A Invisible 'First'

photo, substitute for lost club photos Cheap stand–in for the 'Group Photo of the Week.'

Look! No Photos!

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Thursday, 1. June 2006:– Take this weather back! It's been delivered to the wrong town. We don't want it, we didn't ask for it. We won't take it even if it's a gift. Not even for February. We don't deserve it either. This weather is pure merde!

Now that I've gotten that out of my system, here's the...

The first thing the weather–lady, Valerie again I guess, she says, she says the temperature is seven degrees below normal. Oh ho, that might be where she is in that hot TV studio but it's not anywhere around here, in the north end of the 14th arrondissement, defenceless against the northerly winds howling out of the cemetery. We are so far below normal that it looks like we're going to have to ride to the end of the tunnel, just to get on the thermometre.

Then she says, ho hah, that we are supposed to get this classy anticyclone – hint, hint – means, warmer, right? Ah, no. It was just a come–on. There's to be a sling of clouds over here, from north to south, no sign of any anticyclone, and she called it 'variable.' Tonight's low is supposed to be eight degrees and it already feels lower. Tomorrow, no doubt on account of 'variable' and the fantom anticyclone, we can expect, maybe, 17 degrees. Otherwise cloudy I guess. Maybe variable amounts of light rain.

Saturday looks like it will be about the same as Friday except that the cloudy stripe leans out to the Bay of Biscay at its bottom end. I've written 'not so sunny' on the weather map in Le Parisien, which means 'variable.' The high for Saturday is predicted to be 19 degrees, if you can believe it.

For Sunday she said the bad weather would be up along the northern border and around here it would be mostly sunny, with a bunch of thin–type clouds. Down south it will be very sunny but that's not near here. And then, finally, the thermometre is predicted to rise to 20 whole, round number, degrees. And, if you are still reading, the same thing for Monday if you can stand the heat.

The Disappeared–Photos Report

Before taking a break tonight for the TV–news and weather and the first few minutes of the old French movie on Arte, I had a small set of fairly good photos corrected, cropped and ready to be transformed into the club photos of the week. When I quit I left them popping on the screen in a slideshow, looping endlessly.

After the pause they were still flashing on and off, so I hit 'quit' and settled in to do the final tricks to them, and then write this. But something must have happened because the folder the photos were in, disappeared, vanished. Gone. Not in this town anymore.

One trace remains, under the 'recent' item in a menu. All the names are faithfully recorded, listed, but there's nothing there. Nada. This is, to be sure, another club 'first,' but it is not a fabulous one. Well, I have now wasted a lot of time looking for these wretched things, so here's today's 'report,' written many hours later than I was hoping for.

I'll skip the weather and the Métro ride although these all happened like on any other Thursday. Cold and gloom had driven a lot of civilians into the club's café before I got to it, and at first I couldn't occupy the club's exact location. I was there if you were, but in the corner, behind the fronds and the club's kitschy madonna.

Nothing happened for a while, but when the civilians left I moved a couple of metres to my regular spot, and continued to read today's Le Parisien. For those worried as much as our minister of the interior about the new disturbances in the suburbs, the paper did manage to find a spot to mention last night's rebellion on page 13. Not a word on the front page. Some of the usual suspects were arrested again.


I was reading the TV features when member Lee Hauseman from Falls Church, Virginia arrived, almost right off the train from Italy. You should remember that Lee works for the Smithsonian in Washington, and when he joined the club in June 2003 he brought a package of NASA's freeze–dried ice cream for the club secretary to try. If I recall correctly, it could have been freeze–dried moon dirt, but it didn't stop me from being a NASA fan.

After hearing about Italy's wonderful food and wonderfl weather, I asked Lee how the Smithsonian is doing these days. He told me about the new National Museum of the American Indian with its huge entry hall, and mentioned the new Steven F. Udvar–Hazy Center which is near Dulles airport. Apparently the Mall has a serious space problem, so the WWII aviation is on display near the airport.


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