30 September 2010

RIP Mr. Curtis

One of my favorite scenes from one of my favorite movies . . .

29 September 2010

Living My Life Like It's Golden

It's official: I'm a half century old.

How on earth did that happen?

The obvious answer is, of course, that I just kept living. But beyond the fact that I'm still here, I've tried to live my life as fully as possible (and I've got the stories to prove it). I guess that's why this song resonates with me so strongly. The way I see it, I only have two choices: I can let growing older bring me down or I can try to keep living a life that's full of good friends and good times. Sometimes the choices really are that simple.

In any case . . . HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!

I have the distinct feeling that my fifties are going to be even more interesting than my forties . . .

20 August 2010

My Sympathies are with the Bull . . .

The leap into the crowd was simply spectacular.

11 August 2010

A Tale of Two Women

A recent Letter to the Editor in a German women's magazine drew my attention to the fact that this magazine has recently featured a few articles about cheating. One, which I had read, was a kind of how-to cheat on your partner based on how old you were. Apparently, at my age, I should forget about younger men (they'll make me feel old) and older men (they're looking for younger women). In fact, I'm pretty sure the advice was to just wait until something fell in my lap, and then to be happy about it. Most recently, there was a piece, which I hadn't read until the letter brought it to my attention, which was actually a tie-in to a newly released (in Germany) film starring Laura Linney, Liam Neeson, and Antonio Banderas. You can see the trailer here, but the chick that introduces it was so annoying that I couldn't post it. Sorry.

In any case, the article included a couple of those "we've changed the names to protect the innocent" accounts of a story "similar" to the one in the film. In the first one, a woman took a younger lover in response to her husband's infidelity (also with a younger partner). When the husband decided he'd had enough (or more likely, when the younger chick decided that she'd had enough of him), he went back to his wife, convinced her to give up her lover, and they all lived happily ever after. Well, the wife did at least, since after a year, she got back together with her lover. According to the wife, the husband only suspects, and she has worked it out so that she doesn't sleep with her husband anymore. The lies, it seems, are enough to deal with.

Reading this article makes me think of what Orhan Pamuk, in his book Istanbul: Memories and the City, refers to as the "life lottery." You know you've won it when you're a woman committing adultery in Germany and not in Iran.

So yeah, I have been thinking about Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani a lot lately, and even more since the absurd dichotomy of women's lives in Germany and Iran seemed to manifest itself in a women's magazine that offered tips on cheating.

The life lottery sucks.

For information on the peculiarities of the Iranian judicial system with respect to women, please read this. There's a particularly odious bit about men who have been caught committing adultery being given the right to "temporary marriages." Seriously, James Brown must have had these guys in mind when he wrote, "It's a Man's World." For an exclusive interview with Ms. Ashtiani, please read here. And to sign a petition that may help to save her life, please go here.

Thanks Andreas for forwarding the petition to me.

27 July 2010

Eva Herman

Na toll, mit Eva Hermann hat Deutschland seinen eigenen Pat Robertson gefunden.

Diese xxxxxx xxx.

Es wäre doch toll, wenn ihr aktuellster Artikel . . .

Für die Zukunft wurden jedoch Weichen gestellt: Denn das amtliche Ende der »geilsten Party der Welt«, der Loveparade, dürfte mit dem gestrigen Tag besiegelt worden sein! Eventuell haben hier ja auch ganz andere Mächte mit eingegriffen, um dem schamlosen Treiben endlich ein Ende zu setzen. Was das angeht, kann man nur erleichtert aufatmen! Grauenhaft allerdings, dass es erst zu einem solchen Unglück kommen musste.

. . .  auch ihr letzter wäre . . . im Sinne von es soll der Anfang des Endes ihre jounalistische "Karriere" sein.

25 July 2010

Sunday Morning Sadness

Sometimes the world sucks, according to me . . . and this morning it sucks big time.

My thoughts are with the victims of the Love Parade disaster in Duisburg yesterday. The story is particularly difficult for me because I suffer from an acute fear of crowds, and the injuries and loss of life at what should have been a happy and carefree event strike me as particularly meaningless. Although it may seem a bit silly to get worked up over people that I don't know, I'd like to think that's what makes me human.

In any case, Simon and Garfunkel are my go to guys when it comes to stuff like this. The marriage of lyrics and music in this song is perfect. So whenever the world gets too heavy, I play this song, close my eyes, and pretend like Art is singing to me.

It helps.

23 July 2010

Janelle Monáe . . .

