Wednesday, November 30, 2016

François Baud, 1928-2016

This man from Morzine, near my hometown, just passed away on November 24. Back in the 1950s, he was the local hero when he was named a member of the French Ski Team.

François Baud aka “Piron” was a strong and talented skier who competed at the 1950 Ski World Championships in Aspen and managed, while in the USA that very same winter, to win the slalom of the Harrimann Cup, in Sun Valley, Idaho.

Our local Olympic Champion, Jean Vuarnet marveled at Baud's athletic abilities. I remember him when I first began working at the Avoriaz Ski School, where he was a ski-instructor-at-large and also a significant catalyst behind the 1971 crisis that shook-up its entire foundation and altered the course of my career in the ski industry.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The French Right Primary

Just like we followed the primaries and presidential elections in America, we didn't miss the center-right presidential primaries in France and watched the four debates that led to François Fillon's selection.
From the get-go, we were rather impressed with the overall qualities of the seven candidates, even though just three to four clearly stood out. They were civil, were smart and all had a program that they were willing to explain, discuss and defend.

We were jealous, because both Clinton and Trump not only deprived us of a healthy political discussion of their program, but they were clearly not up to the task and only belonged in a TV sitcom.

I'm not even talking about the 16 other republican candidates that were all pathetic or the 3 democratic and forgettable candidates that completed the offering of Clinton and Sanders.

It's unbelievable that the land that produces people like Bill Gates, Steve Job, Mark Zuckerberg and welcomes an entrepreneur like Elon Musk, can only serve us unadulterated crap when it comes to political figures.

Monday, November 28, 2016

From fatigue to jogging suit

A few months ago, I had the good fortune to interview the “Comandante” Fidel Castro via Skype.

Go 11: How are you feeling today, Fidel?

Fidel: Pretty good, but I still feel a bit weak; the treatment didn't work as it should have. Still I'm in a good mood today, because I just got this new Adidas training suit!

Go11: It looks great on you! Tell me weren't you wearing Fila before?

Fidel: Yep, but its a complicated story. First, the color selection was seriously lacking. You didn't find the contrast Adidas offers. Then, the quality simply wasn't there. I had one shoulder that ripped at the shoulder seam and then there was their zippers. Ah, their zippers were just substandard; they failed on two occasions. I think the German simply make a superior garment.

Go11: Why did you quit wearing those fatigues? To be candid, you looked more revolutionary in them...

Fidel: After I passed the power on to Raoul, those became inconvenient. Too many pockets, I could never find in which one I had left my cigars, plus they were far to many buttons to button each morning and unbutton in the evening. Also, the cloth was kind of hard on my skin. If I were not close to my 90s I'd say that Adidas is to die for! Plus, the Adidas suit is much easier to handle, the pants have a rubber band and I always leave the top unzipped.

Go11: Where did you get that suit?

Fidel: Someone picked it up for me at the Adidas Outlet Store in Sunrise, Florida. Sure I wear them loose, but that one fit me right out of the bag.

Go11: Never thought of trying Nike?

Fidel: Are you kidding? These suits are for corrupt capitalists and I won't get caught dead in one of these (laugh)!

Go11: Just like free and fair elections in Cuba, right? Get out of here, Fidel!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Ushering in my 64th ski season...

I've been remiss in not keeping you informed of our warmer than usual November. Blame it on the Presidential election and also on the fact that I have decided not to commiserate anymore about things I can't control, like weather-related issues!

That's right, for the first 3 weeks of November, the weather felt just like September and, in the very end, Park City only had 4 to 5 days to scramble and make enough snow to cover one single run.

Needless to say that the snow-covered area was packed on this opening day! After watching a video of the scene shot around 11 am, I wondered if it would be wise to risk my bones, joints and perhaps life.
But being the adventurous guy that I am, I managed to get out and ski from 2 pm until the last chair and had my full share of fun among skiers “exploding” from all sides and finding my way, more by the grace of God, than by sheer luck and evasive maneuvers...

