Sunday, November 30, 2008

My Beautiful Life - A Reminder.

Yesternight, I suddenly felt the urgent desire to listen to some Cajun music. Too layzy to search my CD's for the "The Big Easy" soundtrack, I did some youtube surfing and ended up watching the following clip:

Balfa Brothers - Tribute to Cajun Music - 1979

The obligatory google search directed me to "Dewey Balfa and the Balfa Brothers":

Tragically, Dewey lost his brothers Will and Rodney in an automobile accident in 1979. To add to that already horrific loss, his wife Hilda passed away in 1980. These combined tragedies were almost enough to bring him down, but he realized that his only choice was to carry on with the goal he had set for himself and his only relief from the suffering was the music itself.
Whew! That served as a reminder to myself that my life is beautiful and that I have nothing to complain about. (Ask me tomorrow, next week or next year if that still holds true...)

And by the way, the youtube vid is a section from the movie "Les Blues de Balfa". You can watch the whole movie (26 minutes) over at

Thursday, November 20, 2008

POTUS Envy, Indeed.

Bill Maher strikes again (issuing a language warning while pointing to Maher is unnecessary, right?):

Watch the whole thing, dang it! On a related note: In it's upcoming issue, The Economist asks "Where's Angela Merkel?" Well, last time I turned on the radio, she unfortunately was still in Germany, bubbling around the hot issues. And while I'm a little disconcerted seeing all the Clinton zombies raise from their graves again (and I'm not talking about Govenor Napolitano here), I can't help to state that my post-election depression has in fact turned into POTUS envy - or more precisely into First Lady envy, since we even don't have a First Lady!

Perhaps, Mr. Feasel and I are able to come up with an elaboration of our envy thesis one day. My title suggestion, for starters: "99 shades of envy - transatlantic relations for dummies". How 'bout that?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Just to fill you in about my current mode:

Pronunciation: \ˈstres\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English stresse stress, distress, short for destresse — more at distress
Date: 14th century

1: (...) c: a physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation

The 13th century appears to be the last century of mankind where things went smoothly. Oh well, come December 14th, happy days will be back again for me with money for nothing and chicks for free. Or so I tell myself to keep me running.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Why Obama Should Read This Dead Greek Guy

I've decided to make anti-German jibes a regular feature of my blog posts, since it's such a relief. So, here we go again: If (and that's a big IF) Germans show any interest in their politicians, they are usually pondering serious qestions like "Does he dye his hair?", "With which TV anchor does he cheat on his wife?" or "Is it okay for the Bundeskanzlerin to wear a rose jacket when attending the Wagner Festspiele?"

And those philistine Americans? They ask: What should the next president read? Fancy that. I mean, c'mon, Gerhard Schroeder probably never got past the table of contents of "Macchiavelli for managers" and I bet, the only book he fully embraces is about the Soccer Worldchampionship 1974.

Anyhow, Dan Drezner has this advice for Obama:
I’d probably advise the president to read the uber-source for international relations, Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War. (...) The entire text demonstrates the complex and tragic features of international politics, the folly of populism, the occasional necessity of forceful action, the temptations and dangers of empire, and, most importantly, the ways in which external wars can transform domestic politics in unhealthy ways.
And at that point my day job met my blogging pasttime head-on for the first time, since the other day, a member of the think tank I'm confined to sent me an essay to be posted on our website: Why President Obama Should Read Thucydides. (pdf)

Sunday, November 09, 2008

So, McCain Lost The Youth Vote, eh?, plus "New World Order"

Okay, the campaign fun is definitely over for the next three years...but the fun is still pouring in from all sides (JibJab video added):

"Who is going to be the next president, daddy?" my four-year-old son asks impatiently.

"Barack Obama," I tell him.

"No, I mean after that."

Seabass has caught the perpetual campaign bug.

He was upset he couldn't vote last Tuesday; he's been a McCain aficionado since watching the war hero drive a tank over Obama in the JibJab election video. Plus, a certain five-year-old buddy of his -- a boy whom Sebastian looks up to because he is "superfast" -- was proselytizing for the GOP ticket.

On election eve, Sebastian insisted that his mom (whose distaste for the McCain candidacy would be hard to overstate) help him write "McCain" on a piece of paper, so he could pretend to cast his own ballot.

My son's reaction to the electorate's verdict: "ohhhhh nooooo." Then he became the only person in America to ask whether McCain can run again

This is all great fodder for future father-son bonding. Or maybe it's father-son ribbing. I can picture myself years from now, meeting Sebastian's college girlfriend over dinner and casually bringing up the fact that my son wanted to vote against Barack Obama in the 2008 election.

"Dad, I was four," he'll say, reddening, and kicking me under the table. The same "what are you doing?!" reaction I'd have when my parents would break out the pictures of my 1970's adolescence to share with others, a visual extravaganza featuring lots of polyester, acne, braces and really bad haircuts.