. . . has single-handedly restored my faith in the music industry . . . which is a HUGE exaggeration, I know. The music industry still sucks, but I think you get the point. In any case, I thought Ms. Monáe's "Tightrope" video was cool, but "Many Moons" is stunning!

That horse made me think of Santogold, though . . .

Thanks for the link babe!

20 July 2010

The "Other" Diversity

Ross Douthat has an op-ed piece in The New York Times, titled "The Roots of White Anxiety," in which the central thesis is that elite colleges and universities in the United States could do a bit more to stem the tide of "white anxiety" by recognizing that diversity isn't just a matter of skin color or ethnic background.

This cultural divide has been widening for years, and bridging it is beyond any institution’s power. But it’s a problem admissions officers at top-tier colleges might want to keep in mind when they’re assembling their freshman classes.

If such universities are trying to create an elite as diverse as the nation it inhabits, they should remember that there’s more to diversity than skin color — and that both their school and their country might be better off if they admitted a few more R.O.T.C. cadets, and a few more aspiring farmers.

Yeah, perhaps the US would be better off if Glenn Beck* and Sarah Palin had gone to Harvard . . . though I doubt it.

I was accused by one of my high school classmates of having been accepted to UNC-Chapel Hill (in 1978) because of affirmative action. It didn't matter to him that my SAT scores, grade point average, extracurricular activities, etc., fit the requirements for acceptance. For him, I was black and that must have been the only reason. He was white, and I had taken "his" place.

So it is with a certain sort of resistance that I read pieces like Douthat's, which may have a legitimate point to make, but in fact take me right back to my homeroom class at John T. Hoggard High School and an asshole in the R.O.T.C. who blamed me for ruining his life.

Whatever, dude. 

*He apparently dropped out of Yale after one theology class.

17 July 2010

Sergio Mendes and Brasil '66

While I appreciate the sentiment behind "whistle while you work,"

I can't whistle . . . at all . . . which is very sad, but we'll save that topic for another day. Not being able to pucker up and blow something tuneful is hardly a problem, however, thanks to my wacky iTunes library . . . also a topic for another day.

In any case, I am in a Bossa Nova mood today, which may or may not have something to do with my neighbor who appears to be in a techno mood EVERYDAY. No worries. I've been rocking the bossa nova for the past two hours, so either he has gone out to play or he has succumbed to the power of the mighty Brazilian cool, because now it's all quiet from the courtyard. Yeah, baby!!

So, I'm going back to work now, but leaving this musical offering to let you know that being chained to my desk does not suck.

Happy Saturday, y'all!

Bonus feature: a VERY HOT Eartha Kitt introducing the band.

16 July 2010

Booze Bra

Okay, it's officially called The WineRack, but everybody's calling it the Booze Bra so I feel no need to buck a trend here. Nomenclature aside, however, let's cut the crap and get to the point:

What the F**k?

No, really. What the F**k??!!


Apparently, it only comes in Small and Medium, and that's actually quite practical since it increases the bust two cup sizes once it has been filled (it holds 750 ml—a full bottle of wine) and Large girls don't need those extra inches/centimeters anyway.

The market here would seem to be the kind of folks who . . . aw hell, it doesn't matter does it? I'm sure this is a further sign of the decline of Western civilization and would much rather see Booze Bras banned than burkas . . . the mere mention of which has led (of course) to the completely inappropriate (but normal given my brain) visual of the Booze Bra under the burka.


I'll just blame it on the heat.

Apropros of Absoulutely Nothing . . .

13 July 2010

And You Think Your Job Sucks . . .

Pity the poor guys sent down to clean out the "four-foot wall of solid fat" in the London sewer under Leicester Square. Quite literally a shit job, if I ever heard one. Story here.

12 July 2010


I'm from the South, which means (among other things) that I believe in the healing powers of homemade lemonade when it's hot . . . and it is currently very hot in Berlin. Now don't get me wrong, after that whupass winter we had, I'm not complaining about the heat, just looking for ways to get through it until it passes.

I bought some lovely looking lemons last week, and I'm not sure what I wanted to do with them, but today they were practically begging to sacrifice themselves. So here's a lemonade recipe for anybody else out there who might also be in need.

Squeeze the juice of four large lemons and set aside. Put one cup (226 g) of sugar in a saucepan on the stove, add one cup (240 ml) of water and bring to a boil, stirring regularly to dissolve the sugar. Once the syrup has boiled let it cool to room temperature and then chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. Once the syrup has chilled, add it to a pitcher with five cups (1,2 L) of water and the lemon juice. Stir. Fill a big glass with ice, add lemonade, and enjoy!

