"What Was That Demo?"

photo: l->r, byron, kathleen, allan, diane, nancy

Jolly club members at the club's meeting in La Corona -
three whole years ago.

Not a 'Report' Exactly

Paris:- Saturday, 26. February 2000:- With this issue 'Club News' changes into the most recent club meeting 'report.' Readers and club members who want a booster-shot of Metropole late on Thursdays, will find the newest meeting 'updates' as usual.

But to save regular-edition readers and club members the hyperlink trip back to last week, the last meeting's 'report' will be here too.

The two versions may differ slightly, with some first-version photos being dropped while new ones are added here. Any other last minute information is more likely to be on this page too.

For example, Charter Club Member Kathleen Bouvier spotted Paris' first daffodils and mentioned them at Thursday's meeting. Photographed today, where she saw them, the photo is below.

Last Thursday's Meeting

Thursday, 24. February:- I made a foolish error. A couple of days ago I wrote to a 'real' club member, saying I needed 'a spark.' Around noon today, I found some of my wires sparkling - the vital ones! - and could not get a quick fix or any other kind.

It might only need a turn of a screwdriver, but if I get it wrong with my 94 year-old wiring I am on the ground floor and my landlord lives upstairs over me, and there are several floors of neighbors above him. So I pulled the plug on the whole thing.

With this on my mind I arrive at today's club meeting, under grey skies and temperatures above normal. As usual I have come a bit early 'in case of I don't know what' and to take a few grey-day photos on the way. This makes the camera's battery signal flash the message "I'm nearly empty, so watch out!"

'Fine,' I think, 'No power in the shop and now there's going to be no club meeting pictures to not download and not put online with today's club report.'

'The show,' as they say, 'Must go on.' I paste on as much grin as I can bear, and trade the handshakesphoto: february daffodils all round going into La Corona. The patron says, "A member came yesterday," and gives me a card. The patron says another card has been left with a message on it. This one, I forget to get.

Kathleen's mention led to my first sighting of daffoldils in France.

Allan Pangborn comes in while I'm arranging the club's members' and reports' booklets. I give him back his Champagne photos and we settle down for a two-hour chat, with me sort of hoping Mr. Smith from Tennessee will show up, but deep inside I know he won't because it is that kind of day.

But not quite. Nancy and Byron Pinckert edge their way up from the vicinity of the bar and say the magic word, which is 'Metropole.'

"Welcome to the club!" I babble. 'Just my luck; brand-new members on a day of shambles. They'll think I'm the king of the boobies.'

But my fears don't pan out. Kathleen Bouvier waltzes in with her 'spark' and she is followed by Diane Rushing, who became a new member two weeks ago. Today's club meeting has what amounts to a comfortable 'house.'

So we lift the curtain on the 'City of the Week' which turns out to be Long Beach, California. Byron Pinckert verifies for me that Long Beach is so called because it has a long beach, which is easily as apt as 'Boondocks' having both a boon and docks.

Actually, the Pinckerts do not live 'on the beach' but on a canal; which is one of many, "Like Venice," and yes, like "The other Venice, a few miles north."

None of this may be as actually funny as I'm trying to make it sound, but if you are reading this - both datelines above is correct which means I have craftily secured emergency electricity and just scraped up enough photos off the bottom of the batteries to get by.

The Pinckerts also have a legitimate 'Question of the Day.' One of my jobs as club secretary is to answer these, so I am glad when new club members remember to ask them.

"What was that demonstration we saw near Invalides yesterday?" is the question of the day. "We didn't seen anything in the papers about it."

I am not glad when members ask question for which I have no answers, but I rewind my memory as fast as it will go. The nearest answer I can get - but I get a hint first: "They looked like meatpackers and they had red signs with 'F.O.' on them."

'Aha!' I sort out hospital workers from postal workers from firemen from parents-teachers-and-students, hunters and dog-catchers; it was, "Hospital workers," I say in triumph. Explaining the 35-hour work week is not quite so successful, as well as being pretty boring.

Meanwhile we are having 'Drinks of the Week' that we've had before so they don't really qualify. Allan has his usual small glass of wine - Gewürtztraminer - which is about one gulp, so he gets another small pot of it.

Kathleen knows better, and starts off with the Suze-Cassis combo which Byron also has, while Nancy and Diane have Beaujolais.

Last week Diane missed the club by going to the sunny and warm Aix in the south of France, where it was chilly and windy. A few weeks ago, Bill Dunlap said it was good down there too.

The Pinckerts are both designers; with Byron being an architect. His favorite 'architectural' experience in Paris is the Musée Picasso, which he says, "Puts the vision of the artist into an interior shell."

Another charter club member said some time ago that visitors there tended to boggle in doorways, but Byron shrugged it off. "Just more time to look at the paintings in the rooms."

Like many other charter club members, the Pinckerts have been to Paris several times. "Wephoto: beaujolais never get to go anywhere else," says Nancy. However, this trip has an unusual twist to it, because Byron's employees gave it to the couple as a Christmas gift.

