inessential by Brent Simmons


John's posted a picture of Lola Ray Lewis.

The story about the armored van strike in France reminds of a time Sheila and I were in Paris and unable to get cash from any cash machines. Very frustrating!

Thinking like Americans, we had gone to Paris expecting to be able to withdraw cash at will. We had an account with a national French bank, Crédit Agricole. (We were then living in Grenoble.)

After about a week in Paris the cash machines stopped allowing us withdraw money. It turned out that there's a limit to how much you can withdraw if you're outside your department. Since our account was with Crédit Agricole de l'Isere, we were limited to something like 3,000 francs per week outside our department. (I don't recall the exact details.)

So we had no cash left, having blown it all on books in English at the Brentano's on rue de l'Opéra. (And on cocktails and sandwiches at Harry's.)

We went into a Crédit Agricole branch near our hotel and told them we couldn't get any money from the cash machines. The fellow behind the counter didn't speak any English, which we found rare in Paris, but it was okay. He explained the situation about the limits. Then shrugged and told us we can't get any money, then turned back to some paperwork.

We're fuming at this point. I won't let him get back to work: there must be a way we can get some money. I'm trying to draw him out, to tell me how I can get some of our money -- but all I get is that Gallic shrug, that Beckett-like nothing-to-be-done thing. After six months of living in France, Sheila and I were both a little tired of that.

Finally I asked him if I can write a check to the bank and get cash. The teller looked utterly defeated. Which I knew meant it was true, here was the solution, we could get some cash after all. And so we did.

Anyway: this moment turned the tide for us. It was our first major victory. After six months in France, we started to get the hang of things.

So if you're in Paris, and you see a Crédit Agricole not on but near rue Cler in the 7eme arrondisement, think of me and Sheila winning our own personal Battle of Paris.

You know what we did with our cash? My memory may be faulty, but I think that night we ate at Burger King on the Champs-Elysées and went to a movie starring Jeremy Irons. Just to celebrate.

The movie we went to was directed by Louis Malle, who also directed Atlantic City, one of my all-time faves.

Happy Birthday Rona!

I hate Pink Floyd. Iggy rules. I wanna play lacrosse.

Does anybody remember a TV series in the late '70s about Lucan, a boy raised by wolves? I don't think it lasted an entire season. It may not have lasted an entire half-season. Lucan was incredibly strong and fast, and highly ignorant of civilization. A condition every 10-year-old boy aspires to.

(Aside: that stuff's fine for kids, but it freaks me out when adults go for that Rousseau noble savage junk when presented in more sophisticated forms.)

I couldn't find anything on the web about Lucan -- but I did find the unofficial Quark home page (Quark was another short-lived late-'70s show). Adam Quark, played by Richard Benjamin, was a garbage collector in space who had one mis-adventure after another. I loved this show. I wish Nick at Nite would show it -- a 4-hour marathon would do the trick, there were only eight episodes.

Update: Sheila and Mark Staben both pointed me to a page on Lucan. At least it proves I wasn't dreaming!

PR: VA Linux Servers Support Victoria's Secret Cannes 2000 Fashion Show Webcast. Ah, Linux is a force for good in this crazy, messed up world.