Depression Banished

photo, fighter bomber rafale, place de la concorde A Rafale, part of the peaceful aerospace expo.

Beachball of Doom

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 13. October:–  Good news has a habit of getting stale fast so by the time you read this we will have likely returned to our old, dreary news of miserable weather, naked trees, rain and gloom. But right now, today, we have been having glorious Golden October. We had it all weekend too. Everybody was outside, taking in the free circuses, walking around, lounging on café terraces, shuffling though fallen leaves in the parks. There I was too but since I already looked for leaves I was on the Champs–Elysées looking for the freebie of the week, along with some other Parisians


And that was that. Uncle phoned today and told me to go outside. I knew the sun was shining but I didn't know it was 24 degrees. He said folks were walking around without their coats on. I went out and saw he was right. We were getting air from Spain, nicely warmed for us folks here in the frozen north. In most years we just get October, without the golden. We must have done something good to merit it.

There was other news on tonight's TV–news. According to early reports the financial depression has been averted. Governments have convinced those who count that everybody can return to making money, and stock markets around the world shot up. Maybe it's too soon, maybe if you are a gambler it's the right time, maybe it's just a temporary correction. I mean, that was the problem – there was too much money and there weren't enough legit investments, so they invented some crazy ones to vacuum up the excess. Nobody puts their spare cash under the mattress any more.

photo, rocket at rond point Also peaceful.

I for one am glad that all those poor people who were conned into taking out loans on homes that they were unable to reimburse, will now have a place to go until they can get a new downpayment together. The world's financial wizards do not want to see folks and their kids sleeping outside in cardboard boxes with winter coming on. Folks living in houses do pay their dues so long as they are not exorbitant. The big question tonight is simply this – is greed over, or are we just ignoring it off until it's in our faces again?

As for golden October in Paris, it looks like it might be over. I'm not saying that the weather has turned nasty – I haven't seen tomorrow yet – but tonight's TV–weather news was not taken from Sonny Jim's diary. No relation by the way. Here are details:

End for Golden October?

Today's weather map in Le Parisien did not have a brillant outlook for this fair city but it was one more sunny day of a weekend set. They said today's high was 24 so Tuesday's forecast high of 18 is a bit of a climb–down. Add semi–to–partly to more–than–half cloudy and you have the rest of the story.

photo, sign, pan aux figues

On Wednesday a set of clouds hangs along the northwest, with a 50 kph wind shooting up the Channel, but it may be slightly sunny sometimes here if those clouds don't slop over. Expect no more than 17 degrees. By Thursday all the muck will have moved to the southeast, leaving some sunny periods around here. Another 17 for temperature is expected.

Last night Météo Jim sent some poetry instead of weather. We have gotten beyond baseball, so what does he do? Pommeland celebrates hockey by opening the outdoor rinks? The latest, in no more than a few words:–

Romance To End Soon?

As Pommeland and America get ready to celebrate Columbus Day this Monday, the weather in the eastern half of the US is celebrating Laborious Day. Temperatures east of the Mississippi will flirt with 80 a–grad, about 15 degrees above normal. But the romance will quickly end. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday the thermometer will drop a little bit more each day and the romance will be sent to the junk mail box. By Friday, the spurned summer lover will be just a memory as clouds and highs in the lower 60s arrive to woo October.

photo, sign, apricot tarte

A travel tip – even though summer weather will prevail for a while, La Grosse Pomme has opened the skating rink at Rockefeller Center in honor of the opening of the ice hockey season. This is when 20 teams will compete for 15 months to see what select few teams will make the playoffs. Which of the 20 teams will be good enough to fill the 19 playoff slots? On verra!

A la prochaine, Météo Jim

Café Life

Beachball of Doom

I have just had an omen. This appeared in the form of a spinning beachball of doom. You won't have ever seen one of these unless you have been doing photos and writing stuff for three days on a Macintosh, in fact for three years, and you happen to look up and there's this silly beachball spinning merrily, and it keeps spinning, and spinning, and it isn't funny anymore. That's the doom part. So, there I was, typing away on autopilot, aiming for a bedtime before 4 am and... pow, beachball !

photo, rafale and mirage III at concorde Not the kind of thing seen at Orly.

My Macintosh portable is getting fairly elderly. It is also the best computer I have ever had – the last of a long string of Macs going right back to the first one. It doesn't do the beachball thing often. New portables might be announced tomorrow, I hope. But this is not about fanboy trinkets, this is supposed to be about Paris, this city that is too good to be true but sometimes exceeds itself, so you have to forgive, and just dive in.

Like ride the number six métro west, from Denfert to Etoile, and sit beside a clean and unetched window going over the Pont de Bir–Hakeim and shoot a couple of the receding Tour Eiffel, a once–a–year luck–shot. Then use memory that hasn't gotten overstuffed with furballs to get out of the Etoile tunnels by the shortest route, to rise to the surface there where tokens of mankind have gathered to gawk and take photos of each other in weather usually only seen on postcards.

photo, red cgt flags, pont des arts A lively moment for the Pont des Arts.

Some years ago in Metropole there was a report about an exhibition of airplanes on the Champs–Elysées. Going through Concorde on the way to the club last Thursday I noticed some airplane–like objects on the far side, so I was back on Saturday to check them out. But up where I started, Etoile, there were no airplanes, so I just walked down – it's slightly downhill – past about 100,000 tourists and shoppers and who knows what they were – down to Rond Point where the was some sort of rocket in the centre of the circle there.

Front–on it looked like a pretty stout rocket with two side tanks. From the side it wasn't so stout. Maybe it was a model of the Ariane rockets they make west of town. Maybe it was just a new piece of decor the the world's most beautiful... you know.

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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