Dropped In from LA

photo, james macniel, group of one Right off the jet from LA, member James MacNeil.

Comb the Giraffe

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Thursday, 10. January:–  It has been a soggy, gray and breezy day here, saved from being totally horrible by the temperature which felt chilly but was probably above 10 by about a degree. It was like an advertisement for summer. If this is what you have in, say, Ironsides, Ohio, then you'll love the summer on the Riviera.

Meanwhile, in and around Paris, tonight's forecast from the trusty folks at France–TV left little playroom for optimism. The map showed a swath of gray clouds full of rain and the animation simulated rain blobs falling on our heads, backed up by a general outlook of unstable. The upside is a low temperature of 9 degrees and a high of 10 predicted for Friday. At least the Soldes d'Hiver are in full swing.

photo, james shows lousy sky Sky without palms.

If you can stand a high of only 8 you might prefer Saturday, when it should be semi–nice around here. Then while Sunday gets one degree more we are not supposed to expect an atmosphere better than semi–not–so–nice. It's a shame really because we deserve better, don't you think?

The Flew In from LA of the Week Report

As forecast last week by Patrick, the club's café was nearly deserted when I arrived, and if I can get ahead of myself a bit, that's how it stayed for the duration of the club meeting. If there had been any birds flying around they would have been out of luck in the abandoned frites department.

So I got a fair way into Le Parisien before I spied a fellow cadging a drink from the Waiter of the Week. With the waiter saluting and trotting off towards the bar, he turned to become James McNeil of places like Heidelberg or Freiburg, maybe Basel, but today, he said, right off a silvery jetliner from Los Angeles. That's why he ordered a half–litre of water to go with a pot of wine.

photo, wine pot and glass Wine pot of the week.

James, a long–time club member in good standing, made a convoluted apology for missing a club meeting on account of a TGV that left Basel but got hung up somewhere in Alsace somehow. It sounded a bit like how the Donner Party got stranded crossing the Sierras, but in James' case it was only a missed club meeting that he wasn't expected to attend, except by himself – because the club's secretary disregards all those I am coming emails so that members will not need to make apologies for their no–shows.

James said it rained a lot in LA. He said the Getty Museum there is worth a visit. "It was fantastic!" he said, if I quote him correctly. Then I remembered that James runs some Linux for the European Space folks. I asked him why my Mac was refusing to show me its menus this morning.

This evolved into a discussion about my fonts in Chinese and my discovery of five TV channels from China, but we got nowhere on the mouse issue. James happened to remember that the Goyas in the Prado in Madrid are pretty wonderful in their new rooms, which reminded me of the room the Mona Lisa used to be in, in the Louvre.

photo, cafe of the weekHopeless café of the week.

Which in turn led to lonely the grave of Napoléon III in some churchyard in Britain – seen on TV while James was over the Northpole in a jetliner, and this made him remember the book the Vatican loaned a library in Heidelberg, the same one that had been filched by Napoléon I and passed on to the Pope.

Then without much howdy–do Monsieur Naudan, the patron of La Corona, was introducing us to a lady and some other folks, who set themselves up for a parallel meeting. Maybe we were supposed to leave because it was 17:00.

But by then James had out his new Blackberry and he was putting il peigne la girafe in it, hoping for an uplink, so that the Internet could tell us the answer – what it means. I mean, James seemed certain but he wanted to get the exact citation. As I watched him push the buttons and saw icons hurtle around the tiny screen, I felt confident that failing a connection in the café, I would be able to get it – sick mouse or not.

How wrong I was! According to Google the phrase exists and folks use it, but it is so common that nobody thinks it's worthwhile to explain what it means. Ah, yes, combing a giraffe is as clear as crystal!

photo, the blackberry The Blackberry, with hope.

We found the waiter and paid for our drinks and then we went out to the café's terrace and had a legal cigarette. The traffic rushed by and the wind looked for some dead leaves to swirl around but they were long gone. Then so were we.

Aerial Photos For You

Last year the Institut Geographique National announced that it was putting high–rez aerial photos of France online. Recently the IGN launched a 3D version of its photos, that are supposed to be "better than Google's!" So I looked at the 2D version and saw my house, in some warmer season. As for the IGN's Géoportail in 3D, the site claimed it was there for Windows users. Mac users should be patient, as usual, until the mice wake up.

About the Café Metropole Club

Flog your mouse on the head to see a recent club meeting report buried somewhere in these very pages. Less tiresome than being at slow motion club meetings but nothing is perfect. An explanation for 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

Staying Cool in the Patazone

Off–the–path as any Thursday, half unrehearsed, demi out of control and rarely, very much less than three members. Club meetings run from 15:00 to 17:00 every Thursday. The next meeting will be on Thursday, 17. January, next year. These metric times are the same as 3 to 5 pm around other old unmetric places, while meetings are held around here. Whatever you feel like saying will be totally appreciated by the other members present if there are any and 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. Stay unfound if you prefer.

*The above paragraphs are relatively unchanged since last week because today's meeting featured art and literature, insights and outsights, conversation and drinks, and a giraffe.

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, 17. January.

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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