Well, there you have it. After a year and a half of quarantine and only touching my direct family in the confines of two households, it’s my first PCR test. Reason? Not what you think. Instead. Worst-Writer is flying home on Sunday—to enter a third household—and like anyone else flying I have to be negative. Everyone in my family has already received all their shots (back home). And get this, baby. Worst-writer has an appointment next Tuesday for my first shot. And it’ll be Pfizer, don’t you know. Looking forward to MRNA entering my system. For, again, don’t you know, dear worst-reader, worst-writer can certainly use a bit of DNA mutilation—or whatever conspiracy BS it is #covidiots have put in their tattered minds. And so. Most certainly looking forward to whacked out micro stuff doing its science. (Sarcasm on/off.)
Originally from Maryland, dear worst-reader. But don’t fault me for that. Don’t fault me on account, don’t you know, Maryland has given the world Kavanaugh. But I die-gress. After living in the golden cage of Germania for all these years, sometimes I need reminding of where I’m from. With a little help from my better-half, of course, she comes home here or there with just such a reminder. Indeed. Every once-a-once she brings something home that is supposed to remind me of who I am, where I’m from, what reared me. Little does she know the horrors that surge around my worst-mind. But that’s for another worst-blog, perhaps. Or. Are these little things supposed to do something else? #Nomatter. I allow the entertainment–especially in these times of covid and other pig capitalist misdeeds that have turned the world into a cesspool of shitfilth and other happy whatnot of demise. Yet here’s the thing. When I’m reminded of where I’m from I usually just give off a wink and thumb-up and then go about my merry bidness. Then, usually a day or two (or maybe more) later, I take another look at the reminder and realise: the world has my Maryland all wrong. But is that any wonder? I mean. Have you ever been to Maryland? It can be a nice place to visit but like so many other places… it’s just another shithole where one group of people can poop on another group of people and no one thinks once or thrice about any of it. Still. Some stuff irks me. Take a close look at the pics above. The “blue crab” isn’t quite right, don’t you know. In fact, to the best of my crab knowledge, that’s the image of a mud crab. Although the Schooner is a fine sailing vessel and deserves to have its image on a mini-bucket of oddly flavoured nuts, Maryland is not known for Schnooners. Maryland, especially the Chesapeake Bay, is known for its Skipjacks. But. Again. I die-gress.
Things not forgotten, dear worst-reader. Things that remind one. Like pictures found on the interwebnets. For example…
I’ll never forget my second vacation. It took many years, don’t you know, to get to a second vacation. It was cheap and coincided with one of the last times I would return to my beloved & missed #Americant with the idear that I might never return to the old country. In other worst-words, it was also part of that whole expat thing that had taking on a life of its own by the early 1990s.
I was hanging out, working, doing my thing among #Eurowastelanders as my job was coming to an end. It was late spring, early summer of 1990. I had just given up my apartment and was gonna stay with a work colleague a few days before my departure. Suddenly, on the next to last day of my job, my boss came up to me and made an offer I couldn’t refuse–that would also have a huge effect on my future. My boss, although a fairly decent guy, was a bit of wanker. Most successful corporatist are, don’t you know. First, he was a British-German citizen. Second, he spoke terrible English. Go figure, eh. I was something akin to being his personal transcriber. That is, I would not only translate his work into English but, since I was hired as a researcher for him, I also wrote most of everything he submitted to clients. Everything at the time was done in English, even though most of our clients were German, including Swiss and Austrian clients. But that’s neither here nor there.
The job I was doing was supposed to have ended at the start of summer where I would return to the States, hang-out for a bit, and then figure out what would come next. But my boss asked me nicely, including a special bonus, if I would stay for the rest of the summer. He had just procured another project–somewhere in Switzerland. I first told him no, but then he sweetened the deal. Not only would he increase my regular pay but he also offered an end-of-project special bonus. And then he sweetened it even more. Since he knew that I was on my way out of Europe, he told me I could have his loft in Köln, as he wasn’t gonna be there anyway, the entire time of the project… rent free. Whaaaaaa? Three months rent free while earning dough? I took the deal.
After about two and half months the job ended and my boss wired me the extra bonus he promised. It was a worthwhile amount. Not only could I afford a flight back home without skimping around on fares, but I had earned enough to be able to afford a short vacation on the island of Mallorca with a few colleagues. Even though it was short notice, I lucked out and was able to book a hotel and flight to the island. When I told my colleagues where I was staying they laughed and giggled and smirked and provided a few pieces of advice–that to this day I’ve never forgotten.
It turned out to be a rather relaxing stay except for one thing. I had booked a so-called German hotel, whereas my colleagues, all having booked well in advance, had other accommodations. Upon arrival on the island I went immediately to meet my colleagues for a few drinks, along with shits & giggles at bar. Afterwards I checked into my German hotel. We all made plans to meet the next day to lounge around on the beach. When I left that night they reminded me that if I wanted to utilise the pool at the hotel where I was staying, I should get up at 5am to reserve a spot. I had no idear what they were referring to. In fact, since they all knew that I am morning person, that is, I’m always the first one in the office in the morning, I thought they were making a little joke at my expense. Ah. corporate humour, eh.
After sleeping-in a bit I got up the next morning at around seven-thirty. I showered, shaved, had a few cups of instant hotel-room coffee, drank some bottled water, ate a banana and a piece of toast at the breakfast-bar, and then went out to do a bit of reading by the pool while enjoying the Mediterranean early sun. I then realised that my colleagues weren’t joking at my expense with their advice the previous night. Or were they?
I found the pic above the other day on the interwebnets, dear worst-reader. It could be the exact picture I saw that morning in the early 90s while on my second ever vacation–that I’ll never forget.
Going for broke. Travel broke. Just one more trip. Trip to take me away. Away from what? Xmas? Responsibility? Btw, this is the first time I’ll be without my better-half on Xmas since she took me in and became my better half twelve years ago. And I’m sad about that. But when families are stretched on both sides of the Atlantic pond where winters can be bard on the heart, I appreciate the tolerance, the compromise, the understanding. Oh, the prices we pay. Compromises for love, for shoe laces. Wait. Get back on subject. I’ll get to shoe laces in a sec. Focus first on travel. §Precisely planned to end where it all started just before the end of the year after which it can all begin again. Where do we go? Home? Which home? Nomatter. Again. Back to subject. §After all these years of travel something really cool happened recently which I tried to capture in the pic above. As you’ll note, my very comfy shoes with the funny laces are in two different places on board a luxurious airliner. The left pic is travel to destination. The right is travel from destination. Left is also business class. Right is one crazy-cool, gnarly, step beyond… First f’n class. Yeah, baby. Finally made it! Of course, these two seating positions have nothing to do with the place I normally sit while traveling. You know what I mean: coach, economy, humble-class, sheople travel. No. These two seats are quite different than what I’m accustomed to. And before I go on, allow me to qualify this a bit. It is not my intention to toot my own horn here. Both these seats were not afforded me by my own hand (which would warrant tooting). No. They were afforded me as a gift–of sorts. Of “sorts” because it was a gift that does not require (re)payment but does require renumeration. But I don’t want to get too deep into the details of how worst-writer gets his seats on luxury airliners–nor do I want to explain the nuances of neo-feudalism–that worst-writer is able to exploit. Also. As I dabble into this/a world of duality, of dichotomy, poles, opposites, republican and democrats, is jet-lag better flying in a easterly or westerly direction, etc., etc., it is worth noting that there is something else out there that shares a commonality with seating arrangements on luxury airliners. After all is worst-said & worst-done, after all the krappy seats on airlines have been tried, it all comes back to one thing. When I end 2015’s travel itinerary it’s time to save again. For there is so much travel planned for 2016–if the neo-feudalists allow it. At least I think there is. Or? I know. I know. I know what you’re thinking, dear worst-reader. Save what? Save for what? You mean save money? For travel? Well, my answer to all your nitpicking, dear worst-reader, is simple: don’t worry your cute little head because if you plan well and you keep smiling and you are not a threat to the neo-feudalists, than travel will come as easy as the money they allow to grow on (my) trees. And in that vein, the vein of funny shoe laces or duality–or the same pair of jeans and shoes and laces on opposing flights–let’s give a bit more worst-writing a go. §While all get hot & bothered over Constitutions and how they are written–not unlike how Deist’s books were written by men from the friggin’ bronze-age–no one sees through what some people do to facilitate misinterpretation of old, old, really old words. And speaking of old words! So the 2nd amendment gets mixed up with the 14th amendment. Or shouldn’t states be able to decide what to do about their–with their–“well regulated Militia”? Again. Nomatter. §This post is a confusion of another kind. For example, instead of addressing the true cause of The Gun Problem (of #americant) change the entire discourse to immigration and terrorists and then all can be swept under the rug. Add to that a complexity of The Donald and an upcoming election that already resembles are farce that must someday be topped… Well, it’s no wonder I decided to seek out a life of luxury airline travel and funny shoe laces. Or maybe not.
People ask me all the time. Why Germany? Well, the answer has remained the same for the past quarter century: girls and beer. I know. It sounds kinda lame, especially when one considers my age and desk ridden stamina. I suppose the answer should be: beer. Notwithstanding my waistline. After hearing how long I’ve been living in Germania a few other questions arise. “So do you like it there?” I usually respond: “It’s ok.” “So you speak German then?” “Have you seen any castles?” “Is that guy from the second world war still alive?” “How fast can you drive there?” “Do the girls shave their armpits or not?” And one of my favs is: “Do you still use outhouses?” Nomatter. There’s one question asked of me (and it was asked only once) that resonates when I’m questioned at all. “So have you gone native?” Yeah, that question gets under my skin–and the girls do shave. So let’s get back to beer, shall we? One of the things that I really like about Germania is the beer. And I’m not talking bullshit beer like you have in the US these days. There ain’t no micro-breweries here or bullshit IPA distributors. I call them bullshitters because, well, as far as beer drinking goes, you can make the funky flavoured stuff as much as you want but if you can’t make a basic, simple Pilsner that is as bitter as my third wife then you’re not a beer maker. Indeed. The bitterer, the better(er), baby! I mean, come on. Imagine some smart ass rich guy that inherited money and he’s been bored out of his mind his whole life until one day he wakes up and says to himself and the bottle of Bud resting on his belly blocking the view of his wide screen: this beer really sucks. And most American beer does suck, dear worst-reader. But it doesn’t suck because it tastes like coconut or cherry or banana or aged oak or the fucking bar stool. It sucks because it’s made with rice. It sucks because of its ingredients and the fact that the makers don’t really care. It sucks because it’s all snake-oil. And it also sucks because of its cost. Seriously. I can’t believe what Americans pay for beer. The greatest consumer driven society in the world whose fuel is (in part) beer (the other girls) can’t figure out how to price beer. Indeed. America = way over priced everything. But the worst part of it all when I’m in the US (trip coming soon) and weeping when I have to pay so much for a twelve pack of (whatever) krapp beer is that dimwits are out there buying krapp of another kind for even more money. Hence, you’ll only be able to get me into some dimwit micro-brew dump when I’m limp and even more lifeless than I am now. The only thing worse than über-expensive beer is flavoured beer that is social. With that nonsense in mind, I came across something rather fascinating the other day at my local (North Cologne) beer dealer. An entire palette of “Gratis” beer. Gratis means free, baby. Seriously. I even took two. Good luck beer consuming suckers of the world.
