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Nothing Happened

photo: sundown, pont neuf

Sundown at the Pont-Neuf.

Holy Cola!

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 10. November 2003:- Today's weather forecast is brief and simple, rather than long, complicated and tediously boring. Be sure to write if you prefer the latter to the former or vice versa.

There might be freezing fog tomorrow morning. The low temperature is expected to be five degrees, but it is supposed to rise to a relatively balmy 14 degrees. Morning partly sunny periods may dissolve into afternoon mostly cloudy periods.

For Wednesday we are looking at having a mostly cloudy day with a high of 12 degrees. Thursday is reversed, with a partly sunny day forecast and 12 degrees. Reverse both days and you will be unlikely to note the difference.

Bonus paragraph - the weather in Paris has been pretty good, except for a couple of unforecasted days with an easterly wind. Even they weren't too cold, so they were only uncomfortable on certain streets, or certain sides of some streets. And on certain exposed café terraces.

Café Life

Nothing Happened

This is what I have to report about last week. Regular readers will not be amazed at how much I will write about this. 'Nothing happened' is exactly what did happen because I spent a lot of time working on the parts of Metropole that are 'under the hood.'

Doing this is not only 'nothing happened,' but it is not exciting either. The code behind Metropole's scenes evolves - slowly - to take into account changes in the magazine's layout. Once the code is right for a specific page, then it can be applied to all similar pages. In theory, it is simply applying 'cut-and-paste' to nine other pages.

It is amazing how magical 'cut-and-paste' can be. It saves so much time. But if it's so foolproof, why do so many basically identical pages look different? Does something fall though the cracks between the 'cuts' and the 'pastes?' In theory, no, but each page has to be proofed 'just-in-case,' and each often needs correction.

This is not exciting stuff and it goes on for hours, days, months and so on. As a reward, I took myself to the café Bouquet last Wednesday for 60 minutes of 'Café Life.' But all the other Daguerréotypistas decided that last Wednesday was an evening to take off from 'Café Life,' so I had a solo version. It was not overly exciting.

Dennis Gets Sold-Out

The Cinémathèque Français at Trocadéro is just ending a month-long Ingmar Bergman film festival. Yesterday Dennis wanted to see one of the only Bergman films he hasn't already seen. Before going he called to suggest 15 minutes of 'Café Life' in the Rendez-Vous after the film.

I decided to meet him because I was working on this week's 'Noël 2003' version of the Scène column, and figured I would be in a big mess by the agreed time. The time came - sooner than expected - and I was past ready for a welcome break.

Of course there was no Dennis in the Rendez-Vous. With 'Paris Rules' no one ever worries aboutphoto: dennis, laurel and hardy photos this - hitting a time within 30 minutes is 'on time.' He did better than this and had quite a bit to say about the film, without having seen it.

Dennis shows off his latest Laurel and Hardy photos.

He got to the Cinémathèque the standard 15 minutes early, only to discover that every Bergman fan in Paris had decided to see 'Das Schlangenei' on Sunday afternoon too. He stayed in line until the cinema was full, and the left-overs were told to go home. So he went home and read a book.

The listing in Pariscope of the films playing in Paris cinemas last week is 55 pages long. Eight new movies started, mostly last Wednesday, and joined 180 other first-run films.

Dennis never goes to any of these. If a film is still getting good reviews when it is 20 years old, then he'll watch out for it at the Cinémathèque, or at any of the several other cinemas that specialize in golden oldies.

He said that Dimitri will be glad the Bergman Festival is over. Dimitri doesn't like going to movies to get depressed on Sundays. Since he hadn't seen 'Das Schlangenei,' Dennis ordered another Côtes-du-Rhône and the 15 minutes turned into 90.

After getting home, my film-life consisted of taping the 1952 version of 'Moulin Rouge' by John Huston, with José Ferrer, Colette Marchand and Zsa Zsa Gabor. The titles were in English, but the sound track was in French. For the small bit I watched at the beginning, the spoken French seemed appropriate.

Holy Cola!

Many may have overlooked an item thrown into the news hopper by Agence- France-Presse aboutphoto: rue emile richard two weeks ago. The newsagency reported that some very clever businessmen launched a new brand of cola drink, called 'Salam Cola,' just in time for holy month of Ramadan - when practising Muslims do not eat or drink anything during daylight hours.

