I was speaking with a German lady poolside earlier this morning. We were discussing cultural archetypes, i.e., defining concepts that are specific to particular cultures. I asked her what the German archetypal trait might be, and she said, “Accuracy”. I tried to explain the Greek archetypal trait of filotimo, or competitive generosity. I said that the most despised archetype among Greeks would be the cheapskate. She had trouble understanding the English words stingy, cheapskate, and miser. But finally, with some explanation, she got it. “Ya”, she exclaimed, “In German we say, someone with barbed wire in their pockets”. Hahahaahhaahaha……I love that!
I’ve been on vacation this week at the Club Med in Turks and Caicos, so posts have been very sparse…the technology here is what the young lady at reception called, “Island speed”.
I have taken the opportunity to re-read Dr. Will Clower’s, The French Don’t Diet Plan, an absolutely marvelous and scholarly treatise on how to love your food again and regain both your health and normal weight. It couldn’t have come at a better time; facing the buffet barrage of wonderful choices for which Club Med is famous.
If you’ve struggled with weight for years, Clower’s is a breath of fresh air that will set you free. A respected neuroscientist, Clower deals with the “how” of bringing intuition, self-awareness, and pleasure into the health and weight-control challenge. This is one of the essential reads in the annals of food.
Important to know about. I was “taken” at the Zurich train terminal in pretty much this way; distracted by an accomplice. Lost my briefcase with $2K cash in it, my camera, video, etc. Thanks to Mr. Italo for the find.
I vaguely remember being a kid and being bored. It is a stupefying experience; sitting there with “nothing” to do. Of course, I could have found things that needed doing, but those were never fun. For a kid, being bored is the diametrical opposite of having fun; as if one’s mind is geared to only two modes: bored or fun. As a result, upcoming fun events always loom large in an almost unbearable anticipation. Days are counted down like water droplets on a torturee’s forehead.
I haven’t been bored for probably 40 years or so. One factor is certainly money; when you have money, you can create your own fun. But another factor is the sheer weight of responsibility; so many things that must be done, that you need prioritized lists, checking each accomplishment off before moving to the next. Over time, the list grows until eventually, the fun stuff recedes into the background, and the anticipation isn’t for the fun that will come, but for how to fit the fun into all the things that still must be done! Fun sneaks up on you and the response is often, “Oh shit, are we leaving for the Bahamas tomorrow?!”.
Next week, we’re off to Turks and Caicos for our first vacation in almost 3 years. The wife has been making threatening noises and finally just went ahead and booked the vacation, leaving me to rearrange work commitments around the “missing” week. Of course, I realize from experience that once there, I will slowly disengage from the harness and have a wonderful time, the end of the vacation signalling its own dread, “Shit, is it already time to go back to work?!”.
Thanks to Mr. Dario for an excellent, albeit crushingly painful article, from a young lady who lost a massive amount of weight.
Depressingly accurate, especially the last two paragraphs. More or less what I’ve been saying for so many years, but people continue to go on diets, lose weight and then gain it all back. Hope springs eternal. But the solution is very elusive because the problem is so complex. I may kill the next person who says, “You just need to eat less and exercise more”!!!!!!
Some people take their small dogs with them wherever they go, usually in some small shi-shi carry case. But what do you do if you have a 65 lb. Briard like our Roxy and you like to ride a bike. Simple. Do like Norman the Briard.
Briards are extraordinarily smart dogs; some researchers say possibly the smartest of all breeds (I’ve heard the same about Australian Shepherds). Herding dogs in general are extremely smart because they have to strategize in order to corral their flock.
A number of my friends have elderly parents afflicted by dementia or Alzheimer’s. In the early stages, when people are still reasonably functional and still managing at home with a caregiver (often the other non-afflicted spouse), one of the biggest problems is making sure they don’t wander off. One of my friends’ dad used to get dressed and leave the house in the middle of the night. Luckily, the police would bring him home. Putting special locks on the door is rarely an option, since you then run the risk that they can’t get out in an emergency. It’s extremely stressful on both the caregiver and the rest of the family.
Aetrex makes some great shoes for general wear, as well as a couple of lines of customizable orthotic inserts. But more importantly they also have a line of comfortable and stylish GPS enabled shoes that can be tracked and monitored with an app. This is brilliant! And if you think about it, they’re even good if you have any chronic illness or are vulnerable for stroke or heart attack, making it possible to find you in the event something happens and you can’t communicate with people.
Five years ago, my Mom had a massive stroke while shopping. Fortunately, a lady who knew her found her wandering the street, speaking gibberish. She called us and we were able to call the ambulance and meet her at the hospital.
I’ve used a number of to-do and list management apps over the last few years, and hated them all. Yesterday, I read a review of CLEAR, a cross-platform to-do and list app that coordinates all your activities and lists through iCloud.
This is one terrific app: Simple, intuitive, and the first real alternative I’ve seen to a pencil and a sticky pad for quickly capturing and managing to-do’s and lists. And since I use a Mac, iPhone, and iPad, it easily and almost instantaneously keeps the information on all three devices. Completed items are easily marked “completed” or deleted altogether.
The Mac version is $6.99 and the iPhone/iPad version is $1.99. Well worth the money.
The Quebec government is running a series of tv ads intended to discourage under-the-table transactions between consumers and vendors. For example, a homeowner carrying his infant daughter is seen speaking to his house-painter, who has just finished painting the porch. He asks the painter if he’ll accept cash without the taxes. The painter lowers his voice and asks the homeowner, “When your daughter gets sick and you take her to the doctor, how much does it cost you?”. “Nothing” replies the homeowner. “Who pays”, asks the painter. “Well, the government, I guess” says the homeowner. “Still want to pay cash?”, asks the painter.
These ads come in the wake of the biggest corruption scandal in the Province’s history, exposing construction industry kickbacks to government officials at all levels, and resulting in the resignation of two mayor’s (Montreal’s yesterday, and Laval’s any minute now).
The stark contrast of the tv ads and reality made me think of Greece. In Greece, corruption has been so entrenched and far-reaching, and for so many generations, that no one wants to pay any taxes and does everything in their power to avoid them. A few years ago, before the economic collapse, a friend of mine in Greece called his country the “richest poor country in the EU”, highlighting the extent of the underground economy.
Governments in supposedly highly regulated countries with strong governance, nevertheless need to be aware that there is a tipping point between the “acceptable” corruption that one may attribute to a small minority as an almost inescapable part of human nature, and the systemic corruption that we see today. Once the tipping point is passed, people lose confidence that their taxes are going to their intended purpose, and the slippery-slope of black marketing becomes more attractive.