Of all the masterful arguments presented by Alan Shore (James Spader) in the American TV show Boston Legal, his argument in front of the Supreme Court in S04E17 has to be one of the best. Btw, I’ve been binge-watching the show for the past two weeks, as I’ve done here and here with other shows. Although I’m sure that the (real) Supremes would not tolerate monologuing as it appears in this episode, something inside me wishes this could/should happen. Shore (Spader) nails it. Calling out the The United States Supreme Court for their ideological bias–especially the conservative majority that has partaken in giving the world #americant–is brilliant. Actually, having never seen the show before, and having missed all of 1990s and 2000s tv programming in the US, I’m very surprised at the level of political and social criticism that takes place in this show–especially as it was produced by ABC, which is not a bastion of liberal/progressive programming. With that in mind, there is something missing in Shore’s speech (monologue) as he criticises the Supremes. Or let me put that another way. If I had written this episode, I would have included a bit about how conservatives have so ingeniously nit-picked their way to power since the 1970s. It wasn’t all Ronald Reagan, you know. There really are masterminds behind the scenes of the GOP and the Republican party. I for one, having seen all this take place from my expat 30k-foot high-seat, have to take my hat off to republicans. What a job they’ve done taking advantage of the stupidity of a nation. I mean. These sleaze-balls are the ones who pander to the lowest common denominator of the voting constituency of The United States of America… with gusto! They most certainly don’t pander to rational thought or rational governing. They do this by wiggling their way around the enormous political structure that is the US. Not only is there three branches to the federal government but each state has their own branches, their own constitutions, their own justices, etc. By attacking (and conquering) these various layers of politics, they have been able to maintain a stranglehold on the nation. It is an extremely successful from-the-bottom-up political strategy. Issues like taxes, big government, abortion, state’s rights, the 2nd Amendment, etc., are all basically the qualifiers of who gets appointed, who gets to run and, ultimately, who controls society. Because the complexity of this activity is too overwhelming for the stupid masses to comprehend, let alone even bother to ponder, the Republican party has pretty much run the show for well over thirty years. They do this by changing voting districts, i.e. gerrymandering. They appoint politically biased justices controlling legislation and even determining presidential elections. Heck! Conservatives have even found a way to circumvent Roe v. Wade. How? Easy, really. Some state legislatures that are run by conservative politicians (republicans) have changed the laws regarding hospital admitting privileges. Hospital admitting privileges are required of doctors who have private practices or clinics that perform invasive and/or surgical procedures. The admitting privilege is about the doctor, if he or she makes a mistake at the clinic, can then call upon a better equipped hospital to take care of any complications that may arise. That means, if a hospital is run by conservative ideologues, they can simply deny the doctor admitting privilege. Without the backup of a hospital but more importantly without adhering to the law that requires admitting privileges, the doctor cannot perform certain procedures at his/her clinic. It goes without saying that a clinic without hospital admitting privileges will not be able to provide certain services. Thousands of clinics have closed because of this. Pretty tricky, eh! But also well thought out. Indeed. Of course, I forgive the writers of S04E17 for not including my thoughts. They made up for it by having Denny Crane, the epitome of Republicanism, fart and make goo-goo eyes at the Supreme Court.
Below is a transcript of my favourite scene, Season 4, Episode 17, Boston Legal. Alan Shore v Supreme Court. Underlined text from me. Enjoy.
There is a scene in the satirical movie “Schtonk” where it’s said that Adolf Hitler claimed in his diaries that he invented the Käfer. You know, that cute little German car known as the beetle or bug–not the new plastic krapp copy they’ve got now. And not only did he invent the original bug, but he also invented the company that would make the car: Volkswagen. The people’s car. Fittingly, someone adds later in the film: “And it’s still on the road”–Und der fährt immer noch. The implication is that the car was built so well that it will drive forever. I guess. Ha. Ha. Ha.
Schtonk! is based on a true story. It is about a bunch of gaudy, slimy, yellow journalists who think they have found the Hitler Diaries. As is the case in the true story, it’s all nothing more than a grand hoax. But that hoax had a bit more to it than what we see in the film. One of the reasons Stern magazine was so easily manipulated into this hoax was the fact that Germans were starving for some sort of inner reconciliation regarding their recent past. In the movie the top manager of the magazine that was financing the acquisition of the diaries even says, after hearing the first words that Hitler (supposedly) wrote: “We’ll have to re-write German history, this is sensational, this means that he (Hitler) was a person like you and me.” Indeed. A privileged corporatist claims that a past can be changed as long as a new future can be arranged. Or something like that.
The gaudy, slimy, yellow journalists in Schtonk! are no different than the gaudy, slimy, yellow managers that run corporations today. For it is true, dear worst-reader, that the only way to get by in a world where monopolies and oligarchies and plutocrats rule everything is by hoaxing and manipulating and cheating–and arranging new futures. This is the true face of unabashed, predatory capitalism that is drowning us all. And not just drowning all of us minions. Some of the corporations have to drown, too. But only some.
What is the difference between a car made in Germany or a car made in the US? Sure, there are quality differences, maybe even one will last a bit longer than the other. But all in all, they are the same. So how then do you make money if there is nothing to differentiate your product from the next product? Or what do you do if there is no more money out there to buy products? Indeed. You arrange things. In the end, it’s all just corporate bullshit–that has been arranged. With that in mind…
Diesel vs gas = gas wins (in the US)
According to one of the articles I read, 20% of all diesel passenger cars sold in the US are made by VW. That’s fucking huge. Reason? Diesel cars get great mileage–and that whole obsession-thing America has with Germans doesn’t hurt either. Can you say Fahrvergnügen? On the other hand, gas mileage is kinda important to Americans these days, even though Americans don’t really know anything about gas. They most certainly can’t understand why the stuff is such a huge determining factor in their living standard. Seriously. They don’t get it. The wars, empire, failed Texas oilmen elected (twice) to the land’s highest office. Nor can Americans understand that all the money they pay for gasoline, thereby deminishing living standards, goes into the coffers of a few people. That means there are a few gas company execs out there ranting and raving about slimy Europeans encroaching on their turf. And who do the gas companies collude with? Again. A significant # of diesel passenger cars on US roads are made by Europeans. Did no one tell those Europeans that America is gasoline? Diesel is European. And you know what Americans think of the French, right? Freedom fries, baby!
Supply vs demand = supply loses.
They call them recessions and not depressions because the latter is so definitive. They also use the word recession because inherent in the word is the idear of recovery. The western world and the concept of a living standard that permeates it has yet to deal with the fact that there is no difference between depression and recession if there is no recovery. The whole point of Too Big To Fail and bailouts is that corporations don’t have to actually answer to the market. Instead they keep on supplying, i.e. manufacturing, producing, etc., as though nothing has happened. The problem is, there is no such thing as the market. There’s only “growth” which feeds stock prices and open lines of credit. With that in mind, my guess is that VW has simply over-produced. Since there is no recovery insight from this recession (depression) something has to be done with all those unsold cars. But it can’t come out that America’s favourite diesel motor can’t be sold on account there’s no money to buy them. What would Ford or Chrysler say about why their cars are not being bought either? Oh, yeah. They’re all in the same boat.
When multinationals get into trouble this is what they do. They pretend something went wrong. They claim foul from government regulation or foul against a competitor. Or they get government regulators to claim foul against them. They make crony politicians do them favours. Some even hire universities (via grants) to do a study about, gee, I don’t know, …emissions. Next there might even be a study about tire pressures. Are tire manufacturers in dire straits?
Just look at GM’s recent debacle. Didn’t Toyota recently recall a shit load of cars? Does any of this sound familiar? These companies are allowed to get away with what ever they want. They simply push the burden of being unmanageable elsewhere. It’s the slimy, gaudy, yellow thing to do. They arrange (their) futures.
A bit more than a rant this morn, dear worst-reader. Perhaps this is a plea. A plea for mercy and the life of my dog. To begin, above is a letter that I recently received from the property administrator of our flat regarding my dog. Here is a translation of the red enclosed area:
“Unfortunately, after numerous warnings, you have failed to abide by your rental agreement regarding your pet. Numerous sightings have shown your Pug runs freely around the courtyard without a dog leash. We have sent you numerous letters that state dogs must be on a leash in the courtyard. Other dog owners have been contacted by phone and agree to this rule. During our telephone call today you failed to agree to the rules which means we are issuing you another formal warning. If your dog is seen running free around the courtyard again we will cancel the dog/pet agreement. That will mean that you must get rid of your dog. In our mutual interests we hope that it will not come to that. With friendly greetings, … “
This letter, and the issue it concerns, literally boils my blood. But it also does more than that. What is not in the letter is what was said in a telephone call with the person that wrote it. So let’s start at the top, shall we:
The letter, in its original German, is typically rude. Living in Europe all these years has thickened my skin somewhat to this. That said, I think the English translation even conveys rudeness. Odd (or maybe not) when you consider that this person is communicating with a customer that doesn’t exactly pay bargain rent.
The property administrator failed to read the rental agreement that we signed prior to moving in to this flat. We did not sign a rental agreement where we are required to have our dog on a leash while in the courtyard. (Side note: perhaps, since we don’t have this in our contract, this fact should be noted to those that move in.)
Not only is the administrator rude and incorrect in his assumption regarding our rental contract but he has the gaul to threaten us that if we don’t comply we have to “get rid of our dog”.
What is not included in the letter is another warning given to us indirectly during a telephone conversation. Using innuendo it was stated to us that if we don’t put our dog on a leash in the courtyard we should be prepared that he will be poisoned. (Do I need to repeat that?)
Please note that I live in a fairly posh, restored farm house or Hofanlage that used to house horses and farming equipment. It has since been rebuilt with multi-level flats of varying sizes and styles. All the flats are connected to a courtyard that is shut off from the main road and the village. Because of the design of the facility, my flat’s terrace and main entrance are side-by-side within the courtyard. Not all flats have this same configuration as most have separate entrances that are outside the courtyard. This seemed very accommodating and appealing to us as dog owners–it’s like we have a little backyard connected to our flat. Obviously we are not alone in how this appeals to dog owners. The courtyard is shared with a male Frenchie and a blonde female Lab. Needless to say, our dog neighbours dig each other. The only problem is my dog was here first. He and the new male Frenchie are in a constant “marking” contest. Of course, I have told all of my neighbours that I will clean up whatever mess he makes. I also added that this shouldn’t go on forever because the dogs will eventually get used to each other and not have to prove who owns what.
My dog’s name is Beckett. He’s named after Samuel Beckett. I often tell people I wanted to name him Godot but it would be odd yelling that name in public. My dog is spoiled. He’s also loved by the children who play in the courtyard, they often come to our terrace and ask for him by name. They also ask if they can give him snacks because they enjoy commanding him to “sit” before giving him the snack. Children’s faces glow and shine at these moments. But I suppose the shine isn’t for everyone. Over the years this has had a somewhat negative effect on Beckett. He runs around with the children in the courtyard. He’s always in search of someone’s feet to lick or if anyone has a snack at hand. But I suppose all good things must come to an end. Someone, somewhere must ruin the fun. In Germany this level of negativity is called Kleinbürgertum–and it is a national past-time.
The letter we received has since been retracted and we also have received a formal apology from the property administrator. Yet I feel somewhat inconsolable regarding the threatening nature of the whole situation. This goes beyond facts not being checked, contracts not being read, the potential for legal fees and horrific bureaucracy. Not only were we threatened about the livelihood of our dog but were indirectly threatened by the fact that dogs in Germany are regularly poisoned because of situations just like this. I find that type of dialogue in this situation very, very disturbing!
It’s not easy being a dog owner in Germany. I feel as though I’m constantly being watched and checked. Did I bring enough poop bags to pick up his shit when I take him for walks? Is he peeing in the wrong place? I never let him pee on car tyres for fear that someone will attack me with a sharpened elbow. Sometimes I can see it in the eyes of pedestrians we pass their disgust for my little Pug and his laboured breathing and Rottweiler attitude. Their contempt for me shines as bright as the sun–but not as bright as the joy from the children that played with my dog over the years. Heck, I’ve even been called a Tierquäler (animal cruelty) because I have a Pug–because someone who has never had one thinks s/he knows the pedigree. Worst of all, I stopped letting my dog run free when I reach the open areas outside our village where I take him for long walks. I do that because a few dogs died this year from poisoning. I have since learned why so many owners have their beautiful, playful Labs muzzled when they take them for walks. It’s not to prevent the dog from attacking anyone. It’s to save the dogs life because a dog cannot read the true nature of some people who leave pieces of meet laced with rat poison or they buy dog snacks and put pins and needles in them. Indeed. We were “reminded” of this by a property administrator who is obviously in charge of posh living.
Yes. We have been warned.
Rant on. -t
Links to (German) articles regarding cruelty to animals:
Thoughts this morn about Dostoyevsky’s Notes From Underground. I’ve been enjoying the taste, feel and smell of this 1972 paperback for the past few weeks. I think I acquired it while visiting London in 1995. Obviously it’s not dealing with age and dryness but neither am I. Funny thing is, I’ve already gone through three or four rubber-bands to keep it together. Looks like I won’t be reading The Double anytime soon. Oh well.
To begin, here’s the intro from the author where he, for whatever (literary) reason, feels the need to qualify his work.
