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photo, ron sellers, group of the week Alone in the Group Photo of the Week, Ron Sellers.

Blow It On Garlic

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Thursday, 15. May:–  According to Le Parisien the Richard Serra exhibition I skipped last week is very exciting and a lot of folks are going to the Grand Palais to hang out with the five steel panels, set on edge and about seven metres high. Of course they have been eclipsed a bit by events, such as the typhon, the earthquake, the Cannes Festival, today's strike of students and civil servants, and not least, the price of gas.

Also of course, our brief summer seems to be over. It was great while it lasted. Thanks are directed to whomever was responsible. All the same it was not bad today. There were high clouds, several breezes, a temperature over 20 and some periods of feeble sunshine. Just right, to come home to the Cannes news on the TV and see all the well–made–up folks down there flashing their perfect teeth. Sean Penn's teeth are his secret, as befits the president of the jury. The TV–news was on strike tonight too. When this happens it is easier on the eyes because they turn off their flash.

photo, bubbly water of the week Bright Bubbles of the Week.

Summer has abandoned its short flirt. We are back to having spring again. Too much of a good thing is not what we deserve regardless of how much and to whom we wheedled. More, brief, detail follows the club report.

The Blow It On Garlic of the Week Report

My métro station has a blasted look. When there aren't any riders around some Joes go through it with pneumatic hammers and blast the tiles off the walls, leaving a tunnel of pockmarked concrete behind with a few stray wires hanging down. You wonder how they are going to make it all nice and smooth again but they always do. The color was an orangy–yellow. Now it looks like the salt mines. The train came anyway.

I need not have worried about today's strike. Kids were either in school being minded by people who were not, technically, strike breakers, or they were elsewhere being minded by their parents because the government couldn't convince enough teachers to be strike breakers. The president was on TV–news, which was on strike, saying that public service strikers have to give 48 hours notice. Today's strike was announced a week or two ago. While on this subject, next week's transport strike is scheduled for Thursday, exactly a week from today.

So you have more than 48 hours to get where you are going. I was mulling all this over this afternoon at the club, hardly being able to take my eyes off the photo of Sean Penn – has he always looked like a posh nob? – on the paper's front page when member Ron Sellers arrived with greetings from San Antonio in Texas.

photo, orange spectacle of the week A tiresome repeat of the week.

Other regular members and constant readers with terrific memories will surely recall that San Antonio's motto is Venice of North America. Just go ahead and Google it if you don't believe me, or Ron.

Some partial disclosure is in order here. I had to coax this out of Ron because he assumed, since I am the club's regular secretary, that I in fact do remember every single thing each and every single member has told me. After he reminded me of the Venice thing I did remember, but not that he didn't think it serious, compared to all the other worthy locales that claim the honor.

"I started not to come to Paris this year," he said but added that Uncle Sam had rejected his over–payment of taxes and returned the excess with a note of apology. Then he asked me if it is always bright and sunny in April like it was last year. I decided not to mention the weather reported in this April's club reports. It is in the past and we may never see its like again.

Next question – "Is there an event to celebrate the 40th anniversary of May 1968? Other than all the special issues of magazines, all the documentaries on TV, including the then and now Daniel Cohn–Bendit, and today's student strike – no, nothing special is planned. He seemed disappointed until I pointed out how few cobbled streets there are these days.

We talked about cool places to live near Paris, and he mentioned Maisons–Laffitte. I tried to talk him out of it. I ended up there one night on the last train of the day, having missed the last train to where I really wanted to go. The only thing Maisons–Laffitte had in common with my destination was west France.

photo, book, hungry for paris, by alexander lobrano, the ultimate guide Good Read of the Week.

Ron showed me the book he was reading. Hungry for Paris, by Alexander Lobrano. It's another is the endless series of ultimate guides, but Ron said it reminded him of several cooks, like Susan Loomis. You can also catch Chef Lobrano in person at the Village Voice Bookshop on Thursday, 12. June.

Since I was asked I gave Ron some tips about Saturday's Nuit des Musées. First and foremost Parisians love freebies so they all show up for each and every one. Many bring babies in pousettes and expect their elderly parents to be along for the fun too. The weather forecast for Saturday night is below.

Ron also asked about the Orangerie but I couldn't tell him much. I went the day it reopened but it was closed on account of a storm. I pointed him the the right direction when he said, "I think I'll mosey on over there now." He did and I returned to reading the paper.

Apparently it is untrue that San Antonio is afflicted with the crazy rasberry ants that are causing havoc in the Houston area. They wander around erratically in great hordes and eat everything electrical in their path. Why they have attacked Houston has perplexed the authorities, scientists, the police and ordinary folks. The good news is that the crazy rasberry ants are deadly foes of the dreaded fire ants, and they gobble them up.

photo, la corona, club of the week Club of Champions of the Week.

La Nuit des Musées

For the fourth year France puts on one of its cultural freebies, in this case called La Nuit des Musées which means that about 130 cultural places will be open and free on Saturday, 17. May, at nighttime, rain or shine. In all, about 2000 institutions throughout Europe will have their doors open when they are normally closed. Bring a flashlight with juice in the batteries.

Mystery Weekend Spring Weather!

This so–so weather is so far from personally insulting that I'm not writing even a 25 word tirade about it. No more tirades, until spring is over! Here is the new and improved version:

Spring returned today after a week of summer. Summer is probably over. On account of today's strike at the TV station I watch for weather news, it may be mostly or semi–sunny tomorrow. A low high of 20 degrees will be forgettable. Le Parisien says Saturday will be also semi–sunny, with 20 and Sunday may be cloudier and sunnier, but with a high of only 19 degrees. The Riviera might be all sunny on Sunday.

About the Café Metropole Club

Whirl your fingers around your mouse to see a club meeting report buried in deep somewhere in these pages. Less exciting than reading cocktail menus during club meetings but everything is seldom perfect. 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

Nightlife In the Patazone

Like any unrehearsed Thursdays , semi out of control and usually, like today, one wonderful member present. Club meetings run from 15:00 to 17:00 on Thursdays. The next meeting will be on Thursday, 22. May, possibly another major strike day for Paris transport. The metric times are equivalent to 3 to 5 pm around other unmetric places, while meetings are held right here. Whatever you feel like saying 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. Stay lost if you want.

*The above paragraphs are relatively unchanged since the last report a week ago because of the incredible lightness of French bubblewater that comes from the green bottle shaped like a miniature bowling pin, or épingle des boules.

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, 22. May.

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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