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In case you have no portable with wireless access, the bus will have eight computers available for riders going nowhere except on the Internet. As mentioned before, the RATP's WiFi partner in this trial is Naxos, which is associated with some of the new technology's other big players.

Tabacs On Strike!

Today was the first time in the history of France since the invention of tobacco that 'Tabacs' have gone onphoto: trinite church strike. This was done by about a reported 90 percent of tobacco-product retailers throughout France to protest the government- inspired 20 percent price hike today.

The unusual move, partly in anticipation of a New Year's price increase of another 20 percent, was mainly because of the loss of revenue expected by 'Tabac' operators. Ones located in border areas are already suffering from loss of business on account of cross-boarder shopping.

The Sainte-Trinité church at the top of the Chaussée d'Antin.

Tobacco dealers also fear that the high prices in France will make it a target for black market suppliers. So far, customs authorities say most of the smuggling involves cigarettes going to Britain, but as prices rise here, France could become a major target. The underground trade could become so lucrative that dope smugglers switch to a product with lesser penalties than narcotics.

Metropole's 'Partners'

Metropole's .COM area is handily gathered on the relatively middle-aged 'Partner' page. Check out this page every week, if for no other reason than the 'Photo of the Week,' which it will only be on view for one week.

Metropole's long-time affiliates are on this page too. The Café Metropole sparkling wine is also on it, with a link to its own permanent About Wine page. Both pages can be accessed from the blurbs on the left, and sometimes right-hand columns, on many pages.

Metropole's 'mailto:' Change

The formerly new email address for 'Ric,' 'Ed,' and the Café Metropole Club's secretary remains ericksonr@wanadoo.fr Write if you find work - for me.

Café Metropole Club 'Reports'

Pop this link to have a look at last week's "Einstein is Worried About Us" club 'report.' There wasphoto: cafe metropole wine a largish turnout of members - some new too - possibly because they knew it was the club's birthday and the secretary did not.

Minor details concerning the club can be found neatly grouped on the 'About the Club' page, because there are no more than a few. The virtual club membership card on this page is still available for free, so long as you print your own. The card is valid worldwide 24 hours a day.

The next meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 23. October. The Saint's Day of the Week will be Saint-Jean de Capistran. This is very clever. The saint's book fails to mention this one at all, but puts him in another list under 'C' for Capistrano, while the calendar spells it without the 'o.' Maybe a reader can tell me if swallows return there on this date.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago

Issue 7.43 - 21. Oct 2002 - The Café Metropole column's headline was 'Drizzle On My Head.' Unlike this year, there was an article titled 'Your Club Turns Four (Three!)' And Metropole's wine was introduced with 'Grape Days for Café Metropole, the World's Only Drinkable Online Club.' The Scene column was replaced with 'Le Mois de la Photo 2002' - More Cheese.' The club's update on 24. October had the "Complex Philosophical Question" report. Therephoto: sign, rue de la victoire were four new 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon was captioned, "Pure Breton Cola!"

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago

Issue 6.43 - 22. Oct 2001 - This issue began as always with the Café Metropole column's 'Hello, Goodbye - Indian Summer.' The 'Au Bistro' column was headlined, "Put an End To the Beginning!" The week's feature was titled, 'Maybe Not the Last Day of Fall.' The update for the Café Metropole Club's meeting on 25. October was titled the 'Rare 'Calm' Meeting' report. Another club feature was titled 'Important Club Alert - 'No Trick, No Treat, No Fooling.' There were the usual four new 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's 'Cartoon of the Week' was captioned, 'Euro- Alert for Robbers.'

The Kingdom of the Countdowns

If you have the feeling that you are about to read the text below yet again and would rather skip it, this is your warning to do so. Only the numbers of 'days left' have been changed.

According to Jim Auman, Hector Berlioz, formerly known as the face and baton on France's last 50-franc note, isphoto: sign, pietons traversee obligatoire having the 200th anniversary of his birth on Thursday, 11. December. After not having found fame in France for his music, he died 69 years later, 131 years ago.

Jim added, 'Hector remains an outstanding figure in French romantic music. He was typical of the period, particularly in his literary interests. Beginning as a medical student, he eventually entered the Paris Conservatoire. During musical slumps he earned his living as a critic and writer, which won him few friends.' The anniversary is 53 days from now.

The number of days left this year is 72 - now a whale of a lot less than three months. Soon we'll be standing elbow to elbow in front of cheerily freezing department store windows gaily illuminated for Christmas, counting the long months until next summer, which might be as soon as 2004.
signature, regards, ric

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