Blasted Sunlight

photo, group of the week, marie and mark Marie and Mark, inspect the unknown Wine of the Week.

Shreds the Winter

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Thursday, 20. December:–  What a change from last week! This week we are having forecasts that are like real predictions that come true. The sun is shining very brightly, right in the eyes because it is very low on the southern horizon. Lower it will not go this year. The same probably can't be said about the temperature, but there's a hint of a positive tendency.

Also, tonight, we have a bonus from the folks at France–2 TV news and weather. They added two extra days to their forecast to prepare us for the holiday. Unfortunately today's Le Parisien didn't include a map for Tuesday, Christmas Day. So all you'll get here is Metropole's forecast for the eve.

Tonight we will have what we've been having for low temperature and that is minus 2. On Friday we should have what we had today, and that was about +3. After any lurking low–lying fog clears away, which it will in most places that aren't in dismal valleys, the sun will display lots of winter rays and they will be bright. No wind is predicted, and in a corner out of what might be floating around, it will feel almost warm.

photo, orange j of the weekThe not a Mimosa of the Week.

Do not be fooled! It is not warm at all. Saturday should be more or less the same, but there might be some thin cloud hanging around. A high temperature of 5 degrees was forecast. Sunday will be even better with 7 degrees, and maybe more or less of those thin clouds. On Christmas Eve, Monday, the skies should stay just about the same with sunshine and wispy clouds, but the high temperature is not expected to reach higher than 5 degrees. The overnight lows should be in the plus column though.

Bonus Update from Météo Jim

I'm not very familiar with French Christmas carols, but I notice a difference between them and American and French Canadian carols. In le monde nouveau – not to be confused with Bojo Novo – we – American and French Canadian – celebrate the cold, the weather, the winter season and snow which gets us ready for winter. In France, the weather is not mentioned, which leaves the average citoyen to get ready for the season at his or her own pace. In most cases, this doesn't happen until May.

The Bordeaux or Burgundy of the Week Report

The above is not exactly true. I am not going to be singing the praises of December next May. Mostly likely I will be whining about the lousy spring and about how cold Easter was, or getting into a panic about the unlikelihood of summer. Besides, I can't sing. Carols are humbug.

But this afternoon when I left for the club I was in a better mood, until I was halfway to Raspail, and noticed how cold it was. And it must have been 1 or 2 degrees. That is nothing as far as cold goes. Minus 20 is cold. It feels like cold steel on the nose and ears. What we have is obviously global warming. If it keeps up I'll be swimming to the club. Paris–Plage won't put away its palm trees for the winter.

photo, cafe mustard, oil, salt, peper The Stuff of the Week.

Going over the Pont Neuf I noticed that the morning fogs they talk about were happening in the distant 16th arrondissement. It looked really foggy over that way. I tried to take a photo of it. If it comes out it will look kind of blurry. The bridge, in contrast, was too contrasty on account of the sun hanging low over the rue Dauphine and throwing long shadows all over the place. Too bad reality is in color.

When I got to the club's café La Corona I stood on the deserted terrace for a while, squinting. It began to feel warm. The café is on the Right Bank of the Seine. In a situation like today it is a wonderful place to enjoy sunshine, sort of just like being up an Alp sitting on a terrace flashing the old ski duds and hanging out like person who can afford to be up an Alp, without a care in the world and plenty of central heat in the hotel.

Whereas the reality in Paris is a little different, except that on the Corona's terrace you could get one of those alpine cocktails – something like a hot wine with a hot rum chaser, just so long as somebody like Monsieur Ferrat noticed and found a waiter willing to come out. Yes, it could be pretty good, with everything like in the mountains except for the train ride and the endless cheesy fondus.

Inside the café all was normal and I set up in the club's area and began to read the paper. According to it the Internet is a pretty lawless place, and the French are not immune. Then there was l'incroyable collision between a huge truck carrying rock and a TGV at an obscure level crossing. The truck lost the contest. Only 35 train passengers were lightly injured.

I was about to read some unsurprising non news about the government when member Marie Mazurchuk arrived. This meeting was to be her last, before returning next May – that nothing month! – to attend the tennis tournament at Roland Garros.

photo, quai du louvre, winter sunThe long Shadow of the Week.

All the same Marie seemed a little bit glum. Most folks visit Paris for a week, and when they go they might be happy after cramming so much into such little time. But stay four months, off and on, and maybe you are not sure leaving is the best thing. No matter how homelike home seems to be.

