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It may seem strange outside of France and it may not be tidy, this extra–parliamentary opposition, but it works. It is so common that it is nearly possible to correctly guess the outcome.

But nobody ever blames a government for causing the street demonstrations, or for transport strikes, or for schools closed by striking teachers or students, or both. It's always the fault of the French – not their government, not even if many of its members are graduates of the administrative schools.

Let's face it, the French like giving authorities the finger. If they didn't have this outlet, they might turn to revolution.

New 'Last Supper' Banned

A Paris court listened to France's bishops last week and banned an reenactment of Leonardo da Vinci's painting, commonly known as 'The Last Supper.' The new image, a photograph of lady models – and one gent – wearing the latest styles of creators Marithé et François Girbaud, was banned because it caused 'injury' a group because of their adherence to a specific religion, specifically Catholicism.

This was the second court hearing. The bishops failed on the first round in court because they forgot to targetphoto, la coupole, montparnasse the poster distributor – the only way to stop distribution. The victory might be a bit hollow because the ban only applies to the one poster on view, on the Avenue Charles–de–Gaulle, in Neuilly.

The bishops' lawyers argued that the photograph indecently attributed a 'mercantile' character to a fundamental element, for Catholics, of Christ's last supper. The defense thought that the ban displayed excessive censorship, as it was based on a mere episode.

In fact, the offensive advertising photograph is based on a painting done 1466 years after an event that might have happened in 32 AD, for which there are no living or disinterested witnesses. The court must have been having a off day.

Metropole's Pause

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

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

Headline of the Week

There were several award–winning headlines of the week in Le Parisien but my favorite was, 'Stop ou encore?' This appeared on Thursday before the day's mobilization score for demonstrations was known. The question posed was whether the government would make a 'gesture' or not, to avoid replays. It did and now we are waiting for what comes next.

The Latest Café Metropole Club 'Report'

The most recent club meeting's 'It's Got Good Water' club report is totally apt, being as it is an appreciation of the beer in the club's café. The same could be said for the club's wine except that it's so dark red that it's impossible to tell if there's any water in it. Most members seldom mention it, preferring café.

The next Thursday meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on a Thursday as usual. The Saint's 'Day of the Week' will be Saint–Patrick. This week's 'Saint of the Day' was born in Wales, stolen by pirates, enslaved on Ireland on a pig farm, but managed to escape to France where he learned how to be a priest at Auxerre. Then he went back to Ireland to convert the pagans by using the three–leaf clover as a metaphor for the Trinity. Patrick even brought reason to Druids, no small feat. He died at 80 in 461, and pagans still drink to his memory every 17. March, except they don't do it with Absinthe because it was banned on Patrick's Day, 1915.

Less accurate but true facts about the club are available on the 'About the Club' page. The edgy design of the somewhat sketchy club membership card on this page looks as much like a membership card as any prize boxtop,photo, plate, breakfast but is isn't. It is sufficient to be virtual, while the club membership itself is free and real too, which can be proved in Paris.

How Hockey Began

For the fourth time, this is not about some old saint. It was on this day in 1923 that Pete Parker did the world's first live and complete hockey game broadcast on radio, which was clearly heard by an alert audience of 17 in Regina, which is in the Canadian Province of Saskatchewan. During the first period pause Mr. Parker did not mention that the date was also the same as that of the death of Karl Marx, exactly 40 years earlier, in London. He also failed to mention it as the anniversary of Catherine Cornaro's sale of Malta to Venice, in 1489.

Club member, Jules Verne fan and New Jersey snow expert, Jim Auman has emailed exciting news about dreadful climatic conditions in New York, last Tuesday. Like here, there may havephoto, plate, brunch been improvement since then. Other– wise, the exhibition, 'Le Roman de la Mer' – aka '20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,' is at the heart of a really big show at the Musée de la Marine. The 100th anniversary of Jules Verne's death, on 24. March 1905, is a mere 10 days from now.

Today is also the 126th birthday of Albert Einstein. This big thinker, born in Ulm, is well–known as the composer of the ever–popular 'Theory of Relativity,' which he concocted in 1904 while sorting letters for the Swiss post office. Like many successful Europeans Mr. Einstein immigrated to the United States, where he stuck out his tongue for a hippy poster, ensuring everlasting fame.

Therefore we'll take today's 'Quote of the Week' from William Shakespeare. He wrote, "Beware the ides of March,." in his 'Julius Caesar.' The ides of March are tomorrow.

'Pi' Day of the Year

This is based on a calendar approximation of 'Pi,' which is about 3.14159 in its six–digit version. The whole thing falls apart here where we use metric 24–hour time, but this is how it works where shillings are still king – take the month number, the day number, and the time of 1:59 in the afternoon, and you'll have 3/14/159. In Europe we had the 'ultimate' 'Pi' day in 1592 at 6:54 in the morning when 3/14/1592 6:54 became true, but not metric, and it was hardly noticed because few people had calendars at the time.

Today's Other 'Notable Dates of the Week'

There are only 292 days left of this year. This is exactly the same number of 'days left,' as at this time in 1590 when Henri de Bourbon, Roi de Navarre, leading Huguenot forces against the Catholic League, won the battle of Ivry, in Normandy. This is completely unconnected to the fact that this year has used up 73 days, the same number that 1965 had when Jacques Chirac won his first election, as a municipal councilor, or 1905 had when Raymond Aron was born in Paris. He went on to be a sociologist, historian and political commentator, somewhat to the right of J–P Sartre, although both attended the Ecole Normale Supérieure in the Rue d'Ulm.
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