"Heads or Tails?"

photo: group around tables

Today's group, in a rare 'Tables of the Week' photo, with
(not so rare) watery colors.

At the Club, It's a Tossup

Paris:- Thursday, 21. March 2002:- Whatever Monday night's TV-news weather forecast was, it is starting to seem like Paris' monsoon season which is pretty rare because Paris never has monsoons. It must be a rehearsal for Easter weather, when it will get last-gasp wintry - without ever having been any-gasp wintry.

At least it is not raining when I sent off for today's club meeting and I have enough confidence not to wear a cap.

But some loud fellows are having a ruckus at the back of the métro's last wagon, which hangs the whole train up at Montparnasse until the RATP's security guys finally arrive - followed by more security toughies and four armed army paratroopers - and the train waits for this, until it is raining on Rivoli when I get out.

It is not the rain that bothers me. It is not having time to collect my millions in Loto winnings, and getting to the club late, where four new members are patiently twiddling their thumbs while waiting for the club's secretary to arrive.

When I lay out my excuse by blaming the métro hang-up, Kate Parsons immediately wants to know who staged the demo somewhere around the Assembly National yesterday.

If yesterday was Monday, it was dentists. Yesterday, dentists struck in Bordeaux - or wasphoto: soup of cafe it Marseille? I don't know who had the demo of the day in Paris yesterday. It's impossible to keep score. Protest groups are standing in line to have 'demos of the day' in Paris.

It may not look like it, but this café is the 'Soup of the Week' today.

Whenever it was dentists, it was raining - so don't bother thinking they were fooling around at some golf course. They say they haven't had a raise in 20 years, so they can't afford the green fees anymore.

A late start at the club means being slow to get the members' booklet organized for today's half-dozen new members. I explain the 'no rules' questionnaire and the option of 'no names' for members wishing discretion - but as usual, nobody opts for this optional option, which is free.

In the order of the sign-ins, we have new members Kate and Kent Parsons from this week's 'City of the Week,' which is Depoe Bay, Oregon. This is a nice place, I'm told, facing the Pacific Ocean and Japan, which gets 2.3 metres of rain a year.

Besides having a lot of water, Depoe Bay is located on US-101, which provides a slow but scenic way to get to dryer California. It also is possible to take it the other way, to even more water, so there's a variety of choice - from very wet to drenching, rain-forest wet.

The other couple, Pat and Al Enderle, have an unusual artifact with them. It is a 'Livret de Famille' they got from the mayor of Boulogne-Billancourt when they were married in the Mairie there in 1964. Al was inphoto: livret de famille enderle the army at the time, but they lived in Boulogne- Billancourt, and in France you get married where you live - unless you can get an 'exception.'

A 'Livret de Famille' is a family-book, containing marriage information, birth certificates, divorce notices and eventually, one or more death certificates. If you lose one, you become a non-person and cannot even get a goatshed in a bidonville.

An original, mint-condition 1964 model 'Livret de Famille.'

The Enderles now live in Lafayette, Colorado. This is really true - there truly is a Lafayette in Colorado even through there was no Royal Colony of Colorado when Marie-Joesph, the Marquis de Lafayette, was helping mainly British colonialists divest themselves from royal tax-collectors so they could set up their own IRS. It is untrue that Lafayette is the patron saint of 15. April, however.

Anita Bennett arrives, from the Alliance Française, covered in rain that has stuck to her, and at first she is a bit annoyed I can't recall her family name. She reminds me of the kir-royal inspired 'mutiny of the terrace' some weeks ago, and this certainly moves her name to the forefront of the tip of my tongue, but no further.

Fred Faure arrives in his turn, from not-so-distant Montrouge, slightly less covered by rain that doesn't stick as well to his motorcycle helmet or his motorcycle outerwear, but otherwise no less wet. Fred tells everybody he is looking for a job at the club meeting. What an unlikely idea!

Sometimes members ask the club secretary questions and sometimes these become 'Questions of the Week.' This week I am asked, 'why I did I start this club?' by Kent Parsons.

There are several answers to this so I suggest we do a coin-flip to decide which I shall give, and this results in the 'Question of the Week' becoming, "Which side of a euro is heads or tails?"

Al's coin-flip decides this, and becomes the 'first' 'Euro Coin-Flip of the Week.' For those curious about the answer, the side of the euro with 'one' on it is 'heads.' This is also the side of the coin that turns up 'heads.'

In the excitement of this pioneering new club activity the other question is completely forgotten, partly because of the arrival of new members Rhonda Ligon and Bruce Baker, from Richmond Virginia.

Before I get into the discussion I have with Bruce about the swampy nature of Washington - wasphoto: group photo of the week it Lafayette's fault? - was it a con pulled off by the crafty Jefferson? - Anita says that she's seen a food product called Kellogg's 'Mediterranean Nut Medley' at a Carrefour hypermarché someplace.

This posed 'Group Photo of the Week' is outclassed by the unposed one at the top of the page.

This rumor prompts Pat Enderle to utter a near 'Quote of the Week' that goes like this - "This reason people come to visit France is that the government doesn't pasteurize everything."

This had never occurred to me before. What does, is that it might mean poor business for the Pasteur Institute, which is still in operation in Paris and in business as well. This is France for you - 350 unpasteurized cheeses in the same country that invented pasteurization. What a schmozzle!

Bruce relates an experience he had while leaving a Latin-American country. At some point between the air terminal and the airplane, some civilians were stopping all passengers and demanding they pay a $50 'departure tax.' "They were putting the money in their pants' pockets," he says.

What bothered him was, nobody told him when he arrived that he would have to pay $50 to leave. If he have of known that, he could have gone to Las Vegas instead.

France is having a presidential election these days and no candidates have suggested any 50 euro 'departure tax' yet. In fact, if things stay the way they are, you can even get the sales tax you've paid for cheese returned at the airport or somewhere, when you leave.photo: beers of the week

This certainly makes unpasteurized French cheeses affordable. The only catch to it is, you have to eat all the cheese before you get off the plane in the USA.

The other 'Soups of the Day' this week.

If there were a 50 euro departure tax, I think a lot of people would say to hell with it, and just stay in France and eat unpasteurized cheese.

Suddenly it is 20 minutes past the end of the official time period for a meeting. The members file dubiously out into the pouring rain and Patrick, the 'Waiter of the Week,' begins cleaning up the debris.

Hatless, I trundle along the Rue de l'Amiral de Coligny with rain dribbling in my face. At the métro I remember the Loto, and take a sidetrip on Rivoli to collect my winnings. They are less than royal. They are merely republican enough to make another modest play.

The Next Meeting

The coming weekly meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 28. March. This will be a fairly ordinary 13th Thursday in the year 2002 kind-of-day named after Saint-Gontran - I'm not kidding - but who I'm sure was definitely not the patron saint of convicts.

The address for this meeting is near the bottom of this page, proceeded or followed by all the datephoto: weather of the week and time and multiple métro-stop names, which are hard to remember even though they have been exactly the same for years, almost like this paragraph.

The coming club meetings in Paris on Thursday, 28. March and Thursday, 4. April will be hosted by the server-lady, Linda Thalman, who wants to meet you all.

The reason for no 'mutinies on the terrace' today is obvious, I think.

The club's regular secretary, who is me, will be in New York - again! - being at the Easter parade if it is not too early and at the opening game of the baseball season on Monday, 1. April. This seems like an appropriate date for my first-ever big league game. I hope it doesn't snow.

All readers attending these secretaryless meetings will become members as usual if they don't refuse to do so, and will be incorporated into 'reports' of some sort - perhaps done in New York, or as later 'catch-ups.'

The 'About the Café Metropole Club' Page

Learning anything about this club could incite you to attend a meeting for the experience of one, so you can do this by reading 'About the Café Metropole Club.' This page explains nearly everything you need know about club membership - very little - and meetings - a tiny little bit more.

But if you neglect this 'About' page, all you really need know is that you can easily become a member of this online magazine's live, free and real club by simply coming to a meeting when you are in Paris.

Date, Time and Location of the Coming Meeting

The coming meeting of your club in Paris will begin at 15:00 and continue until 17:00 in Europe's Central European Time Zone - which is 'CET' for short and not 'METS' - and known elsewhere as 3 pm to 5 pm in worldwide zones without 24-hour 'Eurotime.'

The club's secretary will be making some effort to record 'report' notes after the next two meetings. This will require no effort on your part. Note your hometown'sphoto: after of the week name and your own email address for reference if you tend to forget them. This can be done on readily available used métro tickets.

Attend in person with a new 'Quote of the Week' or propose your own 'City of the Week' or even be prepared to mention any other original 'Things of the Week' if you want to see them in a 'club report' associated with your name. 'No-names' is optional. Otherwise and in general, the only exception is 'no rules.'

Patrick performs ritual known as the 'After of the Week.'

Your comments will be treated with proper respect and really appreciated by the other members present, if they happen to be listening - and by all readers of this online magazine, if they happen to read them - if they chance to be written here.

The café's location is:

Café-Tabac La Corona
2. Rue de l'Amiral de Coligny - or - 30. Quai du Louvre
Paris 1. Métro: Louvre-Rivoli, Pont-Neuf or Châtelet.

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
Metropole Midi © 2014
– unless stated otherwise.
logo, metropole sml midi logo No matter how good it tastes,
there is no such thing
as a free lunch.
Waldo Bini