Why Not Our Roofless Mall?

photo, rue d'odessa, montparnasse Saturday night action in Montparnasse.

Happy Birthday, Hungary!

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 23. October:–  No sooner do I decide to lay off the weather, quit the stupid poems about the sky full of diamonds, cool it with the snide remarks about the Channel, than it turns into a mess of winter and the Saints go marchin' in. So, first, we have to shove the weather out of the way. Please turn to page 9, elsewhere on this Webpage.

Page 9

The big news is bad news. Instead of regular weather we are to have Alert! weather and it starts tonight. All of northwest France is under the ORANGE alert tonight and tomorrow, Tuesday. The why of it will be some breezy winds, batting through here at 100 kph from the southwest and the south.

This is continue into Tuesday and then maybe drop to 70–80 kph in the afternoon. This is all part of a huge twirly thing out in the Atlantic. Despite this the temperature is supposed to reach 18 degrees and it might even be a bit sunny in the afternoon.

photo, seine, leaves, pont arts, louvre Leaves are primed for color change.

Sunshine is not forecast for Wednesday, nor are breezes. Oddly the temperature is to pick up one degree. The cloud wave exits east on Thursday, maybe to leave it a bit bright here, with another dim front lurking in the northwest. Amazingly the high is forecast to be 21 degrees. If so, I will take credit for it. If not, it's the other guy's fault.

Maintaining his form, Météo Jim molds the weather into total depression. In his very own phrases –

Toss Your Popcorn Until April

Despite the valiant efforts of Ed, Radio Ric and his cousin, Radial Ric who works for Michelin, the summer dreams of the Mighty Mets turned into the words of Dylan Thomas who wrote, "I see the boys of summer in their ruin." Nevertheless, the true believers toss their ruined popcorn and say, "Wait until next year."

photo, sign, platane d'orient, plante par buffon 1785

Not only did the believers believe, but so the the weather. Summer, like the believers, refused to give up hope, returning in the guise of The Warm and Hazies, The Great Pretenders, The Mellows and other names that hide the fear that summer and its occupants are in ruin, not to return until the sun has also risen.

That may explain this week's and the following week's weather. As the Mets gave up the last chances of their summer dreams the last breaths of summer were washed away on Thursday by the Drenchies and the Downpours on Friday. Friday afternoon the skies cleared to a brilliant October blue but washed in the gales of a wind advisory. Trees swayed and the ground was quickly covered by October's treasures of red, orange, brown, yellow and an occasional spot of green.

Now that summer has fled, the forecast for the upcoming week is truly autumnal. Temperatures in the mid 50s a–grad with cloudy to partly cloudy skies and a chance of rain on Friday, just in time to set the mood for Halloween.

photo, rue de rennes, montparnasse Shopping, walking, riding, driving in the Rue de Rennes.

A la prochaine, Météo Jim

Café Life

We were set to whoop it up at the Bélière on Saturday night. But there was a technical hitch and it didn't happen. While there was a remote chance, I still went to downtown Montparnasse to see the folks on their late Saturday afternoon business of shopping and gawking. If I hadn't there wouldn't be these photos, that I maintain are barely better than none at all.

Our Roofless Mall

There is an irregularity in Paris. Streets are not laid out in tidy grids. Sidewalks are all widths, often cluttered with scooters and parked motorcycles. Luckily curbs, while different heights, are not quite as high as some in New York – followed by a deep pothole, like stepping down into a celler. Whatever is left over after everything else has taken its space can be used by pedestrians, our lowest form of life.

photo, cinema miramar, montparnasse Bright lights, cool neons.

I'm not sure what folks are supposed to be doing around 18:00 on a Saturday night. In Montparnasse a lot of them are in FNAC picking up a handful of books, some DVDs, buying a harddisk or some surround cinema gear. A great many of them are in checkout lines, handing over cards in exchange for a 100 euros worth of media.

The rest are outside in the Rue de Rennes shopping for the latest shoes from China, the latest threads from Morocco, or crowding into McDo's for some tasty French food. There must be 25 thread and shoe shops between Placide and the boulevard, and there are a couple of video game outlets too. It seemed like the winter sales were on Saturday night, but it was probably just normal.

The crowds in Montparnasse are probably less than at Les Halles or up on Haussmann – this is just a provincial outpost down here. We are almost out of town. Of course there's the train station and I suppose folks can come in – from Chartres, or Bordeaux, but they might be coming from no further than Versailles.


Maybe it's a big thrill to come to Montparnasse for some Saturday shopping. Drop a bundle in FNAC, see a movie and have some moules at Léon, or try out the no–smoking at La Coupole.

