Saturday, September 29, 2007

Jesus has returned

And he plays for the French rugby team.
As France progresses (with some difficulties) through the world cup, the media have launched a new darling, a new hero for us. He is Sebastien Chabal, a towering monster whose beard and flowing hair have earned him the nickname (among others) of Jesus.

Here you can see how he has changed over the years. I hope there's no steroid abuse going on here . . .

And finally, one of many, many versions of clips of Chabal's tackles on France's New Zealand tour. We'll ignore the fact that we lost all the matches . . .

I am very pleased to be able to make a blog ontry on christianity, France and rugby all in one go.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The French sense of humour . . .

The marketing dept of Hasbro, France, distributors of the board game Monopoly, decided to ask internet users to nominate and vote for a list of cities for the upcoming new French edition of the game. The winner will replace the rue de la Paix, the most expensive street on the classic french version of the game.
So far so normal.
Except that some cunning sods decided to nominate the town of Montcuq in the region of Lot.
You see, Montcuq sounds the same as "mon cul" or "my arse". 37 years ago there was a famous TV sketch where a reporter goes to Montcuq and interviews the mayor and others about the town. He asks, for example, about the traffic. "Are there many blockages in Montcuq?" "Is Montcuq well lit at night?"

The poor saps being interviewed play it dead straight.
Anyway, if Hasbro stick by their rules, "My Arse" may end up on the Monopoly board. When interviewd by the french newspaper Le Figaro, they tried to put on a brave face, hailing the operation as a success with more than 270000 votes registered, with still 2 weeks to go before voting closes to come up with a solution.
I really hope they don't fudge it. The hours of fun that could be had all over France. "You've landed on my arse. That's going to cost you, my arse doesn't come cheap!"


Monday, September 24, 2007

Health & Safety

While I've been on my 4 days end of shift rest, a guy on another shift was nearly killed when his head got squashed by machinery. More on that later.

Accident statistics in France are calculated thus:
In your working career you would work for 42 years.
There are 52 weeks in a year, at 5 days a week that gives 260 working days. Allowing for holidays, public holidays & stuff we'll go with 200 working days a year at 8 hours a day which gives us 1600 working hours in a year, thus a career of 67,200 hours.
If we allow for one serious accident in your working career we go with the calulation of 1/67,200 which is a small number so we multiply by a million to get something useful. It comes out at 14.8, say 15.
So if yoy have one serious accident in your working career you've hit an accident frequency level of 15.
In France, the national average is 45. That is, 3 serious accidents in a working career. Now, say the average company has 200 employees. At the national average of 3, there will be 600 serious accidents at that "average" factory during the 42 years the "average" employee is there.
A serious accident is defined as one where you have to have time off to recuperate.
For every 600 serious accidents there will be 60 very serious accidents, ie: loss of a finger/hand/eye or some other kind of handicapping/debiltating accident.
And for every 60 very serious accidents there will be one death.
Remember these are averages. Some factories may have no deaths in 42 years, some may have more than one.
In France, all companies have to declare what their accident frequency level is.
At our factory it is currently below 2. This is very good. It also means that if you are going for a job interview at a factory, ask to see their accident frequency level. If it is over 15, consider not working there, because the chances are, during your career there there will be one death and 60 very serious accidents. And it could be you!
Back to this numpty that got his head squashed. I can call him a numpty because it looks like he's going to be OK. If he had died my tone might have been more somber.
It seems that at the end of his post, at 3;30 in the morning, he clumbed UNDER a safety barrier on all fours with a broom to start cleaning up, WITHOUT stopping the machinery. While under the machinery, 2 massive steel bars descended to pick up a line of tiles and his head got squashed under the bars.
When he emerged, with blood coming from his ears and mouth he had a broken jaw, a fractured skull, and both cheekbones crushed. He washed the blood from his face and went to the boss's office. The boss called the emergency services immidiately and he was taken to the ER at St Junian where he was x-rayed and them immediately transferred to Limoges for mor x-rays and scans.
Luckily he never lost consciousness and no brain damage sustained. He will start reconstructive surgury on his jaw and cheekbones tomorrow.
Don't mess with big dangerous hydraulic machinery and never run with scissors!

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Sunday, September 23, 2007


As nearly 3 months goes by without a post, only the whistling sound of the wind was heard as a tumbleweed blew through the blog . . .

Normal service will resume shortly.