BlathrWayne Lorentz

Showing blathrs with the tag “🇬🇧.”

Iʼm all sixes and sevens

Monday, October 17th, 2022 Alive 18,801 days

Hereʼs my million dollar idea.

Iʼll open an antiques store in the Cotswolds called ”Everything is five pounds.”

Which means that everything either costs £5.00, or weighs five pounds.

So if I have a knackered silver-plate vesta case, that would cost £5.00.

But if after a rummage in a skip, if I found one that I was really chuffed about, I would put it in a box with a brick, and charge £85.00 because the package as a whole weighs five pounds.

My slogan would be “I have no idea what I have.”

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Thereʼs a frog in your throat

Sunday, October 16th, 2022 Alive 18,800 days

A Fortnum & Mason chocolate toad

For Halloween this year, my wife bought me a chocolate toad.

This is no cheap injection-moulded Hershey-grade nosh. This is a hefty hopper, decorated to a level of realism that is startling, if youʼre not expecting it to be there when you open the refrigerator door.

Mr. Toad is from the Fortnum & Mason department store in London. The confection connection between chocolate, amphibians, and Britannia may put you in mind of the fictional chocolate frogs from Harry Potter. The difference is those are in movies, and this is in my kitchen.

It weighs almost half a pound, and Iʼm not sure how I'm going to eat it. I have no problem biting the heads off of Easter bunnies. They look like cartoons. But this knobby indulgence has sugary eyes that look straight into your soul.

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I would try, too

Friday, September 16th, 2022 Alive 18,770 days

Queue status screenshot from Sky News

80 brazillion people stood in line for a day, or more, just to see The Queen's coffin for 15 seconds.

Things like this put the “great” into Great Britain.

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God save the King

Friday, September 16th, 2022 Alive 18,770 days

A screenshot from Sky News of King Charles Ⅲ greeting well-wishers in Cardiff, Wales

40 brazillion people turned out to cheer King Charles Ⅲ during his brief visit to Wales today.

So much for the chattering anti-royalists who scream into their internet echo chamber that the monarchy is both widely and deeply despised in the land of the red dragon.

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Agree, and be ignored

Thursday, September 15th, 2022 Alive 18,769 days

Screenshot of the ITV News app

The ITV News app does not allow you to reject cookies. Not even optional ones. The only choice you have is to agree to its folksy question “You ok [sic] with our use of cookies?”

Another screenshot from the FAILed ITV News app

But, wait — it gets worse. Even if you accept the cookies, all that happens is the over-friendly “Agreed!” button gets greyed out. You never actually get to proceed to the ITV News app.

As the Brits say, it's “not fit for purpose.”

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I was saving it… for later

Wednesday, September 14th, 2022 Alive 18,768 days

Harrodʼs #08: Knightsbridge Roast.

Since Iʼm going to spend most of the morning watching Queen Elizabethʼs cortège on Sky News, I guess itʼs time to tuck into my Harrodʼs Knightsbridge Roast #08.

Unlike The Queen, who was a very strong woman, this coffee is rather weak. Itʼs very much diner coffee, similar to that which is served by the Omelete House in Las Vegas. Which was the last restaurant in which Jerry Lewis ate.

Perhaps it's only appropriate. The coffee is as weak as tea. And tea would have been a more appropriate choice this morning.

A still frame of the Queen's cortège from Sky News.
Iʼm watching on Sky because it is the only British broadcaster with an AppleTV app that's available in the United States.
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A life in transit

Sunday, August 7th, 2022 Alive 18,730 days

My retired transportation cards

I have a bad habit of holding on to transportation cards; especially if they have leftover money still loaded on them.

  • Ventra (Chicago)

    The grey Ventra card was the first one. It also functioned as a MasterCard debit card with the idea that it could be of benefit to poor people and the many thousands of Chicagoans who canʼt or donʼt have a bank account. That didn't really work out, and eventually it was migrated into the more common blue transit card.

    Amazingly, I was able to use the blue Ventra card on my most recent trip to Chicago. It had about eight dollars on it when I last used it, and 11 years later, that money was still available, and it worked fine. It turns out that it doesnʼt expire for 25 years.

