Friday, March 14, 2008

The Boss

Mr Pawel B. Piskorski is my boss, he hails from Warsaw Poland where he used to be the Mayor . I have met my boss a grand total of four times, shook his hand three times and my longest conversation happened during this encounter:

I walk into the office
Weronika: Good-morning Kevin, how was your weekend?
Me: It was fine, how was yours?
Weronika: Good.
And then she jerks her head in the direction of my bosses office. I continue the conversation, a little bit puzzled as to why Weronika had jerked her head, I settle for it being that my boss is in today unlike last week.
I sit down, boot up the computer, the phone rings, Weronika answers, normal morning. Then she hangs up and says in a hushed tone.
Weronika: Um, should probably go in and say hi to the boss.
I say that I will, and as I am getting up and making my 3.5 meter trip to my bosses desk I start to freak out and wonder what the hell did I do? I have a guilty conscious all the time, when ever the situation can remotely call for me to be reprimanded I think the worst and today was no different. I move through the doorway that brings me to the boss’s office thinking that I must have embarrassed Mr. P in some fashion, maybe my hair is to long, who knows.
Me: Good Morning sir.
Looking up with the smile he always seems to have when he speaks with me, which is not a good sample size to judge his mood because I have spoken so few times with the man, for all I know he could be incredibly angry....
Boss: Good Morning, how are you doing?
Me: I’m fine sir, how about yourself?
Waiting for the other shoe to drop.......
Boss: I am well.
And then we had one of those moments where, just like when my mom grabs one of my brothers and makes them talk to me on the phone when they are unprepared, where you have nothing to say and then you suddenly realize it and you have no idea what to do. So the boss smiled and looked back down at his work, and I kinda just shuffled back to my desk wondering what the hell just happened?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Meeting Take 3

Meeting take three

Decided to go diary style today for this post, works for Bill Simmons maybe it will work for me. Sorry I didn’t think to actually write down the time, sorry maybe next time. That and I'm too lazy to make it up.

-Well I’m sitting here in the Afghanistan delegation teleconference by myself and lacking any sustenance and its almost lunch time. Last time I had a lunch meeting we received sandwiches, no sandwiches today, Kevin sad.

-The well dressed waiters have entered the room, that can mean only one thing, Coffee time! I don’t even like coffee, but something about being asked if I want coffee in French by a man in a Penguin suit makes me feel important. Now all I can think about is Tony Kornheiser doing the Penguin dance.

-The translators are semi-freaking out in front of me about how they are going to have to translate from Farsi and Pashtu to English and then to all the other languages in the room. I’m going to struggle just knowing the different between Pashtu and Farsi.

-My English translator has the sexiest voice I have ever heard, no lie. I have no idea what she looks like but her voice alone has won me over.

-The video quality is a microcosm for the differences between life in Afghanistan and EU member states.
o Afghan – Hazy, inconsistent, could die at any moment
o EU – Perfect

-Well I guess my MEP isn’t the only person skipping out on this meeting it looks like 2/3 of them are missing. Glad to see that the Afghani people and the EU soldiers fighting on their behalf mean so much to Members of Parliament. I wonder if any of them have kids over there.

-They are talking about their trip to Afghanistan in April, I really wish I could go.

-I can’t believe I was not siked for this meeting, I mean I did read a 1400 page book on the history of Afghanistan and its current political system, for fun, but no I wasn’t pumped about meeting a bunch of the Afghani government officials via the internet. Afghanistan is my fucking thing.

-One MEP has a meeting with Benzir Bhutto scheduled two hours after she was assassinated. If that doesn’t throw your mind for a loop then I don’t know what will.

-The Italian translator fulfills the “Italians talk with their hands” stereotype.

-Just checked on my Italian skills, still don’t have any.

-The other English translators voice is not hot.

-Video conference begins, lots of yelling in Pashtu or Farsi, I still don’t quite understand the difference. Then again its been like 20 minutes.

-Some good questions, enjoyed the blasphemy/death penalty question. Clearly got the attention of the Afghans. Lots of death stares.

-Poor Afghans the Committee chair is just not stopping, he just loves to hear himself speak.

-And the Afghan dude knows English! Makes the Euros very happy.

-Lots of thanks and salutations.

-More shouting in Pashtu and Farsi

-Honestly how can the video quality be this bad?

-Mr. Chairman must not translate into Pashtu and Farsi because they keep calling the Chairman “Your Excellency” it just has that European imperialism feel to it.

-Nice backhand by the Afghans “We appreciate your concerns about our laws but they are the laws of Afghanistan”
Translation: “Fuck you, how dare you tell us how to run our country when I have bombs going off right down the street from where I love! Does that happen in Brussels? Didn’t think so.”

-OOOOOOO a woman Afghan! I’m intrigued!