Is a dead commie a good one?

I've hesitated a bit before picking this title, but I've little sympathy for communism and its ruling despots.

This said, I've always found Fidel Castro a bit of a cartoonish character in his later years. He probably was every bit as bad as before and still directing his thugs from his death bed, but in my eyes, he had somehow become an anachronism in the digital age.

The man was determined to cling on power, the past and his flawed ideology, just like modern-day Iranian ayatollahs keep on doing. I will only miss his active modeling career, sporting brightly colored training suits, mostly Adidas branded.

The German sport shoe company owes him a debt of gratitude and should cut the Cuban people a huge check to pay for the farewell tour of “El Comandante's” ashes around the island!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Good communication isn't easy!

When I became a ski instructor in my native France, we went through a highly selective and grueling training, mostly focused on skiing technique. In other words, you needed to be or become an excellent skier (in those days) to have a shot a becoming a ski instructor.

Just like Christians, French ski instructors had to study their own bible called “Mémento du Ski Français” that captured the art, the essence and the “theology” of “selling turns” to the public. That piece of literature was no easy read and was written in technical jargon that required to be adapted by the savvier instructors in order to communicate it understandably to their students. It's also true that pedagogy wasn't top priority at the time.

A couple of days ago, I discovered that an updated version of that manual had been released, not just in print, but also available on line. I jumped on it and I tried to discover what was new and hip; as I delved into the material, I discovered that the entire piece was written in gobbledygook instead of in a style that readers would be able to comprehend without focusing and pondering like crazy on each and every word.

I'm pretty good with foreign languages, but there, I was just lost! Skiing is already a counter-intuitive sport and if it's not explained in ways the student can directly relate, see and feel by using images and simple terminology, learning becomes even harder.

I hope the French skis instructors that must study their updated method are resourceful enough to translate it into a practical language that speaks loudly to their students' mind eyes and physical senses!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Do you still have a landline?

A Facebook friend of mine asked that question to his many buddies and here are some of the most interesting responses he received:

“What's a landline?”
“No, but my 82yr old mother does!”
“Yes......when I lose my cell phone, it is a Godsend!”
“I have a pay phone out front.”
“Got rid of the land line years ago and guess what? The annoying sales calls at dinner time stopped!” “Being Italian, I have a line on the South facing balcony on which I hang clothes. A receiver on the roof for high speed internet and a cell phone.”
“Yes for all the phone solicitors to call- we never answer it.”
“In 5 years we have built 240 new homes in Michigan. Only 3 of those homeowners have installed land lines. Mine has been gone for years.”
“We do. We have to have a phone to take all those political calls.”
“Yes. Bad reception out in the country.”
“Is that the rope attached to a life preserver?”

Then, my answer:

“I don't get many telegrams these days, I sure still have a fixed line but I think I'll dump my telex in 2017 and my fax in 2020...”

Now, what's your response?

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Celebrating Thanksgiving for the 40th time!

Our first Thanksgiving spend in America was in 1977. So today will be our 40th celebration of this quintessential American Holiday.

In spite of our best efforts, we can't recollect where we spent that first “Turkey Day”.

Did we just stay home, my wife and I, or were we invited to partake in the festivities? We frankly have no recollection at all, but I guess we were discovering the idiosyncrasies of our new life in the New World.

Today we know the full Pilgrim story and while we were not fleeing religious persecution by any means.

White Plains was our Plymouth Rock and the Mayflower had been a Swissair DC10 that took us to Kennedy Airport...

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The “One-Sale” Salesman

Most of us have dealt with a wide variety of sales people over the years and in so doing, have seen a huge variety of different styles at work.

Arguably, the best one would be the one that truly tried to build a sincere rapport with the customer in order to foster a long-term relationship that would unavoidably lead – as a nice bonus – into multiple, pleasant transactions.

