'Firsts' Overload

photo: group foto of the week minus one

One member 'missing' from the week's group photo is
not a 'first' nor a 'faute-grave.'

'Jake' Who?

Paris:- Thursday, 6. September 2001:- Since today's weather will be over by the time you read today's 'report' after it goes online all around the world it is of next to no consequence whatsoever.

It may not even be worth nothing that its relationship to last night's TV-weather news forecast has been hardly co-incidental, with both the 'matin' and 'aprés-midi' prévisions being off the mark by 95 percent.

That people actually do pay attention to these forecasts has been obvious by the numbers of TV-weather news fans that I've seen carrying umbrellas, almost universally folded. Good scouts they are, every one of them 'being prepared!'

For a change, once I have taken my place in the club's area of the café La Corona, I have time to ready the membership booklet and the 'reports' booklet, with today's date and meeting number.

This is how, without any members actually being present, today's first major 'first' comes to light. I note the number of the meeting, in the club's second year of existence, and the number of meetings since the first one on Thursday, 14. October 1999.

This number is 100. This is a major 'first' of some sort unless my name is Jake.

Also, without going into dubious statistics or higher mathematics, I can calculate the number of new members per meeting as something like 2.71 - and this is not even including the 'disappeared' member - who, if included, could have only changed the outcome by .01 persons.

Luckily Dana Shaw arrives before I can begin to imagine myself getting a Nobel for these obtuse calculations. He isphoto: club food of the week followed by Jan Shaw, who says, "I got lost all over Paris," before she orders a big slab of an open-faced sandwich called a 'funghi' version of 'La Rustichette.'

This otto, covered with a heap of 'funghi' and cheese, is the club's 'Food of the Week.'

These are like the cave-lady version of a croque-monsieur, and are perfect for today's type of fall weather if one doesn't feel like having the utmost - in the form of an onion soup. No one has had one of these for a long time in fact.

At around the quarter-time mark the meeting's first new members turn up. These are Jeanine and Ron Frank, from Cardiff-by-the-Sea, California. I am told this is about 30 miles - about 48 kilometres, for metric folks - north of San Diego, which is nearly in Mexico.

But the reason that Cardiff-by-the-Sea becomes the 'City of the Week' is not for this, but because it is named after Cardiff-in-Wales, which is considerably closer to Paris, while possibly being non-metric too.

Five minutes later we are joined by Susan and Michael Peskura from Seattle, Washington. While Susan joins the club as a normal person, Michael has come prepared to be a sort of 'hyper'-member - and, believe me, this is not contrary to any 'rules' either.

First, Michael has brought a Seattle postcard showing lightning attacking the Space-Needle. It is called, 'Lightning strikes over the Emerald City.' Second, he confirms another member's report that Boeing has moved to Chicago.

If I may interrupt here, Boeing moving to Chicago it a bit like the Brooklyn Dodgers moving to Los Angeles.photo: drink of the week, 1 Brooklyn has never recovered from this blow, and now it looks like the Left Coast is going down the tubes too.

What would the 'Funghi of the Week' be without the 'Drinks of the Week?' What, indeed?

Back to Michael - he also re-confirms the continued existence of the Red Robin Tavern, just across some bridge from the U-district. Fifthly, his 'piéce de résistance' is a two-or-three-times-sized 'Charter Member' Café Metropole Club member's card - which he fills in, in Paris, and the secretary signs and dates it, also in Paris.

It is not the first member's card seen at a club meeting, but it is the 'first' two-or-three-times-sized one anybody in the club's history has ever seen at a meeting. And to be seen at the club's 100th meeting is truly significant, if not an absolute benchmark.

You'd think this would be more than enough, but Michael also - my esteem for the club's members is proved to deserve being skyhigh - he also poses the 'Question of the Week.'

"What is Europe going to do with all of its old coins?" he wants to know.

He is referring to Europe's 300 zillion tons of coins that will become useless after nxt New Years. This is obviously going to be some big problem needing to be solved, somewhat on the same order of how the French are going to trade-in their 300 billion-worth of francs of stashed cash for euros - all within a couple of weeks.

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