31 March 2009

Haute Tension

SARKOZY IS TRYING to throw his weight around in the leadup to the G-20 meetings.

If Mr Sarkozy's strident demands for a new, restrictive regulatory structure were not met then he would leave an "empty chair", the French president's finance minister warned, hours before President Barack Obama arrived in London to meet Gordon Brown before the start of the summit on the global economic crisis.

"President Sarkozy was very clear on that front, he said if the deliverables are not there, I won't sign the communique," Christine Lagarde said. "It means walking away. I think he's very determined."

Good luck, Sarko. I like Sarkozy (I really do) but I'm not sure going nose-to-nose with Obama is a good idea right now -- even if the US is in a difficult situation with respect to the global economy.

[Note: of course I don't mean nose-to-nose liteterally. That would be pretty hard (not to mention funny) because Obama goes about 6'2 and Sarkozy is...well...quite a bit below that.]

Happy Birthday

THE FAMED EIFFEL Tower turns 120 today. Not bad for a steel structure that was supposed to be temporary. Some details:
At 300 meters tall (324 meters with antennae) and weighing 7,000 tons, the Eiffel Tower was the world’s tallest building until 1930. There are 1665 steps to the top. One of the most visited sites in the world, the tower can boast a new record with nearly seven million visitors in 2008.

For it's birthday the tower will receive a new coat of paint -- a project that will take 25 full-time painters 1 year to complete at a cost of 170 million euros.

All I want for my birthday is a Wii.

Opening Night

TONIGHT IS OPENNG night for the C.I.V. production of Hamlet. I'm always inpressed with the drama productions at our school and I'm sure this one will be no different. I've seen the set and some of the props and they are amazing. Quite impressive for a high-school production.

It's also worth noting that many of the performers are not native English speakers. It's hard enough memorizing hundreds of lines (2000+ if you're Hamlet) of Shakespeare if English is your primary language. Try it when English is 2nd or even 3rd language.

We're planning to go on Wednesday night. A couple years ago Patrick, Julia and I read Hamlet together (a slightly watered-down version -- of course) so the kids remember the general plot and are looking forward to the sword fights and 'everybody dying.' (That's a Shakespeare tragedy for you).

Just for fun, here's a list of some of my students who are in the play

  • Gertrude - Aoife Franklyn
  • Horatio - Thomas Buchet
  • Polonius - Giancarlo Azzarelli
  • Rozencrantz - Estelle Rivoira
  • Guildenstern - Katie Flynn
  • Ghost - Rob Gallagher (he's a teacher!)
  • Marcellus - Emily James
  • Francisco - Katie Harris
  • Voltemand - Giuliana Bianchini
  • Fortinbras of Norway - James Mazars de Mazarin
  • Osrick - Caroline Alanté
  • and let's not forget a key crew member, the Stage Manager for the play - Ethan Sacré


29 March 2009

Oh, For the Love of Rosé

FRENCH WINE PRODUCERS are up in arms over the new EU standards recently announced relating to the production and sale of rosé wine. Why the fuss? The new standards would allow vinters to produce rosé by simply mixing red and white wines together.

Sacre bleu!

French vinters who specialize in rosé -- many from right here in Provence -- are obviously upset with these new regulations because French rosés are created with a far more subtle and difficult process that has been perfected over hundreds of years (leading, they would argue, to a much better quality wine). A spokesman for vinyards in the south of France recently told a newspaper that the new regulations would flood the market with cheap rosé 'imitations' and deflate world-wide prices.

France's enthusiasm for rosé baffles some wine purists (usually the pretentious ones) who dismiss the pink-colored wine as 'low-grade plonk.' But rosé now out-paces white wine in terms of sales in France (1/5 of overall wine sales in France) and over the past decade or so even some of the world-class enthusiasts are admitting that rosé wines can be very good. Most of the negative reviews over the years have come thanks to the saccharine-laced varieties produced for cheap out of California.

