'Icons of the Week' Return

photo: group 1 of the week

This week's major new 'first' is two 'Group Photos of
the Week.' This is the first one.

And 'City of the Week' Tossup

Paris:- Thursday, 28. November 2002:- There isn't any problem with today's weather that another month - like June - couldn't fix, not that it's been quite as goofy as it was a while ago. It rained this morning while I was asleep with the window open and I didn't know about it until Walter tells me this afternoon.

This evening, France-2's TV weather-news says the Tour Eiffel has had its 200 millionth visitor today, and whoever they were, they didn't get a free car like the 100 millionth did. I am personally boycotting the place until they promise to at least cough up a Smart for the 300 millionth visitor, a week from next Sunday.

As they say, the Tour Eiffel is a great place to visit but I wouldn't want to stand in line there. Although it is run as a concession stand, the Ville de Paris owns it and they've promised to put in three floors of underground mall so even more visitors will fit in - without the benefit of any skylight however.

'Sky' reminds me of the weather prediction. For Friday, expect it to be breezy and partly rotten degradingphoto: peter's plate of the week to truly rotten, and 10 degrees. Saturday will be sunnier, with 10 degrees. Sunday is expected to be even rottener again and 10 degrees again. This was the forecast for last Sunday too, which turned out to be very sunny, with a lot more than 10 degrees.

Peter shows members an original 'Pig-Foot' plate. It is one of the standard-sized ones.

Another news item from tonight's news might interest some of this magazine's more thoughtful readers. A French government research unit has been studying UFOs in French skies for 25 years and has come to the tentative conclusion that they might indeed be UFOs.

To be absolutely certain, they want to study the subject for another 25 years. Their report about this will be posted here on Thursday, 25. November 2027.

Meanwhile, at go-to-club time it is not raining and it is not cold. Neither is the métro that whisks me down to Châtelet, not stopping at the Cité station. There doesn't seem to be anything major happening on Rivoli so I take my usual 14th century shortcut to the Pont Neuf.

Nothing major is happening here, nor on the Quai du Louvre, but I find I've come away without funds when I reach the club's café, La Corona. Nevertheless, I say 'bonjour' to all of the club's backup staff, without whom these meetings and this report would not be possible.

Upon taking my habitual place in the club's area of the 'grande salle,' I discover that I've put last week's new members in the 'reports' booklet and the 'report' in the members' booklet. I am trying to fix this mess when Joanne Fischer and Paul Smith, from Houston in Texas, arrive for this meeting, as they do every year.

Joanne has brought the now familiar Gumby and Pokey, and they look no worse for being a year older. I am already worried about having a new 'City of the Week,' so Joanne offers me La Mirada in Orange County, California. This is a tentative first, folks!

Joanne reels off the names of all the five states she's never been to. I decide these will not be 'States of the Week.' New members Barbara and Albert Roldan arrive from San Francisco, and I ask, 'which part?' It is the Marina District, but I don't think this is going to be a tentative.

Member Peter Malet, from Irving, Texas, comes next about 15:15 and reminds us again this year that he is a doctor. I think he means well - well, he means we can go crazy because we have a doctor in the house - er, in the café. At the club.

He has brought gifts. The most impressive - the only one he shows us in fact - is the genuine plate from the Pied de Cochon restaurant in Les Halles. It is, without doubt, the 'Plate of the Week.' He says he would have brought one last year, but they were all out of them because of Beaujolais Nouveau Day.

He tells of his great grandfather coming from 'someplace near Marseille.' "He got out of there real fast and went to Brooklyn," he says. He never went back, Peter says. "There was nothing to go back to."

Paul agrees with this, and tells us about 'going back' to northern Greece to see where his ancestors came from, and finding nothing there.

Actually, most people in these forgotten out-of-the-way places that 'are not worth going back to' have all thephoto: drink of the week, 1 mod-cons, and from what they've seen on TV, they are afraid the great-grandsons of those who left are trying to 'come back.' So they pretend there's 'nothing there.' Hide all their Mercs in the stonewalled sheep barns and turn off their surround-sound 'home cinema' sets.

