Tag Archives: Travel

20140706 – One more off the bucket list; Summer is as good as winter; Living the dream.

Sunday – hot (86F) and sunny.


I hope this string doesn't snap.

I hope this string doesn’t snap.

I’m on duty as a mountain host for the day. Smile stapled into place and ready for the onslaught of inane questions. Wendy’s off to the Outlet stores shopping. It’s what women do best. Too hot. Our home has no air conditioning just big patio doors to open downstairs and upstairs and ceiling fans. It’s even too hot to sit out on the deck and no way do we fancy a jacuzzi in this weather. Day on the mountain goes pretty quick. With a very relaxed team of hosts. Everyone just gets on with the job.

An overwhelming majority of the public now believes that people must speak English to be considered “truly British”, a national survey has found. 95 per cent now believe that speaking English is essential to being a member of the United Kingdom, compared with 86 per cent a decade ago. Seems like common sense to me, but our loony liberal PC storm troopers aren’t too keen on common sense. Heaven forbid immigrants should have to learn English. It always amazed me how many even 2nd or 3rd generation immigrants families never spoke English in the home and expected schools to provide extra resource to teach them. Pots for rags.


If I wake up in a morning and my elbows aren’t touching wood (meaning coffin)… it’s a good day!


George Carlin on Religion, great comedian just love his rants. Well worth watching. Hilarious:


Monday – hot and sunny again.

Up and out for 09:00 as we hike up Crescent Mountain Grade. Must have crossed nearly every ski run on the mountain. Wendy’s a whinging, weary, wilted, walker by the end of it. 86F out there even though we were up and out so early. Well done Wendy you made despite all the protestations.

Being as poor as squirrels with no nuts, we have no car – so un-American. I’m sat in the shade while Wendy does a weekly shop, then we have to haul it all back home on foot and on the bus.

Wendy tackles Crescent Mountain Grade (CMG).

Wendy tackles Crescent Mountain Grade (CMG).

Reminds us of how life used to be when we were kids with no cars, just them things on the end of our legs and a bus. Not even a bike. Crotch droppings these days, and I include my kids in this, just haven’t a clue. We remember frost on the windows in the mornings, that was even on the inside of the single glazed windows; no fire lit, so freezing cold until someone lit one; hardly any milk, so tea on me cornflakes; sugar buttes, and if you were really wealthy bread and jam to fill up with; outside toilet; tin bath on Friday night and kids were last in the cold murky waters. No skiing holidays, no cruises, no summer holidays. If you were really lucky you got a day out on the train to Skeggy as my Dad worked on the railways so we got a free ticket. No colour TV, no 3D TV. Just no TV. But worst of all no computers or Internet. We’ve never had it so good.

Need a proper beer, so that rules out any of these American pinkel waters. 2 Pilsner Urquell sat in the fridge just begging to be opened. Only 48 minutes and 12 seconds before they’ll be sliding down the side of a beer barrel, not a posy flower vase.

But hang on how can you have an Oktoberfest in with no beer? Ask the Mormons they seem to know how. Isn’t his a blatant infringement of the 1st Amendment – Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion….”.

My winter office. Closed in the summer.

My winter office. Closed in the summer.

Religion strikes again.

Tuesday – very hot and sunny again.

Up at the crack o sparrows to avoid the heat. Mind you some technogeek, he shall remain nameless, set the 06:00 alarm.

Things are looking up, even managed Cammy’s trail without needing shoe leather. Then spent 30 minutes discussing US politics with Dick, a staunch Obama supporter, here in the midst of this extreme right wing Republican Utah. Mind you Park City is a little ungodly, enclave of Democrats – a real Sodom and Gomorrah.

Where's the snow?

Where’s the snow?

Worth an early start, not too hot.

Park City makes it even easier with more alcoholic beverage businesses per capita than any other place in the state. So whether you’re looking for a local brew or just a glass of wine, you won’t be left high and dry.

What a veritable cornucopia of birds on our deck, mind you they do eat more bird food a day than we can afford. Sadly these two geriatrics forgot their binoculars so we don’t get to identify them all.

Isn't nature awesome> Just look at the beauty and symmetry.

Isn’t nature awesome> Just look at the beauty and symmetry.

