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''Hi Mac!''

photo: group of 9 out of 15 members

Part of today's 'Group of the Week' – nine members
out of a total of 15.

The 'Old Lady Author's Society'

Paris:– Thursday, 18. March 2004:– For today's weather forecast I would rather predict the weather we've just had even though it will constitute cruel and unusual treatment for all readers who haven't been in Paris.

On Tuesday, as forecast, it was bright, sunny and warm. Warmer than it usually is before July. On Wednesday, it was brighter, sunnier and warmer – as much as it can be on one of July's better days. You can bet we loved it.

Today was definitely a lesser version – but far better that we could have expected from this morning's forecast in Le Parisien. It was supposed to be 18 degrees today. Since I didn't wear anything like a sweater, it was probably more.

So much of a good thing lasts only so long in Paris. With 'spring' to be officially here on Saturday, the weather is compelled to return to 'normal,' or rather, its usual, user unfriendly, subnormal behavior.

Fair breezes of 70 kph will be blowing from the southwest on Friday, to give us half–sunny skiesphoto: club mascot, carved by jay barrios that will deteriorate into half–cloudy skies. The high should not be one crumb above 15 degrees. It will feel colder than it is.

The club's howling hound mascot was hand–carved by Jay Barrios.

For the start of printemps on Saturday the skies will be all cloudy, winds of 50 kph are predicted, and temperatures of 15 are promised. While Sunday might be semi–sunny, there will be westerly wind puffs of 60 or 70 kph again. There must be something cold out there, because the high is only expected to be 13 degrees.

It is quite normal that I will be compelled to put on my winter sweater again, most likely beginning tomorrow. But last Tuesday and Wednesday were exceptional and I will no doubt remember them fondly, until about Monday – when Le Parisien's prediction calls for 10 degrees.

This Week's Only 'Club Report of the Week'

I'm skipping the usual blaf–blaf about the Métro ride to Châtelet for today's club report because today's meeting attendance totals 15 members – that I can remember – and seven of them are new members.

When I arrive in the café La Corona's 'grande salle,' Patrick the 'Waiter of the Week,' is shepherding two new members who have arrived earlier than the club's secretary, who is early because he hasn't written so much blaf–blaf about the routine Métro ride.

New member Anne Gotti is French, and is becoming a Parisienne by growing up in Saint–Germain–en–Laye, moving to Neuilly, and currently living in Levallois – which is no closer than Neuilly, but is more Parisian.

Anne is with her friend Elena Devos, who comes to us from Moscow. This, of course, makes Moscow the club's 'City of the Week.' Elena says she talked to her parents and they said last weekend's electionphoto: cassis perrier, drink of the week in Russia was 'very fair.' The turn–out of voters was very high if I remember news reports correctly.

But before much of this can be digested, Aloisia Roemers arrives. She says she got to Paris by way of Lyon, Brussels, Philadelphia, and Kentucky, after growing up in Sulphur, Louisiana.

Today's strange 'Drink of the Week.'

Jay Barrios, who has arrived with his daughter, Aliece Watts who lives in Forth Worth, Texas, is glad to hear there's someone else from his home state of Baton Rouge.

Meanwhile, Larry Frame, ex–resident of Seattle and now resident in the Marché Saint–Honoré, says, "Do we come here to watch people do homework?" He is referring to the new members signing themselves into the club's members booklet.

Aloisia and Jay are comparing their Louisiana accents. Aloisia says she hasn't spent much time in southern Louisiana. Larry wants to know if Elena can tell the difference between his accent and Jay's.

Jay begins to explain that he learned only French for the first five years of his life, but gets along with it fine in Québec and in Paris. Then he says something in deep Louisiana French that nobody can understand, except Aliece.

I explain to Elena that nobody has said anything in French yet. This is not in the right place, because everybody is talking at once, in some language. Larry says, "I meant in English."

Jay says the main difference is, "We don't talk as fast as you." Jay adds that everybody has been asking him for directions for finding shops in Paris. This happens to everybody, and I expect, like Jay, we tell everybody the wrong direction.

Elena and Anne have to go early. Nobody is ready for the ordeal of the 'Photo of the Week' yet, so they get their own photo together, on the club's beautiful bench seat.

Larry says, "There's no good bakery." He says he's looked everywhere around the Marché Saint–Honoré and hasn't found the right place yet. He is worried that there might not be one there. No 'good' bakery will tend to ruin his new apartment. It doesn't take long to get fussy in Paris.

New member Geoff Lewis arrives and has to sit a table and a half away. I don't hear his name correctly and mistake him for a new member who sent an email about coming, so I write Geoff's name as 'Jeff.' Also, I had my ears fixed yesterday, so they aren't working too good.

Diana Rushing and Lewis Rosenthal have arrived, I guess before Geoff, because Lewis has a curious–looking drink. When I ask he says it is Cassis with Perrier. Nobody knows what this is called, but it is the 'Drink of the Week' all the same.

Oops, Laurel Avery has also arrived, possibly before – or at the same time – as – Diana, Lewisphoto: anna gotti, elena devos and Geoff – but Laurel is not well. Her forehead is too cool. It is too warm to be as cool as it is. We tell her to go home, get in bed and drink a lot of hot thé à la menthe. It works for some people. For people who don't believe in it, it is worthless.

Anna from Levallois and Elena from Moscow.

Member Daniele Dupuis arrives. Last July she joined the club, with a little push from Tomoko Yokomitsu, who is about the only member not here today. But there's still lots of time.

I forgot. Geoff Lewis is from San Francisco and is not Lewis Rosenthal from Austin. Aloisia says she intends to learn German next, because her grandmother spoke it. I tell her German is easy to pronounce, after learning that all the letters are spoken – unlike French.

