Disconnected from Earth

photo, start, friday night rando, montparnasse Yellow mob about to launch on its 'roller rando.'

Do Not Adjust Your Set

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 22. May 2006:– Instead of having ten minutes of commercials, tonight's TV–weather news started before they finished. I dropped the pot back in the sink and I dashed to my météo position in front of the tube, my soapy hands grabbing the dedicated Bic weather–news pen awkwardly, but the satellite image was already gone.

It probably was a real twirler too. The winds are still here and they showed an arrow right smack over Paris, and gave it 50 kph for a velocity. This is from the southwest and they stuck another arrow out at the entry to the Channel, blowing straight east, also at 50 kph. Then, the cloud that is to be a small annoyance for Brittany in the morning turns into a general cloud covering all of northwest France in the afternoon.

photo, sky, flagA windy sky in Paris.

To be frank this is not altogether positive, but the real insult comes from the temperature department. We are not supposed to cringe with a sub–normal overnight low of 9 degrees, with a top–out of 15 in the afternoon. Le Parisien calls Tuesday Le mois de l'escargot. It says snails love this weather because it reminds them of November.

The TV must of had many more commercials to run tonight because this is where the weather news ended. Wednesday and Thursday just don't matter. Le Parisien shows Wednesday being mostly sunny with clouds, with a high of 15, and their map for Thursday has sopping rain clouds for the entire northern half of France, albeit with a bit more warmth.

Even though I don't trust Internet weather I would have turned to this source because Le Parisien's forecasting may be accurate enough for les escargots but it is hardly trustworthy for human beans. But, alas, I am not getting any action with access to Wanadoo. Could it have anything to do with this 'historic provider' sending me messages all weekend, announcing their change of name to Orange? They said, "Do not adjust your set," and Il y a rien à faire!

How right they are! The 'net is cut off from me.

Weather Breaks a Leg

Across the great ditch weather news comes from Météo Jim, exclusively for Metropole. There is a possibility that it's also unique, in the sense if you read it here, it may never happen. But just in case here is, totally accurate, Météo Jim's fresh forecast for the week:–

Weather forecasters are not sure how Barbaro breaking his leg in the Preaknesswill affect the weather or the upcoming hurricane season. In the meantime, Pommeland has been experiencing April weather instead of May blossoms. A persistent low pressure area that stretched from the Mississippi River to Nova Scotia is finally moving into the Atlantic and traveling to Paris Plage, just in time for les soldes d'été. Cool, dry weather with temperatures in the low–to–mid 40s at night will warm to the low–to–mid 70s as the week goes on while scattered clouds will alternately cast shadows and allow sunbeams to warm the land of Pommes.

This coming weekend is Memorial Day, the unofficial start of summer in Greater, Lesser and Extended Pommeland. As of now, next Sunday might see temperatures in the low 80s.

photo, tempest warning The sign says, "Closed on account of tempest."

In the meantime, Météo Jim is taking a vacation next week and will not be available to report on the start of the hurricane season, much less the weather. He is going to a distant land without the support of WiFi, Internet or computer to experience nature as nature intended it to be, with live bugs, without fake spam. So, here is his prediction for the end of May and the start of June. We will have weather which, if it doesn't change, then the same weather will continue. See previous editions of Metropole for all the usual disclaimers.

Disclaimer:– the 'I' and the 'we' above is Météo Jim and not 'Ed' or the club's secretary, and if Météo Jim intends to leave his Pommeland weather station in the lurch, that is his own onions. –'Ed'

Café Life

Parisians are Freebie–crazy

Some club members have passed on remarks about the weather features in Metropole, and it has been kind of them to do so. The modest forecasts are entirely for the benefit of readers and club members who read the magazine occasionally. At no time do I get joy from doing them. Far better I think, to do it as before – watch the TV– the night before and hope for the best the following day.

