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Say what you will about Paris. It may be the most romantic city in the world…and I only say “may” because I haven’t been to every city yet.

But I have to be honest here. There’s something about Paris that makes me feel old. And lonely.

Lonely, because while I’ve been to Paris four or five times, I’ve always been by myself. And since I’ve been married to the same woman for 23 years, and been with her for 27 years, it’s probably good that when I’m in Paris I feel lonely, because I miss her.

Old, because as I walk along the Seine, or past the Louvre, I see young people locked in passionate embraces and kisses, and I sort of envy them them their unbridled, unselfconscious and very public passions.

Heaven knows we can’t all be like that, or the world would stop spinning on its Axis.

Wouldn’t it?

On the other hand, we’re not complaining. If we did, who’d care? Who’d listen?

Most everything about Paris is perfect, which just a few exceptions.

They don’t understand the importance of ice.
Too many people smoke way too much.
And they don’t understand that guys shouldn’t wear Capri pants.

But that’s about it.

One of the best things about this trip to Paris, by the way, was that I discovered a Starbucks about four blocks from my hotel. And a venti skim latte tastes just as good here as it does back home.

Normally, I like to eat the local food and drink the local beverages almost exclusively.

But sometimes, exceptions must be made. And Starbucks often is the fuel that gets MNB out on time and in reasonably good shape.

Don’t even know where to start with the description of the meals I’ve had since I’ve been here.

There was one dinner at Maison Blanche, a restaurant that sits atop the Theatre des Champs-Elysées, just blocks from the Eiffel Tower. There the meal started with pressed lobster served with baby vegetables and ham made from smoked duck, with olive oil infused with Bourbon vanilla seed, followed by a main course of fillet of John Dory (fish) seasoned with beans and served over goat cheese ravioli. Dessert was a light praline mousse with souffleed Rice Krispies and caramel ice cream.

Another evening, at the NACS Global Forum, dinner was served on a boat that cruised up and down the Seine…and that meal started out with a creamy lobster and tarragon bavaroise (kind of a thick soup) with marinated broad beans, with a main course that consisted of chicken breast in lemon confit butter served over pesto-flavored risotto and pan-fried mushrooms with shallots, and a dessert that was just a simple smooth chocolate cake served with tutti frutti ice cream.

And then, one evening at Chez Pauline, the most amazing Caesar Salad I’ve ever had, and then a boeuf bourguignon served with gnocchi, followed by a sliver of chocolate cake that was more like fudge, topped with maybe the richest scoop of vanilla ice cream I’ve ever eaten.

(I think of all of this, by the way, as first hand research into the globesity crisis. Dirty job, but somebody has to do it.)

As for the wines…I have no idea. This is France. They pour ‘em, I drink ‘em. They’re wonderful.

Couldn’t help but notice that while I’ve been gone, Dan Rather has been shown the door at CBS News.

I have not always been a fan of Rather’s, though I would argue that some of his recent problems had as much to do with institutional issues at CBS as his own missteps. But no matter how I feel about his style and substance, I have to say that if I ever work someplace for 44 years, I hope I’m shown a little more respect on the way out.

Though this almost certainly won’t be a problem. I’ve been doing MNB for almost five years now, and I’m 51. If I do it for another 39 years, that would make me 90…

On the other hand, if I’m still functional and functioning and able to get on the airplane, what the hell. And if the plane is going to Paris. Or Seattle. Or London. Chicago. Dublin. San Francisco. Venice. Sydney. New Orleans. Auckland. China. Japan. Or, come to think of it, pretty much anywhere where I can get a decent meal and a good glass of wine or beer.

Though Mrs. Content Guy may have something to say about that.

And besides, you all may be really, really tired of me by that point.

And speaking of keeping you from getting tired of me…
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