Global Warming' Rant

photo: cafe l'etoile marquant

Cafe terraces aren't full, but they aren't empty either.

'Best Intentions' and Other Fictions

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 11. December 2000:- I can't tell if the mild weather Paris is having is 'freakish' or not. Having the TV-weather people say night after night that the temperatures are 'above normal' for the season is a welcome change, especially since it is December and 10 days before the beginning of winter.

My memory isn't the best, so I can't pin down the number of times when the forecast is for 'completely normal' temperatures. In Paris, anyway, any temperature is only 'about' - somewhere about plus or minus 'X' degrees. The same goes for the 'above' or 'below' for-the-season numbers.

Even though we enjoy metric temperatures here in Europe, the French weather doesn't bother with any number after the 'point.' Keeping this in mind, the weather is so far above 'normal' that I haven't even been wearing a sweater.

This is, if my memory is correct, the first time in about 24 years that I haven't automatically put on a sweater the first thing in the morning. This means that this 'above normal' we are having is somewhat akin to a heatwave.

This is great. It means I can hobble as slowly as I want and not worry about getting cold - there's no need to try to hobble fast to keep warm.

Along with the warm weather, I am pretty sure the rainfall is 'above normal.' In other partsphoto: xmas decor, daguerre of France it has been far 'above normal' and some people have had to spend some of their time sweeping mud out of their living rooms.

And a suburb of a little town near Calais had a five-minute tornado the other day. Roofs were ripped off and some houses were pretty much blown down; and a caravan took a fairly long flight. Nobody could remember anything like it.

While Paris has been balmy for several weeks, storms have been battering France's coastal areas, especially near the Channel. Winds have been causing damage - like the freak tornado - but mostly it's the rain, and too much of it.

Global Warming?

I don't know if this 'freak weather' is due to 'global warming' or not. If it is, it will affect all of us sooner or later, if it hasn't already.

Scientists have been talking about the 'greenhouse effect' for a long time now. But every time there is an international conference on the subject, with calls to 'do something about it,' the conferences usually end with a decision to 'study the problem.'

This is the worldwide business' answer to most problems affecting the planet. Putting off tough decisions as long as possible reflects positively on short-term profit results.

This head-in-the-sand attitude is crazy. Businesses don't 'pay' for anything - it is end-users who pay the whole bill.

In the short-term, trying to do everything 'on the cheap' may benefit stockholders in the form of higher dividends. But if the problems are ignored long enough, the damage will rise to heights that will even affect stockholders who have installed themselves in ritzy chalets 1000 metres above sea level.

The world is run like the emergency ward of a hospital. It is set up to put a bandage on whatever gets broken. We have a world held together with patches, tape and baling wire.

Aren't we supposed to be smarter? We have gas gauges in our cars to warn us to fill the tank before it runs dry. We routinely pay insurance premiums to offset the effects of random chance that life throws in our paths. What is it that prevents us from doing this on a global scale?

Is it because we allow business to call the shots? Their argument that 'doing the right thing' would be so expensive that we'd either be out of work or wouldn't be able to afford it anyway - is a pure and simple scare tactic - since it is we and not businesses who pay for everything in the end.

What is the point of having and paying for a world full of universities full of scholars, if we are going to ignore what they are telling us? It doesn't seem to be very clever.

Café Life

This aspect of life in Paris was not absent last week, but it did suffer from circumstances. I found café bar tops less than perfect supports for a wayward leg in a cast, which could reach most café floors, but didn't like any particular position on any of them.

This shortened my stays in cafés to the strict minimum of lurching against bars only long enough to down the standard double jolt of café before getting on my way to less interesting places, slowly.

The Rest of the Last Issue

Good intentions have an indefinite value but it is nearly zero if they aren't realized. My attempt to get Paris' Christmas and New Year program into the abbreviated last issue didn't get beyond 'good intentions.'

In theory, having a leg in a cast should not hinder thephoto: legs friend transposition of a bunch on information to these pages. During the week in a series of trials I have found that a leg in a cast is a handicap - I can't figure out where to park the darn thing.

The dog that forgot what my step sounded like and started barking.

It doesn't like leaning on the floor. My rear-end doesn't like sitting on my work chair - a crummy piece of junk on its good days - sideways, while my leg endlessly looks in vain for a comfortable leaning angle.

Hobbling around the uneven surfaces of Paris called sidewalks, to get a few new photos for this issue, has been a slow but fairly easy undertaking in comparison.

Putting off the worst for the last is a human trait I share with most people. Despite its Saturday dateline, this issue's 'Scene 2' is the last thing done - it's sole claim to fame will be the number of hours it causes Metropole to be beyond its notional deadline.

