One of the most important days of my life in Germany, June 2008

January 29, 2009
oh yeah!

oh yeah!


Kafka

January 28, 2009

I had a very nice evening with Franziska.  We went to a place called Karma for dinner and then mosied our way across the street to the City Theater where we took in a Franz Kafka piece called “The Trial”, a existentialist tragedy in realist absurdism.  Originally a book, it is about a 30-year old guy finding himself arrested but he doesn’t know why.  He goes and meets various people in this building wherever he is and thinks it’s all part of this great injustice in his life.  Yet they let him out to work at his job.  Exactly a year after having been arrested, when he is 31, he might be arrested again and he kills himself.

The stagecraft definitely enhanced the performance which for me was often difficult to follow in German because of the purposely confusing speech by increasingly wacky characters, people half their heads shaved and a long green ponytail on the other side, and 10 people on the stage at one time dressed in white tights.  In the beginning the stage was at an angle tilting towards the audience.  It gave a sense of distortion and was unnerving as a beginning.  Later, when the tilt was slowly, mechanically corrected, on the rest of the stage behind it is in a few inches of water with a steady light shower of water on the stage in one long line.  They could put characters in the back of the water and when not lit, they were most definitely secondary and yet part of the rhythm of the piece.

The theater was full of teenagers from nearby towns who apparently all at 16 have to read the book, like in America we had to read “The Red Badge of Courage” or “A Separate Peace” or “Grapes of Wrath”, ya know?

We had good seats, in the 5th row in the middle but the acoustics weren’t so good and were uneven and with the discordant speaking made for a play that came out you in waves and pulses but not always as they’d intended.


His first week

January 28, 2009

I tell ya, Obama’s been president for a week and I’m already totally wrapped into the politics of the big almighty Stimulus Plan, 1-year to close Guantanamo Bay, and much more.  It’s hard to believe that this isn’t a monumentous time in human history and he and people who believe in him have a lot of work to do to implement the changes that he sees as America’s vision.

For his first week as president, I’d give him an 87.  Points off for agreeing to cut the family funding and the National Mall renovation (where the Inauguration was) and for putting too many tax cuts into the bill.  However, he does get extra points in my opinion for his first international phone call when to Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and his first interview to Al-Arabiya based out of Dubai.  These were gracious, obvious attemps to restart new relations with nations and peoples who are of vital interest to the United States.  He has a lot to juggle, hell they can’t even find all the files on the guys from Guantanamo Bay!

But, I remain hopeful with anxiety. 🙂


Growing disappointment

January 27, 2009

Obama has been president exactly a week now.  I already feel disappointment.  It’s weird, because he’s attempting to be post-partisan and reach across the aisle to the Republicans.  Now I am all for people working together on important issues but I don’t seriously think that the Republicans are negotiating in good faith.  I think he is already putting too many tax cuts into the Stimulus Plan and in the end the Republicans aren’t going to vote for it anyway.  Hell, the Democrats don’t even need the Republicans to pass the plan.  Have we already forgotten how the Republicans treated the Democrats during the past 8 years?  Seriously, the Republicans completely ignored the Democrats and gave them nothing, never once compromising on anything.  The only times that ever may have happened is when the public overwhelmingly sided with the Democrats.

Now here we are, the country is in dire straits, conservatism and its “ideals” have failed.  The United States has tortured people, and now we learn that the White House can’t even find all the files on the detainees in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  Can you imagine being held for 5 years in a black hole and when a light begins to shine on righteousness, they can’t even find the files in order to prosecute those who are really guilty.  Corporations that have taken TARP government bailout money are buying 50 million dollar French jets, not even buying American for god’s sake.  They take government aka taxpayer money and spend it on a jet.  They are spending government aka taxpayer money in order to lobby the government in order to loosen the rules on the TARP bailout money.  Policemen are using their taser guns with impunity.

And there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  It isn’t necessarily Obama but what he espouses.  Simple things like not torturing human beings is going to use LOTS of his political capital.  Can you imagine how far we have come? And please, do not give me some Jack Bauer “24” scenario where there is a ticking time bomb.  Experts have testified that this has never happened as far as they know and yet that is what we were basing torture on.  It makes no sense.

Please Obama, don’t forget that the American people want you to change things.  You were given a mandate for this.  Negotiating with the very people who got us into this mess who are going to embarass you at every turn.  Hell, you had dinner with some conservative columnists last week and not only a week later they are all blasting him.  Why are you wasting time with them?  You know what you need to do.  Please do it.


7

January 24, 2009

Yesterday I bought 7 new books on Amazon. Don’t tell me I don’t take my job seriously enough:) It’s ok, I tell myself enough. Here are the books:

Paperback Oxford English Dictionary: 120 000 words, phrases, and definitions. Spelling-notes, Factfinder (Dictionary)

How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life (Signet)

Slang and Euphemism (Signet Reference)

How to Enjoy Your Life and Your Job” by Dale Carnegie

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary of Synonyms and Antonyms (Dictionary)

Merriam-Webster’s Vocabulary Builder


Images

January 23, 2009

http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2009/01/the_inauguration_of_president.html

images of the inauguration from around the world.  And please watch the Daily Show from last night, absolutely amazing commentary about America in this moment… http://www.thedailyshow.com


Political analysis

January 22, 2009

http://www.haloscan.com/comments/farlio/1452610728626667331/

The above address is from a comments section of a blog called ‘Lawyers, Guns and Money’.  This seems to me to be a way to deal with the awkward situation of prosecuting high government officals for authorizing torture, another serious topic Obama has to deal with in one way or another now, just like the economic crisis, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, New Orleans still unfinished, tremendous job losses, Wall Street shaken, as is consumer confidence. This might be the best idea, here below, a commenter who also read the blog

Well, the sensible thing to do is to allow the torturers to be prosecuted by another signatory, with our approval, and to simply refuse to allow the US to be a party to the case for the defense. So I recommend the kind of sting operation that works so well with low level criminals. Send Cheney et al a “you have been invited to an all expenses paid trip to Lichtenstein/spain/etc…” and arrange privately to have them arrested by some hyperactive judge and prosecutor once they get there. Then the US government jumps backwards one step and says “we are unable to confirm that what you did was under color of US law because it violated our treaty obligations *on its face* and, oh yeah, sucks to be you.”