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photo, group, mark, heather, james

The 'Group of the Week,' sitting, from left, with
Mark, Heather and James.


Paris:– Thursday, 13. January 2005:– Today's Le Parisien says the weather this winter has gone crazy, and the paper isn't even thinking of France. Well, maybe a little bit on account of the spring–like times we are having.

But before you jump on a jet just wearing a t–shirt you should heed the paper's warning – it ain't gonna last. General Winter is just around the corner of the calendar. Temperatures 3 or 4 degrees above 'normal for the season' are finished.

This seems to be borne out by tonight's TV–weather news which has predicted a high of 7 forphoto, faux wine tomorrow – down from a scorching 8 degrees today! – and a further dip to 5 on Saturday with 5 for Sunday foreseen as well.

In the sky department we might expect some morning fog tomorrow if we bother to get up early enough, but the rest of the day might be kind of sunny around here.

On Saturday we are supposed to expect very blue skies over Paris. The problem will be anything–but–blue to the west and to the east. If our 'window of opportunity' shifts east a bit, there will be a lot of gray over our heads.

'Faux Wine of the Week' is really Bordeaux.

Then on Sunday, cloudy skies will lurk along the Channel, leaving the rest mostly semi–sunny if not better. But Saturday is the day when the sky might be steely blue so let's hope we'll be able to see it through our 'window.'

First '53rd Anniversary of the Week' Report

When I get on the Métro at Raspail the wagon isn't full of eager shoppers going to the 'Soldes d'Hiver' because they were on the train about five hours earlier, unless they were lazy sods. Posters in the stations remind passengers that shopping now is a smart thing to do, especially with money.

By Saint–Germain I am tired of it but I ride to Odéon for the sheer heck of it. Of course I haven'tphoto, winner, james macneil planned for this exit so it only takes the usual 10 minutes to get out of the station. On the boulevard ladies are walking around with big shopping bags full of small items from the chic boutiques, which probably haven't bottomed out at 50 percent off yet.

Luckily not many of these shops are in Dauphine and I am forced off the narrow sidewalk only three times. What a relief to be on the bridge regardless of its age! Cheap real estate over water allows wide sidewalks.

Contest winner James accepts terrific prize at long last.

Due to the sales the Quai du Louvre is appropriately deserted. I don't see anybody buying dogs or chickens, and I don't see any wonderful posters either. But the sidewalk is dry and sunlight is washing the club's café, which looks like it needs a paint refresher.

Shoppers aren't in the 'grande salle' either, but the club's number one member is. Heather Stimmler–Hall says that I am early and I could say the same for her, but it's too obvious.

Heather wonders if she is in the film, 'L'Un Reste, l'Autre Part,' which started yesterday, and has the poster is in this week's issue. This was an extra job she had, as a result of sitting around in the club's café waiting for movie scouts.

While I am wondering if the club's most famous author is in the film, James MacNeil arrives from Heidelberg. James swore up and down he'd be back 'in a couple of weeks' last June, after winning the fabulous Bumper–Sticker Slogan contest, but I've been carrying his second prize around non–stop for, oh, months now.

However when Heather asks James 'how things are going,' he concedes, "Just fair." "That's not very American," she observes.

Maybe James just got off the plane or train. He says he is in Paris 'for the soldes,' but adds "The sales have been on in Germany for a week already. I'm solded out," he says.

Heather decides to tell us about 'Desperate Housewives.' James turns to the 'Waiter of the Week' and points to a glass on a neighboring table. "Côtes du Rhöne?" the waiter asks and James says, "Bordeaux."

"Her husband is leaving because her hair is perfect," Heather says, about the TV show. Another character, according to Heather, died before the first episode. James says it was 19 degrees in Heidelberg yesterday.

Heather says Vélizy 'was hell' yesterday. She went there really early and there was no place to park. Vélizy is a suburban mall, but when its parking lot is full the next nearestphoto, teabag of the week place is Versailles, or Orléans. Heather is so annoyed about it that she's thinking of moving to the 9th arrondissement, where there are no malls to match the no parking.

One of the year's 'firsts' – the 'Teabag of the Week.'

Mark Kritz, a member of the club before it existed, arrives, asking who's been asking for him. Then he tells a story about a chair that fell apart, because his goal is to replace it with an identical chair. The problem is that the chair is so old that Ikea might not have any more. "It isn't in their 1997 catalogue," he says.

James begins an explanation that starts with Mannheim, which I don't know anything about. He hauls out a plastic bag with a label that says, 'Fruchtsaftbären, gummibonbons, 1 KG.' "For the club's 53rd week," he says. Then asks, "What's a 53rd week?"

This is a long story involving my French calendar that I'll skip. Last year it had 53 weeks. This year it has erroneous saints. The club meeting on 30. December was during the mysterious 53rd week.

"How long do they last?" Heather wants to know about the gummibären. "What flavors are they?"

