Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Free us!

I could not help taking a photo when I passed this scene today on the Quai (river bank) de la Megisserie. This place is well known for being a pet and plants market where lots of unusual creatures can be found - including plastic gnomes in a cage! We, in France, have a partiality for gnomes especially the ones that people put in their gardens. There is even "national garden gnomes liberation front" (here is the american equivalent!) that regularly makes it to the headlines for having "freed" a few of them from their gardens (where the front assumes they are kept prisonners of course!) - PS: I'll post more news about the PDP meeting in NY later, as I don't know yet where and when it's going to be held.


  1. Oh my! I had been unaware of such violence toward gnomes. As always, you keep us posted on what is going on in the world, Eric. ;)

  2. I'm still laughing Eric -- and now I understand Amelie a little better. I didn't know the French related so much to their garden gnomes.

    I grew up reading about gnomes and goblins in my German children's books and I always associated them with Germany. Are there gnomes in French children's stories, too?

    These guys look so distressed (well, except for the one who's playing a little sad music for them all)!! They need freeing -- I hope you unlatched the metal cage so they could all run off. ;}

  3. Carrie, I thought they were mostly German as well, but maybe they trace back to commonly shared legends among wandering tribes of Europeans. Perhaps the Neanderthals were obliterated in an uprising of their garden gnomes!

    There was a gnome caper in the UK movie "The Full Monty" if I recall correctly.

  4. I know that gnomes are all too frequently treated as second-class citizens, but to see them being openly persecuted is, to say the least, profoundly shocking! Have we forgotten their contribution to the English language: i.e. gnomenclature? Without them, how would we agree on a "gnominal" sum, "gnominate" someone for candidacy, or become "gnomads"? They may be diminutive, but our debt to them is colossal.

  5. Desperate times call for desperate gnomes.

  6. I always think those gnomes looked very tacky on people's lawns.

  7. Sorry about the incorrect grammar. I'll try again. I think gnomes look tacky, especially on lawns.

  8. What a FUN photo. It made me LAUGH with delight. Just too colorful and Disney like -- but, NOT. I just adore it.

    Eric, You must be in NYC now, or in the air. "...I don't know yet where and when it's going to be held." There are so many fabulous places in NYC to have a PDP party. Alexa, you help him out :-) You are such a party girl!

  9. I changed my profile photo to me in a Halloween costume. I'm an Indian. Yep, and that's DEVO behind me. It's a lunch-business party in the Financial District in San Francisco.

  10. I have to say, I personally hate garden gnomes in the garden, but in this picture, they are adorable!! Thanks Eric, for keeping us up to date on the news!

    (I also heard of a new movie coming out, I kid you not, "Gnomeo and Juliet". Be watching for it!)

  11. I thought they were garden elves, but I guess that's a misgnomer.

  12. Lovin' the gnomes! I'll even stick my neck out and say they're welcome to inhabit my TACKY LAWN anytime...they would act as little "scare-squirrels" and perhaps little "scare-rabbits" too. Yeah, there's really no place like GNOME! I say it's about time they are LIBERATED by God! ;-)

    Lois...you are always at the wildest partays! You kick it girl!

  13. Coltrane, The gnomes can inhabit my tacky terrace -- too. I use to have a plastic pink flamingo -- but something horrible happened last winter.

    I like the little gnome with the football. And, is that a T-Rex in the background? All I see is a profile with teeth.

  14. As soon as I saw this come up on the screen, I thought, there's no way I'll beat anyone to a pun. It is too easy. I'd love to have a version of this with each of them saying something.They look a bit like the dwarfs in Snow White, non?

  15. Oh, and my little effort (sniffle) was dedicated especially to you, Michael. ;)

  16. This is so creepy to me on so many levels! They're like bad little clowns in jail!

  17. Hehe the one in the front is a football player! I don't like gnomes... But it's funny to sse how people are crazy about them here. I love the idea of Le Front de Libération des Nains de Jardin, that's typically French humour.

    And yes, you now understand what it's all about in "Amélie"!

    Bon voyage Eric! Ne programme pas les photos trop tard stp ;)

  18. I used to think they were cute and sweet but I had my share of gnomes.
    I lived in a house where my next door neighbour had over a 100 gnomes in his front garden (don't ask about the back garden).
    It had its use thouh, when giving people direction to my place, I use to refer to my house as "the house on the left of the gnome yard."

    Hey Eric
    If you fancy a steak while in NY try Del Frisco's
    1221 Avenue of the Americas
    New York, New York 10020
    (212) 575-5129
    In my opinion they serve the best steak in the world...with exception of mine, of course!

