Boffo Turnout for Eclipse

photo: brasserie

A bistro named 'Brasserie' - near Barbés
and Montmartre.

All Predictions Off Marks

Paris:- Sunday, 15. August 1999:- In two minutes of inattention, I missed couturier Paco Rabanne's prediction that the space station Mir was to fall on Paris, smashing it to smithereens, or fall in the Gers department, or both. If wrong, he said, he would forever after forsake making predictions.

A full-page advertisement on the back page of Tuesday's edition of Le Parisien, for Epson's 'Photo Studio,' showed a digital-photo montage of the jolly space station Mir, nose-down in the Latin Quarter.

At 12:23 on Wednesday, about 200 'survivors' of the 'Mir crash into Paris,' celebrated their lucky break with an 'apéro,' in the 6th arrondissement near the location ofscan: le parisien, 14.08 the couturier's shop. A container was set up for a collection of the debris from the space station.

The survival party was organized by the Cercle Zététique. A spokesman expressed disappointment at the no-show by Mr. Rabanne. "Without him, there would have been no survival party," he said.

Three towns in the Gers department also held survival fêtes. Of the towns named for destruction - Auch, Mirande and Condom - the latter held a 'world's end' dinner in its port, with the president of the regional council as a guest.

I seem to remember hearing something to the effect that if his prediction proved hollow, Mr. Rabanne intends to give up the prediction business. All of this has helped his other business considerably - making his name as a clothing designer.

Le Parisien's Eclipsogoggles

After the deception at not finding any eclipse glasses available - anywhere - at 10:00 on Tuesday morning, Wednesday's Le Parisien explained that the 307 examples sold for five francs with the paper - another five francs - were sold out in Argenteuil between 06:30 and 7:00.

Le Parisien ordered what it thought was a big enough stock of the special shades in March. But, it said, somewherephoto: tour eiffel, from metro between the warehouse and the newspaper kiosks, 'some disappeared.' Not only that, many regular readers could not even find a copy of the paper available.

The paper reported that dissatisfied readers were so angry that some sales points had to be temporarily closed. There were some speculators as well, offering the five-franc shades for 50 or 100 francs. But many public offices such as local city halls, had goggles available, as well as rest-stops of the autoroutes.

My lucky-break photo of the Tour Eiffel from moving métro train.

What the paper didn't bother to mention, was whether it sold the announced print-run of 630,000 copies - which is much higher than their daily average. Will success spoil Le Parisien?

Forecast of 'Night' for the Eclipse

Last Tuesday's Le Parisien had a 'true' and 'false' column - which is a common way the paper uses to present true 'facts.' On the subject of total 'night' the paper said 'false.' Then it said the moon would hide 99.4 percent of the sun, and even this would send light - except - in the case of poor weather.

I interpreted this to mean 'quite dark.' 'In the case of poor weather,' then darker than night! However, one percent of sunshine, coming through 95 percent cloud cover - turned out to be quite a lot of light. 'Two nights in one day?' Bah! Humbug!

Eclipse Score

Thirty million 'Frenchmen' turned out to watch the eclipse, according to Le Parisien. The estimate was made by Eclipse-Info, which expects to publish a detailed report in September.

I'm not sure if the 30 million estimate includes the 13 million who watced the live TV transmissions. This, I don't count as 'watching' the eclipse. This is watching TV.

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