'Euro' Overload Worse than Y2K 'Bug'

photo: cafe le balard
Even if I had time to read the papers, I'd read
novels here instead.

My Lamp is Unlit

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 4. January 1999:- I write this not with indigestion, but with 'Euro' overload. Having New Year's is one thing we can normally take in stride, but coupling it with massive amounts of 'Euro' news has just been too much.

I quite agree with the retired German Chancellor, Helmut Schmidt, the retired British Prime Minister, Sir Edward Heath, and the retired ex-President of France, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, that the 'Euro' should have been 'done' 20 years ago. It would have been - maybe - except for the oil-price 'shocks' of the '70's.

But now, now 'they' - not so much the 'retired' ones who aren't really wholly 'retired' at all - but our present 'they' do not want us to be getting any cold feet. The result has been a non-stop bombardment of 'Euro.'

But like strategic bombing that wasn't, not all of us have been flattened. One major politician here somehow managed to make his voice heard in the past couple of days, by saying the French people havephoto: champs elysees 30.12.98 a constitutional 'right' to vote for or against it. As the world's financial institutions switch to 'Euro' calculations today, this major French politician thinks there is still time for a vote on it.

Part of the massive crowd on the Champs- Elysées waiting for the 'Euro.'

This has broken my circuit-breakers and blown my fuses. Between the 1,500 newspapers and 350 TV stations and the non-stop - 250! - non-stop radio-news stations shouting 'Euroday! Euroday!' and this guy calling for a vote, my light bulb has burnt out from terminal overload.

The sky is spring-blue one minute and sleeting rain in waves the next, the Paris-Dakar African rallye isn't anything 'Paris' anymore and single-handed round-the world sailors are sinking with all hands on board in another hemisphere, and the latest New Year's Eve sport of burning your neighbor's car has reached new proportions; I am finding it a bit tough to be my usual optimistic self.

What can I say? All I can think of, is there will be more of the same. More of everything the same. More good stuff, more bad stuff; there will be hardly a minute, no second, to be bored. Actual meditation is out of the question. No attention span is allowed to be longer than a fruit fly's.

But, you read this, you know some of the French are really clever. While some are pushing for, canphoto: place tertre 30.12.98 hardly wait to get, the 35-hour work week; top boffins at the secret CNRS labos are concocting the 35-hour day.

Part of the massive crowd in the Place du Tertre waiting for the 'Euro.'

This will allow those with super-human strength to knock off the week's work in one long shift and allow really energetic ones to have two part-time 'hobby' jobs two 'half' days a week; while allowing all the unemployed to be shiftless for twice as long in half the time. "All the more time to stand in line," the head boffin says.

Well. I won't vote for this. If they want to put up double-time for siestas at triple pay, then yes, I'll put my 'X' in that option. I feel like sleeping until 1. January 2001. I don't think I can take the Millennium right after a year of 'Euro.'

One of Paris' New Parks

In this issue I pay a visit to a big park in the feature 'The Unhistorical Parc André Citroën' and I do not give it high marks. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to build up a reputation as 'Park Critic.'

Paris is creating new parks at a good clip, with the intention of having one within 500 metres of each inhabitant. One of the latest to open is in the garden of the Hôtel de Salomon de Rothschild in the 8thbrochure: 'little train' montmartre arrondissement. The city has signed a 10-year deal with the Fondation Nationale des Arts Graphiques et Plastiques for it.

There is 4,000 square metres here, to be refurbished in stages over a period of time. The original layout will be respected, and the park should retain its 'natural' look.

While the work proceeds, the park is open to the public. The entry is just off the Avenue de Friedland at the Place Georges-Guillaumin, opposite 23. Rue Balzac. From the Champs- Elysées, take the Rue Balzac or the Rue Washington, and turn left at the Rue Lamennais.

Note also that the Hôtel de Salomon de Rothschild is a featured address in the 'Scene' column, as the Centre National de la Photo, at 11. Rue Berryer, which is right by the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré.

Web Surfboard Gets Annual Checkup, Part 2:

The mechanics who were working on this overhaul have all taken leave to go to Dakar for some unknown reason. Before blowing town they installed a Webcam on top of private TV TF1's tower, and this will give you some views of Paris unless it happens to be nighttime here, which it usually is unless it is between about 07:00 and 15:45 GMT.

Metropole's New Year's Card

This turned out to be a 'good intention,' a mirage, a phantom of the imagination; a shimmering wave of hot air belly dancing over hot desert sands. This is quite invisible at night of course, and thus so is Metropole's 'New Year's Card.' Mille pardons.

Bonne Année! Happy New Year!

This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

count down Eiffel TowerIssue 3.01 - 5. January 1998 - This issue featured the columns - Café Metropole - 'The Big Wind' and 'Au Bistro' had - 'Crash Investigation Springs to Life.' The issue had two features: 'The Winter Sales are ON Now!' and 'One for All and All for the Big One' by M-R O'Rahilly. The week's Email from Linda Thalman, was about the new Egyptian Wing at the Louvre. There were four 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week suggested, 'Guess How Much' - as if even Parisians don't know.

The Tour Eiffel Countdown to 31. December 1999:

Only 362 itty bitty days left to go.

Regards, Ric
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