'Red Dirt' Arrives In Paris!

photo: group, tod, gary, tee-ag, waiter of the week, justin, susan

From left, Tod, Gary, Tee-Ag, the Waiter of the Week,
Justin and Susan.

No Nada Nunca 'City of the Week'

Paris:- Thursday, 27. March 2003:- On account of the overly- optimistic weather prediction here last week, last Friday turned turtle and defied its forecast blueness. It threw a depressing blanket of damp-feeling gray over a city and a club secretary expecting sunbeams.

Luckily this unfortunate incident only lasted one day, and Parisians have been basking since Saturday. Temperatures have shot up from 'average' to a sizzling 20 or 21 - "Three or four degrees above normal for this time of year," said tonight's TV-weatherman, omitting to say that 'normal' for this time of year is three or four degrees 'below normal.'

It remains a mystery why the TV-weather person even bothers to claim that there is 'normal' weather here in March. But to be frank, I am not sure about last year because I was in New York, experiencing 'below normal' temperatures there.

But enough of the dim, distant past. I must revise the forecast I gave this afternoon to today's club members - from good to gloomy - and upgrade it to 'average-to-average.' This means the all blue skies will not be withphoto: beautiful minnesota red dirt us on Saturday or Sunday - I forget which - but temperatures will not take the plunge to 'average' as I said - they will remain at about what it was at 18:30 this afternoon - about 21 degrees, or about 70 F.

Real beautiful 'Red Dirt' from northern Minnesota.

I'm saying this is the forecast for next Sunday, the next-to-last day of March. Equally frankly, I'll believe this if I see it. Golly! Forecasting 21 degrees for the last day of March is sheer daredevilism.

Before going to the club this afternoon I switched my pockets' contents to my trusty light-weight jacket in a fit of optimism that wasn't misplaced. I intended to walk in the sunshine from Montparnasse to the La Corona clubhouse too, but mislaid the time for it.

Taking the métro made up the time, but I did not squander it by taking utility photos - except for one of the café La Corona's terrace, which was not yet occupied by many baskers. Monsieur Ferrat said he expected them to arrive at any moment.

In the club's area inside the café, I find Gary Martin waiting for the club's secretary, before 15:00. Breaking the 'rules' that aren't, I switch into secretary mode and go about the business of trying to remember the meeting's number, the day of the week and the date.

Gary comes from Park Rapids, Minnesota. He came to the club's first meeting in October 1999 and his member number is two. That meeting, 177 meetings ago, set the tone of the club forever when his sister, Marion Mann, made the unforgettable 'quote of the week,' "Paris has ugly dirt."

Since then Gary has attended several meetings, but he must think this one is special because he has brought an authentic sample of Minnesota's 'beautiful' red dirt. This is the dirt that makes Paris' dirt look ugly. Marion gave it to Gary to bring to the club, to lend truth to her long-ago quote.

Gary pours it out of an Advil capsule into a baggie so we can get a good look at it. It is red alright.

What with Minnesota not having much real iron ore anymore, this red dirt is being collected and made into Taconite pellets, which are turned into some low-grade steel that undercuts the price of high-grade imported steel, but isn't good for much else. It sure is nice looking dirt though.

Before we can fully discuss the utility of having enough steel to keep the United States under construction, Tod Sandersphoto: books, on the road, j kerouac, tropic of cancer, h miller arrives from Annency and Sevilla. He has been on a long trip from Rochester, New York, and it looks as if Spain's true sun has agreed with him.

All the same he says he is going to move to Florida. Doing this will reduce the club's active Rochester members to one - but add to the sizeable Florida contingent.

Evidence of one of the club's first true lit-meets.

However Rochester remains important as the home of Eastman Kodak. Tod muses, "I wonder if the digital camera is going to affect the Japanese real estate market. Before digital everybody had to have an extra room to keep their holiday photos, negatives and slides in - now they can get along with smaller apartments."

I begin wonder if French builders anticipated this by building smaller apartments in the first place, but am interrupted by the arrival of today's new member, Justin McFarr.

Casting about frantically for a 'City of the Week' I ask Justin for the name of his 'home town,' because he's written Los Angeles in the members' booklet. He confesses to Sherman Oaks, California.

Right here - interrupting this 'report' - i appeal to any member who has a spare Macintosh G3 Powerbook to offer for a fair but low price. Without having one at meetings I can't possibly remember 'Cities of the Week' we've already had - like Sherman Oaks - and trying to remember members' names above member number ten is getting increasingly difficult.

Any kind of G3 Powerbook will do just so long as it has lots of memory - lots! - a 14" screen, 40 Mo harddisk and a CD-ROM-writer, and a Fréñch- àçcènted AZERTY keyböârd.

Back to the meeting - the true 'first' of this meeting is not having a 'City of the Week.' If I had known Sherman Oaks might have got it during meeting number seven, I could have asked Susan Ellis for one of her 'home towns,' because she has a about five to spare.

