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World Affairs

photo, group of the week, nigel, dennis

Nigel, empty space, and Dennis form the 'Group of Only
Two of the Week' on this Thursday.

Shopping Tips

Paris:– Thursday, 1. December 2005:– This week the club's secretary is not going to claim it never snows in Paris just because it hasn't snowed since a week ago Wednesday, but instead wishes to draw your attention to the fact that he is cold on account of exceptionally cold weather – even for November – and now it is December when it could get seriously cold, and I'm worried.

For, everybody like Nigel and Dennis say that it is certainly warmer today, and it is in principle, but there's this here wind blowing around. If you get it in the face your tootsies fall off.

But before spreading too much alarm I had better give you the forecast from the TV–weather news tonight. I saw the tail–end first and thought it wasn't so bad, but then I learned that the beginning features an Orange Alert!' Ding–a–ling, wake up!

Eeeh–yes. There's an Alert Orange for south Brittany and whatever regions are below, and it bulges into the interior of France, perhaps all the way here. The cause is mad winds in the Bay of Biscay, ripping north at 100 kph with other winds from the westphoto, cafe of the week blasting at Brittany at... 130 kph, with winds in the centre hurtling north at 90 kph – as well as slashing up the Channel at 110 kph. It's gonna be right breezy. So much so that you might not notice that the temperature is supposed to be 8 degrees.

Café of the Week is full of 'noise.'

On Saturday, although it might be breezy, there will not be an Alert Orange unless Méteo France changes its mind. But the sky will be rotten, murky, variable and chaotic, again with a temperate of 8 and 90 kph for the winds in the Channel, heading west.

Than she says, a new front will arrive on Sunday, with southwest winds all over, here and there 70 kph, more chaos in the heavens, but all okay here on earth because its supposed to be 9 degrees, and, of course, sunshine on the Riviera, nowhere near here.

The 'Good Ukrainian Joke' Report of the Week

Each day that the cold persists I get more and more used to it, or I would if the wind didn't pick up and huff and puff continually at my bathroom window – which is not at all tight – and then as soon as I get out of there with icicles dripping off my nose, the wind switches 13 degrees so that it can rattle my super huge artistic–style window overlooking the cemetery, which I can see again now that the leaves have been ripped away.

In this condition it is understandable that I look forward to an afternoon at the Café Metropole Club in the centrally–heated café La Corona. Nigel, who is in town again, becausephoto, club table, cafe, book, glass perhaps his new home in Washington has seen the magnolia leaves fall, or were ripped off. He phones from the Bouquet where he and Dimitri are eating food – it is fooding week in Paris – and says something backwards.

Not 'Lit Day at the Club,' but bargain basement 6€ bonanza.

So he shows up to help me on my way and off we go and get on the Métro at Raspail and ride down to Odéon, you know this, and he consults his map to find the 'lost' Rue de Seine, that was lost the other day after he was at Orsay. But we find the Pont Neuf where I left it last week, and see that there will be a Marché de Noël in front of Samaritaine, but the Quai du Louvre is windswept and empty.

The café's grande salle is empty too when we arrive, but it fills up fast with the few unhardy people who are wandering around, looking for the Onion Soup of the Day. Pretty soon it seems like a garlic soup kitchen with all the slurping.

Nigel has lived in Washington for about a generation and now he's moved back there, so I ask him a few questions, like, if there are any real people living there, what do they do?

He says, "But you don't drink." Then he rattles off the names of some bars that are really restaurants, like The Child Harold, The Guards, and Cramer's Bookstore, where you can go and look at books for free and drink coffee for mucho dollars.

It's a town of fashion and style, he says, quite unlike the way you can go around dressed as a Balkan taxi driver in New York or Paris. He would say folks dress in 49 shades of gray suits, but he forgets, but it explains why Washingtonians want to know what is appropriate attire in Paris. "Same as New York," he says.

Then of course we discuss America's answer to the TGV – the wonderful Chinatown Bus. Twentyphoto, cd, boris vian bucks Washington to New York and no fooling around at airports. All you need to watch out for is not getting hit–and–run in DC when the doubleparked bus is loading.

Then is when member Dennis Moyer shows up, saying, "Professor Henri is right!" Apparently the good Professor Henri says that the best used French books for the best prices are found at the bouquinistes located along both sides if the Seine. Uncle Den–Den is wearing his grand dad's great benny, so he has not noticed the wind along the river;

He shows us his treasures. There's a hardcover 'Ulysses' – only read once by an anthropologist auditingphoto, cd, django a humanities course at the Sorbonne – and there are some audio CDs, still sealed, hardly played at all, and a guide book – six euros – only three years old. "I regret not getting Josephine Baker – surely worth four euros!" he says.