At the opposite end of that spectrum is the sales guy that has to make the sale no matter what it takes. Do accomplish that he or she will lie, cheat, deceive, insult, harass and bully. This sales approach is generally unexpected and most people facing it are so taken aback and ill-prepared that they can't handle it.

Chances are, the thug will trample them, may very well win the contest and ultimately get the sale, but this will be a Pyrrhic victory, or in more prosaic terms, a one-time sale.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Is Berlusconi a preview of Trump?

Both began in real estate, are unfashionably sexists, have hair issues, had extensive cosmetic work, don't like Muslims, are billionaires and are Putin's fans.

So when I watched “My Way”, a documentary on Netflix, last night, I couldn't help but attempt to “connect the dots” and projecting a Trump presidency as rough and chaotic as the Italian Prime Minister's leadership, antics and fall from grace and power.

Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if we saw a repeat of that crash with Trump and wouldn't be the only one. The documentary is well constructed but fails to clearly explain the downfall of Silvio Berlusconi as it was allegedly orchestrated by Christine Lagarde, Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy.

I'll have to do more research on the subject...

Monday, November 21, 2016

A good cycling season...

This weekend I rode my mountain-bike for what is likely to be the last two outings of the season.

I began on Saturday on partially snowy, hard-packed, frozen trails and with Sunday's higher temperatures, the second ride was a rather muddy and tricky one in several areas, but all in all, I had a wonderful time.

I still managed to get 30 times on my mountain-bike and close to 70 times on my road bike which is my cycling record at the moment. Sure, my peak days on fat tires are becoming something of the past, but I'm not giving up yet on that form of riding.

In the meantime, the bikes are put aside for winter, unless of course, the snow fails to arrive!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Warren Buffet on the election...

The billionaire was recently interviewed on CNN about the presidential election and when I finally watched it, I wasn't impressed; quite on the contrary, I was deeply disappointed.

I used to like Mr. Buffet and thought he seemed like a well-meaning, down-to-earth human being in spite of his immense wealth, especially when he lamented the fact that he paid less taxes than his own secretary, but I now realize that he was just pandering to the gullible American public in saying that.

Now, the old man suggests that we ought to give Trump a chance and that everything will be honky-dory. Sure, he doesn't want to scare his customers away, whether they buy Duracell batteries, Geico insurance of Heinz ketchup.

So for him, even if the Devil ran the White House, it would make no difference as long as he keeps on piling up his money!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Are you ready for “Putinism?”

A friend of mine just shared an interview from Raffaele Simone, an Italian philosopher who claims that our politicians have done their best to screw up the political system by losing touch with people's daily reality, causing them to to lose interest in the political world and eventually, stop participating in elections. He seems convinced that modernity is under the influence of planetary capitalist power, a dual-headed system that is both monstrous and gentle. People crave economic comfort without having to get involved at all in a political system they feel alienated from.

The rise of populism that we're seeing is no surprise to him with Trump on this side of the Atlantic and Putin on the other. He call that new movement “Putinism”, in which “people are willing to give up political freedoms for economic peace of mind”.

To me the only alternative open to the failed representative democracy we must endure today is a more direct (or perhaps total) form of democracy like we see in Switzerland. More on this later...

Friday, November 18, 2016

The curse of modern retailing

This summer, we purchased two road bikes from REI, a sporting goods place where we happen enjoy shopping. Generally, the staff isn't pressuring its customers and the experience is rather pleasant.

The purchase of these two pieces of equipment came with two vouchers for a free tune-up within a six month time-frame ; so as snow was falling yesterday, we took the bikes back to the store for the free check-up that came with the purchase.

When we got there, the young saleslady jumped all over the chains of both bicycles and measured them for wear ; she immediately declared that both almost needed replacement and in fact needed to be changed if we cared enough about keeping the cassettes in good condition.

