...Continued from page 1

photo, motos, traffic, fountain, obelisk, place de la concorde Sunny Saturday for the place de la Concorde.

The event was called 100 Ans d'Industrie Aérospatiale Française, plunked down along both sides of the Champs–Elysées from Rond–Point to Concorde. The first I came to after the rocket was the exhibit of the Musée de l'Air et de l'Espace, from Le Bourget, and it had an unfinished biplane from days of yore, inside a tent with transparent plastic walls. Even without playing tennis inside it was warm.

Then there was a little low–wing monoplane that had something to do with Jacques Brel the Belgian actor–singer–songwriter who had an anniversary last Thursday. There were other little planes, but crowds were so thick with camera crazies and kids that I didn't find out anything. For all I know the Champs doubles as a landing strip.

photo, pont alexandre III, dome des invalidesPont Alex and the Invalides.

At Clemenceau I glanced south and there was the dome of the Invalides, fuzzy in the haze. A sunny day with moods. I couldn't help it and pretty soon I was plunked behind a fountain trying to be arty. As soon as I moved away some civilian quick–stepped to take over my so–called profi vantage spot.

Back at the avenue I was with the helicopters. Wonderful, wonderful. After that it was a big tent full of Airbus with a short–listed line waiting to enter. Behind the tent, a model A380 flying over a cut–out camel standing by a cactus. Some dudes from Dada must have been around. That's what it was, little airplanes and choppers and small pieces of bigger aircraft. It wasn't the same air show at all.

There were more aerospace bits at Concorde, and that's where the stars of the show waited. These were three – a whole Rafale fighter–bomber, a complete but maybe worn–out Mirage III, and an original WWI Spad in a tent with the clear plastic walls. Behind this trio, the flagless US Embassy, pretending to not be there. Um, for all I know, it isn't there anymore. Sold it to Dubai or someplace.

photo, rond pool, tuileries, sun worshippers Ah, it's time to relax.

I missed half the exhibits by sticking to one side of the avenue. What I saw gave me no reason to cross, and since I had come all the way from Etoile, it was like I'd done my share. Besides, Concorde was full of light and the traffic was nervy, the fountains were flinging spray and the Obelisk was pointing at outer space, a stone rocket built by Egyptian slaves 3300 years ago.

Free, Custom Tours

A heads–up just came in from club member Larry Wechsler in Seattle. He spotted an item on CNN TV–news about a new service in Paris called Paris Greeter where you can sign up for a free walking tour conducted by a local resident, either French or English speaking. These are not professional guides, but are volunteers vetted by the Paris Greeter outfit – selected for local knowledge and enthusiasm. Unlike the club there are a few rules, mostly involving the fairly simple details. If it works out for you, thank Larry.

photo, sign, avenue dutuit

The Barmy Café Metropole Club

There were several folks, members and newcomers, and a Waiter of the Week at last Thursday's meeting. Keeping the secretary honest, the report was exquisite. Not one word made up, all quite true. The next Thursday that everything at the Café Metropole Club will be 100.9% new, will be on 16. October, two days after the end of the Depression of '08. 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 the sunshine and pollution out there.

The cobwebbed rumor that repetition here will end someday is ikky. One real fact and three–fourths of a true rumor about the club are on a page called the About the Club Webpage. Readers who have read it in person, and one or two have, may already be club members for life without personal risk or exorbitant fees. Refunds can be refunded on principle. What I haven't spent on orange juice for the club's thirsty secretary is hardly interesting.

photo, sign, basket of grapes

The Ex–Question of Schleswig–Holstein

Some keen readers might have been thinking that it is appropriate to recall that it was today in 54 that Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus became the top kick in Rome, where he was to rule for 14 years before getting burned out. His almost last words, "What an artist the world is losing!" – were in Latin of course. Due to a complicated situation Nero had his mom, Agrippina, bumped off five years after. A wink later, in 1582, this day did not exist in Italy, Poland, Portugal and Spain, for obscure reasons already explained on other disappeared days. Then, during the endless Seven–Year War in 1761, the Braunschweig–Wolfenbüttel mob led by Friedrich August von Braunschweig beat the pants off a französisch–kursächsisches gang, lifting the siege of Saxony by Franz Xaver von Sachsen. Over the objections of the French in 1884, the Royal Greenwich Observatory was chosen as the site of the universal time meridian of longitude despite the fact that our planet is lopsided, due to gravity. Seconds, on the other hand, were determined by the moon between 1750 and 1890. Now it's called Universal Time even though there are a dozen versions. Today's birthday dates to 1853 when Lillie Langtry, formerly Emilie Charlotte Le Breton, was born somewhere on Jersey, the island. One of her biggest fans was Judge Roy Bean who was a real character, well worth looking up. Other birthdays today were celebrated by Yves Montand, Lenny Bruce, Margaret Thatcher and Walter "Killer" Kowalski. To close, on this Golden October day, the quote comes from Lin Yutang, who said, "The world I believe is far too serious, and being far too serious, is it has need of a wise and merry philosophy." Tomorrow's future will be better than today's. That's our little world, folks!

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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