Bleeping, Bleeping

photo, the big twirl, tuileries, sunday Parisians, back from camping, take to the big twirl.

Good Riddance August!

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 27. August:–  A great deal of terminal depression was in the air. It was damp and chilly and it went on day after day, night after night. Folks were all white and their skin was bumpy from being under water too long. Just when we thought we couldn't take any more, the TV–news announced a semi–fine weekend. Hey! Remember that it's still August.

We Deserve Better

It just goes to show that hopelessness isn't always followed by despair and depression. Yes, the depression shifted somewhere else and we got a mini–high, good enough for a bright Saturday and a warm Sunday, not quite as bright. All the Parisians who returned on the weekend pushed through the doors and stayed outside. "What," they said, "Is everybody complaining about? It's as good or better than the campsite on the Riviera.

Of course they expected us to be white in the face and have lumpy skin. That's what we look like every August when they come back. Looking dirty brown but having clear eyes and a smug feeling of plastic cards well–used. Oh, happy holidays – and now back in Glitterville, that looks nothing as desperate as when they left. Ready, almost, for the rigors of the rentrée.

photo, sign, pharmacy 26 degrees

Before they get too euphoric, there was tonight's TV–weather. A summer's worth of habit still locked in meant that the forecast is dire if it means a drop of rain will fall on Cannes. I'm sitting there on the edge of my broken chair waiting for the terrible judgement, and what is it? Horrible weather for the southern half of France!

It is going to be stinking on the Riviera, where it will be 20 degrees hotter than Lille tomorrow. Right, 37 down there and 17 up north. Here, we will get the same cool 50 kph wind from the north, and it will only be semi–decent around here, even if the thermometre gets up to its 23 degrees.

On Wednesday the wind stays with us, affecting the temperature, which might not do more than 20 degrees. But no rain. Thursday can expect some nasties up by the Channel but around here the wind will do ditto, the clouds stay down south, and we should pick up a whole point of mercury, to 21 degrees. Still no rain. It might be semi–sunny all three days. We deserve it.

Metropole's météo from Pommeland across the Atlantic is suspended because our forecaster, Météo Jim, is off counting woofies. However the New York Times now has a section called My Times and it has Metropole's personal weather forecast.

photo, giant ferris wheel, tuileries, sunday Big wheel, right in Glitterville!

Wait! Better Beyond the Forecast

In exceedingly condensed form, here is the score. Tuesday in New York will be mostly sunny, with a high of 27 degrees. A bit more warmth with one or two extra clouds on Wednesday will translate into 29 degrees, and Thursday will be a bit worse, with the same degrees and still more clouds and possibly, some thunder. Friday may be the best day of the week, unless Saturday turns out better.

Café Life

When I Grow Up

Those misguided people who told me they like Paris when it is foggy and damp are out of their skulls. Anybody who was out wandering around yesterday just had to love it. Imagine, you are in Paris and you have money in your pocket and open eyes in your head, and the sky is clear blue all the way to the moon, and you have this oyster of a Glitterville at your feet – more like, under your feet – like lots of smooth, polished marble, and the wind was light, warm and playful.

photo, stairway in passage Stairway, is it to heaven?

A waiter was sitting across from his full, sunlit terrace, having a cigarette pause in the shade. It was so good he didn't even mind working the Sunday. But it's been so bad he already knew the forecast for Tuesday was doubtful. On the horizon looms the world rugby championship and it was safe to mention because it's an area where France can actually shine – forget the weather!

Down the street the white struts of the big ferris wheel in the Tuileries were slicing the blue sky. The time of jumping puddles in there was temporarily history. Folks were lining up to take to the high lookout or to twirl around with a carefree wheeee! Kids loved it, especially after three or four weeks of being cooped up in a dripping camp site.

photo, longshot, obelisk, arc de triomphe Lining up – the Obélisque and
the Arc de Triomphe.

And many many Parisians were out just to walk around in familiar surroundings. Where they could stroll without an urge to check out the postcards or buy a bikini that won't leave white traces. Look at them. They were doing next to nothing, walking around in the park, not going anywhere. Take a long view and they were foreshortened, from the Louvre all the way up to the Arc de Triomphe. It was a clear day yesterday and you could see it all.

Next year, not next week of course, there will be much more everything. There always is, more rain, colder, meaner, wetter, next year.

photo, fountain, pyramid, louvre Yearlong Sunday destination – the Louvre.

