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Spasmofolie!

photo, sugar lump for cafe

One member provides a lump for 'Sugar of the Week.'

Put It In Words

Paris:– Thursday, 31. March 2005:– Writing a weather forecast on Monday and then not putting it online, was, if you ask me, a smooth move. Here is what you missed:–

"Regular readers will probably rejoice upon hearing that the weather here has returned to its normal program of partly sunny, partly cloudy, a little bit of rain, some light breezes, low temperatures around 8 degrees with highs in the mid–teens, plus an extra hour of daylight in the evening due to weird 'summer' time that started at 03:00 yesterday. All that pre–spring good weather stuff is over, at least for the coming week."

On Monday the good weather lady said our future was to be 'unstable.' So it has been, but it isn't going to last all week. For tomorrow, according to tonight's different weather lady, Friday will be mostly sunny and the high predicted for the day is 18 degrees. It could be true.

Then on Saturday we are supposed to have the best of the week with a day that – according to the TV–weather map – will be very sunny. Yes! TV showed one big sunball for all of France except for some obscure regions way out west far from here. And along with the brightness, a high temperature forecast to be 19 degrees. How's that?

Sunday is not expected to be quite so glorious, with flimsy clouds blocking out the direct sunshine, causing the temperature to dip to 17 degrees. But one sunny day in a week that began as 'unstable' is nothing to sneeze at, so I won't, although Le Parisien headlines the day as 'pas de chipolata!' I wonder what it means?

The 'Word of the Week' Report of the Week

Unlike many other club days there doesn't seem to be anything special about this one. The sky is not sunnyphoto, tomoko x 3 and it is not raining either, there are no winds worth making any remarks about, and the strike of the week seems to have been called off for lack of a burning subject or grievance.

Tomoko, eventualy drinks weak café.

Therefore I arm myself with today's Le Parisien and set off for the club, fetching up at the Métro at Raspail where the train is a bit slow to arrive. Once on it, it creeps along while oncoming trains flash by hell–bent for the Porte d'Orléans.

The train glides through the Saint–Placide station without stopping. On account of renovations no trains will stop here for months, somewhat to the surprise of the mayor of the 6th arrondissement, who found out about it from angry merchants and Métro users, rather than from the RATP. They say their letter probably got lost.

I am still dithering about where to get off when the train leaves Saint–Germain so I get ready to jump at Odéon. For a change I take the stairs and make a mental note never to do it again. There are altogether too many of them. Many Parisians consider stairs to be a form of free exercise. I prefer to let them get on with it in peace.

Pedestrians are risking their necks in the Rue de l'Ancienne Comédie where a cement truck is blocking the roadway beside a construction site that is blocking the sidewalk. It's been like this for months but is worse than usual with traffic and pedestrians in a jumble, going every which way.

The rest of the way to the bridge is normal except for the people jammed up on the sidewalk that is too narrow. After it, the Pont Neuf is a relief, except for the part that is being rebuilt. I shouldn't complain because it is always like this – walking in Paris is often like trench warfare, and we're supposed to be used to it.

At the café La Corona there is nothing remarkable to note. The 'grande salle' is more empty than anything else. The Easter crowds were here briefly and now they are gone for another year. It feels like the end of a season rather than the beginning of one.

On gaining the club's area I enter the meeting's statistics in the club's notebooks. There being no immediate members to also note, I turn to Le Parisien. Its front page has a bland photo of a TV set with snow on the screen and 'TNT' written on the snow in red.

'TNT' stands for 'Télévision Numérique Terrestre.' It is another way of sayingphoto, tomoko x 2 digital–TV, from the Tour Eiffel. Today, this afternoon actually, the state TV launches new channels and the traditional channels, up from five to 14 – with digital sound and images, all 'free.'

The 'sleep pinch,' as shown by Tomoko.

Private broadcasters use cable or satellites than can be accessed via subscription, but this digital business will be broadcast like the analogue signals, so we are supposed to be able to pick them up with our old antennas. Maybe.

One way, the only way, to find out about these new 'free' channels is to buy a decoder, for at least 80€, or for as much as 500€. Or, ha ha, sign up for TV via DSL, which is not 'free' – but which may sidestep the fact that the old antenna has seen better days.

