The Club's First Ringtone

photo, group, doug, susan, josef The Trio of the Week – Doug, Susan and Josef.

Ding–A–Ling of the Week

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Thursday, 24. January:–  Uncle said it was only going to be one lousy degree today, so he went to Italy. With whatever we had – about 10 degrees – we showed him! Or we would have if he wasn't eating in Italy tonight. Warming his hands on some hot pizza, warming his stomach with some fiery grappa and maybe dipping his warm toes in the mild Mediterranean tomorrow.

To make matters worse we had a strike of public service workers today. My post office was surprisingly open and operational, but the folks at France–2 TV news and weather were having a surprise – to them – strike. The result was that the horrible virtual décor of the news studio was absent, the air conditioning was off and the weather report was reduced to a solo forecast for Friday.

Do not worry. The outlook for Friday was wonderful. Next to no wind around here, sunshine all day long and a high temperature of 11 degrees, should give you an idea of what strikes do for us. Pay no attention to any winds in the Channel, unless you intend taking a ride on a ferry.

photo, fuzzy beer Out of focus beer.

Except for having a high on Saturday of no more than 7 degrees, the rest should be pretty sunny, especially in the afternoon after some bits of cloud or fog in the morning. Sunday, alas, poor Sunday, may turn out to be entirely cloudy. Even so, with a high of 8 degrees, it won't be too shabby except for the luckless gatherers of beams.

The Ding–A–Ling of the Week Report

When I set out to go to the club's café this afternoon the sky was gray and moody but I paid it no heed. Going past the cemetery I kept an eye peeled to note the broken rearview mirrors, and the other eye focused on the agressive trees that are making the sidewalk heave. If you get too unconscious you are liable to drift into the roadway and get squashed like a bug.

Another thing I noticed was the loud sound of tires on the pavement. Big fat tires make a lot of noise when there isn't much else around. But older diesel cars make so much motor racket that it must annoy the dead. At least there was no smell of burning cheese.

photo, josef Member Josef Schomburg

I noticed the lack of cheese smell in the métro too. I think it didn't smell like anything but maybe that's because I am used to it, or because it's winter. Other than that, I didn't notice anything else underground or walking through the Quartier Latin or going across my bridge. The water in the Seine was kind of dirty and fairly high. Dirty and sullen like it usually looks when the sun is masked.

The club's café was quiet again today. Regular Waiters of the Week are elsewhere, on holiday, just like every year at this time. I found the club's area without assistance and set about reading Le Parisien. The main story was about how the French can't take their eyes off the Internet – off sites like Utube, InYourFace and the dating things. No more hanging out around the green pastures of the Luxembourg and taking their chances.

photo, susan Member Susan Fuss

On page 49 I found the small account about the all–star commission report that details the 300 changes that France needs to bring it up to speed with the fastest go–go countries in the world – like India, China and the good old USA, of course. So much for all–star commissions!

And that's the moment when member Josef Schomburg arrived. He was carrying a tube that might have contained a bazooka, and a heavy bag, and he sat with a whoosh, and ordered a beer from the Waiter of the Week who wasn't on holiday. He was not interested in the 300 vital changes.

photo, fuzzy cafe Out of focus café.

Besides, at that moment members Susan and Doug Fuss wandered in to join the club meeting, asking where the other members were. As much as I would have liked to know too, I indicated the presence the Josef and everybody shook hands. Then the three members all talked at once about today's wonderful news of the gazillions of billions bank fraud. France has hit the big time too!

Then Doug lowered his voice to ask us about Noos. He decided to sign up for the whole DSL Internet thing and wanted to know how tricky it was going to be to turn it on. I was about to say, "With Noos you never know," but Josef jumped in with real knowledge, having Noos himself. The consensus was that it should be a plug–play operation. Maybe a bit of trick stuff if the WiFi needed turning on.

photo, doug Member Doug Fuss

It was perfect timing because Josef said he had to go, to do some photo work. When the waiter came over to take the money for the beer a portable phone did its ding–a–ling and the waiter said, "C'est pas moi!" Josef and Doug were fumbling for fast draws while the waiter said, "Oh! Mais si," and turned away to chat.

After that we went out to the café's terrace for the Shot of the Week. On return, Doug mentioned that it was the end of the Christmas season – announced by the dismantlement of the ferris wheel at Concorde and the putting away of the lights in other parts of town. So far I have not seen many used trees languishing on the sidewalks, but maybe it's just that way in the 14th arrondissement.

About the Café Metropole Club

Wiggle your fingers over your mouse ears to see a recent club meeting report hidden deep in these very pages. Less fatiguing than newspaper reading during club meetings but nothing is perfect. A clue about 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

Metrics In the Patazone

Like any Thursday half unrehearsed, semi out of control and on occasion, like today, one less than four members. Club meetings run from 15:00 to 17:00 every Thursday. The next meeting will be on Thursday, 31. January, next week. These metric times are the same as 3 to 5 pm around other old unmetric places, while meetings are held right here. Whatever you feel like saying should be heard 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 prefer.

*The above paragraphs are relatively unchanged since last week because nobody at today's meeting mentioned any giraffe. Alert members may wish to explain all about them but my mind is closed. Nobody here supports the wearing or eating of any part of any giraffe because we are too short.

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, 31. January.

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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