Friday, April 28, 2006

I love Spring! *Sniffle Sniffle*

Alas, spring has sprung in our little corner of France. Today was a balmy 75 degrees. Unfortunately along with the clear and sunny skies comes the pollen. I have not only been besieged with the allergy sniffles, but now another full-blown head-cold complete with a 102 degree fever!

So I’m sorry if I haven’t been keeping up with my end of the blog deal. My life just hasn’t been so interesting as of late. Unless of course you consider, making Kleenex sculptures, mixing cold meds, listening to Ani Difranco, and watching old B&W movies on TCM while curled up on the sofa wrapped in a blue wooly blanket interesting.

And if for some reason you DO find all that interesting… should really try to get out more.

Join a club or something.

Friday, April 21, 2006

My 31st Birthday ~ Easter Sunday in Berlin.

Police have no new leads in a brutal Easter morning attack on a German citizen of Ethiopian descent in Potsdam, in the state of Brandenburg, near Berlin. The victim, a 37-year-old engineer, is fighting for his life after being repeatedly kicked in the head by at least two people.

Authorities said, however, that they have several clues, including a recording of a telephone call the victim made as he was arguing with his assailants. Although the message is difficult to decipher, certain parts come through clearly. Specifically, the words "dirty nigger" and the victim's own voice, asking his attackers to behave, can be heard. He had made the call to his wife, but she was asleep, and didn't get the message on her voice mail until the next morning.

The city's public prosecutor's office is treating the crime as an attempted murder of a xenophobic nature. Spokesman Benedikt Welfens said that while racial tensions had been rising in Potsdam, the attack was not part of a trend.

"As far as I can tell, there are an increasing number of minor attacks, insults, provocations, and, of course, foreigners will sometimes be insulted or bodily attacked, but never before in this dimension," Welfens said. "This is for me an isolated incident, unlike anything I have seen before in all the years I have been on the job."

According to Potsdam's mayor Jan Jakobs, the "despicable" attack has changed the city.
"Something like this can't help but change the atmosphere of a city," Jakobs said. "Until now, people had the feeling they could walk freely on the streets, and I know from lots of people who have come here from other countries that they enjoy living here. What happened today could make finding that feeling a bit more difficult."

Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: Jörg Schönbohm wants to see the assailants punishedHe said he was "highly unsettled" by the attack's brutality.
Brandenburg Interior Minister Jörg Schönbohm said there would be strong penalties for the crime.

"In this country we do not tolerate that extremists chase, beat up or even murder people because of their skin color, religion or political positions," Schönbohm said at a press conference on Monday.

The victim was born in Addis Ababa, but has had German citizenship for several years. He is married to a German woman and has two children. He was waiting at a streetcar stop early Easter Sunday morning in a quiet residential neighborhood near the famous Sanssouci palace, when two strangers began to insult him. He answered back and was then hit with a bottle, thrown to the ground and beaten up. The assailants stole less than 200 euros ($245) and his keys.

Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: The right-wing party DVU is represented in Brandenburg's state governmentWelfens said the fact that he's still alive can be attributed to a courageous taxi driver.

"When the taxi driver saw the victim hit the ground, he approached the scene and got out of his taxi, then moved towards the apparent assailants, who then fled the scene of the crime," Welfens said. "As far as we can tell, the taxi driver saved this man's life."

The taxi driver followed the thugs, but lost them in the dark. He described them as two Caucasians, between 180 and 190 centimeters (around six feet) tall, with short hair -- possibly shaved heads. One wore a black bomber jacket with a white logo, and one of them may have been a woman -- a theory that prosecutors also share, after hearing the high pitch of one of the voices on the recording.

The victim is in the hospital, with severe injuries to his skull and ribs. Doctors have placed him in an artificial coma to relieve swelling on the brain. His condition is being described as stable, but critical.

Prosecutors in Potsdam have offered a 5,000-euro ($6,113) reward for information leading to the arrest of the attackers.

On Monday night, protesters took to the streets in a show of solidarity with the victim -- and to demonstrate that racist violence will not be tolerated.

I need more crap.

I hate to blog and run with so much going on right now, but between my nasty cold, my 31st birthday, and our trip to see the Berlin Biennial I'm just exhausted.

But I do have a photo to share.

I took this a few weeks ago while on one of our many insane hunting, I mean shopping trips to find more crap for our imaginary apartment that as of now only exists in the form of publicly posted building permits. Anyway I took the photo because the slogan just struck me as odd: "True life begins on the inside." Philosphical rhetoric at a furniture store?

Anyway, I was just kinda hanging onto the photo and almost trashed it untill I watched this documentary last night called The Corporation. And then suddenly it all became clear!

Indeed I do need that 7000 euro leather sofa and the new 5 door Mercedes A-class with the chocolate interior. (notice chocolate egg in photo) These items define me. I must fill my want with endless amounts of crap and then wait for the corporations to make ads that create further wants in my shallow little consumer brain.

*deep sigh*

And on that note I'm going shopping for new underwear. Because in fact that WILL make my life better.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Why I heart France: Reason #2

In Paris even the exterminators are charming.

This company which has probably been exterminating rats and other vermin since The Great Plague of 1720, proudly displays the fruits of their labor in their window.

Take THAT with your coffee and pain au chocolat!

C'est charmant n'est-ce pas?

