...Continued from page 1

Then I push the button for Arte. Sometimes I get opera and sometimes I get a Polish cops-and-robbers show.

If this was Italy, this would be the 'car of the century.'

I don't know how these get made because times are tough in the east. The stories - they have stories! - are usually about these tough times, and they are pretty gritty.

But there are no zombie shows and no 99th version of divorced mom and pop and the beautiful-but-troubled kids and their cute pets, hung together for 90 minutes minus the time for the cut-out commercial breaks.

A lot of these made-in-the-east 'krimis' would made pretty good 'B' thrillers because they usually have stories. They have these because writers are available and are cheaper than a lot of special effects - like the gasoline tanker that blows up in every second US-made TV-film you see these days.

I'm not trying to say it is easy to write actual stories. I am just pointing out that it used to be done, and it seems to be a skill that has died in the west.

Maybe this is what the French film critics are complaining about.

If so, then the real problem is that they can't write real stories either. Because, once upon a time, French film critics stopped writing criticism, and wrote films with names like 'Breathless.'

It was the age of 'New Wave.' So called, because so many critics started making films that there were no critics left to criticize them. 'New Wave' lasted a pretty long time - at least until another generation of critics came along.


There is no sports news this week because the Australians won everything. Bravo Australia! Le Parisien's response was to unilaterally name Jacques Brel's 'Ne Me Quittez Pas' the song of the century and the 2CV as the 'car of the century.'

French Web Life This Week

Cité des Sciences

The big science museum in Paris' northeast corner has been online since three weeks before the dawn of time, but because it involves 'science' it must be in the forefront, while publications like this one are content to remain in the stone age. The Cité des Sciences has always had too much for me to understand. Science is also 'culture' in France and this is the reason it is not called the 'factory of science.' Actually, this Web site is also used for scientific experiments. Ah - the reason for this blurb is that the Cité des Sciences has spiffed up its Web site. En garde!

When Is the 3rd Millennium?

I thought this question was settled, but there are apparently people around who are still in doubt. Thierry Blandet, who is an engineer of 'photonique systems' at the Louis-Pasteur University of Strasbourg, is trying to find out. He is doing his research online and maybe you can help, or are just curious. Tune in and find out.

Y2K Bug?

I am a great disbeliever in this because I can't do anything about it and therefore expect that somebody who can, will. I don't have any specific Web site to recommend for finding solutions for real or imagined problems that may crop up three weeks from now, and will merely suggest you check out this other fable.

Inside Paris

I'm going to let 'Mon Quartier' run another week because it is a Web site that presents Paris by the activities of Parisians in their arrondissements, quartiersphoto: xmas tree, pl lepine and 'villages.' It has lists of local businesses and merchants, public services, local news and a large area devoted to local associations and artistic activities.

Shorties: - France Télécom's ' Voilà' is testing the waters of the robot-translation act. Try changing Metropole into Spanish or German - for a friendly little snicker, try English too. How's this for an extra-short set of shorties?

And a happy pine cone to all readers.

Some of the suggestions for these Web site references have been supplied by 'Internet Actu.' For more weird stuff, give The Liar's Chronicles a shot. If you understand French, look around for anything by Pierre Lazuly and his acid pen.

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