Sunday, November 30, 2008

Love, Peace and Tranquillity

... is what Toño an I wish you for this year's Advent.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Goin' Rogue

Governor Palin may have lost the Vice Presidency, however, she seems to have won some diehard devotees at the Horn of Africa. It's about early adapting.

Winged Vibes

Last time I was completely wrong, nevertheless, I call it out again. will come back on air. This time as the Christmas session from December 1 to 24. Don't miss it.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Following The Call

This weekend, we Swiss are called to the ballot box. A few weeks ago, I received the paperwork for the occasion. It weighted 230 g (0.5 lb). This is a lot, I've to make up my mind on: 5 federal, 5 state and 4 local bills and 2 sets of judges for courts. One of which is the rent court. I was not aware that there is a dedicated court to settle quarrels between landlords and tenants. Whatever, here is the stuff, I'm dealing with:

The Federal Ballots
  1. Exempt from the statute of limitations for pornographic acts against children
    Well, if you read this, you have to say yes. Nevertheless, their is even a statue of limitation for murder (30 year), and its reason is to force police and prosecution to get the job done. Government and parliament made a deal to prevent this (shoddily worded) initiative from passing by setting the statue of limitation to the end of the victims' 33rd year of age.
  2. For a flexible age of retirement
    Basically this means that the age of retirement is reduced across-the-board to 62. This is bloody expensive and has to be paid by the ones remaining at the coal face. There are jobs which you should not do until your on your last legs. However, those are the jobs, this initiative is aiming at. I'm oscillation between wallet and social equity.
  3. Abolition of the right for syndicates to raise objections
    The supporters claim that this right restricts progress and prosperity. Well, you can't eat concrete, can you?
  4. For a reasonable hemp politic
    I wasted my youth picking tobacco. Hemp is much easier to harvest. To make the life of Swiss farm boys a bit easier, we should allow our farmers to grow ganja.
  5. Narcotic Law
    This would allow the authorities to keep giving clean drugs to heavy addicts. This heavily reduced petty crimes (I had got 3 bikes stolen when this was not yet possible). For me this works perfectly well. Addiction is part of men. The challenge is to deal with it that as little damage as possible is caused by it.
The State Ballots
  1. Harmos Contract
    If you say yes, you make toddlers cry - at least if you believe the opponents' propaganda. Although a tiny plot, Switzerland is an extremely federalist country. We have about two dozen different school systems. Something like a lowest common denominator (Harmos is nothing more) could ease things a bit.
  2. Dog Law
    This has even two further options:
    • attack dogs have to be registered
    • attack dogs are illegal
    I'm a cat person. I don't care for dogs.
  3. Distribution of Drugs
    Should it be allowed for doctors in the cities to hand out drugs to their patients of should they drag themselves limping and coughing to a pharmacy to get mother's little helper? It seems to me, we have decided on this already a dozen times. But it comes back and back again. If you look at the propaganda, this is the most important subject on the ballot - or the one with the most money to make of it.
  4. Tram (street car) Extention to the Zoo
    Is it really too much to walk 570 m with your children to see some exotic animals? I thought it's about quality time. A walk might help and is healthy too.
  5. Gold Initiative
    Should the money received from the profits of the federal bank be used to pay current expensive or has it to be used to reduce debt. Neocon bollocks! Don't count your chickens before they hatch.
The Municipal Ballots
  1. Withdrawal from Nuclear Power
    Should the town of Zürich put the fight against global warming into its constitution? Surprisingly, only the neocons are against it. We now what they did to us.
  2. Duty-Free Warehouse
    This is no longer needed. So this plot if land can be used for a new purpose. They project presented seems perfect to me. However, there is some opposition for opposition's sake.
  3. Crown Meadow
    Another plot of central land that could give home to 60 families. Some meadow huggers think it is already a home to butterflies.
  4. New Franks Lane
    Should in 20 years 20 already old buildings be torn down to improve traffic conditions? Who am I to tell?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Into The Crosshair

Did you follow the news of the terrorist attack at Mumbai? In a bit more than a week, I'm booked at one of the sites - at the lush Taj Mahal hotel to be precise. Coincidentally, I'll have to go there for firing trials. I'm so not looking forward to this.

Added Later: It was later that I realised how close this shave was. In September, I was told this trials are due in November.

The Return Of The Smoothie

I had to substitute the morning Müesli by a morning Smoothie.

While I (so far - touch wood) only have developed a serious cold, Toño shows the entire range of flue symptoms. A serious infusion of vitamin C seemed to be appropriate.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Wedding Banquet #2

On October 17, we tied the knot. Although we had had already a big banquet in June, we could not resist the temptation to spend some more on fine food and invited some of the friends who missed the first occasion to Rigiblick, which does not only offer a nice view but even better cuisine.

