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Connoisseur of French Idioms

by Bruno Deshayes on 19 Jan 2017 permalink
Can a raconteur gild the lily without arousing suspicion?
Can a storyteller keep on embellishing without arousing suspicion?

The crème de la crème of Paris prêt-à-porter was in town to present their wares on the catwalk.
The best of the best of Paris fashion was in town to present their wares on the catwalk.

This poseur of an entrepreneur was advocating a laissez-faire policy to feather his own nest.
This pretentious business person was advocating a no-interference policy to feather his own nest.

The femme fatale committed a faux pas and blended in the décor.
The dangerous seductress committed a gaffe and disappeared from the spotlight.

The chargé d'affaires passed his communiqué to the concierge instead of the media liaison.
The diplomat passed his press release to the caretaker instead of the press secretary.

If you know the savoir-vivre in society, all you need is the savoir-faire to get things done.
If you know the etiquette of society, all you need is the know-how to get things done.

The maître d' wore a boutonnière and presented me the menu.
The head waiter wore a flower in his jacket buttonhole and presented me the menu.

Would you like it sautéed, blanched or in a casserole?
Would you like it quickly fried, briefly boiled or baked?

It is customary for the chef to use a blow torch for crème brûlée.
It is customary for the cook to use a blow torch for caramel.

I shall have the Crêpe Suzette flambé with Grand Marnier.
I shall have the Suzette pancake flamed in Grand Marnier liquor.

Would you like some French dressing on your French fries? That would be no pièce de résistance but a crime of lèse majesté if you dared to do that on the Champs-Élysées.
Would you like some French dressing on your French fries? That would be no main course but a breach of proper manners if you dared to do that on the Champs-Élysées.

I shall have a little tête-à-tête with you to explain that in the genre of impudence this tour de force takes the stakes too high.
I shall have a little one-on-one talk with you to explain that in the style of impudence this feat takes the stakes too high.

There is a "je ne sais quoi" about your joie de vivre.
There is an indescribable quality about your easy going attitude.

I shall now take a French leave. Adieu, au revoir, so long, vive la différence!
I shall now disappear. Farewell, goodbye, so long, let it be!

Brian Trevarton says:
I blame MasterChef, sorry MasterCook, for most of this!

Miriam says:
Très bien!


The renaissance of the IT specialist

by Bruno Deshayes on 12 Jan 2017 permalink
I have two friends who left the corporate world to run their own practice. As they navigate their own business through a crowded marketplace they share similar experiences.

How do you call a person who eats and breathes computers? A geek? A computer freak? A nerd? Those two friends, let's call them Paul and Fernando have in fact a lot in common. Although they do not know each other they share a similar background. Both departed the comfort of the corporate world for no fault of their own. Both had the drive to start their own business and the good fortune to find the right contacts to get them off the ground. One single reliable client is all it takes to turn you from an employee to a self-managed consultant. The trick is how you make the move from one good client (all your eggs in one basket) to a dependable clientele.

Business life is a battle and a struggle and the field of computing is no exception. Having your fingers burned in some raw deal, bidding for a tender that is not awarded or extending yourself on trust and not getting paid are things that we hear all too often. Your attitude is crucial. You can get bitter or better. It's your call. You can be all the wiser out of the experience. What doesn't kill you will strengthen you.

So what is the cream of the market as an one-man band IT consultant? Computers by and large have been the bane of humanity creating as many problems as they claim to solve. Because I started in electronics and then quickly moved to computers myself I have learned to do my own support and sharpen my skills along the way. Ah! the reward and satisfaction of being independent and being able to fix your own computer issues. For the rest of baby boomers you have to call for outside help. If Paul and Fernando happen to be within an ear-shot they can make a living out of it. My 14 year old son built his own fancy PC out of spare parts and cleans-up the viruses that spoilt his sisters's laptops.

Paul and Fernando have built-up over time an upper class clientele of people who call the "computer-fix man" whenever something screws-up. Thanks to Microsoft that happens often enough. They also do installation, training, upgrades (both hardware and software). They can advise on the latest technologies (remember they are geeks) and tell you what's the latest smart thing to buy.

So if you have computer issues, who you gonna call? Try Mobilan (Fernando) or Remektek (Paul). You will be in good hands (they are friends of mine!)


One-man band better than a conglomerate?

by Bruno Deshayes on 05 Jan 2017 permalink
In business size matters. You've heard the phrase "When our legal team has talked with your legal team we will release our proposal". In other words those guys are spending their time looking for everything that can go wrong. When you focus on something you will eventually find it.

Enters a new dimension in business ethics: trust. Do you realise than in the old days people would perform a real-estate transaction on a handshake? Without going to this extreme the case has to be made that trust and loyalty today are in short supply. Those who can demonstrate these values will gain a lot of kudos.

So how do you establish your credentials with people who don't know you? Simple, let someone else do the talking. Referral business leads are the best form of advertising. Satisfied customers will brag about their purchase with the people they know.

