Voyager Returns

photo, outside grand central station, midtown, new york city Early morning in midtown.

To Leaky, Cool Paradise

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 26. November:–  Landing in Paris last Wednesday after a forgettable flight from New York was so routine we were on the runway while I was still reading the emergency instructions for a crash in the Atlantic. "The escape hatch may be behind you." Then again, it may not. My favorite – "Do not inflate the life vest before you find the escape hatch!" Not included in the life–saving instructions – "If there's any left, choose chicken instead of the salmon."

Kinda Fine – Maybe

It just goes to show that no matter how long one stays in balmy New York when you return to Paris the place is completely different. When I left on 20. October the leaves were still mostly green and hanging on for their lives. Last Wednesday they were all gone and there was a hellish light all over the place that I only expected to encounter on the lookout platform of the Rockefeller Center thing, on a day I went up it because there's a subway station is in the basement.

So, yes, folks, it was sunny in Paris for my return after being mostly sunny in New York and Washington and I was mighty glad to have it. The heat is on in my apartment and it is struggling to overcome extremely low temperatures which are actually higher than normal, statistically, and my heat is losing the contest. That does not mean it is extraordinarily cold here. It means that whether I want to or not, polar icebergs are safe here in my place.

photo, poster, edward hopper expo, national gallery, washington dc Hopper expo in Washington

The rules of fives says that semi–winter sunshine always makes room for miserable cloudy skies that are characteristic of crummy days in Europe. However Tuesday will only be slightly foggy, cloudy, perhaps a tad rainy, all day long with hardly any wind and a high temperature of 10 degrees, about two more than over the weekend. If you can overlook these minor details it may seem kinda fine.

Wednesday, in contrast, will be crummy. But to tell the truth the forecast always paints a bleaker picture than reality, with the exception of the Alerts Oranges, of which there are none at the moment. The temperature will vary a bit too, with an expectation of only 9 lousy degrees. Frankly Thursday will be unremarkable too. I have classed it as real crummy on account of the onshore 70 kph breezes slugging the shores of the Channel and there may be some whistling around here even though it's not near there.

Our intrepid forecaster Météo Jim in the New World across the Atlantic mistakenly thought Ed was on holidays in Parts Unknown. Other than Arlington, Virginia, I was in known parts. Here's Météo Jim's version of Mr. G:–

Thankfully, Fall Finally Fell

The first half of October was hijacked by the Servants of Summer who ordered that record highs of 80 degrees or more be registered on Pommelandian thermometers. These lackeys were eventually overthrown and banished, but it caused the trees to cease changing colors and try to undo the flavors of fall.

photo, sign, please curb your dog

Finally fall fell, but not the leaves. They stayed on the trees and bushes, not knowing what to do. Coaxed by cooler temperatures and shorter days, they began changing into their autumnal wardrobe.

However, the week of November 18 saw up to 6 a–inches of snow fall along with lots of leaves. This was also the week of le Jour d'action de grace when Pommelanders – and everybody else – sings, "Le cru est bu, le devin Bojo" to mark the 25th anniversary of the intro of Bojo Novo.

On Thursday, everybody sang, "Il est cuit, le devin dindon." After a couple of hours of drinking and eating, the two songs became thoroughly mixed, but by then, nobody could tell a cru from a dindon.

For the week ahead, temperatures will rise to about 50 a–grad – normal – along with heavy rain Monday night. On Wednesday, Nov. 28, the tree at Rockefeller Center will be illuminated accompanied by the usual Grosse Pomme extravaganzas and will be there until January 3.

"A la prochaine, Météo Jim"

photo, fall leaves, olana, new york state, oct 21 Peak leaves at Olana near the Hudson.

Café Life

500 Photos, at Least

I don't feel like confessing but I will say that I have just spent six weeks in New York, in case there was any mystery about my whereabouts. It was my first time there in the fall season and I even got the opportunity to go upstate and seek the peak, leafwise. They were just getting set for their big show, and eventually it was still going on weeks later all the way down to Washington, DC.

The weather was sort of the way the year began – very mild. I only got soaked once in the rain that New York can have, and that was on the second day. There was brilliant sunshine in Coney Island for my check–up visit.

photo, shoot the freak, boardwalk, coney island, brooklyn Count on Coney Island.

Let's see, for eats – I ate at a Korean restaurant, at a Malaysian one, at two Turkish places, at the familiar Mexican and Chinese favorites, at an Upper East Side Italian restaurant, a southern–style joint on the Upper West Side, at Katz' Deli on Houston Street and at Junior's in Brooklyn. Most unusual was having some Momo from a Tibetan street cart. Excuse me while I burp.

You don't need to ask if I went to B & H Photo on 9th Avenue in midtown. They heard I was coming and opened their new upstairs photo department only slightly smaller than a football field just in time. I even took Nigel there and he said it was wonderful. We didn't buy anything much but it was heady stuff.

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photo, skyline, empire state building,, new york city Midtown, looking towards downtown, from Rockefeller Center.

