Mumble, Mumble

photo, restaurant polidor, cyclist Long–time favorite eats joint.

Hallo September!

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 3. September:–  Several weeks ago, while the Soldes d'Eté were still in season, a shop near here announced the arrival of fall fashions. At the time I thought they were pushing it a bit but the climate pretty well confirmed the estimate – after 10 semi–days of erratic summer, fall truly was in the air. It still is but with a vengeance. Coming temperatures – like the ones around here tonight – are below normal.

Forecast Unwanted, Unloved

It just goes to show that Paris has a hard time being normal even with a certified temperate climate. My guess is that it's in the process of reforming itself. Politically this sort of an action is popular. Weatherwise it means that if the 100–year average for the beginning of September is mild and 23 degrees, reform means that it will be cozy, if you think 17 fills the bill.

By now regular readers will know about my malfunctioning weather–station. My antique TV set no longer has hundreds of colors. It is confining itself to three – purple, green and magenta. Faces are mainly blue, grass is blue or magenta, and green is a random color that might turn to blue at any moment. Frankly, after a few days I find blue is quite a acceptable for faces. But the weather maps and their color codes are another matter. I checked Le Monde's weather tonight, to verify the TV.

photo, stairs down, stairs up Dizzy stairs, but not to métro.

According to all sources, tomorrow will be cloudy and the high will be 18 degrees, about 5 less than normal. In case you are cooking with this warmth the north wind will supply a 20 kph breeze. Wednesday will be the same but with a higher high of 19 degrees.

Thursday of course is a particular day because I will be going out to the club meeting. The cloudiness will intensify until water falls out of them, especially in the morning. Perhaps in the afternoon too. However you shouldn't take this too much to heart because the high is supposed to bounce all the way up to 22 degrees. I would just as soon say there is no weather coming but I will be mum.

Metropole's météo from Pommeland across the Atlantic returns to this place of honor thanks to our vigilant forecaster, Météo Jim. The woofies counted, sails hoisted, decks swabbed, here's Jim:–

Weather Unchanged

Mr. and Mrs. Météo Jim – that's us – have returned from our vacation only to find the weather unchanged. When last we left, a hurricane was bearing down on the Yucatan Peninsula in Central America. Upon arriving back in Pommeland, we learned that another storm, Hurricane Felix with winds of 150 mph is roaring towards the same vicinity.

photo, park vert galant, ild de la cite Park at the bottom of the stairs.

As for Pommeland, friends reported that the third week in August was cold and gloomy, which reminded many of Jolly Old Paris. Today, Monday, is celebrated in America and Canada as Labor Day, even if it's not spelled the same. In Québec, the name has always been la Fête de Travail – the Work Party – but the same idea of a day free of work is honored.

For the weather for the week of la rentrée in Pommeland, there will be temperatures in the low 80s a–grad with sunny, dry days until Friday when things will sizzle near or at 90 a–grad. The coming weekend will see chances of showers and cooler temperatures.

A la prochaine, Météo Jim

Café Life

Misguided Missive

I have been one of those misguided people who told everybody that nobody knew when the kids go back to school because it's on different days, and some went back weeks ago – supposedly because they go on Wednesdays but not Saturdays so they need a longer school year. Except for those, and all other exceptions yet to be mentioned, all 880,000 teachers returned to school today and the millions of kids start tomorrow. Except for the 136,000 kids in Paris who started today.

The debate about school on Saturdays continues, for centuries now, without resolution. Many kids have no school on Wednesdays, so working parents have to arrange themselves around this. The reward is having to get up extra early on Saturday. A lot of folks don't like it but what can they do because there are a lot of folks who think it is a brilliant idea. These are the same folks who think their kids deliberately forget everything during summer holidays, so they shove extracurricular books, exercises and the coaches at the poor tykes. A kid's life in France is not an easy one.

photo, why smarts are smartWhy Smarts are named smart.

Of course some parents would say that they are worse off. It is such a chore, is it not, to provide shelter and food and clothing, and have to manage it all as well as make sure they do their lousy homework – four year–olds in France get homework – and go to bed early and rise while still unconscious, and arrange for the free Wednesdays, and all the days the teachers are on strike. Yes, a parent's life in France is not an easy one.

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photo, view from meudon, tour eiffel, sacre coeur View from the observatory park in Meudon.

But I shouldn't minimize the hardest job of all – that of the Minister of Education, who wants to reform it all so that all students grow up to be trilingual math wizards who get super jobs with high pay that generate lots of exports, who all write poetry and buy a lot of French stuff and pay a lot of taxes, from cradle to grave. It could be so much tidier than the messy way it is now! Oh, how the ministers despair.

What you have to think of is José Bové wearing a suit, instead of those tatty rags he usually wears. The government wants smart people in France but it doesn't want them to disagree with the government or object to the reforms that are so obviously necessary, to government ministers at least.

