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"How Do People Find the Club?"

photo: group of 11 photo of the week

Today's 'Group of 11 Photo of the Week.'

For Starters, It's Not Lost

Paris:– Thursday, 15. January 2004:– Since the last weather 'prediction' on Tuesday, it has been raining buckets of frogs, right up until sometime early this morning, when a half-moon starting blazing in the night sky over Paris.

This was followed by total sunshine this morning. I looked at where I thought there would be clouds piled on top of clouds, and thought, 'just you wait!' Instead of beginning to pour buckets of frogs, it merely got cloudier as the day shifted from light into sundown about 17:19.

We have been having some pretty breezy winds, so the clouds have been whipping past overhead like fluffy rockets. One minute it's a black one, then a bit of blue shows, to be quickly followed by seriously wet ones.

Apparently this frantic activity is to relent a bit. For the next two days there will be breezes from the Atlantic, but tomorrow afternoon should have fewer clouds and maybe some sign of sunlight. The temperate is predicted to be 9 degrees.

Windy Saturday should even be somewhere between partly to mostly sunny, but at a cost of two degrees. Sunday, with no wind–arrows, should be even bright, but even colder, with a forecast high of 4 degrees. All temperature mentions are in 'C' for Continental, of course.

Curious readers have asked me why Paris, which lies so much further north – on a line about even with Gander in Newfoundland – than the New York region, has such a mild climate.

Tomorrow's forecast for the New York area calls for a low of 11 degrees and a high of 14 degrees. Both of these figures are for 'F' degrees, and correspond to –12 and –8 on the 'C' scale. My best guess is that Cuba has shifted the Gulf Stream to favor Paris, because Paris has lots of Cuban music.

Today's 219th Club Meeting 'Report'

This starts out with the usual Métro ride to Châtelet and the usual stroll along the Rue de Rivoli, and the usual inspection of the Pont Neuf area. 'Nothing to report' is the result, except for the sidewalk being torn apart, so I arrive at the club's café La Corona somewhat earlier than usual.

The bar area of the café has more café staff than clients, the little side room has two clientsphoto: dimitri, alvin and the 'grande salle' has three clients, so there is a huge lot of room for today's members – but I've neglected to bring Le Parisien to read if there aren't any.

Dimitri watches Alvin pretending not to fall asleep.

Turns out, it doesn't matter. Barry Wright shows up before 15:00 and shows me the 'suitably–sized' café mug he's treating himself to. This is to save him trips to the café across the street from where he lives. He says there is even a local café with bar stools, which makes passing the time with a café more comfortable and cheaper than sitting at a table.

He's right. The major wrong thing with bar stools is that they get in the way of serious café people who tend to stand near enough to the bar so they can handle their café thimbles handily. Sitting on a bar stool tends to take up twice as much space at the bar as standing solo. Add the sitters playing the ponies all day long, and you might as well find another café.

Today's first new member to arrive is Lisa Faibish from Manhattan. Lisa has been checking out the Musée de la Mode et du Textile in the Rue de Rivoli. She says it has more–better than – where? Lisa works at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, so she probably knows.

Barry says Santa Fe has its own opera. Barry and Lisa talk about the best places to ski. "It's safer in Colorado," Barry says. He also says he knows because he has kept lots of aprés–ski bar stools warm while others were risking lives and limbs.

Judy Peterson is the next new member to arrive. Judy lives in rain– drenched Redmond, Washington, after leavingphoto: cafe with chaser the Canadian winter horrors of New Rochelle, up the river a stretch from New York. Judy has been tipped to the Café Metropole Club's existence by members Eva Lee and Marilee McClintock.

According to recent club rumors, member Marilee McClintock is no longer in Agadir or Paris because she has returned to the Peace Corps to oversee its operations in Micronesia, which several members say is a big, mostly watery, place.

Small café – big chaser.

And this marks the end of the sensible nature of today's club report. Dennis Moyer arrives and says he being plagued by the nickname 'Daddy Warbucks,' and wants to return to his old nickname of 'Uncle Den Den.' Dennis has brought new member Alvin Stilman, from San Francisco.

Alvin is famous in the music world for his delicatessen in Detroit, which turned into 'Alvin's Twilight Bar' in the '80s. The place is still a Detroit musical landmark, but Alvin's most recent venture was the Cafe Barbar in San Francisco's Guerrero Street.

But before I learn this the missing member Eva Lee arrives, followed by Diana Rushing and Lewis Rosenthal, Laurel Avery and Dimitri Shipounoff.

Alvin's first official club question is, "Is Herb Finch a member?"

As club secretary I am supposed to answer, 'yes, Herb Finch, the club's only official explorer of Mongolia, has been a member since the meeting held on 16. October 2003.' But my brain does not have the search power of some software back at the office, so I don't know.

And members Barry Wright, Laurel Avery and Laurel Robinson – the double–Laurels – were at this particular meeting, but pretend not to hear Alvin's question. Wow! That 15–member club meeting number 207 was a tozzy!

Oops, I have neglected to note the arrival of Laurel Robinson. Dennis says, "I came here to change my name." Alvinphoto: diana, lewis, dennis wants to know how anybody manages to turn up at meetings. The 'Waiter of the Week' makes a signal that he is ready to bring the secretary's double–espresso if the secretary wishes. A nod gets it, but it gets cold before it is noticed on the table.

Diana, Lewis and Dennis focusing on club talk.
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