The new soft drink is bottled in northern France, but it is on the shelves in cans in Holland, and has been on sale in Belgium for the past several weeks. Demand is supposed to have outrun the supply.

The leaves on these trees in the city are doing a lot of nothing too.

'Salam' means 'peace' in Arabic, while the American version means 'coke.' The new soft drink is far from alone in the field in France because it will face the somewhat more experienced 'Mecca Cola' that has been on sale here since the end of 2002 - but has not yet arrived in grocery stores in the Rue Daguerre.

Cola fanciers are now eagerly waiting for the Pope to give the go-ahead for 'Holy Cola.' Or maybe it will be 'Polish Cola.' And what about Paris - is there a 'Paricola' waiting to be sprung on an unexpectant public?'

Whatever happens, none of these new colas or the established ones will mix well with the Daguerréotypistas' own made-at-home Buffalo-Grass Vodka. The Daguerréotypistas may salute Cuba, but they're not inclined to drink it.

Shirley and Dino

This couple does a burlesque act that looks like it escaped from a '50s show that was put into a '70s museum. Shirley and Dino are phenomenal, according to Le Parisien. Until Sunday, 18. January, from Tuesday to Saturday at 20:30, and at 15:00 on Sunday. At the Théâtre de Paris, 15. Rue Blanche, Paris 9. Métro: Trinité. InfoTél.: 01 48 74 25 37. Shirley and Dino's real names are Corinne and Gilles.

Metropole Becomes 'Shareware'

Generous readers who have already sent their welcome 'shareware fees' towards the upkeep of this magazine should ignore this, and skip to the next exciting section of this 'Café' page.

For readers who are unaware of this subject, as treated in recent issues, here is what it is about. The 'Ed' of this magazine has no competence whatsoever as a businessman - which is considered 'only normal' by my expert consultant who thinks most publishers couldn't get jobs sweeping up fallen leaves even if they had magnetic brooms.

But this magazine's 'Ed' is firmly convinced that Metropole Paris is, in fact, worth paying for, especially by its readers - just as if they, you, whoever, read a bit of it on a magazine rack, and then forked over $6 to take it away. But there is no sign on it anywhere saying 'pay $6,' take it home, and use it to wrap up old fish bones when you are through with it.

The reason there is no price sticker is because the WorldWideWeb is not a magazine rack. However, having the magazine online hasphoto: not $5, shareware distinct advantages. You can read the latest issue whenever you feel like, wherever in the world you feel like. You can read back issues, ditto, ditto. There is nothing to boggle your trash with, unless you've printed out one of the 'Scène' columns - which you are also free to do.

So then, in order to keep Metropole Paris online and maintain its ability to put up a new issue occasionally, you are being asked to pay a 'shareware' fee. This is method used by independent software authors. If you use the software, you are asked to contribute to support its continued development. If the software is useful for you, it is in your obvious self-interest to do.

Also obviously, if you no longer read the magazine, you have no self-interest involved in its continued existence. It's like declining to buy any more copies of 'Parents Magazine' after all your kids have their doctorates and nifty certificates to prove it.

All of this is by way of saying that you are not expected to 'donate' anything to 'Ed.' Nobody is suggesting that you pay for a subscription for secret-code access to some special part of the magazine either. Metropole remains a single version magazine with unlimited access for all. The Café Metropole Club remains just as free as it's always been.

'Keeping Metropole flying' is simple. You can add your contributions today by hitting this link to the new 'support' page.

When you switch to this page, there is another pitch. You can skip it. About halfway down the page you will find a link to 'Kagi' - Metropole's software retailer - after the headline beginning, 'Contribute.' Hitting this will bring up the page they've created for Metropole. Then just add the amount you want to contribute to support the 'shareware' version of Metropole.

The rest of the procedure is like buying anything else via the Internet, but with one difference. You can voluntarily contribute any amount you feel like to support Metropole. Whatever it is, you'll get 'Ed's 'thanks' in a return email. If you don't, complain to 'Ed' by using the email address below.

