horz line

''Magic Still Happens Here''

photo: john, terri, steve, sydney, ana, tomoko, barry, laurel, lauren, lauren, philip

Not the only 'Group Photo of the Week.'

One Lauren, Two Laurels

Paris:- Thursday, 25. September 2003:- Sacrebleu! Monday's weather forecast, which I see I softened somewhat - to be not too alarming! - compared to the nasty images on the TV-weather news - well, it has turned out to be a lot less nasty than even my softened version.

For one thing, the sky has been pretty blue all over, and even, I presume, at night. Yes, there have been slightly chilly breezes, but not too disagreeable at all. It might have even been over 20 degrees yesterday and this wasn't in the forecast I passed along.

The dilemma now, is how to present the next forecast? First off, warmer temperatures are predicted. To be around 20 or a bit more. This is to go along with mostly sunny for tomorrow, semi-sunny for Saturday, and semi-mi-mi- crummy for Sunday, but always with these comfortable - 'for the time of year' - temperatures.

Oops. Big oooops! I wrote the forecast on the wrong days, by using the weather maps from Wednesday's newspaper.

photo: speed beer of the weekHere is the revised forecast. Tomorrow has 'zones of shadows.' Friday will not be 'really famous.' And Sunday, oh, Sunday. Le Parisien says, 'Dirty end of the weekend.'

Today's first 'Speedy Beer of the Week.'

This kind of reminds me of the gloomy forecast here last Monday. It was not as bad as predicted, and we have tonight's forecast for higher temperatures. If it does manage to rain on Sunday, it shouldn't be too cold. It's a comforting thought. But I wonder when the heat is going to be turned on inside.

The 204th Club Meeting 'Report'

I am going to skip the rigamarole of writing about riding the Métro to Châtelet this week, because from underground one sees no blue sky. There are other things to see, but sky isn't one of them until resurfacing at Châtelet. My walk through some of Paris' oldest streets and alleys to the club's café is without incident too, except there is blue sky overhead.

The Quai du Louvre is decked with it too. For a change the terrace of La Corona has more than a sprinkling of folks lounging around on its terrace. Some sort of French 'exception' causes young Monsieur Naudan to remark that there are very few 'Americans' around.

This may be true, but I can't tell. It seems to me that more of them are gathering at club meetings - even thoughphoto: full table not all members are 'Americans.' The more I expect fewer members to show up, the more they confound me. So I try to cheer Monsieur Naudan up with the good news. I think it makes him more gloomy than ever.

There are no members in the café's 'grande salle' when I get to my official secretary's slot just before 15:00. But I do not exactly get a chance to sit down before Ana Escomel beats me to it, beating 15:00 too.

Typical view of club's table today. A mess!

Something like five seconds before the hour, Terri Minami and John Lawton arrive and sit down while I am still suspended halfway between vertical and folded. They are respectively members 98 and 99, having joined the club in September of 2000. They also attended a meeting the following year at the same time.

While I am trying to remember this a 'man-in-black' strolls in from the terrace. I noticed him there just before stopping to talk to Monsieur Naudan. I thought he might be a scout for some big outfit looking for a reasonably alert club secretary.

He is, in fact, a club member. It is Philip Bentley who joined two weeks ago. Not many members come to meetings wearing dark suits, or suits of any color. It is so rare that it is today's first 'first' even though I think it happened once before, sometime back in the dim mists of time.

Philip tells me he isn't related to the car firm. He says BMW is. When I worked at BMW they had Isetta and probably never dreamed they'd have Bentley one day, or the Mini. Yes - Minis have gotten big and snazzy because they are made by BMW now. The way things are going, don't be surprised to see a Mini as big as a Mercedes 600 one day. They'll call it 'Mini and Huge and Fast.'

Philip says he is wearing a suit because he is looking for a job in 'IT.' John says he just retired from a job in 'IT.' John is not wearing a suit. Philip says he didn't expect it to be as warm as it was yesterday. Neither did I.

He says it must be 'Indian Summer.' He is from London and any sunshine after 15. August and before 31. Decemberphoto: red tab is called 'Indian Summer' even if it only lasts for a half hour. In France we are more fussy because it must last for a whole day sometime after 15. September and before 25. September.

Special money dish designed for windy meetings.

Ana wants to know about opening a bank account in France. Philip says it can be done with money, at least eight different pieces of paper like electricity bills, and more money. He does add though, that the first bank you try may not care for your money. He says some banks are fussy, but another branch will usually do it.

Lauren and Steve Camera-Murray arrive. Lauren sits down but Steve can't make up his mind whether he's going to stand or sit. He says he contacted the movie people who were looking for soldier-type 'men-in-black' last week. He says they were really enthusiastic but they neglected to tell him where or when to show up.

At 15:20 Willy the Sparrow flies in for his first sweep of the bread crumb situation. A minute later new member Laurel Robinson arrives. No, this is not right. Laurel Robinson arrived at 15:00 - and it is Lauren and Steve at 15:21.

