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Past Kodachrome

photo: group, ron bristol, don smith

All of the 'Group of the Week,' Ron and all of Don's hat.

Hard Rock 'Shirt of the Week'

Paris:– Thursday, 17. June 2004:– Turmoil continues in the weather prediction department while the football tournament grinds on in far–off and sunny Portugal. Down there, as the longest day and the shortest night approach, all evenings are spent in half–shadowed football stadiums, with scant thought of what the skies may promise.

All well and good, I think. It has been an miss–forecasted fine day here with a very blue sky and fair breezes and as far as I'm concerned it should keep it up, but this is not to be the case. By jetting around various TV channels I have learned that hard times are – yes! – on the horizon.

There is, according to one of TV's forecasters, a big twirly swamp out in the Atlantic. The way it's going to hit France is going to cause a change, and this is to start tomorrow. But I have a big window to look out right now, and it looks like it isn't waiting.

Cold air is going to wreck our transition from spring into summer. If tomorrow's temperature manages to be its forecast 24 degrees, then a severe tumble to 18 is expected for Saturday. On this day there will be unstable clouds. Some of these may swoop low. Some of these may get in your eyes, in the form of rain. It will not be pretty.

Then on Sunday there should be a return to something of a calm, and it may even be partly sunny. The temperature is expected to remain low, getting no higher than 17 degrees. Yes, you can believe your eyes. The day before summer starts the temperature will be just 'right' for April. On Monday, for summer's begin, we might have 20 degrees. Dress warmly for the Fête de la Musique!

The Abbreviated 'Club Report of the Week'

For the occasion of this special day I decide to forego the usual routine and approach today's club meeting from the trusty old Louvre. I haven't been near it in a long while and for all I know it has been turned into a Renault showroom.

There isn't anything really 'special' about the day except for it being sunny and breezy, and I'm hoping that maybe I'll see some culture pilgrims doing some illegal bathing in the Louvre's pools, somewhat before the hottest day of the year.

This isn't happening though. There are some water jets jetting water high enough for there to be downwind sprays. I guess if people want to wade, all they have to do is sit in the right places. There are a lot of people sitting in any–old places instead.

The sun is hitting the pyramid in the Louvre's courtyard just right. Light reflections are splashed over parts of thephoto: shirt, hard rock cafe, ron museum's south wing in unusual patterns. They make me think that the Louvre is somewhat dirty where the light splashes are not. The whole thing makes me think it is a really big pile, with dirty windows. There must be a couple thousand of them.

This week's 'Shirt of the Week' has never been worn.

The nicest part of the Louvre is the little Carrousel arch. It's a good thing it's outside where you can see it for free. The arch is kind of pink, and it looks light and a bit floaty – unlike any other part of the Louvre, looking heavy, and dirty, in the shade.

I pass through the east arch into the Cour Carrée. Here the fountain's jet isn't turned on, but people are sitting around it, waiting. I don't think much ever happens in the Cour Carrée. It is the Louvre's oldest part, and its dullest. The best part of it is leaving by the south arch, and getting a spacy view across the Seine of the Quartier Latin beyond the Pont des Arts.

Of course the Quai du Louvre is in between, and today it is full of shiny tin, plastic, glass, and hot rubber. It is full of the stinking metal monster. It hardly matters if they are SUVs or kiddie cars, because they fill the whole thing.

The 'grande salle' in the club's café is dim and empty. Most of the windows are open and the palms are flailing around. Waiters, including the club's 'Waiter of the Week,' are zipping outside to take care of the terracians, who are darned thirsty.

I have been sitting only a couple of minutes before Don Smith shows up. Don think up themes to discuss on his way to the club. Today it is about 8 mm movie film that was all Kodachrome. Don says everybody's old home movies show the world only in sunshine because the film was so slow it was the only time anybody could use it. There's no rain, no sundowns and no winter in anybody's old home movies, Don claims.

I can't argue with Don because I haven't seen anybody's old home movies lately. People use those little digital video cameras these days, but I haven't seen any of these either. My guess is, people still don't wait for rain to shoot.

Ron Bristol is next to arrive. He comes from Austin in Texas, because it is getting hot and humid there like it doesphoto: don smith every year at the same time. "I have a reason for coming to Paris," he says. He also says he has been shopping for a friend – for t–shirts at the Hard Rock Café.

Don sports last week's 'Hat of the Week,' again.

According to both Ron and Don people collect these things. They don't always have time to come to Paris, but they sure like to be able to wear their Paris Hard Rock Café t–shirts wherever it is they are. It's a bit like the Toronto police chief cap I never wear, or my Hawaiian shirts that don't have 'Hawaii' written on them.

