"Rock of Cashel Set On Fire"

photo: corona terrace

This week's minor new 'first' is no 'Group Photo of the
Week.' This is the Corona's empty terrace.

Guinness Goes Goofy Too

Paris:- Thursday, 5. December 2002:- The big news about tonight's weather will be on Channel 11 in New York in about six hours, or at 23:00 Manhattan time. Mr. G. will rub his hands and say, "Hey! Didn't I say snow was coming? Well, here it is!" He said this nearly every night in early January of this year and nothing happened.

If it keeps snowing - now about four inches deep in Queens - the rest of the Channel 11 news crew will throw popcorn at him for only being off the mark by about eleven months.

Meanwhile, in the land of dreams, Le Parisien is being sure we know all about the great flood in 1910 - even Mr. G. wouldn't go this far - and how it lasted more or less for six months.

Today's paper even said that Paris' mayor Bertrand Delanoë has already ordered a fleet of flat-bottomed boats for pedestrians to get around. It didn't say what he's planned for bicyclists and the roller folk. I guess they can ride on the roofs of buses.

TV's France-3 weather fans can rejoice because their channel is back on the air after its 22-day strike. I mean, this is according to a France-2 TV news report tonight. Maybe this will mean that Radio-France International will quit playing funeral music for its worldwide audience.

As for the weather here, it is not good news. Skies all black mishmash muck, until Sunday. With windsphoto: joe fitzgerald from the north-northwest high temperatures are expected to be a lousy five degrees on Friday, then three on Saturday and Sunday.

As crummy as this may seem, it will be a heatwave compared to the minus-seven forecast for downtown Queens. Get out your Hawaiian shirts, get a ticket for Paris, but remember to pack gloves and bring a sturdy umbrella.

Instead of driving to get a paper in St. Louis, Joe walks around in Paris.

Other parts of France are likely to have snow at levels above 400 to 500 metres. While ski stations may go gaga with joy, there is also an avalanche warning, and travellers have been warned to be equipped correctly. I don't know if this means having snow chains for driving up hills or having hardhats for the giant snowballs avalanches produce. In either case - beware!

Today's weather in Paris has been blahhhhh. Last Tuesday, which I predicted would be worse - was in fact perversely bright and sunny just to upset us weather persons. But after a day of this, the correct forecast resumed yesterday with lots of rain. I guess this makes us even.

For reasons unconnected with anything relevant to this 'report,' I got off to the club early today. For doing this the Rue de Rivoli rewarded me with no sights. No posters. No demonstrations. No much anything and mucho de nada.

Therefore I decide to go more than straight to the café La Corona early and do everything routine very slowly. The serenity of this lasts exactly four minutes until it is exactly 15:00, and Joe Fitzgerald arrives.

Joe is from Saint Louis and joined the club in September although he claims it was a 'few weeks ago.' Anyhow, during that meeting a lot of regular members got upstaged by one of the club's new baby members, so it is only now I find out Joe lives in Paris most of the time - except when there is good weather in Saint Louis.

We talk about the exercise one gets as a matter of course in Paris. We usually walk if the distance is two métro stops or less, and if it is further, then there are the métro's stairs.

Joe says when he is in Saint Louis he forgets this immediately and gets in his car to drive threephoto: ed's cafe blocks to buy a newspaper. I ask him if there are no sidewalks there. I have heard that sidewalks are forbidden in some communities in the United States.

The secretary's cup of café this week looks oddly like the secretary's cup of café last week.

In other towns where there are some, the police harass pedestrians for walking on them. People stop to ask if you need a lift. "What are you, sick or something? C'mon, get in, I'll drive you to the hospital."

Here, in contrast, supermarkets sell water in six-packs and let you carry them home yourself. A European six-pack adds up to nine litres of water, which weighs nine metric kilos. Not many dogs even weigh this much. Not that anybody would buy a six-packs of dogs, not even in a hypermarché.

The second of today's members arrives. This is Ron Bristol who has just returned from discovering all of Ireland. "Dublin had sunshine!" he says with glee.

Equally gleefully, Joe says, "One of my ancestors set the Rock of Cashel on fire." I interrupt him to ask how to spell 'Cashel.' "But the king forgave him because it was an accident," Joe says, bringing the story of how he ended up in Paris to a successful conclusion.

