Skip to main content

look at the souvenirs i didn't buy in switzerland

by a weird fluke, i found myself in switzerland with no ability to get money and no money on hand. that sucked in a lot of ways, because i always like to buy a map of the city/ country i'm in while i'm traveling. [i've prohibited myself from purchasing a map in advance of a trip because of that unseemly incident back in 2005.] it also sucked because it meant that i couldn't buy the gorgeous europe-only shade of yves st. laurent's new "rouge pur couture- les mats" lipstick called "prune virgin", which is not only named after an underrated irish band, but which is also just a perfectly me shade of deep shiraz purple-red.

but in other ways, it's a good thing that i couldn't get money, because that's probably all that stopped me from buying stuff like this ::

ok, let's start with the predictable, which is that i wanted the entire window display at prada on banhofstrasse. choosing one pair would have been too difficult. i will take all the pairs, please. and i will pay by credit card. someone else's.


and it's just too typical to get a cow. although a cow dressed as michael jackson might have been slightly more acceptable.


a cowbell the size of my torso was vaguely appealing, if only because i could imagine it freaking out some underpaid baggage handlers if i were able to fit it in a suitcase. i also think it would have guaranteed that my baggage left the plane pretty damn fast upon arrival.


and no, i wasn't tempted to get a gnome, which would also be cliche, but when i saw this in tiny, touristy appenzell, i was tempted to get all the gnomes, just so i could watch dom's reaction when i organised them in military formation in front of our door and then called in a set of demands to avoid war from a nearby pay phone. then again, he lives with me, so i suspect he's getting used to that sort of thing.


this would also have been totally cliche, except that it was about fifteen feet long. size trumps cliche. it's an international rule.


of course, this was like a sign reading "giant gift shop for kate"


unfortunately, they only had a couple of things on the wall i could have stolen and given the general decor, i sort of thought they might have noticed they were missing...


besides, why would i want old stuff when i could easily have bought a giant chrome brain with strawberries sprouting out of it?


ok, to be fair, when dom saw this, he couldn't understand why i didn't buy it. yes, it was about two feet tall and yes, it probably weighed about eighty pounds, but seriously, what's a better souvenir than a great big bronze statue of a bear taking a dump?


i think dom's secret fear was that i was going to come home with this guy, because i texted him pictures saying how happy i was that i'd made a friend on my travels and how i was almost certain that the large number of bug bites i received were not due to his giving me fleas. but come on, look at him. he was totally flirting with me.


so those are all the awesome things i could have [would have] bought in switzerland if my bank card had worked. also, i'll bet you're pretty happy you're not dom right now.

Comments

as long as you're here, why not read more?

don't speak

you might think that it sounds dramatic, but linguistic genocide is something that happens. people in power will go to great lengths to eradicate certain languages, not just for the sheer joy of making the world a lesser place, but as a way of beating down the culture that's associated with it. language has a unique reciprocal bond with culture, and every group that has attempted to break down another has recognised that forbidding a cultural group from communicating in their own language is an extremely effective way to tear apart their culture.

there are lots [and lots and lots and lots] of examples of this sort of thing, some successful, some not, but far too many to cover in one blog post. however, i thought it was worth looking at some languages that have been the subjects of active repression, and what the political consequences of that have been.

devastation :: the native north american languages :: it should come as no surprise that the largest genocide in history [by a ma…

losers?

just a short time ago, i waxed prosaic about trump supporters who felt betrayed by their candidate pursuing in office the exact things that he said he would. short version: i have no sympathy.

today is a bit different. in the wake of america's bombing of a syrian air strip, in response to a chemical weapons attack by the syrian government, my facebook and twitter feeds were peppered with plaintive shades of "we believed you". these are the people who heard trump say that he wanted the united states to step back and focus on defending its own. indeed, trump did say such things, over and over; america cannot be the policeman of the world. even arch-liberal cynics like me had to admit that this was a refreshing argument to hear from someone outside the paul family, and, could easily have been turned into trump's greatest argument against hillary clinton. [he chose to go another way, which also worked.]

trump also said, repeatedly, that america needed to invest heavily …

long division

after the united states election last year, there were the usual calls for the country to unite behind the new president. that never happens anymore, because, since george w. bush scored a victory in 2004, having launched the country into a war in iraq for no reason, the people on the losing side of a presidential election have been pretty bloody angry about it. democrats hated bush 43. republicans really hated obama. democrats really hate trump.

it didn't help that trump didn't make the typical conciliatory gestures like including a couple of members of the opposite party in his cabinet, or encouraging his party to proceed slowly with contentious legislation. barack obama arguably wasted at least two and as many as six years of his tenure as president trying to play peacemaker before he felt sufficiently safe to just say "screw you guys" and start governing around the ridiculous congress he was forced to deal with. not-giving-a-shit obama was the best president in …