Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Down the Drain?

Googling anything about coffee & plumbing, in English, will throw up pages, mainly American, of dire warnings about the dangers of blocking your drains if you put coffee grounds down.
Intuitively, that is easy to accept.

In France, it is a well-known "fact" that putting coffee grounds down the drain can often help unblock it & will certainly help prevent future blocking...

Different coffee or different drains?

I never saw a reasonable explanation for either result.

We have had a chronically partially-blocked drain for over 10 years, which seems to have been miraculously cured since we decided to risk the French approach.

No garantees, and these could well be famous last words...

Parting thot: "Science means simply the aggregate of all the recipes that are always successful. All the rest is literature." - Paul Valery

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Take Your Pick...

Back in the UK, I/we used to think 21st December was (about) the shortest day, so things would only get better from then on.
It was like the bottom of the trough.

Here in France, 21st December is - the first day of winter.
Three months of cold struggle before the beginning of Spring...

Think I will stick with my old idea!

Parting thot: "A pessimist is just an optimist with experience!" - Anon

Thursday, October 13, 2011


French has a number of well-known pitfalls for English-speakers.
Words which look as though they obviously mean one thing, but actually mean something else.

Probably the most frequently encountered is "eventuellement" which looks as though it should mean "eventually" (sooner or later; in the long run) but actually means "possibly" (maybe or maybe not).

Recently, I was confused when several Government Ministers started talking about plans to reduce deficits being "intangible".
I naturally assumed this French word meant the same as its identical-looking English counterpart (immaterial, hard to grasp or define) but that didn't make sense.

A selection of dictionaries showed that whilst basically meaning "untouchable", that can be used either in the sense of "immaterial & hard to grasp" or as "sacred & must not be altered".
The Ministers were using the second sense.

How can you spend 35 years immersed in a language & still discover blind spots?

Parting thot: "Language is the source of misunderstandings." - Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Only an Idiot...

...would drive into a bottomless 60cm-diameter hole in the pavement, in broad daylight, wouldn't you think?
So I don't know what my excuse is!

Actually, I blame Jean-Pierre Pernaud.
I mentioned previously that we often watch his 1-o'clock niaise program, in spite of our better judgement.
The day world war 3 breaks out, Jean-Pierre will still start with the weather, then an item about the cost of school satchels & maybe a piece about yet another village losing its last grocery shop, before mentioning that unfortunately...
But he does include good cameos on France & the French.

This week's series was on The Route des Vins in Alsace.

On Monday, they visited Niedermorschwihr & we realized that, although we have "done" the route des vins many, many times, we have never seen Niedermorschwihr or heard of its spiral church tower. 
So on Wednesday, we set off to have a look.
We drove to Colmar & followed a sign towards Ingersheim, only to realize we were heading east instead of west.
Wanting to consult the map (remember those?) & probably make a U-turn, I drove onto a wide pavement & stopped.
The need for a U-turn confirmed, I started to drive off & was dumbfounded, like a nonchalant bear falling into a bear-trap, when the supposed-earth dematerialised under the front of the car!
With the car resting on its sill, I thought we would need hoisting out, but in fact it backed out easily.
A careful look all round the tyre showed no obvious damage, but a couple of km further on, the heavying steering warned of partial deflation & I had to change the wheel.
Not surprisingly, the tyre had in fact been cut by the sharp edge of the cast-iron tree-surround it had just visited.

Oh well - chalk it up to experience.
Not too bad as the tyre had cost 65€ 49 000km ago & was about 60% worn.
Ah - but you cannot have more than 5mm difference in tread depth between tyres on the same axle...
So - make that 2 new tyres = 130€.
Then, I run all year round on Winter tyres (long subject of future post?) & my garage could not find any Pirelli SnowControl 190's in the 165/65-R13 size needed to match the other tyres.
It was 29°C at the time & they suggested trying again nearer Winter...
Checking Pirelli's websites, I found the situation was worse than that - they no longer make Winter tyres for 13" wheels!
Goodyear? - same thing!
Continental? - nope...

As far as I can see, the only 13" winter tyres available are from Firestone (not a favorite make) or from various third-world never-heard-of's.
I suppose that is the cost of the stupid fashion for ever-bigger wheels.
Come back Issigonis - all is foregiven!

Parting thot: "Qui trop s'excuse, s'accuse." - French proverb

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Cash Out?