“The author of these Notes, and the Notes themselves, are both, of course, imaginary. All the same, if we take into consideration the conditions that have shaped our society, people like the writer not only may, but must, exist in that society. I have tried to present to the public in a more striking from than is usual a character belonging to the very recent past, a representative figure from a generation still surviving. In the chapter entitled ‘The Underground’ this personage introduces himself and his outlook on life, and tries, as it were, to elucidate the causes that brought about, inevitably brought about, his appearance in our midst. In the second section we follow this personage’s memoirs of some of the happenings in his life.” -Fyodor Dostoyevsky
What’s the saying about Russian novels? If you’re happy–don’t read one. As far as this worst-reader goes, since happiness is over-rated, you’d think the likes of Dostoyevsky would be for me. But the truth is, after reading The Idiot so many years ago, I’ve spent more time staring at my old copy of The Brothers Karamazov than reading it. (Ok. I’ve read parts of it and plan on reading it whole. Someday. Maybe.) Like most of Dostoyevsky’s work, the biggest hurdle is not his subject matter or its depth but instead the winded, drivelling, unending sentences, not excluding multiple page single paragraphs. I mean, come on, you gotta be smart to read this guy–or?
When I can get through the sentences, two things happen (in my worst-mind) while doing so. First. If aliens ever come down to visit and they want to know what it is to be human, they should read Dostoyevsky (or Gogol). Second. After Dostoyevsky, and living in #eurowasteland for so long, I’ve concluded that no one knows The European better than the big D. Yeah, baby. That’s right. The only way to understand The European is to read depressing Russian novels of yesteryore. And what is The European, you ask. How ’bout this. Bureaucracy. Greed. War. Clans. Fascism. Authoritarianism. Genocide. Etc., etc. All the industry, farmers, cheese, booze, classical music, cars, art and architecture, theatre, etc., etc., pale in comparison to the death, destruction and human waste The European has given humanity. Seriously. All of the world’s problems stem out of the inhumane death and greed culture that is The European. And before you attack me regarding America–heed this. America is not just bluejeans and Hollywood, war and money, different kinds of cheese, art and fascism, and let’s not forget, the new world and the land of the free (to be stupid). That’s just a front, a story, a narrative. America is The European thru and thru. In fact, it is The European version 2.0. Did I mention how we all need to be so thankful to The European for imperialism?
It was/is The European mindset that slaughtered the Indians of North America. It was that mindset that fought the silly clan war known as the American Civil War, igniting it all because The European needed slaves to build its new world. It was that mindset that perverted capitalism and turned the northern hemisphere into a cult of self perpetuating greed and death. Indeed, dear worst-reader. When I read Dostoyevsky that’s what I get out of his writing. And it feels kinda good to read it these days, as though something inside me is vindicated, as though, after all these years in Europe, among these The Europeans, I can finally read him. Yeah. Maybe it is time to get on with Karamazov. Or maybe not.
Notes From the Underground is short novel about the narrator who can’t control his anger and frustration while trying to exist in the blossoming automaton world of late 19th century (far eastern) Europe. I’ve read on the Interwebnets that some think this work is the beginning of existentialism–but I have no idear what that is supposed to mean. All I know is, if you could bring the narrator of this story to life, you could put him right in the middle of the corporate world; he’d fit perfectly. Even though there is a huge amount of anger and confusion rolled up inside him, he is docile and weak on the outside; he seems to stand for nothing except musings about Russian soil. His ego is so overblown that when he argues with comrades and ends up challenging one to a duel, no one even shows up for it. Instead they all go about their meaningless, automaton lives in the(ir) bureaucracies, the(ir) cafés, the(ir) dinning halls of sloth and gluttony. And just like the automatons in the corporate world, the narrator himself is fluff and meaninglessness–all on the verge of sissy tears–just like all those soccer “men” who fall down on the field like gurly-girls in order to find an advantage. Yet, does the narrator find meaning in his search? The question hasn’t changed since the late 19th century. The automatons find meaning in what ever they deem fit. They find it in their arrogance. They find it in that other great European pastime that is the opposite of humility–misbegotten pride. They find it in their nationalism, tribalism, clans.
The earth knows no noses higher than those noses in Europe. (-tommi)
This is a quaint story to read. I rather enjoyed it–long sentences or not. I felt a kinship with the narrator–or was it empathy? Nomatter. The important thing to keep in mind about it is that there is contempt between “the author of these notes” and “the notes themselves” (see quote at beginning of post). Dostoyevsky is obviously extremely judgemental of his surroundings yet he never quite reveals why. There is something naive about how he writes this. Or maybe it’s carelessness. I don’t mean his prose, though. His ability to transcribe the mind’s eye is flawless. It’s just the subject matter he’s addressing that gets me. It’s as though he created the narrater in order to just mock everything about the world he’s forced to live in–The European world. Either way he is judging society by portraying its components and how they interact in the most banal of all settings.
“We Russians, generally speaking, have never been stupid transcendental romantics of the German, or especially the French, kind, who are not affected by anything; the earth may crack under their feet, all France may perish on the barricades, but they remain the same, they won’t make the slightest change even for the sake of decency, but still go on singing their transcendental hymns right up, one might say, to the grave, because they are fools. But here, on Russian soil, there are not fools, as everybody knows: that is what distinguishes us from all the other, Germanic, countries.” -Notes From Underground, FD
There is something eerily profound about what Dostoyevsky is getting at in this short novel–that I may be confusing with my own worst-prejudices. And. As usual. I’m not sure I understand any of anything I read. But he makes me think of the wave of revolution that preoccupied Europe before and after Dostoyevsky. Before Dostoyevsky I’m referring, of course, to the French Revolution. In its essence wasn’t the French Revolution not just an attempt break the chains of feudalism and monarchy, but also an attempt to subvert The European? In a lesser attempt, the Russian revolution–which emulated the French–tried to do the same thing. Is there no irony in the fact that both those revolutions lost and who was the winner? In Russia, The European turned to authoritarian communism embodied by Stalin and the Soviets. In western Europe, The European turned to predatory capitalism disguised in the bullshit called socialism. I couldn’t help but feel that Dostoyevsky was alluding to this level of human failure that could only come from the mindset that is The European. The people he argued with, the female he so clumsily fell in love with, the servant he couldn’t stand up to, etc. They all represent The European. And like all Europeans, the story just reaches the last page. Or something like that.
Pic: what the visas used to look like. Just a bunch of heavy stickers and stamps in my passport. You know what happens after having stamps in your passport for twenty years and then they suddenly change to little ID cards that you have to carry around along side your passport? That’s right. I lose them. In fact, since last year I’ve lost two German Electronic Visa cards. Every friggin time I travel and re-enter Germania the lovely customs and immigration Volk have a whale of time with me.
Immigration Grunt: But misser Stewg, it sai heer dut yuv got uh div-er-rent karte zen zis vun.
Moi: Yeah, brother. Chill. Not as efficient as you. (Looking at his monitor where he shows me a list of cards I’ve been issued.) I lost that one. (Pointing.) Lost that one, too.
Can you believe it, dear worst-reader? After almost two months I finally received notice that my new (3rd in two years) visa (for Germania) has been extended for another three years. Had to renew it because my US passport expired. The German card is only valid as my passport is valid. Oh well. Now I just have to wait another month for the driver’s license size ID card to arrive where I then have to pick it up. And to think I only had to wait ten days to get my new US passport in March–where the whole renewal process was done by mail! Did I mention that the US can deliver such an important document/papers in 10 days? Have to wait almost three months for the Germans. And the trains always run late in Germania, too!
Some call me the worst explainer ever. Go figure. But the reality is, I explain things. I especially explain things to Eurowastelanders. I guess it just bleeds out of me. You know, the fact that I’m not from–the place where I live and drink (too much). So far this inadequacy has served me well. In fact, it’s lead to my early retirement, a humble but comfortable abode and more tech equipment than I could wish for. But what must I do for all this? Oh yeah. I must. Explain.
So they come to me, these Eurowastelanders, and they ask: what is going on in your #americant?
“Wha?” I say. And I answer: “Nothing. All’s good.”
And then they present their evidence. “Did you read about Donald Trump and what he said to a woman on national TV? Please, lieber Tomas (when the French say it the ‘s’ is silent), explain this to us.”
Here’s the scene lieber worst-reader and fellow Eurowastelander. A propaganda apparatus works in the second largest building ever built. The largest building ever built is, of course, the war building. But that’s neither here nor there. Just keep in mind that we, dear worst-reader, dear Eurowastelander, are in the second largest building ever built. Such a large building is complicated. Not because of its size but because of what’s in it. Rooms. Halls. Stadiums. Toilets. Banks. Basements. Parking lots. Homes. Attics. Fraternities. Women’s toilets. Clubs. Restaurants. DIY stores. Etc. Etc.
The thing about this building is that it is not part of the public domain where it exists. You know, public places have rules, regulations, laws. This building is a private place! Obviously most laws apply in the building–but most of them also do not. Over the years this building allowed public idiosyncrasies–which are also mandated by law, as convenient as they are for the plaintiffs and defendents–to enter its walls. One of those “idiosyncrasies” is the human female. That’s right. The world’s second largest building allows human females to move within its walls. Heck, they can even move through doorways. They can look through windows. And they can most certainly use toilets–that have been designated: female (or the like).
Ain’t that something!
But. As I said. This is a private building. And not all “rights” (by law) have been granted to everyone who enters it. Case in point. There are rooms in this building that do not allow human females to enter. In fact, if you never ask or put any effort into searching them out, you’d never even know that such rooms exist. Yet sometimes, fewer times than hoped for, these rooms are exposed. For the exposure of the room that has motivated this post or the question asked of moi:
We can thank Megyn Kelly.
Here’s what happened. Mrs. Kelly entered, either by accident or by design, one of the rooms in the second largest building. Call it a boy’s room. Call it a man’s room. Call it a strip club. Call it the wall of a toilet in whatever college bar you’ve ever got drunk at where it says: for a good time call. Nomatter how/what you call it, this room must not be entered–by human females.
Boy did this chick enter it.
Let’s try to summarise, shall we? At the recent republican nut-job question & answer session (that faux newz calls a “debate”), Mrs. Kelly posed a question to Donald Trump. This question, it turns out, was quite a shocker. In fact, it wasn’t even the content of the question that was the problem. The problem was that she asked the question in the wrong room. With that in mind, allow me to worst-explain something else about #americant.
There are two types of human females in America. One is the object. She likes men, she dates them, she has fun with them. At times she even marries them and bears offspring. She usually ends up divorced two or three times. And she’s good with that. The other female in America is the subject. This particular female lives for her man. Once she gives herself to him, she belongs to him. She not only takes his name but she takes his identity. For this she gives up her offspring and is compensated in the form of a comfortable wedded life–even if she’s divorced. (Btw, divorce doesn’t mean you were never owned.) The Subject is Mrs. Sonso and she lives in that big house up the street with a car the size of a bus that she uses to transport herself and her rodent legally bastard children to Walmart and that’s Ok because she did great in the divorce settlement. The Object is the hot MILF that goes about her life with a few tears but an attitude of… sothefuckwhat.
(Note: I might have mixed up the subject/object thing. But don’t worry. The gist is the same, just switch them around till the right one pops up.)
Ok. There is one thing that differentiates one American female from the other–other than the obvious (see previous paragraph). One female never really learns to think for herself beyond the man that defines her. Even after she’s been through the gauntlet of marital hell, divorce number three or four, she still believes in the bullshit of whatever Walt Disney and her mother put in her head. And here’s one other important fact. Without this female, conservative America could not have gotten as far as it’s gotten. On the other hand, the other female can think for herself. She may not be Frau Einstein but she sure has learned enough to see through (all) the lies.
Which brings me to American female extraordinaire Megyn Kelly. Whether she’s the subject or object is irrelevant. She is instead a woman who entered the wrong room of the second largest building in the world and she didn’t even know it. Which means she ain’t Frau Einstein either. Nomatter. Let’s call this building that Kelly got herself into what it is, shall we. It’s called MAN BUILDING. And not only did she enter a private, off the grid room of MAN BUILDING, she’s clueless to having done it. In fact. She not only entered the wrong room but she publicly posed a question to those in the room not knowing who is watching what. Hence the headline after she
entered room she shouldn’t have entered,
asked a question in that room that shouldn’t have been asked because the audience she wishes or thinks she could reach with such a question can’t exist in such a room.