All I know is that south of the cemetery there is very little going on. We are in our village and the late shoppers are under way but they are just getting some food and wine for the evening. The restaurants fill up and then the streets are empty until it's time to go out and sing in them.

The 'Two–pronged Shambles' Café Metropole Club 'Report'

Some members and the club's secretary found themselves together last Thursday for the third meet in October. The Ed was there, I think, and and four members posed for the famous photo, including Yoko, but excepting one new member. The report of this terrific meeting is online, like usual. It was A Two–pronged Shambles meeting and the subhead was, Just Like Any Other Meeting.

photo, cafes, crowds, place june 1940, montparnasse Contact sport on Saturday.

The coming meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on the next Thursday after the 19th in October which is the 26th, a thrilling number. The Saint of the Day will be Saint–Demetrius . Called the Megalomartyr by some Greeks, there is doubt about whether Demetrius ever lived in Thessaloniki which is a nice town if you learn to pronounce it like the locals. However, legend says he was bumped off in 306 and he got really popular in the Middle Ages, along with Saint–George of dragon fame.

The suitably folkloric legend of the club is on a longish page somewhat aptly named the About the Club Webpage. Test your powers of logic with a few true facts, some idle speculation, and don't overlook the club's in–focus hand–wrought membership card before its impending doom, now pending for the past 17 months.

photo, sign, place de l'abbe jean lebeuf

This Was Metropole Ten Years Ago

This feature once popular, covered in rust and updated every week for nine years, continues to be unavailable this week for philosophical reasons, partly because Ed is no longer young and frisky despite his good, but worthless intentions.

Café Life Lite 101.8

Afflict the Uncomfortable

Today does indeed mark the date in some unknown year when John Kenneth Galbraith, writing in an unattributed source, wrote, possibly in his own hand, "In all life one should comfort the afflicted, but verily, also, one should afflict the comfortable, and especially when they are comfortably, contentedly, even happily wrong." It just goes to show that one can be uncomfortable, sadly wrong, and discontented about it, and being poor isn't going to make any difference.

More Better Pataphysics

There are a mere 69 days left of this year, the same number that 1648 had when James Ussher published a thesis about the calendar that led to his opus work contending that the earth, the whole solar system and the entire universe were created in 4004 BC – to be exact, in the early morning hours of 23. October. Other scholars, nit–pickers all, said it happened either at 9 in the morning, noon, or 9 at night. These days, due partly to inflation, the earth is estimated to be 4 billion years old and the universe 9 billion more.

This is totally unconnected to the fact that this year has used up 296 days, the same number that 1906 had when Alberto Santos–Dumont made his first flight in Paris in his 14bis. Unlike earlier efforts – mentioned here recently – this was witnessed by a mass of Parisians and verified by the Aero–Club De France. The takeoff in calm weather was from an ordinary airstrip, the flight was made with the plane's own power and the plane came down on its own landing gear. It was a true first.

photo, sign, idc, inspection des carrieres

But there's more. Two years previously, while celebrating another extraordinary feat at Maxim's, Santos–Dumont asked Louis Cartier to invent the wristwatch. The flyer needed a watch he could look at while flying tricky airplanes and in those days all of them were too unstable to be rooting around, looking for a pocketwatch. The watch was on display at the Air and Space Museum at Le Bourget, along with Santos–Dumont's last airplane, the Demoiselle . If you want proof, ask any Brazilian.

All the Great Anarchists

The number 23 is supposed to be significant because "All the great anarchists died on the 23rd of some month or other," according to Moon. This had something to do with Illuminatus! which was staged in London on Friday, 4. March 1977, 10,826 days ago. The 8.5 hour play, with its cycle of five 23 minute acts, was performed at the Cottesloe Theatre in the Royal National Theatre in London. It was the first time the new theatre was used. Of the book's authors, Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea, Robert Shea was there and so was your Ed. The connection with today is the Palace Chophouse shootout on Wednesday, 23. October 1935 in Newark, New Jersey. As Dutch Schultz lay leaking blood, full of bullets, he said, "French Canadian bean soup," and this was connected to a global Illuminati–related conspiracy, which found its way into Illuminatus! and onto a London stage.

photo, sculpture crocodile, turtle, snake

Round Up the Usual Suspects

The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 is celebrated on 23. October. It was a totally spontaneous uprising against the Stalinist government, its Soviet–inspired policies and secret police, and for a time the Commies dithered. Then they decided to ruthlessly crush the folks, with Red Army tanks because they calculated that the west, which encouraged the uprising, would not interfere. An estimated 350 rebels were executed, 13,000 were imprisoned, 26,000 were put on trial and 200,000 escaped to the west. After the Wall fell Hungary became a republic on 23. October 1989, 33 years after its revolution. Happy birthday, Hungary!

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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