"Rock of Cashel Set On Fire"

photo: corona terrace

This week's minor new 'first' is no 'Group Photo of the
Week.' This is the Corona's empty terrace.

Guinness Goes Goofy Too

Paris:- Thursday, 5. December 2002:- The big news about tonight's weather will be on Channel 11 in New York in about six hours, or at 23:00 Manhattan time. Mr. G. will rub his hands and say, "Hey! Didn't I say snow was coming? Well, here it is!" He said this nearly every night in early January of this year and nothing happened.

If it keeps snowing - now about four inches deep in Queens - the rest of the Channel 11 news crew will throw popcorn at him for only being off the mark by about eleven months.

Meanwhile, in the land of dreams, Le Parisien is being sure we know all about the great flood in 1910 - even Mr. G. wouldn't go this far - and how it lasted more or less for six months.

Today's paper even said that Paris' mayor Bertrand Delanoë has already ordered a fleet of flat-bottomed boats for pedestrians to get around. It didn't say what he's planned for bicyclists and the roller folk. I guess they can ride on the roofs of buses.

TV's France-3 weather fans can rejoice because their channel is back on the air after its 22-day strike. I mean, this is according to a France-2 TV news report tonight. Maybe this will mean that Radio-France International will quit playing funeral music for its worldwide audience.

As for the weather here, it is not good news. Skies all black mishmash muck, until Sunday. With windsphoto: joe fitzgerald from the north-northwest high temperatures are expected to be a lousy five degrees on Friday, then three on Saturday and Sunday.

As crummy as this may seem, it will be a heatwave compared to the minus-seven forecast for downtown Queens. Get out your Hawaiian shirts, get a ticket for Paris, but remember to pack gloves and bring a sturdy umbrella.

Instead of driving to get a paper in St. Louis, Joe walks around in Paris.

Other parts of France are likely to have snow at levels above 400 to 500 metres. While ski stations may go gaga with joy, there is also an avalanche warning, and travellers have been warned to be equipped correctly. I don't know if this means having snow chains for driving up hills or having hardhats for the giant snowballs avalanches produce. In either case - beware!

Today's weather in Paris has been blahhhhh. Last Tuesday, which I predicted would be worse - was in fact perversely bright and sunny just to upset us weather persons. But after a day of this, the correct forecast resumed yesterday with lots of rain. I guess this makes us even.

For reasons unconnected with anything relevant to this 'report,' I got off to the club early today. For doing this the Rue de Rivoli rewarded me with no sights. No posters. No demonstrations. No much anything and mucho de nada.

Therefore I decide to go more than straight to the café La Corona early and do everything routine very slowly. The serenity of this lasts exactly four minutes until it is exactly 15:00, and Joe Fitzgerald arrives.

Joe is from Saint Louis and joined the club in September although he claims it was a 'few weeks ago.' Anyhow, during that meeting a lot of regular members got upstaged by one of the club's new baby members, so it is only now I find out Joe lives in Paris most of the time - except when there is good weather in Saint Louis.

We talk about the exercise one gets as a matter of course in Paris. We usually walk if the distance is two métro stops or less, and if it is further, then there are the métro's stairs.

Joe says when he is in Saint Louis he forgets this immediately and gets in his car to drive threephoto: ed's cafe blocks to buy a newspaper. I ask him if there are no sidewalks there. I have heard that sidewalks are forbidden in some communities in the United States.

The secretary's cup of café this week looks oddly like the secretary's cup of café last week.

In other towns where there are some, the police harass pedestrians for walking on them. People stop to ask if you need a lift. "What are you, sick or something? C'mon, get in, I'll drive you to the hospital."

Here, in contrast, supermarkets sell water in six-packs and let you carry them home yourself. A European six-pack adds up to nine litres of water, which weighs nine metric kilos. Not many dogs even weigh this much. Not that anybody would buy a six-packs of dogs, not even in a hypermarché.

The second of today's members arrives. This is Ron Bristol who has just returned from discovering all of Ireland. "Dublin had sunshine!" he says with glee.

Equally gleefully, Joe says, "One of my ancestors set the Rock of Cashel on fire." I interrupt him to ask how to spell 'Cashel.' "But the king forgave him because it was an accident," Joe says, bringing the story of how he ended up in Paris to a successful conclusion.

The club's secretary is puzzled. "How do you set rocks on fire anyway?"

Oh, I remember now. Cashel was a place I stayed overnight one time because it was halfway fromphoto: design shoppingbag nowhere and halfway to Dublin. It was where I learned that pub closing hours didn't apply to hotel guests. I guess this was why I didn't see the 'Rock of Cashel.'

Ron tells me he found the Ryan's pub in Dublin I mentioned to him last week. It wasn't the same Ryan's pub though. Althogh all Ryan's pubs have the same name, they don't necessarily look alike.

Whatever it is, it was on Ron's shopping bag. Some kind of gnome wearing a dress.
Continued on page 2...
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