Wendy and I cycle down – the key word there being down – to Kimball junction for a spot of shopping. But first a Starbucks moment to help me gird me loins and a psychoactive stimulant to ease the pain.

Finally decide to lash out and buy some Camelbaks for our walks, mountain biking. There big on “hydration packs” over here nearly as obsessive as “Gluten free”.

I see that the religion of permanent offence has been at it again because of another film / cartoon. Like most of these efforts they’re certainly not Oscar material but in the interest of improving the threshold of tolerance of this pernicious religion I’ve posted details of where it can be viewed.

Aisha and Muhammad

The Dramatic Life of a Little Child Married to the Prophet of Islam

As announced in an earlier press release, the movie, “Aisha and Muhammad”, has been released on schedule.

The release has been coincided with the US Independence Day on July 4 as a mark of respect to the American victims in the battle against Radical Islam.

The full movie in English can be viewed online from the following website links:



  Sometimes I pretend to be




But it gets boring……


So I go back to being me.


Wednesday – hot and sunny then at teatime we get a downpour.

I’m up and out for 09:00. Well made it up Town lift side, Sweeneys switchbacks and Johns trail. Feel like a drowned water rat by the time I get to the top of Payday lift. It’s so humid you could beat the water out of the air with a boat paddle. I think I’ve lost 8 pints of sweat. Thankfully my new Camelbak helps is pretty good. Good job Wendy didn’t come, the earache would have been too painful. At several points it was just an uphill scramble – think I may have been lost.

A well deserved swig of water at the top of Crescent Mine Grade. A tad too hot for Wendy.

A well deserved swig of water at the top of Crescent Mine Grade. A tad too hot for Wendy.

Can now advise guests on Townlift hikes. “Don’t bother. If you must do it, go down.”

After lunch get myself a locals $70 point ticket for the PC MARC gym or any classes. 10 points, so just $7 per class or gym access. Go to a Yoga class. Can’t believe I survive an hours yoga and not a drop of sweat on my brow. Now that means I’m either getting fitter – mind you I am at my lowest weight today in living memory, not that impressive when you consider I can’t remember what I had for breakfast – or after this mornings hike there’s just no sweat left in me.

Then the heavens open up. Raining like a cow peeing on a flat rock and then hailstones. In typical American fashion even the raindrops are bigger and better. Wendy’s gone shopping but miraculously she misses a drenching. This is the first serious rain we’ve seen since we got here. Please tell me this doesn’t mean we’ll be seeing a perambulating, inverted, black bin liner next. Mind you the thought of one hiking, mountain biking, snowboarding or better still skiing does stretch the imagination.

I get perplexed that so many people get upset and rile against another mosque being built, or an old pub being converted into an islamic community centre. I think, in true PC multicultural loony liberal fashion, the mosque or community centre should be allowed, in an effort to promote tolerance. That is why I also propose that two nightclubs be opened next door to the mosque, thereby promoting tolerance from within the mosque. We could call one of the clubs, which would be gay, “The Turban Cowboy,” and the other a topless bar called “You Mecca Me Hot.” Next door should be a butcher shop that specializes in pork, and adjacent to that an open-pit barbecue pork restaurant, called “Iraq of Ribs.” Across the street there could be a lingerie store called ” Victoria Keeps Nothing Secret,” with sexy mannequins in the window modeling the goods. Next door to the lingerie shop there would be room for an adult sex toy shop, “Koranal Knowledge,” its name in flashing neon lights, and on the other side a liquor store called “Morehammered.” All of this would encourage Muslims to demonstrate the tolerance they demand of us, so their mosque issue would not be a problem for others.


Yes, we should promote tolerance, and if you are not laughing or smiling at this point… It is either past your bedtime, or it’s midnight at the oasis and time to put your camel to bed!!!!


What is it with this American obsession with everything being gluten free. It’s every where and everything. I’ve written to the local water board, various wine growers and brewers  asking them to confirm their products are gluten free. Now I worry whether my petrol should also be gluten free, will it harm my engine.

A cynic – not me of course – make think it’s just a marketing ploy to exploit and rip off the gullable, thick, health freaky obsessives. Are you surprised that gluten free is always considerably more expensive.

