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First idiot found! 
Thursday, December 21, 2006, 06:48 AM - Personal
I have found my first idiot politician. She is called Michele Alliot Marie, or MAM and several days ago I heard her say the following idiotic sentence:

"A l'étranger, la France, c'est la Tour Eiffel et Jacques Chirac"

which means:

outside of France, France is the eiffel tower and Jacques Chirac

And I would rephrase it:

"A l'étranger, la France, c'est la Tour Eiffel de Jacques Chirac"

which translates as:

France is the Eiffer tower of Jacques Chirac.

And I bet you he would go with me for that one.

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I want my plastic back 
Saturday, November 25, 2006, 07:35 AM - Personal
The local authorities, “le conseil generale Alpes Maritime” have decided to oblige all supermarket chains to stop handing out plastic bags. As a rule, I tend to support green legislation, but I must say that I never understood the big issue people (including my mother) make out of these plastic bags. It is as if these plastic bags, not pollution, deforestation, over-fishing, mining, river dams, you name it, were the major ecological problem our plant faces. Why they assumed such a major importance? I guess it is just because they are an insistent daily demonstration of the useless staff we constantly make.

Though I don’t have any reliable data at hand, I would guess that these plastic bags are just a negligible fraction of all the plastic waste a person creates. As an example just take a look at the staff I bought yesterday in that plastic bag free supermarket: yellow cheese, white cheese, wafers, steaks, all wrapped up in generous amounts of nylon and plastic and some fruits and vegetables that you must put in small separate plastic bugs. An extra plastic bag would have probably added no more then 5-10% to the total plastic weight I already had.

And if I needed an extra proof of that, while I was waiting for my turn, my eyes came across a supermarket commercial announcing the fact they were eliminating plastic bags, because, to cite the commercial "while I was doing my shopping they were thinking about earth". They had a picture of a shopping cart there…The funny thing was that all the fruits and vegetables were just lying there inside the shopping cart, without those small plastic bags that you find everywhere. Several bagguettes were thrown "au natural" inside the cart as well, without those long wrappers they normally have. And the only other plastics they had were water bottles, probably because those are transparent, so they were hoping they would go unnoticed.

So, whose the big winner? I guess it’s the supermarket that now sells “reusable”, thick plastic bags, to all those people that forgot to bring something to carry all that plastic wrapped food they just bought with them, for 69 euro cents.

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Saturday, November 25, 2006, 07:11 AM - Personal
My Indian colleague D. just started working at TI as well. He wanted me to help him find some bus schedules on the web, which he can’t do because he can’t read French. We looked around a bit and found a page with a phone number where you can call and get the schedules sent to you by email. I called. A woman answered and asked me to write an email to “stcaraerobus wanadoo fr”, or at least that was what I though I heard. I was ok with STCAR because that’s the company name and with wanadoo and fr, but I wasn’t really sure about the “aerobus” part, although it made some sense because after all that’s a bus company, and some of their buses go to the airport. I asked:
“stcar aerobus in one word?”
“yes” she said.
Ok, I hanged up and tried to send an email to stcaraerobus@wanadoo.fr. It immediately returned. After trying several other options I called again:
“I’m sorry”, I said “we just talked, can you please give me the address again?”
This time she spelled it:
“S like spring, t like taxi, c like cat, a like air, r like red, aerobus wanadoo fr”
I didn’t understand why she stopped spelling at the aerobus part which was just the part I needed her to spell, so I asked her to spell again. She became a bit annoyed.
“S T C A R aerobus wanadoo fr”
I was starting to get frustrated as well. I tried to tell her that I wanted her to spell the aerobus part as well, but my French sentence was probably not correct, because she said again:
“S T C A R aerobus wanadoo fr…do you know how to send an email?”
“Of course”, I said “I just can’t get the address right”
She wasn’t convinced “Just ask someone to help you” she said.
“I’m sending emails 200 times a day!” I said almost shouting now “can you just spell aerobus again? That’s all I need!
“Goodbye” she said “just ask somebody who knows how to send a mail…”

3 hours later I finally got it…aerobus is in fact “aerobe” the French word for @

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