Mixing red with white to make pink is currently allowed in New World producer regions such as Australia or California but it remains extremely rare, and is frowned upon by most producers -- especially in France and Spain. The EU will make it's final vote on April 27.

28 March 2009

Patrick's Picks

EVERY YEAR PATRICK and I fill out our NCAA basketball tournament brackets (it's kind of a big deal in the US). We especially like doing it while we're here in France because it reminds us of how fun early March is if you love college basketball. I know this year has been pretty 'chalk', but we just checked out Patrick's picks so far, and they've turned out pretty good: 14 out of 16 'Sweet 16' teams right. 6 out of 8 'Elite 8' teams correct.

Better than me.

27 March 2009

You Do What to Cheese?

AS A TEACHER, I have plenty of stories I could tell about students who do and say funny, odd, and sometimes downright silly things. But this just might be my favorite. It happened this week.

I was teaching a class of 2nde students and we were discussing the idea of Utopian societies (we're reading Brave New World). As a group project, students were asked to present how they would 'organize' their own Utopian societies. During one of the presentations a student (to protect his identity I'll call him Allan) made the following statement. 'We would create unrapable laws for the citizens.'

Did he say unrapable? (pronounced un-rape-able)

I briefly interupted to see what he meant by the term and to suggest to him that the word 'unrapable' didn't exist in English. He explained that he meant rules that could not be violated. Now, this actually makes sense because in French the verb violer means 'to violate.' It's also the verb used to mean 'rape' as we use it in English. Because it was so odd to hear the term 'unrapable' I took a moment to explain to the students that, while in French the verb violer can be used in may contexts, in English the verb 'to rape' is only used in one (to express the violent act of rape). I explained that it may common in English to use violent verbs in non-violent contexts ('attack a buffet'; 'nail an exam'; 'kick a habit'; 'devour a piece of cake') but it's never acceptable to use the verb 'to rape' in these ways. It simply doesn't happen in English.

At this point a student in the back of the room raised his hand and said this: 'That's not true. You can rape cheese!"


As most of the students began roaring with laughter, it hit me. In French the word for 'grate' (as in grating cheese) is râper (râper du fromage). So he took the French verb and tried to 'anglaisize' it. As I know all to well, that often doesn't work!

We all had a good laugh about the whole episode and decided that if it turns out there is such a thing as an unrapable law, it's this: don't rape cheese.

Ah, the joys of teaching in an international school.

25 March 2009

Bye Bye And a Dip in the Sea

JIM, DANA, MADISON, and MACY left for home early this morning. We had a wonderful time over the past 9 or 10 days exploring our little part of the world with them and just hanging out a bit. We also want to say a big thanks to them for all the gifts they brought (the Root Beer was a big hit, as was the Costco-sized jar of peanut butter) and their generosity while they were here, including that nice dinner in San Remo.

One of the main goals for Jim during this trip was to get in to the Mediterranean -- regardless of the temperature. Well, he made good on that goal last weekend in Cannes. Here's the clip to prove it. Oh, and notice that he is the only person in the water, despite the fact that this is a very popular beach near the harbor. The reason: it was a chilly day and a stiff cold wind was blowing all day. The French, it seems, have a bit more sense than Jim. But he did it!

Here's part 2.

Bye guys. Thanks for the visit. We had a blast.
CJS/KRS and the kids

Armstrong Out?

I SNAPPED THS photo of Alberto Contador a couple weeks ago during the final day of Paris-Nice. I just saw it again and wondered what was going through his head now that Lance Armstrong is out for an undertermined about of time with a collar-bone break. There were rumors of an ever-so-slight rift between the two. I hope it was all media hype. But it appears Contador is again the main man at Astana -- at least until Lance comes back. The big tours of Italy and France are just around the corner!

22 March 2009

Hard to Beat a Fresh Baguette

MADISON AND MACY like fresh baguettes!


