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''It's Cold, Dearie!''

photo, group, edna, bob, tomoko

The entire 'Group of the Week,' Edna, Bob and Tomoko.

'Auvergnat of the Week'

Paris:– Thursday, 8. September 2005:– I should have used last week's headline Superpanne for today's weather forecast for a couple of reasons. First, the newspapers in Paris are having a distribution strike today. And second, tonight's TV–weather news decided not to say anything about the coming weather for the weekend.

As an experienced Internet roller I was not worried. I thought I could go online and find out what the weather has in store for us in a jiffy. But the MAJOR brand–name has no weather at all and the runner–up only has the weather for tomorrow, which I did get from TV.

So I surfed over to Météo–France and was doing pretty good – their weather unlike TV's, so what! – but when I tried to see the future I ran into a subscription thing. I can get a four–day FLASH for four euros. So I surfed around a bit more. I could do it all night, but then you would get no club meeting report.

Aside from 169 mm of rain falling on Nîmes today, it looks like it is going to be a bit wet here. If tomorrowphoto, window on quai du louvre starts out a touch sunny and cloudy, then tomorrow afternoon is supposed to get maybe a little damp, perhaps with actual rain. It might be stormy in a minor way later, while earlier the high will be 23 or 24 degrees.

Future doubtful – current weather better than it seems.

For Saturday we enter the realm of speculation. I have noted rain for the morning and nothing for the afternoon. I think there may be clouds in front with the sun behind, meaning that you and me might not see the sun at all, am or pm. Temperatures are crazy because I have 18 and 21 degrees as the forecast high.

Sunday may possibly be worse, with 'rain all day' noted. I have also written, 'hides sun.' On the way to today's club meeting I managed to grab a copy of Le Monde. This is a fine newspaper even if it is Friday's edition. As for all other weather forecasting here, there is a lot of detail for the Riviera and practically none for Paris. The storm Ophélia is supposed to stay offshore from Florida, but the outlook for the Ile–de–France is a mystery. Sunday may have a score of 22 degrees, with cloudy skies.

The "It's Cold, Dearie!" Report of the Week

Not that it does much good now, the weather for the past few days, since about July, has not been too shabby. I didn't see a forecast for today, and I certainly wouldn't waste time on the forecast that was in Metropole on Monday – but it wasn't quite as good this morning as it has been. Semi– sunny and maybe humid.

To go to the club I put on the pants I wear year–round, a summer shirt and summer shoes, and the summerphoto, ice waiting for water shirt–jacket that has a red stain on one shoulder I got from standing under an awning during a rain storm on the Costa Brava about eight years ago. Pyrenees have tricky weather at this time of year.

In fact I have had the shirt–jacket so long that the red stain has faded along with the whole rest of it. I would have worn it earlier in the summer but it was hiding, afraid of getting more faded. Otherwise it is like new.

Ice in Paris, 2005 version, plus swizzle.

The Métro had a fine collection of humid stale air in it. In winter some times you feel like riding it a long ways because the summer air stays down there but in summer, summer–bis, you feel like getting out of it as soon as you sit down and start to stew. I gritted my teeth and made it to Odéon.

To make a long, tedious, and boring story short, I arrive at the club's café a bit ahead of time, claim the club's area, shoo off the new 'Waiter of the Week,' chalk up the club's stats, and put on my glasses and open Le Monde.

I am on page two, after skipping the front page, reading Le professeur Kirchhof et ses idées "visionnaires," when members Edna and Bob Bradley roll up. I am surprised to see them so soon after having had dinner with them in Auteuil last night. It was so late when we parted that I'd given them a 'time–out' from the club meeting today.

Now I will never find out what the right–wing has in store for Germany. The new 'Waiter of the Week' is attentively on our case almost immediately – a change from the last 'Waiter of the Week' who we didn't see for two entire club meetings.

Edna wants to know why the 'Waiter of the Week' greets her with bonsoir. The short answer is because this is France and it is all I have time for because Tomoko Yokomitsu – the club's favorite film star – strolls in, after having a long summer pause in Japan. "I was in Japan," she says.

The 'Waiter of the Week' is still with us because Edna wants an assurance that the Coke on the café's menu is really Coke. Not Diet Coke, not any kind of Pepsi, not Dr. Pepper. "I want a real Coke," she says.

"Have I met you before?" Tomoko wonders. Club meetings are with real people, but Tomoko is also famous from these club 'reports,' so sometimes it is difficult to know where the borderline between real and virtual lies. Like when Tomoko isn't at meetings for one reason or another, everybody asks for her whereabouts. So she is on the air even when she is in Japan.

And while there, she says, she was taking a conversational course in English, where she learned thatphoto, hand of perrier English and American are two different languages.

But, "Japanese is not difficult," she says, remembering that member Josef Schomburg gets by with it. "It is not enough to have a girlfriend or boyfriend," she says, about the fast, classless method of language learning.

If ice is short, have a green drink.