-More invitations to Kabul, I mean is this a hot vacation destination or something! Come to Kabul! Where the woman are fully clothed, the electricity is intermittent and the bombs are plentiful!

-Afghans do not appear to be big fans of Pakistan. The guy talking (who has a great hat by the way) is just railing against Pakistan, accusing them of supporting terror and meddling in Afghani affairs. I don’t think the west really gets Pakistan and how they always do what is in the best interest of Pakistan even if that means supporting terror and destroying the lives of millions of Afghanis. Or how they can not stand for a independent Afghanistan but would rather see one that is subservient to Pakistan and its wishes. I do not for see a smooth transition to democracy that every lone is talking about because that has never happened in Pakistan’s brief but turbulent history. What I do see is a large insurrection in the tribal areas covertly supported by the Security Services that will lead to yet another military coup because the military always needs the power in Pakistan. The US should be focused more so on Afghanistan/Pakistan than Iran/Iraq. End rant.

-The translation thing is killing me, the meeting time has basically doubled. Damn you tower of Babel! Maybe they speak stomach growl.......

-More shouting in Pakistan/Farsi.

-The dude next to me keeps staring at me with his silly looking glasses. I just want to snap his glasses and tell him he looks foolish in them. If he keeps staring, I just might. Don’t stare at me when I’m hungry.

-I love how non-Americans/Canadians say Canada, cracks me up every time.

-This better end soon or I won’t be able to eat for another how, debating just leaving. Only thing that is keeping me here is the chance that a bomb goes off in the background. I know, I have issues.

-Something new, shouting in English! Nothing like being lectured on media censorship by an Afghan, he is right though, they just became a much more liberal state, it takes time.

-It’s over! Time to eat!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Kevin goes to Sicilia!

Only a month late but here is my post on Sicily, or part of the weekend anyway. Carnivale will come eventually it will just require me to sit down and do it. Then I will do Paris and then Venice..........

I’ve come to the conclusion that I have a terrible tendency to forget conversations and events ever happened. Rachel knows all about this disorder I have, I mean I could not begin to quantify how many times I have had this conversation:

Rachel: So about the (insert subject here)
Me: What the hell are you talking about?
Rachel: Ugh, we talked about this last night.
Me: we didn’t.
Rachel: Yes we did!
Me: No we did not.
Rachel: You never #@*$?%! listen to me when I talk.

And then I’m left with an honestly confused and bewildered look on my face.

Anyway that’s neither here nor there, for the purpose of this post is not to prove my insanity nor my blatant case of early onset Alzheimer’s but to transcribe, as accurately as possible, the thoughts and events of one of the most interesting experiences of my life. I know I have other posts to make but I figured I would try and get this one of the way as soon as possible before the short term memo..........why the fuck am I on a train right now and who is this long haired freak sitting next to me?

Well without further ado here is my trip to the land of many words, 99% of which I can not comprehend.

The Voyage

Well since I have posted previously on my disdain for air travel I will keep this as brief as possible , but in all likelihood I will ramble and you my good sir or madam will grow tired and either give up or jump ahead . Do as you wish but if I found out you didn’t read it......

The journey can be summed up in a few points about the journey.

1.I got amazing views of both the Alps and Mt. Etna thanks to it being a daytime flight and Alitalia making it a point to fly by at a slower speed so those onboard can take decent pictures. Thank you Alitalia!

2.Alitalia has so far provided the best in-flight food I have had to date, decent sandwich and a free MARS bar.

3.McDonald Douglas makes one loud fucking engine.

4.All three airports I visited bothered me for different reasons, here they are as follows.
a.Brussels: Like IKEA Brussels airport takes you through everything thing they offer even through you aren’t going to buy anything.
b.Milan: Build more terminals or make travelers disembark in the rain?
c.Catania: Now I know this will make me sound like an alcoholic but why doesn’t Catania have a decent bar? All I wanted to do was sit at a bar and drink crappy Italian beer, is that too much to ask?

5.My fifth and final point is probably the most disturbing. Turbulence used to scare the shit out of me , it made me realize that “Holy shit I’m thousands of feet above the earth!” It left me clutching my arm rest, breathing deeply and whispering “Serenity now!”

Now it doesn’t bother me, its like hitting a bump on the highway, the car shutters and then everything’s fine. Don’t get me wrong this development is great for my nerves and for those of the people around me, but take a dislike with what transpired in my head while en route from Milan to Brussels. While flying we hit a bout of turbulence, and since I am now apparently a veteran of flight my nerves of steel did not break. But instead I thought to myself.

“I hope we don’t crash right now, because I really need to get back to school”

Read that again.

Did I forget something? Oh yeah I forgot the fact that if my plane plummeted 32,000 feet I would most likely die and never get back to school. But noooooooo I’m concerned about how it wouldn’t fit into my life plan at the moment. Am I that self-centered, or just crazy?

