Orange–Colored Juice

photo, group of the week, dennis, yoko, mike Dennis, Yoko and Mike, the Group of the Week.

National Jam of the Week

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Thursday, 3. May:–  Well we finally got out of April. It was a month that, weather–wise, July would have been proud of. All the folks that haven't spent all their money at this year's Soldes d'Eté, spent the whole month wearing the tatters and rags they got at the last Soldes d'Eté, and they looked pretty cool. Usually it is only only crazies and madmen wearing t–shirts, showing their beautiful navels, flaunting baggy shorts slung low on their hips, in April. And the men were dressed even more exotically!

Now it is May we are having to deal with reality. A low is lurking in the Mediterranean off the coast west of Naples, sending its swirls of low clouds and rain patches over the various areas of the Riviera but all that is a long way from here, here where we continue to enjoy mild and clement days and nights so smooth you can drink them from cocktail glasses.

Le Parisien has these really interesting weather maps. Sunballs are interspersed with fluffy white cloudettes, all all is peaceful and charming in the north, while down south it looks like a battle zone, with black puffs of exploded flak all over. Tut, as they say, tut.

photo, wine of the weekThe wine of the week.

Here is tonight's forecast for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Expect mostly sunny tomorrow, followed by semi–sunny followed in turn by mostly sunny, with temperatures running 22, 20 and 21 degrees for Sunday.

There might be a 50 kph breeze whispering down the Channel but what the heck, that's nowhere near here, is it? Also note how the weather is about to give democracy in France a kick in the pants – great for voting on Sunday.

The National Jam of the Week Report

All of this election stuff is really exciting. Last night two–thirds of all the French watched game shows on TV, went out to movies or hung around in bars, went dancing and street racing, poached a few rabbits and other tasty animals, or stalled around in hospitals, insane asylums, and all the 19th century prisons, all pretty much like any other Wednesday night that happened to be 3. May.

photo, mike curtisMike, member of the week.

Meanwhile a minority of the residents of this country, say about 20 and sometimes 23 million folks, gathered in cafés, bars, hotel rooms, community centres, and some big halls, to watch and listen to the presidential candidates talk at each other on TV for 3 hours and 40 minutes – much longer than the average blockbuster movie, like Spiderman, which opened yesterday in France.

It was the final clash and only public discussion between Ségolène Royal and Nicolas Sarkozy of course. Much to the surprise of viewers, voters and the disinterested, roles were reversed when Ségolène declined to take lessons from Sarkozy, and dished some out instead.

Taking lessons isn't Sarkozy's style and he was hard pressed to keep his exasperation under control, but he did almost. At the same time, Ségolène wasn't shy about letting him know some of his remarks made her angry. This was big theatre. French politicians have all been to debating school, governing school, and running–the–country school. They are professionals. They don't lose their cool.

photo, apricot juice of the week The juice of the week.

Sarkozy said, "Don't lose your cool!" Ségolène responded, "This is anger. I'm not losing my cool, I am angry." Wow! A French politician on the TV, openly saying she was angry about something wrong in France. Either Sarkozy was temporarily deaf or not paying attention because he told her to keep cool again. He likes to be provocative.

It was the kind of show, exciting but long, that TV often – like always – lacks. Fans of both sides booed and applauded. The streets were empty. Even the crooks and bandits watched the show, and all the cops stayed in their commissariats glued to the TV. France, one–third of it, did something together. And on Sunday they will go and do it again and regardless of what the polls are estimating, nobody really knows who will win.

Meanwhile, there was a club meeting today. Paris was going about its business with the usual howling screech of sirens and people were walking around admiring the sights and taking pictures of each other if they were visitors, and a big policeman was directing traffic at the corner of the quai and Pont Neuf. It had been sunny but it had become semi–cloudy, and the temperature felt warmer than 22 degrees.

photo, yoko, aka tomoko Yoko superstar.

There was nobody in the café's grande salle when I sat down and took out the paper to read about what I saw and heard last night. I must have been concentrating extra hard because I hopped 30 centimetres when member Mike Curtis suddenly said hello without warning.

My glasses fell off. Mike, who is from Saint Louis, Missouri, joined the club in December of 2001 when the club's café was being renovated and we were meeting at the Lodi a few doors away. About being in Paris Mike said, "I have to be somewhere."

Mike has been down in Nice, studying French there, and said that he will be studying here too. While thinking this over member Yoko joined us. "I don't like either," she said about last night's debate, "I wanted to vote for Dominique de Villepin ."

Beore we could staunch this heresy, she added, "And François Bayrou is my second choice." Then Yoko sort of noticed Mike and introduced herself as Yoko Ono, susie lookalike. Which is not exactly what she said, but didn't get angry with my mistake.

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