The one disgusting thing about the French

We have just returned from a superb weekend in Paris.

I love Europe and, despite sleaze balls like Chirac, I love ze French. I find them friendly; their food is fantastic; they’re very professional; they’re proud yet socially responsible and compassionate; their children are well behaved (much more than the Poms, for instance) and their rugby team plays the most watchable rugby (apart from the Boks, of course) in the world.

But the one thing I cannot stand about the French is their smoking culture. This is a first world country where human rights are extremely important and their education is first rate, yet EVERYBODY SMOKES. Old people, middle aged people, young adults and even teenagers – all huffing and puffing away, ready for lung cancer by 55. Also, in the US and UK it tends to be people in lower socio-economic groups that smoke, whereas in France the whole spectrum is covered. I simply don’t think that with all their education they have an excuse.

This is not even mentioning all the other evils associated with smoking like passive smoking and littering. I saw two upper middle class parents with their two pre-teen daughters all bunched up on a park bench. Nothing untoward about this, except that both parents were CHAIN SMOKING!! They showed no regard for their own children. I find this absolutely appalling. I also saw many people using litter bins for Coke cans, orange peels, crisp packets, but throwing their cigarette butts on the grass – as if this does not constitute litter!

We had dinner at this very nice French restaurant on the Champs-EllysTes. The whole restaurant probably had about 50 tables. There were 4 tables in the non-smoking section!!

This is not only a French thing though. In Spain it is worse and in Germany it is not much better.

Potgooi 09

Hierdie week is ‘n vol program. Ons gesels alweer oor die Bokke, Bulle, Kimi Raikonnen, Roger Federer, Godsdiens, Visas, en nog meer.


of laai af.

Religion or Capitalism: Why not both?

I just love this quote:

Christianity started out in Palestine as a fellowship; it moved to Greece and became a philosophy; it moved to Italy and became an institution; it moved to Europe and became a culture; it came to America and became an enterprise.

Sam Pascoe, American scholar.

The Pew Global Attitudes Project

Check out The Pew Global Attitudes Project. This is not some hacky, extremist anti-American website. It is an American website funded by some of the richest Americans around and co-chaired by former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright no less!

If you’re into this kind of thing (like I am), you’ll find it very interesting. Some of the articles worth a read are:

The last one is very interesting. This is one conclusion that they derive from their stats:

Religion is much more important to Americans than to people living in other wealthy nations. Six-in-ten (59%) people in the U.S. say religion plays a very important role in their lives. This is roughly twice the percentage of self-avowed religious people in Canada (30%), and an even higher proportion when compared with Japan and Western Europe. Americans’ views are closer to people in developing nations than to the publics of developed nations.

If nothing else this certainly indicates that the US is currently the most fundamentalist Christian country in the west, but I guess everybody already knows that. What happened to their ideals of secularism?

Podcasting: A step by step guide from c|net

The good guys at c|net have put up this very helpful Weekend Project on how to Create your own podcast.

This project has it all. From the planning right through to publishing. They also go into the hardware & software requirements. The Sennheiser headphones and the sound loops link really interested me. There is also some very helpful video footage as well.

A really well put together project. Definitely worth a visit. Even more so if you’re just starting out.

I’ve been Dellified!

Yesterday I received my brand new Dell.

Now I can spend the long winter nights on this god-forsaken island (England) admiring my awe-inspiring code on my new 20-inch monitor. This while the new fan purrs; softly and gently in the background. The fan will be cooling down a 3.6GHz Processor. I will also occasionally be disturbed by the sweet, comforting writing sounds of the new 500GB hard drive.

The whole idea of me and my Dell spending so much time together almost gets me misty-eyed!

Update: Its now 4 years later, a different continent (Africa) and a more modern OS (Vista Ultimate SP2) and me Dell Boy is still running as smooth as ever – touch wood! Dell has scored some serious points with me because of this machine.

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