When the Fire Leaves

photo, restaurant in the marais Marais restaurant during Nuit Blanche.

Smoke's End

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 9. October:–  If I hadn't bungled the previous week I would be at a loss to explain why I bungled last week. However, as deck officer third–class on this barge, I do not need to explain anything to anybody. Damn the tornados and full speed ahead! But first, let's put the weather out of the way. Please turn to page 19, elsewhere on this Webpage.

Page 19

Through some massive fluke of nature the weather for our Nuit Blanche was perfect. It was not overly cold, the sky was clear, the moon was near full, and there was clear sailing for all who ventured out to pass the night on their heels, flapping their toes against the stones that narrowly separate Paris from the underlying beach.

Sunday dawned, possibly about 8:03, with another clear sky that eventually revealed itself as blue. And it stayed this way until sundown, about 19:10. I am not at all sure how today looked at dawn, but at noon it was kind of gray. When I went out I found the temperature to be two or three degrees warmer than inside. The pharmacy sign showed 21 degrees.

photo, sky in montparnasse The sky in Paris on Sunday.

Tuesday will have a moderating flow from the southwest, according to tonight's TV–weather news dude. While the northeast coast of France will have crummy skies it may actually be semi–sunny around here, and the temperature is forecast to be 23 degrees.

On Wednesday, the moderating flow may weaken, allowing a vast front of crumminess to flood the western third of this green and pleasant land. If this hasn't advanced to around here, it might be semi–sunny again, or it will definitely be semi–cloudy. Only 20 degrees are expected.

By Thursday that massive patch of muck in the west will find itself in the east, not anywhere around here. But there will be a new outbreak of overcast in the northwest, like on Tuesday. Around here, between the two, it might be that old standby, semi–sunny, again. The bad news is that the high is predicted to be not more than 15 degrees. Just right for Halloween, dammit.

Once again Météo Jim turns the weather into Broadway show business. In his very own lyrics –

The Short Days and Long Shadows of October

As predicted the Muggies made their return on Wednesday but under the name of The Warm and Hazy to try to fool everyone that summer had returned. Much to the dismay of Sandalistas and Tanktoptistas they were swept off the stage by the Autumnals, with the Frosts not too far off stage starting to hum their tunes. Thursday morning dawned with low–hanging clouds racing across the sky accompanied by the North Wind and temperatures in the upper 60s a–grad.

photo, lips of the week

Friday was a prelude to Herman Melville's "damp drizzly November." The Showers made their appearance along with temperatures in the mid 50s to accompany Ed, Radio Ric and his cousin Radial Ric who works for Michelin across the Great Pond as they made their way through and around Paris.

This weekend is a three–day holiday for some who are not most of us. The rest will have less traffic to contend with. Again, the coming week will be a repeat of the previous week, without tornados but with the discredited Muggies pretending they are the Hazies to make a comeback on Wednesday. However, the Autumnals are predicted to make a return appearance but with even more members in their band. Temperatures next weekend may climb no higher than 50 a–grad.

A la prochaine, Météo Jim

Café Life

Nuit Blanche Number 5 Cont.

"On the first weekend in October Paris holds a thing called Nuit Blanche which is supposed to be about being sleepless, being outside in the dark cruising around town consuming culture, cafés, wines, crêpes, standing in lines, seeing stuff you normally wouldn't watch for free on TV, and generally having a bang–up time meeting fellow Parisians who are likewise suckers for a free show." More on this on the Au Bistro Webpage.

No Damn Smoking

The French government knows what's best for us. After several hundred years of being in the tobacco business and getting fat off the taxes on it, it has suddenly turned against the consumers it created and banned smoke in public places. The ban is to go into effect next 1. February, a Thursday.

photo, music resto au franc pinot Sing–a–along at Franc Pinot.

Before you dial up your travel agent to book a visit just remember that there are exceptions to everything in France. The ban will not affect tabacs, cafés, restaurants, discos and dance joints, and casinos – not until 1. January 2008. This is mainly because so much of France's joie de vivre depends on tabacs, cafés, restaurants, discos, dance joints, and casinos being bastions of liberty, fraternity and good times.

Also, France has to figure out what to do with the 30,000–odd who work in the tabacs, and France has to be a bit worried about everybody else who works in any place related in any way to joie de vivre. To ease the way the government has promised to have the securité sociale underwrite the cost of relieving our addictions – doctor's visits, drugs, psychotherapy – whatever it takes!

The government, which is facing elections next spring, both legislative and presidential, did not ask voters who smoke if it has their permission to do this. Some commentators are suggesting that the present majority thinks it's going to lose, so it's got nothing to lose. Look at them – aren't they brave, doing this for the good of the country?

photo, hotel de ville, nuit blanche What's happening at the Hôtel de Ville?

A headline in today's Le Parisen says, France Joins the Non–Smoking Countries. We hear rumors that the Italians and Spanish are taking their bans with ease, being tolerant, facing up to changing times. But the French measures contain a threat – the fines for misbehavior have already been announced.

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