...Continued from page 1

Besides the purely literary aspect of Orwell's writing, some people are saying we are living in times that seem somewhat Orwellian, so you may want to refresh your memory, as a sort of reminder that the more things change, the more they stay the same for a far longer time than you think.

'About' Café Metropoleô Blanc de Blanc

A recent issue featured a report by Allan Pangborn about taking Metropole's wine to the 'Taste Washington' exhibition in Seattle, where visitors to the Moonlight booth had to stand in line to get a taste. Use this link to take you to the latest news about Metropole's sparkling wine, with vague links to all the previous 'news' about it.

Café Metropole Club 'Reports'

Click this link to last week's 'Somebody's Swedish Grandmother' club meeting report. This was one of those club meetings without any theme other than fun, just like all the rest of them.

The next meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 15. May. The Saint's Day of the Week will be Sainte-Denise, who seems to be quite unremembered by my ancient Nouveau Petit Larousse. She should be between Saint-Croix-Volvestre and Sainte-Enimie, which is a tourist centre in the 'Gorges de Tarn' - which Nigel said were quite a sight to see.

A few of the minor details concerning the club - not much more than the club's address is useful to know - can be found tidily grouped on the one-stop 'About the Club' page. The virtual membership card on this page may also be useful, but is not good for a discounted club membership because these are free anyhow.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

Issue 7.20 - 13. May 2002 - This issue began with the Café Metropole column's 'Roller Days Are Back.' This issue lacked an 'Au Bistro' column, but had a feature titled 'Oyster Opener of the Year, at the Foire de Paris.' The update for the Café Metropole Club meeting on 16. May hung on the quote, "Twice As Much Caffeine?" This issue's 'Scene' column had 'Wondering What Tophoto: sign, avenue du general leclerc Do Next?' There were four wonderful new 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's 'Cartoon of the Week' was inventively captioned, 'Get Ideas.'

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago

Issue 6.20 - 14. May 2001 - The week's Café Metropole column announced, 'Spring' Is Official But Short.' The 'Au Bistro' column's headline was, 'The 35-Hour Week 'Fiasco.' The feature of the week was titled 'Spring' Arrives In Time for Summer.' An email feature's subject was 'A Fragile Deux-Chevaux,' by Dana Shaw. The Café Metropole Club update for this issue on 17. May had some sort of 'Nobody Is Perfect' report. The 'Scene' column headline was, 'Dithering While Events Roll On.' There were the four new 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon warned, "Don't Trip Over a Pigeon" This issue's Photo Page featured 'The Fontaine des Mers.'

Short Countdown to 'Mardi Noir'

This 'Mardi Noir' is scheduled for tomorrow, Tuesday, 13 May - so you won't need to use all of your fingersphoto: bee people in luxembourg 'counting-down.' This is an item that should be in the 'Au Bistro' column - or in the 'Scene' column if you think of it as a cultural event - but is here because it is almost right now.

Just when you aren't expecting them, the 'bee people' show up.

Le Parisien's preview of it starts off with, "Not since 1995..." This is a reference to what happened in November of 1995, the last time a conservative government tried to fiddle around with the way pensions are handled in France. What happened back then was massive strikes by just about everybody except those who are so well-fixed that they couldn't care a fig for their state retirement pensions.

So then, to be on strike on 'Mardi Noir' - the métro, the buses, the RER trains and all SNCF operations except for the Eurostar. Air traffic will be affected, but intercontinental flights should be normal. Teachers will be on strike too, so the Parisien suggests that everybody with kids should stay home. The strikes will be France-wide to ensure that the government gets the message.

The strikes will not be total. For example, maybe one out of three or four métro trains may be running on any given line. Because of the irregularity, rides are free, if you can get on a train. It is also expected that there will be some form of street demonstrations, but there are no details in the paper.

For the first time I can remember, the SNCF has taken a full page ad in Le Parisien that details which of its services will be operating, plus how frequently, with the numbers of the trains and their departure times, both to and from Paris.

Bernard Thibault, head of the powerful CGTphoto: sign, passage interdit, attention abeilles confederation of unions, foresees that private sector employees will take part in the strikes too. For example, some banks may be closed. The latest polls show that public opinion is even more against the pension 'reforms' now than it was in the winter of 1995.

If you are inconvenienced, just remember that this national 'Black Tuesday' has already started this evening, and will be over by tomorrow evening. There is no need to write to ask if this particular strike is still happening.

For fans of European centennials of any sort, the number of days left this year is 232. This may seem like a longish time until 2004, but it is no time at all until summer, which is 'officially' only 41 short days from today.
signature, regards, ric

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