But the facts prove it’s just another rip off fad, with a NORMAL loaf of bread costing £1, while gluten free costs £3.

Bear in mind that less than 1% of the population are coeliac. While many are convinced that – coeliac or not – avoiding gluten will make them healthier, a study published last year in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics disagrees. It concluded: “There is no evidence to suggest following a gluten-free diet has any significant benefits in the general population.” “Indeed,” it continued, “there is some evidence to suggest that a gluten-free diet may adversely affect gut health in those without coeliac disease or gluten sensitivity.” Other research has indicated that gluten-free diets are often low in fibre and can be linked to deficiencies in B vitamins, iron and folate. Inevitably, in the US, a gluten-free backlash is already under way. “Coeliac: the Trendy Disease for Rich, White People”, is a typical recent headline in the popular blog, Science 2.0.

Unfortunately, the gluten-free community has even less tolerance for jokes than for pasta. Thankfully I can continue to eat macaroni pudding with impunity and at minimal cost, thats if I can persuade her indoors to cook it.

People often wonder why I’m keen on baked beans followed by macaroni pudding. Well when I was at “bilateral” school – best not to ask. I always went to my Grandmas for lunch – well not being posh we called it dinner. Every day she’d serve me baked beans, with a nob of butter of course, cooked until dry (anything less than 15 minutes and they’re raw). Followed by a macaroni pudding, also cooked to perfection – until dry and curling at the edges. Every day for four years. Then one day I asked “Grandma, do you think we could have a change of menu”? That was it, never got me baked beans or macaroni pudding ever again. What a deprived, or was it depraved, childhood.

Thursday – warm and downpour late afternoon.


Hmm... lets see this cakes for two. So why do we have a 35% fatty rate?

Hmm… lets see this cakes for two. So why do we have a 35% fatty rate?

Lazy morning for me. Wendy’s off to be Florence Nightingale. Lunch time I go for a MTB ride and then call in at the hospital for a complimentary coffee and read of the paper in their comfortable lounge area. Good to people watch all the Florences in their lime green blouses scurrying around and spending most of their time chattering away like Mocking birds on LSD.
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Then in the afternoon I’m doing training for my Robin Hood archery (a Nottingham lad) stint at the National Ability Center. Amazing place for the disabled and when you see what they achieve it’s quite right they use the word “ability”.

Bike home and get caught in a real downpour. Fortunately it’s very warm so it doesn’t really matter. Quite a change as I can’t remember the last time I got really soaked right through.

In the evening we’re off out to dinner at Tricy and Rivers (possible home exchangers). They live up in Deer (aptly named) valley. They have an awesome 5,000 square foot home. Only the FSM can guess at what or why you need 5,000 square feet. Good meal, good company, good conversation and good beer. They have 4 other guests for dinner so it’s lively conversation all round. One of the guys brews his own beer and brings a load of samples. They’re very good, not a bit like the home brews I last tasted. Have a very interesting conversation with him and get to sample an excellent Kolsch and a Pilsner, none of your typical American pinkle water.

National Ability Center archery range.

National Ability Center archery range.

Only in America.

Close by parking spaces at the gym for fuel efficient vehicles. I’ll define fuel efficient – LPG, electric or over 30 MPG (well it is America).


Friday – cloudy with rain thunder and lightning in the afternoon.

Angela does archery. Just look at that perfect release.

Angela does archery. Just look at that perfect release.

I’m on mountain host duty and Wendy’s at the hospital. Another easy day with the Friday crew.

In the afternoon the heavens open up and some thunder and lightning, every things shut down while it passes. We get to leave early.

Then it’s off out to dinner yet again. This time with Rick and Lynda, potential home exchangers. They have a lovely home up on Park Meadows. Just love the way American homes tend to be so open plan with kitchen, dinning and lounge all one big contiguous open area. Great evening, awesome food, wine and best of all company. Never ceases to amaze me how friendly and how much home exchangers have in common.

Just test driving a bike for the disabled. Hard work. Managed to crash it when a car tried to reverse into me.

Just test driving a bike for the disabled. Hard work. Managed to crash it when a car tried to reverse into me.

