Wednesday, September 30, 2009

American Dictatorship

Today religious mania has infected the political bloodstream and America has become corrosively isolationist, he says. “Ask an American what they know about Sweden and they’d say ‘They live well but they’re all alcoholics’. In fact a Scandinavian system could have benefited us many times over.” Instead, America has “no intellectual class” and is “rotting away at a funereal pace. We’ll have a military dictatorship fairly soon, on the basis that nobody else can hold everything together. Obama would have been better off focusing on educating the American people. His problem is being over-educated. He doesn’t realise how dim-witted and ignorant his audience is. Benjamin Franklin said that the system would fail because of the corruption of the people and that happened under Bush.”

Gore Vidal

Taken from the London Times, September 29, 2009

Monday, September 28, 2009

What A Circus!

On Friday evening we went to the Onyx Theatre to see “Mommie Queerest.” We haven’t laughed so hard in the longest time. My tear ducts are still recovering. If you want a truly good time and experience a whole new slapsticky twist to the campy 1981 movie “Mommie Dearest” with Faye Dunaway, you have to go and see this stage production. Gotta love those wire hangers.

Just when you thought camp like this couldn’t possibly be made even campier.

But how’s this for campy? On Saturday we saw Britney Spears at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. Yes...that Britney Spears. Never in a million years would I have even considered seeing her. Then one day George suggested we should go because they had reasonable tickets. And we should see her one last time before she ends up as some burned-out has-been on one of those crappy reality shows. So, why the heck not?

Her “The Circus” tour made a two night stop in Las Vegas and I have to admit that we both liked it. It was quite the spectacle. Clever in fact. The show, the acrobats and dancers, the costumes were really something to behold.

So did the Mistress of Ceremony, Ms. Spears herself, dare to actually sing live? What do you think?
No, of course not. Not one bit. Every song was lip synced and every one of her moves was robotically choreographed. She even had a double performing her part for the last bits of the “concert.” Not that it mattered anyway, because we expected as much and everyone around us was completely oblivious to that fact and really couldn’t care less. We didn’t regret going however. Despite some flaws we truly enjoyed this whole “circus” act.

Yesterday morning we decided to treat ourselves with a Shakshouka-style breakfast. Lots of fresh tomatoes, spicy herbs and eggs, nicely broiled and served over sourdough bread. Yum, yum and yum!

Otherwise we just messed about the house, the backyard, chatted with friends on web sites and on the phone and caught up on some television shows that we’ve taped over the last few days. We also worked out and did our usual walks and jogs through Pueblo Park. Most of the photos below are from our walk in the park yesterday early afternoon and what we usually see along the way.

All in all, another great weekend.

Yesterday morning started out with some Shaksouka

Later we walked in Pueblo Park, here is the section closest to West Lake Mead Boulevard

Along the Pueblo Park, with the Spring Mountain Range in the background

It rarely rains in Las Vegas, but when it does you don't want to be caught here during a flash flood. They can form within minutes and turn into a ravaging river.

More of the park

There are plenty of yuccas, ocotillos and other desert flora

The red rock, the only one in all of the park

There are also plenty of critters to observe. Squirrels, rabbits, tarantulas, snakes, bats...
And then there are these critters...

Still blooming, even in all this desert heat

There are lots of recreational facilities, barbeque areas and play grounds

The land of the free...with tons of regulations
The driveway to the parking lot from Lake Mead Boulevard

Afterwards we just had to reward ourselves. Marble cake with whipped topping and chocolate syrup. That's right, we live the good life!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The House Always Wins

George and I spent another night out on the town yesterday. We started by having dinner at one of our favorite hangouts, enjoying the best burgers on the “Strip.” It looks like they have new waiters working at the “Dailies.” My favorite eyecandy, young and hot Jose, is not there anymore. And none of the Russian girls. However, the food is still amazing as ever.

Afterwards we just wandered up and down parts of the famed “Strip.” Most locals hate this part of town and will only come to the “Strip” if absolutely necessary. Like when family or friends are visiting town and want to see what all the fuss is about. George and I like coming to the “Strip” and check out what’s going on in all the casinos. Even though we rarely gamble it’s fun to stroll through the casinos and watch people. Or visit one of the countless restaurants to enjoy a great meal. If shopping is your thing there are plenty of malls on this stretch of road alone. Don’t forget all the concerts, shows, clubs, dancing...the list is endless. Why shouldn’t locals join in on the fun as well?

