Archive for June, 2009

For the Americans out there: Car pedals 101

  • Lesson 1: The pedal on the left right (OMG I always thought that these brain melting conference calls were doing no good. Brain is truly melted. Must. Not. Try To. Edit. While. Listening) is the accellerator. You press it with your foot. If your bloated beast of a car is still moving at the pace of a sloth on valium, press it some more.
  • Lesson 2: This is not a footrest – the pedal in the middle is actually the brake. This is not to be used either when driving round corners (clue start the corner at the right speed) or when driving downhill (clue change to a lower gear).
  • Lesson 3: This is advanced stuff. Look at the one on the left. This is the clutch. Do not under any circumstances attempt to drive a car with one of these until you have fully grasped the concept of the hill start (clue this does not involve rolling backwards in any way).




You know you are paying too much for health insurance when….

…your hospital has free valet parking.


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Too crazy not to be true


I’d only just finished reeling from the shock of finding great food in the US when I found something that confirms some of my worst fears about what lurks in the shelves of the supermarket: Baconnaise. Oh the horror. Wrong on many levels but particularly scary because, not only is there no bacon in there (surprise) but it is actually vegetarian.

In case you missed it – check out the strapline “everything should taste of bacon” . They have also introduced a bacon flavoured lipsalve “so you can taste like bacon too”. Quite. Revolting.

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Circus Showcase

I don’t like performing. But just like the spinach that made me gag when I was little, I know deep down it is good for me. Or at least the effort that goes into the preparation is good for me.

Last month, I performed on the aerial fabric for the first time. That was actually quite a feat as I’d previously climbed up, performed a single trick and then come back down. To stay “up” and do several minutes worth of stuff is frankly exhausting.  So by the time I had to perform I’d already achieved almost what I’d intended, but still needed to go through with it all….if only I’d had a little mrore time to actually practise. Anyway here it is “Jack Rabbit Slim’s Dance Competition – Let’s see what you’ve got.”

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Just when you least expect it

Finally a shining ray of hope! Just when I’d pretty much given up all hope of finding some great Italian food in America I find some exactly where I wouldn’t never have expected it – in Texas.

So I’ve had some rather good Italian small plates in Vegas – but as all of the actual ingredients came from Italy they couldn’t really have gone terribly wrong.  I’ve also had some rather good Italian food in Arizona, although some of the menu looked a little, erm non Italian. I have absolutely and tragically never found any good Italian food in Pennsylvania.

Anyway, think of Texas, you think of Dallas, oil, ten gallon hats, cowboy boots, everything BIGGER than anywhere else. So imagine my surprise when I was lucky enough to have lunch at this little gem.  OMG the food was great and the setting was stunning. The restaurant/ winery nestles between beautifully well kept vineyards and reminds me a bit of some of the amazing vineyards in South Africa.  We ate a plate of delicious mixed  antipasti, followed by a spectacular melanzane parmigiana. These can come out slimey and bitter or tasteless but this was perfect, served with skinny spaghetti in a wonderful tomato sauce. Bliss. That was followed by osso buco then an affogato.  And to top it all off – the wine was really rather good too. Who knew that you could get wine in Texas? I just about rolled out but it was completely worthwhile.

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Snake oil sales in 2009


As a result of the vast sums of money that people in the good old US of A have to pay for health insurance, they do have more choice in terms of who treats them and what they are treated with. The fallout from that is that all the companies in question advertise to you to add to their doubtless overflowing coffers. At first it was a bit of a novelty getting letters from local quacks along the lines of “please come to this surgery – we’re really nice and we won’t hurt you – honest guv”. That’s in sharp contrast for all the cunning ploys their British counterparts undertake to stop all of us whining hypochondriacs from actually going to see them (only accepting requests for appointments between 4 and 5am on every third Tuesday etc) – you know the score…

What caused the novelty to rather rapidly wear off is all the print and particularly TV advertising. Not just the hospitals, but the drug firms too – peddling anything from cures for hay-fever, to heart medication, to kits for diabetics. Actually it is worse than that – any unpleasant problem your undercarriage can contract apparently has a drug to help alleviate the symptoms; a drug which needs to be brought to your attention with some quite graphic adverts *shudder*. The element of these that is both hilarious and alarming is the disclaimer that these ads have to carry – effectively all the small print, only spoken at triple speed. Regardless of the original problem, one of the possible side effects always seems to be death, invariably alongside a long list of other possible symptoms, all significantly worse than the original problem.

Related to this is the “results not typical”that flashes up  in tiny print on any ads for diet products. Ie not in your dreams fatsos, but we’ll just show this girl in a bikini some more so you can continute to hope.

I guess the one saving grace in all this is that they ARE still advertising (typically 2 pages of small print following every one page of smiling happy, cured people) – which keeps the magazines alive.

I just dread the day when a quack asks what I’d like to take – urgh – that’s what THEY went to medical school for.

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