Spacy Ice Cream

photo: group of the week

This whole 'Group Photo of the Week' only lacks
five members.

Is Warm 'Food of the Week'

Paris:- Thursday, 26. June 2003:- We keep getting these forecasts for black clouds blowing from the west and upsetting our fine-weather apple-cart, but they keep on not happening. I was all set to stay in yesterday and do some important but tedious code-work, but good weather dragged me outside.

I was looking forward to the tedious code so much, going outside put me in a moldy mood. So, instead of working all night to make up for the lost nice-day time, I went to sleep instead.

Now then, what is today's situation? More rain clouds are supposed to gather over the western ocean and then drift our way, causing slightly cloudy periods but mostly sunny ones, especially on Saturday.

Temperatures are expected to stay right where they are - from 24 to 26, but really feeling like 29 to 31 degrees. I haven't closed any windows for weeks. It's amazing how quickly one gets used to incessant traffic noise, in return for meager amounts of fresher air.

But no complaints! It is so rare to have summer here when it is actually summer that I shouldn't even mention phoney forecasts for rain clouds from the western ocean. Pretend I didn't mention them.

Unlike last week when I was dubious, I do put on a Hawaiian shirt to wear to today's meeting. I even leave early in order to have an editorial discussion with one of the members before the meeting.

But when I arrive on the Rue de Rivoli, I sense that something different is going on. The sidewalks are jammed full of gay shoppers. What it is - are pre-sales sales! Oh my gosh! No theyphoto: soldes aren't. By checking Metropole's own 'Scene' column for July, I find that the Soldes d'Eté are from Wednesday, 25. June until Saturday, 26 July.

Why wasn't I informed? There's nothing about them in yesterday's Le Parisien. Uh-oh, but in today's edition it says - egad! It says there was a power outage on the Rue de Rivoli yesterday morning and some shops couldn't roll up their shutters and customers were really annoyed. They thought the shops were on strike. Wow!

For the Soldes d'Eté, strikes are forbidden by ancient French law from the time of Clovis. Now I realize what was going on while I was out yesterday on the overpacked Rue de Rennes. And over on Raspail, I saw men's suits for 40euro 3 sign. Not that I want one, but I almost bought one made in Romania anyway, because it was sort of old-style.

Pre-club Meeting(s)

So, today, here I am in thephoto: alan savage, carmal mckenzie café La Corona's bar, extra early, having a glass of water - when members Carmel McKenzie and Alan Savage come in to say howdy. They are on their way to the Louvre across the street, instead of to a club meeting, because they've come all the way from Australia again.

Carmel and Alan chose Louvre art over club meeting chaos.

This pleasant extra-club meeting continues on into the pre-club meeting I was going to have, causing me to be ten minutes late for it.

Today's Café Metropole Club Meeting

This starts exactly at 15:00 when Lee Hausman - no relation to Baron Haussmann - arrives from Falls Church, Virginia, with the 'Food of the Week' which he has brought from the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum shop - its best-selling item he says.

It is space-age Freeze Dried Ice Cream. It is probably this product's first time in Paris, and maybe in Europe - so I ask Laurel Avery to try it. When she doesn'tphoto: freeze dried ice cream keel over from a balloon-head, I try some too.

I am no ice cream expert, but I think it tastes like very old, 30 degree C, wafer-like ice cream, although it is supposed to taste like cool chocolate-vanilla-strawberry ice cream, or 'spacefood.' It contains 20 ingredients, including 'locust bean gum.' It also has 'Red #40' twice.

The no-kidding 'real thing' - Freeze Dried Ice Cream for spacemen.

In the short space of time of tasting, members Barry Wright and Marilee McClintock arrive. Marilee says, "It's a bit like styrofoam."

Lee works at the Smithsonian, and confirms that a space has been made available for the Air France Concorde at the museum's 'Hazy Center.' He invites everybody at the meeting to visit the Smithsonian in Washington, DC, even though it is free, like this club.

Somewhere here Mary Sheron from Golden, Colorado, arrives. I, the club's secretary, like the name 'Golden' so much that it becomes the 'City of the Week.' It is, of course, the home of the Coors Brewery, and not the mining centre I thought it was. Nailing the award home, Barry has the biggest glass of beer available at La Corona without actually ordering a 'formidable.'

In the reigning chaos, members Susanne Chaney and Christina Witsberger arrive, followed by member Ron Bristol, who brings news of his recent visit to St. Petersburg's 300th anniversary. 'The ice cream capital of the world,' he says. He also says the Hermitage has poor lighting even though it is almost always daylight there at this time of year.

Lee says that he's been in Paris nine times - from Fridays to Thursdays - so this tenth time he's changed something so that he can come to the club. It just goes to show that freeze dried ice cream keeps fresh a long time.

Somebody asks if anybody has ever eaten at the 'Frog & Rosbif.' Two members say their fathers were 'The Great Santini.' Ron thinks the 'Frog & Rosbif' was a British MBA project that became real.

Marilee wants to talk about the best hamburgers in Paris. She says Booster's Pub is a good placephoto: laurel tests ice cream to get one, but says she prefers their steaks - which are good for the price, whatever it is.

Deciding not to be an 'étranger' in Paris, Ron ordered a pastis in his local café. This impressed the locals so much that they bought him four more before he could leave. He also says Brezhnev jokes are still popular in St. Petersburg, and tells us some fish stories.

Laurel bravely shows correct way of eating freeze-dried ice cream.

