Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Not quite as hairy

I am thinking about buying a new iPhone so spent some time yesterday trying to work out who has the best deal. As is intended by the providers – this is impossible – so I will just do a deal with AT&T.

I would rather get screwed by someone I know than by a complete stranger.

I am going to get one with a big screen – because I cannot now read anything on the small screen unless I am wearing glasses. This is frustrating because when I get important emails – like from Costco or Petco – I like to know immediately what the bargains are and how much I can save on dog food.  

This will not help me with the emails from the Czech Republic and these are increasing in number. I am now getting offers for white goods and cars. I know because they have pictures.

This morning there was a slight variation on the usual road catastrophes that befall the interstates in Indiana. Usually we just have cars and trucks crashing into each other at high speed. This morning we had a truck with a load of 40,000 pounds of mangos overturn. This completely buggered everything for some hours.

Incidentally the state government is suing the company that supplied the asphalt that is used on roads in Indiana. Apparently – instead of real asphalt – the suppliers have been using a mixture of granola, maple syrup and breadcrumbs. This is why the roads fall to bits as soon as they are laid.

The mango incident reminded me that when we lived in North Queensland we had a mango tree next to our pool. When the mangos were ripe the possums would sit in the tree above the pool and drop the seeds into the pool. This stuff was very effective in clogging up the pool pump.

But in Australia we have cute possums. Ours are sort of like Taylor Swift whereas in America opossums are most unattractive and are sort of like Donald Trump – but not quite as hairy.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

I am really looking forward to it

Our barge on the Moselle river
I lost weight when I was away.

The plan was that when I came back I would continue this process by a rigorous regime of healthy eating and exercise. Well I have been too busy coughing to do anything yet and have had to cancel my personal trainer for the next two weeks.

I have noticed that when I have a really exceptional coughing fit I become unconscious. I did this once before a few years ago in Burgundy when I was coughing - and just fell to the floor dead to the world.

On this occasion I have passed out so far four times. So when I start coughing I sit down or lie on the bed. This means that I do not fall over and instead have a few seconds complete rest before awaking refreshed and ready for another cough.

There is no need to worry about this. It is a well known phenomenon and has a name (coughing syncope). I do need to ensure that I am not driving and coughing at the same time.

But I have cleaned the fridge and no unhealthy things remain – well apart from the bacon which I am keeping in case I need to kill myself in the next month or so.

There is also something green and moldy up the back of the freezer but it is glowing and I think it is radioactive - so am not going to touch it.

Incidentally Barnaby Joyce – who is Australia’s Minister for Agriculture – says that the WHO report on meat causing cancer is rubbish and we should continue as normal. And he will not change his mind even if he reads the report.  

Well I am sure that is probably what we should do – while eating a bit less meat – but I would be more confident if the pronouncement did not come from a blithering idiot who is a creationist and threatened to have Johnny Depp’s dogs executed.

I only ever sent one tweet but I thought I should boot my account into life. I am seeing each day the steaming drivel sent into the ether by such nincompoops as Donald Trump and Rupert Murdoch - and I am sure I can do better than that. There is no subtlety or wit in their fatuous pronouncements – just the witterings of silly old white men.

Also – when I have had a few drinks – I can adopt the policy as many do -of really saying what I think about people and things. Then I can spend the next few days apologizing to the world and deleting my account.

But Donald is behind now in some of the polls and is starting to incandesify and smoke is coming out of his ears. He is being beaten by Ben Carson. Holy horse feathers – anyone being beaten by that honking lunatic is indeed in big trouble.

I mean – most of the candidates have extreme views on creation, climate change, religion and women’s rights -  – but Ben Carson is batshit crazy – and I mean really, really crazy.

He is not saying phantasmagorical things because he has to – he is saying them because he means them. This is serious stuff. Compared to Ben Carson – Donald Trump is Franklin D Roosevelt.

The next debate is on Wednesday night and I am really looking forward to it.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Sack the coach

Almost as good as Vienna
I saw on TV today that the World Health Organization has said that processed foods such as ham, bacon and hotdogs cause cancer. This therefore may be my last blog so I thank you all for reading. I have bacon and eggs in the fridge and will have my last meal tonight.

The Colts gave another stupendously inadequate performance yesterday so they will probably have to sack the coach. When players play really badly they always sack the coach. It’s a bit like when horses win races they give the prize to the owner. If the horse is really lucky it gets extra oats and does not get shot.

