromised by the quantity of things I do.

    By the way, I'm looking into the possibility of renting an apartment in Paris for a year (2009 or 2010), so I may soon be adding "expatriate", or perhaps "temporary Parisian", to my CV!

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  46. Lucio, remember about our "arrangement" lol.

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  47. Funny about this expression (thank you Petrea for the explanation- and the others).

    We have something equivalent I believe "Touche à tout" which can also have two meanings like Lucio said:

    Either someone who is multi-skilled either someone who knows a little about a lot of things.

    As for the Jack rabbit, Jeff...

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  48. Guille: Don't worry, I haven't forgotten.

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  49. "Arrangement"? Guille...you certainly ARE possessive aren't you?!

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  50. LOL Michael, absolutely not! it's about some flats lending. Why do you think i'm possessive btw?? (hehe you're mine, mine, mine).

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  51. If I recall correctly, even more obvious, the electric hasard sign on an electric transformer was not understood by those who died, death which lead to the riots in october 2005.

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