Diana says we should all be reading Julian Greene, because he lived in Passy when it was still a remote village. Patrick brings me my 'Café of the Week' at 16:02.

Geoff notes, quite correctly, that we can't depend on freak weather. Well, no, but we can depend on Paris having some at odd times, without much warning. Geoff says he will move here anyway.

Heather Stimmler–Hall has arrived. She is not wearing her trademark hat, so at first I think she's somebody I don't know, like maybe a new member. She says something like good weather happens when it 'suits' – like, for good weather. It must be my ears again.

Heather and Diana trade stories about parking dogs while being in Paris. Diana says 'Hi to Mac,' "If Mac reads club reports." "Hi Mac!"

Bob Alter arrives from Cambridge, Massachusetts. He says he comes to Paris during the spring break, to photograph 'ugly and bizarre' buildings. I suggest he visit Boulogne–Billancourt to photograph some quite nifty buildings, starting with the Hôtel de Ville.

Everybody has an opinion about the Centre Pompidou. "It's not the worst building in Paris," Lewis says, "I mean, if oil refineries are your thing – like in Texas."

This raises the Starbucks subject. Nobody present has seen the one in Paris yet – none of us know what it looks like. Someone says, Bob I think, that Starbucks coffee shops are well–designed. I don't remember seeing any sleek ones in Manhattan.

There is a general agreement that the Starbucks shops in Manhattan don't need to look refined because their main purpose is their toilets, because Manhattan doesn't have many others. So, at the Paris location in the Avenue de l'Opéra, this might be its Paris function too.

Jay has a multiple–page list of restaurants he has been trying out. He says one called something like the 'Old Lady Author's Society' has a restaurant in a tunnel under the Madeleine – Le Foyer de la Madeleine? – and it is, "At the top of my list!" He says the entry is at 14. Rue de Surène.

It is only open for lunch, only during the week. You stand in line, pay in advance, get a ticket – for less than 10€ for everything – I don't think it has white tablecloths.

Even though the club's secretary, me, is half deaf, there are three pages of jumbled notes. We do the 'Groupphoto: report notes, members map Photo of the Week' with far fewer than a full crew – but we do it on La Corona's terrace, because the weather is good for it.

A view of official and member's club documents.

Back inside Jay decides to show us how low his hotel's computer with Internet connection is. It also has the dreaded AZERTY keyboard that everybody moans about. There are, Lewis says, some cybercafés with QUERTY keyboards, but few of their other conditions are satisfactory.

It is after 17:00 when the sun has softly – for a change – made the club's area light and warm, and the remaining members are in no hurry to be elsewhere.

This is when new member Christian Teyssier, quietly comes in and joins the club. He is coming from Washington, DC, but my memory says, hints – no longer writing any notes – that he lives on both sides of the Atlantic. The club has been recommended by member Dinny Moyer.

Which, of course, raises the question – 'Where is Dinny?'

The 'France–Is–Not–Silly' Contest

This has officially begun, first in Heather's Secrets of Paris newsletter, and then in this week's edition of Metropole. Entries are already arriving.

Briefly, the contest will reward the best very short slogans that sum up Paris and France positively in asphoto: contest prize, ratp keyring few words as will fit on a bumper– sticker. Agents are at work seeking suitable prizes for the best entries.

The judging will be held in late April at a club meeting, and members will be asked to assist with the judging. Find all the details on the Contest page.

Heather has found some runner–up prizes. Who wouldn't want one of these somewhat rare RATP keyring things? 'Rare' because the RATP has changed their ticket color to violet – and the fate of their boutique is unknown. Where Heather got a bunch of them is not a 'contest' question.

The Café Metropole Club's About Page

This abbreviated 'report' about today's club's meeting should give you a hint of the jolly times to be had at club meetings, but only those who have been at meetings will know how much has been omitted. The 'About the Café Metropole Club' page doesn't say the club's secretary is deaf, but it might contain a couple of facts about the club. Exactly two, if I heard right.

All you do need to know – isn't much more. Become a real lifetime member of this online magazine's real, live and free club by becoming a member in a jiffy by attending any of its meetings in Paris, for free. The other fact is that there are no hidden costs or other 'rules.' If you can't see it, the club doesn't have it.

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

The weekly Thursday club meetings start around 15:00 sharp, on days that are Thursday afternoons. Meetings continue until about 17:00, in the European Time of Paris' annual 'semi–real interrupted winter' – which is really 'CET' for short and not 'les mauvais temps de mars' although they are – and known elsewhere as 3 pm to 5 pm. Paris is where all club meetings are held.

Doing anything interesting at a meeting – like being at one – is considered outstanding. True 'firsts' are welcome, with 'first' having a decided edge in 'report' value over 'true.' 'True' is good too, especially if it's unbelievable.

A note of caution – you may have any one of a hundred personal reasons for not wanting to be traceable viagraphic: club location map the Web. If so, be sure to inform the club's secretary that you prefer to be '404 – not found' by Web search engines before becoming 'found' in a club report.

Former 'rules' are 'former' and have been eliminated from the club's chronicles except for all the latter ones still online in the archives. All 'exceptions' to any other 'rules' have been suspended forever, just like all the 'rules.'

Saying things at meetings is fine. If there's an empty chair sit – optional – wherever you like, or haul one over from the smoking part of the café. If they are listening, whatever you say may be highly appreciated by other club members present, and there usually are some – and if it should chance to be written here, it might be read by all the readers of this online magazine, because some of them do read it. Occasionally.*

*The above paragraphs are unchanged since last week because the club's secretary forgot to clean the cocktail umbrella in the howling dog's mouth, and just brought the hound.

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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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