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For example, their little booth area is a lot snugger that the rest of the bus shelter. If the wind isn't in the wrong direction, you'll be cozy. I couldn't figure out if the thing has a touch screen, so you have to learn how to move the heavy – steel! – rollerball, and which of the two buttons does what.

Even with my fumbling most of it seemed to work. I didn't try the email – the rollerball moves the cursor over a virtual keyboard, then you push a button to tap a key. The bus will come before you've finished finding the @ for the address.

But still, there they are. Like the bus shelter itself, apparently free. Waiting for a bus is one of life's rare opportunities for total detachment – but now you can waste it by doing something.

Home Sweet August

Before going on holidays you can ask the police to keep an eye on your house or apartment. The police willphoto: rollers wait for rando make a note and send patrols around to check on the doors and windows periodically to make sure they are safe and sound. It is a free service and I have done it in the past. At the end of the holiday the police make a report, saying how many times they've checked and when.

Roller folks at Gare Montparnasse.

Tonight, on the TV–news there was a short feature about it. They said 100,000 homeowners had used the service last year, and only about 300 of them had been burgled while on holidays.

Do You Know Your Local Paper?

I am cooking up a weekly column about Paris, which I hope to offer to your local 'community newspaper.' The columns will be about Paris, France, Europe, and the life here. Many trends affecting the French affect you too, and by reporting from here I hope to show that we are all getting bopped by the same, foul, balls.

Clues tell me that you live in areas where there may be others with similar interests – meaning – your local paper may want my columns. If you can, I will appreciate your sending me names of your 'community newspapers,' along with contact details, and the names of the editor, or managing editor. With your aid, with these in hand, I can make a pitch to the right address.

Although I will be seeking names of titles on the Web, your information could be vital. You know what your local paper is like. It will help my enterprise to know as much as possible. It will help Metropole too, because this is not to be 'instead of' but 'in addition to.' Write today, and thanks!

Summer Hits In France

According to Le Parisien that I borrowed today, this summer the French are going to cinemas to see Spiderman, they are listening to a guy named Peter Cincotti tickle piano keys, and reading Dan Brown's 'Da Vinci Code.' The paper claimed that it is a summer for American culture, and added that 'Harry Potter' has a lot of fans.

Headline of the Week

"DVD: C'est la Folie" was completely incomprehensible on Le Parisien's front page lastphoto: tango, quai st bernard Wednesday, but it's August. All the same let's give credit where it's due and note the paper's new word, which is 'DVDphiles.' If you ask me, I think they've spelled it wrong.

Did we ever have 'recordophiles?' Did we ever have 'CD–Audiophiles?' Well, if we didn't and maybe we should have, shouldn't the new crazies be called 'DVDophiles?' Last week the same paper was taking readers to task for getting ripped off by all the garbage they put on DVDs. The beauty of CDs was that they didn't hold excess garbage. Um, what's my point here?

The Latest Café Metropole Club 'Report'

Even though it's August you can still catch up with the newest "She had shoes on" report. This is what member Barbara Cooley saw while Ed Hurwitz was carefully driving through tricky traffic in Pigalle, not seeing anything other than a lot of wild taxis.

The next meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 12. August. The Saint's Day of the Week will be Sainte–Clarisse. As a saint, this one is almost another mystery. But, aha! the calendar name seems to be wrong and it should be Sainte–Claire. She founded an order in the 13th century with Saint–François as the patron, and it is they who were 'Clarisses,' so–called.

Other truly minor facts about the club can be found on the 'About the Club' page. The graphic of a virtual club membership card on this page is still tatty when printed, but is original even if it's free. Actually the club membership itself is worthwhile, even if it's free too.

This Was Metropole Four Years Ago

Issue 5.33 – 14. Aug 2000 – this issue began with Café Metropole column's 'Summer Arrives In Paris!' The 'Au Bistro' column's was titled, 'The Night of the Stars.' The feature in this issue was headlined 'Mid–August, Mid–Nothing – 'Dayclubbing.' The 'Scène' column was titled 'Some Paris 'Nightclubbing.' The Café Metropole Club update for 17. August was titled, the "I Didn't Come Here to Not Have a Good Time!" report. There were four 'Posters ofphoto: sign, bus m 6 the Week' and Ric's cartoon of the week was captioned, 'Leaving Already?'

This Was Metropole Five Years Ago

Issue 4.33 – 16. Aug. 1999 – The Café Metropole column was headlined, 'Two Cafés Less.' The 'Au Bistro' column was titled 'Boffo Turnout for Eclipse.' The issue's three features were 'The Eclipse In Paris,' 'Sunshine On Montmartre' and 'Art Marché at Edgar Quinet.' The Scène column's headline was 'The Rentrée and 'Paris 2000.' There were four summer–type 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned,'The Eclipse Is Over.'

Something Completely Different

For those of you who are interested in antiques, you can find the last version of the fabled countdowns here. Although I have promised something 'completely different' here for several issues, this page has grown too long this week to add anything more. In fact I am suspending 'Other Fond Memories' too even though it is a relatively new addition to 'countdowns.'

The fact is this space merely needs enough words to hold the graphic in place. If I hadn't already done it, I could just leave it out. So, without any more ados, let us remember that today is the 165th anniversary of the birth of Bruno Paulin Gaston Paris who was born in Avenay in 1839.

Gaston, as he was called, made important contributions to the French language by comparing its versification possibilities to Latin. For his doctorate he wrote a thesis about the geopolitical aspectsphoto: sign, fish bone rue daguerre of Charlemagne. 'La Poesie du Moyen Age,' 'Poèmes et Legendes du Moyen Age' and 'Legendes du Moyen Age' were all some of his more popular works.

This son of Alexis Paulin Paris, also a scholar of medieval French literature, died in 1903. Some of the information here about Gaston Paris comes from the 1911 edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica, which is no longer in print but might be available someday on eBay.

Nearly Yearless, Next to Nothing

There are only 144 days left of this year. This is exactly the same number of 'days left' as at this time in August of 1848, when delegates of the Free Soil–Party nominated Martin Van Buren for president at their convention in Buffalo, New York. This is totally unconnected to the fact that this year has 222 days remaining, just like in 1902 had when England's new king became Edward VII.
signature, regards, ric

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