Makes 6 cups or 1,4 liters

10 July 2010


I saw this poster in a subway station recently:

Roughly translated, the text reads, "What story is hiding behind your clothes?" The campaign was part of an action by respect.de.

Whatever you may think about the imagery, the poster is a provocative way of delivering the Fair Trade message, or at the very least of making us think about we wear.

Well done!

08 July 2010


Rob Fitzpatrick has a piece in today's Guardian about Qwitter, a service that will notify Twitter users when they are unfollowed. [Note: If you were expecting me to blog about the match last night, I can't—it's just too soon.] I don't have the faintest idea about Twitter, but this article is amusing enough. What is particularly silly, is that Fitzpatrick has no qualms himself about unfollowing people, but seems to be genuinely confused when he in turn is unfollowed.

Social networking has indeed "come full circle" as one of the article's commenters says. I'm catching a visual of a guy at a 1960s-era cocktail party (the high point of cocktail parties in my opinion*). He's standing in the middle of a circle of smartly dressed people clutching martinis and Old Fashioneds (do people even drink Old Fashions anymore?) and just as he's about to reach the punch line of the joke he's telling, everyone turns their back to him, striking up conversations with each other. That must be what Qwitter is like.

I'm glad, no really glad, a similar service didn't exist for Facebook. Or at least not while I was on Facebook.

At some point, I need to address Facebook in depth, I realize this. In the meantime, let's just say how awful I think it would have been to receive daily emails with the headline: "See Who Unfriended You!!" or "These People Don't Like You Anymore!"

Seriously, who could resist that?

*This is perhaps also related to the fact that I'm reading a William Trevor collection at the moment . . .

07 July 2010

Paul, the Octupus Oracle

Here's hoping that stupid octopus is wrong about tonight's Germany vs. Spain match . . . If not, he could end up like this:

Ready to be chopped and turned into a lovely salad.

06 July 2010

Eggplants aka Oil Sponges

Last Friday, I made Nigel Slater's wonderful classic ratatouille recipe. It looked like this before it went into the oven:

And all I can say is that the camera was the last thing on my mind when it came out . . .

According to Mr. Slater, the trick is to handle each vegetable separately, rather than throwing them all together like a stew. So each one has to be cooked lightly in olive and then transferred to the baking dish.

Which brings me to the problem of eggplants. If anybody out there (and yeah, I'm looking at you Ed Ward) knows a trick for preparing sliced eggplants so that they don't immediately suck up all the oil the minute they hit the pan, I'd like to hear it . . . or read it. I tried the "drenching in salt and letting stand for an hour and then rinsing them off and patting dry" method, but I wasn't too terribly impressed with the results.

What say you, cooks out there??

Oh, and I served the ratatouille with this. Delicious!!

Happy Belated Birthday USofA!

As my Grandma used to say, keep living, one day you'll get your shit together . . . Okay, my Grandma didn't say "shit," but I'll bet she thought it really loudly. She, who refused to use the "Colored" toilet whenever she had to go to the courthouse to take care of business related to the farm.

In any case, here's a belated greeting to you for your 234th birthday from Jimi:

It is sent with the hope that you keep trying to live up to the promise of your potential, despite the crap that the bad guys continue throwing at you.

05 July 2010

In which our Heroine decides that they can ditch Bond as long as Daniel Craig promises to keep making movies . . .

My first reaction to this story was "Hell no!" But aside from making me chuckle, in the end I found the reasons for ditching the Bond series compelling enough.

They ignored, however, the worst part of Quantum of Solace: the unbelievably awful duet by Jack White and Alicia Keys for the title sequence. I'm laying the blame for that one on Amy Winehouse's doorstep, though. She and Mark Ronson would have come up with something decidedly better—granted, worse would have been musically impossible—had she not been going through her . . . um . . . whatever it was she was going through back then. In any case, the White/Keys combo, which I heard on the radio a few weeks before the film was released and thought was a joke, represents what sometimes happens when really cool people hook up to work: nothing.

But back to Mr. Craig. He doesn't have to be Bond. He just has to not get fat and weird. And yes, scruffy is perfectly okay:

And indeed, Mr. X also suits me just fine:

Yeah, come to think of it, who needs Bond?

Neo-Nazis and the German National Football Team

Apparently they hate it. And not just Özil, Cacau, and Boateng, etc., but the Polish contingent (Podolski and Klose), too.

Mesut Özil and Lukas Podolski (image courtesy of dpa)

This is very good news. For while I am cheering for Germany to go all the way, as far as I'm concerned they've already won, if for no other reason than illustrating that Germany is a lot more diverse than people (and not just the assclowns on the far right) realize.