The Arrival

Upon arriving to Catania I went through the motions of disembarking the plane and what not, the sudden realization that the plane is packed, the awkward “should I say good bye in the local vernacular or in English?” moment, then the “Where the fuck is my luggage moment?”

Well the “where the fuck is my luggage moment” lasted way longer than expected. The wonderful people that work in Catania national airport decided unilaterally, and without telling me I might add, to put all the luggage from all the arrivals onto one of the 6 conveyor belts.

I think now is an appropriate time to tell you about my struggles with the Italian language. I have taken six year of Italian since 7th grade even graduating High School as a two year member of Honors Italian. Yet after finishing my final senior year I was told that there was no way I could be given a grade for what was an “attempt” at taking my final. So needless to say when my luggage had not turned up after 20 minutes I was up the proverbial creek.

At this point I am now frantically trying to locate the guy who sat next to me on the plane because in my mind if I can find him I will find my luggage, its a simple correlation. But there is only one problem, , my brain loves to make my life a living hell. That man could be wearing a blue suit, glasses and an obvious comb over but my addled brain would have me believing he had a clown suit on with a pink Afro, so no help there.

My next course of action was to randomly choose a belt and hope to god it was the right one. I chose the one at the far end and just went with it, doubting my course of action the entire time. For the record my hunch was correct and I got my luggage eventually but only after enduring the death stare from Rachel piercing my back. I was afraid that if I didn’t get out of the luggage area in the time allotted by Rachel’s brain she was going to smash the glass barrier and then drag me out by my hair. Nothing gets between Rachel and me when she hasn’t seen me in two and a half weeks.

But I finally got my luggage walked out the gate kissed Rachel, met Fabio and there was much rejoicing.

The Car Ride

Italians drive like Belgians ride bicycles with little to no regard for the rules of the road. To put it bluntly they drive like crazy people. This coming from a man (yes I called myself a man) who boasts that no one (and I mean no one) passes on the highway.

I mean it is perfectly acceptable to pass someone any where at any time as long as you can avoid a car wreck you’re all good.

Needless to say the first time Fabio pulled into the oncoming lane of traffic and nearly collided with a truck I nearly shit my pants. I immediately grabbed the seatbelt and jammed it into the buckle only to be told that in Italy one does not need to wear a seatbelt in the backseat. So they really are crazy! I’m sure that my look of bewilderment/horror at this statement is what caused Fabio to slow down and avoid passing people for the rest of the ride. That and he kept asking if he was driving to fast every 5 minutes.

The Family

It would not be an Italian experience if I didn’t meet the entire family the first night I was there. When I first met Rachel’s whole family in the states I said it was akin to Ian meeting Toula’s family in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” My first night in Syracusa one upped even Ian’s first night with the Portokalos.

Here are 12 points about the evening:

1. Not a single Sicilian I met the entire weekend spoke English, and the little English the family knew I knew the same words in Italian. Useless.

2.Rachel had decided without consulting me that she would not speak English to me in front of the Italians. Perfectly logical, because it just so happened that during my flight I had developed the ability the ability to communicate telepathically, what an amazing coincidence! And who wants to be able to communicate with at least one person over a five day period? Not me!

I love sarcasm! And exclamation points!!!!!

3.Like Ian no one can say my name correctly. My first name all week was “Kayvin”, and in the one up department my last name all weekend was “Costner” as in Kevin Costner, this was because the only Kevin anyone knows in Italy is Kevin Costner. If anything this development has convinced me that cooler Kevins must be developed before the next time I go to Sicily.

4.The meal I had had so many courses that I don’t remember how many I actually had. I just remember there being five forks on the table and by the end of the evening I was asking for extras. Pasta, fish, shrimp, crabs, meat, squid, mussels (first time btw), Italian ice and much more.

5.English? Let me check, nope fresh out of it.

6.Ezio kept pouring glass after glass of wine, pretty sure they all think I’m an alcoholic

7.When someone gives you the limp wrist signal you immediately think gay, right? So when someone yells down the table “Kayvin, Darrio” and then the limp wrist signal is thrown out there, tou respond with “Gay” but because you are in Italy and you know the word for gay in Italian you try and be cool and shout “Finocio!”

Well a limp wrist does not mean gay in Italy and I had just insulted the person whose room I would be sleeping in for the next four nights, in front of his whole family. I turned a rare form of red.

8.Rachel received birthday gifts from 20 people she had known for a week. I brought myself. A rarer form of red.

9.We sat down to eat at 9:30 PM and I think that was early for them.

10.The whole kissing of both cheeks greeting really fucks with my head and I never know when it applies. Tonight was no exception.

11.Bringing an Italian-English dictionary is always fun especially with little kids around, and old crazy men.

