The Big Sunflower Is Here

photo, seine quai, stairs, sunday sitters Quayside perches in Paris on Sunday.

We Are Laughing

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 16. April:–  After our perfect Easter a week ago, we have had a week of summer for the past week, including today and slightly reduced, tomorrow. I had a summer at Easter once a long time ago, spent on a log–boom on a river, and for 49 years I thought it was rare if it happened at all. This year, if it weren't for the impending election – campaigning must be a hot, sweaty, sticky, business – we could have really opened Paris Plage three months early. Now it looks like you missed it.

Sun Sun Sun

Today's magic number was exactly 78.8, as in degrees, on the F scale of the nearest thermometre. Living in funky old metrical Europe we use of course the simplified and ultra–sleek C scale which stands for Celsius. Its number has been pegged pretty steadily to 26 for the past several days.

As a rule Paris has decent weather only rarely and then it is stingy with it. But thanks to global warming we are now having July–type pollution in April when we are usually lucky not to have occasional sleet. The leaves that protect my view of the cemetery across the street usually don't blot it out until 30. June. Frankly, the plants are rioting.

At the rate we're going summer's bugs will be here any minute. And bugs being bugs – they thrive – they will have enough oomph this year to do it twice. The bees – what are they saying about the bees? No sooner is the winter wheat out of the way and the summer wheat is ready to be harvested in late May. There'll be enough sunpower left to plant the whole country in sunflowers and it will look like burnt toast by the end of June.

photo, fiat 500 of the week Fiat 500 of the Week.

However, before reaching a state of mild panic, let's be calm. Tomorrow looks like it will be another sunny day around here, but the high is only forecast to reach to 22 degrees. I may have to put on a shirt.

Tonight's TV–news gives us another sunny day for Wednesday. There will be clouds, but up by that country to the north, and all over the southern half of this one. For some unknown reason the high is only forecast to be 18 degrees.

The whole situation changes drastically on Thursday when the cloudy half of the country will be the eastern half. That is, everything to the east of here. In this western half it is forecast to be sunny again, and the temperature should bump up a bit to 19 degrees. Another item of joy to add to our cheer is the additional 4 minutes of daylight each day. This means sunrise is about 7:00 with the sunset happening about the time the weather comes on TV, at 20:45.

Across the way the east coast of the United States is being sorely abused by events in the air. Send packages, hoist the buckets, put out liferafts, because here's Météo Jim with multiple reports, no sports and lots of liquid water.

Glub Glub Glub

Pommeland has received more than 5 a–inches – 14 e–middle–metres – of rain since yesterday. If this had been snow, Pommeland would be covered by 50 a–inches. This cannot be converted into e–measurements because this is April and the EU constitution does not allow for that much snow in spring.

photo, under bridge, seine, notre dameLatin Quartier quai.

Saturday– To add insult to injury, some opening day home games for baseball were cancelled because of snow.

Starting tonight, Saturday, which will be three days ago when Metropole readers see this, a semi–perfect storm known as a Nor'easter is forecast to hit the East Coast. It started in the Midwest, dropping up to a foot of snow and then headed east, ignoring the cries of "Go West, young man!" Upon reaching the coast, it will not only ignore the injunction to return west but it will stall out and linger upon the western shores of the Atlantic OK, in some sense, it did go west. Winds will increase to the point where the storm could be considered a class 1 hurricane. It may leave Sunday night or it may stay and wait for the next edition of Metropole to appear. But as it leaves, there will be a wrap around effect which may bring snow to Pommeland. On verra. If there is a next week, temperatures will be in the mid 50s a–grad – 12 e–grad – and party cloudy.

Friday– Here's the latest snow report. Opening day for baseball postponed until September 1. Forecaster Brian Korty said the entire eastern half of the country would feel the brunt of it in the coming days, calling it the kind of storm that happens once every 20 years. In Vermont, Mount Snow, a ski area that had already closed for the season, decided to reopen for the weekend after getting 5 inches of new snow by midday Thursday. Forecasters expected up to 10 inches in parts of New Hampshire. Up to 8 inches were expected in central Maine.

A la prochaine , Météo Jim

Ed's Note:– Summer is over here.

Café Life

The Simple Life

I was just about to do some serious walking around and soaking up Paris, its sights and smells, its history and secrets, when Josef Schomburg pulled off a super deal to get a fantastic camera which made him mightily excited, so he had to come over and show it to me. I can understand emotions like this – it's spring, the days are magically summerlike, and folks go nuts.

photo, seine, pont neuf, boats The sparkling Seine this April.

But first Dimitri showed up to return an item that he borrowed – thank you, Dimitri! – so he was sitting here when Josef arrived, carrying his monopole. A monopole is a one–legged tripod that you can use for defense against bozos who threaten to kill you just for taking their photo when they happen to be out in public and get in the way.

Dimitri was quietly rolling a cigarette and Josef showed us all of his lenses. I showed Josef my lenses, hoping he would want to buy them. Dimitri asked for a match. Josef asked for a cigarette, but I didn't have any so I went out to the tabac to get some and play the Loto, and get a loaf.