Please tell me the World hasn’t gone mad:

Liverpool confirm Luis Suárez’s £75m move to Barcelona pending medical. Who’s Luis Suarez? He’s a footballer who bit one of his opponents in the World cup. Not only that it’s the 3rd time he’s done it. Barbaric. What did FIFA do about it? A slap on the wrist and a few months ban. Why wasn’t he prosecuted for GBH or assault? These guys are role models for kids. Hey kids if someone upsets you, bite them. Over paid morons. Why wasn’t he banned for life. Instead he’s being transferred and will no doubt receive a big chunk of money. Sounds like some sort of experiment in creative stupidity. But it’s football, what can you expect?


Saturday – very hot and sunny.


Bump into a lady at the bus stop.

Tony: “That’s a nice dog. What make is it?”IMG_0834

Lady: “Oh it’s a spaniel / poodle cross.”

Tony: “We had a spaniel but it only had half a brain. Does he have a full brain?”

Lady: “I don’t know we adopted it!”

Owner obviously is the one with a half of a brain.
On duty as mountain hosts yet again. So hot just try to avoid the sun all day.
Then we’re off to the hospital staff party. Free food and entertainment at the National ability centre for all hospital staff, volunteers and their families.
They’ve a climbing wall, ropes course, archery and disabled bikes – well you know what I mean – for you to try.
I’m totally freaked out by heights.
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Don’t you just love the American obsession with food. They walk up with a giant burger, just drooling fat, calories and cholesterol, and are then distraught when they can’t get 52 ounce diet coke. Oh well have to make do with a normal coke. How can anyone drink 52 ounces of sugar or even saccharin?

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That's better. Just 3 feet to go.

That’s better. Just 3 feet to go!

What a great opportunity to try all these facilities. Will I try the climbs again now it’s off my bucket list? Who knows. I will still be petrified but I suppose familiarity will help overcome this fear.

Let’s not forget however that all these facilities at the NAC are in the main for the disabled. Yes, they get people with disabilities up to these heights and even have a shaky wooden bridge over 50 feet up that you can go across in a wheelchair. Can you imagine the sense of achievement these kids, and adults, must feel.

20140109 – Living The Dream

Thursday – cold, wet and miserable, as we leave Belthorn. Makes you appreciate reaching escape velocity.

IMG 2017

Yes we’re off on our great adventure to live the dream. 3 months skiing and living in Park City, Utah – the greatest little town in America, a veritable Sodom and Gomorrah in the midst of Mormon country. We’re renting a house for 8 months in my favourite town. Unfortunately with Visa, travel insurance and home insurance weasel words we have to come back every 90 days. So we’re back to sunny Belthorn in April, couple of weeks in France early May, then back out to PC for summer in the mountains June, July and August.  My dream. Awesome.

Manchester airport so much more relaxed in winter but still the usual crap and lobotomised, uniformed, little hitlers. But cheerful check in girl (not PC I suppose) and bacon butty man were the best thing about the airport. Someone, she shall remain nameless, had put a load of energy bars in my rucksack. Boy did that confuse the Xray geezer. Strip search me haversack, any moment now I can hear the sound of the rubber gloves slapping on!

Delta have changed our flight coming back. Flight arrives at 19:30 and next flight takes off at 19:05. Some mathematical genius there. Mind you at least they’ve given me 3 months notice so that I can train to be a Time Lord. That’s coming back so who cares?

Flight from Manchester to Atlanta was good, adequate leg room, just about tolerable, excellent service and they all smiled and seemed to enjoy their work.

Atlanta, well. What can you say. 40 minutes passport control and then 25 minutes TSA underwear scanning, peeving and long term sterilisation. Why we have to go through security again, only the Flying Spaghetti Monster knows. Perhaps they think the Delta flight crew were dishing out explosives and running bomb making classes on the flight over. Just more TSA madness.

Short drive up to Park City and we’re home.

Good news. A new study shows that drinking coffee is not bad for you. In fact, moderate coffee consumption appears to be mildly protective.
Based on this and other studies the most effective “dose” is two to five cups a day. More than that and any benefits drop off. Sadly I don’t know who conducted the study – possibly Starbucks!

Friday – cold (23 – 31F) and snowy (that’s what we’re praying / paying for).

