Putting the Sweaters Back On

photo: cafe terrace at trocadero
Last Wednesday it was sunny on the terraces at Trocadéro.

On Top of the Summer Shirts

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 15. June 1998:- A week ago I was really comfy with daytime temperatures in the high twenties, but by the beginning of the World Cup at mid-week they have been struggling to get up to 20.

So it is; year in and year out - rain is 90 percent certain as soon as the Roland Garros tennis tournament starts in June, followed practically every year by February.

This is the reason I have about 15 summer shirts. Fuddy-duddy winter shirts get worn out because it is winter most of the time, and the summer shirts last forever because it is hardly ever summer. How, I want to know, can I justify getting a new summer shirt to put a bit of sparkle on my back? If I look in a mirror, I will see me wearing a sweater on top of it.

Right now, really early on Monday morning, I bet it is warmer outside than it is inside - and it's below 15 outside. Instead of writing this, I'd rather put on an overcoat - if I had one - and go to bed and stay there until it is time to go on holiday in Spain.

This is awful whining because it was only a week ago Friday that Monte McGee and I were hanging out in the Tuileries and on the island in the Seine there, watching the sightseeing boats do their bootleg turns in the river.

You will get an idea it was not too bad last Wednesday either when I went to Trocadéro to help get the World Cup launched; even if I remember the forecast that day was for ghastly times. I love the forecasts and I've found a lot of other people who live here, are as good at outguessing them as I am.

This is easy - after ten years or so - because they show the satellite weather thing first. I don'tphoto: soupe populaire VIe know if it is a map of the future or the past, but all the TV-weather people swear by them. When they show the stream passing by Paris - on one side bright sunshine and on the other, mean black clouds with snow falling out of them - it means if it slips up or down by about 10 kilometres, it is the difference between the land of balm or the next ice age.

Soup! I need some soup right now. Some hot soup. Some for my feet too.

What I don't like is, the TV-weather people have no past. They never say they are sorry they got it wrong the day before. They never give yesterday's score. Not even the populist Le Parisien gives yesterday's temperatures.

We don't have local weather either. When I turn on radio France-Info in an hour or so, they are going to say the temperature is going be 20, in the south! and below 18, in the north. Corsica will be warmer, but it is closer to Africa than Palma, so it should be.

And I mean, they will say this without shame. Oh, once in a while when they think we are grumbling enough, they will put out the startling news that temperatures are a 'little' below normal for this time of year.

Hah! They mean five degrees and these are not those little Fahrenheit degrees some places have; these are the big ones, the decimal ones with hundreds and tens and whatnot. Serious degrees, I mean.

But so what? Add five degrees to 18 and it gets you 23 and what's this worth as a temperature? It's worth a sweater; I take one off. Just one.

To tell the truth, I could keep all my sweaters on forever without too much trouble. I'm only writing about this filthy, rotten, crummy weather, because I can do it off the top of my head. Right now I'll do anything to get out of looking in any guidebooks to see what's happening next week and writing it down here.

Some of the stuff, and it isn't bad either, will be over by next week, so I won't have to write it then either.

Oops, this reminds me - one of things I'm about to not do, is write about the painter, Richard Texier, who has a show at the Musée de la Marine. I did go there to find out about it, get the press release and the poster, and I'm just about to let it slip away - look, the poster is on the first poster page - and the show is on until 14. September; open daily from 10:00 to 18:00 except Tuesdays. Go see it. I'm going to, before I go to Spain.

Next week, rain or shine, right here: the Paris beach report.

Old Photograph Auction in Paris

The International Herald Tribune's auction reviewer and art critic, Souren Melikian, wrote about old photographs in his regular feature on Saturday. When I checked, it was not online yet but may be by the time you read this.

Reporting about a recent auction in Paris at Drouot, which featured very early photography - daguerreotypes - he said there weren't many collectors and the documents involved were very rare, both as photographs and as representations of the past, from the 1840's and 1850's. These, he pointed out, show streets of 16th, 17th and 18th buildings; intact and 'without billboards.'

'Art historical' information about the pioneer photographers and their works is extremely sketchy, and expert Mr. Melikian himself named Robert Hershkowitz, a collector based in Britain, as his guide to the auction's photos. The city of Lille purchased a photo of its own Grand Place, taken around 1850, for $1850, and this was about the highest price offered for a single view.

For those of you who are either already doing it, or thinking of giving digital photography a whirl, here are some Web site URLs which feature the latest information, reviews and comparative prices.

  • Digital Camera Resources
  • ZoneZero is an image-heavy site with lots of large photos.
  • PC Photo Forum seems to be a site related to PC Zone, but in addition to prices, also has reviews and product comparisons.
  • Olympus' Digital Cameras got good ratings six months ago. Since then, some of their models have been upgraded.

Also since then, a lot more camera makers have stepped into the market, so digital cameras are evolving from simple snapshot video cameras into full-featured devices capable of high-grade work.

Do not throw away your trusty 35mm metal box though. I have seen a mention of a digital insert for SLR cameras, the same size as a 35mm film roll; that has a chip which allows a full-frame capture.

Also, flat scanners are dirt-cheap and if you are a bit handy with Photoshop, you can get decent results from one-hour-minilab prints. This can cut digital storage costs too, as you only have to save what you need or want - because you can re-scan anytime.

Discounts For the Under Mid-Twenties-Somethings

I have never been in an age group or in a situation where I get a discount. Older people get them, younger people get them, but the scale of eligibility slides up in pace with my exact age and I pay full fare.

Now that I've got that grump off my chest, if you can prove you are under 25 you can get inphoto: pass jeunes on a new racket called the 'Pass Jeunes.' With this 'pass' you can get discounts on a whole raft of entries to various entertainments, lodgings and eats. The discounts are usually 10 percent, but some are more.

The passes are available at the Tourist Office, the Info Kiosks, the FUAJ outlets, the 'OTU Voyage' offices and at the CIDI offices at 101. quai Branly, Paris 15. The passes are good until the end of July.

'FlashNews' Updates and 'Past Issues'

Due to the transport strikes in Paris and throughout France - which came to an end last week - 'FlashNews' bulletins were posted on the Contents Page.

Each time this was done, the action 'disappeared' the latest version of 'Past Issues' and substituted it with the 'Past Issues' page which ran with issue number 3.20.

Nbody here knows why this happens but we know it still does. I hope this has caused no inconvenience to anybody other than me and Metropole's Unix guru who is being ruthlessly harassed to fix it.

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