H O O R A Y !

photo, rue des abbresses Saturday night on Montmartre.

Last Headline of the Year

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 31. December:–  In the midst of polishing off this year and keeping all up–to–date, I flashed out to witness in person the filling of the tower of Champagne glasses at local boite, the Quinze. Out with the telephones to get the correct time from the atomic clocks, and on the nuclear bing, Jean–Louis and a helper started the pour. They poured and poured and poured. I drank my orange juice in a jiffy and raced back to write this – exclusive from the 14th arrondissement, a couple of minutes into 2008.

A Gloomy Start

It just goes to show that no two New Years' are alike. The weather is always different too. Why, just tonight on the France–2 TV news and weather Isabelle was saying that – now that New Year is here there's no reason to keep up any pretense of getting warmer, which it is wont to do if we have had a hard December, which is exactly what we have had.

Gone are the balmy inter–holiday days when we were basking in temperatures flirting with 10 degrees. In fact it was only flirting and we may have had no more than 9. She said, earlier tonight – after our president, Nicolas Sarkozy said we should work harder, again – she said that we can expect tomorrow, the first day of 2008, to start with fog, low clouds, and continue with clouds. The high, such as it will be, might be 5 degrees.

photo, always wine

Moving right along, into Wednesday – the first Wednesday in 2008 – Isabelle's map showed lots of black clouds and sneaky little peeks of weak sun. I wrote down semi while I tried to think of what might be appropriate. The filthy temperature is expected to sag even further, down the 3 degrees. Can we have 2007 back?

Then for Thursday I wrote semi again. I still haven't figured out what it should be properly called. Lots of clouds with a remote possibility of brighter moments? Without being overly negative, semi sums it up without making me sound foolish. The good news is the 25% increase in temperature, to 4 degrees. Did I mention the 60 or 70 kph winds blowing offshore, away from here towards Britain? If I didn't, maybe you should warn whom ever is over there – clouds of garlic are coming your way!

Our favorite forecaster Météo Jim, in the depths of deepest New Jersey, has sent yet another original wet and cold forecast. Other than introducing Rudolph again, he fails to mention the Ball, hardly realizing that the Paris bureau has a grip on the situation:–

Great Ball of Lumens

photo, new year ball, new york city, times square New York's Ball of the Year.

Long known as the Internet reporter for Paris, your nosy newsie was on the ground in Macy's in November in time to catch a sneak preview of this year's Drop–the–Ball–in–Times–Square. Wrapped around an aluminum frame, there are 672 Waterford crystal panels and other high–tech stuff including 9576 light diodes, for a staggering solar blast of lumen power. This ball dropped 77 feet tonight in 60 seconds at 23:59 and was seen by 1,134,567 ordinary folks who just happened to be passing through Times Square in New York City at midnight on the last day of the year.

We'll See 2008

It must be noted that next year, 2008, will present new challenges. Thanks to continental drift, the universe taking a wrong turn at Galaxy HG–245–N3 and a preternatural migration of lemmings in the distant, exotic and dismal kingdom of Upper Lesser Hoochikoochistan, Metropole Club meetings will be on Christmas Day and New Year's Day. What does that mean for mankind? If there are meetings, will they come? On verra.

As for the Christmas that was in Pommeland, hindsight allows for a perfect forecast. Christmas Eve was clear and lit by a moon that was one day past full. Rudolph was not only on cruise control but he was watching his portable DVD player and surfing the net on his laptop. Unconfirmed rumours say that he also sent out for pizza.

Boldly making predictions for the final day of 2007, the same storm will move to the northeast and give Boston enough snow to set a new snow record for December. There will be another storm right on the heels of the previous one on New Year's Eve in Pommeland which will dump rain and snow on the revelers in Times Square. The remainder of the week will be cold, in the low 30s a–grad, and partly cloudy unless the partlies get together to form a full cloudy. By the first weekend of 2008 the temperature will climb into the low 40s a–grad.

photo, champagne pour at the quinzeJean–Louis tips out Champagne
at the Quinze.

A bonne année to all and to all a good night. "A la prochaine," Météo Jim

Café Life

Resolutions? Who me? Never!

By the time you might read this, sometime on the first day of a new year, you might wish you stayed in bed. In fact that is where I intend to be because I'm not making any resolutions. The other day I was up for some reason and I noticed that it is still nighttime at 7 in the morning. In the old days I recall that sometimes the sun was shining in the morning. I guess this place has rotten Sheng Fui.

This issue, the last of the year, is about both years. France's minister of health and beauty products has announced that we can smoke in bars and cafés on New Years Day. As you will read elsewhere in these pages, just about everything is closed on Christmas Eve. It's kind of the same thing on New Years Day. We can have a last smoke in a bar or a café of our choice if we can find one open. Our government is so dynamic!

photo, sign, MMVIII

Here's today's, Monday's, headline from Le Parisien: "La cigarette, c'est fini" – and this in bold black letters 46mm high. So big that there was no room left for the exclamation! Trust Le Parisien – they are rubbing it in because they don't have any tobacco advertising anyway. Kicking guys when they're down.

photo, amazing grace Grace hosts artists again.

My friend Grace finally came back from Washington and on Saturday she staged a replay of the vernissage she had on Friday night. This was a good thing because I thought it was on Saturday until I thought to look again at the invitation around midnight and see it was really for Friday. So she reinvited me for Saturday. That's why she is my friend.

So I went up there on the métro in the dark and I'm glad I did because the Abbesses area of Montmartre is quite well–lit at this season, with lights strung across the street and the gas heaters on the café terraces glowing orange and blue. The whole street smelled of warm bread, garlic, scooter gas and split beer. It was far more lively than the Christmas windows at Bon Marché.

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