The Café Metropole Club

None of the club's totally new members showed up at last week's club meeting, and the club's secretary lacked old members too. Regardless, next Thursday there will be another attempted one–and–only Café Metropole Club meeting. Members in good standing are welcome, as equally are not–yet members. You know who you are.

The next meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on 30. August, kind of the day before you–know–what. The Saint of the Day will be Saint–Fiacre. Born in the 7th century in Ireland, he has been a popular saint since the 10th century, possibly because of being the patron saint of gardeners, and his monastery at Meaux is still the destination of pilgrims. Saint–Fiacre is also well–represented with statues, engravings, medals, assorted nicknacks and possibly, postcards.

photo, passage, sunday Antique mall looks good these days.

Yet again, this is somewhat unrelated to Paris because it happens in some other places near here as well as further away. You can read some riveting stuff about the club and its lone factoid on a page mis–named the About the Club Webpage. Readers who actually have read half of it, and many of you might have, will hardly fail to be curious about the other half of it. Should questions still arise, check out the club's worthless but free membership card for hidden clues.

This Was Metropole Ten Years Ago

photo, sailboat, tuileries, sunday Sunday sailing in the Tuileries.

Few should be surprised that last week ten years ago was a long time ago. Metropole used to have real new stuff in it, such as The Centre of Midsummer in the Café column, Sharing a Holiday with Cows was the week's feature, along with some posters and a cartoon entitled Hot Dogging. That was all there was in Issue 2.33/4 – 18. August 1997 because I was on holiday, like I was this week in 1998 too.

Café Life Légère 89.3

Frank Thought He Had an Interesting Life

photo, sign, rue pierre lescot

Today's Quote of the Week has a connection to today's date, but what do we care? For today's choice morsel I offer a quote by Frank Harris, who died today in 1931. Never heard of Frank? Why he only wrote My Life and Loves, an autobiography so risqué that it was banned in Paris before it was eventually published in Berlin. Frank said, "I am, really, a great writer – my only difficulty is in finding great readers." This is still Frank's problem. Many thought his magnum opus was fiction. Frank claimed it was all true. If so, many thought that was even worse.

Still In the Wobble–Balkans

There are no more than 126 days left of this year, the same number that 479 BC had when the Greeks fought the Battle of Plataea and the Battle of Mycale, in two different places on the same day, and beat the Persians twice, ending that particular attempt to take over the world. If you think I am making this up think again. Both Herodotus and Plutarch wrote about these battles. The first said the Greeks lost 139 men and the second, 1360. The Persians lost their fleet too and the survivors had to walk home and a couple of centuries later Alexander came along and roughed them up some more.

photo, sign, ceros, compagnie de librarie

Tango In the Patazone

This is totally unconnected to the fact that this year has used up 239 days, the same number that 1920 had when Enrique Telémaco Susini and some pals in Buenos Aires set up a radio transmitter in the Teatro Coliseo and broadcast Richard Wagner's opera Parsifal to perhaps 50 listeners, who just happened to have radio sets turned on in the off chance that somebody might broadcast something for the first time in history. Since microphones hadn't been invented yet, the novice radio jockeys used a sort of hearing aid. In the following days the station made radio broadcasts from the Teatro Colón and the Tango Club Abdullah. Opera and tango fans rushed out to buy radios, and the rest is history.

photo, sign, bottle bluebell

The Ex–Question of Schleswig–Holstein

A few folks have might have been thinking that it is appropriate to recall the 4th anniversary of Mars' closest passage to the Earth in nearly 60,000 years. Mars came within nearly 56 million kilometres. A much smaller number could also be remembered today if you are interested in wars affecting Zanzibar. On this date in 1896 the Brits lost their patience with Khalid bin Bargash who had seized power upon the death of his uncle, Sultan Hamad bin Thuwaini. They told him to get off the throne so their guy could sit on it. Bargash mustered his army instead. In 45 minutes the Brits sunk the lone vessel of the Zanzibari navy and then demolished the palace using five warships, three cruisers and two other gunboats. Bargash made a getaway, and was allowed later to live in Mombasa. It may not be true but there was a rumor that Britain demanded to be reimbursed for the shells used during their successful gunboat diplomacy. The rest, as they say, is bananaland history.

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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