Well done!

03 July 2010

Congratulations Germany!!!

This post is dedicated to Germans citizens with migrant backgrounds who have been harassed by anarchists for flying the German flag in support of the German national football team currently kicking ass in South Africa. What a miserable case of damned if you do and damned if you don't: not German enough for the fascists and too German for the anarchists. More about it here.


To that idiocy, I say this:

Go ahead and wave your flags y'all!!

01 July 2010

Ryanair Sucks

Whether they get away with this or not . . .
Ryanair itself admits both ideas – for standing room and paid-for toilets – were in the "very early stages". It first mooted the plans a few months ago when it was in talks with Boeing over a new order for planes. The order didn't come off, said a spokesman for the airline, but it is now in talks with the aircraft manufacturer over the idea again.

. . . they should be boycotted for even thinking about it. Guardian article here.

Ayobaness! The Sound of South African House

While this World Cup has certainly been entertaining, here's another reason to pay attention to South Africa:

I was given a copy of the CD today (thanks babe!) and it's a brilliant collection, combining house and hip hop (rapped in Shangan, Zulu, and Zhosa). Details here.

This could very well turn out to be the sound of my summer . . .

30 June 2010

A Woman's Nature . . .

I came across this passage today. It's from "The Fullness of Life," a short story by Edith Wharton . . .

But I have sometimes thought that a woman’s nature is like a great house full of rooms: there is the hall, through which everyone passes going in and out; the drawing room, where one receives formal visits; the sitting-room, where the members of the family come and go as they like; but beyond that, far beyond, are other rooms, the handles of whose doors are never turned; no one knows the way to them, no one knows whither they lead; and in the innermost room, the holy of holies, the soul sits alone and waits for a footstep that never comes.

How very true . . . and beautiful.

World Cup Lego Style

I've been watching these videos on the Guardian website, but there's a great interview on The Local today with the young German man who has been making them. His entire archive can be found here. Here's a clip of the Germany vs England match on Sunday:


And yes, FIFA needs to get with the program on goal-line technology . . . and better referees while they're at it.

29 June 2010

No More Facebook

The so-called Queen of Facebook has abdicated her throne . . .


I take no personal credit for this. Some weird shit is going on with the planets, according to my former astrologist.

Whatever works is all I have to say about that.

11 January 2010

It's not that I'm lazy . . .

I'm just a bit busy with work these days, which for a freelancer is a glorious thing. So for those of you who show up here regularly, have a look at this . . .

Thanks Philipp . . . and don't worry, now I'm going back to work!

06 January 2010

It was a Moondog kinda year. . .

2009 did not suck.

In many ways it was quite spectacular, and yes I'm speaking on a very personal level here. Around the world, the suckiness factor threatened to go off of the proverbial charts, but I suspect that moving beyond the disasters and other mediated madness we were fed in 2009, there was a lot of quiet non-suckiness going on. People fell in love, got married, had babies, had more babies, finished school, started school, cooked, ate, made new friends, held on to old ones, got new jobs, kept old jobs, took walks, read books, wrote books, had sex, traveled far, traveled wide, and stayed their happy asses at home.

I have no complaints about the year that was. It was full of good times, good food, good friends, new love, and Moondog . . . to whom I was introduced by my new love. I've been given a lot of music by my new man, as he attempts to help us find some common ground between soulless computer-generated electro noise and ear-numbing guitar wailing rock.

With Moondog, he hit the jackpot.

So as I say goodbye to 2009 and throw my arms open to 2010, I'd like to feature my favorite Moondog track. Okay, it's not my absolute favorite, but somehow it fits for this year-end/year-begin phase. I consider these lyrics words to live by and am doing my best to do so.

Happy New Year Y'all. May it be full of all of the stuff that makes you joyful!!

Do Your Thing

Do your thing!
Be fancy-free to call the tune you sing.
Don't give up!
That's not the way to win a loving cup.
Do your best,
and opportunity will do the rest.
Don't give in!
Capitulation is the greatest sin.
Do what's right,
what's right for you, to do with all your might.
Don't regret!
What might have been, you might as well forget.
Stand your ground,
and while you're standing there, be duty-bound.
Learn to wait,
and while you're waiting, learn to concentrate.
Make amends!
All enemies I call potential friends,
Calm your fears,
and hope to cope at least a hundred years.
Make your mark!
If need be, even make it in the dark.
Mum's the word!
My sage advice, pretend you haven't heard.