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Open–Pit of the Week

photo: group, don, stephan, james, marion

The 'Group of the Week,' Don, Stephan, James and Marion.

Gotta Move Those Refrigerators

Paris:– Thursday, 24. June 2004:– There are no papers with weather predictions today because there are no papers to be had except for the 'Canard Enchainé.' This paper has no weather report in it, just a report about 'Sarkozy's monkeys' getting a death threat.

I skipped this gripping news in order to search for the report about the terrible panther spotted near Marseille. This was a story I almost missed and now can't find. Firemen and police finally concluded the panther was a big, fat cat, but without actually catching it. It is still 'at large,' somewhere near the calanques.

The panther does not have anything to do with the weather. I thought the football might blow it off the TV–news, but this didn't happen either. The football was on other channels.

For fans who only will know the football score, here is the weather's score. Friday will start off cloudy and gradually become something like sunny, with a high temperature possibly reaching 22 degrees.

Then on Saturday the sunny times will be even more, but the skies will not be 100 percent blue. In contrast the temperature should reach 25 or 26 degrees. Sunday is expected to be bright, but again without a perfectly blue sky. Expect the temperature to gain another degree.

I realize that this is a forecast for weekend weather, so it is somewhat doubtful. I mean, these less than fully sunny days to come could be nuanced – but, for the moment, let's simply pretend this isn't going to happen. Let's pretend Paris will have summer weekend weather. It'll be the first time this summer.

A Short 'Club Report of the Week'

I followed Le Parisien's advice yesterday and went shopping for bargains at the nearest place with 'soldes d'été.' But I didn't buy anything for two reasons. Nobody makes adult clothes for men anymore, and the substitutes cost at least twice as much as they should even though they are on sale.

I was so bitterly disappointed that I went to bed early and slept soundly for seven hours until somebody wokephoto: cafe of the week me up to say that photos were missing from the week before last's Metropole. Otherwise, this morning was pretty fine. No photos were, in fact, missing – but I appreciated the thought.

The, ah, café 'of the Week.'

So much so that I decided to give the 'soldes d'été' another chance on the way to the club meeting. Yes! – I braved Rivoli and its mobs of teenagers looking for teenage clothes. There were other people on the busy street, and they were proudly carrying bags from famous places that sell cheap clothing for unfussy teenagers.

So I try Samaritaine. It has its men's department right on Rivoli. Most people whose ages are in the teens avoid the place, and I found out why. Everything 'on sale' costs twice as much as it should, and the good stuff costs four times as much, even 'on sale.' I guess I will have to wait for another year, even if my sorry rags are a couple of years behind now.

On the Quai du Louvre there are no great crowds of terracians littering the cafés. I guess the weather was, is, perfect for shopping, and not so perfect for sitting around doing next to nothing, or recovering from shopping.

At the club's café its 'grande salle' has more than its usual number of civilians, especially in the club's area at the back – but there's room for all so long as they are not rowdy.

James MacNiel is waiting for the meeting to begin. James is on weekend leave from Heidelberg, in town to catch some jazz being played in the Parc Floral, because the weekend weather is going to be so fantastic instead of the rain he promised.

Earlier in the year, James chanced to be at the club meeting when the great bumper–sticker slogan contest was discussed by the organizers, myself and Heather Stimmler–Hall. Then, to make a long story short if not believable, James managed to win the second place and one of the fourth places in the contest – without, I remind readers, without being at the judging of the slogans.

So today is prize–award day, again. But first, Don Smith arrives. "We're playing musical apartments today," Don says, adding, "I'm half moved."

Somehow I get it in my head that Don is at the meeting in order to avoid moving a refrigerator. Both James and I are positive that we aren't helping Don to move any frigo, nor even any suitcases. Don's protests that he has neither to move, notwithstanding.

James tells a story about moving a convertible couch. "It didn't fit in the elevator, so the delivery guys wouldn't deliver it," he says, concluding that he did deliver some beer and a brotzeit – er, small beer, and schnapps. Darned if I know what these notes are about.

Not so luckily, Marion and Stephan Nowak arrive from Köln, which is in Germany too, like Heidelberg. Don asks Marion if she has a freezer. No, no, first Marion says something about moving stuff from one refrigerator to another – then James says, "Leave my refrigerator out of it."

