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No Grass, No Vodka

photo, group of none

The secretary's ace shot of the 'Group of None of the Week.'

Just the Buffalo of the Week

Paris:– Thursday, 8. December 2005:– It hardly seems like a whole week has slipped down the coal chute of time since I wrote here that it is not snowing in Paris and it was cold here even when it wasn't snowing, but time goes by quickly when we aren't sitting around having fun with uncontrollable jitters.

Yes, with temperatures of 7 or 8 every day it is almost balmy, without being really hard on Christmas trees if we've put them up early. The needles fall off cheapo trees no matter what you do. It's one reason I don't bother getting one. Humbug! on still catching needles in my socks at Easter.

But when I am watching tonight's TV–weather news Christmas trees are far from my main concern. The weather lady starts off with a great swirling depression, looping overhand from Ireland almost to Austria, and poor little France is completely covered by it. I fear the worst.

The temperature is falling and will get up to no more than 6 degrees tomorrow, but it will hardly matterphoto, tomoko leaves because the sky will be all gray while further west it will try to be bright with barely a chance against the chaos, with a danger sign in the northeast, probably for slippery roads, and snow in the Alps.

Here comes, there goes, Tomoko.

This continues on Saturday, continues moving east to where it will be very cloudy while here it will only be cloudy and further west there may be a bit of sunshine on the nose of Brittany, and up by Calais, with a temperature forecast to be no more than five degrees.

On Sunday it seems as if the cloud cover will become general, with all the spaces we had on Friday and Saturday being filled in, and this will hold in our smokestack gases translating into a cozy air temperature of 7 degrees. As far as a December goes this one seems to be completely normal, but there's still plenty of time for it to improve.

The 'No Grass, No Vodka' Report of the Week

One of the best things about Thursdays is that the air raid siren trials are always on the first Wednesday of the month, reminding me to pay the rent. It's a lot better than having these things blasting away on the last Wednesday of the month, reminding me that the rent is almost a month late – and it's so high that if I get in this situation I may as well give it up entirely until I get evicted in about three years.

But, frankly, that was yesterday morning. This morning I have hardly a care in the world except for getting bread, which I go out to get, which in turn gives me a hint of today's climate. Not sunny and not dark cloudy, kind of dry with no big wind on the cross streets, warm enough to be gloveless – but right toasty with gloves on, as I have.

A little later the trip to the club is stock standard routine even if the posters in the Métro are for this year's Christmas gifts that we want for ourselves, rather than for November's gifts. The ridephoto, wine as thin as water is swift and the hot brakes don't smell too bad, and Odéon is handling itself well, and I see the bag robber get away racing up the Rue André Mazet where he turns into Dauphine. But the two Joes don't chase him that far. Maybe they were in a movie.

Well, at least one 'Wine of the Week.'

The marché de Noël chalets are open in front of the closed Samaritaine but there is hardly anybody around. It appears to be the season between all other seasons. Most leaves are off the trees, the terraces are empty, and the frenzy of Christmas shopping has yet to reach its pinnacle, or acme.

Going in the Amiral Coligny door of the café La Corona the first hand I shake belongs to the young Monsieur Naudan, followed by a tour of other hands until I make my grand entry into the 'grande salle,' where no one stands to applaud, not even the 'Waiter of the Week' who is already standing, contemplating the deserted terrace.

I have picked up the paper from the kiosk lady, plus I have a project in mind, so I look forward to two hours of peace and quiet, ensconced on my own club banquette behind two club tables. Heat on, lights on, uk! Sticky tables, tops wiped off, but hidden gunk where I grab them to true up the arrangement.

The paper, on pages two and three, says Le Pen hopes to spin out urban riots into his forthcoming shot at getting elected president in 2007 when he will be 79. All the rest of today's news we had already yesterday, but I am startled all the same when I suddenly have young Monsieur Naudan's hand in front of my nose. He has forgotten we already did this.

