The Shortest Report of the Year

photo, cafe la corona, tabac, dusk Café La Corona, dusk, Thursday, 3. January 2008.

Bonne Année!

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Thursday, 3. January:–  We had a big miserable–weather alert last night, for a big dash of freezing rain. This is a situation that causes verglas and leads to very dubious navigation afoot, like ultra slippery underfoot, like the floor is greased, like your whole world is on the skids.

If you haven't tried it you might poo–poo the notion. How can it be worse than ice skating? Look, I don't know. All I know is that I've been on verglas and I went down. Boom. When there's a verglas alert the best thing to do is stay home, light the fire and turn on the TV and watch one of these shows about global warming in Antarctica. Having some hot popcorn at the same time won't hurt.

So when I left for the club today I was wary. Verglas can also be invisible. You might think the sidewalk is wet from rain but actually it's a sheet of ice. One false step and, zing, away you go. But after two minutes I realized that the pavement didn't look wet. It looked bone dry. Not too clean but dry. No verglas alors.

photo, cafe of the weekFirst café of the year.

I can tell something is going on through. On tonight's France–2 TV news and weather Isabelle gave us the forecast for Friday and then the saint for tomorrow and then it was adios, amigos! She said that Météo France had lifted the vergas warning, even if high winds are still foreseen for the Rivera. That's not real near here.

So the upshot is rain for Friday morning maybe falling off to be merely cloudy after. The high is supposed to be higher than we've had lately, going up to 9 degrees sometime about 14:13. Then, because I did a little digging, the Saturday upshot calls for more light rain with a high of 8, and ditto ditto ditto for Sunday. It's the first week of January after all – who are we to expect better?

The Shortest Report of the Year Report

There were a lot of folks in the club's café all afternoon today but none of them were club members. They were folks who dropped in because it was cold outside and the sky was gray, and maybe they were attracted by the smells of hot cheese and garlic that were escaping from briefly opened doors.

It's possible that some of these folks were potential club members but they didn't want to disturb the club's secretary because he seemed to be engrossed with today's Le Parisien. I know, I should have left the paper alone and gazed innocently around the room, pretending to be eager for companionship.

The truth is I didn't want anyone to see me drooling. Since the smoking in cafés stopped on Wednesday the smell of cheese has been overpowering. It's the new reality of Paris. You go into a bar or café now and every one smells like hot croque monsieurs and when you go back outside the city smells like a cold ashtray overlaid with diesel fumes.

photo, sign, non fumeure Throughout the café.

As you go around here and there you see folks outside cafés, looking harassed and huddled. What a sorry sight! It's disgusting. And on the sidewalks, if you are smoking, there are these strange people who never existed before Wednesday, cadging cigarettes and lighters. If you have been in New York in the past few years you'll know what I mean.

Anyway, today, there were no club members. What can I say? In fact, Patrick the Waiter of the Week, apologized for all the carefree civilians in the café's grande salle and promised that they would be absent next week. I sat at various tables from 15:00 until 17:00 and then I packed up and left. This was either the club's 399th; or 400th historic meeting. What else can I say?

Aerial Photos For You

Last year the Institut Geographique National announced that it was putting high–rez aerial photos of France online. Recent TV–news had the story about the IGN launching a 3D version of its photos, that are supposed to be "better than Google's!" So I looked at the 2D version and saw my house, in some better season. As for the IGN's Géoportail in 3D, the site claimed it was there for Windows users. Mac users should be patient, as usual, until hell freezes over.

About the Café Metropole Club

Dribble your mouse under the nose of the cat to see a recent club meeting report buried somewhere in these very pages. Less boring than being at tediously long club meetings but nothing is perfect. An explanation for what we might have been doing today may help and can be found on the About the Café Metropole Club webpage.

graphic, club location map

In the Jungly Patazone

Off–the–path as any Thursday, half unrehearsed, demi out of control and rarely, very much less than three members. Club meetings run from 15:00 to 17:00 every Thursday. The next meeting will be on Thursday, 10. January, next year. These metric times are the same as 3 to 5 pm around other old unmetric places, while meetings are held around here. Whatever you feel like saying will be totally appreciated by the other members present if there are any and they are listening, and sometimes they are, but not always.* Your other, absolutely true, stories are totally welcome too even if they are true.

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. Stay unfound if you must.

*The above paragraphs are relatively unchanged since last week because today's meeting had no features, no City of the Week, no Quote of the Week, and no other nothing of the week – but of course next week is another matter.

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, 10. January.

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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