Tragic Death of French
Super Sportsman

photo: salon de the terrace at trocadero
Another terrace café at Trocadéro;
this one a 'Salon du Thé.'

France Wins First Match of WC'98

Paris:- Saturday, 13. June 1998:- Last Tuesday one of the longest TV shows in history was broadcast in France and to all ships at sea. It started at, Le Parisien said in its Tuesday edition, at 18:00 but I think I heard it started before then - and it went on and on and on until the following day.

Of course I glanced at the paper in the morning, but I was startled to get an urgent email message about 20:40 telling me to turn on my TV set immediately. Thus I saw Paris' great World Cup parade, for about five minutes.

On Wednesday, Libération said it was the most boring parade in history, on the basisphoto: big screen, hotel de ville of the sheer length of it. Automobile drivers in the capitol probably had some things to say about it too, but these comments were not published by this normally liberal paper.

Another of the public screens for viewing the World Cup; this one is in the place of the Hôtel de Ville.

On Wednesday I decided to assist with this great event after the morning's Le Parisien boldly exclaimed, in yellow type over a background color photo covering both the front and back pages, 'La France Centre du Monde.'

Just as I saw enough of the parade to get the general idea of it in five minutes, Le Parisien was so immersed in the World Cup, that they proclaimed that Air France pilots had hardened their line, when in fact they had caved in - or at least this is the 'official' word.

The correct story, for possible visitors to France, was broadcast over the Web in a timely fashion by Metropole, until the new 'router' or whatever it was that replaced whatever it was that had blown up over the previous weekend, gave up its young ghost just after noon on Wednesday.

Upside, Downside to Phantom WC'98 Tickets

I have passed up some stories about the World Cup tickets, believing the best is to come. For the printinggraphic: le parisien, 'c'est la fete!' of them, the FIFA and CFO organizations thought they had a tighter operation than the Bank of France, especially after somebody looted the bank's new 'Euro' hologram.

So the ticket were distributed to their purchaser's at the last minute. Which of course, left the way open to certain operators to sell non-existent tickets and be well out of the way on ticket-delivery day.

Japanese travel agencies think 10,000 fans have been burned, but others think it is 23,000, because it is this number that the Hotel Concorde-Lafayette was expecting to arrive at any minute to exercise the hotel part of their package deals.

An official partner of the FIFA and the CFO, a company in Switzerland, is suspected of selling 1500 or 10,000 non-tickets, but it points its finger as its French subsidiary, and it in turn points an accusing finger at an employee.

Bolivians and Brazilians want to know where their tickets are too; and the FIFA and the CFO are laying charges against 'persons unknown' for crimes, 'unknown;' basically to cover themselves.

When Is a Bus a Tram And Vice-Versa?

This is an especially important question when one-third of Le Parisien is football, one-third is horse racing and one-sixth is the TV guide, as has been the case since Tuesday. There isn't any other news.

There are a continuous series of boulevards in Paris which run all the way around the edge, just inside the periphérique, aka the 'perifreak.' The PC bus line pounds around these clockwise and counter-clockwise, more or less non-stop.

The RATP has engaged Bombardier to built them a tram; one that runs on tires and not rails. These were once called trolleys, but in this case I think there is a 'hot' contact in the ground instead of an overhead cable. The prototype tram-trolley also runs on gas anyway, so it doesn't really need the rail. The mayor, Jean Tiberi, thinks this is a wonderful idea.

But the SNCF also has an unused right-of-way very close to the circular boulevards, and Jacques Toubon, mayor of the 13th arrondissement, is all for reactivating this line; perhaps with something like the new tram on the RATP's La Défense-Issy line.

The greenies and cyclo-maniacs have another plan for the SNCF's old tracks. Meanwhile, the RATP can't wait around because it has 130,000 passengers daily riding its existing PC buses, so it has ordered 200 news ones. These are 'low-rider' models, that handicapped people are supposed to be able to use.

SportsNews: France Wins Its First Match

After thousands of trees fell, and zillions of litres of ink flowed, the profession of football second-guessers gotphoto: scots on champs elysees their answer in Marseille on Friday night. France's World Cup team beat South Africa, three to nothing.

Good-natured Scots in costume mostly amused Parisians and themselves, loudly and hugely.

Since the match was played in Marseille the Mistral was blowing and since the match was played in the Stade-Vélodrome, most of the SportsFans were Olympic Marseille supporters, who are known to be exceptionally passionate fans, especially when OM players on the national team head in the goals.

Sportswriters get poetic; forgetting all the second-guessing and the sneering, but all the same the 11 players are given 'points' by Le Parisien, from five to 7.5, out of an unknown maximum number.

Sad Sunday SportsNews

Just after midnight, early Sunday morning, champion sailor Eric Tarbarly slipped into the sea off the coast of Wales, and is presumed to have drowned.

Sailing with an inexperienced crew of three on his veteran sailboat, the original Pen Duick, France's most famous seaman was not to be found in the force five weather.

Rescue operations did not get underway until crew members could fire off a distress signal some hours later. British search and rescue crews searched all day Sunday but could find no trace of the missing sailor; and French services arrived on the scene to continue the search.

Tarbarly, who was 66, first gained fame by winning the 1976 single-handed TransAt race across the Atlantic. Since then, he had won many other long distance sea races, and was a major figure in French sailing circles. Media commentators almost drove the World Cup off the airwaves on Sunday, with personal testimonies and stories of Tabarly's exploits.

No SportsNews

The private TV channel M6 is running ads for itself saying in effect, 'guaranteed no football,' and goes ahead to program three second or third-rate films per movie night. With a clever mix of the right almost-good imported series' and films coupled with an almost uncanny feel for counter-programming, this channel does okay for itself, on a tight budget.

This channel also has something of a 'first-place' in the TV world as well: its station logos and the generic clips used to warn viewers of commercial breaks, are probably the worst in the world - and they have remained essentially unchanged for a decade or more.

The SportsBar Has Moved to the Fútbol Page for the duration. Bon chance!
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