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Trop Tropicale

photo, group, nancy, jennie, lucky

The club's star 'Group of the Week,' Nancy, Jessie and Lucky.

Aha, Wagga Wagga!

Paris:– Thursday, 28. July 2005:– Not only is this town far from the Riviera it is an ocean away from any place tropical. Our palm trees may be grown here in a hothouse, but they are strictly for our summer fantasies and when winter comes back they go to the closet.

But this is hardly a good reason for the TV–weather news being incapable of saying that we are going to have tropical weather. It's not something to be ashamed of. Tropical weather happens. Maybe it's rare but it doesn't need to be swept under a carpet, fudged, denied, treated like a meteorological black uncle.

Yesterday they laid on an 'orange alert' for eastern France today, saying there would be wind, rain, lightning, thunder and maybe hail, with a temperature in Paris of 29 degrees. This is pretty high without sunshine being predicted.

At noon today the temperature on the pharmacy sign said 34 degrees, but it didn't feel like it. By the time I got back to my place I was soaking and then the sky opened up and turned the air to liquid. If you are visiting Paris to escape tropical weather someplace, here it is.

Well, the storm alert continues, for an area east of Paris, from Belgium to the Pyrenees. Tomorrow this chaotic mess moves east and will leave some partly sunny periods in its wake. Thephoto, orange of the week temperature will take a big dump, maybe ending up somewhere around 23 degrees.

The skies will stay unstable on Saturday, but may be mostly sunny, or in a state between cloudy and sunny, and it will be cool at 21 degrees for the high. Expect brighter skies for Sunday and a temperature up one tick, at 22 degrees.

My weak 'Orange of the Week.'

You may think the end of July couldn't get colder, but the past says it can. Except that this is the year of yoyo weather, so it is more likely that the temperature will bounce up again, hot air will arrive from Africa, or mild air from the mid– Atlantic, or very cool air from the North Sea. This is about as precise as it's possible to get without a slide rule.

The 'Cricket' Sport Report of the Week

I have neither shorts nor sandals so I put neither on but I grab an old umbrella going out the door and down on the street I am still surprised that it's raining wetly and big drops are plopping off the trees and window ledges and all of it is bouncing off the sidewalk up to my knees and gurgling away into the gutters.

It is quiet so I cross the road without bothering to use the crosswalk and walk along beside the cemetery wall, sophoto, lucky checkley covered in vines and green that it could be in southern Mexico. Needless to say I am not tripping over other pedestrians, and I make good time down to the Métro at Raspail, and it's like going into a hot kettle. Underground is wilt city.

At Odéon I unpeel myself from the seat and lurch up to the surface, stumble through the cobbled Cour Saint–André, and tramp down the narrow sidewalk – a ledge is all it is – of Dauphine to the Pont Neuf.

Lucky Checkley comes to Paris for every Tour de France.

Traffic is still not used to Paris–Plage and it is angry coming across the bridge, and angrier where it is sitting in the Quai du Louvre. A taxi honks me out of the way, from where I'm standing photographing a poster. Too steamed to use the power steering.

For the first time I can remember the windows are open in the club's area of the café La Corona, so the noise drifts in, but it feels airy. Airy is how we want to feel above all.

The first club 'first' of the week is what I write in the club's booklets – this is meeting number 300. Thinking about it wilts me more, so I take out Le Parisien for a gander. Its headline says, "Partez tranquille." By all means.

Then member Lucky Checkley turns up and sits down. Unknown to me Lucky has not been hanging around Paris since helping Lance Armstrong finish the Tour de France last Sunday. Lucky has been all over France on the train, on the trains more than he's been off, because the star trainsphoto, beer of the week that race to Marseille in mere hours are not the same as the poky trains that chug around the boonies.

All of which he hasn't told me yet because new member Nancy Goldman from Santa Monica, California, arrives and occupies a club spot on the banquette. An archive check shows that the club now has four members who live in Santa Monica, so it is high time that it be a club 'City of the Week.' I thought it was already, but what do I know?

Not a wierd Coke, this is Lucky's beer.

I ask Nancy if she attended the 'Call to the Wall' last weekend. This is a big deal surfboard event I think everybody in southern California knows about, but I am wrong – hey! do I know the difference between Santa Monica and Malibu? They both start with 'm' after all.

Of course Lucky has a friend who plays blues mandolin in and around Los Angeles, and Nancy knows the attorney for the musicians' union so cards are exchanged and then we agree that motorcycles are kind of tricky, Willy the Bird flies in looking for crumbs – look at Willy skip the soggy old frites on the floor.

Then we are searching for a 20 cent coin, and Nancy says she's seen the beach volley ball thing on the Champ de Mars. Never a dull moment here. And while memories still function, we trade faint notions about Harry Bridges, and Eugene Debs, thanks to Lucky.

For readers just tuning in, club meeting are somewhat unstructured. Nobody has a script and there'sphoto, nancy goldman no producer in the wings – there areno wings – trying to give me a high sign for the 13 commercials before the station break.


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