horz line

Toot for Toontrek

photo, terrace, boulanger, patissier

No café, no bar, just a terrace.

Blink for Belly

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 1. August 2005:– This seems to be the summer when weather gurus are starting to say that the increased temperatures, the rains and the droughts, the winds and the storms, just may be caused by record worldwide levels of air between the earth's surface and the edge of inner space.

Of course it isn't the air itself at fault, but the sludge in the air. Up where the jetstream flows the airways are full of jets flying hundreds of thousands of tourists from one continent to another and across continents, mountains, oceans, and every one of these jets spews out half–burned kerosene, which, when mixed with the catalyst of the sun's rays, evaporates.

Meanwhile here in Paris no jets fly overhead unless they are very high, so much so that if anything goes wrong they can land safely in Brussels or Marseille. This means on the ground that it may start off sunny tomorrow but by afternoon it will become more cloudy, and the temperature may be around 24 degrees regardless of how many jets fly over.

Wednesday might be somewhat better if you can overlook some feeble clouds near the Channel, but the highphoto, climbers, paris plage may be no more than 23 degrees. Last week when a low temperature like this was predicted, it was always became three of four degrees more.

For Thursday Wednesday's feeble Channel cloud shifts across France to the east, and everything here stays the same, mostly sunny, except for a predicted temperature of 24 degrees, up a puny degree again. Elsewhere in France water supplies are short and there are restrictions in many locales, including in some coastal areas surrounded by water.

Once again Météo Jim, located somewhere in New Jersey, sends an alarming weather note about possible climate change. Although still inappropriate, the remainder of Météo Jim's forecast for Pommeland weather this week is soothing:–

Silly Haboob Right Here

Until a cool front arrived on Thursday, the entire East Coast was in the grips of a heat wave. Pommeland was truly la Grosse Pomme cuite au four and Boston was la Ville aux fèves cuites au four. Temperatures since then have been in the low 80 anglograd, with much lower humidity. This should continue until Tuesday when the 90/90's return. Not only baked but also Pommeland à la vapeur. Les gazons de Pommeland are turning browner and browner every day. C'est le thermidor à la sécheresse.

Less poetic, the hydro center at Camp Springs, Maryland, foresees August beginning and continuing warm and humid with a daily chance of showers, but it is a weak front, with a retrograding mid–level positive anomaly working towards Greenland and Iceland with negative NAO, etc, until next Sunday. On a practical note, increased Arctic melting has been noticed so place your beach towel a bit further back from the water's edge.

Café Life

Toot for Toontrek

At first I didn't know it was Sue Burleigh on the phone. I should have been expecting her call because she told me about her 'Toontrek' last spring, and I got an email saying she'd made the first stop in Dublin. Here in Paris already? Why sure, we can meet, so that's what we did on Wednesday.

Sue is a nurse at Blandford Hospital in Dorset, and she thinks she is a cartoonist – which she is, having done cartoons for papers in the UK and for her employer, the NHS. Unlike some of us lonely people Sue is also a member of Britain's Cartoonists' Club and other orgs, plus she has a cute Landrover ex–ambulance named 'Murdoch.'

At first Toontrek was to be done with Murdoch, but the poor dear was left at home because Sue's trek involvesphoto, sue burleigh, toontrek visits to cartoonists in Ireland, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Iran, Egypt, Italy, Spain, all in no more than 80 days.

Without Murdoch, Sue Burleigh on the beach, looking for toons.

The idea is to collect cartoons from everybody, with the drawings to be published in a book, to raise money for the charity Comic Relief. While working together with the Cartoon Art Trust in London, Sue's other objective is to promote lady cartoonists like herself.

So she called me. I don't read press releases so off I went to Montmartre to talk to the lady on a trek, forgetting of course to take my cartoon contribution. Our recognition signals worked fine in Sue's hotel lobby, but the day was gray when we set out on our own trek, from Montmartre to Paris–Plage. Within 200 metres the rain began, so we parked in a handy café until the sun came out to fry the puddles.

Sue said that Iran had canceled and Lebanon had been added. There may be other changes to Toontrek's itinerary but these should be reflected on the Wheelbrace Web site.

We talked about the solitary nature of the work – doing cartoons is work! The French must be more solitary, without the professional clubs, with just the big comic festivals like at Angoulème in January.

But mainly what we did was walk – possibly too far. On one of my 'tours,' slightly lost until the surprise find of the Avenue de l'Opéra, which must have moved east from where it usually sits. I worry now that Sue's visit to Brussels may require the ambulance she left behind, but once you are on a Toontrek you have to keep on... gliding.

Egyptian Outpost

On the way to Sue's hotel in the Rue d'Orsel there are a great number of medium and small shops peddlingphoto, au tresor de paris, coin d'egypte textiles and fabrics, but the one that caught my eye was called Au Décor de Paris. Hanging off its front were party clothes you seldom see in the boutiques around Saint–Honoré, or even in Tati.

Whatever you need for an Egyptian evening.

I asked the helpful Monsieur what it was all about and he said, "It's a little corner of Egypt," or the Middle East or north Africa, if you are in the market for appropriate duds to wear while belly–dancing. The shop has two other outlets nearby, one called Royal Spectacle, which is what the one I was looking at seemed to be. Do men belly–dance?

In the Weeds

Without your aid, Metropole is in danger of becoming a busted dot–com. Please take a look at thesupport facility today and dump all you into it. Your 'Ed' is still deep in the weeds up to his skinny neck.

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