...Continued from page 1

photo, roast chestntus, smell What's that burning smell?

I did my regular pop–in too, going inside on the ground floor to see the tree and it was there. For all I know it's there year–round. You go in past the perfume and then crane your head back and the tree is like a needled missile, pointing at the incredible dome of colored glass, surrounded by the soap–opera balconies. It's like being inside an extravagant cake, plus, it smells great.

There were no decorations at the Opéra when I passed it. The afternoon sunlight was pretending to be as warm and bright as it gets in early November, and the building glowed, as sort of an outside to the Galeries' inside. From there I got into the rue de la Paix, going past windows with jewels and bodyguards, to the place Vendôme which had its long shadows like bowling alleys, and all of its granite, solid and blue.

The Tuileries was like it is in winter, small puddles reflecting the sky and the light lying low making all the leafless branches – what? Bare I guess. But there is always a carrousel, turning even for three riders, and moms sitting patiently in the green metal chairs, probably glad that some simple things never change.

photo, fiat 500 It's that classic Fiat 500 again.

The other tours I took, will be on other pages in this issue. I went to Grace's up on Montmartre but I forgot to be introduced to her artists. I talked to people but I don't remember what they said. There are only two stories – either one has lived in Paris a score of years or more, or got off the jet two weeks before. Since my story is mostly here in Metropole I tend to ask questions – like, is there any orange juice left. Actually I was there to get a used portable phone from Grace, but none of them were charged. Thanks for the orange juice.

What Comes Next

Apartment hunting has not been kind. It was always hard but now it is so bad that real estate agents are shutting down. I have had to ask myself whether it's worth it – clawing my way into a sub–standard bolthole, fourth floor walkup, with EDF heat by the minute and no closets. Is it a battle I want to win?

photo, sign, direction montmartre

I am going to take some time off while I think about this. Right now, with this weather, I am inclined to think that I will look for a place down south, somewhere where the TV–weather folks are always upbeat about the possibility of sunshine in the afternoon. You know, where oranges grow on bushes on the balcony and every apartment is equipped with a free toaster. Some place that might not exist but if it doesn't, somebody should invent it.

photo, sign, rue d'amsterdam

The Café Metropole Club That Used To Be

Until further notice the club secretary will NOT be hosting club meetings in Paris. After all you coud have been at any of the 400+ meetings already held. All the same check Metropole's front page for possible but unlikely updates. All members in any shape, class, form, hue, any standing, of any type or creed, used to be offered a chair. If you felt like sitting at a table on the terrace, pretending to not be at the meeting, you couldn't have used a club table to hold up your drink.

The rusty old rumor that repetition will end someday is increasingly likely. One false fact and four–thirds of a fake history 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. Principle dictates that refunds can be refunded on principle. Principle is not a member.

The Ex–Question of Schleswig–Holstein

photo, sign, metro

Some alert readers might have considered that it is apt to remember that it was today in 1639 that Jeremiah Horrocks observed the transit of Venus. Since he had already predicted it, it was hardly surprising even though it only happens once every 243 years, the last transit being in 2004. As usual, the Convention published the Republican Calendar on this date in 1793. On the same day all churches were closed in France but they have since reopened. A little later, in 1874, a patent was granted to Joseph Farwall Glidden for his discovery of barbed wire. Moving right along, this date in 1966 is recalled in New York City as the smoggiest day in history. Birthdays today worth remembering are for Henri de Toulouse–Lautrec, born in 1864 and 1941 for musician Donald "Duck" Dunn who played with Booker T. and the M.G.'s in addition to appearing in the movie The Blues Brothers, with the line, "We had a band that could turn goat piss into gasoline!" By no means least, we fondly recall this date in 1850 for the historic battle at Lottorf, a hamlet in Schleswig–Holstein, in which Danish troops, about five in all including reinforcements, won a great victory over some folks known to history as Schleswig–Holsteins, but only after a farmhouse caught fire accidently and only after 50 additional troops were dispatched from Over Selk for a counter–attack. This tense encounter took a hour and the Schleswig–Holsteins had one casualty and one wounded while the Danes were unscathed. This crucial battle also prolonged the war until early in 1851. Finally, this week's Quote of the Week is attributed to Larry Foghorn, who once said, "The essential ingredient of politics is spam." That's our little world, folks!

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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