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''Gulf Fish are Dumb''

photo, group, jacob, carolyn, bill, heather

This week's jolly 'Group of the Week,' Jacob, Carolyn,
Bill and Heather.

''For the Love of the Sport''

Paris:– Thursday, 21. April 2005:– Today has not been as sunny as this morning's forecast in Le Parisien. It was bright for a while and then it became more overcast, with a sort of gray mess of clouds overhead that never got loose enough to let the sun shine through. So, it was, boring, up in the sky.

Tonight's TV–news weather lady predicted that it will be getting warmer, and this is all there is for good news. No more sunshine is forecast until next week sometime unknown, and from Saturday on it isn't going to be getting warmer any more until maybe Monday.

Friday is supposed to start off with fog in the morning. On the way to the club meeting this afternoon it looked a bit hazy, or misty, or out of focus – so this is what tomorrow morning might be like. If it isn't too foggy, it will be sunny in theory. Then at 12:01 it will become more cloudy, and so on. Rejoice for the extra temperature, which is supposed to be 18 degrees.

The forecast for Saturday doesn't look good. The weather map on TV tonight was very complicated, and perhaps can only be described as 'unstable,' followed by cloudy and variable, tending towards rain or showers, whichever you like least. The high for the day may be 16 degrees.

On Sunday a lot of glop is supposed to be our lot. The sun may peek out timidly but it isn't something you want to bet on. The main crummy weather will be east of Paris unless it is tardy. On this day the high may be 15 degrees, which is certainly something or other 'for the time of year.'

The 'Love of Sport' Report of the Week

The club secretary's 286th departure for the Café Metropole Club is about the same as the past 150, with a scramble to get out of the apartment and loping down the street and scooting past two walls of the cemetary to Raspail and wait a minute or two for the northbound Métro,photo, wine of the week which may be a bit late because it races to Vavin and hits the brakes hard and does it at Montparnasse, Saint–Sulpice and Saint–Germain, and slows down a bit before Odéon because it is where the secretary will leave it.

The 'Pot of the Week' contains wine, of course.

Then it's a trot through the Quartier Latin to Buci and along the narrow sidewalks of Dauphine to the Pont Neuf, and I wonder why there are so many students around. Besides the French ones, some others have sacks that indicate they may be Americans, but what are they doing here?

All this loping, scooting and trotting puts me on the bridge with five minutes to spare, so I look at the statue of Henri IV to see if there's anything I've missed. No, it's the same as it was last time and the time before that.

The traffic at the quay is about the same as it always is when it's dense, and it is noisy too – with drivers in the left lanes trying to turn right on to the bridge and the occupants of the bus lane on the right, tending to go straight ahead. Seeing them not crash into each other is worth 45 seconds until the green man pops on.

The 'grande salle' of the café La Corona has fewer people in it than usual, and the club's area has a new 'Waiter of the Week.' He goes and asks Patrick what the deal is with me, and Patrick tells him a huge fib about how all the club members to come will order platters of food and drink and leave generous tips when they leave if we're treated nice.

This gives me time to write down the club stats and glance at today's Le Parisien. I no sooner read, 'La grogne prend de l'ampleur,' when members Carolyn and Bill Cross are before me, sliding out chairs and installing themselves.

They have been at club meetings in 2001 and 2003. The first of these had so many members at it that there were no less than five 'firsts' and about a dozen candidates for 'City of the Week.' I can already tell that today will be calmer, so I declare Waveland, Mississippi to have this week's honor.

Readers and members may recall that Bill came to one of these meetings with his Yashica 635. This was what is called in Europe a 6x6 camera, because its film measures 6 cm by 6 cm. Today Bill hasphoto, lake of cafe of the week another piece of old iron. A familiar piece, because it's a Pentax K1000, exactly the same but older than the one member Bonnie Blythe had two weeks ago. Two old Pentax cameras make one 'first' of a sort.

Modest 'Lake of Café,' of 'the week,' of course.

Bill says he runs a photo gallery called the F-Stop in Bay St. Louis. When he isn't handling black and white prints he is out on the dock of the bay fishing with artificial bait. "Gulf fish are dumb," he says.

Carolyn tells me about their house, which sounds a bit fictional, or 1950's style, with overhead fans and hardware cloth screens – to keep the previous owner's birds from escaping. Carolyn says it is kind of warm there now.

Bill is annoyed with the price of underwear in Paris. I tell him everybody is annoyed with the price of it. All our cotton, if that's what it is made of, comes from someplace else – like, maybe, Mississippi.

Instead of buying underwear here Bill has got himself some jazz posters instead. It seems like a long way to come for them, to get a poster of Miles or Dizzy. And he knows some of the small places here where live jazz is played.

A new member arrives and makes his wish to join the club known. Jacob Hardie is from Oakville, Ontario, and he works for Air Canada in the customer satisfaction department. Jacob is spending a lot of this visit lining up the details of buying an apartment, which he thinks will be a better investment than in Toronto.

Jacob has his opinions, just like a lot of other club members. "Hockey players in France play for the love of the sport," he says without prompting.

