Record Group of the Week

photo, group from left, barney, ramona, heather, doug, kathy, susan, edna, bob The record Group of the Week in person.

For August 2008 Only

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Thursday, 14. August:–  I had to plan my approach to the club's café La Corona carefully today because I woke up late and needed to get a paper, with all the news kiosques closed, so if I went the usual way I would pass four of them and if I went another way I would only pass one that was open last week, but if that was closed or was out of papers, that was my only chance. Living in Paris in August calls for survival skills beyond the average scope, and mine is slightly below. I won't even bother mentioning the deepening crises of the boulangeries.

In the end I reckoned it was better to pass four closed kiosques and try to beat the house at the fifth. And I scored. The kiosque guy kept saying, "It's to the left!" Le Parisien is to the right and was disguised with a full front–page photo and headline, "Merci Steeve!" He won gold for the Greco–Roman brawling. His brother, Christophe, won bronze for the same thing in a different weight class. And both of the tough Guénot brothers work in security for the RATP, keeping us safe from pickpockets in the métro. Bandits beware!

The only other news worth noting that I remember was the story about the Spanish and Greek cops patrolling with Paris' finest. Somebody got the idea that foreign cops here could help out the tourists somehow, especially if they are Spanish or Greek, Belgian or Swedish. Meanwhile there was another story about Brits being silly with booze at other hot spas around the Mediterranean, so I guess that's where you'll see the Bobbies on their offshore missions. But for all I know they are glad to be rid of them, safe in Blackpool helping grannies fend off pickpockets from Bulgaria. So exciting in the summer, Europe!

photo, beer of the weekDark, cool, Beer of the Week.

Today mobs of tourists were all over and under the Pont Neuf, bravely taking photos of themselves in their summer finery, but I didn't see them because I went straight up to Rivoli looking for an open kiosque. Even if I didn't see the sandwich wallas along the quai du Louvre wiping frites off empty chairs while pretending not to moan about all the threatening downpours.They could chase folks off the plage across the street, forcing custom into their exquisite establishments. Complicated but hardly interesting weather details follow the club report.

The Speedwritten of the Week Club Report

You already have the gist of my voyage to the club so I can skip mentioning the métro ride, the search for a newspaper, the absence of new posters, and my thoughts about what well–dressed visitors are wearing, which are hardly original. There was a mint '67 Mustang fastback parked near the Fumoir café near Rivoli, but it's probably gone by now and if it isn't, it's too dark to get a good photo. It could have been the Car of the Week.

Also, and I have been forgetting to put it in weather reports, it has been windy here. The other night in Chinatown with Uncle we were nearly blown off a sidewalk near the Olympiades. I feared for a moment that we would become victims of a tornado in Chinatown. How would you explain something like that? One minute on the hunt for Dan–dan noodles and the next lying squashed under a flying roof.

photo, wine of the week Ruby red Wine of the Week.

When I finally got to the club members Edna and Bob Bradley were there already, sitting in their favorite chairs, facing an empty place where the secretary hangs out. I said, "Hiya members!" and slid in. I barely had time to insert the club details in the official booklets before more members started occupying other chairs. They were Ramona McDaris from Wappingers Falls, NY and Kathy Bahri from Nutley, NJ. The Bradleys were from Costa Mesa, CA like last week but I'm sure that's remembered by all.

There was chitchat about the high cost of WiFi in hotels if you use their computer. Edna told me something about the last club report, but then added that she didn't say it was in it. It was probably about something that wasn't in. Then we were discussing Angelina Jolie. Edna said she was a big fan of her's. Then she asked me if I take shorthand. Kathy laughed as if that was as likely as my being an astronut.

For some unknown reason Ramona gave the secretary a bunch of métro tickets. For the same reason she showed us her western–style rhinestone encrusted belt buckle. Somebody immediately asked what rhinestones are and equally quickly another member, most like engineer Bob, said they were glass with reflectors in them somehow. I do need that shorthand.

Then member Barney Kirchhoff arrived and delicately mentioned that I spelled his name wrong last week. He even added all the different ways to spell it wrong that he has been subjected to since 1945. Ramona started waving a 50€ note around, claiming that the café's Waiter of the Week wouldn't touch it. She was almost right because Barney had to chase him down somewhere just to get him to take our orders.

