29 September 2008

I've Got the Music in Me

What a truly glorious thing it is to wake up singing. Particularly if that music is really only coming from your own head.

That's what happened to me this morning. I don't have a radio or a stereo; my MacBook takes care of all of my music requirements at the moment. Yet at 8:00 this morning I woke up singing the New Radicals, having used their hit, "You Get What You Give" as the soundtrack to a dream I was having. Actually, the song was the focus of the dream. I was being sent on an errand in a sparsely populated high school and it slowly dawned on me that to the extent that there were any students and teachers in the classrooms, they were all listening to the same song. And NOT because it was being piped in through any PA system. I actually watched one teacher put the LP (no, not CD) on the turntable and cue the song to the exact spot being played around the school. Weird, huh?

I'm not sure what any of that means, but I have to say that it was a wonderful thing to wake up singing; and not just any song, but a youth anthem about being true to yourself. The fact that I'm a long way from youth doesn't matter. Old or young, we all need to embrace--at least for four and a half minutes--the feel-good notion that joy comes with having the courage to follow our dreams.

And that today happens to be my birthday, I think the dream is the universe's special way of extending greetings and good wishes. Or whatever. I just know that I was really happy when I woke up singing.

27 September 2008

Enough Already

Even before I read this thoughtful piece by Coates, I had come to the realization that I had well and truly had my fill of bashing Sarah Palin on Facebook. There was something so incredibly painful about watching those interviews with Katie Couric that has caused me to redirect my rage to where it clearly belongs--with John McCain. She is so in over her well-coiffed head that it's not fun anymore; it's on its way to being a national disaster of epic proportions, brought on by an unprincipled political move stunning in its baseness.

That said, Coates is a bit more generous in his assessment of Palin that I am prepared to be, but I get where he's coming from. Well done.

26 September 2008

Sleeping Pilots Reinstated

According to an article on the BBC website, two pilots who fell asleep on a short-haul flight in February of this year "have been cleared to return to work."

WTF? ... BOTH pilots fell asleep 44 minutes into a 45-minute flight?!! Seriously? One apparently has a sleeping disorder, but the other one? No, really, both of them fell asleep at the same time on such a short flight? Aside from the fact that I'm highly skeptical about the official explanation given, there's a much bigger issue here.

Flying is hardly any fun since 9/11. I'm not referring to any fear I may or may not have of terrorists, I'm thinking of the ridiculous and stress-inducing security hoops one has to endure just to get on a plane. By the time I am cleared to fly, I have been grilled about the circumstances surrounding the packing of my bags, the contents of said bags have been checked, I have removed my footwear, my jewelry, and my belt, I have opened my computer, and I have had my body felt up and patted down. And depending on who you are and where you're flying, once you land you may have also had your eyeballs scanned, fingerprints taken, and your information sent off to some government database ... whether you like it or not. All in all, a series of events over which you have absolutely no say or recourse if you want to fly.

Well here's one for the airlines and the National Transportation Safety Board: while they're trying to make sure that I am not terrorist, they should also try figuring out if their pilots have trouble staying awake for 45 minutes on a f**cking short-haul flight.

Look, I have resigned myself to the reality that flying is less pleasant than it used to be. But when I read stories like this one, my head explodes. After going through demoralizing secruity mazes to establish that we are fit to fly, we are then forced to trust that the airlines themselves are. Passengers work under the assumption that the airlines have thoroughly screened their crews.* Ha!

And while it's obviously not safe to make that assumption any longer, there doesn't appear to be anything that passengers can do about it. I mean, do you think that flight information will ever include tidbits like:

This flight will be piloted by Captain Blah Blah, who has a sleeping disorder. Those of you not comfortable taking this flight will be switched to a different flight.

No, I don't think so either.

But perhaps airline passengers have more power than they think. They've certainly had many "suspicious-looking" types removed from flights because they didn't feel comfortable flying with them, and recently passengers on a German flight refused to fly after the pilot tried to take off twice with a plane experiencing technical difficulties. Perhaps change comes through actions like the one in Germany, where passengers simply take a stand.

So maybe the next time I'm checking in for a flight and answering all of their questions, I'll pose one of my own:

Does the pilot of this flight have any health issues that might hinder his ability to fly?

Or maybe not ...

*And their planes.

24 September 2008


There are only two black farmers in Britain? Seriously?