Back in March, we skied in Plagne Bellecote.
Not a very remarkable or innovative sort of place.
So I was surprised when, at a supermarket checkout, my change came showering out of a machine instead of being handed over by the cashier.
First time I have seen such an arrangement.

You also feed your coins into it, but notes still pass via the human interface.
They must have had a good salesperson pass through, as several of the (not many) shops there had the same device.

Yesterday, on a Brompton bike ride, I stopped for coffee & cake in a patisserie in Neuhof.
An even less remarkable & innovative place, to put it kindly...
And there, standing imperiously & incongruously in the middle of the counter, was the same "CashGuard" I had seen in Bellecote.

CashGuard's website http://www.cashguard.com/en/ says they are Scandinavian, have been in business for 20 years & sold over 16000 systems, so maybe I have just not been looking...
They point out advantages in hygiene, security, speed & accuracy.
Not mentioning that cashiers no longer need to be able to count...
I suppose most of what they say is broadly true.

But all of it will be rendered obsolete if Mastercard (& Visa?) get their way.

They just changed my credit card for a new one with contactless, PIN-less operation (http://www.paypass.com/) for amounts under €25.
Aimed at replacing cash for even the smallest transactions.
At participating stores only, of course, which so far is none.

Obviously, the possible success of this venture depends on them being willing & able to operate the system without charging shop-keepers too much.
Time will tell.

Although I strongly dislike the duopoly of Mastercard & Visa, I have to believe this is a more elegant solution than CashGuard's.

And hides a lot less croissants.

Parting thot: "The process by which banks create money is so simple that the mind is repelled." - J K Galbraith

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

15 cents a kilo...

We now (temporarily) have what look like "his & hers" wheely bins.

The big scruffy one has been in service for maybe 15 years.
The demure little one next to it is the latest high-tech, low-decibel, computer-chipped miracle which is aiming to curb our profligate tendencies.

It all started with warning salvo(e)s in the letter box.
The Community of Communes (local authority for waste collection etc) had decided to introduce "incitative pricing".
Followed several leaflets giving the general reasoning & rough proposals.
- Preserve the environment
- Reduce incineration
- Reduce costs
- Be fairer
Charge per collection & per kilo...

We were then invited to a presentation & discussion at the village hall.

Never have so many inhabitants been crammed into that hall!
Not even for free beer at the Social & Sports Club AGM.

Never has audience attention been so wrapt.
Certainly not at the Social & Sports Club AGM.

Never have tempers been so near to fraying!
Never has neighbourliness looked more flimsy!

The presentation showed the current situation, with ever-increasing quantities of waste & even-faster-increasing costs for disposal.
The efforts which have already gone into closing tips; providing bottle-banks, paper-&-plastic skips in each commune; opening "déchetteries" where you can take your garden refuse, wood, metal, rubble, batteries, oil, paint etc etc to be recycled or disposed of as well as possible.

Then the new proposals:
- Smaller bins (120L for 1-2 people, 180L for 3+ people)
- Keep the weekly collection, only collecting bins put outside.
- Automatically weigh each bin & record number of collections in the year (each bin has identification chip, as well as big printed address label)
- Allow 12 collections per year free of collection charge.
- Collections over 12 charged at €1.50 each.
- All rubbish (even in free collections) charged at €0.15 per kilogramme.
- Annual fixed charge per house unchanged at €30.
- Annual fixed charge per person, reduced from €70 to €35.

They showed several "typical" cases, indicating that most people will pay less with the new system.
People who take paper, bottles etc to the containers will pay quite a bit less.
Anybody putting all their rubbish in the bin will pay quite a bit more.

The subsequent discussion was very heated.
- "You mean I am supposed to leave my shrimps & fish-heads rotting for a month till the next free collection?"
- "I want a lock so nobody else fills my bin, leaving me to pay..."
- "What happens if somebody dies part-way through the year?" (I think they were worrying about charges, not disposal).
- "We all know lots of houses who don't declare all occupants..."
etc etc.

We left before anybody got hurt.

Now the new bins are here, but we get 6 months "free" trial with dummy bills before the new charges come in - to iron out any difficulties.
The whole thing seems quite well thought out, except it penalizes old/infirm/immobile people who can't run their heavy rubbish to the bottle-banks etc.
I think the lesson is, that you really grab people's attention when you bring their money into the discussion!

