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photo, rue saint jecques, traffic, saturday The throb of streetlife.

Skip the Words

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 20. October:–  I am certain that many readers wish I would write nothing when I have had a week of no marvellous experiences so that they could go on to doing something vastly more important than reading about what Uncle said about the state of the leaves or the wonderful times I have been having shopping in the Monoprix, or that starving artist Matt Rose showed me how to get a takeout café in McDo for 1€ without lining up at the counter and almost without having to smell the place. How exciting is that?

While I'm at it I have more good news for you. Uncle has gone off to San Francisco to take in the election first hand, so he wasn't around to tell me about any golden leaves. Monoprix was like it always is – familiar – with its tiny aisles and harassed shoppers, with the guy who cleans the floors with a travelling battleship, and with its second–rate fruits. As far as McDo goes, I drank the café while we loitered in the final rays of a dipping sun, before moving off to vaguely look around for an apartment. I have no idea what it tasted like but what else can you get for a euro these days?

photo, gargoyles, notre dame Have faith or else!

As far as I can count nobody is paying me a red euro to write more. Everybody has better, more important stuff to do, so all that is required is that I write enough to hold the photos in place, and we'll all be happy. The photos? Yes, well, I do sort of go out on auto–pilot and shoot some. They mean about as much as the cartoon.

Other than nothing, golden October has continued to happen in Paris. This is coinciding with a strike of some sort at Météo France. Every night the TV–weather chickie or dude has been coming on and giving tomorrow's forecast and then they shrug, and that's it. Beyond tomorrow all is mystery. Luckily this golden October has been happening so it doesn't matter too much. There may be morning fog in low areas somewhere, but as you know, I am not getting up to go look for it. Like you I am taking their word for it. For what it's worth, here are weather details:

photo, sign, rue de lutece

More Mystery Weather

I don't know if Le Parisien is aware of the météo strike. They have weather maps for the next four days. Last night's TV–weather had today in detail, then the entire week in reasonable detail, but all of it was reckoned at no more than 20% plausible. Tonight they said tomorrow will be semi mostly cloudy with maybe some sun peeps in the afternoon, with southwest winds of 50 kph in the Channel and maybe around here too. The temperature will take a significant dump, down to no more than 13 degrees. It was18 today.

Wednesday we will have mystery weather that may be fairly sunny, but with 13 again. On Thursday there may be a herd of clouds that have moved in from the Channel, but rain is not foreseen. The temperature may uptick a bit. Friday may be worse, but also without rain.

On Saturday Météo Jim sent some poetry, bless his soul, better than weather. He called it summer but it was the Golden October, so favored by drinkers of the great grape. Monday comes, dashing the dream. The latest, in no more than a few drops:–

photo, sign, petit pont

Passion Cools Off

The previous forecast was not completely accurate. Wailing, weeping and gnashing of teeth! Summer was expected to make his overture to October on Monday, be rejected and then slowly slink off the stage. However, he stayed and made his summertime advances with greater strength and passion with each passing day. Finally, October came to her senses on Thursday when he was making his greatest effort and silently and efficiently kicked him off the calendar.

In other words, the high on Thursday almost reached 80 degrees, a whole 17 big degrees above normal. Then a cool front quietly arrived and sent temperatures into the lower 60s on Friday, where they have remained.

As for the coming week, it will be dry and cool with temperatures in the mid to upper 50s with clouds coming together now and then to exchange parts part of the time. How many parts there will be will be covered in Thursday's special edition of Metropole.

photo, sign, rue de la colombe

UPDATE, Monday: Pommeland has just experienced the first frost of the season! The fritz is on the pumpkins! Details to follow, someday.

A la prochaine, Météo Jim

Café Life

Skip the Words

Life is too exciting these days. Trying to calm down here I went out Saturday with the vague idea of shooting some innocent leaves in the process of dropping dead, under a clear blue sky with piercing sunshine.

photo, pont saint michel When we're looking good.

Sunshine, piercing or otherwise, is rare in Paris. We don't deserve it but it has accompanied this October here. The news was depressing. We are supposed to sit around in gloom considering our sins while the air is having a party outside. I had another season like this. Folks were sunbathing in the parks on the last day of October and the next day it was freezing, raining, and grey as old fish.

We lived through it, most of us, but each nice day now may be the last. Paris is full of trees and a lot of them are still green. Many leaves are dying and falling by stealth. The street cleaners are in action, constantly removing them. I haven't noticed any chestnuts though. They usually make a proper mess, and then there are the fellows selling them roasted. Maybe they were deported.

photo, cafe terrace near petit pont Step right up and take a seat.