The headline after she asked her question: Megyn Kelly goes on sudden vacation (or the like).
Indeed, dear worst-reader. Some questions should never be asked and most certainly those questions shouldn’t be asked in certain places. With that in mind, good luck female republicans. Good luck with the lives you’ve chosen and the men who are your identity. There are many rooms for you to enter. This room, proven by Mrs. Kelly, is not one of them. Again. Good luck republican females of #americant. I mean that sincerely. All of you are gonna need it if you start asking these questions in these rooms.
This post is NSFW due to some language issues I’m having.
The art of the deal. Rule #1. Lie. Rule #2. Lie. Rule #3. You guessed it, dear worst-reader: make it so that the truth is what you say it is. Rule #4. Let there only be one side that sets the rules and that one side can change those rules at will. Or the like. With that in mind, never thought the day would come when my beloved #americant would stand at world’s end–you know, the edge of a flat world where everything falls off if one isn’t careful–with it’s disguise wide open, displaying the man underneath. And do you know what the man underneath is wearing? That’s right. He’s wearing another disguise. Go figure, eh.
What is the difference between a treaty and a trade agreement?
Treaty: an agreement under international law entered into by actors in international law, namely sovereign states and international organizations. A treaty may also be known as an (international) agreement, protocol, covenant, convention, pact, or exchange of letters, among other terms.
Trade Agreement: (also known as trade pact) is a wide ranging tax, tariff and trade treaty that often includes investment guarantees. -Source: interwebnet search
You know, I often think about the opposing voices regarding America’s entry into WW2. Some of those voices were against the US entering the war because (and I paraphrase) America is a business and war is bad for business. Other’s who opposed said that America is a place of playboys and ditch-diggers. That was then, this is now. Seems to still hold.
We are not only in a state of perpetual war but also in a state of perpetual business. Both have never been so good. Profits at most major corporations are through the roof. Shareholders in-the-know have never been more secure. Financial institutions have only once before been as free as they are today. Can you say: hey we’re in pre 1929 America? Indeed. The war machine, in its fight to control the world’s oil is in one hand. In the other hand, big corporations are trying to own everything in order to protect their interests. Enter TPP. When TPP is put into force–and mind you, it will eventually pass–an economic block will be established that has never been seen before. The participants of TPP will represent 40% of the world’s economy, if not more. I don’t know about you but that blows this worst-writer’s mind. All of the countries involved in this, of course, will be lead by the US. Or?
Ok. The ingredients of TPP is a secret. But some stuff is trickling out. Wikileaks supposedly has actual TPP docs, which I’m struggling to read through. A prominent US politician has even spoke out against TPP. And that’s all fine and good. But what is the true reason for TPP? I can’t help but scratch my head over this. One thing that comes to mind is the last time there was a two term Democratic president. Clinton pushed through a similar but smaller scale trade agreement: NAFTA. Now, there’s another two term democratic president and he’s pushing something similar but on a grander scale. When one considers the results of NAFTA, it’s not hard–secrecy here or there–to figure out what’s gonna happen after TPP.
As stated, the actual ingredients of TPP is a secret. It’s as much a secret as the ingredients of TiSA and TTIP. Confused yet? Ok. TTIP is TPP between the US and Europe. TiSA is a kind of tweak or cousin of TPP and includes a few more countries. If one looks at a map of who is involved in all this, one thing–at least in my worst-mind–stands out. Get ready for this one, baby.
None of these trade agreements–even though I think they are treaties (see definitions above)–include any of the big, cheap labor manufacturing countries. India is not in it. Brazil is not in it. And here’s the big one. China is not in it either. Wow! What can that say about these trade agreements? But let’s not stop there. There is one other significant country, albeit not a cheap labor manufacturing giant, that is also not included: Russia. I know that there is some kind of backdoor to let China and India in but why does it have to be a backdoor? And why is China holding out? And what about Russia? Seriously. What’s up with that?
Man, this is so crazy that I don’t know which way to turn. And that’s probably a good thing. Yet I can’t help but worst-conspire to think that these agreements are about something that is much less complicated than a bunch of confusing acronyms or difference between a treaty and a trade agreement. So how ’bout this? I think this is about the US saving face. America has to prepare for the not-so-distant future where empire either solidifies or dies. American corporations, in their obsession to go global and thereby maximise profits at the cost of American manufacturing and labor, have realised that they have to do something to protect themselves. I mean, come on. TPP proposers aren’t stupid enough to forget that other people on this planet can actually think–unlike most voters in the US. The game they’ve played so far was enabled and facilitated by US law and, more importantly, US political ideology. That “political” game has not been played in other countries.
Enter: Neoliberalism. There are a few things neo-liberals didn’t plan for:
they didn’t think they’d be so successful so fast,
they didn’t think it would be this easy to inject political ideology into the #american mindset that would pave the way for so much corporate success
and they didn’t expect the rest of the world to catch on so fast to the lie of the #americant dream.
Neoliberals have kicked some serious ass in the past thirty or so years. Give them and yourselves a hand, suckers!
But what about this TPP stuff? Well, how ’bout this. TPP is really about America posing an ultimatum to the world it has molded. Are you with us or are you against us? (Sound familiar?) You decide peoples and countries of this earth. Whose side are you on? But before you make your decision, heed this: Don’t think you can fuck with us. We gave this planet, this earth-place, business, commerce and the lust of consumption. If you want part of that, pick your friends carefully. Once you do that, all that is left is to keep your people, your new & improved proletariate, from getting in the way. National laws, rules, regulations–they don’t interest us. We took care of laws, rules and regs back home, so don’t think you can pull that krapp on us. If you don’t like the pollution that comes from the manufacturing facilities that make stuff, fuck you! If your cheap labor dies while sewing sneakers for those who can buy them, fuck you! If you can’t stop your people from stealing movies over the interwebnets, Mickey Mouse will come and… fuck you! Etc., etc. Try getting out of the middle ages in the next millennia because like the last millennia this one is ours. You’re welcome people of earth. Until then watch us light you on fire with stuff.
Now! Go dream about buying an iPhone and shut the fuck up.
There really is something to being worst-writer, the grand expatriate, viewing home (that I miss so much) from these thirty-thousand feet(s). Or as others may put it: I view my home from outside its bubble. Yet. It always pains me, even after all these years, to watch–from this view–my favourite place in the world go down the shit-tubes because so many #americants are, obviously, incapable of grasping … the obvious. With that in mind, let me toot my own horn. I knew by the end of the 80s that Reaganomics was going to be an unmitigated disaster. I mean, I didn’t know it intellectually–I wasn’t that smart then–but I knew it in my heart. How did I know it? Reaganomics unleashed something. It unleashed something that was lapped up without question, without consideration, without contemplation. I entered the pseudo-realm of adulthood at that time. Never in my wildest youthful dreams could I have imagined the true face of greed, selfishness and ugly that by nineteen eighty-five had overcome a nation of wannabees–all of whom were actually poor but believed, because of THE DREAM they were sold, that they too could be (something akin to) millionaires SOMEDAY. By nineteen eighty-nine I jumped that fucking batshit ship. Europe was such a relief to me. There was no more everyday bullshit-talk about how much money do you make, what kind of car do you drive or someday I’m gonna make it big. There was just living and letting live. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not tootin’ Europe’s horn here. Indeed. Worst-writer has coined it’s true name/designation: #eurowasteland. (All one needs is to look at what’s going on with Greece right now.) But that’s neither here nor there. And so. Worst-writer has been in #eurowasteland for a quarter century. The whole time I’ve also been watching, reading, doing my best to maintain some kind of connection to … my home. With everything I see, though, there is more often than not a tear or a scream. For example: Faux Newz. Seriously. Say what you will about the GOP and its ability to propagandise at a level that makes Goebbels laugh in his grave–and that has obviously helped in making the GOP such a powerful force in maintaining Reaganomics. And keep in mind, I completely missed the Faux Newz phenomenon since I expatriated a few years before it went on the air. Yet when I hear what comes out of this “network” I cringe more than ever. It amazes me that this network can even exist along side the batshit of Rush Limbaugh. Or maybe it shouldn’t amaze me. Nomatter. And what about the cult of debt that #americants gave in to as Reaganomics kicked in? Every time I went home to visit friends or family, I was shocked to learn how much people have in credit card debt. When I left #americant you could still finance a car for four years and pay it off. Wow! And speaking of debt, dear worst-reader. Get this. Other than a three year loan that I paid off in two years and the waste-of-time college loans that I paid off in five years, I have been debt free my entire adult life. Let me rephrase that. Even though I have several credit cards, I pay them off every thirty days. I only use them as a convenient form of payment–not as a means to consume. But I digress. I could go on and on about the dysfunction of #americant that so many Americans are obviously incapable of understanding–that I witness from these thirty-thousand feet(s). Which brings me to the vid above and whether or not Reaganomics and its cult of credit/greed/death might actually, finally, be confronted as it should have been thirty-plus years ago. Indeed. Bernie Sanders seems to be nailing it. Yet I can’t help but wonder if he can actually pull this off in a country that, after all these years, has failed to see through Faux Newz–that shouldn’t even be on the air–and still consumes as though credit cards are earned money. Oh well. Go COMRADE Bernie. Rant on. -Tommi
Let us take a moment, dear worst-reader, to contemplate the dilemmas of the few & far-between. Or, as I like to put it: let’s have a go at the problems of the Autobahn bourgeoisie. For it is that time of season once again. Like the periodical cicada I experienced in my youth, it’s a good thing the season I’m referring to here doesn’t happen regularly. Those cicadas were a bitch, especially if you drove a motorcycle. Getting hit with a flying cicada while driving fifty-five mph on a Honda is nothing to shake a stick at. Nomatter. Continue reading “Troubles Of The Autobahn Bourgeoisie”→
At about 6:20 in the vid #BernieSanders starts talking about #despair. Not sure what it’s supposed to mean, though. This connection I have to #despair. Could it have something to do with (being) worstwriter? Nomatter. After honourable Mr. Sanders said that… I really started to tune-in (to the vid). Reason? That’s exactly what I felt by the mid-1980s where I was supposed to have had an opportunity to have a future. Obviously, by the end of the 80s, I had learned otherwise. The corporatist state that had stuck it’s deep, poisonous tentacle-fangs into #americant was perfectly positioned to give us the 90s and, subsequently, the now. There are times I feel bad about giving up. And that’s what Bernie Sanders misses when he asks his audience to NOT GIVE UP. Or not to give-in to… despair. For me it was absolutely right to give up. Despair was my own. And by the looks of the audience in the video, my guess is it’s full of those who gave up, as well. (Except they still probably don’t even know it yet.) And just so that things are all cleared up. So that, dear worst-reader, there is no misunderstanding between us. Allow me to worst-write this: if I had to do it again, fuckin’ay Bubba I would! And so. Mr. Bernie Sanders. What are you offering to those of us and to those unborn giver-uppers who are forever? The thing is, in asking, as you do, your #americant constituents to not give up, do you actually have any idear who you are talking to? You are talking to the giver-uppers of the new world. You are talking to those who know nothing better except the opposite of not giving up. Do you know, Mr. Sanders, what the opposite of not giving up looks like? Well, I’ll tell you what it looks like. It looks like George Dubya (dipshit) Bush. It looks like Mitt (I never had an original thought in my life) Romney. It looks like an Orwellian state. There is in America nothing between men like Romney/Bush and the people you are addressing in your speech. Except money. Or a confused politic. AND YOU’RE GONNA FIX THAT?But I digress. §America used to be a land of doers. But now it’s not. Everybody–and I mean everybody–has given up. It’s what greed is all about. That’s the only way you can have a 1% and a fascist society (as opposed to a fascist state). It’s what living off of laurels is all about. It’s what (political) apathy is all about. It’s what the freedom to be stupid is all about. It’s what fighting wars-of-choice for oil is all about. Etc. Even though I respect what Bernie Sanders has to say, I would give-up again and again–if I had to face what I faced by the end of the 1980s in #americant. How is he going to help these people avoid it all over again? I mean, seriously. Is there a way to rid humanity of greed? Oh well. Maybe there is no avoiding it. Maybe there will always be the great American experiment in the form of: The greed culture (neo-liberalism), the death-cult (religious fanaticism), and the ramifications of conservative politics (which has turned America into a fascist society). It has all culminated to what is today, IMHO, the manifestation of (cultural, societal) despair. America was once humanity’s greatest experiment. Now it’s just a place of rich and poor cry babies. It was the united states of america. But now it’s a somber party of mediocrity, banality and Kim Kardashian. Indeed. §Bernie Sanders, a real outcast politician, catches my attention because he knows that there are many like me. Does that mean I should vote for him? Not sure. For. Mr. Bernie Sanders, we are… the give-uppers. We… the ones who said: fuck this bullshit are all alive and well (somehow; and what a price we have paid). How are you gonna fix that? And so. I’m not sure any of us should really care at this point. Or. Should we vote for a man who appears out of the blue. Vote for a man who appears to speak a language (the language of despair)? I suppose some of Bernie Sanders’ rhetoric makes sense to millennials. But millennials are far away from holding power in America. Their election of Barry Obama should prove that! Bernie Sanders makes sense. But what good is that when you can’t buy anything with cents. Or something like that. Good luck suckers. Rant on. -Tommi
Visit winding down. Leave tomorrow on latenight flight. First time departing my beloved former home at 20:30 hours. So. With that in mind. Let me try to summarize this visit. I’m confused more than ever about being an expat, visiting (former) home. Even though I’ve seen mother several times since August 2014 and death of stepfather, this is the first time I’ve accepted her being a widow. Not sure why that’s worth mentioning. I guess the word “widow” is just strange to me. Stepfather not being here is strange, too. §Reason for this visit? The old sea-beaten house is holding up, still in pretty good shape. The roof is done and should last another five to seven years before further maintenance; next inspection in three years. Weeds and erosion biggest problem around this house. Shocked and itching after finding some poison ivy growing in one of my mother’s bushes. Tried to plant some new grass but I fear the soil is too sandy. I think mother should hire someone to come out and redo front yard totally. Get rid of old top and replace with fresh soil and new grass, preferrably from seeds, not sod. Mother doesn’t want to spend the money–as usual. And to do the lawn right would mean a longer visit than two weeks. Getting rid of old soil and ingrown weeds would take more than a week. §Tommi’s todo list. Shopping for old Germany: done. Got son new Chucks in leather (cool). Have wife’s “American” cooking ingredients, blouses, quilting fabric, etc. Got a few shirts and pants, socks for myself. Added some funds to local bank account which is solely used for US iTunes account.
