November 30, 2007

X-Mas @ your average US firm

FROM: Patty Lewis, Human Resources Director
TO: All Employees
DATE: October 01, 2003
RE: Christmas Party

I'm happy to inform you that the company Christmas Party will take place on December 23, starting at noon in the private function room at the Grill House. There will be a cash bar and plenty of drinks! We'll have a small band playing traditional carols...feel free to sing along. And don't be surprised if our CEO shows up dressed as Santa Claus! A Christmas tree will be lit at 1:00pm. Exchange of gifts among employees can be done at that time; however, no gift should be over $10.00 to make the giving of gifts easy for everyone's pockets. This gathering is only for employees! Our CEO will make a special announcement at that time!
Merry Christmas to you and your family.

FROM: Patty Lewis, Human Resources Director
TO: All Employees
DATE: October 02, 2003
RE: Holiday Party

In no way was yesterday's memo intended to exclude our Jewish employees. We recognize that Chanukah is an important holiday, which often coincides with Christmas, though unfortunately not this year. However, from now on we're calling it our "Holiday Party." The same policy applies to any other employees who are not Christians or those still celebrating Reconciliation Day. There will be no Christmas tree present. No Christmas carols sung. We will have other types of music for your enjoyment.
Happy now?
Happy Holidays to you and your family.

FROM: Patty Lewis, Human Resources Director
TO: All Employees
DATE: October 03, 2003
RE: Holiday Party

Regarding the note I received from a member of Alcoholics Anonymous requesting a non-drinking table ... you didn't sign your name. I'm happy to accommodate this request, but if I put a sign on a table that reads, "AA Only"; you wouldn't be anonymous anymore. How am I supposed to handle this?
Forget about the gifts exchange, no gifts exchange are allowed since the union members feel that $10.00 is too much money and executives believe $10.00 is a little chintzy.

FROM: Patty Lewis, Human Resources Director
To: All Employees
DATE: October 04, 2003
RE: Holiday Party

What a diverse group we are! I had no idea that December 20 begins the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which forbids eating and drinking during daylight hours. There goes the party! Seriously, we can appreciate how a luncheon at this time of year does not accommodate our Muslim employees' beliefs. Perhaps the Grill House can hold off on serving your meal until the end of the party- or else package everything for you to take it home in little foil doggy baggy. Will that work? Meanwhile, I've arranged for members of Weight Watchers to sit farthest from

The dessert buffet and pregnant women will get the table closest to the restrooms. Gays are allowed to sit with each other. Lesbians do not have to sit with Gay men, each will have their own table. Yes, there will be flower arrangement for the Gay men's table. To the person asking permission to cross dress, no cross-dressing allowed though. We will have booster seats for short people. Low-fat food will be available for those on a diet. We cannot control the salt used in the food we suggest for those people with high blood pressure to taste first. There will be fresh fruits as dessert for Diabetics, the restaurant cannot supply "No Sugar" desserts. Sorry!
Did I miss anything?!?!?

FROM: Patty Lewis, Human Resources Director
TO: All F*@king Employees
DATE: October 05, 2003
RE: The F*@king Holiday Party

Vegetarian pricks I've had it with you people!!! We're going to keep this party at the Grill House whether you like it or not, so you can sit quietly at the table farthest from the "grill of death," as you so quaintly put it, and you'll get your F*@king salad bar, including organic tomatoes. But you know, tomatoes have feelings, too. They scream when you slice them. I've heard them scream. I'm hearing them scream right NOW! I hope you all have a rotten holiday! Drive drunk and die,
The Bitch from HELL!!!!!!!!

FROM: Joan Bishop, Acting Human Resources Director
DATE: October 06, 2003
RE: Patty Lewis and Holiday Party

I'm sure I speak for all of us in wishing Patty Lewis a speedy recovery and I'll continue to forward your cards to her. In the meantime, management has decided to cancel our Holiday Party and give everyone the afternoon of the 23rd off with full pay.

Happy Holidays!

November 29, 2007

organic foot

For all you people who just work way too hard and always wanted to massage each other's feet with purpose! Please click on the image for better view. No griping please, this is ancient subcontinental Indian acupressure at its finest.

November 28, 2007

split this banana

Recently I came across a truly disgusting piece of news. Apparently, Chiquita, of the famed yellow fruit, has been paying a ton of money to bandits in Colombia who have been designated a Terrorist Group by the US State Department in 2001. The EU also considers the AUC a terrorist group (I only add this to lend credibility to the US designation). These payments and alleged small arms shipments (with this I will deal later) occurred from 1997 until 2004 when Chiquita sold their subsidiary in Colombia. Chiquita buys product from that former subsidiary to this day.

