Stonework Testing of the Week?

photo, pam skoemaker scans sky outside of club Group of the Week Pam Shoemaker scans the gris–gris.

'Life After Politics' for Chirac?

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Thursday, 8. February:–  The weather was exciting for all of 20 minutes this afternoon when the sky got really dark, almost like night, and when it was full enough to burst that is what it did – all over the few folks out being hapless on the Quai du Louvre.

This wasn't the big snowfall in other parts of France that I saw on tonight's TV–news. I don't remember where that was now, but it looked pretty impressive – like tons of snow on somebody's roof. But none of that is foreseen for around here so put away your snowshoes.

The girls must be on holidays – skiing? – so it's the young dude doing the weather on France–2 these days. I have confidence in him, in his forecasts. But he makes them too complicated. I was still scribbling down Friday's details when he stepped in front of Saturday to tell us about Sunday.

The temperatures stack up as follows – 10, 10 and 12. Tomorrow there wil be a bit of depressed Atlantic and damp winds from the southwest, with the result that here it will be semi–crummy. Except for winds from the southwest and the west, up north, I don't have a clue about Saturday. Movie day maybe.

photo, paris sky over institut de france Today's sky across the Seine.

This leaves Sunday, with a high of 12, some southwest winds, and semi–sunny here part of the time, but especially when you want it to be. None of this is bad for February with its temperature of about 53 F and all the rest of the stuff, except that it's February.

The "Stonework Testing of the Week" Report

To get to the club meeting today I had to buy a carnet for 10.90€ and I had to go to a different métro station because they are turning Raspail into a automated robot that doesn't have live people who accept cash.

The Denfert station is still human but of course it doesn't work on the auto–pilot I usually use on Thursdays, so I almost went to Etoile instead of Odéon. Then, because it is one stop further, I almost got out at Saint–Germain, which wouldn't have been a problem, except for my auto–pilot being set to go down Dauphine.

Thus I was somewhat surprised to arrive at the club's café actually in time for a meeting. Then since there were no members around I got to read today's Le Parisien for the first time in a month–of–club meetings. There is a lot of interesting stuff going on in France.

For example, president Jacques Chirac was interviewed by TV's Michel Drucker last week, for a show to be broadcast this weekend. For the first time our pres admitted that "There is a life after politics" and it lasts, "Jusqu'a la mort." According to the story none of Chirac's handlers expects him to allow himself to be re–elected.

photo, today's le parisien Today's Le Parisien.

In other news a very high court decided yesterday that José Bové must serve the four months in jail for his conviction for destroying modified corn. However, another judge gets to decide when Bové must turn himself in to jail. It might not be until after he completes being a presidential candidate. Isn't France a clever country?

In other news the police arrested a pickpocket. It just goes to show that those ceaseless warnings broadcast in the métro do pay off. And a new university opened in Paris, out east in the 13th beside the Seine. It will be named Fac Paris–VII in case you want to make a note.

Which, after much more, brings me to the arrival of today's club member – Pam Shoemaker from Greenwich Village in Manhattan. The last time I saw Pam she was showing me where to find a subway on Mulberry Street in December.


"In the meantime, it's freezing in New York," she said. With a frequent–flyer ticket she popped over here. "All I had to do was pay the taxes."

photo, pam in cafe Smiles at warm and dry during a club meeting.

Pam said that she was using the club meeting for an apéro between a three–hour lunch and some kind of bird she was going to cook until done for dinner. Already divided in three she offered me a part but I begged leave to come home to my repast of hot oatmeal and to write this tasty report, like every other Thursday evening for the past 363 weeks.

We had a good discussion about weather conditions in Florida, not helped a bit by the dozen Italian dolls who had parked themselves in the corner right beside the club's tables. They alone turned the profit for the café today.

When asked, the younger Monsieur Naudan explained that the scaffolding on the outside of the café's building was not for renovations, but for testing the strength of the stonework. "It will be finished by Monday," he said.

This must be reassuring to all. You would not want your club to be meeting in some hole in the ground with weak stonework. The Louvre across the street is constantly being improved and they have nearly finished re–doing my bridge, the Pont–Neuf. It makes sense that La Corona be tip–top.

We spent quite a lot of time – maybe four minutes – discussing the merits of building houses in Florida with concrete blocks instead of straw, toothpicks, canvas and eggtrays. Which reminds me now of the wolf and his huffing and puffing, and what the three little pigs used to make their houses. But, yeah, this was just four minutes.

photo, coke cocktail of the week The cocktail of the week.

Because I am reading a good book about crime in Manhattan. It is set in 1895 and it describes New York as it was then, and includes the area where Pam lives right now. Read The Alienist by Caleb Carr if you can get your hands on it. Pam made a note about it in her notebook, which she said she had been carrying since – ah – 1980?

The Italian girls trooped out to assault the city, leaving some rare calm behind. We then also trooped out to create the Group Photo of the Week – the downpour had stopped – no club member is ever required to go out on the café's terrace in downpours that happen during meetings. Pam looked at the dark sky across the Seine, threatening to dump on the Quartier Latin.

There was one Question of the Week too. How much is the right amount to leave as a tip for the Waiter of the Week, all things being equal? As we were haggling about this Pam let slip her secret, which was a small and handy printed card showing the calculations for the correct 15% tip in New York. There, you face banishment to New Jersey if you don't get it right.

photo, sign, la corona, grande salleDrop in at this sign.

Here the 15% tip is included. Custom says you leave confetti–like change if you appreciated the service, like the décor or were grateful for being able to smoke. Pam left a nice, friendly sort of tip.

Outside, after the gaze across the river, Pam noticed some balls up in the trees over our heads. She said they were Sycamore trees, and therefore, Sycamore balls. Me, I have never noticed. It's the kind of thing you can see in winter. There's all sorts of things to see in Paris that you can only see in winter. Grey skies, you can see in summer.

About the Café Metropole Club

Your belief or not is useful because this is an typical club meeting's regular sort of report. Think of it as a perfect piece of cheese of rosy life. Slide your eyeballs to the trim outline of what we might have been doing here, to be found as usual on the About the Café Metropole Club Webpage, containing its juicy, redolent, and melodious other good stuff reeking of fresh garlic–flavored garlic. And forever, more better frites.

graphic, club location map

What's About This Stuff?

Totally unrehearsed, spontaneous club meetings, all of them, begin at 15:00 every Thursday and go until 17:00. The next meeting will be on Thursday, 15. February. These times are like 3 pm to 5 pm around other places but 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 freak chance be recorded here.* All your other, basically true, stories are welcome too.

Caution – should 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 stay unfound.

*The above paragraphs are relatively unchanged since last week because of the sheer strength of the club's café, having sat on the Quai du Louvre without falling down for a whole century, at least.

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, 15. February.

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