Semi-Okay In Paris

photo: la comedie

You will be more than just 'okay' in the
restaurant La Comedie.

Brand New - the Café Bricolo

Paris:- Sunday, 14. January 2001:- There has been no accurate report about the number of Parisians and visitors who made their way to the area of the Tour Eiffel on New Years Eve to see the traditional fireworks.

Instead, what they - however many they were - saw was the illuminated '2000' sign become unilluminated, and the tower light up with its twinkling lights changed from white to blue. What people said when they saw this has also not been reported.

My own poll has such a small sampling that I feel that it scientifically indelicate to relay its ovewhelmingly negative results to you.

However some word must have got around, because last week the high-iron crew quietly came back and took the blue hoods off the lights and at 17:00 on Friday the 20,000 white sparklers returned to perform their daily evening show on the hour up to one in the morning.

This means that everything is semi-okay in Paris again.

Café Bricolo

If the BHV's basement hardware department was not already a heaven for do-it-yourselfers and visiting tool-gawkers, it has taken another stepphoto: rue quincampoix in this direction with the opening last week of its own 'Bricolo Café,' which is appropriately brico-decorated.

While taking a café or nibbling on a tarte, brico experts will also stage demonstrations twice daily. Imagine! - having a good cup of expresso while sitting in your bathroom looking at a faucet that has flipped its washers.

Parallel to the Boulevard de Sébastopol, the Rue Quincampoix was not wiped out.

The idea was dreamed up by Christian Maury, a cinema cameraman, who is also a power-drill fan. Besides the demos by experts, the café also has bricolo-books and access to the BHV's own brico site.

Once other thoughtful people realize that there is no limit to the possibilities for theme-café ideas, expect to see one open near you. After Philo-cafés, lit-cafés, cybercafés, maybe the next new thing to appear on the block will be good-café cafés.

Concorde Tests

It may be nearly time to evaporate your double-platinum card's arrears because Air France's Concorde F-BTFB will undergo a series of high speed runway tests next week.

Using exterior tanks filled with colored water, a part of the tests will be effected to determine how the Concorde that crashed on takeoff last year caught fire. A second series of tests will be carried out by British Airways to test the strength of supple gas tanks at Mach 2.

If the test results are satisfactory, Air France's supersonic planes are still not expected to resume regular flights before the last quarter of this year.

British Airways expects its Concordes to be flying by April, which has led some French pilots to think that Air France wants to cease its Concorde flights - even though studies have shown that gluing the fleet to the ground might cost three times as much the tests, repairs and ongoing maintenance.

Disneyland Counts

Around 10:15 last Wednesday, a family of four from Germany on a visit to Disneyland Paris, discovered that one of them, Stefan the father in fact, was the theme park's 100 millionth visitor.

Disneyland then pulled all its stops and its manager, Jay Rasulo, tophoto: shop jungle body shower the family with VIP treatment, and a lifetime passport to the park for the entire family, plus a suite for the night in the park's fanciest hotel.

All the more reason for a Paris beach - the 'Jungle Body' shop.

This was a fair return for the family who said that they had visited the park to the east of Paris 'nearly every year since it opened.' This milestone, reached in winter's January, proves that the early skepticism about the park's viability in winter has been dispelled.

First Lady

The actress and director Jeanne Moreau became immortal on Wednesday, by being the first woman to be inducted into the Académie des Beaux-Arts. She will occupy a newly-created chair for cinema and audiovisual.

L'Institut de France put on its best face, with every 'immortal' present wearing their green jackets embroidered with olives in gold, designed by Pierre Cardin, who made a speech of remembrance involving an 'immortal' hotel in Venice and Jeanne Moreau.

Jeanne Moreau's voice, which is also becoming more and more unforgettable over the years, paid homage to those who encouraged her professionally, and ended with the wish to see another woman join her soon in the Académie's cinema section.

Winter Sports News

As of today, 'winter' is 25 days old. If you are interested in the wintry state of French winter sports stations, try hitting the Hiver, SkiFrance and Net4Ski Web sites.

An exceptional site is supposed to be the one managed by ex-champion Edgar Grospiron, called Ridearth. Especially conceived for actual fans or practitioners of fast downhills, it features all sorts of current white snow activities, including morsels of techno-ski music.