Menu Spice
Duo of tuna and swordfish mosaic with wasabi and ginger, and deep fried swordfish on tuna sashimi salad
Fillet of lamb roast saddle with Bengali marinade on an apple salad with chilli and yoghurt
John Dory fried in rice dough on Indian-inspired bouillabaisse with limes and turmeric
Medaillon of veal fillet with pineapple icing on mung bean and vegetable curry with green mangos and banana pancakes with coconut
Selection of cheese with fruit-nut bread
Dessert surprises
Home-made chocolates und friandises

The Wines
Champagne Perrier Jouët Grand brut
Rheinriesling Tradition, 2004, Schloss Gobelsburg, Langenlois, Kamptal
Haberlehof Pinot bianco, 2005, Alto Adige doc, Alois Lageder, Margreid
Chardonnay Reserve, 2005, McLaren Vale/Padthaway, Chapel Hill Winery
Gigondas ac, 2004, Domaine de Cabasse
Mitis, 2002, Amigne de Vétroz aoc, Jean-René Germanier, Vétroz

Green With Envy

At this year's Raclette night of our Katalin Sharks, White Sark & Lady Shark announced that they will spent the first three months of 2009 at nice places, such as Los Angeles, Hawaii, Baja California, Mexiko City, Cancun, Barbados, St. Lucia, Dominica, Antigua, St. Kitts, Iles des Saintes & Martinique. And I can stay green - they plan to blog about it.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Boomus Interruptus

I have no idea why, but this morning I had to think of this article... We're facing 25 years of prosperity, freedom, and a better environment for the whole world. You got a problem with that? (Wired, July 1997)... or as Neils Bohr said Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

You Know It's Autumn (#5)

... when you go for the Bambi Burger.

... which reminds me of a song.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

You Know It's Autumn (#4)

...when you try to make some grape jam.

Last year's attempt was quite a disaster. I tried to learn from the experience by getting rid of the pips early in the process.

I tried two different approaches. The first was recommended by Kaag's mother. She boils the grapes to break them and then passes them through a sieve.

This worked just fine. However, I also went for a bit more sophisticated method by using a Steam Juice Extractor. Here the grapes are first put into a sieve.

The sieve is then into the extractor, which is placed onto the stove.

The steam juicer consist of two compartment. In the bottom one, you have to put some water in order to get the steam. The fruit come into the top part of the container. Then the fruit juice will drip into the centre pan where it will be extracted through a tube.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

You Know It's Autumn (#3)

... when you can't resist the urge to make some pear bread.

Three bottles of fine wine and half a bottle of rum went into them.

Monday, November 17, 2008

You Know It's Autumn (#2)

...when you send your spouse to bring in the hot harvest.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

You Know It's Autumn (#1)

... when you ordered your first Vermicelles this year.

Vermicelles (little worms) are made of sweet chestnuts. They are a speciality of southern Switzerland, however, in autumn, you get them all over the place. I prefer them on served on meringues and with whipped cream.

I still remember, when I enjoyed them for the first time. At the end of Swiss children book classic Schellenursli, the family is eating sweet chestnuts. I had no idea how that tasted and I urged my mother to get me the experience.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Black Friday

It's Friday - kind of Black Friday to be precise. Despite the fact that the Black Party will not be for another month, I'll have to wear black tonight.

Why? It's because:
  1. tonight will be the Night of Swiss Wine, which is kind of a Swiss Wine Award Show
  2. the economic crises.
Last year, I got - thanks to Toño's caring employer - the VIP treatment including a room at a 5 star hotel. However, this year everything is completely different.

From 5 pm till 6:15 pm I'm supposed to work as cloakroom attendant. From 6:15 till 8 pm I will be a scene shifter, changing one tasting set to another. From 8 till 9:30 pm I will be a waiter at the tasting. For all this, dress code is "black".

Nevertheless, It's not all gloom and doom. I've been promised a warm handshake. And thanks to my insistence, a kiss.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

"I'm the f***cking queen of everything!"

Nothing beats a good tag line. Another current favourite is "Awesome at life. Awful at spelling."

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I Just Saved £0.01

In these hard economic times, you have to take every bargain you can get. just made my day with the following announcement:

£0.01 is your total savings under our Pre-order Price Guarantee.

Because we reduced the price of your pre-release title between dispatch (when we charged you) and the release date, you will automatically receive a refund for £0.01. You will receive an additional e-mail when this refund is processed.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Rushing Trough Classes

On the flight back from Paris, I met my neighbours. While I was squeezed in coach, they enjoyed business class. Meanwhile, my luggage enjoyed the privileges of Miles & More's HON Circle.