Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Fior Di Latte

Toño has secretly sneaked into a Coop to get my a splendid surprise:

Fior Di Latte

Fior di latte (literally milk's flower) is pure unflavored ice-cream made of high quality whole milk, lots of fresh cream and sugar. The Italians are the unchallenged masters of this kind of ice-cream.

Nevertheless, I first had had this kind of ice-cream in Moscow, where you can buy it for little money at every street corner. Even during winter. Also the Russinas have the most beautiful name for ice-cram. They call it Мороженое.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Epically Classical

Mr.Mac has brought me a copy of the TV series Rome, which was a brilliant idea *patting Mr.Mac's shoulder* I like it. As chance would have it, I was reading two books about that period.

The first was Imperium by Robert Harris. Yes, it's a typical Robert Harris. I leave it with that.

Another calibre is The Classical World: An Epic History from Homer to Hadrian by Robin Lane Fox.

Historians might gripe about one or the other detail. However, I'm none of them and highly enjoyed the read. I'm now also updated about the importance of buggery in the various phases of the Classical World. Just in case time travel will ever make headway.

Filthy And Far From Gorgeous

I work for a defense contractor, which has a mainly male and over-aged workforce. That's usually not a big problem. However, there is a bit of a sticky issue: filthy toilets.

I will not blame my caring employer. They try their best to to keep them clean, however, they should get some support from the workforce.

I blame the family values for the disgraceful state. Lots of our employees still live in the standard family form, with a wife at home that cleans after them. Well they should bring them along, shouldn't they.

PS: And they barely shave. There are always pubic hairs all over the place.

Monday, May 21, 2007


So far this year, the best page-turner was Der Swissair-Prozess by Constantin Seibt.

As the title might give away, this book is written in German. I doubt that it will ever be translated to English, Russian or what else might be out there. Who else than the Swiss is interested in the hopeless attempt to demand accountability for the biggest bankruptcy in Switzerland's history and the collapse of the flying bank called Swissair. Ignorance and arrogance are just not covered by the law books.

But why do I recommend the book anyway? It's written by Constantin Seibt, the most brilliant living Swiss Journalist. Think of the verve of a teenage Julie Burchill combined with versatile mind of Cicero. Constantin Seibt is one of the few reasons to still read the Tages Anzeiger, a daily newspaper from Zurich with rather little editorial spine.

As I said, the subject is boring. However, Constantin Seibt made me read almost every paragraph twice. If there is one reason to improve your German, it's Constantin Seibt 's eloquence.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

El Cielo Dividido

The second film by Mexican cinematographer Julián Hernández has been released on DVD. The first was Mil nubes de paz cercan el cielo, amor, jamás acabarás de ser amor (A Thousand Clouds of Peace Fence the Sky, Love; Your Being Love Will Never End) and won the 53rd Berlinale. It was a touching portrait of a young man yearning for love - a theme we all are far too familiar with (see trailer).

The new one is called El Cielo Dividido (Broken Sky). It's again an epic picture with minimized plot and dialogues of young men oppressed by love-longing. Don't expect a film - El Cielo Dividido is more like a dance.


I heard the first time of Pedro Almodóvar in the week of 22 June 1987 in the German magazine DER SPIEGEL in an article with the headline 'Darling Scumbag'. It was less the headline and the fact that they called him scandal director than the touching still of two bollock-naked men closely entangled in bed shot from the ceiling that the article cought my eye and burned itself into my memory for good. Of course, I had to see La ley del deseo - the law of desire - and every other film Pedro Almodóvar made ever since.

Yesterday, we saw La ley del deseo again. It still has not lost any of its disturbing power.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Be Prepared

Forget about pink dollar. The big money lies in the fleur-de-lis and the trefoil, the symbols of the Scout Movement, which was founded only a hundred years ago by Robert Baden-Powell.

This was also the reason that the Swiss Post issued a special stamp on May 10. A mere week later, I tried to buy some at my local post office: Sold out!. Ok, I tried the online shop: Not listed anymore!.

It's a shame, the Swiss Post was not prepared and missed the opportunity. But even worse, I was also not prepared for the incredible purchasing power of Swiss' Boy and Girl Scouts.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Sweet Fith Column

Switzerland's biggest retailer Migros is putting my love-hate relationship to them again on an acid test. They just don't want give up and, I have to admit, they've resorted to a quite cunning plan.

