"It's Booting!"

photo, group, james, kirsten, doug James, Kirsten and Doug – the Group of the Week.

Way Beyond Fou

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Thursday, 26. July:–  I can't recall if I'm supposed to be indignant. Whenever I want to go out it always seems pretty nice and when I don't care the trees may thrash around, the rain may fall in vertical clouds and the temperature may loiter in an area fit for Denmark. Last night it was pleasant in Montparnasse and this afternoon it was only so–so outside the club right beside Paris–Plage, but where was I? I was inside, hosting the one and only 382nd club meeting.

Before I tell you what the TV–news and weather said tonight about what's coming, here's what they didn't say. For each of the past reports they have been giving us the weather for next weekend. Normally they only do this once a week, on Sundays. On top of it they have been saying that the chances for what they've been saying is no better than three–out–of–five. That is the kind of weather that seldom happens as predicted.

photo, glass of wine Wine of the Week.

Frankly the weekend forecast is not brilliant. Friday might be semi–sunny, with a high of 25 degrees. All of that is about average for July, no more. It could even be, easily, worse! But I will give it two extra degrees anyhow.

In principle Saturday will have the same except, according to the TV, it will be somewhat more cloudy, and only 24 degrees. Sunday will be exactly the same, but better. I'm am not sure you can count on it for a picnic Sunday afternoon – there's that three–out–of–five chance business. Does it mean we will be flooded like Britain or heatwaved like the frying Balkans? Stay tuned for your next scientific weather forecast, right here.

The "It's Booting!" Report

Folks often ask me what sort of mood I have when I get up on Thursdays and prepare to confront the reality of another day at the club. To tell the truth I don't have moods, at least not in the mornings. Mornings are for breakfast and it is such an important time that moods are inappropriate. Desire for fresh fruits and yogi, fresh bread and Bonne Maman's jam, are at the top of the hit parade of desires. Moods are for those poor folks slaving away in the coal mines!

In fact on Thursdays I don't properly wake until the fruit and yogi and bread and jam and café – especially café! – have all hit their spot. It's a small spot, after all, requiring a regular shotgun blast of goodness. Hitting the mark can be plus–minus before I go out the door. Sometimes it happens while I am passing the cemetery. Sometimes it happens in the métro. Sometimes I don't have a mood until I arrive at the club's café, La Corona.

photo, bottle, glass & orange juiceOrange juice of the Week.

For example, today. I was there, sitting in the club's area, and it occurred to me that it is summer. This was even though the doors and windows were closed on account of the wind. Every time the Waiter of the Week, Patrick, took a tray of something out to somebody on the terrace, the door slammed. It had such a holiday sound! I looked around and the grande salle looked just as it does sometimes – in February, but I felt it was summer.

Thus, since it was summer, I took up the paper to read the news. Météo – vraiment fou. Tour de France – way, way beyond fou. Sarkozy peddling nuclear reactors to Muammar Al–Qaddafi. Apparently they have an Entente Cordiale. Apparently the Libyans also have a lot of oil and gas, but I didn't hear it mentioned. Also apparently, other Europeans thought they were working towards the release of the Bulgarian nurses for a lot longer, and then that little Sarkozy zipped in there.

But compared to the Tour fiasco that was just minor Faits Divers. The Tour de France is a mess. Dope is ripping it to smithereens. Suspicion reigns. Hiss. Boo. Bah! They have, the organizers tell us, the whole caboodle under a magnifying glass. They said this five years ago, they said this last year and they are saying it again. But a million folks parked beside the route throughout France are starting to lose faith. It seems like the organizers couldn't run a yoyo championship.

Ah, all so dire! Luckily member Doug Fuss choose this moment of total despair to arrive, to say, "Tour de farce!" No. Wait! Actually he said "Savannah is unbearable." Yes, that's it. When the mosquitos rampage and the humidity hits the ceiling in Georgia Doug jumps on a jet and comes to Paris, to escape being caged in a trap of air conditioning.

photo, sack of gummibaren Gummibären of the Week.

Oh yes. Last year he went to Beirut to avoid Savannah's climate. That was quite a story, getting evacuated from there. This year, he says, he is going to Bulgaria's Riviera on, where is it, on the Black Sea. Is it a coincidence that Sarkozy has just made all Bulgarians best friends with anything faintly French? Going with a French tour group, Doug will be honorary French. It will be nights of wine and days of tomatos!

