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Jamais Content Returns

photo, cafe haussmann

Saturday night terrace on Haussmann.

Haussmann Lights Up

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 7. November 2005:– In the future I am going to turn on the light while scribbling the TV–weather news on Le Parisien's weather maps. I've been doing it in the dark and I see now that I made a mess. It looks like a detailed sketch of a key rugby play on top of the four o'clock race at Maisons Laffitte in Paris Turf.

New readers can just skip this part until the meat starts in the next paragraph. Other, regular readers will recall that 'Indian Summer' left us a couple of weeks ago after an over–long linger, and that fall is here now even if it hasn't bitten hard yet.

Tomorrow's weather is expected to be very complicated so I will confine my observations to the Ile–de–France and Paris, where it may be kind of sunny if it isn't overly cloudy, and it will certainly by a bit cloudy I'm sure. Do not worry about rain striking Brittany's nose, or about the 60 kph wind from the south here. Try and enjoy to the fullest the high temperature of 17 degrees, slightly higher than seasonally average.

Not only is Wednesday's weather more complicated, it has more scribbles on it. Here it will be like Tuesday with one difference. There will be clouds up around the Channel andphoto, balloon, grand palais northwest winds there, and it will be cloudy to the east of Paris and there may even be snow down south where doesn't matter. The 'one difference' will be a low high of 12 degrees.

Airy headroom in the Grand Palais allows for indoor sports.

Thursday might be pretty bright, or no less bright than Tuesday and Wednesday, and the wind will not be here but where it is, it will be 60 kph. And the snow will not be here either, but near the Alps where it belongs, and finally, a nasty high of only 12 degrees again. If you skip being out on Tuesday you'll be sorry you did.

Metropole's marathoning but in–shape weather scribbler, Météo Jim, presents us this week with a 'golden September' in metro Pommeland, noting that high temperatures make the marathon classic, or Greekish.

Election Weather

There will be an election in the Pomme – as well in Pommeland and places not part of Pommeland – ie. the rest of the US. Les Grosses Pommers will either elect a new mayor to be le Maître des Pommes or keep the current Maître. Western Pommelanders will choose a new governor to replace the current one. Since he is highly regarded, effective and competent, he has decided not to stay in office. Temperatures for election day – the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November – will be sunny and temperatures in the lower 60's a–grad but still too warm for this time of year. They will provide an excuse for the low election turnout – "It is too hot to go out to vote!" The rest of the week will be partly cloudy to sunny with temperatures bouncing around from the low 60's to about 70 and possibly cooling off by Friday. *

*Disclaimer – is officially discontinued.

Café Life

Passion Transports

Without asking my permission somebody organized an exhibition about transport in the Grand Palais over the weekend. I'm lucky I listen to radio news even if it's cluttered with commercials, because one of them was for this show, which seemed to be without promotion or posters.

The best thing about it was free entry, and I only had to stand in line in fine weather for 30 minutes to get in on Saturday, with all the other Parisians who only go to free shows. At the door I was handed a questionnaire, which I haven't bothered to look at until now. Since there is no address on it I'll answer it here.

Yes, I was passionné with the expo. Why? is easy. The expo of past, present and future transport was slight enough for there to be lots of room inside with all the Parisians who go to free shows, yet it was rich enough in parts to engage the attention for five or ten minutes.

For example, there was the justly famous 'Jamais Content' was there, in all of its bullet–shaped gray glory. Imagine, the first car ever to go faster than 100 kph was streamlined, way back in 1899, and here it is, today, still streamlined.

The Grand Palais is very big inside, with a huge volume of space, cubic hectares of it. In this space, with the blue sky outside, nicely contrasting with the green ironwork inside,photo, balloon motor there are some balloons flying around. Ah, these were not tethered. They were powered by men, as in peddling wheels to turn propellers, or with wings attached to arms, gently flapping.

Close–up of balloon power detail.

Ultra cool, to be standing on firm iron, watching balloons float around inside, moving slowly, being steered this way and that, taking off and landing, all inside this fishbowl. Obviously when the Grand Palais was built in 1900 its designers knew we would want this to happen in 2005, and that I would be gaga about it.

There was a bunch of other neat stuff too, like the egg–shaped future car, and a giddy Goldberg flying machine, with about 10 propellers. For a free show it had great entertainment value and I would recommend it to everybody if it wasn't over already. The concurrent art shows on in the Grand Palais are probably interesting too, no matter what they cost.

Bright Lights Back

The balloons put me on a roll so I hopped into the Métro and whizzed up to Saint–Lazare to get a early seasonal gander at the Christmas lights put up by Printemps and Galeries Lafayette on their stretch on the Boulevard Haussmann.

It seemed, as it is another free show, that a great number of Parisians were there with their kids, the usual strollers, and a lot of their cars. In some towns it might have seemedphoto, interior grand palais like the crowds on the last Saturday before Christmas, but here, now, I suppose they were swelled by folks bringing back defective trick or treats for Halloween.

No, last week I said that Halloween is a has–been. Yes. So the crowds must have been those frustrated by Halloween's false luster, here in the first weekend in November to get their full of lights filled and early too.

Nearly the whole inside of the Grand Palais, but not all.

