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Not To Be Confused With Slumber City

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 9. February 1998:- There is a lot of dreaming in this issue. Dreaming is a good thing because if you are able to do it then you are probably able to get out of bed in the morning with a little bit of enthusiasm.

First off, you seldom know if your dreams will come true - but this might be the day! Somebody might send you money you aren't expecting in the post, for example.

Admittedly this is a rare, or seldom, experience; as professional postmen are by law required to bring you bills and demands from the government for either information or money, or both.

So the thing to do is leave home before the postman arrives. If you get out there early enough, you might find some money lying around in the street. This is common enough in France, where people seem to think it is so worthless that they let it dribble through their fingers.

My number-one son had a long lucky streak last summer picking up 100-franc notes and thousand peseta notes on such a regular basis that I started dreaming about retiring. However we spent the bread on a premature celebration, and now he's going through a 'dry' spell, which has lasted about six months now.

Sometimes I wonder how many people there are around this world of ours, who are dreaming of Paris. The messages I get; I'm starting to think maybe one lunatic is writing them under several Ed and Mr 'Bib' hundred phoney names. They all say pretty much the same thing, "I'm dreaming of Paris."

There are variations such as, "I'm dreaming of coming to Paris," and one that really grabbed me last week, said, "We are about to embark on our once-in-a-lifetime visit to Paris." Nothing unusual in this you might think, but the rest of the message was about their other two 'once-in-a-lifetime visits to Paris' and they just wanted to alert me that the third was pending.

I may look droopy, but I am really having a good time at Retromobile.

Maybe it is all on account of the World Cup this coming June. Some soccer fans are - how can I put this? - sort of over the top - which I think is a referral to the little monkeys in the African rain forests who live very high up in the trees - you know: 'over the top.'

Now there's dreamers for you - the soccer fans. Their team is always going to win someday. I don't know how many of these will be pouring into France - to see their team win - but I think there are other people who have figured this out, because their messages all say they are coming in... March.

How does that old song go? "March in Paris, When you should be wearing Harris, Tweed the cloth for keeping out the damp, And..." I was never good at rhymes, nor learning lyrics.

If you know the Paris song about March, send it in. Send it by email please, because I'm a little slow to read the other kind, although I'm thinking about changing my mind. One of these days. Maybe.

Get Rich Quick with Paid Spam

Once in every couple of weeks I get around to opening some mail here and you can bet I was surprised to get a letter from my colleagues across town at the International Herald Tribune.

They hardly ever write to me, so I was doubly surprised that they had stapled a genuine one Free buck from IHT dollar bill to the letter, as payment in advance to read the thing.

After doing this, I discovered they are not paying me to read the letter, but to look at an enclosed ad for Panasonic and fill out some survey form and send it in. There is even a post-paid airmail envelope with which to do this.

Here it is: my 'lucky' buck for nothing. Thank you IHT.

I suppose the ad has appeared in the paper; most likely on a day I didn't buy a copy. I think this is great. The Herald Tribune costs more than a buck on newsstands here - so the dollar is no good for getting tomorrow's edition.

Somehow I have a feeling that I should skip reading the ad, forget the survey and toss out the envelope. But the good US dollar? This I will frame, as the first buck I got for nothing.

Nah, I'm just kidding. If somebody is willing to take a chance and pay me 1/200th of my hourly rate on spec, then I will give it 1/200th of an hour, but I wish they had put in a dime extra - to lick the envelope.

From Friday's The Toqueville Connection:

A Different Drummer for Iraq outlines France's efforts to defuse the explosive weapons inspection situation by quietly trying to play peacemaker. Excerpts:

Paris, February 5 - Foreign Minister Hubert Védrine made it clear for the first time that France would not join the United States and Britain in military action against Iraq, or even help with logistics, if negotiations achieve no breakthrough.

"For the momnt, what France is doing is to obtain a solution through diplomatic means and by political persuasion. I do not despair that we will succeed."

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