Monday, November 12, 2007

Random Thoughts

This begonia with the spotted leaves started out with a cutting from my neighbor. It likes the dappled shade under the trees in the backyard, but now it has moved inside. Even though it is again warming up during the day, the nights are cool, so little begonia will spent the next months on the windowsill and will keep me company close to my desk.

What a busy weekend with correcting papers, shopping for clothes for teenage daughter and taking care of administrative paperwork. Tomorrow another writing day will be lost because of exams and meetings.

Random thoughts:
How come that the Dutch managed to build a most amazing construction to block out the stormy sea from the port of Rotterdam, the storm surge barrier Maeslantkering, but the highly industrialized and wealthy U.S. are not capable to come up with an effective way to protect New Orleans?
How come that the San Francisco oil spill is part of the top Google news in European language Google sites but not in the U.S.?
Why do most people in this country not care about the environment?
How come that kids in school can be punished for public display of affection if they hug another kid to show support and friendship, but it is perfectly fine to sell scarily brutal video games where killing others is glorified?

From a letter from a former student currently in Europe:
" I left one Thursday afternoon at 1:14 to visit P. in L. I was supposed to arrive in L. at 9:29 that evening. I had two stops in between--one that was about 6 minutes out of Salzburg and the other one a couple of hours away in a place called Landshut. I arrived on time to Landshut and was to leave from there for my connecting train to L., about four hours away. To make a long story short, the train workers were striking (as they have been for the last month) and my train wasn't running, so I had to hop regional train from city to city until I reached L. A really nice guy in P. (one of my many stops) let me use his cell phone to call P. and tell him I was going to be late. After switching trains about 8 times, I reached Ch., which is about an hour away from L. by train, at 10:30 pm. There were as of about 8 pm no more trains running to L. until 4:26 the next morning. The train station was cold and open to the outside, so I spent the night in a telephone booth. I had an extra pair of pants in my book bag, so I went to go change into them, but the bathroom was closed! A lot of bathrooms here make you pay to pee, which is the Number 1 thing I hate most about Europe. I mean, I'm already making a contribution; I'm certainly not going to give anybody any money in addition. I just don't subscribe to their ways (just ask the maze made of tall hedges in the Mirabell garden), so I stood in front of the closed bathroom and changed my pants, headed to my telephone booth and spent the rest of the night reading my book and calling the Deutsche Telekom toll free information line to expand my vocabulary."
Nothing to add to this gem : )

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