...Continued from page 1

Actually, the cars were being redecorated for their next races. A lady from the team told me all the stick-on stuff gets torn up during races - which is not a bad thing because it saves having to repaint the cars all the time.

European sedan racing is not like big-time stock-car racing in the US. While the US-style racing is done with replicas of cars that only turn counter-clockwise, European stock-car racing is done with real cars that turn both left and right, sharply.

I worked at the BMW factory a bit before this got to be a big deal in Europe. I also worked for aphoto: bmw passion cafe shop that made and sold all sorts of stick-on lettering and decor, so it was like a mini-nostalgia trip for me. Otherwise, never raced, never rallied - except once.

The other attraction - especially for would-be street racers - was the idea of being in a bar with racing cars, and being able to drive home on the métro.

Down at the Porte d'Orléans, 197. Boulevard Brune, Paris 14. Racing helmets are only necessary if you think you'll fall off a bar stool.

Road Nuts? Car Crazy?

There is the 'Café-Racer' item above, and Badger has contributed a few words about survival driving in several European countries. Also in this issue, 'Au Bistro' has a news item about the past several weekends' worth of bad driving scores in France. This trio of automotive items has not been pre-arranged and are not necessarily related.

Café Metropole Club's 30th Session

The 30th weekly meeting - the on-the-30th-week mark! - of the 'Café Metropole Club' marked another unexpected mini upsurge in 'real' membership last Thursday, and included a major new 'First of the Week.' You can read about it on last week's 'Club 'Report'' page even if you have already read it once or twice.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

Issue 4.19 - 10. May 1999 - This week's Café Metropole column was headlined: - Wow! - 'Is This How the 'Café Metropole Club' Begins?' The 'Au Bistro' column was titled 'Is Corsica Burning?' This issue had one whole feature, titled 'The Rue du Faubourg du Temple.' In an eMail, Mike Kotch wanted to know about the 'The 'Best' and the 'Finest.' The 'Scene' column had 'Asterix Park Reopens for 1999' and 107 other items. There were four 'Posters of the Week' andphoto: baignade interdit Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned 'That's Not a Train Whistle' - but then, how would Ric know?

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago:

Issue 3.19 - 11. May 1998 - The Café Metropole column had a helpful hint: 'Do Not Adjust Your Web Browser.' The 'Au Bistro' column was titled 'Big Dump At Culture Box-Office.' This issue had two so-so features, titled ''Grand Marché d'Art Comtemporain' and the slightly snappier 'Man Ray in Montparnasse, Forever.' However, there were also three emails, in response to the previous week's 'May '68 features, called 'Echos of '68.' There were four 'Posters of the Week' as usual. Ric's Cartoon of the Week was had the oxymoron caption of 'The Unemployed Clochard.'

Metropole Paris' Nearly Solo Countdown to 31. December 2000:

Here we are again with the text nobody but contest winners read. This is the 19th issue of the year, in case anybody else is interested. Since I wrote last week that I wasn't going to whine about this anymore, I haven't had time to concentrate on thinking up an insanely easy, and tedious contest that will have lots of winners.

Nevertheless - what a stupid word! - I am still chipping in with all the stray centimes and lint I have and putting them into the unopenable Deutschebundespost piggybank - plus! - clipping all the coupons I find on what few packaged goods I buy. It allphoto: eau non potable adds up. If I could only count. If I could only open up the darn piggybank!

This new countdown will last only 366 days, minus the 129 days already gone. The official reason for doing this is to give the Tour Eiffel a new chance to 'get it done' once and for all. This is a re-run for many count-down fans who missed shouting 'Zéro' on Friday, 31. December 1999 when Paris' countdown clock fizzled out. If you don't happen to be a count-down fan, then you can skip reading this. But I warn you that if you do - you will miss the next contest.

There are only about 237 days left to go until the 3rd Millennium. For really alert readers, this figure is again correct. The thing I like least about the count-down is calculating the days gone and the days-to-go each week. I do this by taking coffee beans out of one can and putting them into another one.
signature, regards, ric

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