When in Rome

It is important as an ex-pat to make an effort to adopt to local customs. This was the reason for embracing National Margarita Day on Friday. Rather than sup wine to end the week, I made Margaritas; oh the hardship one must endure.

There are very many variations on the Margarita, the one that I made reflected my preferred recipe for a Sidecar; a 4-2-1 ratio. Each drink had 2oz of Tequila, 1oz of Grand Marnier and 1/2oz of freshly squeezed lime juice. This made the Tequila the focus of the drink, rather than the lime.

Published in: on 24 February, 2013 at 11:22  Comments (2)  

Parents and their Children’s Names

We had lunch at one of our frequent haunts on Tuesday. The cashier was a woman we had not seen before. I noted her name on the receipt. I do wonder why her parents would pick a name that means dead and putrefying flesh or rottenness.


Published in: on 20 February, 2013 at 7:00  Comments (1)  


I ordered a Chicken Club Sandwich with extra cheese. I did not specify the type of cheese. I assumed it was a reasonable assumption that the additional cheese would be of the same type as that already in the sandwich. I was wrong. Instead of another slice of Swiss Cheese, they added bright yellow American cheese.

Next time I shall remember that being pedantic and very precise is important even when ordering a slice of dairy product.

Published in: on 19 February, 2013 at 7:00  Leave a Comment  


Triumph: A word that means the same in both UK and US English.

Triumph TR7: A seventies British Sports Car, with a reputation for unreliability.


Carnival Triumph: An American cruise liner, that broke down last week in the Gulf of Mexico

Therefore, in both US and UK English we have

Triumph: Prone to major mechanical failure

Published in: on 17 February, 2013 at 7:00  Leave a Comment  

Vexillologist Shortage (Part 3)

American Airlines announced its merger with US Airways this week. It creates the world’s largest airline. It seems that the two companies are perfectly matched. US Airways logo shows a similar lack of precision with regards to the stripes on the flag as American’s new design.


Although this one falls even shorter of the target of thirteen stripes.

Published in: on 16 February, 2013 at 7:00  Leave a Comment  

Tips on Tips

At the end of a pleasant meal on Thursday, I was handed the bill. I proffered my credit card in return. When the credit card slip was returned, there was an additional line at the bottom. This extra information provided pre-calculated tip amounts. I can see this might be useful for the innumerate among the establishment’s diners, so it seems a mostly harmless addition. However, I was slightly perturbed that it listed three amounts; 15% (The standard for a tip in the US), 20%, and 25%. By showing these larger amounts, the restaurant is hoping to make the 15% amount seem too lowly for the tipper to pay and receive a larger amount than the normal.

Published in: on 15 February, 2013 at 7:00  Comments (1)  

End of an Era

For many years Trader Joe’s sold various wines under the Charles Shaw label at $1.99 a bottle. This wine was colloquially known as “Two Buck Chuck”. His weekend on a trip to Trader Joe’s, I saw that the wine was now $2.49 a bottle. An overnight 25% increase seems abrupt and leaves it without a handy moniker; “Two and a Half Buck Chuck” does not roll off the tongue.

However, I did purchase a very drinkable Chardonnay from Argentina for $2.99, which was a far better wine than the “Drink Formally Known As Two Buck Chuck”.

Published in: on 12 February, 2013 at 7:00  Leave a Comment  

Original Idea

Malcolm Hulke, a British TV writer responsible for several Doctor Who stories in the Sixties and Seventies, said: “What you need for science fiction is a good original idea. It doesn’t have to be your original idea.”

No where it that statement more true than Hollywood; where sequels, prequels, remakes, and reboots abound. Sometimes even within the same year an idea is reused. In 1998, Armageddon and Deep Impact were released and both had the threat of massive meteor collisions at the centre of their plot. Last year Mirror, Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman were retellings of the Snow White story.

This year, once again, we have a pair of films due for release that seem to have the same premises (and set on the same premise at that). From the IMDb plot summary of Olympus Has Fallen:

A former Secret Service agent works to save the President after he is captured in a terrorist attack on the White House.

From the IMDb plot summary of White House Down:

A Secret Service agent is tasked with saving the life of the U.S. President after the White House is overtaken by a paramilitary group.

I know, these are obviously completely different films; in the first one it is a former Secret Service agent and the White House was attacked by terrorists and not a paramilitary group. So apologies for suggesting that these movies might be similar at all.

Published in: on 11 February, 2013 at 6:56  Leave a Comment  

Booze for Breakfast

In general it is not socially acceptable to consume alcohol for breakfast. Yet, if the following conditions are met, it seems perfectly fine here in the US:

a) It is Sunday
b) You call the meal brunch
c) You add fruit-juice to the booze

Thus Champagne and Orange Juice is an acceptable thing to drink of a Sunday morning. This is called Mimosa here in the US, rather than Bucks’ Fizz as it is known in the UK.

The US name seems confusing as it contains not one of the four-hundred species of herbs and shrubs that make up the genus Mimosa.

I suppose the UK name is confusing too, as it is a drink with a good taste that one can admit to liking; unlike Bucks Fizz, the band.

Bucks Fizz
Published in: on 10 February, 2013 at 7:00  Comments (1)  


A colleague came into a meeting this afternoon and declared, “Siri is not my friend”. My competitive instinct cut-in and I brought out my iPhone and invoked Siri.

I can chalk that as a win for me, for I have had my status confirmed.

Published in: on 7 February, 2013 at 21:39  Leave a Comment