January's Doldrums

photo, terrace, cafe corona, club cafe Visitors stride to their destiny in the Louvre.

Galileo Spied Neptune

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 7. January:–  At this point in time we are a whole week into 2008 and it feels just like 2007 but it smells different. It is not the smell of the French on the burning barricades. It is, rather, the sudden ability to smell in bars and cafés, see food in restaurants without peering through smog, and the scent of humiliated and dejected smokers out on the pavements, in the no longer fresh air. Ahoy! about this air:–

Midwinter Heatwave

It just goes to show that you can ban smoke from cozy interiors but smoking outside doesn't make it cozy. In the old days, like last week, it was enough to enter your favorite café–tabac to ensure that your atmosphere would be fully smoked. The way it is now every time you light up outside, two things happen. The wind blows the smoke away and folks try to bum cigarettes. We used to be safe and sound in our cafés.

photo, metro sign

We are more depressed if it's raining outside. How can you have a relaxing smoke when rain is running down inside your collar like you are a gutter leading straight to the earth? You are probably asking what this has to do with the weather report. Well, it's simple really. It's gravity.

It's the same thing with avalanches. If it gets a little warm the TV–news starts ranting and raving about the danger of avalanches which are caused by gravity. Tons of snow falls off mountains. This is, of course, of no concern to anybody on the streets of Paris. You can't even see mountains here except on the TV–news.

Well, it's gotten a bit warm. I for one salute this. It's about time! Tomorrow we can bask with a high of 9 degrees, under somewhat cloudy skies, that will be nowhere as grim as places further away from near here. There will be south–southwest winds too, keeping our sidewalks fresh.

photo, sign, churros

On Wednesday it might be a bit dimmer because of more clouds, but with a high of 10 degrees. Wait you must, to go out, for Thursday when the high will scale up to 11 degrees, the clouds will part, partly, and there may be some peeps of sunshine with a 4–out–of–5 chance, which means it may be more, or less, or something completely different.

Our only forecaster Météo Jim, outre–Atlantique, has once more envoyed yet another original damp and humid forecast. Other than mentioning Rudolph déjà! – not much change there – but his grip on the situation follows:–

Changes Overhead

Just to alert Metropole readers: it is now official. When Les soldes d'Hiver begin on Jan. 9, be on the lookout for a jolly old elf and a jolly old elfess. That's right. Mr. and Mrs. Claus are coming to Paris–Plage to take part in the winter madness. They will fly into Charles de Gaulle airport on their sleigh pulled by nine tiny raindeer – including Rudolph. So, if you see someone with a bright shiny nose, it is not le clochard du quartier. This is, I promise, the last mention of Rudolph – until next Christmas.

photo, sign, service toute heure anytime

Winter arrived in Pommeland for a very short visit. Tuesday night the temperature reached +2 a–grad with a wind chill of -10 a–grad. Wednesday the high temperature was 20 a–grad with a wind chill temperature of 0 a–grad. At that point the Euro Temperature Translators Union had a tantrum and went on strike saying that such temperatures were inhuman and refused to have anything more to do with the abominable conditions in Pommeland.

Temperatures began to rise again after that outburst. The first full week of 2008 will see the following weather unless and until it changes without notice. On Monday, highs will be in the 50s and Tuesday might set a record high with the thermometer climbing into the low 60s. As with winter, the stay will be short. The cloudies will get together again on Wednesday and threaten rain and lowering temperatures. They will do the same on Thursday but no rain unless they change their minds. Friday will be a repeat of Wednesday except with even lower temperatures, ending up with seasonable temperatures and partly cloudies on the weekend.

photo, sign, smoke bar

"A la prochaine, Météo Jim"

Café Life

Resistance Zero

By now I guess everybody knows that the French meekly bought their cigarettes in the tabacs the day after New Year's and took themselves outside to light up. All the cafés are full of the smell of burnt cheese and hot garlic. This is nothing new but being able to smell it, is.

There were reports of isolated resistance. There are tiny towns, little villages really, where there is only one shop, which is the combined café and bar and restaurant, distributor of bread and cheese, newspapers, Loto, postage stamps, and other odds and ends of fundamental necessity. One of which being that it was the only public place where folks could meet, inside, sheltered from the elements.

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