So there I was tonight, watching the blue faces on the TV–news, when I was delighted to see Nelson Mandela getting off an airplane at Roissy, wearing one of his beautiful shirts despite the fresh air. We have all these guys, graduates of some of the best schools in the land, and all of them are wearing suits. To let us know they are folks like thee and me, sometimes they don't wear ties. I call it the mentality of insurance company slaves.

photo, trees in meudonObservatory park in Meudon.

Nelson Mandela, who is about 89, reformed South Africa. He served about 27 years in jail for trying to do it too. But in the end he was right, and stronger, so the whole thing swung around and he became president of his country and all the people there became equal, and the whole time he always wore beautiful shirts – never suits. I think we can learn something from him.

If we want reform so desperately, as Nicolas Sarkozy insists, then I say let it start at the top and let them wear beautiful shirts.

Next year, not next week of course, there will be much more of everything. There always is, more telephones, more uTube, more better iPhones, more illegal downloads, more music, next year.

The Café Metropole Club

More none of the club's totally new members showed up at last week's club meeting, and the club's secretary lacked any old members too. All the same next Thursday there will be another try at having a jolly Café Metropole Club meeting. Members in any standing are welcome, as are just as equally yet–to–be members. You know who you are I hope.

photo, fiat 500 of the week Original Fiat 500.

The next meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on 13. September, a kind of day after you–knew–what. The Saint of the Day will be Saint Le Bienheureux Bertrand de Garrigues, a pal of Dominique. Born in the 10th century in France, he had something to do with suppressing the Cathars in Occitanie who were Christians, but not the right flavor. Well, it was a long time ago and he's been a saint for a long time.

Yet again, this is wholly unrelated to Paris because it happened in some other time far away. There is some riveting stuff about the club and its lonely factette on a page mis–named the About the Club Webpage. Readers who actually have read all of it, and many of you might have not, will hardly fail to be curious about the other part of it not mentioned. Should questions arise, check out the club's gloomy but free membership card for clues, hidden or obvious.

photo, sign, rue monsieur le prince

This Was Metropole Ten Years Ago

No one should be surprised that last week ten years ago was a long time ago. Metropole used to have lots of real new stuff in it, such as Death Under the Place de l'Alma, possibly in the Café column, On a Southern Beach, Still, possibly was the week's feature, along with some posters and a cartoon entitled Our Beach Reporter. That was more than enough in Issue 2.35 – 1.September 1997 because I was just back from holiday, like I was every week in 2007 too.

Café Life Légère 89.8

Nauséabond Beyond Doubt

Today's Quote of the Week has no connection to today's date, but what do you care? For today's morsel of philosophy I offer a quote by Robert M. Pirsig, who wrote Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Robert wrote, "No one is fanatically shouting that the sun is going to rise tomorrow. They know it's going to rise tomorrow. When people are fanatically dedicated to political or religious faiths or any other kinds of dogmas or goals, it's always because these dogmas or goals are in doubt." That was in 1974. Take a look at Lila: An Inquiry Into Morals for more.

photo, sign, ancien rue monsieur le prince

Wobble–zone Balkans

There are no more than 119 days left of this year, the same number that 1260 had when the Mamluks fought the Battle of Ain Jalut in Palestine against the Mongols and beat them, marking the western limit of their expansion. Quibblers like to say the Mamluks – mameluks, mamelukes or mamlukes – actually defeated a little horde rather than a giant one, but the Mamluk Sultanate ended up ruling the Middle East for 250 years. They were not Egyptians but slave soldiers converted to Islam, from Turkic or Circassian tribes from the steppes, and sold in Constantinople to the Sultan of Egypt.

Torta In the Patazone

This is totally unconnected to the fact that this year has used up 246 days, the same number that 301 had when Marinus of Rab and some pals set up the Serenissima Repubblica di San Marino, or San Marino, the world's oldest constitutional republic. Marinus was a Christian stonemason, on the lam from persecution by Diocletian. It was so remote that Napoléon decided to leave it alone and Giuseppe Garibaldi declined to annex it to Italy. The present population is about 29,000, its only rail line was destroyed in WWII and never replaced, it is famous for its Torta Di Tre Monti, its Grand Prix happens outside the country, and San Marino has a rather successful baseball team, T & A San Marino. All this in an area of 61.02 square kilometres!

photo, sign, pont saint michel, napoleon III, 1857

The Ex–Question of Schleswig–Holstein

A few folks have might have been thinking that it is fair to remember that it was in 1783 on this date that Britain finally agreed to the independence of its former colony, by a treaty signed in Versailles. It was also on this day in 1929 that the Dow Jones Industrial Average reached its all–time high of 381.17 points, before the Crash. Of course nothing like that can ever happen again even if the Dow is currently at 13,357, up 119 points today. Ten years later Hitler was surprised when France, Britain, New Zealand, and Australia declared war after his invasion of Poland, thus setting off WWII. That is behind us now, so let's instead remember today as the birthday of Diane de Poitiers in 1499. She was a smart lady who had Henri II for a boyfriend and it went on for a long time until he died. Happy birthday, Diane!

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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