Saturday, June 27, 2020

When the Louvre Reopens, It’s Going to Be Quiet - The New York Times

When the Louvre Reopens, It's Going to Be Quiet

The museum's president said visitor numbers could be reduced as much as 80 percent. That might mean a better view of the Mona Lisa, if you can get there.

A member of staff preparing the Louvre for its reopening on July 6.Credit...Julien Mignot for The New York Times

The Musée du Louvre in Paris is set to reopen on July 6 after a 16-week shutdown that has taken a 40-million-euro toll on its bottom line.

In a normal year, the world's largest museum hosts 10 million visitors in 925,000 square feet of space open to the public.

When the museum reopens, 70 percent will be accessible, including the large galleries of French and Italian paintings, the sculpture courtyards and the Egyptian antiquities section. But with France's borders still closed to travelers from outside the European Union, visitor numbers will be a fraction of what they usually are in the peak summer season.

"We are lucky to be a state-owned museum," said Jean-Luc Martinez, the Louvre's president.Credit...Julien Mignot for The New York Times

While France was in lockdown, the museum was managed from home by its president, Jean-Luc Martinez, a specialist in ancient Greek sculpture who has been in charge since 2013. He spoke to The New York Times by telephone in mid-June. The following conversation has been edited and condensed:

What's your major challenge in reopening?

Reassuring the public. At the Louvre, it's fairly easy, because the spaces are gigantic, and thanks to online ticketing, we can control how many people come in. Visitors will be able to stand in line securely at the entrance, and masks will be mandatory for visitors aged 11 and over.

What will it be like to visit the Mona Lisa?

We renovated that gallery and inaugurated it last fall. We've introduced lines and a space between each visitor that will allow museumgoers to get closer to the painting. Until now, people would crowd around the Mona Lisa. Now, visitors will stand in one of two lines for about 10 to 15 minutes. Then each person is guaranteed a chance to stand in front of the Mona Lisa and look at her from a distance of about 10 feet. We want to make the encounter with the Mona Lisa a special moment.

Visitors will be able to come within about 10 feet of the Mona Lisa after the reopening, Mr. Martinez said.Credit...Julien Mignot for The New York Times

But you'll have far fewer visitors because of the pandemic.

Yes. Normally, 75 percent of our visitors on average are from abroad. That percentage rises to 80 percent in the summertime. Of those visitors, 1.5 million are American, and 800,000 to 900,000 are Chinese. If Europe's borders with the rest of the world are not opened this summer, we will see an 80 percent drop in visitors.

After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, we lost 40 percent of our visitors, and took three years to get back on track. After the 2015 terrorist attacks in France and elsewhere in Europe, we had another 40 percent drop, but everything normalized after a year.

This time, we don't know what will happen. Our worst-case scenario is that it will take us three years to get back to our normal visitor levels.

How will you make up for lost ticket sales? In 2018, they brought in €87 million, around $100 million.

We're working with the Ministry of Culture on a plan to guarantee the future of the Louvre. The Louvre and the Château de Versailles are particularly reliant on international tourism.

And you already receive a large subsidy from the French government.

We receive €94 million a year from the state, the largest contribution the French government makes to any French museum. We are lucky to be a state-owned museum. People make fun of the French model, but it gives more solidity to centuries-old institutions

Seventy percent of the space usually accessible by the public will be open on July 6, including the galleries in which French art is displayed.Credit...Julien Mignot for The New York Times

How much did your blockbuster Leonardo da Vinci exhibition, which closed right before the lockdown, bring in?

We had 1.2 million visitors, which works out to about €2.5 million in revenue. That's quite exceptional. Generally, exhibitions are loss-making, which is not a word I like to use. They cost us money.

The "Salvator Mundi," attributed to Leonardo, never made it to the Leonardo exhibition. Will we ever see it in Paris or at the Louvre Abu Dhabi?

I can't answer that question. I had requested it for the Leonardo exhibition, and it never came. I hope that the painting will one day be on public view, because it's important for people to form an opinion. The museum is exactly the right place for works to be shown so that opinions can be expressed.