We had used these bikes for much less than a thousand miles and felt that changing the chains so soon wasn't just justified, but a bit premature.

Selling up, selling extra, has indeed become the curse of modern selling and retailing ; we're simply sick of it. We told the young lady to leave the current chains, but today I got a phone call from REI that my wife brakes pads needed to be changed...

I guess you can't win all the battles !

Thursday, November 17, 2016

A negotiation nightmare...

This bad dream hit me early this morning. I was in Geneva, Switzerland and had been offered a job paying Sfr. 90,000 a year (about the same amount in US Dollars).

For some weird reasons, I had brought all my furniture into an apartment that I wanted to rent. I remember that the place looked like a loft, with tall ceilings, a large living area, wood floors, up into a downtown building. Its interior features was reminiscent of a spacecraft, just like the USS Enterprise.

The Sfr. 1,950 monthly rent seemed quite high to me, but would be a bargain to any folks living in Geneva today, and I was desperate to negotiate the amount down. Problem was, all my furniture was already in and my wife was cold and rather impatient of seeing that transaction done with so we could leave the place.

To add to the drama, Chris Christie, the New Jersey Governor stepped in to interfere and the situation got so uncomfortable that my only issue left was to wake up!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Not thrilled about Trump!

A few days ago, I changed my Facebook picture to illustrate my discontent about our new President-Elect. A former ski business associate of mine, addressed it in his own words:

"Apparently you all have missed CNN's official election results? What happened to a smooth and seamless transfer of power. Anyone need a copy of the Constititian of the United States of America? Maybe residing in another country is 'your' answer."

Here was my response:

"Brad, I welcome your remarks. No, I didn't miss the election results, but remember that there is no constitutional obligation to accept them. I'm just exercising my First Amendment Right. This said, I have no current desire to take residence in another country.

Just like you, I'm an American Citizen who, for the last four decades, has probably been paying more Federal Taxes than Mr. Trump. You see, there are matters that are part of the American Fabric and one of them is to disagree with civility; we all need to respect this.

I'd love to say the same about the President-Elect, but I can't; he hoisted himself into position through hate speech, racism, insults, lies and misogyny. By so doing, he set up a terrible example for our kids, grand-kids and our entire society. I'm just simply and politely expressing my opinion. There's a huge difference between the two paths.

Because I've made my living (and still does) in the ski industry, I don't look very favorably to those who deny human-induced climate-change and want to shut down the EPA. I'm also very concerned about lowering taxes on the rich, on those (like me) that owned tax-pass-through tax entity and will end up paying a measly 15% in Federal Taxes when our cost of Government is north of 25% of GDP.

Ronald Reagan demonstrated that “trickle-down” doesn't work, and I don't think that the American Rustbelt will recover its glitter with a return of steel and manufacturing industries as we used to know them. I'm concerned about a tsunami of social fanaticism in the country with super conservative Supreme Court Judges and believe that government should stay out of our private lives.

Finally, I'm very, very concerned that Mr. Trump turns into an autocrat like Mr. Putin and that our Constitution and Rule of Law might be unable to contain him.

I could go on, Brad, but those are my main thoughts and I hope I expressed them in a clear and unambiguous manner."

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Ski Industry thoughts about Trump

Ski Area Management (SAM) is a magazine targeting the mid and top management at American ski resorts. Unless it has been living under a rock, its entire audience should be very extremely sensitive to the issue of global warming.

In a tongue-and-check survey it asked its readership to express their opinion about a Trump presidency. I voted along with 472 other readers, and I posted the results next to this blog.

For those of my readers who have not quite followed or understood some of the key points in Trump's program, just remember that he doesn't believe in climate change, that he will go full tilt to extract more fossil fuels every where he can, that he will renege on the recent Paris Accords, abolish the EPA and that Sarah Palin is likely to be his Interior Secretary (Nation Public Lands and wildlife)!