Anyhow, this Hard Rock Café shirt is a 'classic' one. Ron says he has a shopping list of the stuff he's supposed to get for people who are too busy to come to Paris.

Besides getting away from Austin's climate, Ron is on his way to the Euro Foot thing in Portugal. He says he and his brother have been coming to the World Cup and other big sports events in Europe for several years. "The tickets are easy to get," he says.

This is turning into a perfect club meeting. Nobody can remember anything completely. Ron asks, "Have you noticed the bus campaign? The 'Easter Egg,'" he adds, to jog our memories.

City buses here have colored ovals on their side windows. These are supposed to remind passengers without tickets to get on at the front where they can buy one from the driver. The RATP thinks too many passengers are riding for free. The little ovals are cheaper than hiring platoons of ticket inspectors, but probably cost more than letting everybody ride free anyway.

Next subject – after wringing everything out of Paris buildings having few signs indicating whatphoto: ron bristol they are – is 'longest roads.' Ron says it is the Lincoln Highway. I say it is the Rue Vaugirard, but Ron shouts, "Look! Look! – there's a Lotus – of some kind."

Ron and Don have a 'Gab On Terrace of the Week.'

By the time Don and I look, only seconds later, there are buses, Mercs, Renaults, taxis, Citröens, Audis, police cars, trucks, motorcycles, scooters, and pedestrians sprinting across the quay. The Lotus, if it was a Lotus, is near Pont Neuf. Or it melted.

With all the sporting events, Ron has a lot to remember. He tells us about putting his entire database in a Palm for a trip to Russia a couple of years ago, and then dropping the thing on the floor of Moscow's airport or something else hard.

This is Don's theory – "You'll be four hours away from the list you've forgotten," and then the two of them think up exceptions to the 'forgotten' rule, like true club members.

For example, Ron thinks he remembered nearly everything he needed to know for Russia, because of the weeks he spent putting data into the Palm. This is, or course, much better than just forgetting the details entirely because they never were written down, noted, entered. I mean, these notes – it's not my fault nobody ever finished any subjects today.

We do a swift flit past microbreweries, the Red Robin Tavern in Seattle, the wine latitude 'Parallel 55,' the heat in Texas again, why it's good to drink 'northern ales' there, and then it's 'Group Photo of the Week' time.

It isn't really, but Don must be off because he's got 'megas' of photos to unravel, compress, store, catalogue,photo: orange juice tidy up – and he's got an unforgotten shopping list too.

Ron does some quick calculations. By getting back to Texas after soccer in Portugal, "I'll miss 16 percent of the worst of the summer," he says. But he may be back in Paris before facing the rigors of a summer of air conditioning.

After the week's marvelous photo the two members get stalled on the terrace in the doorway to the 'grande salle.' Despite the horrendous traffic passing by, there's the breeze too. It really is a jolly thing today.

Don and Ron take their leaves somewhat before 17:00. Palms are still thrashing wildly about inside the café and I have my orange juice to savor. I close my eyes a bit and imagine that the café is sliding west, past 10,000 stalled cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, ambulances, tour buses, bicycles, rickshaws, beer trucks and urgent police cars. The Métro rumbles. My feet feel its steel wheels through the café's floor.

The Café Metropole Club's About Page

This 'report' about today's club's meeting should give you a fully–fleshed notion of the occasionally thin timesphoto: change dish to be had at club meetings. The 'About the Café Metropole Club' page has all the additional information you need to know about the club. Whatever else you need to know is unnecessary.

You can become a real lifetime member of this online magazine's real, live, and free club by becoming a member in seconds by signing–in yourself any of its meetings in Paris, for free. There are no hidden costs, real or imaginary, and there's nothing to buy except for club cocktails.

The club's 'rules' were quashed by the club's members long ago. The club's only other distinctive claim is that it is the only club related to an Internet magazine that has no newsletter to send you. What else can't be done for members is a mystery.

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

The weekly club meetings begin about 15:00, on most all days that are Thursday afternoons. Meetings continue until about 17:00, in the western European Time of Paris' – which is really 'CET' for short and not 'summer's ice times' although they sometimes are – and known elsewhere as 3 pm to 5 pm. Club meetings are exclusively held in Paris until the secretary gets a better offer.

Doing something 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, especially if it's a 'first.'

One note of caution – you may have any one or two 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 humid club reports.graphic: club location map

Former 'rules' remain 'former' week after freaking week and have been eliminated from the club's volumes of chronicles except for all the originals still online buried deep in the archives, which you can read if you can find them.

Talking to other club members at meetings is a admirable activity. If there's an empty chair sit – entirely optional – wherever you like, or haul one over from another part of the café. If they can hear, 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 sometimes is.*

*The above paragraphs are relatively unchanged since last year because of thirst caused by a late extra–dry 'Orange Juice of the 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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