...Continued from page 1

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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