The only reason why I know about this is because I have the time to read the NY Times and the geekiness to have it fed to my Treo via Avantgo (good looking out Stamos). Other then that I am not aware of any of this reaching the discerning US consumer. It would seem that it is a rather important piece of news that a US company is buying automatic weapons for a lefty terrorist group that, who woulda thunk? finances its adventures in kidnapping, torture and murder with drug trafficking to the tune of 70 % (their internal estimate).

AUC possesses the unholy trinity of being communist, druggies and terrorists. You rightly ask, as do I, what more does a group have to do to get on our shitlist? Apparently a lot more, because none of the big business media conglomerates seem to think that it warrants any attention that Chiquita was recently sued to the tune of $7.86 billion by the little guys who found themselves at the business end of a Chiquita financed AK-47. The peasants in the jungles finally figured out how to work the US system:

Chu gotta have some mula,
chu gotta have great abogados,
and chu gotta have time, lots of time

If you don’t have any of those you better have a good PR company. If you can’t afford that you need some bloggers to blog your case to the world and tell people to stop buying Chiquita bananas and stop investing in Chiquita equities. And you need to tell this particular blogger only once to do just that. To all you fat cats and big hats I pose these questions: “How dare you make money of sponsors of terrorists, torturers and murderers? What are you going to do next, invest in Halliburton?”

Your Supreme Being bless Global Warming. Maybe soon these multinationals will bite the dust, because that will be all that is left off the tropics if we do not realize we can not let them do their nasty business anymore because their petrol footprint is too large for this world.

Until that time please:

  • Ask what brand bananas are in your blended beverage
  • Check the brand you buy in the store
  • Ask your store about their Ethylene Banana Ripening Room

November 27, 2007

you get the leaders you deserve

Winston Churchill, he of the immortal blood and tears speeches, left behind a legacy of wonderful quotes, one of them about Democracy being the least of all evils. I humbly usurp, and by no means without pleasure that ”In democracy you get the leaders you deserve”. Since I currently reside in the USA this is for at least one more year a juicy subject. One might say it is the reason for writing this piece. Mostly because I am sick and tired of everyone and their dog jumping on the Bush-hating bandwagon. In reality you are not getting on the wagon, you fell off a different one. You loved the little gunslinger and his paroles of letting those evil-doers hear from us very soon. You loved him so much so that even when you had the choice of correcting your error a couple of years later you abstained. You wanted more and no, you did not suffer from Stockholm Syndrom. For that to happen you would have to be taken hostage first and I do not subscribe to that arrogant left paradigm of the people being hoodwinked by the spectacles of propaganda. There was no hostage-taking of public opinion; there was no hoodwinking of the unsuspecting masses. Not even a little bit. You ask how I know this? In 2004 only 55.3 % of all eligible voters participated in their Oh, so cherished democratic duty. That’s a hot 4 % more than in 2000, when supposedly you just didn’t care and no pressing international agenda was on your mind. Of that grand half of all voters 51 % threw in their lot with Mr. “Put food on your family”. The supposed leader of the free world, a man who can’t form a sentence that makes sense for the life of him, was elected by 25 % of the eligible voters, or 62 Million Voters.

Instead of this apathy in the face of what is becoming a crisis of extinction level event proportions you should have either resoundingly kicked is ungainly behind in the gutter to be swept onto the trash heap of history, or at least provided him with a real mandate. Something like 80 % of the population for example. Of course The Brain did not care that 25 % is not a real mandate and sent his heralds out into the land to proclaim the advent of a new age of republican dominion.

Possibly the first time around - you like to blame voter fraught in Miami Dade (or Vice) county - you can be excused to pick a scion of an emerging dynasty, who very obviously was not fit for the job, over a hapless and prideful inheritor of a supposed political genius. But the second time around? You said to this cretin and to the rest of the world that you liked the state of affairs. That you were happy with setting fire to the Middle Eastern fuse and in the process providing a windfall of profits for all of his financiers. Now, when it becomes all too obvious that he and his laughably arrogant neo cons fell flat on their faces, and he remains the last one standing (wobbling may be a better choice of words here). Now, that the baby hawks all left the nest. Now, you think nothing of getting the hell out of Dodge as well. Excuse me, but I am not going to let you get away with it.

In awe, you were of the genius of The Brain. The dudes in the little fast boats you ate up with patriotic gusto. And the other guy was married to a really rich woman – goodness, she might turn the tax code to her advantage. Possibly, he even spoke French! He should have just said that he speaks Freedom, than he would have been more in line with your dumb patriotism and the 50 % of congress without a valid passport. Yes, you vote for people who are not allowed to travel to Canada! Those poor schmucks can’t even go up there on one of their investigative junkets to smoke a joint, which would quite possibly increase the average IQ of our national leaders – yes, they would have to inhale.

