it's been a while since my last "real" post. while i normally get a lot of these done on the road this past journey had too many cities in too little time: stockholm, oslo, copenhagen, milan. it was all i could do to keep my breath with the planes & hotel rooms. i'll post some pics after i get home and settled in, but in no particular order, here are my thoughts on the plane ride home:
all airports should have hardwood floors.
every airport in scandanavia does (that i saw) and it completely changes how you feel about the space, turning what could have been a bustling, stress-ridden thoroughfare into something not unlike an ikea living room display floor. they should hire the norwegians to extreme makeover the dirtbag airport that is LAX. just left charles de gaulle and even the french are kicking our butts with clean & stylish airports. the french! these are the people who thought red pants would make great camouflage in world war 1 and inaugurated consumption of snails.
faded empires don't suck.
this was an important one i contemplated while cruising around stockholm. i understand the swedes used to be a dominant society at several times in history. now they are relegated to bestowing upon us meatballs with lingon berries, disposable design furniture and the occasional pop or movie star (think abba, greta garbo, dolph lundgren, etc.). none of this is bad, but it's not exactly shaping the future of humanity. having said that, the swedes seemed genuinely happy with their lot in life even though their one-time glory is mostly recalled now in advanced college history courses and commerative shot glasses with really small font. relate this to where we are now in the US and i think we can take some comfort from the fact that other nations have quietly slipped into a background role on the world stage where they were once playing the star. and, following their adoption of a lesser role, people seem really ok with it. really. sooooooooooo... heed my call citizens of the u.s.a.: it is time to figure out what our new contribution to the world since the day will soon be upon us when we will hand the keys over to the chinese. i'm betting it will still be media and some form of hollywood that does not include kanye west-- i heard the man rap about klondike bars at the grammies. what the hell is that?
graffiti doesn't have to be gang-related or violent.
this one is sort of obvious, but i think i lost this sometime in LA. in fact, i think it relates directly back to jonathan who can explain which tagging relates back specifically to which gang did it and where they're from. for example, after spotting the "TMK" tagged onto our trash can a few months ago, jonathan sagely advised me that "too much krap" had staked a claim onto our trash bin. apparently they are a mexico-based gang that is on the rise in socal. i'm fine with them tagging our trash can, but if they are going to claim some portion of it, the least they could do is take it out for us every now and again. anyways, back to my point, which is as follows: graffiti in italy was downright cute and fluffy in some areas and artistic and fun in others. why does is almost all of our graffiti in LA so ugly and bleak? granted, we have some cool street murals like the "art of chase" and wyland stuff, but impromptu street art is not our flavor apparently. too much krap indeed...
it's floor happy face.
can we just standardize on what floor the lobby level is on? some places it is "ground", which i'm ok with. other places it is "1" and commonly in europe it is "0". which i can appreciate. it's all too confusing though; i think we should just replace all of it with a star or a happy face. this works for me. on another note, while explaining that we did not name the latest version of our backup and recovery s/w version 13 (went straight to 14 from version 12) for the same reason many buildings do not have 13 floors, a smug italian pr person commented to me (in front of about 20 italian journalists) that 13 was actually lucky in italy. go figure. i remarked that it was an ethopian guy who had made the decision (which it was), which i figure was about the best defense i had at the time.
now you can't just go assuming everyone speaks english, especially cab drivers, but if you had to choose one language to carry you around the globe you'd be well served to through english in your knap sack. this is really the benefit of the work the british started so long ago, hollywood has more gently influenced and the internet is perpetuating. just try and find an internet protocol that you have to spell out in french, italian or any other language. really. so to the victors go the spoils: we can travel damn near anywhere and step 2 paces beyond everyone else's pointing and grunting when they don't speak the language b/c everyone has seen our movies, had at least a little high school english or visited an adult website on the internet. while the chinese will eat our lunch economically, i don't think they will have much luck replacing english as a form of clumsy esperanto worldwide. their character system was nearly designed to prevent literacy, the language is impossibly tonal and (apologies, but let's be honest), it's just plain ugly to the eardrums. so while we will no longer be able to afford to travel internationally with our already flaccid dollar bills, when the chinese or russian tourist offers to buy our house with cash, they will at least have to suffer the indignity of doing it in english.