28th April 2013

Tragedies in Boston or around the world show that men get frustrated. How often do you hear people say '...you just don't understand me'?  It's not easy to eradicate underlying deprivation and troubles in life, but you can do something to ease the frustration of it all.
50+ years ago I couldn't understand why I was terrible at some school subjects but good at languages. Eventually I figured it out. Girls were expected to have background knowledge in subjects like domestic science (and I had none!), whereas in French and German I started on a level playing field with everyone else. Now, I couldn't possibly live here without being able to communicate in shops, with workmen, on the telephone etc.  Language is an amazing tool. It opens up worlds that would be closed to you otherwise.  On the Toulouse metro I marvel at the automatic announcements in both French and the mediaeval Occitan:  'La prochaine station est La Roseriae, .......Roziado'.  The French (not noted for their language skills) are at last cottoning on:  '...It's a weak point of the education system that pupils learn grammar but don't practise talking and interacting enough...' says Claudia Senik, Professor at the Sorbonne.
So, one answer to the world's problems = language = communication. Stop the violence - not by buying yet more guns, but by learning to communicate. It's the only way.

21st April 2013

If you feel reasonably well, is it better to have regular health check-ups or (as my family used to say) keep away from doctors and hospitals? American doctors want their patients to live (so that they can keep taking their money) whereas English hospitals want you actually to die to free up the beds!
Here in France, people complain that doctors often don't even look at their patients, preferring to stare at their computer screens. To make matters worse, the tests patients are being sent for are extremely costly to France's health service.  In French daily Le Parisien I read that blood and urine tests cost a staggering €2.5 billion in 2011, MRIs cost €917 million and screening for colon cancer cost €97 million in France. Dr. Jean Dubousset, a Paris-based surgeon, even advocates that there's too much screening going on which 'can lead to unnecessary anxiety among patients'. 'Fitting a pacemaker for someone suffering from Alzheimer's disease is both a moral and financial aberration,' said another.  Why?  Even if the patient isn't aware of it, he still needs it!
Him indoors says, wherever you live, it's all about cost, not the patient.  When the doctor says 'this is going to  hurt', it's not the needle it's his invoice!

14th April 2013

So, we mourn the death of Baroness Margaret Thatcher. Even as we speak, thousands are chanting '...the witch is dead' or worse.  But, what did she do that was so terrible? I'm old enough to remember the state the UK, the world and the cold war were in back in the '70s. What would have happened if someone meek had been PM back then?  Could anyone but the 'Iron Lady' have 'done business' with the Soviet leader? Good leaders need to be strong. Would the UK now have been so relatively prosperous - which undoubtedly filters down to everyone - or would we still be stuck in the mire?  Of course, the  world has changed beyond measure since Margaret Thatcher was at the helm. Our worlds are no longer enclosed within isolated places, bound by historical and largely-now-redundant mindsets.  We personally were able to move to a free and peaceful new Europe. TG European countries are no longer fighting each other for the self-glory of whomever happens to be their leader at the time. Interaction via new technology on the global stage is now the golden key. But, so is democracy.  Remember, Margaret Thatcher was elected by the whole country and never defeated at the ballot box. It's chutzpah for militant people to assume they can subvert the democratic rule of law. Lack of respect for the dead is an ignorance borne from the past. If you don't like what's happening in your country, wait for the next election - wherever you reside.

7th April 2013

The French still look miserable.  It's not just the weather either. The dreaded annual 'declaration des revenues' is at hand. If you're brave enough to declare by internet, the date looming is the 19th.  It's not just the man in the street either. Just look at the government - running scared already. The French Minister whose brief was 'to prevent tax evasion' has been found out himself. Yes, M. Cahuzac had his own fraudulent Swiss bank account.  And even President Hollande, for all his tongue-lashing at his colleague, is no knight in shining armour.  Despite his advocating marriage for all, why do you think he's never married his live-in girlfriend Valerie Trierweiler?  Could it be because, as she is from a family of bankers, if she married him they would be liable for a great deal of ISF wealth tax at 75%? Hollande is even being sued by a M. Kemlin for allowing his 'mistress' to enjoy tax-funded accommodation, food, staff and chauffeurs at the Elysee Palace - illegal because she is not married to him. Even rich celebrities like Depardieu, Maradona and Madonna have been frightened away from living in France. Some would say good!
Him indoors has always said the world's bent. Everyone's out for themselves, politicians especially, and anything's possible as long as you don't get found out.