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Hot News in the Paris Cold

It’s collllld in Paris! Freezing temps and a threat of snow tomorrow means donning an extra layer of undergarments (not very sexy) and a strong desire to stay warm inside next to a rolling space heater designed for just such an occasion.

Outside my walls, the RER A is still on strike affecting transportation to and from Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Boissy Saint-Léger and Marne-la-Vallée/Chessy (Disneyland Paris) and tomorrow it is predicted the striking ‘disease’ will spread to RER B. That means travelers to and from the Charles de Gaulle airport are best off avoiding the train and taking one of the buses, shuttles or taxis. For those of us whose commute is from the bedroom to the desk in the same apartment (such as myself), it means nothing, but for those who are dependent on what is usually one of the best transportation systems in the world, it can be devastating.

I have a very vivid recollection of the transportation strikes in 1995 when all of France was paralyzed for a period of about three weeks over November and December. It was just as cold then and ‘thanks’ to living in an outer district (17th arrondissement) and wearing soft-soled fur-lined boots, it was a crippling and a life-changing experience. It made a big impression on these weary feet bones.

The news has also been filled with gossip of late, too. French fans of Johnny Hallyday (known a the “French Elvis”) have been watching his progress after being medically induced into a coma at Los Angeles’ Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Doctors awoke him Monday much to the relief of his constituents and the national newspaper, Le Monde, which dubbed his condition a “national coma.” A French surgeon has been accused of bungling his hernia operation, and the country went nuts should their ‘national symbol’s’ life would be threatened.

On Bastille Day this past year, Hallyday sang to an audience of approximately a half-million people picnicking on the Champ de Mars in anticipation of the fireworks at the Eiffel Tower. We watched him take a long time to catch his breath, suck back the tears at the sight of his devoted audience before beginning to sing. I never liked him much until that moment — as for the first time he seemed really human in spite of his over-the-top-face-lifted attempt to ‘youthify’ his 66 years on the planet.

On a downhill and less than green course is Tiger Woods, who may be changing his name to “Tigre” and moving to France thanks to the rigid laws here that would better protect his privacy. Tiger kind of ‘screwed’ up letting his ‘you know what’ get in the way of his good sense and his golfing career. He’s in good company in France with other reclusive celebrities, such as “Bradgelina” (Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie) and Johnny Depp. Rumor has it that he is already scouting out a pricey châteaux to call ‘home’ — and I wonder if it will be easier for him to obtain a long-stay visa than other immigrants of similar ethnic origin (he is mixed African American, Chinese and Native American).

The next thought was how he would eventually cope with the high tax rate, and if like
Hallyday, would end up moving to Switzerland to avoid the wealth tax. If he had stayed ‘on course,’ he would easily have passed the one billion dollars in earnings by 2010, predicted by the press (Forbes Magazine) and become the world’s first billionaire to “accumulate his fortune by playing sports.” France is going to love that figure(!) and not only welcome him, but perhaps all his women, wife and seven mistresses included.

I also wonder how’s he going to cope with the cold in France after living in sunny warm Florida. Oh well. Maybe he will discover a rolling space heater like mine.

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

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P.S. Our American scriptwriter friend, Timothy Smith, founder of “The Smith Prize,” a national prize to support political theater in the U.S., wants to remind us that the deadline of December 31st is rapidly approaching for the fourth annual Smith Prize. For more information and to make your submission, visit: nnpn.org/prog_smith.php

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