horz line

Ozone Dosen't Help

photo: group, jefferey t spaulding, laurel, barry, tomoko, steve

Gathered for the 'last ice cream' - Jefferey T. Spaulding, Laurel, Barry,
Tomoko and Steve - minus Lauren, again.

Our Big Stink

Paris:- Thursday, 9. October 2003:- I am glad to report here that Monday's whining snivel about unheated Paris paid off handsomely. On Tuesday morning heat was bravely filtering through the under-dimensioned plumbing into my two midget radiators, while the outside air temperature rose into a - admittedly low - double-digit zone, nearly fit for humans.

No point bringing up Tuesday's near-non-stop rain because the gutters swallowed it all and by Wednesday not a trace was left. That leaves us where we are now, at Thursday night, so here is the best forecast I can give you, based on scientific study on this morning's Le Parisien - not on strike today! - and this evening's TV-weather news.

For Friday we will have partly sunny skies and a high of 17 degrees. For Saturday we will havephoto: cafe mirror partly sunny skies and a high of 18 degrees. We get a bonus degree on account of Saturday being a weekend day.

Sunday's prediction is a proper dilly. One big sunball for most of France, including the Paris part of it, and a high temperature of 19 degrees is forecast. This is almost 20 degrees, and it is probably very much higher than is 'normal for the time of the year. It might not seem much to you, but nobody here is going to sneer at it.

Unofficially, Le Parisien also thinks Monday will be super too, with a replay of Sunday, but with sneaky clouds moving in from the southwest - which might bring another degree of warmth. But this is too long-range to be reliable. At this time of year we can't trust the northwest sector to remain indifferent to our good cheer.

The One and Only 206th Club Meeting 'Report'

Although it is not sunny today I leave the Métro at Saint-Germain so I can walk through the Quartierphoto: ice cream, laurel Latin to the clubhouse located in the café La Corona. After six months of bashing Parisian left-bank intellectuals by the neo-cons supporting President Bush's war on Iraq, the conservative French government is now blaming Parisian left-bank intellectuals for everything that they perceive to be wrong with France, going back to the Révolution.

Therefore, the purpose of my little stroll today is to see if there are any signs of ink blots or blood stains on the sidewalks or in the thousand year-old alleys that are sometimes called streets in this part of the funky western world.

Laurel well into jumbo ice cream vase

But I see no wild-eyed lefties handing out leaflets, no barricades, no protestors of any kind, no police, no beggars, no starving artists, and hardly any illegaly-parked cars. There are the usual white-haired ladies walking their well-groomed miniature zuzu dogs, there are some shoppers wandering around with lists in hand, and there are the usual gaggle of art biz and publishing biz types hanging out at La Palette.

After the intellectual uproar of the lower Rue de Seine I pass into the desert of the place in front of the Institut de France. Its stone paving has so little contrast that it seems like smoothly-poured concrete. The Left Bank is playing it cool today.

So I cross the Pont des Arts and go to the club's café and say 'hiya' to the patron, Monsieur Naudan, the younger. He says nothing is happening. But in the café's 'grande salle,' there are about eight late luncheoners taking up the club's location.

Patrick, the club's 'Waiter of the Week,' has the situation under control and I hardly have my coat off before he has uprooted the civilians, collected their money and seen them out the door.

However, in a dashing move, before I can transfer the club's paraphernalia from a temporary table, members Laurel Avery and Barry Wright swoop in and take the secretary's spot, facing the room. Before I can make it a threesome, Tomoko Yokomitsu swoops in and does it first. it is a 'fait accompli.' So much for arriving five whole minutes early.

In the fraction of a second between the two sets of arrivals, Laurel and Barry have corralled Patrick and ordered 'chocolat liègois' from him. I hear him confirm that they know what this is, and by the time Tomoko has removed her coat, Patrick is back with two towering vases full of ice cream, chocolate and chantilly with a tube of cracker, saying, "My speciality - lots of chantilly!"

To cross the 't' or dot the 'i,' Tomoko switches her usual menthe and water order to grenadine and water, going from green to red.

Laurel and Barry's excuse is that they got lost looking for the W.H. Smith bookshop and had to hotfoot it back nearly all the way through the Tuileries to get to the club meeting on time. As Tomoko sips her very red grenadine, she tells Barry that specifically ordering a drink and dessert at the same time, is cheaper.

Laurel says she never ate ice cream when she was little, but seems to have no fear of her towering 'chocolat liègois' until she gets to a part that looks like vanilla ice cream. "What's this doing in here?"

Tomoko still thinks her turn with singles shopping last Thursday at Galeries Lafayette was a big hoot - "pas vraiment" - but is surprised to learn that the club's secretary heard her on Friday morning in an interview on radio France-Info and saw her on the France-3's Friday evening TV-news.

We all become aware that there is a huge stink in the club's area. It smells like burning rotten rope. Besides us, in the whole 'grande salle' of the café, there is exactly one other customer, sitting right outside the club's area, in the café's smoking section.

i get up to reconnoiter, and see that this joker is smoking what looks like an ordinary cigarette. Barry thinks he may be smoking a Moroccan 'Casa 7' cigarette, which he claims are made with French tobacco and camel hair.

