Tuesday, 19 March 2013

My Experience in Cyprus

Back in 2009, I spent roughly ten days in Cyprus....on a vacation.  It was one of those oddball trips that you'd take in your life.  Resort.  All-inclusive beverage deal (drink as much as you want, twenty-four hours a day). Beach.

With the recent financial mess going on, I follow the events more closely than most folks.

There's roughly ten things that I came away from the trip....on Cyprus:

1.  There's a heck of a lot of folks walking around the island who speak Russian.  From employees at hotels, to 'guests'.

2.  You don't flush any toilet paper down the pipes in Cyprus....there's always a little can by the toilet and you put the paper in there.  They just don't have adequate water supplies to flush anything of a paper nature.

3.  Electricity is fairly expensive.

4.  In 2009, there were a heck of a lot of construction projects going on, and new roads and streets being built everywhere....like they had tons of money.

5.  About every fourth person you ran into....was British.  Long-term resident of the isle, as I got the impression.

6.  There's an absolute hatred of Turks.  But beyond that initial hatred, no one can say much except how Turkey helped take over the north side of the island.

7.  After reading two weeks worth of local newspapers....I got the impression that politics is a full-time thing and they must have a Fox News-like network on Cyprus to help generate that much enthusiasm 

8.  It's actually a tiny island, with only around a million residents.  There's maybe 50k visitors there throughout the summer months.

9.  Just about every single dish they serve.....has some quantity of olive oil or vinegar added to it.

10.  Even if you go in September....you'd best dress as lightly as possible.  You still sweat twenty-four hours a day.

Simply Observations

I spent thirty-odd years in the Air Force....mostly all with that stupid top secret security clearance.  Every five years.....you had to submit a mountain of paperwork and show you live a lousy clean lifestyle, and then have some folks try to find otherwise.  I challenged the system at one point and asked how much this cost....to which one ranking individual responded that it only ran around $500 to get this five-year check done.  Another individual privately admitted that it typically ran around $5,000 for each one of the five-year episodes  and typically the first one (the more important one) ran closer to $8,000.  Well....today, after umpteen years....the Air Force, because of budget cuts, decided to stop all the secondary five-year background checks.  Oh, if you come up with some odd episodes which sustains itself (you are deeply into debt for example), then they will start a full-up background check and that could end your clearance episode.  But they've basically admitted that there are few if any folks who ever failed an investigation, and those who did....were obvious episodes. Amazing....probably billions spent on this throughout the last forty years, and now?  From this point on?  Saved funding.

Starting this Thursday...the furlough notices will start to be mailed out to DoD employees.  I think in the last month.....it's been pretty much accepted and folks are gearing themselves up for the twenty-two Fridays off.  The issue I see (besides a chopped up paycheck)?  At the end of this mess, twenty-two three-day weekends in a row.....we will all have to attend some recovery episode.  We might not ever be able to work the same again.

It is true, David Hasselhof (of BayWatch and Kit the Car fame) was in Berlin over the weekend.  There's a big construction effort underway to build some fancy condo buildings down near where the old Berlin Wall stood.  This has angered the common folks of Berlin.....you just can't go and tear down more areas of where the Wall stood, and put up fancy buildings.  The Hoff song his big song from 1989, which most all Germans connect to the Wall coming down.  A third chance for the Hoff?  Maybe a German police series or such?  No....don't count on it.

Finally, there's commentary out there that the Today Show's Matt Lauer....will be allowed to leave, and then take the big job at Jeopardy.  Folks are kinda admitting that the Today Show is doing lousy numbers and it might be time for Matt to move on.  As for some magic with Jeopardy?  Don't count on it.