"One In a Row"

photo, group, david, terrie, joann, paul, larry Today's semi–group: David, Terrie, Joann, Paul and Larry.

First Red Shoe of the Week

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Thursday, 12. October:–  Folks have been ribbing me about the weather. Not about the "weather" – not about the stuff in the sky, but about the stuff here in Metropole. They say I am obsessed with it. This is not true. I despise the weather.

If you are coming to Paris in June what I write about the weather in October has nothing to do with anything. But I know readers like to know what the weather here is like even if it is total fantasy. In fact, it is not total fantasy. It is just averagely crummy. Most of the time it is neither this or that. Two days a year – in any month, any – the sky is crystal clear. The other 363 days it is less so. Less than perfect. It is weather for folks, not card–carrying Gods.

Before I came here I didn't think about the weather in Paris except when I did think of it. Then I thought that the sun was always shining when you are sitting on a café terrace watching the days drift past. I thought, when you are taking photos, that Paris is in black and white, and foggy. It never occurred to me that there could be other options.

photo, sign, cakes frais

Like you coming here next June and taking what you get, I expect the same for tomorrow. If I don't get what I've forecast, do you think I go and sit in a corner and sulk? Nosir! I go out in it whatever it is and curse at it, just like everybody else. Paris is not the Riviera. Paris is way up north, almost in Belgium. We almost have Belgian weather here. But lucky we don't. It could be worse but isn't.

Take tomorrow for example. Forgot out west, forget the Channel, forget the far east. Right around here it will be semi–sunny on Friday with a high of 19 degrees. On Saturday and Sunday it is supposed to be mostly sunny, and 18 degrees both days. There might be a wind from the east, puffing along at 50 kph, but who cares? In conclusion, not too shabby for October. Today's Le Parisien says "Même pas gris." C'est sympa! is not you were?

The 'Not Born In Texas' Report

Just thinking about the weather puts me in a foul mood. Do you remember the odd photo on this week's Café webpage – the one with the bed of cobbles surrounded by a keep–out barrier? The caption was, "What's this?" On the way to the club today I found out.

That photo, of something looking like an out–of–cemetery grave for King Kong, is actually an 18th century speed bump! That street, the rue Emile Richard that splits through the Montparnasse cemetery, has no street numbers, no houses and nobody living in it. So it needs speed bumps like I need a double–dose of this winter's grippe.

photo, cafe of the week 352nd café of the week.

The city in its wisdom has moved the permitted parking from the west side to the east, and in the lane left to drive in, it has installed three massive speed bumps constructed of granite cobbles. If you come through there in your red Ferrari going 5 kph you are liable to lose your oil pan. If you come through there in your biege Twingo at 45 kph you are liable to get flipped into the cemetery!

You probably don't care what happens to the taxes you pay here. If you think they all go to keeping the Champs–Elysées clean and swept, free of highway robbers and stinky panhandlers, well – think again!

Then I got in the métro at Raspail, rode to Odéon, tramped through the Quartier Latin, and arrived at the club's café to find member Larry Mann outside contemplating the insane drivers on the Quai du Louvre. That's a street that could handily use 50 of those speed bumps, piled on top of one another.

photo, beer of the week Paul's first beer of the week.

We no sooner sat down in the club's area than we were joined by Joann Fisher and Paul Smith from Houston, Texas, and Lyon, where they had been recently having some lush meals. But first Paul had to remember his Portland experience for Larry. He was stopped at a red light there when a cop car demolished itself on his front bumper, chasing a bloody man running down the sidewalk being chased by another guy with a crutch. They let Paul off with a warning.

Then we learned that both Paul and Larry are in the electric game. Larry has the Hoover Dam and Paul has 12–packs of 3–volt Lithium batteries that power some kind of oil snooper at the end of a 3000–foot cable in the Gulf of Mexico. However this was nothing compared to the kind of meals they just had in Lyon.

I mean, not totally unconnected. Joann said it was the hometown of André Ampère and the Pathé brothers, Emile and Charles, who were born in Paris. Paul said, "People line up at 10:30 in the morning to see movies in Lyon."