What about demands for the restitution of objects from former French colonies? Has the Louvre received any of those?

No, we have not received requests from former French colonies in that respect.

The question of provenance and of the origin of the collections is at the heart of what we do at the Louvre, and not just because of the pressure generated by these debates. In 2021, the Louvre will put all of its collections online, and the question of provenance will have been examined in the process.

Work has to be done on provenance and on the accessibility of the collections, both to researchers and to the general public. We also have to share, with the countries that these collections come from, everything that we know about them.

We're seeing public statues and monuments being torn down all over the Western world right now. What do you think of this?

I'm a historian by training, and history is something that is constructed methodically, not under pressure from emotions and rumors. I think museums have a role to play. They're the place where memories can be shared. Otherwise, memories clash.

There are of course dark chapters in history, and controversies. But in a democratic system, that's legitimate and healthy. On the other hand, destroying statues and works of art is something that happens in dictatorships. You can contextualize them, you can explain them. My belief as a historian is that you have to strive for dialogue

New signage will guide visitors through the museum and encourage social distancing.Credit...Julien Mignot for The New York Times

Do you think historians will remember the coronavirus as the thing that killed off mass tourism?

I don't think so. It's fashionable to say that right now. But the great palace-museums such as the Vatican, the Hermitage and the Louvre will remain tourist sites. The word "tourist" is not a bad word.

So you really think you'll get back to 10 million visitors a year?

I think so, yes. Contrary to what some people think, the world after the coronavirus will not be that different from the world before.

--   Sent from my Linux system.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Never tailgate a Rhino

Two lessons here:

1) Never tailgate a rhino in anything smaller than a sherman tank.
2) If you're going to tailgate a rhino anyway, don't do it in a vehicle painted like a zebra. It's embarrassing, and for all I know, zebras may be rhino fodder.


Wednesday, June 17, 2020

You had one job ...

Some entity is blocking the following content, so I'm forwarding an image of it.


--   Sent from my Linux system.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Fwd: I'll be far away by the time you finish reading this

Re: Fwd: Bizarre internet 'dot' glitch lets you bypass paywalls

Fair warning: I haven't yet tried this, but have verification from a friend. If it doesn't work for you, blame him. ;)


---------- Forwarded message ---------

Bizarre internet 'dot' glitch lets you watch ad-free YouTube vids and bypass paywalls

By Michael Simon
5-6 minutes

Was it always this simple?

Staff Writer, PCWorld | Jun 12, 2020 7:43 am PDT

youtube dot trick IDG

Today's Best Tech Deals

Picked by PCWorld's Editors

Top Deals On Great Products

Picked by Techconnect's Editors

Anyone who uses the internet to read stories and watch videos more than they should knows about ad blockers. But they might not know this crazy trick: If you add an extra "dot" immediately after the ".com" but before the slash, you can avoid ads on YouTube and other videos and even bypass free article reading limits on many sites.

As first discovered by Redditor unicorn4sale, the trick has been proven to work on YouTube and several news sites that offer a limited number of free articles before throwing up a paywall. It does not work for sites that are completely subscription-supported, such as the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times, however. It also works on smartphones if you request the desktop version.

So instead of, you'd type We've tested in on numerous sites with our ad blocker turned off, and lo and behold, it works.

According to unicorn4sale, the way the trick works is "websites forget to normalize the hostname, the content is still served, but there's no hostname match on the browser so no cookies and broken CORS - and lots of bigger sites use a different domain to serve ads/media with a whitelist that doesn't contain the extra dot." Presumably, this would have to be resolved on a site-by-site basis, so we don't know how long this trick will stick around.

Of course, it's always better to pay for content, but if you're sick of suffering through ads or reading the first three lines of a story before clicking away, give this trick a try.

Note: When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate link policy for more details.

Michael Simon covers all things mobile for PCWorld and Macworld. You can usually find him with his nose buried in a screen. The best way to yell at him is on Twitter.

--   Sent from my Linux system.

