That Was the Winter That Was

photo, grand fountain, concorde A Sunday of whiz and spray in February.

Mighty Fine for February

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 18. February:–  Friday was a gloomy, sullen day, hanging over the city like plague, like the pest. Residents came out, sensed the change, glanced around for the groundhog and then remembered that he is not here – gone forever like the beaver – and either forged ahead to solem adventure or retreated back into the dim safety of their dank caves. It was bitter.

Late Update Or Never

It just goes to show that a few bright and sunny days in February do not a California make. Then while we were mourning on Friday evening something significant happened offstage, in the dark, and the jolly sunshine was back on Saturday. Oh, it was heavenly. It was delicious. It started out extra cool and then got almost warm. The same thing happened on Sunday. I, we, went out and basked.

Today's Le Parisien has printed its weather futures without color. My TV's decoder is still deranged, so I haven't the latest in super–color wide–screen forecasts. In shades of gray today's prediction was for clear skies and a high of 11 degrees. I can confirm that this was what actually happened.

Hold on to your hats. Tomorrow looks like it is supposed to be mostly cloudy with brief sun peeps. The high may be 9 degrees at 14:34 in the afternoon. There might be a bit more sunshine up along the northern frontier, and that's where it will be best in France.

photo, how to erect an oblisk How to erect an obelisk.

Wednesday appears as if it will be really crummy up along the Channel but that's not too near here. It looks like we will have some gray clouds like Tuesday, with feeble sun peeps, like ditto. The high temperature is predicted to be a respectable 11 degrees. On Thursday the nice weather sweep from the southwest will have begun but it won't have reached here yet. There may be rain, with 13 degrees as compensation. Friday may just be a change for the better – with 14 degrees and an outburst of blue skies.

Late Update: Tuesday was sunny and maybe as much as 11 degrees. According to Tuesday's Le Parisien it is supposed to rain on Wednesday, be unsettled on Thursday and Friday, with some kind of sun appearing again on Saturday. Without TV futures I dunno. Temperatures are also expect to rise, to about 13 or 14 degrees.

Like the famous Casey Jones, Météo Jim forecasts run on time, so he has posted one more prediction that includes that dreaded word, digital. His appreciation of the weather situation, usually, in general, is worth your attention:–

Lost In Translation

Last week the snow did snow, the rain did rain and the flood did flood. Pommeland received anywhere from a coating of snow to 4 a–inches deep, which became rain, up to 3 a–inches of the liquid stuff. Translated into snow, this would have meant 3 a–feet covering Pommeland. Although there was no such snow the heavy rains fooled a lot of shallow rivers.

photo, sign, rue de la roquette

In addition, la semaine d'amour marked the breaking of winter's back. The average temperature began to rise and will culminate many moons from now with the rising of Sirius the Dog Star and the Dog Days of Misery, otherwise known as Baseball.

As for President's Day week, more rain is expected Sunday night into Monday with temperatures in the upper 50s a–grad. A cold front will arrive from freaky colder climes and send the thermometer into the lower to mid–30s. Partly cloudies will prevail until the sun shines or the cloudies cloud completely. The various groundhog weather channels are at odds as to which scenario will unfold.

Also, not to forget, but one year from now all TV transmission in USAland will become digital. France has already filed a protest with the World Boobtube Organization to protect l'exception français.

A la prochaine, Météo Jim

And me? What about my lousy super digital TV decoder? What's so exceptional about it?

Café Life

Might Fine for February

My week was cruising along like a ride on the bumper cars when I got an invitation, forwarded from Uncle Den–Den, to assist with a Valentine's Day fête. That was last Thursday. Unluckily, France Télécom's Orange updated my TV on Wednesday which placed it hors service along with my Internet connection when I tried to fix it. So, along with no members at the club meeting, I could not put up a timely report about nobody there. Luckily the invitation was for Saturday, not Thursday.

photo, ile de la cite, seine, stairway, cafe How to sit around catching sunbeams.

After a lot of hair tearing I went and got a haircut from Tony who is not Italian. Tony cuts long so you have to go back more often. At least I came away looking like a mensch. Tony, like many other Parisians, came here 30 years ago, on a holiday, and he's still here. Anyway, with a nifty hairdo I thought I was ready to go to an artists' party.

Like all good stuff it was only six blocks away. At the store front studio of the Espace Artaim over on Liancourt, for you folks with maps for finding obscure streets.

Uncle explained to me that it wasn't going to be just a party. We were supposed to look at the artworks by Martha Holden and Suzy Chika. And if we were feeling like the rich friends of Paul Getty we were supposed to buy something. I thought, I know this drill.

When I got there in time to eat, Uncle was already there with a plastic cup in hand, describing the geopolitical situation of the entire western world since, oh, since the time of... of Tamerlane? Suzy helloed me, though it's possible we hadn't met before. She tried to force drink too, and then Martha stepped in when we stepped out for a smoke. It was kinda cool outside, in the dark.

So that didn't last long. Back inside I looked through Martha's sample books. The Web URL is above so you can look too. I went into the rear room and got a drink in the dark. It was like one of those drinks you get in the dark and you don't know what it is. Maybe kiwi. I still don't know. Somebody gave me a hefty slice of egg pie. It didn't taste like I thought an egg pie might taste like. Hardly anything does in France.

photo, how to stand around having drinksHow to stand around talking and drinking.

