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Posts Tagged ‘Germany’

The Signs Are Everywhere


Danger Culturally Sensitive

It's been a while since I posted the signs that have come my way. From people's remarks and the comments to posts with signs, I think many others share my enjoyment of funny signs. This post has a couple of signs that the faint of heart may not enjoy. They aren't terrible to most readers, but I thought it best to let the fragile know there are a few signs that might disturb. 🙂

I have actually ended up with quite a few food-related signs in my sign folder. At least, I think this first one is about food....

Fresh Brats

This next one reminds me of when I hear the same ad on TV several minutes apart.
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Tupperware and Obamacare


picture of Tupperware banana storage

Do you like Tupperware? We do, and we're still using most of the Tupperware we received as shower gifts over 30 years ago! Several months ago when we had German house guests, for some reason we talked about Tupperware. They told us about some of the items available through Tupperware in Germany that we don't see here. This week they sent us a package through a mutual friend coming back from Europe. In addition to some German coffee (mmm!), there was a German Tupperware catalog. I looked online to see if it were also available there. If you'd like to check it out, you can go to tupperware.de One of the items available is called Banana Joe (picture above). I don't think it would keep a banana fresh. Is it for protecting the banana from bruises in your lunch bag?

Here's a little Tupperware story from my files:

What's A Tupperware Party? (author unknown)

One evening after dinner, my five-year-old son Eli noticed that his mother had gone out. In answer to his questions, I told him, "Mommy is at a Tupperware party." This explanation satisfied him for only a moment.

Puzzled, he asked, "What's a Tupperware party, Dad?"

I figured a simple explanation would be the best approach. "Well, Eli, " I said, "at a Tupperware party, a bunch of ladies sit around and sell plastic bowls to each other." Eli nodded, indicating that he understood this curious pastime. Then he burst into laughter.

"Come on, Dad," he said. "What is it really?"

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Tupperware is known for "locking in freshness." To me, much of what has been happening in our nation's capital this year is anything but "fresh," and instead our leaders are locking out freshness, in favor of old ideas (ideologies) that have failed for others. For some reason they believe they can make these ideas work for them, and that the others failed simply because they didn't run things right. The French have a saying, "Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose." = The more things change, the more they stay the same. It reminds me of the following:

The evolution of medicine...

What doctors through history have said in reply to "Doctor, I'm in pain":

2000 B.C. - "Here, eat this root."
1000 B.C. - "That root is heathen; say this prayer."
1850 A.D. - "That prayer is superstition; drink this potion."
1940 A.D. - "That potion is snake oil; swallow this pill."
1985 A.D. - "That pill is ineffective; take this antibiotic."
2009 A.D. - "That antibiotic is artificial. Here, eat this root!"

The redistribution of wealth that is happening fast and furiously is nothing new. It's the ancient rob Peter to pay Paul thing ... especially knowing that it's a pretty sure way to get Paul to vote for you.

picture of bailouts

Our leaders' answer to economic hard times is to spend money we don't have, at unthinkable rates and in incomprehensible amounts. Being a language guy, I readily admit that economics is not my strong suit. But I know better than to borrow exorbitant sums of money that I would not be able to pay off in three lifetimes. Duh, you don't get out of debt by spending! Our government's answer to everything is to throw money we don't have at whatever problem and non-problem that comes along. My mind goes to the Stimulus Package(s), the Cash for Clunkers debacle, etc. We are seeing only half of the campaign promises fulfilled — we're seeing massive change, but little to no hope.

picture of flow chart

The push to get the Health Care Plan (a.k.a. Obamacare) through as quickly as possible, without even knowing what all is in it seems to me unwise at best. It's kind of like the definition of Tupperware party up above, but in this case our lawmakers aren't sitting around trying to sell bowls to each other, but rather trying to sell each other on a plan that could move our nation one giant step closer to bankruptcy. Come on, Congress-critters, do you really know what Obamacare is?! A reader sent me one version of the 1,000+ page Health Care Plan. If you'd like to read it, click on this link - HR320.pdf If you do read it, you will be light years ahead the vast majority of our Congressmen who are poised to vote in favor of it. I found a flow chart online that explains how things will work. You can see a larger version by clicking on the thumbnail picture of it above.

