'Cityless of the Week'

photo: group, lena, pedro, heather, barry, glennis, laurel

This week's group, from left, Lena, Pedro, Heather,
Barry, Glennis and Laurel.

Non-Barking New Members Welcomed

Paris:- Thursday, 3. July 2003:- Now that spring is safely out of the way and summer has begun, early spring weather has resumed here with scattered rain showers, cool temperatures and sunny periods that are brief.

Do I care? Nah! I'm not on holiday. I feel for those who lived through Paris' premature summer in spring and are now sitting by the seaside somewhere, wondering where summer went. They've been shown on the TV-news. They are all very brave and are putting on good fronts for the TV cameras.

But you know, there are people - there really are - who deliberately go to the channel coast, and they are shown too, putting on the seasonal stiff upper lip, saying how grand it is to be by the freezing cold gray seaside.

The odd thing is, none of them ever say they tried the Riviera and didn't like being warm, so they never leave the channel coast. Oh no. They act like they're nailed to its mists and fogs, and, what could be better?

To be philosophical about it, what difference does it make whether you go to afternoon movies in Dunkirk or Paris, so long as the theatre is heated?

But the weather isn't philosophical, it just is. As it is today, in fact. It's not raisins or figs. This isphoto: vin rose a French expression for things that aren't completely cloudy or completely sunny, or completely not raining all the time, nor completely warm 'for the time of year.'

Laurel's 'Wine of the Week' amounted to one glass.

In fact, according to tonight's TV-weather news, this is the exact and precise forecast for tomorrow, with maybe a bit more sun than not on Saturday. The high temperature is supposed to drift up from 23 to 24.

But this coming Sunday looks like it might be having a taste of almost- summer weather again. The long-range prediction for a couple of days from now calls for mostly sunny, and a high temperature of 25 whole blistering degrees. Be ready for it.

Today's Club Meeting

After an uneventful métro ride from Denfert to Châtelet and an uneventful stroll through the usual back streets to the Café La Corona, once installed in the club's area of the café's 'grande salle' I have about five minutes to read the métro paper, 'A Nous Paris,' before being joined by club member number one, who has brought along two midget new members named Lena and Pedro.

This makes Heather Stimmler-Hall one of the few members to have her entire immediate family enrolled as club members. Besides telling me that Lena and Pedro are Pinchers, she also mentions last night's hail storm on Montmartre, which happened when she was moving into the apartment where she's staying for the summer.

She asks Patrick, the 'Waiter of the Week,' for a glass of Evian. When it comes she says, "Crappy Evian, you'd think there would be ice in it. Every time I order a Coke there's ice in it I don't want."photo: big beer of the week

What to do with unwanted ice could be the 'Question of the Week,' but nobody thinks to ask it. I don't mean Lena and Pedro, because they are very quiet because they are unused to Paris cafés, and are far from their usual Riviera cafés.

Member Laurel Avery arrives at the same time as member Barry Wright. In fact it is possible that they arrive together, which is not altogether unusual.

Barry's 'Beer of the Week' amounted to one big glass.

"I wonder how long it'll take to get that blasé Paris attitude?" Heather wonders about Lena and Pedro. Having dogs in Paris is not easy for an owner, until they get their 'smarts.' While they can go to most restaurants, they are not allowed in parks like the Tuileries. Everybody at the club's tables gives them a pat to show them that the club's café is friendlier than an average park.

Member Glennis Desbien joins the meeting. Glennis joined the club in June of 2001, and still comes from Tonkawa, Oklahoma. On her visit to France this time she has been visiting Brittany instead of the more usual and much warmer south of France.

She says she went out fishing and caught a squid. She had never seen one before and was amazed when the fisherman running the boat cut the cuttle bone out of it so she could take it home for her bird.

Of course, since it is animal day at the club, the secretary forgets to ask what sort of bird Glennis has. It might have been the 'Bird of the Week' if it was an eagle or a hawk.

Barry and I have been talking about 'Better Living Through Chemistry' and about how he lived in Santa Fe but took on jobs in Detroit and other northern places I can't spell easily, and about times when the movies were cranked out by the hundreds by the old studio system.

Being able to see some of these movies again is a very good reason for living in Paris. Sometime, somewhere, some cinema is showing a movie you haven't seen since the 1930s, the '40s or '50s.

Barry is also a mine of odd facts and statistics. He says I should 'bear in mind' that more Americans have passports now than they used to have. The percentage has jumped from five to seven percent.photo: new members, lena, pedro

"But," he adds, "Only ten percent use them." He goes on to say that use has probably risen because Americans need passports to get into the USA when returning from Mexico, even though Mexico requires no passports for entry.

Who can blame the two new members for not holding rock-still for their official photo?

