Taking it slowly … on TV

When I lived in Europe, one of my favorite TV shows was called Trains, Trains, Trains. It featured video of German trains. No narration. No music. Just being in a train while it moved along its route. The perspective was from the motorman’s seat and you’re just watching the track ahead as the train moved on. Sometimes it was a streetcar.

It was very soothing.

I couldn’t find anything like it when I got back to the states. Then I got the Pluto TV app and saw that one of the feeds on it was for something called Slow TV. That’s from Norway. Here’s how it works:

So, let’s take a ride. See you in about 7 hours:

Comparing nations’ capitals: Washington, D.C. vs. Amsterdam

dc-vs-amsterdam.0-1

Possession of marijuana has been legal in D.C. since last Thursday. Coffee shops have been selling pot in Amsterdam since the 1970s. But within the past couple of years, Dutch authorities have been working on laws to allow the sale of weed only to residents of the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. And in D.C. sales aren’t legal at all.

So, overall, Amsterdam has D.C. beat in every regard. (I’m biased, because Amsterdam is my favorite city in the world.) Oh, the chart was put together by the Dutch Embassy.

For more information, click here.

In the wake of Charlie Hebdo

TMW2015-01-14colorOK, so how will the psychopaths on the right turn this into an anti-Obama screed?

Several leading Republicans criticized the Obama administration for not having a more prominent presence at the rally.

“The absence is symbolic of the lack of American leadership on the world stage, and it is dangerous. The attack on Paris, just like previous assaults on Israel and other allies, is an attack on our shared values,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) wrote in a Time op-ed.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said on “CBS This Morning” that it was a “mistake” not to send a higher-ranking U.S. official to the Paris rally.

“I understand that when the president travels, he brings with him a security and communications package which is intense. And I understand you drop that into the middle of something like this, it could be disruptive,” Rubio said. “There’s a plethora of people they could have sent. I think in hindsight I hope that they would have done it differently.”

Yeah, because we all know how much the right wing loves to support everything about France. This past summer, I was at a national monument where I heard a true American tell his kids to eat their “Freedom Fries.” (I’m really not kidding.)

I’m sure the French are upset that Obama didn’t join the rally:

During the rally, most French hardly seemed to notice the absence of a prominent U.S. representative. And many had felt ambivalent about the presence of global leaders in the first place, given the dubious human rights records of some who attended and the desire of participants to make the march about the unity of the French people, rather than about politics.

“I consider these heads of state to be taking part in my march,” said Thierry, a 56-year-old painter, who declined to give his last name because of fears of terrorism. “I’m not taking part in theirs.”

 

Want to understand economics? Don’t watch CNBC.

Here’s an excerpt from a CNBC interview with IDA Ireland chief executive Martin Shanahan, of IDA Ireland, Irelland’s industrial development agency. CNBC allegedly understands global economics.  (Via the Irish Times):

CNBC: What has the weaker euro meant in terms of tourism?

Shanahan: So, I think, em, Ireland is a very globalised economy so we look to what is happening here as much as we do to what is happening in Europe and we look to what is happening in…

CNBC: You have pounds anyway don’t you still?

Shanahan: We have euros.

CNBC: You have euros in Ireland?

Shanahan: Yes. We have euros, which is eh…

CNBC: Why do you have euros in Ireland?

Shanahan: A strong recovery….

CNBC: Why do use euros in Ireland?

Shanhan: Why wouldn’t we have euros in Ireland?

CNBC: Huh. I’d use the pound.

Shanahan: We use euro.

CNBC: What about Scotland? I was using Scottish eh…

Shanahan: Scottish pounds.

CNBC: Scottish pounds.

Shanahan: They use Sterling.

CNBC: They use sterling?

Shanahan: They use sterling. But we use euro.

CNBC: What? Why would you do that?

Shanahan: Why wouldn’t we do that.

CNBC: Why didn’t Scotland? No wonder they wanted to break away.

Shanahan: They are part of the UK we are not.

CNBC: Aren’t you right next to er?

Shanahan: We are very close but entirely separate.

CNBC: It is sort of the same, same island isn’t it?

Shanhan: And in the North of Ireland they have sterling.

CNBC: They do?

Shanhan: And in the North of Ireland they use sterling.

CNBC: It is just too confusing…

Let’s begin with the first problem: The CNBC interviewer doesn’t know that Ireland is its own country. He thinks it’s part of the United Kingdom. Go to Dublin (or if you don’t want to travel that far, go to an Irish-American bar in Boston) and say the Irish are really Brits, and see if you don’t get your ass stomped. Something about potatoes and famine.

The second problem: The CNBC interviewer doesn’t know that Ireland is part of the eurozone. That’s the 18 countries that use the euro as their currency.

The third problem: The CNBC interviewer doesn’t know that Scotland uses the British pound. He thinks it has it’s own currency. Scotland is part of the U.K. It’s like asking if residents of Louisville use the Kentucky dollar.

The fourth problem: The CNBC interviewer doesn’t know that Northern Ireland isn’t in Ireland. It uses the pound because it’s part of the U.K. Being part of Britain is why people were getting blown up during “the Troubles.”

I realize the other interviewers on the set know their cohort is an idiot, but they let him go on, which makes them look stupid for not saying, “Dude. It’s another country. Like Canada isn’t part of the United States.”

(To which he probably would have responded, “But Canada uses the dollar.”)

Oh, and just to be clear. This isn’t confusing.

These are the people who go on TV every day and tell you how you should invest your money. You’d get better advice from a mattress.