The Life of Plants

photo: bistro, au bois d'acacia

Saturday or long weekend? Nearly everthing off the
Rue de Rome was closed.

Bonus Exciting Hog Dog News

Paris:- Sunday, 29. October 2000:- With the sub-features 'Sports News Update' and 'Web Life' already written - somewhere below - I find that there is space left for only 500 words of 'real news.'

But first a word about French news: one of the most obnoxious sources is radio France-Info's all news station which I leave permanently tuned-in because it also acts as my clock-radio, and this function is not at all hindered by my cheap radio's lousy reception.

Lately this national state broadcaster has reduced its credibility by beaming commercials at me. This is a practice which I thought was illegal, and I should have brought up the matter with France's Minister of Culture - and Communications! - when I had the opportunity last week.

However, by getting up early enough to assist with the inauguration of the new pieces of modern sculpture in thephoto: violin 1741 Tuileries last Wednesday, I chanced to hear one of my favorite radio France-Info features, which I had assumed had been suppressed to make airtime available for the commercials.

Seen in a shop in the Rue de Rome; this '1741' violin.

Some of these commercials are, by the way, France-Info's own - advertising that if a listener wants the 'complete' information, it can be had from their Minitel service - only 1.29 francs per minute! - or from their Web site.

Back to France-Info last Wednesday - the reports I thought were suppressed were or are called the 'Life of Plants' and these are very exciting.

While France-Info's other reporters mumble off reams of numbers from the Paris Bourse, "Matra, up 0.07; Printemps; down 0.55; Thompson, down 0.02," for about five minutes without taking a breath, followed by the Web URL for France-Info for slow listeners, the fellow who does the 'Life of Plants' report, does it as if it were a horse race.

To paraphrase: "Your average Bluebell prefers really mucky dirt and the flat light of winter unlike its cousin the Redbell which prefers the first heatwaves of spring which as we all know are not found anywhere in France except southeastern Corsica even though the Redbell is not native to the Ile de Beauté, which does not really concern the vastly hardier Bluebell that is such a pleasure to see in the winter pushing its way up from beneath a cover of crusted snow and of course your heart will leap at this sight and make all the care and tender feeding of it worthwhile."

But the main problem with radio France-Info is that it has very little Paris news. In fact, three-quarters of its so-called news are lists of place-names that are not Paris. I wish their plant guy would do Paris like he does the plants.

Traffic Jam of the Week

Last week's periodic event was nipped in the bud early Wednesday when 200 heavily armed riot police captured five carloads of strikers, preventing 48 of them from interfering with the Minister of Employment, Elizabeth Guigou, who was the Minister of Justice the previous week.

Another 40 cars, attempting to reach Paris from the Hauts-de-Seine department were also stopped. The captured 48 strikers were released after four hours of detention, and they decided to cease their actions in favor of cutting off the industrial heat they produce.

Road Security

Last week, traffic safety authorities launched a campaign to alert drivers to the dangers of driving during the week-long weekend of Toussaint this week by announcing that drivers' licenses would be suspended on the spot for all speeders caught exceeding the speed limits by 40 kph.

TV-news showed non-plused drivers scratching their heads in wonderment at the strangephoto: rue rocher notion of ridiculously low speed limits - that police insisted applied to their very fast cars.

The Rue de Rocher crossing two stories above the Rue de Madrid is one of Europe's stranger intersections.

The news reports also showed an unusual amount of coordination between police helicopters equipped with radios, and police on the ground also equipped with radios - which enabled the non-flying police to flag down speeders without actually seeing them speeding.

In France an action of this type is called 'repression' and is used only reluctantly by the police. On autoroutes, moving police patrols are seldom seen because the idea of dissuasion is a concept only used outside major public buildings such as the Elysée Palace.

Sports News Update: The 'Subway' Series Sob

Today's totally unbiased report is from a Metropole reader, Café Metropole Club member, and nearly-ex Mets fan from Queens:

'Crying in Queens' reports: "Your efforts greatly appreciated but alas did not turn the tide as the Mets were bested by the Yankees and lost the World Series 4 games to 1.

"Simply put, the Mets did not play great baseball. Their pitching was decent but offensively they were weak and their fielding was less than stellar.

"In truth the Yankees were no phenoms themselves but at least they outperformed the Mets.

"Even though the Series wasn't spectacular the spirited atmosphere throughout NYC was big fun while it lasted. Wait until next year!"

