This Week's Club Meeting

photo: John Jennings. Claudia Jennings, Tomoko, Ranaud Remy, Jim Donatelli
The Group of the Week

All Rain, Some Shine, We're Fine!

new awnings
Getting up out of the rain
– new Club awnings!

Today's Club meeting got off to a sharp start. That was after the drizzle though: an annoying "forget the umbrella because it will only float horizontally under it into your face" almost–mist that although light did much to soak clothing. Anyhow 'guest ed' made it to the Café Corona without a hitch, and was just contemplating the nice new upholstery thas wasn't there last week when arrived long–time club member Jim Donatelli.

Presentations turned to conversation, and Jim and I of course had to reflect on guest ed's mishap the week before. Jim had a similar experience with a razor while shaving: he's a "bull in a china shop" his wife says, he says. "Even with your own nose?" I ask. Anyhow, we get to talking about razors in general (and the ills they may do) when conversation turns to the John Belushi sketch with the "it's got two blades" parody of then–razor advertisements... that became reality not a year later. Saturday Night Live... creator of many of today's chuckle–makers. Eddie Murphy, Chevy Chase, Dan Ackroyd... Jim then tried the "bassomatic" ad spoof (involving a bass and blender) on me, but no dice. I tried "Bob & Doug McKenzie" on him, but no dice either. Shall we call this a 'comedy gap' ?

We had just completed the above when Claudia and John Jennings came in. Already a crowd! However was 'reserved' and inexperienced 'guest ed' to keep track of all the goings–on from here? The couple seemed already at home upon arriving – more so than guest ed – that he assumed that they were long–time members. Not so! They had been in Paris since all of 24 hours, they said. Veterans already.

club metropole banquette
The looooong and
comfy 'Club' chair

Cold Water, Customs, Bee Aich Vee

It seemed that on their flight in, John and Caudia's helpful stewardesses (and plane) ran out of hot water. We then had to go through the various ways of ingratiating caffeine in case of 'no hot water' emergencies - I suggested that the pilot keep an emergency stock of caffeine I.V. drips. John then suggested chocolate-covered coffee beans, the thought of which of made mouths... water... speaking for humble self of course.

Claudia's 24 hours in Paris had already borne some fruit, it seems. She says: "All without knowing any French at all, I went to the BHV (ed: local department store) and got a clothesline, clothespins and a padlock." Cheeky guest ed of course had to say: "Great! What did you ask for?"

The last chortle to the above joke was still dying (both guest ed's) when Tomoko walked in. Introductions were made, seats were filled. Coffees were ordered (thanks to the arrival of Waiter of the Week, whose name Guest Ed of course forgot to ask), and sips were taken. These were of course only a few of the simultaneous events occuring around me, but guest ed has only got one pen and one pair of lips and he needed his coffee fix.

Jim Donatelli
Nature protector extraordinaire

Our first big topic was: Language. The French didn't have much English years ago, but Jim says that now even the remotest French country–bumpkins have a stock of more than a few anglophile words to convey. He tells of a story where his wife had to get a 'do' in a hair salon (ten years ago) where they didn't speak a word of English... guest ed never did manage to note the result of all this. He did manage to note that a remark of Jim's that went: "In all my meetings with Europeans apologising for their 'horrible English', I was tempted to say to a lot of them that they speak better than many US citizens I've had to arrest." Jim is a Pennsylvania Parks Officer


...Which of course led to more talk of accents. Claudia, a frequent visitor to South America, spoke of a local theory that "'s' thieves" had visited the country some centuries before their arrival and stole most of the 's's from Argentinean Spanish. The same theory was of course then applied to other languages, which led to the creation of "vowel strokers" and "hat placers." All guest ed could add to all this was the Canadian "Taranah" pronunciation of "Toronto" – and Jim came back with a whole slew of local Pittsburgh particularities (I'll let you decode, dear reader): "y'unz," "dahn tahn," "the (Pittsburgh) Stillers," "saw–side." Try using all those in one sentence.

Chouette Schweppes
The (paid for) drink of the Week

Things then turned to "things to look for in France not found elsewhere" and "things found elsewhere but not in France". Peanut butter was of course at the top of the list – it is findable here, but not in a flavour or consistency any North American would be familiar with. John said that he did see something of the sort in a special stand at the end of a supermarket aisle earlier that day, and Jim said he saw something similar that looked American, but he couldn't recognise any of the labels. French 'mountain wildflower' alcohol Suze was a for–sure 'takeback' product – on your next visit to Paris, have a look up when you see the remains of a painted ad fading from the side of a 19th–century building – nine times out of ten it's a Suze ad. This drink was very popular, but is only one of a teeming legion French 'aperitif' drinks existing then. There remain but a few today, alas..