A Busy (fun) Day

OUR FRIENDS JIM and Dana are visiting from Oh Canada and we just thought we'd throw-up a few photos. Yesterday was especially busy as we tried (successfully) to squeeze a whole lot into a single day. After a quick trip to the boulangerie for fresh bread and croissants, we ventured out for a day that included: a drive through Nice, a stop high above the sea near Eze, lunch in Monaco (at the playground, as usual) and a quick walk-around, a drive to Italy to watch the end of the Milan-Sanremo cycling race (Lance was there but Mark Cavendish won), dinner at a little pizzeria in Sanremo (pizza for the kids, lasagna bolognese for the men), a giggle-filled drive home, and a movie for the grown-ups at night. Not a bad day if you ask us.

Here's a few photos from the last couple of days. I'm going to have to get Jim's camera to show the video he shot of the final sprint at the Milan-Sanremo.

Um, there should be four people in this photo. What is Henry doing?

Henry and Macy at the beach in Antibes.

Madison, Macy, and Henry in Gourdon.

Jim and Madison watching the guards in front of the Palais de Monaco.

Just above the main port in Monaco.

Jim after exchanging 'patches' with some of Monaco's finest.

Henry and Madison: Antibes, France

Some very, very, very nice Team Saxo Bank bikes. I want one.
It's always fun to have friends visit (especially ones that you actually like) and ones you haven't seen in a long time.

19 March 2009

A New Design for Paris?

THAT'S THE GOAL of a nine month study commissioned by French President Nicholas Sarkozy. Apparently, the world's most visited city wants an extreme makeover and the government is asking 10 architects to submit their plans. The plan -- called Le Grand Paris -- is picking up steam in the public's eye, although few think radical changes will happen anytime soon.

You have to love the opening line from the NY Times article:

Hand it to the French. Who else would pick an economic collapse as a time to unveil one of the most audacious urban plans in recent memory?
See a video presentation here.


HAD TO DEAL with it again today: mass national strikes. I should be fair and say that the strikes rarely affect me since I don't use public transportation very often. And while I am an educator, I am not employed by the French government so participating in the strike isn't an option for me. But there is still something (still) odd about hearing that 2.5-3.0 million people are going to walk off the job for a day. What's even more interesting is the latest poll suggesting that 70% of people in France supported the strike today.

Can you imagine those kinds of numbers in other countries?

Late Update: some media outlets are questioning the numbers that Union leaders are touting regarding today's strike. Even I have to admit that very few teachers at my school seemed to be away today. And there was virtually no disruption at Patrick and Julia's school.

Internet Still Amazing (NCAA Tournament Edition)

THERE'S LOTS OF reasons to love the internet; and lots of reasons to hate it. And I'm constantly amazed by it's capabilities. Like right now: I'm watching (not listening too; not following along -- but actually watching) the NCAA tournament...LIVE! And it happens to be Maryland vs. California.

You know what this means...I'm not going to get much sleep over the next couple of weeks.

See, I told you there were reasons to hate the internet.

18 March 2009

At Least We're Still Reading

A STORY I read in yesterday's newspaper reveals that, despite the economic downturn, book sellers are still doing good business in Europe.
Whether they are picking up "La Crise, et Après?" by the French economist Jacques Attali, one of umpteen translations of the American author Stephenie Meyer's "Twilight" series, or "Jamie's Ministry of Food," by the British television chef Jamie Oliver, they are buying books. As the recession leaves other media industries in tatters, the oldest mass medium of all is holding up surprisingly well.
The story focuses on book sales in France and continental Europe and shows that sales are up in recent months. In December of 2008 sales were up 2 percent; in January 2009 they were up 2.4 percent. The revenue numbers are even better: 4 percent gains in December and 7 percent gains for January. You can read the whole story here.

I suppose you could read this as evidence of a protracted economy: more people are out of a job so more people have free time so more people are heading down to the local bookstore to pick up a book. But that's probably not the right conclusion. A better one is probably this: despite the influx of media and technology in the world, a lot of people still like to curl up on the couch with a good book.