§Trivia. Found an interesting ancient magazine/cookbook titled: The German and Viennese Cookbook. It has one hundred forty seven German and Viennese recipes. Pic at top is from inside of title page; pic above is of confusing translation that the Canadian publisher might have gotten wrong–more on that in a sec. All recipes are in English but the German translation of recipe name is in parentheses. Quick Coffee Cake is Blitzkuchen. Orange Coffee Cake is Apfelsinenkuchen. Breaded Veal Cutlets is Wiener Schnitzel. Drop noodles is Spätzle. Potato Pancakes is Reibekuchen. And this one I did not know. Honey Cakes is Lebkuchen. I always thought Lebkuchen is Gingerbread. Indeed. Lost in translation. It even has a German index to better help one find those fancy foriegn named dishes. Actually “fancy” is wrong word. All the recipes are staple recipes. Nice find. §Futher contemplation of visit. This question follows me this visit: Could I live here again? Could I go about this place as though that quarter century never happened? Of course not. Silly proposition. So I just come every six months to visit mom. Feel like aforeigner in my country of birth. And so. Every visit is mother’s day now that she’s a widow. Speaking of which. §She’s ready for summer. Next visit from sister in August. She will take care of what I left behind or her share of yard work–hopefully. § Misplanned this trip and other countries don’t have so many commercial, i.e. go spend money days. Mother’s Day. Muttertag. I’m usually confused about these typically American commercial days. You know. Valentines. Halloween. Mother’s Day. Just another reason to spend money that no one has. Seriously, dear worst-reader. Like never before–if I ever understood it–I don’t get how people live here. I mean, how do they survive in this environment of political ignorance and contempt? Perhaps I should just keep the worst-conversation to asking how do they (#ameriants) spend? For spending is everything here, is it not? So I’m wondering what do they spend? Money in the form of credit. Or cash? Like the other day. I bought flowers. Two sets. White roses and a bouqet of other colorful flowers. (Slow motion on.) Six white roses cost fifteen dollars. The bouqet ten dollars. (Slow motion off.) And they don’t even look that good. Highway robbery of the highest order. But that’s all there is. Highway robbery and poor consumer choices and profitable pseudo-celebration days for retailers. May cynics everywhere abound. Nomatter.
§As I was failing to worst-write, there’s a difference between Mother’s day and Muttertag and a society that can’t spend its way out of the wet pap0er bag it’s stuck in. But what am I saying? Where do I live? What place have adopted as my (not so new) home? The Teutons have been so Americanized with a Micky-Dees on every corner and a new mall on almost every corner. I’m starting to wonder about whether or not my expatriation is complete. Obvioulsy I want to celebrate Mother’s Day but I feel compelled to celebrate something else. The demise of culture? Cultivation? The sheer vastness of commercialized life. As though there is nothing else left to be said, done. Oh. Where are the old days that I no longer yearn for? Rant on. -Tommi
There are moments worth standing up for, embracing, putting on a history list. Even when one is sitting comfortably in her/his Audi A4 AllRoad. Btw. Have I mentioned how über-expensive Audi is? I mean, when you consider that VW is the basis for this car and that the two are equally stalled in the world of car development and the confusion of plastic and über-plastic and the fact that without both Porsche would probably fold up like the tongue of a fresh ninety-year old corpse left without burial… Or maybe not. Ok. Enough of my worst-writing about made in Germany cars. And I admit my Audi does drive pretty good. Although I wouldn’t recommend the AllRoad if you want a smooth ride. It’s a bit rough compared to the standard A4 Quattro–especially at higher speeds. The supercharged transmission that comes with the unter-charged turbo diesel V6 also makes the car feel like a tractor more than it should. Even though the car has four drive settings, i.e. comfy, economic, dynamic and whore-rant, not one smooths out the rough and vulgar transmission. In low gears at low speeds you can feel every gear change. And that fly-by-wire steering doesn’t make things better either. Of course there’s much to be worst-said about the tech-specs of this car, of which there are numerous, but I won’t bore you with them now. Because I want to mention how poorly the multi-media-interface works with iPhones. Even though the navigation system cost us two arms and three legs I rarely use it because it just doesn’t compare with how well Google Maps or Apple Maps works on my iPhone. I don’t use any of the music system because, well, it works like krapp–or like Windows95. Of course the dealer says that an update would improve the MMI and navigation system but then tells you how much such an update will cost. Oh well. So much for buying something that no one can or should afford–unless they have money to burn. It’s just that I don’t like burning it. And so we all make our sacrifices. What are yours? With that in mind, allow me to move on to the gist of this worst-post. Most modern German cars don’t seem to have enough wasted technology that bores the krapp out of owners. In fact, there’s so much tech-krapp in my Audi that I’ve found the ultimate solution for using it: DON’T USE IT. Seriously. As much as I can I do only one thing and one thing only with my Audi. I drive it. After I drive I park it. Then I forget it. So. The other day my better-half sent me this pic and I kinda freaked out. A message was sent out on the German TMC system and our car radio received it. I’m so glad she was able to take a pic of it, too. Btw, TMC stands for traffic message channel. TMC is typical waste-of-time technology that #Germania is full of, especially when it comes to cars. The idear is that you can send digital data over standard radio frequencies. Like most technology, though, greed is inherently attached to it so the cost of implementing it always prohibits it’s usefulness. First, even if it works, who is gonna pay the cost of the content? Second, what content should be sent on it? Obviously TMC could be a great method of informing drivers about traffic. But it’s been around for (insert # here) of years and I can’t remember the last time I saw something on it that was useful. Again. Technology can be great but not when it’s in the hands of those who are clueless–like the engineers at Audi. They know how to make a cars but they are ignorant to the bells & whistles. But I’m worst-rambling again. Nomatter. The B166 is a short highway east of Berlin. According to the TMC there was “gunfire” on the road. Process that for a moment. Pacified Germania is turning into the wild west? Now, keep in mind, our Audi’s radio receives the TMC via German radio waves. That’s right. The German’s own radio waves. (Stop laughing.) Radio in Germany is über regulated. Our Audi, at the moment of reception of this message was near Cologne. Where the hell did the message come from? You can’t receive radio from Brandenburg in Cologne. Oh well. This is what happens when technology and engineering is a lifestyle choice, i.e. serves no real purpose. I guess. Rant on. -Tommi
There is a horde of people all in the same place, all saying the same things, all wearing the same stuff, all eating equivalence, etc. Equivalence tastes good, btw. But there are also levels of good. More on that in a sec. For most this place of samethingeverything would be the ultimate collective paradise or perhaps utopia. For expats, like worst-moi, this is a German resort club. It is one of many resort clubs that fill the Fernweh need of Das Volk and also provide an adequate amount of entertainment that an otherwise diligent/assiduous/hardworking people could not get back home. This offering of relaxation-industry, btw, comes from the fact that Germans don’t really have a country where they can just kick back, pop open a can and head down to the local Disney World. No. Indeed. Germanin need to get out from underneath the machine of the country they have built. They need to expose their organs, a few times a year, to the other workings of this planet that isn’t about chemical factories, auto industry, Autobahn mismanagement, etc. And so. I feel obliged every so often to come to these artificial places that fulfill such a collective need so that I may sit in collective dinner halls, perhaps not unlike, as the Romans would have put it back in 67.5 B.C., with the teutonic barbarians of the past who did the same thing in their mead halls, and get me fill of–having gone native. Going native, btw, is a termed used by nationalists of whatever nation to describe expats who have turned, who have jumped ship, who have left the nest for another nest, etc. Going native is not as simple a concept as it once was, though. Back in the day, don’t you know, when Henry Miller did it, and before globalization turned the western world into a milling shop where most humans are scrap wood, going native meant just taking a wife from the country you went to. Ok. Maybe it also meant learning the language. But today, again, due to globalization, it can’t mean that anymore. For one thing, it can’t mean that because there are so many people that are forced to leave their countries because those countries have so perfectly commoditized opportunity. Yes. Good old-fashioned opportunity. What happened to it dear worst-reader? Did it leave me or did I leave it? Did it go to that great relaxation resort in the sky where “good” doesn’t have levels anymore? You know, where good is simply as good as it gets–because excellent just isn’t in the cards at this price category? Obviously I don’t know the answer to any of that. But I do know that good cooking at these Germanin resorts differs greatly and with this visit, in this little corner of a Spanish island, this level of good is hard to beat. I have completely fallen for the olives here. I can’t stop eating them. The oranges too. They’re both like fruits of the gods–compared to the stuff we can get back in Colonia. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I know where to get good stuff. It’s always a drive or three away but get I can. Yet when we come to a place like this and all I want to do is eat the olives and devour the oranges… Nomatter. I have gone native and that’s ok. There is no turning back for me after this past quarter of a century. I have learned to live with my decisions. But something always happens when I’m exposed to those natives in an intensive way. Something clicks in me and suddenly everything in the dinner hall starts to turn, romp and rumble.
Conversations in the Germanin mead hall on a Spanish island in the Mediterranean while taking a quick, extended weekend from industrialized hell that is the Colonia Bay.
Scene: Dinner (in the mead hall). Hundreds of real natives gather to fill their bellies with all-included chow and drink. There are no seat assignments so it’s come early, first serve. Who sits with you at these tables is left up to the Thor god or any other Germanic deity or the amount of seating made available. Two middle-aged women decide to join us after having broke the ice the day before at lunch in the same hall. One of the ladies brings a part of the newspaper she was reading before dinner. The article in the newspaper obviously caught her attention. Conversation ensues.
Germanin 1: I just finished this article.
Tommi: What’s it about.
Germanin 1: That guy who murdered a hundred people while he worked at a hospital.
Tommi: Oh yeah. I heard about that guy. Why would he do something like that?
Germanin 1: That’s the thing, isn’t it? Why would anyone do something like that? For the the heavens I do not know. But this reminds me of why people with any sort of power need to be checked.
Tommi: Power? He was a nurse. Didn’t he think he was putting people out of their misery?
