Only 'Half-Bad' News This Week

photo: restaurant vasco
On the Marché Saint-Honoré, a welcome bistro

What Is 'Smoked' Chicken?

Paris:- Sunday, 29. November 1998:- The plight of the homeless mentioned here last week did not pass unnoticed in France. By Monday, the country had mobilized to do what it could.

photo: food collection posterOn TV-news, one aid spokesman wondered why winter caught the administration 'by surprise.' The aid groups, and there are many of them, often require various administrative permissions before they can act - for example: somebody at a high level of the RATP management has to decide to leave a couple of Paris métro stations open all night.

Unperishable food was collected in France last week for redistribution.

Libération's expose last week of the non-functioning emergency-shelter '115' telephone number got a quick response early this week, when a lot of extra manpower was assigned to it.

Cold Weather Report 2

In Paris, this week has started with temperatures above freezing, but the forecast is calling for colder weather again - this time the blame is being put on a Russian high-pressure area. The 'Golden October' that never was, and the 'Golden' November which lasted two days, are over. General winter is here.

The Transport Strike(s)

Here is what is predicted for Monday: operations in the Paris area are supposed by normal, except for the exceptions which are either too numerous or fleeting to mention. The train drivers are not 'on strike,' but the ticket controllers may be.

I do not know why the trains cannot function without ticket controllers, but they are apparently absolutely necessary. Sometimes several weeks pass without me seeing any of them. There's usually just a driver and he seems to manage to run an entire suburban train.

Elsewhere in France, there are sporadic strikes almost everywhere; but especially for regional lines. According to TV-news and newspaper reports, passengers are getting a bit fed up with it - these annual 'winter-schedules' strikes.

Giscard's 'Smoked Chicken'

Former French President, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing is worried about the 'Euro,' which comes into fictive use on 1. January 1999 - about a month from now.

Like a lot of people in France, Giscard wants to know how many francs there are in a 'Euro.' Instead of there being 6.58405 francs to one 'Euro,' he would prefer it to be 'rounded off' to 6.50 francs. He thinks that the conversion would be easier to calculate with thisscan: facsimilie 500 euro note figure, but for myself, I have never been good at dividing anything by 6.5.

One of 35 different, possible models for a 'Euro' note.

In the Assembly National last week, Giscard said, take 54 francs for example. Why? Because it is the price of five kilos of wash powder or the price of a 'smoked' chicken. The deputies applauded.

Giscard continued with the example: the 'smoked' chicken at 54 francs; it would be equal to... 8.20108 Euros. This was described as a 'technostructural' phantasy. The deputies cried 'Bravo!'

The Prime Minister, Lionel Jospin, without trying to figure out the worth of barrels of wash powder or 'smoked' chicken, passed the issue over to the Minister of Finance, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who he thought could 'profit' from Giscard's question.

I don't even know what a 'smoked' chicken is and I try never to buy wash powder for more than 45 francs a barrel. However, I have been in Spain where there are about 25 pesetas to a franc, and have happily paid thousands of pesetas for items there that only cost a few francs in France.

In Germany it would be the other way around; lots of francs are needed to buy anything there. The fact is, the 'Euro' is priced very close to the US dollar, and I think we all know what IT is.

It is what the 'Euro' is going to be slightly stronger than; so as to appear worth slightly more, than. To make us think the 'Euro' is 'hard' money.

'Winter' Sports News

No point in beating around the bush. About 99 percent of France's winter sports areas have between 20 centimetres and 1.75 metres of snow. 'Winter Sports' are officially open for business!

All the more reason to visit the winter sports Web site to see what's new this year for your entertainment in higher altitudes. It contains a lot of useful information in French and English about weather, snow, equipment,photo: bmw moto, grande armee accommodations, resorts and facilities; all of which are available in France's more vertical areas, none of which are remotely close to Paris' own Montmartre and other nearby hills.

This is not a snowmobile, so it is not a 'Winter Sports' vehicle.

As far as this type of 'sport' is concerned, I have always preferred getting no closer to cold and snow than my front door. This is not the reason this week's 'news' is a bit short; nor is there any lack of it. I am just feeling a bit cozy and lazy.

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