Weather Fixation 'Fix'

photo: cafe l'an II

East of République, Paris is more - republican.

'European Rules' Contest Winners

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 17. April 2000:- A couple of days ago, one of Metropole's few UK readers who write, accused me of having a 'weather fixation.' As an UK resident, this writer probably knows about these things. To prove it, he added a complete update to recent weather events in the Schwarzwald.

Last week I started off this column with, 'I am pretty sure the weather is interesting, but there isn't much we can do about it. No matter what I write here, there is going to be weather and no amount of forecasting is going to make it predictable.'

This was supposed to be taken as a hint that after a few weeks of putting in more 'weather news,' I am now going to put in less, or pretend that there is no weather worth mentioning in Paris.

There is weather-myth in Paris, much celebrated in song and fable. This has sold millions of recordings. If it is good enough to do this, then it must bephoto: musee des annees 30 true. Whatever it really is, as myth it is more acceptable.

Thus, for this month, we have 'April In Paris.' Forget my endless warnings about snow at Easter. It may happen, but officially, the weather will be according to the song, 'April In Paris.'

The new Musée des Années 30 in Boulogne-Billancourt is featured in this issue.

I will listen more closely to the honey-voiced Radio-FIP ladies, to try to catch the 'weather song' for May. I'm not sure, but I think it's called something like the 'Umbrellas of Cherbourg.'

'Guaranteed Bad Taste?'

Last week's feature about the fabulously wonderful '2000 Nains à Bagatelle' exhibition brought emails from three readers, none of whom chose to remark about the 'Au Bistro' item concerning the dreadful dwarf-napping by the mysterious 'Dwarf Liberation Front.'

Ms. Andrea Robinson, writing from Georgia, said garden-dwarfs are considered to be 'low-rent' where she lives, without actually saying she lives in a 'low-rent' area and is therefore an authority. She admitted that she may be a 'garden snob.'

She added, "I always held Paris in such high esteem for good taste!" and "What is this world coming to?"

I want to know the answer to this too. Garden-dwarfs are not supposed to leave you indifferent. Ms. Robinson almost has the right attitude - if you are anti-gnomes - and for this reason I am not quoting her in full, because she is pretty steamed up.

As far as 'good taste' in Paris goes, this has been in debate for a little over 2000 years and shows no signs ofphoto: utrillo, arbit blatas, musee annees 30 being resolved. I'm not trying to say that Paris is some sort of paragon of 'bad taste,' but 'good taste' is a fairly recent phenomena - usually classed as bourgeois - and this is why it is recent.

Before a little while ago - in 'Paris time' - there were no bourgeois here, and everything was in 'bad taste' to one degree or another. 'Good taste' started around Baron Haussmann's time and residents are still disagreeing about it.

Portrait of Maurice Utrillo, by Arbit Blatas - in the '30's museum.

The Baron did such a good job of inflicting 'good taste' on Parisians that they had to leave town in order to have a 'good time.'

This is no longer the case. You can now have 'bad taste' 'good times' right in Paris. But the idea of going out of town for 'good times' still remains.

There is, for example, the entire Ile-de-France to have 'good times' in. This region surrounds Paris and has many attractions that are worth the bit of extra travelling time required to reach them.

There may even be some garden gnomes in Louis' park at Versailles. He did have the place built some time before there were any bourgeois around to 'tut-tut' so-called examples of 'bad taste.'

We must not forget that one of the causes of the Révolution was what was considered 'wretched excess,' and Louis' house in Versailles is a world-class example of this.

Surprise Contest Winners

Several alert readers surprised me very early last week by entering and winning Metropole's little contest. In case you missed it, I usually finish off this page with some utter nonsense.

I don't know why I do this. It has something to do with past-deadline computer over-dose. Last week, it occurred to me that nobody had ever written to tell me to cut this nonsense out - so I added a contest to see if anyone was paying attention.

When I surfaced on Tuesday and let the computer and its mail program download the latest correspondence, Charlesphoto: le dome, arbit blatas, musee annees 30 Bush, Ron Smith, Paul Babbit and Jerry Van Vactor turned out to be the winners. All of their emails were dated Monday, 10. April.

Also by Arbit Blatas, a portrait of everybody in Montparnasse on the terrace of Le Dôme.

At first I thought Jerry was not a winner, because he added the 'UTC' time, which made it Tuesday, 11. April. One of the contest rules called for 'including the time where you are,' and Jerry's 'UTC' time was were I am, not him. The Internet and its mail software dated Jerry's entry as Monday, 10. April.

Jerry objected to my interpretation of the 'contest rules,' and claimed he was merely a runner-up. However, all Metropole contests are run on 'European Rules.' These allow for multiple winners. In fact, 'European Rules' allow everybody who enters a contest to be a 'winner.'

As I was so late with putting Metropole online last week, I thought it was okay to declare everybody a winner who entered the contest correctly while it was still Monday, anywhere in the world.

