"Cut It With Chopsticks"

photo, group of two, jerry and yoko Jerry and Yoko, today's 'gang of two.'

Fireworks Always Tomorrow

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Thursday, 13. July:–  All the excitement has died away and the last traces of confetti have vanished, considerably aided by a lack of a tremendous victory party. It is just as well because Le Parisien does not provide regular weather forecasts these days but prints only predictions for the holidays, which is the official state of France at the moment. If you want worker's weather read Pravda.

But something happened which the newspaper does not want to detail or the mayor is embarrassed. The new swimming pool floating in the Seine has been closed because something happened to it, already. Its official name is Josephine Baker and it was inaugurated a week ago, tested by swimmers and it has everything except free bananas.

Meanwhile the skies are as blue as Paris' official badge and we are flirting with a heatwave, having hot, sunny July climes in the same month as the second month of summer, and it is rare. Tomorrow, for example is expected to be mostly sunny in the morning and mostly sunny in the afternoon and it will be fine in the evening when we all troop to the Champ de Mars to ogle the zillion euros worth of fireworks sprayed across the sunset sky. While this is going on we will remember the day's high of 29. degrees.

photo, noisette, the cafe of the week Café in four parts – a noisette.

Then on Saturday folks can return to getting out of town when it will be even sunnier, a bit breezy, but with a temperature of 30 degrees nobody should be complaining except those that intended to wet their feet at the new pool.

When the dust has settled the few remaining behind on Sunday will probably notice that the sun is shining very brightly again, with absolutely great weather for having picnics, siestas, dancing beside the Seine and canals, fantastic for watching the outside movies at La Villette or just lolling around on a terrace, not waiting for anything special and having it happen while the day's high of 30 degrees fades a couple of ticks towards midnight.

The 'Cut It With Chopsticks' Report

Devil–may–care was my mood when I set off for the club this afternoon, until I noticed that there were empty parking places in my street and the traffic roar had temporarily halted, giving the impression that maybe everybody had already left town. At the Raspail Métro station the wait was advertised as four minutes, twice as long as normal.

Then, of course, a huge mob climbed abord at Montparnasse with all their luggage and backpacks, water bottles, iPods, train tickets and maps, all looking totally cooked and steamed, bedraggled, and happy to be on holiday, of course. Going, I guess, to the utter mayhem of Gare du Nord or Lyon.

photo, orange of the week Another orange of the week.

As usual prospective riders were pressing to get on at Odéon so these had to be pushed out of the way so I could get off. I don't know why this station is like this because at most folks stand aside the let riders descend. Hey! RATP you've got a problem at Odéon!

The Quartier Latin was in a doze as I passed through it, the Pont Neuf was baking, the Quai dur Louvre was overhung with green shadow from the trees and there was a block–long sprawl of wilted visitors on all of the terraces under the parasols. Real July.

At La Corona my first chore involved a chat with the brand new 'waiter of the week.' This time I decided to explain what is going on here. I don't want this guy to get off on a wrong attitude at the beginning of the season even though I may never see him again in my life. He said, "I'll just leave you two menus then."

You can't win them all so I took the menus and settled in to read today's Le Parisien which occupied my attention pretty thoroughly for about three–quarters of a hour until member Jerry Marterer from either the 7th arrondissement or from Jacksonville, Florida – the most westerly seaport on the east coast of the United States, as I am sure all alert readers will remember but I always have too look it up.

I was very happy to see Jerry and have somebody other than the waiter to talk to, but reading the paper had put my head into a bag full of fog and too much information and I hoped I could wake up, snap out of it. For example, the Comédie Française offers free seats tomorrow at 14:00 for their performance of Cyrano de Bergerac. Apparently this happens every 14th of July, as well as the Opéra at Bastille opening its doors to all for a ballet performance tomorrow at 14:30.

So I am trying to tune into Jerry when the lovely person who used to be Tomoko Yokomitsu but is now Yoko arrives with her customary plastic bags and the next thing I know Yoko and Jerry were trading Chinese phrases back and forth.

Yoko wrote her name in Japanese and then in Chinese in the club's booklet. Um, without making it clear whether it was her old name or her brand new name. There are four characters though. Next I have doorjay in Cantonese compared to jayjay in Mandarin and Jerry is saying that Chinese is hard because there's no grammer or something, and all you have to do is learn 2600 characters.

photo, red toenails, white sandalsRed toenails, white sandals,

The good news is learning how to say 'hello' in Cantonese, Mandarin and Japanese. I mean this is not real 'hello' but the phonetic versions, which are hardly worth knowing because Jerry says none of these will make me honorary, um, you know, a good ol' boy in Chinese. Having had a beer once with Tommy Chong will have to be good enough.

