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While all public and private workers have been invited to the party, you may notice that members of five unions are on strike at SNCF, and two other unions have walked off the job at the RATP. Interruptions to public transport will last from 21:00 on Wednesday until 9:00 on Friday.

If you are enjoying walking around you may also notice that some bank employees are striking, some teachers, the EDF electricity people, various civil servants, La Poste, and France Télécom employees.

Finally, if you are feeling depressed and lonely, Thursday's hyper–major march is scheduled to start at the Place d'Italie at 14:00. If you see a huge banner with the slogan 'Augmenter les salaries, pas les horaires,' then you'll know you're in the right place.

Headline of the Week

The hyper–headline of the week from Le Parisien on Friday moaned, 'Et ça va durer...' mentioning the energy, transport, building and agriculture sectors as suffering particularly from the cold, when many Parisians probably thought it was themselves. The problem, said the paper, is that the difficult météo conditions are persisting. This overlooks the real problem – it is cold and miserable. The good news is that winter is over in two weeks, calendarwise.

The Latest Café Metropole Club 'Report'

The last club meeting's 'Snowman of the Week' club report is less real than it sounds because the meeting really had no snowman other than the photo of one sent in by Linda Thalman. In principle there is never enough snow in Paris to makephoto, frying pan, cantal region a snowman, but out on the exposed plains of Essonne General Winter has more space for his white troops. Leaving the club via the Pont des Arts, the dusting was drifting around just like on the steppes of Siberia. Brrrr.

Cantal region's big pan for big appetites.

The coming Thursday meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on a Thursday again. The Saint's 'Day of the Week' will be Saint–Vivian. This 'Saint of the Day' was a Roman soldier who was thrown into a freezing lake in Cappadoce, without a bathing suit. This happened in 320, and the same fate befell 39 close friends, none of whom became saints.

Some largely true facts about the club are available on the 'About the Club' page. The edgy design of the extra formal club membership card on this page looks as much like a membership card as any other scrap of paper, but it isn't. It is enough to be virtual, while the club membership itself is real and free too, which can be proved in Paris.

Telephone Submarines

For the third time, this is not about some old saint. It was on this day in 1876 that Alexander Graham Bell received his first patent for the telephone. Exactly 50 years later the first trans–Atlanticphoto, sign, caramels d'isigny telephone conversation took place between New York and London. If it was like typical mobile conversations of today, it probably went like this – "It's raining here, how is it there?" crackle–pop–fiss "Oh, it's raining there too." "Pick up a pepperoni pizza on the way home."

Club member, Jules Verne fan and New Jersey snow expert, Jim Auman has emailed new news about 'Télécom boats'. "Captain, the good news is that we're only a mile from land. The bad news is that it's straight down." Otherwise, the exhibition, 'Le Roman de la Mer' – aka '20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,' is at the heart of a really big show beginning on Wednesday, 9. March at the Musée de la Marine. The 100th anniversary of Jules Verne's death, on 24. March 1905, is a mere 17 days from now.

Today is also the 130th birthday of Maurice Ravel. This Frenchman is well–known as the composer of the ever–popular 'Bolero,' the 'Mother Goose' suite' and 'Scheherazade.' In 1905 a musical jury ruled him ineligible in a preliminary contest, designed especially to eliminate obvious nit–wits. Maurice went on to produce gems such as 'Alborada del Gracioso,' 'Rhapsodie Espagnole' and 'La Valse.'

Therefore we'll take today's 'Quote of the Week' from him too. "Of course, if I ever did a perfect piece of work I would stop composing immediately." Ravel died on 28. December 1937.

A Word of the Week

On this date in 1874 the préfet de la Seine, Eugène René Poubelle, decreed that Parisians had to use garbage cans with lids. These so delighted residents of the city, tired of the traditional stink since the Middle Ages, that the garbage cans were named after their inventor, Poubelle.'

Interesting Anniversary of Note

photo, sign, concours espece bovine, 1er prix, 2005This date, in 1524, is memorable on account of the arrival of Giovanni da Verrazano off the coast of South Carolina. Seeking the Northwest Passage, on reaching the Hudson River he immediately named the area, 'Terre d'Angoulême.' A bit further north, he decided to name the mouth of the St Lawrence River, 'Nova Gallia.' Verrazano was a Florentine, working for France's king, François 1er. Verrazano was later eaten by cannibals.

Today's Other 'Notable Dates of the Week'

There are only 299 days left of this year. This is exactly the same number of 'days left,' as at this time in 1933 when the name of 'Monopoly' was registered for a game. This is completely unconnected to the fact that this year has used up 66 days, the same number that 1966 had when General De Gaulle officially announced that France was to withdraw from the military structure of NATO, and US bases in France were invited to leave.
signature, regards, ric

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