...Continued from page 1

'L'explosion du cannabis' – is last Wednesday's headline on Le Parisien's front page, followed by 'Rambo s'amuse.' According to the paper more and more kids 'fument des joints' than ever, but is a bit unclear about 'since when.' The diagrams show the beginning age as 12 and the end of the scale is 18. I guess this is when they switch to wine.

On Le Parisien's pages two and three, 'le shit' is explained in detail, so all parents and their kids will be able to know more than they did before – which might have been nothing. There seems to be a flat–rate price of 15€ for enough hashish for four or five joints, or for five grams of 'l'herbe,' which is more rare.

The paper also says you need to be deaf not to have heard of it. The law says and has said for 34 years that smoking a joint in France carries the same penalty as injecting heroin – a possible year in jail and a fine up to 40,000€. According to the report, only big dealers really face this risk, with a possible two to ten years of lockup and a fine of up to eight million euros.

The Most Recent Café Metropole Club 'Report'

If you have a moment to spare take a look at the last meeting's version of the 'The Truth About the 15th Arrondissement' report.photo: 3d ric Most of the 'report' was about subjects other than the 15th arrondissement, but this is the title it got for lack of a 'Thing of the Week.'

The latest photo of 'Ed' – trying to read this with 3–D shades.

The coming meeting of the Café Metropole Club is on Thursday, 22. April. The Saint's Day of the Week will be Saint–Alexandre. This week there are two Saint–Alexandres, one plain and the other a '1st.' I'm guessing our saint is the latter, because his day is 2. May, and the calendar has changed a bit since 115 AD when Alexandre 1st quit being the Pope on account of his sudden death.

Some minor but important details about the club can be found on the 'About the Club' page. The virtual club membership card on this page is as free as standard air and valid for your whole lifetime, everywhere in the world.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago

Issue 8.17 – 21. April 2003 – the Café Metropole column's headline was 'Summertime Issue – Extra Early Special.' This was followed by the short 'Au Bistro' column's in only 9 words, 'Over–crowded Brits Urged to Move to Calais Region.' The week's features were titled 'Hawaiian Shirt Days – Capturing the Rapture' and 'Hawaiian Shirt Days, Bis – Third Summer Shirt Day in April.' The Scène column was online but unmentioned. The Café Metropole Club update for 24. April was titled asphoto: sign, place de l'odeon the 'Trendy 'Food of the Week' report. There were six new 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's cartoon of the week was captioned 'Hi–Lo Weather.'

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago

Issue 7.17 – 22. April 2002 – this week's Café Metropole column's was extra exciting with the 'Shocko Horror Election Show.' The 'Au Bistro' column was headlined 'Stupefication! Le Pen Beats Jospin.' The Café Metropole Club update on 25. April was titled the "I Just Want Some Red Shoes!" report. There were four really swell 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's cartoon Caption of the Week was, 'Non Vote.'

The Repeat of the 'Countdowns – Are Back!'

These are in this double–issue's Café column. Please remember to subtract seven from all 'days until' for the count–downs.

This Week's 'Countdown of the Week'

This is another timely contribution from Jim 'Countdown' Auman. He writes, "March 31 or April 1 marked the 800th anniversary of the death of Aliénor d'Aquitaine – Eleanor of Aquitaine – in 1204. The dates are a bit uncertain because they had to be translated from Early Medieval Sundial or Late Dark Ages Sand Clock – sundials were notoriously unreliable in the Dark Ages. She was buried in the abbey of Fontevrault – now Fontevraud – next to her husband Henry II. The abbey will host various cultural events this year concerning Aliénor and her times."

On account of the sundial problem, we can assume that today, 19. April, is close enough to 800 years later. Happy anniversary Aliénor d'Aquitaine!

Eleanor's first husband was Louis VII, to whom she was married at 15. She was from the cultivated court at Poitiers, and a bit pushy. She wasn't fond of the church so she got Louis to meddle in its affairs. Thenphoto: sign, jeu de longue paume she went off with him on the 2nd Crusade in 1147, and he failed to capture Damascus, while Eleanor was rumored to have dallied with a 'handsome' Saracen. Worse, he was a slave.

In truth, Eleanor had provided Louis with only two daughters, so Louis bought a local divorce from some tame bishops in 1152 – he the pious one! – and remarried twice, until the future Phillippe Augustus was produced.

Meanwhile Eleanor, over the hill at 30, managed to snag young Henri Plantagenêt. This united Eleanor's Aquitaine and Gascony to Henri's Anjou, Maine and Normandy, and on top of it Henri became Henry II, King of England in 1154.

If you look at a map of France at the end of the 12th century, most of it – much of the centre and all of the west – was under British control. Eleanor was born in 1137 and was 67 when she died. France did not get control of Aquitaine until 1453.

2004 Has Nearly Had It

If this year will be worth remembering is still open to question. The most we can do is hope it isn't. As of today there are only about 256 days left in this year. For over 2052 years – which amounts to, very roughly, about 749,021 days, Paris has not been getting any younger very slowly.

'Ric's Day Off' last week was so completely unremarkable that it isn't worth any remarks a week later.
signature, regards, ric

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