The remainder of the day's news is even less exciting. Luckily member Tomoko Yokomitsu arrives. "No new Beatles photo!" she says, and then asks that I return the one she gave me. In order to not forget it I placed it in my bag weeks ago and forgot about it. I hand it back, feeling like a magician giving up his last rabbit.

The 'Waiter of the Week' makes a rare pass so I order the standard double– expressphoto, cafe cup and Tomoko orders a café décaf alongé. I try to tell her that 'décaf' has more caffeine in it than regular, and 'alongé' more again, but she says she orders it because it's cheaper than orange spicy tea. It is news to me.

Standard, full–strength, sleepless, café.

Tomoko says La Corona doesn't have any orange spicy tea anyway. I am not surprised. To get off the subject of the 'Drink of the Week' that wasn't, I ask Tomoko for photo ideas. It is beginning to look like there won't be any 'Food of the Week' either and a 'Group of the Week' will not be allowed to come out like last week's, because Heather's glasses aren't here.

"I didn't being Kitty," Tomoko says. Until she reminds me that this is her mascot, one of them, I am in the dark. "Someone might steal her," she explains. I must look crestfallen because she remembers that her telephone has a mascot, and she hauls it out. It is a very little mascot, named 'Puppy,' for a pretty small mobile phone.

I'm desperate so I shoot it. Macro, close–up. The cafés come and I shoot them, and shoot too late when Tomoko drops sugar in hers. Plop. This looks so good that I ask her to do it again, but she says one lump is all she wants. She agrees to fake it and almost drops in two more.

Tomoko is talking about 'post–traumatic stress disorder.' She says the word for it in French is 'spasmophile.' I write down 'spasmofolie' instead. It's not the first time I have written a word that doesn't exist, a 'Word of the Week' in other words. I don't do it on purpose.

When Tomoko goes to Japan she consults an acupuncturist. There aren't enough of them in Paris, and few do their stuff on the local Sécu. A session here might cost 40€ out of pocket, but in Japan the rate is only 500¥, with proper connections.

Tomoko shows me a handy 'spasmo' trick – pinching between the thumb and the index finger, justphoto, tomoko x 3 hard enough to be slightly painful. She says, "But you feel good," then warning, "You could fall asleep right away!"

Yes, I could. But I don't pinch myself hard enough. There's still a bit of meeting left to conduct.

What's that taste? Not tea! Not café!

Which, luckily I'm not asleep, allows Tomoko to have the idea that the club should have a mascot – like, for example, 'Willy' the bird. I draw 'Willy the Bird' in the 'reports' booklet.

On the other hand, the pinch might have worked. The remaining notes are extremely fragmentary. There's 'cut' and 'cheap' and 'sleepy.' Somebody has drawn a clock, and under it has written, "summer time.' Yawn.

About the Café Metropole Club's About Page

photo, mascot willyToday's club meeting 'report,' with attendance somewhat below average, lacked anything edible and little to drink other than café, both regular and denatured. The astonishing 'About the Café Metropole Club' page has few sexy photos, but you can skip them all entirely and miss nothing other than a heap of words. The short version is that the club can be joined any 'Thursday of the Week.'

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

Club meetings commence about 15:00 in the afternoon, on Thursday and extend to 17:00 or after on the same afternoon in the western European Time zone – which is really 'CET' for short and not 'zTZZ' although it sometimes is – and known elsewhere as 3 pm to 5 pm. Around somewhere else is not where meetings are held, so come to the Corona first.

Be fiendishly clever at a meeting – by being at one or more – and peg out for a hour or two especially if you have the time for it. True 'firsts' are welcome, with 'true' having more added value than 'first' regardless if 'first' is perfectly believable too, and if it is an acceptable form of 'fact' with any sort of vague relation to reality.

A 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. graphic: club location map Throw your name into Google if in doubt.

Former 'rules' continue to be 'former' week after week after week, month after month, year after everlasting year. Nevertheless these could be studied so that you know the gaffs of the past and are not condemned to repeat them like we are fond of doing.

Talking to other club members at meetings is encouraged rather than optional if there aren't any. There are usually free chairs, so sit – wherever you like, or stand up. Whatever you say will be highly 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 the club's membership is crying out for a mascot but it took until today for Tomoko to put it into words.

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