Membership Category Shambles

photo: la corona, rain

Your club's 'Café of the Week' is always La Corona.

News About the 'Café Metropole Club'

Paris:- Saturday, 20. May 2000:- If I wasn't the secretary of the Café Metropole Club already I might really want to join it.

A great many of the two existing categories of club members have expressed their well-considered thoughts on the thorny problem of an additional category for long-time 'virtual' reader-members who are not actual 'real' members - merely because they have been unable to attend a weekly club meeting in Paris.

The following comments were received during the week - presented here in their order of arrival, for no particular reason.

Michael McKinnon wrote:

"To complicate the 'membership' issue further, where do those - like myself - who have not only written to you but been published in your fine magazine belong? Perhaps 'Scribe-member?' Just another nit to pick. Anyway, I'm still planning to be back in Paris in November this year and will become 'real' at that time."

Bonnie wrote:

"Please add my name to your 'Virtual Real Member' or whatever category. I've been reading it for more than a year, and maybe less than two years. I don't have a great memory. "

Paul Babbitt wrote:

"I understand that 'virtual' members are in fact members, often more dedicated than real members - like Janet, a 'real' member, who only reads Metropole Paris if she's in it. But the system you've proposed just seems much too complicated and time consuming.

"Consider this proposal - those 'virtual' members who want some recognition or verification of their status can fill out one of those forms so common on the web. You can even have questions to answer, or not, like in the members' notebook. Everyone who completes and submits this form can get a number, and to avoid the hierarchy problem, the thousands who submit such forms can have their member number randomly assigned.

"In order to increase simplicity, eliminate the 'virtual' andphoto: lum©jeff the 'real' member distinctions - we're all just members, some of whom happened to have attended a meeting. Think about it - what other club reserves a high status for people who've shown up once, had some onion soup, and never returned?

"Perhaps this is all because the club is in Paris; but for a club with no rules, there sure are lots of procedures.

Jeff Thompson added the second item of real artwork to the members' booklet yesterday. His character is called 'Lum the Insatiable!' - Jeff©2000

"I do appreciate having knowing my member number, but I certainly don't think being in Paris on a Thursday should entitle me to any privileges - after all, I was in Paris. Isn't that privilege enough?"

Dana Shaw wrote:

"Regarding Bill Hunter's comments and your attempts to resolve the dilemma - I vote for 'virtually-real.' That seems sufficiently official sounding without being ostentatious or overblown. Besides 'real-virtuality' doesn't make sense."

Jerry Stopher wrote:

"Well, annnnnnywayyy - I don't think I've been a 'virtual' member of the Café Metropole Club for long enough to request one of the new, prestigious, 'Virtual Chief Justice' memberships. But I can suggest that as a name, or perhaps even a name like 'Virtual Commodore.'

"But lo! and behold! I do indeed qualify for a whole 'nother level of virtual membership, that of 'Virtual Contributing Editor!' I think this should be the membership category for those of us who have contributed our wisdom to the magazine - which, by the way - is still not available in my doctor's waiting room.

"So this is my request for the new category of membership that I have now proposed - please list me on the rolls as a 'VCE.'"

Bill Martin wrote:

"What a hoot to have Sayre - population 2900 or less - as city of the week! While the world is getting 'smaller' and more accessible, Sayre is even more of a backwater than it was when I grew up there. However, there is a quiet peacefulness there that is being lost many other places."

The club's secretary sums it up:

Taking last first, I propose to leave Sayre, Oklahoma as a confirmed 'City of the Week' even though it is associated with my mistaken Sweetwater, Oklahoma - which should have been Stillwater, Oklahoma.

At yesterday's club meeting, vigilant reader and 'real' club member Kay Thompson - from Stillwater, Oklahoma - immediately pointed out my gaffe - in a nice way, of course.

To show she wasn't sore, she asked her husband Jeff to draw his 'Lum the Insatiable!' character right in the members' booklet. For artwork signatures, this new addition joins Jerry from Brooklyn's map of Far Rockaway.

While Jeff was doing his drawing, I noticed the café blot that I forgot to mention as 'Blot of the Week' for the club's meeting on Thursday, 11. May. This blot, which stains four pages, was caused by myself - or rather caused by Charter member Mark Kritz' 'Quote of the Week' "The Bucolic Plague" which I may have also forgotten to mention.

Somewhat like Bonnie has written above, "I don't have a great memory." Unlike her, I do have both the Charter members' booklet and the unofficial 'reports' booklet, and I should study them more closely before writing these things.

Now, concerning the membership categories - here is what I have to put on the table for your consideration:

  • 1. 'Virtual Member' - or 'VM' for short
  • 2. 'Virtual Member Real Reader' - or 'VMRR' for short
  • 3. 'Real Member' - or 'RM' for short

Whether readers and/or members wish to add these initials to complete their personal names, is optional.

The issue raised by Michael McKinnon and Jerry Stopher about an additional category for contributors to Metropole Paris falls into an editorial area of the magazine and isphoto: corona beer not related to Café Metropole Club affairs, unofficial rules, optional regulations and tiresome procedures.