You think medical care for everyone is un-American. You think that putting 500 Billion Dollar into the Offense Budget is just fine and dandy. You are stupidly surprised when you get a letter from your cell phone company that refunds 50 Bucks to you because they overtaxed you for the SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR!!! Just in case you suffer from the illusion that we freed the Philippines from the centuries-old yoke of the Spanish Crown, keep in mind that we killed 200,000 of them when they did not want to be folded into our own burgeoning empire after we kicked the Spaniards to the curb. You are as fine with that as you are with today’s adventures in oil. Forgive me if I sound a little ticked off now that you are all wearing the mantle of innocence. That you think you can just wait for the next gal, and tell the world and yourself that you didn’t know because you were deceived. You were not deceived, not even a little bit.

So instead of riding into the sunset with the baby hawks please stick around and help this bumbling fool out. Help him not to save any face. Help him be even more incompetent now that he is making feeble attempts at reconciliation with the world and its climate. Help him not to fix his syntax errors so that we may at least be entertained a little longer. Anything else would make you dishonest in addition to being stupid. And who wants to be dishonest, right? That would make you a politician and I would have to take your passport and pot away.

Instead live in disgrace for a while. Enjoy the rotten fruit of your labor. You deserve it. You can not blame the merciless despot at the top, because there is none. You may not blame the media, because in the paraphrased words of a certain comedian “you don’t turn around to look over your shoulder to look for the media when you take money out from the ATM late at night”. I will not even let you excuse yourself by saying that you are too busy making that monthly payment on your second car. Take the bus, and while you are at it vote for a politician who will make that bus drive on alternative fuels. You don’t know what alternative fuel means? Let me give you a hint, it’s not the flex fuel sticker on the back of your Hemi-powered Dodge truck that lets you drive in the car pool lane while filling up on 92 octane. Oh right, you say that flex fuel thing will not work either because the evil oil lobby with their billions of dollars bought all the evil passport-less politicos and now you and your poor little children will have to suffer from the nasty West-Nile Virus because it is getting hot. You, my dears, deserve it all because you voted for it all.

Maybe, just maybe if you would have picked the guy who got you seatbelts forty years ago you could now drive in a clean car, take your child to a dentist without paying a cent, not worry about the Chinese polluting the globe because we just plain gave them our cleanest coal power-generating technologies, still call French Fries that, get the oil that you need for your penicillin cheaper, install solar panels on every house in the Southwest and power the entire USA, make peace break out in the Middle East because nobody buys their oil anymore, and earn the love of the world because you are finally the good guys that you think you are. And when all of that happens, I will grant you your pride in your accomplishments. I will applaud you as the enlightened savior of humanity. I may even joyously intone “God Bless America”. Because you will finally and for the first time in a while deserve it.


If you know what this is, I will give you a cookie!

November 20, 2007

bless thy neopet

I do not actually know how I ended up on this site, but bless your lord that I did. Hours of boredom at work are to be relieved through his mysterious workings. Oh, that’s right, I was searching for my previous blog entry “the devil in yu(kio)”. After all one has to make sure that the plumbing of blogging works. Because I innocuously searched for “the devil in yu(kio)” I ended up on this christian forum. Imagine my surprise at stumbling on this mezzaninious subculture. Readers, there is a reason why none of my stumbling leads to christianity – it drives me bonkers – thought I should clear this up first. So if you are faint of heart, easy prey for satanism or plain just love your lord blindly you might want to avert your faithful eyes. On the other hand if this is your mysterious route to him, be my guest as well. Do keep in mind that the only reason why I ended up on this site is that some christian can not spell “you”.

This is were I found myself when I clicked on a random link. I saw it and I couldn’t help myself, needed to find out what happens when a good christian asks “Have yu ever questioned if there is a God?"

Since I questioned this many times my interest was slightly aroused, raising its head, so to speak. There are of course all the banal answers: Being saved from being hung by noose from window by classmates (the lord likes to disguise himself, although I think of it as bad timing); accusing satan of the little darts that make our day yukky (lordy, lordy are you fucking kidding me?); being confronted with god-less entellectualism all our lives (not my spelling).

My, my this is so much fun, I wish I could go on, but I have to leave this satisfaction of my own sense of rational superiority behind and instead concentrate on my real topic. Also my aroused interest was passing out like a dude after a fraternity drink fest.

