Saturday, February 2, 2008

Wedding Bells

OK, they're married:

Le maire du 8e arrondissement de Paris, François Lebel, a déclaré, sur Europe 1, avoir marié le président de la République Nicolas Sarkozy et sa compagne Carla Bruni à l'Elysée, samedi 2 février. "La mariage a eu lieu à 11 heures en présence des parents, des proches et des invités, a-t-il raconté. La mariée était en blanc et le président en costume cravate comme il se doit dans n'importe quel mariage civil". "Il y a eu un échange d'alliances et la traditionnelle bise. Il n'y a rien d'exceptionnel, si ce n'est que ça s'est passé au premier étage de l'Elysée", a-t-il insisté.

Mazel tov.

Register Hostesses

"We're not cashiers, mind you, but 'register hostesses' (hôtesses de caisse). The title is more chic, but it hasn't brought us higher wages." So said one of the striking employees of the big retail chains yesterday. The detaxation of overtime has done them no good, they say, because their employers strictly control their working hours. The chains garner good publicity for themselves, workers contend, by publicly denouncing "excessive" prices allegedly charged by their suppliers, as Leclerc did recently with La Vache qui Rit, but they achieve their own low margins on the backs of their employees.

You are now free to move about the aisles, but for your own safety and comfort the captain recommends that you tighten your belts when approaching the register, where one of the aisle attendants will be happy to assist you. Have a pleasant day, whatever your final destination may be.

Hail to the Chief ...

... but forget about hailing a taxi. It seems that in April of last year, a few days before the first round of the presidential election, Nicolas Sarkozy wrote a letter to the National Taxi Federation in which he said that "taxis are a regulated profession and should remain so." But when he accepted the Attali Report, which calls for deregulation of taxis, hairdressing, and other trades, he changed his tune: "Yes, there are some regulations that are perfectly obsolete. Paris is actually the only city in the world where it's hard to find a taxi."

Try Manhattan in a rainstorm, Sarko l'Américain. Or, for a vision of deregulated paradise, try the taxi pool at the airport in Berlin, a vast sea of drivers who arbeiten plus pour gagner moins. But leaving aside these small quibbles, the sheer chutzpah is breathtaking. All politicians pander, but generally the art calls for a little finesse to cover one's tracks.

Sarko has been caught en flagrant délit--or perhaps, as I read the other day on the Net, en fragrant délit. Fragrant indeed. Et l'odeur n'est pas celle de la sainteté.