Thursday, May 22, 2008

So, the Süddeutsche Zeitung in Munich is reporting that Berliners are going to have a long year looking at their telephone books. It seems that the company that printed the phone book inadvertantly used the wrong image on the cover of the Berlin phone book. They meant to use an image of this (Berlin City Hall):

Instead the company used an image of this (Munich City Hall):

In fairness, the publisher is a Frankfurt company, so they may not know one city hall from the other. On the other hand, it is isn't like (a) Marienplatz (where Munich City Hall is) isn't a very famous square, and (b) the buildings look at all alike.

Monday, May 19, 2008


I have always been very critical of the show Sex in the City. I know. It's easy to do. I always thought that people who argued that it was a satire gave the actors too much credit, and if it was not a satire, the characters were repugnant. Now that they have made a movie, the idiots who act on the show are back in the publicity machine. Dammit!

Anyway, the New York Times Sunday magazine has a weekly feature called Questions For. It is a single page condensation of an interview with an (allegedly) interesting person. This week's is with Cynthia Nixon, who played . . . one of the trixies on Sex in the City. Look at the interview, since there are answers throughout that boggle the mind. However, here are my favorites:

NYT: A few years ago, you moved in with a woman, after leaving the father of your children. Do you find it easier living with a woman than a man because you have more in common?

CN: I think you do have more in common.

WAYLA: It may be easier to live with a woman because you have more in common, but in this case, being a lesbian living with your partner might make it easier too, right?

NYT: You can use the same bathroom in movie theaters, for instance. That’s absolutely true! Can you share clothes?

CN: No. Christine doesn’t wear women’s clothes; she only wears men’s clothes. She won’t even wear any kind of women’s shoes. I bought her a pair of cowboy boots that were from the women’s department, and she was like, “Don’t do this again.”

WAYLA: This is foreshadowing for two questions hence. Don't forget it.

NYT: Does she watch sports on TV?

CN: She does. We don’t have a TV. But when there was a World Cup, we went to the local Ruby Foo’s and watched it. And we actually did watch the Super Bowl as well. She tried to explain it to me.

WAYLA: More foreshadowing. Can you wait for it?

NYT: Do you think of her as the male figure in the relationship?

CN: No, I don’t at all. Look at what’s happening now. She’s at home with the kids, and I’m the one out pounding the pavement. . . . She’s for Hillary, and I’m for Obama.

WAYLA: So, there were a lot of good available answers here. Not the worst answer would have been that "male" and "female" roles are irrelevant and that they are a partnership. But no. Cynthia Nixon talks about how her partner only wears clothes for men, and watches sports on TV, but then implies that maybe she is the "male" since she's working outside the home and voted for Obama. So, that's two "males" in each of their columns. Is the tie breaker their actual sexual behavior? Is there a point to this? Insofar as they are both women, who cares who's "the male?"

These were asked in a row. Granted, the interview is condensed, so a thousand words per question could have been cut out. Still, it is almost painful to read. Here's hoping that movie is a flop and all of the Sex in the City women go back to being very successful actresses outside of the media machine. Please.

Friday, May 16, 2008


Last night a number 6 bus destined for Hyde Park turned into a fire bus destined for the junk yard while idling at Wacker and Columbus. This was very exciting for the four minutes it lasted. The pictures below are in sequential order, so first the bus engine is on fire, then the firefighters drove over from 100 feet away (at South Water and Columbus), eyed the fire, sprayed water on it, and it was over. Very exciting!

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Today the former St. Louis Cardinal I hate the most became a Cub. His name should not be spoken more than necessary, lest he start to feel comfortable here and want to stay. It rhymes with "Dim Redmonds." I mean, it's only been 100 years since the Cubs last won the World Series, do we really need to sign Dim F-ing Redmonds?

Why do I hate him, you ask? Well, there is the apparent fact that Cardinal fans call him "Jimmy Baseball." That's hateable. Every time he dives for a ball he writhes around like an Italian soccer player. That's hateable. He always seemed to get the big hit or make the big catch against the Cubs. That's hateable. I just plain hate our new part-time centerfielder. Of course, this is not nearly as bad as when the Bulls signed John Starks. I almost passed 0ut when that happened.

On the bright side, Z might still kick Redmonds' ass. See, Z is known to lay the smack down when needed, and he and Redmonds had a pretty serious beef in 2004 that they (supposedly) have just gotten through this very day. Hopefully Jimmy Asswipe will get lippy with Z and that will be the end of him.

So, I was minding my own business this afternoon, walking back to my office from the bathroom. Our office shares a bathroom with the rest of the floor, so you actually have to go out in "public" to use it. Anyway, there is a hallway immediately to the left of our front door. As I approached the door, a woman came out of the hallway.

She was blonde. She was wearing glasses, a suit with a short skirt, and heels. Her hair was up. She had pale skin and red lipstick on. She was . . . Patsy Stone, from Absolutely Fabulous. Had she been carrying Stolichnaya and a cig, this would have been her. Alternatively, here she is live:

Friday, May 09, 2008


Here's something to think about this weekend. Turkey. Not the bird/food/suggested national symbol, but rather the country. Have you done that lately? Well, let's try now.

Turkey has a very interesting history in that it spent the Ottoman (as opposed to Otto Mann) Era straddling Southeast Europe, North Africa, the Eastern Mediterranean, and the Arab peninsula. That means that it ran the area that is now Syria, Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, and the Occupied Territories. It was also the home of the most recent Caliph. However, Turkey is not Arab, and it is officially a secular state, although it is overwhelmingly Muslim. In other words, it is relatively well placed to mediate between the Arab Muslim world and either Israel (for peace process purposes) and western values (for modernization purposes). Two recent articles reflect this.

The Christian Science Monitor has an article discussing Turkey's efforts as a facilitator between Israel and Syria regarding the disposition of the Golan Heights. Turkey and Israel have long enjoyed good relations. Now Turkey is improving its relations with its Arab neighbors. Thus, while the major powers are all regarded with suspicion in the Arab-Israeli conflict, Turkey has a reservoir of relative trust. Of course, many Arabs still regard the Turks as colonizers and otherwise resent the Ottoman Era. However, with at least one intervening colonial master since Turkey, and Turkey's status as a Muslim country, it is still better positioned than almost any other country for this role.

The New York Times ran an interesting article on Turkish efforts to teach an Islam that can deal with the West while remaining separate from it. This is particularly important in places like Pakistan, where radical, rejectionist Islam has been gaining ground. The Times describes the schools as
prescribe a strong Western curriculum, with courses, taught in English, from math and science to English literature and Shakespeare. They do not teach religion beyond the one class in Islamic studies that is required by the state. Unlike British-style private schools, however, they encourage Islam in their dormitories, where teachers set examples in lifestyle and prayer.
The idea is that the dislocation and sense of loss that modernization and competition with the West have brought can be alleviated by preparing kids to compete with the West, but helping them have a strong Muslim identity. Of course, there are others who say the group running the school are "Muslim Jesuits" intent on power. I think they meant that negatively.

Very interesting.