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''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."

She also says she did two paintings on Monday, and these are more than she ever got done in six months in Santa Fe. She adds that Monday's paintings took her a long time because she had to wait for paint to dry before adding more. I remember that Monday was not a fast paint- drying day too.

These could have been the 'Drinks of the Week' if anybody remembered what they were.

Jason tells me about ice skating at Chantilly. This is a winter sport there like it is in Paris in front of the Hôtel de Ville. I tell him there is a year-round ice rink at Bercy. He says speaking Parisian French in Québec is not a way to make instant friends, and speaking any kind of French in Toronto isn't greatly appreciated. Jason has decided to stay in Paris where the French he's learning will not be sneered at.

Elizabeth and Roy Trew arrive and take up seats at the far end of the tables. Roy says they had the 'gold ring' game pulled on them three times in two days.

Here is how it works. Elizabeth and Roy were walking along in one of Paris' parks - there's hundreds of them - and did not particularly notice a lady walking towards them. Just as they were about to pass, the approaching lady bent down and picked up something from the pathway.

She said, "Madame, you have just dropped your ring" - and held up a gaudy golden-colored bauble. The lady asked the Trews to look at the ring. They did.

The lady said it was a very find gold ring. Roy, to be agreeable, agreed that it did look like a very fine gold ring. The ring lady tried to give it to Elizabeth. "Here is your ring - take it!"

As soon as Elizabeth touched it, the lady said, "Now give me my reward!"

Roy did not say exactly how they got out of that one. He didn't have the ring to show me either. But getting out of the next two was easier because they knew what was coming. While it is true that seeing coins lying around on the ground in Paris is not rare, seeing gold rings is.

To illustrate this, I immediately ask everybody to show me their gold rings, for a photo. Nobody, absolutelyphoto: group, interior nobody, is wearing a gaudy gold ring. There are fine-looking rings, some with discrete diamonds, but nothing gaudy like ones you get out of gum machines. I spike the gold-ring photo idea.

Another view of some of us at today's meeting.

More new members arrive, and have difficulty fitting in. These are Susan and Ken Wagner from Seattle, Washington. I explain the lack of club 'rules' to them. Ken says clubs with no rules are the only kind he likes, but he doesn't belong to many. None in fact, until today.

Berta is gathering her shopping bags together so I hector everyone into leaping up for the 'Group Photo of the Week.' The 'Waiter of the Week' begins to collect money for the drinks, even though most of us are coming back. Confusion is total with 15 members present. Willy has long since flown the coop.

Outside, on the café's terrace, the sun is fierce. The red parasols are producing red-tinged shadows. It is an exposure nightmare. It is also rush-hour hour and traffic noise is deafening. The members arrange themselves as best they can, but the ones in the rear are in the shade of the café's interior. It will not be the best 'Group Photo of the Week,' but it has been a kind of a crazy meeting.

Here is a final thought from Roy Trew, before he picks up the new Renault buy-back car he's bought and goes off on a three-month ride around Europe - "With careful planning, it costs no more to spend six months in Europe than staying home."

I can only add this - Roy is probably right, if your 'home' isn't some place like Paris. But, hey, I'm just kidding. Paris is less expensive than New York, so long as you don't pay rent in either place.

The 'About the Café Metropole Club' About Page

Being a member of this club is more fun than reading a club report might lead you to believe, if you can believe it. If you are in the mood, you canphoto: willy the sparrow read the 'About the Café Metropole Club' page too. It will tell you no more than you need to about the club, including how few 'rules' it has. But if this information seems redundant in advance, reading the rest of this issue will not enlighten you further.

Not the only member not to sign the members' booklet.

There is only one other fact worth noting. 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. I admit this is a longish 'fact,' but it really is the only one.

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

Weekly club meetings start about 15:00 sharp on Thursdays and continue until 17:00, in the European Zone of Paris Time - which is really 'CET' for short and not 'PToEZ' - and elsewhere known as 3 pm to 5 pm in rare two-times-12-hour areas of the planet. Paris is the only part of the world where these happen.

Doing nothing 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 french-type 'exception.'

If you prefer to be 'not found' on the Internet, please let the club's secretary know before you become mildly famous. 'No rules' have ceased being an 'exception' or an 'ex-rule.' There were some other 'exceptions,' formerly called 'rules,' but these are timelessly invalid.

Talking in multiple languages at meetings is okay. Dancing may be permitted too. The server-lady has done it, twice, without music. 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 always.*

*The above paragraphs are unchanged since last week on account of this week's club meeting 'report' lacking any visible 'Crumbs of the Week' for poor Willy the Sparrow.

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