Election, Blah Blah Blah

photo, champs elysees, arc de triomphe, saturday The Champs–Elysées during a rare lull on Saturday.


by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 23. April:–  How many will believe me if I say I am flabbergasted? Usually I take the weather as a personal affront, an insult to a normal human being, an attack on my liberty, an assault on my right to walk upright with my head held high without an appendage to my arm, no umbrella, eh? That's what I've been feeling for years. Now this, this weather! I am flabbergasted. Sunshine day after day, 25 very cozy degrees this afternoon. Not only this, there's more.

Summer Records Set Early

On the TV–news weather report they keep saying that there's a high over the British Isles and then the big map shows a swirl of clouds just to the west of Ireland – is that a British Isle? – and sometimes you can see Britain and sometimes the clouds obscure it, but that's where they say the high is.

Nothing lasts, especially when the weather is concerned, but this thing just keeps hanging on. Last week I hinted that it was coming to an end – that's what the TV–weather folks hinted – but it's still here. Gazooks! We are having better summer weather than what we usually get in summer, if there is any summer.

photo, sign, temperature 25 C monday

Well, nobody has to tell us what to do about it. We have these café terraces here and we are using them. Why only today I came across Uncle Den–Den and Dimitri sitting outside at the Bouquet as if they were the kings of Montparnasse. What cool they displayed!

The coming weather is so simple that it hardly requires four wordy paragraphs. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday will be sunny. Tomorrow's clouds may be evident in the morning but that's the last you will see of them unless you are out in Brittany on Wednesday or elsewhere on the west coast on Thursday. Temperatures score 15 for a low tonight, and a flat out 26 degrees for the next three days. Prelim outlook for Friday is sunny too.

On our east coast way over west of here, the situation is not the same. Send goodwill, hoist the umbrellas, put out life boats, because here's Météo Jim with a typically depressing forecast, like the ones we used to have.

Fat Lady Leaves Town

Viewers who saw Metropole's daring documentary Ceux qui m'aime regarderont la météo could not believe the meteorological events that happened in Pommeland this past week.

Beginning on Sunday and pouring through Monday, 9.55 a–inches of rain fell, causing massive flooding and evacuations of many towns. Although the rain basically stopped by Monday evening, temperatures remained in the upper 40s to low 50s and clouds ruled the skyscape. Along with the clouds were intermittent showers to add further misery.

photo, friday night roller rando The Friday night Roller Rando on Friday.

Finally, enough was ENOUGH. The Fat Lady said that this storm would not be over until she was allowed to sing in her tiny yellow bikini. Terrified of further damage, the Groundhog reluctantly agreed to her blackmail. Amazingly, it worked. She is now on a plane flying to Paris and getting ready to hold Paris Plage hostage.

As a parting gift, she left temperatures in the upper 70s on Saturday with a chance of the lower 80s today, Sunday. But, she is not so generous. Temperatures will begin to fall as the week goes on, the rain will come back and temperatures will dip to the mid 50s by Friday.

A la prochaine , Météo Jim

Ed's Note:– Summer is still over here.

Café Life

Five Years Later

On Sunday French voters went to the polls and corrected the mistakes they made when they went to the polls five years ago. At that time they gave themselves a terrible fright by voting a bit too much for extreme rightist Jean–Marie Le Pen and that resulted in them having to vote against him in the run–off two weeks later, which meant that Jacques Chirac got reelected with votes that would have been cast for the Socialist candidate.

Yesterday, urged to not waste their ballots, the voters gave more of their support to the three big–time centrist candidates and only bestowed chicken–feed on the extreme left and right fringes. Arlette Laguiller, spokeswoman for the Trotskyist party Lutte Ouvrière, competed in her 6th and last presidential campaign, and got her worst score ever. Afterwards she said she will vote for Ségolène Royal in two weeks.

photo, metro escalator, etoile, saturdayThe arrival view at the Etoile.

In what may the beginning of a long tradition, ultra–lefty Olivier Besancenot of the very red LCR, did better in yesterday's contest than he did five years ago, and better than all the other red and green formations. This working postman from Nicolas Sarkozy's bourgeois bastion of Neuilly managed to attract 4.13 percent of the votes cast.

However there is no joy tonight in Saint–Cloud, the bourgeois headquarters of political bogeyman Jean–Marie Le Pen. All the voters who attempted to send a protest message to the elephants in power in 2002, realised their mistake and he got a rock–bottom score, probably representing his FN party's real support in France – 10.44 percent.

Since this was supposed to be Le Pen's last presidential campaign – he is 77 – it might be possible to say that he is now a has–been. The future is less unclear for 7 other candidates because there is a looming contest to fill the deputies' seats in the Assembly National before summer.

This kind of exposes a puzzle. Until the legislative elections no one will know who has a parliamentary majority, and even a newly elected president cannot carry out campaign promises unless he or she can get them through the Assembly National and the Senat in one piece.

photo, show window cartier, champs elyseesThe avenue De Luxe at Cartier.

Meanwhile yesterday's winner who did not win, centrist François Bayrou, came in third but carried a huge 18.57 percent of the vote. Bayrou leads the UDF party that has often made common cause with Sarkozy's UMP formation, but they are not great pals. At least one Bayrou spearcarrier has already said he will vote for Ségolène Royal, but the chief is going to wait for the best deal on offer.

If you add all the percentages on the left, they do not add up to more than 50 percent for Socialist Ségolène Royal in two weeks. Today, if Bayrou's score is added to Sarkozy's, the short aspirant is 4/10ths of a percent short of 50. Like the campaign up until now, the remaining two weeks are going to be pretty interesting.

Electronic Voting Machines

These might have been an idea of the former minister of the interior, Nicolas Sarkozy. As a fan of George Bush he might have wanted to tr something new, modern, efficient and totally fool–proof, like voting machines. They were used at 80 locations yesterday.

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