Just Above Sunset
June 27, 2004 - The French. Cats. Madness.

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I sent this Reuters item along to Ric Erickson of MetropoleParis and also to the person I will refer to as “The Chicago Francophile” (TCF) for now. TCF just returned from France as you see from the photos in Just Above Sunset here.

There are strange things happening over there in France.

'Panther on the Loose' Is a Cat’
Tuesday, June 22, 2004


MARSEILLE, France (Reuters) - The southern French city of Marseille called off a three-week hunt for a black panther on Tuesday after the animal sighted by several residents turned out to be a large house cat.

"The 'panther' is just a black house cat -- a very big one though," said a spokeswoman for the local prefecture, adding the animal was about 24 inches long and weighed some 22 pounds.

Police deployed dozens of searchers this month after reports that a blank panther was roaming around the nearby Calanques area, popular with tourists for its creeks, rocks and beaches.

Searchers finally caught up with the animal and identified it as a cat but were still unable to catch it, the spokeswoman added.


Paranoia everywhere, not just in the White House.

Ric is used to my postings about politics and expected more on Bush and Michael Moore, as we had been scanning the Christopher Hitchens review of Fahrenheit 911 - which Hitchens called vile and more than wrong-headed.

Ric’s reaction to the Marseille cat story?


Just when it is imperative to get in the fight against the filthy rotten liars who will be trashing Moore's film, this comes along!  I have been in those calanques, in 1976 I think, and the obvious answer is all the panther spotters have been drinking too much pastis.  It's the only liquid anybody drinks down that way.  Also, in French, any kind of cat weighing more than two kilos is a 'panther.' There's a big fear of panthers in France.  Notice that nobody actually 'caught' it.  Cat burglaries are another matter entirely. 

PS - Last week it was falcons; this week it's panthers.  Could France be the last frontier?


Yes, last week in Just Above Sunset in Paris Notes Ric and I did discuss falcons and such. 

TCF added -


Loved this item, of course.  It's my understanding that there are a lot of problems with car burglaries and pickpockets around the Calanques area, or so I saw on the signs that were prominently displayed.  The French really like signs, I think (route perturbč and all the rest), but I digress.  Well, I suppose one could blame the disappearance of small items on the panther.  (The dog ate my homework, the panther took your wallet, etc). 

I really wish I'd thought of that remark about cat burglars. 

And I wish I'd seen the bobos at the Palais Royal.  [See Paris Notes for that.]  Not to have talked to them, mind you, but to have seen them, all white in the moonlight.  One wonders what Colette makes of all this. 

As far as panthers and Michael Moore - well, it's like the falcon story.  The world is in need of a little comic relief right now, although there are those who think that politicians are already providing that anyway. 

Falcons on the BN - M.  Chirac must smile to think of all that merde on M.  Mitterand's pride and joy. 


And yes, the last item is an inside joke for Francophiles who follow French politics. 

My final word to Ric? 

Hey!  Watch it!  I'm rather fond of pastis - which is appropriate for Los Angeles and its Mediterranean climate.  We have the white stucco houses on the hills with their red tile roofs, the palm trees, and all in all, we're only missing young North African thugs.  We have our own types.  Otherwise?  Marseille, with freeways and smog. 

Cat burglars?  Each time it gets replayed on television I dutifully watch Cary Grant and Grace Kelly in Hitchcock's "To Catch a Thief" - just to remind myself of cat burglars in the south of France.  It's a hoot.  The part where she's driving Grant in her XJ-120 way too fast on the corniche and along those cliffs is a little odd to watch, given what happened to her.  But better than what happened to Isadora Duncan with her long scarf, the wire wheel and the Bugatti on the streets of Monaco many decades before that.  The southern coast of France is a dangerous place, or so it seems.  Who need panthers? 

France the last frontier?  Perhaps so. 


Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
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