Friday, July 31, 2009

Winter Olympics 2018

My former hometown Munich is bidding for the 2018 Winter Olympics. If Munich is chosen then the games will be held not only in the Bavarian capital but also in the alpine region around Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Berchtesgaden.

Today the Olympic committee introduced the three logos which made the cut to promote the games if Munich will indeed host the games. The people in Germany are asked to vote for the best logo.

Honestly, I’m not very impressed with any of these marks. They’re either too similar to previous logos, too blah or too trendy. The obvious problem with “trendy” designs is that it’ll already look too outdated way before 2018.

What do you think? Which logo design should represent the games in München?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Tad Shaky on Geography...

I saw this on today:

We love Fox News. Now they've truly liberated Iraq – by turning it into Egypt.

And did anybody notice? Like someone at Faux...I mean...Fox News? Or any of the viewers? Of course not. Didn't I mention something about the state of the education system in this country the other day?

Oh boy!

As Fox's motto goes, "We fabricate -- er, report -- you decide."

Monday, July 27, 2009

Simon's Cat 'Fly Guy'

I love Simon Tofield's short film series "Simon's Cat." Here's his latest titled "Fly Guy." Hilarious!

Can one capture a cat's behavior any better? And I should know...we used to have five cats...and a dog.

Guess who ruled the house?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Social Butterflies

We have been so busy the last few days that there was no time to add anything on here. But here it goes and we try to keep it short and let the photos do most of the talking.

Last week we saw “Shear Madness” with some friends at the theater at Town Square. They added their own little Las Vegas tweaks to the storyline and the play overall was just hilarious. Unfortunately, it closed last Sunday. Las Vegas just doesn’t have as big of a theater crowd like in other cities.

On Friday evening, we attended a special Human Rights Campaign event which was hosted by the Encore Hotel & Casino. It included reduced-price tickets to see the fantastic “Le Rêve” aquatic show, created by Franco Dragone and a hosted gathering at the trendy and ever so popular “XS” nightclub. 415 attendees helped to raise over $19,000 for HRC.

Our new friends Al and Steve invited us over to their beautiful home on Saturday to spend a wonderful day with their friends Ken and Bill by the pool. We talked, laughed, swam, barbecued and watched bats drinking water from the pool as they dove down from a dusk sky.

On Sunday afternoon we drove over to the cineplex at Red Rock Station Casino to see the movie “Ice Age 3.” I had free movie tickets for it and we really enjoyed it. Although it wasn’t quite as funny as the preceding “Ice Age,” it was still very enjoyable and really clever at times. Afterwards we had an amazing Mexican dinner at “Cabo,” one of our favorite places at the Red Rock. And with that another amazing weekend came to a close.

The Sin City Q Social group help their weekly gathering at House of Blue’s “Foundation Room,” atop the Mandalay Bay hotel tower. We’ve never been there as it’s an exclusive members-only club. The dark, ancient and colonial India inspired rooms were fascinating but the view of the glittering city from the open terrace on the 43rd floor was just spectacular. Needless to say it was rather crowded.
Before we went to the Foundation Room, George and I had a lovely dinner at the Bellagio Cafe where we enjoyed a plate of wonderful Tandoori Chicken and a scrumptious Pacific Salmon Sandwich. After the gathering at the Foundation Room we wandered around the casino floor of Mandalay Bay. We also checked out the store of the musical “The Lion King,” which found a new home at this casino’s theater a few months ago after “Mamma Mia” closed after playing there for over six years.

Gee, look at us. We haven’t been going out this much all at once in...well, like in forever. Are we turning into little social butterflies in our olden age?

Below are random pictures from the last few days.

You know we had to throw some nature in. A close-up of a cicada in our backyard

One of our many vases

Inside the Bellagio Cafe

The dining area of the Bellagio Cafe

Southbound traffic on the Las Vegas “Strip”

George along the lake in front of the Bellagio

My humble self, waiting for the next performance of the Bellagio Fountains

Mon Ami Gabi, the amazing French restaurant across the street

The Bellagio Fountains in action, choreographed to the music of ol’ blue eyes, Frank Sinatra

View from the House of Blues’ “Foundation Room”

The city of lights at our feet

The other side of the Foundation Room open terrace,
facing the east wing of the Mandalay Bay tower

Outside the theater foyer of “The Lion King,” inside the Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Third World

After my endless ranting in Monday’s entry about the deplorable and disgraceful state of America’s health and education system, or just the pathetic state of mind of Americans in general really, it was nice to see that I’m not the only one who feels that way.

As a matter of fact, it’s quite encouraging to feel vindicated by fellow citizens who are concurring with one’s opinions. I got the following comment from an article on the Huffington Post web site.

“America is a third-world country in terms of health-care, social justice, and general education. Corruption of politicians by lobbyists is on an African scale.

Whenever I return from abroad, I am more and more struck by the antiquated airports, the grungy downtown areas, the generally old-fashioned quality of the place. For many Americans, America is simply falling out of the first world.

