Churros In the Air

photo, place juin 1940, montparnasse, bicycles in the dark Between waves of cars, three bikes going the wrong way.

Neons In the Sky

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 18. August:–  I expected that everybody would come back yesterday but when I went around to get some vitals five out of seven boulangeries were still closed and the real estate ladies who know about my new apartment were apparently sunning themselves somewhere on the coast of Corsica, the one place in France that has had pretty darn good weather this season since, oh, about March. So I don't blame them. As the Irish are wont to say, "There's time." I understand that the city of Vienna has a lot of free apartments and it's supposed to be easy to get one in Berlin, but the weather!

I have not been watching the Olympics on my great bigscreen TV. I saw them before. Here, on the TV–news, we are offered short snippets. First they tell us about the French athletes and their winning traits. We saw them training, saw their confidence, saw them off on the planes to Beijing. Then, in competition, deception. China got the golds. A week later some guy named Steeve won a gold, and his brother won a bronze, both in the same thing. Wow! Never heard of them before and now there's two RATP security guys won medals. You, if you visit here, and ride the right métro at the right time, you can ask for their autograph after they've treated some smelly pickpocket to a little Greco–Roman jujitsu. That's cool.

photo, metro vavin Métro entry at Vavin.

Nice For April

It just goes to show that when August is half gone it is not too late to begin getting some school supplies, and heck why not, a little bit of advance tutoring. The French worry that their kids are going to grow up to be filthy hippies. Or autodidacts. That's the worst – not having a great report card from pre–kindergarten. One little slipup and the poor gamin is headed for life's trashcan. Nobody ever stops to wonder how those millions of kids got into the universities. Obviously somebody else's kids – kids taught by osmosis before they were born. I wonder how the psychoanalysts explain it's just not fair.

Golly, where did that come from? Anyway, now the good news – spies reported on the TV–news that the cheapest school supplies cost 0.2% less and brand–name supplies cost 0.2% less this year. That will be welcomed by folks here who recently learned that everything else costs 3% more than last month. Little Jeannie will get a new pencil but she will have to eat the wood shavings. Let's see what inflation is doing to the weather:

The TV–weather shown tonight was fairly silly for August but it wouldn't have been out of place in April if April was ever any good. There's an eternal huge swirl out in the Atlantic and it's sending wave after wave of crud across the country. That's the meta outlook. In detail we might have semi–cloudy demi–sunny on Tuesday, with a high of 24 which isn't shabby at all considering it could be far worse. Wednesday will possibly be more cloudy and only half sunny, and cooler at 22, while Thursday was forecast as maybe, cross your fingers, nicer. Again with 24 degrees. Note – all of last week's predictions of 21 degrees were really 23 or 24. My parka was a bit too warm.

Météo Jim came back from holidays in darkest Hoochikoochistan and now he wants a raise. Folks, like me, too poor for vacations, hate raises. We want to keep no taxes. Try that on les riches. Meanwhile, les temps in Pommeland:

Fay Dumps On Cuba?

After a stimulating visit to the distant and toxic – er, exotic land of Upper Lesser Hoochikoochistan and simulated weather reports – the local volcano erupted nonstop for the entire virtual weather convention, so looking at a sky full of anything other than ash and falling rocks was impossible – Météo Jim has returned to Pommeland just in time for a possible visit by Tropical Storm Fay at the end of the week. Right now Tropical Storm Fay is dumping on Cuba but weather forecasters think that the storm will head north – I was going to write "make a right turn" but French language censors freaked out when I wrote "right turn." Fay is expected to visit Florida but her itinerary is still a closely kept secret as well as her desire to see anything north of the Carolinas.

photo, sign, metro bus ticket

Until then, August is slowly fading away. The average high temperature has begun its southward plunge. The mornings arrive later and the sun sets earlier. This weekend has seen temps slightly below normal along with low humidity. Apart from the possible arrival of Fay, temperatures will reach the upper 80s a–grad on Tuesday and then a cool front and a possible Thunderboomerdonnergeblitzenohrensplitter will bring the temps back to 80 a–grad.

One other thing. Météo Jim is considering sending only repeat weather reports until Ed, Ric, Radioric and his cousin Radial Ric, who works for the gummi–rings, gives him a raise.

A la prochaine, Météo Jim

Repeat weather reports are fine because none are brand new. They've all happened before. Request for raise denied! – signed, Ed

photo, night terraces, le selectAll the full terraces in the soft air.

Café Life

Churros In My Eye

The weather never seems to turn out as lowkey as the usual dire warnings promise but there is no threat that summer is coming back this year. Mid–August is the end of the big desertion in Paris. They, who know who they are, will fill the autoroutes these weekends, weeping and sniveling, about coming back to this gritty megapolis, especially after a mediocre season of super high–priced frites at the seashore – seashores cold and windy, and along the warm Mediterranean, threatened with a mass invasion of highly icky jellyfish.

The forecast called for gloom for the rest of the weekend if not the rest of the year. Friday was mostly clear, in the evening, so I went down to the boulevard Montparnasse to see the sights and neons as the sky fell to blue behind the boulevard, beyond the Tour Eiffel. They called for 21 degrees but it was nearly 24 in the afternoon and that meant the terraces were full of people wearing their summer shirts. I didn't look to see if they were all drinking rosé.

The Dôme had reopened and the black and white waiters were snatching some garlic–free air in front. The boulevard itself seemed to be whole again with only a few green barricades left. I think they repaved the centre bus lanes. Too many folks must have been tripping on bumps and getting squashed by them. The terraces were occupied the whole block and beyond Le Select, then some more on the other side. It was quiet and there were murmurs in the dark.

photo, metro exit, montparnasse, hippo, cinema, newsstand The grand rendez–vous at Montparnasse.

I got too close to the churros when the guy there poked one at the camera's lens. It was his way of telling me not to shoot. As you can see all his secrets have been exposed. The kiosque was on a dark stretch, lit like a theatre stage. He should be performing, going his thing with flair, instead of worrying about his scraggly nosehairs. I couldn't resist it though. It's like the lighthouse of churros on the boulevard.

Across the wide street there's another neat little crêpes stand that I have trouble resisting. Like the street–eats carts in New York, no two in Paris are exactly alike. Lights, smells and colors, and if you really like Nutella you must be in heaven here.

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