The textbook we use in our first three semesters of French here at the university tells us that France has an excellent health care system. But I've heard otherwise from some people. My dentist here in Greenville has quite a few patients who are Michelin employees living in the US for several years. Some of these patients have come in in great pain. When the dentist checked them out, he discovered that they have decay under their fillings. Upon further investigation he learned in each case that the dentists in France don't use novocaine to numb people up before drilling. They drill until the person can stand it no longer, and then put in the filling, sometimes on top of decay.

Friends who lived in France for a while told us that their four-year-old daughter fell in their yard one day and had a huge gash in her chin. When they couldn't get it to stop bleeding, they took her to the emergency room. The personnel cleaned it up and said that she would need stitches. The gave the mother a bed sheet, told her to wrap it around her little girl and to hold her still while they stitched it up. Apparently novocaine is something that socialized medicine can't waste money on. Barbaric, huh?

I have heard some say that if Obamacare goes through, we will end up with a system with the compassion of the IRS and the efficiency of the US Postal System. We've been reminded in the past two weeks by the Cash for Clunkers program that people still flock in hoards to freebies. Won't they do the same with "free" health care? How is the government in charge of Medicare and Medicaid on the verge of collapse going to manage an even bigger system?

Just this week a reader told me about her recent visit to her doctor here in USA. I asked her if she'd write it up for me to include in this post. She wrote it out and included a humorous side note to me, which I left intact with her permission:

I recently had my annual physical. As a part of the yearly aches-and-pains discussion, my doctor and I talked about my arthritic knees and how much pain is too much pain. The doctor said that if I am ready to discuss joint replacement, I'd better do it now because under Mr. Obama's new health plan, knee replacement coverage would be denied, if not seriously curtailed.

Note to Rob: I wonder if there will be a quota system, e.g.

Me: "Doctor, I'm ready for that right knee surgery."
Doctor: "Rats, you just missed the cutoff for right knees this decade. What about a left hip? Most folks your age learn to adjust to the unusual gait."

It was interesting to me to hear what her doctor had to say about Obamacare. She currently has excellent health care, but that could/would all change. Our government leaders seem to subscribe to Red Green's oft-repeated principle — "If it ain't broke, you're not trying!" They seem to be bent on breaking a health care system that, while not perfect, is the envy of many other countries.

I did a web search to see what other doctors are saying. Here are links to several interesting articles:

Obama Care: Robbing Peter to Pay Paul

Angry Docs Say Proposed Government-Run Health-Care Plan Will Drive Physicians out of Medicine

I usually steer clear of political issues on my blog, but this is such a big issue right now that I wanted to express myself and hear what my readers have to say. I know that the issues are huge and varied and cannot possibly be covered in this blog post. What do you know about and think of Obamacare? Some of you live in countries that have socialized medicine. What are your thoughts about your national health care? Is socialized medicine a fresh idea, or is it something less than fresh, something that's going to get us locked into a big container called Obamacare Tupperware, that we will never be able to get out of? I would love to see a lively, civil discussion of this issue in the comments.

quotation...

"The taxpayer: That's someone who works for the federal government but doesn't have to take the civil service exam." - Ronald Reagan

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

Anything free is usually worth what you pay for it.


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Unhelpful Road Signs


picture of unhelpful road sign

Don't you usually expect road signs to be helpful? Yet how often do you see signs along the highway or in town that might as well not be there? One thing I have noticed about our part of the country is that, when you are driving on the highway, you are expected to remember the last sign you saw because, at the point you'll need the information (the exit), there's no sign to help you! For instance, you see a sign telling that the next exit on the highway is for Hwy SC 253, but when you get to the exit, the only thing on that sign is the exit number. If you didn't happen to notice and/or remember the sign a mile or so back, you would have no idea where this exit will take you.

I have driven quite a bit in France, and let me tell you, it's different! French drivers are ... shall I say ... intrepid? And some of the traffic laws are different. For instance there are many intersections with no stop signs or traffic lights. In that case, the person to your right has the right of way (priorité). Many of the road signs are what I call "International Illiterate Signs." Below are some that you might see in Europe (the home of the first road signs). Of course, the actual signs would be minus the words under them.

picture of European road signs

Many of those signs are easily understandable, but there are some that leave me wondering.

Worse yet in France are the signs Toutes Directions (all directions) and Autres Directions (other directions). Here's an example:

picture of helpful road sign

I may have missed the logic here, but it seems to me that if the sign Toutes Directions is indicating all directions, how can there even be other directions???

