Sunday, January 29, 2012

He's not getting my vote

How is it fair that Mitt Romney, a Republican presidential nomination candidate, can have earned $21.7M in 2010 and yet only paid taxes of $3M? This is an effective tax rate of 14%. Most of us are closer to the 30% tax rate. Romney supporters argue that most of his income comes from investments that have already been subject to 35% tax, but he is also known to have some pretty inventive investments in a number of tax havens across the world. 

How on earth can this guy have any concept of what its like to be a "average" person in the US, understand the things that concern us and therefore be a representative for us? He can't have any idea and that is why he will not be getting my vote as presidential nominee or as president when the time comes. 

Saturday, January 28, 2012


I am loving the BBC series of "Sherlock". Its a contemporary take on Conan Doyle's iconic adventures and it stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock and Martin Freeman (of BBC 'The Office' fame) as John Watson. The direction (or is it production?) of this version of the story is excellent. I particularly like it when Sherlock is looking someone over and the information his brain is processing about that person is written up on the screen; he can tell what they do for a living, whether they have pets and what they ate for breakfast  just by studying their clothes and mannerisms. Its very well done and each episode so far has kept me glued to the set. Definitely recommended.

Lazy git

No wonder America has an obesity problem. Yesterday I was heading to my (rental) car after having spent too much money in Target, and a car stopped near us. Surely he is not waiting for me, I thought. Target was not exactly full and there was loads of room in the parking lot. In fact there were multiple spaces not more than 6 cars away from me. I loaded my bags into the trunk, I took my time about getting settled in my seat, I tuned the radio, adjusted the heating, the mirror and the angle of my seat, and still this car waited. Eventually I could think of nothing else to do so I reversed out of my spot and as I left I looked back only to see the car pulling into the space I'd vacated. Can you believe it? He must have been waiting close to 5 minutes for me to leave. And what are the chances that he was going to Target to buy the latest exercise DVD...

Monday, January 16, 2012

Bad luck comes in threes

They say that bad luck comes in threes. If that is true then I am glad to say that I must be done with the bad luck now. The past 2 days have not been good.

Yesterday I was greeted by a pool of water in the basement, our water heater had finally given up and started leaking over the floor. I spent a large part of the day waiting for a guy from our gas/water providers to come and look at it, only to hear that we needed a new water heater (duh) and should get a plumber in. So much for our service plan...

So we were without  hot water all day today, and I relied on boiling the kettle to fill the bowl up to do the dishes. That worked...until the kettle packed in. This cannot get any worse I thought. How little I knew.

This evening I decided that I would go to the gym with Robert so that we could use their nice hot showers. While in the gym, a snowstorm started and by the time we drove home it was near blizzard conditions. While waiting at a junction to turn left onto the main road, a car turned right into the road I was waiting on and I heard a huge THUMP and realized that my car had been hit. I can only assume that the other guy skidded as he turned and the back end of his car swerved and slammed into the side of my car. So I stood in the blizzard for 10 minutes exchanging details, drove slowly home in a car with the wheel scraping against metal, then spent the next hour on the phone to the insurance company.

I think I need a much for my New Year's resolution not to drink in January...

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Groupon poupon

Our neighbors (who shall remain know who you are!) persuaded me to join Groupon. "Its wonderful Heather" they said, "you can get sports massages for 99% off and 3 course meals at a Michelin 5 star restaurant for tuppence ha'penny"...or words to that effect. Anyway, I was convinced so I signed up.

So far I must say I have been less than impressed. This weeks offerings have included 50% off indoor and outdoor flags (indoors flags! who the hell has an indoor flag!) Yesterday I could've got 58% off breakfast at an unknown restaurant in the back of beyond. Or how about a Skuuzi for $15...a kind of mitten specially shaped for holding your beer ; I must admit this has possibilities although it would make driving difficult (not sure what the image on the bottom left is trying to suggest...)

But my favorite has to be 53% off Justin Bieber singing toothbrushes...

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Corrie is very educational

Whoever said that Coronation Street was not educational. I always knew that Cottage Pie and Shepherds pie were different (one used lamb and one used beef). But I didn't realize that the top should be different too. Apparently, according to Roy Cropper "Roys Rolls" mum Sylvia, Cottage Pie is made with beef and the topping is sliced potatoes overlapping each other to mimic the tiled roof of a cottage. Whereas Shepherds Pie is made with Lamb and the topping is mashed potato to look like a sheep. Well, there you you know!

Book Review - Leaving the world

Just read a very good book called "Leaving the World" by Douglas Kennedy. The story revolves around the disaster-packed life of of Jane Howard, a brilliant Harvard-educated woman. On the night of her 13th birthday she announces to her parents, “I am never getting married and I am never having children.” She declares this as a result of seeing her parents getting drunk and arguing with each other when out celebrating her birthday. But then her father decides to leave the family the next morning, and Jane’s mother blames her daughter for having put the idea into his head. After that, her relationship with her mother is never the same.
The book then moves on to Harvard several years later where Jane has a tragic love affair with her professor, then gets a job in the Freedom Mutual hedge fund to make some money to cheer herself up. Jane gets in trouble for lending money to her long-lost father, who turns out to have links with the mafia and so Jane loses her job. 
Jane's next job is at a state University, where she starts a love affair with a geeky, film buff called Theo. After drinking way too much of the happy juice one night, Jane falls pregnant. Theo turns out to be a useless father and an even more useless businessman, and soon Jane is left alone with her daughter and mounds of debt and eviction threatening her. The stress results in yet another disaster for poor Jane – the worst so far – necessitating yet another exit from the world and yet another job.
The action then moves to Canada where Jane's life takes another surprising twist. 
This is not a suicide story although the title suggests it could be, but it is not a "feel-good" story either. However it does have a reasonably happy ending. Definitely very readable and recommended, if only to make you realize that your life is pretty good all things considered...

Mamma Mia!

OK, I know I said I wasn't going to post anything further in this blog, but I felt I had to write about the concert Emma and I saw last weekend. The concert was an Abba tribute band called "Arrival". This band has been playing since 1995 and have played all over the world.

First the good. The band sounded very authentic, and the girls could really sing. They played all the well-known hits of Abba.

Now the bad...

The entrance - After all the excitement and build-up to this concert, it was extremely disappointing when they entered the stage and sang some unknown, not particularly catchy, song.

The costumes - the Arrival website makes a big deal of the fact that they are licensed to wear copies of the Abba original costumes. However they must've had most of their costumes in the wash last weekend because they only wore a couple and they were very similar; extremely short tunic style dresses with side slits up to their armpits. The only catsuits we saw were on the men, and that was not a pretty sight...

The encore - After leaving the stage and re-entering for their encore, one would expect them to play one of their most popular songs to finish. But no, it was one of those unknown numbers again. What were they thinking? Talk about a damp squid!

Overall though I did enjoy the night out with a great group of neighbors/friends. And although the choice of songs at the concert could've been better when they played songs we knew it was very enjoyable.