The problem is that people don't take the time to get to know those they want to do business with. It's kind of hard to have a business lunch with a business partner when you are about to subcontract a job across the internet. Would you talk to them on Skype? Would you check out their Facebook page, their blog, follow them on Twitter?

Dealing with an individual has always been and always will be. They are scores of consultants who once cruised the corporate corridors and are now doing fine for themselves - thank you very much.

Dealing with an individual cuts to the chase with poor communication. Since you are dealing with one person you only need to tell your story once and can spend more time putting emphasis where it counts. Since communication is a two way street you can afford to hear out just one person rather than being drowned in corporate cacophony.

At the end of the day you will have made a new friend - not just some business contact but someone who knows you, who understands you and who has done something worthwhile for you. Someone you can trust.


Sardines & Banana Sandwich

by Bruno Deshayes on 29 Dec 2016 permalink
I am sure you are salivating at the thought of devouring such a treat! Yet the fad in nouvelle cuisine is taking us into unfamiliar paths. It's all in the mind of the beholder.

Tastes, the way you dress, the music you like, etc... are the things that differentiate us. Life would be quite boring if we all came out of the same mould.

In terms of food you have to be mindful of foreign tastes. Spicy dishes have gained some appeal maybe for the wrong reasons. During the war a copious amount of pepper was used to hide the taste of some unfamiliar meat served to famished folks.

Unknowingly they might have eaten the neighbour's cat, dog, rabbit or just a fat rat, possum or squirrel who ran astray past the back of the kitchen. With strong spices you can't differentiate mutton from goat or venison from kangaroo, pigeon from chicken or donkey from camel.

If you are going out in some unchartered suburb here are a few pointers to check: Visit the bathroom before sitting at a table. The care and cleanliness of the restroom is akin to the care and cleanliness of the kitchen. It's even likely the same person cleans both. Before dropping your guests at the entrance check out the back access of the restaurant. A pile of empty tins of dog food at the rear of a Chinese restaurant might be a telltale of what's really on the menu.

Some foreign restaurants can't really explain what you are eating so the menu is just a list of numbers. We'll have number 5 for entree, number 27 for main course and number 33 for dessert. Other establishments display colour photographs of the dishes you can order.

The term restaurant should only be applied to outlets where you sit down at a table and use cutlery to bring the food to your mouth. If you feast on something out of a styrofoam container or out of a paper wrapper it should be called an eatery.

Restaurants don't just cater to empty stomachs though. The appeal of course is to provide an attractive ambience to entertain your guests when you can't be bothered to prepare a meal for them at home. The fact though is that you learn so much more about somebody by visiting them in their own environment than by meeting them in a public place. A young man may never get to sample the culinary skills of a would-be bride before he proposes to her - a classic mistake especially if you come from two different cultures.

Parviz says:
That was good!

Plavers says:
I have just finished a sardine and banana sandwich- good bodybuilding food- great combination. ( -:

Phil says:
Never had one of those but used to live sardines


Cyberspace investigations

by Bruno Deshayes on 22 Dec 2016 permalink
Do not believe everything you see on the net. Yet at the same time journalists spend more time than ever trying to identify the latest trends and report on it. Organised crime constantly looks for loopholes in corporate and government security. Detectives match profiles on social media and elsewhere to follow the trail of their target.

Recently police have nabbed some rather nasty rings of child pornography. This only came about through international coordination of law enforcement to make it an offence to hold such material.

Russian Business Network (RBN) was registered as an internet site in 2006. Initially, much of its activity was legitimate. But apparently the founders soon discovered that it was more profitable to host illegitimate activities and started hiring its services to criminals. The RBN has been described by VeriSign as "the baddest of the bad". It offers web hosting services and internet access to all kinds of criminal and objectionable activities, with individual activities earning up to $150 million in one year. It specialized in and in some cases monopolized personal identity theft for resale. It is the originator of MPack and an alleged operator of the Storm botnet.

The internet is rife with snake-oil remedies to cure everything from obesity to cancer but thankfully you can trawl your search term to correlate information from other sources. Wikipedia is a good source to look at because it is updated by so many contributors.

In the past investigative work involved a trip to the library and a copious number of phone calls. Today everything is available at the click of the mouse. Yet we are no better off because we are swamped by an information overload.

A good way to manage this challenge is to subscribe to RSS feeds. Instead of visiting at random your favourite informative websites the RSS will simply tell you who out of all the sites you monitor has something new to read.

Another method is to benefit from the research of other people who have the same fields of interest as you have. You can follow them on Twitter and filter the streams through hashtags.

Politicians are ever so scrutinized for the next gaffe. Political parties have their own intelligence arm to spy on the opposite side of parliament hoping someone might inadvertently fall on their sword.

WikiLeaks is an Australian made international organization that publishes anonymous submissions and leaks of otherwise unavailable documents while preserving the anonymity of sources. Its website, launched in 2006, is run by The Sunshine Press. Within a year of its launch, the site claimed a database that had grown to more than 1.2 million documents.


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