Stonework Testing of the Week?

photo, pam skoemaker scans sky outside of club Group of the Week Pam Shoemaker scans the gris–gris.

'Life After Politics' for Chirac?

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Thursday, 8. February:–  The weather was exciting for all of 20 minutes this afternoon when the sky got really dark, almost like night, and when it was full enough to burst that is what it did – all over the few folks out being hapless on the Quai du Louvre.

This wasn't the big snowfall in other parts of France that I saw on tonight's TV–news. I don't remember where that was now, but it looked pretty impressive – like tons of snow on somebody's roof. But none of that is foreseen for around here so put away your snowshoes.

The girls must be on holidays – skiing? – so it's the young dude doing the weather on France–2 these days. I have confidence in him, in his forecasts. But he makes them too complicated. I was still scribbling down Friday's details when he stepped in front of Saturday to tell us about Sunday.

The temperatures stack up as follows – 10, 10 and 12. Tomorrow there wil be a bit of depressed Atlantic and damp winds from the southwest, with the result that here it will be semi–crummy. Except for winds from the southwest and the west, up north, I don't have a clue about Saturday. Movie day maybe.

photo, paris sky over institut de france Today's sky across the Seine.

This leaves Sunday, with a high of 12, some southwest winds, and semi–sunny here part of the time, but especially when you want it to be. None of this is bad for February with its temperature of about 53 F and all the rest of the stuff, except that it's February.

The "Stonework Testing of the Week" Report

To get to the club meeting today I had to buy a carnet for 10.90€ and I had to go to a different métro station because they are turning Raspail into a automated robot that doesn't have live people who accept cash.

The Denfert station is still human but of course it doesn't work on the auto–pilot I usually use on Thursdays, so I almost went to Etoile instead of Odéon. Then, because it is one stop further, I almost got out at Saint–Germain, which wouldn't have been a problem, except for my auto–pilot being set to go down Dauphine.

Thus I was somewhat surprised to arrive at the club's café actually in time for a meeting. Then since there were no members around I got to read today's Le Parisien for the first time in a month–of–club meetings. There is a lot of interesting stuff going on in France.

For example, president Jacques Chirac was interviewed by TV's Michel Drucker last week, for a show to be broadcast this weekend. For the first time our pres admitted that "There is a life after politics" and it lasts, "Jusqu'a la mort." According to the story none of Chirac's handlers expects him to allow himself to be re–elected.

photo, today's le parisien Today's Le Parisien.

In other news a very high court decided yesterday that José Bové must serve the four months in jail for his conviction for destroying modified corn. However, another judge gets to decide when Bové must turn himself in to jail. It might not be until after he completes being a presidential candidate. Isn't France a clever country?

In other news the police arrested a pickpocket. It just goes to show that those ceaseless warnings broadcast in the métro do pay off. And a new university opened in Paris, out east in the 13th beside the Seine. It will be named Fac Paris–VII in case you want to make a note.

Which, after much more, brings me to the arrival of today's club member – Pam Shoemaker from Greenwich Village in Manhattan. The last time I saw Pam she was showing me where to find a subway on Mulberry Street in December.


"In the meantime, it's freezing in New York," she said. With a frequent–flyer ticket she popped over here. "All I had to do was pay the taxes."

photo, pam in cafe Smiles at warm and dry during a club meeting.

Pam said that she was using the club meeting for an apéro between a three–hour lunch and some kind of bird she was going to cook until done for dinner. Already divided in three she offered me a part but I begged leave to come home to my repast of hot oatmeal and to write this tasty report, like every other Thursday evening for the past 363 weeks.

We had a good discussion about weather conditions in Florida, not helped a bit by the dozen Italian dolls who had parked themselve in the corner right beside the club's tables. They alone turned the profit for the café today.


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