Next up are the movies, specifically the Pagoda cinema in the 7th arrondissement, which Jerry says the owner of the Bon Marché had built for his wife. I forget what Jerry said the reason was. Anyway, Yoko who has herself been in five or six films, agrees with Jerry something about Memories of a Geisha because she saw it twice.

Neither of us had seen the one with the Japanese salaryman who wanted to learn ballroom dancing, and neither of them had seen the Chinese movie – now I've forgotten its name. It was in Chinese on Arte–TV not too long ago, and it wasn't the first Chinese movie in Chinese that I've watched, and I don't see many films because the only interesting ones seem to be on Arte when they aren't operas or the Avignon Festival.

Why, only tonight, when I fully intended to whoop it up at Bastille on the eve of the Fête National Arte decided to show this western with John Wayne that I never heard of, and then followed it with home movies made by a guy in Spain before and during the Civil War. There'll be other Bastilles.

Meanwhile back at the club, Yoko was asking Jerry how much he likes raw fish. "If you like raw fish..." she said and then Jerry was off, with "You take the Bullet Train to Osaka and then a smaller train to somewhere else and then a kind of jitney to a village..." and I was writing furiously but I couldn't keep up.

photo, water, grenadine, mascot Today's most unusual cocktail.

One can't talk about raw fish all day. So they switched to Kobé beef. Yoko was telling – me, I guess, because Jerry knew all this already – that they bring out nose prints of the beef you are being invited to eat – pay a fortune for! – and then you whip out your pocket–sized Kobé beef nose–print database to make sure it is real McCoy before you get – get this, this is what Yoko said, "...beef so tender you can cut it with chopsticks!"

Well I am sorry that this has been about the intricacies of Chinese, raw fish and high–end beef instead of being about everybody's favorite subject, such as picking up cool original paintings for a song at Drouot like the one Jerry showed me after Yoko rushed off. I mean, where? But now I think of it, it was probably after five o'clock because it was quarter past when Jerry was leaving and I thought the meeting was still happening.

I suppose it means I've flubbed another meeting report. Last week there were no members and this week I'm out of control. If the members had any say they would probably say – oh, something pithy. Before you go, there's one other thing Yoko mentioned. She said that there is a Chinatown in Kobé. And Jerry confirmed it. He said every place has a Chinatown.

I won't say, "Wait, there's more." But there is. This new computer I've got is full of Chinese, and Japanese, and Hindi, Hebrew, and even Irish. These are all listed under fonts. I was going to put the headline in Chinese, using Yoko's name. Jerry said I couldn't do it. Something about the 2600 characters. Yeah? So why are these languages in my fonts folder? Just tell me why.

Plan Your Friday Evening Accordingly

Fireworks go off on Friday night with viewing from the Champ de Mars beginning just after sundown, probably about 22:30. The prediction is for perfect weather so get there early if you want a good view. All other things being equal the turnout will likely be large – several hundred thousand are expected – so plan to arrive either on foot or with an appropriate Métro. Getting home can be fun because everybody tends to leave together, resulting in the year's biggest cram on the Métro.

Notice of Slight Importance

The reason why I intend to take a holiday this summer hardly matters but the way I see it August is as good a month as any to throw off my formal office clothes, abandon my pressing duties and just run wild, crazy rotten wild. I need a grilled toastedcheese sandwich now!

photo, cafe el coronaThe other café of the week.

There will be no meetings of the Café Metropole Club for the following Thursdays of August:– 3, 10, 17, 24 and 31. Meetings, with or without members present, will be held on 20 and 27. July. After August the first Thursday in September will be a meeting day. Mark the 7th on your calendar. For a free club noted for rare and unusual 'firsts,' this is another rare one.

About the Café Metropole Club

Despite the warmth and noise this club meeting 'report' represents the actual meeting even if many words were mis–noted. Cast a glance at the fiction of what could have been going on here, found on the About the Café Metropole Club page, containing its few and rare morsels of delicious stinky garlic, fried snails and steamed low–fat frites. Always, frites more frites.

graphic, club location map

This About What?

These occasional club meetings, often more silly than they seem, begin at 15:00 on Thursday and continue until 17:00 every Thursday. These times, look at the clock fingers, are equivalent to 3 pm to 5 pm around somewhere else. Around here is where these meetings are. Whatever you say will be truly appreciated by the other members present if there are listening, and sometimes there are but not always – and if it should by rare chance be written here.* Use your skill for other stories.

Caution – should you have the personal goal 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.' Not becoming a club member is another way to remain unfound, but anyone can do it.

*The above paragraphs are relatively unchanged since last week because of the large amount of Chinese dialogue during the meeting. It came out of left field.

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