Enough to make a legitimate member of the ski industry commit suicide, but apparently not in the instance of our ski lift owners, operators and managers. More than 40% are okay with his program while the rest (less than 60% of smart folks) is praying hard that none of it comes to pass, so go figure...

Monday, November 14, 2016

Post-election survival guide

Almost one week after the election, half of this nation is in a total state of shock and it's only now that I'm absorbing the enormity of the situation. I feel like the inhabitants of Mosul when Isis entered their city of those of Kandahar when the Talibans showed up there for the first time.

Then, this morning, I asked myself, where do I go from that state of depression and move forward. That's when I found this article in the New York Review of Books by Masha Gessen, “Autocracy: Rules for Survival”.

In her article, Gessen, who is Russian and knows Putin well, points to the soft and conciliatory declarations by Clinton and Obama, asking us to keep “an open mind” towards Trump, echoing Neville Chamberlain’s when he declared about Hitler that “We should seek by all means in our power to avoid war, by analyzing possible causes, by trying to remove them, by discussion in a spirit of collaboration and good will.”

This defeatist approach suggests to shut off alternative responses to his minority victory. Gessen's article is both terrific and terrifying; in it, she makes five strong points:

Rule #1: Believe the autocrat. He means what he says. The Wall, the deportations, the hatred

Rule #2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality. An autocrat is not normal.

Rule #3: Institutions (constitution, rule of law) will not save you.

Rule #4: Be outraged. If you follow Rule #1 and believe what the autocrat-elect is saying, you will not be surprised.

Rule #5: Don’t make compromises. Stay the course and don't give in.

Rule #6: Remember the future. Nothing lasts forever. The autocrat too will pass.

Most importantly, read the article and act on it...

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Twenty years of home internet

In November 1996, we finally got the internet at home. I said “finally”, because I wanted it for at least a year, and couldn't wait to experiment with this world-opening marvel.

I've always been a sucker for novelty and an early-adopter of technology. We had gotten our first home personal computer 13 years before! This time, a new chapter was opening up.

Sure, we had to make do with a frustratingly slow dial-up connection. It would always come off line and was quite unreliable. The websites were crude, few and far between, and I could only email with the few americans I knew that were online at the time.

The situation would rather evolve quickly through the end of the 90's and by the millennium we almost had internet as we know it today, but these precious pioneering moments are now etched in my memory...

Saturday, November 12, 2016

From kitchen to politics, you need good ingredients!

We seem to have already forgotten that we had two of the worst candidates vying for the presidency of the United States. If we were expecting a good outcome we simply were all delusional. Just like hoping for a delectable meal cooked with foul ingredients!

Both were despised by a vast majority of the electorate and, in my case, I had to hold my nose to vote for Clinton. She won the popular vote thanks to all the people who hated Trump, but the later prevailed and got the job, thrust by an even larger number of Clinton haters.

When all was said and done, and with a measly 57% voter participation nationwide, Trump got less than 27% of the votes from all eligible voters, hardly a mandate. Now whether we have to cook it with Trump or Clinton ingredients, the food is guaranteed to taste awful and make you sick!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Let's get rid of the Electoral College

In terms of popular votes, Clinton has won this presidential election. Yet, the Electoral College is going to bypass that fact and soon, elect Trump instead.

Eliminating that archaic system would require a Constitutional amendment, so dream on! Another point that shows that the “sacred” American Constitution is badly beyond the times and would need to be fully scrapped and rewritten. This of course is anathema for the gullible, brainwashed, average American citizen, even though it may eventually come to pass when the American electorate grows a tiny bit smarter.

Still, there are other ways to rid the United States of the Electoral College, like convincing state-level legislators to require their electors to cast ballots for whoever wins the national popular vote. This effort would only takes effect if enough states whose total electoral votes surpass 270, pass bills agreeing to participate.

Today, there a petition running around trying to convince the Grand Electors to cast their vote for Clinton instead of Trump when they are called to vote on December 19. I cast my vote, but won't hold my breath...