I suppose there is a certain thrill in having more aircraft carriers than anyone else in the entire universe, but we seem to have less and less of everything else that makes a viable modern civilization.”

Monday, July 13, 2009

...Or Are You Just Happy To See Me?

Either this guy was having just one grand day or he literally was happy to see...well...whomever. Only in Munich, Germany, the town I grew up in are they out and proud. And it shows!

Can you imagine to see a photo like this on the front page...or any page, for that matter...of an American publication or a news web site?

That would be a loud and clear no the absolute hell.

One would think Americans don’t know what sex is or even why genitalia is there for. Since America’s population only came into existence by virgin births or other divine interventions. No wonder this is “God’s own country.”

Unless you’re a male goodie-goodie Republican politician or a Catholic priest. Somehow they’ve figured out what to do with their “sin sticks” and put them to good use too.

Oh, those Europeans. Have they no shame? They have history, culture, real bread and coffee that actually tastes as such. They get higher education and have efficient health care, which is mostly free to all. And now this?!?! A healthy portion of good clean sex, all out and proud for everyone to see.

Do these “socialists” really believe that using common sense and having this notion that consensual sex is just a very normal and healthy part of life in general, along with a very honest and open sex education in public schools is a good thing?

Americans are so blessed not to a mindset as evil and perverted as Europeans do. It is true that America, the only true holy land, may have one of the world’s highest rate of unwanted teen pregnancies. Or that all these born again Christian politicians are so out-of-control sex-crazed that they’ll poke anything with a hole in it. But that’s okay though, because they’re all brainwashed patriotic Americans who still believe that the earth is flat and Jesus had dinosaur steaks for dinner. It’s all in the bible or something that God himself told Bill O’Reilly on Fox News. Therefore it’s all good. Besides, don’t they all have their own personal line to the big fella up there?

Good thing America has got its priority straight. That’s why it has this most precious law that is the envy of all the other lands everywhere: The right to bear arms.

That’s right, people. Most Americans can’t find their own country on a map or name the current vice-president, nor do most of them have health insurance, which again is run by corporations who decide whom gets to live and gets to bite the dust because some lil’ fucker had the audacity to develop cancer. Seriously, who needs education, health and all that other “communist” crap anyway?

Americans have guns, goddammit! Shoot first, ask later! Whoa, look at the size of this bazooka Fuckin’ cool, man! Let’s blow shit up!

You see, owning a semi-automatic riffle is all Americans need to solve problems like lack of proper health care, schooling, equal rights, poverty or hunger.

Would you like some freshly grated cheese on your Smith & Wesson and maybe some extra pepper on your side of ammunition?

- - - Sarcasm session terminated - - - Political Ranting disabled - - -

How the hell did I get into this whole ranting mode? Is it Monday? By the way, the above photo is in reference the Christopher Street Day celebration which was held in downtown Munich, Germany over the weekend. Here are links to see more photos in two Munich newspaper sites:

Please note that the articles are in German. But be forewarned! It contains further images of these...gasp...I can barely get myself to even type this...these life-loving and equality-seeking homosexuals.

Okay, my sarcasm button is now officially turned off.

George and I had another amazing weekend. And a great surprise. We met Al and his partner Steve for an early dinner at Town Square on Saturday. We’ve met them at a gay couple’s pot luck the other day and hit it right off. We were planning on seeing a movie after dinner but we ended up walking around at Town Square, talking about everything and nothing for the rest of the evening and just enjoying each other’s company. George and I hope this is the beginning a new friendship.

Yesterday morning we decided to go swimming. It certainly was a hot enough day for that. There is a gigantic, olympic-size pool over at the club house which is literally a two-minute walk away from our house. Okay, maybe three minutes. Since we’ve been so darn busy lately, it was the first time we’ve gone swimming this year. Last year we managed to go at least once a week. We thoroughly enjoyed dipping into the cool waters and taking a few laps.

However, the highlight of the day was a surprise call from our dear friends Rover and Cal. They were on their way driving back home to Los Angeles after taking care of a month-long project in Denver and decided to drop in to pay us a visit. Mike was with them too so it turned out to be one big reunion of sorts. It was great seeing them all again. We chatted endlessly and tried to catch up on everyone’s life. Then us five went out to one of the neighborhood dives to have some dinner. Except for a few people sitting at the bar, the place was empty but we soon turned it into one big laugh fest. We made the waitress’ day.

Imagine a bunch of intellectual gays, talking about politics, arts, bears in leather and sparkling gold leaves falling from the skies. I can’t even begin to describe it. One had to be there in person. Mind you, Rover, Cal and Mike are rather butch, masculine looking guys. Cal can be especially intimidating as he’s very tall and has a ruggedly handsome face with a big bushy beard. But he’s such a sweet and cuddly guy. They all are.