Below is a place in France that leaves you wondering why there isn't a "helpful" Toutes Directions sign pointing to the left.

picture of an overabundance of helpful road signs in France

Maybe that is their means of keeping down the speed of the drivers as they must go slowly enough to find the sign they need.

Our German friends Uwe and Diana are leaving Friday morning to do some sightseeing for a week in Atlanta, Savannah, and Charleston. Here's a picture of them this evening, with "Ivman Central" in the background....

picture of Uwe and Diana

They, of course, are used to the wordless signs in Germany, and so if they see any, they will know what to do. They even have a GPS in their rental vehicle here to help them get around. But I hope they don't run across any signs like the ones below in which the words will cause more confusion than help.

picture of helpful road sign

picture of helpful road sign

picture of helpful road sign

Maybe their GPS will help them in situations like the ones below.

picture of helpful road sign

picture of helpful road sign

picture of helpful road sign

I'm sure some of you have funny experiences of driving in another country or of having to decipher unhelpful road signs. Please share them with us!

quotation...

"Praising God is not closing your eyes to reality. It's lifting your eyes to reality." - Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

The road to success always seems to be under construction.


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What’s a Billion?


picture comparing numbers
It's hard enough for me to get my mind around one million, but to try to understand the concepts of a billion or a trillion is beyond my finite mind. (You math teachers out there, please be patient with me and thank the Lord that He wanted me to be a French professor instead!)

A million is a hard concept to grasp. Did you know that a stack of a million one dollar bills is about 358 feet tall?! I read somewhere that for a person to count out loud from 1 to 1,000,000 it would take 23 days, counting day and night, without breakfast, lunch or dinner, without sleep, television, a phone call or a bathroom break!

Here are several more concrete comparisons of a million, a billion, and a trillion:

A million seconds is 12 days.
A billion seconds is 31 years.
A trillion seconds is 31,688 years.

A million minutes ago was 1 year, 329 days, 10 hours and 40 minutes ago
A billion minutes ago it was the year 107 AD.
A trillion minutes ago was over 1,900,000 years ago!

[added the evening of October 2 - for a really clear comparison of a million and a billion, take a look at Andrew's comment to this post]

Between World War I and World War II, Germans had to deal with astronomic numbers daily because inflation was so high and their currency was so devalued. It cost 200 billion Marks to buy one loaf of bread! Imagine having to deal with numbers like that! You can read a very good article about it by clicking here. Here's a picture of a German one billion Mark bill from 1923:

Whatever you want to say

Evolutionists throw the words million and billion around pretty freely. Here's a story I love that highlights that:

Tourists in the Chicago Museum of Natural History were amazed at the dinosaur bones. One of them asked the guard, "Can you tell me how old the dinosaur bones are?"

The guard replied, "They are three million four years and six months old."

"That's an awfully exact number," said the tourist. "How do you know their age so precisely?"

The guard answered, "Well, I was told that the dinosaur bones were three million years old when I started working here, and that was four and a half years ago."

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Lately politicians are throwing the word billion around like it's chump change. The following article is from the website of one of our local TV stations WYFF 4:

If the $700 billion price tag attached to the bailout plan that failed sounds like a lot, well, it is.

You can spend $700 billion in a lot of different ways. For instance, you could buy a war — the U.S. has spent $648 billion on the war in Iraq so far.

That much money could ensure universal health care coverage for six years or upgrade the country's most deficient bridges four times over. Or you could build 1,750 bridges to nowhere. Surely all of those would eventually take you somewhere.

With $700 billion you could easily run Denmark, which had a paltry gross domestic product of $312 billion last year.

That much money could also pay back every single outstanding student loan, fund the national intelligence budget beyond 2020, or help the Gulf Coast recover from five Hurricane Katrinas.

The next time you hear a politician use the word billion in a glib, casual manner, you might want to think about how wisely politicians are spending your tax money. I guess if you can be glib about a billion, what's a measly $700 billion bailout?! It's just 700 of those billion-thingies....

Several people have expressed their thoughts about the bailout in their comments to my post the blame game. I'd be interested in reading what my readers think about the prospect of our government bailing out these failing businesses.

quotation...

"The certainty that Messiah reigns produces calm in the face of current affairs, patience with the events of one's own life, satisfaction with the Lord's management of all things, expectancy that a glorious future is coming, and confidence in the One who sits upon the throne." - Walter Chantry

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

"The god of the 'American Dream' doesn't seem to be coming through right now." - Dr. Drew Conley


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