Sunday, January 27, 2013

An Unexpected Morning ...

As I was idly flipping through news stories the other day I came upon this one which appears to show that, once again, the French élite

a) do not get it, whatever it is, and
b) are intent in shooting themselves in the foot.

Pissed off at the fact that most large multi-nationals pay sod-all corporation tax (never mind that the board would be failing in its fiduciary duties to shareholders if it arranged matters so that it paid more than necessary), four cabinet ministers (amongst their number, in a superb but doubtless unintentional flight of irony, the minister for Small/Medium Business and Innovation) commissioned a report to suggest things that might correct this obviously unpalatable situation.

The authors apparently wasted no time in repairing to le Bar du Centre and inhaling a couple of litres before setting to work, for a main idea of the report is that companies such as Amazon, Facebook and Google should pay French taxes on the data they collect on their French users, the amount due to be calculated on, amongst other things, the potential monetary value of said data.

The justification seems to be that the photos, blogs and search histories compiled by the companies constitute the result of "work" performed for the companies by the (sadly) unpaid users of their services, and that the companies in question profit unfairly from this work. Basically, they would like Google to pay payroll tax on the presumed value of Blogger posts, and photos of cats in compromising positions. (Personally I reckon they're sitting on a little gold-mine with me, but I digress.)

One of my teachers in the way-back whenever used to say, diplomatically, that such concepts were "interesting" - by which he meant, of course, "rubbish" - but you have to hand it to French intellectuals: just when you think they've run out of steam they find a new way of making you split your sides with laughter. And the fact that they're not actually trying to be humorous makes it even funnier.

Although I have to admit that that over-rated egoistic pompous windbag Sartre never made me laugh. Fume, yes, and want to strangle small animals, I admit, but never once have I wished even to giggle on confronting the turgid sod.

And there's another thing: as one will, I had occasion to cart Stacey off to A&E at some ungodly hour this morning (combination of a really bad case of the 'flu and her tachycardia: never, even after a marathon session with Jeremy watching "Walking Dead", have I seen someone so grey), and although I think I should, I do not feel a better man for it.

This is due to the Benny Hill syndrome, wherein it is universally acknowledged that any man turning up with a woman at some public facility is assumed to be her husband, with dubiously hilarious results.

I suppose I got off lightly, because it wasn't until she actually got released after blood tests and godnose what else that I was publicly upbraided by the head nurse (a rather attractive brunette by the way, maybe I should have considered a career in medicine) who loudly wondered how I could not have seen that she was sick and not eating, and that I should really pull my act together and make sure she was kept warm and properly fed. With the underlying threat of a visit from social services if I didn't improve.

I tried - feebly - to protest that it wasn't really my fault but no-one was listening and anyway I felt so guilty that I was starting to believe that maybe I was some sort of inhumane brute. So that's the last time I do a favour for anyone.

Also, as there seems to be some rule or ancient charter or something that says that in a hospital you absolutely have to hang around for three hours or so whilst machines go ping! and, very busily, nothing happens apart from a growing feeling of tedium which makes you start to look for repeating patterns in the lino flooring just for something to do in between the odd apparition of a nurse just checking that no-one has actually died yet, nor seems likely to do so, I was terminally bored and kind of late to the market.

On the bright side, that did mean I was still around when Bryan made himself available to buy me that drink he owed me, for solving a little problem he had with a jquery script on the website for his language school.

I swear to god, he could have done it himself with five minutes busy googling and a few notions of arcane language syntax (I must admit I have an advantage on him there, having being exposed to any number of oddball computer languages over the years, even SNOBOL from the Griswold family, and I can recognise something that looks like a regular expression when I see it and then work back from that) but still, it would have been better had he just followed my instructions to the letter.

I mean, I explicitly said that he needed to change this line here, and add this code after the existing code, so what did he do? Stuck the new code in before the existing code, that's what. And of course that didn't work. What? Because the event handlers weren't hooked up before he triggered the onclick event, that's why.

Whatever, I was still feeling quite pleased with myself because, completely on the off-chance, I'd wandered into Franprix and found some golden syrup. And some Roses Lime Marmelade, which is an added bonus.

Franprix, should you be wondering, is kind of like Felix Potin used to be back in the day, when Ian would go off to one to get a couple of six-franc bottles of white wine/floor-cleaner (and in reality they were half that price, 'cos you got three francs back when you took the empty bottle back, which is an inducement to alcoholism if you ask me) and some chalky round thing with aspirations to Camembert: smallish city-centre supermarkets.

This particular one was constructed inside an old cinema, and I guess to get the building permit they had to promise to keep the old Art Deco stained glass, which was the actual reason I went in there. Sadly, with the big zoom on the camera rather than the 35mm but whatever, I can always go back another time.

Anyway, the point is that as I was moving around trying to get as decent a shot as possible, I literally stumbled on their Alimentation du Monde section and found row upon row of golden syrup and diverse jams and marmelades and Lea & Perrins and green curry paste and peanut butter, all at about half the price of Carrefour, when Carrefour actually has any in stock.

So I grabbed a couple of tins and took them back with me to the Beer Tree, and whilst I was waiting for Bryan to turn up I made them taste it.

The general consensus was that it wasn't half bad, so I'm sure I've left a couple of ideas bubbling around in the cook's mind. (Which reminds me, Jerry has a second interview on Tuesday at a restaurant in Montmelian. Would be rather good if he gets that job.)

Before I go, an edifying thought ... some of you may remember crabs from your dissolute past: it seems that our old friend the pubic louse is becoming an endangered species, due to the increasingly rapid deforestation of its native habitat. And for once, I think you'd be hard put to it to prove that this itself is a result of global warming

1 comment:

  1. I'll just leave this here: