Nip Tuck

Having seen one or two episodes randomly quite a few years ago, I sat beside a person on the Thalys going to Paris who was watching multiple episodes.  I have always been intrigued by this series so when I got home I ended up acquiring all 6 series.

I am now half way through season 2 and I am totally hooked.  Great music, interesting characters, love, jealousy, sex, drugs, plastic surgery and an interesting twist in each episode – perfect entertainment.

If you want to get an idea, check out the overview on Wikipedia although there are a significant number of websites on this topic.

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Motorcycle weekend

Last weekend was the final weekend for this year in Holland where we had a public holiday extending it to a full 3 days.  The weather forecast predicted dry weather and lots of sun. 

So on Saturday morning I jumped on my bike (Kawasaki ZZR-1100) and headed down to Koblenz in Germany, down the Rhine, across rural Germany to Mosel ending up in Cochem late afternoon.  The idea was to stay there for the night and to ride another route in Germany, but I felt that this area of Germany was actually quite boring.  So I had dinner and then rode to Lille in France getting their about 10pm.  So on Saturday I rode 950 kms.  Next day decide to have lunch in Tourney in Belgium.  First time I have ever been there and it is a really nice little town with a great central square and restaurant terraces.  In the middle of the afternoon I rode back to Amsterdam.  Monday, up again and rode up into Friesland to see some friends and stayed for an enjoyable lunch.  Rode back home via the west.

Total distance over the 3 days was just on 1,300kms.  Not bad.

The paradox of information

We have access to more information now than any other time in history, but you could argue that the truth is covered with more bullshit than ever before.  This morning I read the following in an article in the FT;

“Pope Benedict said the world economic crisis demonstrated the need for greater moral responsibility in running the global financial system.  The Church had often ‘left concrete economic things to the world ….. without realising that there was an implicit global responsibility”.

What pure, utter bullshit!!

Here is a very small excerpt from a book by Avro Manhattan – “The Vatican Billions”

 “The Catholic church is the biggest financial power, wealth accumulator and property owner in existence. She is a greater possessor of material riches than any other single institution, corporation, bank, giant trust, government or state of the whole globe. The pope, as the visible ruler of this immense amassment of wealth, is consequently the richest individual of the twentieth century. No one can realistically assess how much he is worth in terms of billions of dollars.”

 “The Vatican’s treasure of solid gold has been estimated by the United Nations World Magazine to amount to several billion dollars. A large bulk of this is stored in gold ingots with the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank, while banks in England and Switzerland hold the rest. But this is just a small portion of the wealth of the Vatican, which in the U.S. alone, is greater than that of the five wealthiest giant corporations of the country. When to that is added all the real estate, property, stocks and shares abroad, then the staggering accumulation of the wealth of the Catholic church becomes so formidable as to defy any rational assessment.”

“Fabulous Fab”

Earlier in this blog I have vented my spleen about investment bankers and in general hoping against hope that they all rot in hell.  Here is a small collection of  text from the emails of Fabrice Tourre, the Goldman Sachs trader to his girlfriend, Marine Serres.

“Anyway, not feeling too guilty about this, the real purpose of my job is to make capital markets more efficient and ultimately provide the U.S. consumer with more efficient ways to leverage and finance himself, so there is a humble, noble and ethical reason for my job 😉 amazing how good I am in convincing myself !!!” Tourre said in an e-mail to Serres in January 2007.

“standing in the middle of all these complex, highly leveraged, exotic trades he created without necessarily understanding all of the implications of those monstrosities!!!”

“It’s bizarre I have the sensation of coming each day to work and re-living the same agony – a little like a bad dream that repeats itself,” Tourre writes. “In sum, I’m trading a product which a month ago was worth $100 and which today is only worth $93 and which on average is losing 25 cents a day …That doesn’t seem like a lot but when you take into account that we buy and sell these things that have nominal amounts that are worth billions, well it adds up to a lot of money.”

 “When I think that I had some input into the creation of this product (which by the way is a product of pure intellectual masturbation, the type of thing which you invent telling yourself: “Well, what if we created a “thing”, which has no purpose, which is absolutely conceptual and highly theoretical and which nobody knows how to price?”) it sickens the heart to see it shot down in mid-flight… It’s a little like Frankenstein turning against his own investor ;)”

“Just made it to the country of your favorite clients!!! I’m managed (sic) to sell a few abacus bonds to widow and orphans that I ran into at the airport, apparently these Belgians adore synthetic abs cdo2,”

Italy for a week

Decided at the very last moment to go to Italy for a week.  We are going to grab a car at Rome airport and then head off into the area of Abruzzo for a few days.  Basing ourselves in a little B&B in Scanno, do some hiking, weather permitting, eat some amazing local food, sample a fair range of Montepulciano wines (just to ensure consistency) and drive around the area.  Perhaps go up to LÁquila to see how it is after the earth quake a year ago.  We are then going back to Rome Friday afternoon to spend a weekend in the ‘Eternal City’ and have dinner with friends.  Not bad for a last minute decision.

Queens Day – Netherlands

 

What can I say that the photos don’t already show.  Interesting day 🙂