I have never had an urge to visit Scotland. The landscape is unattractive, the weather is mostly bad, and the traditional food is unappealing (Deep-fried Mars bars!). There are too many places that are more-appealing and more-attractive for me to waste any of the short time I have on this earth.
Scotland is mentioned often in the news these days, especially on those channels emanating from the “United” Kingdom, of which Scotland is a (partly) unwilling member. The current “royal” family owns a lot of real estate, which their ancestors plundered from the local people, not unlike what Americans did to the original owners of the country. Native Americans seems to have been given less rights and powers than the folks in Scotland, who are being given the chance to decide their future with or without English overlords. It is surprising that two peoples that hate each so much have been able to live in relative harmony for so long. Many English are deluded in believing that members of the “royal” family looking silly in kilts and tartans have endeared them to their neighbours to the north.
If Scotland leaves the “United” Kingdom, how great will “Great” Britain be? Not that it ever was. Or, at least, not for a long time. Perhaps, the split will send signals to people in other countries. Will the Flemish and Walloons, who dislike each other more than the Scots dislike the English, finally kill Belgium…which no one would miss. Will Catalonia split from Spain? Or will Bavaria become an independent country? Bavarians already feel superior to other Germans and think that they can go it alone. The list is long and the future uncertain…
Today, news channels ran reports of a diamond heist at Brussels airport. As background, one mentioned Belgium being the center of the international diamond trade. They mentioned that concern for security might be a reason for this center to shift, with one candidate city being Dubai. I was amused to note that stock footage accompanying this report showed street scenes in Antwerp and most passersby were Hassidic Jews. I wonder if anyone asked them if they would consider moving their business to Dubai.
Diamonds are said to be forever (DeBeers ad), but so also is Muslim-Jewish enmity (fact)...
I excelled at math in school. At some point in college, I saw no point in learning advanced calculus and tired of doing homework each day. Other subjects permitted procrastination, but not math.
Unfortunately, I have forgotten most, if not all, the lessons learned in school and have no use in daily life for anything beyond simple calculations. Because of that, I do not know the sum of two times worthless (2 X worthless = ?).
This thought came to mind the other day, while traveling north from Italy. I passed a car and noted its make and registration: Saab with Belgian plates.
Belgium is the kind of country, which no one--other than ex-patriot citizens--would miss, if it floated off into the Atlantic Ocean. Belgians would continue to do whatever Belgians do.
The same is true of Saab cars. Who would miss the brand, besides people needing to buy replacement parts for a car for which they cannot recall the purchase rationalization. I had a friend in school, whose doctor father owned a Saab sports car. At the time (long, long ago), that car was semi-cool (perhaps because it was from Europe, where blonds were alleged to be hot). Unlike with Ikea, Saab failed to capture the imagination and/or hard-earned money of enough foreigners.
Of course, many nations and many brands could be added to the above formula...and I would still not know the answer.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.