...Continued from page 1

I think the Crédit Lyonnais has been bailed out three times already, in about the last five years. Each time is the 'last' time and after each time it comes back for another 'last' time.

The way the things stand in Europe now, the government really has to ask nicely if it can bail out Crédit Lyonnais again. Brussels has said, one last time - and there are 'conditions.'

'Condition Number One' says that France has to unload Crédit Lyonnais. I mean, hey! Counting this coming fourth bailout, French taxpayers have put about five or ten billion francs down that black hole. To sell a bank, though, it has to be solvent.

One way to do this is to close 1860 branches. This is like the old Vietnam story of destroying the village in order to save it from the red hordes.

Recently, TV showed us a new stink of the week. This is a TV commercial which shows about three couples dining in a bistro, and discussing what a rotten scandal Crédit Lyonnais is for costing us so much money. It's really terrible. Scandal! At the end of the meal, one of the diners hauls out a Crédit Lyonnais cheque-book to pay the tab.

The other diners are horrified. How could you?!? The guy says he's had an account with them 15 years and they've treated him square. Mr. Jacques Cool.

Apparently Crédit Lyonnais had this TV commercial sitting in a drawer 'in case of' and that case arrived quite recently, when depositors pulled a billion francs out of their checking and savings accounts within a few days.

In case you are in the market for a bank, I have to tell you the Crédit Lyonnais may actually have some assets somewhere, but it can't shoot straight.

SportsNews - The Boot

I'm am really glad I don't follow football. Here am I am, trying to get the score for tonight's game to decide the winner of the Coupe de France. I thought it was between PSG and Lens, but that was last time. This week it is between Lens and I don't know who. Lens wins - where is it? - by a score of - apparently one to one.

This means the other team loses, and since I always think there is gloom in Mudville, I guess it is PSG. But no! I think I hear the TV-news say that if Metz wins next week... - but now I look atart market today's Le Parisien, I see it was Lens - where is it? - against Metz tonight. So Metz lost and is the new Mudville.

Out at Bastille, at the Art Market - a seller and possibly, a buyer.

But hold on a minute; maybe I'm only half-wrong. The 'scenario' says if Lens beats Auxerre it will be champion. But Lens gets an even score and Metz fails to beat Lyon by seven goals - unlikely! - then... then what?

To be champion Metz has to beat Lyon and Lens has to lose. Or if Metz beats Lyon by more than seven goals and Lens gets an even score off Auxerre, then Metz is champion.

Since I caught the name 'Metz' at the end of the nonsense of the TV-news, I suspect that neither Lens nor Metz got their dream scenarios tonight; and they are going to have a catfight next week.

The game tonight was followed by a very large party in Lens, which is where? - well, wherever it is, it has lasted until long after today was over.

This French championship playoff has a lot of SportsFans in France really ticked off. Here's little Metz - 200,000 souls - scrapping away with Lens - where is it? - with only 350,000 citizens, while all the big towns like Lyon, Marseille, Bordeaux - Paris! - all their SportsFans, are sitting around twiddling their... I don't know what they're twiddling.

France has lots of Mudvilles tonight. Anybody with a gram of sense, would sit this one out at the SportsBar.

SportsBar Is Quiet On Thursdays

While real SportsFans lead otherwise normal lives on Thursdays, those at the SportsBar, known as the Football Café play chess while awaiting the approaching World Cup championship matches. Their wives were not amused, but cannot figure out how to dislodge the true SportsFans from their 'Football Caf&eacute.' in which they are twirling away their thoughts, while spouting their chess-philosophy and drinking hot World Cup SportsCafé. Three cheers and a pizza-pizza! for the Football Café and for the determination of the SportsFans!'

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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