horz line

Goodbye 2OO4

photo, cafe, st germain

Holiday season in Saint–Germain.

And Shut the Door After You

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 27. December 2004:– Oh, willikers! Hold your hats, scarves, gloves and run for the hills. No! Not the hills. Run somewhere else. Ding–dong! Alert Orange! Alert Orange! From tomorrow morning until 16:37 in the afternoon. Right here, in downtown Paris.

Tonight's TV–weather news lady announced the Alert Orange before giving us the satellite photo. Or, she said the satellite photo showed why there's an Alert Orange. I looked at it carefully for the whole 15 seconds that it was shown on TV. Actually, it looked like every other satellite photo that I've ever seen. It showed a big smaze of cloud that the weather lady said was full of... snow. SNOW!

We have an Alert Orange snow alert for tomorrow. Put your mittens on the heater. Get them ready to roll snowballs. Starting at precisely 05:00 on Tuesday morning it will begin to snow and snow, and if it snows really hard all day long there may be as much as 5 centimetres of snow lying on the ground by 16:37 when it stops. On hills it may be 10 centimetres deep, so don't head for the hills.

There will be winds tomorrow, possibly creating blizzard conditions. In the morning the winds will bephoto, twin marys of the year 90 kph from the northwest, 70 kph from the southwest, and 80 kph from the south. In the afternoon the southwest and the south will join the northwest, and all three will huff and puff together.

A pair of Marys, maybe sisters.

Finally, it will be cold tomorrow, with the high not expected to be more than 4 degrees. The Alert Orange is for the Ile–de–France and most of France east, northeast, and southeast of it. The Alps and the Pyrenees will be extra snowy, much to the disgust of skiers. The Riviera will be sunny, but hardly warm enough for prolonged swimming.

After 16:37 tomorrow afternoon, the weather will lapse back to its regular boring program. This translates as partly sunny for Wednesday, and a stunning high of 6 degrees. Thursday follows with mostly cloudy forecast, with a heatwave of 7 degrees. After the westerly wind on Wednesday, Thursday's is expected to be unknown, but not stiff.

Café Life

Better Late Than...

I explain below on this page that this is sort of part two of this long issue, so there is no reason for me to be late, or 'better than.' But I picked out a story about the funeral that was stopped be gendarmes last week. Then I wrote the bottom of this page and decided to skip all anniversaries that involved deaths this week. An attempted assassination doesn't count as a 'death.'

This policy was instituted, willy–nilly I admit, but now that it's in place it seems to me that the story, as true as it is, about the gendarmes who held up a funeral cortege last week, has no business being in this issue. I mean, we've got an Alert Orange after all. It's excitement enough for the week between Christmas and New Years.

Fabtastic Art 'First'

Well, it is a typo. But it looks like it suits so I'm leaving it alone. Matthew Rose didn't come here for Christmas and we didn't eat our cans of cassoulet together. Matt snuck out to an invitationphoto, eyeball of the year he had on Christmas Eve and I snuck out to one on Christmas Day. Neither of us had cassoulet.

So we got together to go out for a café the day after Christmas. Except that Matt said he'd make café, instantly, if I brought sugar for myself. I thought this was sensible even though I knew I'd get a lecture about the sugar. People who drink cola by the gallon like to lecture people who put a cube of sugar in café once in a while.

All the better to see 'thin art' – the eyeball of the week.

Did I mention that Matt is an artist? He is a painter who writes some times, and sometimes he draws with a pencil and colors with crayons. I saw him paint a mousetrap red once. He wrote a neat account of a pot fans festival in Amsterdam, but it didn't run here because nobody needs to know what silly stuff people are doing in Amsterdam.

Anyway, Matt showed me the stuff that he needed the tape for. Matt seldom makes 'a' piece of art. Usually he bangs the stuff out by the dozen, or the gross. In an evening, listening to CSPAN, he can make enough art to fill a whole gallery with art and have enough pieces left over to put in the storeroom in case of sell–outs.

We looked at a ton of this stuff. Then Matt held up a really thin, like a stiff spaghetti, piece. "This," hephoto, thinest artwork of the year said, "Is my masterpiece." I get it. All the other stuff was chaff, like gravel in a gold miner's pan, and when it was whittled down, this was the treasure that remained – the point of the whole exercise.

A true 'first' – Matt's 'thin art.'

"You want it signed?" he asked. Of course. Matt found a professional artist's pencil and cleared away some of the mess, and put the window shades up so he could see. Putting a signature on this artwork took more care than the entire rest of the production. I found a magnifying glass and checked it out. It was impeccable.

Here it is. For the first time in mankind's artistic history, Matt's 'thin art.' Start beating down the doors, start beating a path to the outer 14th arrondissement, start hammering on Matt's door buzzer. This is going to be big. Huge. Awesome. This is hand–made, in Paris, by an artist living in a garret. I can't write 'starving' because Matt still has the can of cassoulet. But remember you saw it here first, exclusive in Metropole.

'Grande Nuit'

Once again the same folks who brought you New Years Eve 1999, thinking it was the end of a millennium, will be backsign, grande nuit, 31 dec with a replay of the 'Grande Nuit' program, set to commence at 17:00 on Friday, 31. December. Starting at this time public transport in Paris is free. FREE! And it stays free until you get home if it's before noon – 12:00 – on Saturday, 1. January 2005.

Free public transport would be worthless on New Years Eve if the transport stopped at the regular time of 01:00. Part two of the 'Grande Nuit' program consists of operating Métro lines 1, 2, 4, 6, 9 and 14 between 01:15 and 05:35. RER lines 'A' and 'B' back up the Métro, with RER 'C' running everywhere except in the centre of the city, between Invalides and Gare d'Austerlitz.

