Flipping Blogbabble

photo, club secretary solo, ric Club's secretary does solo 'blogbabble.'

Blowin' In the Wind

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Thursday, 18. May 2006:– I was washing dishes tonight when they started the TV–weather news without waiting for me, and I missed the big scene at the beginning where they show the greater cloud swirl from mid–Atlantic to the Urals. Missing this will have no affect on the weather forecast because I never understand it anyway.

At the local level – here, out in the Atlantic, up the Channel – some winds are apparently in store for us. Out where there's water these breezes may get up to 100 kph which doesn't sound like much, unless you are in a top–heavy ferryboat full of lifelong landlubbers. Around here the winds should be no more than 60 kph, which will be hardly noticeable if you restrict yourself to travel by Métro.

photo, postcards of paris What you came for, right here.

Tomorrow, which I was counting on to be a fine day, will instead by sandwiched between crummy weather that has passed and more crummy weather yet to come. Between them there may be sunny periods, but the temperature is taking a dump, down to 18 degrees.

If you think this is dismal, wait until you see Saturday! The second crummy weather front coming from the west catches up to the one in the east, and the two of them stall over France, letting out rain, some sunny periods – don't blink! – and the temperate takes another hit, down to 17.

On Sunday while the entire southern half of France basks in warm and yellow rays of sunshine, we are to get a continuation of the crummy, a continuation of the winds. The only positive note may be a temperature hike to 19 degrees – and this may carry over to Monday when clouds, rain, and thunder have been forecast, by today's Le Parisien.

The 'Nothing–to–Report' Report

As always, I prepare for the club meeting by getting ready for it. This involves getting out of bed and having breakfast, reading the latest utter nonsense – in today's case, about the Eurovision Song Contest – and finally dashing out the door and riding a fast Métro part of the way to the club's café and walking the rest.

So it is kind of an anticlimax, when after getting to the Café La Corona and setting up for the meeting, putting on my $20 New York City drugstore reading glasses, and beginning to read the day's Le Parisien – when I am not interrupted and I get to read the whole thing,even the sports news.

photo, waiter of the week, cafe terrace Waiter handling terracians.

Actually the 'waiter of the week' did interrupt, to complain about the police, fire and ambulances who constantly have their sirens turned full on – immobile outside in the traffic jam on the Quai de Louvre in the midst of what some jokingly call circulation. In fact as he was saying this I couldn't quite hear him.

For some reason, to prove his bonafides, he also claimed to have been born in the Hôtel Dieu. I think he said, "I was born here and I've lived all my life right here, and the sirens weren't as bad 20 years ago as they are now." I wondered if he heard the American fire truck a couple of weeks ago.

But with that off his chest, he left to stare out the door morosely and I returned to the newspaper, to read about the snitch that told everything to Le Parisien. The headline says, "Le corbeau nous dit tout."

This is a story going on here which is usually called the Affaire Clearstream. One of its main elements involves a snitch – le corbeau – who is supposed to have sent a list of names anonymously to the investigating judge, about all these French politicians with secret bank accounts in this clearing bank named 'Clearstream' in Luxembourg. This famous list of names is also supposed to be a forgery.

photo, club's madonna, againThe madonna of the 'Grande Salle.'

But this doesn't stop the local man–on–the–street from believing that some politicians here have secret accounts in foreign banks, so Nicolas Sarkozy has said he is going to sue le corbeau for defamation and he is not the only one.

In today's paper le corbeau says he is not le corbeau because he took the list and gave it to the judge in person, not anonymously. Because there is a judicial investigation the judge has kept his name secret, like judges here are supposed to do.

So the newspaper's headline isn't quite right. It's just a detail. The idea of a corbeau excites the French because only snitches know what's really going on. For example if you look like you are enjoying life, one of your envious neighbors may send a nasty note, anonymously, to your tax inspector.

In the case of the government snitches are highly regarded because without them there would be no Canard Enchainé appearing on Thursdays. Secrecy is an inborn habit with the government. There are a lot of things voters are never supposed to learn.

Anyway, the judge kept his secret and has been running into flak over it, and now the snitch has 'outed' himself. He says he has done this because the top floor of the government isn't taking him seriously – the spooks are stalling – the judge is under pressure – and the Affaire Clearstream, if it is an 'affair,' involves huge military contracts, and secret accounts in foreign banks which are themselves obsessed with secrecy.

He talks about zillions of dollars, mysterious deaths, various meetings with high–ups, and the possibility that the famous list is a fake. If so then it was designed to cause the very trouble it is causing.

hoto, joys of the terrace The club meets not on the terrace.

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