(Courtesy of The Independent)

Then no wonder that poor brother keeps getting hassled by the cops for stealing from his own field. I think it's time David Mwanaka introduced himself to his neighbors ... at least so that he can get his harvesting done without constantly being hassled. That said, his neighbors have probably seen him on TV or in the papers by now, so perhaps it's a non-issue. And the police ... they should definitely know by now, right? I mean, how many times do they have to go to the same farm before they sort it out?

But really, only two?


Swastikas ... in England

What the hell is going on in Somerset?

Okay, to be fair these idiots came from all over Europe for a weekend tribute to Ian Stuart Donaldson, the former vocalist for Skrewdriver, but they managed to gather in Red Hill in Somerset with no apparent difficulty. How is that possible? And how on earth is it possible that I can see the swastikas and hear the "Sieg Heils" in the video, while the pub owners--who were there--can claim that they did not? The folks in Red Hill need to send a clear signal to the pub owners that clientele of that sort won't be tolerated in the future.

I feel sorry for the family who made the video. I think that looking out of my window and seeing racist skinheads urinating in my garden would probably make me flee my house in fear, too. But were they too scared to call the police or was that just seen as a waste of time? There's no mention of the police in the story, except by the pub owner who says that she will cooperate with the police if there's an inquiry. Way to step up ... hardly.

Having spent a few years living in the UK, I am witness to the fact that there is hardly a week that goes by in which some television program about the Third Reich and its horrors isn't featured. Given the Second World War's devastating impact on Britain, it's really inconceivable to think that Swastikas--and the filth who carry them--would be tolerated there. Seriously, WTF?

If that's what free speech means, then it's a highly overrated concept.

23 September 2008

Happy Birthday Romy!

Romy Schneider is one of my favorite actresses, and today would have been her 70th birthday. In tribute, here's a scene from Le Vieux Fusil with the great Philippe Noiret.

12 September 2008

Baby High Heels

Every time I think I've heard/seen it all, I am reminded (and usually rather painfully) that I have not. The latest assault on my sanity comes in the form of high heels for babies. There's not a lot to say about this except that it's just WRONG and DISGUSTING.

Oh, and that I am officially NOT friends with anyone who thinks that baby high heels are cool or funny. Consider yourselves warned.

09 September 2008

Watch out Condi...

...not too much moaning about the absence of black faces at the State Department or they'll be calling you an "angry black woman," too...

08 September 2008

And THIS is why I hate zoos

I haven't been to a zoo since the summer of 1986, when I saw a polar bear in the San Antonio zoo who was incredibly thin and looked to be suffering from heat stroke. I can appreciate the idea behind zoos, but seriously WTF should a polar bear be doing in San Antonio TEXAS in the middle of the summer?

And now this??

Apparently there's algae in the water where polar bears in a Japanese zoo frolic:

(AP Photo/Kyodo News, Shuzo Shikano)

According to the article, things should return to normal in November "when the algae growth subsides." And even if that's true, it's still wrong.


07 September 2008

THIS is why I love the internet

Respect to the geniuses who put this together!

The World According to Inez

Okay, I've been away. It was summer and I was waiting for my residency/work permit, chilling, working, and learning to ride my bike. I was also exploring my neighborhood, knitting, drinking a lot of coffee, hanging out with old friends, and making new ones. In short, I've been busy.

But I'm back, and just in time to publicly record my descent into madness, which I am entirely blaming on the US presidential campaign. Okay, I really think it's specifically Sarah Palin's fault, but more about that later. Since I'm an expatriate, I suppose it could be argued that I shouldn't give a shit ... nevertheless, I would advise you not to try to argue that to my face. Just sayin.

In fact, I am actually surprised by how much I seem to care and quite shocked by how enraged I was by the Republican Convention. I've been ranting and raving for days and as a result my poor roommate has a few additions to his extensive English vocabulary that I hope he'll NEVER have to use. Yikes! So yeah, I'm back and before I start with the hateration, I'll offer a few pics of that glorious summer day when I bought my bike (Miss Marple) and tried to see Obama ... with a couple hundred thousand other folks.

Miss Marple

Through the Brandenburg Tor on the way to the Siegessäule

Braving the crowd with Silke and Till

As close as we could get

The speech wasn't THAT amazing, but I had a great time and the crowd was fun. There was even a McCain supporter there.

Here's hoping that he's looking as forlorn and ridiculous on November 5 as he does here.