Finger Lickin' Good

photo, group, sandra, sanford, dennis, marion, stephan From left, Sandra, Sanford, Dennis, Marion and Stephan.

Alligator for Eight

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Thursday, 25. May 2006:– The TV–weather lady, Valerie I guess, the first thing she says is it's going to be humid in the north. Oh yeah. What else is new? There's even a 60 kph wind going to blow this way, making sure.

Big black clouds are supposed to hang up north along the frontier, then the middle of the country will be very mixed with various shades of gray sky – I mean the part covered by clouds that prevent anyone from seeing blue sky. Way down south the sun will be shining, not a seldom thing, but that isn't anywhere around here. Around here the temperature may go up to 23 degrees, so consider it humid.

For Saturday that northern frontier is supposed to be even worse, a kind of 'extra cloudy.' Around here there will be a veil of clouds, but Valerie said they would be thin and we shouldn't worry about them. In general everything is warmer, so it's supposed to be 23 again.

photo, full cafe of the weekThe secretary's cafˇ of the week.

On Sunday the darkness up on the frontier switches to being kind of sunny. The kind of pretty darn sunny down south stays being pretty darn sunny. And here, right around where we are, no such positive outlook is on hand and those thin clouds we had on Saturday compress themselves, turn grayer, act funky. Adding to the insult the temperature is supposed to slide down to 21 degrees.

At the end she closed her jolly long–weekend météo show by saying that rain would return on Monday. So nice – it's so long since we've seen any. She also promised a cool 19 degrees.

The Before–the–Report Report

Fun isn't what I expected tonight while putting together today's club report but I didn't expect the sheer meanness of technology to be so rotten. Yesterday I switched from a tired old Mac computer to a shiny new silver Apple PowerBook just loaded with bells, whistles, drop shadows, Airports, and snitch software that keeps trying to connect to the software police. I've been wrestling with this for a couple of months but I decided to step into a new world yesterday.

This first thing I do here after a club meeting is unwrap the photos, which include the all–important 'Group Photo of the Week,' and make them all into silk purses. So the second thing I did was open one and fiddle with it a bit and then save it. Photoshop locked solid. Shutdown, restart, do the same photo again, go to save it, and – lockup! Third try, fourth try, fifth try – throw out 'user interface enhancing' freeware and shareware, more trials, more lockups.

photo, pastis and h2o of the weekWater, pastis and wine.

I wasn't too worried. The old Mac is set up and ready to go. All it needs is being plugged in, and shifting the USB card reader to it and unloading the photos. Well, the old Mac started all right but neglected to send any image it its monitor. That's not too good. It was working like a charm yesterday too.

Back to the new setup. Photoshop started doing its stuff as soon as I quit using the number keys at the right side of the Apple keyboard. They look okay to me, part of the set, but there's some voodoo in there. In the end, making this story much shorter for you than me, it only took me three hours to do the photos I usually do in 45 minutes.

Then I began the search for the standard files I need for the report. I swear I transferred them to the new machine yesterday. Where are they? Somehow, this new computer thinks it is two computers, and it has three users, some who have permission or authorization to use it and others don't, especially me – who is all three of these jokers.

Well here is is nearly two in the morning and there's still an exciting club report to write. Luckily, on a holiday here, we had a wonderful club meeting. You should have been here.

The John Deere Club Report

photo, drinks of the week Misc. drinks of the week.

The 'waiter of the week' gives me a dirty look when I tell him I'd order something later. Most people going into a café want something right away. I don't know why the management doesn't tell the 'waiter of the week' that the club has certain free 'sit around' privileges, but if they haven't done it for any of the past 336 Thursdays I don't expect them to start soon.

And there was Monsieur Ferrat saying that business wasn't too good, but today's Grande Salle was richly sprinkled with folks eating and drinking, admiring their postcards, studying their maps and taking comfort in the facilities downstairs.

I had no more time than to read that Le Parisien's owner left the earth for good before members Marion and Stephan Nowak were standing before the club's tables, waiting for a free seat – of which there were about 23. Marion says, "Are the garbage collectors on strike?"

Haven't I mentioned this? What with all our riots, demonstrations, protests, governments in agony, who can keep track? Before I can even remember if the garbage collectors are on strike, member Dennis Moyer glides into the glare of the club's area and immediately begins grilling Stephan – who says they moved to Cologne to make money so they could buy a studio in Paris. They have a lot more three–day weekends than we do.

"Painting," Stephan says, "And laying carpets, sleeping on the floor..." They say they went to 139 agents and the studio they got wasn't even displayed in a window. Marion says, "How much is that doggie in the window?" Don't ask, this is what these of mine notes say.

Dennis remembers being in Cologne during Fasching. "The ladies were singing naughty songs. My friend was so impressed he said he was going to leave his wife." Dennis knows all about Germany. He was a sports editor while in the army there. "Where do you like to go in Cologne?" he asks Marion and Stephan.

"We spend all our ree time in Paris," Stephan says. And like a good club member Dennis then switches to grilling Marion, who has a tiresome job of deciding whether a certain kind of loser should be allowed to drive. Dennis, very interested, says, "It's simple, I gave up driving for seven years. You can buy a lot of wine with no gasoline."

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