horz line

''It's a Two Dog Day''

photo: bob, tomoko, edna, jason, scoop, roy, berta, elizabeth, angelika, zoe anne, laurel, susan, ken

All of today's club members, excepting 'Paris' and 'Pippin.'

Plus One Bird, Again

Paris:- Thursday, 4. September 2003:- According to the forecast and according to how it was, the 'best weather of the week' was yesterday. Despite the 'best,' which was also for September so far, today we are being treated to another 'best weather day of the week' day. It's a tossup about which day is better. Maybe if I add an 's' to 'day,' Wednesday and Thursday are the 'best days of the week,' and the best two-day stretch of weather in September, so far.

Wednesday night's TV-weather forecast even predicted that the good weather would continue, maybe through the weekend. Alas, something happened overnight because tonight's TV-weather news forecast is not quite so optimistic.

In fact, drats and fiddlesticks, it will begin to turn dumpy tomorrow, with evil clouds coming up from the southwest. The temperature should drop a couple of degrees too, to 24 tops. If we're lucky.

Then, woe, Saturday should see Friday's weather evacuate towards the east, perhaps leaving some partly sunny skies behind. High temperature might be around 22. Sunday, if I can believe the forecast, should see some general sunshine, but the temperature will remain fixed at 22.

But today is super-fine. It is, without doubt, a Hawaiian-shirt day. It is completely possible that this year has had more Hawaiian-shirt days since 1976, or 1947. Another year has been added to France's historic fine-weather calendar. It was 1911, but I confess I don't remember it at all well. I'm not sure Hawaiian shirts had been invented then either.

Today's Club Meeting

I am not late in arriving at the café La Corona for today's club meeting even though I have been walkingphoto: paris turf, scoop with my face turned up to the sky like a sunflower. However, the sky is so bright that I have to close my eyes, and progress from the Métro at Châtelet is not as fast as I usually scoot.

Scoop checks for the faster nags running at Auteuil on Friday.

Passing through La Corona's bar I find the entire café crew to be in good spirits. They say business is great, but I do not see more customers than usual. I guess they mean it 'seems' to be better than usual. This is, I think, as good as the real thing. Certainly better than the place being full with everybody being depressed because it is chilly and damp outside.

As soon as I enter the café's 'Grande Salle' and see several members parked in my club secretary spot - I am not late either - I have a feeling that today's meeting is already out of control.

Okay. I'm exaggerating. Meetings are never 'out of control' because the club has 'no rules.' But I try to arrive before 15:00 and before any attending members, so that I can quietly enter the meeting numbers and date into the club's members' and 'report' booklets. With this chore out of the way I am more or less ready for every eventuality.

But today, even my secretary's 'place' is taken, by Berta Maginniss, who is accompanied by Scoop Maginniss. Right here is where this 'report' gets fuzzy, because there are at least two others present, most likely new member Zoe-Anne Fitzhugh from Santa Clarita, California, and member Angelika Cutler from Auckland, in New Zealand.

First, today's 'City of the Week' is Santa Clarita. Second, the server-lady has just sent me a message for Angelika, and I must not forget to pass it on. This is about contacting a local cricket club in - oops, I passed the note on, and now I can't find the original. I think it's at a place in Yvelines where there are lions and giraffes.

Let's hear a cheer for Santa Clarita! Meanwhile, I'm trying to sit down, get out the club's booklets, get the meeting numbers in - and more members are arriving pell-mell.

To confuse me further there are members who have not been at a club meeting in a long time. These don't have to sign the members' booklet again, but I do have to get their names - correctly! - butphoto: dogs, paris, pippin of course, I don't remember them. I mean, I remember them, but not their names. It's a combination of getting older by the minute and the number of bona-fide members climbing towards the 500 mark.

The club's newest midget members - 'Paris' and 'Pippin,' while awake.

Whine, whine, whine. While I have time for this when writing this club 'report' - there's no one else here to hear it except me - I don't at the meeting. Tomoko Yokomitsu, who lives in Paris and is an actress, arrives. A young man arrives and sits opposite Tomoko. He is a friendly guy who says his name is Jason.

On account of Scoop rattling his 'Paris Turf,' the racing paper, I find it hard to hear Jason's last name. A police car with its siren howling goes by outside and I have to ask him again. Third time, I get up and go over so he can shout in my ear. 'Jason Hraynyk' he shouts, from Toronto, Ontario. Hey! Jason is member number 70, and he signed the members' booklet on 24. May 2000.

Scoop says it wasn't worth betting today because the favorite at Auteuil was likely to win. Berta asks him if there's anything interesting running on Friday. With the clock still standing at 15:04, Edna and Bob Bradley have also arrived. A certain time passes in confusion which includes the 'Waiter of the Week' taking orders and me looking for a new chair.

Something zips by on the fringe of my vision, and Willy the Sparrow makes a perfect landing on the marble floor, to look in vain for crumbs. Edna asks if it is true that it is forbidden to feed the pigeons.

It is. I explain about the Ville de Paris controlled-rent apartment building for pigeons in the 14th arrondissement. About how there is some kind of pigeon birth-control program attached to it. If US conservatives find out about this, they'll get President Bush to cut the subsidies to farmers who export food to France, so this is hush-hush.

Edna is confused. She saw a lady feeding pigeons five-day -old baguettes, but when Edna tried to feed them some fairly fresh crumbs she was warned against doing it. Yesterday I saw a lady dump an entire Monoprix shopping bag full of crumbs on some pigeons behind the Institut de France.

Laurel Avery comes in with two new members who arrived only recently in France. These are her dogsphoto: glasses Paris' and 'Pippin,' who immediately fall asleep. She says, "It's a two dog day."

Continued on page 2...
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