Laurel lives in San Francisco, but really comes from Telluride, Colorado, now known as the 'City of the Week.' Tomoko Yokomitsu has come in too, but no time of arrival is noted. Philip says he didn't find anything more about the real date of the Queen's birthday. This is okay because the Queen Mary II started its sea trials today.

I only note members' times of arrival so I can make some sense of these notes. You may sense that this plan doesn't work too well.

Ana is comparing experiences - fond memories - with Philip about Harry's New York Bar in Singapore. It seems like the two of them have been in most of the world's Harry's Bars, except in New Zealand. "But Angelika has probably been to that one," Ana says.

Lauren says she has started up her own 'Easyanglais' service for teaching English to people who don't speak it. She is a fast worker - only last week she was still learning how to teach English. Steve says they wish they could have used 'Speakeasy' but it has already been used.

It has. I thought up the name 'Speakeasy' for a French publisher in 1978 or 1979, to use for a magazine for French schoolkids learning English. It's probably still being published even if I haven't heard anything about it for some time.

Philip is a flying fan. He says he prefers to fly back and forth between London and Paris, even through Eurostar has lopped 20 minutes off the time it takes for the journey. They finally got their high-speed tracks working from the Chunnel to London, after about ten years.

British Airways has big posters in Métro stations this week advertising a price of something like 29.95€ for the flight from Paris to London. In much smaller type the ad says the real price is 53€.

Philip says that BA is trying to tell us secretly that 'airport taxes' are too high, or that BA is trying to 'stem'photo: tomoko, barry, terri, philip, laurel demand. Philip flies a lot and he reels off several stories about airlines that advertise flying from here to there, but don't have any planes flying from here to there because they are too busy flying from there to somewhere else.

A fragment of today's 'group,' shot from the café's terrace.

With all the airlines going belly-up in France it occurs to me I should buy one, to fly from nowhere to nowhere, but collect all the airport taxes I can get my hands on. I could tell passengers their baggage isn't lost because it is nowhere, and then demand 29.95€ airport tax.

This is about how the meeting is going, when at 15:30 member Barry Wright arrives together with member Laurel Avery. Without particularly thinking about it one way or the other, Laurel takes a seat in the club's area next to Laurel.

This is a true 'first!' A really major 'first.' This is the first meeting - out of 204! - in the history of the club, with one Lauren and two Laurels present. I may as well tear the meeting notes into confetti and throw them on the floor for Willy the Sparrow to peck through.

Laurel A is delighted to meet Laurel R and Lauren C-M is equally delighted when she finds out she is a major unit of this triple-header of a 'first.'

Barry Wright, who is not wearing aphoto: yellow tab, coins suit, says he is looking at a part-time job in the area of artificial intelligence, or 'AI,' as it is known in the game. He says this was something he had something to do with ten or 20 years ago when it looked like it had a future.

This money dish shows how coins keep paper from being blown away.

He says it sort of dribbled away to 'not much' after the coders hacked away at it for several years, before coming to the conclusion that there isn't any way to code intuition - which is what some lucky people use instead of intelligence. You can't, it seems, trick transistors into having hunches.

But people are still trying. Barry, on the other hand, is convinced that Paris is the place to live. "Because," he says, "Magic still happens here."

I have to agree with this because it is time to get the 'Group Photo of the Week.' The same problems apply to this meeting's effort as last week's with the difference that now 11 people have to fit into the same-sized little photo as last week's eight members.

Bright sun and dark shadows cause their usual problems. I forget to tell everybody to keep their eyes open at the same time and I forget to mention the dance step of the week. When it is over I have enough shots to make a reasonably true composite photo of most of the members at today's magical meeting.

The 'About the Café Metropole Club' About Page

Being a member of this club is a lot more fun than writing a club meeting report. It would be easier if the notes madephoto: red tab, 10 euro note more sense. Read the 'About the Café Metropole Club' page anyway. It will not tell you a dot more than you need to about the club, including how few 'rules' it has. Even if you feel a need to know more than this, this is all there is.

And this one shows the correct use of the spring-loaded clamp thing.

Only one other fact is worth noting. You can become a lifetime member of this online magazine's live, free and real club by simply attending any of its meetings in Paris. Although this is a longish 'fact,' it is nearly really the only one of any length.

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

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 'ZBOFA' - and elsewhere known as 3 pm to 5 pm. Paris is the only part of the world where these meetings 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.' See the Lauren-Laurel-Laurel example above. 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 for a week. 'No rules' have ceased being an 'exception' or an 'ex-rule.' There were some other timeless 'exceptions,' formerly called 'rules,' but these have landed in the left-luggage locker of history.

Talking in multiple languages at meetings is fine. Dancing may be permitted too. 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 because magic still happens here, sometimes.

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

horz line
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