Monthly Archives: March 2006

Okay, I’ve been bad.

I called in sick to work because DrBob took the car to Munich Thursday night so I would have had to either walk to the train station or ask Mrs Next Door to drive me there (with her brand-new tiny baby) and then I would have been on the train, which is its own kind of excruciating. Okay, I’m blithering. Upshot = I’m better than I was, but still too sick to take on the kind of activity that getting to work and doing my job would have required. And now it’s late and I better get to bed, but I haven’t blogged today, so I’m gonna fob you off with another annoying Eurovision retrospective.

Ah, the one and only Cliff Richard. He sang Congratulation for England in 1968. Didn’t win, but it was a massive hit in Britain anyway. And I could forgive this song if it were like 1952, because they didn’t know any better then. But 1968? He was sort of the “Elvis of England” (i.e., about that famous), which honestly? Makes me kind of sad. We got Elvis, they got Cliff (who later sang the Lord’s Prayer to the tune of Auld Lang Syne, in public, for which he is surely going to Hell), and they still think they are culturally superior to us.

Of course, that last snarky sentence can be contradicted into oblivion with two little words. They rhyme with Flonty Squython. Hey, I never claimed to be consistent.


It’s like magic. Now that I’ve actually gone to the attention-seeking extreme of seeing a doctor about this stupid thing, it’s gone away. Still a tad under the weather, but nothing like it’s been for the past week and a half. It’s a lot like when Aunt Flo is late, so you go buy a pregnancy test and then she shows up while you’re driving home from the drugstore, and you realize you’ve just paid $9 to jump-start your period. Yes, that has happened to me. Twice. So okay, I’ll cancel the labwork and be happy that it’s over. And yet again, I’ll swallow the grumpies over the fact that if I’d just waited another day, I wouldn’t have wasted my money and the good doctor’s time.

Not at all irritating.

Song du Jour of the Day? I’m watching a dippy special about the top 20 Abba songs, so here, for your viewing horror enjoyment, is the winning entry for the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest! I bet you didn’t know that this is how Abba hit the big time. I am so groovin’ on the blue satin knickerbockers.

Another step in the continuing dissolution of the Former Yugoslav Republic of People Who Can’t Seem to Stand Eachother.

(annotated for people who don’t feel like clicking all the links.)

Despite the name, Serbia & Montenegro is actually one country. But not for long. After this (they pulled out of the contest because they can’t agree on a song), can political separation be far behind? Also, what the hell is with the Serbs? Look how hard everyone in the area tries to get away from them. Do they have really bad breath, or something?

I know, I know, it’s that whole genocide thing. Maybe not so much that it happened, as that many Serbians (BBC roundup of Balkan press coverage on Milosevic’s death) seem genuinely perplexed as to why everyone’s so upset about it. And honestly, I can’t explain why without resorting to tautology, because it’s just so self-evident to me. It’s very hard to explain something to someone if you can’t understand their position, and “genocide is fine in some circumstances” is a cognitive leap that I am simply unable to make.

Okay, change of subject: I realize it’s a bit of a stretch to link one nation’s history of bigotry and violence to another’s via this incident (Duke lacrosse team rapes exotic dancer at a party) in North Carolina, but I’m gonna do it anyway. Because I kinda see a similar dynamic. According to Ancrene Wiseass,

The lacrosse team has closed ranks and refuses to offer any information about the incidents

That’s right – the team stands by the criminals in their midst. And why not? Members of this team have misbehaved before (15 team members’ prior offenses) and gotten away with it, so they already know that they’re above the law. And clearly, it hasn’t yet occurred to them that what they did – racist barking? rape? strangling? hello? – was, you know, wrong or anything. Because it’s not just an isolated event, but the product of a system that assigns more value to some people based on their race, class, income and athletic ability, and that value basically amounts to a get out of jail free card. I hope Duke comes down hard on them – the University owns the building where it happened, and they could legally suspend the entire team for obstructing a criminal investigation. But will they? Duke, like other universities, has obviously bought into the system (special privileges for athletes) for a long time.

Conservatives accuse us liberals of moral relativism. They say there are absolute truths, absolute good and evil. If this gets picked up by Conservative bloggers at all, I’m guessing they’ll blame the victims. I bet they’ll ignore the fact that if the race/class of the people were reversed, if it had been black athletes from N.C. Central assaulting a white girl from Duke, they’d already be wearing orange jumpsuits. Will they recognize their own moral relativism?

I don’t usually post politically-oriented things, because I usually don’t have time to do the research to back up my assertions (damn my journalistic principles, even though very few actual journalists seem to have them anymore). But I’m not a journalist, I’m just a housewife with a blog. I think the story should reach as many people as possible, and I really hope it makes us all question the assumptions we have about our society. Not just question. Change.

A good writer would bring this back around to the Yugoslavia thing, but I worked all day on this post, so now I have to go do something else.

The situation is being tracked over at Justice 4 Two Sisters.

Not as better as I thought I was

Still dragging. Usually I spend a day in illness rehab (the part where I feel like I might be getting better), and then it’s over, but it’s been longer than that. I promised Mrs Next Door I would go to the doctor today – I would never have done it if I hadn’t made that promise. In fact, when I got there, I had to do preliminary stuff because, it turned out, I had never yet been there as a patient, in over four years of living across the street from this clinic. I was always The Patient’s Mama. Turns out my usual method of dealing with illness (ignore it and hope it goes away) has been even more effective than I’d realized.

Even now, having been weak and weary for eight days (nine?) I still think it’s just a virus that will eventually be over. I’ve just reached the point where I’m willing to cough up the €10 copay to find out when.

