Over-Plastered Under-Postered

photo: bar cafe artoire, depuis 1911

Linda Thalman's selection for the 'Café of the Week'
only holds five customers.

France's Food Thing

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 26. February 2001:- On Saturday night the TV- weatherman appeared in the hot TV-studio wearing a scarf. He said we could expect the coldest night in the year, with the thermometre registering minus two.

I arranged my apartment's baffles, to try and hold the cold - not 'at bay' - but to keep its circulation inside to a minimum. To this I added staying in bed until noon as another way of keeping warm. Even at noon on Sunday, it was chilly inside.

Opening the window shutters didn't seem to let in totally frigid air, but cars parked outside had snow on their hoods and windshields. Strangely, sunlight seemed to be blazing at the street's eastern end.

It has been a dismal week for posters in Paris. I thinkphoto: display cows the newsmagazines are saving up poster-spaces for the municipal elections. Having shot only one, I had been putting off getting the other three, in hopes somebody would put up something decent on Saturday night.

Cowboys and girls, cows, and a judge at the big Paris cow show.

This never happens, but there must be four 'posters of the week' and out I had to go - without my gloves, which had blithely sailed away out to the Cadillac Ranch on Friday, after the Guimard tour with the server-lady.

Surprise then, outside, to find it seeming not to be cold at all, even in my street's canyon of shadow. On the avenue bright sun was actually warm. The air was nearly still. A perfect day for carnival in Paris, but still a lousy one for good posters.

The official billboards are now in place for the coming municipal elections, but as yet they have no posters. The illegal and wildcat poster locations are showing their usual collections of defaced and over-plastered posters - none of which have any artistic merit whatsoever.

Café Life

Agri Facts and Bérets

Edgar Ladouceur is a Café Metropole Club member and he comes to Paris annually for the 'Cow Show,' to attend a club meeting and because he is in the soja division of the agri-business.

He is also into something he calls Cowbell Conservatism, which has "I Am Therefore I Eat" as its sort of motto, which is another important reason for coming to Paris.

You are probably aware that Parisians are being told that their food is unfit to eat. I asked Edgar for some of his valuable time, to explain to me how this situation is seen in the outside world.

Cows don't eat meat is the most important fact he told me. Their stomachs can't handle it, being tuned as they are, strictly to plant food. Feeding cows recycled meat scraps disguised as cattle-feed is not good for them, or the people who may eat them.

Europe is a small place - compared to North America, Brazil, Australia or Argentina - and farmers here, eitherphoto: edgar ladouceur knowingly or unknowingly, have been feeding their cows the wrong stuff - instead of the best stuff, which is soybean-based, and it's cheap.

Edgar Ladouceur explains the food-chain and gives 'vertible' Basque béret tips to Metropole's Ed.

But France decided that colza, also known as rape, is better - or cheaper, or easier, or something - than soya, so this is cultivated but it is not nearly as good or as cheap as soya. As far as cows go, soya is the best way to feed them cheap proteins.

Feeding cows junkfood can result in 'mad cow disease' and some scientists think this can be transmitted to us humans. The latest news here is that scientists also suspect that the junkfood thought to be 'safe' for other food-chain animals such as pigs, may cause them problems too.

As far as genetically-modified grains go, Edgar says, "France imports 'everything,' modified or not."

In France, many farmers - and the Peasant's Confederation - are publicly against the use of genetically-modified seed grains. "Who knows what the long-terms effects will be?" is the question of the day.

Edgar thinks the French are being a bit coy. For example, a toxic by-product somewhat like mustard gas from EDF's nuclear power plants is used to stunt the growth of barley, a cereal grass - so it grows shorter, faster.

He says another by-product from nuclear power plants - non-toxic, simple heat - can also used to compress alfalfa - lucerne - so that it can be made into handy-sized pellets instead of huge bales.

But Edgar's most important 'find' on this trip has been the acquisition of a genuine Basque béret. I saw these on sale in one of the regional food halls last Wednesday.

The bérets are sold according to size, and ordinary ones cost from 199 to 229 francs. The 'plus beau' one, "Feel the material!" - costs 299 francs. Order from Sophie Grange in Biarritz - InfoFax.: 33 5 59 23 62 60 - and don't forget to send Sophie your head size.

5th Anniversary

Today is considered to be the 5th birthday of this weekly online magazine, which some people insist on calling a 'newsletter.' Tomorrow is considered to be the first day of 'Metropole Paris' sixth year of regular publication.

Metropole Paris first went online on Monday, 26. February 1996..

This date is due to a change in Web-servers in July of 1996. The actual first-online date was Friday, 23. February. Changing servers and switching to the Monday issue-date messed up the 'official' date a bit.

All of Metropole's contents remains online. As Metropole begins its 6th year, a rapid check says that it contains about 2500 Web pages, going all the way back to issue 1.01. Older issuesphoto: decor, rue de l'assomption have not been reformatted, so they look the way they did when they were put online.

In January of this year, readers living in about 76 countries accessed 64,400 Metropole pages. The number of 'origin countries' is unchanged from a year ago and has remained constantover several years.

Exterior three-story high 'home' decor, in Paris' upscale 16th arrondissement.
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