Friday, June 20, 2008

Zimbabwe - hyper inflation

The press is always going on about Zimbabwe having an inflation rate of 200,000%

It's hard to understand what numbers like that mean.

2 days ago I tried a currency calculation on

It gave 1USD worth $4,952,500,000.00 ZW Dollars.

Today I tried it again.

1 USD now = 6,718,055,555.56 ZW dollars.

That's a drop of nearly 2 Billion dollars in just 2 days. the currency is devaluing at the rate of 1 Billion dollars a day.

Try it yourself and see how much its fallen since this post.

It's abit of a worry since my parents still live there.

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

This is what it feels like to have hay fever

My eyes itch and are red & teary, my nose runs like a tap.
When I need to sneeze, which is often, it is difficult, because the hay fever has aggrevated my asthma. So that deep breath in before the sneeze? I can't get it in. So I do a wheezy half-hearted gasp for air and then a feeble "chbibblechthth!" which sends a dribble of snot down my chin. And because it is only a half sneeze, it doesn't satisfy. So there'll be a quick succession of rubbish sneezes: "wheeze....chbble!, wheeze....chabropplech!, wheeze...fffchhischh!
The back of my throat and soft pallate have the itch that can't be scratched. But I try and scratch with the back of my tongue, and by making snorking, grunting noises down my throat so I sound like a cat hoiking up furballs.
When I'm sleeping, the asthma slowly builds up until I sound like a kettle coming to boil: "wheeeeeeee.....heeeeeeeeee". 4 seconds silence. "wheeeeeeee.....heeeeeeeeee" Poor Fiona. It finally wakes me up and I have to grope around in the dark for the Ventolin. A few puffs and the whezing stops. But just before I drop of to sleep again, it comes back. Like a mosquito: "whee........hee!"

Yes, Summer is here, and grass needs to be mowed.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

French learning English & vice versa

It's a lazy blogging, slapping up YouTube videos but I like to share ...

The first is a great sequence of Steve Martin as Inspector Clouseau trying to learn English.

The second is from Friends. Phoebe trying to teach Joey to speak French.

The third is an advert for French lessons.

The last is a delightful young french woman telling us what NOT to say in French. I love it when she says "Don't do zat"

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Gene Kelly was a short-arse

One of the most beautiful, sexy and graceful women ever to appear in film died yesterday.
Cyd Charisse was born March 8, 1922 and her real name was Tula Ellice Finklea. Thankfully, because her older brother couldn't say "sister" when he was little she was called "Sid" from early on.
Her website with lots of pics here.
She took up dancing to build up her strength after suffering from Polio. At 14 she auditioned for the Ballet Russe and toured Europe and the USA as part of their corps de ballet. To fit in with the programme for the nearly all-Russian company, she was first billed as Celia Siderova, than as Maria Istromena.
She first appeared in film in 1943 in a ballet sequence in the musical, "Something to Shout About."
"Singing in the Rain" with Gene Kelly was a breakthrough. The vid is embedded below.
Cyd was 5 foot 6, and yet she looked so lithe and tall. When you see her next to Kelly you realise he was a bit of a titch, though pretty bloddy fit & strong with it.
I've always preferred Kelly to Astaire. Cyd Charisse danced with both of them and said they were very different.
In her autobiography, Charisse compared the two leading men, saying Astaire's coordination was better than Kelly's, but Kelly was the stronger of the two, adding: "When he lifts you, he lifts you!"
"To sum it up, I'd say they were the two greatest dancing personalities who were ever on screen. But it's like comparing apples and oranges. They're both delicious,"

Watch the "Silk Stockings" sequence. Was she hot or what?

Telegraph Article
Obituary in Telegraph

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Why I left Britain to live in France

A convicted criminal has had his curfew lifted because the electronic tag he was forced to wear did not look good with his shorts.

A self-confessed supplier of heroin. It seems like the script for a sketch on Little Britain, but no, it is your actual, real life news from the BBC.

