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La Belle Explained

photo, the big clink in montparnasse The big clink in Montparnasse.

Day of the Year Tomorrow

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 30. June:–  Folks that are tuning in here for my usual snarl about the weather are going to be deceived. This afternoon at 17:30 the pharmacy sign read 25.5 lovely degrees and what is more, I swear, the sky was blue and clear as glass. Sure it's more rare than a monsoon in Lost Vegas but it does happen and today was the day. If you were expecting this postcard weather and were here today go ahead and tell all your friends that Paris can be like the Riviera, and without all that icky suntan oil, salads full of weeds and sour olives, and that feeble pink wine laughingly called rosé.

Wondrous Blue

It just goes to show that on–the–money summery weather can have a positive effect on my cramped head–room if it reaches its upside expansion potential. I wanted to lie down on the sidewalk. I wanted to skip and hop in the rue Daguerre. I wanted to buy a summertime DVD movie to watch tonight instead of pounding away at this stuff. Just at that moment, with my head drooling with dreams, Matt Rose popped up, chewing on some wrap goo thing he found in the Monoprix. Wait, don't go, there's more:

photo, nigel at the penguins Nigel becomes a terracian.

Not only more but better. Our weather–chickie began with dire warnings about how it will become cool and cloudy, and maybe even be a bit thundery with lightening – aha! – but first there will be tomorrow, Tuesday. You can pretend that tomorrow with be the Day of the Year because it will be super blue in the sky. The temperature will start from a low of 16 and around 14:18 it will be up to 31 on the pharmacy signs. That will be 87,8 F. Not too hot, not too cold. Get out there and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy. For Wednesday will be crummy, cloudy and 25. Thursday, usually the pit of the week, may actually be semi–sunny with clouds, but the price to pay will be a high of merely 21 degrees.

Never spelling an error, Météo Jim seldom misses a week, unlike my imperfect score last week. I am sure you make occasional corrections too, especially when reading this. Here is Jim's Yankee Doodle version of how it will be in and around greater Pommeland:–

Hands Off My Turnip!

It was a warm, muggy Sunday afternoon in Pommeland today as June fades into the furnace of July. Now, as part of the closing of June, the fireflies have returned to brighten the already brief summer night and day lilies blossom to celebrate the upcoming festivities of the 4th of July.

photo, sign, harley motor

La Grosse Pomme did not take part in any revolutionary activities. It was occupied by the English under the command of General Clinton. Clinton's motto, "Toujours de la gaieté" prevented him from doing such things as coming to the aid of General Burgoyne at the Battle of Saratoga. France saw this American victory as proof that the Yankee Doodles could fight and win. The French emptied Louis' piggy bank to help the American cause and in so doing, bankrupted La France. To remedy this situation, in 1789, Louis XVI convened les Etats généraux to squeeze even more coin out of the French turnips, er, peasants and middle class. The peasants weren't going to allow their turnips to be squeezed any more. As a result, October 17, 1777 marks the unofficial countdown to July 14, 1789.

As for the weather countdown, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday will be warm, muggy, mostly cloudy except when thunderdonnergeboomersohrengesplitters arrive. Then it will be very cloudy and possibly wet. Thursday will be partly cloudy except when it will be partly sunny. The glorious 4th will be a repeat of either Monday or Tuesday and accompanied by thunderdonnergeboomersohrengesplitters. Temperatures will be in the mid to upper 80s a–grad.

A la prochaine, Météo Jim

Café Life

The Week That Was II – It's What We Do

What a crazy week that was! Uncle staged a dinner in his penthouse 6th–floor walkup for Nigel, but I already wrote about it for the Thursday club report. However there were and are, repercussions. You may remember that he threw us out. Uncle just returned from a wedding in some volcanic area of France and phoned – I'm the only person in Europe he can phone at 23:00, but not at 11:00 – to say that he missed the ball on throwing us out. He should have done it 90 minutes sooner. After all, why were we talking about La Belle anyway?

photo, the week that was, more drinks More, not less, on a terrace.

At the dinner I was innocent. Somebody else had named her La Belle. This is the woman who looks like she just stepped out of Elle magazine, the issue of 15. April 1958. When there was all that talk a few weeks ago about Sonny getting married to La Belle at the Quinze I had no idea who she was, but it became clear at the dinner. Just as at any dinner, with wine flowing like, well, as the French say, bien arrosé, and talk turns to folks who are not present, it can even turn to folks who are not present and who nobody knows.

