Thursday, April 20, 2006

Democrats Angrily Refute Claims of Competence

Following repeated Republican claims of difficult mid-term elections this fall, the Democrats have responded with vigor. "I'm not going to let years of brand-building go to waste while I'm Chairman," stated Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean. "We had a big setback in the 90's with the election of Bill Clinton, but we overcame that. Al Gore's surprising campaign in 2000 hearkened back to the glory days of Carter, Mondale and Dukakis. And John just upped the bar in 2004. I'm not about to let their struggles be for naught. If the Republicans think that they are in danger of losing seats in Congress, they're in for a big surprise. It may seem like we just fall back-asswards into defeat every election, but the kind of systematic incompetence we've demonstrated over the last 20-30 years takes hard work by a lot of people."

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid added, "I think the upcoming election cycle is going to be a defining moment for the party. We've been given some tough obstacles to overcome, but I'm certain that we're up to the task. In the past we haven't always brought our A game, but we will this year. Some so-called ‘experts’ might have you believe that the President’s lowered popularity will lead to a big Democrat win, but I’m here to tell you that the Party of Lincoln has nothing to fear from the Party of Mondale."

Tom DeLay, recently resigned from his House position, countered by saying, "I had to resign so we could get a candidate without my ethical baggage to defeat what promises to be one of many stout Democratic challenges across the country. I'm just glad that I'm not going to be in the House, much less the Majority Leader in charge when we lose control of the House."

Dean laughed off the claims of the fiery Texan. "If Tom Delay thinks we're going to sit back and let minor controversies like Dick Cheney shooting a man, child molesters in Homeland Security, the Katrina response, or continued revelations of inadequate planning for Iraq stand in the way of a complete collapse of our campaigns, he has another thing coming. I proved pretty convincingly that I could destroy a single campaign after my Iowa caucus debacle, and now I'm out to prove it on a nation-wide stage. The President could kill Miss America on live TV and it wouldn't lead to a Democratic majority in either House -- I guarantee it."

When reached for a response, the office of Vice-President issued this short statement: "While the President and Vice-President continue to monitor the domestic political situation, their energies remain focused on continuing to strengthen the US from its enemies both domestically and internationally. However, the continued outrages of the Miss America will not go unpunished. The administration has not ruled out any course of action."

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Man, This DJ Rocks!

Sometimes when listening to the "My Top Rated Songs" playlist on my iPod, I pretend it's a radio station that just seems to have the same tastes as me. Plus, they play the explicit versions of songs! It's sort of an anti-ClearChannel.
First Ljubljana Pics
Courtesy of the Ljubljana tourist kiosks and the internet.

This is Ljubljana castle, and it's pretty cool. From the top of the castle you can see the entire valley, from the Alps in the north to the foothills on the other 3 sides. Very cool. More pics once I get my home internet at the new apartment.
Slovenian Rail Taketh Away and Giveth

Disaster was narrowly avoided yesterday on my 6 hour train ride from Ljubljana to Munich. I started in a cabin with 3 people apparently on a 7 week shower strike. It was quite strong in the cabin, and the prospect of them working their way through the beer wasn't pleasant. After 30 minutes of mouth breathing, the train stops and we all get transferred to buses due to problems with the track. An hour of driving while being serenaded by the students at the back of the bus (their version of "Yesterday" needed work, but "Hey Jude" was passable) later, and we get a new train. Fortunately, I was able to get in a new compartment with more olfactory-friendly passengers. I wasn't looking forward to 5 hours of playing Golden Retriever through the Alps.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Graffiti Scavenger Hunt

After seeing an exhibition on graffiti this weekend in Ljubljana, I wanted to find all 20 of the Space Invader tile mosaics here. I managed a paltry 7. You can check out theweb site ofthe creators here -- . They place these roughly 8x12 in tile mosaics of space invaders and other classic rasterized video game characters throughout cities of their choice, then create maps to help you locate them. Very cool and a good way to kill an afternoon when most of the country is closed for Easter.

Next for me -- Paris. with its 519! mosaics to find. Hopefully i can catch 50 or so...

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Beer of the People or Beer of the Elite?

One great idea that Slovenia has had is to have 2 national brews, Lasko and Union. The red Union beer signifies a backing of the people (long live the proletariat!) while the green Lasko (with a goat symbol) shows support for the nouveau riche bourgeoise. I think this is a spectacular idea. Wouldn't it be great to tell at a glance at his/her beer the political leanings of a person? "Fucking commie liberals" or "fucking Republican fascists" would then be perfect openings lines. Of course, if s/he were drinking Zima, you'd have to have something positive about Ralph Nader or Ross Perot.

If any (either) of you reading this has political party ties, see what you can do about getting a Budweiser Bullshitter Bock or a Labatt's Liberal Lite (if you're liberal, you might as well be Canadian). Keep me posted!

