horz line

Cult, Pope, Golf

photo, rue de buci

Other quiet days on the Left Bank.

Morning, Noon, Night

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 9. May 2005:– Some weeks it seems amazing to me that it's Monday again already and time for the weather news even though it goes on all the time non–stop and there isn't anything I can do about it, regardless of whether the forecast here is right or wrong. With no prediction the weather will happen anyhow.

But countless readers have said they care. I don't understand this fascination with weather news in Paris. There's nothing much special about it. Even if it's cloudy and raining sunrise will still be 06:19 and it will set 14 hours and 57 minutes later, at 21:16, rain or shine.

But in fact it is not likely to be raining tomorrow because it will be partly or mostly semi–sunny, with a considerable amount of thin clouds that may turn out to be quite transparent. The high temperature won't be much more than 15 degrees, which New York should beat handily.

On Wednesday with the temperature locked on 15, it is supposed to be a mostly sunny day, with some wind up north blowing offshore at about 60 kph. In New York it may feel humid with 21 degrees, and there might be some thunder in the afternoon with maybe showers too.

Just about all of southern France will be cloudy on Thursday and if it doesn't push too far north it will remain mainly sunny here, with that sneaky little wind again up north, and the temperature will begin its climb out of the cellar, maybe reaching 19 degrees. While there may be more showers, New York should have 4 degrees more again.

Now suppose all of this is completely wrong, which means everything opposite happens. Suppose the nightphoto, palm, luxembourg happens during the day, the moon comes out instead of the sun, the wind blows the other way, and the temperatures are different. You are right! Not a fat lot of difference, is there?

When the palms return to Luxembourg can summer be far off?

Over on the left side of the Atlantic, Jim Auman provides a contemporary and concise meteoro– logical report from some point in New Jersey concerning all of the continent that can be seen from around Hoboken, from Tuesday through Thursday, almost like here.

Frimaire Still Boss

Frimaire returned to La Grosse Pommeland on Thursday night and tried to give one last embrace to Pommeland before heading north to the lands beyond the Saint–Lawrence River. Still, he has been with us during the days as the temperatures reached only the low to mid 60's anglograd – about 15 eurograd. Temperatures should be about 68 anglograd – 20 eurograd – but Frimaire is still bossing the thermometer about. Les grandes chaleurs will come soon enough to Pommeland.

Café Life

Monday Afternoon

In the café a horseplayer barks at a customer who is standing too close to his betting tickets. Anotherphoto, ile de la cite, pont neuf customer decides to slot himself in between me and a lady on a stool, and I feel like the horseplayer. He hands in his tickets and they come to 127€ so he takes them back and tosses out some of the longer odds. The sun shining on the terrace seeps into the café, adding a still air of Monday afternoon drowse.

Doesn't anybody ever work in this town?

Two American ladies, one about 35 and the other maybe 60, are dragging their big cases on rollers up the Rue Daguerre, past the bicycles, trash bins and parked scooters. Two Joes in conversation, in relaxed stances, their hands in their pockets, roll down the slight decline on skateboards followed by a car in no hurry. If the road surface were dirt, there would be boules players.

Too bad the accordion shop is closed. There is no music in the air and it doesn't smell, not even of baguettes going past the boulangerie. The two American ladies get past the dim Bistro 48 and sight their hotel. One, out of breath, says "Hey!"

A door beyond it, under a parasol in front of the Baghdad café, a young lady is waving around the pipe stem of a tall, leaning hookah sitting on the sidewalk. A painted a scene of the languid Bosphorus on the wall of the employment bureau for managers across the street wouldn't be out of place.

Cult Car

In case you were thinking our culture is still based in the 5th century, or the 18th or 19th – after all the world got a new Pope a couple of weeks ago and they are having a new monkey trial in Kansas – well, Bud, forget it! We are squarely in the 21st century and all those who want to set their clocks back to some never–was 'reality' time are not going to wind up with anything except sore wrists.photo, sailboat, luxembourg pool

The day after the new Pope, Benoît XVI, gave his first blessing to the faithful in Saint–Peter's a young man aged 21 by the name of Benjamin Halbe decided to sell his car. He contacted eBay Germany and offered the car, a 1999 Golf IV, for an opening bid of 9999 euros. At the end of the first day of bidding the offer stood at 62,500 euros, after 3.8 million visitors had clicked on to the Web site.

Part of a citizens' regatta in the Luxembourg.

Mr. Halbe had not had the car long. He bought it in January for 10,000€ second–hand from the Volkswagen dealer in Olpe, just east of Cologne, which had sold it to the original owner. It had 75,000 kilometres on the original motor, the 85 hp version, four doors, standard transmission, and all the options including an anti–theft system.

When Mr. Halbe bought the Golf the dealer, Kurt Schneider, told him that the car ran with 'divine benediction.' Only afterwards did Mr. Halbe learn that the first owner was none other than Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who was elected Pope on Tuesday, 19. April. Address on the original sales slip, '00120 Citta del Vaticano.'

The Golf showed up on eBay Germany on Monday, 25 April, with the headline, 'PAPST GOLF !!! KULTAUTO !!!' In addition to a very detailed description of the object – 'still with original seats!' – there was an image of the original sales slip and a mention of authenticity. Spoofers were warned against joking too.

In the 24 hours before the deadline on Thursday, Daphne Rauch of eBay Germany told Reuters that the bids had doubled. By the time the dust settled eBay had 227 firm bids, and the car went to the highest, which was 188,938.88 euros. Thursday was Ascension Day, the date was 05.05.05, a date that only happens only once in a thousand years, and the week's fifth day – only happens once in 7000 years, according to Jim Auman.

According to eBa's page for the sale, the buyer was a certain 'Golden Palace Casino' located somewherephoto montage, not the popewagon in the Internet. Ms Rauch said the buyer was known to eBay for bidding on strange items, but they have to come and pick up the car.

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