12.At one point during the evening a clip from CSI came on the TV and Fabio looked over at me and said “CSI.” Now I have never seen CSI, never had the urge, but for some reason or another the mention of the show’s name caused me to start talking in English for a sold minute or so before I noticed the blank stares I was getting from the rest of the table. This is when I realized this was going to be an interesting weekend.

Lost in Translation

I apologize for the lack of posting on Italy I, Paris and Italy II they will come along eventually I'm just lazy but here is a little something to wet you appetite.

Yesterday was my first foray into the committee meeting realm and to be honest there was so much shit going on in there I don't even remember what the meeting was about.

First off the fact that someone can translate from one language to another amazes me. You have to translate while at the same time remember what is being said so you can continue to translate. I would imagine that this would be incredibly exhausting and strenuous for the mind and can't even begin to comprehend the pressure that they feel.

Now that being said I was even more so amazed when the first six speakers in the meeting, who all spoke different languages, were translated by a single translator. How does one know 6 languages fluently and not go crazy? I mean I struggled for 6 years to learn Italian and I know next to nothing and this guy knows 6?

Now the funniest part of the meeting was the effects that translation had on the attempts at humor made by the MEPs.

Every time an English speaker would begin to talk, I would take off the translation headphones for obvious reasons. Well in the front there was this Irish guy who was a fucking riot, but every time he made a joke I was the only one who would laugh right away but then 4 seconds later the whole room would start laughing because of the translation delay. And some times people wouldn't laugh at all which confused me until I found my self on the other side of the situation.

There was this Czech guy who kept making the room burst out laughing every time he would talk except when it translated for me there wasn't any humor in the statement which puzzled me. Was my humour just that much different than European humor? Then it hit me, humor just doesn't always translate, certain words and sayings have different meanings from language to language so if the translators translates it literally then the humor will be lost.

It never really hit me until that moment that so much from culture to culture is lost simply because we can not express the true meaning adequately in any language other than our own. But then again thats what makes our cultures so different even if we do not have political borders (such as the EU is becoming) we have the borders of language to restarain us.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Haircut

As many of you know (all three of you) my hair has been cut by the same man since as far back as I can remember and only once have I strayed and that was because Tony was on vacation for two weeks and there was no way I was not going to get a haircut. Well now I'm in Belgium for four months and I have not had a haircut since mid-December and my hair is long.

With that in mind Nikolai and I decided to go in search of a place to get ze hairs cut. Within minutes we had located two candidates, one that looked chic and slightly inviting while the other reminded me of "Coiffures by Anthony" place located next to my dad's office. We went with the first one.

Never been to a hair salon, so immediately upon entering it was a completely new experience. Partly because of this and partly because I lack the testicular fortitude, I made Nikolai go first. His haircut went fairly quickly and looked like what he was shooting for, so in my screwed up brain that meant my haircut was going to go horribly wrong.

First off I get the hair washing routine which is basically a head massage, I don't even care that I was getting it done by a fellow male it was enjoyable, there I said it. I almost fell asleep by the way.

I wish I had a camera for what happened next part because after the hair washing I turned to the mirror and laughed out loud, I looked like (Get ready Rach) a long haired Gob Bluth with the slicked back hair. Nick couldn't help but laugh out loud at me either. Good times.

Next was the moment I had been dreading since the thought of having to go to someone other than Tony had crossed my mind; how to explain what I wanted. Tony knows me, I just need to nod my head and he cuts my hair the way I like it, its simple and I like it. This was going to be a whole different can of worms. For starters this guy did not have complete mastery of the English language and when I tried to explain what I wanted he looked confused, my heart sank.

After I had finally communicated what I wanted as best I could the haircutting began, and the angst continued to ride. As scared as I was the man did cut with confidence, he was quick and decisive and left no room for second guessing what I didn't understand was his approach. He was just all over the place, the back the front the side the top, all over. He also decided to split my hair right down the middle and work symmetrically mirroring his cuts from side to side. At the time though I didn't quite get this I thought he was parting my hair in the middle and giving me the Hugh Grant look, which yes I do have a strange liking for Hugh Grant but I could never pull off his hair style. At this point I was beside myself in fear of the final product, cursing myself for not getting a proper haircut just before I left.

But suddenly everything seemed to be falling into place, the sides and back were the right length, the side burns were perfect, and the front was shaping up to be better than usual. When all was said and done I liked my haircut, it worked, and I was happy.

But no one can hold a candle to Tony Ciulla.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Meeting

Today my MEP was called away to Poland for an urgent reason, even though he had an important meeting to attend. So that meant his assistant Weronica (in Polish Ws are Vs) and I got to attend in his stead and I got to take notes. Needless to say I was excited, and no matter what they talked about in this meeting I was going to be hanging on every terribly butchered English word spoken.

