...Continued from page 1

According the Le Parisien, the demo I went to witness at the Bastille last Tuesday with Professor Greb, took place with about 50 demonstrators. According to the report, there were nearly more organizers than demonstrators - which surprised me because I thought there would be a big turnout.

Have You Sent Your Card Yet?

There are many traditions in France and one of them is to send greeting cards, starting on 1. January. This is not an option, this is an obligation. Like other 'latins,' the French are not fanatical about it and send an average of ten cards.

The British are supposed to send 40 and the Americans about 30; but the Japanese are supposed to be number one worldwide, having sent an estimated four billion cards last year.

Le Parisien has a handy guide of dos and donts: send the cards early. If you get one, you have to send a reply card within 24 hours. You have to write the address by hand. If the greeting is printed, you are supposed to add a personal word or two. Don't send to same card as last year, and change your 'personal words' occasionally.

The Trial of Maurice Papon is Temporarily Suspended

The Matisson family were the first to launch a civil case against Maurice Papon, in 1981. Jean-Marie Matisson runs the website, and reports from the courtroom. At the website, click on 'Affaire Papon.'

Another website of interest contains daily coverage of the trial by the Bordeaux paper, the Sud Ouest.

Sports News: 20th Paris-Dakar

The first Paris-Dakar rallye was 20 years ago and it began as sort of a winter-lull lark. Some racer types got together on New Years Day and drove down through Algeria and the desert to Dakar in Senegal.

In those days, almost anybody with wheels could -try- to do it and it was like a three-week long jaunt for good old boys, and some Paris-Dakar at Versailles girls. After a good many years the big money moved in and pushed the amateurs out - of the running. No more 2CV's; no more lone, self-financed motorcyclists

New Year's Eve in Versailles - clean and new.

Then with politics, the route was changed so that in some years the event took place, but not in Paris nor in Dakar. This year's event is an attempt to bring it back to its Paris and Dakar roots, and public TV is pushing it for all it is worth.

This started 30 minutes into the New Year with France-3 TV broadcasting non-stop from the starting gate in front of the Château of Versailles. Starting about 04:30 or 05:00, the whole circus was slated to get underway with a sprint up to the Pont d'Iéna by the Tour Eiffel, and then head south.

Two odd thoughts: for promotion France-3 was showing clips of a whole series of spectacular dumps, crashes, flops, flips, and other bad things that happen to wheeled engines in rough going.

The other thing is I don't know where they are. When I thought F2TV- flying moto they were nearly in Grenada, they were instead running mud races somewhere in central France. A day later, when I thought they were doing 'special stages' around Grenada, they might really have been near Narbonne.

From a training film, entitled 'How to Fly Your Motorcycle in the Desert.'

Now [Sunday], apparently, the Paris-Dakar has slipped through Grenada, taken a ferry from Alicante and is in Morocco. I heard on the radio that France-3's star reporter, Gérard Holz, was hurt in a tumble - but I saw no mention of it on TV.

The World Cup SportsBar Is Open Again

Real SportsFans should hang out the SportsBar where the fans have all the eggnog they can make themselves, at the Football Café, and have relaxing bowls of popcorn while discussing the finer points of the world of football, without getting too 'psychorigide' about it. Cool.

Less uplifting are the 'official' Web sites: represenred by the FIFA - which stands for Federation International - and the French Organizing Committee, known to all far and wide as the CFO. I don't what the initials stand for, just like SNCF does not sound like RR to me.


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