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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 that 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.

The Latest Café Metropole Club 'Report'

You can find the last week's 'The Club's 6th Year Begins!' club report online as the years ooze into the future. Nine membersphoto, carrousel, horses were in the café's 'grande salle' almost simultaneously, almost at the same time, almost at the same string of tables. A Kir Royal was the 'Drink of the Week' of course.

The coming meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 21. October. The Saint's 'Day of the Week' will be Sainte– Céline. This is yet another early christian who was Saint–Rémi's mom. He in turn, as Bishop of Reims, baptized Clovis who was the king, and was won over to Catholicism.

Hardly similar important facts about the club can be found on the 'About the Club' page. The grotty graphic of the virtual club membership card on this page looks several times better online than printed, but is free both ways. The club membership itself is totally free too, because nothing's perfect.

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago

Issue 7.43 – 21. Oct 2002 – this issue's Café Metropole column's title was, 'Drizzle On My Head.' A special version of club news announced 'Your Club Turns Four (Three!) – Whichever, It Only Took a Whole Year.' This was followed by 'Grape Days for Café Metropole, the World's Only Drinkable Online Club.' Actual content consisted of 'Le Mois de la Photo 2002' – More Cheese.' The Café Metropole Club update for 24. October was seriously called "A Complex Philosophicalphoto, sign, place joachim du bellay Question" report. There were four new 'Posters of the Week' and the caption of Ric's weekly cartoon was "Pure Breton Cola!"

This Was Metropole Three Years Ago

Issue 6.43 – 22. Oct 2001 – the Café Metropole column began with 'Hello, Goodbye – Indian Summer.' The Au Bistro column's headline was "Put an End To the Beginning!" There was one tiny little feature titled 'Maybe Not the Last Day of Fall.' The Café Metropole Club update for 25. October was a 'Rare 'Calm' Meeting' report. Another thing was called 'Important Club Alert – 'No Trick, No Treat, No Fooling.' There were four wonderful Paris type 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned, 'Euro–Alert for Robbers.'

The 'Countdowns' are Still Repealed

But this won't hinder the 'Quote of the Week' from appearing here. For the introduction I propose, 'A l'impossible nul n'est tenu.' Which kind of means you shouldn't expect the impossible countdowns to go on for ever. All the same, for hard–core fans, there are 32 days left until the anniversary of the Grand Banks earthquake, which ripped up a lot of Transatlantic communications cables in 1929.

Famous Anniversaries of the Week

In 1867 the United States took over Alaska from the Russians and in 1898 it acquired Puerto Rico, which wasn't quite the same thing. Pierre Choderlos de Laclos, the French general and author, was born 263 years ago and Thomas Edison died 73 years ago today. This is also the anniversary of the date that Louis XIV scrapped the tolerant Edict of Nantes, which had been signed by his grandfather, Henri IV, in 1598.

Champion rock and roller Chuck Berry was born today 78 years ago in St. Louis. At his high schoolphoto, poster, conciergerie, palais de la bd graduation dance he played 'Confessin' the Blues,' which was not exactly appropriate, but got him onstage where he has stayed, ranked number five on Rolling Stone's list of 50 greatest 'artists.'

October's 'Significant Dates of the Week'

On Friday, 18. October 1016 the Danish chief Knut beat up his Anglo–Saxon rival, Edmond Iron–Coast at Ashingdon in Essex. The winner was offered the crown by the Anglo–Saxons, to become the first Viking ruler of Britain.

My carefully researched history then adds that the second was Guillaume le Conquérant [ou le Bâtard]. As a Duc de Normandie it is possible that he was a Viking, but all my French history remembers is that he was famous for the Doomsday Book. As France seemed to have no books at the time, it was probably the best–seller of the century.

Today's Other 'Important Dates of the Week'

There are only 74 days left of this year. This is exactly the same number of 'days left,' as at this time in 1919, when 'Lucky' Pierre Elliott Trudeau was born, most likely in Canada. This is totally unconnected to the fact that this year has used up 291 days, the same number that 1860 no longer had when Lord Elgin ordered the sacking and burning of the Summer Palace in Beijing. It must have run in the family because his grandfather wrecked the Parthenon in 1801.
signature, regards, ric

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