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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 whole street is lined with them. More popular than Disneyland!

Completely different 'Notes of the Week.

This too, after Barbara and Albert have spent four days in Venice in a carnival mood. Details escape Barbara, she says the fours days were like one, long, one. Also It was cold there and it's not cold here, not even standing around waiting for crêpes.

Gary makes a correction. "Did you see the snow just after the last club meeting?" I think, last week's weather report is, history. Gary says the cure for cold is Scotch Whisky Tequila, as he is, 'a fifth–generation Angeleño,' "On my mom's side."

As if I haven't gotten a hot hand from speed–writing 'report' notes, Heather Stimmler–Hall arrives. Before she sits down, before her coat is off, she's saying, "Hiya, hiya, yoo hoo, I've just been looking at an apartment. The elevator was so small I had to go up by myself, then two flights of stairs and then out a doorway and along a balcony with a low railing – really low, I don't know about nights there – like a path across the roof – but you get to look down on the terraces of rich neighbors. And white carpets wall–to–wall. My dogs."

Although I haven't mentioned it, the 'Waiter of the Week' has distributed drinks. He must of come with something for Heather too. She takes a gulp, of air, and wants to know about Indianapolis, whether it is the capital of Indiana.

Gary plugs Heather's book by buying a copy, which he gives to Albert to inspect. Albert tells me that Novato's wonderful 'Hollywood' airport is going to be flooded so that ducks and geese can land there. He also assures me that Novato isn't in Nevada. It's not any place famous for making creosote either.

Which reminds Gary to wonder why his local Monoprix has Budweiser for sale. My best guess is that it has something to do with the balance of payments. Airbus sells Airbuses and we get Budweiser back and then it's Monoprix's problem. "Yeah," says Gary, "But who would buy it?"

All four then try to explain about the mountain range in California that makes it into two countries, that haven't quite gone so far as to get recognition from the UN. "They'rephoto, book dedication different worlds," Albert says.

Other subjects more than touched upon include Jack Kerouac, cultural identity, Novato again, films in VO, 'Desperate Housewives' – from Heather again, and "Frank Romero is coming," according to Gary.

The completely different 'Book Dedication of the Week.

Barbara and Albert shift locations in the café to rejoin friends who have returned from a walk to nowhere. Heather starts putting on her coat, hat, scarf, gloves, and picks up her lighter packsack with ease.

Gary says – Shopping Tip! – that the Louvre has a wonderful 'soldes d'hiver.' He was over there and picked up a statuette of the 'Venus de Milo.' "Regular price 75€, on sale for 40€ and 40 percent off! Giving it away! I'm going to Samaritaine to get a scarf."

Shopping & Soldes d'Hiver Alert XII

The Soldes d'Hiver are in their ho–hum mid–phase but they continue for another ten days until Saturday, 12. February. Follow Gary's tip above to pick up unconventional bargains in places you are not expecting to find them.

More About the Café Metropole Club's About Page

Today's club meeting 'report,' without any whiff of the 'Onion Soup of the Week,' had an unwarranted mention of Budweiser. The 'About the Café Metropole Club' page has a peck 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.

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

Club meetings begin about 15:00 on the hour, on Thursday afternoons and dribble off at 17:00 or after on thephoto, group 2 of the week same afternoon in the western European Time zone – which is really 'CET' for short and not 'TZZO' although it sometimes is – and known elsewhere as 3 pm to 5 pm. All meetings are held in Paris instead of around somewhere else.

Another completely different 'Group Photo of the Week.

Be devilishly clever at a meeting – by being at one – and become comfortable for a hour or two if it is what you need. True 'firsts' are welcome, with 'true' having approximately the same worth as 'first' regardless if 'first' is perfectly believable too, and if it is an acceptable form of 'true' but not exclusively.

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 optional if there aren't any. Should 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. Get one on sale. 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 by a fluke.*

*The above paragraphs are relatively unchanged since last week because this week's meeting had enough words for three whole meetings in it during the first hour alone.

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