To all other contestants who entered the contest, thanks for sending in your entries. Now that 'European Rules' are clear to everybody, for the next contest you will know you have a good chance of winning if you are just a bit quicker.

The prizes - 'an exclusive and unique Paris souvenir - made by the millions' - will be going to the four lucky winners with the aid of the Poste Française. Since a prize such as this should be a surprise even if it is 'made by the millions,' I will hold off running a photo of it until next week, when the winners should have received theirs.

Editorial Correction

Last week I mentioned Dana Shaw writing to congratulate Metropole for having readers all over the world. This was in connection with readers - generally south of the equator - who have written from email addresses that don't accept replies from Paris.

Two Metropole readers took the extreme measure of flying 26 hours to Paris, to attend last Thursday'sphoto: film poster, musee annees 30Café Metropole Club meeting. They confirmed there are no known kangaroos in South Africa.

One of the film posters in the Musée des Années 30 recalls Boulogne's cinema past.

The readers in South Africa, who are 'uncontactable,' also wrote to say there are no kangaroos in South Africa. Even more astonishing, they claim there are no 'marsupials' there, even though "South Africa and Australia was once part of an ancient land mass called I think Gondwanaland."

Even if I cannot write to Mathilda and Fred Daniel directly, I want to personally thank you for your patience and for taking the trouble to - correctly! - point out all the mistakes I've been making concerning plant and animal life in your part of our world.

0kay, now that I've made my apology, let's all put our memory caches into action to record this vital fact once and for all: There are no kangaroos in South Africa and it is possible there have never been any there.

Café Metropole Club's 27th Session

The 27th weekly meeting - the more-than-six-month mark! - of the 'Café Metropole Club' marked a sudden upsurge in 'real' membership last Thursday which gladdened my heart considerably. You can read about it on last week's 'Club 'Report'' page even if you have already read it once.

I can't remember if the other gibberish 'announcement' I made here last week about 'weekly Metropole fixes' stirred anybody up. But now that I have had time to think it over, I think I should make it clear that I haven't the foggiest notion about whether 'Bulla Bulling, WA' even has a jail for 'fix' offenders.

To all readers in Bulla Bulling, WA - for all other readers, 'WA' stands for Western Australia - who may have been offended that I so casually attributed a 'fix' jail to their lovely town, I plead mistaken geography. To other readers who thought I was spelling Walla Walla, WA wrong, you know that I should know better.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

Issue 4.16 - 19. April 1999 - This week's Café Metropole column was headlined: - 'Backpacking Without a Pack.' 'Au Bistro' had 'How To Quit Drinking, In France,' which contained no information useful to anybody. This issue had one lone feature, entitled 'With a Home Onphoto: groupe apollon musagete, musee annees 30 Your Back.' This issue's 'Paris' Scene' had 'Speed-Record Set at Achères.' There were four 'Posters of the Week' as usual and Ric'sCartoon of the Week was captioned 'Restless Visitors.' All I remember was the speed-record part.

Detail from the 'Apollon Musagète' group, by Evariste Jonchère.

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago:

Issue 3.16 - 20. April 1998 - The Café Metropole column was boringly headlined 'In the Middle of the 'Spring' Exhibition Season.' The 'Au Bistro' column was titled 'Cauliflower War Victors Yet to be Named.' Something about anything for a joke. This issue had three whole tiny features, titled 'Hanging Out With the Freak Brothers,' 'High Floor, With 5 Million Franc View' and 'The Big Easter Junk Hunt' by Tracy Turner. There were four 'Posters of the Week' as usual and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned 'Belgian Beer,' and called a 'cartoon-photo,' whatever this may be.

All museum objects©Musée des Années 30, Boulogne-Billancourt
The Metropole Paris Countdown to 31. December 2000:

Here is the 16th issue of the year already and I still haven't received any complaints about Metropole's spanking-new and whiter-than-white, stupendously fabulous, somewhat shopworn count-down. Last week I did something about this situation, but it has changed nothing. Nobody is still complaining about the count-down.

What I did was Metropole's Contest. This resulted in four winners, which is allowed under the 'European Rules' clause. No winners make a dull contest. Anyway, if you are reading this, you've already read about this above.

I see now why some contestants were confused. Last week I wrote, "First one in is the winner!" Even under 'European Rules' it is necessary to say this. If not, then contestants think they have all the time in the world to get their entries in. You may have this 'time,' but I only have 168 hours between issues.

This new countdown will last only 366 days, minus the 108 days already gone. The official reason for doing this is to give the Tour Eiffel a new chance to 'get it right.' This is a re-run for many count-down fans who missed shouting 'Zéro' on Friday, 31. December 1999 when Paris' countdown clock gave up. The 'unofficial' reason for this has been suspended until it's time for another contest.

There are only about 258 days left to go until the 3rd Millennium. For really picky readers, this figure is now correct.
signature, regards, ric

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contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
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