Incidentally, we saw a bunch of German tourists all over the place. I suppose it helps to become attuned to our upcoming trip to Germany in December. Of course, I couldn’t help myself to make fun of them. But just a wee bit. It’s not like I’m that evil. Außerdem kann ich mir das auch erlauben.

The weather was perfect too. The evenings are finally starting to cool off enough to enjoy the outdoors again. During the heat of summer it just stays hot 24/7. It’s not uncommon for temperatures to still linger below the 100º F mark at 2 o’clock in the morning.

And speaking of gambling, we tried our luck on one of the Wheel of Fortune slot machines. At one point we got our money back and more but eventually lost everything again. As if we didn’t know any better. The house always wins. Always!

Here are some impressions from yesterday evening.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Grüß Gott!

Munich's main cathedral, the Frauenkirche

George and I will be spending the holidays in my former neck of the woods. Yes, we’ll be flying to Munich to visit family and some friends and to show George around my old stomping grounds.

I haven’t been back to München since September 2001. Up until then, traveling has always been a very pleasant experience for me. But since the awful events on September 11th, traveling has become a hassle, almost a chore and I’m not necessarily looking forward to the flying part of this trip.

Interestingly enough, I always loved to fly. Flying used to be very special to me back in those days. That was when airline passengers weren’t treated like cattle. When there was still something called customer service and a certain pride to keep passengers happy. When people were still pampered by the airlines and were served complimentary meals and drinks on long-haul flights. Heck, even on shorter routes airlines would at least serve sandwiches. And remember pillows and blankets? Well, not anymore. Not only are passenger being treated like cattle, the airline industry discovered that passengers are cash cows. Now airlines charge for everything. There’s a fee to implement a fee. I wait for the day when they start charging for the usage of lavatories.

Oh wait, that already has been suggested by an Irish airliner. Oh joy!

But for now we’re just happy to have found airfares and a hotel which were reasonable. Even trying to book a trip has become a pain. When did every little pleasure in life become such a hassle?
Anyway, that part is done and we’re just concentrating on having a grand time in the Bavarian capital. Not only have I not been back in over eight years, it’ll be my first winter in almost 20 years.

Uh-oh, what was I thinking?

The Eisbach flowing through a wintery Englischer Garten

Maybe the weather won’t be as cold and there may not even be any snow on the ground. It usually gets really snowy and icy by late January and February. Then again, this may be the winter of all winters and it’ll have full-blown blizzard conditions. Since this would be George’s very first winter experience, why not go out all the way?


It’s funny how we ended up going to Germany. First we thought of visiting Bangkok and Hong Kong, maybe Japan. It ended up costing more than we anticipated, despite the really good offers we had found at first. Then we thought about spending a few days in London (my other stomping grounds) or Amsterdam.
They want how much for this dumpy looking place? Uhm...No!
Even staying in the good ol’ US of A is getting way too pricey. Americans can’t even afford their own country anymore. On top of barely getting any vacation time whatsoever and having no money, how are Americans supposed to explore the world if they can’t even make it past their own city limits?

Traffic signals in Munich usually don't stay red as long as they do in Las Vegas

Believe it or not, but Munich is a real bargain in comparison. So why the hell not? George has never been to Germany and is eager to visit. He already knows some basic German phrases. I’m sure that knowing how to say “I’m hungry” and “I love you” will help to get him through any sticky situation that may arise in case I’m not around to translate. Of course, saying “Ich liebe Dich” to the wrong person could prove somewhat perilous.

That’s the stuff of what future memories and great stories are made of.

The Maxmonument on Maximilian Straße. I used to live just around the corner.

So, my fellow bloggers, look forward to more riveting entries and prepare yourselves for breathtaking photography in the coming year. However, fantastic tales of drunken gamblers and sleazy girls must suffice for now. Not that you would ever find us in that kind of milieu. But who knows?

