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Happy Birthday, Jacques!

photo, champs elysees, 26 november

On the Champs–Elysées on Friday night.

The Headline of the Week

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 29. November 2004:– Even if it is true you are not expected to believe that this years November weather is more November– like than many past Novembers have been. We have cold, we have gray, we have drizzle and rain, we have nighttime and daytime, and we even have some sunny periods although they are brief.

We have, in short, November's whole kit and caboodle of weather possibilities. It's refreshing to be able to tell you that weather can be as crummy here as in other famous crummy–weather spots, such as Brussels or Reims. Paris, when it drizzles!

So fine. After plumbing the depths down to 3 degrees overnight the mercury will bound up to seven degrees tomorrow sometime, possibly in the afternoon. Since it will be mostly cloudy in the morning you might not notice it becoming afternoon, when it will be almost as cloudy, with maybe some feeble attempts at semi–bright periods.

Tonight's TV–weather man said, "Be optimistic!" What else should he have said when Wednesday's temperature is not supposed to top 5 degrees. This low and nobody cares what the low will be. Most of France will be covered with clouds, with a narrow band sweeping from the Channel to the southeast where there might be some sunny periods.

All the clouds need to do is drift a bit further north, or the clouds a bit further north be a bit further south, and eh voilà, no room left for the sun to peek out, briefly or otherwise. Thursday is forecast to be plain cloudy, with winds batting down the Channel at 60 kph. Optimism holds out for a high of 8 degrees, and so does pessimism.

Café Life

Treasure Might be Right at Your Feet

I have often observed that one way of getting money in France is to simply bend down and pick it up. You can't dependphoto, cartier, champs emysees on this for a living but it has one advantage over playing the Loto endlessly: it does not cost anything to bend over.

In the last week of November 1997 a driver and his 26–month old son were walking in the forest of Montmorency near the Fortress of Domont looking for chestnuts when the little kid spotted something shiny. It was a piece of silver.

Treasures on the Champs–Elysées, right in Cartier's window.

Papa and son got down on their hands and knees and after digging around a bit through the fallen leaves and soft earth, brought 405 other pieces of silver to light, perhaps for the first time since 1651 – which was the date of the newest coin.

In addition to a few Spanish Reals, the coins were minted between 1569 and 1651 and they marked the reigns of Henri II, Henri III, Henri IV, Louis XIII and Louis XIV. The value of the coins was estimated at 250,000 francs.

Since the coins were found completely by chance, the man and the boy get to keep them by giving half to the owner of the land; in this case the mayor of the commune where they were found. This find coincides with the 900th anniversary of the town of Dormont.

But don't bother to bring your metal detector to France. If you are a real prospector, you do not get to keep what you find and the owner of the land gets nothing either – the state takes it all – I suppose on the ground that the French state owns it and all the air in the sky.

Napoléon Day Coming Up

This used to be an item further down the page in the silly department but the 'countdowns' got sentphoto, cirque car, peugeot to New Argentina, so I just want to point out for coronation fans that Napoléon's anniversary for his is next Thursday, 2. December.

Another treasure – Peugeot's 'circus' car.

Tonight's TV–news went out of its way to say that this is not a big occasion in France, and showed a reenactment of the battle of Austerlitz being staged in the Czech Republic with many uniforms, roast oxen and fire and smoke. It looked quite thrilling except for the part of showing a reenactment of an amputation.

You can ignore TV's wisdom and consult Metropole's Scène page for Napoléon events. I haven't done this myself recently, but I seem to remember that there were about three events happening in Paris or nearby.

Search Me

Try out the new search and site map page when you get a chance. The link to it can be accessed from the navigation line at the top and bottom of some pages.

Should you do a search for 'kitchen sink' in Metropole you will find the first occurrence of it in an old 'Diary' entry with a dateline of Monday, 20. May 1996. Out of about 4500 pages you can find other interesting phrases like 'bungaloo' in seconds. This makes Metropole suitable for playing parlor games along the lines of 'what isn't in here?' Please report all strange behavior – other than your own – mistakes, and bungaloos to me.

Headline of the Week

Monday's Le Parisien wins the prize hands–down again, with "Sarkozy: à droitephoto, narco, champs elysees toute" this morning. Nicolas Sarkozy 'won' the election to become the new president of the UMP party yesterday. He was already unofficial president because the vote took place last week, but there had to be a reason to spend five or seven million euros for a big party, to celebrate his ascension.

Cinema poster is for a movie about sleep.

