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Smokey Philosophy

photo, group, cindy, new member of the week

The 'Group of the Week,' from left, from right, in the
centre – Cindy from Monterey.

Guesswork Weather

Paris:– Thursday, 20. January 2005:– The TV–weather news has been elusive for the past couple of days. On Tuesday there was a football game after the news so the weather got left on the cutting room floor or wherever it is that they leave unused weather reports. In the trash by the café automat I guess.

Last night I was out helping Heather launch her book. This was outside so I was out in the weather in the dark rather than finding out about the forecast, and I think I caught a cold. I haven't had one for so long I'm not sure what one is, so I'm not sure.

Tonight's TV–weather news turned out to be the short version. There's a real mess for Friday, only a temperature for Saturday, and an outright puzzle for Sunday. I don't know why because there didn't seem to be any football games.

Tomorrow we are supposed to expect some really gloomy skies, helped along by winds puffing up to 60 kph. Maybe there's rain too like it tried today and Wednesday night, but it will be fairly warm with a high of 12 degrees predicted.

Without any details the weather might be pretty much the same on Saturday, with a hint of the same temperature as Friday. But for Sunday it is supposed to be cold, but without any hint of how cold. If 12 degrees is considered to be 'warm,' then I'd say 6 degrees is cold. East of Paris there may be snow too.

This morning's Le Parisien thinks the temperature on Sunday will only be 4 degrees, and they've put in 3 degrees for next Monday. It may be true because the mild temperatures we've had can't last forever. I say 'why not?' They lasted before, and now is a good time to keep them going.

A 'Strike of the Day' Report

This is supposed to be a socially exciting week with postmen on strike nationally on Tuesday, train workers on strike yesterday and teachers on strike today. According to the papers and TV–news, these workers are sending the government a message, or several messages.

It appears as if most of the postal workers skipped their strike and many striking rail workers arranged for trains to take bad tempered commuters to work, but the teachers put on a fair display today around France.

All of this had no effect on the Métro running completely as usual from Raspail to Odéonphoto, heather, book reading while I was on it. I have no idea what it did before and after, but if asked to guess I would say that there were no official strikes or warnings of any concerning the Métro today, yesterday, or Tuesday.

Heather, up on her soapbox last night.

What counts absolutely is the club secretary getting to the weekly meeting on time. If this is the case, then we are alright, Jack! Even on the walk from Odéon to the Seine and across the Pont Neuf there was no rain, no strikes, and the police sirens were silent, for a rare change.

Which means I arrive at the club's café La Corona in tip–top shape, and on time. I have seen the café emptier, when it was closed, but not recently. This is definitely the time of year when there is a fair amount of self– centered hibernating going on. If I weren't the club secretary I would certainly be doing my own along with the best of them.

In the café's 'grande salle' I have a wide choice of tables and chairs but I take the club's regular ones. The 'Waiter of the Week' clears away the menus and the paper place mats and only faintly sneers when I tell him I'll order later.

After getting the meeting's details into the club's booklets I look at Le Parisien's front page. Its big headline says, "Why the profs have gone to war again." On page two the word 'rebellion' is in big type. This paper is getting as irresponsible as the Brit tabs.

Page three has more strike news, with one quarter of the page reserved for our all–round man of all seasons, Nicolas Sarkozy. He is no longer a government minister but he gets to put in his two–bits worth anyway. He says strikers should do minimum work when they are on strike. It's possible he doesn't understand the concept of strikes.

A voice says "Hello" and my glasses almost fall off, so I take them off and put away the paper. When my face is arranged again I see new member Cindy Joerger and we are shaking hands.

Cindy says Heather has told her about the club. Besides this Cindy knows about the rules that no longer are and other club lore, so I do not have to explain much other than the 'dead–letter' part of the email business.

Right away we hit it off. Cindy lived in just about every town on the Monterey peninsula, so we have a brand new 'City of the Week' before 15:17. Let's say this time it's Monterey, California, and save the others for coming club meetings.

Cindy has been in Paris before but this time she's been here for longer. "Five years went by sophoto, drink of the week, cafe fast," she says. The cold I think I'm getting has affected my ears so Cindy at first thinks I say I've lived here 59 years. I make the correction in units of 10, until getting down to a number that's plausible.

Exciting view of the 'Drink of the Week' that was.

