horz line

Batten the Hatches

photo, chez clovis, les halles, restaurant

A house of meat beside Les Halles.

More Speed, Speed

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 18. October 2004:– About six o'clock there was some very painterly sky outside my window. I was lucky to look out and see it because it didn't last long, maybe 20 minutes. There are skies like it about ten times a day but most of the time it looks like it is going to rain soon.

Tomorrow is supposed to start off with a gray bulge in Brittany. During the day this bulge will expand eastward, to cover the Ile–de–France and Paris and probably Disneyland. The good news is that warm air from the south is also expanding in this direction and it will help boost today's high of 12 degrees up to 16.

Wednesday will be screwy–weather day. Sun will peek out over Rennes and Strasbourg. Everything else in northern France will look like whirling technicolor silly putty, all mixed together to become a uniform gray mass of clouds.

The 'screwy' part will be the forecasted winds if they turn out to be like tonight's TV–weather news map. These will shoot up from the south along the Rhône, blast from the southeast towards Languedoc, slam from the southeast against Poitou and the Vendée, whistle against Brittany from the northwest and rip up the Channel as a southwesterly.

I don't know. Maybe there were a few extra loose arrows on the map. Le Parisien's map just shows lots ofphoto, metro entry chatelet blue–gray clouds raining everywhere. All of this activity is supposed to push the temperature up to 19 degrees too.

Thursday should be a bit more normal, with all winds coming from the southwest, the sun peeks in the same places as Wednesday, and with the temperature a more reasonable 17 degrees.

The sky may be a bit exciting for the next couple of days, if you can see it through an umbrella. The reward may be on Friday, when sunshine peeks become more general. Take care though – Le Parisien isn't predicting any temperatures.

Café Life

More Speed

Obviously driving without the aid of a speed regulator, Eric Clapton was clocked at 216 kph last week by vigilant gendarmes. He had his license lifted, and his wallet lightened by the law, and his secretary took over the wheel of the Porsche 911 Turbo and he continued on his swift way without having upset Michael Schumacher's long–standing record of 236 kph.

The next rapido victim was France's Minister of Justice, Dominique Perben, whose chauffeur was recorded as clippingphoto, barge, pont neuf, demo along at a ministerial 160 kph on the way to an union meeting of judges. On TV–news tonight the minister said his chauffeur could pay the fine – which must mean that he won't be contesting the radar speed trap.

One of the protesting barges on Saturday.

To drive the message home, today's Le Parisien has a victory photo on its front page. The driver is Sébastien Loeb and he's just picked up a World Rallye Championship as a result of a successful racing weekend played out in a Citroën Xsara on public roads in Corsica. Sébastien is also famous for doing a standing backflip, before swigging the victory Champagne.

Headline of the Week

Saturday was another banner day for Le Parisien with the headline, "On ment deux fois par jour!" They decided to tell us this after reading a book called the 'Psychology of Liars.' Turn the page and I find that we 'really lie like we breathe.'

Apparently the world won't turn right if everybody tells the truth all the time. Take politesse for example – it may seem obvious that wretched hair day of the year is at hand, but you must never say this no matter how true it may be.

France is a different country it seems. Without lying nothing would work here. Nobody could get a job, nobody could keep a job. Nobody would ever get a date, there would be no seduction, and grandparents would just be old people without relatives.

The hardest part of lying is the alibi. Here, many French are not all tht inventive, so some clever Joes have started up Web sites that promise alibis made in cement. For only 50€ you are set – you are not a cheap liar! – and to clinch it for another 20€ you can get the necessary corroboration by telephone.

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