Please have a look at this screenshot:As you can see this is the profile of a christian user. I left out his mug, even though it would have provided additional laughs. This christian has 13.496 blessings. You correctly ask, just like I did, what the hell (today no pun goes unintended) these blessings are. Did we finally find a direct fiber optics line to the overlord and all these good souls have his IP while my sinfully aroused but not interested behind does not? Is the pope bestowing these blessings upon his much loved slightly sect-arian USA parishioners? Do you become a saint if you have one trillion blessings? I am sorry but if you thought that any of the options above are correct I must disappoint.

Some of you will know that I used to work at neopets and although it seems neoages (yes, we all talked like that all the time) ago, I still remember how to get neopoints and what to do with them. Neopets is a social website for children. Kids play games, partake in art contests, bid and sell at auctions, refer other users and earn interest on their neopoints at the neobank. Here is a link to the faq at neopets regarding their neopoints. The best chance of getting a lot of neopoints was by doing things that would promote the site or show that you spent a lot of time on the site so that the site owners could sell it to he highest bidder (more eyeballs means more users, means more cold hard cash). Neopoints was the currency of the site with which you could buy yourself weapons, flowers and magic spells.

What does this have to do with the christian forum? To explain the link between the two sites here is their faq in regards to blessings. Please read it all, you might miss a blessedly good laugh. Examine what you can buy on this site with their blessed currency, and how one best earns it. Yup, you can play little flash games, bid and sell at auctions, refer other users and deposit your blessings into a bank to earn one blessed percent blessings interest. If you compound that, by the end of your life you might have a gazillion blessings and the only question remaining is whether heaven accepts that particular currency as readily as the tithe you paid your sins off with in your RL church. If this christian forum was not conceptualized with neochristians in mind my name is not Guardian of the Pearly Gates.

Apart from the hilarity ensuing from a bunch of originally, sinfully stupid people (I am sorry, God did not forget to put extra sugar in your Latte, even though your morning is yukky now) playing an online game with prizes that 12 year olds become tired of fairly quickly, it strikes me as completely against all church dogma that people can buy, sell, earn via auction or postings blessings that then accumulate in a bank account to grow further interest on your investment. Didn’t they all hate the Jews a few years ago because they were the only ones allowed to earn interest off money lending? And now we can earn interest on blessings?

However that may be, one of the central issues for social websites is how to monetize the site. How to make money of the users who traffic it. Often that happens in the form of merchandise or cross pollination where a user can purchase RL items with the site currency or vice versa. You see where I am going with this, right? While users at neopets purchased merchandise or just plainly cool gaming items what will users from the christian forum be able to buy? Shorter time in hell? forgiveness for your padre? nicer wings? better view from your cloud? Not that I am such an expert on these matter, but I really believed that these faith-things would be off-limits to the general hustle and bustle of internet commerce and social website engineering. But lo and behold you should see the avatars, holy armor and unsoiled virgins you can buy with your blessings. If you want to impress one of those poor creatures, lost out there in the empty vastness of the net, nothing says “I believe” like a Million Blessings Avatar. She will swoon over your righteous, rising ardor established by blessings, posts and referrals and you can take her in/to your lair of laughter to violate her at least twice until the time death do you part.

November 16, 2007


In light of my soon to be analyzed DNA sample, I thought it would behoove me to examine what the world, and specifically the USA thinks of DNA. The reason for my interest is that I have a sort of racial responsibility to do away with race based prejudices and if modern science is to be trusted, it seems I even need to do away with scientific facts. Because if the facts of DNA say that one race is smarter then another I will direct my futile efforts towards making these facts irrelevant. Not because I dislike our facts, but because I mistrust our mobs.

Recently I read an article in the NY Times about this very subject, in fact citing a blogger who wrote about the differences of black and white IQs as they relate to DNA. His information stems from a blogger who labels his post “scientific ramblings” which of course is a clear instruction to Half Sigma to compile those ramblings into an opinion of scientific fact and racial superiority. Maybe the comments sent to his blog would not call him racist, as he complains in a later post, if he would include the fact of superior-to-Caucasian IQ in Ashkenazi Jews which is also mentioned in his source.

Considering how little we know about the ancient past and how young we are at interpreting DNA, I find the blogger’s confidence in the science surprising. Only a few hundred years ago did we find out that the earth was in fact round and not at the center of the universe. But this stuff is taken as gospel. I do not however find it surprising that the blogger leaves out some important facts. In his search for arguments that black people are stupider than white people he leaves out that while black people are supposedly 25 % as stupid as white people, white people are 50 % as stupid as Chinese people (according to Half Sigma’s source mAnasollAsaIn studied human populations the T allele shows about 91% frequency in Chinese and Japanese, 47% in White Americans, and 27% in West Africans.”)