I met a nice lady from Singapore who said she was going to retire to Bali and run a surf shop. That was interesting. She said there are white sand beaches there with overhanging palms. "Are there bugs too?" I had to ask, if I can quote myself. You know, the ones you don't see in the glossy photos. What did she say? It doesn't matter. I'm not going there, so there's no bugs.

After several more smokes outside with various social outlaws I got to talking to a fellow well–versed with the geohistory of eastern Turkey. He cleared up a lot of my misconceptions. It was better than taking in a documentary on Arte and if I'd known beforehand I would have brought an atlas. I had some more cheese and listened to Nina Simone sing something I like.

photo, cafe terrace, place de la bastille How to pass an afternoon with a few friends.

Dimitri left to walk Line home. Uncle kept on talking until Dimitri came back. I had another seven cigarettes outside, where it had changed from cool to cold. Even some people who didn't smoke went out to talk to the outlaws. Some of them went to their cars and brought booze back. It was that kind of a Valentine's. You know, I doubt if anybody cares about this. It's not like earth shattering, is it?

I am leaving town on Wednesday. I don't have much to say here, except for the bright Sunday we had. Everybody in Paris who could, went out and walked around in the sunshine. A big crowd of them got plunked on the sunny side of Bastille and probably sat there all afternoon. I can't say it was a bad idea. It turned out to be a might fine February.

The Café Metropole Club

photo, how to have fun with water How to have fun with water.

One or two club meetings with no members is okay with me, such as the rotten one last week. All other members and candidates are still welcome. The next Thursday that everything at the Café Metropole Club will be 110% new, will be on 27. March, in the last month of winter. All members–in–any form, any standing, of any sort will be welcome, anyways and always.

The next meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on 27. March, which is a few weeks in the future rather than 7 days from now. The Saint of the Day is not marching here any more. Do you remember that the new thing is famous days to forget? Thursday is not a club day but it is the 160th anniversary of the publication of the Communist Manifesto, written by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. The two met in Paris on 28. August 1844 at the Café de la Régence and were commissioned by the underground German Communist League in Brussels to write their major work. The month it appeared, there was an unrelated revolution in France, by sheer force of habit.

Unending repetition is related to Paris by a slender and all but invisible thread. Several erroneous facts and other true rumors about the club and its single myth are on a page called the About the Club Webpage. Readers who actually have read it, and two or three might have, often become club members. If I am mistaken as some have claimed, write your own version. The free membership card for real members is still as free as ever. Whatever you pay for it, it's cheap for the price.

photo, some candles for metropole's birthday Running out of candles for Metropole.

Metropole For a Real Long Time

Who, exactly, cares about the past? An ordinary decade is ten big years, yet it was no less than 624 short weeks ago that Metropole Paris first appeared on an Internet newsstand near you. I think today might be about 5 days short of the actual anniversary. We had a different calendar back in those days. We had different air too. Everything was different, even nights. But new stuff is better, cleaner, fresher. No wonder I need to take a holiday.

photo, sign, place de la bastille

Café Life Légère 94.2

Kingly Oppressions

This week's minor Quote of the Week has a no connection or relevance to today, and none to next week or last year. Consider this one by Abraham Lincoln who has had a couple of things to say, such as, "Kings had always been involving and impoverishing their people in wars, pretending generally, if not always, that the good of the people was the object. This our convention understood to be the most oppressive of all kingly oppressions, and they resolved to so frame the Constitution that no one man should hold the power of bringing this oppression upon us." He can say that again!

photo, sign, rue de la bastille

'Patahistory of Cows

There are no more than 316 days left of this year, the same number that 1930 had when Elm Farm Ollie became the first cow to fly in a hard–wing airplane from one place to another for the sheer hell of it. But wait, there's more. Wisconsin farmer Elsworth Bunce milked Ollie during the flight. The 24 quarts of milk produced were put in paper cartons and parachuted to thirsty spectators on the ground, who were hoping for beer. Several major firsts were involved here but nobody can remember who it was that thought up this stunt, therefore there is no patent on it.

Flying Wobble–Post Cards

This is totally unconnected to the fact that this year has used up 49 days, the same number that 1911 had when Henri Pequet, a 23 year old French dude, piloted the first plane to carry airmail. This he did in a Sommer biplane, flying from Allahabad to Naini, about 10 kilometres away. Since both places are in India nobody's postcards got far. The flight itself lasted 13 minutes and I for one do not want anybody to forget how speedy airmail used to be.

photo, sign, stalingrad, direction

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 1814 that France won the Battle of Montereau. Nobody remembers this because the French beat the Austrians and their Württembergeois allies, who nobody remembers either. While we're at it, let's recall that Winston Churchill made his maiden speech in the House of Commons today in 1901 and it wasn't his last. Also noteworthy today was the Sahara's first snowfall, in 1979. Finally, some sad news. The justly famous Tamerlane died today in 1405, aged maybe 69. That was a long life for a guy who ran a huge empire, one that included all the places constantly in the news these days. That's our world, folks!

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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