...Continued from page 1

photo, chinatown parade, sunday, year of the rat Right in the parade on Sunday.

In fact it was like walking out of a dreary urban part of Paris into a world of thrown–together Chinese shops, huddled along an indoor alley, washed with exotic scents, garish posters offering cheap flights and local entertainment, past shops peddling gold chains, watches and rings, and plastic telephone cards and other electronica. All new to Uncle.

We passed on touring the supermarkets, taking just a look at the courtyard of Tang Frères. There were a million folks around, like it was in China on a sale day. Back on Ivry we went into the restaurant with the chilis outside and squeezed into crowded tables, for some salad and soup. The menu was reduced to only a few choices on account of the holiday. It was okay.

I was laboring under a lack of caffein. Up on Tolbiac, away from the mass firecracker explosions, we found a regular café with regular café. I absentmindedly tore a bit of skin off my right thumb, and it commenced bleeding. Bright, red blood. The café was good though.

photo, chinatown paradeAnother view of Sunday's parade.

I had to buy some bandages in a pharmacy. I showed my thumb to the pharmacian, wrapped in a bloody hanky. She said I should disinfect it. She sold me some bandages, a whole roll, and told me not to leave one on. She didn't cut one off the roll though, didn't disinfect my thumb. What was I expecting? First aid in a pharmacy?

Listen. It was a perfect day. We didn't freeze in Chinatown. The parade wasn't over and we saw lots of it. We saw the Olympiades. We ate in the place with chilis. We walked back to the 14th and I was in time to see both Rétromobile and the new year parade on the TV–news. The Year of the Rat is off to a good start.

The Café Metropole Club

A few club meetings with two members part time is okay with me, such as the one last week. All other members and candidates are still welcome. The next Thursday everything at the Café Metropole Club will be 100% new, on 14. February, in the getting shorter month of Valentine. All members–in–any form, any standing, of any sort will be welcome, anyways and always.

photo, the golden rat of the year The Rat of the Year, pure gold.

The next meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on 14. February, a few words after repeating it twice already. The Saint of the Day is finished, booted to perdu, gone, except this week. The substitution of famous days to forget, gets forgot this week. Thursday is Saint–Valentine's day, named after Saint Valentinus of Terni who was executed sometime around 270. Little is known except for a burial place on the Via Flaminia somewhere north of Rome. Not on early lists of martyrs, but the greeting card folks know better. Some think Geoffrey Chaucer invented the modern Valentine frenzy in the 14th century. Who knows?

Repeats repeat endlessly, related to Paris by a long and all but invisible thread. Several erroneous rumors and one factette about the club and its single myths are on a page called the About the Club Webpage. Readers who actually have read it, and two or three might have, need not do it again. If I am wrong as has happened often, write your own version. The free membership card for real members is still as free as ever. Whatever is asked for it, it's cheap for the price.

Metropole a Real Long Time Ago

Who, exactly, cares about the past? An ordinary decade is ten big years, yet it was only 100 short years ago that the Café column had to wait another 85 years before being invented. First we had to wait for the invention of the Internet and then weeks were wasted while – while – well, it's a long story, isn't it?

photo, sign, rue rude

Café Life Légère 94.1

Wrong Number

This week's slight Quote of the Week has a no connection or relevance to today, and none to next week or last week. Take this one by Bill Watterson who has had a couple of things to say, such as, "Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." So I guess that means if we cherish chaos a little anarchy is really nothing at all, other than a typical mess made by a phone company selling anything except communications.

photo, badge, delage

'Patahistory of Steam

There are no more than 323 days left of this year, the same number that 1809 had when Robert Fulton patented the steamboat. When he did he probably knew that the Marquis Claude de Jouffroy had a working paddle steamer in 1783, and was fooling around with torpedos. In 1797 Fulton tried his first steamboat on the Seine but it sank. On 9. August 1803 it went up the Seine. But there was Denis Papin with a steam engine in 1690, and he attached it to a boat in Germany in 1704. And let's not forget John Fitch who operated his steamboat on the Delaware river, carrying up to 30 paying passengers, in 1788. A patent does not always mean first.

photo, badge, maserati

True Wobble–Visions

This is totally unconnected to the fact that this year has used up 42 days, the same number that 1858 had when Bernadette Soubirous said she first saw the Virgin Mary in the Massabielle grotto at Lourdes. On the ninth sighting she followed the apparition's directions to find the source of water at the bottom of the grotto. Between 11. February and 16. July of that year Bernadette saw the virgin 18 times, and she was made a saint for it.

The Ex–Question of Schleswig–Holstein

A few folks have might have been thinking that it is only right and proper to remember that it was today in 1847 that Thomas Alva Edison was born. In 1902 on this date police assaulted folks demonstrating for universal suffrage in Brussels. A few years later in 1916 cops busted Emma Goldman for talking about birth control in public. She was deported to Russia where she complained about violence and repression, and she got deported again. But it wasn't until 1964 that Taiwan severed diplomatic relations with France, and then China's People's Republic lifted their idiotic ban on Aristotle, Shakespeare and Dickens. That's our world, folks!

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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