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'City of the Week' Missing

photo: group, heather, tomoko, david

The 'Group of the Week' with Heather, Pedro, Lena,
Tomoko and David.

''That's Only a Truck–stop!''

Paris:– Thursday, 6. May 2004:– We have been having some pretty fantastic weather forecasts again. Like last week's grim forecasts turning out kind of mild, so the same pattern continues this week. The high temperatures we're having are lower than recent low temperatures, but just don't seem all that cold.

When does 13 degrees in the afternoon in May not feel like 13 degrees in early March? Why, today of course. There I was with winter coat on, scarf, and scooting along to the Métro, too warm.

Thursday night on the TV–news is short news followed by talk–to–a– politician night. Usually this lops 15 minutes off the 'news' as a tradeoff for being treated to the latest thinking from the political arena.

Tonight was an exception, with no less than the Prime Minister, Jean– Pierre Raffarin. He got started after only 20 minutes of 'news,' and they couldn't stop him. He sounded like a guy extolling the wonders of a marvelously new kitchen robot at the Foire de Paris. Three 'points' here, two 'points' there – counting them off on his fingers. On and on.

He blithely droned on, through what would have been the commercial time after the TV–weather news. When thephoto: sky over pont des arts TV–station rolled the credits at the end, he was still selling the government as if it were a practical utensil. He sometimes wears glasses with blue rims. Maybe his wife's.

Skies full of action in Paris.

The parts I liked best were the billions of euros that appeared from nowhere, to be thrown at this or that problem – no sweat, France is broke, but has magical mystery billions in reserve. But, um, not a sou to spare to get the theatrical people to stop threatening, for example, the Cannes Film Festival.

Also, there was no Le Parisien today to use as a fallback. Libération was just about the only paper available. I didn't realize that it doesn't have weather futures in it. Even its 'today' isn't all that clear.

But the TV squeezed a bit of weather in after the P–M's talkathon and two commercials. After a bit of morning fog or haze or clouds tomorrow morning, the skies are expected to be partly sunny Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The highs should be about 13 or 14 degrees. It might feel warmer, but don't be deceived.

The Only 'Club Report of the Week'

Taking my 236th journey to a club meeting today has not left a lot of distinguishing details in my memory. The Métro runs like a good automatic watch and after the first several thousand trips on it there isn't a lot more to say, except about the other passengers, but today I leave them in peace, as they leave me.

At Rivoli I decide to give it a look–over. This is a mistake. It is silly walker's day. There are groups of four, like rugby defenders, clogging the way. Get past them by skidding along against show windows, and come up against a loner, stopping and starting. Get past by going right, to be blocked by more silly walkers 'en bloc' comingphoto: coke light along the wrong side. Where were they during walking school?

I give up before getting to Samaritaine. As soon as I leave Rivoli, everything is sensible again. I shoot some posters on the news kiosk, skip the poster panel, and wander up the back side of Samaritaine back to Rivoli. Here are the silly walkers again. They've only gotten this far while I made my block–loop.

In the land of metrics, 'light' is the 'diet' version.

I zip around some more. If I go into more detail I'll sound like the Prime Minister, so I get to the café La Corona and shake Patrick's hand while entering. By the time I arrive in the 'grande salle,' Patrick is there briefing the new 'Waiter of the Week,' by telling him to bring my double– espresso at 16:00.

Member number one and recent co–host of the fabulous bumper–sticker slogan contest, Heather Stimmler–Hall, is installed in the club's area. Beside her, members Pedro and Lena, miniature Dobermans I learn for the first time, are lying on their doggie bags.

Heather starts telling me about falling through a chair while at a poetry reading – "I need to get out and talk more – I need practice," she says.

While I am doing something administrative, listening to Heather, I suddenly realize I hear another voice and look up to see this woman who is asking Heather about the canine club members, and where are the pet shops? There used to be more of them along the Quai du Louvre.

The lady doesn't become a club member because Heather doesn't ask her to join, or promise to let her pat Pedro and Lena.

While near the beginning, in the middle, or near the end of Heather talking about the Hash House Harriers, David Pitt arrives. This member has come to the club today to listen to Heather talk. Other members do this too, not realizing that Heather 'needs practice.'

Right here I should mention that it is okay to come to a club meeting and just listen to Heather practicing talking. She lived on the Riviera for a couple of years and really needs the practice.

Willy the Bird pays a visit at the same time as David arrives. Heather is saying – about the Hash House Harriersphoto: menthe, san pellegrino – that they started in some century before this one – "No, wipe that out," she interrupts herself, saying, "Now it's a drinking club with a running problem."

She says there are three groups in the Paris area, and another one out in Versailles. Its name might be 'Sans Clue.' I am surprised to hear that she takes Pedro and Lena along on these harrier chases. Apparently, if you are a medium walker, you can get to the end at the same time as the fastest runners.

Saint–Pelli and menthe, for a green dream of a drink.