When I got back Josef made me try his camera. It was a big Otto but it had a fine, bright viewfinder. Each time I pressed the shutter release it took four or five photos. It didn't seem to have any half–speed. We all took photos of each other. They haven't come back from the drugstore yet.

Then Josef offered Dimitri a beer. He had put two big cans of some imported beer in my fridge when he arrived. I poured some orange juice, and everybody smoked. All the windows were open and the slight breeze sucked the smoke out to where it could join the ambiant pollution. With the radio playing quietly to itself in a corner it felt just like summer when I used to be unemployed. Some of the best things in life are simple.

I could sense that Josef was anxious to shoot his new camera some more at better stuff than me and Dimitri, so we went out and went into the cemetery and hunted around for Serge Gainsbourg's plot. We found it like I usually do, by lining up my apartment building. It's right in front. It was a good thing we went because Serge wasn't getting many visitors.

photo, sign, iron ring, port de paris

This probably doesn't sound like a big deal to you but I knew Josef really wanted to go to the 15th and take some shots for a job he's got – why he got the camera, really – but we had sat around so long, the afternoon was kind of shot. So we went to a café so I could play Loto again and then we went to another café to hold a conference, and have a drink. Trying out a new camera is thirsty work. That's why he brought the beers.

This story is very unlikely to be continued.

The Café Metropole Club

Many club members could not make it to last week's club meeting for reasons that are just as unclear as last week. Next Thursday there will be another chance to attend a Café Metropole Club meeting, and the secretary promises to be there in person, possibly not quite so sincerely as last week.

photo, ile saint louis, from the right bankPicnic area with a view.

The next meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on 19. April, a sort of pre–election edition. The Saint of the Day is sort of obscure again. Please greet Sainte–Emma, also known as Saint Hemma. She was a bit wild until she married Count Ludger who had a son named Imad who became a bishop. Anyway, Emma turned good and later died near Bremen around 1050, and when they dug her up the only thing intact was her right hand, and this relic was placed in the kloster of Saint Ludger at Werden and you can visit it.

Although this is still unrelated to France except for it being in Europe, all about the club and its faint truths are nearby at hand on a page called the About the Club Webpage. Readers who actually understand words, and all of you certainly do, will not fail to believe the fabulous but hard to credit true myths about it, and should not fail to download the club's official scrap of a membership card. Thanks you.

This Was Metropole Ten Years Ago

photo, sign, rue mouffle

Ten years ago was 1997 and although obvious it doesn't hurt to point it out again. Other Internet magazines have come and gone but this one is rooted, like buried, online. The one fact about Ten Years Later is that it should be more like 12 but that's only one little digit off, like some of the oddball items below.

Café Life Légère 103.01

A Straight Shooter

The Quote of the Week keeps to a high level of cultural heritage, aided by Ed who has little to do other than root around in Wikipedia every Monday. Today's quote goes, "There are those who argue that everything breaks even in this old dump of a world of ours. I suppose these ginks who argue that way hold that because the rich man gets ice in the summer and the poor man gets it in the winter things are breaking even for both. Maybe so, but I'll swear I can't see it that way." This is attributed to Bat Masterson who fought his last gun battle in Dodge City, Kansas today in 1881. Bat died with his boots on working at his desk at the New York Morning Telegraph on 25. October 1921.

photo, sign, rue des arquebusiers


There are as many as 259 days left of this year, the same number that 1178 BC had when a solar eclipse may have happened, marking the return of Odysseus to Ithaca after many hard years fooling around with the Trojan affair. At home again he found a bunch of goons and knaves mooling around his wife, Penelope because they thought she was a widow, but they were very seriously, fatally, wrong.


This is totally unconnected to the fact that this year has used up 106 days, the same number that 1955 had when Jacques Perret, professor of philology, coined the word, ordinateur as a substitute for the vulgar word, computer. IBM France thought that the latter word indicated restricted possibilities for the device and had asked the good professor to come up with something sexy, elegant and snappy.

Joy in Brooklyn is Fainter

It's unnecessary to thank Metropole for reminding you of the death of Arthur Chevrolet today in 1941. He was a Swiss who liked cars and raced them. His two brothers, Louis and Gaston, joined him in working for the Frontenac car company in 1916 but they gave up on the car business in 1929, and started an aircraft company which flopped. All the same Chevrolets are still manufactured in some parts of the world.

photo, sign, bridge decor

The Ex–Question of Schleswig–Holstein

Many folks have probably been reminded that today is the anniversary of King Louis the Pious who was born today in 778. He was also known as Louis I, Louis the Debonaire and Louis le Pieux. Let's also remember J. Armand Bombardier who invented the snowmobile around 1936 on account of Québec's three warm seasons in winter. Arnie was born today in 1907. To close, give a hand to Spike Milligan, Peter Ustinov and Kingsley Amis , born today in 1918, 1921 and 1922. As far as Marcus Salvius Otho is concerned, he died today in 69, heartbroken over losing a battle. Just before checking out he said, "It is far more just to perish one for all, than many for one." Although he only served three months as Emperor, his coins are quite valuable because they are somewhat rare.

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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