Bail Out My Lifeboat

photo, marco polo fountain, water spray, autumn colors A favorite for many – the Marco Polo fountain.

Orange, Yellow – 404 – Not Found

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 29. September:–  If there is a steady wind from the northeast – for weeks, already – but the sun is shining and the sky is without clouds, then we can say it is Indian Summer even if it isn't overly warm. All you have to do is think of damp and gray November for a minute, before running outside to look for piles of yellow chestnut leaves to kick through. That's what I did Saturday and then Uncle called and we went out and did it again on Sunday. The only thing missing both days were those piles of yellow leaves.

And on Monday, today, while composing an issue containing not much, the sun continued to shine while the wind faded almost completely away. Meanwhile in Washington legislators held their vote to save funky Western Civilization as we knew it but a majority of irresponsible Republicans and disgruntled Democrats voted against the rescue scheme, while the markets were plunging before the nays were counted. We do live in exciting times, don't we?

photo, local signs, tabac, pmu, hotel, poste Local signs.

It means that the United States will continue to present surprises. Not much may be made there any more but the Masters of the Universe are not about to give up. After all they don't care if the market is up or down just so long as folks buy or sell something. Any commission is good for them. Even a market plunge of 777 points earns sales commissions. And once plunged, where else can it go but up – globalization is fundamentally sound, isn't it? Does anybody think the Chinese really want the Americans to be poor?

But don't pay any attention to me. Just because stout European banks are starting to collapse – too smart to be involved in that silly sub–prime trash! – why look at Switzerland! Hm, yes, well, maybe you better not. They've burned their fingers before too. This isn't working out right – I'm trying to think of some solid and positive reason, something optimistic, to cheer you, them, me, all of us, up. Socialism won't be as bad as you believe, if only we had some. Come on now, one for all and all for one, heave!

photo, poster, marchons, pcf, pig, cochon

At least the weather is more cheery. The sun was shining and the wind dropped to nearly nothing and I had all my windows open. We have a high pressure and the only thing slightly wrong with it, it is in the wrong place. Why one over Britain would be negative here I don't know. Here are details:

The Day After Indian Summer

Le Parisien's weather map today showed Paris tucked between a raining black cloud and a bright sunbeam. I'm afraid the northern part of France will be under some clouds on Tuesday and to round it off, the wind is expected to return. The high was forecast as 16 degrees, and you can subtract a westerly wind of 60–70 kph from it. Wednesday will be worse, more clouds, more wind, and same temperature of 16. While Thursday may have some slightly sunny periods, the wind will likely keep blowing. The high for the day is expected to be no more than 13 degrees. Hint for Friday – worse, with rain.

photo, sign, essense, gasoline

Météo Jim sends a cheerful report this week. We are past the fulcrum of the seasons, with only dismal dreariness to come – so bad that that they've given up naming names. No more Freddy the Freaky Hurricane! The latest fresh details:–

Little Pig's House

The first full week of fall has seen a lot of action in the Atlantic Ocean. Unnamed Storm #1 formed on Monday, visited the Carolinas and left widespread flooding in its path. Not content to stay there, it traveled north to Pommeland on Thursday night and stayed around until late Friday.

photo, texas couscous bandThe Teaxas Couscous band on Sunday.

Not to be outdone, Tropical Depression Kyle couldn't make up its mind if it wanted to be a macho tropical storm or a puny girly boy category 1 hurricane. When last seen it was racing to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, Canada where it will finally decide.

So, the weather in Pommeland since Thursday has resembled that of Paris – wet, rainy and cool. The rain will go away on Monday with highs in the mid–70s a–grad. More showers and a cool front will arrive on Tuesday, stay into Wednesday and beyond. The cloudies will break up into the partlies along with falling temperatures. The high on Thursday will be in the mid–60s as October settles in for its reign.

A la prochaine, Météo Jim

Café Life

Orange, Yellow – 404 – Not Found

photo, palm, st sulpice towers, luxembourg In the Luxembourg.

Now that it is autumn on Saturday it was surely high time to check the state of the leaves. Around here they have been pretending it is still spring. At least this is what they look like they are thinking so long as you aren't too close. My cemetery is green from where I sit. The big tree out back appears to be a little used but it is mostly green too. We've just had three weeks of cool wind from the northeast, which, if you look at a map, looks like Poland and Poland is next to Russia and we all know what that meant to Napoleon and Hitler. No good comes from there.

So, even though I had green leaves in view from front and back and the sky was nearly glass blue, I decided that the official trees are in our official neighborhood park, the Senat's Jardin du Luxembourg. Last Wednesday they elected new senators and a new president of the Senat – without apparently putting up one single campaign poster. It was on the TV–news, presented as a done deal, and if I want to know who, what, when, where, how and why, I guess I'm supposed to look it up on Wikipedia.

photo, cafe chalet, luxembourg Under the blue sky under the green leaves,
next to jazz.

But we had a sunny weekend on our plate, albeit with that northeast wind. Across the street beside the cemetery wall I noted that the street cleaners had swept away the leaves. The grills – what are they called? – at the feet of trees, were too tidy. Only a few golden shreds left.