What are you reading? I've got Huxley's 'Brave New World' going right now (it's for class).

17 March 2009

Oh Canada!

ENOUGH ABOUT AIG, banks, and the economic crisis. We're happy to have visitors this week. After a nice visit from a former student and her friends last week (more later), we now have some good friends from Toronto visiting. Jim and Dana arrived Monday night with their daughters Madison and Macey (many of you know them). They are great friends from our college days in Michigan. This is their first time to Europe so we're going to show them a great time.

Much more later.


This Isn't Going to Help

SO LET'S SEE, AIG has received some $160 billion in aid from the US (partly taxpayer money) and so far the largest recipient of the bailout money from AIG? A French bank! Not that the bank is to blame for wanting to be paid, but I just wonder how American taxpayers are going to feel about paying-off debts to French banks. And it's not just France, of the top 10 recipients, 6 are European banks. Here's a look at some on the list, along with some stagaring amounts:
  • Societe Generale: $4.1 billion
  • Deutsche Bank: $2.6 billion
  • Goldman Sachs: $2.5 billion
  • Merrill Lynch: $1.8 billion
  • Barclays: $0.9 billion
  • UBS: $0.8 billion
  • Rabobank: $0.5 billion

Some Americans are going to see this as US taxpayers bailing out European banks. That's not what it is at all, but some will think it is -- and they won't like it.


16 March 2009

Watch This Interview (Update: Part 2 Included)

EVEN THOUGH THIS may seem way too 'inside economics', I just watched an interview from the American television show '60 Minutes' that was very, very interesting. The show interviewed current Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke about the current economic downturn. If you are slightly confused as to why the crisis happened and what the US government is doing about it, I highly recommend that you take a couple minutes to watch this piece. It provides a very basic explanation of what is a very complicated issue. We also like watching Bernanke because one of our friends who lives in Frankfurt studied under him in grad school and worked for him at the Fed in Washington.(Bonjour Thomas!)

Give it a quick watch. I promise there's no quiz at the end.

Late Update: I've added the second part of the interview. Granted, it's a bit of a softball interview, but Fed Chairmen don't do interviews so it's still quite revealing and interesting.

Part 2 below.


15 March 2009

Sunday at Paris-Nice

HERE'S JUST A FEW seconds from our day watching the final stage of the Paris-Nice. It's not much, really, since I was filming with our regular camera instead of a video camera. After hanging around the starting area in the morning, we went up to Eze to watch the last fast descent. For those of you who know Eze village you know that the views are spectacular -- and watching the race from this point was a real treat. Our clip doesn't do it any justice at all. Patrick's favorite part is the interview at the end with a couple of guys for Rabobank and a team mechanic. He thought it was cool to hear the riders 'talking shop' about their bikes. I thought it was cool to hear a guy complaining about his $6000 custom-made bike, but that's just me --- a guy who rides a 10-year old Bianchi.


14 March 2009

Paris-Nice, Contador Cracks, and Frank Schleck's Water Bottle

THEY CALL IT La Course au Soleil, and not for nothing. Now that the 2009 Paris-Nice has reached the south of France, the sun is finally shining on the riders. We went to the 7th stage finish today in Fayence.

The stage finished with a tough little 2km climb up to the village of Fayence and we positioned ourselves about half-way up on one of the switchbacks. This was the first time any of us has been situated on a climb and I have to say it was great. Because of the switchback in the road we could see the riders as they approached from further down the climb.

We watched as Luis Leon Shanchez easily won the race up to Fayence to win the stage. But about two minutes later we saw something I didn't think I would see anytime soon: we saw Alberto Contador crack! To be fair, he was attacked all day long and his goal this year is not to win Paris-Nice -- he has his eye on bigger prizes. But when he came into our view on the final climb he was being chased down by a large group of riders and right when he got in front of us the peleton blew past him. That's not something you see very often -- Contador is considered one of the 2 or 3 best riders in the world!

