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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 of the Week.'

Now it is – together with Paris, Texas – cousin or no cousin, favorite Wim Wenders movie or not.

Tomoko is quietly plucking a tablet from bubble–sheet of pills. When Lyndee asks her what it is Tomoko says it is an anti–smoking pill. She says she calculated the cost of smoking as adding up to three restaurant meals a month. She has been taking the anti–smoking pills for four years, Tomoko adds.

Both Lyndee and Larry have been reading the club's 'reports' carefully. Before I can think up a suitable evasion, I am asked whether I ate the poison blow–fish Tomoko brought me from Japan. My lame excuse is that I found it while defrosting my freezer.

Tomoko grins. "I ate mine," she says, adding, "A long time ago." More questions turn up the fact that it is perfectly safe to eat raw poison blow–fish raw.

Steve Camera–Murray arrives with Mary Murray, who is Lauren Camera– Murray's sister from Boston. This is Steve's last club meeting for a while because he has been recalled to his home office in San Francisco.

Steve wants to know why firemen might be demonstrating in Paris today. On the way to the club meeting, he and Maryphoto: demonstrating firemen, photo©Steve Camera Murray saw some wonderful scenes of firemen setting off orange smoke– bombs in telephone booths, holding up red flares, marching wearing their chrome helmets, and flying CGT and FO union balloons.

Steve's photo of out–of–town firemen in Paris today.©

I say they are very lucky to have seen such a sight. It is extremely rare for firemen to demonstrate in Paris. Paris firemen are in the army so they can't demonstrate – so the ones they saw were probably from the outer suburbs, where they are possibly volunteer firemen. All the same, they want their job to be classified as a 'dangerous' one, with retirement permitted at 55.

Heather tells us about being a movie extra today. She says, "I was playing at being a journalist in a press conference scene. They said I wasn't dressed well enough." As a working journalist in Paris, Heather wore what she always wears 'on the job.'

To round off the meeting – although Diana says it earlier – she says she wants cars banned from the Place de la Concorde.

There is, or was, a city plan to do this. Many Paris drivers would easily avoid using Concorde, but suburban drivers think it is absolutely essential – so the traffic designers at the Prefecture de Police haven't been able to come up with a plan that won't cause a revolution.

Firemen may hold street demonstrations – with a valid permit, of course – but revolutions are not desired at the moment in Paris. There's an election next Sunday.

The Bumper–Sticker Slogan Contest

This is running in Heather's Secrets of Paris newsletter, andgraphic: bumper sticker in this week's edition of Metropole. Entries are already arriving.

Briefly, we are seeking very short slogans that sum up Paris and France positively in as few pithy words as will fit on a bumper– sticker. Suitably 'grand' prizes for the best entries are also being sought.

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

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

The Café Metropole Club's About Page

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

All you need to know – is hardly more. Become a real lifetime member of this online magazine's real, live and free club by becoming a member in an eye–blink by attending any of its meetings in Paris, for free. The other fact is that there are no hidden costs or other 'rules.' If there were an entry charge, it would be tax–included.

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

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 spring' – which is really 'CET' for short and not 'les temps douce de mars' although they are sometimes – 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 interesting. True 'firsts' are welcome, with 'first' having a decided edge in 'report' value over 'true.' 'True' is good too, especially if it's plausible.

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, Quite a bit 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.*

*The above paragraphs are unchanged since last week because the club's secretary thought Portland, Oregon was already a 'City of the Week' when it wasn't, until today's meeting.

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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contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
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