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The 'Find' of the Week

photo: gary, jim, joe, diana, laurel, eva, lewis, nancy

This Week's 'Group of 8 Photo of the Week.'

Say What? What 'Find?'

Paris:– Thursday, 22. January 2004:– I don't need today's Le Parisien or tonight's TV–weather news to tell that the weather is as bad as it can get. Looking right out my window I can see the clouds settling on the Tour Montparnasse like a video–gas attack. Going, going, gone.

Every time it has disappeared before, it has always come back. It's the same thing today. Now you don't see it and now you do. But what is this wierd weather? Are we on some low Alp? Most of the time the clouds behave. They stay up there, wherever it is that clouds are, when they're sliding over Paris. These clouds today – they're in our face.

They must be so thick that they're stacked–down from up there. Not exactly a situation that can be shown on the two–dimensional TV–weather news. They should have shown umbrellas with windshield wipers.

So much for today. Tomorrow is expected to be cloudy, with Le Parisien giving it one half of a sunball half–hiddenphoto: tea ceremony by a black cloud. Expect a temperature from six to nine. I dunno. If the coming Atlantic front moves a bit briskly, you'll need to get up early to half see some half– hearted sunbeams.

Crummy–weather tea ceremony at the club.

For Saturday's first–ever Chinese New Year parade on the Champs– Elysées, we are being offered partly sunny – again depending on a cooperating breeze from the Atlantic. High temperature is predicted to be nine too.

The forecast for Sunday – this is a real long–range prediction – calls for more signs of sunlight. The trade–off will be a temperature dump to six. After watching the parade all afternoon on Saturday, and staying up late to see the Tour Eiffel bathed in red light – maybe staying in and eating hot soup all day Sunday will be the day's prime activity. It's your call.

The 220th Club Meeting 'Report' of the Week

I only made it by a whisker. On the first try to get to the club meeting I found that my plastic's PIN number was missing from my memory. So I thought I'd chance it, until my memory remembered that I'd forgotten to bring Métro tickets.

You can be without one or the other, but not without both, so I had to go back to square–one. On the second try I notice the weather. On account of the low cloud the drizzle isn't 'falling,' it is drifting into my face from all directions. If I had an umbrella it would need windshield wipers.

My Métro train is aggressive. It'sphoto: waters of the week on the tail of one everybody thinks is the last one. Mine slams into the stations, and because everybody has squeezed into the preceding one, mine takes on its couple of passengers and slams its doors shut and bolts out of the station. Then it slams to a red–light stop. Then, bing! – and we're off and racing to the next station.

Arriving at Châtelet is a relief. I've gained back the time I've lost, but I started late anyway, so I scuttle through the drizzle–slick alleys to the Pont Neuf. There's nobody around, and the Quai du Louvre is deserted. Luckily, I brought Le Parisien to read.

The 'Waters of the Week' weren't all outside.

Thus guaranteeing that I'll never even get it out of the bag. The club's café La Corona is next–to–empty, with a total of 3.5 people in its 'grande salle.' Within three minutes there are, counting myself, 6.5 people. Nancy Macklin arrives with Jim from San Diego, both already club members.

Jim from San Diego is not the 'half' person. When he joined the club last year he requested that his name and face be kept out of the club report. We settled for keeping the name confidential, because a 'face' in the 'Group Photo of the Week' is so small, not even a mother with a microscope would recognize an only child.

While the sitdown happens Jim says he wants to sit with his back to the wall. It is on account of an old family traditionphoto: club's home boy he explains. Nothing bad has happened since his great–grandfather, but being careful can't hurt. Jim sits where he can watch all doors and windows.

Nancy asks if Marilee McClintock is really in Micronesia. Half the people say she is, and the other half want to know where she really is. Marilee, if you are reading this, please clear up your whereabouts. The Peace Corps Web site wouldn't tell me where you are.

The club's new 'Homie' from South LA, shown twice his real size.

Club member Joe Fitzgerald arrives next. Joe was present at five club meetings last year, some at the beginning of the year and at others in July. Jim and Joe agree that Joe should have brought an apartment in Paris two years ago, when the dollar was on top and prices here were not. The situation is reversed now.

Joe has rented an apartment here year–round for years. He says its light in the bathroom doesn't workphoto: club's home girl anymore. It is in an old building, but a nearby Monoprix has lots of candles. Nancy and Joe are delighted to discover that they both live – or lived – in St. Louis.

Club member Eva Lee is the next to arrive. Eva does not seem to have her 'Bonjour Sally' sign with her this week. Everybody else present is delighted to learn that Eva lives most of the year in Tranquility, New Jersey.

Companion for 'Homie,' named 'Tomoko II.' Also larger than life.

I notice that Jim doesn't do the standard club handshake. He got a finger on his right hand wrecked – by a sloppy driver in San Diego – when his airbag exploded, protecting him from serious injury. He is going to have to take it into the shop for re–education.

On the subject of public transport, Joe says he walks to the club meetings. He says he also walks when he goes to Chicago. Apparently there are no walks of interest in St. Louis.