Here's a clip of the last eight minutes of the stage from Eurosport (without commentary). Contador gets caught right in front of us at 3:17 of the clip. If you stop it at 1:35 you can see a very fuzzy Kerri and Julia; and if you stop it at 3:27 and look real carefully you can see me with my red cap on. Come on, look close -- it really quite obvious if you know what you're looking for.

But perhaps the best part of the day occured after the stage was over when we were walking around near the team busses. Just as we were getting ready to leave, Frank Schleck rode up to the Team Saxo-Bank bus and pulled out his water bottle and threw it to Henry (he's proudly holding the bottle in the photo to the right). Then, a couple minutes later as we were poking around the Garmin-Chipotle area one of the team directors saw us and said, 'Americans? Come over here for a second.' He then reached into the team car and gave each of us a Garmin-Chipotle waterbottle. Kids love that kind of thing. (Oh, who am I kidding, moms and [especially] dads love it too).

Tomorrow morning we head down to Nice to watch the final stage. After the start on the Promenade des Anglais, we think we might head to the Col d'Eze -- a category 1 climb near the finish -- to watch the race unfold.

13 March 2009

Friday Funny Clip


Guess who got to choose this week?

History in France (and Monaco)

I KNOW OF schools in France and Monaco that are looking for History teachers who are native-speakers of English. I mention this because there have been a couple people (you know who you are) who have inquired via this space. Inquire again!

Xavier Darcos, Part II

WELL, DARCOS WAS a no-show -- too much going on right now in Paris. However, his speech was read by the Recteur of the Nice Academie and it was quite well received. I have no intention of boring anyone with the details of the 2eme Congrès des Sections Internationales. But I can report that educational conferences in France aren't much more exciting than in the United States. However, the food is much, much better.

Convention food that I'm used to consists of bad steaks, wilty salads, and rubbery vegetables. The dinner I had last night was, shall we say, quite a bit better:

  • apéritif
  • entrée: Niçoise salad (kind of an obvious choice considering the location)
  • plat: roasted duck, stuffed tomatoe, mushroom, quiche
  • cheese plate: mine had four: Tomme de Savoir, Roquefort, Beaumont, and a goat cheese of some kind
  • Dessert: tarte de pomme
  • Coffee

Of course, every table had crusty bread, wine, and sparkling and still water.

The meal kind of helped me get over the somewhat boring 4 hours I had just spent listening to various people speak.


11 March 2009

Xavier Darcos

IF YOU ARE not involved in French Education you probably don't know Xavier Darcos. I know the name makes it sound like he's a villan in a James Bond movie, but he's actually the current Minister of Education in France and -- if all goes well -- I'll be at a meeting and dinner with Mr. Darcos tomorrow evening. I say 'if all goes well' because there were some unexpected education strikes today -- what a shock! --that may require him to skip the meeting.

The conference I'm attending is at the Centre International de Valbonne -- the school where I teach --- and the goal of the meeting is to provide perspective and information about the International Option of the French Baccalaureate. President Sarkozy is pushing this option throughout France. Here's how the invitation reads:

Les plus hautes autorités de l'Etat français veulent bien marquer leur intérêt pour ce Congrès puisque le Président de la République française, Monsieur Nicolas Sarkozy, lui a accordé son Haut Patronage le Ministre de l'Education nationale du gouvernement français, Monsieur Xavier Darcos, prononcera le discours d'ouverture
So take note, high authorities. Sarkozy himself is sending Mr. Darcos who may or may not be able to make it.

09 March 2009

Want to Explore the Rhône Valley Sometime?

ONE OF THE fun things we did with Kerri's parents during the winter break was see the house that a friend of ours recently bought in the charming provincal village of Sablet. Sablet (see photo) is located just west of Mont Ventoux about 12 km south of the ancient Roman village of Vaison-la-Romaine. The area around Sablet is absolutely gorgeous with vinyards and wine houses as far as the eye can see. Those of you who are familiar with the Côtes du Rhône wines will recognize names like: Gigondas, Vacqueyras, Roaix, Séguret -- all are produced in villages very near Sablet.

