...Continued from page 1

"Reading any good books lately?" Rita wants to know.

"We haven't had time," Berta says. Scoop's nod is deeper.

Monsieur Naudan the younger comes over to the club's table and hands the secretary an envelope, saying "La poste!" Scoop wakes up. Berta's x–ray eyes singe the envelope.

The second the none 'Drink of the Week.'

Inside the envelope, postmarked Suburban, Illinois, there is a card from member Terri Blazek. It has a lion on it, like Denfert–Rochereau. She sends greetings to the club from Chicago, saying that the secretary is a 'rock.' Hardhead I guess she means. Thanks, Terri!

Bang, bang. Crash, crash. Monsieur Naudan is outside on the terrace, poking at an upper window. Three waiters have materialized, to watch Monsieur Ferrat hauling on some window–opening device. There is push, there is pull, but the window doesn't budge. I don't expect it to – it's been closed for the past 270 meetings.

Without warning, window opening is over. It is still shut. Scoop quit smoking last August, so he doesn't care. The window open last August, would have been nice. Being open next August, I rather doubt. Some things never change. It's Paris' charm.

At one point, Berta has compared herself to Napoléon, as far as height goes. She explains how vanillaphoto, envelope, terri blazek ice cream turned into strawberry at the Monoprix. She couldn't reach where they had put the ice cream, so she asked a Monoprix dude for his step–thing.

The club's 'Envelope of the Week,' possibly 'Of the Year.'

After the usual refusal because 'customers are crazy,' Berta convinced him to relent, with her x–ray eyes. She hopped up but it was still too high. She thought it was vanilla, but when she got it down it was strawberry. It made a perfect compliment to the carrots à la marmalada.

'Grande Nuit' Tomorrow

Once again the same folks who brought you New Years Eve 1999, thinking it was the end of a millennium, will be back with a replay of the 'Grande Nuit' program, set to commence at 17:00 tomorrow. At this time public transport in Paris becomes free. FREE! And it stays free until you get home if it's before noon – 12:00 – on Saturday, 1. January 2005.

Free public transport would be worthless on New Years Eve if the transport stopped at the regular time of 01:00. Part two of the 'Grande Nuit' program consists of operating Métro lines 1, 2, 4, 6, 9 and 14 between 01:15 and 05:35. RER lines 'A' and 'B' back up the Métro, with RER 'C' running everywhere except in the centre of the city, between Invalides and Gare d'Austerlitz.

Finally, to close any gaps, there will be three times as many night buses in operation. These will be departing every 20 minutes from Porte Maillot, Saint–Lazare, Gare de l'Est, Vincennes, Gare de Lyon, Place d'Italie, Porte d'Orléans and Montparnasse – to go out to the boonies.

Kaboom! Fireworks!

This year, for the first time since New Years Eve 1999, the city plans to exceptionally pulverizephoto, outside of the week a ton of explosives tomorrow night. The launch pad will be the Tuileries, near Concorde, which will light up the big ferris wheel twirling around there – which is news to me.

Today's 'Outside of the Week.'

If you go to see the eight–minute show you are supposed to remember that Paris is a candidate to host the Olympics in 2012. The actual purpose of the rare display is to get a video of Paris' fireworks broadcast by world media on New Years Eve, to compete with rocket shows from Sydney, London and Berlin. But, hey! if this is what it takes – Parisians love to have their taxes blown up for a good cause.

Shopping & Soldes d'Hiver Alert VI

2005's first day of Sunday shopping may be on the first Sunday of the year, due to food shops being closed on the first day of the year, Saturday. Besides Monoprix, 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. Credit terms will be easy.

More About the Café Metropole Club's About Page

Today's club meeting 'report,' without any 'City of the Week,' at least had a mention of marmalade, that go with carrots. The 'About the Café Metropole Club' page has a lot of readable tiny print, but you can skip it and not miss anything much. If you do decide to skip absolutely everything, you need no more than to know that the club can be joined any day so long as it's a Thursday.

You can become a forever member for ever of this online magazine's real, live, and free club by becoming a member super–rapido on a Thursday blah blah etc etc etc., and–so–on, and–so–forth etc. If you've skipped this paragraph, no harm done.

The club's 'rules' evolved into minor suburban legends, created by the club's members a heck of long six years ago. The club's other distinction is that it is the only club related to an Internet magazine that twirls around with no forms to fill out, no newsletter, regardless of how many requests there are for one. To unsubscribe, unhook or disconnect, you need do nothing, nada, zilch, absolute zero.

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

The club's meetings begin about 15:00 on the hour, 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 'OUKZ' 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 any offer, but hopes, so far, vainly.

Be fiendishly clever at a meeting – like being at one – and become somewhat famous for a few seconds if it is your fondest desire. True 'firsts' are welcome, with 'true' having approximately the same orange juice value as 'Something of the Week,' especially if bread is concerned. 'True' is perfectly acceptable too, if it is an otherworldish 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 month, year after endless year, and have been eliminated from the club's hyper–texts of archives except for all the original texts still online buried in the deep and dark cellars of eastern Armenia. Google them to verify.

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, profusely.*

*The above paragraphs are relatively unchanged since last week because this week's meeting was the last in 2004, and who wanted it to end?

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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