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''France Is Out of Order!''

photo, group, bruce, michelle, olga, dan

Todat's 'Group of Bruce, Michelle, Olga, Dan, Photo of the Week.'

''Where's the Poetry?''

Paris:– Thursday, 16. June 2005:– This weather is way too good. Residents and visitors are making remarks about it. People who should know better are saying that Paris has fine weather this year, or this June. I can agree with them. After all it's about 27 degrees today and the sun is almost shining. The illusion of fine weather has never been better!

I bet you are expecting me to spring the storm of the week on you. I admit that my weather map for tomorrow has a lot of wiggly lines on it, representing clouds up north and reaching down to here. But the sleaze is moving out east and the high is sitting out there, ready to replace it.

Therefore more sun is in the offing for Friday afternoon, and the temperature is expected to hit 27 degrees again, which tonight's TV–weather news said was 'above average.' I should say it is because the 'average' for June is probably 18.5 degrees.

But not this year and not for us. Saturday should be remarkable, with no clouds other than a brand–new white–bodied Airbus A380 floating around in the sky. It'll be a day to look for breezes because the temperature is predicted to be 30 degrees.

Sunday will not be quite so fine because there might be two little clouds up near the Channel. And except for two other little clouds swirling around an Alp, the sky will be azure blue. Head for the ventilators because the temperature is predicted to be 31 degrees.

If any of this actually happens it will be truly remarkable. I am getting ready to put down the end of this week as the 'best June of the millennium.' So far, so good.

The "Where's the Poetry?" Report of the Week

Owing to having to screw my head on tighter I didn't make my early get–away to the club meeting today, but by the time I'd gotten past the cemetery and into the Métro at Raspailphoto, green drink of the week and ridden to Odéon where I got out and walked down the Dauphine of the useless sidewalks and reached the middle of the Pont Neuf, then, I was a bit ahead of time somehow.

Not only this but there were fewer people on the bridge than usual which allowed me to walk along almost as if I were on my very own railroad, rather than being shunted onto sidings – hopping down and walking on the road surface, I mean.

The green 'Drink of the Week.'

At the Quai du Louvre, across from the Samaritaine, there was an unusual scene. It looked like peace had broken out. I knew this meant a sad story was true – the great department store, here since the 19th century, was closed. It was closed yesterday and nobody knows when or if it will reopen. Last night 300 employees and fans tried to force the store to stay open.

But there is no sign of this today. When the green man signals I take the crossing, while crossing my fingers for the newspaper kiosk to be open. Surprisingly it is and I buy Le Parisien, which has a photo of grieving Samaritaine employees on its front page.

This bit of the Quai du Louvre will not be the same without the Samar there, acting as the grand bazar, ever ready to provide some 'bonheur des dames,' and lady club members too. Dommage bien triste.

Just over a block away the café La Corona is ambling through the afternoon in its typical low–key fashion, with all of its doors and windows allowing free passage of air. Not many are taking the shade in its 'grande salle' when I pull in to take up residence in the back of the room.

I must even be a bit early because I have time to note the day's particulars and get out the paper and read about all the 'bagarres' Europe has had since the idea of it was hatched. They've had their share of schmozzles.

But then Olga and Dan Ciupitu are upon me, pulling out members' chairs and taking their places, telling mephoto, lemon drink of the week about yet another place that has good café. I think this couple remember all their questions for a week and dump them here, but this allows me to show off.

Yes, I say, the Métro's messages about the 'pickpockets in the station' do not necessarily mean 'right now' – these messages have been broadcast for years. For all anybody knows all those pickpockets got rich and retired to Nice.

The lemon 'Drink of the Week.'

Next question is about the Joes standing around at Les Puces with authentic watches and genuine American cigarettes for sale extra cheap. Before I can suggest these might not be the bargains touted, Dan tells me what happens when a couple of salad baskets full of flics descend on the scene. 'All the usual suspects' are arrested, all that the police are able to catch.

Dan says the cops throw the loot into waiting garbage trucks that gobble it up. It just goes to show that the police are so efficient that they need no evidence. Then Olga mentions the picnics.

It is the season of the brocantes, of the garage sales, of the antiques, and Olga and Dan have noticed that the dealers get together and have picnic lunches, sitting on their wares, but not necessarily eating off gilded plates with silver cutlery. All over France between noon and three junk dealers are eating al fresco. Well, hmm, where else?

Then Dan becomes philosophic. He is worried about the younger generation, he thinks they might be shallow and materialistic. As an example he says that they go out and get drunk in herds on weekends. "They don't get drunk on Tuesdays," he says. "Where's the poetry?"

Before I can remember how little good drinking on Tuesdays did for me Tomoko Yokomitsu arrivesphoto, brown drink of the week with a ready–made observation. "It is very hot!" Ether just before or just after her heels is Bruce Poole, who says, "My daughter is off looking for Van Morrison."


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