Sensible Stephan picks this moment to bring order to the meeting with a bit of philosophy. He says the modern world is divided into two – there are consultants who either see the world as being three regions, or five.

You might have trouble believing this, but the whole world is currently run by huge consulting agencies and theirphoto: wine pot of the week only difference of philosophy is about whether the world is in three parts or five. Didn't I say this already? Anyhow, trying to get Stephan to agree that is might be two or four instead, gets nowhere.

So this must be the 'Pot of Vin of the Week.'

I should be careful here. Marion is going to read this later with a fine toothbrush and if she thinks there's anything wrong with Stephan's theory, I am going to get it in the neck. Stephan wants to talk about the two classes of mankind he considers to be enemies, but I don't want any grief from this.

Marion has said that she has found more for Stephan in the 'soldes' than for herself, and now after hearing something I don't, she says, "Does this mean I'll get another chance at the 'soldes' today?" Then she shows us the bag she has, but made for herself, by herself, with her own sewing machine. It is a fine piece of work too. Better than any 'soldes' stuff.

Stephan has somehow looped his team's score in the Euro Foot, and James offers to fill him in. It is James' team too I think, but he goes into a play–by–play, minute–by–minute account, goal–by–goal, on–and–on – so after six minutes we are only six minutes into the match. Suddenly he says, "Czech, two – Germany, one."

"This is not very nice of the Czechs," Stephan observes.

Marion is quite content, mainly that there has been an early outcome. "I'm glad people will stop asking me the score." Then she switches to talking about how pleasant it is to live next door to the jail in Köln.

After not telling us what happened after he ran out of money on the way to competing in the Paris–Dakar, Stephan switches subjects to talk about photographing Paris' gas stations. Although he says 'it is notphoto: soldes d only in Paris,' he is convinced that when you run out of gas, the next station is always 35 kilometres away.

He illustrates this theory with an account of a trip he made from Leverkusen to Amsterdam and back. He had a card good only at Shell stations and noticed that gas was five cents cheaper in Holland, and ended up getting more gas at an Aral station because Holland ran out of Shell stations about the same time as Stephan's car was running on empty.

And Stephan's 'Silk Tie of the Week.'

He says it took two months to straighten out, buying gas at an Aral station instead of using his company's Shell card. Any readers intending to try for the Paris–Dakar should try to remember this. There are lots of Shell stations in Holland, but none of them are on the way to Africa.

Don decides to leave. He says he is going to clean an apartment, probably so we won't ask him about the refrigerator again. Marion picks up on this immediately, and wants to know how many refrigerators need to be moved.

James sings, "Its – 'We gotta move these refrigerators, on the MTV...'"

I say, "No," and Marion says, "No rules!" James says, "No fusion!"

But it doesn't do any good. We are in the thick of talking about civil servants and their odd ways before anyone can call us to our senses and it is Stephan who grabs the conversational ball and runsphoto: key of the week it down to Lake Konstanz, and some atom things with slits he ordered by mail from the United States, which resulted in his paying a visit to some customs guy in Switzerland.

"You open a water tap and atom beams come out of it," is his succinct sum–up.

But I've completely forgotten the 'why' of the 'Key of the Week.'

At this point I see that the meeting's deadline is 30 minutes gone and I present the second–place prize to James. Some hours later I see that the notes are at an end too, and it is past my bedtime, like usual.

On a mad whim, I decided to take the number 58 bus from beside Samaritaine. As soon as I decided to do this, the two number 58 buses waiting there pulled out. Ten minutes passed before another came, but then it trundled up to Montparnasse in almost a jiffy.

The Café Metropole Club's About Page

This 'report' about today's club's meeting might give you a sketchy notion of the occasionally odd times 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. No mention is made of the open–strip mining next to Marion's house that I neglected to put in today's report.

You can become a real lifetime member too of this online magazine's real, live, and free club by becoming a memberphoto: bag clip 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 club cocktails and hot dogs.

James' marvelous gift for the club – handy bag–clips!

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 still has no newsletter to send you. There is no mystery about when this will happen.

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

The weekly club meetings begin about 15:00, on 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 nice 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 any other 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.' Today's only first was Stephan's silk tie.

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 club reports.graphic: club location map

Former 'rules' remain 'former' week after darn 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 an encouraged 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 do 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.*

*The above paragraphs are relatively unchanged since last week because of thirst caused by a total lack of any '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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