I have never understood why they shoot horses. My late (and former) brother-in-law had a succession of really bad horses (this came after his really bad greyhound period). He once persuaded me to have a modest wager on one of the moth-eaten nags that he owned (you can bet the house on it he said) but I – having been through the greyhound period -was unlikely ever to bet anything much on a dog or horse owned by my brother –in-law.

Anyway the horse – the name of which I cannot remember – probably something like Bag of Bones – broke its leg and was shot on the spot. How is that for the double whammy!

A waiter in the airport at Washington asked me where I came from and when I said that I came from Indianapolis he asked me how I felt about the really stupid and abysmally awful fake punt stuff up that lost the Colts the game last week. I said I – like millions of football fans – had no idea what it was or why it was done or what it was trying to achieve. The coach does not know either – so what chance do I have.

I have started feeding the birds again. Well I have started putting seed out anyway but they have not yet found it. I have not fed them all winter so that they do not get lazy and lose their bird-like habits. I imagine word will soon spread and we will have another Alfred Hitchcock winter.

I have sort of fed the squirrels spasmodically but will now keep the corn topped up.

I think Cate is about to go to Germany. She had a wonderful time in Holland – which is indeed a beautiful country – and I know because I cycled most of it at full speed behind a crazy bike guide who was fixated about getting from point A to point B as soon as possible.

Stop at any time and take a photo she said. What she did not say was that she was not going to stop and that if you did you would have to go like the hounds of hell were after you to catch the group. So I took many photos of Holland with one hand on the camera – while riding at full speed.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Welcome to the White House Madam President

I arrived back home at about 12:30 AM on Friday. This was only 5 hours later than planned – but we are talking about airlines which use a different time zone – a bit like EST – it is called FUT.

My flight was 2 hours late leaving Paris so I missed my connection to Indianapolis – not by much – just about 10 minutes – and had to wait 5 hours for the next one.  So my total travel time was about 19 hours.

I spent my time reading about the Benghazi Inquisition and thoroughly enjoyed every morsel. I had watched most of it live and thought it tremendous theater. I will be sad when they finally wrap it up in November next year.

So I collected Georgia on Saturday morning and she was very pleased to see me – but does miss the family she was with for a month. However she is very pleased to sleep on the bed with me and I am sure will be just fine. I don’t think the cats are pleased to see her.

My cold has progressed nicely and is now bronchitis and  a few other things that I cannot remember. I saw the nurse at the 'minute clinic’ at CVS and he subscribed some antibiotics which I am shoveling in at the moment. They call it the ‘minute clinic’ because the average waiting time is an hour.

I had to venture out again this morning to get cough medicine because my spasmodic coughing fits now last for an hour at a time and keep Georgia and the cats awake.

Cate is beetling about in a place called Leiden in the Netherlands – no  don’t know why – and has just been for a long walk along the canals. Next I think she is going to Germany - and will be home next Saturday.

Australia beat Argentina in the Rugby world cup semi-final and will now by walloped and pummeled into oblivion by the All Blacks in the final. I am used to this sort of thing because I am a Colts supporter.

Carson has overtaken Trump in the polls in Iowa. Yes this is the batshit crazy Carson who is a creationist, a homophobe, believes that men go into prison straight and come out gay, thinks that the holocaust was caused by gun laws, is a climate change denier – and thinks that the scientists were sent by Satan. Holy snapping duck doo doo – he is madder than Trump.

It does not get any better than this. 

Welcome to the White House Madam President.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

I will not mention the dog poo

I am alive and in Paris at the Hotel Rocroy - which is close to where Molly lives. Cate is in Florence today and gets back tonight. Then she flies to Amsterdam and then to Frankfurt.

I am planning my departure on a United flight on Friday and will pick up Georgia on Saturday. I imagine by now that she has forgotten me and will hide behind Michelle’s legs.

Some time ago in America my friend John gave me a cold and this blossomed when we started cycling in Germany and got cold and wet. Consequently I spent two days in bed on the boat and have so far not recovered. I have slept most of the time since we got to Paris and am only now emerging from the woolly fug which I have inhabited for three weeks.

But the cycling was the  best we have ever done and we enjoyed it immensely. We were on the boat with 16 Americans who cycled together with a guide. We did a self guided tour and had lots of coffee and beer stops.