I didn't even know there are French hockey players in France. In fact there may not be, and Jacob is justphoto, pentax k1000 camera letting us know that he is powerfully annoyed by the players' strike in North America. No hockey season in Canada? What ever happened to 'Rocket' Richard? Turn your back for a minute and a place goes to pot.

'Battleaxe of a Camera' – 'of the Week,' of course.

About here Heather Stimmler–Hall arrives with a shopping bag full of free magazines. At the same time I see a troop of mounted Gendarmes in the bus lane on the far side of the Quai du Louvre. If they weren't wearing képis, they might be Mounties, stuck in a traffic jam. There must be about eight of them.

By the time we are on the café's terrace for the 'Group Photo of the Week' the horsemen have gone, but the traffic is just as snarled. We get this chore wrapped up in record time and return to the café's interior about a minute before Roman Payne arrives, late, from a vital guitar lesson.

Well, he's not late. Guitar lessons don't grow on bushes so they have priority. Roman used to be from Seattle, but he's been all over the place, including living in Paris for a couple of years. This gave him the inspiration to write a book, which was published last fall. Its name is 'Crepuscule' and the first paragraph is a long one that is not about the trials of the hangman's profession, but about a deportation – so you know it's really about Paris.

Meanwhile Jacob, who has also been around a lot of places thanks to the airline business, is telling us about a joint called 'Saddle Ranch' on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles. Or he is saying that he's never visited the famous and wonderful caves at Nerja. Neither have I, so we have this negative in common.

Bill confesses to visiting New York City for the first time in his life a few months ago. This comes about because we are talking about favorite places and Bill has said, for most of his life he never knew New York was his favorite so he's glad he's finally seen it and realized what he's been missing.

There is a huge crash of dropped dishes, cutlery and glass from the direction of the bar. The traffic outside on the quay is heaving and seething with impatience. The Métro line seven underground is rumbling the floor tiles.

Carolyn is saying, "The South doesn't drink in front of each other." In Canada, in Ontario, it'sphoto, roman payne another place that doesn't drink 'in front of each other.' I wonder about that millennium we celebrated so recently. It's the first I've heard about this not drinking. It's not a club thing, not drinking, although sometimes I skip having a café to annoy the 'Waiter of the Week.'

Roman fishes for – what else? – a 'Hard Euro of the Week.'

I've heard it before but it's worth mentioning. Members in Paris are amazed that they're walking. Bill says he started at the bird market on the Ile de la Cité and took photos all the way along to the Louvre. There he had to change a film, and thought he had exposed it while taking it out of the camera.

So he put in a new film and went back to the bird market and did the whole photo tour over again. As it was, he only lost two or three shots from the 'exposed' film, and ended up with two films of the same scenes. He says the walk didn't kill him.

This has brought us to about 30 minutes into overtime. Roman has to hike off to the 7th arrondissement and Heatherphoto, huge beer of the week says she's taking the line seven, so I ride with her up to the Place d'Italie – past the closed, I think I hear 'Legoland' station – Gobelins, I guess – and take the crosstown Métro six to Denfert.

Jacob's 'Canadian–sized Beer of the Week,' no less.

Cheer for Club Member

See Laurel Avery's latest works at the Salon des Artistes Indépendants, starting tomorrow. The 116th edition of this salon celebrates the 50th anniversary of the death of Maurice Utrillo. Look for Laurel at stand C–36 and say hello. Expect to find 800 other artists, some from 26 other countries, all on view until Sunday, 1. May. Open daily from 11:30 to 19:30, and until 22:00 on Thursday. At the Espace Champerret, near the Périfreak, Paris 17. Métro: Porte de Champerret. InfoTel.: 01 45 63 39 15.

About the Café Metropole Club's About Page

Today's club meeting 'report,' with attendance somewhat about average, had no food and barely more to drink other than a lake of café, a pot of wine and a towering beer, all consumed in front of ourselves. The poetic 'About the Café Metropole Club' page has a few fuzzy photos, but you can skip them all and miss little more than an impression of words. The club can be joined on any 'Thursday of the Week' is the short version.

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

Club meetings begin about 15:00 on the hour in the afternoon, on Thursday and continue for two hours until 17:00 or after on the same afternoon in the western European Time zone – which is really 'CET' for short and not 'TZZs' although it sometimes is – and known elsewhere as 3 pm to 5 pm. Around somewhere else is not where meetings are held so be sure you come to La Corona.

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

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 If in doubt toss your name into Google.

Former 'rules' continue to be 'disconnected week after week after week, month after month, year–in year–out. Nevertheless these may be examined so that you know the history of the past and will be hardly condemned to repeat it like we often try to avoid 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. Standing up is okay too. Whatever you say will be somewhat appreciated by other members present if there are any that are listening, and there usually are some – and if it should happen to be written here.*

*The above paragraphs are relatively unchanged since last week because the club's membership is crying out for a nifty mascot, according to Tomoko who accosted me on the Rue de Rennes yesterday.

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.
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there is no such thing
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Waldo Bini