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Sorrow for Geese

photo, group, don, michael, cherie, sue, doug

Whole 'Group of the Week' – from left, Don, Michael,
Cherie, Sue and Doug.

Cheer for Fairfield

Paris:– Thursday, 11. November 2004:– Today has been so gloomy – actually like very many past 11. Novembers – that I wanted to get home quick and turn on the cheery lights and the TV set, to watch the gloomy weather forecast in the comfort and warmth of my cozy apartment. The only thing missing is chintz curtains and a sauna.

First the big picture. The centre of our depressed weather system is over the Black Forest and it has really rotten weather twirling around it in a big loop, vacuuming it out of the Massif Central, spraying it at Switzerland and southern Germany before dumping back into the northeast of France.

The result will be a day of clouds, freezing fog, and some sunny periods in the afternoon. But clouds will lurk along the Channel all day, so don't go up there. I mean, this is what the TV–weather news guy said tonight. He also said the low will be 3 degrees, and the high will be 9 degrees.

The skies should be considerably brighter on Saturday, if any of this turns out to be true. Oops, I forgot to put in the vital crosshatching to indicate the cloud locations. Never mind – there will be 60 kms of wind blowing down the Channel – don't go up there – and the high might be 8 degrees.

Sunday looks like it will be tricky, with northern France covered by high clouds. Let's say it might be half–sunny, after morning fog clears. Let's say it might be 8 degrees, and this might be the highest temperature of the day. Night is another story

It is very definitely winter–type weather these days. It calls for wool scarves and some kind of head covering, which can double for keeping the rain off your coiffure. Fingers may feel toastier if they are covered with wool, leather, or bandaids, in a pinch.

The 'Remembrance Day' Club Report of the Week

When I leave for the club the sky is so dim that it seems like a half hour before sundown. The few drivers out cruising Paris, from habit, on this holiday, many are doing it with their lights on. Drivers have been asked to keep their lights on in the daytime on major routes, but more than half don't remember.

When I first came here it was common to drive with no lights on in the city at night. Those were exciting days, er, nights. I forget now what it was that prompted French drivers to start usingphoto, doug and don their lights. Many who don't want to now, in the daytime, say that it wears out their light bulbs.

With the price of gas where it is, I wonder why there's nobody complaining about their gas tanks becoming empty on account of cruising around Paris on holidays.

Doug and Don grapple with the 'laser bazooka.'

Luckily I can take the Métro, and today it has just the right temperature. I do not have to loosen my scarf one bit. All the same I hop out at Saint–Germain and walk through the dark Quartier Latin to the Pont des Arts. It is very quiet and most of the chic art galleries are closed.

The club's café La Corona has its lights on when I arrive but it has not attracted many to its warm and yellow interior. Those who witnessed the Remembrance Day ceremonies on the Champs–Elysées this morning must have gone to museums or warm cinemas this afternoon.

After noting the club details, the weather, and the house count in the café's 'grande salle,' I read Le Parisien in hopes of finding a good story. There's one about the 110 year–old veteran of World War One, hail and hearty. But I am puzzling over "Des maisons en toc ont semé la zizanie" on page 17 when Sue and Doug Fuss arrive.

These members joined the club on 23. December 1999, so they've chalked up five years of belonging to this rare club. Just think – a year after the club started there was an election and now there's been another one. Actually many more, if I think about all the French and European ones too.

Don Smith drifts up to the club's tables with his hat almost brushing the café's chandeliers. I mean, the ghastly things may as well be called this, for want of any better term.

For whatever reason – you know this club, 'no' reason is good enough – we spend the rest ofphoto, sue, digital camera the meeting fooling around with cameras. First, Don says something about his new camera – he says it is a 'laser bazooka.'

Sue gets 'digitaled' through two cameras.

As far as I am concerned, 'bazooka' is the 'word of the day.' Just think – there they were in 1938 and the perfume factory, and the sub– assistant marketing guy said, "Let's call it a bazooka." He didn't get fired, he got drafted. Loading trucks in North Africa, he said, "What are all these dern bazooka things anyhow?" He was overheard and four million Joes starting calling then 'bazookas.'

Doug tries out Don's 'laser bazooka.' It has silent motors that go whir, whir. There is pixel talk. If I could quote myself, I'd say, "18 million pixels more than you need," but I can't. Scratch that quote.

