Better Call Saul

We had a plan for Saturday, but the fates had other ideas.  One of our close friends had received glowing testimonials about the film Deli Man. It is a documentary about a guy who runs a Jewish Deli. It is not a film with a wide release and the closest plan in which it was playing was an arthouse cinema in Berkeley. There is a well regarded Deli in that very city, so we decided on a themed movie going experience. Watch a film about Jewish Delis and then go eat in one; a similar idea to drinking Chianti after watching Silence of the Lambs, but without the cannibalism.

We arrived in Berkeley in plenty of time and a cup of coffee at a cafe a couple of doors down from the picture house. We met another group of friends and when to purchase tickets only to find that they had sold out. It had not occurred us that the film would be so popular that we would be unable to get tickets.

It was a little early to eat, so we wandered the shops nearby; which included an ice-cream shot that had a line that stretched past several buildings. At at time that was more appropriate for food, although still earlier than we could have eaten if we had seen the film, we headed to Saul’s Deli. It was as well we did arrive early, as not long after we were sat the place was full and it would have been a long wait for a table for eight. Missing the film was frustrating, but not as annoying as seeing food for ninety minutes and then being unable to partake of the Latkes, Lox, and Brisket.

Published in: on 22 March, 2015 at 15:04  Leave a Comment  

Apples

In the UK, a packet of Natrual Fuji Apples would have the ingredients you expect. Here in the US that is not always the case.



Published in: on 8 March, 2015 at 7:22  Leave a Comment  

Zero and One

In the US when you dial a number from a land line, you start with a “1” if you wish to call a number that is outside the local area. In the UK, a “0” is used to indicate that it is not a local number that you are dialing. Where the two countries really differ, as the choice of number is arbitrary, is how they write those numbers. In the UK, you would always include the zero; numbers are always written as 01753 646156 and never 1753 646156. Here in the US, the one is optional; a number can be written as either 1 626 555 4249 or 626 555 4249. The latter is, in fact, the more common representation; which confused me when I first tried to call an outside line. US mobile phones hide this ambiguity, as the 1 is optional when dialing from a cell.

Published in: on 8 January, 2015 at 20:01  Leave a Comment  

Start of Spring

I received a couple of desk calendars for Christmas. One of them is a daily trivia question. The other is a “This Day in History”. The former sits on my desk at work, the latter on my desk at home. 

My niece works at the same office as I do and during College breaks, she works every day and we carpool. This saves her fuel costs and now exposes her to a daily interesting historical fact; she does not see the latter as a benefit. 

On January 5, the first day after the New Year break, the calendar marked the anniversary of Dubček becoming first secretary of the Czech Communist Party in 1968. He started a period of political liberalism known as “The Prague Spring”. This may not seem a terribly relevant historical event, but it has personal resonance. The “Prague Spring” ended in August with a Russian led invasion of the country. My parents had been due to fly to Prague on the day of the invasion; their holiday plans obviously had to change. This was the first world event of which I have any memory, at the tender age of three. This was not the start of a stream of awareness of major news; I can recall nothing else until early 1971 and the UK switch to decimal currency. 

Published in: on 5 January, 2015 at 18:35  Leave a Comment  

Money in Education

Teaching is not a profession associated with high salaries, either here or in the UK, but there is a way to earn a large wage in educational the US. College sports in the US is big business. College American Football teams play in massive stadiums, some of which have cost several hundred million dollars in renovations over recent years. The University of Nebraska play in an stadium with a capacity of over 90,000; which is generally filled for every game. To put this into perspective, only two cities in the state have a population greater than that of the Stadium. Lincoln, in which the stadium sits, has a total population of just three times the capacity.

The money in college football was emphasized last week when the coach of the San Francisco 49ers left his $5m a year job to coach the University of Michigan. He is not losing out financially by this move from be wealthiest sports league on Earth , as his new salary from the college is $8m a year.

