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Where's the Sundial?

photo, group, tomoko, len, barbara, albert

Our 'Group of the Week,' Tomoko, Len, Barbara and Albert.

'Big Apple Sandals of the Week'

Paris:– Thursday, 22. September 2005:– There are so many candidates for president that the TV–weather news gets squished. This is despite socialist boss François Hollande saying that his 'companion' might better wait until the end of 2006 before announcing her candidature, which she hinted at in Paris Match.

Another socialist guy said he thought this one party has about 18 candidates now. All of this nonsense makes it very hard for the TV people to find room for the weather and if I knew who to complain to, or vote against, I would.

Tomorrow will start off sunny but then some light clouds will come over, being pushed east by heavierphoto, pre club cafe club tables clouds – which will be much more in evidence on Saturday. But Friday should be pretty fine, along with a temperature of 24 degrees.

The club's tables – before – today's meeting.

On Saturday Friday's band of clouds will be sweeping across France like a windshieldwiper, which is one of the longer words in English. What had been sunshine will turn to absence of sunshine, and the high temperature will head for the cellar, getting up to no more than 19 degrees. Continue all of this for Sunday, but with the high only reaching 18, and this constitutes a 'squashed' weather report.

The 'Big Apple Sandals of the Week' Report

Yesterday's weather was perfect, for the last day of summer in Paris or anyplace else, and today's weather is more of the same. The sky is blue, the birdies are tweeting, automobilistas are enjoying their shiny cars, and Paris is lying here basking in the early fall which started this morning, or last night when some opera guy was yodeling in the courtyard.

Memories of past Septembers tell me it's too bright, too warm, too dry, but all the same I haul out one of my summer shirts from coldstorage, and dress up. This way it is unlikely anybodyphoto, wine of the week will notice the tomato sauce spots on my pants, all they will see is Costa del Sol vamos ala playa, chicas!

Pick up the booklets, camera, Métro tickets and out the door and hip hop down the stairs and out the house door and high–step down the street past Chez Papa, not the pope, suck in the smells, and cross to the cemetery side and hustle past the graveyard, where nobody asks for a cigarette like last week.

The, ah, 'Wine of the Week,' the whole fistful of it.

Oh, it's a sky with headroom. It's so good that there's no white truck parked in the Place Dauphine, and now I am the only one to have a photo of it, truckless. This is one winner of a day. The kiosque lady has a Parisien and the kiosque itself has two 'Posters of the Week' and suddenly it is club time, so I step a bit higher and reach the café with mere minutes to spare.

As I approach the club's area in the 'grande salle' Patrick the 'Waiter of the Week' says he will clean up the mess. I see that some dumbbell has left a couple of plastic sacks behind – left, perhaps, to blow up the club meeting? – and Patrick deftly hooks them up and whisks them away to blow up some other part of the café.

Next I have Tomoko Yokomitsu breathing down my neck, wailing about her missing sacks. She races after Patrick and must be successful because in a wink she's back, with hardly any serious grumbles, plus the plastics.

In fact, she wants me to help her translate some writing. I put on my glasses and set my light bulb to 'on' but then member Len Levine is at the club and sitting down, parking his sack, arranging himself in a chair and taking part in the club meeting.

Len says he is from, 'Prague in the summer and New Orleans in the winter.' With the recent events in the summer in New Orleans it's not easy to ask which season he's in. But Len is cheerful, saying that his house is in Uptown close to the Mississippi, and that the river has these huge dikes, levées like small mountains, and the underwater side of town is by the lake.

Although Prague is his summer residence he often takes on missions, like to Africa, to do things like help out with environmental conservation experiments, and to check on the elephants.

Somehow my ball is rolling and I manage to ask him how long elephants might live. He says, he guesses, 75 years. I try to imagine a 75 year–old elephant. "Hey, I'm 75, so maybe I'd better mosey over to the elephant's graveyard."

Tomoko, of course, is quite a bit more realistic. "I've read Gone With the Wind," she says. I really want to visit New Orleans."

Len has a fallback home, which is Atlanta, where he lived for a long time before New Orleans. Maybephoto, apple sandals of the week Tomoko sensed this. We switch to Paris' weather. We three rave about it. Len says, "It doesn't get better than this." How can we argue with this?

Tomoko's ultra snazzy 'Big Apple Sandals of the Week.' Too cool!

Luckily Tomoko says, "I stayed in Osaka." She says it big 'O,' little 'saka.' You have to listen quick to hear it. I doubt if I'll ever be there but I'm practicing saying it. Big 'O,' little 'saka,' big 'O,' little 'saka.' All at once, 'bigOlittlesaka.'

Len believes in global warming. I mean he believes the globe is getting warmer. I guess it means that he believes he lives – part of the year when he isn't living in Prague – in a zone prone to hurricanes.

On this somber note members Barbara and Albert Roldan arrive, from Novato, California. They used to live in San Francisco but now sunny Novato is home. I don't know anything about the place – like last week's sunny Tarzana! – so I have always thought that Novato was out in the desert someplace where there was this big stinking factory covered in thick black oil, making asphalt.

But yesterday, by the merest of chances, I met rock star Dava again. This was at the studio of Gilbert 'Freak Brothers' Shelton, which is being remodeled into an art gallery, to be called 'Art Kerblooie.' And Dava came by with her new CD, which is so 'wet' that we couldn't play it. It's called 'This Poem,' which Dava wrote, and speaks, or sings, on the CD. So she is no longer a rock star, or jazz diva, but a poet. And she used to live in Novato, and still uses it as a PO box. Small world, no?