After some hesitation and some prompting from the 'Waiter of the Week,' Cherie and Michael Licamele join us to become club members. We all shake hands again. This is lucky for the club because Cherie and Michael are from Fairfield, Connecticut, which gives us a legitimate 'City of the Week.'

For those who missed geography, Fairfield is near Bridgeport, not all that far from East Norwalk. It is not especially near any of the other Fairfields.

Michael, and maybe Cherie, were in the Corona last Thursday, but the bar area was so interesting that he, or they, did not manage to find the club. They come to Paris often and often hang out on the tip of the Ile de la Cité, so they have been halfway across the Seine on many Thursdays during club meetings. Today is a true 'first.'

Don passes his 'laser bazooka' around. Everybody takes turns making its motors whir. Don makes its sparkly light blitz too. Cherie and Michael bring out their cigarette–package–sized cameras. "This outmoded that," Michael says.

One has a big picture window in the back. Through it, I take pictures of some of the members. Actually, all ofphoto, cherie, digital camera the members. Some don't quite click, because of having a camera in each hand, one 30 centimetres behind the other.

Cherie survives double digitalization.

Don says, "Next week is foie gras." You know, Don said something like this last week, but he catches us off balance again this week. Actually next week might be Beaujolais Nouveau Day in the world, so the 'foie gras' is a bit of a puzzle.

But it is different. Don is going to the Gers to photo the foie gras. As he says, from 9:30 to 10:30 it is the ducks and geese. And from 10:30 to 11:30 it is the... swans?

Everybody tells their favorite goose story. Doug says that they are considered to be pests when they fly over golf courses on their way to Mexico for the winter. They think golf courses are there for rest and recuperation. Golfers don't. Golfers do, but not with thousands of geese on them. He doesn't say they eat golfballs.

On the subject of endangered species, Doug asks, "Whatever happened to Minitel?"

For those who came in late, Minitel was a French invention that proceeded the Internet. The post office gave away the terminals for free. This was back when telephone service was part of the post office, and Minitel was really very slow, and the line charges made a great number of Minitel millionaires.

Now we have the Internet and if we are smart we have DSL and no line charges, but all the wonderful Minitel servers are not available – except if you still have a Minitel and want to pay a fortune in line charges.

Minitel is still around but is having a hard time staying popular. The phone companies just launchedphoto, michael, digital camera their new video–phones this week. These are another attempt to get folks to pay a lot of heavy line charges, in return for seeing somebody talking on a phone. I can watch people in phone booths gabbing away, for free.

Michael's doubled, pixeled, digitalization.

But this is not a telecommun– ications report. We take a jaunt outside to find some light that isn't yellow, for the 'Group Photo of the Week.' Out on the street the light is dim, and pedestrians are disinclined to wait out a pose – what's the matter with them? They've had a day's holiday on account of World War One!

What's wrong with me? My camerawork is very slipshod today. Luckily I am free with the shutter release and pepper the group with shots. Blurry. Blurry. Underexposed. Blurry. Civilian in frame. Blurry. Finally – one 'good enough.' All that needs doing is fixing five heads.

I'm cheating. The actual notes ended half a page ago. I've been making up all this Minitel stuff. The outside photo bit is true, and members really did talk about geese and golfers.

But Don saying, "Here's the funny part." That's all I wrote. The next page is blank.

About the Café Metropole Club's About Page

Today's club meeting 'report' did not lack for notional 'Food of the Week, like foie gras. Fewer meetings than ever have foodphoto, perrier glass, cups for photos though. The 'About the Café Metropole Club' page has some tasty fine print, but you can skip it and not miss a meal. An easier way to find out all you need to know about the club is by joining in person it any Thursday.

The mysterioso 'Water of the Week.'

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, in the café's 'grande salle.' Getting to Paris is left up to you.

The club's 'rules' were turned into legendary urban folk tales by the club's members years and years ago. The club's other major benchmark is that it is the only club related to an Internet magazine that operates with no newsletter, regardless of how many requests there are. There's nothing to unsubscribe to or disconnect.

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

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

Be fiendishly 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 pitch–and–putt value as 'first,' especially if big geese 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' continue to be 'former' week after week after week, month after derned month, year after flipping endless year, and have been eliminated from the club's hyper–volumes of archives except for all the originals still online buried in the cool and deep ginger mines of Outer Angola.

Talking to other club members at meetings is an encouraged activity rather than seasonally optional in November. If there's a free chair, sit – 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 next week's 'Food of the Week' may be fresh foie gras.

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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contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
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Waldo Bini