There Was 'Happy' Weather

photo: cafe le lutetia, ile st louis

Rollers, bikers, strollers, and terrassians make up
a typical summer scene.

Last Week

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 22. July 2002:- I am pretty happy with the weather. Last week's forecasts were a little pessimistic but the actual climate thumbed its nose at them. Yesterday was supposed to be mostly cloudy and cool but it was mostly bright and sunny and warm instead.

It was so fine that a half-million residents and visitors turned out for the opening day of 'Paris Plage' on Sunday, which was good in one sense but in another gave a good impression of a beach that was a bit too crowded to see the sand.

The bad news is that the weathermen actually looked outside late yesterday and thought - oops! - andphoto: cafes and bikes then went ahead to tell the TV-weather news people to tell everybody in France that we should expect summer weather all week long.

What exactly, would bikes be, without cafés?

So, what happened? Some place in the high Alps was bombarded by hailstones as big as golfballs, people were hurt, roofs were punctured and car tops were turned into sheetmetal peppered with divots.

That was an isolated and local mistake, caused by fluffy clouds that floated so high that they started snowing inside themselves and got so cold that the snowflakes stuck together until there were enough of them to overcome gravity.

If you get hit with a big snowflake that has fallen 20,000 metres, then it is going to knock your hat off if you are lucky enough to be wearing one.

On account of this oversight, the weather people have kept their heads inside today. The word that the TV-weather news people have passed on calls for mostly cloudy tomorrow, I forget what on Wednesday, and partly sunny on Thursday - all with flat temperatures of 22 or 23. Gone is yesterday's rosy outlook for next weekend.

The way to look at this is calmly, with complete 'sangfroid,' and remember that last week's forecasts were no better, and better is what we really had in Paris. Besides, it is after 15. July, so it must be summer.

Café Life

Some weeks Café Life is lively and other weeks it is kind of routine. Go to the café and have a double-café and come back and do some work, or walk around and look at things and have a café and do some work. And between one place and another look at the sky and see that it bright and blue, and feel a bit good about it. It is not so bad even if it isn't terribly interesting.

'Is It True?'

The 'Is It True' corps of snoopers were active last week because Jonah Goldberg decided to use 'The National Review' to bash France as a subterfuge for bashing 'liberals' in his own country, which is the United States, where 'liberalism' is about as red as you can get if you can believe 'The National Review.'

Along the way Mr. Goldberg managed to re-use just about 30 percent of all the well-worn and usual complaints that the 'bash-the-French' troops routinely fling carelessly around.

For his readers that might not have read all of this several thousand times before he even offered a capsule history of French-bashing, which he claims began before the French were French, but when the Romans were Romans.

Basically, Mr. Goldberg claims the people who were not French yet could not beat the Romans, so they had to cook for them. This may be true, but I do not think either Italians or the French claim to have invented pizza.

He also claims that other Europeans do not care for the French much with a purportedly Germanphoto: sunbathers, ile st louis quote, in English, "The friendship of the French is like their wine - exquisite, but of short duration."

This Ile Saint-Louis beach scene is arranged to have a view of 'Paris Plage' on the right bank.

Mr. Goldberg obviously doesn't know that Germans probably drink more French wine than Americans - because they can afford it. I lived in Germany for seven years and the only thing I remember anybody saying about France was that 'God lives in France,' and 'He drives a Citroën DS-21.'

Then he claims that French-bashing is as 'in' as it ever was in the United States, and that it is even an 'industry' that is more popular now 'than in the 80s,' even though the France referred to sounds like a caricature of the early 1940s. To have time stand still for 60 years must be comforting.

There is a lot of other nonsense that only makes sense when the author points out that the leading notions that constitute right-wing thinking in the United States come from an animated TV-show called 'The Simpsons.'

But getting away from the comics, it appears that the cardinal French 'sin' is - or was - thinking differently from 'us' - meaning America's right-wing pundits. "While most of the West, if not the world, is Americanizing for good and for ill, France remains determined to stay French."

There's another few hundred words repeating this in various ways that would be intensely boring to detail. But it is only after two-thirds of the article that we learn the reason behind its drift, and this turns out to be 'domestic America-haters.'

Mr. Goldberg is not really annoyed with the French after all. He writes, "If you go by French attitudes alone, America has the largest population of Frenchmen never to have surrendered to Germany."

Then he explains why 'American liberal cosmopolitans' love the French. There are four reasons he writes, one of which is, "The French are trying to outlaw hard work and, perhaps eventually, work entirely."

Other bad French things are tolerance about the private lives of citizens and making celebrities out of intellectuals, instead of say, 'The Simpsons.' The worst of all is that 'the French elites' say bad things about America.

In his last paragraph, Mr. Goldberg admits that he has grown weary of years of endless French-bashingphoto: fete forain, tuileries because he thinks he has been at it so long without managing to change any 'American liberal cosmopolitan' opinions.

On top of it, France shrugs it all blithely off by increasing its number of cheeses from 200 to nearly 500 varieties, while enticing more and more Europeans and Americans to come to France to try them all.