'Drinks of the Week' are in the Beaujolais Nouveau 'Glasses of the Week' that weren't, last week.

Barbara and Albert show us all the soaps they've bought in some place like Monoprix. It is nearly the same soap I use daily. I never knew before I was washing with exotic souvenir items.

Paul asks Barbara and Albert if they are drinking Côtes du Rhône - out of the Beaujolais Nouveau glasses we didn't have last week. Barbara counters with the question - "Do you have Trader Joe's?" Paul apparently hasn't. I ask if it is like Trader Vic's.

"It's upscale food at lowscale prices," Barbara says. Then she says something about antifreeze, and 'probably Stoli.'

We will never find out about this because Berta and Scoop Maginniss sweep in. "Well, it's Thanksgiving so here we are!" Berta says expansively. Scoop says he has to - "Drink Beaujolais Nouveau to be patriotic," and instantly orders a soup bowl of café.

Cryptically, he says, "I only believe what I read in Metropole." I put this in because I don't believe it.

Members Shirley and Walter Pappas arrive on the tail of the above phrase. Walter says, "Jeez, he's doing a good job - with everything." I put this in because I don't believe it even though I believe whatever members say.

Walter says, "Did I tell you the last time my wallet was stolen? It's a good story. It's a story of triumph, of good over evil."

"Went to the track on Sunday," Scoop says, "Made 80euro 3 sign, but paid 139euro 3 sign for a meal for three."

He explains there was an annoying extra tax of some sort - maybe a sit-down tax or a tablecloth tax - but in the end, admits he paid it. When I ask, he says he left a tip too. "Have to - I'm going back there after all."

It is 15:50 when member Dinny Moyer stages her arrival. There is a lot of hugging, handshaking and bisous. Except for today's new members, practically everybody remembers we were meeting in the Café Lodi at this time last year. For those with long memories, La Corona's 'renovation' is still not complete.

Kyrsha Papillon and Ron Bristol arrive and sign the members' booklet. Ron is from Austin, Texas, and Kyrshaphoto: joanne's gumby and pokey lives in Paris, after growing up near Lake Balaton in Hungary. She says I can't spell the name of the place where she really comes from. Probably not, if it was Zalaegerszeg or Bal Földvar. No, no, I can't spell Balatonszentgyörgy. This must be it!

The 'Icons of the Week' have been to more states than some presidential candidates, including France.

Scoop says, "Earl invented tea." When I call him on this fact, he says he heard it on a quiz show. Joanne says she had a tandoori turkey sandwich. In the 'other' part of the Rue Lepic - or maybe it's Ron, who says not to sit on a banquette because there's no springs.

He then continues with a long story about driving about in all the wrong place in the Balkans in a rented car with Croatian plates. He says Italian rental places forbid taking new Fiats over there. I think he should have simply put Texas plates on the Croatian car.

The punchline is that you are not supposed to call Croatian policemen 'cheese' which is what they think you are saying in Serbian if you address them as 'sir.'

We are still trying to pin down the taste of Beaujolais Nouveau without actually drinking any. Somebody says it is like 'rotten sap.' "Sap?" Dinny wonders. "Yeah, like retsina," is the clarification.

The Amedeo Modigliani exhibition is praised for everything except the vast number of people who are trying to see it. The 'Petit Prince' as a musical is also praised by Joanne and Paul, who note that it is three hours long. They do not recommend the front row on account of the bomb explosions, which are kind of realistic.

Because Shirley and Walter were just 'dropping in' we do the 'Group Photo of the Week' out on the terrace extra early. Although the members are reluctant to do this, the secretary points out that their numbers were already high, and the second shift might make the photo impossible. 'Ha ha, second shift, baloney!' they say.

Dinny missed it, for example. Just as everybody else is putting on their coats and tossing euros on the table at the various drink tickets - a new group does materialize by the Quai door of the café's 'grande salle.'

They see our confused-looking crowd in the club's area. They 'sign' - 'faire signaler!' - 'are you the club?' What I see is four blonds with one guy, so I shout,"Are you all from Texas?"

