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photo, group of the week ric and don

Today's 'Group of the Week' is the secretary, and Don,
and his hat.

What In Translation?

Paris:– Thursday, 16. December 2004:– I could swear it was really gray outside this morning because it looked really gray outside. I should have taken a close look – hey! the Tour Montparnasse is disappearing – but I didn't, and was therefore quite surprised to find it was raining cats and dogs when I went out to get my daily bread.

Right sopping it was. A short time later when I left for the club meeting it was the same and it was the same after the club meeting, when a flic stopped me from crossing the Pont des Arts. Closed on account of rain?

The street outside is not wet now and although the sky is inky, I can see ghostly clouds flitting about. This is probably only a pause because tonight's TV–weather news has been quite categoric – there will be rains tomorrow.

There are to be winds too, buffering the west coasts at 60 or 70 kph, and in the afternoon ripping through here at 90 kph. 90? Did I write this right? Seems high. Windy, alors. Make sure your umbrella has had its winter overhaul. Meanwhile, on the temperature side it is supposed to be way up to 12 degrees tomorrow, 50 percent more than today. And, finally, if you are in the east expect snow to fall on everything over 800 metres.

Hardly believable, but some sunshine is predicted for Saturday. Maybe it's another mistake like the 90 kph winds. Along with the beams expect a high temperature of 10 degrees. On Sunday the Channel areas are supposed to be sunny again, but the same for here is somewhat doubtful. We have been advised to expect the solid clouds, maybe rain, the humidity, and a low high of 8 degrees.

The 'Fab Two' At It Again Report

By the time I leave for the club meeting today I know it is raining and I dress appropriately but get pretty wet by the time I reach the Métro. So much for the fiction of a Métro station every three blocks – all of mine are 3.5 blocks away, and the rain is pelting down.

Therefore I am not surprised to see other soggy passengers. I let the train roll all the way to Châtelet, andphoto, 10 cents of the week then fail to get a copy of Le Parisien there. The Rue de Rivoli is sodden and water is lying around everywhere and falling down, trickling into collars – oh, it is all a big slosh. I get a paper at the kiosque in front of Samaritaine. It's the last one and it looks used.

Forty–five of these required for one secretary's café.

More slosh slosh along the dark Quai du Louvre to the club's café. Drivers' lights are glittering on the sidewalk's stone slabs. It looks like waterworld, maybe the canal du Louvre. Inside the café, in its bar, there is a gent under a black hat. It is member Don Smith having a pre–drink café, for a standup un–club price.

The café's 'grande salle' is four people short of empty. One lady has her head on a table and appears to be asleep. Her companion seems to be waiting patiently for the next thing to happen. It reminds me that I haven't seen Willy the Bird for several weeks.

But I have seen member Don Smith recently, like last week, when he alone with his camera was the 'Group of the Week.' Don sits down. I take off my cap, coat, scarf, gloves, and sit down too. I get out the club's booklets and write in Don's name, and the meeting number. Then we look at each other. Now what?

Don is okay. He tells me he used to have a '69 Saab, 'with a flywheel.' I think, maybe all cars, not just Saab's, have flywheels. Joes used to race them across Canada. One guy I knew slightly, sold his after five races, as 'never raced or rallyed.' I would say, 'never buy an unraced Saab from a Canadian,' except I think he was Hungarian.

Anyway, back to Don's story. The car was used as a driving school and it ran into trees. If there was one tree in a vast mall parking lot the Saab would try to knock it over. Maybe it was a flywheel thing. The solution, for Don, has been to go to driving school in France. I dunno. There are trees here too and lots of cars, even French ones, have flywheels.

The next is a balloon story. I like this better because the club has members who do go on balloon flights. Don tellsphoto, mucky cafe of the week me balloons fly further, or higher, or wider, the closer they are flown to the North Pole. It has something to do with it being colder up there. Or maybe there's less gravity on account of the ozone.

Easy come, sloppy go.

Anyhow, Don's guy decided to ride on the top of the balloon instead of in the basket. He laid up there like he was in a big feather bed, although a bit chilly, and that would have been the end of it except that he blabbed in a bar about the feat, and some scumbag snitched him off to the FAA.

They, according to Don, looked in their rule book and couldn't find any rule against riding on the top of a balloon. They couldn't even take away the guy's license because he didn't have a license for riding on the tops of balloons. I bet all balloon people know this story, even through Don has sworn me to secrecy.

You might think this is pure nonsense, but Don decided to tell the story on account of the one I tell him about the guy who has been driving here for 45 years without a license. He got caught, andphoto, patrick waiter of the week fined, but didn't get his license lifted because he hasn't got one. Now he's going to driving school – to 'learn' how to drive – and he's passed the written exam, and if everything goes okay he'll try and pass the driving test in three months.

I know it's a stretch from driving licenses to balloon licenses, but members can say anything they want, as long as there's somebody to listen. At this point the 'Question of the Week' becomes unasked, and therefore requires to answer. My note merely says, 'Question of the Week.'

This week's 'Waiter of the Year,' Patrick.

The 'Waiter of the Week,' Patrick, comes by and tries to interest us in drink. I order a café instead, and Don passes because he's already had a cheapo one at the bar. Patrick says, "I'm going to be online next year." He's already online, in Metropole.

Right after, we do the 'Group Photo of the Week.' This is not as simple as it may seem, because the camera doesn't know what it's doing when it does it by itself. Don thinks the first shot is too low so we change banquettes, so it can be higher. However, I will point out that a 'Group Photo of the Week' with the club's secretary in it is unauthentic. If not, then it's a dubious 'first.'

Without warning, suddenly, the café's 'grande salle' is full of smell. What can it be? Why is it so pervasive? It smells like – pastry? Don thinks, sniffs, and pronounces it to be, maybe, vin chaud. He's seen some sort of vin chaud contraption when he was in the bar.

Wow. Powerful smell. There are only four people in the 'grande salle' besides us. Which of themphoto, group 2 of the week has it, or is it coming from the bar? "Smello– Paris," Don says. Obviously it's the 'Quote of the Week.'

The 'Group Photo of the Week' that wasn't.

Well, well, haven't we done good? No 'Drink of the Week' and no 'Food of the Week' and no 'City of the Week' and no 'Smell of the Week' because we don't know what it is, but we've got a darn good 'Quote of the Week' with only one member and the club's secretary holding down the club's 268th meeting. Surely a meeting to remember for a week at least.

The Answer of the Week II

Last week, member in good standing, Don, proposed a crossroads gasstation type of town for 'City of the Week.' He watched me write it down and did not object to the spelling. However alert member Larry Wechsler has just written to point out that 'Ghorst' is probably more correct as 'Gorst.' My apologies to the residents of this 'ex–City of the Week.'

Shopping & Soldes d'Hiver Alert IV

Last chance Sunday shopping is the order of the Christmas season with many shops of all sizes intending to be open on 19. December. For afterwards, the official word is that the coming Soldes d'Hiver will begin on Wednesday, 12. January and continue for a bit more than five weeks until Tuesday, 22. February. Bring lots of hard money.

More About the Café Metropole Club's About Page CCVXVIII

Today's club meeting 'report,' narrowly missing a 'Smell of the Week,' had at least a mention of Alaska, unless I forgot it. The 'About the Café Metropole Club' pagephoto, wet terrace of the week has a lot of fussy tiny print, but you can skip it and not miss anything big. In case you do decide to skip absolutely everything, all you need to know about the club can be found out by joining it on any day that happens to be a Thursday.

Today's 'Wet Terrace of the Week.'

You can become a real member for ever of this online magazine's real, live, and free club by becoming a member hyper–rapido on a Thursday blah blah blah etc., and–so–on. If you skip this paragraph, you should read the preceding one.

The club's 'rules' evolved into heroic folk tales, concocted by the club's members a real darn long time ago. The club's other distinction is that it is the only club related to an Internet magazine that operates with no forms to fill out, no newsletter, regardless of how many requests there are for one. To unsubscribe to or disconnect, you need do nothing, nada, zilch, zero.

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

This club's meetings begin about 15:00 on the dot, on Thursday afternoons and break off around 17:00, on the same Thursday afternoon in the western European Time zone – which is really 'CET' for short and not 'OUUZ' although it sometimes is – and known elsewhere as 3 pm to 5 pm. Club meetings are held in Paris. The club's secretary never gets a better offer, but hopes.

Be fiendishly clever at a meeting – like being at one – and become somewhat notorious for a few minutes if you are in any mood for it. True 'firsts' are welcome, with 'true' having approximately the same crackerjack value as 'Of the Week,' especially if balloons are concerned. 'True' is perfectly acceptable too, if it' is an out–in–front type of 'first.'

Note of Caution – you may have any one or more personal reasons for remaining unfindable 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. Google yourself if in doubt..graphic: club location map

Former 'rules' continue to be 'former' week after week after week, month after tedious month, year after boring year, and have been eliminated from the club's hyper–volumes of archives except for all the originals still online buried in the deep and dark basements of western Montmartre. We ignore all latter rules.

Talking to other club members at meetings is warmly encouraged rather than optional if there aren't any. If there's a free chair, sit – wherever you like, or haul one over from another part of the café. Bring your own if you want. Whatever you say will be much appreciated by other members present if there are any that are listening, and there usually are some – and if it should chance to be written here, as scads of it is, relentlessly.*

*The above paragraphs are relatively unchanged since last week because this week's only near 'City of the Week' did not turn out to be 'Ghorst.'

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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there is no such thing
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Waldo Bini