If I would be into proofing IQ and neighborly happiness (another Half Sigma post) according to skin color I would make an effort to paint myself as the star pupil instead of saying “well these guys are pretty dumb, but only half as dumb as we are compared to those other guys”. But he probably thought that we would all just take him by his word and not check his source. Or maybe his white behind was too lazy to actually read the whole thing, which would have forced his selective cognition into over-drive, which you should only attempt if you are Chinese and possessive of the necessary IQ.

It amuses me how Half Sigma and his commenters feel subjugated by the religiously PC lefties who somehow disallow their opinions, when their own rhetoric has been the staple of repressing whole populations and races since, I don’t know, Adolf Hitler maybe? Their sort of silliness needs something to fight against, an oppressor, without whom they could not muster up the required courage to fulfill their goal of… what exactly is your goal, Half Sigma? Proofing that blacks are dumb and so should be slaves again? That they need to vacate a chair in the bus for you because brainiacs like yourself need to rest their weary heads? That Chinese and Ashkenazi will inherit the earth and apply Half Sigma’s logic to white people?

The best thing that could come of this is that racist piggies realize that the lower SAT scores of black pupils could be a direct result of selective breeding over 400 years of slavery. During which time certainly the white owner would have made sure to breed the fittest but not the smartest to each other. So now we are calling blacks stupid because we made them so. If that is not evil I am not entirely sure what still qualifies.

Maybe, and some might accuse me of having ingested to much Soma, this will lead to humanity building one of those futuristic super gene therapy drugs to increase IQ in those we mentally stunted for such a painful long time - if that IQ is in fact lower, and if they actually are interested in messing with their homegrown DNA. It could be a nice form of reparation and since according to the last supposedly white supposed prophet it is better to give than to receive it would be good for Half Sigma as well.

November 15, 2007

De Oratore Obama

No matter where you sit on the spectrum, you have to appreciate a good Orator. I do, so have a look at the JJ Dinner, if you haven't had a chance so far. And if you have a yen for good speeches check this speechifying site out.

Give me some Blood, Sweat and Tears, and make that Government of the People, by the People and through the People!

Not that I am saying Obama is in the same league, but it is nice to think that there is a chance of someone being there at some point in their future career.

November 14, 2007

my organic gripe

Much has been made of the current fad for organic food. It is good for you, it is healthier for you, and it does not carry any genes or pesticides that can hurt you or your children’s children. We read a book (in my case Animal Vegetable Miracle) or watch a movie and change our eating habits monumentally. Out with the none-local foods, in with the organic free range grapes. So today after I spent a few minutes worshiping the god of great bodies and steamy rooms at lunch time, I chatted with my wonderfully-open-to-new -concepts woman about organic foods and dietary habits. This topic arose because she wouldn’t let me think it was funny that she wasn’t sick of watching Sicko yet – thx bebs, you know I love me some moral absolutism, no really.
So I said, “I bought these organic grapes the other day. Half of them were rotten, the other half thick-skinned and not completely mind-bogglingly tasty.”
She said, “I am sorry, that’s the risk of a natural life my dear.” (she really is as sweet as the sweetest organic grapes)
“Well, I remember how grapes tasted on the vineyard I helped out harvesting every year in fall, and it is totally different.”
“But that vineyard was in Niederösterreich, not in Upper California.”
At that point our conversation drifted somewhat off-topic as we considered our luck at not being born in the USA, but in Austria and Cameron respectively, where the food was still real, the mildew going strong and the common cold only half as common. When we got back to talking about organics in our present diet I ventured as to how it stands to reason that if a fruit looks healthy, is possessed of a nice color and crunches when I bite into it,
as is the case with most mass produced genetically enhanced fruit and vegetable in this country , it is in effect also healthy to my system. At least as healthy as that half rotten bunch I had last week. But of course it is complete gobbledygook that a fruit is good for me just because it is nice and red, especially in our days of food coloring and genetic engineering.

I nevertheless mildly insisted on my point that even though Monsanto is hate-worthy just for being a multinational that is going to attempt to run the world through its food supply, the only way they can actually achieve that is through a good – healthy, crunchy, tasty – product. OK, there is another way, they can buy off some politicians, but that doesn’t happen, right? Not in this country of absolute political freedom in which your vote counts absolutely.

After talking about sweet things for a minute I decided to give the rotten organics another go, went to the food store, looked for the Organic Neon Sign, really telling me that everything else in that section is not organic but somehow machined, and who would want to eat something like that? and bought myself some white organic grapes from Cauliflower.