When we arrived in town we quickly found the house (we had the address) after asking a couple of locals. Once we reached the house Kerri's dad phoned the friends in California to let him know we were standing in front of their place. Since they didn't know we were going to be there I think they were a bit surprised -- in a good way. They quickly arranged for a neighbor to let us in to see the place. In a word: fabulous! Set in the vieux village, but with modern amenities (including a great kitchen and two beautiful terraces) it is a terrific looking place. And the best part: you can rent it for a week (or two) if you want.

So instead of blabbing on and on, let me just link you to to the site with all the information. Here's a couple of photos from the site (including that great kitchen).
Aside: just today on the way home from work I stopped off for a few food items and noticed my local grocery store (Champion) was featuring...a Sablet wine. I would have never noticed if not for our trip to the village of Sablet.
Update: Michel just sent a comment to say more info can be found at Sablethouse.com

08 March 2009

Les Bullets

THAT'S THE AFFECTIONATE nickname we had in Washington, DC for the local NBA team, the Bullets, before they changed their name about 10 years ago. And yes, we said les Bullets the french way -- without pronouncing the 't' or 's'. The Bullets are now the Washington Wizards (stupid name), but I'm holding out for a change back to Bullets when (if?) a new owner takes control of the team.

This weekend Patrick, Henry and I went out to shoot some baskets and I had to post these pictures of Patrick if only because I'm willing to bet no other 10-year old in France is rockin' a Wes Unseld jersey (that's him on the left). As you might notice from the big hair and little shorts, Unseld was in his prime in the 1970s. He led Washington to their only NBA title in 1978.

Note: We have to say a big Thanks to Uncle John for loaning Patrick the jersey until his kids are big enough to wear it!


Mail from Home. Or, How The Economic Crisis Affects Us

ONE OF THE many challenging aspects of living overseas is dealing with our 'regular' mail -- the mail that is still going to the house we own in the United States. Where possible we have tried to notify the post offices/banks/utilities/magazines/etc. that we need mail to be forwarded to another address while we are here (in our case, Kerri's parent's house). When her parents came over last week they brought a handful of mail that has been collecting since our trip back to DC at Christmas. Because of the season, most of it deals with the upcoming tax filing deadline (April 15 in the US). But the one piece of mail that caught my attention was from AIG, the struggling insuarnce company that also happens to hold my retirement information (401k, 403b, and a few other odds and ends). What made this piece of mail stick out was the number at the bottom of the page indicating the total value of my retirement portfolio. I won't divulge the total sum here, but I will let you know that the December 2008 total is down 29.4% from the December 2007 total. *

Boy am I glad I'm not retiring any time soon. I'm sure Kerri's is on a similar trend. It just goes to show that the global economic crisis hits a lot of people in a lot of different ways. It's not just the big banks and car manufacturers. What about the people who are hoping to retire in the next couple of years.

We'll work our way out of this mess, let's just hope we do it quickly.

* of course, since I'm not contributing to that portfolio now, that explains some of the downturn. But still, geez!

06 March 2009

Kids Driving You Nuts...?

...JUST GO TO this link and let them bang away for a while. Guaranteed to work.

(Note: also works for husbands who are getting on your nerves).

Sullivan again

Do We Want Another France?

MY DAD SENT me this very interesting column from the NY Times. It's a good read for American ex-pats living in France, or anyone interested in Obamapolitics in general. Give it a quick read when you have a second. Got to love the title: One France is Enough!

My own view is that I've learned not to second-guessing Obama. Every time people think he's making a mistake, he proves the only mistake is not thinking he knows exactly what he's doing. Is this the case now? I suggest we check back in about a year.