Metropole's 'mailto:' Change

The changed email address for '' and the Café Metropole Club's secretary is ericksonr@wanadoo.fr. If you have noted it in your address book since last June, you have the correct address. If not, all emails sent to me are going into outer space, along with a lot of spam.

Café Metropole Club 'Reports'

Use your cursor to hit this link to have a look at last week's 'Cappuccino of the Week' club 'report.' There was a terrific turnout of members, some of whom stayed for the meeting.photo: fiat 500 of the week Walter was unable to send the great photos he took with his portable phone, so the 'report' only contains normal ones.

This week's only 'Fiat 500 of the Week.'

Minor details concerning the club can all be found grouped on the 'About the Club' page, because there are no more than a few even if there is room for more. The virtual but tattered club membership card on this page is available for free, so long as you print it yourself. The card is good worldwide, but super-valid in Paris.

The next meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 13. November. The Saint's Day of the Week will be Saint-Brice. There are two of these in the Saint's book. One is Saint-Brice-en-Coglès and the other is Saint-Brice-sous-Forêt. But the real Saint-Brice died in 444 and was the Bishop of Tours, which is not near either of the other Saint-Brices, I think.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago

Issue 7.46 - 11. Nov 2002 - This issue's Café Metropole column began with the weather, followed by 'Bon Anniversaire Dimitri!' Metropole's wine was featured again with, 'Winery's Truck Falls Ill.' The Scene column changed to 'Noël 2002,' with the 'Not Quite the Full Program.' The other, repeat, feature was 'Le Mois de la Photo 2002' - The Mid-November of the Photo.' The club's update onphoto: sign, metro falguiere, 150 m 14. November was headlined the 'Best Crêpe Stand in France' report. There were four new 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon was captioned, 'Since You Asked.' Oh?

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago

Issue 6.46 - 12. Nov 2001 - This issue was launched with the Café Metropole column's 'The Buffalo Grass Rip-Off.' The 'Au Bistro' column was replaced with non-news titled, 'Underground' Rises to Surface In Paris - More Freakin' Freaks.' The week's feature was 'absent' - not here, no show. The update for the Café Metropole Club's meeting on 15. November was titled the 'Beaujolais Nouveau Day of the Year' report. The Scene column's title was 'With the Year's Final Events Again.' There were four new 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's 'Cartoon of the Week' was captioned, "HEY MAN!" All in all, a skimpy issue was had by all.

The Pit of the Countdowns

For the regular version of this hugely popular feature, turn to the last Café page with it, and subtract 21 days from all numbers except the anniversary dates. If these have expired, and you are still at loose ends, begin counting-up.

Toussaint Round-Up

For last week's return weekend of the Toussaint holiday, the government had its robot speeder detectors in place in time. From Friday to Monday the robots clocked 4400 over-fast drivers, took their photos, looked up their names and addresses, and everybody who hadn't given fake names and addresses got their speeding convictions in the mail, plus had 'points' deducted from their licences.

Today the government is reporting that fatal road accidents dropped 24 percent in October. But the governmentphoto: sign, carrefour de la croix rouge is not saying a lot about the robot speed detectors that have been vandalized. A police spokesman explained that shooting out their lenses is futile, because they are so high-tech, or bulletproof. Some vandals have realized this, and have wrapped up the robots with masking tape instead.

The government is pretending not to worry about this lack of civicism. It was counting on the income from the initial robot speed detectors to finance the cost of the thousands of others it hopes to place behind every curve and handy bush.

FlashNews - tonight's TV-news reported that the Minister of Transport was recorded as speeding - a couple of weeks ago while on the way to the official inauguration of the robot speeder detectors. His official minister's car was clocked at 98 kph in a 90 kph zone.

To change the subject, the number of days left this year is only 51 - a great many fewer than last week. Much sooner than we expect we'll be thinking about standing elbow to elbow in front of cheerily freezing department store windows gaily illuminated for Christmas. In fact, we can do this now. The only thing lacking is the 'freezing.'

In another long wink of an eye we'll be able to skate on a frozen rink in front of the Hôtel de Ville, or the one in front of the Gare Montparnasse. Just imagine, all the roller folks have to do is switch their blades to wheelies, and they can skate straight from the rink to the Friday Night Roller Rando.
signature, regards, ric

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