...Continued from page 1

Of course I have to say I have not spent much time in the Bronx and have never been to Staten Island, but I like Coney Island a lot. Karen reminds me that there is a beach in the Bronx too, on some peninsula. I intended to visit it once, but have forgotten its name. It's not anywhere near Sheepshead Bay.

Then Doug Fuss arrives from Savannah, where it is probably steamy. He tells us about waiting in the ticketphoto: tomoko, heather line at Roland Garros. After hours, he says, you could hear people in front at the ticket window yakking on the phone to all their friends, asking them how many tickets to get. Doug says one of these took 20 minutes to get the order straight.

Bonus photo 2 of members – Tomoko and Heather.

Ike Payne sweeps in with Jo Verne Moss, from Houston in Texas. Ike is a former Air Force test pilot member from Albuquerque in New Mexico who joined the club a couple of years ago. This is Jo Verne's first visit to Paris and she's been here two whole days out of the week they will spend in the city.

Another new member to pop in is Kathy Garrison who comes from Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania. Kathy becomes an immediate life–long friend by saying she's read a lot of Metropole and printed out half of it to use as a guide. Well, maybe it's some other Web site, but it's a lot of print–out.

At about this point my note–taking becomes very slack. I have asked Doug a question that gets the conversation out to the 'Silk Route' in central Asia, and this evolves into a geopolitical discussion that winds up with an examination of the steel problem, which is, of course, connected to Pittsburgh – where no steel is made anymore.

And this is the problem. As Doug says, steel is made in boutique quantities these days – which means Mao was right to urge all of the Chinese to make steel in their backyards. This is fine for the Chinese, but what does it mean for a country like the United States? Will they have to ask to Chinese for help in making tanks?

Ike says something to the effect that it's lucky planes need to be light, so they can be made out of plastic. But nobody thinks to ask if plastic is made in the United States anymore. Doug claims that all the steel made in America is recycled from washing machines and old Fords.

Karen and Heather – oops, I've forgotten to mention Heather Stimmler– Hall's arrival, and a bit later, Tomoko Yokomitsu arrives to be with us too.

Anyway, we get from steel into the thornier area of armies, and the fact that if you can get by with getting your steel from backyard plants in China, hiring mercenaries for the army is as good as convincing loyal and patriotic civilians to do it.

Well, this is a club with 'no rules' so anybody can talk about anything, and this is what members – and the club's secretary – do. No matter that it doesn't suit a 'club report' – exceptphoto: glasses, juice for the problem that the secretary will have later to turn it into a bonafide 'report.' Maybe the secretary can ignore the 'rules' too.

But Kathy does have a legitimate question. She wants to know where one can find the Salvation Army's thrift store. I tell her about the shop in Passy that has the used Chanel suits. This is, she says, not what she wants. So I tell her about the African fabrics at Château–Rouge. This isn't it either.

Bonus photo of member's cocktails.

Too bad, because this is where the official notes end. And there are no 'unofficial' ones. But up the notes page, up five scrawled lines, I see where Ike says, "It's time to go and test–pilot some music places."

Yes. While members do this, in the fine and soft Paris night, the club's secretary will drift across the Pont des Arts and through part of the Quartier Latin to Montparnasse, watch a bit of weather on the TV, and test–pilot this old keyboard without 'notes,' until the dawn's early light. Forgive me.

The Café Metropole Club's About Page

This 'report' about today's club's meeting should give you a rough notion of the cool times to be had at most club meetings. The 'About the Café Metropole Club' page has all the additional information you need to know about the club. It's not a great amount.

You can become a real lifetime member of this online magazine's real, live, and free club by becoming a member in seconds by presenting yourself any of its meetings in Paris, for free. There are no hidden costs, real or imaginary. The 'rules' were kaboshed by the club's members long ago. The club's other claim to fame is that it is the only club related to an Internet magazine that doesn't bother to send you a newsletter. This is it.

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

The weekly club meetings normally start about 15:00, on days that have Thursday afternoons. Meetings continue until about 17:00, in the western European Time of Paris' – which is really 'CET' for short and not 'les temps secos du mai' although they sometimes are – and known elsewhere as 3 pm to 5 pm. Many club meetings are only 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 much greater 'report' value than 'true.' 'True' is perfectly acceptable too, even if it's sort of implausible.

Only 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 – not found' by Web search engines before becoming 'found' in one of these club reports.graphic: club location map

Former 'rules' remain 'former' week after week 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.'

Talking to other club members at meetings is an honorable activity. 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 members present, and there usually are some – and if it should chance to be written here, as some of it is, sometimes.*

*The above paragraphs are relatively unchanged since last week because the club secretary keeps forgetting to mention Willy the Bird's club attendance, which is nearly weekly most weeks.

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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