This year as in every year, Printemps has new outside décor, somewhat like Chinese New Year. This year, as in recent past years, Galeries Lafayette has recycled their outside décor again. If nothing else it is very bright, looking slightly Moorish.

I had my thrill of the year again by going inside Lafayette for my annual tree peek. I walked in through the perfume, taking free sniffs, without looking up until I got to the back. Then I turned around, put my eyes in wide–angle mode and looked up, looked at it all, all at once. The photo here is only a ten–percent clue to the real thing.

The Latest Café Metropole Club 'Report'

The most recent Thursday 'Club Meeting of the Week' was reported as the 'Marion Knits, Other Astounding 'Firsts' meeting report. Unlikephoto, jamais content, world record car some things written here that weren't quite what happened, on account of license, Marion did in fact knit, with her whizzy flexo–needles. I forget the other 'firsts' now.

And the winner was Jamais Content in 1899.

The coming Thursday meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be extraordinary, as usual. It is certainly not any old Thursday either. The 'Saint of the Week' will be Saint–Léon. This saint du jour is remembered for being a 'grand' Pope during the years of 440–61, when he was competing with the Roman emperor of Constantinople on technical matters. In 452 Léon had to outface Attila, which he did, but then the Vandals came and sacked Rome in 455, but Léon arranged for the Romans to be spared.

Many other fairly true facts about the club are on the 'About the Club' page if you fancy reading altogether too many words. Sinon, just look at the terrific photos. The club's membership card can be virtually cut off the page and you can print it for your own personal use, totally free. Equally totally, even hors d'âge, the guaranteed free club membership is worth an amazing amount for what it is, so modestly.

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago

Issue 8.46 – 10. Nov 2003 – this issue's Café Metropole column had the headline, 'Nothing Happened – Holy Cola!' There was no hot feature of the week. The update for the 13. November meeting of the Café Metropole Club was concocted as the "12 Extra for Getting Wet!" meeting report. One Scène column has 'Noël in Paris 2003' but it is out of date and the other column wasa rerun. Therephoto, sign, rue alain, paris 14 were four totally delightful 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's weekly cartoon was kidding with the clever caption of, "Vous Américains!"

This Was Metropole Three Years Ago

Issue 7.46 – 11. Nov 2002 – this week's Café Metropole column had birthday tips with 'Bon Anniversaire Dimitri!' In the self–promotion department there was some 'Wine News' with 'Winery's Truck Falls Ill.' In the Noël department Metropole had 'Not Quite the Full Program.' The 'Feature of the Week' was missing again, probably lost in wretched transit. As a substitute there was 'Le Mois de la Photo 2002.' The report for the Café Metropole Club meeting on 14. November was brand, totally, new with the 'Best Crêpe Stand in France' report. There were four wondrful 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week again addressed indifference with the caption of, 'Since You Asked.'

Eye for an Eye

For the 34th time in a row of Sundays, this is not about some musty old saint, but is instead a particularlyphoto, sign, ok, cagoule, repair velos apt 'Quote of the Week.' "An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind." This has been attributed to Mohandas Gandhi, who started out as a lawyer in South Africa before turning to outsource himself to India.

If the Past Is Any Indication

Today marks the date in 1917 when Bolshevik leaders V.I. Lenin and Leon Trotsky convinced revolutionaries to overthrow the Provisional government, as a result of having dreamed up the idea while hanging around in the Rue Daguerre. However there is a calendar glitch here, with Russia still using the Julian one while I seem to be using the Gregorian version. The result is that I can't tell if this date is correct but my calendar is wrong or the other way around.

Electrical Pataphysics

It was on this date in 1801, that Napoléon while visiting the Institut de France, met Alessandro Volta who was showing off his, and the world's first, electric battery, featuring direct current. Premier consul Napoléon was so amazed that he had a gold medal struck and awarded Volta with the title of count.

Jackpot of the Week

This week's honor goes to Paul Bonhoure, who in 1933 was the first winner of the lottery in France, with a jackpot of five million old, pre–war, nearly worthless francs. Lotteries had been held for at leastphoto, figure, angel kitsch of the week a couple of hundred years, but this was the first payout for the Loterie Nationale, which was replaced by the Loto National in 1976, a few weeks after I arrived here. The original lottery's profits went towards war veterans and farmers faced with sinister fates.

Faits Divers VI

In 1879 on this date Leon Trotsky was born, long before he would be assassinated in Mexico. On the same day, but in 1913, Albert Camus was born, long before he would win a Nobel Prize for literature, in 1957. So it wasn't any coincidence that Konrad Lorenz was born on the same day in 1903, and he only got his Nobel in 1989. Finally, it was on this date in 1885 that the Canadian Pacific Railway had its last spike driven home, attaching rail to sleeper, in Craigellachie, British Columbia, and nobody has heard of the place since then.

Famous Humble Dates of the Week

There are only 54 days left of this year, which means this year has less than 50 Christmas shopping days left. This is exactly the same number of 'days left,' as at this time in the year 63 BC when Cicero, in the Senate, posed this question – "Until when, Catilina, are you going to abuse our patience?" This is completely unconnected to the fact that this year has used up 311 days, the same number that 1867 had when Nobel chemistry winner for 1911, Marya Slodowska, was born in Poland..
signature, regards, ric

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