Marilee has a bus 69 story. She was taking it from somewhere around the Champ de Mars, intending to go to Bastille, when the bus ran into the 'unknown demo of the day' and the bus driver doubled back along the left bank. After trying for two hours, and picking up many passengers who had never seen a bus 69 before, he gave up and left everybody off at Châtelet.

This is obviously the 'bus story of the week' even if it is only the half-way point of the meeting. New member Kate Ernst arrives from the Manhattan part of New York City, followed by members Lauren and Steve Camera- Murray.

Ron says he has to leave, so I take a provisional 'Group Photo of the Week' inside the café. There is art talk, with Mary asking Laurel if she uses flake or powdered gold. I think the answer is 'flake' because Lauren says 'you have to go to Marmottan' to see it.

With so many members saying so many things every which way I keep my head down and write incomprehensiblephoto: ron bristol, lee, laurel notes of every fifth word I hear. Nobody ever does say where to find the 'best' hamburger in Paris.

Susanne says that the only cheese from France possible to import into the USA is the vacuum-packed stuff sold at the airport. Lee saw a bottle of wine priced at $37,500 in the multi-story wine shop in the Boulevard de la Madeleine.

Ron brought back at least three Brezhnev jokes still popular in St. Petersburg.

When everybody goes 'ahh!' he adds that it was a six-litre mogul bottle.. Monoprix doesn't sell anything like this.

With Ron gone, we do have an official 'Group Photo of the Week' out on the terrace of the café, and for once everybody keeps their eyes open. It sure is a strange club meeting, this one.

This Meeting's Afters

One of these begins with the meeting that was to be 'before.' The result may be some new stories for Metropole, but there is no 'push' to do this. If it can happen it will, and if it does happen, you will like them.

When we have discussed this to its limit, then it is time to go. But before this can happen, new members Leslie Lloyd and Richard Randall arrive from the Boulevard de Sébastopol.

Leslie really comes from Fort Lauderdale in Florida, and Richard is from Olean, New York, which he saysphoto: leslie lloyd, richard randall is near Buffalo but has nothing in common with it, which is actually the nicest thing he says about Buffalo.

The world's best 'Buffalo Wings' are still found at the Anchor Bar.

He does, however, know the history of 'Buffalo Wings.' Apparently, the Anchor Bar on Chippewa Street ran out of food one night - maybe in 1976 - when its customers were still in a hungry mood. The owner looked around the kitchen and only found some scrappy chicken wings waiting to be tossed out. A little sauce was whipped up, et voilà!

The amazing part of this story is that the owner remembered the secret ingredients of the vital sauce the next day, and there's been no stopping 'Buffalo Wings' ever since then.

Barry, who has been looking over the terrace for a while, returns to the 'grande salle,' with the freeze dried ice cream in mind. "Of all the space things they've invented," he says, "They are still stumped by an anti- gravity toilet." He thinks club members should think hard about this.

The Last After

To get to the métro at Châtelet I usually walk through the little streets behind the busy quays crowded with rush-hour traffic allphoto: stern magazine day. For the past several weeks I've noticed a 'Stern' magazine logo in the Rue Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois, on what used to be the door of the HQ of a 'dot-com' startup, now busted.

Today the door is open, so I go in. After 35 years just off the Avenue Matignon, 'Stern's' Paris editorial office is now indeed here, and Helga Dupuis invites me to have a glass of Champagne while I'm snooping around.

'Bad News - Germany Going Down Tubes' - a headline in Le Parisien today.

When I ask for orange juice instead, the phone from Hamburg rings with urgent orders for stories and photos, so I figure I have reached my limit of 'afters' today and continue on to the métro, idly wondering whether I should resume the job application with the magazine that I abandoned 33 years ago. The Rue Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois is more my style than the Avenue Matignon.

The 'Hat Story of the Week'

This is actually not about hats, because there is no 'hat story of the week' this week because of all the 'befores' and 'afters.'

About the 'Café Metropole Club' About Page

Being a member of this club is pretty stressless compared to being its secretary. If you are relaxed enough to read the 'About the Café Metropole Club' page it will tell you a bit about the club and how free it is. It has great other plus-points too. But if a lot of needless information is your goal, I suggest that you think twice about reading this page.

You can even give this 'About' page a pass if its needless details are superfluous. Knowing more than the one fact that you can become a lifetime member of this online magazine's live, free and real club by being at any one or more of its meetings in Paris, yourself, is unnecessary.

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

Club meetings begin - at odds with the usual Paris 'exceptions' - about 15:00 on Thursdays and continue until 17:00, in Europe's only Zone of Universal Fête Time - which is really 'CET' for short and not 'ZUFT' - and elsewhere known as 3 pm to 5 pm in areas of the planet, even though club meetings are only held in the Euromusical Paris part of it, mostly.

Bringing a 'Quote of the Week' or concocting any other 'Things of the Week' are not 'rules' to be obeyed. True 'firsts' are more than welcome too, with 'first' scoring far higher than 'true' if they are not untrue. This is a general rule rather than a club ex-'rule' or informal 'exception.'

If you prefer to be 'not found' on the Internet, or 'opted-out-opted,' please tell the club's secretary before hegraphic: club location map makes you mildly famous. 'No rules' have ceased being an 'exception' or a 'rule' a long time ago. There are some other 'exceptions,' but really, none worth bothering about.

Talking moderately at meetings is okay. Singing might be permitted too, but nobody has tried this. Whatever you say will be honestly appreciated by the other members present if they are listening, which they really 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 is unchanged since last week on account of today's 'Food of the Week' being frozen deep-fried ice cream.

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.
logo, metropole sml midi logo No matter how good it tastes,
there is no such thing
as a free lunch.
Waldo Bini