Monthly Archives: November 2008


Much like the Superbowl and the “World Series”, most people outside the US have no idea, nor any desire to know, when thanksgiving occurs. For the record, it was yesterday. Over here it seems to be more important and significant than Christmas – you can tell because you generally get two days off for it whereas Christmas only deserves one. Despite the importance given to it by most of North America, the capitalists have seemingly failed to commandeer it for their own filthy ends, and it remains a celebration centered around family, food and drink…which I like. It’s the part of Christmas that still appeals to me and here it is, but without all of the ornaments, presents and tat that normally goes with it.
We spent the day with Michele’s father’s side of the family. They opted for the restaurant option [very wise in my opinion – if you’re going to have a day of nice food and nice company then pay someone to wash up and cook for you at least] and it was great. Not as good as my mum’s roast dinner, but that’s a given. Despite arriving armed with political ammo we also managed to avoid any need for any unpleasantness by avoiding the thorny issues.
On the way home Michele had the idea of visiting the other side of the family, in case our new nephew was still there and available for cooing-over. He was, and so we stopped by. He now has open eyes, a larger frame and a healthy weight. His eyes still can’t focus properly and so he seems to look through everyone, and gets obsessed with places with interesting light – like the glassware cupboard. It was nice to see everyone and it really started feeling Christmassy!
I had intended to blog about Black Friday, but just Google it and you can imagine how we feel about it already.
Instead, we went to the zoo which turned out to be an excellent way to spend the day.
By the way, in case you still don’t foam at the mouth when someone says “Citi” to to you then top-up your anger here.

King of Bollocks

It’s becoming quite obvious that I will die crossing First Avenue, at the hands of the road builders of King of Prussia. And that is just what they intended. They want to kill pedestrians. It makes sense from a business perspective:

  • If you don’t come in a car, then your ability to buy is limited by what you can carry home.
  • If you’re getting there on the bus, you’re probably working here and so don’t count.
  • Pedestrians are Communists.
  • You’re a fag.
  • Pavements are expensive.
  • Only faggots walk.
  • Faggot, queer, faggot. Queer.

Now, I’m not disputing the quality of these arguments, but even Frogger had streetlights. Every evening I have to cross an unlit highway full of impotent, uptight, Jersey drivers, who don’t understand physics. It’s only a matter of time before I’m killed.

Love to you in the meantime.

Nice things

Some nice things:

  • Grass
  • Chicken Quesadillas for lunch today.
  • Japanese for lunch tomorrow.
  • Loving and lovable parrots.
  • Red wine.
  • Chicken and garlic.
  • Interesting chats at work. Including music. And other stuff.
  • X-Code.
  • Bats

Millions and Billions

Do you remember that first $700bn that was urgently needed by the American government to save the world ? Do you remember that they asked for even more billions because $700bn wasn’t enough ?
Must have been pretty urgent eh ?
Well, according to NPR news today, only half of it has been allocated so far. I thought it was urgent!

Meanwhile, Philadelphia’s deficit of a few million bucks has “forced” the administration to close 11 libraries, some swimming pools and…some fire stations.
Yeah – we’ll get by without those extravagant fire stations. We’ll tighten our belts and try not to set fire to so much shit.

This is so wrong, and so blatantly wrong, that I sometimes find it difficult to breathe while they blather on about it on the radio.

Shame on you Michael Nutter. I’m so disgusted I’m even refraining from making a joke about your name. Your hands aren’t tied.

Michele has again provided the most apposite quote:

They need me to come in and sort out the budget. I’d be like “what does this guy do ?”

Give generously to AIG – luxury hotels don’t pay for themselves.

For christ’s sake America you’re armed! Get angry! Kill some of these cunts.

