Tuesday, 31 March 2009


As the nations of the G-20 meet in the Docklands, there are whispers are outright shrill cries for all sorts of dramatic changes to the world economy. One idea advanced in particular is for a new single world reserve currency to surplant the US dollar. Even though this fiat currency that some are calling the dey (dollar-euro-yen) is just as fictional as gold-pressed latinum, certain Armageddonists are calling this the latest sign of the beast--just like they did for machine readable bar-codes twenty years earlier. Jeez--these kids today and their y2k! Surely this bit of financial handiwork must be the tool of the devil--an invitation for us all to prosper or to suffer together. A universal currency, aside from edging out the usurers and market-speculators, is a bad idea, like pouring all one's water into a wide but shallow pan--the slightest wave and rumble is magnified and the the water spills over the edge. China and Russia, both advocates of the dey, are, at the same time, proponents of a return to the gold standard--that is, saying that money has value besides the fact that the respective governments say so, pixie dust and fools' gold, and having treasuries redeemable in some shitty old nuggets.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009


With moving day more than a month away, I feel I can take my time with the process and first repackage the rubbish that I've lugged across the earth, the what's out of sight or seasonal, before taking down any thing that is part of the landscape. So things looked untouched, unless one were to see the dozen boxes stacked in the extra bedroom and check in emptied drawers. Arranging objects in a safe way, wrapped in paper and bubble-wrap and cushioned with the odd pair of winter socks, sometimes I hum the Tetris tune in my head and think of ways to bettr place and rotate shapes. What would fit snuggly between the uranium glass platter and Villeroy-and-Boch antique porcelain mannequin arm? And then sometimes I take something from the visible population of the house. The amber hedgehog paper-weigt--or in this case, the little tiki idol with mother-of-pearl eyes and the Chinese Wise-Mens? Once safely packed, believe it or not, I notice thier absenses right away. One wouldn't think I would be so sentimental and bothered, having moved so many times in my life, in jobs, and with such antique, ancient things that have so far managed to survive and are not fated to crumble at my hand.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Who Put the Bomp in the Bomp sh'Bomp Bomp, who put the Ant in Antananarivo?

I realize that there are more serious goings-on with the Malagasy people, but I am an academic widow this week with H devoted to intense study and preparation--I am missing H very much--but I want to know what it is about Madagascar that puts them at liberty to have such fun and lyrical names. President Ravalomanana was deposed in a military coup and ceded control to a former DJ. Who was that man? I'd like to shake his hand. He made my baby fall in love with me.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

play of the day

Within the past few days, Sarkosy passed an initiative through Parliment with the intent that France re-join NATO in full. Four decades ago, de Gaulle withdrew from the treaty in kind, in part, that French soverignity no be in thrall to a foreign conglomate, feeling that the Soviets were entitled to a position other than adversarial in Weltpolitik and to keep open negotiations in case the Iron Curtain were to seep over in neighbouring West Germany. I can't get a read on Sarkosy's motivations for this change. Will France quarter a standing-army of Americans, like German, Italy and BeNeLux? Perhaps it is a quirk of timing that Russia is just now announcing its intention to revamp its military forces. That entity called NATO has always been antigonistic for eastern parts, and how is one to say whether Russia is bracing itself for some coming-skirmish over natural resources or girding itself for another Cold War?

Friday, 13 March 2009

This St. Patrick's Day--No one is more Irish than Barack O'Bama

So we should cease and detest in talking down the world economy? I am all for a hopeful note--cheer up world, it may never happen--but just because US president Obama said that the crisis is called off, that the situation is not as bad as it seems, does not mean that one ought re-join that orgy as if there were a morning-after pill for all contingencies. Now it seems almost a little offense, so yesterday, that the media are still taking about recession now having been banished. the Americans have a taste for phony crises, and there is just as much of a craving for the hollow reassurance. As much as I myself was a true believer, I must admit that the US has a penchant for electing good cheerleaders. With cursorary and short-lived attention, they may hope that flowers would be blooming, like with the groundhog superstition, and solve the economy, health care and housing in one blow. Not enough care paid to reform is much more dangerous in the long view, promoting unregulating policies that have no sense of good governance. All in all, maybe it's a good sign thatI can muster the wherewithal to criticize the US president. Better a better man.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

red menance

Rather than understanding the Swedish bank reform model--that Obama is eyeing, as remediation, Americans shudder, sometimes violently, that the banks are going to be nationalized, that America is on a slippery slope towards socialism. Media sources like to call it the "S-Word," I hate that--which s-word and why for are you afraid to spell it out? Socialism is always bigger than mere economy--more over, it is about public good and welfare, and I don't think America is under a serious assault from the forces of socialism. The only form of welfare that the US has mastered is the corporate kind, with bail-outs, kick-backs and rank protectionism. Revolutions were sparked in order to give the worke his and her share in the means of production. America does not make much, nowadays, the factories long since shuttered. There has not been a viable auto-industry or agricultural production in years. America is a highly abstract services industry. There will be no revolution for a stake in the loan underwriters' association or for the celluar service provider--it's not food on the table and it's not even the mobile phone, just the trafficking and the usury.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Morgen, Sam. Moin-moin, Ralph