The Bradleys said they saw the Josephine Baker show at the Casino de Paris and there was quite a bit of talk about how to do a pole dance with a dog, and how unlikely that was in the original. Barney said he saw an earlier version with no dogs in it. The rest of us were totally ignorant, but it sounded like good, clean fun. Something like the bar at Bastille somebody – Barney? – said had 40 varieties of pastis.

photo, author of the week, heather, book naughty paris Author of the Week – Heather.

At this juncture member number one Heather Stimmler–Hall arrived, for the first time in a couple of years. Heather was writing a book, managing its production, and being its publisher. Readers of the other parts of Metropole will know this already because the unofficial launch of Naughty Paris was detailed last week.

Kathy was continuing to look over my shoulder to see how my speedwriting was coming along, but frankly, it fell apart when members Susan and Doug Fuss joined the fray and the group split, conversational–wise, into two shifting groups. I heard watermelon and its subhead of watermelon in Turkey, and then something about Assomption which is a holiday, tomorrow in fact, and then Bob got out a penlight while I tried to photo Barney's beer. Edna got out her blue–light pinlight, which she said never needed a battery refill, and shined it on her watch, named Paris. We tried to figure out how long Edna's pinlight world work if left on all the time, but she said she didn't want to do that because the battery would die.

Barney wanted to make a rendez–vous with the Waiter of the Week because he seemed shorthanded and too busy to provide us with rapid service. Heather meanwhile told us about her car, parked since last summer next to a police station. She said she goes there once a week to pull the weeds springing up from the cobbles. She says the car is not abandoned because friends ask to borrow it. "If they can jump start the battery it'll probably run," she said. More stories about the life and times are on Heather's blog and Website, linked below.

Time was moving towards five, which meant it was Group Photo of the Week time. Out we trooped and assembled. Everybody looked at something, at nothing, the sky, clouds, the café terrace. I looked through the viewfinder which shows 100% of what there is, but is nevertheless tiny. Shoot, shoot. Move a bit, shoot. Folks kidding, making eyebrows, who cares? We've done this hundreds of times. The usual. Clack, clack. Little kids under my feet backing up. Gave me a dirty look. On the way back in shoot the Waiter of the Week. He woke up, smiled.

photo, group of the week 2 Group of the Week – take two.

Before we went, a tremendous schmozzle getting the chits together and totalled, and matching that to the cash on hand. Meanwhile Susan wanted to see Heather's book, the Naughty Paris, and then liked it so much she bought it. Heather said, "A bit more of a sexy vacation than a romantic one," to describe the book's focus. Oh yes, and before we broke up on the café's terrace, Heather said she intended to be back next week and autograph more books. She's a publisher after all.

We all know what that means – stupid club rules! – we will not see her again for a couple of years. Well, maybe that's only if she said that in an email. It's emails that are so unreliable. Heather also said, "I am i–free – no iPod, iTouch, no iPhone, no iMac and no iThing!"

photo, book of the week, naughty paris

Naughty Paris: A Lady's Guide to the Sexy City*
by Heather Stimmler–Hall, Fleur de Lire Press, Paris
Photos by Kirsten Loop Photography
296pp paperback – ISBN: 978–2–9531870–0–7
*On sale now – official launch September

Wonky W Weather

Tonight's weather on the TV–news was not promising for fans of summer. Wave after wave of cloudy times are sweeping in from the Atlantic. It does not appear to be the fault of Sumatra. Here are the latest tidings:

Friday is scheduled to have a morning and an afternoon just like every week in August, with two more to come. At noon on Friday it appears it will be semi–sunny with inoffensive clouds and maybe some rain on far off Alps. On Saturday the forecast is different with mostly sunny and some occasional sunshine, which on Sunday may tone down up to be semi–worse. High temperatures will be from non–existant to a faint memory. 21, 22 and 22 degrees were promised. No change here – this will not be suitable for sunbathing much unless you have an overheated imagination and rosy glasses.

About the Café Metropole Club

Flex your knuckles, crack your fingers and grasp your wee 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. Blurry photos. 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

Buffalo Grass In the Patazone

As unrehearsed as any day of the week, semi out of control and unusually, like today, 98 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, 21. August in the afternoon. If you feel like saying something 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 were relatively unchanged since the report last week because of the funky conundrum of having no candidate Food of the Week because the club's café is not and never was a paradise of gastronomic delights other than onion soup larded with old garlic and stringy, melty cheese.

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, 21. August.

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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