So the doc was supposed to hear my symptom and grimace and say “Yeah, that’s been going around. Usually lasts about two weeks. Drink water, try to rest, buh-bye.” Unfortunately she doesn’t seem to have read her script. So poke prod listen, reflex hammer, stethoscope, blood pressure, close my eyes and march in place. etc. Then she told me to make an appointment for labwork and an ultrasound, and the earliest one they could give me was next Tuesday.

Um. Tuesday. You know, I really wasn’t planning to stay sick for that long.

Song du jour of the day: Interpol. A Time to Be So Small

French Toast

I once heard someone say that the tradition of drinking “á votre santé,” to your health, dates back to the days when it was considered a courtly gesture for a gentleman to drink from a lady’s shoe. Apparently drinking to her health was an acknowledgement of the risk he was taking – if she had any funky foot diseases, he’d be drinking major cooties, so before he took a swig, he hoped she was healthy.

I sure hope that’s apocryphal. Because, ew.

Your Questions Answered

Kelly asks, re the Eurovision stuff, “and what the hell is up with Germany?!”

There are about six sets of backstory I could give you if I wanted to make this really long, but I could go on about Eurovision the way I could go on about Star Trek: either you are an initiate, and you already know, or you’re not interested and I’m boring you. It really is an amazing social phenomenon, though.

So, long story short, each country used to use a jury to choose the song that would represent it at ESC, but as technology and democracy have advanced, more and more have moved to televoting (vote by phone).

Germany sent um, songs of a certain, uh, type for a really long time. (Example? Okey-dokey). Then, in the late ’90s, Stefan Raab, Germany’s version of Leno/Letterman, decided to involve himself in Eurovision, and the voters liked his extremely irreverent approach – not just in Germany, but in Europe as well: his song “Wadde Hadde Dudde Da?” came in like third or something in the 2000 ESC. Okay, fifth. Still pretty good. However, there are people who take Eurovision very seriously indeed, and they were horrified, which for me just adds to the humor of the whole thing.

So this year, the Forces of Boring took a giant step backward for democracy, and a jury chose three (dreadful) songs, and let the People vote on those. Wikipedia says Raab’s bored of Eurovision, which is quite likely, but I suspect the FoB also set this up to keep him out. And his ilk, because the German competitions have featured a fair few very silly acts in recent years. Which is why Germans had to choose from three really, really bad songs this year. I don’t know why they chose the worst. I don’t know why they couldn’t be represented by Germans Being Schlocky, instead of by Germans Being Schlocky While Pretending To Be Texans. Maybe they hoped the rest of Europe would think these really were Texans, not Germans, and direct their scorn across the Atlantic.

Wikipedia on the Eurovision Song Contest

On the mend

Well, finally! I am by no means back to normal, but I’m on the way. I can swallow, yawn, and even cough without crying. When I sit still for awhile, I feel almost normal. So, for instance, if I need something upstairs I’ll leap out of my chair and scamper up the stairs in my usual way, but halfway up I’m like remember that Bugs Bunny cartoon, where he tunnels to the Sahara, but he thinks he’s at some beach, so he leaps out and runs, yelling Yahoo! Whoopee! etc, and then he’s staggering along with his tongue hanging to his knees, gasping Yahoo! *gasp*wheeze* Yippee! *wheeze*choke*? Yeah. I’m like that.

Still. It’s better than it was. The last six days I’ve been hearing the phone ring and groaning because I knew I’d never get to it before the caller gave up. The phone is like ten feet from my desk.

Also, remember this charming entry about the um, metal band that will be representing Finland in the Eurovision Song Contest? Right, well, I forgot to give you the link for their website, how terribly remiss of me. Better yet, if you go back to the Eurovision site I told you about before, and click on “Multimedia Lounge”, and then choose the “Video” option, up pops a list of 2006 Participants. Click on Finland – you can see Lordi’s video! Then, you can see the German entry (Have a basin handy)! Then you will understand why I want Finland to win, and maybe, instead of a trophy, they’ll get to eat the Germans. The pink fuzzy bolero alone is enough of a reason to want to see the German singer’s head on a pike.

EDIT: Oh! Right! The song du jour of the day! Well of course it would have to be Hard Rock Hallelujah, by Lordi! I mean, it’s the Arockalypse! Also, the Day of Rockening!

Another edit: An easier way to see the Lordi video: click here.


I haven’t had a song du jour of the day for a long time, have I? Sorry about that. Well, going into day 5 of a sore throat that makes it difficult to swallow anything, let’s go with Like Eating Glass, by Bloc Party.

Oh, and via Negro Please, hahahahaha!

oh wait….new information…

Actually, they do have a baby, they just hadn’t told me yet. Born Thursday evening. I work for the dad, and he was going to tell me at work yesterday, but of course I called in sick. So he called this morning to give me the news, because I’d already told the mom I’d want to visit her in the hospital, but of course now I’m sick. So I can’t. Dang.

And, after all my talk against froofroo baby sweaters, and after I made them a nice manly dark-green-and-white sweater for their new human, they went and had a girl! So unfair. Well, at least I can finally knit girl-things. Actually, maybe I should take Amber up on her offer. They’re moving to Scotland. It’ll be cold…

Skip if you don’t knit.

No, not like the “honk if you love Jesus” thing, though if you want to skip, I won’t try to stop you. I mean, do not bother to read this entry if you are not a knitter, as it will be boring and make no sense to you.

The sweater I mentioned in the March 11 entry is long-done and delivered. The baby, not yet. Poor Gabriele. Anyway, I documented the process and have finally scraped together a page with instructions. It’s a modification of the ubiquitous five-hour baby sweater, and I’m actually surprised at how cute it turned out to be.

I put the pattern up on my free webhost, and it did something weird with the formatting, and I’m too tired now to try and fix it. I Hope you can read it anyway. My first-ever published knitting pattern!

5-hour baby sweater