Everybody's Dreams

photo, big ferris wheel, place de la concorde, statue Concorde's dream wheel.

Come True at Concorde

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 14. January:–  Last week nobody paid much attention to President Nicolas Sarkozy announcing that henceforth the public airwaves would do without advertising and that the 300–odd folks who work the branch would be just as out of jobs as the folks who make skis – another bunch who also lost their jobs last week. Nope – Parisians were out searching the sales for more purchasing power – despite the president saying he couldn't pump it up because the state's coffers are as empty as Mother Hubbard's cupboard. Meanwhile in the friendly skies:–

Orange On the Horizon

It just goes to show that you can elect a president for his promises but it doesn't mean everybody's dreams are going to come true. We voters are so hard to please! We are so unfair, expecting too much. We have such short memories, so it must be doubly unfair if we remember all those campaign promises. Along the way the president said we were keeping the 35–hour work week. No question of changing it. It means overtime pay starts one minute after 35 hours. Then the doctors in hospitals leaped up and said, "Pay us the back overtime we are already owed!" Gazillions of unpaid hours.

So tonight, long before the official time on the France–TV news, David said we were in for an Orange Alert first thing on Tuesday. This involves all of France that sticks out in the Atlantic and flanks the Channel. Heads up! High wind warning. Expect breezes from the southwest up to 100 kph, winds up to 110 kph and howlers maybe gusting up to 120 kph. In Paris we are supposed to be ready for mild puffs of 90 kph but they won't bother anybody except those smoking outside of tabacs and cafés.

photo, obelisque, lights, tour eiffel More dreams/

Other than that it will mainly be cloudy, mostly, totally, and raining most of the time. With a high of 10 degrees forecast, it will be average for mid January. On Wednesday the wind will fall and switch quarters to the northwest on the coast. Oddly, the southwest winds are supposed to continue inland, continue pushing at 90 kph. Clouds are again expected but no rain. The high may be 9 degrees.

After all this Thursday might seem kind of boring with its gentle breezes and clouds, with its predicted high of a welcome 11 degrees and the tip of Brittany might even see some sunshine, but that's not near here, not by a Swedish mile.

Right on time Météo Jim , our outre–Atlantique forecaster, has posted yet another fearless prediction. No mention of Rudolph déjà! again, – not much new snow there but his grip on the situation is solid:–

No Show No Snow

Last Tuesday the temperature along the East Coast, from down south to way up north reached the mid to upper 60s a–grad which is 30–40 degrees a–grad above normal. There was no translation into e–grad because once again the European Temperature Translators Union had a fit and went on strike again, claiming that these stupid temperatures were threatening endangered homeless creatures.

photo, sign, les editions larousse aren't here

Last Monday, one of the weather channels predicted a possible nor'easter. They predicted possible drizzle but nothing more. However on Saturday night, the storm category was raised from "Not in your dreams" to Condition OOOOH–LA–LA! Pommeland was going to be buried under 1–5 a–inches of snow and La Grosse Pomme, because of the storm's track, would be pummeled with 4–8 a–inches! C'est la fin du monde!!!

Monday morning arrived after Sunday night, just as it always does, but no snow. No snow, not even in La Grosse Pomme. Frosty the Snowman was fighting for his credibility. As one radio announcer said, "There was no no in nor'easter." Is there hope for Frosty?

But... there may be hope. Another storm is forecast for Thursday night into Friday morning. How much? Will Pommeland and La Grosse Pomme survive? The temperatures forecast for the coming weekend range from 16 a–grad to 40 a–grad. How much more of this silly yo–yo can Pommelanders take?

A la prochaine, Météo Jim

Café Life

Saturday Night of Idle History

I asked Uncle about the jazz he went to hear at a book shop Friday night but all he chose to remember was the Smoking Dog café. He said there were two customers with dogs there but they weren't smoking just like everybody else. He said Alvin told him that folks who went outside to smoke were outlaws. Alvin used to run jazz clubs in San Francisco and Detroit and whenever he felt like a smoke he'd go outside and join the interesting people.

photo, rue de rivoli, bhv store Chaos in the rue de Rivoli.

I guess that's the best I can hope about it. Those people outside aren't wretched refugees. They are kin. We are in this together, outside like outlaws and don't give a damn. It made me feel better; the situation isn't as desperate as I thought it was. We haven't been run off the planet yet.

In the interests of improving my audio situation I decided to go to the BHV and see if they have any parts I might need. This wasn't a good idea to do this Saturday, on the first weekend of the Soldes d'Hiver. The BHV is a department store on the rue de Rivoli opposite the Hôtel de Ville. It has the best hardware basement in Paris. There's even a café down there, where you can have a coffee and get DIY tips at the same time.

But there were a few other people there looking for bargains. They were all over the whole seven floors of the place and security guys were holding up the herds so the escalators wouldn't plug full. The building has stairs but they are only for emergencies, if you can find them. Hope for a long and sheltered life for the BHV.

Given the crush I didn't actually find any audio parts. I was thinking of getting some steel bolts to hold up the speakers I haven't got yet, and maybe some copper cable to wire them together. I could have looked for wood to build speakers with too. Hell, I could've shot myself in the foot as well. No rational person goes to the BHV on a Saturday at any time.

photo, steamy snacks, concorde For the starving, at Concorde.

Then the métro was the same, full of folks clutching their shopping bags advertising the kinds of places you only shop at two times a year when the sales are on. Parisians do not seem to care. They seem to be content to do all their year's shopping in two weeks, and do twice as much while paying half. It's not like they can go to Macy's every Wednesday.