Many observant readers have probably noticed that I seldom apologize for erroneous predictions and forecasts. I don't do so because I have little faith in tomorrow's prediction and none at all for the long term – say, Wednesday and Thursday. The weather is very changeable here. It usually comes from the mid–Atlantic but sometimes it comes from Greenland and occasionally it comes from Scandinavia. Even African weather gets here one in a while.

photo, rue de rivoli, traffic The upscale portion of the rue de Rivoli.

You know all this I guess, and you don't blame me. On Saturday we had the Nuit des Musées. This coincided with the grand reopening of the Orangerie in the Tuileries, which was treating everybody to free entries on account of being unfree and closed for ten years.

I live here so I know how these things work. In effect, on Saturday, there would have been a double, or triple – free and open at night, also free – so I went there in the afternoon to 'beat the crowds' because Parisians really like cultural freebies and will willingly mob them. Who can blame them?

So I looked at my clock and I calculated that no Parisians would be there because they were having Saturday lunch, but myself I had my Saturday café so I couldn't possibly get there then. After, of course, folks were supposed to be shopping – it's Saturday afternoon, isn't it? What happened, I guess, is that a lot of people ate short fast lunches early and did some fancy speed shopping.



Anyway, there I was at Concorde on Saturday afternoon, nearly jogging up a huge number of Métro stairs, practically out of breath on reaching the stone surface. The first thing I noticed were some casual idlers reading notices tacked to the iron railing three–metre–high fence of the Tuileries. Before I could get close enough to read I saw the iron padlocks and ships' anchor chains holding the fence shut.

Did I notice it was windy? Did I think it was windy enough to be classed as a tempest? No both times. But the keepers of the Tuileries had another opinion. The folks gathered further along outside the entry to the Orangerie were reading the notices, in French only, and muttering darkly in many other languages. In case we didn't see the notices or the stout locks and chains, there was a sizeable hired goon behind the iron fence. He was standing far enough away, to discourage questions or heckling, but close enough to repel climbers. The dogs were probably nearby but out of sight.

photo, rue de rivoli, statue jeanna d'arcFree Joan of Arc draws a small crowd.

Of course I am an old pro at this game of 'now we're closed, now we're open and free, aha! fooled ya! surprise high wind alert!' I am a pro because I have a fall–back plan. Okay, so I know I'm never getting into the Orangerie free, who cares? On to the fall–back!

This was quite a long way eastward on Rivoli, all the way to the Hôtel de Ville. As a fall–back it was great in theory – not one but two free exhibitions – the prolongation of the Willy Ronis photo show and the Paris Cinèma around the coroner in the rue Lobau..

Wind aside it was mainly sunny when it wasn't cloudy, and all the incredible and long wall of identical buildings along the north side of Rivoli were shining stone white with a few flags bravely waving. And along there, on the right, or south side, the absolutely empty Tuileries garden itself, not a soul anywhere in it and its fountain turned on and up, spraying the gravel with careless abandon. All the gates had the 'closed' notices on them.After a day or so of sort of soft walking I arrived at the Hôtel de Ville where a band was tuning up on a stage erected on the place, and a few folks were hanging around for the free music in the intermittent sunshine and gusty breezes. By this time I had forgotten it was Saturday afternoon – did it matter?

Coming off the place and into the shade on Rivoli I wondered what was happening on the sidewalk. It was plugged with people. A bit closer and the crowd resolved into a line, three and four abreast, lined up waiting to get into the free Willy Ronis exhibition. What? Not shoppers! Not across the street at the BHV where they were supposed to be? Phew... some even had shopping bags.

photo, hotel de ville, expo, willy ronis The second of three freebies – mobbed!

Well, I said this was a double–fall–back, so I kept on going down the block to the corner and away from the front door there weren't all that many about and the corner seemed deserted – a few too few people if anything – but around the corner, YES! it's another line–up. Parisians are freebie–crazy. On Saturday when they are supposed to be shopping!

