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Planet Café Metropole

photo, group, ron, heather, don, karen, susan, tomoko

Whole 'Group of the Week' – from left, Ron, Heather,
Don, Karen, Susan and Tomoko.

First Annual 'Day After' Meeting

Paris:– Thursday, 4. November 2004:– Since the last two–thirds of the weekend the sky hasn't been too bright, especially in the daytime. Of course it wasn't bright at night, but it only rained during the day. It wasn't much rain though.

Today, with a very dubious forecast, seemed to be trying to pull itself up by its bootstraps. There was a feeling that the sky would get lighter, and the sun might shine. Instead it almost shone, and the distances were soft gray.

Quite a bit better is expected for tomorrow. Colder weather will be leaning against us from the northwest but it should be mainly sunny around here. This is if the sun can burn off the overcast, dry it out, spread its rays over this green and pleasant city.

Even with sunshine the highestphoto, baguette of the week temperature won't get much above 13 degrees. Tonight's TV–weather lady didn't say if this is 'normal for the time of year.' It seems a bit low to me.

Another true 'first' – the 'Baguette of the Week.'

On Saturday it should be kind of sunny again, but there will be a lot of clouds up north and colder weather will be pressing down our necks. The high isn't expected to be more than 11 degrees.

Sunday will probably be ideal for riding the waterproof Métro, visiting museums or lounging around in a restaurant all afternoon; The whole top half of France will be covered by clouds, and it will be a chilly 11 degrees again. Hey! It's November, with November weather. It's right that it acts like November for a change.

The 'Day After' Club Report of the Week

Even though the sky appears as if it is trying to be bright I dress carefully in somber clothes before leaving for the club. I always knew there would be an occasion to wear all black, for a reason other than being in fashion. I didn't know when or why, but today seems like the day for it.

Outside in the larger world pretty much everything seems normal. On the Métro the power goesphoto, beer of the week off between Saint–Placide and Sulpice. Almost before the wagon stops and the emergency lights come on the driver lets us know that the delay is due to somebody misusing the tracks for an unauthorized caper.

They must have hooked whoever it was out of there because we were off again within two minutes, and slammed into the station at Saint–Germain at full tilt. Here I left my private wagon and glided through the quiet streets of the Quartier Latin until I found a bar with cool jazz.

Garden variety 'Beer of the Week.'

This was necessary because I'd forgotten my morning café. I have never done this before. I must be losing it. No need to worry. I uptanked my jolt, and continued un my way, with some boom boom in my tank.

Crossing the Pont des Arts the light was subdued, and everything – like the Louvre – was soft in the gray haze. There was soulful atmosphere along the river, needing only the appropriate script and theme music.

Standing across the road from La Corona, it looks like it had been left there by people who needed to be elsewhere. Nobody on the sidewalk, nobody on the terraces, and when I walk in the door, nobody in the bar and nearly as few live bodies in the 'grande salle.'

In the club's area at the back, there is a black Borsalino and under it can only be Don Smith. When I get closer I see Don Smith's face under the wide brim, so it really must be Don Smith. Who else would wear a brand new Borsalino to a club meeting in November?

Don is not particularly surprised that I know he's wearing a Borsalino. After all, his looks like mine, even if he doesn't know I have one, and some other hip lids. Don says he didn't come to last week's meeting because he was sleeping off jet–lag on account of moving here. He is full of surprises.

He has left Seattle behind and the other 39 Don Smiths who are in the phone book there. He thinks he may be the only Don Smith living in the 14th arrondissement. He's taken a step up in the world.

I am admiring his black hat when Susan Bruce arrives with her sister Karen MacQueen. Susan moved here from Urbana, Illinois and Karen is visiting here because when Karen lived here Susan paid her visits. Both become new club members.

Susan's husband is a professor on a Fullbright thing in Finland, so it makes perfect sense to live in Paris. I tellphoto, I am not a tourist t shirt Susan that Urbana has already been a 'City of the Week,' but as is getting more usual, I am wrong so it becomes this week's 'City of the Week.' It isn't in Ohio, but it's close enough.

Amazing 'Silly T–shirt of the Week.'

On account of being wrong I do not find out the usual tidbits about Urbana. It will just have to settle for the club honor without having my usual pep up. Other places have survived not having it.

Susan and Karen are expecting Heather Stimmler–Hall to show up to give away free t–shirts. Amazingly Heather does walk in just now, but she looks empty–handed. Ah, no, she has a sneaky little sack thing.

For she needs it for carrying her famous book too. This is her just– published 'Adventure Guide to Paris,' which is really big. Nigel used the copy I got last week and I barely had time to stop him ripping out the parts he wanted.

After Susan says it is a wonderful book Karen says, "Buy it, use it, and give it to me."

Heather may be great at writing 450 page guide books but she's lousy with the promotion. She says the Fnac in Montparnasse has books in English for very good prices – ah, for no more than their dollar or pound prices, but in euros of course.

