...Continued from page 1

The event will take place on Friday, 14. May, under the joint patronage of the Hon. Howard Leach, US Ambassador to France, and the Hon. Jean–David Levitte, Ambassador of France to the United States.

To be held in the auditorium of the Maison du Barreau, opposite the Place Dauphine, 2–4. Rue Harlay, Paris 1. Métro; Saint–Michel, Cité or Pont–Neuf. More information and reservations for this event can be found on the Web site of the American Club or telephone either 01 42 38 00 89 or 01 49 10 06 22.
Headline of the Week

"Le Virus Qui Fait Peur" is at the top of Le Parisien's front page today, but was only about halfway into the TV–news tonight. So far it seems as if nobody has been able to find out how private Internet users are faring. From this post all I can say is that spam has increased about 100 percent today.

Winners Picked Last Thursday

The balloting to select the winning entries for the great bumper–sticker slogan contest was on Thursday, 29. April. The winners who won during Thursday's Café Metropole Club meeting are listed on this week's updated contest page. My thanks are due to all who participated, and to all readers who thought hard about it but didn't actually get around to sending in any entries.

The Most Recent Café Metropole Club 'Report'

Between periods of doing useful stuff, you may as well take a look at the last meeting's version of the 'Frenzied Voting Picks Winners!' report. I doubt ifphoto: sign, jakt pagar, moose crossing the bumper–sticker slogan contest ballot process was actually 'frenzied,' but it seemed like it was to the club's secretary.

The coming meeting of the Café Metropole Club is on Thursday, 6. May. The Saint's Day of the Week will be Sainte–Prudence. This one is a true mystery as far as my look–up books are concerned. Therefore I will be prudent and not substitute any nonsense for it.

Some minor but important details about the club can be found on the 'About the Club' page. The virtual club membership card on this page is as free as Paris air and valid for your whole lifetime, everywhere in the world.

Shameless Plugs are Back

The usual plugs encouraging 'support for this magazine' and its popular 'Lodging' page are quietly waiting for you to visit them. The commercial page for Metropole's 'Partners' needs more than an occasional re–read too.

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago

Issue 7.19 – 6. May 2002 – this issue started off with Café Metropole's 'No 'Good Old Days' for Paris.' The 'Au Bistro' column's headline was 'Election – 'France Wins!' The lone feature was titled 'Parisians Vote for May Day 2002, Massively.' The Scène column was titled, 'Held Over for a Week.' The Café Metropole Club update for 9. May was titled the 'Best Friends' Plusphoto: sign, rue deslesdiguieres One, Minus One' report. There were four new 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's cartoon of the week was captioned, "Emigrate to Canada?"

This Was Metropole Three Years Ago

Issue 6.19 – 7. May 2001 – this week's Café Metropole column was not so exciting so it had 'The May Day Issue' for a change. The 'Au Bistro' column was headlined 'Président 'Superforme.' The Café Metropole Club update on 10. May was titled, 'Chili' of the Week' report. The Scène column's headline was 'Some Changes, Musée de la Vie Romantique.' There were four fairly good 'Posters of the Week,' and Ric's cartoon Caption of the Week asked, "The Way to Antony?" This issue also had re–runs of a feature called the 'Photo Page.'

Endless, Mindless, Repeat of the Countdowns

This popular feature, never commented upon by readers, is not with us this week. Should you miss it, it can be found in last week's spot, on its usual Café page. Remember to subtract seven from all dates.

Europe Gets Lots Bigger Suddenly

On Saturday, while many people were marching around Paris for various reasons and many other people were stuffed into the super–gigantic Foire de Paris ogling all the new consumer stuff that the day's marchers can't afford, ten new countries joined the European Union in a quiet but not so small ceremony at some château inside Phoenix Park in Dublin.

Overcome with joy, Jacques hugged his old friend, Gerhard, who was standing one stair higher. Tony, who does not manage to not look worried anymore, looked on while 22 other chiefs of state wondered about their countries' futures now that Europe has become one big place, except for a few minor hold–outs like Norway.

To hear the media tell it, it seems as if we poor bungling Europeans have just surpassed Texas for bigness and most–ofs.

Yes it is true that Europe now has more kings than the United States. Yes it is true that Europe is flatter than the United States because Switzerland won't join it. Yes it is true that Europe has more Mediterranean climate than the United States, and Australia, put together. Yes it is true that Europe has way more different cheeses than Wisconsin, but this is a fragile lead.

It is also true that many Europeans cannot understand each other because we speak so many different languages, about 20 in all. We are also much thicker together, with a population density a little less than four times as much as the United States. It's a good thing we have fewer cars, because we have fewer malls to park them in. We make less garbage because we havephoto: luxembourg 1 may less space to bury it. We have lots more doctors because we're nervous. Only putting 12 stars on the blue flag – it's because the metric system doesn't have 25.

Forget foires and parades – these people never tire of this.

I wish I could explain it all in greater detail for you, but it's my bedtime. If you think you need to know more, get yourself online and find the lowest airfare around. Come to a Café Metropole Club meeting and ask all the questions you want. Ask about anything except Europe. Like California, it's gotten too big to understand.

2004 is Barely Worth Mentioning

Historians may not like it, but a forgettable year is easier on everybody else. Why not hope that it is? As of today there are 242 more days left in it. 'Ric's Day Off' last week was bungled. I'll give it another shot tomorrow.
signature, regards, ric

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