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"Think!" Quote of the Week

photo, group, james, dennis, gary, heather

The 'Group of the Week,' from left, James,
Dennis, Gary and Heather.

Donaudampfschifffahartgesellschaft

Paris:– Thursday, 27. January 2005:– Snow that has been lurking just beyond the horizon, covering most of France and hinted at here this evening with a couple of flakes, seems to be keeping its distance, keeping the hands of Parisian snowballers dry, warm and idle.

The only reason for having snow in Paris is to look at it. If we wanted to play in it we could go to a nearby Alp, run the risk of being buried in an avalanche, possibly be rescued by friendly sniffer dogs and maybe get a free ride on a red helicopter. Or, we can just stay here, warm and safe, and maybe see a movie about penguins.

After all, look at what happened to New York. The folks there became penguins. Well, this isn't in the cards for here. We have cold air pouring down from the North Pole, and it isn't even all that cold.

Tomorrow, for example, has a horrible forecast for the sky. All clouds, all day. Outside of Paris there might even be freezing rain, but here, oh, it will be balmy with a high temperature of 6 degrees.

Should, by freak mischance, there be freezing rain here, just remember that freezing nothing is allowed underground in the Métro. On Saturday the winds, about 50 kph–worth, willphoto, pot, wine, water, caraffe still be coming from the north. Clouds will be the main feature to the west and the east, but overhead there may be sunny periods.

The club's basic solo cocktail setup.

Oh, I've just noticed that the high predicted for Saturday is only 2 degrees. If you do go to see the penguin movie, stay in the cinema until Sunday, when the high should be back up around 5 degrees. As for the rest, it'll probably be mostly cloudy all of this winter day.

The 'Homies of the Year' Report

Today is probably no warmer than yesterday but it feels like it is because yesterday's thin, cutting winds have died away, leaving the temperature at about one degree, and damp. Which is not so bad if you have a bulky sweater, a scarf, and gloves. A hat would be a good idea too, and a lot of people are wearing them.

I try to concentrate on the posters in the Métro stations as I ride towards the city centre. Some of them have been up for a couple of weeks, for the winter sales. One lady in my wagon is wearing a fur thing, sort of Mongolian in style. I guess it's more stylish than a wool beanie.

On the Ile de la Cité there is a fair line–up to get in to see Saint–Chapelle. I wonder if it's Wednesday, or if it's heated. Probably neither. Going along the north side of the island in the Seine I see that the river is pretty high, and there probably hasn't been a drop of snow melt yet.

On the Quai du Louvre there are very few out walking and equally few in the cafés. Between nowphoto, soup of the week and Valentine's Day must be the quietest time of year. There's a construction hole in the sidewalk right outside the club's area in La Corona, but there are no workmen around. Probably got too cold for them.

It's a 'Soup of the Week' time again.

Inside the café, Monsieur Naudan the younger tells me that somebody is waiting for the meeting to start. It is 14:52 and I am still off duty. I blow my nose successfully. With it dry again I enter the café's 'grande salle.'

On the 60–odd seats there are four people and one is the 'Waiter of the Week,' who I don't think I've ever seen before. One of the other three is club member James MacNeil, from Heidelberg. It must be extra cold in Germany.

Before sitting down in the club secretary's spot I ask James to shift left so the ear that's working this week will be able to hear what he says. Last week it was the other ear, but this week it's the one that doesn't work good anyway.

James says that it's extra cold in Germany, when I ask. If our weather is from the North Pole, Germany's weather is from Siberia. There's a significant difference and it has nothing to go with all the garlic in France.

Member Dennis Moyer breezes in. "Boy, am I tired!" he says, unravelling his scarf. "I've just spent all day in the Louvre. It's the time to see the Italian stuff when nobody's there."

Then it's the turn of Heather Stimmler–Hall to make an entry. She sits down at the fourth table away from the window. "Spread out! Everybody's got their own table," she observes.

She has her book, her adventure guide to Paris, in a plastic sack. This she is to trade for a yellow plastic sack that James has. With one in each hand, she notes that the two weigh about the same. She looks into the yellow sack and asks, "What flavor?"photo, book, heather adventure guide

"Caterpillar?" She lifts out a large bag full of colorful gummibären. "Is the flavor really 'red?'" James explains that these are the 'exotic' selection of gummibären. "What do they look like?" puzzles Heather.

She signs the book for James. Dennis is curious. He is a buyer of books too, even sight unseen, but Heather has only brought the one. The price, today only, Heather says, "Is 10€ and a sack full of gummibären."

Heather's famous adventure guide to Paris.

She eats a red gummibären. James says they are tree shapes. Heather eats a yellow one. "What hotel did Orson Wells work at?"

We three try to remember if Orson Wells ever worked anywhere and fail. Heather thinks something is wrong with her question. Almost before Orwell gets substituted for Orson Wells, Dennis asks, "Do you know the underground beatnik hotel?"

Dennis claims this is, whatever its name, a splendid hotel these days with a shrine to beatniks – but a hotel that will probably not allow beatniks to stay at it unless they are very rich and reasonably clean.

Then he hands Heather 10€ which he says is an advance for her book, the one she'll bring next time and give to the club's secretary so he can convey it to Dennis. And I thought I was getting off scot–free with neither book nor sack of gummibären.