05 March 2009

To the Heart of Provence

WE'LL SPEND A couple of days in the central and western part of Provence. Since Kerri's parents have never explored that part of France we've decided to spend a few days in the Avignon/Orange area (and visit Aix-en-Provence as well). One other reason for a visit to this part of France is that we have some friends who have a house in the village of Sablet and we're going to go by to see it. I think the house is available for weekly rental so we'll post some pictures if anyone is interested.

Back home for the weekend.


IKEA IS ONE great store -- especially when you live in Europe. The closest one to our house is in Toulon, an hour-and-a-half away. In Washington we had three stores within 45 minutes of our house. Kerri, her parents, and the kids made their first voyage to IKEA yesterday and came back with lots of goodies.

I got lucky and stayed home (marking bac blanc papers and hitting the bike for a ride in the rain).

04 March 2009

What Ireland Taught Us

WE'VE BEEN LIVING in France for a year-and-a-half but it took a trip to Ireland for us to realize something: living in France is a huge cultural change for us.

We knew this, of course, but it really became clear after just a few hours walking around Dublin. Although we were keenly aware that we were in a foreign country (and one we had never visited before) it felt so different from France. And in many ways so much more comfortable. The language was familiar; the restaurants were familiar; the hours of operation of the restaurants was familiar; the 'American-style' coffee shops were familiar. About the only thing that seemed really out of place were the cars driving on the wrong opposite side of the road.

You have to understand that Kerri and I still get nervous about striking-up conversations with people on the streets when we are in France because we're not confident enough with our French. While this will come in time (won't it?), it's frustrating --particularly because we both like to strike up those kinds of conversations. In Ireland it was easy. When I wanted to know how the locals were feeling about the big rubgy match against England coming up, I just asked. When we wanted to know where to find the best fish n' chips in the country, we just asked (by the way, the aswer was Mc Donagh's in Galway...and it was great!!). And when we want to read the local newspaper (OK, that's just me) we can do it without pulling out a French/English dictionary. I guess English-speaking countries have more in common and have a way of making you feel more in your comfort-zone -- and not just because you can get coffee to go.
At one point, while waking down Grafton Street in Dublin, Kerri and I were both thinking the same thing: living in France puts us much further away from 'American' culture than we realized -- and sometimes that makes us sad. Not often, but at times.

03 March 2009

Tech Me Up

WE ALL KNOW that technology is catching on at record pace, but here' s a bit of perspective. The following list shows how long it took for some of the 20th (and 21st) century innovations to reach 150 million users:
  • telephone: 89 years
  • television: 38 years
  • cell (mobile) phone: 14 years
  • iPod: 7 years
  • Facebook: 5 years
  • Twitter: oh, please no -- I hate Twitter *

Not sure of the number of users for Blogspot, but I don't think it's reached the 150 million mark yet. I suppose this all makes me wonder how I would communicate with family and friends if not for blogs. The telephone? Hand-written letters?


* gratuitous self-promotion: the Twitter concept is annoying on so many levels, but a quick look at some statistics showed that the Twitter Thursday posts I ran last month resulted in the second highests day of 'hits' in the history of this little blog (the highest was on election day in November). Odd, no?

Playground Fun

WHO SAYS KID playgrounds are only for kids.

02 March 2009

The Surprise...?

OUR SURPRISE FOR the kids was that we didn't tell them Kerri's parents (pop-pop and gi-gi) were meeting us in Dublin! There were wondering why a strange guy was holding a big sign at the arrivals gate with our last name on it. They soon figured it out, and they were thrilled. Me, not so much (joke!). Much more to come...but a couple photos for now.
Pop-Pop and Gi-Gi meet us at the airport.
Family photo in St. Stephen's Green
Grafton Street, Dublin
Coffee from famous Bewley's (I opted for Starbucks)

A ruin on a site thought to have been used by St. Patrick in the 5th century

A couple of lads one hour before the big England/Ireland match which was held in Dublin last Saturday. Ireland won 14-13 (part of the 6 Nations Tournament).