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Mastodon's Dentist

photo, group, jim, laura, jim, stephan, tomoko, marion

'Group of the Week,' John, Laura, Jim, Stephan,
Tomoko and Marion.

Small World, Six Degrees

Paris:– Thursday, 17. February 2005:– Those living in Moose Factory up on Hudson Bay would probably say weather here is pretty mild. For all I know somebody living in Strezhevoy in Zapadno–Sibirskaya might think Moose Factory is paradise, but days here seem dreary, damp, cold, crummy and chilly to the bone.

And there's more to come. Tonight's TV–weather news has delivered a forecast that is far from optimistic. First off it has snowed so much that avalanche warnings are falling like a blizzard of snowflakes. However these warnings are for areas called either Alps or Pyrenees.

In this area we can ignore the weather because none good is forecast. Clouds, clouds and more clouds will move from west to east, with maybe a bit of peek–a–boo signsphoto, cafe of the week of the sun on Friday, with a temperature not to exceed 6 degrees.

The same thing is predicted for Saturday, with the addition of some winds from the Channel, whistling by at about 60 kph. This won't be fun with another high of 6 degrees.

The secretary's 'Café of the Week.

But it might be better than Sunday when the wind is supposed to pick up to 70 kph, with the temperature giving up completely, to rise to no more than 3 degrees. Truly, this will be an afternoon fit for breakfast in bed all day.

The 'Completely Different' Report of the Week

And suppose it's impossible to wake up for breakfast? All might not be lost if you have the right supplies for having lunch in bed all day. Build up a bunker of blankets and pillows and let the cracker crumbs and soup fall where they may.

Oh no, it is all too degenerate. This is not the middle of a ten–month winter. This is just a bit of February a little bit more wintry than normal. Yawn. Where's my scarf? Where are those club booklets? Where are my Métro tickets? All, right where it was last week, all just about ready to go, find the door, open it, lock it, shuffle down the stairs and heave open the iron and glass door, and step out into the blast of frigid oxygen coming down the chute from the Avenue du Maine.

Narely a soul on the street. Chez Papa is open again after its renovation, full of thin students eating massivephoto, water of the week amounts of stone–carver's cassoulet behind steamy windows. Cross the street and set off down the road between the sides of the cemetery, absolutely solo.

One of the café's classical–style 'Water of the Week' carafes.

And then the ride down to the Quartier Latin in the Métro. The mood for it happens in the curve after Sulpice, going into Saint–Germain. A curve like that and you want to ride it all day, but I have the door open at Odéon and my foot on the platform before the train stops.

Tramp, tramp, hustle down Dauphine to the Seine and wait at the light for the green man. Oh, I better pick this up a bit crossing the bridge and get to the club, but I pause for a paper at the kiosque in front of Samaritaine, just 'in case.'

Some Joes are fixing the stone blocks of the terrace of the club's café, La Corona. Their barricade cuts the width of the sidewalk to one lane. Chilled pedestrians edge carefully past.

Inside the café it seems as if the lunch crew has left. A member is sitting in the club's area and he turns out to be Jim Donatelli, from New Wilmington, Pennsylvania. Jim says he comes to Paris once or twice a year, and was at a club meeting a year ago. He reminds me of that club 'report,' and I take his word for it.

Last year, Jim tells me, he ordered some wine when he visited Bordeaux. The 80 cases took 11 months to arrive, with no little thanks to the able assistance of the Pennsylvania liquor board, some help from importers, distributors and interested parties. The cost, in the end, wasn't much more than Benjamin Franklin paid.

He did this because of an AEF balloon unit stationed at Bordeaux in 1917, and fondly remembered there. However I fail to note the details of this, other than to ask if the balloons were for submarine patrols. The answer is no.

Then we have a mini invasion that adds up to three new members. They are Laura and John Marshall of Somerville, Massachusetts, and Phoebe Marshall–Raimbeau of Angers. Somerville, a bit northwest of Boston, becomes the 'City of the Week.' Angers would too, except only one per week is allowed, even though there are no 'rules.'

Besides, it is Somerville that has Davis Square, known far and wide as the 'Paris of the New Millennium.' All Angers hasphoto, photo of photo of the week is a 'château' with 17 towers, begun in the time of Philippe Auguste and completed when Saint Louis was around.

Of course Angers also has an English– Language Library, and Phoebe is its director. It has many more books in English than my own George Brassens Bibliothèque in the 14th.

John's food photo, a bit too small to eat.

John is retired from taking photos, and just to keep busy he says he is engaged in a 'honorary withdrawal from acting.' What's wrong with this picture is his valid actor's guild card. For photos, I take a wild guess and ask if he had anything to do with the photos of the Data General computers underneath the Tour Eiffel. It's a bingo for the club's secretary. Hey, small world.

Our other acting star, Tomoko Yokomitsu, arrives. Jim immediately remembers the frozen, poison blow–fish Tomoko brought from Japan last year. Every time somebody remembers this Tomoko remembers that I didn't eat it.

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