Metropole's Services

The three wonderful firms listed below have chosen Metropole Paris for affiliate association. You - wonderful too! - have chosen to read Metropole, so you have something in common - even if you only look at the pictures.

You will benefit from these affiliates, these firms benefit and any modest benefits for Metropole will help it to stay online, or permit me to have an occasional extra café.

Health Care In Paris

You have probably planned your trip to Paris long in advance. As unlikely as it is to happen, if you trip over a speed bump crossing the Quai de Louvre, it doesn't have mean that your holiday will be spoiled.

A 'city health profile' for Paris has been created by HighwayToHealth, to give you information about local health care, including the ability to make appointments with doctors and for medical services.

For peace of mind, take a look at this before you leave home. See 'HighwayToHealth' for its health care and insurance services for travellers.

French Pétanque In America

The enjoyable but simple game of pétanque - or boules - can be played anywhere, almost anytime - by just about everybody. Any handy dirt patch can be used as a playing field - as you probably know if you've seen the game played around Paris.

Regulation French boules are made out of metal. These are available in France, but they are a bit heavy for casually hauling around in your luggage with 40 kilos of other Christmas gifts.

'Petanque America' imports France's quality Obut boules and will ship them to you anywhere in the Americas.

The online shop also has books, containing the short list of rules for the game. It also has 'junior' boules for children. While you shop around for the less weighty but more expensive souvenirs of Paris, let Petanque America to do your boule-trucking for you.

Online Paris Hotel Reservations

Don't wait until you get to Paris to book your hotel, only to learn that 32,889 astrologists got here for a convention first. Reserve your accommodations now through 'Bookings' Paris hotel reservation service.

Doing this will allow you to preview the finer hotels and enable you to choose your Paris lodgings with a minimum of fuss and bother.

Café Metropole Club's News and Fiction

Tradition continued last Thursday at the club meeting which was no more bizarre than other meetings which have featured an absent secretary. Loyal on-site backup was provided by the server-lady Linda Thalman and our mutual pal, Adrian 'I Love to Eat' Leeds.

For technical reasons, the 'report' of the meeting appears in this issue forphoto: shopping rue daguerre the first time. Although written by the club's secretary from accurate notes, it may seem somewhat fictional. 'Local color,' of the purely fictional variety, has been omitted.

Regular Saturday shopping in the Rue Daguerre.

The next meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 14. December - which is the first Thursday in mid-December - at the usual time and in the usual place.

New readers can also take a look at the current version of 'About the Club' to find out about the 'usual time and place.' This page also contains other mildly useful info about this free club in Paris, which is the only one this magazine has for all of its readers who happen to be readers or in Paris.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

Issue 4.50 - 13. December 1999 - This week's Café Metropole column was titled, 'Markets and Big Wheels.' The 'Au Bistro' column's title was 'What's In a Name of the Century?.' This issue had two features, titled 'Feasts of the Century' and Don Smith in Seattle wrote 'José 'Good Food' Bové In the USA.' The Café Metropole Club got even deeper into its culinary routine of loopiness with 'Glasgow's 'Mars Bars' Problem' and the meeting's Update featured "I Have To Eat" Says Food Guide Writer Adrian Leeds. The 'Scene I' column was headlined 'The Ile-de-France.' The week's other Scene column concerned 'Christmas '99 and '2000.' There were four new 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned 'Art - It's A Snap!'

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago:

Issue 3.50 - 14. December 1998 - The week's Café Metropole column was Internet-crazed with, 'Here Comes 'E-Biz.' The 'Au Bistro' column was originally titled, 'Weather News and Winter Sports.' This issue had one shopping feature, titled 'One Louis Liked Marly-le-Roi' and readers wrote in about 'The Pros and Cons of 'Hyper.' There werephoto: parked shoes two 'Scene' columns, 'Scene Is Full Up' and the 'Pre-Christmas Program VI - Xmas '98. There were four new 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week had the caption of 'Say It Isn't True!'

Metropole's Countdown to 31. December 2000:

The 21st Century begins on Monday, 1. January 2001 and the same date coincides with the beginning of the 3rd Millennium and there are only 20 pages left on Metropole's 2000 calendar. Even if acknowledged, Metropole will accept no special mentions or other dubious awards for its year-long effort to get this countdown recognized for what it is - um, will be.

For Metropole's countdown, this leaves only about 20 rapidly passing days left to go in this century, in this Millennium. During the ultimate countdown, you probably don't realize or care that 346 days have sped away since New Year's 2000. The 2nd Millennium, which has lasted 20 days less than 1000 years, is now nearly over. Get ready to kiss it goodbye real soon.
signature, regards, ric

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