The Americans included a man we called the Sergeant Major. He was ex-army and just loved to try and organize everyone. On the second night he announced that the women would sit on one side of the dining room and the men on the other.

When Cate went to sit down he told her that she was on the other side. She said I don’t think so and sat down. I explained to him that Cate did not take instruction and from then on he sulked and organized everyone else.

He got the Americans to do everything except eat naked with feathers stuck in their bottoms but we just sat together quietly and had enormous fun. 

I had forgotten two things about Paris. First that there is such a phantasmagorical array of food and cheese - and that every person and their dog smokes. 

I have been coming to Paris for 35 years - sometimes twice a year -   but I still forget this. 

I will not mention the dog poo.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

She is as happy as a clam

The garden gizmos
I looked at the letter from the car dealer and it said that I can register the car online.  So I went online and completed all the details and then it said that I cannot register the car online.

So I went to the BMV and John came with me for moral support. I was served by an apparently mute Yeti who stared intently at my papers and at one stage paused and declared ‘harrumph’. Oh no I thought – I will need to get a bat’s ear and a newt’s eyeball. But he moved on and the entire transaction was completed in silence.

I showed the Hendersons the sights of Indianapolis and they were mightily impressed. That may be because they live in a town that has a population of 14,000 - but they both thought it was very nice here – which in fact it is. 

I tried to explain American politics to them but it was like teaching calculus to Georgia. She is pleased to be given the opportunity but has no idea what you are talking about.

I told them yes it was all very strange but they just needed to go with the flow and eventually there will ne a new administration and they will fight like cats and dogs with the other party for another four years and achieve nothing.

I showed them the Gander Mountain gun shop and this knocked their socks off – especially when I said I could walk out of there in an hour with the gun(s) of my choice and a bucket load of ammo.

Cate bought some new gizmos for the garden and John and I hung them on the coach house wall. We drilled only one hole more than necessary and are happy with the job. Importantly – Cate is very happy.

On the weekend I used Uber for the first time. This was very exciting and we got to ride in a Lexus and a Cadillac. We proved that you cannot fit three adults comfortably in the back seat of a Lexus or a Cadillac – but we did not have far to go.

Tonight we are flying to Frankfurt and then catching a train to Koblenz to start our bike and barge trip. We will be cycling and boating through Germany, Belgium and France so I will need to dust the cobwebs off my German and French. 

Michelle had a few problems with Georgia at the start of her stay and she said Georgia was unhappy at night in the crate. I said that Georgia sleeps on the bed with us – so now Georgia sleeps on the bed with Michelle – and is as happy as a clam.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

There is just so much you can do

I have been terribly slack and have not blogged for ages. There is just so much you can do when you are eating and drinking non stop.

We went to South Haven and stayed in a little cottage and did all the touristy things such as visiting Saugatuck and Holland. It was the end of the season so there were very few people – which is our favorite state of any place we visit.

We had an execrable meal of burnt offerings in a nondescript restaurant which came highly recommended. I bought a tea towel.

We drove to Chicago through Gary which was once a thriving little city but is now – from what we saw - a festering dump. It is probably like a mini Detroit which was annihilated when the car industry moved on. It is a sad looking place and we did not spend any time there.

Chicago is one of our favorite cities and we had a fine time looking at the architecture and just cruising around. We stayed in the Virgin hotel which was just fabulous and will become one of our favorite hotels.

Guests get free drinks during happy hour every evening and this is just not helpful when you have a night in front of you.  

John and Christine love Indiana.

I cooked some good meals and we had fine wine and very good local cheese.

John and Christine went to the outlet market at Edinburgh and John escaped and – while unsupervised – bought a new briefcase.

He was very proud of the fact that he beat the seller down from $300 to $80. He discovered next day that it was made out of plastic – not leather as he was led to believe.

We are trying to convince John that he needs a new computer. He has an 8 year old Toshiba laptop that weighs about 10 pounds and is absolutely clapped out. He also has a camera that belongs in the Smithsonian.

This is a man who recently bought a new Jaguar.

I may have convinced to buy a Mac. His eyes opened in wonder when I showed him the things my desktop and notebook Macs could do.

John likes a challenge so I got him to mow the lawn. I do think he will offer to do this again.