Les Visiteurs

photo, louvre pyramid, tuileries ferris wheel Deserved pause from touring.

Cheeseburgers Galore

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 2. July:–  I feel that I've let my skepticism slide the last while and haven't been treating the weather with the contempt it deserves. There were a lot of nice skies around here and it got easy to believe in them. No matter how many clouds were predicted the sky stayed blue. Well, that is history. This is the new now, and it's got a lot of gloom and very little blue in it.

Somebody's Fault

It just goes to show that blaming the weather on the new president, Nicolas Sarkozy, isn't sustainable. Last week I blamed him for chickens, cows, junkyard dogs, and the rotten low hovering over the British Isles. Like he said he would, Tony Blair quit so he could start riding around the Middle East with Condoleezza Rice. Sarkozy shrugged it off and Vladi Putin went fishing with G.W. Bush off the rocky coast of Texas.

According to Isabelle on tonight's TV–weather news on France–2, the weather tomorrow is going to be a very low class of terrible. There will be three winds pushing this way, from the southwest, the west and northwest, at 70, 50 and 60 kph, spreading many dark clouds over our heads, some high, some low, and some raining. It was the worst weather map I have ever seen. High of 19 degrees is forecast.

photo, arch, cour carree, institut de france Arches and passages.

Of course, being so close to a big ocean, means that change comes often and even more often than that, but not on Wednesday. No, it's the same winds, it's the same clouds and the same low high temperature. Okay, there may be a lightening in the west – of benefit to Brittany – but around here the best to hope for is less horrible than Tuesday.

On Thursday there is a ray of hope and lett's hope that it gets here while it's light enough to see it. Tuesday and Wednesday's utter muck is pushed to the east – where so much of our discarded weather ends up – leaving behind faint glimmerings of – can it be? – sunbeams? Perhaps filtered between the lingering clouds, but at least not rainbeams. The temperature refuses to budge, staying at 19, hardly warm enough for drying socks. It's a dismal outlook.

Readers, friends, Romans, should welcome a factual history and weather bulletin from the west, proving that Metropole's reach is wider than Montparnasse. The original in Greece burnt down a couple of days ago. Here's our intrepid professor Météo Jim with another prediction, like the ones we used to have when summers were in summer.

Revolution Better Than Ever

Cana–du–land just finished their holiday, July 1, Dominion Day. No reports have come in as to the number of fireworks or meetings and conferences – this is how Cana–du–landers solve problems and disputes – that occurred over the weekend.

Pommeland is getting ready for Independence Day on Wednesday. Since this is in the middle of the week, Pommelanders are looking for ways to make Wednesday last all week long. However, this will cause panic to the stock market if Pommelanders aren't working 28 hours a day 10 days a week. To use an old French expression, Tant pis.

photo, durians, tang freres Durians, to delights and detested.

Also to note is La Grosse Pomme's role in the revolution. It really didn't have an active one. It was invaded and occupied in 1776 by General Howe who ruthlessly enforced his iron clad law of Toujours de la gaité. He was so hell bent on enforcing this law that he overlooked a few minor details such as fighting the American rebels and helping his fellow soldier, General John Burgoyne, at the Battle of Saratoga where he was soundly defeated by the Americans. This defeat convinced France, who, at that time had no fête nationale, to help the rebels. Although France and the rebels were victorious, France was bankrupt. It limped along until 1789 when it convened Les Etats Généraux. One of the first things the assembly did was to attack and overthrow the Bastille so France, too, could have une fête nationale.

One other thing that Le Pays de Paris–Plage has that Pommeland and Cana–du–land don't have is les vacances nationaux. This is when the Paris–Plagers depart Paris–Plage in mass, enduring 5,000 km–long traffic jams and three–day waits in order to go on vacation. This process is reversed on August 31 when they put up with 5,000 km–long traffic nightmares and three day waits so they can return to Paris Plage to start la rentrée, usually before October.

As for the weather, temperatures in Pommeland yesterday were in the low 70s a–grad – 22 e–grad. The weather will remain cool and sunny until Wednesday when Mother Nature will add her thunder donnergeboomersundearsplitters and lightning to the man–made fireworks along with a chance of rain. The weather will warm up into the 80s but along with the 1812 Overtures and cool down slightly by the weekend.

A la prochaine , Météo Jim

Café Life

Les Visiteurs

When I returned here after Thursday's club meeting I had a phone call from Nigel to say that he washed up at the Savoy. He said he was going to meet the Daguerréotypistas in the café Le Bouquet. I would have liked to have gone but club meetings are not an item to be treated frivolously. I told him not to worry if they took him to the Afghan place.

So a day later when I met him at the Bouquet he said the lamb at the Afghan place was the best he's had outside New Zealand. Valerie was there too and was very interested to hear that Communism was hatched less than a block away. The reason it has always been blamed on Russians is because it was Russians that hatched it, in Paris. Where else could they have gotten the inspiration?

photo, petit palaisThe Petit Palais in Sunday sunshine.

Uncle Den–Den was there, agreeing about the Marx Brothers, like he always does. We all went up the street to a newish place called the Quinze because Nigel needs to eat hamburger in Paris before he can think right. Usually we go to the Rendez–Vous which is an ordinary brasserie. I probably haven't been there since the last time Nigel was in town.