This is Sin City after all.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Domestic Partnership

George and I took another official step yesterday evening to apply for Domestic Partnership. There was a forum at the LGTB Center in Las Vegas regarding this very issue and many questions and concerns were addressed. Lots of helpful information was provided by Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller; Senator David Parks, who sponsored the new bill; and a panel consisting of people who work for the ACLU, a lawyer’s firm and a hospice. Right after the Q&A session many couples had their registration form notarized, like George and I did.

The law goes in effect in Nevada on October 1st, 2009.

Click here and here for links to Las Vegas’ two main newspaper sites and their articles and photos about yesterday’s forum.

Yup, we’re famous. Below is a screen shot taken from the Las Vegas Sun article, showing George and me watching our registration form being notarized. Of course, in the other photo I have my eyes closed and am hidden behind another person.

So much for my 15 minutes of fame.

Who cares. More importantly, we’re about to enter our Domestic Partnership and a new exciting chapter in our life. We know it’s not the same as marriage but it’s still quite a milestone. Especially for the Sate of Nevada, a bastion of Republicans and conservatives. This new law was vetoed by our vile governor Jim Gibbons, stating that he simply doesn’t believe in it. Luckily, there were enough votes in the Assembly and the Senate to override his veto.

Not all is bad in America. Eventually, true equality for all will come. Also on a federal level. But like I said before, in this country it takes small baby steps to achieve progress.

Friday, September 11, 2009


George and I went to a art reception in the Las Vegas downtown area yesterday. It was supposed to be held at the Brett Wesley Contemporary Art Gallery but extensive renovation work at their original location took longer than anticipated. Therefore the reception, called “The Power of Seduction,” was moved to the 21st floor of the Newport Lofts high-rise.

We know Kevin, one of the three artist featured. His wife Andrea and I worked together for many years when we were both still with the advertising agency. We also saw other familiar faces we haven’t seen in quite a while. Amazing how time flies. We love Kevin’s paintings and his work called “Iron Curtain” is our favorite.

Iron Curtain by Kevin Chupik, oil on panel 30x36

Here are some photos from the reception and the views of the city from atop the Newport Lofts, where the reception was held.

We wouldn’t want to live in that building but the views sure are pretty.

George und ich gingen gestern abend zu einer Vernissage im einem der älteren Vierteln von Las Vegas. Eigentlich hätte die Ausstellung in der Brett Wesley Gallerie stattfinden sollen, aber die musste wegen angehenden Renovierungsarbeiten in der besagten Gallerie kurzfristig umziehen. Also wurde die Vernissage, unter dem Titel “The Power of Seduction” (Die Macht der Verführung), im 21. Stockwerk des Newport Lofts Gebäudes abgehalten.

Wir kennen Kevin, einer der drei vorgestellten Künstler des Abends. Seine Ehefrau und ich haben viele Jahre zusammen in der Werbeagentur gearbeitet. Wir haben auch viele ander Bekannte getroffen, die wir seit Jahren nicht mehr gesehen hatten. Wie die Zeit vergeht. Wir finden Kevins Gemälde ausgezeichnet und sein Werk “Iron Curtain” finden wir am besten.

Hier sind ein paar Bilder von der Austellung und der Aussicht auf die Stadt vom 21., bzw. 24. Stockwerk des Gebäudes.

Wir würden nicht hier in diesem Hochhaus wohnen wollen, aber die Aussicht war doch besonders schön.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

True Blood

O...M...G !!!

One of my favorite bands, Depeche Mode, and our currently favorite series, "True Blood," together. Eric, have mercy! I think I'm going to faint. And it's not caused by blood loss.

I know the final episode of the second season is upon us but check out the second season trailer for HBO's "True Blood." Bloody yummy.

Day of Arbeit

The long Labor Day weekend came and went and of course it has been way too short. As usual. But George and I managed to make it a very relaxed and enjoyable one.

We saw one hilarious comedy show with a very potty-mouthed and no-holds-barred Joan Rivers at the Venetian Showroom, met friends for a nice Italian dinner at Brio at Town Square and caught up on movies and specials which we’ve recorded on our DVR over the last few weeks. Good thing too because we ran out of recording space.

In-between we just tinkered around the house and backyard, worked out, took nice walks in our park, bought some groceries for the week and cooked some delicious food.