Laurel is still studying the white ice cream in her 'chocolat liègois' with distaste, and then she abandons it. Barry says his is too much to eat all of it. Nobody bothers telling Patrick he may have overdone his specialty.

Then all the members discuss movies they've seen. All new movies start on Wednesdays in Paris and they are talking about last week's starters - which the club's secretary won't see until theyphoto: ice cream, barry are shown on TV, in about three years. But Barry did see an 'avant-premiere,' of a James Ivory movie called 'Le Divorce.' Tomoko says she was an extra in this movie.

The 'avent-premiere' was arranged by the American Library. Barry says there might have been 500 Americans in the audience for the showing at the Bercy multiplex. But he didn't think a lot about its characters, commenting that 'Santa Barbara types and their French equivalents may have something in common, but not much with us.'

Despite appearances, Barry is not playing with his share.

Another movie called 'Janis et John' gets its discussion too, mainly because of grim news surrounding its real characters. This is a movie that the public won't get to see until 15. October, but its ads have been around for weeks. This may backfire - the 'rule' here is the ads only run for a week before the film hits the 'salles.'

Talk turns, as it must, to California. Since the 'Governator,' as Barry puts it, won the strange election two days ago, events in California have become a topic in Paris. As for California's future, Barry says, "We'll have to wait-and-see." To which Tomoko says, "That means you'll have to stay here while waiting."

Steve Camera-Murray arrives and the first thing he says is that he didn't get the part. This was for the French military film, that scouted the club for extras a couple of weeks ago. Laurel didn't score with this either.

According to Steve it was a typical French movie - it was one than was being written as it was being cast. Steve started out as a 'journalist' but ended up failing as a CNN news anchor. He says he thinks the movie may be about some Iraqi who wants to become an American.

At three minutes to four Patrick delivers the secretary's café. Steve tells Tomoko that he didn't take her advice to lie about his acting credits. He says he will do it next time.

Even though Willy the Sparrow usually flies into every meeting about four, his on-time presence surprises some of the club members. I think Willy is a bit nervous about signing the members' booklet, but he does give it a good look from several angles.

Laurel says, about her film audition, "She said 'read this,' so I put on my glasses."

New member Jefferey T. Spaulding arrives and brings the club its 'City of the Week,' which is Corona, Queens, New York City. After living there for several decades he became a Astorian. He has done a bit of the club's questionnaire and the Paris thing he'd like to see changed or improved are the colors of its traffic lights - to red, blue and white.

Laurel gets a club 'point' for getting Jefferey T. Spaulding to join the club. She is the first one to get one of these 'points' so I am not at all sure what they are other than she's got one.

For this week's 'group Photo of the Week' we do not bother going outside because nearly all of the membersphoto: tomoko's genadine are sitting in the secretary's spot. This makes it easy to shoot them where they are, in sort of a 'last supper ' position, especially appropriate after the downing all the rations of 'chocolat liègois.'

Tomoko concocts a devilishly new cocktail.

No more than five minutes later, Lauren Camera-Murray arrives. I will have to try and remember to shoot the 'Group Photo of the Week' after 16:30 in the future, so than Lauren can be in it and I can run the risk of mixing her name up with Laurel's. Which I've just done, and corrected before anybody reading this has noticed.

Jefferey T. Spaulding is telling Laurel about a bit of business he's been doing and I put my nose into it. Jefferey T. Spaulding is in the fresh air business. His company makes small fresh air generators that are used for turning stinky air - like what we have at the club today - into air that has no smell.

I look over his brochure. There are two sizes of fresh air generator - both too big for an apartment. Too much fresh air isn't good either. They are meant to be installed inside, but he says that during the summer heatwave some were tested outside, attached to open garbage dumpsters in Queens that were getting a bit ripe.

Normally I would check the members' list carefully, but I think I can say that Jefferey T. Spaulding is the only member of the club who is in the fresh air game. This is, of course, another major club 'first.' Actually, there are no 'minor' club 'firsts,' because this is an equal opportunity club.

The 'About the Café Metropole Club' About Page

Writing a club meeting report is less fun than being a member, but somebody has to do it or you wouldn't know what is going onphoto: taking notes here. Read the 'About the Café Metropole Club' page anyway. It will tell you less than a great deal more about the club, and says how few 'rules' it has. If you think you need to know more than this, this is all there is.

Exchanging notes is a major club activity.

One other fact - there are only about two - is worth remembering. 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. If you know this, there's no point in asking about the other 'fact.'

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

The weekly club meetings start about 15:00 sharp on Thursdays and continue until about 17:00, in the European Zone of Paris Time - which is really 'CET' for short and not 'FaZBo' - and elsewhere known as 3 pm to 5 pm. Paris is the only part of the world where these meetings happen although there are lots of other cities with metric times.

Doing anything at a meeting is usually tolerated. True 'firsts' are more than welcome though,graphic: club location map with 'first' having a higher 'report' value than 'true.' Don't get me wrong - 'true' is okay too. See the 'ozone 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' and are still 'ex-rules.' There were some other timeless 'exceptions,' but these have been uncommunicated.

Talking in multiple languages at meetings is fine. Dancing may be permitted too. Whatever you say may 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. It depends.*

*The above paragraphs are unchanged since last week because Willy the Sparrow intends to sign the members' booklet someday.

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