So I walked in and directly to my left there were a pile of sandwiches and an assortment of juices and waters, and yes everyone including interns could take them! So I grabbed a sandwich and a bottle of water and sat down at a chair that had a microphone and translation headset at it and proceeded to pass the time by talking to Weronica about how she got mugged by Gypsies while at the same time a bunch of important looking people in suits filed into the room.

Suddenly the meeting started and I started to take notes. Immediately the comedy of the EU Parliament started to come pouring out, one of the MEPs attending made a fool of himself by calling one of his fellow sponsors a member of his own party (the Socialist Party) when in fact he wasn't and guessing by the laughter and disgusted looks his party is no where near the same ideologically. The "forgetful" MEP tried to play it off as a joke, but he failed, miserably.

Now what ensued was pure comedy. The sponsoring MEPs invited a bunch of lobbyists and concerned citizens voicing that the purpose of the meeting was to "bring government and the people together." Right off the bat you knew that was bullshit because the remaining guests belonged to the EU Commission, the real target. The dialogue when something like this:

MEP: "We would like to thank the EU Commission for coming today to take part in todays session."

EU Commission: "Whatever"

MEP: "We would like to express are gratitude for your service and expertise"

EU Com: "Get to the point before I stop faking like I respect you"

MEP: "But we come here today because we feel that we can improve the Emergency Response Service so that it works flawlessly"

EU Com: "You want my job? You can have it" Flips over the table and storms out of the room.

It of course was much more cordial and consisted of dialogue loaded with rhetoric, spite and contempt. It was all good fun.

The rest of the meeting was not all that interesting except for the "Forgetful" MEP who kept insulting America and using bad information but I didn't mind because American politicians still call French Fries Freedom Fries because of the policies of France even though French Fries are Belgian. So all ignorance is forgiven.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Algerian

My friends (Daniel, Nick and Katy) and I went to this bar called De Giraffe in Leuven, pretty chill bar they play a lot of jazz and slower paced music and they have my favorite beer Maes on tap.

So anyway we're on the second round when this little Algerian man comes over and starts talking to one of my friends, Daniel. At the time I couldn't hear what he was saying but later I found he was telling my friend "Don't you look at me like that, you don't look at people like that" So my friend kind of shrugged the guy off as he would any guy who was fucked up and said he was sorry for looking at him. Anyway the guy hands Daniel a clove of garlic and then starts to walk away. As he turns away something like 200 Euro falls out of his pocket, he then takes two steps farther at which point he is right in front of me and 300 more Euro fall out.

At this point you have to know me, I'm a nice guy to a fault, I'm nice in situations where it would have been in my best interest if I had simply just been an asshole and this was one of those situations.

So anyway I tapped the guy on the shoulder and told him he had just dropped half a grand in euro on the floor. He proceeds to bend over in front of me and "try" to pick it up. I say try because he was waaaay to fucked up to organize that money. So I bent over and helped him pick it up and then handed it to his buddy, big mistake. After about 20 more seconds and all his money is picked up the little Algerian man stands up looks at me and sticks his hand out demanding that I give him his money. I say in English that I gave his friend the money. Needless to say the man doesn't believe me and continues to stare with his hand out, while I continue to say in every way possible that I do not have his money.

Well at this point his friends make themselves known and hustle him out of the bar. At this point Daniel tells me about his conversation and we decide to order another round (which I basically inhaled because I was nervous) so in order to give the Algerian and his buddies some time to move along.

Next thing I know here is the Algerian man in my face again but this time his little Arab buddy in English says "Did you take his money" and again I say in every way possible including dumping out my pockets that I do not have this guys fucking money. At this point the Algerian cuts in front of the Arab man and starts stammering at me in an unknown language, I say that because between the four of us we know enough Italian, Arabic, French and Spanish to know that it wasn't like any of those and it certainly was not Dutch. So anyway I am again turning out my pockets telling this man that I did not steal his money and that I would never steal his money. He then looks at me like I had just spoken English for the first time and tells me in slow broken and at the same time drunken english "That is drug money, you don't want drug money" Well lets just say that made a lot of things and not just the clientèle of the bar make a whole bunch of sense.

Now the Algerians white buddies came up to him and started talking about how they had to leave and it was either the money or the "Marijuana" (No one I know calls it by its full name just sounds weird that way) all the time glaring over at me.

This is the point where my friends Nick and Daniel were dead set on brawling and were planning there form of attack if the Algerian or the Arab put a finger on me. Which makes me happy that if any shit went down they had my back no matter what these guys would have done.

As they are scheming over in the corner and I'm trying to procure a large some of drug money from any orifice of my body I happen to glance over to the little Arab man who gives me the international signal for "My friend is really fucked up right now so don't worry we don't want to rumble" which made me feel only a little better because this guy had the Michael Corleone "Don't worry Fredo no matter what you do to me you are family" look on his face and we all know what happened to Fredo.