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

Wildlife and Nature! Jim works in it; Claudia and John spend a few months of the year in a remote village in Costa Rica. As the only wildlife guest ed ever sees is his furry felines, all he had to share was second-hand news stories about the re–introduction of a bear population in the French Pyrenees mountains. Tomoko even knew where the bears were from - Checkoslovakia! Jim had a few stories about the (sometimes not–so) amusing things bears would do to get food: if it was hanging from a rope between two trees, they always found a way to get to it. He told of one mama bear sending her little one out on a fragile limb to gnaw the rope... and another the park staff called 'the dive bomber' who would try to jump from the tree directly onto the hanging bag – all of this Jim saw on video in one of the wildlife conferences he attends regularly – the North American Wildlife Enforcement Officers Association (an acronym that Jim says I should pronounce "NO–EE–AH!") Claudia and John spoke of the transformations going on around their Costa Rican village – oceanfront nature has been protected by law, but inland land@ndash;sales abound. It seems that they have to clear the land and mark out where the house should go before potential landowners understand that they can really build there...

Tomok & Renaud
(Yoko Ono+(Beatles–3)) x France = Tomoko & Renaud

At about that moment (or just before) Renaud Siry comes in from the drizzle – Renaud is a real and in–the–flesh Frenchman, he is a friend of Tomoko, as she is Yoko Ono in his "Beatles Story" show. Renaud plays the drums as Ringo Starr, although he is much cuter than the original (sorry Ringo!) Every time Tomoko says she has a show coming up I have to wonder: What does the Yoko Ono character do with the band? Does she close the show? If she 'gets involved' at the start, are the rest of the sets a retrospective of each Beatle's solo career (and on that note, will Ringo be narrating "Thomas the Tank Engine?") By the looks of it it's just gonna be pure good ol' rock n' roll. Just in case you didn't get last week's plug, they'll be playing at the Petite Journal Montparnasse on the 5th of April. Come as many!

It is time for the club photo of the week, and this done Renaud bids us all good-bye. After a brief 'pay-up' time, the rest of us follow – 'guest ed' had put off the photo towards the end of the meeting – perhaps because of the bears and all. Anyhow, John and Caroline will be around for next week's meeting (they'll be here for three weeks) so let's hope they have time to return – while I'm at it, here's hoping you do too!

The Café Metropole Club's About Page

This (second) patched–together club report pasted together by little more than inexperienced 'guest ed' may leave you expecting ... so please be sure to check in next week for less boo–hoos and even better and hopefully almost the same amount of writing. Under the spotlight behind the mystery some facts about the club are on the 'About the Café Metropole Club' page, with its very professional photos, chatty paragraphs and the confection of a membership card made of whatever weather you decide to bring from outdoors. You can join the club in any year containing at least 32 remaining 'Thursdays of the Week' left this year, except for the rare exceptions, mentioned above.

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

Regular club meetings begin at 15:00 next Thursday and normally continue until 17:00 when members are present. These times, fixed in steel, are said in some lands to be 3 pm to 5 pm. Around somewhere else is not where meetings are held. Substitutes are rare. Bring yourself to the café La Corona. Come with a friend or relative. The folk in the rear of the big room is ze club, or more exactly, the club's only secretary.

Attend any meeting – by being at one or more. Pass a hour or two or a whole meeting with other club members pretty much like yourself. Real 'firsts' are welcome. True stories will get a hearing. Other stories will depend on your skill. Attending more than one club meeting per membership is cool.

Caution – you may have a personal passion for remaining unfindable via the Web. If so, be sure to inform the club's secretary that you prefer to be '404 – not found'graphic: club location map by Web search engines before becoming 'found' in one of these flaky club reports.

The 'ex–rules' that the club once had continue to be former. These rules were mostly nonsense, even if you can find them. Otherwise you may, in theory, learn that this club features unlikely stories that are pretty true sometimes, and never institutes new rules because members can't remember them.

Talking to other club members at meetings is fairy 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 pure chance be written here.

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

Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
Metropole Midi © 2014
– unless stated otherwise.
logo, metropole sml midi logo No matter how good it tastes,
there is no such thing
as a free lunch.
Waldo Bini