...Continued from page 1

Does this mean that brand-new cars will take over the choice spots at next month's 'Retromobile' Salon in Paris? Who knows?

The Germans abandon 'Euro- skepticism,' with Der Spiegel's French revolutionary image.

There's a long lead-time in the car-design business even if the marketing guys are looking backwards. When a ball like this gets rolling there will be a flood of '30's-like cars.

Meanwhile, right this very minute, in a secret design studio in Pismo Beach, a crew of teenagers are busily working on a 'new-but-old' 1965 Mustang while another crew in Texas is doing the Shelby 350 GT fastback model. To be in a showroom near you, in 2001.

Now Some Bad News

On Monday, without any plausible reason, the French government is going to raise the tax on all vehicle fuels, except GPL. Tax already accounts for 83 percent of the street price for gas; and this is at a time when the raw stuff is at a market low.

Only about 100 thousand vehicles roll with the low-pollution GPL in France, and market experts put a cap on the total possible market at one million units - for some technical reason such as it costs too much to make it or something.

A pocketbook reason for not buying a GPL-fueled car is the extra price - about 10,000 francs - for the setup and the fact that there aren't many places you can get the fuel, and nobody has any capacity to make a lot of it.

The official reason for the tax hike is that it is an 'ecological' tax. If the tax were cut to 43 percent, I could afford to buy a bike.

Paris - The Zoo

If you see a wild-looking lion roaming around the Champs-Elysées, do not be alarmed. According to a report, about 1,000 wild animals are successfully captured in Paris and the Ile-de-France every year.

Apparently the firemen - 'les pompiers' - have a special brigade - 'les equipes cynotechniques' - specially trained to recuperate wild animals. They are also dog catchers, but they will also go after pythons and other large serpents.

Just over half are returned to their owners, about a quarter go to the SPCA and the rest are divided up between the Ecole Vétérinaire at Maisons-Alfort and the Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle. Only about one percent are bumped off for being too dangerous or poisonous.

Sports News - Football

Le Parisien's lead story yesterday, on pages two, three, four and five, was about the Paris PSG football team. After listing thephoto: shop cafes confiseries star players who may not be participating in the crucial match against 'Les Verts,' the headline nevertheless proclaimed the team was entering a 'New Era.'

This is not a café, but a shop selling different coffees and teas.

This marks the 735th 'New Era' since I've been reading the paper, which is not all that long. For some reason the outcome of last night's game has escaped me and all I remember are the TV-sports shots of blurry figures playing in a blizzard in Marseille.

Being from a country where it may snow a bit in winter, I've seen football played during snowfalls before, but this Marseille scene was not just a little bit of snow - the whole field was white.

I guess they played - skidded around - because of the TV contract. While snow is hard on the TV crews, there is still something to see even if it looks a bit like outdoor hockey with a big puck.

Best of all is dense fog; between the commercials the screen is flat grey and the sound is muffled, because fans in the stadium can't see anything - not even the cheery commercials - either.

Winter Sports News Roundup

Since winter seems to be bearing down on us and we have switched from too little snow to too much within a week, I am going to wait until the situation stabilizes before not doing any further reports about it.

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