Nigel had seen a full–page ad in the Times for some super leather jacket for a super low price at Macy's so we went there and combed the place from top to bottom. Nobody knew anything about it. Nigel said he is eternally seeking the perfect leather jacket and that might have been it, so he was pretty disappointed. He went to a movie on 42nd Street to get over it.

You see all these bald dudes around and I got to wondering exactly how they get the tops of their heads so polished–looking and shiny. A ransack of several drugstores – like banks, one on every corner without a bank – looking for the product, but none was found. Maybe it was there but it isn't called bald guy head polish. Anybody know?

photo, poster, jail, pistol

Of course I brought back a lot of photos. New York taxis have new door signs – for the first time since 1932? – so I shot 500 of them. I intended to put up about 10 pages with new photos and short texts but, you know, something happened. My downstairs neighbor came by and said my bathroom might be leaking on his. Didn't I get the note?

But that isn't the reason. No, my mouse and keyboard died. They aren't really dead but the forums say the software that controls them is a lousy two–out–of–five. Life is short and five hours trying to trick both of them back into action got me nowhere. Death occurred on Sunday, yesterday, of course.

In sum, today's issue of what's going on in Paris contains what I was able to do today without working up a sweat. More comes later. I always write this and hope that nobody notices there's no later. So? I'm jetlagged aren't I? The old keyboard and mouse are probably dancing in their box, overjoyed to escape a pounding. I don't regret for a minute the bundle it cost me to outwit them!

The Café Metropole Club

None of the club's totally new members showed up at the club meeting on Thursday but there were four real members. A nice welcome back. The next Thursday when everything at the Café Metropole Club will be all new again will be 29. November. All sorts of members of all standings will be welcome, as well as are all future members regardless of the year. Tell yourself which you are.

photo, dc3 airplane, air and space museum, washington dc DC–3 in the Air and Space in Washington.

The next meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on 29. November, merely 1 week from last Thursday. The Saint of the Day will be Saint–Saint–Saturnin of Toulouse. A pope sent him to France to pacify the place and some pagan dudes ripped him to pieces with a bull, which led to today's popularity of the corrida in France, Spain and Portugal.

Déjà vu continues, completely unrelated to Paris because it happens in some other town. Heaps of compelling lore about the club and its dual factoidum are on a page titled the About the Club Webpage. Readers who actually have read some of it, and some have, will hardly need to be curious about any of the unwritten rest of it. Should I be wrong as I often am, check out the club's dismal but free membership card for fingerprints and missing commas.

This Was Metropole Ten Years Ago

None should be alarmed that this week ten years ago was ten years ago. Metropole used to have lots of real new stuff in it, such as Rain and Wine, Weather and Beaujolais, possibly in the Café column, Car Showrooms on the Champs–Elysées, possibly was the week's feature, along with some posters and a cartoon entitled Singing In the Rain. That was enough although there was more in Issue 2.47 – 25. November 1997 because it is no less than Ten Years Later today.

photo, sign, washington dc licence plate

Café Life Légère 91.4

Whole Government Working

Today's Quote of the Week has no connection to the the wonderful weather or the high price of efeasiators. For today's gem of philosophy I suggest a quote by Will Rogers, who said plenty of good stuff, such as, "There's no trick to being a humorist when you have the whole government working for you." Or is it not funny? What about this leftover then? – "Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before," attributed to who else but Mae West?

Thanksgiving Patazoned

There are no more than 35 days left of this year, the same number that 1789 had when George Washington's idea for Thanksgiving was passed by Congress. The city of El Paso claims to have had the first Thanksgiving but there are plenty of other pretenders. National days for... are plentiful too. Thanksgiving has been celebrated everywhere on the calendar, including June. FDR decided it should be the fourth Thursday – a club day! – in November because he was a decider.

photo, sign, neon burritos

Wobble–Ks In Asturias

This is totally detached from the fact that this year has used up 330 days, the same number that 783 had when Asturian queen Adosinda was parked in a monastery to prevent her family from snatching the throne away from Maureatus. Her husband Silo ceased to reign the same year, perhaps on account of death. Adosinda was the daughter of Alfonso I and Ermesinda, who was the daughter of the first Asturian king, Pelayo, and her sister's name was Fruela I, not that it matters anymore. There are many other odd names attached to this saga but who, exactly, cares?

The Ex–Question of Schleswig–Holstein

A few folks have might have been thinking that it is only reasonable to remember that it was in 1918 on this date that the Podgorica Assembly absorbed a bunch of folks into Serbia. Meanwhile in Basse–Terre, Guadeloupe a bunch of rain amounting to 38 millimetres fell in 1 minute in 1970, setting a true but soggy record. At the same time in 1977 a dude named Vrillo of the Ashtar Galactic Command took over Southern TV in Britain for 5 minutes at 17:12. Finally, Tina Turner was born today in 1939 and we lost the distinguished statesman Yeon Gaesomun, dictator of Goguryeo, or Koguryo, located in ancient times in southern Manchuria, about 666. Happy birthday, Tina!

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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