Sunday was Mother's Day here in France and Jordan and Jen had both us grandmas over for lunch followed by board games, which was a really nice way to spend a couple of hours together. Then Tuesday was Jordan's 30th birthday so Jen invited a few friends round for a suprise get together and then he thinks we're all going to lunch in the restaurant in my village on Saturday as my birthday gift. Well that's not quite true because Saturday is the day I'm hosting about 30 of his friends at my place for a surprise get together. I think we're on track to have everything ready so all I can do at this point is pray for good weather. Earlier this week they were forecasting a 90% chance of rain on Saturday but as the week is going on that percentage is going down and down so I'm desperately hoping it drops right down to zero rain because with those kinds of numbers we really need to be outside. Still, if it rains, it rains and I guess we'll just have to make the best of it. At least it's forecast to be warm, so that's a positive!
|Teaching Charlie to play guitar on his 30th birthday!
The past week has seen glorious weather here with perfect-ish temperatures (for me at least) in the region of 25-30°C. I had to laugh though because while we've been getting 30°C (86°F) my sister has been getting 40°C (104°F) in Spain (yuck), while my brother in England said he was getting 13°C (55°F) and rain! I reckon that's not "climate change" though - it seems to me to be pretty much par for the course as far as I can see! Still my peonies and roses have come up a treat with this perfect weather!
In other news, last week someone in our retirees' group sent round an email asking people resident in France who had taken a lump sum where they stood for tax purposes in regards to the lump sum. I knew exactly what she was getting at because if you remember I had a big kurfuffle when I retired around whether or not I had to pay an extra 7.5% tax on my lump sum to pay into the French health care system (sécurité sociale). Thankfully in the end it all worked out for me and I didn't have to pay the additional tax because never having worked in France, I'm not covered under the sécurité sociale. But I was just waiting for my former colleague-from-hell to answer the email throwing my name out there as the "expert" on this matter. You may remember that when she was going back and forth with the tax people on this issue a couple of years ago she forwarded my tax information to them by way of example. Anyway, so far so good, but I'm keeping an eagle eye out on that email thread just in case!
With all the noise recently about how many subscribers Netflix have been losing, I have to say I'm still getting my money's worth out of them (Amazon Prime, not so much) and have just finished watching The Lincoln Lawyer, which I enjoyed very much. When I'm watching a particular series I tend to look up the cast to find out who the actors are and I was somewhat surprised to see that Matthew McConaughey played the lead role because the actor looked nothing like him. Now I've never actually seen Matthew McConaughey in anything so just thought I was probably thinking of the wrong person, but as the series went on, while the actor's English was perfect, I realized that he also had a slight Spanish accent. This confused me because I was pretty sure McConaughey is American born and bred, so I looked it up again and found that McConaughey had played the lead role in the movie, whereas Mexican actor, Manuel García-Rulfo played the main role in the series. As I say, I enjoyed it very much, so much so that I've downloaded the book, although I admit García-Rulfo being very easy on the eye may have had a bearing on my enjoyment of the series (I obviously have a type)!
And did anyone see the push-back that the WHO got just last week after the attempt to introduce a Treaty on Pandemic Response? Wow! If not, in a nutshell, in January 2022 the Biden Administration introduced a motion to basically have WHO member states cede their sovereign powers to the WHO in the event of another pandemic (monkeypox, Marburg??). As it currently stands, WHO can only make recommendations in connection with a pandemic, but these amendments would give WHO authority re future pandemics and the way to deal with them, and their instructions would basically be binding on all signatory countries!!! I'm obviously paraphrasing here, but I can't understand why any sovereign nation would want to hand over such powers to unelected bureaucrats? Well there was such strong push back that the U.S. submitted watered down proposals, which should not even be discussed at WHO (yet) because under WHO's own rules, any such proposals have to be tabled at least four months before the meeting. Anyway, Botswana got up and made a statement on behalf of 47 African nations pushing back on these proposals, followed by similar statements by Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, Iran and Malaysia. The upshot is that these countries, in response to huge public pressure, have demanded that negotiations be pushed back to at least 2024, by which time countries will hopefully have had time to adequately debate such proposals! Thank God for public pressure eh!
In other news, earlier this week I got a message from Amazon basically saying my kindle is so old that as from August Amazon will no longer be supporting this version of kindle. I was pissed off because I don't really want to have to buy another kindle just because of planned obsolescence, but nor do I want to start reading on my phone because it wears the battery down. In the end, since I still want to have a kindle available for when I travel, I went online and picked out a cheap kindle, put it in my Amazon basket - and then left it there. Sure enough, two days later I went back online and the price had dropped by €20 (???) so I went ahead and ordered it, although it still sticks in my craw having to replace a perfectly good (in my opinion) kindle!
And finally, another group of unelecteds met in Davos last week at the meeting of the World Economic Forum. I watched some of the shorter clips about what was going on there but I find the whole thing more than irritating. Klaus Schwab set up the WEF about 40 years ago and WEF have been training "young global leaders" ever since (Merkel, Gates, Putin, Blair, Macron, Trudeau, Ardern). The clip below was filmed in 2017 but it gives you an idea of the reach that WEF has!
One clip I did see, although I can't remember who it was and can't be arsed to look it up, was someone talking about how his company was close to perfecting an app that would allow you to "calculate your carbon footprint". So if, say, you drive your car instead of taking the bus it would calculate your foot print, but if you walked instead of taking the bus, it would show a more "acceptable" carbon footprint. There was even talk about how it could track your eating habits and "notify" you of any bad habits and your need to improve them!!!!! It's all very 1984-ish, isn't it! But I wonder how many of the Davos clique were calculating their carbon footprints as they sped away in their motorcades back to the private jets waiting to whisk them back home! Not many, I suspect!