Flying high on one of the rides in the Tuileries. Note the not-so-small ferris wheel behind.

Even though Mr. Goldberg is tired of French-bashing, the 'Is It True?' watchers felt that his latest effort falls far short of his customary low standards because it is so repetitive and so patently worn out.

I felt the same way, and suggested four other countries that it might be fun to 'bash,' but the group surprised me by picking Canada out of a hat when they could have had Albania.

I objected on the grounds that there is 'hardly anybody up there to deny anything.'

According to the 'Is It True?' gang, Canada is the pits because it sent William Shatner south to appear endlessly on US television. Worse, the Canadian actor Loren Green appeared more than endlessly, because he was on US television in two TV series' that were so boring neither had fan clubs like TV's 'Star Trek.'

What the American members of 'Is It True?' crew seem to have forgotten is both of these TV series were on view in Canada too - deliberately beamed north by the US - and the only way to avoid them was to take a Transatlantic escape route.

The Flat Hunt XVII.5

This little personal exercise of mine continued last week, mostly based on welcome tips and rumors, and unavoidable blind alleys and blunders. Some of these - either good or bad - may turn out to have real value, because looking at classified ads in papers or on the Web seem to be simply ways to spend money on useless sources.

But I think this must be as boring for you as it is for me, so I will not waste more of your time with it this week. Next week may be another story, but don't count on it.

Café Metropole Club 'Updates'

With all that's going n in the world these days, I can understand why you might not have had time to read last Thursday's club meeting 'report.' If this is the case, you can catch up with your club's news by hitting this link to the 'No Rules' Rule Kicks In' report and get up-to-date.

The coming meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 25. July. The club's 'Saint's Day of the Week' next Thursday is Saint-Jacques.

Readers who want to become real club members can scan the few minor details concerning this free clubphoto: sculpture garden, tuileries in 17 seconds by reading the large-sized fine-print on the 'About the Club' page and maybe scraping the virtual membership card off the screen.

Only minutes from the Seine, this cool oasis of calm is also in the Tuileries.

Joining is no more than easily simple. Do it by being here! Being here on a Thursday is the best bet. Keeping up with club 'news' is no great chore either, because the reports about it go online right after the meetings, right after I finish writing them slowly. You can read them in this magazine, which is online too.

Save 'Metropole Paris' as one of your favorite bookmarks to avoid mistyping its overly-long name every time you feel like reading a club report, or a regular edition like this one.

Metropole's Affiliates

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This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

Issue 6.29/30 - 23. July 2001 - This double issue began with the Café Metropolephoto: sign, paris plage column's breathless 'Bigger Yawn Than Last Week.' The 'Au Bistro' column raved about the 'Lost Rave Party Found.' This issue had no features of any kind. But it had updates for the Café Metropole Club meeting on 19. July, called the 'The 'Frites' of the Week' report, followed on 26. July with the 'Steamy Meeting' report. The week's 'Scene' column was headlined 'Something for You Rain or Shine.' There were four new 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned, 'Is It 'Ed?' The 'Ed' who runs these things two weeks in a row?

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago

Issue 5.30 - 24. July 2000 - This week's Café Metropole column was titled 'Two Tours In One Day.' There was 'FlashNews' update on 25. July about the Concorde's crash. The 'Au Bistro' column's headline was 'Friday Roller Rando Banned.' The Café Metropole Club update for this issue on 27. July, was called the 'No Doctors, No Lawyers!' report. There was an additional club page with the title, 'Non-Member Says Club Non-News Not Boring.' The 'Scene' column's headline was 'Paris In Deep Drowse.' The usual four 'Posters of the Week' were on view too and Ric's Cartoon of the Week had the caption of 'You Promised!' Have I heard this before?

Countdown To Real Soon

This feature has almost been elected as the most boring in the magazine. It would have won if there had been a vote on it, but it was suspended a whole week ago and it thus missed out on having its own 'count-down.'

As luck would have it, this feature's lonephoto: sign, rue malar reader, Jim Auman, has written to remind me and you that on Wednesday, 24. July, Alexandre Dumas will have his 200th anniversary too, and this is a whole two days away. According to Jim we should remember Dumas as being, "the author of the celebrated 'Three Moustaches' followed by a wretchedly forgettable sequel - 'Three Moustaches and a Goatee.'

As of this issue the 'days remaining' and the number of 'days to go' of this year 2002 are no longer worth counting up, down or sideways. Same 'carpe diem' for the almighty 'euro 3 signuro.'

Thursday, 8. August is expected to be the date of arrival in New York via Route 66, by way of Chicago from LA, of 28 or 30 teams piloting pre-war Citroën 'Tractions.' On Friday, the surviving 'Tractions' are scheduled to show off in a parade on 5th Avenue. Even though 'count-downs' are henceforthly discounted here, the first date is 17 days from now.

The Web site also seems to give Monday, 12. August as an arrival date in New York, so if there is a little confusion about this - is it 17 or 21 days? - it is not the fault of Mr. Auman, this feature's only reader and contributor.
signature, regards, ric

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