The best French restaurant ever

I have eaten in French restaurants all over the world, and I can say, with a degree of firmness, that Le Lapin Troubadour in Paris, located in Montmartre, is the absolute best French restaurant in existence. Sure, some other restaurants might be more adventuresome in terms of presentation or ingredients or techniques, however, Le Lapin Troubadour offers balance which is not found anywhere else.

It is a tad difficult to find, however, one you are there, you will enjoy food that is out of this world. French waiters are known to be stand-offish (I wanted to say something else, but I am a polite individual), however, at Le Lapin Troubadour the staff actually seems to enjoy doing what they are doing.

Do not miss the Trebliet du Jour, an invention of the chef. It is actually a pastry, with various fillings and sauces. I hate to repeat myself, however, it is out of this world.


Lena Neyse is not a real translator

If you get a resume from a so-called Lena Neyse, email, watch out. This is not a real person.

In fact, the somewhat impressive resume has been stolen, word for word, from another, supposedly real translator who posted her resume in Proz.

The fact is that so called “Lena” is part of a growing trend, fake resumes sent by email, using gmail, which does not allow you to locate the IP where the message was originally sent. The intent is obvious. In fact, the real name behind “Lena” is Rana Ad, a Middle Eastern sonuding name.

By using gmail, the scammers do not allow computer savvy resume recipients to detect where the resume came from. In this case, it probably came from Palestine.

Fake “Lena” uses the paypal address for payments. This is the address used by Rana Ad. However, you only know that when you maker a payment, too late!

Paypal also does not provide information about the location of the recipient account, a major security flaw. This lets scammers have free reign on the Internet, hiding behind names such as trans.payable, when in fact their name has nothing to do with Germans (or Arabic, for that matter).

“Lena”  is not alone. Scammer Walid Issa, who hides behind the paypal email, also sends resumes for fake translators for a number of languages. His German “aliases” are Tomas Skold and Ronat Neil, who hide behind the name snow2white translation.  These scammers generally deliver work done in google translate, of subpar quality.

The best thing to do is, be careful with resumes sent from gmail. Some scammers even go as far as using real names of translators who are ATA members or certified.



Am I writing my memories? Who knows. I normally write on the third person, but this week I decided to talk about real experiences I had. So here it goes, another one.

When I arrived in the USA, I was old enough to start junior year in High School, so I did not go through that nagging elementary school phase when bullies seem to loom around every corner, nook and cranny of every grade school. Our group in my country was quite tightly knit, and relationship problems were few and far between. There were no real bullies, we just kidded around without much malice.

I did have a few problems with a couple of jerks when I got to High School in the USA, even as a junior, one a fat guy called Bryan and the other a short guy who insisted calling me Coffee-beano, attempting to make a pejorative reference to my heritage. As I like coffee a lot, I took no offense, and I just disregarded Bryan. Basically I learned how to deal with these fine folks in a very peaceful way.

I thought that the problem would be eradicated once I got to college, but was I wrong. Not only were there bullies in college, even girl bullies, but the most evident one was a mini-bully, who attempted to make my life miserable a couple of times. Reportedly, he had a number of other clients all over campus.

He was a small guy, but happened to be on the football team. He was most likely the smallest guy on the Rutgers team ever, and I have no idea whether he was any good a player to be there. Whenever I saw him he was in the company of a good number of his oversized teammates. Then the little guy would show a real talent for being inconvenient and nasty. The big guys would just stand around and laugh like monkeys, while the minuscule ball player belittled victim after victim. Dare I say he was relying on backup, should the skinny victim happen to be a black belt in tae kwon do or judo? As he always had an entourage, I can’t really tell how good were his social skills while a lone ranger.

At any rate, it was not surprising that in the senior year there were rumors that our little hero was being accused of rape, for tiny also believed he was providence’s gift to women, and the word ‘no’ apparently was not in his vocabulary. It seems his dad was enough of a big shot to clear up matters before they got ugly. Some say he was a mafioso.

Our little nuisance was reportedly not much of a scholar either, so I was not surprised to see him managing a parking lot near a disco in Manhattan, probably owned by big-shot daddy, a few years after graduation. Such is the fate of bullies.

Certified translations of Venezuelan documents

Some Colombian documents can come with all types of certifications, although some are short documents, like birth or death certificate. Documents with a lot of certifications can end up having multiple pages. If you go to the wrong place, they are likely to charge you an arm and a leg for the translation.

Not only that, there are lots of store fronts, like travel and insurance companies, or notaries, that do translation work when they should not. Some notaries notarize their own signature, which they should never do (can’t do, actually). Others use Google translation software, because they don’t have the slightest idea what the document says, and others use summaries. In other words, all they want is your money. They can end up a bachiller degree as a bachelor’s degree. Or worse things.

Although public translators do not exist as in some countries, so you don’t lose your money, you should go to a translation company (not an individual, translations done by individuals can be rejected), whenever you need documents for Court, Immigration, schools, universities, insurance companies, banks, etc.