Their reason for arriving at 16:50 is they have been, as they say, 'having too much fun riding the métro.' Ron says, "I have to go to a different country each time, so it's Ireland's turn next."

He reels off 150 words of Irish facts and figures and I complain he knows more than I do. "I looked it up," he says. I am annoyed that the club's secretary isn't allowed credit for the 'Texas Quote of the Week.'

Ralph Rasmussen grumbles that I shouldn't put in Châtelet with the address as a métro stop for the club's café. It is like Ireland - 'you can't get here from there,' is his argument. I think Ralph has not found riding around on the métro for hours, jetlagged, as amusing as the ladies.

Leisa Rasmussen is from Orlando in Florida like Ralph - who keeps bringing up some other household in La Jolla, California. Or is it San Diego? Maybe both.

Since the 'Group Photo of the Week II' has a smaller cast, included in it are - from the left - Dawn Issacs from Palm Court, Catherine Noel from West Palm Beach, Ralph is in the middle beside Leisa, and on the right is Myra Quinn from West Palm Beach - which I assume is in Florida too like the other ones.

I see Dinny got in this one unintentionally, mirrored way off in the distance. I take four photos because Ralph says somebody has their eyes closed - they turn out to all be wide open like headlights - the 'jetlag syndrome' - and when I finish, the ladiesphoto: group 2 of the week get up one by one, and take new shots of new arrangements of the 'Group Photo of the Week II with Secretary,' with throw-away cameras.

Here they are, with all eyes wide open, the 'Florida Gang.'

With this, the Thanksgiving meeting is over, except for the fabulous five who have decided that an extra inning or two can't do any harm. They promise to use one of the other two métro stops next time they come and I hope they do.

Seventeen members at a meeting is not a 'first' but it has sure seemed like it. All that is left to do is figure out today's 'City of the Week.' Should it be West Palm Beach or Palm Court?

Or Zalaegerszeg or Bal Földvar or Balatonszentgyörgy? No, no, I can't spell any of these.

A Return to More Usual Club Meetings

The next meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 5. December, which is only distinguished by being the last Thursday before Paris department stores stay open on Sundays for the rest of December.

Otherwise, the Saint's Day next Thursday is Gérard. I know nothing, not a single turnip, about this saint. If it's any help, Friday's saint the day after is Nicolas.

The 'About the Café Metropole Club' Page

By taking a quick peep at the page called the 'About the Café Metropole Club' page, you can learn how to become a member forever. However, if you are reading this 'report' about today's club meeting, you might want to become a Thanksgiving Day-only member. There is no 'rule' against this.

Ignore this 'About' page if you wish - even though it has been lightly updated within the last two years. All you need know is that you can become a member of this online magazine's live, free and real club by simply being at a meeting. If this seems too easy to be true, it is still fairly easy, and sometimes there's two 'Group Photos of the Week' too.

Repeat Christmas Season Note

Major Paris department stores turned on their lights a couple of weeks ago and lifted their display window curtains on their decorated windows. Many displays will continue until the first weekend in January. Staying open on Sundays starts on 8. December, which is a Sunday. The Soldes d'Hiver start shortly after New Year.

How, What, When, Who, Where, Why Not?

Club meetings begin in Paris beginning at 15:00 on Thursday and continue until 17:00, in Europe'sphoto: drink of the week, 2 Central European Time Zone - which is 'CET' for short and not 'ZZiT' - and known elsewhere as 3 pm to 5 pm in other worldwide areas. This is regardless of prevailing 'winter time' which is prevailing here.

While Scoop freely gives out 'Tea Tips of the Week,' he keeps his hayburner tips close to his chest.

Come prepared with a new 'Quote of the Week' or propose your hometown as 'City of the Week' or invent any other 'Things of the Week.' A new true 'firsts' will be welcome too. 'No-names' is an option you can also opt for if you prefer to be 'not found' on the Internet. 'No rules' has ceased to be an 'exception' and would be an exceptional 'rule' if these had not ceased.

What you have to say may be greatly appreciated by the other members present, if there are any, and if they are listening - and by all readers of this online magazine, if they read this - if it should happen to be written here, as some of it is, sometimes.

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