TV–news on Friday night said a straw poll had been conducted in several European countries. In the French version 68 percent chose Obama and 5 percent thought McCain would be an interesting president. It was about the same in the other countries but the news didn't say which ones. I didn't catch the preliminary results from Harry's New York Bar, but I think they said it was the second time in the long history of polling there that the Dems were leading. My confidential agent said he was signing up new Dems here in droves. Getting on the Obamawagon.

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photo, shadows and leaves, behind notre dame The terrace behind Notre Dame.

Meanwhile, the Loto has upped its payouts and the frequency of games. At the same time French casinos have reported a 13 percent fall in gambling. In the banking sector everyone was stunned with the news that three traders managed to lose 600 million euros in the past two weeks for the Caisse d'Epargne. Officials said that it would have absolutely zero effect on depositors' savings. The minister of finance was far from amused.

In the little time there was for news tonight one of the items was about the resignation of the three top nobs from the huge savings bank. That they have renounced their golden parachutes was highlighted. The news didn't mention the three frisky traders though.


photo, fountain Fountain of the Week.

One good bit of news I learned yesterday by visiting starving artist Matt Rose. He was fairly happy. His building has a new elevator and he has new windows, with motorized shades no less. He buzzed them up so I could see the inside of his place. I never realized that it looks like a place where they defuse bombs. But that's just because he's busy making collages. He is going to make himself famous and if he does he's going to have to give up that starving artist label I pinned on him. He led me to the nearby McDo to show me their 1€ café dispenser.

And yeah, I was on the Ile de la Cité on that Saturday excursion for photos, looking for anything other than Notre Dame and the hundred thousand around there. The best were the shoppers in their cars mingling with the visiting sightseers, trying to get up the rue Saint–Jacques or further along the quai Saint–Michel, jammed together at the Petit Pont. Paris in splendor.

Repeat Custom Tours

A heads–up came in last week 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. Thank Larry if it works out for you.

photo, best leaves of the weekThe best leaves of the week.

The Tiddly Winkly Café Metropole Club

There were a bunch of folks, both members and newcomers, and a Waiter of the Week at last Thursday's meeting. Nobody had an apartment for the secretary to rent so he went home in a sulk. The next Thursday that everything at the Café Metropole Club will be 100.8% new, will be on 23. October, seven days before the end of the October. 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 will not be able to use a club table to hold up your drink.

The fusty old rumor that repetition will end someday is right here. One false fact and three–fourths of a fake 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 exorbitant risk or fees. Refunds can be refunded on principle. Make your deposit soon.

photo, sign, jocahim du bellay

The Ex–Question of Schleswig–Holstein

Some alert readers might have considered that it is apt to remember that it was today in 1401 that Klaus Störtebeker became headless along with 30 of his Vitalienbrüder on the Grashook in Hamburg. As a deterrent, the pirates' heads were speared on pikes, but doubt continues – what if it wasn't the right Klaus Störtebeker? And who recalls that the Battle of Navarino took place today in 1827? This one took the combined British, the French and the Russian navies to sink the Ottoman fleet in Pylos, setting the stage for Greek independence. Who knew that there was more than one Titanic? Today in 1910 the hull of the near identical RMS Olympic was launched at the Harland and Wolff yards in Belfast. The third was the Britannic, making a trio of sisterships. Most remarkable was Violet Jessop, survivor of the collision of the Olympic with HMS Hawke in 1911, survivor of the Titanic sinking in 1912 and survivor of the Britannic sinking in 1916. The Olympic went on to survive the U–boats in WWI. It was on this date in 1967, near Bluff Creek, Washington, that Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin filmed a Bigfoot. Some who saw the short movie thought it was a man in a monkey suit so a debate continues. Then in 1983 on this day the metre was redefined as the distance that light travels in 1/299,792,458 of a second in a vacuum. Finally we come to the birthday corner, namely 20. October 1905 when Ellery Queen was born. This was in fact a pair of cousins born in Brooklyn, named Daniel Nathan and Manford Lepofsky, who had several aliases, extra names and pseudonyms, including Ellery Queen. It was Danny's birthday today so the mystery is solved. For the hell of it I'm skipping Arthur Rimbaud's birthday today in 1854 and going straight to a quote from Dwight D. Eisenhower who said, "A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both." Wasn't that sweet? That's our little world, folks!

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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