Cindy says she got a part–time job that keeps getting extended, and that she travels around a lot getting stamps in her passport. She likes Europe because it's possible to drive to other countries in a hour. And once in other countries it's possible to drive to still other countries, each with a different flag but most with all the same money nowadays.

In fact Cindy manages to think of a lot of reasons why it's a treat to live in Europe. "They know how to make café," is a major one of them. I agree with this, so long as certain countries where café is not a national beverage are avoided. They know who they are.

Our conversation ranges over politics – somebody else's – and Prague, Austria, Paris of course, the unemployed – why are there so many in France? Why, for example, will a baker employ his entire family rather than hire a stranger. Answer – strangers cost too much!

The TGVs are wonderful. Cindy doesn't know that these high–speed trains have become completelyphoto, club area, grande salle smoke–free – like Italy became last week. Smoke–free Italy is a sort of disturbing concept. Will Spain be next?

Exciting view of club's area in the café today.

The club's café is particularly smoke–free today. There aren't any smokers in it. The tabac part must be just doing take–out service this afternoon.

But Cindy also notices Europe's odd quirks. For example, sitting on a café terrace in the sunshine having drinks and lunch only a narrow sidewalk away from a bunch of exhaust–belching buses, trucks, scooters and diesel taxis. The Quai du Louvre right outside the club's café is a good example.

A group of six that came in and sat down at tables in the club's no smoking section gets annoyed with our talk of smokey Europe, pays and leaves. I could be wrong. They might have felt the need of a puff out on the café's terrace, with the diesel taxis.

Cindy begins to leave herself about 16:30. She needs to go to Chinatown to get some vital ingredient, such as citron vert leaves. 'Citron Vert' is French for limes. I never knew the leaves were used for cooking, but I certainly know that's why Chinatown is there.

Plus she has to go to five places in the 15th arrondissement. I would think a trip to Chinatown would pretty much end the day if it were possible to get out of it. Cindy says getting around in the 15th is no problem though, even if it is the city's biggest arrondissement.

We promise to see each other again one of these days, and finish off with another handshake. It's another European thing – handshakes coming and going. Technicallyphoto, salt, pepper, oil, vinigar though – if you go in the café seven times in a day, you are only supposed to shake hands on the first entry and on the last exit.

It's kind of tricky calculating when you are making the last exit. I guess what you are supposed to do is estimate the before–last exit, shake hands, and under no circumstances, return.

Exciting café condiments for unordred 'Food of the Week.'

When I leave the café ten minutes later Monsieur Naudan is sleeping on the cash register in the bar, so I skip the final handshake. I do the 'Waiter of the Week' though, and then cross the Pont des Arts so I won't be tempted to return.

Shopping & Soldes d'Hiver Alert XI

The Soldes d'Hiver have begun and they continue for about three weeks more until Saturday, 12. February. Whatever is left may get even cheaper so watch out for those discount stickers on top of discount stickers.

More About the Café Metropole Club's About Page

Today's club meeting 'report,' without even the smell of any 'Food of the Week,' at least had a mention of limes. The 'About the Café Metropole Club' pagephoto, cafe corona, exterior has a bushel of fine small print, but you can skip it entirely and not miss anything. 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.

Exciting 'Café of the Week' where club meetings are held.

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

The club's 'rules' evolved into obscure legends, created by the club's members 439 minutes ago. The club's other feature is that it is the only club related to an Internet magazine that exists with no forms to fill out, no newsletter, regardless of how many requests there are for one. To unsubscribe, unhook or disconnect, take a balloon ride.

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

The club's meetings begin about 15:00 on the hour, on Thursday afternoons and fade away around 17:00 on the same afternoon in the western European Time zone – which is really 'CET' for short and not 'ZZOT' although it sometimes is – and known elsewhere as 3 pm to 5 pm. Meetings could be held in San Francisco but they aren't.

Be fiendishly clever at a meeting – like being at one – and become comfortable for a hour or two if it is what you truly want. True 'firsts' are welcome, with 'true' having approximately the same tealeaf value as café especially if Europe is concerned. 'True' is perfectly acceptable too, if it is an believable 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 the Rue Daguerre.

Talking to other club members at meetings is 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 could have mentioned the 'Chinese Food of the Week' if we had only ordered some delivered.

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