Germanin 1: You see, that’s it. People believed that. But I just finished reading that this guy did it because he wanted the attention.
Tommi: The attention?
Germanin 2: Yeah. And there is a power a person like that has over a whole family.
Germanin 1: The people get sick and are made to think that the system will make them well, or at least make them healthy, and what happens? A nurse comes around who sees how these families react to the staff that work at these hospitals and thinks that he can do more than just help the sick.
Germanin 2: Can you believe that?
Tommi: He’s nutbag. We have them all over the place in the US. There was this guy called Doctor Death. Kevorkian was his name. He got his kicks helping people die.
Germanin 2: Yes. I heard of him. But he was assisting people that wanted to die.
Tommi: Oh yeah. I guess you’re right.
Germanin 1: There is a big difference, you know. This guy was about power, I tell you. He was after something else. Something else.
Tommi: What something else?
Germanin 1: It reminds of the power priests have. You know. The priest pedophiles. They have a power over the powerless, don’t they?
Germanin 2: And that’s where this guy was heading. He wanted to be powerful over others.
Tommi: Are you sure about that? Sounds like a just another nutbag to me. Remember those two guys in Germany a few years back when the one guy wanted to be eaten by the other? And it really happened?
Germanin 2: Yes. I remember that.
Tommi: I mean, that really happened. Nutbags, I tell you.
Full stop for now.
Long story short. Three other people got up and left us. We thought they were refilling their plates with food. But they never returned. I wonder why.
And now, dear worst-reader, let’s take a moment and give a listen to how the other part of the western world’s pseudo-democracies are viewing z’Germans.
“For the German people and their leader to work out a political strategy that has them encouraging people to think of southern Europeans as lazy and not working and somehow deserving of a different way of being handled as people in the north… Whoa! That is a very dangerous game to be playing. And for a politician who is smart–and Merkel is–this must be a sign of… Whoa! Have I got problems. There is austerity in Germany. The working class is not happy. It has prided itself on being better off than the southern Europeans. Not the least little factoid: If Syriza raises the minimum wage–to 750/month–it will mean that the German working class will earn less than them. And that’s going to be very difficult to understand and to process.” -Prof. Richard Wolff, 1:18 of vid.
Well, I suppose one thing has come from the recent Greek elections. The (main) issue has been shifted, avoided, weaselled around once again. Off the table is the fact that there are simply a few bad apples in the barrel–and a few countries that exist in meritless, unjustifiable living standards that have been financed by corruption, greed and old-money for far too long. Basically, what that’s saying is: nothing has changed in #eurowasteland. Obviously Prof. Wolff thinks the situation is worth watching–closely! Good for him. I’ll just keep living in it. Rant on. -Tom
The mist of violence has cleared and I’m still pretty angry about thugs and guns and the vulnerability of artists. I’m ashamed to admit it but for the first time since the deadly farce of the western world’s war-on-terror, I actually felt a jitter of pro-violence-lust running through my veins as I watched the Charlie Hebdo tragedy unfold on BBC News. Was I the only one to yearn for a hero to save us from the bad guy? Is there no French Dirty Harry out there that could throw a storm on the perpetrator’s souls and rip evil apart with a forty-four magnum only to ask upon completion: Well, punk, do you feel lucky! (Boom!)
“These are artists,” I thought about the dead in that Paris office. They are thinkers and talkers and maybe wankers. They are dudes gifted with a very special communication skill. What happened to them made me scream in my third-eye inner soul, a painful scream. Then I thought of Salman Rushdie. I thought of the inquisition. I thought of Titanic, the German version of Charlie Hebdo, in which, btw, I was once mentioned when I produced my play Birdgames, hence I feel a special connection to satirical smart-ass magazines. But that is most certainly neither here nor there. By Friday my head started to clear and I realised that this act of “barbarism”, as the French Prez called it, might turn out to be something bigger than what we’ve all become accustomed to as we traverse useless-eating lives with consumption and wars of choice. But what kind of ‘big’ could this be?
Protesting with Apples.
It’s time to admit when I get something wrong. This past weekend proved that even I, your humble worst-writer, dear worst-reader, can get something wrong. In my post Poor vs Poor I said that protests don’t matter. After watching the Paris tragedy unfold, I’ve since concluded that there may be times when protests do matter–more on that in a sec. I mean, come on, did anyone expect those crowds in the French capital on Sunday? I remember being in Paris in the 90s and during my trip a convoy of tractor-trailers dumped a gazillion tons of Apples right in the middle of Place de la République. It was followed by what seemed like thousands of regular farmers who were showing their eurowasteland solidarity with the apple farmers and they all marched and closed down roads and metro stations–which were at the time my only source of travel. The experience taught me 1) to navigate through Paris on foot and 2) that in the US general strikes are illegal. And get this. This past weekend, while France was showing the world what humanity is capable of–as opposed to #americant showing the world how humanity (over)reacts–my wife and mother were in the middle of it all. Seriously.
Mom sees Paris.
Although we battled on Thursday in the aftermath of Wednesday about proceeding with our plans, we didn’t cancel the trip that would show my mother Paris for the first time in her life. My wife had been planning it for months as a way to help consul my mother in her mourning. Terror attack here or there, by Friday morning they both were on a train, as scheduled. Even though I was planning to utilise the weekend alone to worst-write, I spent most of it watching the drama unfold and wondering if I sent the beloved women of my life into a war-zone. Luckily all went as planned. Mom saw the Eiffel tower. She got to take a wonderful dinner cruise on the Seine. She shopped on the Champs-Élysées. The only problem they had was, once Sunday rolled around, getting their train back to Cologne. They had no chance of taking the metro on Sunday. The French capital had been shut down by more than a bunch of apple farmers. Luckily, since my wife’s company is based in Paris, she knows her way around the city better than I do. So they had to navigate by foot the three kilometre trek to Gare du Nord. They made it about seven minutes before their train was to depart. In the mayhem my wife even adopted a British couple along the way as they were caught in the same tourist predicament. All in all, it was a great weekend. It was a dream come true for dear old mother.
Which brings me to a hypothesis: Americans don’t know how to protest. Nor do we know how to strike. Why is that? Heck, above and beyond dumping apples all over their capital, the French are even capable of dumping shit on it too. These wondrous acts of French protest, which obviously have an effect on how a country is run, are not conceivable in the United States. Why is that! Is it because the US is a place where its people want to be ruled and France is place where its people want to rule?
The Code of Federal Regulations declares “encouraging others to refuse to work, or to participate in a work stoppage” by prisoners to be a “High Severity Level Prohibited Act” and authorizes solitary confinement for periods of up to a year for each violation. The California Code of Regulations states that “[p]articipation in a strike or work stoppage”, “[r]efusal to perform work or participate in a program as ordered or assigned”, and “[r]ecurring failure to meet work or program expectations within the inmate’s abilities when lesser disciplinary methods failed to correct the misconduct” by prisoners is “serious misconduct” under §3315(a)(3)(L), leading to gang affiliation under CCR §3000. –Source
Ok. A strike for higher wages and better working conditions isn’t the same as mass protest. Or is it? At the least, being able to perform both means that Das Volk at least knows how to come together to say SOMETHING. And. According to latest news reports as many as two million people were in Paris on Sunday. Isn’t that a record of some sort? Does it equal the Arab Spring protests? What about the 2003 anti-war protests where the biggest crowd was in Italy? (Here, btw, is a list of mass gatherings if you’re interested.) With that in mind, allow me to focus on my beloved united mistakes.
How many people protested during the Occupy Wall Street thing? A few thousand? Heck, more #americants gather for ball games then they do for political games. But not all is lost. There was one mass gathering in America’s recent history that might, in some way, equal what just happened in Paris. Ironically it was organised by American Muslims, The Million Man March. At the least, it need be worst-said, Americans do not know how to communicate as a whole but France might have just offered an example of how to change that. And so, the American way, The Dream, once again is forced to ride bitch in the backseat of the world stage. Add to that the fact there were no US dignitaries or politicians in the Paris march! Wow. But I digress.
Vive la France.
Indeed, dear worst-reader, protests do matter. But they only matter if the essence of the protest is about something good. Hence the recent anti-muslim protests in Dresden, which I’ll get to in a sec. I was deeply moved by France’s response to the horror. It was a moment that reminded me when asked what place is my favourite in all of Eurowasteland I usually respond thus: after living as an expat for a quarter century the only place I’d rather be is back home near the Chesapeake Bay. But if you were to ask me what European country I admire the most my answer would be France. Why? Well, that’s another worst-post. But in short. My reasoning goes back to what little I’ve read about revolution, hereditary monarchies, world wars, etc. France seems to have dealt with all the above in a way no other country has. But I suppose that is a can of worms I should try to keep closed for now.
I no speak French.
Let’s summarise how America reacts to the ramifications and/or blowback of politics that is in such contrast to the French. First. There is never any soul searching or anything cognitive when it comes to dealing with our politics and especially our foreign policy. All we ever do is react and we do so in the name of money, oil and empire. The proof is in the pudding. Second. Anyone wondering, hypothetically, of course, what would America do if a bunch of terrorists flew planes into the twin towers of lower Manhattan? Would we protest out on the streets and demand Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité? No. Of course not. We don’t even know what those French words are. Well, maybe we know something about liberty but our version does feel a bit skewed these days. Equality? You mean equality in the sense of race and/or wealth? Yeah, right. And as far as fraternity goes, we only know it as another form of baby-sitting-institution at universities where a nation of infants can be maintained and nurtured to live life in the blissfully ignorant realm of the sophomoric.
Indeed. Dear worst-reader. When America responds to horror we do it with more horror. We immediately reach into our chest of mass murdering gadgets and start a fucking war. We also suspend Habeas Corpus, one of the pillars of our founding as a nation and thereby open an illegal prison camp to house unjustly held “combatants” in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. We then continue degrading what is already a degraded justice system (because it is owned by neo-liberal politics) and turn over the running of the world’s largest economy to the military with the enactment of The Patriot Act–which, simply by its name, means that the dumb-downed of Nation won’t question it. Then we proceed to begin the single largest government expansion in our history by creating new agencies aptly titled “HOMELAND” and “TSA” which in turn eases the process of militarising the police and making people take off their shoes in order to board airplanes. Oh, and let’s not forget the hoarding of the treasury by war-mongers so that a few can profit from killing hundreds of thousands (millions?) of Arabs thereby exerted full spectrum control over the natural resources of this earth and even squashing the dreams of fledgling countries trying to build their way out of the rubble of the cold war. And then…
Stop. Breath. Pause.
Ok. I’ve spread delectable butter over France and vilified my beloved home enough. As glorious as the French people were on Sunday, the recent horror followed by a magnificent display of human solidarity was hijacked by the scum of the earth. See pic at top of this post. Yes, the ruling elites of Eurowasteland really thought that no one would see what they are up to. The pic above makes it all quite obvious. They are hugging NOT because of the horror created by terrorists but over the power that this will give them. They are hugging in relief that maybe now, finally, they can start to take blind action like the US has done–and thereby start profiting, like the US, from war, death and destruction. Merkel is whispering sweet nothings into the continents luscious melting Brie ears where the white man can finally relax about being white and smell is own garlic armpits as the rest of the world, mostly in the form of immigrants that have come to continental shores because of Europe’s horrific colonising past, can face its wrath. For it must be said, dear worst-reader, Xenophobia is a catch-phrase now that certain peoples of Europe are waking up to certain realities. Whether it’s protests in Dresden, which are for hating people, or strikes in Greece, which are against the casting out of young people from society because old people won’t pay their dues. These people, these politicians, will do nothing but cause more havoc. Thanks to horror. (I guess.)
That’s not saying that I don’t like Angela Merkel or this rather obscure and odd French president. But I do worst-wonder if they are setting up their own Euro Patriot Act right now? The chants of freedom of speech, cloaked as Je Suis Charlie have been already drowned in Europe’s history of hate-mongering. I’ve been living in Eurowasteland far too long and I know what these people are, what they are capable of. Living over here has also shown me exactly where America and other geo-politics have their origins. Whether we’re talking about colonies, slave trade, greed and exploitation, I know where it all stems from. Europe is truly the centre of modern world history. It is also the cesspool where humanities darkest nightmares have brewed and GERMANated (pun intended). Only in the destruction of the idear that is Europe has anything decent ever evolved from it. America is a good example of this–even though it’s currently heading down the same history as its parent. And what about India? Or the various countries in Asia? All former colonies that have found a way to free themselves of pure Euro evil. Which brings me to Das Volk.
