"It Has More Cows Than People"

photo: club group, randy, marion, bill, monica, mark

This week's Randy, Marion, Bill, Monica and Mark, with
his mysterious graphic.

Creußen Honored for Being 999

Paris:- Thursday, 23. May 2002:- Exactly one week ago the weather was perfect. It was the nicest day of the year, which was a 'first for the week.' Then it got crummy - but not too crummy after Friday - and then on Monday I passed on the latest forecast that the weather would be 'dull.'

The weather maps shown on TV-news showed Paris covered with skies full of chaos. It wasn't total sun and it wasn't total rain - it was a total mess, so I gave up and simply called it 'dull.'

But it has turned out much better. Big fluffy white clouds are floating over fairly rapidly, and there is blue sky - 'May-blue' - between them. About half the time it is pretty sunny. The other half of the time it is going to be sunny again in four minutes. This is a lot better than 'dull.'

And, as an extra added bonus, the temperatures are not in the cellar they were forecast to be in. It isn't mucky-hot and it isn't clammy-cold either. It is just a tad cool for May. Not even worth a sweater.

But the forecast for the days to come is like last Monday's. More 'dull' is predicted, with a deterioration after tomorrow. I don't believe it.

Since it is half-and-half today, I decide to walk halfway to the club meeting. I ride thephoto: bill knoff métro to Odéon and then walk down the restaurant alley to Buci and then go past all the galleries in the Rue de Seine. Everything is about the same as the last time I did this, a whole week ago.

Same with the Pont des Arts. Judging from all the patches on its planking, it is probably going to need a re-deck job pretty soon. If you cross it on rollers, watch out for the lumpy speed-bumps.

Bill Knoff has decided to do without Vermont's maple syrup for his duration in Paris.

Since I'm ahead of time I consider going through the Louvre's Cour Carée, but I think the fountain is off. So I go over to the Rue de l'Amiral de Coligny and cross to the Mairie of the 1st arrondissement, but it doesn't have anything new for me to filch.

This leaves the sun blasting the café La Corona at the end of the block, with all the clouds and blue sky filling the space above the Seine. It is fun for the eyes, but not worth a photo.

A lot of mankind is not filling the tables and chairs in the café's 'grande salle.' As I am setting up for the meeting, getting the booklets in shape, I realize that each week's new members' and the reports are attributed to the wrong issues of Metropole. How long has this been going on?

Before I can investigate this, member Bill Knoff is shaking my hand. Bill joined the club in April, when I was in New York, so I think he is a new member. I see his hometown isn't noted. It turns outphoto: monica fischer to be Burlington, Vermont. Bill says, "It has more cows than people."

Wow! The 'Quote of the Week' is registered at 15:10.

He means Vermont, not Burlington. Actually, he tells me, Vermont may have more maple syrup trees than cows. It also has snow in winter - exclusively for skiers! - and change-color leaf season, for both locals and 'tourists.'

Monica Fischer met Marion's dad on a bus to Paris in 1965.

Without warning, Marion Nowak from Cologne makes an appearance, with her mother Monica Fischer, who lives in Creußen. In case I can't find it on the map they tell me it is 30 kilometres south of Bayreuth, which is famous for its Wagner days. Although Creußen isn't a big place, it is good enough for the 'City of the Week' - on account of my Bavarian days.

Monica was last in Paris in 1965, when she met Marion's father on the tour bus bringing them from Germany. The rest is history.

Ah - Creußen is having its millennium celebration next year too. In 1003 one of the Grafs von Schweinfurt did something Wagnerian with its castle, or turm, or berg, and Creußen hasn't forgotten it. Keep this in mind.

Marion tells us about giving counselling online. She will attempt to give good answers to people with problemsphoto: marion nowak so long as they present them in German, and can pay with Germany's standard money transfer system. Neither cheques nor plastic are used much in Germany.

When I ask about how the euro has been accepted in Germany, Marion says, "The DM?" - adding, "Does anybody remember that?"

After living here for years, Marion Nowak has chosen Köln as a hometown.

"Nobody is buying anything they don't need anymore," she says. Unlike France, Germany did not put on a price freeze until consumers got used to the new money, so everybody is putting off buying all the things they used to buy with abandon, like huge BMWs and color-TVs as big as the Funkturm in Berlin and package trips to the South Pole.