Thursday, November 10, 2016

We deserve the leaders we get!

Eight years ago, Obama and Clinton made a deal after a bitter electoral primary. She'd get the Secretary of State job to round-up her resume.

In the process she and husband Bill high-jacked the Democratic Party (DNC) and started pulling the strings from within. When Bernie Sanders became a threat, they killed his candidacy and in the meantime, the DNC ignored their base, piled up irresponsible decisions, bad judgments, kept on enriching themselves from Wall-Street.

All the campaign time was used to defend her dismal candidacy, in the hope that, despite of all this, they'd “wing” this election just because every long time supporters including black or Hispanics would fall – once more - for the Clinton dynasty. In fact, voters' participation was 54.2%, the worst since 2000.

Now, we've got what we've deserve with Trump and it incumbent upon all of us to get off our ass and start doing something constructive to turn around this catastrophe. Clinton and Obama need to go away for good now. As for me, I don't plan to go to Canada or move back to France yet.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The nightmare that turned to be real...

I was totally wrong in trying to predict a Trump defeat and understand a little bit better why there's a new reality this morning.

First, the Democratic Party picked the wrong candidate in Hillary (she was already “damaged goods”).

Then, she reaped what she sowed with Bernie, her secretive maneuvers painted her into a corner and her opponent was very deft in shining a light on the Democratic Party not walking the talk with the black community.

All these issues resulted into less Democratic turn out at the polls, plus the fact that more people hated Hillary than Trump.

Well, there will be another election in 2 years (Congress) and until then, the opposition will have to cleanse itself, re-invent the way it operates and define a winning strategy in order to make a comeback that deep inside, many Americans want.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Do you crave Duck?

Since today is a super-special day, we're serving duck for dinner.

What kind of duck, you asked? Well it walks like Donald, quacks like Donald, so it's got to be the duck we've gotten to know so well during these past eighteen months!

This kind of fowl is better well done. Well, we've got plenty of time this evening... How do you want yours cooked?

Monday, November 7, 2016

When Wall Street judges Trump...

Today, the stock market staged a huge rally as it appeared that Trump may not win the election, as Wall Street had feared just a few days earlier.

Analysts at Citibank have said that if Donald Trump were to win, this could spark an immediate sell-off of up to 5 percent for the S&P 500, along with a probable slower growth or even a full-blown recession for the American economy.

With Donald Trump's across-the-board tax cuts, his retrograde views on trade and lack of a credible economic plan, the financial community was far smarter than the 30 to 40 million Trump followers that rallied under the hollow and simplistic “Make American Great Again” slogan.

Let's hope today's stock market rebound is a reliable confirmation of tomorrow's defeat of Donald the Bully!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Ski-swap, Park City style

This weekend's highlight was the annual Park City Ski Swap, allegedly one of the largest and oldest ski swaps in the U.S.A. offering a large selection of ski gear under one single roof.

I went there on Friday night, which was a big mistake, as the place was mobbed and browsing almost impossible. That night, I picked one pair of 180 cm Dynastar – I'm going shorter these days - complete with bindings for less than $400. Most of the product offering was brand-new and the majority of shoppers came from the Salt Lake Valley. The locals are probably too snob for shopping at a ski swap...

The selection was excellent, the help terrible (just not trained as it should have) and it took some good equipment knowledge to navigate the range of equipment. The next day, I returned to select a pair of ski boots. They were much fewer people and I had all the time in the world to try on ski boots and make my choice.

I picked a pair of Nordica after trying DalBello, Rossignol and Lange. The fit was good and the flex much gentler to match my growing number of years...

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Recovering my old, good (?) grades

Yesterday, I received a letter from France along with my High-School grades that I garnered between 1961 and 1966. I had totally forgotten about them and in reality – they were not quite as good – as I had pictured them in my evolving memories.