Up a 06:30, cooking a cup of tea for Wendy. Mortar round explosions rippling through the mountains, IMG 2019 t’s either the Talibans attacking, or the Ski patrol out on avalanche control. Open the curtains to snow, snow, snow everywhere. It’s the proper stuff, none of that slush grey and black we seem to end up with. Mr Plough been out and done his job already. Roads are cleared, just a thin layer of compacted snow / ice, even our garage area is cleared.

Start the holiday with an all American breakfast at Squatters – awesome food.

Leisurely day getting settled in. 3 trips to Comcast to sort out Wifi. 1st they’re closed for lunch, that’s what you get employing French; 2nd no you need you’re property rental agreement to prove you exist – keh; 3rd terribly sorry computers down for the next 3 hours, by which time they’ll have pissed off home. Starting to make BT look good. Canadian customer summed them up when he said their service was totally crap in Canada and is just as crap here. That’s good quality control for you, consistency. Takes a lot of effort to be consistently bad.

IMG 2053

Wendy hits the supermarket whilst I take care of the important things. State liquor store to get some essential supplies; bank to get some dollars to pay rent. Ask how much I can draw out? “As much as you have in.” “what no daily limits?” “No it’s your money, why should we stop you spending it.” My sort of bank.

Meanwhile some more PC terms to help me become a good brainless PC liberal:

Fail – achieve a deficiency.

Fat – Differently Weighted; gravitationally challenged; horizontally challenged; horizontally gifted; People of Mass; person of substance

Fictional / Mythological – ontologically challenged

Freshman – first-year student

Full of Crap – fecally plenary

Gang – Youth Group

Garbage Man – sanitation engineer

Gas Station Attendent – petroleum transfer technician 

Geek, Nerd, whatever… – socially challenged

Ghetto / Barrio – Ethnically Homogenous Area

Saturday – cold blue sky day.

IMG 2058

In the lift queue at 08:50 for the Eagle lift. May be a bit slow. May be a tad antediluvian – pre-dates Noah. But, it gets you to some of the best skiing quicker than doing the multiple hi-speed 6 packs that most tourists do. Yes, I’m a local this year.

Have a few runs to get back in the swing of things. Then meet up with Carol for a great bluebird mornings skiing. 

Feeling very at home on these skies, just as if it was only yesterday I was on them. Then I have a couple of falls. Mind you given that it was like skiing in a war zone, with all the mortars going off to clear avalanches, it’s enough to make anyone jump out of their ski boots.

That’s it these new skis are going back. Well at least the left one is. It seems to be demonically possessed, about as obedient as a half brained spaniel. Why is it trying to copulate with the right ski? Two falls in one day is more than a full seasons worth. Embarrassing, especially the first, I was only doing about 2mph. If I’d have gone another foot before stopping a parachute would have been handy. 2nd was a tad more spectacular as I did an impression of a star fish sliding down a mountain.

Perhaps I should have done more than 1 days pre-ski exercises, rather than relying on 3 months IMG 0699skiing to get fit. Who knows perhaps by March I might have full control of my left leg.

In the afternoon I take on the ultimate challenge to my sanity and ring Comcast to sort the TV and set up Internet. They obviously don’t want to be bothered with new customers, takes me 15 minutes to find a phone number. Abandon hope all you who ring this number. 3 calls, 4 people and 2 hours 15 later I’ve got it all set up – allegedly, although the proof will be Monday when I try and pick up the modem. By now I’ve totally lost the plot and the will to live. They are so bad I just can’t describe it. But at least now I know why they have a service called “Infinity”. It’s because their service is infinitely worse than any anyone else. That includes BT. Just imagine your worst BT nightmare experience and multiply it by infinity and you still don’t get even with a lightyears distance of how bad they are. Time to rattle a CEO’s cage.

Sadly there’s no alternative.

IMG 2044

As we’ve got Comcast cable TV set up, it comes free with our new home, we decide to have a flick through the channels to see whats worth watching. By the time we’ve gone through all 950 channels it’s time for bed and we’ve found nothing of merit to watch.I think I’d rather watch the CBBeebies with a blindfold on and the sound on mute, than some of the wasted photons produced by some of the USA TV channels. The adverts are just another excess, but they’re that lengthy at least you can cook a 3 course meal during each interval.

