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''It Rained Like Sparerods''

photo: group, kim; susan, ed, roy, elizabeth, linda

Today's group without a tripod - Kim, Susan, Ed, Roy,
Elizabeth and Linda.

Club Honors Takoma Park

Paris:- Thursday, 21. August 2003:- Even though the blistering heatwave period and the tropical periods seem to be past, leaving the weather in the boring condition of merely being perfectly summer - sunny, warm, a little breezy and not a bit humid - I am still going to be wearing one of my two authentic Hawaiian shirts today, after largely wasting them for most of the past three weeks on Manhattan's blackouts and tropics.

I write 'most of' because two days after my last club meeting in Paris I was wearing the shirts in northern New Hampshire and southern Maine, during regionally untypically summer weather there. After a short visit the weather in this part of the United States close to Canada, reverted to normal for northern regions - which is not so very different from a normal summer in Paris.

But that doesn't concern us here. Tonight's TV-weather news, no less optimistic than New York's Channel 11-TV version, calls for partly cloudy tomorrow, maybe mostly cloudy on Saturday and less so than on Friday, on Sunday.

However, temperatures are expected to be respectable, staying within the range of 26 to 28 degrees. Thisphoto: beer, cafe, tea is right around the 80 F area, which is a bit warmer than it's been today. No mention is ever explicitly made about humidity in Paris, so I can't make any guesses about this element, or estimate the future possible 'tropical' quotient.

Some drinks of this week, without being so honored.

Everybody who was in Paris while I was away knows that the thermometre went mad for an extended period, at times registering temperatures around 40 degrees, which is slightly over 100 F. It was not humid, but there was little wind and the city and everybody in it cooked day after day.

To get even, the northeastern United States decided to have a power blackout last Thursday, which meant lights out for 50 million. Residents responded by taking it as easy as possible while emergency services extracted the stranded from stalled subway wagons and elevators. Power was restored just over 24 hours later and officials began the game of finding somebody other than Canada to blame. Meanwhile the survivors began the search for food safe enough to eat.

The high points of Thursday night were being able to view stars over New York City, seeing many people having impromptu street parties outside their apartment buildings, and hearing a saxophonist give an amazing 90-minute solo concert featuring Big Band favorites. Drivers drove slowly without the aid of traffic lights or their horns. With the window-box air-conditioning units shut down, it was probably the quietest day and night in New York in 26 years.

Today's Club Meeting

The server-lady, Linda Thalman, is waiting for the club's secretary in the 'Grande Salle ' of the café Corona, when I arrive today, slightly before 15:00. Linda is standing up, holding a glass of wine, because two groups of non- Metropole readers almost completely fill the club's allotted space, gobbling sausages and frites.

These must not be disturbed because many quay-side cafés lost business during the weeks of Paris Plage, especially when it was too hot to shift off it to get refreshments. Paris' beach population has been estimated to have been three million, an increase of 700,000 over the first edition in 2002.

So it is then, that we are sitting squinched into a corner by the windows when members Kim and Ed Hurwitz of Sanibel, Florida, arrive - from already being in France and nearby countries for a long time on their annual visit. Kim has an odometre showing how far they've already walked today.

It says some number over eight miles and Linda says it must be the 'Thing of the Week.' In short order Elizabeth and Roy Trew arrive, closely followed by this week's totally new member, Susan Roche, from Takoma Park, Maryland. Now we are more squinched in than ever, but thephoto: mini tripod secretary notices that the sausages and frites are finished, and we can spread out a bit.

With elbow-room, we wait dry and in vain for the 'Waiter of the Week' to complete feeding some other of the café's customers. Right here I will say that I woke up at 06:00 this morning. This time does not correspond to anything in Paris or New York, but I puzzled about it for two hours anyway. These notes will suffer for it. But Takoma Park will be the club's 'City of the Week' nevertheless.

The mini, flex-tripod, here clearly shown handily holding up Ed's camera.

The odometre - so aptly named for a 'Thing of the Week' - is not the 'Thing of the Week.' This honor goes to Ed's mini tripod that will not only hold up his digital camera on any table, but has flexible legs so it can hang from handy tree branches if necessary, and if they are not too far off the ground.

He offers to show us how it works by setting it up to take a 'Group Photo of the Week' with the club's secretary in it, but I decline because we've just become unsquinched and attracting the 'Waiter of the Week's' attention is now getting vital. Several members are panting.

Susan tells me she first came to Paris in 1965 and has not been able to stop coming nearly every year since. She says this adds up to 20 years, but even jetlagged, I think it is more like 37, when I think about it later. I told you today's notes are no good.

Roy has a verbal correction to make to last week's club 'report.' In Australia a 'slab of beer' - I forget which honor this received - is actually four six-packs - "Like a slab!" he says, expecting even the club's secretary to instantly visualize the slab-likeness of four six-packs. But I take his word for it.