I went back to work, was reminded by a friendly Indian in the elevator that this is a lot of sugar for one sitting, washed my grapes in the kitchenette, went back to my desk, offered white organic grapes to my work mates and enjoyed the first one myself. It was bloody delicious and it tasted like home! So I texted my dear wonderfully-open-to-new-concepts woman the following: ”I just had my first organic gripe, and it is delicious!”

November 13, 2007

the devil in yu(kio)

This picture is from a road trip I went on with my friend Yukio in Baja. Just to be clear:
I did not take this picture. Yukio did not photoshop it.

Don't be scared! Its just a goddamned demon. Or at least something with horns that looks like its going to jump at you, with its fiery breath of fire, its eyes dark as holes in the sky, its nostrils wide to smell your foul soul...


November 11, 2007

Presidential Frankenstein

I watched an interesting forum Friday night on TV. The economic advisors (possible future Treas Secs, please keep that I mind) of five of the major candidates expounded on their and their candidates' economic views. To say that they are smart is stating the obvious. It is however interesting to see their boss’s character reflected in them. Hillary Clinton’s guy is this pouty looking Wall Street guru, wearing an impeccable suit and a chip on his shoulder. Our free economics gunslinger, representing Giulliani doesn’t give a damn what he looks like, he is at least as ugly as his boss, and like him not afraid to go against the grain. John Edward’s proxy was a gentle professor, who is not affected by either rising oil prices or healthcare costs. John McCain’s man kept to himself a lot. And Obama’s passionate, but reading from notes, young’un was the only one who came remotely close to saying that we should stop spending 500 Billion of your money on kicking ass around the world. The other candidates don’t have economic advisors.

Looking at the session from a holistic point of view I want to take all of the candidates, rip them into little pieces and build myself a presidential Frankenstein consisting of all the good things that I want from your next president. I want him to do a Broadband Initiative (John Edwards) because without that, not only will a lot of menial jobs be sent to China, we will also not create any more new economy jobs. I want to stop wasting money on weapons of mass destruction (Presumably Obama, although he can’t say it for fear of being a dove). I want to keep the USA on a firm free market standing (Giulliani) because I am from Austria, and I witnessed the policies of economic stagnation in the old world. I want John McCains guy to keep to himself a little less, because then I could maybe talk myself into taking a piece of his boss for my presidential Frankenstein as well. And I like the idea of universal health coverage (Hillary Clinton’s guy seemed most passionate about that).

The one thing that stood out is that not one of them has a short term solution for foreign oil dependency and global warming. Not one of them wants to have a hydrogen car by the end of the decade. If this is depressing, at least it is honest.

November 8, 2007

the eternally optimistic pessimist

One thing that fascinates us Euro Trash about the land on the other side of the great pond is its inhabitant's eternal optimism. Always friendly, always open, always ready to take on the world and make it better in some mysteriously important way. It's not just fascinating. It’s also reasonably annoying. Like a layer of clammy cotton candy, clinging to you, suffocating you with sweetness – The Great Pink. If cluster bombs and Agent Orange wouldn't be included free of charge we (read: the rest of the world) would all die of diabetes.

Can we please have a little negativity served with our daily dose of the American Dream? I know, I know it's a great marketing ploy, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses…" etc, etc. I am sorry if I am not exactly jugging the Kool-Aid, but that marketing ploy needs to be dismantled like that last truly great one "Build me a steeple in every village because I died for your sins". Americans seem to have a yen for great and simplistic tag lines.

I am bored by little kids that go out into the real world thinking it is their oyster. Thinking that if they just try hard enough, believe strong enough, smile big enough with their perfectly straightened teeth, and above all if they have a big enough supply of clammy cotton candy they can achieve anything. You wouldn't need to get up so many times if you wouldn't try to fall on your ass in the first place.

My personal problem is that somehow now The Great Pink is starting to cling to me in copious amounts. I can't hardly wait for my next trip to the motherland and hear people tell me with their slightly nasal pessimism "Du schaust ja wirklich schon wie ein Ami aus!" The fact that I talk, dress, act and walk like one is implied. One hates to be rude. Strangely enough my accent still works over here, in the home of the brave and somewhat free (for instructions on how to score by accent, instead of by accident, email me at Somehow I have the pleasure of the worst of both worlds. Americans subject me to a continuous stream of vitriol against their own inanity – stop drinking the Euro Trash Cool Aide guys, be happy with your historical ineptitude. And Euro Trash, when they deign to come down of their imperial trash heap, hand a helping heap of jealousy and forgotten glory on my poor confused global citizen's head.

