"Put In Ziplines!"

photo, group of two, joe and max Joe and Max outside La Corona.

Add a Tailhook!

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Thursday, 19. July:–  Last Monday with its thrashing rain and cool temperatures put the fear of wet into us. Getting like that right after a perfect Bastille Day weekend, right before the grand opening of Paris–Plage – well, one could have thought summer is over, or here we are back with a usual summer that is no summer at all. But NO it isn't to be like that!

At least not for the next couple of days, according to tonight's TV–news and weather forecast. All the same tomorrow morning looks decidedly crummy. There's a breeze hitting 70 kph bopping up the Channel and a load of thick clouds over here. Then, voilà the whole mass moves east, leaving semi–sunny skies behind. Expect, though, temperatures to be lower, around the 21 degree level.

photo, beer of the weekBeer of the Week.

On Saturday the skies will be playing low games up along the Channel again but that is not nearly around here, so we are supposed to expect that it will be semi–good, actually, and for those with faith in their hearts, a temperature high of 23 degrees was predicted.

For keeping the faith, Sunday should come to us with a semi–decent ambiance which includes some sunshine. Up along the Channel everything will continue as it was, but who cares? In return, around here the temperature might be about 22 degrees. This is a little low for July and the third day of Paris–Plage but it's better than having a weekend's worth of tomorrow morning.

The "Put In Ziplines!" Report

My son Max, who is on a visit to see his old dad and eat a lot of very tasty cheeseburgers, has been painting a white shirt he brought. When he wasn't waiting to use the computer or watching French programs on the old TV, or playing Solitaire, or resting with his shoes off, was sitting on various semi–broken chairs all hunched over with a tiny paintbrush and a tube of black acrylic, painting infinitesimal little lines on this shirt.

I wanted to say, "Max, you'll lose your eyesight doing that," but if I had, he would have said, "Ah, sure now, there's enough light," even after it was quite totally nighttime. He didn't do this all the time – there were those other activities – but he worked steadily on it, morning, noon and night. Especially in the mornings, before I woke up and we went out tramping around.

photo, cafe of the week Café of the Week.

Sometime after this morning he finished the shirt, which has been left a bit asymmetrical so it looks hand–painted. I thought he finished it two days ago but I was wrong. To celebrate the occasion I did not force Max to take the métro at Raspail like usual. We took the métro from Gaîté to ride up to the Champs–Elysées and from there to Concorde where we got out and turned into the Tuileries, which I figured would be a good spot to shoot the shirt.

When the sun is shining on the Tuileries the sand is bright like snow in winter. In this glare we shot the shirt and then shambled eastward, past the Fête foraine with all the gaudy rides and sideshows, the shoot–the–shoots, the twisters, the twirlers and the ferris wheel. Max tried the maze but once in it discovered that is is not a maze at all, and docked the park five points.

We eventually passed the Pyramid and parked on a shady bench in the Cour Carée, which Max said could be improved by being filled with water, with some slides and maybe a high board or two. Or maybe is was for organizing paint–ball tournaments in rubber rafts. Whichever, it could be improved, made more useful than just being a decent place for meditation. "And put in ziplines!" he added.

photo, joe fitzgerald, 1968, danang Joe, way back then.

As on every Thursday sooner or later it is 15:00 and as it was, there we were installed in the club's café, La Corona. As I entered the particulars of today's meeting Max took out his phone and resumed the game on it. Then a person hove into view, wearing regulation shades, and I plucked a name out of the thin air – Joe.

And so it was, Joe Fitzgerald, longtime club member and part time resident, who sometimes calls Saint Louis, Mo. home too. Joe graciously told me the part of his name I was having a problem recalling, and then entertained us with stories about his recent adventures in Bangkok.

Well, this is Paris here so I don't want to write any rumors about Bangkok even if they were told to me by a club member in good standing, but Joe was in the hospital four days there. He said the nurses were very neat and tidy but he is not eating any more oysters in Bangkok. That is, I guess, a problem caused by eating oysters here all the time. You think every place has the same oysters.