  • Akbil (Istanbul)

    More durable than a card, and you can hang it on a keychain, I got an akbil to get around Istanbul. The akbil system has since transitioned to a boring plastic card like most of the rest of the world, and the money that I had left on this has now expired.

  • Amtrak (United States)

    This was just a rewards card, like a frequent flyer card. I earned quite a few points going back-and-forth between Chicago and Saint Louis; Seattle and Vancouver; Saint Paul and Chicago. But since Amtrak discontinued service to Las Vegas, I stopped using it and the points expired.

  • Oyster (London)

    I think this is the oldest of the bunch. I have no idea if thereʼs any money left on it.

  • Orca (Seattle)

    Orca bills itself as a single payment solution for getting around the entire Puget Sound area. But I seem to recall that it wasn't actually accepted everywhere. That may have been fixed by now, but I seem to recall that when I was using it, it was only valid on ferries, and Sound Transit buses and trains. I remember using paper transfer tickets on Seattle city buses.

    I have no idea if thereʼs any money on this one, either.

  • Do It All (Singapore)

    This card is supposed to do it all. I don't know if it did. I only used it on trains, and perhaps a cable car to Sentosa Island.

    Thereʼs probably money left on it, if it hasnʼt expired.

  • Octopus (Hong Kong)

    I've noticed that a lot of transit cards are named after sea creatures.

    I had money on it, but that was probably forcibly expired as Hong Kong was crushed under the mainlandʼs thumb. At least I still have my Hong Kong money with the image of Queen Elizabeth Ⅱ on it.

  • T-Money (Seoul)

    A good number of transit cards are also positioned as general-purpose payment cards. My observation was that T-Money achieved this most thoroughly, and early.

    It seemed like you could use T-Money anywhere in Seoul. Its acceptance was probably wider than even Visa or MasterCard.

    Since T-Money is more like a bank account than a transit card, there's probably money left on it.

  • Suica (Japan)

    Suica is one of two major transportation cards in use in Tokyo, and adjacent areas of Japan. The other one is Pasmo.

    How to choose between the two? Easy — Pick the one with the cute penguin on it.

    Suica has a unique set-up process, where you can create your account and login at the ticket vending machine, and it prints your name on the back of the card. Pretty nifty.

    Thereʼs very likely money on this one, since itʼs not that old.

  • Zipcard (United States)

    When I lived in cities where I didnʼt need a car all the time, I used ZipCar to bring home major purchases that wouldnʼt fit on transit, or to take longer trips.

    The interesting thing about the ZipCar process is that you tap the card on the car to unlock it and get the keys.

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Monday, March 8th, 2021 Alive 18,213 days

Harry and Meghan: “We had no idea about the pressure.”

Also Harry and Meghan: “Harryʼs mom died because of the pressure!”

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Monday, March 8th, 2021 Alive 18,213 days

Harry and Meghan: “We don't want to work for the royal family.”

Also Harry and Meghan: “They took away our paychecks!”

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Friday, February 12th, 2021 Alive 18,189 days

“China flu” — Racist

“U.K. variant” — Somehow not racist

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“Moist”

Saturday, July 4th, 2020 Alive 17,966 days

I miss the trees of Texas.

I miss a lot of the natural things of Texas. The Brazos River. The Spanish moss. The 5:00am humidity that turns the skyline into a grey silhouette just before sunrise. The marshes of Jackson. The swamps of Orange. I think the common thread is the moisture.

I miss moisture. I sometimes watch British “lifestyle” television shows (Bargain Hunt, Flog It, Coast, Countryfile, etc.), and it always seems to be raining there. The people on the screen donʼt seem to notice it, but I just marvel at all that water. All those trees. All that moisture.

Itʼs been about 200 days since it last rained here. Monsoon season should start in a few weeks to deliver our two inches for the year. When it rains, I often join my neighbors outside and we stare into the sky like confused turkeys.

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Saturday, July 28th, 2018 Alive 17,259 days

How bad is political correctness in Britain? A Wikipedia entry mentioning pirate broadcasters calls them “undocumented radio stations.”

Up next: Burglars are “undocumented homeowners.”

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