Full details:

Parting thot: "Taxation with representation ain't so hot either." - Gerald Barzan

Friday, April 8, 2011

Strawberries & ... huh?

It's the strawberry season again.

At least it is in Tunisia, judging by the shelves in our local Super-U.
So we are torn between our ecological conscience which only approves of zero-km fruit (last years apples?) & socio-economical pressure to support budding democracy.

Throwing our lot in with democracy, we bought a few grammes of Tunisian strawberries.
Not sure how far that will push the cursor from the political end-stop, but at least the thought was there.

The strawberries were surprisingly good.
Whereas early strawberries are nearly always disappointingly tasteless.
To the point where, every year, we say "must remember not to do that again".
But always give in too soon.

Traditionally, one always links strawberries & cream, doesn't one?
Especially when one is at Wimbledon.

But I find cream just smothers, dilutes & hides the strawberry flavour.
And we rarely have thick cream handy at the right time anyway.
So we normally prefer ours with vanilla ice-cream instead.
That has been our "norm" for decades.

For some reason which I can't remember now, I recently tried my strawberries with, of all things, coconut yoghurt.
And the combination is (for me) brilliant.
I would certainly never go back to ice-cream or mere cream, now.

This is as near as you are likely to get to a recipe in this blog, so make the most of it.

Parting thot: "Save the earth.  It's the only planet with chocolate." - Anon

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Need Visa for Germany

Back in February I ordered a horrendously-expensive new bike.
Made in Germany.
Their only outlet in France is in Paris, so I chose to order it from a dealer in a village near Baden-Baden.

The ordering process seemed to go OK, in a mixture of German, French, English & gestures.
Though I was a little surprised & dubitative when they didn't ask for any deposit or ID at that stage.

So I was relieved when they eventually rang to say it was available & I was again surprised when they suggested I take it for a ride, still with no deposit.
Unfortunately, the German/French/English/gestures had failed to get over the message about the non-standard chainwheel I wanted, resulting in a couple of weeks delay while they found & fitted the right parts.

I went to collect it, finally, this week.
Naturally enough, I pulled out my Mastercard.
And was more than surprised to be told they only accepted Visa!
"In fact, Germans usually pay cash" said the assistant, adding that Visa-only was common in small towns, though I don't know how true that is.

Of course I am aware that, in Germany, low-margin supermarkets often don't accept credit cards, instead usually having convenient cash-dispensers available.
But not high-margin sports goods dealers.
That must be the first time in 30 years I have heard of anybody accepting only one of Mastercard/Visa.

The happy outcome was that I left with the bike, merely promising to transfer the money to their account!

All I need now is their IBAN number & I am still waiting for them to e-mail me that.
I can't imagine such trust in France.

The bike is fine, if depressingly black.
The brightest bits are the tyres & chain.

Parting thot: "If you owe the bank $100 that's your problem. If you owe the bank $100 million, that's the bank's problem." - Jean Paul Getty

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Saucer (soh-say not sor-ser)

I don't know how things are in Anglo-Saxon circles these days, but when I pulled out at age 33 I had never mopped up my gravy with a piece of bread.

At least not in polite company.

Here, happily, such behaviour is, to coin a phrase, de rigeur.
As much part of the great French cultural heritage as, say, peeing at the side of the road.
Anybody seen leaving good gravy on his plate when there is good bread in the basket, must be assumed to be ill.
Or foreign, which comes to the...

There is even a special verb for it - saucer.

I have not read the details of the recent Unesco World Cultural Heritage award to French Gastronomy.
But I am sure mopping up the last of the gravy with fresh French bread must figure prominently.

Parting thot: "You can travel fifty thousand miles in America without once tasting a piece of good bread." - Henry Miller

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

French Burglary 101

I hesitated before posting this, as I don't approve of disseminating potentially harmful information.
But then - anybody can find it in 5 minutes Googling & burglars already know it.
Innocent householders like me though, maybe don't.
And maybe should.

We recently returned from a week's absence to find we couldn't unlock the usual door to get into the house.
Fortunately, AA had stayed home & had found the problem when inside trying to get out, rather than outside trying to get in, and had been able to use a second entrance, which is normally double-locked & chained.
So we had a problem, but not an emergency.

Had we been stuck outside, we would probably have called out a locksmith, which is notoriously expensive & (as I now know) pointless.