It was also the Fête des Jardins in Paris this weekend. I forgot that. The Jardin de Marco Polo, a finger of city park poking up from the Luxembourg towards the Observatory, had been swept tidy too. Its phalanxes of chestnut trees looked like they have a different, more advanced season. Their leaves were mostly gray, brown or rusty. Made me shiver. Why is Montparnasse, only 50 metres away, greener?

[[pagebreak]]
photo, tree trunk, metal grill Where have the yellow leaves gone?

The Marco Polo fountain was flinging away with lots of spray, so that was my turned-leaf photo there. Further on down, in the Jardin du Luxembourg, the ground was a bit less tidy. Leaves were in piles created by the wind. But there were no big leaves, just shards. Maybe the leaves are rotting off the trees. Just like we don't know where Senators come from the effects of pollution are pretty unclear.

The Senat is also a major exhibitor of palms. In season it has a whole collection of them and they add quite a bit of fantasy to the park. The paths are some special kind of white dirt and the grass is highly manicured and there are some flowers and 500 free metal chairs, plus the pool and terraces and groves and playgrounds for kids and chess wizards, a real Orangerie, a bee farm, and all is watched by national gendarmes, because it's the Senat.

Yes. The palms were a bit faded, but in general they looked pretty green. In fact the whole thing – Marie's old palace – all the loungers around the pool – looked like the grounds of the Hotel Louis XVIX Carlton in Cannes, our little Riviera right here in the frozen north. Without the palms it could have merely been the Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten in Hamburg.

photo, restaurant polidor cremerieA restaurant in the Quartier Latin.

Under the trees a big crew filled the bandstand, making a jazzy big band sound. Much, much better than three electric guitars or Chinese hip–hop pop. Of course the crowd gathered around, in their free chairs, were none of them young enough to own an iPod. The more prosperous ones were spread around the nearby chalet café, sipping tea or quaffing Champagne. Doing the right thing listening to free jazz in the afternoon under a blue sky.

No sense dragging this out. My quest to find big piles of freshly fallen leaves, gold, red, orange, came to nothing. The place is too damn tidy or the leaves themselves are disintegrating before they land on the ground. Another mission unaccomplished. It's a good thing this isn't a football game or a movie.

Speaking of movies, from the north gate of the garden it is only a minor jump to the boulevard Saint–Michel and the discount–used DVD shops. Haven't I said before that I saw no movies for 30 years? I can go to a DVD place and find a movie I haven't seen already with my eyes closed. That's what I did and as soon as this is finished, that's what I'm doing. To hell with old leaves!

photo, sign, allee du chateau ouvrier

The Tap Dance Café Metropole Club

There were no folks, no members and an unknown Waiter of the Week at the last meeting and even with the secretary, we were not a quorum. The report was a pale sham. Nothing made up. The next Thursday that everything at the Café Metropole Club will be 100.1% new, will be on 2. October, two days before Nuit Blanche. All members in any shape, class, form, hue, any standing, of any type or creed, will be offered a chair. If you feel like sitting at a table on the terrace, pretending to not be at the meeting, you are more than welcome to find your own Waiter of the Week.

The faint rumor that repetition here will end someday is hardly credible. One true fact and three–fourths of a fake rumor about the club are on a page called the About the Club Webpage. Readers who have personally read it, and one or two have, may already be club members for life without personal risk or exorbitant fees. Refunds cannot be refunded on principle. I spent the unrefundable funds on orange juice for the club's thirsty secretary.

The Ex–Question of Schleswig–Holstein

photo, sign, 1867, sculpture luxembourg fence

Many keen readers might have been thinking that it is appropriate to recall that it was today in 480 BC that a Greek named Themistocles showed up in time for the Battle of Salamis, to beat Xerxes I. Didn't we have this already? Poor Themistocles! Ten years later he was ostracised, and eventually moved to Persia, where King Artaxerxes I made him governor of Magnesia, no relation. A short time later, in 1650, a City of London gent named Henry Robinson opened his dating service, a historical first, even if I couldn't find any record of it. Then, on this day in 1911 the Ottoman Empire found itself at war with Italy. A year later Italy owned the Tripolitania, Fezzanand Cyrenaic sandpiles. While on the subject, there were several noteworthy birthdays today. Pompey comes to mind, because Plutarch thought he looked like Alexander the Great. Other historians thought the life of Pompey was simply too good to be true, and it was. Some years later, in 1547, author Miguel de Cervantes was born. Nicknamed Principe de los Ingenios he was waylaid by Algerian pirates and learned to row the hard way. Another sea going dude was Horatio Nelson, born in 1758. He appeared in the recently discovered novel by Alexandre Dumas, entitled The Knight of Sainte–Hermine. Horatio Hornblower was no relation. Finally, because this is France, we come to the demise of Emile Zola today in 1902. His death was caused by misadventure. He once said, "If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, I will answer you – I am here to live out loud." There are 93 days remaining this year. That's our little world, folks!

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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