Most of the time, Joe said, he was visiting places of meditation, like the temples at Angkor Wat. Or maybe that is next on his wish list. Maybe he really went to the River Kwai – pronounced some other way! – and learned that most of the guys who made the bridge were Thais and not King Rat or Alec Guinness.

photo, coca of the weekCoca of the Week.

He was in Hanoi too, doing a little sightseeing with a guide who took him to the bridge he tried to bomb while defenders were trying to shoot him down. He said bridges are really hard to hit because they are narrow and in the old days, bombs were seldom set right to blow up at the right time. Meanwhile the guys on the ground were not fussy at all about what they threw up in the air.

He mentioned that he wants to see the film Rescue Dawn, directed by Werner Herzog. The story is about Dieter Dengler, a German pilot shot down over Laos, who managed to escape. It took him a month – makes a long movie – and Joe said that when Dieter got back he said all the survival training was worthless. If you find a tree with water in it, you don't have time or the tools to get it and you end up drinking dirty old ditchwater anyway.

Anyhow, the story was a good read and classified secret until recently, because the War Department was anxious for the Laotians not to find out that guys can escape without even a Swiss Army knife. Then, on account of the airliner that had a bad landing in Sao Paulo the other day, Joe told us about how to grasp a joystick when landing in the rain at Da Nang. He said he was easy if the plane had a tailhook.

After more adventures in Bangkok Joe said he discovered the delights of an oil massage and had one every day he wasn't in the hospital. For 50 Baht extra one could have a Thai massage, which, he said, turns you into a pretzel. "I recommend it highly!" he said. Correction – the tip after the regular oily massage was the 50 Baht.

In vain I waited until this point, until it was Group Photo of the Week time, and it was no sooner safe in the can when member Josef Schomburg arrived. He ordered the Beer of the Week and I shot it, and have used it as a stand–in for his photo, which I forgot.

photo, hand painted shirt, max, tuileriesThe shirt's test drive.

Patrick, the Waiter of the Week, came over and took our money, and Joe left to go to his meditation session. Max and Josef and I went over the Pont des Arts to have a drink in the rue de Seine and then Josef remembered that he was going to Saint–Honoré, so he went back.

That left just two of us to go to the Quinze in the rue Roger to have cheeseburgers. Then I chickened out and had the chicken kebab instead but Max had his fourth cheeseburger, which we topped off with some melted chocolate. This caused him to fall asleep – all that walking in the Tuileries! – and then Josef phoned, with an offer to buy his hand–painted shirt. All in all, it was a very successful day.

Old News You Can Still Use

Soldes d'Eté More, Still, Forever

The annual summer sales in Paris began weeks ago on a Wednesday at 8:00 and they will numbingly continue until Saturday, 4. August. A lot of price tickets have been slashed by 50% while others say there are a lot of goods to be flogged and discounts may touch 80% off. After slightly more than a decade a little of this stuff is still left for you.

About the Café Metropole Club

Scoot your mouse towards the club meeting report buried deep in the fathomless archive of the Internet. Speed reading long semi–boring reports is faster than being at tiresome club meetings but only provides a fragment of the real dialogue. Any explanation for what we were doing here may not be convincing but can be found on the out–of–date About the Café Metropole Club webpage.

graphic, club location map

The Usual Handwritten Fine Print

Nearly spontaneous as always, half unrehearsed, partly out of control and again less than four members. Club meetings are actually from 15:00 to 17:00 every Thursday. The next meeting will be on Thursday, 26. July. These times are virtually the same as from 3 pm to 5 pm around some other places, while meetings are held around here. Whatever you feel like saying will be truly appreciated by the other members present if they are listening, and sometimes they are, but not always.* Your other, absolutely true, stories are all welcome too. Members like jokes.

Caution – should you have a personal desire 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 being a club member, you stay unfound.

*The above paragraphs are relatively unchanged since last week because of the mass production plans Max has for his hand–painted shirts. Available in all colors of white.

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, 7. June.

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