Link to Profile Semperoper, Dresden Sieg (auf dem Siegesäule), Berlin Brandenburg Tor, Berlin Skyline, Frankfurt am Main

Thursday, November 13, 2008

6 Degrees of Separation
Actually 19.5

My mother and step-father popped over for a short visit last weekend. 2 days in Prague and 2½ days with us. The Partnerin thinks its crazy that Americans can travel so far for only a few days ... I make her crazy when we go to the US by dragging her to at least three places in two weeks, which will be the case in two days.

Anyway, the nice thing about Mom visiting is getting to see all the sights that have faded into the background of my life over here. I knew that Schloss Johannisberg in the Rheingau had a 50th parallel marker, but I didn't realize the same line of latitude was so clearly mapped out in Mainz and that the Dom lies directly on it. Clever, those Medieval cathedral builders.

The nice thing about the Rheingau is it gives you dozens of pathways with no shortage of views.
Johannisberg is emblemmatic of a Schloss in what I will call the classic French style (I'm not an architect, so don't hate me if there is a formal name for this and I don't know it). The estate is part of the Mumm family. As far as Rheingau tastings and tours go, it isn't perhaps as friendly as some of the other Schloss's for frequent visitors to the region, but it is really a winner for the casual tourist or visitor looking for scenery.
If the Partnerin and I ever marry, it may very well be here. We've discussed Denmark for the easier paperwork, but I think I owe her a palace for putting up with me all these years, and this one comes with a nice old chapel.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Armistice Day

I was sitting in a meeting in London today, and around 10:58 one of the members of the group started to fidget with his watch and mentioned to the Chairman that it ws almost 11. The Chairman said, "Yes, I know, we have a lawyer waiting and that can get expensive."

Just the night before I watched a piece on UK-History where they interviewed the last three British survivors from WW-I, and one of them remarked something to the effect of, "Please remember the Germans too." Truly graceful given how ugly that war was.

About a minute later in the meeting the point was made again, to be followed by "Yes, we are wrapping it up." Finally, someone else said, "Armistice Day," and that jogged the Chairman's memory, so we took two minutes for a moment of silence in Remembrance. It was touching to see that more than a few still care.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

"I Want One of Them Good Guvvamint Jobs"

John Derbyshire at National Review Online (Gasp! Did he mention a right-wing-facist-hate-speech organ?) bemoaned the fact that he had not taken an old uncle's advice from years ago to get a government job ... you know, one you can rarely be fired from and is most certain to carry a good pension and post-retirement medical care those of us in the private-sector will only be able to dream about as we toil on into our 70's. He got the following from a reader:

Derb — Allow me to comment. I am one of those government employees you talk about. I was not always a government employee. For 25 years, I made a handsome living as a computer programmer until the DOTCOMBOMB and outsourcing took their savage toll. My wife was always a government employee and urged me to become likewise. I resisted her blandishments. I was making big money and putting it away. I was a sucker. She is now retired and I am still working!

After losing my job and pension six years ago, I became a government employee. My reaction was how could I have been so blind for so long?! The private sector has become a vast lie, a minefield where one must carefully consider every step and purse one's lips. You can be banished with a snap of the fingers. I used to work my a** off, 80 hours a week. I now work a precise 40. I used to worry about layoffs and downsizing. No more. I used to worry about my pension. No more. Indeed, I can plan with computer precision the day of my exit from the work force. I shall be 63, my birthday, and retire with Social Security and a very secure pension along with a medical care supplement. Let us be blunt, there shall be two classes of people going forward. Those who can retire and those who can't.

You know, the US Treasury is going to need financial analysts like me in the coming years to figure out what to do with all the crap they are buying from the Banks, and I need a real pension ... so what am I doing toiling away in German industry?

If you can't beat the Socialists, you join the Party ... right?