...Continued from page 1

Berta remembers getting lost going to the races at Deauville and only realizing it when they figured out they were in a line of cars waiting to board a cross–channel ferry.

While Berta explains how they got out of that one, Scoop goes out to the terrace to see if it's suitable for the 'Group Photo of the Week.' It is 16:00 and the 'Waiter of the Week' turns up with my double–espresso.

And this is when Steve Camera–Murray arrives. He agreeably divulges his 'why' and 'wherefores,' adding that he works only for dollars. Everybody remembers the sorry state of them again. Steve's job has been so delocalized that Berta comments, "Steve is the last guy standing."

Scoop asks for an explanation about the 'shareware' aspect of 'keeping Metropole flying.' Berta listens carefully and then proposes that the club's secretary should also be its treasurer. "Of a free club?" I wonder.

Then Scoop shortcuts the whole elaborate 'shareware' scheme by making a cash contribution. Sharon and Elliott have already done their part the traditional way, because they live only two miles from Kagi in Berkeley. I am overwhelmed to be so honored.

Diana Rushing and Lewis Rosenthalphoto: italian hat of the week arrive. They used to arrive from Austin, Texas, but today they are coming from the Rue Cler. This couple has been in Paris since August, but they've been going to the Alliance Française for French lessons on Thursdays. Lewis adds some class to the club by wearing his 'Hat of the Week' to it. It is a snappy Italian job.

The 'Italian Hat of the Week' with Lewis underneath.

Berta complains mildly about their apartment's cave. It is already full she says. Pretty soon they'll have to sell everything in it, so they can buy more things at the auctions at Drouot to put in it.

We join Scoop on La Corona's terrace just as the sun is about to sink below the silhouette of the Institut de France. Of the three 'Group Photos of the Week,' less and less of Scoop is seen in each one. I do not notice this on account of peering sharply, to make sure all eyeballs are open.

The last to arrive today in Lauren Camera–Murray, who is coming from the class where she teaches English. With her she has brought the remains of a huge box of chocolates that her students gave her. There are enough for all club members, and a couple of spares extra for Steve.

No Meeting on Christmas Day

Next Thursday is Christmas Day and the club's café La Corona will be closed. For this reason therephoto: pile of cash of the week will be no club meeting next week. The following Thursday, on 1. January 2004, is New Years Day. The café La Corona will be open and the first meeting of the new year will be held in it. Don't miss this once–only true 'first' if you can help it.

The collection for the 'Waiter of the Week.'

Today's meeting, number 216, has therefore been the last one in 2003. On behalf of the entire Café Metropole Club's staff – Ric, 'Ed' and the secretary, I wish all readers and club members a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. If at all possible, try to be 'standing' for the club's next meeting.

The 'Soldes d'Hiver' Alert

The official version about the dates for the Soldes d'Hiver in Paris is now official. The starting date has been decreed to be Wednesday, 7. January, and the final day will be Saturday, 7. February 2004.

Club Members and Readers Like You

Making voluntary contributions of support for Metropole will ensure that the magazine and the Café Metropole Club continue forever. Take a look at the new 'Keep Metropole Flying' page and do what you can today if you can.

The free club membership is free, as is its free membership card. The Café Metropole Club's ex–rules and various disallowed 'exceptions' forbid actual membership 'dues,' without actually being a 'rule.' Consider both the magazine and the Café Metropole Club to be forms of computer software that can continue to develop thanks to your support.

The 'About the Café Metropole Club' About Page

This 'report' about today's club meeting may seem to be somewhat more incoherent than others, but you might not have read some of the other, stranger, 'reports.' The 'About the Café Metropole Club' page might explain more if you are curious to learn what this is supposed to be about, but maybe it won't.

One other vital fact – whatever you may think, there are few - is worth remembering. You can become a lifetime member of this online magazine's free, live, and real club by simply becoming a member during any of its meetings in Paris, for free. This is a lot of value for 'free' because it doesn't cost much.

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

The weekly club meetings start about 15:00 sharp, on most Thursdays, and run on until about 17:00, in the European Time of Paris Zone – which is really 'CET' for short and not 'les vrais temps d'hiver' – LVTd'H – and elsewhere known as 3 pm to 5 pm. The only part of the world where these meetings happen is Paris.

Doing anything at a meeting - like arriving - is tolerated, if not actually encouraged. True 'firsts' are welcome, with 'first' having a greater 'report' value than 'true.' Don't get the wrong idea – 'true' is fine too. This is French-type 'exception,' because it's a 'rule' with an exception.

If you prefer to be 'not found' ongraphic: club location map the Internet, be sure let the club's secretary know – before it's too late. If necessary you can even be at a meeting and not be at it, officially. 'Rules' have ceased being and are still 'ex–rules.' All 'exceptions' to any other 'rules' have been temporarily suspended forever.

The 'Map of the Week' is identical to last week's.

Talking in foreign languages at meetings is fine. If there's a free chair sit wherever you like, or haul one over from another part of the café. Whatever you say may be truly appreciated by the other members present, if they are listening, which they actually do sometimes – and by all readers of this online magazine, if it happens to be written here, as some of it is sometimes.*

*The above paragraphs are unchanged since last week because this week's nearly instant club 'report' is almost a day late.

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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