If not 40,000, then there were 30,000 at Le Bourget yesterday. When Monsieur le Président Sarkozy took a tour of discussion stands, the crowds were dense. "Je ne l'ai pas vu," cried one luckless soul. Another shouted, "Nicolas, t'es trop petit!" "It's him, I confirm it," laughed a minister, "On ne le voit pas."

The Latest Café Metropole Club 'Report'

The recent club meeting's 'Our Men In Black' club report is still available, although tickets are going fast.photo, l'atelier du pere noel If the black hats find a big echo they'll no doubt be returning for a continuation of the popular series.

In case you wondered what Santa's workshop looks like.

The next meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, which is on a Thursday again this week. The Saint's 'Day of the Week' will be Sainte–Viviane. This young Christian saint can be remembered for being whipped to death on the orders of Flavius Claudius Julianus, who was quite young too, and did not have a 33rd birthday.

Other, somewhat dryer facts about the club can be found on the 'About the Club' page. The impressionistic graphic of the virtual club membership card on this page looks hardly better online than printed, but is not actually blurry. The club membership itself is absolutely free too, even if flying to meetings remains somewhat expensive.

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago

Issue 7.49 – 2. Dec 2002 – for this issue the Café Metropole column titles was, 'Metropole, 'On Strike!' A Café Life column was about 'Dimitri's First Car.' There was a feature titled 'Reds In My Street Wasn't In the Brochure.' For 'Wine News,' Allan wasn't on strike either. The week's Scène columns were repeats. The Café Metropole Club update for 5. December was headlined as the "Rock of Cashel Set On Fire" report.photo, sign, rue des glycines There were six new 'Posters of the Week' and the caption of Ric's weekly cartoon was "Ever Wonder About Retiring?"

This Was Metropole Three Years Ago

Issue 6.49 – 3. Dec 2001 – the week's Café Metropole column started with '150 Horses, 'Not Found.' For the curious there was something called 'About the Club Meeting In New York.' The week's Scène column was titled 'One–Night Stand, Once.' The Café Metropole Club update for 6. December produced the 'Prague of the Week' report. There were four regular Paris type 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned, "I Had a Dream..."

'Countdowns' Move On

The ancient feature 'Quote of the Week' is not back again for the fifth time in recent history because your editor completely forgot to 'borrow' a suitable quote. But I can't just leave you hanging here, so, "Those who think they know it all are very annoying to those of us who do" – which was said by somebody, but nobody anybody can remember.

The Only Real, Urgent, Actual, 'Countdown'

A couple of weeks ago, writing from then snow–bound New Jersey Jim Auman wrote, "The local weekly Frenchphoto, sign, rue gazan newspaper announced the upcoming 100th anniversary of the death of Jules Verne. But, in what is becoming more typical French non–reporting, the exact date was not announced. So, a trip to the Encyclopedia Britannica revealed that Monsieur Verne died on March 24, 1905 – not exactly a close, upcoming event."

Possibly not for New Jersey, no longer snowbound, but for Paris this major anniversary is still a mere 116 days from now.

One Famous Anniversary Today

On this, Albania's National Day, it is with great pleasure that I announce the birthday of France's Président, Jacquesphoto, xmas bunny of the week René Chirac. The joy is not confined to France alone or its overseas territories and offshore departments, because Jacques is also an ex–officio Co–Prince of Andorra. Jacques, like so many Parisians, was born in Paris. The ex–political science student is 72 today.

The Christmas bunny again.

A former street vendor of 'l'Humanité,' young Jacques had problems because of his lefty past when he later tried to enter the United States to attend Harvard University. However this was a minor annoyance compared to graduating first in his class at the Saumur tank academy, and then being threatened with a loss of rank when he joined the army. When eventually conscripted, with his correct rank, he volunteered for service in Algeria – where he was wounded. After graduating from the ENA, Jacques tried out working for the government as minister of finance, prime minister and mayor of Paris before getting the job he likes best, as Président of France. Happy birthday, Jacques!

Today's Other Additional 'Significant Dates of the Week'

There are only 31 days left of this year. This is exactly the same number of 'days left,' as at this time in 1314 when King Philippe IV 'le Bel' died, or in 1979 when Zeppo Marx did the same thing. This is totally unconnected to the fact that this year has used up 334 days, the same number that 1762 had when zoologist Pierre–Andre Latreille was born, or in 1975 when Bill Gates coined the term 'Micro–soft' in a letter to Paul Allen.
signature, regards, ric

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