...Continued from page 1

Then he says that French mayonnaise is quite a bit different because it tastes like mayonnaise. Since I don't knowphoto: ron bristol anything about mayonnaise, he switches to wine. After finding out I know less in this area than about mayonnaise, he muses that '2003 is not going to be a good year.' There can be too much good weather for good wine, merchants in the trade have told him.

Ron Bristol is this week's member of the week.

There are a lot of other factors that can give wine a taste, such as barrels. Ron says French barrels are cut differently – the wood grains lie some other way. Then it's dirt – French dirt is different from California dirt.

Dirt, in fact, can make all the difference. The 'terroir' gets into the wine and it can't be duplicated. I wonder if 'terroir' gets into mayonnaise too, or into the glass the jars are made of.

"What dirt France has! What sun!" he exclaims. This reminds me of the first club meeting when a new member claimed that Paris has 'ugly dirt.' Well, not much wine is made here, mainly because there isn't much sun. That's all somewhere out there in France someplace.

We get into the 'old days.' People used to do things, he says, really simple. Now everything needs to be a big production – even a winery has to have its amusement park aspect. Bigger, better, fancier, with a huge parking lot, the mandatory gift shop and roll in toilets.

He doesn't actually say exactly this but my note–keeping isn't particularly thorough today. It's in thephoto: change dish, 10 euro sense of people used to be satisfied with what was – but now everything is wrapped in razzle–dazzle accompanied with canned music and fake costumes. "People just came by and bought it," he says.

This week's payola of the week.

Ron starts getting nervous about his veal stock so we borrow a 'Waiter of the Week' and go out on the café's terrace to get the club's first 'Group Photo of the Week' that includes the club's secretary, who is myself.

This has never been done before because it is difficult to explain how to take a photo against the light with a stupid automatic camera to a civilian. So I don't explain it, and we get the photo above as a result. All I can say, as the club's photo editor, is that the club has had worse photos that were shot by the club's secretary, but not many not much worse.

Some Price Hikes

The governments of France traditionally reserve 1. July for socking residents and taxpayers with higher charges, because most people are too distracted to go on strike to protest.

As of today, the price of a carnet of ten RATP tickets rises to 10.50€ from 10€. The average price increase is 3.5 percent. The SNCF is raising prices too, for its Corail trains, kids and youngster's fares, and fares for seniors.

Good news if you live in France, because the minimum wage has been hiked by 5.8 percent by a very generous government, which of course pays nothing towards it.

Everybody except private householders can now also buy their power from any firm other than EDF. All power, no matter who sells it, is generated by EDF – so it has to be wondered why EDF can afford to wholesale electricity to private resellers but not to householders, who still own the state company.

The Café Metropole Club's About Page

This 'report' about today's club's meeting is an approximation of the occasionally calm times to be had at club meetings. Thephoto: pont des arts 'About the Café Metropole Club' page has all the additional information you need to know about the club. The only way to find out more is by joining the club, when you will discover how simple it is.

The week's free expo of the week, on the Pont des Arts.

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

The club's 'rules' were demolished by the club's members long ago. The club's sole other distinction is that it is the only club related to an Internet magazine that still has no newsletter to send you. The mystery about when this will happen is a mystery.

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

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 'July's jolly times' although they sometimes are – and known elsewhere as 3 pm to 5 pm. Club meetings are exclusively held in Paris unless the secretary gets any better offer.

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 'clever' value than 'true.' 'True' is perfectly acceptable too, especially if it's a 'first.' Today's first was a lack of one.

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 flipping week and have been eliminated from the club's huge 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 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 'on any given day anybody can beat anybody, if they are playing soccer.'

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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