In return, he is taking photos with a cannon of a Sony and putting them online on his company's Web site. He says his company uses Webcams on building projects, so he can also see what's going on while he's away.

Kathleen lets us know about a stunning discovery she's made. "I saw daffodils today!" she says.

Since she has not lived in Paris for a whole year yet, she doesn't know that, in principle, Paris has no daffodils in February and it is lucky to get tulips by mid-May. She saw them beside the A13 autoroute in Auteuil. She says she had a good look because she was in a huge traffic jam.

"Momma of Dada," she says, zipping on to another subject somehow. I am thinking that I should see my landlord to tell him about how I saved his apartment from being destroyed by fire, and I am really sorry to be leaving the club just as 'Dada' has come up, but there's no help for it.

When I leave the club members are truly into arcane California lore - 'I Shock Myself' - and trying out new 'Cities of the Week' like Ojai - darn! I wish I could hear about this.

Outside, on the Quai du Louvre traffic is having its usual Thursday night five o'clock case of nerves before settling into its sullen, total, glob of tincans full of nailbiters.

At five o'clock, it's too early for wageslaves to have been given their temporary freedom, so the métro is empty enough for me to get a jumpseat - which is a great place to have while mentally adding up all the extension cords I think I may possess.

In my absence, the remaining 'real' club members continued their meeting until 18:30. By this time, I had put all of my extension cords into service, and was looking at a very small number of new photos of the meeting.

The Original 'Report' of the Last Meeting

If you want to see last Thursday's original report, you can read the unofficial account of the weekly Club meeting - which is the same as above, but may have different photos. The easiest way to do it, is read it on Thursday - then read it again here.

Charter Club Member Invitation

Charter club member Kathleen Bouvier suggested that 'real' members be polled about having their names and email addresses on a list that would be distributed to the other 'real' Charter Club Members.

So far only a third of those polled have replied at all. As it stands, Iphoto: cafe la corona can distribute the charter members' list, but two-thirds of the members' email addresses will be left blank.

The club meetings are held in the Café La Corona.

I dislike the idea of polling members again - about sending out an incomplete list - so I will just do it. Last week I wrote that there is no time limit for sending in your decision - but I don't want to hang up the members who have already made theirs.

The Café Metropole Club Is Free

The sole purpose of the Café Metropole Club is to offer an opportunity for readers of the online magazine 'Metropole Paris' who are in Paris to meet its 'Ed,' and each other, at its weekly meetings in a Paris café.

You will find that your 'Club' is more value than it costs - which is nothing - even though it has no actual real, pretended or 'virtual' benefits, except for being absolutely free.

Rising membership seems to show that some members think membership itself is a benefit. I suspect the 'free' part is at least an equal benefit.

The Café Metropole Club Membership Card

Like any other club, the Café Metropole Club has a membership card. Unlike other clubs, thisphoto: virtual membership card card is a bit 'virtual' as you can see here. However it is possible to print it - if you feel it is absolutely necessary - which it is not.

As a reminder, there are two types of membership. Readers who have not attended a weekly meeting in Paris can become 'virtual' members by using any handy method that's around. Any readers who do show up for meetings in Paris, automatically become exclusive* and 'real' Charter Club Members.

I don't know how the 'automatically' works or how to turn it off. It just happens, regardless of the membership cards.

Having a membership card is recommended because I've taken the time to include it here - even though it is free - and not every Andy, Arnie or Annette who have been to Paris has one.

*'Exclusive' means that it is the only Café Metropole Club in Paris that accepts any sort of human beings as members. All other virtual Café Metropole Clubs in Paris that claim to be real are virtual and should not be confused by the sole 'virtual' and authorized 'real' one.

The Whole History of the Café Metropole Club

The first meeting of your club took place on Thursday, 7. October 1999. The meeting next Thursday will be the club's 21st.

Vital 'Update' Information

The next meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 2. March, in Paris. This is not any particular day - in fact it is named after Saint-Charles Le Bon, who was probably anything but.

The club's 'report' for this meeting will be put online as usual at its regular time, which may still be Thursday in your time zone, if it is in the GMT scheme of things and far to the west of Paris.

photo: location map, la coronaWhat, Where, When, How?

Here are the day, time and location details for you to note:

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.

The club's meetings are held at the far end of the La Corona's big 'salle' where there is lots of room for members to spread out, park their baggages, and sprawl around. The club has a waiter - usually it is Patrick - assigned to it and you can order anything you want from him. He will keep a tab on this for you to pay when you leave.

La Corona has other areas, including its bar, a small 'salle,' another terrace, and a downstairs part, but these are not where the club's meetings are held - so pay no attention to them - except, maybe, the vital downstairs part.

If you are uncertain about where to find the club inside the café, simply ask anybody standing behind the bar - in any language that suits you - 'Où est le club, s'il vous plaît?' ['Club' continues to be pronounced 'cloob.']

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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