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Thurso Colder!

photo, group, terrie, tomoko, kay, dennis

The 'Group of the Week,' with Terrie, Tomoko, Kay and Dennis.

Lucky Club Turns 7

Paris:– Thursday, 20. October 2005:– I'm not sure how to treat the weather. I'm getting the feeling that it's not just some casual entertainment in the sky. Another hurricane by the name of Wilma is twisting up its fury in the Gulf of Mexico. I thought everybody already had their share of hurricanes this year.

Here of course the weather is wimpy. It is no longer being nice nice and showering us with golden sunbeams and warm breezes but it needs to be said that its bark is largely toothless, if you overlook last night's rain, which I can because I wasn't out in it.

The weather map for tomorrow is somber. This might be because the map is small, even on the TV–news, but the real sky is big. After viewing the maps I have to say that a lot might be happening on Friday. Bands of cloud and rain sweeping across France from northwest to southeast, while there will be winds of 90 kph blowing all over the place from the southwest, holding the temperature down to 17 degrees.photo, birthday, anniversary

Then on Saturday all the clouds switch to the northern half of France, but stay mainly cloudy without rain. If there are winds I forgot to scribble them on the map. The temperature is forecast to be 17 degrees again.

The actual party looked a lot less like a funeral.

This program is supposed to pause on Sunday and allow bits of blue sky to show between the clouds. Presumably this openness will allow our heat to rise and become less, so we are not to expect a high of more than 16 degrees. I can hardly wait until there has been a few weeks of this, until it gets on my nerves and I start calling it bad names, like filthy, rotten, trashy, boring, and crummy. Ah, wonderful winter!

The 'Anniversary of the Week' Report

In honor of today's club anniversary I sleep in. I honestly intended to get up earlier than usual and do something different on the way to the club, like ride the Métro to Châtelet, and scope out the Rue de Rivoli for new sights but my subconscious had some other plan – like finishing some totally lame dream starring Henry Nutley sliding down a sewer pipe that dumps into the Seine.

Then the flipping Métrophoto, what is frigolet took its own jolly sweet time getting to Raspail. Time was passing in minute chunks and the Métro's clock kept saying two minutes until arrival. It was surprising the following train didn't get there first.

When it came it was full of course and then two trainloads got on at Montparnasse, but it was still better than New York's line seven headed for Manhattan because of the x–rated posters in the stations and some of the x–rated riders in the wagon. I wasn't sure I wanted to leave the fun at Odéon but decided to battle my way off for the hell of it.

'Question of the Week' – What is Frigolet?

I get across the Boulevard Saint–Germain without great risk and slithered through the Quartier Latin to the smooth stones of the Pont Neuf, sometimes scuttling sideways like a crab. There was no time to shoot any posters as well as there being no posters worth shooting and the visitors, dog kidnappers, nannies and pickpockets on the Quai du Louvre cleared out of my way right smartly somewhat after I passed.

Monsieur Ferrat said, "Ca va?" as I whizzed by the café's empty terrace and entered the café's bar, where the patron Monsieur Naudan also shook my hand. There was four minutes to spare by the café's atomic clock, just in time to begin the Café Metropole Club's first 312th meeting in history.

Member Terrie Blazek from Chicago was sitting calmly in the club's area in the café's 'grande salle' with a fat glass of wine, waiting for me. My first words were not, "I am not late!"photo, non gin fizz drink

Neither here nor there, Terrie gives me a joyeux extra magnifique anniversaire card, for the club's birthday and a live plant with green leaves and flowers. Is it the club's first live plant?

A minute later new member Kay Brenner is making herself known to the club. Kay is from San José in California and has been coming to the club for a long time. Er, it has taken her a long time to get here – she couldn't have picked a better meeting to finally make it.

Not gin, not orange, just pure fizz.

In fact Kay came to the café yesterday to 'test' it. I seldom mention that there is an entry to the 'grande salle,' directly from the terrace, as well as the bar entry on Amiral Coligny. "I was going to stand in the middle of the big room and speak English," she says, in order to find the club, in case we were hiding under a frond.

Then member Dennis Moyer arrives from the Rue Daguerre, saying, "I hear you have the best Orangina in town." Kay says, "I've been waiting four years." Dennis, to Kay, says, "Do you know the way to San José?"

"Who sang that?" Kay wonders. It must be an unmusical meeting because nobody even tries to guess. Either that or we are all rock–n–rollers.

Dennis says, "I like Chicago."

"I'll tell you where it's colder than Chicago," Kay offers, "Thurso in Scotland!"

As often happens, with Dennis on my left and Terrie on my right and Kay opposite, Kay is talking to me and Dennis and Terrie are talking and these two conversations are colliding over the centre with most people picking the fragments they like but the fragments of notes I get don't fit together.

One important decision is made and it is to call 'Willy the Bird' Edith Piaf in the future. The bird has absolutelyphoto, grenadine, red fizz drink flipped out, hovering all over, looking for frites underfoot, whizzing around the café, swinging off the lamps overhead. Dennis is the brains behind this idea. How does this sound – Edith 'Willy the Bird' Piaf?

