Wednesday, January 31, 2007

(Partial) Family Photo

Carin, Noah & Me in front of the Königsallee in Düsseldorf
Stockpile Those Windshields!

The US is no longer going to make F14 spare parts ( while this isn't normally noteworthy, apparently the main consumer is Iran. Why were we allowing military sales to a member of the Axis of Evil? Do we sell replacement Hummer transmissions to North Korea?

Really, selling military equipment to anyone outside of switzerland (neutral & good chocolate!), canada (so cute with their "eh" and "aboot"), and maybe England (they're on a pretty good streak with us since 1812 or so) seems like a pretty shortsighted move. Especially with America's history of foreign governments to support (hussein, pinochet, ortega, the shah, etc.).

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Keystone Kops

First, I absolutely hate when words that start with "c" are spelled with a "k" to be country. Ugh.

Back to my topic. I'm reading "Public Enemies", a history of the big name criminals (Pretty Boy Floyd, John Dillinger, Bonnie & Clyde,etc.) and the FBI. The FBI started as the most incompetent police force in the history of mankind. Chief Wiggum's "The suspect is hatless, repeat, hatless" description of an escaping criminal would be promotion worthy with these Jackasses. At one point the head of the Dillinger search has his car stolen while on stakeout -- by DIllinger's gang. The FBI had Dillinger surrounded multiple times in a month, and he escaped. The amazing part is that Hoover avoided any of the stench of incompetence and was able to "protect" our country by harassing MLK and other "communists".

Any book recommendations for the year?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Der Amerikaner Politik

So, my German lesson this morning ended with us chatting at first in German, then, more fluently, in English about Hilary. My teacher thinks that 2 years is enough time for America to stop hating Hilary. I say it's just a bit shy of the required time. Based on my Texas friends' opinions of her, male and female, conservative and liberal (imported in vacuum-packed bags to preserve freshness), I'd say the time to acceptance will be a bit longer.

When my parents were growing up, every summer was marked by a looming fear and even hatred of polio. 30 years later, it was a distant memory. When I was a kid, Commie was a dirty word. Today, being communist is kitschy, like watching the Brady Bunch or believing that Iraq had a part in 9/11. I believe that in a mere 20 years, Hilary will have a legitimate shot at being palatable to mainstream America. After all, Nixon kept running for President from 1904 until winning in 1972 (campaign slogan, "Don't make me kiss another baby"), a record that even Ross Perot was unable to break.

Seriously, I just don't understand the irrational hatred that Hilary engenders. I'm not her biggest fan, but so many people just despise her. My teacher thinks it's because she looks so unhappy. I decided not to say why I thought she looked so unhappy. Anyone who can enlighten me, I'd love to hear it...

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Bizarre, Painful Dream

No, not the one where Lynsey says she's leaving me for Donald Rumsfeld. Last night I dreamed I was taking clothes out of the dryer, and a pair of pants had a leg inside out. Rather than use my hands to correct the problem, it seemed like a better idea to step into the pants leg. When I did, I heard a soft thump and then a meow. Looking down, the thump was a rather cubby mouse that had fallen from the pants leg. The meow, I realized a split-second later, was from the cat INSIDE the pants leg. I woke up to a stabbing pain in my foot. What's odd is that this is the first time I remember clearly feeling pain in my dream, rather than dreaming that I was in pain. My foot actually hurt when I woke up. Yes, I am crazy!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

"Art" Exhibit

Imagine the two jackasses above jumping up and down as if on imaginary pogo sticks. As they bounce, they each say "no!" on every bounce. They're not in sync, so there's essentially a continual barrage of "no"s coming from these TVs (both roughly 25in or so). Set this on an endless loop, title it "Double No" and you've got yourself art. Or, as a viewer, you've just lost 30 seconds of your life.