Roxy Brew Fest

The natural happiness engendered by the occurrence of Saturday (lie-in, no compulsory work, lots of quality parrot-time) was augmented today by our neighbour, Tim, when he came to the door to ask us if we fancied going to the first ever Roxborough Beer Festival. This sort of thing isn’t Michele’s cup of tea, but it is most definitely definitely welcome in my teapot. Also, I feel a strong sense of duty when it comes to supporting local events like this.
So, we went along, and had an afternoon of great pleasure: plenty of lovely beer, a lesson on beer appreciation, nice music, a few good chats with strangers, and pretzels (with mustard natch). In honesty, I never understood the need for pretzels in a civilised society until today. But with the right amount of pretzel-mustard, liberally applied, they are possibly the best accompaniment to beer next to the classic Cornish Pasty (sadly unavailable on this side of the Atlantic).
Philadelphia is peculiarly privileged in that it has one of the most vibrant beer-snob movements I’ve ever encountered. You can get top-notch Belgian beers here more easily than I could in London, and people are passionate about it.
Weirdly, the “real ale” demographics here are vastly different to those of the UK. I’ve been to many beer festivals over the years, and they are nearly always full of fat people with bald heads and beards – including the women. But this one had young people who were not unattractive! I know! Weird eh ?
That said, Tim and I spent most of the time chatting to a bunch of guys that would not be out of place at the GBBF.
A great afternoon, followed by a great evening involving Michele, the parrots, The Onion movie, and the joyous news of Citi’s collapsed share price!

The Triumph of Hope Over Experience

This is the first pint of Strongbow I’ve had for months and even though it’s mass-produced crap, and despite it being a poxy American pint, it tastes wonderful. I’m sitting in an Irish pub in Center City Philadelpiha which reminds me a lot of the Marquis, only with American Football on the TV instead of the horses. As soon as my man returns, I’ll to return his house keys, and then return to the flock. But until then it is the perfect opportunity to reflect on the momentous events of the past week.
A word to my Breeteesh choms:
You probably know that I have, on rare occasion, been accused of cynicism. However, as foolish as it sounds, Obama getting elected has injected a weird feeling of optimism into life and for the first time ever, there’s no background voice saying “yeah, but he’s just another well meaning politician who’ll soon be corrupted by power and turn into another [insert name of favourite corrupt political leader]”
The temptation is to compare this to Blair’s election in 1997, but it’s so different. Everyone on the left knew he was a sack of shit, but after 18 years of the Tories we’d probably have settled for Stalin at his worst…
On Wednesday morning, I genuinely felt the world had changed for the better. Normally I’d have started spouting cynical shit straight away, just in case he turned into George W Gump so I could say “see, I said he was the same as the rest” but not this time. If I’m proved wrong then it’ll be documented here. I think he’s a righteous dude. And the pride we have for being involved in his election will stay with us forever.
Oh yes, in case you were wondering, the vast fortune he amassed for his campaign was raised almost entirely from sub $200 donations from ordinary people who just wanted a change. Like me and Michele.
Excuse typos, this was written on my little G1 🙂
[Update: see]

Huge Election

We’re snuggled up on the sofa with a parrot, a jug of red wine, and a pizza on the way, watching the BBC’s coverage of the election. Having Dimbleby guiding us through the torture is a real comfort, as is a reassuringly anti-McCain injection of Christopher Hitchens. Sympathetic friends are only an Instant Message away and so the excitement is incredible. Maybe this is what it felt like to be a Phillies fan last Wednesday night ?
Not for a second do I think we’ll know the final result tonight, and my cynical side is predicting some utterly depressing results that will make me want to go to bed.

Apologies for the title. It’s a tribute to Benny Hill; if only he was still alive, we could be treated to his impression of a Chinese man talking about the “Gleat Erection.”

Scary things

Scary thing 1Scary thing 2As last night was Halloween, I’d like to present you with two scary pictures. The first is a picture of the Krupp Bagger 288 open cast mining machine being transported across the German countryside (yes it’s a genuine shot). The other is our neighbour, Tim, dressed as a Viking (yes it’s a genuine shot). I’m still not sure which is scarier. But then that could be because we witnessed Tim as he happened.
We had planned nothing for Halloween beyond sitting on our porch, drinking Carlo Rossi’s cheapest, and giving out sweets to the local kids like we did last year. It turned out to be far more entertaining that we imagined. Tim’s dedication to the whole Halloween event (partially powered by his involvement in the past two days celebration) was truly awe-inspiring. All of the massive amounts of “candy” we purchased were claimed by Trick-or-Treaters by 9pm. By that stage we were all very merry, and had been joined by a bunch of other friends and neighbours, so we ordered pizza from Poppa Large and spent and very enjoyable (and boozy) time sitting out on the porches. That’s a good tradition in my book.