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photo, saturday night tango dancers by the seine Do they tango in Paris? Only when it's not raining.

What's a LIttle Noise Between Friends?

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 16. June:–  I didn't spend any part of last week sitting around having cocktails with Uncle. Instead he waited a week and then he called to say how much he enjoyed my comments about his cooking. Many will remember that referred to hand–made pasta in rolls stuffed with hand–picked fresh green peas. Before I could ask him what he was talking about he said that he'd given the first 65 pages of his magnum opus to an expert reader, to read. This is a totally secret project he has been working on for the past 6 years or more. Everybody on Daguerre is hiring lawyers to begin libel proceedings.

Symmetrical In the Skies

It just goes to show that continued lousy weather can have a negative effect on head–room. For most of the week the sky was low and we went around with flat crowns, squashed hats and matted hair. Reports from New York about warmth were merely faint echos, rumors. Last I looked it's June. I had to look because it seems more like April. Wait, unfortunately there's more:

photo, quai de seine, notre dame, sunset Hard stone picnic feels
soft and warm.

Last night on the TV–news and weather the weather chickie said that the official weather people were on strike, and there was no long–range forecast. Tonight's weather news was for the next three days, but I almost wish they had kept on with their strike. Tuesday will be cloudy and maybe semi–clear, with a high forecast of 22 degrees, considerably higher than recently. Then Wednesday might be semi nice with lots of clouds and 21 degrees. Least promising will be Thursday that threatens to be semi cloudy with sunny bits. The temperature may be symmetrical with 22 again. In fact the whole week could be symmetrical.

Waxing weekly, Météo Jim forecasts heat waves and barbecue. Weather forecasts on WNYC this afternoon mentioned more than 80 degrees. Here is the philosophical version of how it will be in and around greater Pommeland:–

Hoops of Smoke

Today, Sunday, finds a cloudy morning in Pommeland on this Fête des Pères. The sun will make an appearance this afternoon just in time to be covered up by clouds of smoke from millions of outdoor barbecue grills.

The past week saw temperatures in Pommeland tie or break records beginning on Saturday and finally running out of steam on Tuesday evening. The heat reached or surpassed the century mark on Monday and Tuesday. As a result, most schools had early dismissal for those two days.

photo, sign, neon, caveau de la huchette

The cool front calmed things down but another hot high pressure system invaded on Saturday. As previously announced, a cool wave is arriving on la Fête des Pères. The rest of the week will see the partly cloudies and temperatures in the mid to upper 70s, all a–grad.

This coming Friday marks the summer solstice. In Scandinavian countries people will roll hoops of burning branches to celebrate the longest day of the year. In France, the edumacated class will devote countless essays written in the plusquejamaisimparfaitsansdesombres subjonctiv to commemorate this event. People will spend the next 50 years trying to figure out what they said.

A la prochaine, Météo Jim

Café Life

Damn the Tropedos

I was experimenting again. With lesser cameras if you boost the sensitivity too high – or even a little high – the photos get noise. In the film days noise was called grain, and some folks worked extra hard to get the right kind of grain. Some photos were super grainy. These days grain, noise, is a dirty word.

photo, down stairs, metro raspail Too much color? Try out the métro.

Digital noise in photos is unwanted because it usually contains bunches and clots of random colors, usually purple and green. Yuk. Purple and green where they are unwanted are yukky. If you print photos three metres by two metres, you might see this sploge of noise.

Only idiots would make a print that big. Look at what I'm showing here. These things start out at 3200 pixels wide and I cut them down to 2250, and when I put them up they are at most 450 pixels wide. I could start out at 4200 pixels wide but what's the point? I am never going to print them. I don't have an uncle who owns a hard disk factory in China.

I am a real conservative. I had a bunch of lesser cameras and when I went out at night and made the night shots I always had a bucketload of photos full of purple and green grain. So I have been out there at night, taking risks, with the camera set to ISO 200, holding steady, with stabilization, taking photos at an 8th of a second, etc etc, and boy, were they dark! What a lot of photoshopping to do! And bam, the vivid was gone. Flat, dead, mushy.

So Saturday, in the evening, I decided to hell with it. Crank the rotters up! Set 'em both on ISO 1600 and shoot. To hell with noise! They both have the high sensitivity built in – it must be there for a reason.

You know what I think? From Saturday's photos – hardly photoshopped at all – I think the photos are better than ever. The cameras like high sensitivity and they handle it pretty well. Well enough, if I am not going to make any three–metre prints. Go ahead and try it. You'll like it. If you aren't using a tripod, aren't using ISO 100 and your best lens, just double your usual ISO setting and have fun.

All Together Now

The weather is not too reliable in Paris these days, and tomorrow will be worse. The high was 18 on Saturday. Well it's June so what did you expect? I went over to Austerlitz to head for the quay where they do the dancing and they were there. One group doing the tango, another with bagpipes and a penny whistle and a bigger third group with some Latino disco. Something for everybody.

photo, night cafe, colors Café lights banish the night.

