Thursday, 28 February 2013

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Italian Elections

The same man who was forcibly removed by the markets from leading the country, is also the most successful leader Italy has had in the current republic (to date the only PM to carry out a full term). No matter that it took him 5 tries in total.

Anyway, so he's back.

His opposition - who should have swept through this election on a breeze - had two options to pick as party leader. The new, young, successful, well-respected (by voters of various parties) mayor of Florence Renzi; or, Bersani. Guess who was chosen. So that party received a vote pretty much on par with Berlusconi's.

But there is also the comedian, Beppe Grillo. He entered politics on a platform of "politics suck and there should be no parties". So he promptly formed a party and started rallying in main squares, where he swears a lot, insults every other politician alive, and proposes not a single solution to Italy's many problems. He also refused to debate, losing, with that one choice, any ounce of respect I could have pretended to have.

Not to mention one of my available choices as my representative: a woman whose name is Nicoletta but goes by the name "Fucsia". Like a porn star.

Anyway, so not a happy election for Italy. The good news is also the bad news: the government probably won't last more than six months.

But damn, nobody makes food like Italy does!

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Woes of the farmers market

We went to the farmers market yesterday, had to pick up a few staples and hadn't been in a while. There's a selection of produce very wouldn't believe. The variety of vegetables they have is impressive but even more so is the fact that everybody at the checkout knows exactly what they're looking up.

Anyway, you get all excited for the great selection and then you get home and realize oh boy now I have to cook. So I made two soups. Celeriac and thyme , and an amazing corn chowder

Birthday surprises

In my case this was the dubious pleasure of trying a Guinness car bomb. Well, now I know.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Un po' di Poe

My father will have to correct me if these memories are wrong, but I recall my introductions to Poe such.

When I was 11, maybe 12, my father gave my brother and me a pop quiz to test our general knowledge on subjects possibly not covered in our Swiss education. Question 14 was "What quoth the raven?" And I learnt that "quoth" is a word.

In a separate memory, a storm had caused a brief blackout - this would happen occasionally. So we were using candles and the fire place. So my father decided to tell us ghost stories, and this was my introduction to The Cask of Amontillado. However I remember The Black Cat in a similar setting, so I may be confusing two memories, or just remember the wrong Poe tale.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Birthday Week

I think it started in high school, but in any case I did it for many years: the full week of my birthday was constant celebration.

Then last year came, and I had been in Atlanta for less than 2 months, so I did nothing. It's always a little awkward throwing a birthday event anyway, as I know people often feel obligated to bring a gift, and I definitely didn't want to risk that situation with people I'd known for less than 2 months, so I did nothing. Except beers at Gordon Biersch with G and Mike.

So I think we're re-instituting birthday week this year. Kicking off with the lovely flowers Nikki brought me yesterday at brunch. Yay. Heck let's go one better and start it the Saturday night at karaoke.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Running the dishwasher: not a skill

I started reading this article at

I stay start because by the time I had finished the 3rd paragraph I was too annoyed to continue. Those first three paragraphs read as follows:

No one likes doing chores. In happiness surveys, housework is ranked down there with commuting as  activities that people enjoy the least. Maybe that’s why figuring out who does which chores usually prompts, at best, tense discussion in a household and, at worst, outright fighting.   If everyone is good at something different, assigning chores is easy. If your partner is great at grocery shopping and you are great at the laundry, you’re set. But this isn’t always—or even usually—the case. Often one person is better at everything. (And let’s be honest, often that person is the woman.) Better at the laundry, the grocery shopping, the cleaning, the cooking. But does that mean she should have to do everything?Before my daughter was born, I both cooked and did the dishes. It wasn’t a big deal, it didn’t take too much time, and honestly I was a lot better at both than my husband. His cooking repertoire extended only to eggs and chili, and when I left him in charge of the dishwasher, I’d often find he had run it “full” with one pot and eight forks.

I can't tell if she is arrogant or whipped.

