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About whalewatcher

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  1. Lived in Cape Town for ten years. Bought in the South peninsula in 1998. Sold in 2007 for five times what we paid. We thought we were getting out before the bubble burst, but having looked at the local property sites recently it could now have an asking price of twice what we sold it for. The bubble keeps going in SA. Still reasonable compared to the UK of course, but there are specific pros and cons to living in the Cape.
  2. There's probably going to be a good market for Japanese-style love hotels.
  3. A couple of years ago I drove from Italy to Dover and got stuck in a 'stau' (lovely German word for a tailback) around Munich. I was surprised to see, here of all places, that most people seemed to be driving very modest family cars. There were very few 'high status' vehicles on the road there. I get back to the West Midlands and see far more BMW X5s and Mercs on the M42 than in prosperous Bavaria. Perhaps the German car industry is fed by Brits buying bling cars on credit, while the debt shy Germans themselves live more within their means...
  4. The beautiful architecture of London has been sacrificed to build...Dildopolis.
  5. +1! In 1994 I quit my office job with a housing association and went off on my travels, funded by three years' worth of savings. At the same time, a girl I worked with, who earned the same as me (£11k pa) got a little mortgage by herself and bought a three-bedroomed terraced house in the middle of town. Who on earth wanted to waste time buying a house in 1994? How quickly things changed.
  6. In both rural and urban South Africa there are millions of people using mobiles who otherwise have nothing and live in shacks. They save money by texting, and get them charged up at little privately-run booths. Mobile phones make a huge difference to their lives. It makes the daily struggle just a little easier. Is anyone going to tell them to give them up, so that they can save up for a deposit on a house? Ridiculous, and just as ridiculous here.
  7. <i>So a guy you've spent X number of years sitting next to for most of your days since joining suddenly disappears and that's it … back to business.2</i> Made me think of the last scene of <i>Seconds</i> (1966).
  8. You can't buy anything resembling an actual cup of coffee this side of the English Channel. Coffee, in Britain, is a contrivance of marketing people and is basically a form of dirty dishwater. Once again, the docile Brits queue up and fork out, rather than rioting in the streets.
  9. This is really why I look into HPC from time to time. The issues raised in this short thread are profound, affect almost everyone, and yet a conversation like this just about never makes it into the mainstream media...
  10. Since when has pizza been a staple food? I had my first pizza at Pizzaland in Birmingham in 1981, when it seemed like a novel curiousity. Coeliacs could easily adopt the traditional British diet prevalent when Led Zeppelin were still recording and everyone was thin. As a matter of fact we all could. Cottage pie and boiled carrots please!
  11. "The supreme function of statesmanship is to provide against preventable evils." Not wild about the rest of the speech, but that seems unanswerable, although it seems to be universally ignored.
  12. I was watching the 1971 film 'Straw Dogs' recently. The opening scenes showed a bustling Cornish village populated by ordinary local people. A remarkable historical document. Unthinkable today!
  13. Every time I get dragged to the mulitplex these days I'm just appalled by the dim, blurred image, booming audio, and general poor presentation. I own a not-particularly-flash plasma tv and a blu-ray player which looks and sounds far better. I've always loved cinema, but if this is what it has come to let's put it out of its misery and get something from Lovefilm. I can only remember once being the only person in the audience. That was christmas 1975, when Kubrick's Barry Lyndon was booked for three whole weeks at our local fleapit. I think almost every cinema in the land was obliged to run it for three weeks at christmas, a huge misjudgement by Warner Bros. After that I'm surprised the cinema industry managed to hang on long enough for Star Wars to rescue it.
  14. "...possess great skill in flattering and manipulating powerful people. Egocentricity, a strong sense of entitlement, a readiness to exploit others and a lack of empathy and conscience..." Surely to flatter and manipulate you need a lot of empathy, rather than a lack of it. Conscience is a different thing. Empathy is not always 'good'. A good conman needs the ability to read his mark.
  15. Perhaps using a 'dodgy' mouthpiece is a way of getting these ideas out into the field without startling the herd too much. Can't understand why, if he 'gets it', he still lives in Cape Town. Not a place to be when TSHTF. That's why I moved away.
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