A 2O Eye-ball Meeting

photo: group photo of the week

Even if you can't see them clearly, there really are 20 eyeballs in today's 'Group Photo of the Week.'

Blue Bell Honored and Other 'Firsts'

Paris:- Thursday, 13. March 2003:- Lately the weather predictions have been strange. When it is supposed to be a very nice day all over France the TV-weather map indicates this with one great sunball, shimmering against a very blue background. The icing on the cake was temperatures predicted to be 15 or 17, which is definitely not shabby for 'this time of year.'

It was all fantasy of course. In real life there was no 'blue' to begin with, and it took the sun two or three days to pierce the overcast. On account of this the temperatures stayed 'below normal' for this 'time of' - etc.

By the time the optimistic forecast had run its course of being exactly the opposite, the prediction shifted to gloomy last night - and this has brought us a perfectly fine day today. The temperatures are certainly higher than predicted, even with a bit of a cool wind.

So, now, tonight, in order to recuperate credibility, the TV-weather news is forecasting fine weather again. But to be on the safe side they have said temperatures will be no more than 12, rising to 14 by Sunday. And all-blue skies are forecast again.

The catch is, and here is a very big 'catch-22,' the catch is the forecast of easterly winds of 40 to 50 kms perphoto: citron presse hour. Winds are seldom mentioned, and experience with easterly winds is not good. Easterly winds bring no good. Forecasting them throws everything else into doubt, so you've been warned.

Le Parisien is as lyrical as always about the good forecast, but is about as doubtful as I am. They've put in the sunballs, but added that 12 degrees is no prize. Therefore, if you are tempted to take off your sweaters, don't leave them behind. I can feel the wind right now.

First sight this year of a citron pressé - can spring be far off?

But there is no denying that the air was pretty mellow this afternoon when it was still windless. When I reached the club's café, its terrace was occupied with baskers and the aspect was truly Parisian - of, ah - 'how sweet it is!'

Yes, sweet, to be sitting on a wide terrace in the full path of sunbeams, with an unobstructed view of Thursday afternoon traffic on the Quai du Louvre, with short gaps allowing glimpses of the Quartier Latin across the Seine. Not even Paris is perfect even when it is pretty good.

In La Corona's 'grande salle' Susan Ellis is in the club's area before I arrive. She is early because she has been trekking all over, getting bookstores to put up her poetry poster. She asks me if I have any friends in the bookstore business, but I haven't any.

I have friends in the book-buying business, but they do not lend them to me. My 'books' come from a Paris public library. The city currently has posters all over the place covered with poems, for World Poetry Day, but I have been out of town, out at the Cadillac Ranch.

The rest of this 'report' s going to be kind of sketchy because a lot of members, and some new members, arrive all more or less on top of each other. There is barely time to shake hands, rearrange the chairs, explain the membership booklet - before someone new arrives, causing a new rearrangement of chairs, shifting of coats and bags to yet further corners, ordering of drinks, standing up and shaking more hands, explaining opt-in and opt-out 'name' possibilities, and my notes don't keep up with this.

Members Carolyn and Bill Cross arrive from Waveland, Mississippi - "Whew! Mardi Gras is over!" - and Bill has the 'Camera of the Week,' because he is carrying a heavy otto called a Yashica 635 which is full of 120 roll film that makes really big negatives, called '6-by-6' in Europe because hamburgers here have metric weights.

Susan, who recently joined the club, even more recently 'discovered' the Rue de la Gaité - "Wow!" - and the small but interesting, only bookstore in it.

Kathi and Bill Liganzewski arrive, for about their third club visit in a row. Paris has gotten a walking week's-worth smaller.

They are immediately followed by Yolanda and Richard Massie, from Brooklyn, New York City - which is onlyphoto: camera yashica 635 about a stone's throw from the Liganzewski's hometown of Long Beach on Long Island. However they are sitting further apart than a 'stone's throw,' so they use the available audio waves to compare neighborhoods.

Then, a rarity, a non-member arrives. This is a person who is 'checking out' the club, undecided about membership - so there is no note in the members' booklet, no photo - but who stays a hour, right in the middle of the Brooklyn-Long Beach conversation flying overhead.

Not digital, not miniature, not lightweight - big neg iron-man 'Camera of the Week.'

Theraiz Whyte and Peter Zielinski arrive as new members, and they come from this week's 'City of the Week' - which is, get ready for this - is Blue Bell, Pennsylvania!

At this point, as far as the club secretary is concerned, this meeting might as well be over. It has achieved its objective of a 'City of the Week' with Blue Bell. But, wait -

Almost on the heels of Theraiz and Peter another new member arrives, from Gainesville, Florida, and she has even heard of - but not actually visited - Blue Bell. She says it the really real. This new member's name is Sno White.

It is not a club 'rule' - because there aren't any anymore except for some nuisance exceptions - but one thing that doesn't become a 'Thing of the Week' is members' names. But having Sno White for a member is definitely a 'first' - for the club, for Paris, for France, for Europe, for the whole World Wide Internet!