"I'll go to work for $1 a day but I want to be paid in advance," Dennis says, adding that it is a quote from his grandfather, or Groucho Marx.

I dimly hear James say that he came from Heidelberg on a bus. "At the border check they took away the guy who was sitting beside me, in handcuffs." We wonder aloud whether he may have ended up in Guantánamo.

"I've never quite come to my senses," Dennis says, about how he joined the army, 'because of James Jones.' James, in turn, does not quite say why he was in the Marines.

We still each have a table when member Gary De La Rosa arrives, as he says, from East Los Angeles, to share a table with the club's secretary. Gary says he has to come to Paris to get peace and quiet, especially since the anniversary of the Watts' summer of '65 is coming up.

James, before Heidelberg, is from Los Angeles too. He and Gary trade names, about 'South Central,' which is the usual name for Watts these days. While Gary finds out that Dennis has the apartment that he won't rent to Gary because Gary jokingly said he was going to have big parties in it, James whispers, "La Défense sucks."

Although he whispered this in my working ear, I'm sure he's said something else, like, maybe, 'Los Angeles' ducks.' I mean, I don't think anybody else said anything about La Défense. Why would anybody?

Heather is pointing the sack full of gummibären towards me. "Take a handful!" she urges.

"Ah. No! Sticky fingers!" I say automatically, jerked rearward by total recoil. Heather, nonplussed,photo, gummibaren, heather is reeling off questions her readers send her. "What do you think the exchange rate will be next week?" is one example. "Is Heidelberg in our Germany or their Germany?" is another.

"By the way, does anyone want to share a pot?" James throws out, to eager takers. The 'Waiter of the Week,' who has brought Dennis some hot onion soup, brings another pot of wine and lots of clean glasses.

Heather takes kilo of gummibären in trade for fat book.

James whispers the longest word in German. 'Donaudampfschifffahartgesellschaft' I think I hear. "I made up another one with 200 letters," he says, "But I've forgotten 30 letters of it." The one he does remember, means Donau Steamship Company.

Dennis, who has discovered that Gary is a true club member, who likes to joke a bit – not likely to have a wild party at Dennis' if he rents it – promotes European life. "Instead of going to Vegas for a weekend, I can go to Berlin!" Gary says something about getting 'four exchange students from Los Vegas' in Los Angeles.

And then Gary is telling us about his grandfather, while Dennis jumps in with the warning about getting thrown down the coal chute that he got from his grandfather. Or was it Groucho Marx? "Think!" Gary exclaims, his arms writhing like a Neapolitan ice cream vendor.

Before long, because club meetings are short, Heather, Gary, Dennis and James, are browbeating the clubphoto, cocktail of the week secretary to remember the name of the café near 'Les Puces' that has live jazz on Sundays in the afternoons. In the Rue des Rosiers in Saint–Ouen is all everybody, except the club's secretary, can remember.

The club meeting is in overtime, James discovers by looking at his portable phone. Heather gives a jump and whips out her phone. It looks nearly identical to James.' She says, "Except for that button. What does it do?"

Whatever this is, it is the other 'Cocktail of the Week.

James looks at his phone as if they only thing it does is give the time. The button in question is a mystery. "Sometimes I sit on my phone," Heather says, "And find I've been dialed into the 'net for a hour."

Strike of the Week

No strikes were forecast for this week but a bad thing happened to a SNCF ticket controller which upset otherphoto, gary, heather controllers, so they went on strike without warning and disrupted a great swath of rail traffic. This began on Wednesday, continued on Thursday and may still be affecting rail services on Friday.

While Dennis and James are fetching theirs, Heather and Gary partake.

If this seems to have affected you personally, try to remember that it has affected everybody else with as little warning. A lot of regular rail users are very steamed up about it. However rail workers don't fancy being assaulted while on the job. They are not very impressed by a SNCF announcement that it will hire a 100 more security agents either.

Shopping & Soldes d'Hiver Alert XIV

The Soldes d'Hiver are in their ho–hum mid–phase but they continue for another two weeks until Saturday, 12. February. Whatever is left may get even cheaper so watch out for the discount sticker on top of all the other discount stickers.

More About the Café Metropole Club's About Page

Today's club meeting 'report,' with a good whiff of the 'Onion Soup of the Week,' had a healthy mention of pots of wine. The 'About the Café Metropole Club' page has a passel of fine print, but you can skip it entirely and not miss anything but fine print. If you do decide to skip it, all you need to know is that the club can be joined anytime so long as it's a Thursday.

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

Club meetings begin about 15:00 on the hour, on Thursday afternoons and drift off at 17:00 or after on the same afternoon in the western European Time zone – which is really 'CET' for short and not 'TOZZ' although it sometimes is – and known elsewhere as 3 pm to 5 pm. Meetings are held in Paris instead of around somewhere else.

Be devilishly clever at a meeting – by being at one – and become comfortable for a hour or two if it is what you desire most. True 'firsts' are welcome, with 'true' having approximately the same worth as 'first' regardless. 'First' is perfectly believable too, if it is an acceptable form of 'true.'

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 yourownself 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 etc., etc., andsoforth.

Talking to other club members at meetings is encouraged rather than only 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 prefer. Whatever you say will be greatly 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 had more than enough words for three whole meetings in it.

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