Their demigod founder Gottlieb Duttweiler prohibited the sale of tobacco and alcohol. Migros deceived this behest a long time ago by selling the condemned products via their subsidiaries. I've somehow learned to live with that.

However, Migros's infamy has reached a new climax. They sell now alcohol in their own store under their own brand, cunningly disguised as ice cream:

Marc de Champagne is a colourless brandy that is produced by distilling the grape skins, seeds and stalks, which are left from the pressing process in the first stages of Champagne production.

Marc de Champagne is delicious and so is the ice cream Migros made of it. But how am I supposed to enjoy such a blatant breach of basic ethics?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Back In Zwingli's Merciless Claws

Zürich has long been a stronghold of Zwingli's Spirit. Zwingli was the leader of the Protestant Reformation in Zürich. For non locals, 'Zwingli's Spirit' can be summarised as narrow-minded and hostile to all pleasures.

There was a weak flicker of hope when the dance prohibition on major religious holidays was abolished in 2001. But the pendulum is swinging back heavily. This time not lead by a religious zealot, far worse, by the Social Democratic Party's representatives in Zürich's city government (for Americans: this party is far left of the persons you call Liberals).

One of them, Martin Waser, has prohibited restaurants to use lounge furniture in open-air areas. It's now against the law to sit confortably in the sun while sipping a Mai Tai.

Even worse is the female representative Esther Maurer. She heads the police department and is on a crusade against gay clubbing and gay lifestyle. The police is raiding gay clubs (obviously people consume drugs in such places), strip search visitors of gay clubs on the street (including lifting the testicles, because it's a known drug hiding place), and closing down gay clubs or at least their darkrooms (sex in restaurants is against the law). What does it care the police or anyone, when adults have consensual sex, enjoy themselves and don't harm anyone at all?

Both are former teachers. They just haven't learned that they don't deal with defenceless kids anymore.

However, far the worst is that I gave those maniacs my vote. I (and hopefully everybody else) will not do it again. It's time the Social Democratic Party eats dust.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Power of Flowers

I hardly watch any telly since mine broke 1992. However yesterday, I got an eye full and was amazed by the disarming brutality of this ad:

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

100 Years Birchstrasse 155

Today, we proudly celebrated the 100 year anniversary of the premises where I work.

We can't say that we celebrate the 100 year anniversary of my caring employer. Things were not that easy in such a disrupted period like the last century, where companies are bought out, taken over, merged, spin off or sold almost faster than a straight man can change his underwear (The Gays™ are still a bit ahead).

On the 8th of May 1907, the Schweizerische Werkzeugmaschinenfabrik Oerlikon (SWO) (Swiss Machine Tool Factory Oerlikon) opened its doors. It had acquired the machinetool division of the Maschinenfabrik Oerlikon (MFO) (Machinery Manufacturing Company Oerlikon)*.

So everything started with a classical spin-off. Many more of such events happened. Nowadays many companies claim this event the foundation stone of their existence. They may do whatever they like. We did not care and celebrated voluptuously.

* See here a report on the park that was built in the memory of this company and is hence called MFO Park (and not birdcage as some might claim).

Monday, May 07, 2007

Passion Knows No Limits

We're back from Sicer, the quality Cider* exhibition in Asturia (Spain). It was an experience out of this world.

Yes, I'm talking about cider. That cider should ever come to be associated with the word quality is perhaps the most baffling element regarding a drink once known affectionately as tramp juice. I had expected a lot, but my pants were beaten off. There are no known limits how cider can taste.

Of course there was the rough Asturian Sidra Natural, which is served at every corner in this area (see here how Asturian cider has to be poured that it develops its full potential).

Also the other well know cider regions, the Normandy and south west England sent ardent representatives of this old trade. But the colour came from countries like Japan, Mexico, U.S. of A., Italy, Germany, Switzerland, and Canada.

The most flabbergasting discovery came from Quebec were they have developed Cidre de Glace (literally ice cider). In this case, the apples are naturally frozen either before or after harvest. It was hard to believe that this elixir is based on apples.

And yes, we were in Spain, and yes, they know how to to raise your expectation regarding stupendous dinners.

One should never miss the opportunity to mingle with people who are absolutely passionate about what they do.

* Just to make things clear. The British term cider is what Americans call hard cider. American cider is what the British call apple juice. I use cider in the British manner.