...Continued from page 1

photo, ice cream vendor on buci Ice vendors came, and conquered.

Uncle skipped all the Abbot & Costello and Marx Brothers DVDs. He did not waste time looking for Mae West and other hotcha flicks. He went right inside and found the rare pearl he went there for – The Wanderers, a 1979 film by Philip Kaufman about street gangs in the Bronx in the '60s. It was supposed to be all about sex, booze and fighting. No doubt it has rock 'n' roll in it too because our home town police chiefs said that was what caused all the other.

We went across the street for a drink in a handy café. One of the good things about Paris is having good cafés right across the street where you need them although Uncle said the one we were in was a rare pearl in the Quartier. A lot of cafés have been turned into Starbucks. As if we needed more coffee.

In fact we had two shots. Two euros fifty with a fair tip. Uncle wondered what it would be like to have dinner with Cheney and Bush. I had no idea. My lack of imagination staggers me sometimes. Do they ever have dinner together? Does Bush flick peas at Cheney? Do they both drink Coke or does Bush drink fake beer? Or do they get sandwiches from an automat? Cheney wonders where the road named after him will be. Rumsfeld had one named after him in Arizona, because he lives in New Mexico where he has his bodyguard drive his armored SUV to art gallery openings to score free wine and cheese.

photo, nicolas shop on buciNicolas where you need it.

Listen, I didn't bring up Bush and Cheney. Besides getting his DVDs, Uncle was on a mission, so we went that way because he wanted to show me a new Starbucks that wasn't full to the ceiling fans. I knew the one he meant. It's on Saint–AndrAndreeacute;–des–Arts and I pass it every week. Plus, I noticed by my own self that it's seldom full. Serves it right. It's in what used to be an interesting clothing shop, one of the rare ones that had hats. If this keeps up you won't be able to buy a hat to save your life here.

We looked in all the windows at the empty tables and chairs. How thrilling! Then we went around some of the narrow streets there and found Buci News. This was in just about the oldest part of Paris but off the quay and off Saint–AndrAndreeacute; it's quiet, tidy, renovated and very private. Folks live there, behind the big doors, above the interior courtyards, within 300–year old walls, under their ritzy roof tiles, all as happy as Larry. Not for them the the endless mobs tramping along Saint–AndrAndreeacute;, a little road laid out by Romans before somebody brutally bashed through the boulevard Saint–Germain.

The door, the gate, Uncle entered, looked like it was built by the Romans. Romanesque I guess it's called. None of that tacky Haussmannian brick–a–brack manufactured plaster fake grape crap. A plain wall, leaning away from the street, and a plain, stout door. Uncle's mission was to read – perhaps the paper, Guardian, he bought in Buci? – to an elderly friend who translated Marguerite Duras.

photo, hotrod for sale; rue de buci, market Red Euro hotrod for sale. Never raced much.

I left him there and went to find the comics shop he said was in Saint–AndrAndreeacute; to the left. Replaced, I guess, by a Lebanese fastfood joint. It didn't get better so I reversed and followed Saint–AndrAndreeacute; back to Buci. This is one of these little islands in Paris where the cafés have expanded their terraces so far that the street has lost its cars, and pretty soon you can hardly walk because it fills up with tourists come to look at Parisians sitting around outside doing nothing but drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes, and keeping their eyes on their shiny new scooters.

And that, friends, was another Saturday wasted with aimless wandering, interrupted by silly speculation and impossible dreaming of the past – such as Brooklyn in the '60s. Sorry, I meant the Bronx. Some place that hardly ever was, unlike this place which is full time in the distant past.

photo, sign, rue des grands augustins

The Rip–Roaring Café Metropole Club

There was a more largish crowd of members present at the last meeting and every single one was welcome. Your stories are what counts so don't worry about the paper I bought. Regular members and new candidates can borrow it from me for 50 cents. The next Thursday that everything at the Café Metropole Club will be 101% new, will be on 28. August, a short mini–week before the begin of the outasight rentrée. All members in any form, class, shape, hue, any standing, of any type or creed, will be greeted as heros. Even if you feel like sitting at a table on the terrace, pretending to not be at the meeting, you are more than welcome to sit out there.

A foul rumor that repetition here will end someday stinks. Three wonderful facts and one delightful hint about the club are on a page called the About the Club Webpage. Readers who have personally read it, and one or two may have, may already be club members for life without personal risk or very exorbitant fees, with no penalty for signing up for free with another club supplier.

photo, sign, pub tv sports, liverpool, arsenal

The Ex–Question of Schleswig–Holstein

Some of you have might have been thinking that it is especially apt to remember that it was today in 1938 that George Orwell made a diary entry for the day 70 years ago, about 64 years before the word blogger was coined and now it's online for you. Slipping back a bit, to 1609 we want to recall Galileo Galilei showing off his telescope, which led him to heliocentrism and got him placed in house arrest on the orders of the Inquisition. Not that it matters – to Galileo – but the Pope expressed regret, several centuries later, conceeding that the Earth does, in fact, move. Back to sports – in 1875 a swimmer named Matthew Webb crossed the Channel first, but later drowned in Niagra Falls. This day in 1944 is famous around here because Paris was liberated. It began in the usual way with strikes, first by métro workers, then postmen and the police, and wound up as a general strike on the 19th of August. Then the resistance FFI joined the fun and there was some intense urban warfare, pistols against tanks, until the cavalary arrived on the 24th and the surrounded occupiers surrended a day later. Instead of burning, Paris had a parade, Ernie Hemingway liberated the Ritz and Bob's your uncle. With a happy end like that let's skip today's quote by Trotsky. That's our little world, folks!

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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