The Other Sporting Events

Two of these are continuing on their long-haul paths to glory. Only one has a direct relation to Paris, and this is the Paris-Dakar Rallye which left Paris on New Years Day and is now racing around in the sand in the middle of Mauritania, which consists mostly of the Sahara desert.

This extreme enduro event, which still has some relative amateurs as competitors, has been getting more coverage than I thought - evenphoto: soldes d'hiver if it is on TV after midnight. Riding a motorcycle in the desert for whole days on end seems to be a punishing personal experience - because some whole nights are spent by individual competitors wrenching their motorcycles back together.

The other event, in nearly the same category of personal risk, is the 'round-the-world' single-handed non-stop sailboat race called the 'Vendée Globe.' This also requires 24-hour vigilance, on the high and unforgiving seas.

The leaders in this race have passed Cape Horn and are in the 'home stretch,' racing up the Atlantic. Still in second place, 24 year-old Helen MacArthur from Britain has finished dodging icebergs. For this exploit and sheer grit, she is being treated as the race's hero by the media.

The over-sponsored event called 'The Race' is still paying for its TV coverage and its main news is about the abandonment of some the hyper-technical and hyper-huge sailboats on account of being more fragile than the high seas permit.

With large crews and all the latest technical aids available, this race in the unlimited class seems to have exceeded the limits of tolerance for excess. Who cares which conglomo's megabucks will win?

Web Life:

The Multimedia Tax Solution

The music recording industry is howling in this part of the world as well as yours about the appearance of inexpensive CD-ROM recorders and recordable blank CDs.

The French government has decided to take the position that all of this technology is used exclusively for the purposesphoto: greek fast food, st denis of pirating recorded music - and starting on Monday, 22. January, a tax will be imposed on blank CDs, mini-disks and DVDs.

Radio France-Info also reported that the Minister of Culture has additionally decided to apply some extra tax to hardware, such as the CD-ROM and DVD recorders - as well as computers.

A simpler sort of restaurant in the Rue Saint-Denis.

According to Objectif Numérique's newsletter of 8. January, the government also intends to tax hard disks, removable Zip and Jaz hard disks, and the various memory devices used by digital cameras.

The French society of authors has welcomed the government action. In theory, like the earlier tax on audio cassettes, the taxes collected will be redistributed to authors, composers and creators - but only so long as they are members of the society of authors.

Non-members have protested against the new taxes. The shiny plastic discs have been a new and cheap source of large-volume storage memory for anybody involved with producing multimedia - as well as all others who have large volumes of data to archive.

In the music area, the ability to 'home-cook' music CDs has freed music creators from the monopoly control of the record companies, even if the only purpose is for recording demo music CDs for self-promotion.

Coupled with the Internet, the ability to 'home-cook' CDs has also freed authors and creators from the need to seek publishers with access to traditional distribution channels - because any Web site can be an outlet for home-made multimedia products.

In France, buyers are charged an extra 19.9 percent percent inphoto: shop, bd sebastopol value-added tax - which is far more than most royalties paid to authors. If the product were a printed book instead, the tax would only be 5.5 percent.

A fairly typical shop on the large Boulevard de Sébastopol.

As I read it, if all of this magazine is offered as a CD-ROM archive, I will have to charge you 2.15 francs extra and remit this tax to some tax collector. To get it back, in theory, I will have to become a member of the society of authors - which is not free either, and how it redistributes the 'royalties' it collects is unknown.

Manufacturers of the digital media supports have asked the government to recalculate its sums, and add a method of exoneration for professional users.

Pirates, by paying the tax, will still be pirates. Most likely, the government's tax will create a new black market for blank media which will enrich somebody at everybody's expense.

Your Paris Web URLs

If you have any favorite Paris Web sites you think other readers should know about, please send them in. If they haven't been featured before and they don't crash my browser, you'll get a modest 'thankyou' here.

The 'Official' Weather: 100% 'Winter'

With France firmly in the winter part of the year Météo France is featured here because many people find Paris weather news extremely important. Météo France is the official source for France's TV-weather people - if you don't get French TV where you are, you can get the weather from where they get it. Because it is 'official' - meaning: as true as possible - don't expect forecasts to exceed 24 hours even though TV sometimes goes out on a limb with unreliable seven-day forecasts.

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contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
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Waldo Bini