Saturday, June 6, 2020

The (Coronavirus) War Prayer -

The (Coronavirus) War Prayer

Twain speaks

Mark Twain still has a thing or two to say (Images from "The Adventures of Mark Twain" and AP)

This opinion column is written with deepest apologies to the singular Mark Twain, and the story he allowed this world to see only after he was dead and gone from it.

It was a time of suffering and pain, for a Sickness had fallen on the land. It was a time of worry and unrest, of fear that financial ruin might truly be a fate worse than death. That was an opinion shared by many, if not the dying or the dead, who had other concerns. Great factories stood empty and great cathedrals echoed only of memory. Great chicken sandwiches were served through little holes in windows, or not at all. All the land grieved.

The land rightly grieved, for days that had passed endlessly before the plague, unappreciated and unremarkable in their moment. It grieved for jobs and shopping trips, for the lost joys of lingering over serendipitous conversation at coffee shops, or poetry slams, or mingling in the gift shop at that restaurant with rocking chairs on the porch.

The land grieved for a million reasons, each as important to the mourner as the 999,999 others that may or may not have been spoken aloud. The land grieved for dinners together and freedom to travel and days that passed as they always had. The people longed for the simple act of gathering in those cathedrals to thank God for answered prayers.

But the elders had banned such gatherings in the name of "safety," and "conscience," and "human lives." There could be no holding hands and singing, no passing of the Body and Blood, no communion of the faithful, or the like-minded, except on cold and flickering screens where images of men and women passed for flesh and blood.

In one such virtual congregation the visage of a minister of a gospel stood at his pulpit, praying a fervent prayer:

Thank you Jesus, our Savior and Lord, for all you provide. We ask for just a little this day…

But a little turned into quite a bit in a service in which there was no rush for members to beat the denomination down the street to the cafeteria. The parson pushed on. He asked Jesus to allow people to return to work, to go about their businesses as always. He asked that leaders trust in Him and allow freedom to ring in movie houses and beauty shops, in bowling alleys and used car dealerships and beaches from sea to shining sea. He asked for businesses to open and customers to stream in, and for profits to well up like a mighty spring.

It was a powerful prayer, spoken to the moment, and at home members watched it roll out in their living rooms and bedrooms – and in one deacon's case a bathroom. The people said "Amen," and "preach," and in that toilet it was whispered "damn right."

It was at that moment that the screens themselves began to flicker, and the visage of the parson burst, like a bomb, and another image zoomed in. A sad man, swarthy and barefoot stood behind the pulpit now. But his eyes glowed in a way that made those at home hold their breath.

"I have been sent by God to answer your prayer," he said. "If that is what you really want."

He said God heard the parson's words, and heard the same thoughts echo in the hearts of the members. He told them to be careful, because prayers for one's self are often curses to others.

"I have been sent to tell you the full scope of your prayer, and the words unspoken."

He bowed his head, and began to pray:

Lord our Father, we beseech Thee, declare our lives more worthy than the aged or infirm, than any who might perish so that we may return to ways that are more comfortable. Let them gasp for air, for we are afraid of losing status. Let them be martyrs, collateral damage in our campaign to dine out when we want, to cut and shampoo and bowl as we please. Let our grandmothers die alone, so our lives do not have to change. Let our neighbors and uncles and aunts and even our children succumb, so our other sons may play sports before crowds.

Let us return to normal quickly to recover our losses, Lord, even if it causes this plague to persist. Allow us to feel good about that, Lord. Let our cries of "freedom" wash our sins away.

We ask it all in love. Amen.

The mysterious figure paused then.

"You asked for it," he said. "If you still want it, say so. God awaits."


They decided later the man was probably crazy. Or maybe a member of the Deep State.

John Archibald, a Pulitzer Prize winner, is a columnist for His column appears in The Birmingham News, the Huntsville Times, the Mobile Register, Birmingham Magazine and Write him at

--   Sent from my Linux system.

Look through any window, yeah. What do you see?

Forwarded message:

The Choice

-- Sent from my Linux system.