  19. Rose, "the house on the left of the gnome yard." I'm cracking up. :-) LOL and "...over a 100 gnomes..." I thought my (1) one plastic pink flamingo was tacky on my terrace. hahahahahaha

  20. Insults from Michael, the cold shoulder from Guille...

    I take a short break and return to find myself a PDP pariah! (LOL). In gno man's land, you might say. ;)

  21. Michael -- my thought exactement! Because gnobody can beat these people. Oh, gnow!
    Personally, I have gno gnomes, but I gnow that gno one can escape the gnomenclature of gnow-it-all gnow-nothings.

    Lois -- you overestimate me perhaps, but I'll do my best!

  22. Lois
    I can guarantee that your plastic flamingo looks very stylish compared with neighbour's bright (very!) gnomes.

    You should just ignome all insults and cold shoulders from those two...

  23. Oh Lucio, no insult intended. Please come out come out wherever you are.

  24. Oh, if only I could, Rose! Under other circumstances, I suppose, I might have retained my typically gnoble composure, but this offense has turned the names Michael and Guille into veritable gnoms de guerre! (LOL)

  25. Sorry, Michael, it's just that I've been having such a wonderful week (for a change), spending time with friends and seeing some truly extraordinary shows (there's an International Festival of the Arts on here at the moment) - not to mention all the scrumptious dinners and delectable wines - that I was hoping to counter-balance all the good taste I've been enjoying by indulging in some painfully on the nose humour.

  26. Do You Know Where Your Gnome Goes at Night?

    The UK, or Russia, in Paris or Rome,
    There’s nothing quite like a place with a gnome;
    In movies, in cages, or lawns of a home,
    You don’t have to look very hard with a comb.

    So cages of figures all trapped for the night,
    Can give one the creeps, as DeliaVSora said so right;
    But Lucio knows what it’s all about,
    So if you’re in doubt, just give him a shout.

    Beware of the creatures who roam in the night,
    A gnome in the dark, can give one a fright;
    I’ll leave you with that, this cheap little tale,
    Beware of the gnomes, they aren’t ALL in jail.


  27. Michael: That's more like it!


    Now, if Lynn and a few of the others were to put their poetically-inclined imaginations to work, we might have one of those good old rhyme-fests PDP used to be famous for!

  28. he he These poor little gnomes, all caged up and for what crime? Adorning gardens? Since when was this objectionable? It's shameful. Those pitiful creatures. Mind you, some of them look angry. I wouldn't want to be there when they're let out!

    The UK is very fond of gnomes too. Last year, one was stolen from a garden - by a teenager on a gap year. He packed it into his bag and took him all over the world, taking pics of him as he went! On return, he placed Mr. Gnome back in the garden, much to the delight of the owner, complete with a photo album of his world travels! Cute, huh? Here are some pics to that story.

    Gloucestershire Gnome Travels World

  29. So what of these gnomes?
    They want back their homes!
    But here, they are caged
    They worry; they're aged
    The stress is too much
    They're so out of touch
    It's time to break free!
    "Come, lads!" shouts one, "Come with me!"

    The one in the green
    Hands out, can be seen -
    He jumps to the wire
    All blood red with ire
    He bangs on the cage
    Expelling his rage
    "Let's push with our might!
    To be free is our right!"

    At once the cage breaks
    In only three takes
    The gnomes follow through
    Triumphant and true
    To the trait that is gnomes'
    To be on people's homes
    And off they disperse
    Breaking their curse

    Pierre to Montmartre
    Jean-Paul lives with Sartre
    Michel by la Tour
    Laurent near the Louvre
    Home they all go
    In line and in tow
    Once again in their place
    And happy of face

    But woe betide those
    Who poke in their nose
    And fence up these men
    They'll escape once again!
    To keep a gnome in
    Is surely a sin
    In gardens they're free
    Their motto: Liberte!

  30. Lynn...
    That is so fantastic!
    What is your response Michael?

  31. Before reading your post I hate garden gnomes. But i was wrong.

  32. I'm disadvantaged,
    My dear Lynn;
    At work I toil,
    You know you'll win.

    I'd give my best,
    If I were home,
    But Lynn will watch
    O'er your garden gnome.

    So someone else,
    Must type the keys;
    And write a verse,
    To surely please.

    I'm gone for now,
    But won't be far;
    Lynn will be,
    Your shining star.

  33. You're a champion, Michael: so are you, Lynn. It's so wonderful to see you both in such fine fettle! I, unfortunately, am not a poet: otherwise, I'd join you in your game.

  34. Darling Michael, how you wrong!
    You think I'm home in laze and song?
    No I'm at work, the same as you
    Just different place, surrounds and hue
    Yes I'm at home, you are correct
    But there is work - it is dialect;
    I'm translating French to English now
    It's hard to concentrate, and how!

