Scrooge Rules

photo, pont des arts, haze, 16th arrondissement The near bridge and the distant 16th arrondissement in the haze.

Full Moon Lights the Way

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 24. December:–  It's not going to be easy writing this tonight. I feel I should keep an eye peeled in case Santa comes into view. If he does – is Santa a he? – then he's missed his landing spot in the Luxembourg and he will have to swing over the 14th and head back. It's a good thing there was a full moon earlier, even through Le Parisien said it is only a sickle. It looked pretty round to me.

Humbug Night

It just goes to show that some folks get into the spirit even when they are total Cratchit and as humbugged as Scrooge in his days of cheesy Victorian glory. To check, I just looked out the back window, but there's no moon. Where did it go so fast? It must be because it's winter – nights are long so the moon has got to move fast.

'Twas the night before... etc., etc. The cold spell we were having that was supposed to lift, hasn't. Oh yes, the temperature doubled from 2 to 5 degrees, which feels exactly like two. There's cold hazes because the sun has been glowing most days, as short as they are. I saw what looked like traces of frost, or maybe it was frozen water left behind by the street cleaners. Brrr.

I have already forgotten last night's week–long forecast. Why not when the last three days of it are only chanced at 3 out of 5? Tuesday, Christmas Day, seems like it is going to quit being sunny, and will be semi–cloudy instead. That's okay. Shopping is over. The high should be 5 degrees, there will be some breezes from the southwest, and the cloud cover is going to seep this way from the Channel.

photo, gambas, rue daguerre They had gambas.

By Wednesday the cloud cover will be more or less total. It's the day after Christmas when all the little kids will want to be out, playing with their new PlayGares WiFis while their moms and dads sit around home, gently burping and eating fancy chocolates. It may even rain, but the temperature might be up there around 6 degrees.

Back to work on Thursday so the skies may lighten up a bit to become semi–cloudy, or semi–sunny, whichever you prefer. The temperature also might show some positive attitude by becoming 8 degrees. Who knows – the beginning of summer might be noticed on 2. January? Oh, who cares? We must have sympathy for the Polar Bears mustn't we?

Our reliable forecaster Météo Jim, beyond the western ocean, has sent another new wet and cold forecast. Other than introducing Rudolph without warning, he fails to mentions ice, sleet snow and rain, all situations we are doing without because we hate that stuff:–

photo, sign, boulevard raspail

Left–over Patches

Cancel the previous forecast for Christmas! The latest, most reliable, up to date and error–free forecast for Christmas tells of heavy rain on Sunday along the entire East Coast, followed by winds up to 50mph which will blow everything out to sea – Météo Jim hopes les savants de la météo mean just the rain, fog and clouds and not everything attached to the ground as well. Monday will be clear unless clouds make their way back with temperatures in the low 40s a–grad, but no matter. This will bring in a clear night for Santa. Rudolph, at least in Pommeland, will be on cruise control and will not have to guide the old geezer. As for other parts of the world, on verra. Christmas Day will be partly cloudy with highs in the low 40s a–grad. As for a white Christmas, there will only be left–over patches of snow from last week. The rest of the week will resemble Christmas without the turkey, but with slowly lengthening days until Friday, when it will resemble Sunday except for longer days.

photo, cases of wine, rue daguerre The national drink.

Merry Christmas et joyeux Noël

"A la prochaine, Météo Jim"

Café Life

Scrooge Rules

For the first time that I can recall I am composing the final elements of an issue on Christmas Eve. In the 11 or 12 years of doing this online magazine about Paris I have worked on every feast day and holiday on the North American and European calendars, not to mention strike days, including on days when I felt I should have been on strike or called in sick.

photo, shucking shellfish, rue daguerre Shucked, so you don't.

It has been an extraordinary adventure. In the beginning the whole process was made up. No one knew what it might become, if it became anything. And here we are, me the producer and you the reader, and perhaps Café Metropole Club member – 11 or 12 years later – not knowing where this is going or why.

I am really tired of doing Metropole. But announcing that I am going to hang up my keyboard and camera is premature. Metropole is going to change somewhat in the coming year. While it may become less, it will be joined by a companion publication called Patazone that will still have words, but fewer, and photos, maybe bigger. More on this later.

photo, seine, bateau mouche, nightfall The boat goes on as the sun goes down.

Tonight is Christmas Eve. I want to wish all a Merry Christmas, good luck, peace, and as much prosperity as we all, everybody, deserves. If you are ever in Paris join me for a meeting of the club on a Thursday. I hope you can make it one of these days. Everybody deserves an afternoon here.