Ed's Note - The 'efforts' referred to above 'on my part' consisted of attempting to illegally influence the Mets' chances by means of voodoo. However, the practitioner I contacted declined the job on account of the distance involved, a total lack of knowledge about baseball and ignorance of hot dogs - the game fans' food of choice.

Since the hot dogs offered in the Café Metropole Club's café La Corona are unlike anything to be offered in New York City, I took the trouble to enquire about the current level of quality at Nathan's. Actually, I asked if Nathan's made 'plain' hot dogs. The reply:

"No choices, still just one type as far as I know. The only variations are that you can have them with or without sauerkraut and/or mustard. It's really the ambiance that does it for Nathan's hot dogs. Nowphoto: shop, flute de pan that they are also sold in some in grocery stores to cook at home as well as some fast food outlets throughout the city, they are readily available to all - yet it's not quite the same thing.

The 'Flute de Pan' has several music outlets in the Rue de Rome.

"Every year a hot dog eating contest is held at the original Nathan's in Coney Island, Brooklyn. For a few years in a row it was a slight Japanese man taking the honors by eating 19 hot dogs in 12 minutes. Can you even imagine that? Heartburn central."

Ed's Note, continued - Since the World Series has ended before it got itself properly started, next week's Sports News will feature news of the opening games leading up to the world championships for Eating Hot Dogs.

Readers are kindly requested to send in their eye-witness reports in a timely fashion. Please include details of the technical aspects of the hot dogs in competition as well as their eaters.

Web Life:

URLs: You Can Help

Since you are operating from longer distances than I am, you depend more on the Web for your Paris information. If you have good URLs and you are willing to share them with other Metropole readers, send them in and I'll place them in this spot with a 'thankyou' for you.

After the avalanche of URLs posted here last week from Alan Pavlik I assume you are still combingphoto: rue de constantinople through them, because no one has offered any new ones.

All the same, you will find a few new ones that are related to features in the current issue. And, for a change, I have checked most of these.

If you are taking looks at them too, you will have probably noted that I don't distinguish between Web sites that are in English, or in French only. If they are bilingual, I usually only check the French version - to make sure it exists.

The following one I checked, and forgot to notice if it has any English version. For an insider's take on the French film industry, check out Mister W, who apparently gets his information from insiders, and this includes some scoops such as the dates that some films will be in the 'salles,' up to 2007.


'Arts Premiers' are the subject of the new national museum that is expected to open at the Quai Branly in 2004; and until then their exhibitions take place in a wing of the Louvre that has been mentioned in the 'Scene' column.

Since the museum is having exhibitions years before it exists, it is no wonder that it has a Web site too. This presents a history of the project, information about the new museum and its aims, and information about current exhibitions. Here then, is a virtual avant-première of the Musée du Quai Branly.

Comics at the BNF?

When I visited the Freak Brothers' father Gilbert Shelton last week, he mentioned that the exhibition of the European bandes-dessinés - comics - at the Bibliothèque Nationale has been postponed because the thing had broken down again.

Somehow I retained this seeming non-information. By checking the problem-prone national library's Web site I learned that it intends to reopen on Thursday, 2. November, and the B.D. show is scheduled to start a week later, on Thursday, 9. November. Now it's your turn to check out the Bibliothèque Nationale.

Repeat - for the Mois de la Photo

One is a photo gallery supposed to worth a good look and Visuel Image is said to be especially rich. Enoughphoto: merry go round, av de maine words; just for looking. Finally, Canon is having an exhibition in Paris at the end of the month. If you are in town, the expo continues until Wednesday, 1. November and the location is in the Carrousel du Louvre. As a last shot, check out ArtCom's take on the Maison Européenne de la Photographie.

World Wide Poll Revisited

From Wednesday, 15. November until Saturday, 18. November, a worldwide poll will be conducted in eight languages, to find out what it is like to be a human being on the eve of the new millennium.

The poll which is modestly called PlanetProject, has been organized by 3Com, whose president Eric Benhamou wants to know about the haves and have-nots in our electronic age.

This planetary poll will seek to gather some idea of the values and beliefs of the world's population. Poll responses will be analyzed by the Harris Interactive polling organization.

This seems to be a positive and pioneering project that is only possible because of the existence of the World Wide Web, so I suggest that everyone who considers themselves to be an active member of mankind, take part in it.

The 'Official' Weather: Gloomy

Météo France is featured again because of the dramatic autumn it is now giving us. In better times this is the official source for France's TV-weather people. If you don't get French TV where you are, you can get the weather from where they get it. Because it is 'official' - meaning: as true as possible - don't expect forecasts to exceed 24 hours.

Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
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Waldo Bini