'VM's, 'VMRR's and 'RM's may jave forgotten that the club's café has drinks other than café or orange juice - such as French beer.

The 'Ed' of the magazine feels that the whole area of titles like 'Contributing Editor' or 'Contributing Poo-bah' are signs of excessively dismal editorial excess. Thus the 'Producer-Editor-Reporter-
Cartoonist-Photographer-Layout Jockey and General King-Tut-Totem' is known simply as 'Ed.'

Contributing readers - whether 'Virtual,' 'VMRR' or 'Real Members' get bylines at the beginning of their contributions, as in, "'This Wonderful Story' by Maryjane Antonninii." In order not to appear as a excessive egomaniac, 'Ed' usually only uses his own name for the byline of the 'Metropole Café' column.

This is all done to cut down on the extravagant-title virus and it is not in any way intended to make light of all our important contributions.

Café Metropole Club affairs are a separate matter and all members - of any category - are invited to propose their 'Thing of the Week.' If all present actually hear one of these being uttered, they can propose it be put to a vote - so we can maintain some remote semblance to democracy.

In actual practice, if the club's secretary hears one of these and manages to record it - it is seldom put to a vote because club meetings usually do not linger on the immediate past for long.

Two Coming Dates To Note

1. The 100-Gallery Vernissage

After next week's meeting, on Thursday, 25. May, club members who are present in person will be invited to the wine-and-cheese part of 'Art Saint-Germain des Prés,' which begins at 18:00.

This event will take place in the Quartier Latin, right across the Seine from the club's café. For this occasion we will be allowed to use the Pont des Arts for crossing the river and will not have to swim it.

I still have a limited number of invitations for this event - which features the 'open doors' of 100 art galleries in Saint-Germain. I am not sure if there will actually be any wine-and-cheese though.

If more members than usual wish to participate, you should remember that the 'Mai des Montparnos' is also happening slightly further away. Taking a gawk at the photos on display in La Coupole requires no formal invitation..

2. The Secretary's 'Holiday'

I definitely will be absent from two meetings - the last one in June and the first one in July - which are Thursday, 29. June and Thursday, 6. July. Like many of you are all the time, I will be temporarily off-continent until Thursday, 13. July.

The server-lady Linda Thalman has said that she can arrange to be present at both these club meetings - so the club will continue nearly as usual. If you wish to write to say you intend to be at these two meetings it will do no harm.

My absence from the two meetings is pretty certain, but I have been advised that my transport schedules for going and coming back have been modified. I do not have the details yet.

On return - this is now provisional - if the plane lands on schedule and if I can transfer from its landing placephoto: virtual membership card to Eurostar's Paris departure station, and if métro line four is operating correctly, then I will arrive for the club's meeting on Thursday, 13. July, but late.

The club's distinctive membership card is optional, but free!

This date coincides - this is not provisional - with the eve of Bastille Day, and is usually reserved for a lot of party-like activities in Paris - which will be more this year on account of its '2000' character.

I do not want to miss this club meeting nor this evening in Paris, nor do I wish to miss the biggest picnic in the entire history of the whole world on Friday, 14. July.

Next - Thursday's - club meeting will be held as usual in the same place at the same time, rain or shine.

The Original 'Report' of the Last Meeting

I suggest reading it - not for its stunning new 'firsts' - but because it only happened yesterday according to the dateline of today's 'Club News.' See the unofficial original report of yesterday's weekly Club meeting, here.

The Boilerplate Is Suspended This Week

Due to thorny membership issues - again - the club's usual 'boilerplate cop-out' can still be found on the week before last's 'Club News' page.

The Café Metropole Club Membership Card

Here is the Café Metropole Club's membership card. This rest of the blah-blah explaining this can still be found on the week before last's 'Club News' page.

How To Contact a Charter Club Member

This is how it works: Write to me with the name of the reader or club member you wish to contact. I then write to this reader or club member and ask her or him if they are in agreement or not. On reply, I pass the response back to you.

This makes it your decisions; and it will keep the readers' and club members' lists from going astray.

To all 'real' Charter members who have already agreed to have their names and email addresses distributed to other members in agreement, thank you for supporting the idea.

Vital 'Update' Information

The next meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 25. May, in Paris. This is Sainte-Sophie's Day - if you are intending to celebrate this, remember that after subtracting club time, there are still 22 hours left on this day..

The club's 'report' about the next meeting will be put online as usual at its regular time. This may still be Thursday in your timezone. If your timezone to thephoto: location map, la corona east of Paris, the report may not be online before Friday.

What, Where, When, How? What?

Here are the day, time and location details for you to note:

Café-Tabac La Corona
2. Rue de l'Amiral Coligny - or - 30. Quai du Louvre, Paris 1.
Métro: Louvre-Rivoli or Pont-Neuf. Every Thursday at 15:00, until 17:00. In non-continental terms, even in Paris, the times are from 3 pm to 5 pm.

The usual blah-blah about the club's location inside the café La Corona usually found here can still be found on the week before last's 'Club News' page.

See you soon - A bientôt à Paris,
signature, regards, ric

Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
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