Meanwhile, it was a week of blah weather and the rest was global warming, just like the good old days!

Bring Your Money

Paris wants your money for the winter sales, and in return it is going to give you a big discount. That's right! Starting Wednesday, 9. January, the Soldes d'Hiver take off and continue until February, until the 16th, which is the Saturday following Valentine's Day. Discounts will run to 50% or more on some items. The deal, as for all sales, is first–come first–served. Even if you aren't a shopper, seeing Parisians in riot mode for something other than food, might be slightly amusing.

photo, piglets, rue daguerre Sold out by tonight.

The Café Metropole Club

Another meeting without totally new members happened at the last club meeting last Thursday, but there were two real members, parttime, just like the week before. The next Thursday when everything at the Café Metropole Club will be all new yet again will be 27. December, with only 9 shopping days until the fabulous Soldes d'Hiver. Any kind of shopping members–in–training of any sort will be welcome. If you are reading this, don't just stand there, practise shopping!

The next meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on 27. December, exactly two days after Christmas. The Saint of the Day will be Saint–Jean. I am not sure is this Jean is the same as John the Evangelist, John the Theologian or John the Divine. His was the brother of James and his mom was Salome and the lot of them were a bunch of humble fisherfolks, around Lake of Genesareth. Our Jean had something to do with John the Baptist and after that there were too many of them to keep straight.

photo, live lobster, from canada, rue daguerre All the way from Canada.

Déjà vu as I say, related vertically to Paris because it happens here. A fascinating true fact about the club and its single hard factoid are on a page called the About the Club Webpage. Some readers who actually have read it once, and few have, will no longer be curious about any of the rest of it. If I am wrong as often happens, write your own version. The free membership card for real members is still free and you can take it home and cherish it.

photo, sign, place josephine baker

This Was Metropole Ten Years Ago

Who cares that this week 500–odd weeks ago was ten years ago? Metropole used to have lots of real swell stuff in it, such as Don't Ask Me to Look Out the Window, in the Café column, Downtown Strolling Without Snow, not in the Au Bistro column, along with some minor posters and a boring cartoon titled Greetings from Paris. Is that one running again? There was hardly any more in Issue 2.51 – 22. December 1997, because it is about Ten Years Later this week, approximately.

Café Life Légère 92.4

Light–Weight Enlightenment

photo, sign, avenue rene coty

This totally new Quote of the Week has no connection or relevance to today. For an old gem of philosophy I suggest a quote by Jerry Stiller, who had too many things to say, such as, "Many Christmases ago, I went to buy a doll for my son. I reached for the last one they had, but so did another man. As I rained blows upon him, I realized there had to be another way... out of that a new holiday was born... a Festivus for the rest of us!" Hardly a wonder then, why Principia Discordia said, "The Enlightened take things lightly." He said more but the rest is nonsense.

Way Back In Patatimes

There are no more than 7 days left of this year, the same number that 563 had when the Byzantine church Hagia Sophia was inaugurated in, then, Constantinople for the second time. It was the biggest deal in the world for about a thousand years, until a colosses was built in Seville in 1520. The current Hagia Sophia began as a church about 532, ordered by Justinian, and it was the third version on the spot. The first two or three others were destroyed by earthquakes or riots. Then in 1453 the Ottoman Turks took over and converted it into a mosque, and this it remained until it became a museum in 1935.

photo, sign, gift basket, foie gras, sauternes

Wobble–Art Xanthopsia

This is totally unconnected to the fact that this year has used up 358 days, the same number that 1888 had when Vincent Van Gogh cut off one of his ears for some crazy, unknown reason, that might have had something to do with him being nuts and not being treated at the time. He might have done it on account of Paul Gauguin, or because of the color yellow. A theory says he drank too much absinthe and this might have given him yellow vision because it contains a neurotoxin called thujone, which might have caused xanthopsia. However Paul didn't say so we'll never know.

The Ex–Question of Schleswig–Holstein

A few folks have might have been thinking that it is only right and proper to remember that it was today in 1818 that the song Silent Night, composed by Franz Xaver Gruber and Josef Mohr, was first sung, or performed, or sold on iTunes. It was also performed by the combined opposing armies on the front in WWI on Christmas Eve in 1914, because soldiers on both sides of no–man's–land knew the words. The generals were so furious with their troops that they extended the war by two years. 1924 can also be remembered because Albania became a republic on this day, quite some time after their first king died in 1225 BC. Albania reached a zenith of sorts in the 4th century BC and has never looked back.

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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