My 'Idea of the Week' is to start a savings club for members who have problems getting the cash together to get to meetings. I will set it up as a non–profit, based in the Cayman Islands, and everybody will be a shareholder. Nobody salutes this idea.

Tomoko's all new and wonderful red fizz 'Drink of the Week.'

Terrie has a very new very many multi–pixel digital camera, and she hauls out a shiny bullet–shaped gizmo, and I think it is another camera, but we learn that it is a lipstick that doesn't play Radio FIP.

Kay has spent maybe too much time getting to Paris. She is worrying about having forgotten her French. Maybe it's not Kay because she says, "Many people have forgotten more French than they'll ever know."

"My word for today is audio," Dennis says. This catches Terrie off guard. She asks, "Radio?" Dennis says, "I better spell it."

At this point member Tomoko Yokomitsu, hardly needing an introduction, arrives, saying, "It's the club's birthday!" It reminds Terrie that it's Heather's birthday and it reminds Dennis that he's been invited, so we invite Terrie and she asks if she can bring a friend from Berkeley who is a brand–new doctor of psychology. Heather Stimmler–Hall as all will recall, is the club's number one member, a co–incidence.

I should mention somewhere here that Dennis has ordered a fizzy drink that is not gin and not orange, and Tomoko has forsaken her green fizzy drink for a red fizzy one, and Terrie is coaxing along a flat wine. For an anniversary, there is next to no booze around.

Then Dennis, who has been shamelessly promoting the new Cinémathèque Française, says he is going off to see a film so we all heave out to the café's terrace over some dude sitting in the path, and have the 'Group Photo Session of the Week.'

Along here somewhere Terrie springs Le Roi Barbar on us out of the place where her lipstick radio isphoto, king barbar, roi hiding, Edith is hovering near the lights overhead, cops on horses are passing by outside, Kay is saying that French has no 'H,' and Tomoko is trying to cheer me up.

"In the 8th century in Japan we had a priest who could hear 10 persons at a time," she says.

Le Roi Barbar's first ever 'Appearance of the Week.'

Meanwhile Terrie and Kay, and Tomoko too, are writing notes and exchanging them with each other. These contain addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, the locations of chocolate shops and for all I know, betting parlors, and I mention it because all of them added up would make a big wad. Terrie seems to prefer bits of paper and Kay is organized with booklets.

Before this can go on all night we get up and leave, following Tomoko out the door. On the terrace we divide and Kay and I proceed to the newspaper kiosque in front of Samaritaine where she looks for L'Officiel des Spectacles. It is not on view in the over–full kiosk, she has to ask for it and with it, she has the complete program.

Who Remembers?

It may seem like only yesterday to you but to me the first Café Metropole Club meeting was six full years ago, on a Thursday, if you can believe it. It happened on 14. October 1999, when the first members in the world found the Café Corona and joined the club, for life. A sample:–

"Except for having met Kathleen before today, I have never met so many people from Minnesota at once, in one place, before. It must be something caused by the extraordinary weather outside.

"Then Marion says, "Paris has ugly dirt."

"This is truly astonishing to me because I was looking closely at some very fine and well–behavedphoto, group 2 dirt yesterday when I was in the Luxembourg gardens watching the boules players."

In this vein, the club, your club, continues, beginning today with the first meeting of its 7th year. I'm going to remember to water the club's only live plant that is living.

The Café Metropole Club's About Page

This club meeting 'report,' picked out using only three of my long fingers, gives a tiny fraction of a hint about what this is about. If you have loose ends wrap them up with a look at the 'About the Café Metropole Club' page with its real old and musty photos, slovenly writing and sicko satire of a membership card. You can join the club too, without showing any ID, on any week of the year containing a 'Thursday of the Week,' each and every one with a real saint

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

Frankly – club meetings begin at 15:00, in the afternoon, on Thursdays and continue until 17:00, always in the western Euro Time zone, now on its creep through autumn to winter. Known in faraway zones as 3 pm to 5 pm, around somewhere else is not the place where meetings are held. Come to the café La Corona and stand in the middle of its 'grande salle' and shout in English. Bring a friend or two. The folks in the rear of the big room, under the hovering sparrow named Edith, are us.

Attend a meeting – by being at one. Pass a hour or two for a whole meeting with new friends. 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 'reality' with any sort of connection to truth, like true facts or fictional lies.

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. Throw your own name into Metropole's search feature if you have forgotten.

The 'ex–rules' that the club used to have continue to be former. Nonetheless these discontinued rules may still be accessed so that you can learn that this somewhat hypothetical club of no purpose repeats them seldom as they are already on record, even if remembered by very few.

Talking to other club members at meetings is encouraged rather than optional. There are usually dozens of empty chairs, so sit – wherever you like. Nobody will mind if you stand either. 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 the club's live birthday plant is thirsty and is calling for some fizzy water before it chokes to dust.

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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