Published in: on 1 January, 2015 at 11:16  Leave a Comment  

Champagne Confusion

It used to be easy to verify the accuracy of a quote; I would refer to the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations. This was a single, reliable, and available source of reference. (Note the use of the Oxford comma; it is especially important to use it when writing a list that refers to Oxford). It is no longer so easy to discover who uttered a great phrases; reference sources are more available, but there are now many sources and the lack of reliability can be seen in the differing answers one can obtain.

 

On the website of a local winery came the following quote about Champagne. 

In victory you deserve it, in defeat you need it. 

The quotation was attributed to Napoleon. I wanted to share the thought online, but wanted to verify the quotation first. Using Google, I found the quote, with a little more context. 

I could not live without champagne; in victory I deserve it; in defeat I need it. 
This was from a Daily Mail article and it was attributed to Winston Churchill. I understand that anything reported in the Daily Mail has a high chance of being wrong, but this was not a helpful start to verifying the accuracy of the quote.

Another Champagne website attributes this to Napoleon:

I drink Champagne when I win, to celebrate… And I drink Champagne when I lose, to console myself

The same sentiments, but a lot less snappy even allowing for the vagueries of translation

 

In despair I turned to the Oxford University Press. They offered the following quote:

In victory, you deserve champagne, in defeat, you need it.

They attributed the quote as follows:

Anon; frequently associated with Napoleon without evidence.

 

I received confirmation that the Daily Mail is not only a terribly unreliable source of information, but has a definite English bias in that inaccuracy. No other source mentions Churchill as the source of the quote, but the Daily Mail could not credit a Frenchman with such a sparkling thought. 

I also found a treasure trove of quotes (I wonder if there is a collective noun for quotes) on the subject of Champagne. I did not seek to verify the accuracy of the attribution, but none came from the Daily Mail.

My only regret is that I did not drink more Champagne. – Lord Maynard Keynes, on his deathbed

 

Lily Bollinger was asked “When do you drink champagne?”, and replied:

I only drink champagne when I’m happy, and when I’m sad. 
Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. 
When I have company, I consider it obligatory.  
I trifle with it if I am not hungry and drink it when I am.  
Otherwise I never touch it – unless I’m thirsty.
 

 

Too much of anything is bad, but too much Champagne is just right – F Scott Fitzgerald

 

And finally a quote that is attributed by other sources to Churchill

Remember gentlemen, it’s not just France we are fighting for, it’s Champagne!

Published in: on 24 December, 2014 at 8:48  Leave a Comment  

Champagne Confusion

It used to be easy to verify the accuracy of a quote; I would refer to the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations. This was a single, reliable, and available source of reference. (Note the use of the Oxford comma; it is especially important to use it when writing a list that refers to Oxford). It is no longer so easy to discover who uttered a great phrases; reference sources are more available, but there are now many sources and the lack of reliability can be seen in the differing answers one can obtain.

 

On the website of a local winery came the following quote about Champagne. 

In victory you deserve it, in defeat you need it. 

The quotation was attributed to Napoleon. I wanted to share the thought online, but wanted to verify the quotation first. Using Google, I found the quote, with a little more context. 

I could not live without champagne; in victory I deserve it; in defeat I need it. 
This was from a Daily Mail article and it was attributed to Winston Churchill. I understand that anything reported in the Daily Mail has a high chance of being wrong, but this was not a helpful start to verifying the accuracy of the quote.

Another Champagne website attributes this to Napoleon:

I drink Champagne when I win, to celebrate… And I drink Champagne when I lose, to console myself

The same sentiments, but a lot less snappy even allowing for the vagueries of translation

 

In despair I turned to the Oxford University Press. They offered the following quote:

In victory, you deserve champagne, in defeat, you need it.

They attributed the quote as follows:

Anon; frequently associated with Napoleon without evidence.

