Our Deadline Fails 'Putzfrauen Test'

by Ric Erickson

Number 1.12 - Metropole Paris, Monday, 13. May 1996:- Starting from this number or issue of Metropole, the issue date will move to the Monday following the weekend. You can expect to find the new edition online no later than 14:00, our time. 'Our time' is Central European Time, which is one hour ahead of GMT.

If you would prefer to figure this out on your fingers - as I have to do - when it is midnight in Greenwich, it is 01:00 in the morning in Paris. As London is finishing yesterday, we are starting tomorrow - and that can be interpreted for things other than just time.

I prefer Fridays, so that I can put in upcoming weekend events - but with a little more... Organization... I can easily look further ahead, to the following weekend. Also, since many events in the coming season are on weekends, so I can do live reports on and have them fresh for the Monday publication.

If our readers have any opinions on the subject, drop us a line. In fact, if you have any opinions about anything in Metropole, send us your email. (See this week's Boîte à Lettres.)

For example, one reader recently chided us for spending too much time on the Champs-Elysées and not enough time crawling around the back alleys of the outer 20th arrondissement, for example. It was, it is a legitimate complaint and we will get out there - we have already been there - and know that we have the time to go places that do not fit into a lot of visitors' short time schedules. But the Paris administration regularly uses the Champs-Elysées as a showplace for many major events, and we have to consider our readers who are reading Metropole as a sort of 'virtual' visit and would like to take a small part in these events as they happen.

This week's letter writer, Elizabeth Jones, takes us to task for letting the text accompanying the cartoons get too small in production. This kind of thing is our fault - up to and as of this issue Metropole has not been exactly 'public' - we are waiting for our own, new Internet address. Until we get it, we are doing no promotion; but it also means that until we 'go public' we are shorthanded and because of the peculiar circumstances of doing this type of magazine in Paris - with Paris as the subject - there is always a bit more editorial to do than we have people to do it. The result of that is mistakes. We plead guilty.

Which brings up the 'Putzfrauen Test.' When I worked on the big schlock paper in Hamburg we had a big crew available, in-house suppliers, outside suppliers and a colossal budget. Nevertheless, after all the checking and re-checking, we often used to resort to what we called the 'Putzfrauen Test.'

If there was any doubt about the comprehensibility of anything we intended to publish, we would pass the article to somebody who had absolutely no knowledge of what it was about, for criticism and correction. If there was the slightest doubt about anything, we would change it until it passed the test.

Our office cleaning ladies - who we never saw - were all Turkish ladies from Anatolia, few of whom could read German, or Turkish - and if we could have used them for the final test, they would have been perfect. 'Putzfrauen' is German for 'cleaning ladies.'

Here at Metropole, we have no putzfrauen. When it comes to 'putzing,' I am she. When it comes to testing, I am not competent to do it. And the software spelling checker is as dumb as a doorknob.

Can the Internet Help?

Throughout the world there are about 130 million children who have no access to schools. In areas where there are schools, about one-third of all girls are not able to complete primary school. For boys and girls who able to finish primary schools, many do not leave with even the minimum standards of knowledge. A lot of these children will join the world's 885 million illiterate adults, a majority of whom are women.

All the world's governments together spend about $800 billion - each year - on armaments; while only $6 billion a year would be required to put all of the world's children into school by the year 2000. If a mere one percent of the armaments budgets can be allocated for education, the goal can be met.

The World Conference on Education will be meeting in Amman, Jordan in June to access the results of pledges made by 155 countries at a conference six years ago. These conferences are sponsored by UNESCO, the World Bank, the UN Development Program, UNICEF and the UN Population Fund.

This short note is an excerpt from an article that appeared on the editorial page of Saturday's edition of the International Herald Tribune and was written by Frederico Mayor, James Wolfensohn, James G. Speth, Carol Bellamy and Nafis Sadik, the heads of the above-named institutions.

A few tens of millions spent each year on expanding the infrastructure of the Internet to provide access to every possible corner of the world, could act like a turbocompressor on this effort to eradicate the world's illiteracy. Let's do it, now.

Some things to see:

Exposition - Trois Républiques Vues par Cabrol et Sennep - two political cartoonists, one right, the other left, offer their version of political history. On until 23. June at the Musée d'Historie Contemporaine - BDIC - in the Hotel National des Invalides, Cour d'Honneur. From 10:00 to 13:00 and from 14:00 to 17:30 daily; closed Mondays. Tel. 44 42 36 38

Exposition - 'Coeur de la Butte' - Francisque Poulbot (1849 - 1946) - Oil painting, designs, photos. Until 1. September. At Musée de Montmartre, 12 rue Cortot, Paris 18. From 11:00 to 18:00 daily; closed Mondays. Tel. 46 06 61 11.

Exposition - 'Machines Espagnols' - Picabia, 1992 - A reconstitution of the Dalmau Gallery of 1922 in Barcelona, with mechanical designs and Spanish designs. Started on 8. May, runs until 12. July. At the Centre Georges Pompidou - Beaubourg - in the centre's Galérie d'Art Graphique. Daily 12:00 to 22:00, on weekends and holidays, from 10:00. Tel. 44 78 12 33.

Salons - The annual Antiques Salon lining the canal, starting at Place de le Bastille starts Thursday, 16. May and runs until Sunday 27. May. On the two dates mentioned, the salon will be open late. Entry fee: 35 francs. Métro station: Bastille.

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