This post brought to you by a joint effort of the Lasko and Union Breweries.
Those Nascar Broads are a Classy Bunch

Apparently one girlfriend went to kick another's ass after a wreck. They're not very interested in breaking down stereotypes of redneck behavior, apparently.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

7 Years Bad What?

I've made sure to make contact with everyone in the group for toasts, since I was told to not do so was extremely rude in Germany. A few weeks back (bear with me, Casey), someone told me it was just 7 years bad luck, so I only made eye contact infrequently. Saturday night, someone noticed I didn't make eye contact & asked if I really wanted 7 years bad sex. Bad luck is one thing, but bad sex is something else entirely. So at the next bar I made an exaggerated effort to make eye contact with everyone, ending with my friend Ryan. Which prompted Clare to ask, "Are you worried about bad sex with Ryan?"
"Yeah, it only applies to the person you don't make eye contact with."

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Bar Crawling, Düsseldorf-Style

Saturday was the big "Best Düsseldorfer Bars" bar crawl, and it was definitely a change of pace from previous crawls I've been on -- swanky bars, free transport, welcome drink at each bar (9 bars for 16Euro). The unplanned side effects of this were that the crowd was much older than I expected -- I must have had at least thirty 50+ women elbow me out of the way to the bar during the night. And I didn't expect to see any parent-teen pairs, but I saw several (talk about a tough cockblock...). The drinks tended toward the sickly-sweet, low alcohol variety, with a few pleasant exceptions. One bartender, apparently trying to help us forget the crappy band playing, had a heavy hand with the gin, and we didn't complain.

Speaking of the band, there's a fine line for a singer between self-confidence and self-parody. The digeridoo-playing tool they had for a lead singer firmly planted himself on the latter side of the line. Their first song, "Tequila", was supposedly "by request", but I'm pretty sure the idiot just overheard a drink order -- too bad Gin and Juice wasn't a popular drink. Anyway, Toolio proceeded to screw up the easiest song ever to sing -- you just shout "tequila" at all the long pauses. Nope. His rendition was to shout "Tequila" at any pause, interspersed with a random "let's party!". Of course, when he WAS supposed to say "tequila" he was in the midst of a craptacular dig solo. Wow.

(Un)Fortunately, he soon gave way to a woman who was inspired to sing by Aretha Franklin's style, Mariah Carey's range-jumping technique and the incompetence of the New York Knicks . You know the type -- loud white girl confused by American Idol into thinking that anyone can sing well. Fortunately, the strong drinks carried us on to further stops in the crawl...
At First I was Afraid...

A tip to those of you singing popular songs in a foreign language -- you should really try to get the first line right. And "I Will Survive" has the line "I was petrified", not "I was PITIFIED." That's what happened when you crossed Mr. T in the 80s. There was some confusion by the band on Saturday night. To be honest, though, the singer was probably pitified, too.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Are You Free Friday, or Should I Bring My ATM Card?

So in German, as in English, you can ask for an appointment by asking, "are you free...?" or "Do you have time ..?" If you want to ask a woman on a date, you have to say "Do you have time...?" or she'll be offended that you're implying she's a prostitute with a fire sale. I'm not sure if actual prostitutes are offended if you ask them if they're free. If any of you find out, feel free to let me know -- my language studies aren't really going into that area. Just FYI for any of you planning on being social when you visit!
Anticipation Makes Thai Food Better

Is the only explanation I can think of for my failed attempt to eat Thai before the bar crawl on Saturday. I got to the restaurant at 6pm and there were 3 of the 20 or so tables occupied, for a total of about 10 people in the restaurant. The hostess asked me if I was alone, and asked if I had a reservation. I was and didn't, so she walked off without saying anything. Since many restaurants let you seat yourself, I assumed this was the case and was about to sit when she starts looking at her book of tables. After a few minutes of deep thought, she comes back and tells me that they'll be ready for me at 7:30. Fearing a misunderstanding, I repeat the time, and she says "yes, a half hour. No, an hour and a half." I stare for a second, unbelieving, then laugh & walk out.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Want Some Sprite with That Beer?

Last month after an ultimate tournament, the team i picked up with went out for dinner. We got burgers (close to US burgers except you eat the burger AND the fries with fork & knife) and, of course, beer. In the beer section there was something called a Radler. When I asked, everyone talked about how refreshing it was, but only one guy was getting one (not a good sign with everyone also talking about how tired & thirsty they were). I took the plunge and it turns out it's just Sprite (or orange soda, depending on the bartender) and a lighter beer. It was refreshing, kind of like a Corona where the bartender shoved a whole lemon and a dash of sugar into the bottle. I drew the line at a Beerbowl, though. That is essentially sangria but with beer, not wine. It wasn't the actual contents that scared me off, but the idea that I'd have a giant bowl of it sitting in front of me.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Family Values Keeping America Safe

Thank God we have the Dept of Homeland Security to keep the evil doers far from our shores. Perhaps they can extradite him straight to hell rather than Florida.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Anyone Recognize This Scene?

I woke up about 3 am laughing to a dream and it's stuck in my head now. Aguy is taking a vision test and keeps "seeing" the letter Q over and over, in a totally deadpan voice. At one point he pauses like he can't quite make out the letter, then continues with "Q, Q, Q, Q, ...". If you know what this is from, it'd really help me out. I've been laughing at this all day everytime it pops into my head and it's getting a bit annoying.