 

 

I received confirmation that the Daily Mail is not only a terribly unreliable source of information, but has a definite English bias in that inaccuracy. No other source mentions Churchill as the source of the quote, but the Daily Mail could not credit a Frenchman with such a sparkling thought. 

I also found a treasure trove of quotes (I wonder if there is a collective noun for quotes) on the subject of Champagne. I did not seek to verify the accuracy of the attribution, but none came from the Daily Mail.

My only regret is that I did not drink more Champagne. – Lord Maynard Keynes, on his deathbed

 

Lily Bollinger was asked “When do you drink champagne?”, and replied:

I only drink champagne when I’m happy, and when I’m sad. 
Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. 
When I have company, I consider it obligatory.  
I trifle with it if I am not hungry and drink it when I am.  
Otherwise I never touch it – unless I’m thirsty.
 

 

Too much of anything is bad, but too much Champagne is just right – F Scott Fitzgerald

 

And finally a quote that is attributed by other sources to Churchill

Remember gentlemen, it’s not just France we are fighting for, it’s Champagne!

Published in: on 24 December, 2014 at 8:48  Comments (1)  

Not Really Winning

I posted an entry at the weekend that commented on the problems that American Football had with the concept of Thursday. It is also a sport that has a misunderstanding with the idea of winning. There is one more game left to play of the regular American Football season. After that game we will know the winners in each of the eight divisions. In one of those divisions, the “winner” will have completed the season having lost more games than they have won. The leading teams in the NFC South, who meet at the weekend have both won just six of their first fifteen games, so the best record in will be held by a team who wins seven out of sixteen games. The Jags or Falcons will get a division title that is rather like those awards given at primary school to the losers on Sports Day for participating. The real irony is that, in theory, the sudden-death nature of the play-offs means that that team could get to the SuperBowl. Since they would need to win three games to reach the SuperBowl, they would arrive in the final with a slight winning record. (Ten games out of nineteen) To emerge as “World Champions” they would end up with an amazing 55% win rate.

 

And do not get me started on how the winner of a competition with all thirty-two teams from one country can be called “World Champions”.

 

 

Published in: on 23 December, 2014 at 7:18  Leave a Comment  

The Tale of Two Trees

Earlier in the year we purchased a second Christmas Tree from Craigslist. My wife asked me if I had a preference on the colour of the ornaments for this new tree. I suggested blue and silver, but we went with red and green that tied in with other decorations.

However, my wife found a small tree and purchased some blue and silver ornaments and set the three up in my office. I had my blue and silver tree, but only for a few days. We lent it to a friend who was having a Holiday party and wanted a decorative tree. This one was ideal, as the colours were appropriate for Chanukah. The loan turned into a gift, as the friend liked having a tree.

My wife had another tree and from our existing ornaments was able to dress it in gold and green. An Oakland A’s snowman nestles in the branches, and round the base is wrapped a Norwich City scarf. I don’t have my blue and silver tree, but I do have a tree with colours that I really appreciate.

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Published in: on 22 December, 2014 at 7:00  Leave a Comment  

Geography and Robin Hood

The Kevin Costner Robin Hood and the Prince of Thieves had a famous Geography failure. The titular hero lands at Dover and travels the 200 miles to Nottingham in a single day, a feat made even more impressive by shots of him walking along part of Hadrian’s Wall mid journey. The wall being another 200 miles beyond Nottingham.

Last night we watched the Russell Crowe Robin Hood from 2010. It tells the story in a very different way. The climax of the film involves King John and Robin Hood fighting a French invasion. A line of dialog tells us that the French are landing at Dungeness. Dungeness is a massive expanse of shingle and it is flat, very flat. In the film, the French land on a beach with a cliff behind it. The geography could only look less like Dungeness if the filmmakers had used Norwegian Fjords. The shots look more like the coast around Dover, a spot closer to France than Dungeness, so I am left wondering why name check a spot and then shoot somewhere so obviously not the named location.

Published in: on 21 December, 2014 at 7:52  Leave a Comment  
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