I took my shots. The boats swarmed around in the river and the sun took its leave, slowly. The usual mobs were surging through the rue de la Huchette. If somebody made a Disneyland out of Huchette it would be the biggest draw in the world. Mind you, I don't know what anybody sees in either. What's wrong with a good, dusty museum? It must be love of carny I guess. It is colorful though.

We will be having a major strike one day next week, possibly tomorrow. We are supposed to hit the bricks and show the government that we are really, really annoyed with them. It'll be the last chance before the holidays begin to get our rocks off. And we have to do it without the students because they are writing their exams. Merde, there's enough of us. The handicapped, grandmas, fishermen, farmers, everybody. All together now.

Whispers, Rumors, Untrue Fibs

This regular feature which began recently and was dumped two weeks ago and got another dump last week, is back as a sop to popular demand. Pay close attention if it's the first time you read this. The unions and the employer's confederation have been discussing reforms with the government. After listening carefully and weighing all the options, the government decided to ignore both groups and proposed its own list of 60 modifications to the Code du Travail. Therefore the unions are calling for a massive strike on Tuesday, 17. June, to oppose the plan to demolish the 35–hour work week, allowing employers to insist on up to 48 hours, without overtime pay. A million of us are supposed to go out and wave some red flags.

photo, night cafe, colors It's the same café, with light for all.

What would you think if your President went on TV one night and said that NPR radio and PBS TV could no longer beg for money from listeners and viewers? Would you believe him if he said that the government would make up the shortfall? When Nicolas Sarkozy said he was stopping the advertising on France–2 TV, and on France–3, France–4, France–5, and Radio France and RFI, I wondered why?

The government assured listeners and viewers – no increase in the annual TV fee. The channels could fire their advertising staffs without worry, except for the unlucky 350 who did that work. The government has held some kind of hearings, and has floated several ideas about how to make up the lost revenue – revenue that they are throwing away. How about an extra tax on the private TV stations? How about an additional tax to be collected by telephone operators and ISPs? Sell the public channels? How about a new tax on toasters, computers and refrigerators?

Well, now we have have some numbers. In today's Le Parisien it says a poll shows that 44% of the French have no confidence in the government's plans for public TV and radio. Worse, no confidence in Sarkozy was rated as 59%. On the other hand the confidence with the folks working for France Televisions was 78%. It looks like I'll be off to the Bastille on Wednesday to wave my red flag for the France–2 weather ace Isabelle and France–3's Audrey on the national news.

Matt's Hit On uTube

Ten years in the making, according to Matt Rose. Cruising on his art triumph in Berlin, his contribution to the world's music scene I Have a Car is now available for immediate viewing, and hearing! He wrote, "Think $5 gas." I suggested a sequel, I Have a Scooter but he declined. "It'll have to wait 10 years."

Soldes d'Eté Déjà

photo, poster, riky tout seul comme un grand

Skip it if you've already read this. Like the annual winter sales, the summer sales happen like taxes. This is scheduled even without any summer. In fact, the less summer there is, the more great stuff there will be on sale. However since the terrific goods on sale are priced in euros your possible savings might be slight. The sales will begin on Wednesday, 25. June, and the crazy shopping times roll on until 2. August.

The Rumored Café Metropole Club

Club meetings with a miniscule passel of members are fine with me. Too bad last week there weren't enough for a whole quorum. Regular members and new candidates are welcome, so come already. The next Thursday that everything at the Café Metropole Club will be 110% new, will be on 19. June, a few days after this week's Great Strike of the Week. All members–in–any form, any standing, of any sort will be welcome even if you feel like waiting for your refund.

photo, sign, plaster relief, mermaids

The rumor that repetition here will end someday is a rumor. Four dubious facts and three true rumors about the club are on a page called the About the Club Webpage. Readers who have actually read it, and one or two may have, may already be club members without personal risk or other fees.

The Ex–Question of Schleswig–Holstein

Some of you have might have been thinking that it is appropriate to recall that it was today in 1745 that Sir William Pepperell's troops captured Louisbourg in Nova Scotia, after a siege of 6 weeks and after firing 9000 cannon balls, some of which missed. This was an episode in the justly infamous War of the Austrian Succession, a hopelessly European wrangle fought mostly in Germany by pretty much the same gang of countries that appeared in the 30 Years' War. At its conclusion in 1748, the French got Louisbourg back, causing no end of disgust in the Colonies. Let us not forgot the 100 Years' War either. In 1755 there was the French and Indian War too, when the French surrendered their Fort Beauséjour to the British. This is entirely too many wars so let's switch to 1999 when Greta Garbo had her funeral, in Sweden, just over nine years after she died in New York. That's our little world, folks!

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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