Whether as an ice-breaker, small-talk or as a segue, Americans tend to ask strangers what they do for a living. That's a ham-fisted way of putting on in one's place. There is a saying that while Americans live to work, Europeans work to live. Remember these characters? Ralph, the wolf, and Sam, the sheepdog? I used to think about how they clocked-out when the whistle blew, no longer arch-enemies, whenever 16:00 cam around and I could hear the punctual clatter of my German co-workers as they took to the stairwell and out the door, right on the dot. Once, having stayed late myself during that week several times, H expounded on the rationale why that was. I had never shared the opinion that the majority of Americans hold that that shows lack of dedication, being kept on a pretty lax leash myself, and, unless it was an emergency (and there were few objective emergencies) anything could wait until morning--especially considering most of the administrative gate-keepers were German and had called it a day already. H explained that with any job, factory work or a more nebulous otherwise, there was an allotted amount to finsih one's assigned tasks--that people more expert than us decided what could be accomplished in a day and we were not the first to cycle through, and having to stay later either reflected poorly on the employee's ability or on the supervisor's for time-management.

Thursday, 5 March 2009


I have a poor sense of depth-perception, because I lack stereoscopic vision at most angles--a persistent but mild double-vision, which I've learned to cope with in most circumstances. I realize that that very tiny car speeding towards my bumper is, in fact, a normal-sized car at a safe distance. Yarrggg! I wore an eye patch as a child, hoping that my eyes might achieve normal equilibrium. I still, however, find many daily prat-falls that I can blame. I blame what H calls my shaving blind-spots, cat-fish whiskers that I never manage to scrape away, or the panicked state I get in when trying to park my mammoth car remotely close to any potential obstacle, walking into door frames and general clumsiness. I don't feel as if anything is truly inaccessible to me because of this, like an inmate of Flatland among hyper-dimensional beings, and I'm a pretty handy shot with a gun--just those magic-eye constructions--where Dragon-Jesus is supposed to suddenly jump out at one from the fractals, were always lost on me.

first estate

My global positioning navigator is a clever one, but it is guarded pessimistic. I understand that it dynamically analyzes my driving habits and regular route, to formulate an estimated time of arrival, which debunks the fact that everyone thinks I get to work on time. It's sort of like setting the time on one's bedside clock five to seven minutes ahead of the real, agreed-upon time rather than put one's alarm five minutes earlier. I feel misunderestimated. Conversely, I believe that a surprising amount of Americans, and by extension Europeans, are overtly optimistic about their future job-security. Polling-wise, maybe this happy third are exclusively among the ranks of civil-servants, proctors of higher-education, celebrities, and fast-foodiers, but the size of this figure is surprising. Given the ambious goals of the US to rescue housing, health care and the world economy, I wouldn't imagine that anyone would feel terribly safe. I've said before that the possibly Europeans held the naive view that because they did not cause this crisis, maybe they think they ought to not bear as great a brunt of it. There's no poll of global sentiment but everyone's beginning to take notice of furloughs and slow-downs. Neither is there a real sampling of the feelings of those who are waiting to find what lies at the rainbow's end of the Xings and Monster.com's of the world, sending their hopeful CV's into the internet and work-force blackhole, like messages in bottles.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

presenting a new month in honour of the god of war

Incidentally, more wars have historically begun in March. Are people just itching to fight after a long, bleak winter? I dread that, a bit, especially since the idea of war and struggle have been abstracted and institutionalized. When did that happen? Since when have our responsibilities shifted to hoping our a nationalistic sort of bail-out? Maybe the waiting would be better served by making a plan, devising a personal bail-out. One should ask when before did a glorious war target one's own petty tyrrants and arch-villans, and when has a pre-packaged survival kit satisfy every contingency. It is rather difficult to practice what I preach, however, not trying to do so makes the waiting, deux-ex-machina, merely that--waiting.