...Continued from page 1

photo, swing bridge for traffic, canal st martin The unswung swingbridge on Sunday.

So you can look at other folks looking at the canal or the bridges. On any other day there is more activity – barges, police cars, ambulances, delivery vans, scooters whizzing about – but on Sunday there are just other people like yourself, looking at everything except each other, because nobody is doing anything.

I went down a block to the swing bridge. It can set off a lot of action – it swings open, barriers fall, cars and buses stop, pedestrians wait, warning lights flash, there's some audio alert, a barge chugs through – but on Sunday, nothing happened. A swing bridge that didn't. Had no soul.

The sun wasn't down but was low, slanting in from the southwest on a few streets angled right. Away from the canal Paris was closed with its metal shutters down. Over at République an army could have fit in and there was a winter crowd on one of its islands, watching some drummers. The ambiance – boom, boom, boomy–de–boom boom. Like a brass band without the brass.

photo, grass between the cobbles

Further down, going towards Bastille I fell into a café. It was an old PMU with its television showing the trotting races from Vincennes. The floor was strewn with betting slips and sugar wrappers. It was the kind of place that would have had so much smoke in it that it could have been sliced into cubes and carted away. Yesterday it was just murky. I guess the lights never were that bright. The café was okay too.

I caught the métro before Bastille and had to change there to go on to Italie. There was that smell again. Maybe somebody left something in the moat. Maybe it's cigarettes that have been masking these smells for a century. Maybe the cheesy smell is taking over. One of the unexpected consequences that the economists didn't think of.

Soldes for You in Paris

Bring yourself to winter sales,, and in return Paris will give you a big discount. The Soldes d'Hiver continue until February, until the 16th, which is the Saturday following Valentine's Day.

The Café Metropole Club

Some club meetings with one member is fine with me, such as the one last week. All other members and prospectals are still welcome. The next Thursday everything at the Café Metropole Club will be 99.5% new, on 7. February, in the short month of Valentine. Any members–in–any form, any standing, of any sort will be welcome, anyways and always.

photo, cirque d'hiver, sundaySun on the Cirque d'Hiver.

The next meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on 7. February, exactly a paragraph after repeating it twice already. The Saint of the Day is over, booted to perdu, gone. In substitution famous days to forget, such as Thursday's Pluto day, which honors Pluto getting inside Neptune's orbit in 1979 for the first time since either was known to science. But Pluto ceased to be a regular planet in 2006 on account of Eris which is 27% more massive. Instead the boffins said both were dwarf planets, and gave Pluto the number 134340.

Dreary repeats endlessly, related to Paris by a long and invisible but slender thread. One erroneous rumor and two factettes about the club and its single scent are on a page called the About the Club Webpage. Readers who actually have read it, and two or three might have, need not do it again. If I am wrong as has happened often, write your own version. The free membership card for real members is still as free as ever. Whatever is asked for it, it's cheap for the price.

photo, sign, rue scarron

Metropole a Real Long Time Ago

Who, exactly, cares about the past? An ordinary decade is ten big years, yet it was only 7 little years ago that the Café column had Birthday Vodka Chez Dennis, Au Bistro raved about Retirement – Are You Ready, and there was a feature about La Défense – Business Slum. There were four neat posters too, and a cartoon, titled No Beef! Just Caviar and Vodka! That was really all in Issue 6.05:– Monday, 29. January 2001 and I'll never forget it.

Café Life Légère 93.4

Sweet Chaos

This week's tame Quote of the Week has a slight connection or relevance to today, but none to last week or next week. Take one by Germaine Greer. She had a couple of things to say, such as, "We could only fear chaos if we imagined that it was unknown to us, but in fact we know it very well." So I guess that means we know and love chaos so a little anarchy is really nothing at all, really unlikely to cause panic and terror except to the police.

photo, sign, soyez bref

'Patahistory of Flight

There are no more than 330 days left of this year, the same number that 1890 had when Clément Ader climbed aboard the Eole and took off, for a sustained self–propelled flight of about 50 metres. Somehow he was completely overlooked for the first flight prize, so he designed the world's first aircraft carrier, which was seen by the US Naval attaché in Paris, and it was tried out in the United States in November of 1910.

Wobble–Degeneration and Corruption

This is totally unconnected to the fact that this year has used up 35 days, the same number that 211 had when Septimius Severus died. He left the Roman Empire to his two sons, Caracalla and Geta, who were quarrelsome boys. Although Septimius Severus created a military dictatorship, he was loved by Rome's citizens because he stamped out moral degeneration and rampant corruption. He was born in Libya and died at 65, so they say.

photo, sign, pate de porc henaff

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 1992 that the the coup d'etat led by Hugo Chávez in Venezuela failed. But he won the presidency by election in 1998 – declared official on this date in 1999. Besides annoying certain folks in Washington DC, Chávez is also a very busy president. While we're here let us remember 1794 and France's abolition of slavery today, and the discovery of the Codex Sinaiticus in Egypt in 1859. Then in 1991 the Baseball Hall of Fame banned Pete Rose, who said later, "I bet on my team to win every night because I love my team, I believe in my team. I did everything in my power every night to win that game." That's sports, folks!

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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