Nigel had a cheeseburger without cheese. So did I, but with cheese. I don't remember what Valerie had, but she liked the wine. We were in the back room and we had it to ourselves with just its cool décor and Soviet posters. They weren't, believe me, planned.

On Saturday we went to Chinatown. It is as hard to get to as ever even though it has a new métro station, Les Olympiades on the line 14. Valerie decided I didn't know where Tang Frères is so she asked a passerby who not only took us there, but also led us up to a Thai restaurant where we could get some obscure sort of spicy Thai soup.

Then we went to Tang Frères. There was a huge shipment of fresh durians just outside, under the hanger, and it made sense that hotels in Thailand don't want them in hotel rooms. Folks were pinching them to see if they were ripe. They must have had broken noses.

I found some hot sauce and oranges, grapefruit and bananas, all fresh and juicy, all cheaper than at Monoprix. The problem with going to Chinatown is coming back from Chinatown with all this stuff, weighing tons. No matter how much you get, it doesn't last long enough.

photo, sign, thai soup

None of this is overly exciting. Nigel phoned again today and said he and the Daguerréotypistas were at the Quinze again, and if I wasn't writing too much of this stuff I should hop over there, and maybe watch him eat another cheeseburger without cheese. I'm just kidding – there's other good stuff on the menu and I'll try it sometime.

One good thing about Nigel's frequent visits is that Uncle Den–Den always has a going–away dinner. If you ever get invited to one of these you should go unless you don't care for booze, good food, dim lights, old jazz and blues even older, smoke, more booze, quotes from books that used to be banned and a total lack of conversation about phones, iPods and real estate.

This story is quite likely to be continued someday.

The Café Metropole Club

More of the club's long absent members showed up at last week's club meeting but you know it was exactly one if you read the report. On this coming Thursday there will be another Café Metropole Club meetin. The secretary promises to be there again in person, getting closer to the 400 home run mark.

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

The next meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on 5. July, six whole days since June. The Saint of the Day is another Monsieur. Please cheer Saint Antonio Maria Zaccaria from the 14th century. While on a mission to Guastalla in 1539, wherever it is, he caught a fever, his health waned, and he died. He was 37 which was probably an average age at the time.

This is unrelated to Paris because it happened somewhere around Guastalla, wherever it is. You can read all about the club and its few true facts on a page called the About the Club Webpage. Readers who actually do read it, and all of you surely will, will not fail to grasp the general thrust of it, and could endeavor to download the club's official chit of a free membership card if they have nothing better to do.

photo, sign, rue de tolbiac

This Was Metropole Ten Years Ago

I am really tired of writing here that ten years ago was still 1997. Everybody probably knows this by now, even me. After doing One Year Ago for nine or ten years I got tired of doing it and I admit it. You could look at all past issues if you think I am making this up. It was a nightmare.

Café Life Légère 91.9

Not A Bit Funny for Tigers

Today's Quote of the Week has no connection to Ed or anything else this week. Today's medium–length quote is from George Orwell. He wrote, "I always disagree – when people end up saying that we can only combat Communism, Fascism or what not if we develop an equal fanaticism. It appears to me that one defeats the fanatic precisely by not being a fanatic oneself, but on the contrary by using one's intelligence. In the same way, a man can kill a tiger because he is not like a tiger and uses his brain to invent the rifle, which no tiger could ever do."

photo, sign, rue visconti

Wobble–Fool's Gold

There are no less than 182 days left of this year, the same number that 1578 had when the explorer Martin Frobisher sighted Baffin Island for the first time. In all he made three trips to some part of Canada nobody visits much these days. On two return trips his ship carried tons of crummy rock he thought was gold. I have seen that stuff – I thought it was gold too. Martin later grew rich from plundering French ships, and got a big prize for his part in fighting the Spanish Armada in 1588.

Z e p p e l i n

This is totally unconnected to the fact that this year has used up 183 days, the same number that 1900 had when the first zeppelin took to flight over Lake Constance, aka Bödensee. The Luftfahrtshiffsgesellschaft in Friedrichshafen built zeppelins for commercial passenger flights and they flew to South America with passengers drinking Champagne all the way, until one named the LZ 129 Hindenburg had a bad landing in New Jersey in 1937 and that was that.

From Patazone To Coney Island

It's unnecessary to thank Metropole for reminding you that today marks the anniversary in 1878 of the opening of the Brighton Beach Line in Brooklyn. The rail line ran from the entrance of Prospect Park to Coney Island Avenue. Originally called the Brooklyn, Flatbush and Coney Island Railway, it brought beach fans from downtown Brooklyn to the wonderful seaside spa on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, made famous in song, story, radio and lately on TV.

photo, sign, clock, institut de france

The Ex–Question of Schleswig–Holstein

Many folks have probably been reminded that today is the anniversary of the 1962 opening of the world's first Wal–Mart store in Rogers, Arkansas. Not all that long after, in 1979, the first dollar coin honoring Susan B. Anthony was put into circulation. History buffs will also clearly recall this date in 1808 when Simon Fraser reached what would become New Westminster near where the future Fraser River reaches the Pacific. He was born at Mapletown, New York and the downriver trip took 36 days from where he started. He was not welcomed by the natives at Vancouver and it took him 37 days to get back where he came from.

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
Metropole Midi © 2014
– unless stated otherwise.
logo, metropole sml midi logo No matter how good it tastes,
there is no such thing
as a free lunch.
Waldo Bini