Then she tells us about the election night party at Planet Hollywood. This affair was spoiled by all the TV peoplephoto, nikon d70 there with their hulking great cameras and their TV–lights. She says there were more of these than paying customers to interview. Heather couldn't even get a chair to sit on, which was tiresome at 04:00.

More amazing, digital, 'Nikon of the Week.'

Ron Sellars arrives from San Antonio, Texas. Ron comes to meetings about twice a year. The last meeting he was at was in May when the winner of the fabulous 'Bumper–Sticker Slogan Contest' was in Paris to pick up the first prize. I'm still carrying one of the runner–up prizes around.

Ron especially likes the macaroons available in Paris. Right! Let's just drop a plug for Gérard Mulot in the Rue de Seine right in here. He's got some classy macaroons, according to Ron.

Heather is still talking about Planet Hollywood. "There was a live band but they turned up the sound on CNN. It was deafening. I had to sit down at 04:00."

Susan is saying that places like Paris with a high population density are actually much more ecologically friendly than, for example, the prairies of Ohio. Heather seconds this with, "Before the French didn't blame the Americans, but now..."

This is when Tomoko Yokomitsu arrives, and takes a place opposite Ron. On learning that Ron is from the great state of Texas, she says, "I'm sorry."

Susan then asks if we can recommend a 'place with trees' that she can visit with the professor in January. Here are our suggestions:
Baden–Baden – by the secretary
Fountainebleau – by Heather
Maisons–Laffitte – by Ron
Bois de Boulogne – by Tomoko
Gers – by Don, for the foie gras, but there may be trees there too. "The marché of foie gras," he says.

Susan is into walking. "Massive walking," she says. Partly because, she has also found the Salon du Chocolat. "Chocolate is sooo good for you!"

We do talk about serious stuff. There's a discussion about the sacks of pills doctors will prescribe. But not all doctors are like this – I have a no–pill deal with my doctor. Other people use witchcraft. Still others only drink wine for medicinal purposes.

"What's the shelf–life of a macaroon?" Ron wants to know. As I suspect, nobody knowsphoto, tomoko, menthe what a macaroon is made of. They may have a half shelf–life of a thousand years.

Having received no likely answer, Ron asks Tomoko, "Where's best for a croque– monsieur?"

"Café de la Paix," Tomoko bats back without hesitation.

Tomoko's 'Menthe of the Week' is always green.

Then it's Heather's turn to ask the expert for the names of the best Japanese restaurants. Actually, since Tomoko lives here, she might not know their names because we are too poor for the 'best of' anything – like the 'best' three–spoon Canadian restaurant. Some pea soup and buffalo stew place I've never heard of.

"If you want cheap in a Japanese restaurant," Tomoko grins, "Try noodles." And laughs. If there were a price of entry, Tomoko's laugh would be worth it.

About the Café Metropole Club's About Page

Today's club meeting 'report' did not lack for notional 'Food of the Week, like macaroons and noodles. Fewer meetings than ever are coherent or perfect. The 'About the Café Metropole Club' page has some fine print, but you can skip it and not miss anything vital. An easier way to find out all you need to know about the club is by joining it any Thursday.

You can become a real lifetime member of this online magazine's real, live, and free club by becoming a member hyper–easily on a Thursday by signing–in yourself during a meeting in Paris so long you are here. Getting something to eat like the 'Food of the Week' is easily arranged so long as it isn't noodles.

The club's 'rules' were turned into legendary urban legends by the club's members some long time ago. The club's other major cachet is that it is the only club related to an Internet magazine that operates with no newsletter, regardless of how many dots there are. There's nothing to unsubscribe to or connect.

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

The weekly club meetings start about 15:00, on Thursday afternoons and end about 17:00, also on Thursday afternoons in the western European Time zone – which is really 'CET' for short and not 'DONZ' although it sometimes is – and known elsewhere as 3 pm to 5 pm. Club meetings are always in Paris. Until the secretary gets any better offers, club meetings will continue to be held here.

Be clever at a meeting – like being at one – and become somewhat famous momentarily if you are really in the mood. True 'firsts' are welcome, with 'true' having approximately the same tabletennis game value as 'first,' especially if big guide books are involved. 'True' is perfectly acceptable too, if it's honestly 'first.'

There's just one note of caution – you may have any one or more 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 after week, month after blasted month, year after endless year, and have been eliminated from the club's mega–volumes of archives except for all the originals still online buried in the cool and deep pepper mines of Outer Outer.

Talking to other club members at meetings is an encouraged activity rather than seasonally optional in November. If there's a free chair, sit – YooHoo! Heather – wherever you like, or haul one over from another part of the café. What you say might be much appreciated by other members present if they are listening, and there usually are some – and if it should chance to be written here, as fragments of it are, occasionally.*

*The above paragraphs are relatively unchanged since last week because today's uneaten 'Food of the Week' was mysterious macaroons.

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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Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
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