A Fine Time

photo: cafe saint andre

In the rain in the Quartier Latin, it is best to be
inside a café.

Having Real Buffalo Grass

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 28. January 2002:- There isn't much to tell you about the weather this week because it is being fairly normal, even if it is a tad warm 'for this time of year.' When there is a bit of wind or when there is a bit of rain, nobody is complaining.

This is in Paris of course. This is not away off up in the Alps, where it is not snowing much, and it is too warm in the daytime too. This means there are serious issues with avalanches in places where the skiing is only slightly better than rotten.

Parisians who might be thinking of going to the Alps early in February, to air out their kids' heads for a couple of weeks, might be complaining about the weather, but not where they are now.

And, you should believe this - the sun evenphoto: fiat 500 of the week makes brief appearances occasionally. It was very bright this morning. Even though it didn't look like it would last, I didn't feel like coming back inside and writing this.

Late but not absent - the year's first 'Fiat 500 of the Week.' Check it out!

And at café time, hours later, it was bright again. This is how it is. There's no point staying in or out all day because of a little rain every hour or so. With the breezes, a hat will take care of it better than an umbrella.

The forecast is looking like Wednesday will be the best day this week. But if you want guaranteed rain you might have to go out to the Normandy coast. Say hello to an oyster for me if you go out there.

'Café Life'

Risky Profession

One reader has taken the time to look around the 'net for an almanac for me, but nothing like its equivalent for France has been turned up. I don't care for looking around the 'net but I don't mind doing it on my feet, so I was doing this again, a bit unintentionally last week.

I gave up when the bookstore guru, with the huge online database, suggested I try the bookstore I tried last week. This is the one that sent me to the one I was in this week.

On giving up, on leaving the shop, out of five or six choices, I decided to walk along the Quai des Grands Augustins. Sure enough, there was something new - the Galerie Victor Sfez.

At first I didn't 'get' the exhibition's title - 'Photo-Reporter: Profession à Haut Risque.' Thisphoto: galerie sfez, duai grands augustins didn't refer to disease, famine or war zones, but to Bill Gates in Seattle and his Corbis unit that was - and may still be - buying all the images it can get the rights to.

One-time journalist Victor Sfez hosts photos by people who run risks.

In Paris, this included buying the well-known and respected photo agencies, Sygma, Kipa and Tempsport. With all the rights to the stock in hand, the agencies' photo-reporters were fired. There were 42 of them - all pros.

In the gallery, each has two prints on hand. These are for sale, with prints limited to eight per negative. I saw at least five I would have bought on the spot, had I the means. I've put the gallery's address in this week's 'Scene' column.

Buffalo Grass - the Last Part

It was only two weeks ago that the 'real' Buffalo grass arrived from Kiev. Instead of waiting for the 'rites of spring' time of the year, Dimitri and Dennis decided to get into this grass by getting it into some different vodkas - in time for the anniversary of last year's caviar and vodka party, which I had forgotten had been the occasion of Dennis' birthday.

This I only learned a couple of minutes ago, when I updated this week's version of 'Metropolephoto: buffalo grass party One Year Ago,' lower down on this page. Even if I can't read Metropole more carefully, I should try to read it more often.

Taken before the Buffal grass vodka was opened, this photo was a pure fluke.

Last week, the discussion in the café Bouquet centered around the question of how much Buffalo grass to put into a bottle of vodka, and for how long. Dennis had brought a sample, in a vulgar plastic water bottle, and it was estimated to be coming along okay.

By Saturday night, there were two different amounts, for two different lengths of time, in two different brands of vodka. As a fallback a third bottle had been prepared with the peel of a lemon in it.

With the right amounts of Buffalo grass, enough bottles of better-than-average wine of two colors, some blues by Robert Johnson, and some very good food gathered from nearby shops and markets - I must say that Buffalo grass is very good for a birthday party, if you appreciate a lot of singing.

As the only witness present who could neither sing nor drink the vodka, I must say it was an exceptional occasion. I don't think I've heard people singing at parties since television became common, and I have never been at a party before where the singers could actually sing - with words and everything.

I know it is going to become a 'do-you-remember-when?' party. It was so good that I've already started to wonder how the next one, in only 363 days, is going to top it.

Emerging from Winter's Doldums

On Friday, somewhat after a cloudy sky's sundown, I was trudging home from a successful excursion to one of Paris more dismal arrondissements when I came upon a nearly-candy-red 'Fiat 500 of the Week' parked in front of the toy shop in my street. Can spring be far behind?

