...Continued from page 1

Montmartre stairsThe head of one French software factory, which employs 800 people to make educational and gameware, acidly noted that Microsoft is facing several US government challenges to its business practices.

If counting steps is your hobby, you can pass a lot of time doing it in Montmartre.

This executive likened the co-op deal to giving Mr. Bill the keys to the cash register. I read elsewhere that Prime Minister Lionel Jospin was considerably more circumspect with his remarks.

After the blitz visit, which I believe took place last Monday, Bill flew off to take over other European countries; allowing one day for the bigger ones and managing two of three per day for the smaller.

SportsNews: Fly Fishing is Popular in Paris

This is welcome news indeed because it gives us a break from soccer and another opportunity to think about and discuss another popular sport about which I know next to nothing - with this subject I can only get smarter.

According to Le Parisien - my main source of all useful knowledge these days - there is an English saying. It goes like this, loosely translated, "One life is not sufficient to learn everything Libarie Papeterie Journaux there is to know about fly fishing."

Oh! By reading the rest of the opening paragraph, I learn that there is a three-day Fishing Salon this weekend at Pantin. The purpose of this Salon is apparently to prove that the English are guilty of over-statement: - you, yes you! - can learn to flyfish within your lifetime - if it is sufficiently long.

Here is where you can get slick magazines, with photos of really big fish.

Le Parisien says catching trout this way is ecological. Let me break in here a moment to remind readers that Le Parisien is owned by L'Equipe group and L'Equipe, as everybody over four should know, is an all-sports daily newspaper, and traditionally, France has only three types of sport.

They are football, boules, and playing boules after dark. There is horse-racing too, and rugby for the tough guys down south, but mainly it's football and boules, boules and football. 'Le Foot,' as it is called in France. French people used to energetically play pinball a lot, but this sport seems to have lost it's mono-maniacal fascination.

Parisians do not have to go far to find water to fish in. It is right here, in the Bois de Boulogne and the Bois de Vincennes. I don't suppose there's any need to remind readers that watching horses run around clockwise and playing boules is also possible in these two parks, plus the Bois de Boulogne also has a polo patch, or pitch, or paddock, or whatever it is.

If you don't already know how to fish with flies, and many of us don't; there are courses available. These are given on three days of the week somewhere near the Suresnes bridge - and the first-year signup costs 700 francs which is much cheaper than golf.

One can also learn how to tie flies while the trout are out of season. For 70 francs a day you can also do 'real' fishing right beside the Longchamp racetrack and if you catch anything, you can keep two of them.

The deal out at Vincennes is similar, the pond is beside the track there too; but you have to throw the fish back in if you catch any.

Before Closing

I was going to skip the World Cup entirely, but there is one bit of news that may affect you. Some outfit named ISL has been given some sort of monopoly on selling the TV rights Hispano-Suiza to hotels and bars that wish to offer the broadcasts to their clients.

This Hispano-Suiza has nothing to do with 'SportsNews,' but it is sporty all the same.

The hospitality operators are spitting mad because they are getting bills of 160 francs per TV set. They already pay the state 735 francs per set for annual license fees. About two-thirds of the Ile-de-France's 130,000 hotel rooms are equipped with TVs.

This ISL outfit has real moxie too as it tries to enlist local tourism organizations to do the collecting for them. The region of Languedoc was apparently told it could have a flat rate of 400,000 francs - with the idea that the Languedoc officials get it back from the hotel operators.

ISL denies that it is doing this, but does say it is selling rights to any collective group that wants to pay for them. The hotel people say they been threatened with legal actions if they don't pay up.

The World Cup SportsBar Never Sleeps; May Snooze a Bit

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

Less uplifting are the 'official' Web sites: represented 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 RATP does not sound like métro to me.

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