France Fêtes les Bleus

photo, celebration, champs elysees, saturday Before the crowd got really thick.

Great Auk Mystery

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 3. July:–  Elderly pigeons are walking around grumbling because the air is too hot to fly in. They haven't been protesting like this since the great heatwave in the summer of 2003, when New York had another one of its blackouts, Coney Island was closed, and a few more people than normal succumbed to advanced age here.

The authorities are not going to let it happen again. Each newscast reminds us to drink more and sprinkle any old people we see. This time they are not hiding the fact that it is a bit warm. There's an météo Alert Orange for Paris and the Ile–de–France because overnight low temperatures are staying above 20 degrees. A high of 33 degrees has been forecast for tomorrow, along with some variable clouds between many big yellow sunballs.

photo, sign, lune de miel

But it's not going to last forever. Change is to come on Wednesday when France meets Portugal in Munich for the much anticipated football match that will leave one team in the World Cup with a shot at winning the whole pot, trophy or whatever it is.

So then details. A vertical band of clouds and stuff will pass across France – headed towards Munich – and the high temperature will drop to a comfortable 26 degrees – but probably won't arrive in Munich in time to cool off the match. A humid Munich is a real wringer.

Except for this magazine's club meeting Thursday is not a special day, so the skies will be very variable, the clouds will be variable and if there's any sightline for the sun it will be variable too, with the high temperature forecast as a somewhat cool 24 degrees. So ends part one of our heatwave of 2006.

The Fête du Bonheur

A few minutes ago, direct from the submarine known as Pommeland, Météo Jim writes, using his plastic Bic pen that has become rusty:–

This past week according to the Weather Channel, 'was an historic week.' A week of unrelenting rain left parts of Pommeland, Pennsylvania and New York State drowning under overflowing rivers.

The governor of Western Pommeland declared the place a disaster area due to a week of unrelenting rain that left parts of Pommeland drowning under overflowing rivers. The official rain total for Pommeland for June is 5.95 a–inches, almost exactly 15 e–hundredths–metres, or decilitres.

photo, tincan, ortiz, bonito del norte

To show that it felt the Northeast's pain, parts of Maryland and Washington, D.C. were flooded out as well. Unfortunately, it had no effect on the federal government which churned along as though nothing had happened.

This weekend is a French–type of le weekend because on fait le pont – ie, a four day holiday. The official date for la Fête de la vie, de la liberté et du Poursuit du Bonheur is Tuesday, July 4, but many places are closed on Monday.

Monday will be sunny and slightly cooler. The forecast for Le grand Jour itself shows lightning flashes dancing with Rockette precision for later in the afternoon. If Mama Natur cancels the man–made fireworks displays, then she will provide her own spectacle. For the remainder of the week, some more dancing by the Rockettes and cooler temperatures in the lower 80's. The usual disclaimers are claimed.

Café Life

What's Going On Here?

I am not a big football fan, at least not since I lived in Germany and followed Beckenbauer and crew there. Of course I lived here when France won the big caboodle in 1998 but I wasn't paying attention. They went and did their Allez les Bleus! without me.

Eight additional years of neglect hasn't added to my score. If I thought of football at all, it was to merely note that France has a great affection for older players – such as the great Zizou who came out of retirement to stumble around with some guys that don't shave yet. It looked like it was going to be embarrassing.

photo, portuguese flag, convertible, etoile The colors of the Portuguese.

And it was. They looked like the gang that plays soccer because the big guys are using the boules pitch. But they beat Togo. If it had been the other way around the great Zizou would have to have taken his retirement in Madrid where he is a hero. After wiping out Spain he is still a hero there – he's the great Zizou after all.

One has to wonder. Has all of this been part of a perfectly executed scheme? In France the French team has come from behind – from nowheresville – from old age, despair, sickness – to regain their lofty 1998 perch – heros of the Nation! – and these crafty old dudes are going up against the younger and battling Portuguese on Wednesday.

This, for a non–fan, would mean little except that there are a lot of supporters of both teams here. The Portuguese, after ousting the British on Saturday, were the first to take over the Champs–Elysées for their fête, and then the French got the one goal lead over Brazil and and and today's Le Parisien front page is blue, the photo is of dancing girls, flags, smiles, banners – Une France Tout En Bleu says the headline.

An over–excited France–3 TV–news said we were 2 million on the Champs–Elysées on Saturday night, while Le Parisien says today that we were merely 500,000. That's not bad for a spontaneous fête. Only 69 were arrested for agression.

France Fêtes les Bleus

When Parisians can't think of anything else they go dancing, like they were doing Friday night beside the Seine. In fact every night the weather permits they go dancing under the stars beside the Seine. All they need are shoes and music and Paris provides the rest.

Saturday afternoon the thermometer was cozy with 31 degrees – about 88 F – so there would have been a lot of die–hard dancers rock and rolling or tangoing as the sun dipped behind Notre Dame but most of the French were glued to their TV sets for the World Cup quarter–final soccer match between France and Brazil.

photo, portuguese, celebration, champs elysees, saturday Some fans, mostly the Portuguese.

For the French this was a time of high anxiety but for the players it was to be a reunion with many Brazilian comrades who play in the European leagues, sort of like an old dudes get together. Instead of the usual curt handshake, Zizou gave Real Madrid teammate Ronaldo a big hug. Forgive me for thinking this excessive even if I do like Ronaldo.

The Brazilians are a powerhouse of course. The French, until they trashed Spain on Tuesday, were like a limp rag doll. Somebody must have put something in their Orangina. Now they appear to be awake, all that tiresome jogging has paid off, even the bicycle tours, and they are acting like tigers.

History plays a part too. France has beat Brazil in the past. Brazil has not had much luck making headway in World Cup matches against the unlikely French, but Brazilians are optimists and the French areold. Sign seen on TV tonight from Frankfurt – "Allez Les Vieux!"


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