Actually, the name is Dr. Sno E. White, MD. In the members' booklet she has written that she found Metropole by doing a search for 'weather' in Paris. Ah, um, I must mention this to 'Ed' because he treats the weather here somewhat skeptically, rather than with the utter seriousness it may deserve if search engines are locking on to it.

Another thing Sno has written in the booklet is, "There should be a page called 'more about Ric.'" In fact, Sno also tells this to the club's secretary, who thinks he will not pass this on to 'Ed' because if Ric gets it into his head to do 'more about' we will be here all night for a week of Sundays.

While I am absorbing some of this, another non-intentional non-member arrives to confer with Susan. She asks me not to call him a poster-hanger, because he is really a poet but is tired out from trying to plaster the 'poetry fête' posters all over town.

This is definitely another true 'first.' Another person who attends a meeting without becoming a member, for a total of two. Plus the other legit 'first,' makes three - which is a 'first' in itself.

Frankly it is mind-boggling to bring all of this together because the notes for the meeting are truly wretched, so I won't count this as a 'first' too.

When at last we get around to thephoto: group at tables 'Group Photo of the Week' I am pretty satisfied with the first two shots, and satisfied that there are 20 eyeballs in view and digitally captured - even if the resolution isn't quite good enough to actually make out individual eyeballs.

Today's members - nearly wall- to-wall.

Just in case, all present in front of the camera, assure me their eyeballs are not covered by eyelids - even the ones who have theirs behind sunglasses.

But I have a hunch. Do these 'strike' one or what? Or 'pop-up?' I mean, where to they come from? And 'why?' My 'hunch' is - there are really only 18 eyeballs in the two photo. Argggh!

By shifting the camera slightly to the left my hunch proves true - riiiight! - there are two wayward eyeballs not in the first two shots! Reluctant eyeballs? Shy eyeballs?

Usually, 97 times out of 100, it is the first shot that is the good one, no matter how many backup shots are taken. Today, for our club's fourth and final 'first,' it is shot four that is at the top of this page. The one least likely one to succeed, succeeded.

On the fly, here are more club 'firsts' or 'Things of the Week.' Possibly the greatest number of different nationalities - certainly the meeting with the most members with multiple nationalities. Largest total of 'no shows,' but this can't be confirmed because they are 'no shows.'

Remember folks, it all happened today, at the Café Metropole Club meeting number 175. Since we've never had this meeting before, this makes it the fifth 'first.' I almost wish we could do it 'one more once,' but it is 'Ed's' bedtime.

Call for Your Favorite Restaurants

photo: empties of the weekThis important subject, already so frustrating for both readers and club members, stays 'on hold' for at another week, at least. The secretary is at his post, but the 'Ed' of this magazine is still ranch-sitting at the Cadillac Ranch with the server-lady's ever-hungry cat Tiger until this weekend.

The 'Call for Restaurants' will continue to receive nominations for your favorite restaurants. They will be diligently tossed on the same stack as the ones already tossed on the stack.

Some of today's trash - not yet cleared away by 'Waiter of the Week' Patrick.

Do not give up even if it seems like I am inventing new depths of benign neglect. My powers of invention are, in truth, not bottomless.

About the 'Café Metropole Club About' Page

If you wish to become a member of this club it could be an idea to read the 'About the Café Metropole Club' page first. Nobody will know if you don't bother. But it explains a bit about the club, like about it being free. The rest of the information isn't as nearly important.

Pass up this 'About' page if you aren't interested in club lore - which is contained in the weekly 'reports' anyway. All you really need to know is that you can become a member of this online magazine's live, free and real club by simply being at one of its meetings in Paris. The only thing in the world easier than joining it is not joining.

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

This club's meetings begin - punctually, contrary to Paris 'rules' - in Paris about 15:00 on Thursdays and continue until 17:00, in Europe's ordinary Mythical Time Zone - which is really 'CET' for short and not 'iBOP' - and known elsewhere as 3 pm to 5 pm in some other areas of the globe, even though club meetings are usually only held in Paris part of it.

Come along with your own new 'Quote of the Week' on the tip of your tongue or mention your hometown asphoto: poetry poster a possible 'City of the Week' or concoct any other 'Things of the Week.' Brandnew true 'firsts' are always welcome too, with 'first' normally having preference over 'true.' The club secretary's own 'firsts' are not eligible, unless attributed to a member.

'No-names' is an option you can also opt-in, or out of, if you prefer to be 'not found' on the Internet, or 'in-out-opted.' 'No rules' have creased being an 'exception' or a 'rule' either anymore. There are some other 'exceptions,' but really, very small insignificant ones.

For more poetry details, hit the Web site URL above - or this one here.

Whatever you say will be truly appreciated by the other members present, and there almost always are some, and if they are listening, which they do sometimes - and by all readers of this online magazine - if it should happen to be written here, as some of it is, sometimes.*

*Skip the above paragraph if you suspect you read it last week. If uncertain, feel free to read it again. But don't bother to memorize it because it will be unchanged next week.

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
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Waldo Bini