Let's be serious for a moment. A short one I promise. Let us compare negativity with positivity. One forces a silly grin on our face, the other helps us expect the worst. One makes us think that strength of conviction is all success expects of us, the other drowns us in expectations of doom. One makes us fall down and get up all the bloody time, and the other makes us lie down pretty much from the get-go.

You see, seriousness is probably the bane of all great marketing tag lines. If people would take the tag line seriously when it is first circulated they would laugh their heads off. They would only be too happy to scream at the top of their lungs "Take my bloody wretched", and "Go ahead fool, crucify yourself for me". But since nobody really does that, the tag line quietly lives on, growing little roots in our heads and sneaking in unrecognized. Making us drink the Kool-Aid in little daily doses instead of big gulps of The Great Pink.

You may think what a silly man I am to even question whether optimism or pessimism is better. But let me posit this: "Does the universe care?" If you would please follow my circuitous route to this statement in the following:

I like being Euro Trash with a cotton candy coating. Sort of like a bitter pill served inside a marshmallow to unsuspecting little ones. I like that my mother didn't tell me that if I just believed hard enough, one day I would dunk like Michael Jordan. That way I didn't fall on my face trying to jump over my 6'5" balling buddy. I like that my father didn't tell me that if I just studied hard enough, I could become a brilliant scientist. That way I didn't get tangled up in a web of string theory. Instead a healthy dose of realism was served in my home and hearth on a daily basis. This is especially useful when I examine my life and prospects, because it means I don't have to buy a cane for the bad hip I would sport by now from falling on my ass all the time. But, hey that getting up sure builds character. On a side note let me ask who needs character when one can buy it at the next Mercedes Dealer? But wait, that's an American precept as well.

I know it’s confusing. If my parents would have just told me often enough that I can do anything that I put my mind to I would go out, take a quick community college class on sociology and really examine this oxymoronic labyrinth for you. They didn't, so I won’t.

But I also like telling my American friends that I am going to study sociology and write a comparative book on historical marketing tag lines and their impact on dialectical discourses in relation to what are commonly known as positrons and electrons (does the Universe care). I like it because they will not blink an eye, they will not look at me askance to consider whether I have lost my mind, they will not LOL me into the ground. Instead they will say "I think you can do anything you put your mind to." It’s fairly addictive to have other people convince me of my greatness, instead of having to do it myself all day long. Who is the socialist bastion now, I ask? This constant giving of love, support and smoke up my ass is decidedly communist.

I think I just convinced myself to decide I will worry about the cane and the Mercedes later, when I finally sell my bestseller called "String Theory and YOU".

By now it should be obvious that my circuitous route is exactly that, a circle. There is no logic that governs pessimism or optimism. In equal measures they both suck and they are both useful. Meeting in the middle seems as impossible, if desirable, as Atlantis chilling in the middle of the great pond.

I can only suggest to stop drinking everyone's stupid Kool-Aid and instead to find the happy medium for yourself.

November 4, 2007

Genographic Project

This is very exciting. I just checked the status of my DNA test at the Genographic Project Site, and it seems that my sample is in the last stages of analysis. Currently, I only have to await the QA process "The computer generated scores are then reviewed by two additional laboratory staff members to produce finalized data." After that is finished I hope to see my results posted on the site soon and then I will be able to tell if Genghis Khan really is my great-great-granddaddy. On mother's side I presume.

I realize that this his may be a lot more dramatic to me then to you. But I will keep posting in regards to it anyway.
That I can trace back my ancestry in this fashion is just too much fun to not tell you about. I have been reading National Geographic since I have been three cheese high, as we say in Austria. But this - IMHO - is by far the coolest thing they have ever done. If you are bored with witnessing a smidgen of human history you can always just check out my other posts.

reverse faith

Recently there was a funeral in my family. It was mildly significant, as funerals in my family go, because she was the last of a generation to be returned to the earth. Because of this the significance of the funeral lies not in its commonly accepted purpose, but rather arises from providing a glimpse of one’s own transience. But this is not what struck my fancy, excuse the happy phrase, considering the unhappy moment. Rather the Philippino Deacon is what I find fascinating. Before you call down God’s thunder upon my head because I do not make this a memoriam for my dear Oma, please bear with me.

