Record Group of the Week

photo, joe, marie, jean marcel, heather dana, yoko, waltraud, wolfgang, vicki It's another WOW Group of the Week.

For This August Week Only

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Thursday, 21. August:–  A couple of minutes after the fabulous 15th of the month and the weather hit the switch, shutting off summer for another year if not the whole coming decade. Oh, goodbye cruel summer – you were not so good but it does not mean we're glad you're gone. Wave the hanky, wipe the tear, sniff the sniff, sneeze once for the memory, and begin to wonder when they'll be offering this year's flu shots.

I know, all silly nonsense. Should I have written that we now have two out of seven boulangeries open? Would you be pleased to know that there are still some free parking spaces in the 14th but they are filling up fast? I thought thatParis–Plages was closing today – it's been open a whole ten minutes! But when I crossed the Pont Neuf the blue sails were still fluttering in the breeze and some folks, wearing parkas, were sitting on the deckchairs. How's that for prue grit, do or die hardiness?

Tonight's TV–news was somewhat somber. The high point was a bit about farmers near Paris bringing their lettuce to Bastille to sell it direct to Parisians for 70% off retail, which is about what farmers get after it runs through the distribution markups. It made my eyes misty and left me wondering if it might not be possible for banana, orange and grapefruit farmers to do the same thing. Flying in my bananas over the pole...

photo, beer of the weekCool Beer of the Week, oh yeah.

Again today smaller clots of tourists were around the Pont Neuf, bravely taking photos of themselves in their summer finery against a grey backdrop of lumpy clouds. My newspaper kiosques are continuing with their summer so I went over to Rivoli again, looking for an open one. Therefore I didn't see the sandwich wallas along the quai du Louvre wiping greasy frites off empty chairs while pretending not to moan about minimal ceiling. There was no need to chase folks off the plage across the street. Boring and hardly interesting weather details follow the club report.

The Gizmo of the Week Club Report

Still annoyed with myself for getting up late last week I made a deal with my alarm clock by the light of the moon and it shocked my brain into consciousness in the before noon. I blinked and looked around at the shocking daylight. "It's been a long time," I said to myself, as I dashed the two metres to the lousy clock and shut it down. It's a radio thing and it was set on some talk radio station, volume loud. As much as I hate it I will admit that I have slept right through its hour of shouting and snarling but not today.

I really like confessing to sleeping until noon. Every time I do it I think of all the folks in the world who took some of life's early lessons seriously – like, be in school on time, get to the factory on time, carry that mail in a blizzard. Then I moved to Europe and once I got out of the paint shop in a cellar and out of the pinwheel factory, they said, "Come around ten if you feel like it." After the first oil shocko they said, "Come around 9:30 if you feel like it." That was hardship let me tell you but the boss had to come in earlier too.

photo, red wine of the week The Red Juice of the Week.

However, since I have been in France it has been the Life of Riley. I do not consider this freeloading or goldbricking because I might be distantly related to the original O'Reilly, although I have never set foot in County Cavan as far as I know. If it's close to Dingle I may be wrong. I see I have drifted off the subject again. Maybe I'm not getting enough sleep.

The upshot was that I was at La Corona early. Monsieur Ferrat made some threatening gestures at a pigeon. I think it was the only pigeon left alive around there. Too many folks were watching for him to take appropriate measures with it, like maybe stoning it with frites. We grunted ça vas to each other. I saw Heather talking to a civilian outside the entry so I went in the other door.

By the time I arrived at the club's hallowed space Heather was sitting there with member Marie Mazurchuk from Vancouver. I hit my forehead with the heel of my hand. Marie emailed to ask for member Yoko and I didn't reply because I didn't know where Yoko was if Marie didn't know. I sat down opposite the two ladies and started playing catch–up.

I gave that up when I saw member Dana Shaw in the mirror. Except, I knew who it was but I didn't know in was Dana, except I reckoned it must be him. Later Dana told me his last club meeting was in 2001 but I could have sworn it was only 2004 or 2006. This time he's staying in one of member Mark Kritz' apartments, which he said was like a palace. Yes, I remembered Mark coming to meetings with toilet seats from BHV, or was it golden taps?

photo, pedometre of the week The Gizmo of the Week, a pedometre.

Heather told us how she was on reality TV. She didn't want this in this club report, but hell – she was the star. They picked a free dude off the sidewalk by Deux Magots and had him go to dinner with Heather on a barge cruise. Heather said the eats were good. But they used her electricity when they followed her into her bathroom, got her to try on all her party clothes, and got huffy when she said she had to go home and write an article at midnight, like Cinderella. On top of it, they didn't pay her a nickel. Cheap TV is a reality.

