Metropole, 'On Strike!'

photo: cafe st malo, montparnasse

Early evening in Montparnasse.

Dumas Moves to 5th

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 2. December 2002:- The regular weekly meeting of the editorial staff of this magazine was held for the first time last week. Nobody volunteered to keep notes because the staff was in a snit, partly on account of never having been at a regular weekly editorial meeting before.

As well as I can remember it, this is what happened. Somebody - was it 'Ed' or Ricopicto? - complained bitterly about being called out on the traditional 'day off' on Tuesday - the last one - to work, when they preferred to be asleep.

'Regards-Ric' said he was going to take his world-famous signature elsewhere if the management of this magazine didn't come up with a retirement plan right snappy. He said he was going to bring up the issue of his current salary - or lack thereof - at the next regular meeting too.

The Café Metropole Club's 'secretary' grumbled about too many new members coming to meetings at once, instead of spreading themselves over meeting days when nobody shows up. The secretary also said the member-free days were fewer than specified in his contract.

The newest member of the team, 'Champagne-Ricky,' groused about not getting any free samples even through he doesn't drink. He said he needs them for his 'image,' and for impressing people who don't believe this is the only Internet magazine about Paris that you can drink while you read it too.

'Toon-Ric' did not complain as such. Rather, he wanted to know who had 'borrowed' his heirloom number six Rapidograph,photo: demo, tuesday and when did the management expect to fix the scanner? At this, Ricopicto jumped in to say he was 'working-to-rule' by absolutely refusing to photograph any more cartoons. "What's the danged scanner for?" he demanded.

The highlight of the week - nearly having 80,000 flag wavers in for tea.

The events column writer and gatherer of items does not have a name anybody knows. He said he was 'gathering,' but not writing because doing the columns has, as he said, 'become tedious.' Ricopicto jumped in to say he was 'working-to-rule' by absolutely refusing to photograph any more posters or department store Christmas windows. "What are the danged photos for?" he demanded.

The Regards-Ric who does the replies to readers' emails complained that none of them were crazy enough to be worth putting in the email column. "I absolutely refuse to do a column with readers' emails praising the magazine. They are certainly welcome, but we're not a bunch of apple-polishers here."

Everybody in the phone booth where this meeting was being held was silent - possibly thinking about the last time they last saw a polished apple - for a moment before Toon-Ric demanded, "Where the dickens were you last Tuesday?"

No doubt the long-suffering reader can understand that running a magazine about Paris is no piece of cake when each member of the staff considers themselves to be an 'exception.'

Near the end, they all more or less all wanted to know at once why the boss 'Ed' had spent most of all day Saturday wiring up his hifi instead of assuming some of these other personalities and cranking out Saturday's usual quota of 5000 words.

What could I say? Would they care that I haven't heard the thing for five years? Would they know I had to make the cables for it? Would they realize how tricky it is to fumble speaker wires from end to end so that 'right' goes to the 'right' channel and nothing ends up 'left-right' or the thing will pop its tubes?

As it was, they didn't care a pickle. The democratic show-of-hands they held went badly against mephoto: grocery, rue gaite with a result of seven to one. They voted to hold an unlimited one-issue strike and refused to return to normal 'working-to-rule' until each got his own polished apple.

A sometimes lonely grocery in the Rue Gaité.

For this reason, this issue - such as it is - has been produced by one person working alone without any aid from the regular staff. I hope you will understand this disagreeable situation. If not, please send your angry emails to our striking email ding-a-ling. See the 'mailto:' below.

And Now For the Weather

Tonight's TV-weather news has not been complex. For tomorrow afternoon the animation showed the sun winking from behind very black clouds in the afternoon. Same for Wednesday, but no winks for either day in the morning.

According to TV, Thursday will be worse, with temperatures staying even with Tuesday and Wednesday, which are to be lower than Mondays' high of 10 degrees. Except for temperatures of about seven for Thursday, Le Parisien thinks the sun will be winking then. I think not.

Le Parisien also predicts the status quo for next Friday, but tonight's TV-weather lady didn't want to even make a wild leap into the unknown and showed videos of cute animals instead.

Not that the past matters anymore, but it has been seriously raining here. If your bare feet are getting rusty, go into any shop and ask them to show you this fall's line of sloshware.

Last week there was an incredible 'faux-pas' committed here. Even if you consider that these 'faux-pas' are committed all the time - not unusual! - this was an exceptionally exceptional one.

The living person referred to in the last issue as 'a helper's helper of Metropole' is, in fact - um - a bona-fide Café Metropole Club member. He is Paul Susi, club member 323, who joined the club during its meeting in New York City last 27. December.

Paul himself is too modest to have brought this to my attention. Let me just note that there are some very alert readers in the neighborhood of Manhattan.

Paul has furnished the URL, like he did last week's, for Wunderground, which is one with historical weather info for French cities - day by day. If you don't find 'Paris' listed on this Web site, do not complain to Paul but send your hate mail to our regular ding-a-ling.

Paris' weather history is based on the reports from the France-Météo weather station on the modest heights of Montsouris, about 1.5 kilometres from Metropole's editorial office. Actually, it is somewhat further away on lousy weather days.

For a 'normal' month of December - I haven't had time to check this out on account of the current 'strike' going on here. See above for this December's real beginning.

'Changed Blues' Is Discontinued This Week

Not that I remember what this is about. My excuses - the Mgt.