As Eurowasteland rulers fill backrooms of government centres to extend power over the horror, they will do so by avoiding the obvious, as Europe has always done. They will not face things like the xenophobia that is part of the horror, that is what made the newest three French martyrs. The reason I call it Eurowasteland is because I am one of the millions and millions of immigrants who happen to make it to these shores. I can say without haste, without remorse, without pause: if you ain’t born here to the white Euro soul, you ain’t gettin’ in. Of course, Europeans would argue that it is possible (to get in). But they only say that because of how aware they are of taxation and income redistribution that pays for it. Yes, dear worst-reader. Even though I am a privileged American immigrant in Europe I am not Euro-blind to reality. And now it’s time to keep an eye on what Merkel & Co. will do.
The Horror. The Horror. The Horror. -Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando), Apocalypse Now
The subtitle of this post is: When Protests Don’t Matter. Yes, dear worst-reader, I’m a very negative person. Thank you for asking. Yet. With that said, allow me, behind your back, to (re)define negative. The reality is, negative these days has little to do with the opposite of positive. Besides, it is the same idear when it comes to love. Defining, that is. Love is most certainly (these days) not the opposite of hate. (It is, in fact, the opposite of respect–but that’s another worst-post.) In biological terms, being negative is 1) basically defined as the opposite and or the same-difference as the results of a Playboy centerfold questionnaire; 2) the only way to get across those few & far between worst-thoughts I have on a daily basis when I read the news about this or that. Which brings me to the bullshit of today’s newest news. It also gives moi the opportunity to redress both my born heritage and my expat heritage. For today, dear worst-reader, I must say something extra negative about what’s going in my grand united mistakes of #americant AND my not-so grand #eurowasteland borough of Germania. It is the issue of poor vs. poor. Never before has there been a better time to see this on such a grand scale as it takes place in all walks of life and in all corners of hemispheres–almost as though every western nation-state has a Roman colosseum filled to capacity to witness the spectacle. This is, of course, not the first time we have the opportunity to view the poor vs. poor battle. You know. It happened at the end of the cold-war. It happened again at the outbreak of human hysteria on 9/11. And now, due to wars-of-choice, debt ridden economies and frightened rich people, we are in the/our colosseum again. And so. Whether in the form of meaningless protests in Dresden or inane protests in NYC, nothing has ever mattered so little in this poor vs. poor battle than the idear that humanity can be tolerant and/or just. Indeed. Dear worst-reader. Here we are. And just like before, just as always, as it passes and we leave the colosseum to pee, will we face up to what we are given to see? E.g. Young pin-stripe Germans saying they don’t want their country Islamised. Or NYC police saying they matter more than the young, mostly black men they murder? Yes. The answer is in our history. Which means, the answer is NO! Just as before, why would/should we face up to the reality of what we all WANT? We want to live in neo-feudalism. We want to be ruled by men and not by law (or democracy). And we most certainly don’t want to look in to the soul of humanity that makes us (failed democracy) and our policemen (pawns of the men who rule us) look at what the real problem is. Isn’t it human nature to hate, to be intolerant, to pee between colosseum shows, etc.? Seriously. I’ve lived in Germany now for a quarter century. Other than the racial hate of my home country, I have never experienced so much intolerance than in Germany. Let me repeat that. Even though they’ve found ways to hide it, be subtle with it, Germans are as intolerant a people as they come. And. As far as #americant police protesting because two of their kind were gun downed–you’ve got to be kidding me! One of the reason I had NO quarrel with expatriating so long ago was the reality that the police were/are nothing but harbingers of oppression and misguided authority. When I was young, trying to deal with the advent of consume-to-survive in #americant, I never once felt protected or served by the police. In fact, when they stopped me at gun point because I fit some “profile” or pulled me over while they reeked of alcohol, it was very clear to me that the only way to deal with the police is to avoid them with every breath. And you know what the Stone’s sing: every cop is a criminal (and all the sinners saints). And so. Here we are, dear worst-reader. How’s your seat in the colosseum? Enjoying the (freak) show? You like watching Germans protesting who and what they are? Getting some kicks while NYC police are protesting their bread & butter? None of this makes sense and yet it is being taking so seriously. Just listen to the crowd of minions roaring. Good luck suckers. Rant on. -Tommi
Take into consideration, dear worst-reader, before you read the link below, that I am from Washington DC. I went to dumb-down school just south of the nations capital and my US address (when I’m in the US) is just east of it. I also lived in Virginia for a short stint of this/my useless-eating life. Boy, do I have a lot of memories of DC and its surroundings that date back to the 1970s. Of course, besides the contradictory feelings I have for it, recent years have proven to me that there is something to be said for outgrowing one’s home. Yet it still leaves me with regrets. For example, I was never able to actually live in DC. Although, even today, as an American Expat, so far away, I still dream about having a small apartment in Georgetown (where I worked), or living in a bigger place on Mass Avenue (where I had many extended stays with an old, dear friend.) Then there were the various bars and nightlife that twirled my world when I was young (I worked my first restaurant job in DC when I was 19). Of course, with every visit home from Eurowasteland, I always enjoyed a night out in DC. And let’s not forget the theatre scene on 14th street that I tried so desperately to be part of in the early 90s–but was profoundly rejected. Oh well. With all that nonsense in mind, DC is a pretty cool place. Yet the last few years that I’ve visited, one thing has stood out: the lie that is American’t development, particularly real-estate development. Two years ago on a visit I stood in awe in some areas of DC watching the construction of (what looked like) thousand unit condos. They were being built in huge lots in the middle of town or on the shores of waterways that surround the city’s south where old and dilapidated military facilities were dormant for years. Last year most of the construction was completed–and my jaw didn’t drop when I looked up real-estate prices. But I suppose for most not familiar with DC, the term ‘wow’ is an understatement when it comes to measuring the cost of life there. Luckily one of my friends got into the DC real-estate market twenty years ago. He’s now given up on DC and moved to some exotic asian place where he lives cheaply off rental income from his DC property. And when he says to me on one of our regular Skype connections that he doesn’t miss DC in the least, I’m not surprised. DC has changed, indeed. It has not changed for the better. That is of course an understatement but it also of no surprise. I don’t have a hard time believing my old friend. He needed a break from the town he grew up in. It had changed beyond him. It had become a kind of nemesis home. Indeed, dear worst-reader, it’s hard to face the reality of what’s become of what used to be an interesting town whose residents were always struggling to be part of an American metropolitan place and not just a homestead for military adherents and automaton bureaucrats. But none of that is worth giving much worst-thought. The thing to keep in mind when reading that a place like Washington DC leads the worlds greatest fail-upward nation in real-estate costs, is that no matter how expensive it becomes, no matter how much value the owners of capital get out of it, it will still be just a town built on a swamp in the middle of a nation divided by ignorance and reactionary (political) forces. DC will never be San Francisco or New York or any other ‘real’ metropolitan place. It will never give the world culture or creativity. It will always remain the shit-hole of world politics that has ruined life for generations to come. It will also be the centre of the cesspool that is both Maryland and Virginia, places that provide it all the inept minions that keep the cogs of the DC machine going. But I’m not bitter about it. Really. Rant on.
First, dear worst-reader, why is jet-lag when traveling from west to east the worst? Is it because of the strange “-1” designation on my travel itinerary? PHL > FRA on Monday afternoon but you arrive in the wee-hours on Tuesday morn at destination. I think I crossed six time zones. I’ve been doing it for twenty-plus years. There is no getting used to it. Yet when I go the other direction the lag is never so bad. The Mayo Clinic provides a bit of knowledge on the subject. For example, I didn’t know that you need one day of recovery for every time-zone you pass through. Nomatter. What the doctors and scientists forget to mention in their study is the fact that worst-writer has made a grave error in his life of travel and boredom. That means my body rejects the west to east travel mode. My body yearns and lusts after the opposite. But we are all condemned to our fate, right, dear worst-reader? Yes. There is fate. She is a bitch. And she becomes mounted and secured in your life when you do her wrong. Jet-lag is indeed like a life that sucks or a wife that doesn’t. Nuff.
Three pics in this post today, dear worst-reader. Pics that all have to do with the worst-subject at hand. I just got back from a month-long stay in my grand united mistakes of American’t. I can’t tell you how much I already miss her. Her smells. He tastes. Her ignorance. Ah! Ignorance. A pungent taste that one is. It’s like when you first smoke. Nasty. But once you get used to it, the sensation of inhaling enthrals. Don’t it? That small gesture of sucking on a fag and pulling him beyond the gag reflex. It is nice once you get used to it. It’s the kicker that you need. Inhaling. At least that’s the way it was when I smoked. But it was the taste of the cigarette that finally gets you. Right? At certain moments in life nothing can match the taste of a Marlboro. Not even the rawness of Red Man or a pinch of Copenhagen can match it. Btw, you wanna quite smoking? Just put a little pinch of tobacco between cheek & gum. It sure helped me. Move on.
Back to the pics.
The first pic (above) I took while visiting the American dream that you can buy for a discounted $75 per person. We got Busch Gardens tickets with %25 off. Lucky, eh. It was the third time I visited the park with my son but I’ve been there numerous times in the past thirty years. This was probably the last for me, though. Indeed. It’s time to stop riding roller coasters. I’m fifty now and flabby and getting old and I can’t (don’t want to) take the jostling, the bumps, the twists and the g-forces of those über-fun rides. It’s really enough now. I’ll also miss the bonding with my sixteen year old. He loves the rides as much as I did. And. Boy! The park has changed. For one, it’s no longer owned by a beer maker. It’s now owned by a company that traps orcas in order to train them to live in a pool and hopefully not kill their trainers. It hasn’t changed in the way it looks though. But then again, America hasn’t changed much in that respect either. You have to get close to it to see the changes–to see the drama of the change. Yes. Like the service industry driven country slash nation-state that America is now. Remember that change? Well, maybe you don’t remember that change because, well, because things didn’t go well with the change. For you see, America has become a service country not by choice but instead by coercion. And. As with most things coerced, the change has gone horribly wrong.
Now that American production has taken a back seat to the so-called service industry over the past thirty years, you would think that the rewards of having so brilliantly made such a change would shine bright. Dullness is proving its value now, isn’t it? And a place like Busch Gardens is indeed a mecca for those who still believe in The Dream that used to be industrial America. Just pay what you need to pay upon entrance and you will be serviced to the hilt with rainbows, purple unicorns, the luscious lie of family that is nothing more than an entity waiting for you to break it and, of course, wait for the entertainment to overwhelm and whisk who and what you are away for a least a few hours. For real. Ain’t it great what the American service industry can do? Go to an entertainment park, a theme park, roller coaster heaven and you will be shown that there is no facade and never has been.
Some between-thoughts and interjections about the demise of home.
I had to fill a bike tire with air during my recent USA visit. Luckily a gas station was nearby so I drove the bike there. Wow. Air cost money now. In fact, it cost seventy-five cents to put air in the tire of my bike. Why is it that I know, ever since becoming an expat twenty years ago, that gas stations have to resort to charging for air for bicyclists? Oh yeah, I know that because I haven’t had to fill a bike tire from a gas station in that long! It’s good to be reminded of change.
The last time I was at a cinema in the US they charged me extra for butter in my popcorn. The service-person at the country even frowned when I requested that she fill half the bag with popcorn, butter it, and then do the same with the other half. She was very confused if my request meant that I was getting extra butter twice.
There are now separate fast-lanes at amusement parks where customers can purchase a pass in order to get ahead of the crowd when boarding roller coasters and thereby avoid the longs lines. This is a way the greed mongers allow those with a little extra cash to get ahead of the crowd. Btw, the same applies to the huge parking lot of the park. Only if you pay extra for parking can you park near the front entrance. Otherwise you must take a hot and steamy bus to get to that entrance.
With the above examples in mind, let’s look at a few other ways that the greed-mongers will be able milk you in the future. For. Indeed. As American’t continues down its fail-upward path of putting the middle-class in its place–which it so deserves because only the middle class could politically chose the politics of its own demise–there are still endless ways to milk those who need to be milked and/or create much needed revenue streams to further the rich’s desire for the non-rich to remain stagnant and poor.