The "artist", Bruce Nauman, had this to say about the piece (from the Tate Modern website):

‘Having people that are supposed to be amusing or humorous act in a violent way can add to the violence.... It’s like Japanese theatre. There is a mask, and having a figure behind the mask is more threatening than an angry person. Because there’s something you don’t know and you’re never going to find out.’

Other pieces in the exhibit included a video of a man playing with his own scrotum in slow motion ("bouncing balls"), a man smearing black ink/grease/something on his scrotum ("black balls"), the artist slowly smearing theater makeup on his face, a man walking slowly around a square on the ground.

But, you know, the 'dorf is the "Art City".

Thursday, January 11, 2007

At Least This Explains Iraq

In comments overheard on an open microphone between morning television interviews, including one with Fox, the top U.S. diplomat [Condi Rice] said: "My Fox guys, I love every single one of them." If the pres & co. look to Fox for news, I think it answers a lot of the "What the fuck were they thinking?" questions of the last 6 years...

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Gluten-Free Jesus

A friend of mine was recently diagnosed with Celiac's Disease -- basically an allergy to gluten. This means the sufferer can't eat wheat, barley, and a whole host of packaged products (most soy sauces, for instance). I have a few more friends with this, and it's a huge dietary pain. While reading Wikipedia about it, it was noted that this means that a sufferer can't partake of communion. In fact, the Catholic Church has decreed that to be a legitimate communion, the wafer MUST contain wheat. They've gone on to decree that men (obviously, no women) with negative reactions to alcohol or wheat shouldn't be allowed to be priests, since communion is kind of a big thing.

So, God is all-powerful, can create the universe in 6 days, yadda yadda yadda but S/He can't find someway to handle someone eating a gluten-free wafer? Of course, the irony is that incidence of Celiac's Disease is at least made more likely by genetics. I guess Jesus just doesn't want some people to be Catholic...

Monday, January 08, 2007

Chilly Day in Budapest

More pics from traveling last month...

When I studied in Budapest in college, I lived about halfway up the hills of Buda. How high are the hills? It was just above freezing in the city, but when we went to see the large park near my old apartment, it quickly became obvious that it was a wee bit colder. There was a good half inch to an inch of frost on everything in the park. Together with the think fog, it made for a very beautiful walk. The view was a bit disappointing, though...
New Year's Resolutions, 1st Check

1) Call my friends more often -- pending. This one is more of a weekend thing, so I'm giving myself a pass on it for now.

2) Work out regulary -- Looking good, 7 of 8 days in 2007 have included a workout. Of course, my typical habit is to work out for a month, then slack. We'll see.

3) Get to work earlier -- Ouch. Next.

4) Blog early & often (like Huey Long wanted people to vote!) -- compared to December, great. but needs work.

5) Find some way to watch The Office -- done!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Escalator Repression

I don't know about you, but when it's wet out, nothing says comfort like riding the escalator in my galoshes. Imagine my shock when i saw this sign in Munich! Not only can people missing a foot not ride, bicycles can't ride without a person AND no plastic boots! Damn fascists!

Monday, January 01, 2007

Worst. Invention. Ever.

iKaraoke -- software for any iPod that will play lyrics on the screen so that EVERYONE can sing along to all their songs all the time! Just think of how annoying this will be. Anyway, I just need to learn some programming, and I'm off to make millions AND be hated the world over!

New Year's On the Rhein

In addition to the usual clubbing options, lots of Dorfers head to the banks of the Rhein to drink Champagne (or sparkling wine, if you're a stickler) and shoot off fireworks. I'm not sure there's even an official display, just LOTS of people with their own pyrotechnics. This goes on for at least 20 minutes -- that's when i got tired of inhaling gunpowder residue & the increasingly close firecracker pops. It's definitely worth checking out. Much cooler than the usual techno clubs...

Unfortunately, I lost my mini tripod in Munich (damn beer halls!), so I was forced to just rest the camera on a railing, since I'm not quite able to hold it steady for a 2 second exposure.

And one of my New Year's resolutions is to post better. The 3 wk absence of posts can be blamed on a family visit.