Finally, to close any gaps, there will be three times as many night buses in operation. These will be departing every 20 minutes from Porte Maillot, Saint–Lazare, Gare de l'Est, Vincennes, Gare de Lyon, Place d'Italie, Porte d'Orléans and Montparnasse – to go out to the boonies.

Kaboom! Fireworks!

The New Years Eve fireworks are traditionally fired off from the Tour Eiffel on Bastille Day, which is in the summer on 14. July. This year, for the first time since New Years Eve 1999, the city plans to exceptionally pulverize a ton of explosives on 31. December. The launch pad will be the Tuileries, near Concorde, which will light up the big ferris wheel twirling around there – which is news to me.

If you go to see the eight–minute show you are supposed to remember that Paris is a candidate to host the Olympics in 2012. The actual purpose of the rare display is to get a video of Paris' fireworks broadcast by world media on New Years Eve, to compete with rocket shows from Sydney, London and Berlin. But, hey! if this is what it takes – Parisians love to have their taxes blown up for a good cause.

Hey! New Year!

Yes readers, it is once again the time of year between the Christmas and New Years time of year. This is alsophoto, crepes, fine dining still issue 9.52, which means it is the long last issue of 2004, as well as the longest issue of the year on account of the years' 53rd week this week. Planning ahead is not my forte so I do not know what to call this semi–issue other than the name it already has.

Discerning diners at a popular Saint–Germain resto.

Since it is the Christmas time of year, between Christmas and New Years, here's wishing everybody a grand fête and safe home, and I hope you enjoy some more of the old movies. They are being shown here too. I was thinking of you all as I watched Laurel and Hardy in the 1933 classic, 'Les Compagnons de la Nouba.' I skipped 'Boeing Boeing' and 'La Boum' even though 'Les Compagnons de la Nouba' was short. Happy New Year!

Shopping & Soldes d'Hiver Alert V

Last chance Sunday shopping is definitively over for this Christmas season, except for making exchanges. For later, for more real shopping, the official word is that the coming Soldes d'Hiver will begin on Wednesday, 12. January and continue for a bit more than five weeks until Tuesday, 22. February. Bring your piggy banks.

Headline of the Week

Last Friday's Le Parisien wins again with its "Alerte au faux Botox" headline. Obviously, this seems to be Intox itself, an extension of all the other 'faux' that's going around or arriving unbidden in our email inboxes. The only thing better would have been "Faux Alerte au Vrai Botox," but it would have been too good to be true.

The Latest Café Metropole Club 'Report'

The last club meeting's 'Not a Peep to Tweet' club report is still frothy and warm. There were more than enough members present for the traditional 'Group of the Week' photo, with loads to spare.

The next meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, which is on a Thursday exactly a week after last Thursday, which puts it in the position as the day before New Years Eve. The Saint's 'Day of the Week' will be Saint–Roger. I am not making this saint up. This Rogerphoto, 2nd turkey of the year was, in the Middle Ages, bishop of Cannes, which is described as being in 'Pouilles, in the south of Italy.' It's the same place where Hannibal trashed the Romans, if you want to check it out.

Knife technique for making 'thin art' or turkey slices.

Other, less contentious blah–blah about the club can be found on the 'About the Club' page. The cutting– edge graphic of the virtual club membership card on this page looks as edgy printed as stunning online, and your friends will be suitably impressed. The club membership itself is absolutely free too, even if walking to meetings costs less than a taxi ride.

Metropole One Year Ago Is On Holiday

'Countdowns' On the Moon

The antique feature 'Quote of the Week' is back again for the ninth time in recent history. Here's another smasher – "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." This is attributed to Albert 'Smiling' Einstein, who was a well–known expert on miracles.

The Unique, Real, Actual, 'Countdown'

Seven or eight weeks ago, approximately, writing from then snow–bound New Jersey Jim Auman wrote, "The local weekly French newspaper announced the upcoming 100th anniversary of the death of Jules Verne. 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, free of snow at last for the past nine weeks, but for Paris this major anniversary is now as few as 88 days from now. There is rather less time to wait – only 23 days – until the first super– jumbo Airbus 380 is rolled out in Toulouse. Its first flight is set to take place in March.

Any Anniversary Today Is More than Enough

On this day, only an eon after Albania's only National Day, it is with great pleasure that I announce the birthdays of actors Michel Piccoli and Gérard Depardieu, for 1925 and 1948 respectively. Lest we forget, I toss in the birthday of Louis Pasteur too, because he was born on this day in 1822. Hey, hey, so was Marie Magdalene Dietrich, born in Berlin in 1901. Today is also the anniversary of the departure of the Beagle from Portsmouth in 1831, with Charles Darwin on board. Exactlyphoto, rudy the red nosed bear 28 years less one month later, 'The Origin of Species' appeared in bookshops and sold out its first printing in a single day.

Today's Other Extra 'Important Dates of the Week'

There are only 4 days left of this year. This is exactly the same number of 'days left,' as at this time in 1594 when Henri IV failed to be assassinated by Jean Chastel while visiting his girlfriend, Gabrielle d'Estrées, who lived in the Rue Saint–Honoré. After this event, Jean Chastel's life was not long and did not have a happy end. This is completely unconnected to the fact that this year has used up 362 days, the same number that 1958 had when France adopted the Plan Rueff– Pinay, which called for exchanging 100 'old' francs for one 'new' franc, and nobody knew what anything cost until the introduction of the 'euro' about 22 years later, and France became very expensive.
signature, regards, ric

horz line
Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
Metropole Midi © 2014
– unless stated otherwise.
logo, metropole sml midi logo No matter how good it tastes,
there is no such thing
as a free lunch.
Waldo Bini