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Deputy Bur got his 24 hours of fame from the few Parisians still in town but he was eclipsed by the news a week later that an inventory at the Saint–Vincent hospital turned up 351 fetuses and premature baby bodies, stored in the mortuary of the hospital. The announcement was made jointly by the minister of health and Hôpitaux de Paris.

Le Monde hinted that the news was orchestrated by the government, but those concerned could not figure out why. Folks trying to save the hospital from being dismantled are worried that the process will be speeded up, helped along by the rotten publicity. Recent history has seen the sale of three Left Bank hospitals for 175.4 million euros in favor of Hôpitaux de Paris.

Meanwhile in the Rue Delambre, Lazhar Benhabhab decided not to go on holiday this summer. He was afraid some bad news would drag him back from the seaside. But last week he got a call from Hôpitaux de Paris who told him they decided to put the nurses elsewhere, and would renew his lease for the standard time period.

Well, the rent is going up and it doesn't include the apartment any more, but what's the difference? Maybe he'll raise the prices a bit. When asked, the mayor suggested a zoning deal had something to do with change of heart by Hôpitaux de Paris.

Lazhar Benhabhab pushes the National cash register back so I have a bit more space at the bar where I'm jammed between it and a pillar and then he gets me a big glass of orange juice. Others are dining at the bar, having big plates of steak–frites that I see cost eight euros. The place is full and so noisy you can't be sure music is playing, but it is, probably Stones.

The bar runs too close to the door, so that customers coming in have to climb over patrons before they can find a place to stand and lean over those sitting at the bar. Nobody cares, everybody yaks.

There's a trio of tables out on the sidewalk too. One has a couple with a dog. The windows are open, the room is high with black beams up there, and a ceiling ventilator feebly sweeps the smoke around, but it's a Paris place and everybody is with whoever they're with, so they are lively and not self–consciously cool. This is not the snooty Quartier Latin – this is Montparnasse, where the mayor is interested in culture. And hospitals.

The Latest Café Metropole Club 'Report'

The so–called report about last Thursday's club meeting was headlined 'Not Any Fringe.' This was an inept signal to indicate that we had a 'tour d'horizon,' such is possible in the setting of the club which everyone knows is in a café in Paris, where anyone can say whatever they feel like and the club'sphoto, seine, sails, tour eiffel secretary isn't going to record every word and put it in a 'club report,' mainly because he's lazy. But all is not lost. For example, it's worth looking at for Edna Bradley's timely 'Tip of the Week.'

Don't cry for Paris–Plage, not yet.

The next Thursday meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on a Thursday again, amazingly like clockwork. The Saint's 'Day of the Week' will be Saint–Louis. This 'Saint of the Week' was the only one who was a king of France. Louis IX was born in Poissy in 1214, was canonized 1297 and died of the plague on 25. August 1270, only 735 years ago, on a Monday.

Equally true facts about the club can be found on the 'About the Club' page should you happen to be curious. The maladroit sketch of the club membership card on the page looks about as like a membership card as a water pistol. Virtually priceless, the club membership itself is mostly worthless, while being something you would hardly want to pawn.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago

Issue 9.35 – 23. Aug. 2004 – this issue's Café Metropole' column explained 'Summer Movies' with "Toi Tarzan!"' The week's Au Bistro column featured 'Back To the Country – And Stay There!' The three Scène columns were linked to the past. The update for the 26. August meeting of the Café Metropole Club was cheerily vague with the 'Bring Your Own Bottle'photo, sign, place jacques demy report. There were four boring 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's weekly cartoon was resigned with the end–of–summer caption, "Stop sulking!"

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago

Issue 8.35 – 25. Aug 2003 – the week's Café Metropole column was adventurous with, 'Greetings From Coney Island.' The Au Bistro column had alarming news with 'Killer Heatwave! & Blackout!.' There was an updated Scène column, titled 'Summer Events Carry Over to September.' The report for the Café Metropole Club meeting on 28. August was trumpeted as 'The 200th Meeting!' report. There were four shabby 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was even less upbeat than a week earlier, with the caption "What's the rush?" Was winter far off?

Face the Music

For the 24th time almost in a row, this is not about some musty old saint, but instead is a pretty pithy 'Quote of the Week.' John Dryden may have written or said, "Truth has such a face and such a mien as to be lov'd needs only to be seen." Next week right here, as a special feature, the 'Quote of the Week' will be in English.

If the Past Is Any Indication

Today marks the date in 1775 that King George III declared that his subjects in the American colonies were guiltyphoto, sign, rue linne of rebellion and if he could get his hands on them, he would order them strung up until they were good and dead and rotten. Just to be mean, on the same date in 1798, French troops landed in another colony and with help from the locals, inflicted a severe defeat on HM troops, at a battle known in Ireland as the Castlebar Races. About two weeks later the victory was reversed, and the losing Irish freedom fighters were massacred on the spot while surviving French troops were traded for British POWs. The French tried again in October, but flubbed it.

Fairly Old Patapsphysics

It would have been on this date in 1911 that the Mona Lisa was boosted from the Louvre if it had not happened the day before. Having called for the Louvre to be burnt down, Guillaume Apollinaire was arrested on 'suspicion,' and the flics talked to Pablo Picasso too, but both were released for lack of evidence. Much later it was learned that Louvre employee Vincenzo Peruggia had walked out with the painting under his coat. He was under the orders of Eduardo de Valfierno, a sneaky con–artist, who commissioned forger Yves Chaudron to make copies. But Peruggia kept the original for two years, and not hearing from De Valfierno, tried to sell the painting to a dealer in Florence. He was busted, and the Mona Lisa toured Italy before returning to the Louvre in 1913.

Best–selling Assassination Flop

Charles De Gaulle was targeted on this date in 1962 by OAS assassins in the Paris suburb of Petit–Clamart. Ridingphoto, sign, carnival duck in an official black Citröen DS, De Gaulle and his wife narrowly escaped an attack with machine guns. British writer Frederick Forsyth took the incident and turned it into 'The Day of the Jackal,' a best– selling novel and later, a successful movie. The carefully– researched book annoyed official spooks because it describes how to create a fake identity. Nevertheless, De Gaulle died at home, in bed.

Other, 'Topical Dates of the Week'

There are only 131 days left of this year, which means this year has just about run out of gas. This is exactly the same number of 'days left,' as at this time in the year 1864 when the Red Cross convention was first elaborated by an international conference in Geneva, inspired by the philanthropist Henri Dunant. This is completely unconnected to the fact that this year has used up 234 days, the same number that 1862 had when Claude Debussy was born at Saint–Germain–en–Laye, far too early by 46 years and in the wrong place to be photographed by Henri Cartier–Bresson, who shares the date as an anniversary.
signature, regards, ric

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