The Cutest Baby In the World

photo, barney, edna, bob, kathy, group of the week From left, Barney, Edna, Bob and Kathy, the week's Group of the Week.

Two Elderly Volvos

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Thursday, 7. August:–  Woohee! We have been having some fancy weather. In August it can be overcast and cool enough to put on the heat – but there's no heat available in August – or it can be a flatout heatwave, hot enough to add your fried toes to the fried eggs on the sidewalk – like 2003 – or it can be like this year – semi okay, meaning that it is partly sunny all the time and the temperature oscillates between 25 and 28 and harmless white puffy clouds slide by, just enough to give the sky some texture.

Now there is a fourth possibility – global warming oblige – that translates into forecasts of semi–nice and 27 degrees and turns out to be humid and 32 degrees with a storm warning, giving us wind blasts, booming thunder, crashing lightning and torrential downpours, like early this morning, again this afternoon and forecast for eastern France tonight.

Don't get me wrong, this is no plug for fake beer. The weather people got their forecast right on the button. After the 05:00 storm that lasted two hours it cleared up, but kept threatening. Sprinkles were falling when I left for the club. These stopped and then restarted, finally sending down a flood that scattered mankind into doorways, like the Louvre's or the club's café, La Corona.

photo, sancerre wine of the week Cool vino of the week.

Today mobs of tourists were all over and under the Pont Neuf, bravely taking photos of themselves in their summer finery, and the sandwich wallas along the quai du Louvre were wiping raindrops off empty chairs while pretending not to moan about all the imminent downpours on the plage across the street that would force custom into their honorable establishments. More interesting, but hardly exciting, weather details follow the club report.

The Cutest Baby In the World of the Week Club Report

Five out of six boulangeries closed , four out of five bars closed, all my favorite newsstands closed – only Monoprix continues manning its shelves. There probably is a presidential decree compelling Monoprix to continue its life support services. Even if Sarkozy is on holiday in in that famous Asian country that bought the entire world's TV–time, I salute him for keeping Monoprix online. Salut!

But to tell the truth – this is not even full disclosure – I drink only orange juice and fake beer so I hardly care if all the local drinking holes close. The tabac looks like it's open for the duration and that's all that counts. Yes, that's right. I can survive with the Monoprix and the tabac. No car, no debt, good health, four full pots of yogurt and all I have to worry about is finding another apartment and not getting hit by lightning.

photo, tiny coffee of the week Thimble of café of the week.

It's about what you can expect in August. Going out the door today I grabbed the busted Field & Stream umbrella but I didn't bother with coats, hats or gumboots. The sprinkle of rain was so slight that it wasn't reaching the sidewalk running alongside the cemetery and it had stopped by the time I got to the métro at Raspail. As usual in the summer, a bunch of tired–looking rumpled and sweaty folks got on the train at Montparnasse with their usual baggage of sad luggage. Only the fresh and peppy got out at Odéon.

Across the boulevard my number one paper kiosque was closed. The one in front of Samaritaine was closed. Another one, in a construction zone behind a pile of of Paris dirt at the Louvre–Rivoli métro was open. I got the last copy of Le Parisien, passing up a ripe chance on the Economist.

Then, standing in the shadow of the club's café, I was accosted by club members, Edna and Bob Bradley from Costa Mesa, CA. True I did not remember their names at first but Edna's came to mind before we went in and sat down. Okay, I didn't remember Costa Mesa either, but Orange County came to mind, as well as some haze obscuring the "world's biggest mall," or was it world's biggest parking lot?

I had a lot to think of going in to sit down and start up the club meeting. I probably make this sound easy, with 700 members, 434 meetings, but it's a breeze remembering every minute, shoe sizes, favorite hat colors. In my mind it's all like crystal.

photo, cool beer of the week Cool brown beer of the week.