I knew nothing about French (or any other) door-locks, but a bit of Googling soon made things obvious.
See top picture.
The lock is in 2 parts:
1. The big rectangular latch mechanism, which can only be removed from the door when the door is open & after the barrel is removed.
2. The lock barrel, which is inserted in the keyhole of the latch mechanism & held in place by a screw which can only be removed when the door is open...
So nice guys can't remove the lock without unlocking it.

I had not previously realized that there are actually 2 separate lock barrels; one for the key from inside & one for the key from outside.
They are joined together by a very small section of metal, the rest of the keyhole section being cut away between the 2 barrels to allow rotation of the lug which operates the latch.
That very small section of metal is then drastically weakened by being drilled & tapped for the screw which holds the barrel into the latch mechanism.

So you don't need to be much of an engineer (or much of a burglar) to see where to attack this lock.
I used an adjustable spanner, clamped it snuggly on the rectangular section of the protruding barrel, and pushed sideways.
The barrel instantly broke at the ridiculously fragile center portion & the 2 halves fell out of the door.

A screwdriver was enough to slide the latch open & we were home.

Sobering to realize that any burglar with 5 minutes theory/practice could break in silently in less than 30 seconds!

I don't think our lock was unusually fragile either.
They all seem to have much the same weak link.
Even the ones with extremely fancy unreproducible keys & astronomic price tags...
Examples borrowed from http://www.hellopro.fr/

These locks will only keep out people who don't really want to get in, or have only bare hands available.
I have to think seriously about getting something quite different.

Maybe you do too?

Parting thot: "Locks keep out only the honest." - Jewish proverb

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tea-for-Two Bags?

I regularly drink Redbush or Rooibos tea.
At least I do when I can find it, as it is not common here.
It is cheaper to order it from UK by internet & pay 50% extra for postage, than to get it locally.
Best is when kind UK visitors bring a few boxes, free of p&p.

It is supposed to have great soothing capacity.
But as soon as I open the box, I am un-soothed by the inexplicable fact that the bags are in twos...
So, in transfering the 80 bags from the original cardboard box to an air-tight caddy, as recommended, I have to patiently tear apart 40 pairs.
They are not even decently perforated, so care is required to avoid ripping them open, especially if you try to do several at once.

OK - this is not one of life's great tragedies, but why on earth would anybody do it like that?
Don't try to tell me it is a significant cost saving.
Do they think it somehow increases customer satisfaction?
Did nobody ever tell them?

Parting thot: "Age does not diminish the extreme disappointment of having a scoop of ice cream fall from the cone." - Jim Fiebig

Thursday, March 10, 2011

My 3 MWh

Actually 3138kWh.

That's what our solar panels have produced in exactly a year.
Very satisfactory, compared with the 2560kWh suggested (as a conservative estimate) by the salesman.
Or the 2793kWh estimated by the very sophisticated PVSYST simulation program.

But I have to expect about 1% efficiency loss per year.
Already included in the budgeting.

All I have to do now, is to enter 3138kWh on the form kindly sent by Electricité de Strasbourg, send it back & wait for the Euros to appear in the bank...
As we signed up early, when the government was still enthusiastic, we qualify for 0.58€/kWh, so should get 1820€.

For future PhotoVoltaicists, the conditions will be much less attractive.
The tax credit has been slashed from 8000€ to 4000€ & the price per kWh (for new producers) has dropped a lot & will continue to drop.

For once, it looks as though we did something right!
Famous last words?

Parting thot: "Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you." - Maori Proverb

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Watch Out for Hens' Nests!

Not really a very common road sign, but I did notice one today, which triggered this short post.

The normal, and graphic, French expression for a pothole in the road is "Nid de Poule" (Hen's Nest).

Much more frequent are the warnings "Trous en formation" which always conjure images of holes (trous) in the road in some artistic regular array, like the Red Arrows or La Patrouille de France.

The reality is less glamorous - just random potholes.
The "en formation" bit doesn't mean "in formation" - just "in process of development".

Parting thot: "You and I come by road or rail, but economists travel on infrastructure." - Margaret Thatcher

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Outlook: Fine, Fine, Fine...

I already admitted that we often watch the 1-o'clock news on TF1.
That counts as an admission since TF1 is - well, let's say a 'popular' channel.
And Jean-Pierre Pernaud's 13:00 news show is universally mocked as being the opposite of 'biting' journalism.
Anyway, we watch just that bit of TF1, if only for the heritage/beauty-spot cameos.

