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Brazil At the Bastille

photo, boulevard montparnasse, 16 july

The Boulevard Montparnasse, Saturday night.

Rare 'Normal' Weather

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 18. July 2005:– Last week those who dish out the weather pushed the button for excellent and delivered a perfect summer climate, especially for Wednesday and Thursday. I don't know how many times I am going to have to write this, but if you were here it was extraordinary and you should forget it ever happened because there's not much likelihood of a repeat within the next 30 years.

This week the program has changed, to give us the type of weather that is more standard, ordinary, or normal, and I can say it is pretty extraordinary too because even normal weather is an exception. Strictly speaking, rotten weather is 'normal.'

Tomorrow may be cloudy and these clouds may even rain a bit but sunny skies are going to be trying to get the upper hand. If you are up by the Channel, expect inshore breezes of about 60 kph, and for Paris the high temperature may be about 24 degrees. Tonight's TV–weather news lady said this is the 'normal' temperature – about six to eight degrees less than what we've been having.

They have predicted a sunny day for Wednesday, also with a high of 24 degrees. I won't argue with this.photo, cafe la palette Thursday will a bit more iffy with some dirty–looking clouds for northern France, with maybe lots of sunshine south of the Loire. Here the forecast is for 26 degrees, which might feel a bit humid because Isabelle said warm air was rising from Spain. Some times she's right.

At La Palette in its summer mood.

Météo Jim, from fairly far away across the deep ocean, sends a short tropical note about plants, which I have clipped simply because it's too long. Although not inappropriate, here is the remainder of Météo Jim's forecast for Pommeland weather this week:–

Les Temps des Tomates

The 'temps des tomates' is the season and weather from the middle of Messidor through Thermidor when the days are hot and humid and the nights barely cool off. Sometimes it is difficult to tell where the air stops and the humidity begins. Hurricane Dennis' remnants came to visit Pommeland with heat, wet air and occasional falling water. The temperatures from now into Tuesday are expected to be in the low 90's of anglograds, with elevated humidity and the threat of donnerboomers. These will clear away on Wednesday but for Pommelanders it's 'vraiment le temps des tomates' as they suck up atmospheric conditions.

Café Life

To the Bastille!

The Fête Nationale is day chosen for its historical connection to a popular riot that turned into a revolution, one that had a great and lasting effect on France and a major part of the world. It is not meant to be remembered as hint that to chance things, we are supposed to sack the city and attempt to depose its leaders.

But for a long time the festivities have been a local affair, mainly staged by the folks who felt like celebrating. Also it happens at a time when many have gone on holidays, although parties certainly happen in holiday locations too. The authorities were a bit worried last week when they estimated that there were 500 tons of fireworks stocked in communities near the Channel, ready to be blown sky–high.

The fête usually lasts about 28 hours because it starts on the eve, on 13. July, and continues until aboutphoto, cours de commerce st andre midnight on the 14th. Firemen open their firehalls, have drink stands and sometimes live music, while somehow remaining on the alert for rocket errors. City halls also organize some fêtes, but there are a lot of private ones.

Visitors studying dim 'cour' for possible terrace.

The Place de la Bastille is a customary location for a big party, and this year there was no mistaking that all Parisians were invited. Many would think twice about taking part – street drinking, electro or techno music, and a vast crowd of possibly careless 'fêtards.'

It is the 'Year of Brazil' in Paris so it was arranged for Lula, Brazil's president, to be in town along with his minister of culture, Gilberto Gil. For a change, the Brazilian music was advertised for the fête well in advance.

In short there was something new. When I got to Bastille before sundown last Wednesday I found that the police had channeled access somewhat, forcing arrivals away from the sides of the huge stage, with its back to the Arsenal port. This left an arc open, east, north and west – of access to the big place.

The band was already playing. The sound was good, clear, and loud without being deafening – and better yet, it was Brazilian. It looked like all of Paris' Brazilians were there, or half of Paris' residents had become South American before arriving. The band paused between pieces, but so briefly that the music was nearly continuous.

No whispers, this was Brazilian sound full bore, guitars, lots of brass, and drums of all sizes, and the arms would writhe like snakes and many were dancing on the spot and the green and yellow flags waved over our heads. On Wednesday the free music was worth far more, and the weather was Brazilian too – with a clear blue sky getting darker and the whole topless Bastille awash, warmer than room temperature.

The crowd was dense in front of the stage and seemed to fill the whole place. In it, it was possible to change position and there was a constant to and fro. Two big screens high up showed what was happening on stage, which was fairly low. Rare for this, but the picture quality was good. A video camera on a boom waved around over the heads of the crowd, and we can hope to see the result later on TV. In all we were an estimated 60,000.

At ten o'clock, as if programmed, Lula arrived on stage accompanied by Gilberto Gil and Paris' mayor Bertrand Delanoë. Señor Gil captured a microphone and introduced his boss, who then made a short speech in Portuguese. With Bertrand translating and the audience cheering it was all a bit scrambled and ended with 'viva Brasilia' and viva Françia' with the biggest cheers of all.

This was very brief and the music picked up quickly and we got to hear how a minister of culture sounds, singing and playing with a band of talented amigos. In Paris at least, a class act in perfect weather for it.

Elsewhere in the Paris suburbs, police battled with the traditional bands of youths, using tear gas and stunballs. More than 100 private cars were torched, many more garbage containers, andphoto, arc de triomphe, 13 july dozens of arrests were made. It almost seems like there are two countries – this quiet place called Paris and some other wild west out there, called 'cités difficiles.'

Arc de Triomphe tries out its flag in 13. July.

For my Bastille eve finale I walked back, across the Pont de Sully, along the Boulevard Saint–Germain to Maubert and up the Rue de Carmes past the Panthéon and then south on Saint–Jacques. The air was soft and all sounds subdued and few were about. The walk took about a hour, and then more than a hour to do the photos.

