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'Hello Albert'

photo, group, barbara, albert, heather, gary

Today's 'Group of the Week,' from left, Barbara,
Albert, Heather and Gary.

Worked Like a Charm

Paris:– Thursday, 3. February 2005:– Le Parisien's weather forecast reads like an exciting battle on a football field in WWII, with offensive, counter–attack, reconquest and occupation, between tomorrow and Monday.

We are being 'attacked' by clouds, but the sun's rays will mount a defense, successful – hélas! – except for not defending the frontiers of the south– east. Fiction, it's all pure fiction.

The real story is a mass of thick gray clouds clotted along the Channel and the north–west, which will give way on Friday to some weak outbreaks of feeble sunshine if you are in the right place at the right time. The high temperature should be around 8 degrees.

Round two on Saturday has pretty much the same things happening in the same places, with maybe a bit more obvious sunlight, but with less in the temperature department. Expect no more than 6 degrees.

By Sunday the clouds are supposed to have slipped across the country to gather along the eastern borders, leaving in their wake a sun struggling to pierce thin clouds, and a daytime high forecast of 6 degrees again. It hardly seems like any WWII battle, except if you consider the 'Phoney War,' known on the other side of the Rhein as the 'Sitz–kreig.'

A Nearly 'Completely Different' Report

Instead of taking the Métro to today's club meeting the secretary uses his feet instead, despite a conditionphoto, beer of the week of near rain, to walk to downtown Montparnasse to the Fnac to get some ink. It was to be had in a local Monoprix but only for a major price.

However, it turned out that 'walking a mile' was at best futile, because the Fnac's 'nice price' was decidedly salty. Never mind that it isn't necessary to buy one of these doodads more than once in four years. Most things printed here I get from the newspaper shop.

A completely different 'Beer of the Week.

Looking around a bit, I see I could have bought ink with a whole printer attached, for only 19€ extra, assuming that new printers are sold with at least one ink cartridge. If it wasn't too late to change my life's course, I would get into the ink business fast.

Meanwhile there's a Métro to be had at Saint–Placide so down the hole I go and away on its swift train, rocketing through the tunnels past Sulpice, Saint–Germain and into Odéon where I jump from the moving wagon so as to have momentum for getting up the stairs that lead to the escalator.

Fifteen minutes later I am stumbling along the Quai du Louvre, almost totally free of other pedestrians. The terrace of the club's café La Corona is as abandoned as Paris Plage at this time of year, as is the café's bar. The 'grande salle' is doing 1200 percent better, with about a dozen folks winding up their lunches.

It is a minute short of 15:00 when I have all the particulars noted for today's meeting. Idly I draw a customized Twingo in today's 'report' area. Then I draw a Joe on a scooter, a P–51 Mustang, the word 'café,' and a lone wheel. Then I turn to the back of the members' booklet, and sketch some logos.

With these finished, plus notes, I have just started a double–page layout sketch when Gary De La Rosaphoto, wine of the week arrives. Gary is our man from the Los Angeles city hall. In homage or something, Gary tells me he's been taking photos of the Hôtel de Ville, the garden market across the Seine, the chickens, dogs, cats, the whole zoo, between there and here.

Which, not quite of course, reminds him of a line from a Three Stooges film. "We came here to see the parasites." Then he says 'everybody was 'so mad' at Gloria.' Before I can find out about this Gloria, Barbara and Albert Roldan arrive from Novato, California.

A completely different 'Wine of the Week.

Albert is clear, but in confusion I almost greet Barbara as Mary Ann. Mary Ann had a sign in November saying 'Hello Albert!' because Albert wasn't here and Barbara was, and yesterday she sent me an email to say that she hoped I would remember to say 'Hello Barbara and Albert' for her, and danged if I do remember – yes! Whew! Another close one it is.

I needn't have worried. Barbara, Albert and Gary were practically all born within two freeways of each other in Los Angeles. Listen to them reel off the names of LA places! Boyle Heights, Silverlake, Brooklyn, er... Gloria?

"What's that town where all the horses are at?" Gary mentions that LA has its Parris too. Oh yeah, and on Sunday Gary is at Jim Haynes' place and there's about 40 good folks there, and of course Gary bumps into the musician from Silverlake. What's this with LA, everybody comes here in the winter?

Barbara and Albert have been in the Rue Montparnasse, the world headquarters of crêpes restaurants. The kind of places so popular that there's no reservations, crêpes fans lined upphoto, notes of the week in the street, starving for those good sitdown crêpes. Yes, sometimes they're all full even if the whle street is lined with them. More popular than Disneyland!

Completely different 'Notes of the Week.
Continued on page 2...
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