But first, Justin has brought two good books for the club. They are Jack Kerouac's 'On the Road' and 'Tropic of Cancer' by Henry Miller, who is better known as Anaïs Nin's boyfriend - or was that Nelson Algren?

One of the two books has a Book Crossing ID number. I do not hear Justin's explanation about this because I notice he is putting his name in the full members' booklet number one instead of booklet number three. Whatever it is, give it a try. 'Book Crossing' I mean.

Yes, I've forgotten to mention Susanphoto: book, wine and war Ellis' arrival, from the Montsouris area of the 14th arrondissement. Considering the nature of events the world has been experiencing recently, her poetry weekend had a good enough turnout.

Tod is telling us about taking three days to get to Paris from Annency by train - "There will be a spontaneous strike between 13:00 and 14:00 next Friday," he jokes. He says he liked Annency, even for two extra days.

Nobody had time to speed-read Tod's new book about Paris.

This strike business is, of course, an exaggeration, but there will be a SNCF strike next week. I have forgotten which day. Maybe it's Air France's pilots who will be on strike. Maybe both.

This is a very conversational meeting, covering many subjects, like speeding and moving to Florida - so I had better include the arrival of Sambamurthy Thyagarajan, "just call me 'Tee-Ag,'" and 'now-you-see-him, now-you-don't' Mark Kritz, who fits himself in for a few minutes after the 'Group Photo of the Week' has been taken.

How he knows to arrive after the weekly photo is done three times a year, is a mystery to the club's secretary, like some others. It's too bad, because Tee-Ag and Mark are probably neighbors on Montmartre without knowing it.

On speeding - Gary responds to somebody's comment about how fast the 'fast lane' is in Europe, by saying, "Unlike Minnesota where everybody goes as slow as possible in the left lane." Presumably everybody in the right lane is going more slowly than possible.

Tod says there are more scooters than people in Sevilla. This is not an entirely bad thing because Sevilla has many narrow streets that do not have quite enough room for people, dogs, cars and scooters together.

On the whole he says Sevilla is a fine place, except people there have so much to say that they talk too fast. Justin is having his doubts about Sherman Oaks and Los Angeles, after trying them out for 12 years, and he is thinking of moving to Oregon, instead of Florida.

Tee-Ag is thinking the same thing about today's club meeting. "I've just dropped in for a couple of minutes on my way to the Luxembourg gardens." Susan promotes the pastoral beauties of Montsouris. It is true that the Left Bank has the majority of Paris' greener spots.

Somewhere here - is the usual blank in the meeting's notes. And it is after 17:00, so whoever is left, goes.

Meeting Number 177.5

Having left the secretary's writer's cramp behind in the café La Corona, I am about to pass Samaritaine when I see Gary coming from the opposite direction.

He was headed in the wrong direction for the wrong métro to the Gare de Lyon, when he decided to returnphoto: terrace la corona to the café and start over. He came to the club on the line 14 and it wasn't quite right either. I tell him he can take the line one from Rivoli around the corner from the club's café, direct to the Gare de Lyon.

Truth time in Paris. This was La Corona's terrace before today's club meeting.

We chat a bit about all the photos he's been taking, and storing. He thinks he has 15,000 saved, and says he never took any before getting a digital camera.

I ask him to thank Marion for sending the beautiful dirt. I will find a suitable container for it and add it to the secretary's collection of exclusive club trophies, which will no doubt someday land in the club's very own Paris museum that will be open all the time except on Mondays, national holidays, Saint's Days and during spontaneous strikes.

Do Not Adjust Your Set

This 'report' has been delayed on account of some undefinable problem with the Internet. I was unaware that the problem began sometime Thursday moring, and unamused that the 'report' refused to upload early Friday morning - resulting yet again in my usual 'sleep 'till noon,' despite all good resolutions to do otherwise. On Sunday - Daylight Savings Day - the server-lady Linda Thalman said the upload should work okay. Please accept our apologies for this delay.

Call for Your Favorite Restaurants

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

Do not give up making nominations even if it seems like I am monkeying around trying to weasel out of this. My powers of weaselment are, in truth, not monkeybusiness.

About the 'Café Metropole Club About' Page

If you have an insatiable desire to become a member of this club it would be a good idea to read the 'About the Café Metropole Club' page first. Nobody will know if you don't bother though. The page says a bit about the club, like about it being free and other stuff. If you require any other information, send me two dollars.

Skip this 'About' page if you aren't interested in club lore and history - which is contained in the weekly 'reports' anyway. You don't really need to know more than you can become a member of this online magazine's live, free and real club by simply coming to any of its meetings in Paris. In truth, not joining is only fractionally easier than joining, but not nearly as interesting

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

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

Bring your own 'Quote of the Week' or mention your hometown as a possible 'City of the Week,' or concoct any other 'Things of the Week.' True 'firsts' are welcome too, with 'first' normally having preference over 'true.' The club secretary's own 'firsts' are not eligible, unless a member will take the blame.

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

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.*

*The above paragraph remains unchanged since last week on account of not having a 'City of the Week' this 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