In many parts of the world, heroin possesion and traffic carries a death sentence. In ZaNuLabour Britain it gets you nine months, suspended for two years.

And then, you get to go back to court, and have your lawyer argue "the tag would not look good with the shorts he was required to wear as his new uniform."

And the judge will say "What nonsense, stop wasting my time" "Wearing an electronic tag is not a fashion item when it comes to working in shorts and trying to sell windsurfing equipment." and rule that your tag may be removed, thus overturning the pitiful previous sentencing.

It is important when reading and/or writing about stuff like this that a stiff drink is at hand and a couch nearby so you can go have a little lie down to avoid the anurism that is likely to occur as the blood boils in your brain.


Monday, June 16, 2008

The baby with the bathwater

New York dog sucked into street cleaner

These machines are supposed to sweep up the dog-shit, not the dog as well!

The 57-year-old said he believed the truck had exceeded the speed limit in the area and was investigating legal options.
The city Department of Sanitation called the incident "a rare and unfortunate accident."

I'm sure these machines are more complicated to manoevre than you might imagine.

I while ago I made a post about the guy at the factory who got his head crushed in the machinery.

Apparantly he was a bit of a numpty before the accident. His air-headedness was probably a major factor in the accident occuring. Anyway, he's back at work and more doolaly than before. So the bosses are thinking what they can do with him so he won't be a danger to himself and others.

"I know", says one, "we can put him on the sweeping machine. He can drive around, sweeping up. What harm can come from that?"

So we'd gotten used to seeing him driving around on this machine, a bit like the ones you see at airports, it's got rotating brushes and a big vacuum cleaner and an orange flashing light. The guys at work swap stories at the breaks of his latest exploits. For example, he was seen driving the thing outdoors, taking it to one of the tips, to empty it. It had been raining and he was driving it, with brushes and vacuum going, through all the mud and puddles, great clods of mud flying about. The machine had to spend a day having the mud cleeared out of it and having the brushes replaced.

I was at my press when I heard him in the corridor behind me, seemingly stuck on tight lock, the machine whirling round like a mad thing, with him clinging on, mouth open, eyes half closed. There was a great burnt rubber scorch mark on the floor after he'd gone.

It's very sad really.

The end came, we had just left for our break, and Mr Sweeper Man was in action nearby. We came back from the break, and the press was dead. No power to the console. or to any of the other consoles on the line. How mysterious. Pascal immediately asked Mr Sweeper Man if he had accidentally bumped anything. He pointed to one of the bank of electrical cabinets that line the wall.
We called the electricians. They poked about with their testers trying to find the answer. The answer was in front of us. If we had only followed the clear vacuumed path of the sweeper we would have seen it leading directly to one of the electrical cabinets. And we would have seen that 4 banks of circuit breakers had been "swept" by the machine as it did a tight turn. the end result was 2 hours of the presses out of action and an electrical engineer having to upload the presses' programs from a laptop.
And while that was going on, Mr. Sweeper Man went and DID THE SAME THING at the other side of the factory, taking out the robot arms that pack the tiles onto pallets.

It's not funny, it's tragic. I haven't seen him since. Those sweeper machines weigh a ton. they have steerable rear wheels like a forklift and are avery bit as dangerous. I hope they find a decent solution for him.

It is of such things that legends are made. The still tell of the maniak fork-lift driver, who, while loading a german lorry, put his forks through the tyres, bursting them with a loud explosion. He also knocked over a lorry load of tomatoes while putting tiles into a truck that was going to carry a shared load. And also put his fork-lift through a brick wall, and when found, in his fork-lift, surrounded by bricks and dust said "It wasn't me"

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It's too cute...

Too much candy from Capucha on Vimeo.
Turn up the speakers and enjoy. The cutest little french girl in nail-biting sweetie drama.
With sub-titles

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

It's in the stars

I make no apologies for my opnion of astrology and astrologers. It's bullshit and they are either deluded or hucksters. Or both.

imagine my surprise and disappointment to find that the French football team manager Raymond Domenech is a keen astrologer and uses astrology to help choose players for the team.

