Skip to main content

#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 out James Taylor. The Gershwins, Cole Porter, and Loerner and Loewe don't even appear on the list. I'm not suggesting that the list should have included Thomas Tallis. The man's been dead for over 400 years. But Stephen Sondheim was alive the last time that I checked.

Call the list the 100 Greatest Billboard Songwriters. Call it the 100 Greatest Rock and Roll, Folk and Rap Songwriters.

Call it Ferdinand. Cause it's Bull.

NADER ON TRUMP
Ralph Nader has gone on Fox and praised Trump for opening up the electoral process by threatening a third party run. It takes a billionaire, said Nader. Like Perot, said Nader. It's a good thing, said Nader.

Nader can't really see Trump and Perot as reformers. Not if he believes his own frequently repeated lament that America has become an oligarchy. Rather, I believe that he is attracted to men with egos of similar size to his own. We are fortunate that neither Perot or Nader ever seriously challenged for the Presidency and that Trump is just not serious, period.

THE YUAN
Politicians in Washington who pretend to understand these things have been calling on the Chinese to allow the yuan to float against the dollar for years. Now they are complaining that China has let the yuan float against the dollar. You see, the dollar is strong right now. That means Chinese goods are cheaper. And oh, by the way, the dollar has recently gained 20% against the euro. That means that German goods are cheaper, too. But the Germans aren't the Chinese. So we don't care about the euro, right?

Gee, this free market stuff can get complicated.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

CHÉ OLIVE / LE ZINC, CREISSAN: RESTAURANT REVIEW

No, it's not Chez Olive. It is indeed Ché complete with red star and black beret. I have no idea why and I wasn't about to ask. The French are the French and not to be analyzed too closely when it comes to politics, especially these days.

Creissan is the next town over from our village of Quarante. We pass through it often and Ché Olive is right there on the main road at the entrance to town. (One of the signs still says Le Zinc. Olive says he prefers Ché Olive though.) Olive opened it a couple of years ago after leaving the Bar 40, Quarante's basic local watering hole that's undergone a bit of a renaissance lately. We hadn't heard much about Ché Olive from our usual sources for dining recommendations. So we just kept passing by. For reasons not central to this review, we decided to stop in for lunch on a mid-week in late December.

The bar is cozy, the restaurant open and bright and modern. Newly renovated and perhaps a bit sterile. We were the first…

CHRISTMAS WALK TO VIEW OF THE PYRENEES: 2018

Cathey said that it was OK for me to take my usual Tuesday morning walk on Christmas Day. I could help set the table and perform other minor tasks necessary for a satisfactory Christmas dinner with friends after I returned. So off I went. Temperature 40℉ at the start near sunup. 50℉ at the finish a couple of hours later. No wind. Blue skies. This was the winter that I came to France for.

The walk can't really be called scenic. Just through the vines until you get to the headland opposite the village. But the closer that you get to the top, you begin to see the Pyrenees peeking through. And at the top, it's a 360° panorama.







FRENCH VISA AND HEALTH INSURANCE FOR AMERICANS

The most expensive item in an American family's budget may be health insurance. But many Americans have no understanding of the true cost of their insurance because it's included in their employment package. Folks simply don't think about how much their employer may be reducing their salaries when factoring in insurance costs.

Before I retired, my employer paid for my health insurance but I had to pay to insure my wife. The cost, taken out of my every paycheck, came to about $6,000 annually. And even with insurance, there were co-pays and other out of pocket expenses. We were reasonably healthy (and still are, knock wood), but we each take a few common prescription medications - for blood pressure and cholesterol and the like, nothing exotic or costly. Even so, with regular visits to the doctor, periodic lab work, the drugs, and the occasional illness or injury, we normally spent an additional several thousand dollars annually in the States over and above the cost of the i…