James squints at the small label. "Glukosesirup, zucker, gelatine, sauerungsmittel, öl,photo, fruchtsaftsbaren, gummi bonbon pflanzlich trennmittel: bienenwachs. Mindestens haltbar bis 03.05.2006." And flavors, "There's red ones, yellow ones..."

"The dark red ones could be Dr. Pepper," Heather guesses.

James helpfully, "There was another bag of them, with mango, pineapple, exotic fruits." Heather tries one, but doesn't say what it tastes like. "What if you just ate gummis for three weeks?" Heather muses.

One kilo bag full of fresh gummibären, weighs a kilo.

"No scurvy! They've got ascorbic acid in them," James asserts. "Try a white!"

"I'm trying a yellow," Heather says. While contemplating the exquisite taste Heather observes that none of the present members shave often. "This week it's the beard club!"

When Mark suggests that gummibären could be a diet, if they were in salad dressing – "I'm a reformed scientist!" Heather counters with, "What earthly use is a 1997 Ikea catalogue?"

At the beginning of the meeting Heather mentioned having a sizeable crêpe, 'complet,' before coming to the café. But now, as the bären disappear, her mind wanders. "I kind of miss doughnut shops – those Doughnut Holes!"

Which remind her of another find. "Have you see these? They're for party feet," she says, displaying a couple of packages of Dr. Scholl's 'Shopping and Dancing.'

The sun outside is bright on the café'sphoto, mark kritz terrace so we exit for the 'Group Photo of the Week.' The members are so full of gummibären that they insist on sitting down, which gives a completely new angle on the scheme of life.

The rest of the meeting, after Mark has left for Samaritaine and Conforama to look for an Ikea chair, consists of persuading Heather to take some of the gummibären with her. The secretary fears having to lug a kilo of them back to the 14th.

Mark, with his 'Beard of the Week.'

Heather, saying she doesn't like frozen pizza all that much, accepts a quarter of the gummis. I wonder how long they'll last. Should I bring my bären collection back to future meetings? For the 55th weekly anniversary, maybe?

Support Member's Books, Dept. II

Heather's big news is about her Paris adventure guide book's official launch in Paris. This will happen on Wednesday, 19. January, at 20:00, at the Abbey Bookshop. This is in the 5th arrondissement at 29. Rue de la Parcheminerie, just off the Rue de la Harpe. Go early and buy a dozen copies so that there's room enough to stand inside the place.

I tried this last night after getting a reminder to be there at 20:00, but the door was locked and it was dark inside. I didn't find the back–up couscous place either and only by chance remembered to look at the invitation – to find I was on time but exactly a week early.

Shopping & Soldes d'Hiver Alert VIII

The Soldes d'Hiver have begun and they continue for a bit more than four weeks until Saturday, 12. February. The best stuff may be gone already, but what's left may get even cheaper.

More About the Café Metropole Club's About Page

Today's club meeting 'report,' without any legit 'Food of the Week,' at least had a mention of crêpes.photo, scholl shopping & dancing The 'About the Café Metropole Club' page has a passel of readable small print, but you can skip it all and not miss anything significant. If you do decide to skip absolutely everything, all you need to know is that the club can be joined anytime so long as it's a Thursday.

You can become a lifetime member for ever of this online magazine's real, live, and free club by becoming a member zip–zam–bam on a Thursday blah blah etc etc etc., and–so–on, and–so–forth etc. Should you skip this paragraph, skip the proceeding one too.

Absolute necessity for the 'Soldes d'Hiver.'

The club's 'rules' evolved into obscure legends, created by the club's members 39 years ago. The club's other feature is that it is the only club related to an Internet magazine that subsists with no forms to fill out, no newsletter, regardless of how many requests there are for one. To unsubscribe, unhook or disconnect, go to a movie.

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

The club's meetings begin about 15:00 on the hour, on Thursday afternoons and fade away around 17:00 on the same Thursday afternoon in the western European Time zone – which is really 'CET' for short and not 'ZOZT' although it sometimes is – and known elsewhere as 3 pm to 5 pm. The club's secretary never gets any offer from Mannheim, but hopes, so far, vainly.

Be fiendishly clever at a meeting – like being at one – and become somewhat famous for a hour or two if it is what you truly want. True 'firsts' are welcome, with 'true' having approximately the same gummibären value as 'Gumdrop of the Week,' especially if fruchtsaft is concerned. 'True' is perfectly acceptable too, if it is an unbelievable form 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 forever etc., blah–blah, from the club's hyper–texts of archives except for all the original texts still online buried in the deep and dark cellars of upper Baden.

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.*

*The above paragraphs are relatively unchanged since last week because this week's meeting would have mentioned the 'Chair of the Week' if we had only known.

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.
Metropole Midi © 2014
– unless stated otherwise.
logo, metropole sml midi logo No matter how good it tastes,
there is no such thing
as a free lunch.
Waldo Bini