As I am turning back towards the Algerain to tell him for the 4987534875 time that I did not take his money, he grabs for my hand and man that small moment held so much tension I felt like the Commander of the Dallas in the Hunt for Red October just waiting for Sean Connery to open his torpedo tube doors, but it never happened. He told me that I shouldn't worry about it and that he had respect for me, he proceeded to shake my hand then kiss my friend Katy's hand and then they left.

I proceed to gulp down the rest of Katy's beer now deciding that I was going to get drunk tonight if only to calm myself down and then we left to get frittes.

Anyway that was last night.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Don Gatto

An Ode to my Elementary School music days.


Oh Senor Don Gatto was a cat

On a high red roof Don Gatto sat

He went there to read a letter meow meow meow

Where the reading light was better meow meow meow

Twas a love note for Don Gatto

I adore you wrote the lady cat

Who was fluffy white and nice and fat

There was not a sweeter kitty meow meow meow

In the country or the city meow meow meow

And she said she'd wed Don Gatto

Poor Don Gatto jumped so happily

He fell off the roof and broke his knee

Broke his ribs and all his whiskers meow meow meow

And his little solar plexus meow meow meow

Aye-Karamba cried Don Gatto

Then the doctors all came on the run

Just to see if something could be done

And they held a consultation meow meow meow

About how to save their patient meow meow meow

How to save Senor Don Gatto

But in spite of everything they tried

Poor Senor Don Gatto up and died

And it wasn't very merry meow meow meow

Going to the cemetery meow meow meow

For the ending of Don Gatto

When the funeral passed the market square

Such a smell of fish was in the air

Though his burial was slated meow meow meow

He became re-animated meow meow meow


random I know

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The Flight

I love flying, I am deathly afraid of heights but flying is just amazing. Well I take that back, the takeoff and landing are great but that's about it. I feel like they make you go through the first class area on purpose to show you what flight should be like if the airlines had to compete for customers instead of just herding them like cattle.

Why is there not Wifi, TVs and electrical outlets on planes? Its possible, Air-Canada does it all, but not Lufthansa they reserve the only one of the three TV for their high paying customers. Why don't they provide it? Because they don't have to compete for your business, international makes it so a company like Air Canada or Jet Blue who are brining functionality to the common man can not operate outside of their home country except if they make a stop in their home country. That stop either makes the cost go up enormously or it adds hours to the flight time. If they deregulated the industry companies like Lufthansa would have to catch up or would be marginalized/bought out/etc.

Now don't get me wrong the flight was fine, I read, I had an alright meal, and as many free drinks as I could have but it could have been better waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyy better if the flight industry was deregulated.

In Belgium!

This will now be my blog for Belgium instead of an inactive blog. I'll make some back log posts and then keep up with the present hopefully.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


I loathe Phil Collins but I will say that the use of his song in this Cadburry Advertisement is perfect. Though relevance to the product still evades me......

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Hey you there......

Ummmmm I'm taking some real interesting classes this semester, one in which the first two classes we have discussed the meaning of one word, Justice. My teacher teaches in the Socrates format or something or other. Anyway thats it for now.

Posting will continue to be erratic as always.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

VT Shooter

Ever since I have started receiving details about the incident I just have not been able to understand it. I believe this is the saddest I have ever been about a public tragedy, it just has stuck with me every moment since it happened just sitting there in the back of my mind. I remember 9/11 and I remember feeling horrible and angry but not physically ill. Maybe its because one can understand why the hijackers did what they did. They see themselves in a constant state of war between the United States and themselves, so such a tragic act is just a battle in this long war between cultures.

As sick as it sounds I understand their justification for their acts, I disagree profoundly with their reasoning it is reasoning all the same. Where as with the VT shooter I just can not grasp why after killing his ex-girlfriend he killed 31 more people before taking his own life. Killing his ex-girlfriend is within the realm of possibility to me, his hatred to see her gone from his life could produce the end result of "if she can not be mine then no one else may have her." I can see that and have seen that in movies, even killing the bystander/Ra/new boyfriend makes sense for me, because it was in the high after shooting his ex-girlfriend but that still leaves 30 innocent unconnected people dead and the lives of their friends family and anyone who has met them altered forever.

I mean what kind of selfish person takes the lives of 30 people they barely even no just because they want to end it all? How can your own mind rationalize the death of those 30 people? People with lives, with people who care about them? I just can not understand it and probably never will, but i would like to think that what happened yesterday is not what we truly are.

Friday, February 09, 2007

The Poverty Line

The poverty line for one person under 65 with no dependents is $9827. With each dependent after that the line goes up between $2000-$4000 per dependent plateauing at $36,520 with 8 or more.