    So Michael please come back to verse
    I need you here, or I'll be worse
    I love to write and so do you
    So let's put pen to paper - fun to do!
    Prose or poemes - je les adores
    About the gnomes or even d'amour!
    The gnomes, they need us, just look at them
    Can you deny them your rhyming gems?

  35. The gnomes are back
    All home, intact
    Sitting on grass
    with damp in their... Ask
    Not what your garden can do for you
    But what you can do for your garden, it's true

    They take up their stance
    And wait for their chance
    They pose oh so still
    So quiet, until...
    As Michael has hinted
    The moon has then glinted
    At night they're ALIVE!
    In the Seine they all dive!

    In dark how they party!
    With meals long and hearty
    La Rive is their venue
    But they don't invite YOU
    No, just gnomes are allowed
    The secret; in shroud
    Should persons there walk;
    They still. Hush their talk

    They hide til you're gone
    Til you're walked far along
    Then they splash! and they play!
    Their cares gone away
    Yes, few know this tale
    That, here, I regale
    Privileged are you then
    To know... The Secret of La Seine!

  36. Oh, no! I am glad you were there to document this atrocity - sort of the Abu Grahib of gnomedom?

    It’s Sculpture By The Sea time in Sydney, and I’m taking my visitors on the coastal walk Sydney Daily Photo

  37. This brings back fond memories of Amelie.

  38. Perhaps this is the topic I will choose for my presentation in class: Should gnomes be kept and displayed like trophies and used on commercials for our amusement? Very hard hitting stuff. Thank you for making us aware, Eric. The (adorable) photo says it all!

  39. I really must see Amelie....

    Thanks Lucio and Rose. Where's Michael? :(

  40. Lynn's last poem - could it be subtitled 'The PDP Picnic'?

  41. I sure hope the liberation front guys follow your blog regularly! They have to help these gnomes!

  42. lol Anonyme, perhaps... I've not been able to attend one myself yet, so have not discovered THOSE secrets... I live in hope.

  43. Lynn, you mean you haven't seen Amelie yet? Run - do not walk - and see Amelie!

    Fun photo today, Eric! I love the colors and the story. I am also very fond of garden gnomes.

  44. No I haven't, Suzy, isn't it silly? I really must. How? Where, though? hehe. It was on tv recently but I was out at the time.

  45. Can you rent it? Buy it? I'll send my copy to you!!!

  46. How sweet of you to say that, Suzy!! I'd be worried it might get lost in the post? I have no idea at all if it's available to rent, or to buy. I shall investigate. I can tell it's a must!

  47. Lynn and Michael, poets you are.
    But, I still don't like gnomes,
    even from afar.

  48. Gramma you're here
    And surely I knew
    If a poet there were
    It'd have to be you!

  49. Here's a nice teaser for you, Lynn. I hope you see it soon and tell us all what you think!


  50. ahh i love drafts pstt dont tell
    i blogged less but the weather went worse -- good time

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  52. Merci pour le lecon Michel. Sorry my keyboard doesn't have accents! Thanks for the clip Suzy I'll have a peek in a minute.

  53. Merci for sharing, Eiffel Tower Suzy. That is a great link.

  54. Lynn and Michael --
    Je suis eblouie!!
    And Lynn, I want to know what you think of Amelie as well.

  55. Great blog, Michael! I love Boston. It was my favorite city before Paris stole my heart.

    You are certainly welcome Lynn and Lois Simon!

  56. Michael, Merci for the link to Boston SnapShot. It's really fun.

    I love both English and French. Both very beautiful languages. When I was a teenager, I use to put on an English accent when speaking English while I was in London. (That will make you all roll your eyes.) I never did it here in the states though. There's no place like ghome :-s

  57. Suzy thank you it looks absolutely charming! I really want to see it. Is there dialogue or is it music all the way through?

  58. There is regular dialogue and a bit of narration, Lynn. The music is by Yann Tiersen. Oooh, I can't wait for you to see it!

  59. he he Suzy you sound just like me when I'm recommending something. I get excited out of all proportion! I can't wait! Now... to find it...

  60. Michael~~~Thanks, that was a very interesting blog.

  61. Eric~~~Free those silly gnomes and get us a new picture!! Please!!!

  62. Gramma they will free themselves, worry not....the dark is almost upon us! Dun dun dur. lol...only kidding :) Sorry, I feel mischievous.

  63. Thanks for the laugh!! We once had someone steal a goose statue and then send the owners a picture of it in the various places they visited around the world. It was quite funny. Yard ornaments are definitely not my thing!

  64. Ah! So is this why the gnome bit in "Amelie?" (One of my favourite movies, by the way.)

  65. THIS is far far too funny for words!

  66. Gnomes scare me a little bit, so this is sorta freaking me out!!! =P

  67. This one made me laugh! Free the gnomes! Free the gnomes! :)