Talk switches to Arizona, because both Heather and David know it well, except for some place names. David had a book store in Yosemite for 20 or 25 years. Heather tells us about capturing scorpions in the bathroom and leaving them dazed by hair–spray bombs and under cups for her mother to find by surprise in the morning.

David tells us about coming to Paris in a truck full of Indian artifacts. The truck blew up, he says, so he didn't bring the artifacts.

Tomoko Yokomitsu arrives, and asks the waiter for some kind of water the café doesn't have today. She is about to take some plain water when somebody asks the waiter if there's any San Pellegrino. There is, and Tomoko orders some menthe with it.

"I prefer San Pellegrino to the other fizzy water – it's too industrial!" Tomoko says.

Heather tells us – not Tomoko, not myself – why we should take part in a US government 'test census' that will be tried out in Paris, and maybe in Mexico. Apparently these are conducted in foreign places order to find out if they'll work on the whole population in the United States, about six years from now.

"Demming!" David suddenly says, remembering where his truck blew up.

"That's only a truck–stop!" Heather observes.

David tells me that he's working on his board game and asks me if I know where he can get some custom dice. I tell him the kazoo story – which is, like, how to find a kazoo. The same can be done with dice.

The explanation of David's game I don't understand at all. He keeps saying it is very very complex. He has done games before, and tells me about 'Ultimate Alphabet.' While he now works on creating a board game, he started out thinking of games to be played over the Internet. He says they have to have 'sticky eyes.'

Tomoko's news is that she is appearing in some performances of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream,' as a 'Japanese fairy.' Shephoto: carafe d'eau says the production has enjoyed full houses. I think I've seen it mentioned in reviews, but am not certain because French magazines use its French title.

Tomoko is our own star of stage, screen and video. She says she's never done radio, but has done 'voices.' "Voice work pays more than shooting," she says.

Water is water, and it's free like the club, but not as tasty.

Heather is packing up, getting the members straightened out in their doggie bags, about to leave. This calls for the 'Group Photo of the Week,' but first I try for a 'Members In Their Doggie Bags' photo, but fail to concentrate on it. So much gets lost in these spur of the moment deals.

This brings the club's one and only 236th meeting to an end. I see I've neglected to mention Heather's visits to the Gene Autry Museum, and David's comment that Heather spelled it right. As long as the spelling is right, this 'report' will have to do.

The Bumper–Sticker Slogan Contest

The contest was concluded during last week's club meeting when all who were present voted for the winners by choosing ten winning slogans out of a total of 143. All of the winners have been informed directly by emails.

The names of the winners have been placed on the aptly–named Contest page. The fabulous Bumper–sticker Slogan Contest was jointly produced in Heather's Secrets of Paris newsletter and in Metropole.

A Midsummer Night's Dream

For the centennial of the 'Entente Cordiale,' One World Actors Productions is staging thephoto: 2 sugars, double cafe '60s 'flower power' version of this hit by Shakespeare, for most of the rest of spring. After all, as Ben Johnson so aptly noted, "William Shakespeare was not of an Age, but for all Time," including seasons that are not summer.

The secretary's cup of jolt.

The show, which is in English, had its debut in Paris on April Fool's Day at UNESCO. But now it seems to have moved to the Studio–Théâtre de la Comédie Française where performances are at 20:00 on Mondays. Remaining upcoming dates are 24 and 31. May, and 14 and 21. June.

The Café Metropole Club's About Page

This 'report' about today's club's meeting should give you a hazy notion of the conversational times to be had at some club meetings. The 'About the Café Metropole Club' page has all the additional information you need to know about joining.

Become a real lifetime member of this online magazine's real, live, and free club by becoming a member in seconds by attending any of its meetings in Paris, for free. There are no hidden costs, or 'rules.' The 'rules' were killed off by the club's members long ago. It's other claim to fame is that it is the only club related to an Internet magazine that sends you no newsletter. This is, it.

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

The weekly Thursday club meetings normally start about 15:00, on days that have Thursday afternoons. Meetings continue until about 17:00, in the somewhat greater European Time of Paris' – which is really 'CET' for short and not 'les temps horribles du mai' although they sometimes are – and known elsewhere as 3 pm to 5 pm. All club meetings are held in Paris.

Doing anything clever at a meeting – like being at one – is considered the opposite of not being at one. True 'firsts' are welcome, with 'first' having a decidedly greater 'report' value over 'true.' 'True' is perfectly acceptable too, especially if it's nearly plausible.

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

Former 'rules' are still 'former' and have been eliminated from the club's volumes of chronicles except for all the original rules still online buried deep in the archives, which you can read if you can find them. All 'exceptions' to any other 'rules' have been suspended forever, quite a bit like all the 'rules,' except one.

Talking at meetings is fine. If there's an empty chair, sit – optional – wherever you like, or haul one over from another part of the café. If they are listening, whatever you say may be honestly appreciated by other club members present, and there usually are some – and if it should chance to be written here, as some of it is, sometimes accidently.*

*The above paragraphs are unchanged since last week because David Pitt showed up today, one week after Pittsfield became the 'City of the Week' last week.

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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Waldo Bini