horz line


photo, cafe st andre

Grog stop in the Quartier Latin.

Winter This and That

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 17. January 2005:– I had to look at tonight's TV– weather news twice. I have never seen a TV weather map like tomorrow's before. It made France look like a frying pan, tipped on edge on the stove, where the sausages were rolling around out of control busting all the egg yolks, and they were being blown from left to right into puddles of soja sauce.

At once, enough to make one hungry and very queasy – is the ship going to make it until noon? Not just scrambled eggs, but scrambled with everything, soup and nuts, in a hot, crazed mixmaster. My second look at it was no better at unscrambling meaning from it.

First off, there'll be a wind of 100 kph ripping un the Channel. Then some of this wind will be making a 30 degrees turn to the east, and blowing across France with gusts of up to 90 kph. 'Very disturbed' black – not just gray – clouds will be clipping along with the wind, and will be jetting rain on everything underneath.

This will hit the Paris area, maybe tonight, where weak sun will be struggling to show itself, and this is where the soja will hit the egg yolks, with some of the 90 kph winds angling up from the southwest. Look – if everything is going every which way on Tuesday, this is what I'm failing to describe.

In contrast, Wednesday will be simple. Out west there will be winds and clouds, and rain, but around here there will be some sunny periods and a lot of cloudy periods. Thursday will bephoto, greek food kiosk even more simple with flat blah clouds all day.

In the temperature department tomorrow should have a high of about 8 degrees, and then Wednesday will have a hump up to 10 degrees, and Thursday will be a notch higher again at 11 degrees.

Mediterranean food spot on a winter night.

There is no actual storm warning for tomorrow. There are no warnings for 'rotten' but this is what Le Parisien thinks we are to have. Just as well if the postmen aren't going to be delivering mail.

Café Life

Winter Comics Fever

In the darkness of January the interior of Angoulême in Cognac is brightened by primary colors for the 32nd annual Festival International de la Bande Dessinée – comics! – for four whole days – and nights! – of funnies.

This year's event takes place from Thursday, 27. January until Sunday, 30. January and will feature Zep, Scrooge, Dave Cooper, Hugo Pratt, Blake and Mortimer, with guest Yoshihiro Tatsumi, the father of the Japanese adult comics. Check the Web site for details such as the special air or SNCF combo rates for transport, lodging and festival entries. A simple three day entry for adults costs 19€.

Winter Camping

The homeless are sleeping all over the city as if it is a big, drafty living room. The other morning a young Afghan was on the sidewalk in the Avenue de Verdun when a policeman decided that his bedding was blocking the way to a telephone booth.

He gave the camper a ticket for 'camping sauvage,' which is probably illegal although you seldom hear ofphoto, creperie st honore this charge. The Afghan was apparently connected to associations who are helping him get legal papers, and did not get a fine on the spot.

Winter sales quick food booth.

However he may still get one if he gets a summons to appear at police court. I assume these are mailed out, and I know the camper gave the address of his illegal 'camping sauvage' campsite, but I really doubt that he gets his magazine subscriptions delivered there.

Digital Télévision Arrives

At noon today a button in the basement of the Tour Eiffel was pushed to launch Télévision Numérique Terrestre – TNT for short – to usher in the age of digital TV broadcasts. The tourist attraction also serves as the broadcasting antenna for Paris, but for the moment the new signals are experimental.

As explained on tonight's TV–news, manufacturers will use the signals to develop decoders that are necessary for ordinary TV sets to show the new channels. When decoders are available in March, they are expected to cost 100€.

Along with the new broadcasting standard, state TV distribution expects to broadcast 14 channels that will replace or supplement the existing five or six channels. The France–German cultural channel Arte will begin broadcasting around the clock rather than continue sharing its frequency with Canal 5. Additional programs that it once only offered on cable, will become free.

In principle the programs broadcast by TNT will be free, but the new transmission norm is capable of encrypting broadcasts for pay–per–view distribution.

Not much has been said about audio and video quality of TNT. Since no changes will be necessary to existing analog TV sets other than having a decoder, it is thought that the new transmission is merely a way placing more TV channels into an existing signal.

Zeppelin Reaches Japan

On Friday the new Zeppelin NT reached the Kobé region of Japan after an unconventional and somewhat roundabout voyage. The ship and crew began the trip from Friedrichshafen in July 2004, but had to interrupt the flight at Helsinki for lack of an overflight permit for Russia.

At the end of August the crew decided a flight over Siberia in winter might be dodgy so they took apart the airship and shipped it by sea from the Italian port of Tauro in December.

The 75–metre–long semi–rigid airship flew over Kobé for 40 minutes. It was purchased last March by the Nippon Airship Corporation and was supposed to follow the 1929 route of the 'Graf Zeppelin' to Tokyo. It is in Japan for the coming Universal Exposition which will take place from 25. March to 25. Septemer near Nagoya.

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