With amazing frequency - it seems like several times per week - J-PP has an article about yet another poor unfortunate who has sold a car but keeps getting parking & speeding tickets.

This can last for years - tickets can run to dozens or hundreds & the accumulated fines to thousands of Euros!
People tend to contest at first, but find they are beating their heads against an administrative brick wall.
Points are lost from driving licenses & fines are stopped out of wages...
There seem to be serious consequences for a lot of ordinary, helpless people.

The problem appears to be (but I can't really vouch for this) that both the seller & the buyer are supposed to inform the authorities about a car sale, but only the buyer's input causes the computers to change names & addresses for fines!
An increasing number of buyers find it is worth taking the risk of not declaring their purchase, to get immunity from speeding & parking fines.

Presumably some of these crooks get caught & punished, but they never get into the 13:00 news, or anywhere else I know of.
Presumably some of the sellers do manage to finally convince the authorities to stop pestering them & maybe even get their points & Euros back, but you never hear of that either.

There was a government reshuffle on Monday & the new Minister has just announced he wants to get the law changed & the computer systems updated by the end of March.

Parting thot: "The nation should have a tax system that looks like someone designed it on purpose." - William Simon

Monday, February 14, 2011

Any colour, so long as it's...

I remember (maybe through rose-tinted glasses?) choosing my first new bike in about 1958.
Drooling in the bike-shop window & pouring over the catalogues.

Bikes then were brightly coloured.
The one I chose was mainly in metallic middle blue, with panels of light blue outlined by fine multicoloured lines.
The bottoms of the forks were chromed, as were all the other steel bits.
The frame joints were elaborate-shaped lugs, outlined for show.
The rest was polished alloy.
With white hand grips & brake-lever covers.
And white-wall tyres.
Jewellery for boys!
All for £17-10s.

I just ordered a new bike.
It is going to cost 60 times as much, which is way more than any inflation data would allow...
For the frame, I had the choice between drab battleship grey & black.
The just-announced 11-speed gear hub (critical factor in this purchase) is light alloy, but black.
The alloy handlebars are - black.
With black grips.
The extra-cost adjustable handlebar stem - black.
Seat pillar - black.
Brakes - black.
Brake levers - you guessed it.
Alloy cranks - yep!
Saddle too.
And rims.
And tyres...

Maybe I can find a red bell?

Of course, I should have expected this.
You only have to sample any crowd to see that 80-90% of people are wearing black, black & black.
So I suppose bike manufacturers are just responding to current taste.
What a waste!

Parting thot: "I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness because it shows me the stars." - Og Mandino

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


If you look up our address in Google Maps (I am not publishing it - just believe me) you will find yourself some way down a disused road, beyond a No Entry sign.

Likewise, if you are a tradesman trying to find us by GPS, there is a 50% chance that you will get to the No Entry sign & have to phone for guidance.
Actually, we are now so used to this, that we usually manage to warn potential visitors beforehand.
But not always.

It seems that all map publishers (even Michelin) get their information from one of two sources.
NAVTEQ in USA & Tele Atlas in the Netherlands (now taken over by TomTom).

NAVTEQ has us correctly positioned.
Tele Atlas has chosen, taking itself for a tornado or angry deity, to uproot our whole road & dump it half a mile away, in no-mans-land.

Now both providers have special sites where they invite the public to provide feedback to correct errors:
Tele Atlas even sends you a polite e-mail with 32-digit reference number (they expect that many errors?) for your contribution, so you can follow its progress.

The only problem is that there is no progress.
I reported my problem first in April 2007, then again in January 2009 & August 2009.
Then the Mairie (town hall) had a go in October 2009.
And I tried again yesterday.

I am wondering what I need to do to grab their attention.
Immolation is out of the question.

Parting thot: "Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible." - Tony Robbins

Saturday, January 22, 2011


Having lived in France for 33 years, it is perhaps surprising that we (DS & I) have only just had our first trip on a TGV.

Part of our excuse is that the TGV didn't get anywhere near Alsace for the first 30 of those years.
Even if it had, the cost of using it with 2 adults & 4 kids would have been out of the question.
Not to mention that we hardly ever went anywhere we could have reached by TGV anyway.
And usually had a trailer or at least a car-full of something or other as baggage.

