horz line

The Big Mooo

photo, champion charolaise, cow

Blondes have more fun!

Metropole's Pause

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 7. March 2005:– After a bit of blue sky yesterday a bunch of familiar clouds have floated over our heads. The temperature is up a bit, perhaps hitting 5 degrees. It feels less cold but maybe the wind is less and it's all perception, or lack of it.

For the next three days western France will be blessed with some clouds and some sunny periods, and the daytime highs in Paris should be about 7 degrees.

Details don't vary much, but for here the small detail of where the crummy weather begins – to the east of Paris, or over the city – seems to be the sole variation that we can expect.

Tonight little pin–needlesphoto, pont des arts have softened into little drops of rain. The low later on will be 3 degrees and Tuesday's outlook will be decided by where the clouds are – most likely, further east. Wednesday might have the best weather of the week, but it will only be half– decent.

The way home last Thursday.

Thursday looks like it may be either 'half' or wholly overcast. Snow or sleet has been forecast by tonight's TV–weather news, but otherwise it may be half–sunny part of the time.

Frankly the base condition seems to be stagnation. Winter is just sitting here long after its welcome has worn out. There are 13 short–type days to go until spring's official arrival. Only 13.

Café Life

Metropole's Pause

Continuously published on an almost–weekly schedule for 9 years, Metropole is going to slow down for a few weeks. While this should be a pause for refreshment, it will instead enable me to create some new editorial products.

Nine years of production has engendered habits that are almost automatic. When a block of time for developmentphoto, rouge des pres, cow has been set aside it advances nothing if the 'posters of the week' are calling. Keeping up with 'news' is distracting when a long session of editing or graphics work is on the agenda.

Cows have holidays but not 'Ed.'

'Ed' will still be here to reply to your emails, and the Café Metropole Club's 'secretary' will continue to appear at the meetings and compose the club 'reports' following them. So, you are invited to write to 'Ed.' And all new and existing members will be welcome at club meetings as usual.

Keep an eye open for updates to this 'Café' column. Should some startling event happen, you may read about it here.

The Big Mooo

Down at the Porte de Versailles every year at this time, the beautiful cow show put on by France Farms Corp. attracted its usual mobs of Parisians eager to see their food living and on the hoof.

Cruel as it may seem, the French display honest affection for what they may soon eat. Show them a perfect example of a 'Blonde d'Aquitaine,' and they will pat its glossy hide as they mentally cut it up into steaks and roasts. Even little kids do not show the least sign of fear beside one of these 1200 kilo beasts.

Whether cows or steers, the animals act as if they are house pets. Constantly fed the best France can offer – watered, washed, waved, brushed and cosseted in mounds of fresh hay, these are the monarchs of edible animaldom. How fine to be warm in Paris rather than roughing it in some draughty barn!

In short, they looked tasty. I felt like Little Orphan Annie's fox of a grandmother. I looked into glossyphoto, charolaise, judging, cows eyes that weren't looking at much, calmly. How trusting! Even being led from bed of hay to the showring, they seemed to say, "Lead me to the butcher if you will."

Small folks judging the Charolaise.

I saw a sign indicating the biggest steer of the show that said 1450 kilos. But in the paper it says this was Pedro, a Charolaise weighing 1620 kilos. It must have been out at the weighing station when I passed. With 4000 animals it wouldn't have been hard to miss even an outstanding specimen.

Food items, both on the hoof and in the pot, won 3000 prizes. And yesterday, which was the last this year, there were bargains to be had – although I doubt many Parisians walked out towing a beef.

Pedro's owner said that as soon as the doors were closed all he had to do was convince his five cows to get in the truck for the ride home to the farm. Obviously French farmers have more than pickups, because Pedro outweighed the average small car.

Strikes of the Week

On Tuesday students are going to be demonstrating against the government's 'reform' plans and they'll be trying to break their score the last time they hit the streets. Shop workers may be on the march too, demanding salary hikes with '1400 euros pour tous.'

Wednesday is the day researchers have chosen to let the government know how dissatisfied they are with its plans for the future of research in France.

Thursday will be the high point of this lbor intensive week when just about everybody else will take to the streets to protest against the government's 'reform' plans for the future of the '35–hour work week.' Other targets of concern are the 10 percent unemployment rate and the extraordinary profits recently announced by several large companies.

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