At this point in time – actually the exact time is unknown – new member Gary le la Rosa from South Los Angeles arrives, to, as he says, 'to cause trouble.' I give him a abbreviated version of his club 'rights.' Gary knows the club has 'no rules.' It is not a democracy – there are only 'rights,' and no 'rules' or 'gottas.'

"South Los Angeles," Gary says when I ask, "Is south of Washington." There are club members from the Hollywood part of Los Angeles, and from a vague area known as Orange County, but I've never heard of South Los Angeles before. According to Gary, who works for the city – founded in 1781 – there are many parts to Los Angeles, each much bigger than Paris – and most with more palm trees.

Club members Diana Rushing and Lewis Rosenthal arrive. They are followed by member Laurel Robinson. I don't know when this happens because as soon as they've shaken hands all around and found seats, there are three club sub–meetings going on.

Nancy and Eva both know the Red Baron wine shop, over by the Marché Aligre, in the 12th arrondissement. Jim knows it too. When he goes in with an empty wine bottle they won't fill it up like they do for everyone else. Jim doesn't feel like saying exactly why not.

A lot of club meeting conversation deals with members telling each other about their 'finds.' This is too complicated to include in these 'reports.' If you want details, you should come to club meetings. I doze a bit.

Gary passes over a little figurine, about 44 millimetres high. He says it is a 'homeboy' or 'hommie.' It is too small to be a doudou and it is not furry. Gary passes over another, slightly shorter, and says it is Tomoko. He's right – it does look vaguely like Tomoko. Hearing her name, everybody else asks where Tomoko is.

Tomoko Yokomitsu is one of the few club members who turns up at meetings without being at them. Tomokophoto: club's group space in corona is a famous French movie star, so everybody wants to know everything about her. As club secretary, all I can say is that she is not here 'in person,' but as this figurine of herself.

Today, at the club in the café, La Corona.

Joe tells me what he eats for breakfast. Lewis says he is sleeping a lot. I am too, so I attempt to poll all members present to find out if everybody is sleeping a lot, or it's just something that a few of us – me and Lewis – will admit to. Joe will admit to getting lost in cities where he has never been before.

We get the 'Group Photo of the Week' somehow, with hardly any grumbling. I write 'we' because it takes eight members and the club's secretary to do it, and 'grumbling' because all members are comfortable sitting where they are.

On doing the goodbyes I absent–mindedly shake Jim's hand. What a terrible gaff! On the way out of the club's café, I catch up with Gary who is treating himself to a medium–sized Cuban cigar. Just the item to have, in a Paris drizzle while crossing the Seine by way of the Pont des Arts, to the Quartier Latin.

Forget the 'Soldes d'Hiver' On Saturday

This year's Soldes d'Hiver in Paris continue. The final day of this annual shopping fête will be Saturday, 7. February, so you can take this Saturday off and go to the Champs–Elysées to see its first–ever Chinese New Year parade. For dessert, take an ogle of the all–red Tour Eiffel too.

About the Café Metropole Club's About Page

This 'report' about today's club meeting is neither more or less garbled than others, but you might not have read some of thephoto: dish full of money other truly neat 'reports.' The 'About the Café Metropole Club' page may clear up some mystery in this area if you think you have to know what this is about, but the 'About' page says less than all.

Leftovers, for the club's 'Waiter of the Week.'

One vital remains fact – whatever you may think, there are not lots of others. You can become a lifetime member of this online magazine's free, live, and real club by simply becoming a member by attending any of its meetings in Paris, for free. This is a huge value for 'free' no matter how you slice the old tarte des pommes.

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

The weekly club meetings start about 15:00 sharp, always on a Thursday, and sort of continue until about 17:00 or later, in the European Time of Paris' Rotten Winter – which is really 'CET' for short and not 'les horribles temps d'hiver' although perfectly true – and elsewhere known as 3 pm to 5 pm. All of these meetings happen is Paris, except for rare ones in New York.

Doing something at a meeting – like arriving – is encouraged. True 'firsts' are welcome, with 'first' having a slight edge in 'report' value over 'true.' Don't get the wrong idea – 'true' is fine too. This may be a French–type 'exception,' which are used when actual laws are too tedious.

If you prefer to be 'not found' on thegraphic: club location map Internet, be sure let the club's secretary know – before you forget. If necessary you can even be at a meeting and not be at it, 'report–wise.' Former 'rules' have ceased and have been removed from the club's chronicles except for the ones still online. All 'exceptions' to any other 'rules' have been temporarily suspended forever, unlike some French laws.

Talking in foreign languages like Ozzie at meetings is fine. If there's a free chair sit wherever you like, or haul one over from another part of the café. 'Sitting' is optional. Whatever you say may be truly appreciated by the other members present, if they are listening, which some actually do sometimes – and by all readers of this online magazine, if it happens to be written here, as some of it is part of the time. All of it is never written here sometimes.*

*The above paragraphs are unchanged since Friday, 21. January 1937 because today is Chinese New Year.

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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