I myself, if i continues this internship for the entire year would make roughly $18,000 before taxes. Now I will admit that I do not live the most humble lifestyle, I splurge from time to time and I do have digital cable and the internet at my apartment but after all my bills, expenses I have hardly any money.

How does the government a single parent to be able survive off of half of a what a college kid gets by on? Not only do they have t feed and clothe themselves they have to care for other children while at the same time holding multiple jobs and probably making car insurance payments. The poverty level in this country is a ridiculous calculation that is impossible for some one to subsist on and should be reconfigured to reflect the needs of this countries poor.

That's not even getting into the health insurance problem.......

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Getting Lost in Big Government

Conservatives hate big government, and since I now work for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts I can see why. The rigor and demands of the corporate world are no where to be found in this large bureaucracy. Once you get down below the immediate offices of the elected officials you are left with largely a great deal of people who are never pushed. People who are never given real deadlines and who know their job will always be there barring a racial or sexual misconduct. Lack of a work ethic and of motivation are accepted as the status quo and largely because of that employee productivity slows within weeks of being hired.

Conservatives (and most Americans) blame the employee; the reason for the lack of productivity is found in the employees themselves, because of that missing will. Yet who would be able to do that job with anymore will or determination? Possibly an intern like myself who is looking for that recommendation and that leg up, but for those who work here as a career there is no leg up, there are no bonuses, there are no real upgrades or promotions (moving from scanning assistant to data entry assistant is a change in scenery, one cubicle to another).

The fault does not fall at the will of the employee but at the feet of the elected officials who do not demand excellence of their employees. If you want government to match business in productivity and efficiency then you must run it like a business. Hand out bonuses and promotions to those who deserve them and fire those that refuse to work.

Demanding that your employees try is only half the problem, the other half is making them want to come to work. Give them some independence and responsibility, make them feel important, make them feel like they are apart of something greater. Not just a person in a cubicle but an asset to the agency that has ideas and solutions.

But as long as we have this mindset that government can never be like business and will always be bloated and ineffective then we will only continue to hamstring ourselves and the future of this country.

I will continue to touch on this subject in more detail as this internship continues.

Resurrection 2.0

I'm bored at work, it's as simple as that. Because of my boredom I think its time for this hideous thing to rear its ugly head once more. We'll see if I actually post some more.

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Reasons for Why the Rich Should Pay

The common argument made by the rich and their protectors is
that they deserve the money that they have earned and the government has no
right to tax them more than any other citizen.  For after all the United States
is a land where the law applies equally and justly to all.  That's all
well and good but do these well off people not realize how they made all of
their millions? 

They made it off the backs of the middle and lower class.  Think of all
the workers who get paid so little who make it possible for profits for all
those stockholders of all those giant companies to be made, and then tell me if
it is fair that they should pay the same tax rate?  In essence they
already pay the same amount of taxes that the rich do, they pay through the
money that could have been given to them as wages but instead were taken as

So why complain when all it is is a shuffling of taxes from one group?  On
top of that would it not be prudent for the elite of this nation to help pay
for the social services and daily welfare of their workforce?  Do they not
want to sustain their own growth?

This is without mentioning who gets the most out of government.  Who receives
the most out of the US Navy protecting the seas, Joe the deli worker or the
boardrooms of Nike, Dell, and every other company that uses sea shipping
lanes?  The rich are receiving a disproportional amount of services from
the US
government yet they want the tax system to be fair in their eyes.

Of course the rich should only pay a fair share of the US budget, but just not an equal

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Found this Interesting

Never seen such in depth amounts of video for a campaign.  Deval may not have the money for the TV spots but he sure knows how to spread the limited money he has around to make things work.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Damn Kids and Their Music!

The other day I was slaving away at my job at 6 AM when my supervisor plugged her golden oldies in the the PA system and let it blare when I realized every age has its own crappy ripoff bands with little to no talent.  Its not just the recent years in music that have led to bands putting out music that should never have made it past the "jam" stage. The late 50's and early 60's had plenty of rock music that mimics the similarities that most popular rap does.  Except instead of bitches, guns, and drugs they sing of kissing, holding hands, and heartbreak.  So in the end there will always be shit music out there no matter what era and what genre of muic it is.

Saturday, May 20, 2006


I feel this is the over riding problem with the Democratic party and hte liberal movement as a whole, there is so dfmuch dissent but not any actual debate or arguement.  I think until that happens America will never choose the Democrats for who they are, instead of for who they are not.

Friday, May 19, 2006

What a Beautiful World

The countless days of rain and lousy weather in the past couple days has made me realize how beautiful a world we really live in.  And I installed a new extension for firefox that lets me post directly to here without having to go to the site, so expect more posts.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Life without college

Bah, my recent job searching has made me want to complete college more than ever. Its so difficult to distinguish yourself from anyone else applying for your run of the mill job. Without that extra skill, without that little bit of extra knowledge all you are is another application in the pile. You have to distinguish yourself in order to get ahead, now more than ever do I understand the phrase "squeeky wheel gets the grease." Bah at the complexities of life!

