horz line

Portland, Oregon Ties

photo: group, steve, tomoko, mary, lyndee, larry, heather, diana, lewis, pedro, lena

Ten members out of a total of 11 form part of today's
'Group of the Week.'

Paris, Texas As 'City of the Week'

Paris:– Thursday, 25. March 2004:– We have been having some really cold weather lately because we've gotten used to 'real spring' and have been wearing the wrong clothing. The weather wasn't all that bad, but being underdressed hasn't helped.

The good news is that the sunshine is coming back and the temperature is going up from four degrees 'below normal for the time of year,' to normal.

I haven't got the big picture on this, so I can only pass on the latest forecast from tonight's TV–weather news. The TV–news weatherman was so happy that he even whistled a bit of the sponsor's little ditty, which must be a true 'first' of some order or other.

Friday isn't going to give us the full blast, but it should be more than partly sunny in both the morning andphoto: cafe of the week afternoon. In Paris we will start out from one degree, and go up to ten sometime in the afternoon – about 14:30 I bet.

Set your watch with Patrick's delivery of the secretary's café at 16:00.

Saturday and Sunday will be flat–out mostly sunny – or sunnier – with Saturday having a high of eight degrees – huh, what's this? Only eight? Okay, well, we can live with it for a day. We can, because Sunday is supposed to have a high of 12 degrees.

How reliable is this forecast? This is kind of hard to nail down with facts. But I have a feeling it will be fine and almost warm, because I also have a feeling that I will be inside doing a lot of writing, unless I get spring– fever.

The 'Club Report of the Week'

It's a good thing there is a club meeting this week – like every week – because I feel a bit lazy. On the way to catching the Métro at Raspail I almost veer in the café Raspail Vert for an afternoon of reading, but remember just in time that I haven't brought anything to read.

I dive into the Métro entrance leaning slightly forward because of the hurricane that blows out of it constantly. My wait for the next Métro train isn't long enough to read all the defaced posters. When it comes I get on and get whisked to Saint–Germain where I get out to stretch my legs – because I was pretty lazy yesterday.

The Quartier Latin is quiet. All those little silver bullet–shaped Audi coupés are a lot quieter than the old 911 Porsches used to be. The narrow side streets are even quieter. Everybody must be having a siesta. Just thinking about it fills me with low–grade pep.

It is nearly sunny while crossingphoto: glasses, bottles, waters the Pont des Arts. The willow tree on the down–stream end of the Ile de la Cité has turned green, just like some of the trees in the cemetery across from my apartment. The air smells good. The Seine is full of river traffic, and I feel like having my siesta on one of the bridge's benches.

Part of today's collection of rare waters.

But I press on past the bouquinistes, up to the Pont Neuf to cross there so I can see the week's new posters. Then back on the Quai du Louvre, past a sprinkling of people loitering on the terraces – brave souls these.

Messieurs Naudan and Ferrat greet me and I them as I pass into La Corona's 'grande salle.' Of course the two people already in the club's area of the café are new members, slightly ahead of the club's secretary, who has withstood all temptations to have a siesta on the way.

The new members are Lyndee and Larry Mann, and they have come from Portland, Oregon. Lyndee says they could be from Seattle, because they lived there for 25 years longer than they've lived in Portland. Larry's job took them a bit south recently.

Since Larry is in the hydro–electric business I use this chance wisely, to try and find out how an electricity company with a monopoly can change into a company with competitors – such as is being proposed for France's only electricity supplier, EDF.

Apparently it is as simple as pie. You tell EDF it has to sell its transmission lines to Joe Blow, for example. Never mind that French taxpayers own EDF, and won't get a single euro out of EDF having to sell part of itself to Joe Blow – who will pay for the deal by selling shares to taxpayers, for the company they already own. It's like paying twice, just so Joe Blow can get rich.

Then when a typhoon blows the transmission lines down – but, hey! this is a club meeting, not a critique of mondo–globalization. Lyndee and Larry would rather talk to Tomoko Yokomitsu, who arrives at this opportune moment.

They ply her with questions about being a Japanese film star until Tomoko laughs and says that she is a Frenchphoto: heather film star. This will remain a theme today because right after Diana Rushing and Lewis Rosenthal arrive, so does Heather Stimmler–Hall, with dog members Pedro and Lena, and she says she is breathless on account of being an extra in a film–shoot this morning.

Heather played a film journalist this morning but wasn't allowed to ask questions.

Patrick, the 'Waiter of the Week,' brings drinks for Pedro and Lena. Diana and Lewis get some waters too, because this may be their last meeting 'until July.' Wisely, they want to keep their heads clear – although I think most of the past water photos can be attributed to them. Eight months' worth of them.

Lyndee and Larry have rented an apartment because they are staying in Paris for a month. This is a good way to save money, so they can pay their cat–sitter back in Portland.

The sitter is looking after 18 year–olds, Mozart, Mario and Mayiah, plus two year–olds, Sergio, Serafina and Sophia. Since none of the six are here like Pedro and Lena, who are not cats anyway, they do not become members. The club has no cat members, its secretary believes.

Larry says that he might have a cousin who lives in Paris, Texas. Lewis says that Paris, Texas is in Mirabeau B. Lamar County. while on the subject, let's not forget the newspaper and the band with the same name. When asked about the possibility of this 'cousin,' Larry says, "Pourquoi pas?"

This has required a vast amount of research, which... – this is terrible! – ...also finds out that Portland has not been the 'City of the Week' before. The earlier members who came from there spent 12 hours in Dallas on the way to Paris – but this didn't make it the 'City ofthe Week.'

Continued on page 2...
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