So what changed?
Since 2007 the TGV gets to Strasbourg, though the last 100km of track are not high-speed yet.
We usually get to travel without the kids these days.
The TGV website is getting easier to use & you can find reasonable-priced tickets if you look in time.
For once, we wanted to go to Paris, and without an Espace-full of luggage.
So that was decided - a couple of days in Paris by TGV.

I had heard of "iDTGV" which is some sort of sub-division of SNCF which sells TGV tickets (on-line only) at prices from as little as 19€ for Paris-Strasbourg.
Or even 15€ overnight.
So I went to their site (http://ventes.idtgv.com/) & managed to book OK.
But not at 19€.
That bargain price requires several months of advanced planning.
Later on, I realized I would have done better by using the normal TGV site (http://www.voyages-sncf.com/) which includes all the iDTGV trains & also has pages showing the best prices available each day for a month.

Part of the iDTGV offer is a choice of "ambiance".
Choose "iDNiGHT" & you sign up for "DJ, music, dancing, games, happenings".
Choose "iDzap" for "conviviality, laughter, conversation..."
Choose "iDzen" for "complete peace & quiet".
No hesitation there then!
We chose our iDzen seats & printed our own tickets.

So far, so good.
Except that meant 4 tickets, each A4 size in full colour at my expense...
Surely they could economise for their customers there?

A week or so later, I got an e-mail saying that the carriage number had changed & I would have to print all the tickets again!
The old tickets said wagon 18.
When I went to the reservation page, it said wagon 8.
But when I reprinted the tickets (just to pdf, not in expensive ink) they still said 18.
That went on for several days.
Finally, I contacted iDTGV & asked for clarification.
They e-mailed back quickly to confirm wagon 8 & suggested turning up with the old tickets & a copy of the e-mail.

On the day, we got to the right platform, early.
There was a nice picture of the train, showing wagon 8 next to mark "Y" on the platform.
But the train had not yet arrived by the time it should have left...
When it showed up, we wasted no time getting into wagon 8, only to find our seats occupied by other travellers with good-looking tickets.
By the time we found an official, we were already moving.
He said we should be in the iDTGV bit of the train, whereas we were actually in the ordinary TGV bit.
And they are actually 2 different trains, joined together, so you can't go from one to the other...
Fortunately there were enough spare seats, so no problem.
Except what I suppose is normal-TGV "ambiance" with fractious kids & mobile phones vying for prominence.

The actual trip is as smooth & quick as you would expect.
Impressive without feeling dramatic.

On the way back, we knew to check the map of the train carefully & sure enough the iDTGV bit was wagon 18 not wagon 8.
In any case, there were staff checking tickets & directing passengers, as you might expect.
Our seats were vacant.
But next to a solid bit of non-window, so we changed to window seats once the train moved off.
The iDzen ambiance was just what it said on the tin, and very welcome.
No kids, no phones, no music, pure hush.

I ventured through the iDzap zone on my way to the coffee bar.
No sign of "conviviality, laughter, conversation..."
Just overcrowding & lots of families with kids &/or hangovers.
Like the back end of a 747 after a 12-hour night trip.
I was very happy to get back to my iDzen & tried not to slurp my coffee too noisily.

We noticed that we were driving on the left in "France", but on the right in Alsace.
Didn't see the switch, but apparently one track swoops over the other just as they both cross the N4 near Sarrebourg.

For cross-France trips, TGV is a lot faster than a car & makes better overall sense than flying.
Providing both ends of your trip happen to be connected to the network...
It can be very cheap if you plan far ahead, or rather expensive otherwise.
It is smooth & comfortable, but not always punctual.
There is a little learning curve for booking.
iDzen is an attractive no-cost option for old fogies.

Parting thot: "Time Flies Like an Arrow - Fruit Flies Like a Banana " - Anon

Thursday, January 20, 2011

You Get What You Vote For...

I suppose most people understand that lawyers make a living by unflinchingly asserting half-truths (at best).
And wholeheartedly, avidly, defending either one side, or the opposite side of a case, depending only on who pays them.
Certainly avoiding any search for balance, compromise, truth, justice or happy outcome.

Probably most people have noticed, or have no excuse for not noticing, that a very large number of the representatives they elect, not to mention an overwhelming percentage of presidents, prime-ministers & their wives & families, are lawyers.

And yet they are still surprised by the results...

Parting thot: "Mothers all want their sons to grow up to be President, but they don't want them to become politicians in the process." - John F Kennedy