And then, there's the New World Order (via Andrew Hammel):

Get the latest news satire and funny videos at

Obama Victory Fallout

I was in a store (...) some black dude walked in, grabbed a bag of chips and walked out. (...) "Hey, why don't you pay for that?" He said: "FUCK YOU. Obama in office, we run that shit." (...) So, I paid for the chips (...) all of us ain't the same, man.
And in the youtube comments:
bradford1872: i have to commend you on paying for those chips...It takes a real man to do that and not go upside that asshole's head. I'm black and it kills me when "niggas" act stupid for any reason and then try to blame people for holding them back when it was their own fault. Starting today and for the rest of your life, it time to man up, own your mistakes and be willing to better yourself...2009 should be deemed the "Year of accountability" amongst the black community. NO MORE EXCUSES!!!

craftkevin: I went out there and chopped dude ass up about that dumb ass shit. He got his mind right now...!

Being not so familiar with the urbandictionary part of American English, I hope this dude is still alive...

Anyway, fascinating stuff. If regular youtube people sounding like Michelle Obama is the fallout of the Obama victory, then keep it coming. This kind of accountability makes divided, aging, pointless Germany look even more hopeless*.

Here's the whole thing:

Youtube direct link: Black people stop doing stupid stuff because Obama won the election!

On a related note, a conversation between Ann Althouse and Glenn Reynolds on the glamour of being ridiculously left-wing, Reynolds' piece on Forbes ("Whoever wins, chill a bit") and the first signs of Obama Derangement Syndrome (which hasn't even a wikipedia entry yet; the Bush Derangement Syndrome does, of course):

*) The other day, a friend of mine noticed: "There's always this subtle anti-German resentment in your rants." My reply? "What do you mean 'subtle'?"

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Educated Chicks Vote Count: It's a Tie!

And yes, this angry, tired, pessimistic little libertarian citizen-taxpayer will go vote after class today! It won't make much numerical difference -- my state is full of leftists and I'm vastly outnumbered -- but I'll vote anyway because, well, it's my right, dang it, and it's my one little ballot saying "NO" to the tide of high-taxing neo-statism. I don't care how pretty its newest face is.

without expounding upon policy likes and dislikes, and the merits of Obama vs. McCain, let me just say this: i never thought i'd vote for a democrat, but here i am, taking the gamble!

Hmmm...both of you seem to follow the W.C. Fields line:

I never voted for anybody. I always voted against.

And now excuse me while I'm crying in my beer. I have been diagnosed with post-election campaign depression. (But hey, there's hope. I just saw the first "Romney/Jindal 2012" ad!)

A message from The Mac!

With less than 20 hours until first polls close, I just got my first election related spam mail. Woohoo! It reads:
My friend,
Sorry, Mr. McCain lost me there. Providing my e-mail address to the McCain campaign - that's what Facebook friends are for...

If global spamming to eligible and non-eligible voters alike isn't a sign of desperation, what is?

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Quirky Chekhov

For the record, just to show how busy I am (and how occupied with the election campaign): Yesterday, I discovered that my Arche Literaturkalender (kudos to my sister for donating next year's edition every christmas) still displayed the week from July 7th to July 13th! I tried to catch up and ran into some remarkable quotes. The week from July 14th to July 20th featured Anton Chekhov. What a quirky guy:

Ich habe Dir aus dem Ausland sehr schönes Parfum mitgebracht. Komm doch in der Karwoche und hol es Dir ab. Komm unbedingt, Liebste, Gute, Herrliche (...) Es macht nichts, daß Du in einen anderen verliebt bist und mich schon betrogen hast, ich verzeihe Dir, nur komm bitte. (Anton Cechov an Olga Knipper, Jalta, 7. März 1901).

The Wikipedia article refers to "Chekhov in Love" by Misha Aster which contains the following money quotes:

Chekhov on Sex
"Sex plays a great role in the world, but not everything depends on it, and not everywhere is it of decisive importance."
Oh well, perhaps that held true for russia in the 19th century. As for modern times, sex is of decisive importance.

Chekhov on Marriage
"I am not capable of such a complex, involved business as marriage."
Chekhov on the Perfect Wife
"[G]ive me a wife who, like the moon, does not always appear in my sky every day."
On 25 May 1901 Chekhov married Olga Knipper. Their long distance relationship resulted in a 1,300 pages correspondence. (1,300 that's approx. 25,000 twitters or 22,000 SMS, respectively. An impressive record for a relationsship of roundabout 2,000 days.)

Chekhov's death strikes me as a good example on how to die with grace. In 1908, Olga wrote this account of her husband’s last moments:
"Anton sat up unusually straight and said loudly and clearly (although he knew almost no German): Ich sterbe. The doctor calmed him, took a syringe, gave him an injection of camphor, and ordered champagne. Anton took a full glass, examined it, smiled at me and said: "It's a long time since I drank champagne." He drained it, lay quietly on his left side, and I just had time to run to him and lean across the bed and call to him, but he had stopped breathing and was sleeping peacefully as a child..."