The members trade tips about seeing current exhibitions. Both say Orsay with its Russians is great because nobody goes there, and both say that success is killing the Grand Palais because too many people are there for the Austrians. Neither saw the balloon races in another part of the Grand Palais.

Then, about Paris traffic, we are discussing how to take shortcuts in Rome by walking along the Tiber, which Dennis says is not a bit smelly. For some reason, not explained in these notes, he cannot remember the 'Hill of Pots.'

Then in the wrong part of Haussmann, we are describing an apartment we have not seen, but Nigel has. Unclephoto, nigel Den–Den will be exchanging his apartment again early next year, but he mentions not buying the one above. "You could see the Panthéon and Val de Grace," he says.

No, no, Uncle Den–Den is not a rich property speculator. After passing up his chances by taking holidays on a farm in the Ukraine, he now dreams of getting 'a little shack, one hour from Paris, simple, with a garden.'

Why is this man laughing?

About 500,000 people living in Paris have the same dream. More likely is getting your hands on $47 million, offered regularly by emails from the African syndicate who had an unlucky uncle die in a plane crash you can read about. Little 'shacks' an hour from Paris cost a big pile of euros, without a garden.

But are we depressed? Not a bit. The 'Waiter of the Week' brings drink, the soupers slurp, the sun shines in thephoto, dennis café with a brief burst of orange light, and we do the 'Group Photo of the Week' before the subject turns ever so naturally to Buffalo grass.

This does not actually start with Uncle Den–Den saying, "I have a good Ukrainian joke," and then ruining the secretary's day by adding, "You won't be able to print this."

And this guy – what's funny here?

Uncle Den–Den finished off the last batch of Buffalo grass vodka and put the empty bottle with the Buffalo grass in it on his kitchen floor and the cleaning lady found it and tossed it out. "Last summer I went to the market in Kiev to look for more but the old lady who has it wasn't there," he explains, without saying why he spent a month there, eating cucumbers.

The upshot is – we are looking for Buffalo grass again. It grows – like weeds – in Russia,photo, st germain, marche noel in Texas, maybe in Canada, possibly in Argentina – and the Daguerreotypistas need some to put in their vodka. It has a wonderful flavor.

Until we get some Uncle Den–Den says, "We are running on empty."

Saint–Germain right now, tonight!

Then we leave the Corona, hit the wind rolling along the river, and get across the Pont des Arts and up the Rue de Seine – now 'found' just for Nigel – and walk into the Marché de Noël at Saint–Germain, splashed with glittering lights strung like beads in the trees and beamed from cars hurtling along the boulevard, racing towards the mysterious east.

The Café Metropole Club's About Page

This typical club meeting 'report,'photo, cd, paris musette regardless of how it was produced, may leave you perplexed. To learn the truth lurking behind the mystery have a gekko at the 'About the Café Metropole Club' page with its blurry photos, juvenile words and membership card made in Malta. You can join the club too in any year containing any of the rest of the 'Thursdays of the Week' in December. All of them, save one, are still hot.

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

Club meetings start at 15:00 and continue until 17:00. These times are recognized in distant lands as 3 pm to 5 pm. Around somewhere other than Paris is seldom where meetings are held. Come to the café La Corona. Bring a friend or two. The wild bunch in the rear of the big room are us, not other folks.

Attend a meeting – by coming to one. Pass a hour or two or a whole meeting with other club members pretty much like yourself. Real 'firsts' are welcome, with 'first' being equivalent to 'true' even if 'real' is likely, and if it is an alternate form of fact with any sort of connection to fiction,graphic: club location map like cucumber stories. Attending multiple club meetings is not discouraged.

Caution – you may have a personal reason 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.

The 'ex–rules' that the club once had continue to be former. These discontinued rules are total nonsense even if you can find them. Otherwise you can, in theory, learn that this honestly real club of harmless talk and tall stories seldom institutes new rules because nobody cared for the old ones, which explains why they are obscure.

Talking to other club members at meetings is okay rather than optional. There are always dozens of empty chairs, so sit – wherever you like. Sprawling is okay too. Whatever you say will be truly appreciated by the other members present if there are any listening, and sometimes there are but not always – and if it should by freak chance be written here.*

*The above paragraphs are relatively unchanged since last week because it is winter, my feet are cold, and I need to go to an all–night pharmacy to get a hot water bottle before morning.

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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Waldo Bini