Café Life

On account of our 'strike' by overly 'social' editorial workers, the length of this column has become so overwhelming that Café Life's Dimitri's First Car has been shuffled over to another Café Life page called Café Metropole Café Life 2.' This isn't very original but it is the best I can do during the 'situation.'

'About' Café Metropoleô Blanc de Blanc

Read more about Café Metropole Blanc de Blanc in this issue's installment of 'How To Become Known as Champagne-Ricky' by writing about a sparkling wine named after this magazine that you are reading right this very minute.

Café Metropole Club 'Updates'

Follow this link to last week's "Thanksgiving 'Icons of the Week' Return" club meeting report, especially if you are interested in club 'lore.' You do, after all, come to Paris for its rich 'lore' and it must be reassuring to know that your club has some too even if it isn't quite so 'rich.'

All the mundane details concerning the club - actually somewhat useful - are available for youphoto: alesia on the 'About the Club' page. If you think you need the virtual membership card, you can attempt to pry it right off the screen and keep it next to your loved ones' photos.

Dim days in Paris are getting normal no matter how early they are.

Joining your own free club is also mentioned on the same page. To save you a short hyperlink trip to it, all you need to know is - be up at the café on the Quai du Louvre in Paris known worldwide as the Café La Corona on any Thursday.

The coming meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 5. December. The official 'Saints' Day of the Week' next Thursday is Gérald. Nobody will put you down if you tell everybody it is 'Gérald's Day.'.

New readers of 'Metropole Paris' can save its URL as one of your favorite bookmarks to avoid snarl-typing its overly-long 'URL' name of every time you have an irresistible urge to read the club report about the meeting you attended, or a strike-bound regular edition like this one.

One-Time Extra-Special Offer

Is neither 'one-time' nor 'extra-special,' but is merely to catch your attention because the server-lady's 'Paris In Sites Newsletter' has not been plugged here for a long time, and my 'café-credit' for doing so has expired.

Linda Thalman serves no food or drinks, but runs Metropole's Web server. On the side she produces aphoto: window, bhvParis In Sites newsletter and a companion Web site. Hit the first to subscribe and the second to see the fuller Web version.

The Christmas windows at BHV are simple and tasteful.

Linda writes about language, travel, tourism news, events and stories from and about Paris and France. She also reports about her various travels around the world - seldom to ordinary places. The free newsletter is sent by email every month and is worth much more than it costs. The coming issue is currently scheduled for emailing on Tuesday, 10. December.

The Web site version is more complete as well as being 'in color.' However, I only get the café-credits for subscriptions to the newsletter, so please consider the perk-up 'color' that I will get from this.

Metropole's Affiliates

The current editorial 'strike' is also affecting the snail-like creation of the new page for 'Partners' of Metropole Paris. The 'affiliates' that were listed here are still reachable via the column on the left on the contents page. Watch for the 'Partners' page when it becomes available to serve you sometime before the next great flood.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

Issue 6.49 - 3. Dec 2001 - This issue trotted off with the Café Metropole column's '150 Horses, 'Not Found!' The 'Au Bistro' column was sluffed off in favor of something 'About the Club Meeting In New York.' Otherwise, this issue had no features titled, 'Is It True?' The update for the Café Metropole Club meeting on 6. December was calledphoto: sign, venetian perfume bottle the 'Prague of the Week' report. The week's 'Scene' column changed its tune, again, with 'One-Night Stand, Once.' The week's four new 'Posters of the Week' were on view, yet again, and Ric's 'Cartoon of the Week' had the caption, "I Had a Dream..."

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago

Issue 5.49 - 4. Dec 2000 - Due to passing a fruitless weekend - after the accident the previous Thursday on the way to the Club meeting - in a clinic in a woebegotten sector of the 18th arrondissement, this issue was a bit abbreviated. The Café Metropole column's title was 'La Rue de la Vie Is Bumpy.' This was followed by a bunch of useless nonsense, headlined, 'Mini-Issue - 2nd Week of 'Pratfall of the Week.' No features, no 'Scene' column, no Posters of the Week, no Cartoon of the Week and no recent past issues rounded off the near-non issue. It was pitiful.

Count-Down Continues As Dumas Comes to Rest

The number of days left to go until we get a new year, which will very likely be 2003, is only 29. This may not seem like many days left to go, and really isn't unless you are counting them until next Halloween.

The count-down that was - suggested by Jim Auman - has seen a successful conclusion. There was ceremony in Paris on Saturday, there was pomp, and a lot of Parisians turned out in untidy weather to see the final voyage of Alexandre Dumas to his designatedphoto: sign, italian egg, glass jewels eternal resting place in the Panthéon beside five other French authors.

Alexandre Dumas was born in Villier-Cotterets on Saturday, 24. July 1802. He died in Dieppe on Monday, 5. December 1870 and was buried, according to his wishes, at Villier-Cotterets. It took a lot of agitation by 'Friends of Alexandre Dumas,' the previous Minister of Culture Catherine Tasca and the Président of France, Jacques Chirac, to get him lifted out of his home town and planted in Paris.

Between the two dates above, Alexandre Dumas wrote 646 volumes and eight magazines. Writing too much and too popularly, kept him out of the Panthéon for a very long time, but his book sales are still clipping merrily along - more or less worldwide.

The historian Alain Decaux summed this up with a six minute speech, while the Président's took 15 minutes. This just goes to show that not all good writers necessarily need more airtime than politicians, even if they are both used to being on TV a lot.
signature, regards, ric

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