But that's not all. Does Doug know that there's a heatwave in the Balkans, with temperatures up around 45 degrees? Britain has turned into a soggy Venice and southeast Europe has become a frying pan. Doug is sure there is air conditioning there, in what used to be the Socialist summer playland.

Doug is serene. He has his sources, he has done the homework. Then I saw member James MacNeil hovering, and then I was shaking the hand of Kirsten, his daughter. Max went back to Dublin too soon!

Kirsten, under the dubious influence of her dad, wished to become a club member. She has read the lore and the rules that no longer are – discontinued now, lo, these many years – so I needed merely to explain the email cut–out and she signed the tattered members' booklet. It looks awful.

Kirsten handed me a kilo bag full of gummibären . I was overwhelmed. James handed me another kilo bag of – wine–flavored! – gummibären. I was wordless. Of the first two kilos I had, Max ate the last super–size gummibär last Thursday. I asked him to save me one but he ate them all. Max, come back. All is forgiven!

photo, water of the week Water of the Week.

Kirsten, besides studying hotel management or something, claimed as hometown Nußloch, which is somewhere near Heidelberg. So we had Nußloch as City of the Week. It is so wonderful having this new Thing of the Week back in a club report.

As we are all semi–Europeans we had to have a tour of the political horizon, and I had to have my bleep pen handy, to bleep out all the inappropriate items that came up.

From Bulgaria it is only a short step to Gaza and the question of its resort status as a seaside place, and then for some reason James said we can draw a line through the middle of Texas and put the piney woods to the east and the desert to the west. Oh yes, this was about the smell of pulp mills – piney woods, get it? – and next he was telling us about the pulp mill in Ludwigshaven. It's next door to the BASF works and that's the origin of the stink folks think, but it isn't true, just like in Texas where it is.

We ganged up and grilled Kirsten. She said she wanted to continue her studies at Los Angeles but maybe go to Long Beach first. With that pulp mill stench still in mind – I mean, Ludwigshaven smells bad – Doug mentioned the smog in LA and James seconded it. I objected on the grounds that several members have come from LA, Hollywood and West Hollywood and none of them have ever said anything about smog, and in fact member Alan Pavlik's photo Website Just Above Sunset never has smog photos. Hollywood stuff and LA stuff but no smog.

But Doug and James overruled my opinion. It's a yellow cloud they said and you see it from airplanes that are about to land there. Two to one isn't fair as Kirsten probably thought when it was three to one, so we switched subjects slightly, to disrespect the DDR.

photo, kirsten, jamesKirsten explains the camera to James.

Back in the good old days when rock'n'roll was persecuted behind the Wall James had to go there for some conference, and he took his laptop. Naturally the border goons made him start it up to make sure it didn't contain any smuggled Beach Boys records. They freaked when a bunch of gibberish appeared on the dark screen and started multiplying. "AKK! What's that?" they said. James, cool as 007, said, "It's booting!"

And that's what we did somewhat after 17:00. We booted up and out of La Corona, to the terrace outside with its riverside of traffic passing, and waited for Kirsten to return from taking pictures of the Louvre across the street. James said he'd bring some more of the jumbo gummibären on the next trip. I'll need more cupboard space.

Some News You Can Still Use

WiFi For the Homeless

Cyber cafés may be a bit thin on the ground in Paris but the city has begun offering free access to the Net via the magic of WiFi. Operational now are 400 signposted points of access spread around 260 city locations – libraries, museums, city halls, parks and open spaces. In general, you should be able to obtain access from 07:00 to 23:00, but it will depend on the open hours of the location. Note:– the Tuileries and the Luxembourg are not parks operated by the city. No WiFi alors. Additionally, there may be not 400 access points until September, but let's not nit–pick the cherries off this free horse.

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. I hope you all can remember this.

About the Café Metropole Club

Boot your mouse towards the club meeting report buried deep in the fathomless archive of the Internet. Speed–scrolling long semi–boring reports is faster than being at tiresome club meetings but only provides a scoot of the real dialogue. An explanation for what we were doing here may be unconvincing but can be found on the out–of–date About the Café Metropole Club webpage.

graphic, club location map

The Speed Written 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, 2. August. 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 truly feel like saying will be fully 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 funny 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 ringout of a summer we are having, Tour–wise, dingwise and weatherwise.

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, 2. August.

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