Now, here you have these strangely queer acting macho-kinda guys, talking about theater and pulling a V8 engine out of a muscle car, all in the same breath. We completely confused and scared the jebeezes out of all them straight folks there sitting at the bar. I certainly felt a few eyeballs fixated on us as we were leaving the bar, laughing like schoolgirls at some bohemian joke.

We’ll spend Thanksgiving again at Rover and Cal’s amazing home in California. There are definitely more good times in store for us. We can’t wait. Is it turkey day yet?

Gobble, gobble!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


It’s my mother’s birthday today. She would have been 81 years young today.

I say 81 years young because that’s what she always has been. She always held on to her youthful spirit despite what anybody said or thought. Even when in her later years age-related ailments started to creep up on her she would still keep her optimistic aura around her.

With all the hardship she’s been through one would think that she would have turned into a bitter old woman. She grew up during the height of fascist Germany and the horrors of World War II. She had to work hard to help the family make ends meet. She was threatened by Nazi officers for not saluting them the proper way after learning that her dear brother had been killed in the Russian battlefields.
She ran for cover or jumped from a moving burning train during the bombing raids by the Allied Forces. And she knew what hunger felt like.

Right after the war had ended she married my dad, whom was still serving in the U.S. Air Force at the time. They moved to Georgia and there my mother had to overcome obstacles of a different nature. Not only was there a language barrier and a different lifestyle to get accustomed to but also the prejudice against Germans. The wounds of the war were still fresh and they would let her know that.

Interestingly enough, my mother wasn’t even born in Germany. Fate would have it that she was born in Brazil and through family ties ended up in Munich, Germany when she was still a toddler.

However, life eventually got better for her and she was able to enjoy it to the fullest. Even in the most modest ways. She would find pleasures in the smallest, most insignificant things. Something as simple like a walk in the park or a home baked cookie would bring her just as much joy as listening to an aria at the opera. It didn’t take much to put a smile on her face.

She always had that childlike innocence about her. There was no need for false pretense or to justify who she was or what she liked. She’s been criticized for many things because she wouldn’t allow to be molded into whatever her own family or society at the time dictated her to be. She simply didn’t care what others thought of her or to “act her age.” A trait I got from her.

My mother and I were very close and best friends. And just like I she loved anything Disney. We would visit Disneyland whenever there was a chance. Not one kid out there had as much fun as my mother did.

Her last ever trip was to Walt Disney World in Florida. She was already suffering from a recurrent cancer and had to be in a wheelchair. But she enjoyed every damn minute of it. The Disney folks were amazing too and helped tremendously making this one memorable trip. The very day we flew back home to Las Vegas she suffered a stroke from which she never recovered. And the cancer eventually took its toll.

I just regret that she never had a chance to met my George. She would have loved and adored him. They too would have become the best of friends.

My mother was a happy woman and that’s how I want to remember her. She would have wanted me to. When she was always smiling and embracing life with such curiosity and vigor. These are qualities which are so lacking in today’s society. Especially in young people. They have no clue what they’re missing.

I know who I’m missing. A lot. But she’s always present. In my mind, my heart, whenever and wherever. She always will. Corniness and schmaltz be damned. I pity anyone who’s never been touched by such a joyful and generous person.

Alles Gute zum Geburtstag, Mutti.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Not many Stars and much less Spangles

Our long Fourth of July weekend was rather uneventful. Purposely so. We were thinking of spending the weekend in Los Angeles, visiting friends or family. But we decided not to. The last few weeks were so excruciatingly busy at work. And George had his hands full with studies for his classes on top of that.

We felt drained.

Driving on the I-15 freeway through the hot Mojave Desert with a bunch of idiot drivers for a few hours certainly was not my idea of rejuvenation. The thought of being surrounded by hordes of people, celebrating Independence Day for all the wrong reasons, just gave me the willies. Peace and quiet, spent leisurely at our comfortable home was way more attractive.

And that’s exactly what George and I did. It was so relaxing. We caught up on movies and shows that we’ve recorded on our DVR over the last weeks. And made delicious dinners and yummy desserts.

However, we did occasionally leave our little paradise to join the rest of the outside world. On Friday we visited my parent’s grave at the Veterans’ Cemetery in Boulder City. Afterwards we hiked along the old Railroad Trail which overlooks Lake Mead and then continues on to Hoover Dam. We didn’t hike all the way to the dam though. But it was nice to be out and about and to take in a different scenery for a change. We haven’t been on this trail for years.

Most of the following images were taken that day.

Pine tree detail

Tunnels along the Railroad Trail at Lake Mead National Recreation Area. In the longer tunnels one can hear the bats as they are resting during the heat of the day. We even saw a few flying around inside the dark cavern.

Overlooking Boulder Beach and Lake Mead Marina Complex

The signs of the on-going drought is becoming more apparent with each passing year

Lake Mead

It was way over 100º F that day. Just like any day in July in Southern Nevada

Desert Colors

Even the desert has regulations

Back home we made this devil’s food cake, filled with cream cheese and fresh berries