'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 whee 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.
Continued on page 2...
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