Right here I should drop in a plug for the Beatles' Story, because Tomoko is in it, and you can see it next Wednesday at 21:30 at the Petit Journal Montparnasse in a one–night stand that will take you back to your Beatles days, or nights. Tomoko doesn't sing – as she is Yoko Ono – but club member Renaud does, as do the other Beatles look–alikes. At 13. Rue du Commandant René Mouchotte, Paris 14. Métro: Gaîté. InfoTel.: 01 43 21 56 70.

Why the plug? Because Tomoko is a club member, and she gives me a DVD with Beatles' Story on it, not realizing that techno–wise, Metropole's editorial office has dial telephones, a turntable, an analog TV, steam radio, but no DVD thingee.

Meanwhile, Edna is remembering the first ice cube she ever saw in Paris. "It was hard to get ice in Paris in 1980," she says, adding that they would take drinks out of a cooler and say, "It's cold, dearie!" I think, a real 'Quote of the Week' is worth the long wait.

Tomoko takes up the theme of ice and mentions all the frozen stuff you can get in Japan these days – chicken, pizza – and then has a culinary discussion with Ednaphoto, lake of coke about odd kinds of meat in Japan, and Korea.

Finally they narrow it down to an item they agree on – Kobe beef. They talk about patting cows you are going to eat, how clean their hair is. "It's very expensive, but tender. You can cut it with a chopstick!"

Or a big lake of 'real' cold Coke.

Next Edna is wondering how many pearls are found by oyster lovers in France, which evolves into a technical discussion about pearls in Japan, and Majorca.

But Edna is nervous about flying and when Tomoko says she has flown twice with Aeroflot from Tokyo to Europe, Edna flinches. Then, upon reflection, she says, "She eats poison blow–fish and flies Aeroflot!" Living dangerously on a wing and a prayer.

Just before we go out to the terrace for the 'Group Photo of the Week' the 'Fiat 500 of the Week' flies by on the Quai du Louvre, and gets hung up long enough to be photographed. The usual 'Police of the Week' go by, without flashing bluelight or howling siren, with the copcar on a flatdeck.

Back inside Edna asks the 'Food Question of the Week.' She has heard that it is illegal to ask for substitutes in restaurants. She has heard that the waiter will be insulted and will go in the cuisine and have a smoke and curse. She has heard that it is 'not done' to ask for substitutes.

Since neither I nor Tomoko have ever heard of this, we collectively think this may apply to prix fixe or the 'menu ou plat du jour. Ordering à la carte means that everything is a suggestion and you can have any combination you feel like paying for. But once ordered, you are supposed to accept what you've ordered – too late change your mind. It doesn't mean you can't order more though. If you've got sauteed potatoes and mashed potatoes and you want frites as well, go ahead and ask for them. Waiters aren't food Nazis.

Since our 'Waiter of the Week' is a new one, when we are going out to the terrace for the photo I decidephoto, fiat 500 of the week to tell him we aren't skipping out on the tab. He puts down his cigarette and says, 'do what you please.'

No week complete without the 'Fiat 500 of the Week. Yah!

He has this little badge on his vest. It looks familiar, like the logo of a moving company from the Bretagne, but he says it is the logo of the Auvergnat bistro syndicate. This used to be the controlling factor of the Paris bistro scene, but is now under assault by the Chinese. No matter. To have an Auvergnat 'Waiter of the Week' is another true club 'first.' I tell him we'll back next week, on Thursday.

The Café Metropole Club's About Page

This club meeting 'report,' today's, tapped out on dirty keys, barely clears up what this is about. If you have a half hour to kill spin your orbs over the virtual 'About the Café Metropole Club' page with its silly podgehodge of photos in color, tiresome words and the wretched scrap of a membership card. You can join the club too, without fuss or bother, on any 'Thursday of the Week.' There are a week of Sundays of them left this year.

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

These club meetings, as these affairs are loosely called, begin at 15:00, in the afternoon, always on Thursdays and continue until 17:00, always in the western Euro Time zone, now in its getting shorter glide into autumn modus. Known in semi–exotic places as 3 pm to 5 pm, around somewhere else is not where meetings are held. Come to the café La Corona and its 'grande salle.' The folks in the back of the 'grande salle,' waving their arms around, are us.

Attend a meeting – by being at one. Hang around for a hour or for a whole meeting with new friends, if you have time to spare. True 'firsts' are welcome, with 'real' being equivalent to 'true' even if 'first' is more than likely too, and if it is an alternate form of 'real' with any sort of connection to true, like invented facts or true fiction.

A note of caution – you may have 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' ingraphic: club location map one of these club reports. Test a Google session with your own name if unsure.

'Ex–rules' we used to have continue to be former. Nonetheless these former rules may still be accessed so that you can learn that this less than hypothetical club of slight reason repeats them seldom, as we tend to repeat occasionally.

Talking to other club members at meetings is encouraged rather than optional. There are usually lots of empty chairs, so sit – wherever you like. Standing is acceptable too. Whatever you say will be honestly appreciated by other members present if there are any listening, and there usually are some but not always – and if it should chance to be written here.*

*The above paragraphs are relatively unchanged since last week because of today's quite amazing new and spontaneous 'Stuff of the Week' and 'Nonsense of the Week.'

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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