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A Half–dozen Gadgets

photo, from left, jim, rita, jerry, marilyn, shirley, betty, danielle, walter, tina, chuck

From left, today's 'Group of the Week,' to right.

Where Not To Go

Paris:– Thursday, 23. September 2004:– After having some weather that wasn't too bad at all that some called 'Indian Summer,' we are now having a preview of less pleasant fall weather, now that we are officially and safely one day into it.

The sky is full of clouds of different sizes and most of them are low as if it is going to rain, which if it is not actually doing it, has being doing it and will do it again. This is a kind of gray fall rain that is off and on. Parisians carry umbrellas to protect themselves from it even if it isn't terribly wet.

Between wetness, you don't see many Parisians carrying umbrellas. I don't know where they hide them. It is a great mystery worthy of intense scientific study.

The TV–weather news goes tophoto, salad food of the week great lengths to not predict rain. They will show the clouds with sunballs peeking out, and they will show them moving from west to east, but they seldom show the clouds leaking water. A student of weather has to make deductions.

Ultra–rare 'Salad of the Week.'

For tomorrow for example. There will be clouds piled on top of mostly cloudy skies. Clouds will be fighting for sky space. Out on a limb, the TV–weather news forecaster almost said there might be a 'risk of rain,' with some winds from the north hauling the temperature down to 17 degrees.

On Saturday the possible 'risk of rain' will be up along the northwest, from Brittany to Belgium. While there may be a few sunny periods, it will stay cool at 17 degrees.

By Sunday that stuff in the northwest will be here, kind of blotting out any chance of sunbeams. But it will be warmer they said – it might get up to 19 degrees. None of tonight's TV–weather news predictions match this morning's weather maps in Le Parisien.

The actual weather this weekend might not match tonight's TV–weather news forecast either. It might be gray and rainy only at night, or the other way around.

The New Club Report of the Week

It is kind of breezy as I leave for the club, but I don't think it will rain even if the sky is very flat gray. The wind will make it rain somewhere else. Riding the Métro I have my usual indecision about where to leave it, until I decide I don't want to see the Rue de Rivoli today.

Crossing the Pont Neuf I see a police Zodiac scooting downriver past the club's café. All around the Ile de la Cité there are police sirens howling, and I wonder why the water police aren't running with a blue light.

On the Quai du Louvre there is another police car screaming for everybody to get out of the way. It must be national cops and robbers day. The rest of the Quai du Louvre is kind of quiet and peaceful.

At the café Patrick tells me there is 'beaucoup du monde' waiting in the club's area in the 'grande salle.' Inphoto, water drink of the week fact it is Shirley and Walter Pappas from Falls Church, Virginia, and they are eating salads. The rest of 'du monde' are civilians, just polishing off the 'Waiter of the Week' with money.

As the Pappas' are in the blind corner under the 'non fumeurs' sign, I begin to install myself on the other side of the civilians. My coat is only half off when Tina and Chuck Napier from Garden Grove, California, arrive.

Nobody touched this 'Drink of the Week.'

It is the Napier's first time in Paris and they are staying out at Disneyland, because Chuck works for the Disneyland number one at Anaheim in California. He has worked there so long that he got his 20–year gold ring a long time ago. For one night, the Napiers intend to stay at the Hotel Victor Hugo in the 16th arrondissement.

To celebrate, Chuck orders a 'Crêpe of the Week.' Then he says they had one on the Tour Eiffel yesterday, so I guess it may only be the 'Crêpe of the Day.'

While we are admiring the crêpe which looks a bit like a chocolate sundae, Marilyn and Jim Brannin arrive and sit down. The Brannins are in the process of moving to Paris from London where they moved after living in Madrid after they lived in California.

Hardly before we can get any names for a 'City of the Week' from these residences, Betty and Jerry Blizin arrive, as they always do, from Tarpon Springs, Florida.

No sooner do we have the handshakes and the 'hiyas' over than Rita Martinson arrives from West Hollywood, California. After reading Metropole for decades – it seems like – Rita is moving here too, but is temporarily camping near the bottom of the steps leading up to Sacre Cúur.

Jim asks us if we've ever been to a Sunday brunch at Jim Haynes' place. He says Marilyn and he went and there was 50 people there and Jim Haynes remembered everybody's name.

Jerry mentions all of the expos he's seen, like the photos hung outside on the walls of the police prefecture, or the 120 Albrechtphoto, book, the french exception Dürer etchings at the Mairie of the 5th arrondissement. Then he shows me how he uses his great bumper– sticker contest prize Métro key ring to hold his spare paper clip.