This is all my own fault. I used to read my mail and keep track of the printed press invitations to these exhibitions, and if they weren't on Tuesdays or Thursdays, I used to go and see the new shows. Now that I think of it, it was better doing it that way than the way I'm trying to do it now. This is about the sixth time this year I've tangled with this trait Parisians have, of flocking to Saturday freebies, and it's the sixth time I've lost.

To be continued.

Tempest in the Bois

The Tower Theatre Company will be presenting a Shakespeare version of the Tempest rather than one produced by weather, in the Jardin Shakespeare somewhere near the Pré Catalan in the Bois de Boulogne, beginning Tuesday, 30. May. This is the 15th year that these players have presented Shakespeare in a beautiful setting in the fresh air, somewhat distant from a Métro station.

Check out the Web site for details plus directions. The show continues until Sunday, 4. June so don't wait until the last minute. For info, tickets or plain fun, phone Robin Baker at 01 45 20 67 30 or click his name for the email link.

The Huge Thing of the Week

Aerial photos of Paris are rare because the city is a well–kept military secret. Very few civilians are accorded permission to overfly the city and even fewer take photos from above the Tour Eiffel. Jean–Louis Schmidt got permission somehow and took his camera up there and then put some of his 1000 shots on his Web site, which is called Paris Sky Pictures. Forty of these photos also appear in his book titled J'aime Paris. If this isn't enough there are also other photos of France, from the 1950s. Worth a look.

Not–the–Best Café Metropole Club 'Report'

The Club Meeting of the Week last Thursday took place without benefit of any members in the club's café, which was about what the club's secretary least expects. Flick a glance at the 'report' of the non–meeting, which, with some major invention, was headlined, 'Windy and Stoned Blogbabble.'

photo, door, place de la concorde

The next meeting of the Café Metropole Club should feature some members, real or imagined, with all the usual 'firsts' such as a new 'City of the Week.' The 'Saint of the Week' will be Ascension, a public holiday that shouldn't be confused with Pentecôte in June, which is still on the calendar despite being suppressed because we don't work enough in France.

The mainly true and overly exciting story of the club is on the 'About the Club' page. Should your curiosity be piqued, hurl an eyeball at the club's highly original and hand–crafted membership card, before its eventual replacement with something real.

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago

Issue 9.21 – 17. May – the week's Café Metropole column was titled, 'May Bursts Out, Freaks, Montparnos, Sunlight.' The Au Bistro column's headline was, 'Difficult Partners, a New Campus in Town.' The 'Feature of the Week' was titled 'Here's the Winner! – of the Bumper–Sticker Slogan Contest.' There was a double–repeat Scène column with the title, 'Par Amour de l'Art, and Thread Trips,' yet again. The update for the 20. May meeting of the Café Metropole Club was called the 'Geopolitical Meeting' report. There were four stunningly boring 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's weekly cartoon was straight from the graveyard of lost cartoons with the caption, 'You Call this a Caption?'

photo, sign, rue saillard

This Was Metropole Three Years Ago

Issue 8.21 – 19. May 2003 – in this week's issue the Café Metropole column was topical with, 'Revenge Weather.' The Au Bistro column wasted no more words than the week before with 'In 6 words – 'Don't Miss 'Dimanche Noir' on 25. May.' The sole feature's headline was, 'Rail Days – Wheels of Steel.' The report for the Café Metropole Club meeting on 22. May was titled, "I Need Help from an Expert" report. There were four stupendous 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was 'social' again with, "42 Years? Let's Strike!"

Café Life Lite 1O1

Disconnected from Earth

For the 1st time in a very long time – maybe since never – my connection to the Internet was a disconnect Monday afternoon and evening. No surfing to sources for the usual nonsense that usually finishes off this Café column. But I'm trying to look at this on the bright side – it isn't 04:00 in the morning yet, a hour before the birds shake their feathers and oil up their tweeters. No, it's much earlier. Hotdog, what will I do with myself? I mean, after I do the spell–check, write the captions, put in the photos, all that other stuff. PS:– 'online' returns 14:00 Tuesday afternoon. Yipee!

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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