If New Yorkers had trouble relating to the suffering of the French students rioting over not having inviolate civil-service job security, at least we understood where their Tourism minister was coming from when he declared, “We are currently in a situation of blockage.” This is, after all, a city of obstructions, from Ford Explorer–swallowing Bay Ridge sinkholes to the Soviet-style breadlines at Trader Joe’s. Upstate, things were running more smoothly, with our well-paid government workers managing to avoid the traditional budgetary blockage for the second straight year and, after a little gentle election-year prodding by Mayor Bloomberg, managing to scare up $11 billion extra for city schools (and huge rebates to taxpayers). Even Governor Pataki, coming off that burst appendix and his own blockage-related situation, reported feeling well enough to resume his schedule. Bill Weld sought to get things moving again in his campaign by proposing to eliminate state income tax for anyone who earns less than $75,000 a year. Meanwhile, writer’s block non-sufferer Ethan Hawke’s office went up in flames. Animal-lovers fared well in court last week: One man charged with assaulting a dog-walker failed to convince a judge that his crime was no worse than Russell Crowe’s braining of a hotel clerk; another lost his appeal of a two-year sentence for stomping a kid’s goldfish, claiming that “given the opportunity, [the fish] would leave home.” (Animal-eaters didn’t do too badly either: Researchers announced that they’d cloned a pig that was high in healthy omega-3 fatty acids.) Family rivalries were everywhere. Libet Johnson and her niece Casey, heiresses to the Johnson & Johnson fortune, fought over Lara Flynn Boyle’s ex-husband. Quarterback Peyton Manning, who complained bitterly about his situation of no blockage in the NFL playoffs a couple of months ago, will open the season against his little brother Eli and the Giants. And fractures were revealed among the sisterhood of The View when the newly slim Star Jones—who won’t comment on whether there are any staples helping block the calorie situation—called in to deny a tabloid story that breast-lift surgery almost killed her, only to be hung up on.