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 Parisien 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.

On top of it one of the greenies in Paris' Hôtel de Ville has proposed fining outside smokers for tossing their butts in the gutter. There's been another suggestion that any concerned citizen can snitch on a bar or café owner who permits smoking. What is this? Are these block wardens going to collect rewards?

So far it's too early to detect any reaction. The Prime Minister only announced the decree today. He is not, not officially, running for President. His idea that cafés can install fumiors – dinky little closed booths with extractors and ashtrays – is not what could be characterized as a bright, shining, lightbulb of the week.

The 'How Many Firsts?' Café Metropole Club 'Report'

The umpteenth club meeting of the week in September happened and we had our first in October. The secretary was there as usual and and three members posed for the famous photo, equally like usual. The report of this this memorable meeting is online, also like usual. The members were Terrie Blazek from Chicago, Sandy Hague from Seal Beach, California and Yoko, just returned from her artistic triumph.

photo, repairs to pont neuf Repairs to my bridge nearly finished.

The coming meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on the next Thursday in October which is the 12th. The 'Saint of the Week,' will be Saint–Wilfried. This British saint lived in the 7th century, and was the only one around with a name you can pronounce. Wilfried had a difficult life but he managed to die of old age. Meanwhile, Terrie said her iPod with the cat photos, finally turned itself off.

The equally pronounceable legend of the club is on a page of complete sunshine aptly named the About the Club Webpage. Test your powers of logic with a few tue facts, and make note of the club's sharp and blurry hand–crafted membership card before its impending oblivion, now promised for the past 15 months.

photo, streetview, barriers, cobbles What's this?

This Was Metropole One Year Ago

This popular feature, once updated weekly for nine years, continues to be unavailable this week for murky reasons, partly because Ed was out during the Nuit Blanche, half the night long.

Café Life Lite 101.6

No Relation

Today marks the date in 1000 when Leif Ericson discovered Vinland. Unlike many other early explorers, Leif had some other names such as Leifr Eiríksson and I forget the other one. He discovered Newfoundland and said it was a green and pleasant land. One of his party, perhaps a thirsty German named Tyrkir, found some grapes and the rest is history – including a Leif Ericson Day, today in fact, declared in 1964 by Lyndon Johnson. There is also a statue of old Lief in Minnesota. In Minnesota?

Pataeronautical Genius

There are only 83 days left of this year, the same number that 1890 had when Clément Ader piloted the world's first aircraft at the Château de Gretz–Armainvilliers. His creation was a batwing contraption named the Eole. It flew only 40 metres, but what else would you expect for a first? Powered by steam, its propellors were made of bamboo. Adler also invented caterpillar tracks, stereo broadcasting, submarine cable and a V8 motor, but airplanes were his passion. However, his flights were military secrets at the time and so they remained. His somewhat later aircraft, the Avion III is on display at the Musée des Arts et Metiers as well as photos by Nadar of the Eole and other neato inventions. He also invented the word, Avion.

This is totally unconnected to the fact that this year has used up 282 days, the same number that 1967 had when Ernesto Guevara de la Serna was killed in by members of the Bolivian army at La Higuera in Bolivia. Due to a haphazard youth that began in Argentina young Ché travelled widely in Latin America, and eventually joined Cuban rebels and stayed with them until they took control of Cuba.

photo, sculpture, mademoiselle boggleville Mademoiselle Boggleville, again.

The Cow Didn't Do It

It is fairly certain that O'Leary's cow did not start the great fire in Chicago which was brought mostly under control on this day in 1871. Hundreds were killed and a third of the city was destroyed. Rebuilding was too rapid for a thorough investigation, so there are many theories about the fire's cause. One theory, suggested in 1882, claimed that when Biela's Comet broke up over the midwest it started many fires over a wide area. The O'Leary house was one of the town's survivors. The cow lived through it too.

Does Any Date Mean Anything?

In Italy, Portugal and Spain this day does not exist in 1582 on account of the implementation of the Gregorian calendar, which is regretted by few if any. Anxious Supernova fans need to be aware that the most recent one, seen in the Milky Way, was a mere 402 years ago, in 1604.

In a Class of Her Own

This date in 1683 should be remembered as the marriage date of Françoise d'Aubigné with 45 year–old widower Louis XIV even if it was secret. Françoise was born in the prison at Niort and she grew up to become Madame de Maintenon. As such she looked after the illegitimate offspring of the king and Madame de Montespan. The new queen later founded the school at Saint–Cyr near Versailles, for the education of noble girls sans fortune who were unrelated to her.

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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