horz line

Grizzly November

photo, cafe bar le brezin

An all–day haven of warmth and good cheer.

Two New Strikes of the Week

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 21. November 2005:– My radiators, all two of them, are cooking merrily away to keep the cold at a distance despite the gaps around the edges of the window frames, despite the great window in my living room, facing bravely north. I am not in discomfort sitting here for hours, day in and day out, tap tapping away but my feet feel chilly without my super–thick wool winter socks.

As usual, forgetting to wear these socks is not my fault so the TV–weather news gets the blame. I feel sorry for them in their hot TV studio, having to wear Norwegian sweaters so viewers will think it is as cold in there as in the cardboard shacks of the homeless, who were featured on the TV–news being shown their new overnight lodgings in the shelters.

Our concern with the weather is not nearly so acute, I hope. Tuesday, if the sun ever comes up, might be cloudy at first and if the morning fog burns off then it may be merely not so cloudy, with little peeps of feeble sunshine. But our TV guy was very careful to explain about the wind,photo, sky over quartier latin which he said will not be overly forceful, but it will certainly be here, at about 50 kph from the north. Almost an afterthought, the day's expected high of 5 degrees.

The sky over the Quartier Latin last Thursday.

Elsewhere, in the vicinity of the Alps, it may be snowing above 800 metres. But on Wednesday, excepting a bunch of clouds up along the Channel, it might be mostly sunny here, if you are out of the 50 kph wind. This will be another 5 degree day.

On Thursday that Channel cloud or whatever it is, will take up more territory, leaving it mostly cloudy here. Keep your backs to the northwest and its 50 kph wind, or try to find a barrier that you can stand behind and enjoy the day's high of 7 degrees. For Friday Le Parisien says 'worse than rotten,' but that's still a few days off.

Our social–weather scribbler in New York, Météo Jim, forecasts turkey, football and snow on the parade, so be sure to dress appropriately wherever you are lucky to be.

Grizzly November

The weekend promises to warm things up to the low and mid 50s a–grad and will stay this way until Wednesday. Thursday, le jour d'action de grâce aka Thanksgiving, will see Pommelanders of all kinds – grosse, petite, grande, maigre – gathered around the table singing the old and beloved song, "Il est cuit, le devin dindon," accompanied by howls and cheers of the football crowds on TV, lubricated by gallons of Beaujolais Nouveau.*

Dindon Day

Thursday morning the annual ritual takes place in La Grosse Pomme where Pommeistas become defileistas carrying giant balloons of different cartoon characters and animals joined by singers and dancers as they march down Broadway to 34th Street and stop in front of Macy's department store. The final personage in this parade is Saint–Nick in his sleigh, with eight pre–shrunk reindeer. When Santa arrives at Macy's, Pommeland's Christmas season has officially begun. This year, though, Santa will need his polar transportation. Snow is predicted with temperatures around 40 a–grad.

*Disclaimer – all 3 disclaimers this week, excepting 'Have a Happy Thanksgiving,' were consumed in Paris already.

Café Life

Not Burning, Hardly Awake

I am having an odd reaction to the cooler weather. When the TV–lady forecasts a high of 7 for Paris it only gets up to this for about 23 minutes and only if it is windless and the sun isphoto, st germain, thursday shining. Between morning fog, high clouds and early darkness there isn't much time for sunbathing. And each day more of summer's heat seeps away. The TV–lady even says the temperatures are lower than average.

Time for café and cocktails in Saint–Germain.

We had a long mild fall here and I fell into believing that it would last until spring, but I'm pretty sure it is over now. I have been going out to get acclimatized but each time I do it drops a notch or a peg. Gloves helped a lot today. If it weren't already lower than 'average' I would consider gloves on the gloves tomorrow.

So, for the past week I have huddled here, within the radiated heat from my monitor. It must feel the same because it squinched into the middle, and hard pops on its roof didn't spring it back to wide–screen viewing. I went to a Mac place, probably one of only four in the city, and learned that they don't have tube monitors any more. I guess that's why there's all these dead ones lying around the sidewalks.

Then I went to PC heaven at Darty, wrote down the lowest prices and the model numbers and captured a Joe working there. He said the monitor we were standing beside was the best for me, a flat Philips, to replace the dying tube Philips. Life is short so he let me pay for it and I pushed all the wrong buttons. "Hey! Don't do that!" he said. Then I stood in a long line of electronics fans waiting at the takeout for wide–screen TVs, me thinking about going to shopping school.

Saved from Auction

My other cool deal of the week was to go to the municipal pawn shop and get one of my cameras back. I went there last week to renew the pawn, but they said they didn't keep old stuff like mine for more than a year, so I was back there on Tuesday, the deadline day.

I was hoping to see lots of ladies from the 16th and the 7th recuperating their hocked furs, but most folks seemed to be furless, from Asia or Africa. The pawn shop is actually called Crédit Municipal. It is based on an Italian idea, imported to France by Théophraste Renaudot in 1637, with the intention of providing loans at fair rates. Of coursephoto, nikon f professional money– lenders didn't like the idea, so they got rid of Renaudot, but the idea came back in 1777 and here it is today, lending me 50€ for a year.

Up at the takeout window, after an Indian lady has heard my number called and given me a nudge, the pawn Joe dusts off the camera case and cuts the ropes tying it together. He says this kind of steel and glass is pretty worthless these days, ah, but, if I want to pawn it again, right away, I'll probably get more for it he claims, being the expert for cameras. If I hadn't made the deadline on Tuesday the whole kit would have gone to auction.

Auctions are the other half of the pawn business, and a glance at the Crédit Municipal Web site gives the dates of the coming ones. They call themselves 'a bank not like the others.' Imagine trying to pawn your favorite litho by Picasso at the local banque poplulaire.


There are good reasons for keeping the eyes peeled when coming out of the Monoprix but at first I didn't think seeing a huge motorcycle with Transport de Personnes written on a flank was one of them. Actually Didier could have had Spiritmoto painted on, but if he had, I might not have asked him if he was a taxi driver.

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