I decided to go to Concorde and see if I could get into the Tuileries, to get another angle on the big wheel there. The parks in Paris close early in the winter so I wasn't sure it would be open, but it was. Some of those I thought were shoppers got off at Concorde too.

photo, deux magots cafe, night The Deux Magots in Saint–Germain.

Between the electric wheel and the sky Concorde was somewhere in the dusk, beneath a flag floating above the Grand Palais, with the golden Hotel Crillion overlooking the place while the Champs–Elysées emptied its blue splashed cars into the carousel of circling red lights as unlit pedestrians risked the crossings, and those already safe gathered around the waffle kiosks at the base of the wheel.

Just the kind of atmosphere that lends Paris its aspect of perpetual circus. In the Tuileries mallards were floating in the golden puddle of reflection from the big wheel and there were still a few collapsed souls in the metal chairs – alas, unheated, and few remember to carry soft cushions on a Saturday in January. I wondered, would Louis XIV have approved? Would he have said, "Let there be fireworks!" And violins.

Matt Has Some ABC for You

photo, pond reflection, big wheel, tuileries In the Tuileries.

Matthew Rose, a pal of Metropole, has written, painted, spindled, folded and printed a little book titled Mister Rose's ABC Book for folks who need reminding about their ABCs or are just learning. It is in full color with 28–odd pages, and simple words, and the publisher – who is none other that Matt himself – wants you to buy it today. I've seen it – it's certainly worth the 10€ he's asking. There's postage too, but it's still less than the book price. Matt will even hand–sign your copy. Buy lots a copies and Matt will give a nice discount. After you hit this buy Matt's ABC Book link , think of Matt carrying your new book to La Poste in person, as simple as ABC.

Paris Has Some Soldes for You

Bring your money for winter sales, and in return Paris is going to give you a big discount. That's right! On Wednesday, 9. January, the Soldes d'Hiver take off and continue until February, until the 16th, which is the Saturday following Valentine's Day, slightly before May Day. Discounts will run to huge or more on some items. First–come first–served even if you aren't a shopper. Seeing Parisians in riot mode for something other than food will be a rare sight.

The Café Metropole Club

A club meeting with one member is fine with me, such as the one at the last club meeting. All other members and prospects are still welcome. The next Thursday everything at the Café Metropole Club will be 102% new, yet it will be 17. January, in the terrible middle of the month. Any members–in–good form, any standing, of any sort will be welcome, if you can read this.

photo, traffic on rivoli On Rivoli again, later.

The next meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on 17. January, exactly one paragraph later than I mentioned it already. The boring Saint of the Day is fini, over, out of here. Instead we will have famous days to forget, such as Thursday's David Jones Day. In 1966 David chose this day to become David Bowie, so nobody would think he was Davy Jones of the Monkees. He said, "America is a very puritanical place, and I think it stood in the way of so much I wanted to do."

Déjà vu forever, related to Paris by a long and slender but strong thread. A dull fact plus one brilliant rumor about the club and its lone orange factoid are on a page called the About the Club Webpage. Readers who actually have read it, and two or three have, need no longer be curious about any of it. If I am wrong as can seldom happen, write your own version. The free membership card for real members is still free. Whatever is asked for it, it's a bargain.

This Was Metropole Ten Years Ago

What is this fixation with the past? An ordinary decade is ten years, yet it was only 12 years ago that the Café column had The History That Wasn't, Au Bistro ranted about the unemployed and there was something about the Captain Dreyfus and Mr. Zola. Without question there were posters, and a cartoon, titled The Unemployed – On Strike! That was enough in Issue 3.02:– Monday, 12. January 1998 and I'm still losing hair over it.

photo, sign, rue maurice de la sizeranne

Café Life Légère 92.9

Bless Her Heart

This unique new Quote of the Week has a connection or relevance to today, but none to yesterday or tomorrow. One by Anaïs Nin is appropriate. She had some things to say, such as, "Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." Anaïs, bless her little heart, died today in 1977 in case you forgot.

Panipat 'Patahistory

photo, sign, passage alexandre

There are no more than 351 days left of this year, the same number that 1761 had when the Battle of Panipat was fought for the third time, between the Afghans and the Marhatas, which changed the course of :India's history, as they say. The French supplied artillery and trained the Marhatas, while the Afghans were led by Ahmad Shah Abdali, of the Durrani Pashtuns. According to the best military–historico sources the Marhatas failed because they went to war without friends while the Afghans brought everybody and his brother.


This is totally unconnected to the fact that this year has used up 14 days, the same number that 1858 had when Felice Orsini attempted to blow up Napoléon III because he thought the French monarch was the main obstacle to Italian independence. Like the smokers he thought the French would rise in revolt but he was wrong too. He had three bombs made and tested in Britain and they went off in the rue Le Peletier as the emperor was on his way to see William Tell by Rossini. Eight bystanders were killed and 142 wounded, and Orsini was caught, convicted and guillotined. Napoléon and Eugénie saw the show from their box at the theatre as if nothing had happened.

photo, sign, pan and princess, bas relief

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 1913 that the Greek army defeated the Turks at Bizani in one of those Balkan wars, but it's possible the date is incorrect. On the other hand we are pretty sure about the date in 1967 for the first Human Be–In at Golden Gate Park. Today also marks the death of Ray Kroc, in 1984. However it was Richard and Maurice McDonald who started McDonald's in 1940 in San Bernardino. They began with a hot dog stand in Monrovia called the Airdrome and with the money from its sale they invented fast food, the term as well as the notion. The same year as Kroc died, Dick McDonald served the 50 billionth burger.The first one, he cooked too. The original location McDo's was demolished in 1976. So much for idle history.

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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