The Polish Sausage

photo, car of the week When the strikes are over, youth in flames.

Foul, Not Fish

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 24. April 2006:– At this time of year, now that Easter is behind us, we will be having up and down weather until May Day, when by tradition it is usually cool, often damp, and perhaps thoroughly miserable. But if it is not it may mean that the times have changed and spring quits the sleet and starts pretending to be summer.

Take today for example. It started out sunny and then became somewhat cloudy. This was followed in the later afternoon by very dark skies full of black clouds, which burst right over the city with loud thunder and terrific lightning, and lots of rain. It made the television flicker.

Before this happened it was pretty warm too. Now tonight's TV–weather forecast has called the weather for tomorrow 'unstable,' with bumpy skies that will be mostly cloudy and perhaps with brief periods of sunshine. The high is predicted to be 22 degrees.

Then on Wednesday a cloudy front moves east from the ocean, to lay masses of clouds or worse over this around here, and the temperature will get no higher than 17 degrees. By Thursday this mess is supposed to be leaving via stage east, to hassle Alsace, and may leave some sunny periods in its wake, along with a temperature of 18 degrees.

photo, snow, spring, new york, queensSnow in New York, before Easter.

Next Monday is May Day. This is worker's and peasant's day, the one everyone takes off instead of being on strike, and we are supposed to march through Paris strewing daisies about, singing springtime songs of yore, rather than dancing around a Maypole.

There have been a huge number of previews for this day and if the weather isn't springlike – sunny and warm – then I think many workers and peasants, and students especially, will stay home and cram – having lost about six weeks' worth of classroom time. It's the price that democracy sometimes exacts.

Primo Green Italian Weather

Pommeland weather maven, Météo Jim, writes today that New York had very warm weather for Coptic Easter, if it had been last Thursday instead of on Sunday – according to Uncle Den–Den. Yes, fog there and rain, just as here we had mostly sunny until it began to rain in the late afternoon. Here is Météo Jim's new forecast:–

The temperature will reach 70 a–grad on Tuesday along with rain in the afternoon and then will fall back to around 60 a–grad for the rest of the week along with passing clouds. The word for spring in Italian is primavera – first green. The first green in Pommeland has been slow in coming because of the drought. In fact, Pennsylvania was on the verge of issuing a drought warning and canceling spring altogether. But the rain of the past few days has brought a remarkable turnaround. Le gazon in Météo Jim's yard grew about 2 a–inches in as many days. And now les gentlemens pommelandais disent, "Gadzooks! Le gazon!" So, this week, after le gazon has dried, les dames pommelandaises will see les gentlemens pommelandais qui tondent le gazon.

Café Life

The Polish Sausage

I am embarrassed. While I was in New York folks there were asking me what I'd been doing, and I couldn't remember anything in particular. Now that I'm back folks here are asking me what I did in New York and all I can think of to say is, "I just walked around."

photo, cafe athens, astoria, new yorkGreek Day in Astoria.

Now that folks on both sides of the Atlantic are convinced that I'm a complete waste of a roundtrip ticket – "What a null!" – I'm beginning to remember the Polish sausage. The first one I saw was in Greenpoint.

Yeah, I remember now. I went to Greenpoint to get a Polish sausage. And one time, coming back from deepest Brooklyn, I stopped near the bridge to try out the cheesecake at Junior's. I had an American sandwich there too. Junior's is a great place and has a branch in Grand Central station, but the Brooklyn Junior's is the real thing.

photo, polish sausageThe real Polish sausage.

Then I ended up eating eggplant a lot. This was at Joe's Shanghai on Pell Street in Chinatown. Every time I went there the people I was with ordered the eggplant because it was so good. I can think of 14 other dishes I like better than eggplant but being the visitor, I got eggplant, probably all I'll ever need for the rest of my life.

But almost the first thing I had was Cuban sandwich. Experts think these are better in Queens than in Miami but what do I know? Actually I went there to have a coffee because they have strong espresso, for a weak price.

Here, after about one day's eating in New York and long before the second Polish sausage on Greek Day in Astoria, I interrupt myself on account of a documentary on TV tonight – about the situation around Lake Victoria in Africa.

This was the story about the fish somebody introduced into the lake about 50 years ago. This fish ate all the other fish, eliminated them, leaving only itself destroying the entire ecosystem, including the Africans who catch the lousy things.

photo, chinatown, pell street, new yorkWhere eggplants bloom.

The fish are huge monsters and the international fish cartel has set up factories where the fish are frozen and they are hauled away to Europe – mostly by Russians with these huge jet transports – and the documentary wanted to know what sort of freight is brought back to Africa. At first everybody said the planes came empty to pick up the fish.

Meanwhile the film showed the Africans living around Lake Victoria, working like donkeys hauling in these horrible–looking fish out of the lake, but living in utter slums, with Aids everywhere and all these homeless kids, starving. And then it got worse because they showed how the parts of the fish Europeans don't want is handled.

And the film also showed a meeting between big boyos from the northern Orgs and the local politicos – talking about fish, factories, jobs, money, all those grand things – and the camera drifted over to a window and there in the dirt street down below was the starving kid with only one leg, hobbling along in his flopping rags.

Then gradually the Russian transport crews began to talk. They don't fly to Africa empty, they haul equipment with them. To the Congo, Angola. Yeah, equipment, heavy stuff, like tanks. These Russian jets can haul 55 tons after all, and land on dirt.

photo sign, eat here now

So, that's the story. The Africans catch 500 tons of fish per month and most of them are starving or dying, and the planes used to haul the fish away come back with guns and bombs that other Africans use to bump off Africans, and nobody cares much except some documentary film maker. The name of the film was 'Darwin's Nightmare.'

After that what I had to eat in New York, or yesterday at Uncle Den–Dens, is of no consequence whatsoever.

The Latest Café Metropole Club 'Report'

The 'Club Meeting of the Week' last Thursday was a tempered afternoon in the club's café which about what we wanted and expected Take a look at the 'report' of the meeting, which, for lack of inspiration, was titled 'Chocolate Covered Museli.'

This coming Thursday's meeting of the Café Metropole Club will without doubt be no surprise at all, with the club's secretary in the driver's seat with a fully–charged camera battery. The 'Saint of the Week' will be Sainte–Zita, about whom I know absolutely nothing other than she wasn't my aunt.

photo, sign, easter fish, chocolate

The true and fanciful story about the club is on the 'About the Club' page. Should curiosity befall yourself have a peep at the club's original and hand–crafted membership card, winner is exactly zero Internet prizes.

Faits Divers of the Week

'Ed,' Ric, the secretary of the Café Metropole Club and not least, radio ric – excluding Radial Ric – all of them wish to thank all readers and club members, my bank manager and Air France crews for longstanding patience through these irksome times of reconstruction and juggling in and around somewhere near here. Salut les copains!

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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