More PC terms:

Hamburger – Seared Mutilated Animal Flesh

Handicapped – Differently Abled, Handi-Capable

Having PMS – cyclically challenged

Hearing Person – temporarily aurally abled

Homeless – outdoor urban dwellers; residentially flexible; Mortgage-Free Living 

Housebroken – Family Disfunction

Housewife – domestic engineer

Hunter – Animal Assassin; Bambi Butcher; Meat Mercenary

Sunday – cold, snowing and howling a gale.

Do a good imitation of a nesh, lethargic chicken and stay in. With snow, 30mph winds and gust up to IMG 2045 0mph there’s a good chance they’ll shut a lot of the lifts down, so I do the sensible but boring thing, stay home and win some browny points with Wendy.

After lunch Wendy tempts me to an alternate orgasmic excitement. A trip to Walmart and TJ Max . Somehow doesn’t compete with the excitement of skiing in a howling snow storm; swinging 100 foot up in a 6 man chair; being roped down when the chair stops because it’s too windy. Thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM) for iPhone and 3’s Feel At Home Service which means I can at least access As Much As You Can Eat Data here in the USA. Can even watch BBC from iPhone to ITV to main TV.

Monday – cold, windy and some snow round.

Do you ever wonder about the difficult life choices you have to make:

Option 1 – 9″, that’s 225 mm to those not classically educated, of fresh, white, fluffy, virgin snow to ski on. 

Option 2 – go to Comcast to sort internet (vitally important); then drive down to Costco for some orgasmic isle and trolley duelling; then Ikea. Have to do this today as tomorrow we are poor and car less.

Hang on there’s another option. 

Option 3 – I go skiing and Wendy drives down to Salt Lake to do the rest. 

IMG 2038

So which is it to be?

Go for option 2, wins me some extra browny points for my remaining 3 months skiing.

Start with Comcast. There at opening time to pick up a wifi modem. “I don’t believe it”, the lobotomised girl with the personality of a granite boulder (why would anybody employ anyone so miserable and uninviting) can’t get the storeroom open. Her key won’t work. I offer to break the door down for her but she’s not enamoured with the idea.

We’re going down to Salt lake so I’ll pick one up from their. What’s their excuse going to be? Turns out they don’t have one – unbelievable. At least the guy there has a personality and a brain so we discuss the pricing options and he manage to get $50 pm to $25, gives us a shed load more channels to flick through so we probably won’t get to bed until the early hours. But best of all set us up with a free, my sort of word, trial of all HBO for 3 months.

Then it’s off to Costco. Our account has been cancelled for some reason but assistant is most helpful IMG 2036 nd gives us a day pass. Wow what a place. It’s like Asda on steroids and very cheap. We stock up for 6 months on all the major consumable. Must work out about 30% cheaper overall than you best supermarket bargains. But alas they don’t sell tea. Finally manage to get our overloaded trolley to checkout. Come to pay and Wendy’s Master card not  accepted; plan B other master card rejected; plan C my master card rejected. Getting to be fun now. Plan D Chase Debit card – accepted. Obviously don’t like UK cards.

Then it’s off down to Ikea for a free Friends and family coffee and Wendy has some lunch. Unlike UK Ikea’s they have everything in we want – quite refreshing.

Call back into PC Comcast an pick up wifi modem and ADT box. They’ve finally managed to open the storeroom.

Evening spent setting up wifi and extended TV channels. Suffice it to say the saga continues. Instructions are wrong. Oh yes says the call centre lass, with a giggle, we get that a lot, they are confusing – soups spoons for breakfast if you ask me. 4 calls to “Help Lines”. Finally figure out they’ve given me a black ADT, when HBO needs a silver DCT. Oh well another chance to pop in for some stimulating banter with the granite boulder in the Comcast store.

Well we said it would be great to come and live here and experience America and Comcast has certainly been one of those experiences. If you think BT are bad then Comcast takes poor service to a whole new inter galactic level of unimaginable incompetence and frustration, just one visit / interaction generates enough material for a comedy show. I now understand where the Comcast genii in their marketing department came up with the Xfinity logo. Simple. It stars for take the worst possible service you can imagine and multiply it by  infinity and you have a measure of the quality of our service – Xfinity. I can feel a ranting ode to rattle the CEO’s cage coming on.