Germans spend around 150 million euros on fireworks to loudly ring in the New Year. I have lived here many years, but have not bought a single one. I can enjoy the show thanks to other people’s stupidity.
Another entertaining headline in a UK newspaper, this one with conservative leanings:
Britain to become 'true global player' post-Brexit with military bases in South East Asia and Caribbean
After losing their “empire” of stolen lands, the English continued to have illusions of non-existent grandeur. Now, they have become delusional. I can picture their “bases”: rented space on some other nation’s real base, understaffed and equipped with antiquated weapons. For the soldiers’ sake, I hope they never have to face a real enemy, which blundering politicians consider inferior.
I do not do Facebook, Instagram, or any other personal data manipulator. I do have an iPhone, which has replaced the need to memorise phone numbers and addresses or to keep a daily planner. Because of that, I have missed a few birthdays, which I used to note in my calendar. There might be a way to do this on my phone, but can’t be bothered to search or learn.
Therefore, I bought an old-fashion pocket calendar. Now, all I have to do is check it regularly to find out who has a birthday that merits a message from me.
The lucky ones…
I just watched Crazy Rich Asians, which I liked very much. Having spent a lot of time in Asia and having worked with many Asians, some crazy and some rich and some both, I found this film entertaining and humorous. Of course, I like Contstance Wu, who stars in Fresh Off The Boat, a clever and humorous sitcom.
Sitting in cloud, foggy Germany, I yearn to be in Asia. Of course, I know that I am an interloper and outsider, having learned a key lesson in John Carre’s Honourable Schoolboy: the key to survival is knowing that you will never know. Asians, especially the Chinese, might be friendly, but the will never accept you as an equal. So, I enjoy the culture, the food, and the weather, but do not even think about wanting to fit in.
Unlike the majority of Americans, who know nothing about Asia and look down their arrogant noses at any from Asia, I know the history and understand as much of the culture as I can. I enjoy the differences and have since I first set foot on the part of the world.
I am happy that I am no longer a member of the military. I would not be a able to serve and respect the so-called commander. Other presidents have not served in the military, but none have fraudulently avoided service. And, none have stood in front to soldiers serving in a war zone and blatantly lied about a non-existent pay raise.
Can it get any worse?
I grew up with and was quite content with having one day of Christmas; so, I do not understand why some countries need two. The English have something called Boxing Day, on which most watch soccer. Of course, being influence by Americans, many also now go shopping.The Germans have what’s called—unimaginatively--Second Christmas Day. Of course, this is nice for working folks, because it means a day off. Having strong unions and church leaders, stores must close. Gas stations have expanded their stocking from oil and maps, when I was a child, to a wide range of groceries and a wide range of miscellaneous items for incremental income. Some people still buy gas. I am not sure what I should do on this day, so I basically do nothing special. We sleep late, eat left-overs from Christmas, read, watch some television, and try to think of something to write on this worthless blog.
There are few things that I loath, because that is such a wasted emotion. But, I make an exception for the Christmas song, Little Drummer Boy. Whenever it airs, I must turn off the sound.
The remaining seasonal songs (with the possible exception of 12 Days of Christmas), even the religious ones are fine and I find that they add to the Christmas spirit. They foster memories of my youth, when I was forced to attend church. Some are rather good melodies, if you ignore the lyrics. One can praise human creativity even when rejecting the hypocrisy.
Nation with Crumbling Bridges and Roads Excited to Build Giant Wall
By Andy Borowitz
WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—As America’s bridges, roads, and other infrastructure dangerously deteriorate from decades of neglect, there is a mounting sense of urgency that it is time to build a giant wall.
Across the U.S., whose rail system is a rickety antique plagued by deadly accidents, Americans are increasingly recognizing that building a wall with Mexico, and possibly another one with Canada, should be the country's top priority.
Harland Dorrinson, the executive director of a Washington-based think tank called the Center for Responsible Immigration, believes that most Americans favor the building of border walls over extravagant pet projects like structurally sound freeway overpasses.
"The estimated cost of a border wall with Mexico is five billion dollars," he said. "We could easily blow the same amount of money on infrastructure repairs and have nothing to show for it but functioning highways."
Congress has dragged its feet on infrastructure spending in recent years, but Dorrinson senses growing support in Washington for building a giant border wall. "Even if for some reason we don't get the Mexicans to pay for it, five billion is a steal," he said.
While some think that America’s declining infrastructure is a national-security threat, Dorrinson strongly disagrees. "If immigrants somehow get over the wall, the condition of our bridges and roads will keep them from getting very far," he said.
Imagination is more important than knowledge...
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.