So, if we had been arguing about one of the Marx Brothers' movies it would have been okay. All the same I say it doesn't matter. After all these years it was time to be thrown out. Everybody felt better for it, even Uncle. Then I was dining on Saturday on the sidewalk in front of the Penguins when I noticed Nigel's eyes switch to the left. When I felt the object glide behind and looked left, and saw the back of La Belle smoothly drifting down Daguerre. I said this was she. And it explained everything.

photo, sign, tourteaux vivants

There aren't many original 1958 models strolling around our pathways these days. But this is Paris and we are in the faintly rétro 14th arrondissement. Nigel went back to New York today. Yesterday we went out on an afternoon tour of the magic triangle. After getting around the point of Alésia we fetched up at a café terrace, next to the Starbucks. There were a lot of shoppers passing by – thanks to the shops being open for the Soldes d'Eté.

The trees ranged high overhead and many of the windows across the street were shuttered, with shutters. I thought it seemed like some country place, sitting there in the dappled shade, sharing the tables with old ladies getting off their feet. We were – guys! – idly looking for Japanese cars because there seemed to be so few of them. A two–tone 2 CV went past. Then there was a two–tone '55 Chevy Bel Air in good condition. There were a lot of Citroën C3s that look vaguely rétro, passing too.

photo, strawberries More yum yum too.

After a suitable pause we pushed along to Daguerre, where it seemed like a thousand layabouts were occupying the terrace. This is not, I see now, about anything. Or it is about sitting on café terraces, hoping but not too much, hoping that La Belle will come past. I know it is a long way to come for these small thrills. But it's worth it.

Whispers, Rumors, Untrue Fibs

This regular feature which began recently and was dumped two weeks ago and got another dump last week, is back... not exactly. We can catch up with Sarkozy right now. He was on the TV–news tonight, promising to find the responsibles for a tragic accident yesterday. Some paratroopers were putting on an army show for the folks and were showing how they shoot things up when freeing hostages, when one machine gun put out a burst of real bullets, wounding 17 onlookers. The trooper obviously grabbed a magazine that should not have been there. The army has a red face. And it will deal with it. Sarkozy should have said something about aid for the innocent victims instead of threatening those responsible.

Matt's Hit On uTube Plug II

Ten years in the making, according to Matt Rose. Cruising on his art triumph in Berlin his contribution to the world's music scene I Have a Car is available for immediate viewing, and hearing! He wrote, "Think $5 gas." I suggested a sequel, I Have a Scooter but he declined. Today Matt asked me if I couldn't embed the video clip right here. He's on uTube already! He wants to be on Metropole too?

photo, sign, entree -->

Soldes d'Eté Started Wednesday

Skip it if you've already read this. The sales and the crazy shopping times roll on until 2. August. Free plastic or paper bags are included with every pricey item you buy.

The Irresistible Café Metropole Club

Club meetings with a miniscule passel of members are fine with me but there's a minimum limit to miniscule. None is far too miniscule. Regular members and new candidates are welcome, so come already. The next Thursday that everything at the Café Metropole Club will be 108% new, will be on 3. July, a few days after this week's fabulous Gai Pride parade. All members–in–any form, any standing, of any sort will be welcome even if you feel like waiting for your free refund. It might be a long wait.

The rumor that repetition here will end someday is unfounded. Four dubious facts and three true rumors about the club are on a page called the About the Club Webpage. Readers who have actually read it, and one or two may have, may already be club members without personal risk or other fees.

photo, sign, red drainpipe

The Ex–Question of Schleswig–Holstein

Some of you have might have been thinking that it is appropriate to remember that it was today in 1859 when the French acrobat Charles Blondin crossed Niagara Falls from one side to another on a tightrope 335 metres long, 160 feet above the water, more than once – blindfolded, in a sack, pushing a wheelbarrow, on stilts, and once carrying his manager on his back. For an encore The Great Blondin sat down midway and cooked and ate a tasty omelette. Unsolved mysteries are recalled by the date of the first known attack of the Beast of Gévaudan in 1764. This happened in what is now known as the Lozère department – a series of attacks by an unknown animal that claimed over 100 lives. Finally brought down by a hunter after three years, the Beast was like a giant wolf, but many questions remain unanswered to this day. Not an anniversary but it is worth signaling that New York's public nudie beach is in New Jersey, near Red Hook. Approaching Gunnison Beach you will see a warning sign: "Beyond This Point You Will Encounter Nude Sunbathers." While on the subject, do not forget that Nude Recreation Week is celebrated real soon. That's our little world, folks!

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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