Needless to say that we’ve packed an additional pound or two on the scale, despite our working out and walks in the park. These holidays, as few and far between as they seem, do come with a price. But it’s a price we’re happy to pay.

And here we’re off again to another work week. But luckily it’s a short one. The next weekend can’t come soon enough.

Some things will never change.

Below are a few random photographic slivers from the last few days. I also took a picture of the birthday cards I’ve received. Can you spot the one you’ve sent me? Once again thanks to all.

Hier nun schnell wieder etwas auf Deutsch. Damit meine Familie und Freunde in Deutschland (...und in Kanada?!) nicht denken daß ich sie total vernachlässige. Gestern feierten die U.S.A. den Labor Day Feiertag, was man in etwa mit dem Tag der Arbeit am jeweiligen 1. Mai vergleichen kann. Natürlich geht es hier weniger politisch ernst zu wie z.B. in Europa. Das wäre nun doch ein wenig zu sozialistisch und daher absolut unamerikanisch. Wo kämen wir da auch sonst hin?! Ich konnte mir an dieser Stelle ein bischen Zynismus einfach nicht verkneifen.

Dafür ist hier an solchen Tagen das Grillen draußen im Garten angesagt. Oder man sieht sich zuhause oder in irgendeiner Bar mit einen Haufen anderen Leuten Footballspiele im Fernsehen an. Oder ärgert sich wieder einmal insbesondere über den alljährlichen Chaos auf den verstopften Autobahnen und überfüllten Flughäfen. Dieser Feiertag kündigt auch gleichzeitig das offizielle Ende der Sommer Saison an und natürlich “freuen” sich alle Kinder das sie wieder zurück in die Schule dürfen.

Wie auch immer, für George und mich war es nur wichtig das wir wieder ein langes Wochenende geniesen konnten. Wir werden hier in den Vereinigten Staaten nicht unbedingt mit freien Tagen überschüttet. Also machen wir aus jeden einzelnen Feiertag das allerbeste daraus.

Wir sahen eine recht ausgelassene und lustige Show mit der bekannten Komödiantin Joan Rivers in einem der vielen Las Vegas Casinos, traffen uns mit Freunden zu einem italienischen Abendessen und sahen uns viele der Spielfilme und Fernsehspecials an, die wir im laufe der letzten Wochen auf unseren Digitalrecoder aufgenohmen hatten. War auch höchste Zeit, da uns mittlerweile der Platz auf dem Recorder ausging.

Zwischendurch pfuschten wir im Haus und im Garten herum, machten Sportübungen und sind viel im unserem Park gelaufen, haben unsere Wocheneinkäufe erledigt und haben viele leckere Gerichte gekocht.

Trotz aller sportlichen Tätigkeiten haben wir es geschafft ein oder zwei zusätzliche Pfunde auf die Waage zu legen. Es scheint als ob man für diese Feiertage, so selten sie auch vorkommen mögen, immer ein Preis zu zahlen ist. Aber mit diesen Preis können wir ohne weiteres leben.

Nun hat uns allerdings der Alltag wieder zurück. Immerhin wird es eine kurze Arbeitswoche werden. Und das ist schließlich auch etwas wert. Aber das nächste Wochenende kann nicht schnell genug kommen.

Einige Dinge, so scheint es, werden sich wohl niemals ändern. Egal, in welchen Land man lebt.

Anbei sind ein paar Bilder die wir in den letzten Tagen gemacht haben. Under anderem sieht man einige der Geburtstagskarten die ich bekommen habe. Könnt Ihr Eure Karte erkennen, die Ihr mir geschickt habt? Nochmals nachträglich viele herzlichen Dank.

Birthday Cards...which one is from you?
Geburtstagskarten...welche kam von Dir?

One even came with glittery things
Eine Karte enthielt sogar Glitzerdinger

Labor Day Relaxation
Entspannen am Feiertag

The new Westgate Tower at the Planet Hollywood Resort on the Strip
Der neue Westgate Hotelturm des Planet Hollywood Resorts am Strip
I'm just intrigued by any kind of light reflections and shadow play
Mich fasziniert einfach jegliche Art von Lichtreflektionen oder Schattenspiele