Edna is exactly the same. When she and Bob first came to Paris in 1964 they went to the 14 best restaurants. Which was a good thing because nobody, not even the Lords of Dubai, could afford it today. Edna was in a snit about some Palais Royal substitute joint that charged 12€ for two Cokes. All I remember about 1964 was being paid 200 pesetas a night in the Tahiti Bar. That was less than $3 and they were called the good old days.

Bob told me about a sound machine he has. If you turn it on you don't hear anything. But he didn't have it with him, so I didn't get to see this marvelous gizmo from 1992. Instead we briefly noted the sound level in the café, caused by a clan of kids. They were as noisy as the traffic outside.

Then a gent fronted up. He said he was Barney Kirchhoff and he said he escaped from Chicago in 1952. I told him about the club's non rules, full disclosure, almost, and he decided to join for free for life.

Barney told us about being a reporter in Mexico around 1950 and then getting to Germany where he scribbled, um edited, at the Stars and Stripes in Darmstadt. That was after not getting a gig with the Herald Tribune in Paris, but they did take notice, and called him back. There he stayed until retirement. A real newspaperman of the old school. The new school fires everyone.

At about this time member Kathy Bahri arrived, as usual, from Nutley, New Jersey. Like last time he denied any knowledge of her neighbors' connections to any TV shows concerning The Mob. It's allright, Kathy! I was trying to be cute.

We had some interesting discussions about cigarettes – setting Edna's clothes on fire – no cigarette smoking in Amsterdam dope cafés – bathtubs, stay out unless – two Volvos, total 42 years old – and Doris Day and her dogs, which reminded folks of Brigitte Bardot. From these we moved on to new highrises in Paris, Les Halles, rain storms, those noisy kids – still shouting! – Kuwait's purchase of the Chrysler Building – how could they? – and the Grace Kelly expo at the Hôtel de Ville. "Albert was the cutest baby in the world," Edna said.

photo, rain swept terrace of the week Wet club's terrace of the week.

That's wasn't all. There was Nicky Hilton and Zsa Zsa Gabor too. Yes, we were talking about those videos clips on uTube. Despite being here over half my life I understood just about everything. Everything except Edna's next–to–last comment. "Have you noticed that everyone in the line is Chinese?.

We paid the Waiter of the Week and went out to the café's terrace, where the sun was shining again. Another club meeting was successfully concluded, hands shaken, air kisses – some, not all – and it was time for the secretary to return the the editorial office to have a fake beer and close the windows before the next storm.

Contemporary Weather Rumor

Tonight's weather on the TV–news was not promising for fans of weekends. Things upstairs are still bumpy. It does not appear to be the fault of China. Here are the latest tidings:

Friday is scheduled to have a morning and an afternoon just like every week in August, with several left to go. At noon on Friday it appears it will be semi–mixed up with lots of clouds and maybe some rain. On Saturday the forecast is different with bitty clouds and some sunshine, which on Sunday may thicken up to be semi–worse. High temperatures will be non–existant to moderate again. Expect about 21, 23 and 24 degrees. For a change this will not be suitable for anything much unless you can afford to go to the movies.

About the Café Metropole Club

Crack your knuckles, flex your fingers and grab your mouse to click up a club meeting report buried somewhere deep in these pages. Fewer audio sensations than hearing actual members' voices during club meetings. No video at all. Real lame with words, just words. 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

The Patazone Is Out of State

As unrehearsed as any Thursday , semi out of control and unusually, like today, 48 unfinished subjects. Club meetings run from 15:00 to 17:00 on Thursdays. The metric times are equivalent to 3 to 5 pm around other unmetric places, while meetings are held right here. The next meeting will be on Thursday, 14. August in the afternoon. If you feel like saying anything that can be heard by the other members present if there are any and if 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. All you folks staying lost, all is forgiven.

*The above paragraphs you just read have been relatively unchanged since any report from last year because of the terrible dilemma of having no candidate Cities of the Week when merely one can change the entire span of history, according to club rules, as writ not very large.

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, 14. August.

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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