Café Metropole Club 'Updates'

Readers and club members can catch up with the most recent club affairs by reading about last week's meeting. See this report with the most outstandingly insincere 'HAH HAH, HEH HEH and HA HAR HARs' that I have ever heard.

Before anybody takes offense, the club's secretary merely reports what he definitely did hear. The above could have been said by somebody sitting at another table in the café, unconnected to the club and serenely ignorant of its presence, but it wasn't.

The coming meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 31. January. It will be a Thursday again, like always. The meeting will be held at the Café-Tabac La Corona.

It will be just another ordinary Thursday-type day, but one called Saint-Marcelle, whichphoto: end of buffalo grass vodka we haven't had before. All the better, even though it is never any kind of holiday despite the efforts to extend the school holidays in France until Easter

The day after will be an ordinary Friday again just like every week, regardless of there being about 45 more of them this year.

Buffalo grass fans do not leave much in the way of leftovers.

Metropole readers and those wishing to become real club members can get all the details about this free club by reading the large-sized fine-print on the 'About the Club' page, at least once.

It explains how to join - by being here! - its meeting time and so on, and other true facts such as being free. This page also contains a location map for the club's café La Corona, which still shows the location of the club's back-up café, Le Café Lodi, because I still haven't replaced the temporary map yet.

Metropole's Affiliates

The following product or service providers have chosen Metropole because their offers may be of value to you and I agree with them.

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'HighwayToHealth' provides a 'city health profile' for Paris as well as travel insurance. If you have signed up for these services before you need them suddenly, you will benefit from them. I hope won't be the case, but 'Things Happen.'

'Petanque America' exports quality Obut boules from France and will ship them to you anywhere in the Americas - which will save you the effort of carrying them all the way from Paris. Be the first on your block to introduce the game of pétanque - or boules. Everybody can play this game, nearly anywhere - such as on the vacant lot I saw between the subway exit and the boardwalk at Coney Island.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

Issue 6.05 - 29. Jan 2001 - This issue started with the week's Café Metropole column, titled, 'Birthday Vodka Chez Dennis' - already, again! - and the 'Au Bistro' news column was titled, 'Retirement - Are You Ready?' This issue had one feature titled 'Paris 'Business' Slum - La Défense.' This issue's update for the Café Metropole Club meeting on 1. February was called the 'The "Smoke In Dreams" Report' The week's 'Scene' column was titled 'Opening Withphoto: plaque, edith whatron lived here, 1910 1920 a Bumble.' There were four new 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned, "No Beef! Just Caviar and Vodka!"

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago

Issue 5.05 - 31. January 2000 - This week's Café Metropole column was titled 'The Big Social Experiment.' The 'Au Bistro' column was titled 'Bové Fails To Talk To 'Billionaires.' This issue had two features, titled 'Daytime 'Feelgood' Nightclubbing' and 'Exhibition: the XIVe Arrondissement.' The Café Metropole Club update for this issue on 3. February, was called 'The Dollar of the Week Is the 'Sacajawea.' A club page announced, 'The Member's List Gains Steam.' The 'Scene' column was unexciting again with, 'Not Everything - Just Some.' The usual four 'Posters of the Week' were viewable too and Ric's Cartoon of the Week posed a vital question, which was 'What About You?'

This Year's 'Count-Down' - Goes Into Multiples

There are only 337 days remaining in this year. This means the 'euro 3 signuro' currency introduction day on Tuesday, 1. January 2002 at 00:01, has been around nearly forever. This particular 'count-up' goes into the trashcan of history next week.

During the past week reader Johnphoto: sign, rue de varenne McCulloch proposed some new count-down topics. One of these is the 200th anniversary of the introduction of the 'Code Napoléon,' which will be on Sunday, 21. March 2004. Besides this involving about 784 days, I'm not too excited about it.

He says there is also Victor Hugo's 200th birthdate, but this is a mere 30 days from now, on Tuesday, 26. February. On Tuesday, 24. July, Alexandre Dumas has his 200th anniversary too, and this is a whole 178 days away.

Then there's Charles Lindbergh's solo arrival in Paris without a visa at Le Bourget, on Saturday, 21. May 1927. This was 75 years ago and this anniversary is 114 days from now.

I don't see any reason not to run multiple count-downs. As soon as Victor Hugo has had his day, we can start again with Charles Lindbergh. With what we have here, we can have three whole count-downs and still have almost half a year left over for subjects with other silly numbers.
signature, regards, ric

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