In the USA you are not required to send the original document to the translator, so that saves a lot of aggravation and costs. Just sending the document by fax, email and mail will do it.

The company Legal Translation Systems, does this type of work. They speak Spanish. It is also a good idea to check the site of the American Translators Association, which lists a few other companies

Bang for the buck

We always talk about value, these days. Everything is value, bang for the buck, save, save, save (while spending, of course).

A list of the top paid American corporate executives for the last 10 years has just been published, and among the top 10 are executives of companies that have consistently caused great losses to their shareholders. So much for maximizing shareholder value, the mantra that backs up downsizing in 10 out of 10 major corporations.

Ranked number 2 is expedia’s CEO, who paid himself well over a billion bucks, in the last 10 years, for a site that is barely a household. I for one, have never used expedia, and frankly, do not intend to.

Mind you, the bloke’s Social Security contribution caps out at $97,000 a year, so no wonder Social Security will be depleted of funds by the year 2037, according to the letter the agency sent me.

Mr. Expedia obviously cares less.

On stationery stores, pharmacies etc

Last year I went to Paris. Yes, Paris, France. I was very happy to see again good old style stationery stores. I visited a few, and each one had different things in stock. A delight, much like in Brazil. Giant stationery stores the likes of Office Depot, Office Max and Staples are not that common in Brazil as well.

You see, if you went into an old-style stationery store, you were bound to find all types of paper, pens, inks, paint, art supplies, notebooks and whatever. Plus nice, different gifts.

Now you go to one of them giant stores, and there is large assortment – but far from perfect. If you need very specialized stationery articles, you are unlikely to find them there. The store does look very large for a stationery store. However, think about it. A large portion of the space is occupied by furniture, cleaning materials, even food! Yes, you can find all types of yummy candy and fatty snacks at Office Max, rather than a lot of stationery items.

What gives?

Adding insult to injury, they also took business away from the old style copyshops. Did you ever notice you cannot find them anywhere these days?

The same applies to U.S. pharmacies. In France they are small, but guess what, they sell medicine and cosmetics!!! Duh! Walgreens and CVS spring about seemingly in every corner here in Florida. They are supposed to be pharmacies, yet, a minute portion of their space is occupied by pharmaceuticals or anything dealing with health. As a matter of fact, they sell cigarettes and booze!

Good grief. Why go to pharmacy school these days? I don’t believe these huge chains pay their pharmacists all that much. And they can’t ever dream of having their own store, like in old times. Just a few small, non-chain pharmacies seem to resist.

I would not have much of a problem with this design, if indeed the pharmacy chains ensured they were extremely well stocked in typical pharmacy ware – pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. That is not the case. Walgreens, for instance, does not stock my favorite deodorant brand. Large stores do not insure customers have greater choice. THEY DIMINISH IT.

Sure, they charge less. BUT NOT ALWAYS. They also pay workers less, and wipe out entire industries. Old neighborhood stores of all types are disappearing ever more. Many are open 24 Hours, BUT NOT THE PHARMACY!!!

I will not even start with Walmart.

It seems to me that good antitrust law should be applied, and restrict the growth of these companies, which care mostly for maximizing shareholder value.

Blogs, the downside

The other day I wrote about the good sides of having a blog, so today I decided to warn you about a problem that involves blogs, and a solution. For the blog you are visualizing I use the free-share software b2evolution. Free software is good because of price, which is NONE. The downside is that the software does not come with instructions, so you kind of have to figure everything out by yourself.

There isn’t that much that you have to figure out with a blog, thankfully. I also use OS Commerce, free e-commerce software, and there is so much that go can go bad or needs tweaking with e-commerce software, that I will not even start. It can be very frustrating, sometimes.

The major bad thing about blogs is also one of its pluses, which is, the ability to receive comments. After all, interactivity is desirable, in fact, it is one of the reasons why search engines rank blogs highly to begin with.

What is bad about is is that there are tons of people on the internet whose sole purpose in life seems to be creating havoc. You can’t imagine the number of fake orders I get on my ecommerce website, so with blogs it is pretty much the same. People are there to do damage, and given any opportunity, they will. So, always set your blog to require approving comments before publishing. Otherwise you will end
up with tons of aggravating things on your website.

On b2evolution, under blog settings, general tab, section feedback options, choose “Can be disabled on a per post basis” that way you can get to choose which comments will be published. You can then have control over your content. Don’t worry, there is nothing undiplomatic about this, it is your blog after all.

But that is only part of the story. Even if you choose the above, you will likely receive in a matter of a few days, hundreds of SPAM messages a day, promoting car insurance, relationship sites, medicines galore and every type of deviate sexual act on the book. These will not be published, but after a while you will get tired of having to erase these from your inbox. These messages are sent by robots through the trackback feature of the blog. You can try to check the IP address it is coming from and disable it on your site, but guess what, they will keep on coming back!!!

To solve the problem, under blog settings, general tab, section feedback options, unmark “Allow trackbacks”. This will disable the trackback feature of your blog, and you will stop receive these unwanted messages right away. And you may still receive comments!

Reproduced from