You see, this is Vienna. Now, while Austria is a fairly modern country, and while we had our fair (read: fairly large) share of Catholic Church sex scandals, and while we also have really tried very hard to forget our more recent past this is still a Catholic Country. May it be because of an inherent – teatular, so to speak - conservatism, or may it be because we want to cover our bases, or simply out of good old lethargy, but 95 % of all the white people in Austria are Catholic. We pay church tax! I should use this opportunity to thank the Church for its greed, because my infidel behind would otherwise have been baptized. Apparently being the second largest landholder in/after the country is not enough, and apparently that pissed my dear parents off enough to excommunicate themselves. So you see, you can’t even blame me when I end up in hell. Anyway, in this bastion of Catholicism in Central Europe, only to be out-gloried by Poland, a Philippino Deacon conducts my Granny’s last event in our lives.

I just spent Christmas ‘06 in the Philippines. This is the second time that I was in Manila. The first time was about ten years ago. Unlike when I am at home I like to read local news when I travel. It gives me a feeling for the place I am visiting, for what’s going on, for what the local folk think and do. Which is why I don’t do it at home, there I already know that the local folk just needs their bread and games. During both visits it struck me how Catholic the Philippines are. Fanatically so - the pope gets more requests for autographs in the Philippines than condoms tossed at his head in Finland, it’s a close call though. There are people in the Philippines who still beat themselves over the back with what resembles a Cat O' Nine Tails. Without sarcasm one can say that this country’s Catholicism stopped developing after the first missionaries arrived at its virgin shores. It makes sense too, I look at myself and see that I am still Austrian the way Austrians where 12 years ago. Hopefully, that joint developed a little since then. A church cut off by sheer distance from its all-nurturing mothership will lag behind in its evolution of faith – sorry, I’d be lying if I’d call it thought. I mean, when was the time you saw a guy whipping himself in Austria? Ok, don’t google it, let me answer instead: 1261 A.D. It was in fact quite chic in those days, they even had a name for the merry songs they sang whilst beating the shit, I mean blood out of themselves – Geisslerlieder. At some point the Pope thought that this practice was silly. He probably figured that we already nailed one guy to the cross, why beat ourselves up over it? So he forbade it, which, I think, in church context means that you go to hell if you do it anyway. Let me gently remind you that I was never the one who wanted to give those faith guys medals for logical thought processes.

I digress, and since you probably wonder if this is going any yonder, let me come to my point. The Philippines are now bringing the faith back to Austria. Sorry, one more digression – Austria used to run Spain, which used to run the Philippines (before our current faith-behemoth took over) - Quot erat demonstrandum Austria brought the whipping boys to those particular virgin shores. And now the Philippines are returning the favor. This strikes me as entertaining. The Austrian community of faithful can not even muster their own priests anymore. Does it not strike you as similar to us importing Guestworkers from Southeastern Europe in order to fill all the jobs that we think ourselves too good to do? Namely cleaning our toilets, taking care of our geriatrics, sweeping our streets, picking up our trash, you catch my drift. Here is a country that has been Catholic for the better part of two bloody millennia, whose church owns something like 30 % of the land but yet a Philippino is doing the holy grunt work. I mean offer some slowly vesting stock options or something. Oh, that’s right you do - excuse me while I lol a tiny little bit – done.

So the Austrian Catholic Church is recruiting the obviously and finally redeemed former poor lost heathen souls from those former virgin shores in order to save our own newly endangered eternal lights from hellfire. This gives a brand new meaning to Brain Drain. I want to like it to a toilet in the southern hemisphere. You might think that this is annoying to me, this invasion of stupidity, when finally we have beaten senseless prayers with senseless consumerism. But instead I bask in this warm comforting sense of Karma, I wallow in it like a happy little piggy, I rejoice in this circular logic and faithful justice – Hallelujah!!! Bring those infidels to heal, I mean, show those poor lost souls the way to Christ. Bring y/our holy scripture, we promise we will try to stay up to date a little better than you did on what’s cool and what’s not (does god have email, or a FAQ?). Bring your Cat O' Nine Tails and take our Paprika while you are at it. I know it is really Hungary’s Paprika, but who minds a little spice, right? It doesn’t have anything to do with any of this anyway, right? Right?

Dear Granny, thank you for the soup and for providing one more spark.

November 1, 2007

Borat for Colbert for President

I must say. I was a little bit surprised to hear the ubiquitous "Hiiigh Fiiiive" and "Can I get some cheadrelliiif" in such perfect intonation. The living legend, the one, the only - Borat came to say hello to the Chickmagnet and the Prince of Darkness on Halloween. I guess he wanted to express his support for my support of Stephen Colbert's run for President of South Carolina. In his charming way of expressing himself he wanted to "throw his Chram in wiz zis wunderful Colbear, becuz he (Borat) luvs democrazy as much as any Kazach - although not as much as a good sexy tiiiime (with his sister)".

Thanks for coming out Borat!