Restaurants will start charging for amenities at your table e.g. salt & pepper, bread & butter, knives and forks and spoons, napkins, etc.
How ’bout a few cents more for ice in your drink.
You’ll have to start paying extra for the paper that your professor gives his tests on and don’t forget the extra charge for the ink he uses when grading your papers.
Wal-Mart will charge you to use their shopping carts; they will also charge extra if they have to open another register because the lines are too long.
When buying roses you must pay extra if you want the leaves to stay on.
Wanna watch Netflix via your ISP? Just add another ten bucks to your monthly ISP bill, ditto for iTunes downloads.
When flying you must pay extra for wearing two shoes, to have a tray in front of you, to turn on your seat light, to have a stewardess come see you, to eat the wonderful meals they prepare and, last but not least, to travel with luggage…
Hold on there, skippy. That last one. The bullet-point about the luggage? That’s already happening–especially with most US carriers. And if you want to know how airlines get away with what they do to customers, all you have to do is look at what America has done to itself by continuing to elect conservatives. But I suppose you get my drift without me imposing all my political worst-views at you, eh dear worst-reader. Still. America has literally gone to shit in a hand basket (unless you can pay so that you don’t have to carry the basket) and after spending a month there it’s easy to tell why and how this has happened. From watching TV to listening to one of those robo-calls my mother gets a dozen times a day. It’s unbelievable what is tolerated in a society who has replaced all meaning, belief and faith, culture and merit with $$$. $$$ = everything! And. A simple day outing to bond with my son on a few roller coaster rides revealed yet another angle of the true face of what’s become(ing) of my beloved American’t. Indeed. This is what happens when everything becomes a commodity. And before I forget. The second pic (above) is a postcard my mother received in her mailbox. It has my mother’s (correctly written) first name printed on it to make it look like someone wrote it by hand. It declares my mother’s house “ugly” and thinks she shouldn’t fix it but instead sell it. Wow, eh. With stuff like this going on there really is some truth to the idear that not only the American apple barrel is rotten but because there’s nothing left in it everybody who can is still trying to scrape scraps from it. Which brings me to pic #3 of this post.
While scanning the channels the night before I was due to return to Eurowasteland, I came across the movie They Live. How appropriate. A movie, not unlike the movie Dawn of the Dead–the one where most of the story takes place in a shopping mall, which is a symbol for the consumption that is turning people into zombies–They Live is about what happens to a country that allows itself to be enslaved. But that’s neither here nor there, eh American’t? It’s always good to see my childhood favourite wrastlerRoddy Piper. Indeed, dear worst-reader. A wrastler tells the story of the demise of America. We are now officially a country where FAKE rules.
And before I return to my worst-daily routine of dreaming about being a writer. Here a clip from the Interwebnets where Bill Maher taps into my thoughts. Or is it I tapping into his? Nomatter.
Day before embarkation. Or is it disembarkation? Why do I always get those two screwed up? Oh well. Leaving home tomorrow morn. It’s time to go back to my other home, the expat home, reality. I guess. I’m a man of homes. And. At least I don’t shed tears about it (anymore). That’s the great thing about tears–and about multiple homes. You really can shed enough of tears and they also can wear out and the same goes for homes. But that’s not what we wish to worst-blog about today, dear worst-reader. At least not the tear part. No. Today we’ll delve in the realm of the misguided. No. We’ll worst-write about the doomed. Wait. Ok. Let me just say it. I’ve been home for almost a month now. The longest trip here in a few years. And what amazes me most about it? Well. It’s time to say a worst-word or three about… the stupid. That’s right. I’m leaving on a jet plane tomorrow to head back to the land of the socialists and no one will wonder if I’ll miss the land of the stupid. Am I being cruel? Is honesty cruel? Nomatter. Here’s what happened.
My family owns a house at the beach. Family is old and so is the house. This is the place they incorrectly decided to retire to and by doing so forgot that retirement includes getting old and decrepit, which doesn’t mix well with an equally old house at the beach–and salty air. You know, the salt air effects everything. It gets in it. It gets over it. The Atlantic, the grand bitch I will love just a tick less than my Ms. Chesapeake–she is omnipotent. Did I mention that everything is old and rotting from sea salt? Did I mention that it feels like everyone at the beach is old and rotting, too? (Including moi!) Back to the house.
The house, of course, is the center of everything. Since curiosity kills cats and head of family, Mother, is very interested every time a house is sold in or around our salty beach neighborhood. She doesn’t know why, but she also is familiar with current economy and housing prices–comparing both to balloons when she means bubbles. And. Isn’t real-estate a kind of new & improved American past-time anyway? Everybody dabbles in it, right? You know, like they used to dabble in the American Dream. You know, like baseball but with the speculation of predatory capitalism at your throat. Indeed. It is. Which brings me to post-nine-eleven and the Supreme Court electing a president that, lo and behold, says: go shopping, buy a house, consume, credit, be happy. And if the old folk would have sold the house a few years after the war mongers made that claim… Wow. We would have made out like speculative bandits! Anywho. With all that nonsense in mind, it’s time to start waking up to the ramifications of salty-air, really bad politics and stupidity.
Roll the dice.
Long worst-story short.
New neighbors bought house next door for an alarming low price. And that’s that. But at least they are a funny and happy bunch. The patriarch of the family took a few moments to wake up to me but he eventually did. About ten years my senior, he’s a construction contractor and obviously knows his trade. His wife commanded, upon purchase of house, that minor things get done asap. Like replacing all doors inside. Also. Fixing up kitchen by throwing out shelves and cabinets from the seventies. Then there was the flooring. He replaced the ragged carpet and put in hard wood floors. He and his large family did it all in a weekend. Pretty impressive. And to think on top of all that he was able to let me know how he felt about… Wait for it. Obama. Which set some floodgates off in my head. I couldn’t tell if he was serious or not. His wife, the matriarch of the crew, said he actually likes Obama. But his government hate-jokes could mean he goes the other way. But it did seem like I might have finally met someone down here that actually likes Obama. Which was strange enough for me. I have yet to meet anyone down here that likes Obama. Of course I know why everyone dislikes him–but I’ve already mentioned that this post is about stupidity. So let’s try once again to move on from the sadness I feel because no one will reciprocate my attempts at getting some Obama fist-bumps.
I explained to new neighbor that I’m a traveler and I’ll be heading out in a few days only to return within the next six months. Then I tried a political joke of my own. I said:
Say, man, since you like Obama and this whole neighborhood hates him, what do you say we tally our resources and be the first on the street, when November 2016 comes around, to put up matching “Hillary” signs in our yard. All the nutbag republicans in the neighborhood will shit bricks. What do you say?
There was a long pause. He turned to his wife and tried to grin lazily. Then he turned back around to me with no grin.
You’re not… serious are you young fellow. You live in Germany, right? What do you call it? Eurowasteland. Well that’s cute. But that makes you a socialist now. And this is America. I was just joking.
Ok. So they took me for a ride. The matriarch likes Obama but the patriarch just downright hates everything–especially everything government. And at that point I had had about enough. I turned to him and said:
You know. Some one’s got to say this. But. Yeah. I live in socialized Eurowasteland. That’s why it’s a waste. But get one thing straight. You dipshit Americans need to seriously get your heads out of your ass. You’ve lived your life, a few years longer than I, on the backs of the future you are in now. And all you can do is hate government and the president. Well that’s just fine. Go ‘head. But you do realize, even if you say that I live in socialism, that that’s technically bullshit. America is officially the best run socialized nation-state at this very moment. But here’s the thing about that. It’s not socialized for you. You get that, Patriarch. You’ve been left out of the socialism for two reasons. One. You’re not rich. Otherwise you wouldn’t be living in a fixer-upper at the beach and making krappy jokes about your government. And. Two. The reason American socialism is better than all others is because THEY have figured out how to make it work for the rich. Socialism is for the rich. Now take that and smoke it in your next night out bitching about the government that you made.
There was a short pause. I had created a scene. Again. Yeah, it’s my thing. Worst-scenes. I may live abroad, I’m an expat, but I’m always looking, yearning from there to here and not the other way ’round. Always. And it was obvious that the females of our new neighbors were taken aback with my little worst-speech. To make things worse, I dug up a short smile and tried to Obama fist bump everybody but was left hanging. So be it.
Above a label from one of four bottles of “Lisini” 1998 that I have rotting in my kitchen. That’s right. They are rotting. Once they were magical bottles of wondrous wine. Then the reality set in. To remind me of what Italian stuck-up wine makers have done to something as simple as wine, these bottles will rot till I throw them away with their un-open content. To hell with ’em.
Not sure what it is. The wine-thing lingers around me. And to think I/we spent less than a decade playing with it. You know. Driving to Tuscany at least once a year to fill up our Audio A6 with various bottles directly from the makers. Then we’d transport them via Swizterland, paying appropriate tax at entry, reclaiming tax at exit, etc. I never thought that something like wine would get old, though. I guess the drive there from Germania was a bore. But that ain’t all. Sadly. Boy did it get old. And not just any kind of old. It got ornery old. I almost hate wine these days. That doesn’t mean I don’t nip at it once a once. It’s just that I’m so cynical toward wine, wine makers, wine distributors, it ain’t funny anymore. It’s sad. Being in America the last few weeks grinds my bolts even more. The wine is even more stupidly priced here than anywhere else. I still don’t mind wishing that all them greedy, snobby, stuck-up wine makers drown in the mess they created–because they have turned wine into a commodity, which means it is handled like a commodity and also means that greed rules everything about wine. More on all that nonsense here.
The other day worst-writer got a request from old friend that moved from Wash DC to the Philippines. He moved because, like so many, he was/is fed-up with home. He had sold his business, broke up with wife and realized that all that was left was… Well, what is left for the few and the non-greedy in American’t? Nomatter. He couldn’t wait to find a way out after doing the right thing for so long and getting nothing for it. You know. Just like so many other Americans have to do. It’s called paying for your parents greed or paying for Baby Boomer comfort. Or something like that. And so. Getting a masters degree in History at fifty in the Philippines sounds like a pretty cool idear. The best thing about it is that he can easily afford it and live abroad for a short stint. What a great way to clear the head, eh! Get all the shit of American’t out of you. Purge. Start anew. Anywho. Years ago I would bring a nice bottle or three of stuck-up Eurowasteland wine for us to enjoy. The gathering involved some good looking company and some dastardly conversation that lead to all things intellectual and titalating. Or maybe not. But. The wine was good. So. To my surprise he sent me brief request for info recently. About wine. Even though he’s up-to-date on my cynicism. Obviously he’s got some dastardly things in-mind for the Philippines. Good for him. Here our brief exchange–for worst-posterity’s sake.
Old Friend: Hey worst-wine-drinker, i know someone going to Italy. Want them to pick up a couple bottles of decent, but not expensive (15 euros max per bottle) wine. Any suggestions. Reds of course.
Worst-Moi: As far as wine is concerned and as far as my cynicism about it, especially Italian wine, you probably couldn’t go wrong if you got a Chianti Reserve or any reserve wine. In my cynical opinion Italian and probably French wine makers are in deep trouble because they really pokered their prices high in the first decade of 2000. I’m not even sure of the prices anymore. As you may recall, I gave up on Italian wine a while ago. But the good thing is, like all things greedy, things never change! You might be able to get a decent bottle of wine for $15. But I think you’ll have to spend more for anything even half-decent. The best wine that I remember from the days I bought there is Brunello-Lisini. But very expensive. Sangiovese–which is the main grape in Chianti–is also very good and better priced. Wines from Moltepulciano are well known for being strong and robust–we enjoyed them. When in Italy, though, we only drank the expensive stuff on special nights–you know, the titallating nights. We sought out good, basic wines that locals drank. But here’s the thing about them. You know how certain things taste better when you have them where they’re from? Well, that applies to worker-wine in Italy. It’s like Chesapeake blue crabs probably don’t taste right in the Rocky Mountains. If that makes any sense.
So what’s up with this? You’re in an exotic place in the pacific and you want Euro-wines? Nip whiskey, man. I’m sure you can get some good whiskey there. If you get a good bottle of Maker’s Mark and nip at it–don’t just drink it–it’ll last a while and probably taste better than wine. Whiskey is probably better with the weather/climate there too. Hope this helps and doesn’t confuse.