Thursday, April 28, 2016

Uncanny Valley

A depressing look at what its like to be in your 20s, surrounded by wealthy, successful people - and you're not.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016


While jumping from site to site, I came across this headline on Alternet:

Gutless Democrats Fear Fights: Why Triangulating 

Neoliberal Clintonites Back Big Business Over People

when it suddenly occurred to me:  sites which use characterizations such as "Gutless Democrats" and "Neoliberal Clintonites" to describe people or groups deal in hieroglyphics - in images, not nuance.  It suggests that they've given up thinking; 'My mind is made up, and that's that'. 

There are treehouses, and then there are ....

Monday, April 25, 2016


Garmin has decent GPS maps but their download process feels like it was designed in the Soviet Union, circa 1950....


In the grand scheme of things, its not that big a deal when someone writes a book, you like it, and then they write a sequel which -- well, sucks, more or less.  Like Oh, crap, I have to write another one? Um, let's see, what did the first one have, lets do more of that, only like MORE, lots more.  And maybe no one will notice how thin the plot is.

Then again, perhaps it just happened.  Certainly, for the first, things went reasonably well for about 75% of the book, and then the lead character, who always had these semi-magical gifts, now had MORE of them, and was stronger, faster, smarter....  so maybe it was just hey, thats the trend.  And if I write a third book, the character will be able to fly, and to bend steel in her bare hands.

Whatever.  It's depressing.  Because I liked that first one.

Sunday, April 24, 2016


I don't like that many people.  I don't dislike people, its just that there are not all that many people about whom I care, whom, if something goes wrong for them, I will want to help, on the high end of the scale, or at least be willing to help without misgivings, at the low end.

As it happens, most of the people about whom I feel that way are French.  One is Canadian.  And two are American.  You can probably guess who those two are.

I am surprised that the people I like tend to be people I've met through Conversation Exchange.  That's not meant to imply that all of the connections there are without fault; I've met people there with whom there's been no emotional connection, no I like these people feeling.  But for several of them, right now -- one living in Lille, three living in Paris, one living in Toulouse,  one in Aix-en-Provence, one in Nice, one in Villelaure , and one in Lyon, plus one in Montreal -- I really like them.

Which is unusual for me.

Friday, April 22, 2016


I'm male, and I'm retired, and I'm old enough to be getting Social Security payments, not to mention being alarmed when I see the occasional article about pension funds that are cutting payments because, you know, their math sucked, go figure.

In other words, I get it that I'm not young enough to get away with snarky comments about old guys.

But, hey?  When I went to the grocery store this morning, and the aisles were just filled with slow moving guys peering at shelves as if they'd never been in a store before, or stopping right at an intersection so as to have a leisurely conversation with a friend, or just moving really, really, slowly....  apparently, I'm still of an age when I can mutter God's sake, dude, get out of my way.  Softly, but intently.

I know, my time is coming.  Probably sooner than I think.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Friday, April 15, 2016


This evening I found out that when I have been saying that I have some difficulty in understanding French when spoken quickly, or in a noisy environmennt, or by multiple people simultaneously -- I was understating the level of difficulty.. 

Dramatically understating it.

So much so, the thought why even try has lodged itself in my head.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016


I posted this before, about 3 years ago, but I just came across it again, and I liked it.  What a surprise.  So....

No, Really

I love when people who write articles extolling a vacation spot include a phrase like this:

Although I enjoyed a media rate during my most recent visit to the [insert name of fabulous destination here], my opinions are my own.

Oh, really?