The club's secretary is puzzled. "How do you set rocks on fire anyway?"

Oh, I remember now. Cashel was a place I stayed overnight one time because it was halfway fromphoto: design shoppingbag nowhere and halfway to Dublin. It was where I learned that pub closing hours didn't apply to hotel guests. I guess this was why I didn't see the 'Rock of Cashel.'

Ron tells me he found the Ryan's pub in Dublin I mentioned to him last week. It wasn't the same Ryan's pub though. Although all Ryan's pubs have the same name, they don't necessarily look alike.

Whatever it is, it was on Ron's shopping bag. Some kind of gnome wearing a dress.

He also tells me that there are two kinds of Guinness now. While I'm thinking, sure, there's Murphy's, there's - he explains that Guinness has gone 'modern' with a beverage called 'Extra Cold.' It is kept at 3.5 degrees instead of the regular six degrees.

Besides being far too cold to be real Guinness, its other advantage is supposed to be that it's faster to pour a jar of it. Golly! I think. Ireland must be really on the skids if nobody has time to wait for a proper jar of stout. Next thing you know they'll probably toasting their cheese sandwiches.

Joe starts to say you have to be careful trying to tell jokes in France, when Ron says he got his credit card stuck in an ATM at Gare du Nord. A bit of it was sticking out and he tried to find somebody who could help him get it out.

Everybody he talked to said somebody else was responsible for it. Finally he found some idle cops who looked at it and then pushed it all the way in. This is not one of Joe's jokes - Ron has to go back there today because swallowed cards only get coughed up 24 hours later.

About here we find out Joe was a fighter pilot. He started out on the first jet fighters and worked his way up to F-5's, and avoided ever having to fly a F-104. He said they had a high landing speed and weren't suitable for successful landings in Germany in the winter, even if the pilot wasn't trying to land in a fog at Tempelhof in Berlin.

At this meeting there are just the three of us, so there is little sensible talk about Paris. I tell Joephoto: ron bristol about the air museum out at Le Bourget - there's a lot of fighters out there plus the 001 Concorde. Ron says the tail of one just fell off a BA flight to New York, but this wasn't noticed particularly until it landed with part of it missing at JFK.

Ron says that Austin in Texas is not quite like other places in Texas, and everybody knows no other places are like Texas.

This reminds him that the word 'parallel' comes from the cable-car thing in Barcelona. The club's secretary would really like a 'Something of the Week' to wrap this up, so on the suspicion that Ron is not a pure Austin, Texas native - the only town outside of Rio where topless at Mardi Gras is legal, he says - oh, Ron does boost his adopted Austin.

So folks, here it is - Ron's hometown is like Cashel in Ireland. Halfway between Cleveland and Toledo in Ohio, you'll find Sandusky - hereafter to be known as the 'City of the Week' for the duration of this week.

The Next Usual Club Meeting

The next meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 12. December, which is probably fairly unremarkable. Otherwise, the Sainte's Day next Thursday is Jeanne-Françoise de Chantal. I know nothing about this sainte except that she may have the longest saint's name of all. I haven't checked all of the other 1348 saint's names.

The 'About the Café Metropole Club' Page

Take a look at the 'About the Café Metropole Club' page to learn how to become a member. Even if you are reading this 'report' about today's club meeting, all you need to know about how to become a member is to be here.

So ignore this 'About' page if you wish - even though it was written just for you. 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 like needless repetition, reading it twice has proved to be harmless in real clinical tests by actors dressed as dentists.

Endless Christmas Season Note Repeat

Major Paris department stores turned on their lights some 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, so they will be in 2003.

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

Club meetings begin in Paris beginning at 15:00 on Thursday and continue until 17:00, in Europe's Centralphoto: patrick European Time Zone - which is 'CET' for short and not 'EMIT' - and known elsewhere as 3 pm to 5 pm in other worldwide areas. This is regardless of 'winter time' which is currently prevailing here.

Patrick scans horizon for sight of new club members, without luck.

Come with your own new 'Quote of the Week' or propose your hometown as 'City of the Week' or invent any other 'Things of the Week.' New true 'firsts' will be welcome too, with 'first' being more necessary than 'true.' '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 not even be an exceptional 'rule' even if these had not ceased, which is what they've done.

What you have to say may be honestly 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 sometimes is. Don't bother reading the parts that have been left out.

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.
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