Thursday, January 26, 2006


Nicholas Kristoff of the NY Times wrote a good essay chronicling the events of the Genocide in Sudan. I encourage you to read it.

Kristoff on Darfur

Aid Worker Blog, she has spent a lot of time in Darfur and describes what is going on the ground.

Sleepless in Sudan


I for one support the win of Hamas over Fatah in the Palestinian elections. I believe that because of hte support that Hamas has from the Palestinian people it is better suited to represent the Palestinian people. Not to mention the fact that Hamas does a better job of providing for the Palestinian people than the Palestinian Authority does. I feel Hamas will justly serve the people and bring the real issues to the table.

I know the history of Hamas but I believe that Hamas itself will morph into what the Palestinian people want, a stable government that cares not about embezzling funds and destroying Israel, but instead a government that will focus on the betterment of hte Palestinian people and their way of life.

Also the Iran Nuclear problem may end up being resolved see here

Friday, January 20, 2006

Why Muslims Dislike Us

Many World Leaders claim they know exactly why many Muslims dislike the Western World. They claim that the Muslim population (the ones who dislike us) hate our freedom, they hate our sense of personal property and every thing that is written in the preamble of the US constitution and the Bill of Rights. They also claim that the rest of the Muslim world (the part that likes us) wants life liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That may be true but I would say that it is most unlikely that that is untrue.

I would counter with the thought that the Muslims who dislike the Western World (more so the US than any other country) are the ones who understand the Western World, even better than the citizens of the Western World. They realize that the only time the Western World gives a shit about the Muslim world is when the well being of the Western World is at stake.

9/11 is a prime example of this even though involvement in the Muslim World began before that. But never the less because of 9/11 the Western World now knows where Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia are. In other words we now give a shit because Osama bin Laden made us, albeit for the wrong reasons.

What the Western World cares about when it comes to the Middle East is a stable region that produces plenty of oil. We do not care how women are treated, who rules, or how, just as long as when we pull up to the pump they give us what we want. That is what ticks off the Muslim world and makes them fly planes into buildings, blow themselves up in crowded areas and other unbelievable acts, because they want liberty but the Western World prohibits it solely so they can keep the region stable and insure oil production.

Now granted some extremists have taken it to the next level and have misunderstood the true meaning of what they are fighting for and choose to do many irrational acts.

So when you see a World Leader at a podium in front of cameras with microphones being thrust into his face I want you to realize that he is not telling you the whole truth about why Muslims dislike us so much. He knows the real reason why, he just doesn’t want you to

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

If god had only blessed us with one language

I wish God, or whatever our existence began on blessed us with one and universal language. Life would be so much easier. Imagine if you could fly to China for the first time, not knowing anything about their culture or heritage and being able to understand everything? Hell I would go to China all the time then.

But the point is that you can not understand people from China if you have no idea about their culture or language (Mandarin). IN fact you can't get very far out of your own country if you don’t know a second language. Which brings me to my point, everyone in the United States should be forced to learn a second language. You may at this moment be thinking back to your stint with a language back in high school or maybe even middle school, well then I ask you while you are there to maybe try and utter a sentence or two in that language. Ah that’s what I thought, you can’t (well maybe some of you can but chance are most of you can not). Don’t feel bad I just graduated from high school and 8 straight years of Italian and I can’t utter more than "e" and "che".

We need to face the fact that for most of us high school foreign language classes were just another class that we needed to pass, and if that called for forgetting the last chapter to remember the next then so be it.

What needs to be done is integrate a foreign language with English, what I mean is that when you start learning English in Kindergarten it should be coupled with a foreign language. That language would be decided by the local government to give relevance either to local culture, local necessity, or worldly necessity. Further down the road the child would be able to choose if they wanted to continue with that language or opt out for another, because someone should not be forced to learn a language they see no need for.

The future success of the United States now depends on its ability to connect with many different countries around the world and be able to render them services that no other country can give. The US already has the know how it just needs the language.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


President Bush finally took the blame for the bad intellegence on Iraq today. Ironically his approval rating shot up with the announcement. Now seeing that maybe Mr. Bush will finally come to the realization that when you accept the blame and tell the truth people tend to respect you a little bit more.

I really do not understand why leaders, when they get into trouble, have to try and lie their way out of hte situation. Everyone makes mistakes, and they always could have done something a little better than they did. Now if the leader of the free world comes out and admits he did something wrong even though he had the best intentions then people are more than likely to say its alright, just work hard to fix it.

Honesty is by far the best policy.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


The following posts will contain my view of the world and the way in which I see it.