I could always “photoshop” them so they look a bit more flattering, but I'm too lazy to go that far! Yet, seeing them evoked a certain slice of my life, when things were more “black and white” and certain than they are today.

At least they were quantified in the form of grades and comments from my teachers. I've always thought that in math and science, I had to play catch-up and my grades confirmed it.

School then, just like today, was adapted to the “average student”, which is a minority entity, while we were all different, with different learning speeds and styles.

Sure I learned a lot of stuff during these years, but in retrospect, the efficiency of my education was perhaps just 15 to 20% of what it could have been and I'm afraid that this process hasn't evolved much...

Friday, November 4, 2016

A ski binding protecting the knee?

If you're a serious skier, you may have noticed ads from the KneeBinding or may have seen it on the slopes.

This device, that differs from traditional bindings in the fact that the heel unit can rotate laterally on one side as well as vertically (as all others do) claims to free the foot during rear-twisting falls that are said to hurt a skier's knee.

The problem with that is that no one knows for sure. Intuitively, a simple backward release mechanism in the toe-unit would seem a much simpler way to address that theory, since the KneeBinding dual function heel piece is not attached very securely on its base and may create some obvious retention problems...

If the product really worked as it claims you would see most world cup skiers on it and the manufacturer would sell them like hot-cakes or would have licensed the technology a long time age. Of course, a much better (and sci-fi) way would be to place a sensor on the threatened ligaments and when a certain threshold of tension is reached, release open the binding.

Naturally, I must be – once more - getting ahead of myself.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Value of electoral polls?

Ever since that presidential campaign began in earnest, we've been deluged with polling calls. Until now, we've bravely ignored them all and it's only last night that I picked one up. Boy, things have changed since 2012!

Today, we're talking about fully automatized phone calls. A robot talks to you and for each question asks you only have to press on 1, 2, 3, etc. and cast your answer. There's no human involved in the interaction; just a machine, and because of that, one feels much freer to say what one's want, and why not, make stories up!

This dawned on me as I was progressing in the questionnaire. Why would I say for whom I exactly voted in 2012? None of this pollsters business, right? Also, the annoyance of these incessant polling calls has been taking their toll, making us angry at that system of prying into our plans.

At the end, this made me think very seriously about the reliability of the new electoral poll we read every morning...

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

A mean Facebook “friend”

I know a guy who had purportedly invented a ski binding that might protect against knee ACL injuries. In 2008, he was kicked out of the company he founded (KneeBinding) and has since being embroiled in law suit against that company while trying to develop and market his own version of the product. 
An artist rendering of the piece of hardware has appeared on line. What's remarkable is that he's trying to sell his ski binding today for 2018 delivery and against a $100 deposit, customers will “only have to pay” $600 instead of the $880, hefty sticker price.

When I saw that posted on Facebook, I commented that he was borrowing a page from Tesla that is selling its Model 3 the same way or even Richard Brandson selling his Virgin Galactic spacial excursion. In that context, my comment was rather complimentary.

That Facebook “friend” of mine didn't appreciate it though, and concluded that I must have been jealous; he added that when we were competitors – he, with the new defunct Geze bindings and me with Look – his market share in America had gone from 2 to 20% while mine went from 20 down to 2%; a patently false and egregious statement.

I think this mad ski binding inventor mentally “pre-released” and needs some TLC...

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Annual Halloween Stats

This year's number of visitors for Halloween, at our home, jumped up an impressive 47%! Of course, it was so low the year before that we could only do better.

Among the notable (and "deplorable") visitors, were a neighbor of ours, his wife and their three cute kids. He, a staunch Republican, was sporting a “Trump-Pence” shirt and pouring a drink from a “High West” whiskey bottle to us, almost as a way to making us forgive him for wearing such a disgusting garment.
Even though our visitor numbers were up, we still don't come close to Main Street and are a long way of being mobbed in our very quiet and sleepy street!