horz line

Rollers In Buglise

photo, alley, saint ouen, puces

Slightly out of town, in Saint–Ouen.

More Longest Words

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 31. January 2005:– Watching the weather forecasts is becoming tiresome. Day after day Le Parisien's little weather maps are littered with black muttons. Or, are they sheep? Are they rain pigs wearing wigs?

Whatever they are, they represent dark clouds covering the blue winter sky, hiding its brilliance from our anxious gaze. Where is Superman with his x–ray laser–like vision to burn them away? What is the use of superheros if they are on holiday in Tunisia?

Tomorrow will not become famous in history for weather. The sky will be full of chaos in the morning and in the afternoon there might be tiny spaces between the dark muttons, for the sun to shine feebly through. Aside from this it should be fairly warm, with the high forecast to be in the 9–degree range.

Wednesday should stay aphoto, montparnasse on ice bit loose, with maybe about the same amount of solar peep–through, with a temperature maximum of somewhere around 8 degrees. The general aspect of Thursday looked so similar to Wednesday that I didn't study it carefully. Say it will be the same, including the temperature.

Ice times still happening in Montparnasse.

Should this sound morose, let me point out that the Riviera has sunshine forecast from Tuesday through Friday. Temperatures down there are a bit crazy with 14 degrees for foreseen on Tuesday, 3 degrees for Wednesday, and 8 degrees for the rest of the week. Offshore winds start at 100 kph and drop by 10 kph each day.

Café Life

Shooting Confirmed

It has been reported that a driver who annoyed a pedestrian enough and had his car knuckle–dusted, hauled out some sort of gun and fired at the pedestrian and another bystander who seemed about to object. The cops nabbed this wild–west type, reported to be 70 years old, and jugged him, making the streets in western Paris suburbs again safe for citizens afoot.

This was reported by today's Le Parisien in one paragraph on page 18, right after the paragraph about six cars being torched on Saturday night in Essonne. Police did not draw any connection between the various fried car locations and seemed to think things were quiet in the 'difficult cities.' Today's really big news was about the beginning of the Michael Jackson trial in California, and relaxing the laws governing the 35–hour work week.

Havanas Made in Normandy

Far more interesting than shoot–outs in Poissy, is the story about a dude named François Regard whophoto, cafe le grand coin hangs out on a farm in Normandy, not far from the Channel. François' dad liked Havanas and François got a taste for them, so after a huge administrative ball of wax he's got himself a permit to make Cuban cigars, for real.

The 'big corner' in Saint–Ouen.

With his customs permit he imports tobacco from Cuba and has set up one of his farm buildings as a rolling shed, or 'una galera.' Prime Cuban cigar tobacco is worthless without 'torcedores' to roll them, so François put in an order for Cuban cigar rollers at his local employment office.

They couldn't find anybody in France so François turned to another government agency, and after another huge administrative ball of wax he got Olga and Daymi, a couple of top grade 9 rollers from Havana. The two, freezing in Normandy, roll about 100 cigars each and then knock off to watch Brazilian novelas on TV for the rest of the day.

They make two models, the smaller 'Evita' and the Churchillian 'Maximo,' which are dressed with gold cigar bands and all the trimmings. They are priced at 30 percent less than cigars imported from Havana. François is so pleased that he intends to import the ladies' husbands, who are grade 9 rollers too.

Concerning the usual people who waste a lot of their lives complaining that France is too socialist for any of the above to be true, they are invited to light one up and take a puff.

Correction – Strikes of the Week

The three–day rail strike last week really happened and it may have happened to you if you were here. It was an unannounced strike, that happened on the spur of a moment, and it surprised union members, unions, the management, the government, the press, and of course, passengers with valid tickets. However it was unofficial, and wasn't meant to inconvenience your personal life. It was one of those random things.

Chinese New Year

The official date is Wednesday, 9. February and next year's official animal is the rooster. Several arrondissements host Chinese New Year festivities, which include the dragon parade, which leaves from the Hôtel de Ville at 15:00 on Sunday, 13. February. Expect parades on the same weekend in Chinatown.

Shopping & Soldes d'Hiver Alert XI

The Soldes d'Hiver have been on for weeks, but they continue for a bit less than two weeks more until Saturday,photo, bar, resto 12. February. Frankly, if you've waited this long you may as well put it off until the 'Soldes d'Et&eaute;' unless you really need a fur coat now.

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