Saving Private Rico

The response from last week's lamentable 'cri au secours' has been swift and generous. You are a wonderful bunch of readers. If the other 29,999 of you had a dime to spare I would be out of danger and looking in the catalogues for vacations for 'camping sauvage' in Yvelines, somewhere on the Route des Impressionistes.

Thanks also to those who have written words of encouragement, and with suggestions for resolving this situation. By this you have indicated you want Metropole to continue rather than see me retire to a life of idle retirement, eating daisies.

However I am not out of the weeds yet. Eating daisies is not nourishing even if one can afford them. Please take a look at thesupport facility today and dump in all you can stand without letting your grandparents starve. Think of it as a pre–payment for a magazine subscription that never expires Without urgent aid it is Metropole that will expire.

Soldes d'Ete – If you haven't found your treasure before next Saturday, start saving now for the 'Soldes d'Hiver.' These should begin early in January, only about 169 days ever shorter from now.

The Latest Café Metropole Club 'Report'

Last Thursday's club meeting report headline was not based entirely on 'More Bastille.'poster, vdep, raid dingue We had a tidy 'City of the Week' with Lone Tree, Colorado, and the trace of the Bastille was mentioned, but Bastille wasn't the only item of conversation. There was no fishing and no birds either, for a change.

The weekly Thursday meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be this coming Thursday again, and for a change it won't be Bastille Day. The Saint's 'Day of the Week' will be Saint–Victor. This 'Saint of the Week' is famous for having a latin name – 'victorieux' – and for becoming a martyr in Marseille in the 3rd century, somehow.

Somewhat less concrete notions about the club can be found on the 'About the Club' page should you happen to glance in its area. The slick design of the club membership card on the page looks as cunning as a membership card as any laundry wrapper, but it isn't. Totally free of charge, the club membership itself is pretty absolute without actually being anything virtual.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago

Issue 9.30 – 19. July 2004 – this issue's Café Metropole' featured the ever astounding 'Bastille, Again, Like Clockwork.' The Au Bistro column's headline mentioned, starkly, 'Sarkodrama!' Then there was an email feature, with 'Xmas In July, Alone with 23 Cézannes.' The Scène columns were repeated again. The update for the 22. July meeting of the Café Metropole Club was characterized as the 'Snook of the Week' report. There werephoto, sign, rue maison dieu four summertime 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's weekly cartoon was captured in a police station with the caption, "Out you go, Bozo!"

This Was Metropole Three Years Ago

Issue 7.30 – 22. July 2002 – the week's Café Metropole column was topical with, 'There Was 'Happy' Weather.' The Au Bistro column had local news again with 'The Postman Rings Again' for no reason at all. The 'Feature of the Week' was titled 'Todo El Mundo – Vamos a la Playa!' There were no cheap links to old Scène columns. An email column featured 'Dimitri's Postcard – Goes and Comes.' The report for the Café Metropole Club meeting on 25. July was headlined by the dozy secretary as the 'Two Real Members Really' report. There were four third–rate 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was more poorly than a week earlier, with "You Said, You Promised..."

Another Standup Moment

For the 20th time almost in a row, this is not about some musty old saint, but instead is a near certain 'Quote of the Week.' South Africa's Nelson Mandela said, "The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." That's the trouble with success – the more standing up you do the harder it is not to fall off the stairs.

If the Past Is Any Indication

The battle of Allia was incorrectly thought to have taken place in 390 BC but serious historians are now certain that it was in 387 BC, only 2392 years ago. This fight pitted the Romans against the Gauls of the Senones tribe, both about 40,000 strong. Brennus wasted the Romanphoto, sign, place charles de gaulle right wing, and then the centre and the left gave way, and the Romans checked out. Back in Rome they hid at home and the sacred geese honked when the Gauls attacked. They pillaged, plundered and destroyed. The Romans agreed to pay Brennus a thousand pounds of gold to go away. Clever Brennus fiddled the weighs and when the Romans complained he said, vae victis, which means, 'woe to losers.' At this opportune moment, Marcus Manlius Capitolinus showed up, alerted by the noisy geese, and with an army he beat up the Gauls. "Not gold but steel, suckers!" he said. This had nothing to do with Rome's great fire, which was exactly 323 years later.

Always Right

Today is the Vatican's anniversary of the definition of the dogma of infallibility, which has meant that since 1870 the Church is incapable of error in expounding its doctrine on faith and morals, and also applies to the pope when he is speaking 'ex cathedra.'

Ancient Patapsphysics

It was on this date in 962 that the chapel of Saint–Michel at Puy–en– Velay was inaugurated. The construction was led by Gothescalk or Godelscalc, who was the bishop of Puy, and the first Frenchman to make the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. The chapel is unusual because it is built in the chimney of the volcano overlooking Puy.

Alpinist of the Week

This was Petrarch, who died 631 years ago today. In a later letter written to Francesco Dionigi, Petrarch described a mountainphoto, sign, no dogs, not even on a leash climb to the top of Mont Ventoux that took place on 26. April 1336. He might not have been the first to climb a mountain simply because it was there, but he was the first to write about it.

Other, 'Odd Dates of the Week'

There are only 166 days left of this year, which means this year is far more than half over long before autumn even begins. This is exactly the same number of 'days left,' as at this time in the year 1857 when Louis Faidherbe led a force of relief to Kayes, which ended El Hajj Umar Tall's little war on the French. This is completely unconnected to the fact that this year has used up 199 days, the same number that 1898 had when the Marie and Pierre Curie announced the discovery of polonium, a new element that had not been lost, exactly.
signature, regards, ric

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