The next voice I hear belongs to Tomoko Yokomitsu, who is saying that she is saying 'hello' and skipping out, because she has a long text about Arts et Metiers to study before speaking it into a recording device. Plus, which, she won't be here next week because she's going to Japan – perhaps to return with a poison snake.

"I hate snakes," she says, letting me believe in the sacrifice required to bring a dead one back. But ha, ha, we are all kidding, aren't we?

Not entirely. Tomoko remembers that snakes are used in Chinese remedies – golly, so do I! – Iphoto, dennis, cadeau bought a bottle of it once in Chinatown. It was oily. If it was what little old Chinese ladies drink for their ills, as the clerk warned me, they must be as strong as tigers.

In case you are wondering what Tomoko is doing talking about Chinese remedies, she has told me about her Chinese relations – 1300 years ago. When she sees me make a note she says, "Don't tell anybody!"

Dennis shows off multiple–choice doodad for babies.

We talk about Gaudi's apartment building in Barcelona, because that's the last speaking project she had. It is almost the last speak we have because she gathers up her worn plastic sack and a minute later is popping out of the yellow door to the Quai du Louvre.

While this has been transpiring the 'grande salle' has been filling up with chilly–looking folks of all sizes, from babies in buggies to oldsters in power chairs, settling in to take on grub, many in the form of onion soup. The café gets more crowded than it's been in weeks or months.

Having read all of yesterday's news again I am just about to turn to Le Pen in the front of the paper when Dennis Moyer, with plastic sacks, is taking up residence – making a club session the before–last chapter of a Christmas shopping trip.

Like Tomoko, he says, "There's nobody here!" Then he shows me his wonderful treasures – confession, I ask to see them. This report needs newbies!

The star of the show is obviously the splendid litho of a bison, a buffalo, un buffle. He says, "I canphoto, where's the grass buffalo use it to make a label for Buffalo Grass Vodka." Club members are not only wonderful people but many of them are really smart! Up until now the Buffalo Grass Vodka has been created in any handy empty bottle – what a cachet it will be to have its own label.

The one, the only, 'Buffalo of the Week.'

Then, of course, we must discuss the speech made by the Nobel Prize winner, Harold Pinter, as printed in full in yesterday's Guardian. Too bad I haven't read it, but I will, someday.

Uncle Den–Den then tells me his shopping secrets. He looks around Paris in odd places, looking for objects that are not made in China, not mass– produced, not made of plastic, not electronic, not expensive, and are kind of neat, like the buffalo litho.

When five o'clock turns up on the clock dial we are still talking as we drift out the café's front door and cross over to the Louvre side and get set to brave the Quai, full of the usual charged brigades of tin cars pushing east against the inertia of the traffic lights. The surface is black with wet but the sky is undecided about its humidity, while the Seine's wavetips glitter in the lights from the Quartier Latin.

The Café Metropole Club's About Page

photo, cafe of lifeThis atypical club meeting 'report,' including a great deal about not very much, may leave you perplexed. To divine the true facts behind the mystery cast a glance at the 'About the Café Metropole Club' page with its rusty photos, puerile words and kitsch–like membership card made of cotton balls. You can join the club too in any year containing any of the several unused 'Thursdays of the Week' left in December.

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

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 foe. The fee fum bunch in the rear of the big room are ze club..

Attend any meeting – by being at 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 cricket 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 literate club reports.

The 'ex–rules' that the club once had continue to be former forever. These rules were total nonsense, even if you can find them. Otherwise you can, in theory, learn that this true club of aimless talk and unlikely stories never institutes new new rules because everybody axed the old ones, which explains why they are obscure.

Talking to other club members at meetings is okay rather than optional. There are always some empty chairs, so sit – wherever you like. Lounging 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 astonishing chance be written here.*

*The above paragraphs are relatively unchanged since last week because even though it is winter, I have Tomoko's return with Chinese medicinal snakes to look forward to.

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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contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
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logo, metropole sml midi logo No matter how good it tastes,
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Waldo Bini