The Good Old Days

photo, place 18 juin, montparnasse, saturday In spacy Montarnasse, under a sickle moon.

Just Ask Constantine VII

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 17. December:–  What is there to get indignant about? It is December and it gets dark about 17:00 and stays that way until 8:40, so if there is a high fueled by frigid air from Siberia, who can complain? It is what it is. Long dark nights with lows lower than freezing, followed by some freezing fog in the morning that may give way to a cold yellow sun low in a freaky blue sky – why, it must be January! But it's not. Ono, it's not January.

Impersonating January

It just goes to show that even if the months can get confused we human beings are more clever with our memories of all the past years, and we know in our hearts that December is supposed to be cool and maybe a bit damp and that the cold stuff is permitted in January, if we are to have it at all, but really we would rather have it not at all and save these sunny days for February when they can do some good.

Tomorrow will be Tuesday and it may be the coldest day of the week. Tonight's low was predicted to be –2 and tomorrow's high will be a symmetrical +2 according to tonight's France–2 TV weather report. Factor in the easterly breeze of 50 kph and what does that give us? A wind–chill of minus 5 or worse? Luckily French TV–weather is mum on the subject.

Northern France will be covered in sunballs against a blue background on Wednesday. Wispy morning fog may make its outline indistinct, but you may not notice it at all if you skip it. Wait for 14:00 when the temperature should reach its max of 3 degrees before it slides back to minus numbers.

photo, sign, zero degrees

Thursday may even be sunnier than Tuesday and Wednesday. It's possible that the eastern high will be getting feeble, because the temperature is expected to lift to 5 degrees at 14:00, and the overnight low may stabilize at zero. But, really, I do not know – I pay no attention to any lows beyond tonight's. It's not as if I might be awake.

For those so inclined, be aware that there is lots of snow in the Alps. There is a similar situation on Corsica which is not normally a winter sports destination. In fact the island might be short of ski lifts and ski rentals, tire chains and tow trucks. If you take your own gloves there is plenty of free ammunition for snowball battles. En garde!

Our favorite forecaster Météo Jim over across the the western ocean has sent a new wet and cold forecast. Other than a quote by Smiling Albert, he mentions ice, sleet snow and rain, all situations we can do without because we have our own:–

Just As Howling

A monstrous ice storm at the beginning of last week covered the Midwest with up to an inch of ice which knocked out power to a million homes and businesses. Driven by wanderlust and high pressure systems, it moved east. Starting on Thursday morning La Grosse Pomme and areas immediately to the west received a mixture of ice, sleet and rain while parts further west, north and northeast received up to 10 a–inches of snow. Boston received as much snow from this storm as it receives in the entire month of December.

photo, ice cream, waffles, right here Warm waffles for cold nights.

It is Monday again and Pommeland is receiving another mixture of snow, ice, rain and sleet. Accumulations are expected to be no more than 2 a–inches before it turns to all rain and washes everything away. Once again, as usual, areas north and west of Pommeland will get up to 8 a–inches of snow. Snow on Christmas in Pommeland is rare, unlike common rain.

As for the coming week, temperatures will be in the upper 30s to low 40s, all a–grad, with rain on Wednesday evening and rain all day Friday. No predictions have been made yet for Christmas, but as Albert Einstein once said, "It's difficult to make predictions, especially when it involves the future."

"A la prochaine, Météo Jim"

Café Life

The Good Old Days

By now you will probably realize that I have enjoyed a week of extreme sloth, dictated by the atmospheric conditions. I have been getting up in time to turn on the lights and wrap myself in rugs, keeping warm in the colorful glow given off by a huge LCD screen. I can't say it's cozy because any wind from the northwest or northeast comes through my windows. They are as porous as chicken wire and about as clean.

So it wasn't altogether comfort I forsook last Tuesday when I went out and jumped in – not a moment too soon! – the métro and rode up to place de Clichy to see the latest version of the Beatles Story, co–starring club member Yoko. But first I had to eat and I did so in a joint called the Bistro des Dames because it was in the rue des Dames. Described as a place sans frime, I was served a serviceable pepper steak that followed a big dose of garlic I ordered on account of being in an ancient celler.

photo, new fiat 500 A total first – a Fiat Nuova 500.

There was some confusion getting into Le Méry just over a block away because some folks who had been seeing a show about Barbara were reluctant to leave, until they were chased out by the Beatles Story tuning up. Some of the other folks, waiting to get in, probably wondered why Barbara wasn't the later show, but they stayed anyway – the whole two dozen.

I was around in the Beatles era. Nobody thought much of their pop music until they got high, and then they were good for a right good sing–along. This was my fourth time seeing, and listening to, the Beatles Story, and I am still not inclined to sing–along, although the rest of the audience had no such restraint. This stage version was shorter than the nightclub versions so it skipped the intermission and I was able to get out of there in 90 minutes. Near midnight on the place de Clichy, it was cool and damp.

Thursday was a zig–zag day. Forecast on Monday to be sunny, Wednesday's forecast said it was to be cloudy and rainy, so on Thursday it was bright and sunny – but cool! – and it was on the way to the club that I spotted my first Fiat Nuova 500 since production began last summer. It was a fleeting shot, of a black one. Black is not what fans were waiting for.

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