"Every restaurant there serves the same things," he added. But from what they both said every restaurant strives to serve the same things better than any other restaurant, better than anyplace in the world. Then he had a question. "How do you pronounce cake as in the cakes frais sign in the window?"

Nobody ever asked that before. I grabbed the camera and went out to the terrace and captured the cakes frais sign. I not only don't know how it's pronounced, I don't know what it is. Gateaux fresh? Cold?

photo, red shoe of the week

Then Joann and Paul went into raptures over the meal that they had a secret truckstop out in the Porte de Lyon at a burg called Dardilly, at the L'Espace. This five–star resto is so new that it only charges for two stars and isn't in any guides, yet. The photos off the back of Paul's camera looked, well, small – but very delicious!

Back in town last Sunday, here in sunny Boggleville, the two were out at Roland Garros when they noticed a crowd going somewhere in a tunnel so they followed and found themselves at the Auteuil racetrack surrounded by happy bettors wagering on the horses hurdling over hurdles – at the Hippodrôme.

Then member Terrie Blazek arrived, saying that she had been on a canal tour, through the tunnel, and she noticed that Joann doesn't have much of an accent. "You have to be born in Texas to be a Texan," Joann noted dryly.

Right behind Terrie member David Pitt walked in and took a free chair. We haven't seen him in a while. "No complaints at all," he said, even though he lives in the 17th arrondissement. For example, Patrick the waiter of the week was summoned, and David placed his order. "Un Coors Lite," he said, quickly adding, "Oops, un Coca Lite!"

photo, yoko red shoes Princess Red Shoes.

The meeting was beginning to have a lot of members present so I don't remember who said, "One in a row." Whoever said it – you said the Quote of the Week. Bravo! And on the heels of this – of the Group Photo of the Week – Yoko arrived with her customary sacks and bags, saying to Terrie, "I have standard feet." Whatever it meant, Terrie replied, "I have 39."

This is how we came to have a photo of the Red Shoe of the Week, one of a set of two. Out of the other half of my brain I was prompting the members who hadn't yet left for a city of the week. "Santa Barbara," Larry said, "Poor man's Hawaii."

And Terrie, who is staying near the Palais Royal in Japanese noodle bar heaven, wanted to know if there are a lot of noodle bars where Yoko lives. "You advise me to move to where there's a noodle bar?" she asks. Then she gave each of us a chocolate cake she baked. Which reminds me...

photo, chocolate cake The mini chocolate cake of the week.

The Salon du Chocolat is coming up and will feature 130 exhibitions of chocolate and you know what that means. Good things don't last forever so mark your calendars on Saturday, 28. October, to Wednesday, 1. November. Doors open at 10:00 daily and the goodies are on view until 19:00 or 21:00. This will be in in Hall 5 at Paris–Expo at the Porte de Versailles, at the métro stop of the same name. Club members have said the entry charge is worth it.

About the Café Metropole Club

Far easier to believe than to doubt but this is a club meeting report, containing some of the exhilarating conversation today. Cast a globe at the authentic and real story of what might have been going on here, found as usual on the About the Café Metropole Club Webpage, containing its fine words reeking of garlic. Next, interactive smellovision. And forever, more better frites.

graphic, club location map

Is What This Stuff?

Honestly spontaneous club meetings, totally unrehearsed, begin at 15:00 on Thursday and continue until 17:00 every Thursday. These times are the same as 3 pm to 5 pm around other places. These meetings are held around here. Whatever you say will be truly appreciated by the other members present if they are listening, and sometimes they are, but not always – and if it should by rare chance be written here.* Other, mostly true, stories are welcome too.

Caution – if you have a personal need to remain 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 one sure way to become unfound.

*The above paragraphs are relatively unchanged since last week because of the extraordinary amount of true quotes in this report, completely unrehearsed and totally spontaneous, especially "One in a row" of them.

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.
Next club meeting on Thursday, 19. October.

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