Domenech has admitted to distrusting Scorpios, such as Robert Pirès. This led to the choosing of Vikash Dhorasoo who played an important part in qualifying but not in the finals. He later fell out with Dhorasoo after he made a behind the scenes film called "Substitute".His decision to leave out FC Barcelona star Ludovic Giuly in favour of Franck Ribéry, and subsequent refusal to explain that decision, left many French players and fans mystified. [1]. Domenech chose Pascal Chimbonda, a low-profile player with no international experience, for the squad. Domenech's selection for the France's World Cup squad was further criticised when he publicly announced that Fabien Barthez would start ahead of Lyon goalkeeper Grégory Coupet. This decision was met with derision in the French press and also led to Coupet walking out of the national squad before the tournament, though he was later to return. [2] His exclusion of A.S Roma back bone defender, Philippe Mexès, has also raised a few eyebrowes. Mexès, named Hope of the year in 2000 and being an all star defender for A.S Roma since his arrival to the team, still has to participate in a competitive senior tournament under Domenech.

from Wikipedia

His mistrust of Scorpios means he would never have rated Maradonna (Born October 30)

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More False Friends

Some more of those french words that sound similar to english words but have a different meaning.

I think all newcomers to France trip up over the differeece between monnaie (change as in loose change or spare change) and money which is l'argent. Cash on the other hand is called liquid pronounced "leekeed".

Éventuellement in french implies "possibly" or "if need be" whereas eventually in english implies that something will occur, but at a later time.

This next one is a real pronunciation hassle:
In french a single s is pronounced as a z, and a double s as a soft, normal s. So when some English people pronounce dessert like "dez-urt" and desert like "dez-it" it causes mass confusion amongst the french.

These next few are a minefield:
baisser (pronounced with a soft s) means to lower.
baiser (pronounced with a z) is coarse, and means to fuck.
un bisou (pronounced with a z) or un bize is a kiss.
So, asking for a kiss, or trying to say "I kissed her" is fraught. If you're talking about kissing, use the verb embrasser to be safe, or use the noun, "je voudrais un bize" or "Vous ne me donnez pas un bisou?"

If using the verb baisser to mean "lower" pronounce it properly. Telling someone to hurry up and fuck the forklift doesn't help.

Lastly, your homework. practice these toung-twisters:
Une bien grosse grasse mère avec de biens beaux gros gras bras blancs

Des blancs pains, des bancs peints, des bains pleins

Trois gros rats gris dans trois gros trous ronds rongent trois gros croûtons ronds.

Un chasseur sachant chasser sait chasser sans son chien de chasse.

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Sunday, June 08, 2008

How English sounds

Over lunch and a few glasses of wine our friend Bernadette told us a phrase that the french reckon, if said quickly, sounds like English:

"Tes laitues naissent-elles? Yes! Mes laitues naissent!"*

So English must sound very sibalent to french ears.

Sge also gave us a phrase that they reckon sounds German, and I agree:

"Baisse ta gaine Berthe que je tate!"**

Said with the right rythm it comes out like "Bestagen bertke schtadt" (Which means nothing in German"

In the spirit of mock language I give you the Swedish chef

*Are your lettuces sprouting? Yes! My lettuces are sprouting.
**Drop your corset Berthe, so I can squeeze your tits.

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Saturday, June 07, 2008

Old & Warty

Wisewoman: When I fancy people, I sleep with them. Oh, I have to drug them first of course! Being so old and warty.

A classic line from Blackadder.

And now I find I am in the same predicament. Of course I don't have to drug the people I fancy, my smooth charm, quick wit and buns of steel still work their magic.

But I do have a wart.

So I've got some stuff called Cryogena. Its an aerosol of liquid nitrogen (I think). You fit a little foam pad into a a plastic key, push the key into the aerosol for a few seconds and then apply the super-cold foam pad to the wart.

