Her Ladyship

Notes from the gutter.

Friday, July 25, 2008

You tell 'em, Lewis

Last night, The Texan and I ventured out to the Majestic, a restored movie palace that now is used for concerts and the like. (Prettiest. Theater. Ever. Seriously, I'd pay $30 just to go sit in it for two hours.) Lewis Black was coming as part of his "Let Them Eat Cake" tour.

We'd gone to his "Back in Black" performance a few years ago. Back then, he'd had a comedian open for him. The opener was on stage for a few minutes, then introduced Lewis, who came out in a very nice suit.

This time, the opening comedian (Jim McCue, very good) was on-stage for over half an hour. Besides doing his bit, he also spent quite a lot of time asking audience members their names and then making cracks about their jobs. Then, there was a 40-minute-long intermission. Finally, Lewis came on-stage, wearing rumpled casual clothes.

Turned out he'd gotten screwed on his flight into SA and had to cool his heels for seven hours at the Newark airport, waiting for the weather to ease up (thanks, Hurricane Dolly!) so that his plane could head this way. I think that he came pretty much straight from the SA airport to the Majestic.

Now, in case you're not familiar with Lewis Black, he's known for his rants about the state of the world today. Now, imagine him after having been in the fifth circle of hell (i.e., airport purgatory) for an entire day. He was on fire - the first part of his show was spent ranting about the airline industry and how awful air travel is. COULDN'T AGREE MORE. The rest of the show was good, but for me, that was the best part.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Well hello Dolly

The eagerly-anticipated Hurricane Dolly has finally reached us. Of course, it's no longer a true hurricane, since we're three hours in-land (a pain when trying to get to the beach, but a nice plus during hurricane season). Everyone here has been all atwitter about the possibility of getting some rain, and the excuse to go out and buy large amounts of booze (what if the power goes out? what else will we do to pass the time?). It's been raining pretty steadily, which is fine and dandy with me. We'd planned on taking a cab downtown tonight to go see Lewis Black at the Majestic. Nothing like some vitrolic rants about the state of the world on a rainy day to pick you right up.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A quick question to our friends across the pond

Countries of Europe, why is it that you cannot make decent gum? Your cheese is delicious, I've quaffed gallons of your wine, and you even have the leg up on us in terms of Coca Lite (SO MUCH BETTER THAN DIET COKE!). But man, your gum blows. When The Texan and I were in Berlin a few weeks ago, we were trying to find ways to burn through the euros we had left - we were unaware that a tiny bottle of water cost 4 euros, and that as hungover as we were, we'd go through a lot of bottles of water while sitting through a two-hour delay at the airport - so we went to duty-free. After we made the crucial booze purchase (Bacardi Black, for those of you playing along at home), we still had some discretionary spending. So we bought candies for the flight, and finally out of desperation bought a ten-pack of gum.

I have gotten into the habit of needing to chew gum while I work, so I go through a lot of packs of it. Unfortunately, I can't get through the European gum fast enough - I think it's breeding while I sleep. I still have four packs to go. Gah.

And no, I'm not basing this undeniable fact - that European gum sucks - on a single incident. Every time I'm over there, I keep hoping that they'll finally have figured out how to make their gum's flavor last longer than thirty seconds. Not so much.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The brain trust at work

My new cell phone can be charged by being plugged into a USB connection. On its cord is "UP" with an arrow pointed the correct direction for plugging it in. At first, I snicker at people who need this spelled out. Then I realize that every time I've tried to plug in my phone prior to this, it took a couple of tries to get it right.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Ich bin Berliner

Not really, but The Texan and I had a lot of fun repeating that sentence over the past week. Berlin? Is full of trees, and well-behaved dogs off their leashes, and people calmly riding their bikes up and over the sidewalks.

I had never been there, so I was really curious to see how East vs. West Berlin compared (pretty much the same, except we did see some pro-socialism graffiti on the east side. Oh, and the little walk/don't walk figures on the east side wear very cute hats), and to see how the city looked since it got pretty much destroyed during WWII. There was a lot of investment in its infrastructure, which was good, but a lot of the older buildings were completely gone. We spent an afternoon walking around the Schloss Charlottenberg, and nearly all of it had to be rebuilt after the war. They were able to get it back to how it was, largely thanks to the German habit of taking inventory and exhaustively long lists. Part of what had to be rebuilt was their porcelain collection, which "disappeared" after the war. I can guess where.

We were there for the big Germany vs. Turkey game of the Eurocup semifinals. What were you doing that fateful day? Heh. The whole city was gearing up for a party and that morning, my middle-aged female cab driver- pick someone who looks like they would never give a rat's ass about soccer, and that would be her - asked me excitedly if I was going to watch the game. My business meetings ran late, so starting around 6pm on, all I could hear while trying to sit patiently through the end of them were happy fans chanting outside. It was like when you're little and all your friends are outside playing but you have to do chores. Finally, around 7pm, I couldn't take it any more and darted out during a quick break. I picked up The Texan from our hotel and we walked around the Potsdammer Platz, trying to find a place we could eat and watch the game. We ended up at an "American" diner, where our burgers came decorated with little American flags. Aww.

We watched the game on a German TV station, which was refreshingly free of all the crap scrolling across the bottom that American stations seem to think is necessary. Plus they kept cutting to reaction shots of Angela Merkel. She one time clapped when the Turks had a good play, causing everyone around us to snort appreciatively. In the end, while the Turks played better, the Germans won, and half a million Germans filled the street, drunkenly singing "Deutschland" over and over and over....

Oh, and in case there was any confusion as to whether the Cold War is over: you can take your picture in front of Checkpoint Charlie for the low low price of one euro. That is, of course, if you haven't gotten your fill of paraphernalia at the affiliated store next to it.