Was she born cooking? No, she learned, and so can he.
And he ran the dishwasher on full when it was empty? Are you kidding me?! Running dishwashers is not about talent or education. It's logic. He did that either because
a) he is lazy beyond belief, or
b) he never wants to do it again and he knew you are so arrogant (or whipped) you will fall for this false display of incompetence

Women are not "often that person" who are better at doing more things in the house. They just do them and like to pretend that they are somehow better at it. But this attitude is, frankly, sexist - you are treating your male spouse/partner as deficient or impaired - and were it mentioned with the genders in reverse there would be outcry.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Pick your murders


Oscar Pistorius, arrested accused of shooting dead his girlfriend.

This all just happened, details I guess are not yet known, and he has yet to face his day in court.

Reactions you might expect:
"Poor woman, shot dead"
or maybe
"Gun crime, again - what are we going to do about that?"

Instead all I see is "I was rooting for him in the olympics and I'm so sad he is not nice"

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Friday, 8 February 2013


Hawks vs Grizzlies. My first NBA game. And yes: I did have to look up the Grizzlies to make sure that was actually a team.

So live sports in America are different. I guess if you're a hardcore fan do you prefer to watch from home? With the commentary, close ups, instant replay and no distractions? Because live sports are one big circus.

There is not a single moment of inactivity here: even during time outs, the dancing girl people do a routine, or the mascot comes out and does something unexpected (to me anyway), like wrestle the opposing mascot, or throw t-shirts in to the crowd. At one point small plush dogs with parachutes fell form the ceiling. By the hundreds.

And step out in to the corridors at any point during the game? It's packed. People getting food, having a drink, shopping, just hanging around.

And music!! During the game! Never seen anything like it.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

People still die: jail the doctors

We Should Jail all Doctors

We have to admit we were perplexed when we read about the arrest, and subsequent conviction, of the Italian seismologists, because they failed to adequately foresee the 2009 Aquila earthquake and to predict the extent of its damage. Since then, however, we have gotten used to the idea, and we think it should be taken to other realms.
For example, it has been decades, and we still don’t have a cure for cancer or AIDS, so we believe it’s time for all scientists (oncologists and non) to be thrown in jail for giving us false hope. Speaking of false hope, millions of people die each year in hospitals, despite each one being staffed by so-called “doctors”. We think these doctors should be thrown in jail for being responsible for so many deaths. Let’s include pharmacists and massage therapists in this category too.
But since when is jail only for life or death situations? I, for one, think we should arrest all economists, for not foreseeing and/or getting us out of this recession. Also, many people are living subpar lives, so all politicians should be thrown in jail.
Also I remember reading about mentally ill people, so all psychiatrists and psychologists are obviously deceiving us – those criminals – and should be locked up. And obesity is still a major issue, so nutritionists are obviously all scam artists.
Then again, why even limit ourselves to health and well-being? Despite all our progress, and all our tax dollars, there are so many awful movies and terrible songs out there. Let’s arrest these movie stars, singers, directors and everyone else in the entertainment industry, since they’re just stealing our money. And don’t even get me started on sports! With all the TV channels dedicated to them, every game has at least one team losing, and this is an outrage. Everyone in the sports industry ought to be locked up.
Or, we could recognize that every job endeavors to correct some wrong or to make life a little bit better. Not always being successful at this is no reason to get thrown in jail. The italian seismologists were no more or less accurate than was humanly possible. People looking for others to blame should not be allowed to have them thrown into jail for 6 years for doing their job.

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Monday, 4 February 2013

Atlanta Cyclorama

Ever heard of it?

It is, in a nutshell, a giant painting on a cylindrical canvas, painted about  150 years ago. In the 30s a third dimension was added (that sounds fancy doesn't it? It means they added a platform and statues to create a 3D effect).
It tells the story of the Battle of Atlanta.

So you sit in this little amphi-theatre which then rotates 360 degrees while music plays and a narrator tells the story of the painting and its characters. It's like a short movie, from the days before moving pictures.

We watched it twice. Either it is that cool or we are that cheesy, take your pic.

Friday, 1 February 2013

How to love your job

I fully agree with what is said in this interview, with regards to loving your job.

It's not about a pre-existing passion. Rather you start a job you feel neutral about, become very good at one area and that gives you competitive leverage. You then move forward and carve your own niche within the work.