Walter shows me that his digital camera makes videos with sound too. It's like watching an animated postage stamp that talks like a Hungarian parrot.

We were too busy to read Rita's 'Book of the Week' today.

I have to leave my place in front of the ravaged crêpe to move down the tables to talk to Rita. She tells me that West Hollywood is not to be confused with Los Angeles. Los Angeles, she says, is where you hear gunshots that scare cats, and West Hollywood is not.

There were some new club members from Los Angeles in January, who said they lived 'close' to West Hollywood. I think the diplomatic thing to do is have a 'Double–City of the Week.' Garden Grove for Disneyland and West Hollywood, because it is 'close' to LA.

I hear Walter say, "Ric can tell you where not to go." Luckily no one asks. I don't know anything about West Hollywood, or Garden Grove.

My notes, these 'report' notes, are worse than usual. Not only do they not make any sense, I don't even know what they mean. Do I speak French, I think Marilyn asks. I confess that I try but the French laugh. The longer I can't speak French the funnier it gets. I can't sell lemonade either.

"Walter is a wizard!" somebody shouts. I guess maybe it was Jerry, but it may have been Jim. Walter is a wizard because he has no less than a half–dozen gadgets.

There's the camera that does the video. There's an audio recorder, a portable phone, an electronic translator, andphoto, cybershot group an analog compass – an early forerunner of GPS. The amazing thing is that when Walter is lugging all this stuff his clothing doesn't bulge anywhere.

Walter's 'Group Photo of the Week.'

I've forgotten that Danielle has shown up to join her parents, Tina and Chuck. Tina finds out that Jim speaks Spanish, and Catalan, and Russian. Jim is going to give French a whirl – that's why Marilyn was asking me. I'm not a good student to ask.

Danielle is getting up to go and get a souvenir Paris tatoo, so we all pile out to La Corona's terrace, and pretty much capture the 'Group Photo of the Week.' Walter does one too.

Back inside, Betty says that she got blitzed near the Panthéon by a falling chestnut. "It bounced off my glasses, then they bounced off my head," she says.

Walter says, "Law of gravity – big sphere attracts little sphere." Jerry says, about Florida, "We put all our Rembrandts in the bathtub."

The final gadget is Walter's, of course. He has a sleek watch that is powered by sunlight. When it's covered by a sleeve, or at night, it doesn't run at all. But when it's in some light again, it gets a time signal from outer space, resets itself, and tells the right time – and can remember what the right time is in New York too.

Except for this 'report,' it has been a successful meeting. It has been a first time for several things – not counting the gadgets – but it's the only 256th meeting we'll ever attend.

Finally before we all go – remember about the falling chestnuts. It's falling–chestnut season again.

The Café Metropole Club's About Page

Today's club meeting 'report' was not interrupted by rain. The 'About the Café Metropole Club'photo, gadgets of the week page has some other details, but you can skip them and not miss many of the ex–rules. A faster way to find out all you want to know about the club is by joining it any Thursday.

Some of Walter's 'Gadgets of the Week.'

You can become a real lifetime member of this online magazine's real, live, and free club by becoming a member really fast on a Thursday by signing–in yourself during one of the meetings in Paris if you are here. Getting something to drink is more easily arranged than said.

The club's 'rules' were turned into wisps of vapor by the club's very own members some time ago, much to their eternal satisfaction. The club's other meager distinction is that it is the only club related to an Internet magazine that continues to have no newsletter.

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

The weekly club meetings start about 15:00, on Thursday afternoons. Meetings end about 17:00, also on Thursday afternoons in the western European Time zone – which is really 'CET' for short and not 'ooOPs' although it sometimes is – and known elsewhere as 3 pm to 5 pm. Club meetings are always in Paris. If the secretary gets no other better offers, club meetings will continue to be held here.

Do something clever at a meeting – like being present for one – and become mildly famous for a short time. True 'firsts' are welcome, with 'true' having approximately the same political value as 'first,' especially if cats are involved. 'True' is perfectly acceptable too, especially if it's honestly 'first.'

There's just one note of caution – you may have any one or two 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 everlasting week, year after everlasting year, and have been purged from the club's gigantic volumes of archives except for all the originals still online buried in the cool and deep salt mines of the Martian chronicles.

Conversation with other club members at meetings is an encouraged activity rather than merely optional. If there's an empty chair, sit – also optional – wherever you like, or haul one over from another part of the café. What you say may be frankly appreciated by other members present if they are listening, and there usually are some – and if it should chance to be written here, as a bit of it is, sometimes.*

*The above paragraphs are relatively unchanged since last week because there was no 'Gadget of the Week' at today's meeting. They were 'Gadgets.'

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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