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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 he 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.


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