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Striiiiiiiike! And I don't mean baseball.

Starting last week, nationwide strikes disrupted all forms of public transportation, as thousands of protesters went out into the streets across France to protest a new labor law. Ok, now that we have the over simplified summary under our belts, lets separate strike fact from strike fiction:

FICTION #1: Transport workers were the first to strike, followed by teachers, and postal workers.

FACT: The damn Postal workers were never really working anyway. Please feel free to proceed to your local French post office for excessively long lines and shitty customer service as usual.

FICTION #2: Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, who is also seeking to be the conservative camp's presidential candidate, wants Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin's head on a platter.

FACT: Sarkozy wants Villepin's head on a platter because he is keenly aware that Villepin would whoop his ass in a Zoolander-style runway model competition.....I mean Presidential Election.

Don't you dare tell me you can't see the resemblance.

FICTION #3: 700,000 people joined protest marches in Paris alone. Some of the marchers in Paris skirmished with each other, and several dozen youths tried to break into a lingerie store.

FACT: Incorrect. These were two completely unrelated incidents. The protests just happened to take place in the proximity of a lingerie shop that was running a one-day-only sale on "strings".

FICTION #4: Demonstrators threw stones, traffic cones and other projectiles at riot police.

FACT: Yes, demonstrators threw rocks and other crap, but also several people were beaten & then sodomized with stale baguettes left-over from this morning's "petit-dejeuner".

FICTION #5: Students and labor unions say the law will erode France's cherished workplace protections because it would let companies fire employees younger than 26 without reason in the first two years on the job. Villepin says the greater flexibility will encourage companies to hire young workers. But protesters in Paris said they wanted to defend the status quo. "We are here for our children. We are very worried about what will happen to them," said Philippe Decrulle, an Air France flight attendant. "My son is 23, and he has no job. That is normal in France."

FACT: Look Mr. French-Whiney-Pants, maybe your idiot kid could get a damn job if he put some fucking effort into changing his dirty-jeans-wearin', 2-packs-a-day-of-Gauloise-cigarette-smokin', no-shower-takin', sittin'-in-a-cafe-all-day-long, fucking-lazy-and-entitled attitude. And while you're at it, tell him to cut off those nappy as hell, dirty-ass blonde dreadlocks.

FICTION #6: Even with huge marches under way, Villepin held firm. But he told parliament that he was open to talks on employment and possible changes to the law, but did not say that he would withdraw it.

FACT: No way in hell will Villepan miss his weekly hair and manicure/pedicure appointment to go talk with a bunch of dirty-ass protesters.

Fiction #7: As the protests grow more violent and forceful, they threaten Villepan's chances of running for the presidency next year.

FACT: Villepan ain't even worried. He's already lined up a very lucrative modeling contract with Elite Models in Toronto in the event that his presidential aspirations don't quite pan out.

FICTION: The strike also shut down the Eiffel Tower, according to employees at the Paris landmark.
FACT: Blame the closure on the strike if you must, but everyone knows that the Eiffel Tower was actually closed because a large tour group of fat-ass Americans broke all the damn elevators.

So, there ya have it.

Sometimes the truth hurts.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Holy Napolean! My French husband is HUGE!

Ok, before you get too excited, I’ll have you know that I was referring to his height. (get your minds out of the gutter already!)

Anyway, let me explain: My husband David is 6ft 2 inches tall. That makes him a giant in this land of pint sized men. According to Google sources (and we know how reliable those are) The average French male is (173.1cm) 5 foot 8 inches tall. It appears that they are in fact some of the shortest men on earth. Only the Japanese (165.6 cm) and the Italians (172.2 cm) are smaller.

(My view from 5 feet 3 inches)

I am constantly amazed by the sheer size of my dear husband every time we have weekend dinners with his parents and I notice how teeny tiny they are. How on earth could two people that are small enough to fit into my airport carry-on bag breed and make a kid this big?

(David with his miniature French maman.)

To make his size matters worse, David used to be a cyclist, so he has the calves of a steroid-junkie rugby player. He is often unable to find shoes or pants that fit his generous proportions, and let’s not even get started on how long it takes to find this man a new suit. He almost had to wear a potato sack and a hemp rope belt to our wedding. We do all of his clothes shopping two times a year--once during the French “Soldes” period in the summer, and then again each time we visit the U.S., where quite frankly he is overjoyed to be considered “average” sized, if only for 7-10 days.

Just imagine our delight when 3 weeks ago we managed to find not one, but TWO pairs of pants that fit him. They are in fact quite perfect: low on the hip. Not to short in the rise, ample in the thigh & calf, and perfectly snug on the uhm...package. It was a miracle that we doubt will repeat itself any time soon. Sure, according to recent research, the French are getting bigger, well definitely fatter, but it seems retail fashion hasn’t quite caught up with this fact.

So for now, at night when I watch David sleep, and his eyeballs do that freaky little darting back and forth REM sleep thing, I know that he will be dreaming of America: land of the free... and the home of Banana Republic.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

The newest member of our family.

(now please scroll down)
Happy April Fools Suckers!

HA! Gotcha! I'm totally not knocked up. And if you're simple ass would look a bit closer at the sonogram that I stole off google image search, you'd see that it was done in 1995. Also---this is a 22 week fetus. You think you'd notice by now right?

p.s. Dear mom, I'm very sorry. This is a totally cruel joke.