Then she said we should have Café Metropole Club t–shirts. We're into nine years of this club and this is the first time anyone has mentioned reality. She said they should be XXL so they fit everybody. Make nice pajama tops.

Marie showed Heather her pedometre with 6656 steps on it. That was the total from this morning until getting to the club. I thought we should designate it as the Gizmo of the Week but I forgot to bring it up for a vote.

Dana said, after telling us about follies at Heathrow in September of 2001, that Mark is still waiting for his marble countertop. It was almost like Mark was at the meeting in person. But when he is, he's usually pretty close–mouthed about his countertops.

Three friends of Marie's – they met at a language school where they are taking a blitz course in French – arrived and settled in. They had no more than the foggiest notion of what we were doing. I explained club and free and Internet. I mentioned lifetime and other fictive benefits, like shielding members from the snooping eyes of the FBI, CIA and the BKA.

I explained and explained. It was a hard sell. Vicki Houlahan from Garah in Australia was inclined. I declared Garah to be the City of the Week. Waiter of the Week Patrick brought me an orange juice because I was thirsty. Vicki is a farmer and she has wheat and beef, and now a City of the Week award. Garah is in northwest New South Wales. That was one new member.

photo, cafe or chocolate of the week The Café or Chocolate of the Week.

Waltraud Adameit and Wolfgang Braun from Cologne were dubious. Marie said that the club already has members from Cologne – the famous knitter, Marion, for example. I explained the email routine. Waltraud said she had no email on account of spam. I promised no spam. What finally swayed them was seeing the hulking great, black, camera, with a lens like a bazooka. Any free club with one must be legit.

Marie wanted a good place to eat and Heather was trying her darndest when I spotted another familiar face. I yelled at member Josef Schomburg to sit down. Waltraud and Wolfgang nearly relinquished their shining new club memberships for life. Josef said he wasn't at the club but merely on his way between one bit of work and another. He tried to get a big beer from Patrick.

Heather suggested that the club hold its own Nuit Blanche. It was a good idea except that the club meets in the afternoon on Thursdays and Nuit Blanche is in the dark on a Saturday. Maybe she wanted some event that we could wear our club t–shirts to. Maybe it would depend on Mark – who wasn't at today's meeting – getting his marble countertop.

Kind of to prove our bonafides I scheduled the Group Photo of the Week and we trooped out to the café's terrace. As I turned around to see how they were lining up a wild–looking guy popped up, to grasp Heather. A book buyer she was expecting. Not a random strange–O! Clickity–click, shoot, shoot, shoot. Patrick, rolling up knives and forks in napkins, looking on.

photo, group II of the week The Group Photo II of the Week.

I'm afraid I dropped all smooth talk back inside. I hit Jean–Manuel Traimond with a frank order to join the club, read him his rights, gave him the standard warning and he signed the members' booklet with nary a protest I listened to. Josef took a photo with his iPhone for proof.

How could I forget? The lost member, Yoko, came in three paragraphs up the page, when everyone was shouting about what a weird language French is, or when Mark's name came up in connection with that marble countertop. Oh hell. What else have I forgotten, misremembered to note, uncommitted to memory? Maybe just this – if you need lots of visiting cards you can get really good deals in Thailand, according to Jean–Manuel. Remember, you heard here it at the club!

photo, book of the week, naughty paris

Buy Heather's New Book

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

Three for 22 Weather

Tonight's weather on the TV–news was not thrilling for fans of daytime. Wave after wave of cloudy times are sweeping in from the Atlantic. It's an old story, always worse looking when it's a forecast. Here are the latest glum tidings:

Friday is scheduled to have a morning and an afternoon just like every week in August, with one more to come. At noon on Friday it appears the rain might be over and it will become semi–sunny, continuing until dark. On Saturday the forecast is different with demi–sunny and some occasional sunshine, which on Sunday may thicken up to be semi–worse. High temperatures will be a thing of the past. Expect 22, 22 and 22 degrees maximum. Called les vingt–deux around here where they will be. This will not be suitable for sunbathing. Try jaywalking instead but watch out for the radars.

About the Café Metropole Club

Flex your fingers, crack your joints and grasp your bitty mouse to click up a storm of 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, words, 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

Gophers 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, 28. August in the afternoon. If you feel like saying something, it 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 today's City of the Week and Gizmo of the Week and without whom, the Waiter of the Week, this club meeting would not have been possible.

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, 28. August.

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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