So we looked out the window where the sun was blazing on the Quai du Louvre. There was a huge howl of sirens and a herd of big Peugeots came around the corner, all flashing the blue lights. They were followed by three or four very bulky trucks, like armored cars on steroids. More big Peugeots came after and then a half–dozen cops on motorcycles.

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photo, winter sun on the corona terrace The best Alpine Terrace of the Week.

At least it wasn't Gadhafi like last week. Somebody told me when he took a boat ride he insisted that the cops occupy all the bridges and stop all the traffic from crossing, including scooters. It wasn't something an ordinary tourist can demand and get away with. When he left France he went to Spain and apparently behaved himself down there. King Carlos is known to have a royal temper.

We talked about scallop shells along the rue Saint–Jacques. There are? And passing a cinema and seeing Elizabeth – the Golden Age on the posters and the starting time in five minutes. Then the Waiter of the Week appeared and asked, "Voulez–vous boire quelque'chose?"

Another member, Mark Kritz, appeared in the grande salle and joined us. "I walked in the door two minutes ago," he said. I noted it so it is a true quote but I don't know why. Then, after telling me that Champagne and orange juice is a cocktail named Mimosa, he told the Joke of the Week. The punch line was, "Yes, but whose?" Don't complain. You are lucky I can remember any of it.

photo, wine of the week Unknown Wine of the Week.

When Marie told her story, the abbreviated version, he said, "What a sad thing to be here three months!" To get even Marie asked him about the cube–like boxes he was carrying.

Mark is still fixing up his apartment and he decided it could use some lights because it gets dark at night and candles are so messy. So he found some on sale – yes that's right – on sale and only five shopping days until Christmas. Then Mark had a sniff of Marie's wine. She asked him if he knew what it was. He looked at the bill to see what the café called it. It was bordeaux or burgundy. Some kind of lower–case sort.

He had missed the Waiter of the Week so he was preparing to get cranky from thirst, when he slapped his forehead, and remembered that he had an appointment to buy some rails for hanging pictures. "I have to be there before five o'clock," he said. Marie wanted to know what sort of shop closes that early. Mark said it was a place with rails, a specialist. He grabbed his globe lamps and raced off.

photo, marie of the week The Marie of the Week.

Marie decided not to finish her wine. We tossed money on the table and put on our coats and shook hands. Farewell. Au revoir. We put on our gloves and we left the café. We, all of us, will be back.

Maps For You

Last year the Institut Geographique National announced that it was putting detailed maps of France online. I looked up the Website of the IGN but it didn't work and I forgot all about it. On tonight's TV–news the story was about the IGN launching a 3D version of its maps, supposed to be, "better than Google's!" So I looked at the 2D version and saw my house, in some other season. As for the IGN's Géoportail in 3D, the site claimed it was there for Windows users. Mac users should be patient, as usual, according to the IGN.

About the Café Metropole Club

Sling your mouse over your shoulder to see a recent club meeting report buried somewhere in these very pages. Less taxing than being at tediously long and sunlit club meetings but nothing is perfect. An explanation for what we might have been doing today may help and can be found on the About the Café Metropole Club webpage.

graphic, club location map

Purple Patazone

Off–the–cuff as any Thursday, half unrehearsed, demi out of control and again, and again, something less than three members. Club meetings run from 15:00 to 17:00 every Thursday. The next meeting will be on Thursday, 27. December. These metric times are the same as 3 to 5 pm around other old unmetric places, while meetings are held around here. Whatever you feel like saying will be totally appreciated by the other members present if there are any and they are listening, and sometimes they are, but not always.* Your other, absolutely true, stories are totally welcome too even if they are true.

Caution – should you have a personal desire to remain unfindable via the Web, be sure to inform the club's secretary that you prefer to be 404 – not found by Web search engines before becoming found. Stay unfound if you prefer.

*The above paragraphs are relatively unchanged since last week because it's this was the 398th meeting of the club and you know what that means, don't you?

The café's location is:

Café–Tabac La Corona
2. Rue de l'Amiral de Coligny – or – 30. Quai du Louvre
Paris 1. Métro: Louvre–Rivoli, Pont–Neuf or Châtelet.
Every Thursday, from 15:00 to 17:00.
Next club meeting on Thursday, 27. December.

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
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logo, metropole sml midi logo No matter how good it tastes,
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Waldo Bini