The advert shoes a smiling laughing teenager with a skateboard, caring not a jot as his mum zapz his wart.

I did it and it bloody well hurt.

I know the blogosphere are on the edge of their collective seats to find out if the cure worked. I will post phtographic evidence of a wart-free well-toned thigh as proof. As soon as it is
a. wart-free
b. well toned


Friday, June 06, 2008

Revisionist History

In the same manner, that is is a crime to deny the Holocaust (or Shoa) as it is called in France, a french blogger will go to court on 17 June in Tulle, Haute Vienne, for publishing an account on his blog of the massacre at Oradour sur Glane.
According to his site, the massacre took place because the SS, while searching for a cache of arms, known to them to have been hidden there by an active Maquis, had not searched some of the men who were packed in the church with all the women and children.
It was these armed resistance members who kicked off the massacre.
That a massacre took place is of course undeniable. 642 men, women and children. Revisionist versions like this one take root because:
a. There were very few surviving witnesses.
b. Many questions remain unanswered, even after the trial of the SS soldiers (who were French, from Alcase & Lorraine, and got off very lightly

The author of the blog gives no source material for all his information, which is a great shame.

He is being brought to trial in a civil action by the collectif Maquis de Corrèze. They say they came across the blog in March. They feel that the content of the blog as a whole is false, and want to maintain correct history on the web, so that children researching history won't find corrupt history.
See also (in English) Oradour-sur-Glane 10th June 1944

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Thursday, June 05, 2008

Jambes Lourdes - Heavy Legs

French TV is full of adverts for treatment of a dreaded syndrome - Heavy Legs.

Fi and I had never even heard of the malady of Heavy Legs until we started watching french TV. Now every night we are treated to adverts showing women tiredly trudging up stairs, then, after taking product X, lightly skipping up the same stairs.

A Google search on "heavy legs" on nets 460,000 results while a search on "jambes lourdes" on pulls a whopping 646,000. French menopausal women are obsessed with heavy legs.

But British women suffer too -
ANTISTAX Leg Vein Health Capsules - a clinically proven natural health supplement - asked 400 women over 45 if they suffered from problems with their legs and also asked how they felt it affected their daily lives. The results were astounding!
- 75% said they suffered with leg health issues
- 50% said they suffered with TAHLC (Tired, Aching, Heavy Legs
- 71% said TAHLC interfered with their daily lives
- 75% said it affected them more than the menopause!
- 75% said it affected them more than sight deterioration
- 77% expressed concern for their leg health
- 66% are concerned about the pain and discomfort caused
- 51% said they are hindered in their daily lives by having to
keep their feet up as a result
- Women over the age of 45 are more likely to suffer with TAHLC than
thread, spider or varicose veins and find TAHLC more disruptive to
their everyday lives than these other leg health problems

Most of the adverts for heavy leg remedies are herbal type snake oil stuff. The market is huge, and I am very suspicious of the efficacy of this stuff. I'm also very suspicious of surveys conducted by companies that sell a "cure"

Here is one of the more popular french remedies "Jouvence" by l'Abbé Soury.

The blurb says: the formula is based on plants (Hamamélis, Viburnum, Calamus, Piscidia) traditionally recognised for the properties against heavy legs.

Strangly, a google image search on "jambes lourdes" seems to show more "jambes svelte et legère" I feel obliged to post one for your (my) edification.

Found at

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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Get the bucket I'm gonna puke!

via Devils Kitchen I find out about a mob called Les Jeunes Européens Fédéralistes, a bunch of painfully annoying young people who are gung-ho a&bout a larger, constitutionalised Federal Europe.

Why are they annoying?

Watch their video.

Watching it may cause nasea and rage blackouts.

As DK says:
"Murder them all, the nauseating French bastards...*

* Not because they are French, you understand, but because they are nauseating, fucking naive federalists. I mean, what kind of stupid cunt would associate "democracy" with the European Union?"

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