Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from August, 2015

GREECE AND THE EURO - TAKE TWO

OK. Let's revue.

A couple of weeks ago, I predicted that the Europeans understood that a major portion of the Greek debt was going to have to be forgiven, that European banks would have to begin printing money if they wished to make the holders of Greek debt whole, and the Euro would hold at its floor of $1.10 or thereabouts given that such a result had already been figured into its value.

It now appears that the Germans have convinced the Troika (the EU, European Central Bank, and International Monetary Fund) to hold firm and require that Greek debt be honored in full by Greece by itself, that the money to do so could be squeezed out of a Greek economy that would grow in spite of harsh austerity measures imposed by the EU, and as a result of that (and other factors) the Euro has popped up by about 3% against the US dollar.

Was I wrong? No. My timing was just a bit off.

The idea that the Greek economy can grow sufficiently to pay off its debt is simply ludicrous, whether it succee…

HANDICAPPING THE 2016 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION - AUGUST, 2015

As John Oliver has said, there will be babies born before the 2016 Presidential election whose parents haven't even met yet. (There were babies born yesterday whose parents couldn't remember each other's first names, but this isn't about hook-up culture.) So this dive into prognostication is really just an exercise for the sake of exercise. But let's take it where it leads us.

DEMOCRATS
Bernie Sanders is the flavor of the month on the Democratic side of the aisle. Big crowds. BIG crowds. But let's not forget that Bernie has been in politics for awhile. He didn't decide to introduce himself in cities like Charleston, Birmingham, or Baton Rouge. He went out West. If a Progressive can't draw crowds in Seattle...


In the end, I think that Bernie has plateaued. Progressives were already stirred up, ready and waiting for Elizabeth Warren. Bernie gave them a candidate to coalesce around. Will he win over moderate and conservative Democrats who are Hillary's …

#17 - NATHAN'S HOT DOGS, GREATEST SONG WRITERS, NADER ON TRUMP, THE YUAN

NATHAN'S HOT DOGS
The answer:
Nathan's hot dogs and cheap, squishy hot dog rolls. Bagels. Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Texas-style smoked ribs and brisket. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Crystal Hot Sauce. Twizzlers Chocolate Licorice Twists. Vita herring in sour cream.


The question:
Now that you've lived in France for over a year, what foods do you miss most?

Don't get me wrong. We have a smoker on our terrace. You can buy herring and sour cream and put them together yourself. And truth be told, you can get everything on the list delivered to your door if you are willing to pay the price.

But if you want a place to hang out for a few days while you are in the south of France, have one or two of the things on the list in your suitcase when you show up on our doorstep. We have a guest room.

GREATEST SONG WRITERS
Rolling Stone named the 100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time (emphasis mine) and it was a joke. Never mind that Bjork came in ahead of Marvin Gaye or that Jay Z beat…

LA POSTE MARTIN'S RESTAURANT, OLONZAC - RESTAURANT REVIEW

On a recent Sunday night in August in Olonzac, English seemed to be the preferred language - Brits, Irish, and Americans jammed the Cafe de la Poste as we sat down for a glass of pink before dining in Martin's close by. It's a little jarring but who are we to complain? We are American, after all.

We chose to dine inside given the occasional sprinkle. Places were set for about twenty in the small room but the tables for two were severely undersized. By the time that a water bottle, an ice bag with wine, bread, two sets of glasses, silver, and rectangular plates were set down, the empty table next to us had to be recruited for the overflow. We were not the only party of two that found it necessary to commandeer more space.

An amusee plate of olives, an anchovy-heavy tapenade, and tiny little quiches was all good. Cathey started with an array of escargot - with garlic butter, with bleu cheese, and with ratatouille - each accompanied by a flaky pastry. Cathey's f…

#16 - BEATLES OR STONES, HIROSHIMA, DROUGHT

BEATLES OR STONES
Keith Richards is quoted in a recent interview as saying of Sgt. Pepper, “Some people think it’s a genius album, but I think it’s a mishmash of rubbish.”

Well, the First Amendment guarantees that even elderly, slightly confused Brits have a right to their opinions. And I will not dispute that The Stones are the most enduring bar band in history. (I would cede them the title of Greatest Bar Band if it weren't for the fact that Springsteen and I are both Jersey boys.) But The Beatles were different.

The Beatles were a band that honed their skills in clubs and could hold their own with kick-butt versions of tunes like Roll Over, Beethoven and You Really Got A Hold On Me and Twist and Shout and Money. But then they went a step further. They created or heavily influenced entire genres, from acid rock to thrash metal to casino crooners. Steps further. And oddly enough, those steps included paying back their roots influences by giving folks like Stevie Wonder tunes lik…

#15 - CECIL THE LION, MINIMUM WAGE, SMOKEY ROBINSON - BLACK AND PROUD AMERICAN

CECIL THE LION
Trophy hunting is on the way out.

Disclaimer: I fall somewhere between those who believe that animals were put on this Earth to serve the needs of humans and those humans who believe that animals are human too. And I love cats. I REALLY love cats.


All but the most cynical and bloodthirsty hunters are conservationists. They know the lesson of the buffalo, that you can hunt seemingly endless herds to the point of extinction in a very short time. That's why there are more deer in the northeastern United States today than in the days of the Founders. We've hunted out or moved out the predators and we've managed the herds. And the 'we' are the responsible hunters who pay license fees and support wildlife management in numerous other ways. As a result, hunting for venison is alive and well. I know families who spend next to nothing on processed meat because venison provides everything from their breakfast sausage to their dinner roast. More power to them.