She says, "An ice cream that used to cost one DM now costs one euro." That's a big 'ouch.'

Randy Garrett rumbles in and becomes a member, because his girlfriend or somebody he knows really well said the Café Metropole Club is a 'fun' way to kill time on idle Thursday afternoons in Paris. I forget to ask him if this referral is from a club member or one of millions who think about becoming one but never get around to it.

Seattle is Randy's hometown but from what he says he hasn't lived there in quite a long time. "Boeing," he says, "Changed my life. It was the only place I ever worked where I got a bill instead of a paycheck."

"So I came to Europe and never went home." He ran his own restaurant in the Mouffetard areaphoto: wine for years and wonders why we haven't met before. It may be because I haven't eaten in a restaurant near Mouffetard since the '70s - and I don't count the Deep-fried Mars Bar I almost had near there in 1999.

The club 'Drink of the Week' number one.

For a time it was the only 'authentic American barbecue restaurant in Europe' he says, but the nearly exclusively student character of the 5th arrondissement changed, and the place got flooded with the bourgeois. "They don't like noise, music or fun in the streets," he says.

Mark Kritz drops in on one of his rounds of buying graphical treasures across the river, carrying a big, flat package that he doesn't bother to unwrap and show us.

Since it is near the end of the meeting I suggest it is 'group photo' time and everybody getsphoto: randy garrett up more or less willingly and lets the sun shine weakly on their faces on the café's terrace while I almost back up into the Quai de Seine's traffic, getting them all in the camera's viewfinder.

Before we split up, Randy asks me if I have ever attended the 'Bridge Parties' that are held on the Pont des Arts on Thursdays. It is the first I've heard of them - I think. Like the club, they are free to all comers, and usually start about 20:00 if the weather permits.

Randy Garrett came to Paris and neglected to go 'home.'

As we are parting Bill suggests that the club's secretary find some other way of taking the meeting's notes. He finds it disconcerting that the secretary insists on looking at what he is writing, instead of just memorizing everything and writing it down later.

I agree with him. Somebody else should keep the notes, and dictate an edited version of them to the club's secretary at some convenient later time, when the report - this report in fact - is being written in the middle of the night.

I too would like to go to an occasional 'Bridge Party.'

The Coming Meeting

The next weekly meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 30. May. This will be a fairly usual 22nd Thursday in the year 2002, named for the unique occasion for Saint-Ferdinand.

The actual location for this meeting is below, followed or preceded by the multiple métro-stop names and all the date and time details, all of which have been identical for years, almost like this paragraph, which does change by a word or two on weeks with odd numbers of days.

The 'About the Café Metropole Club' Page

photo: mark kritzTo find out how to become a member you need to read the 'About the Café Metropole Club.' This page explains nearly everything you should know about this club - next to nothing - and its meetings - only a bit more than next to nothing.

Art buyer Mark Kritz isn't in Paris as often as he would like to be.

But if you find reading tiresome and you feel like giving this 'About' page a pass - there are 'no rules' after all - all you really should know is that you can easily become a member of this online magazine's live, free and real club by simply being at a meeting when you have idle losse-ends and are in central Paris on a Thursday.

The 'Coming Meeting' Boilerplate

Every meeting of this club in Paris begins at 15:00 on Thursday and continues until 17:00, still on Thursday, in Europe's Central European Time Zone - which is 'CET' for short and not 'ZONA UNA' - and known elsewhere as 3 pm to 5 pm in worldwide zones without metric 24-hour 'Eurotime,' which is now in its 'summer' version.

The club's secretary will be making some effort to make 'report' notes during the meeting and listen to you at the same time. This is not always successful. Note your name, hometown,photo: cafe creme and your own email address in the members' booklet in case the secretary forgets to ask you to do it.

The club's other number one 'Drink of the Week.'

Bring a new 'Quote of the Week' or propose your own 'City of the Week' or prepare any other original 'Things of the Week' if you want indifferent neighbors to read them in a 'club report' associated with your name. 'No-names' is an option you can elect too. Otherwise and in general, the only exception is 'no rules.'

Most of the things you say may be treated with great consideration and be really appreciated by the other members present, if they hear them - and by all readers of this online magazine, if they read them - if they turn out 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.
Every Thursday from 15:00 to 17:00.

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
Metropole Midi © 2014
– unless stated otherwise.
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Waldo Bini