I do a swift calculation. If Barry's percentages are right, then about 18 million Americans have passports, but only about 1.8 million use them. 1,933,000 Americans spent 5,166,000 nights in hotels in Paris in 2001.

This could mean that many Americans who go to Mexico also come to Paris in any given year. Or it could mean that most of the Americans who go to Mexico never come back from there because they forgot to get passports.

With Glennis, who tells us about a renewal in school libraries of 'Huckleberry Finn' by Mark Twain, caused by a single plug by a popular TV personality, we cover a slew of other American subjects.

Thus the club's secretary does not hear or record the non-stop conversation full of crucial Paris survival information shared between Heather and Laurel, until it comes back to dogs again.

Since I have never owned a dog, and suggest getting a baby's playpen for keeping them controlled inside an apartment, Barry laughs and says, "That's what an apartment is for." He also adds cryptically that canine Parisians are 'kick-back dogs.'

Then the conversation turns to the best way to get a French driver's license. According to Barry - who should maybe handle Metropole's 'Facts' column - there are 13 US states that issue licenses that can be traded-in for French ones.

With licenses from other states, you have to take the French written test, or both the written and thephoto: red star water practical tests. This means, no matter how long you've been driving, that you have to go to driving school again, and these are far from free in France.

Barry's suggestion - unless you already have a Colorado driver's license - go there and exchange whatever you have for one of theirs - and when you get to France, exchange the Colorado one for a French one - which is good for life, like membership in this club.

The secretary's 'Red-star Water of the Week' amounted to one bottle, without ice.

Of course, even with a French driving license, you still have to learn how to drive metrically, continental-style. For the first ten years, car insurance is an absolute and vital necessity.

Anybody who doesn't believe me should rent a car and drive around the Etoile for 10 or 15 minutes. Barry doesn't say he's done this, but he assures all of us that driving in Boston is worse.

In parting, Heather suggests that some summer club meetings be held on Paris Plage after it opens on Sunday, 20. July. The club's secretary, ever optimistic, says club members should be warned to bring hardhats in case of hail.

Buffalo Wings Update

Last week new member Richard Randall chanced to tell club members about the original history of 'Buffalo Wings.' He said they were 'invented' one night in the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York. The bar ran out of food one night when its customers were still in a hungry mood.

Richard said the owner looked aroundlogo: paris plage 2003 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.

Even more amazing, Metropole Paris reader John Schag wrote on Tuesday, with two corrections. The Anchor Bar is on Main Street - but near Chippewa Street! - and the year of the discovery was 1964, and not the guesstimate of 1976. Richard didn't actually know the year, and a quarter-century ago seemed like a good guess to both of us.

John also said he left Buffalo 15 years ago, but is hanging out there again - eating 'Buffalo Wings?' - until coming to Paris next year. If he shows up at a club meeting, maybe he can create a members' section for all those who have eaten 'Buffalo Wings' at the Anchor Bar.

The 'Hat Story of the Week'

This is not actually about hats, because there is no 'hat story of the week.' But if you are interested in the Soldes d'Eté, they continue longer than I thought - until Saturday, 2. August.

According to interviews with shoppers on TV, some clever ones do not rush out to buy buy buy during the first days or week of the annual summer sales, but patiently wait until shops lower some prices even more.

If they do this, by law they must add a new 'sale' price sticker to the original price sticker, and the first 'sale' price sticker, so that you will know just how much is being clipped from the original price and the 'sale' price.

About the 'Café Metropole Club' About Page

Being a member of this club is a snap compared to being its secretary. If you are relaxed enough to read the 'About the Café Metropole Club' page it will tell you next to nothing about the club except how free it is. It has other great plus-points too. But if needless information is your goal, I suggest that you read something else in the magazine.

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, without taking a driving test, is unnecessary.

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

Club meetings begin - contrary to the usual Paris 'exceptions' - about 15:00 on Thursdays and continue until 17:00, in Europe's only Zone of Universal Plage Time - which is really 'CET' for short and not 'ZUPT' - and elsewhere known as 3 pm to 5 pm in 12-hour areas of the planet, even though club meetings are only held in the Eurometrical Paris part of it, mostly.

Bringing a 'Quote of the Week' or concocting any other 'Things of the Week' are not 'rules' to be slavishly obeyed. True 'firsts' are more than welcome too, with 'first' worth far more 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 he makes you mildly famous. 'No rules' have ceased being an 'exception' orgraphic: club location map a 'rule' years ago. There are some other 'exceptions,' but really, none worth mentioning.

Talking moderately in any language at meetings is okay. Dancing might be permitted too, but nobody except the server-lady 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 'Water of the Week' being the Red-star brand.

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