A Invisible 'First'

photo, substitute for lost club photos Cheap stand–in for the 'Group Photo of the Week.'

Look! No Photos!

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Thursday, 1. June 2006:– Take this weather back! It's been delivered to the wrong town. We don't want it, we didn't ask for it. We won't take it even if it's a gift. Not even for February. We don't deserve it either. This weather is pure merde!

Now that I've gotten that out of my system, here's the...

The first thing the weather–lady, Valerie again I guess, she says, she says the temperature is seven degrees below normal. Oh ho, that might be where she is in that hot TV studio but it's not anywhere around here, in the north end of the 14th arrondissement, defenceless against the northerly winds howling out of the cemetery. We are so far below normal that it looks like we're going to have to ride to the end of the tunnel, just to get on the thermometre.

Then she says, ho hah, that we are supposed to get this classy anticyclone – hint, hint – means, warmer, right? Ah, no. It was just a come–on. There's to be a sling of clouds over here, from north to south, no sign of any anticyclone, and she called it 'variable.' Tonight's low is supposed to be eight degrees and it already feels lower. Tomorrow, no doubt on account of 'variable' and the fantom anticyclone, we can expect, maybe, 17 degrees. Otherwise cloudy I guess. Maybe variable amounts of light rain.

Saturday looks like it will be about the same as Friday except that the cloudy stripe leans out to the Bay of Biscay at its bottom end. I've written 'not so sunny' on the weather map in Le Parisien, which means 'variable.' The high for Saturday is predicted to be 19 degrees, if you can believe it.

For Sunday she said the bad weather would be up along the northern border and around here it would be mostly sunny, with a bunch of thin–type clouds. Down south it will be very sunny but that's not near here. And then, finally, the thermometre is predicted to rise to 20 whole, round number, degrees. And, if you are still reading, the same thing for Monday if you can stand the heat.

The Disappeared–Photos Report

Before taking a break tonight for the TV–news and weather and the first few minutes of the old French movie on Arte, I had a small set of fairly good photos corrected, cropped and ready to be transformed into the club photos of the week. When I quit I left them popping on the screen in a slideshow, looping endlessly.

After the pause they were still flashing on and off, so I hit 'quit' and settled in to do the final tricks to them, and then write this. But something must have happened because the folder the photos were in, disappeared, vanished. Gone. Not in this town anymore.

One trace remains, under the 'recent' item in a menu. All the names are faithfully recorded, listed, but there's nothing there. Nada. This is, to be sure, another club 'first,' but it is not a fabulous one. Well, I have now wasted a lot of time looking for these wretched things, so here's today's 'report,' written many hours later than I was hoping for.

I'll skip the weather and the Métro ride although these all happened like on any other Thursday. Cold and gloom had driven a lot of civilians into the club's café before I got to it, and at first I couldn't occupy the club's exact location. I was there if you were, but in the corner, behind the fronds and the club's kitschy madonna.

Nothing happened for a while, but when the civilians left I moved a couple of metres to my regular spot, and continued to read today's Le Parisien. For those worried as much as our minister of the interior about the new disturbances in the suburbs, the paper did manage to find a spot to mention last night's rebellion on page 13. Not a word on the front page. Some of the usual suspects were arrested again.

I was reading the TV features when member Lee Hauseman from Falls Church, Virginia arrived, almost right off the train from Italy. You should remember that Lee works for the Smithsonian in Washington, and when he joined the club in June 2003 he brought a package of NASA's freeze–dried ice cream for the club secretary to try. If I recall correctly, it could have been freeze–dried moon dirt, but it didn't stop me from being a NASA fan.

After hearing about Italy's wonderful food and wonderful weather, I asked Lee how the Smithsonian is doing these days. He told me about the new National Museum of the American Indian with its huge entry hall, and mentioned the new Steven F. Udvar–Hazy Center which is near Dulles airport. Apparently the Mall has a serious space problem, so the WWII aviation is on display near the airport.

This in turn reminded me of news reports here, about the recent opening of a new facility out at the air museum at Le Bourget, to show off their WWII aircraft collection. It is probably a smaller collection than in Washington, and they don't have Stalin's personal Yak, but there is a mint B–26 – only flown in one war.

But what we mainly discussed was the museum business, and how there's a constant conflict between the curators who think museums are showcases for learning, and the managements who often think museums are supposed to be profit centres. The curators are against 'Disneylandasion,' if that's a word.

This sounds very serious for a club meeting but I welcomed the change from freeze–dried ice cream. When my café came I hauled out the camera for the 'café of the week' shot but forget that I hadn't used it since Sunday, when it was sunny. I pressed the shutter and it went clip–clop rather slowly, set as it was on f–8. As dim in the café as it was I think I saw the speed indicated as four. If this photo hadn't become lost it might have been the best 'blurry photo of the week.'

After a lot more museum talk, with slight excursions through the tastes and smells of Italian trattorias, it became 17:20 and we went out on the café's terrace where I took some fine photos – now tuned to more useful settings – but you'll have to take my word for it.

And that was that. If I ever get to DC I'll look up Lee and and take a short tour of the Mall to see the highlights. Then we parted, and on the Pont des Arts I was just in time for the opening of a photo exhibition by Francis Gazeau that lines both sides of the footbridge between the Louvre and the Institut de France. This show continues until Friday, 30. June, 24 hours a day, and is free, outside, under the sky. As free as entry into the Smithsonian.

About the Café Metropole Club

Highly incredible, but every word true in this club meeting 'report,' especially about the lost photos. You may help yourself to a look at the explanation about what's going on, on the 'About the Café Metropole Club' page, for its few morsels of wisdom, frites, sentences, garlic, graphics, exhaust and fishhooks.

graphic: club location map

When, What, How, Who, Why, Where?

Club meetings, as these stunning events are called, begin at 15:00 every Thursday and continue until 17:00. These clock times, hammered in tin, are equivalent to 3 pm to 5 pm. Around somewhere else is not where some attentive sympathetic ears. Other stories will depend on your skill. 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 rare chance be written here.*

Caution – should you have the personal mission of remaining unfindable via the Web, be sure to inform the club's secretary that you prefer to be '404 – not found' by Web search engines before becoming 'found' waltzing in one of these musicalish club reports.

*The above paragraphs are relatively unchanged since last week because of my new wonderful system, which with a stupendous 'first' of major proportions, lost this week's club 'photos of the week' and of the Pont des Arts and of the motorcycle repairs going on in the rue Daguerre.

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.
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Waldo Bini