Tomoko says, "Can I show you my sundial?" Actually, once the Roldans sit down, I suggest to Lenphoto, barbara's greetings that the club is having its silly zone. Then Barbara says something about layering because summers in San Francisco are the pits, weatherwise, and Len says people there should know about layering.

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It turns out that Tomoko doesn't want to show us her sundial, but her brand new big apple sandals instead. With these we get the club's first 'Big Apple Sandals of the Week' and as a bonus, ten painted toenails too. It's just too much!

After Albert – does everybody remember the meeting Albert wasn't at? It was the one on 18. November 2004, which was Beaujolais Nouveau day no less. There was the sign, 'Hello Albert!' Don't remember that?

So, Albert says, when Len asks him, that he sells expatriate insurance. And before I can ask, everybody else decides that we must talk about hurricanes and earthquakes and Len wants to know from Tomoko how Japan keeps on standing with so many of both.

Tomoko, living in Paris the past 28 years, thinks it may be because Japanese houses, even if they are built out of rice paper and popsicle sticks, are built out of sturdy rice paper and popsicle sticks.

Then Barbara starts telling us about taking the train to Vernon in order to get to Giverny. The Roldans got there just as the hordes were having noon hunger pangs, so they did the tour while everybody was eating. They say it is the only way to do it.

Next up is the health of Jacques Chirac, who is carefully rebuilding his capacity for eating authentic snacks, shaking hands and pinching babies. "Isn't it funny how we say 72 isn't old?" Barbara says. We all, except Tomoko, laugh.

Which changes the subject to Japan's prime minister with the hair. 'Koizuhi' Tomoko writes when I ask her. Is this his first name, like 'Dominique,' for De Villepin? Their hair is similar. Tomoko says he isn't married. Who ever heard of a Japanese prime minister who isn't married? This reminds someone that nobody has ever heard of a Japanese prime minister's wife.

Len peppers Tomoko with technical questions about Japan's parliamentary system, while explaining about America's. Tomoko says, "I've been away a long time," but thinks Japan has a system more British style than American. In other words, kind of like the French too – with longer hair.

Did I say what we did about the 'Group Photo of the Week?' If I've forgotten it, it was about the same as ever. Go out on the terrace and then find the right shade because the sun is too bright, and then shoot, shoot, shoot, while the club members patiently try to figure out what's happening. They can't, for example, hear anything out there. You're lovely.


After the meeting is over Tomoko hauls out the text she wants help translating. It is the so–called report about the 'Beatles Story' show. She wants the Ricky–version translated into English. She is right. It's a horrible mess. But actually, Tomoko understands nearly everything except the unfair references I made to Munich, and the words in German. Anyway, it's not for her but for Ringo. It only takes 20 minutes to cover all my mistakes.


Last week there was a minor reference to a town named Tarzana here. I searched the Web for a mention of a reunionphoto, wine of the week of Tarzana residents, which was related to, not much, nothing at all. Most of what I found were real estate Web sites and a tiny bit of history, which I tossed in, for the usual reasons.

I even asked Metropole's Hollywood contact about Tarzana, and what Alan said wasn't promising. But with a hint from him I grabbed my atlas and discovered for the first time in my entire life that the San Fernando Valley is north of Los Angeles. It's not where I thought it was, out east. I was amazed at the discovery. All those books, and I got them all wrong.

The 'Green Drink of the Week.' Way cool!

So when Bill Hillman wrote to point out a few minor errors with my brief history of Tarzana I wasn't too surprised. With a whole new valley where I thought there were only mountains, small wonder that Tarzana is in it. Bill is the editor for the Official Edgar Rice Burroughs 'Zine, so hit the link and get the real goods – on Tarzana, on Tarzan and ERB himself.

The Café Metropole Club's About Page

This club meeting 'report,' today's, daintily tapped out with my own little fingers, gives only a slight clue to what this is about. If you have a quarter hour to waste skim your headlights across the virtual 'About the Café Metropole Club' page with its silly farrago of photos, stilted writing and the mangled wreck of a membership card. You can join the club too, without money, ID or plastic, on any 'Thursday of the Week.' There are a still a few of them left this year.

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

Club meetings, believe it of not, begin at 15:00, in the afternoon, on Thursdays and continue until 17:00, always in the western Euro Time zone, now in its uphill trek towards winter. Known in wholly offshore locales as 3 pm to 5 pm, around somewhere else is not where meetings happen. Come to the café La Corona and its 'grande salle.' Bring a friend or two. The folks in the rear of the 'grande salle,' with the bottles, are us.

Attend a meeting – by being at one. Hang out for a hour or for a whole meeting with new friends. Real 'firsts' are welcome, with 'true' being equivalent to 'real' even if 'first' is more than likely too, and if it is an alternate form of 'reality' with any sort of connection to truth, like true lies or fictional facts.

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. Slot your own name into Metropole's search if in doubt.

The 'ex–rules' that we used to have continue to be former. Nonetheless these discontinued rules may still be accessed so that you can learn that this less than hypothetical club of high purpose repeats them seldom as they are already on record, if unfindable.

Talking to other club members at meetings is encouraged rather than optional. There are usually several empty chairs, so sit – wherever you like. Standing is okay too. Whatever you say will be truly 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 spontaneous spelling of the Japanese prime minister's name, regardless of whether it is true or not.

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.
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