Ed, who has not read last week's club 'report,' says that he heard a new phrase in Britain. He says 'it rained like sparerods' clearly enough but with blacked out ears I think he really means to say, 'it rained like spareribs.' He says it is 'sparerods' and not 'spareribs' and I still don't 'get it.' Except that if Brits feel like saying 'rods' instead of 'ribs' when they are talking about heavy rain, who am I to argue?

Roy and Ed have something in common. They agree that humidity in Brisbane and Sanibel is equally high - usually 90 percent and up. Ed even says it starts off in the morning around 110 percent but as the day gets hot it drys out a bit.

Linda says she thinks Ed looks like Harrison Ford and asks Ed if he isn't Harrison Ford acting incognitophoto: water and Ed says he is acting like himself, Ed Hurwitz from Sanibel, Florida. Roy hotly denies that he has a crocodile hatband, and Susan says she likes the Musée Carnavalet, which causes everybody else to name a museum they either like or dislike.

The 'Waiter of the Week' has distributed beverages but nobody can remember what they ordered. Luckily the 'Waiter of the Week' disappears too quickly to note the protests, which die out in any case because the members, one by one, do remember what they ordered - which is what they've got.

A glass, here clearly shown handily containing water, not vodka.

While Linda is talking about 'true love' in Athens, Ohio, Ed tells me that the waiting lines to ride up the Tour Eiffel are very short. This must mean that after Paris Plage closed last Sunday, everybody left town. I certainly got this impression on Wednesday when I landed back in my quartier, where it seemed almost as quiet as New York during the blackout.

At 16:00 Linda gives me five euros for the 'Waiter of the Week' for her beer and scoots off, clutching her red Hong-Kong New York Dragon Racing Boat t-shirt that I have given her for faithfullly acting as acting club secretary for the past three meetings. Ah, this must mean that I've already taken the 'Group Photo of the Week.'

Shortly after this I begin acting like an acting secretary of the week and neglect these notes, except when I try to figure out Roy's problem when he takes his left-hand steering-wheel French car to Britain, to drive on the right-hand side of the road, while forgetting that he usually drives a right-hand steering model in Australia where they drive on the wrong side of the road because it is down-under and not a republic yet.

Then Kim and Susan grill me about certain temporary situations in France that are a feature of this particular summer - the heatwave, the cancelled festivals - and of course, the euro, which is not temporary.

Kim keeps her supermarket cashier tickets from year to year, so she is more aware of the difference in prices herephoto: mascot, willy the sparrow from one year to the next. She thinks everybody is being gouged on account of the euro. All I can say is that she doesn't pay utility bills and telecom bills, and buys few Métro tickets because she and Ed walk everywhere.

Susan and Kim trade stories about trying to buy low-tag gift items in France and finding that everything is made in China, just like in the United States. I have my comment to make about this but do not note it down because it is depressing.

Utter club exclusive - a first-time photo of long-time club mascot, Willy the Sparrow.

Today's meeting sweeps on from subject to subject, for an hour beyond the club's official time-out at 17:00. This does not entitle readers and members to more notes here because they end before the end and so will I if I don't end this right here.

9th World Athletic Championships

These begin in Paris on Saturday, 23. August and continue, mostly at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, until Sunday, 31. August. Two thousand athletes from 210 countries will be competing for medals and world records. More information is available from the official Web site, Paris 2003 Saint-Denis. The events will also be shown on a giant screen that will be set up at the Hôtel de Ville for downtown sports fans.

The 'About the Café Metropole Club' About Page

Being a member of this club is more fun than being laid-back on Paris Plage because it's over for this season. But if you are otherwise relaxed enough, you can read the 'About the Café Metropole Club' page. It will tell you only a little about the club except about how free it is. But if information, even in little doses, is your 'slab,' you could read something else in the magazine, which is also free.

There is only one other fact worth noting. Actually, not 'other' because it is the only 'fact.' You can become a lifetime member of this online magazine's live, free and real club by being at any one of its meetings in Paris. Having a refreshment while attending a club meeting is only a suggestion, especially after walking to the club.

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

Club meetings start about 15:00 sharp on Thursdays and continue until 17:00, in Europe's Zone of Paris Time - which is really 'CET' for short and not 'PTEZ' - and elsewhere known as 3 pm to 5 pm in rare two-times-12-hour areas of the planet. Club meetings are only held in the nearly-left-bank right-bank Paris part of it.

Not doing anything special during a meeting is tolerated. True 'firsts' are more than welcome though,graphic: club location map with 'first' having a higher 'report' value than 'true.' This is a general-purpose rule rather than a club ex-'rule' or informal 'exception.'

If you prefer to be 'not found' on the Internet, please tell the club's secretary before he or she makes you mildly famous. 'No rules' have ceased being an 'exception' or a 'rule.' There are some other 'exceptions,' but really, none other members care much about.

Talking in any languages at meetings is okay. Dancing may be permitted too. The server-lady has done it. Whatever you say will be honestly appreciated by the other members present, 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 but not all.*

*The above paragraphs are unchanged since last week on account of this week's club meeting 'report' lacking any 'Food of the Week' for thought.

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

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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