Fare thee well…

…through these sweet fare sales, that is.

We haven’t had that many visitors lately. My parents (hi Mom & Dad!) came for a good, long visit in May, but other than that our guest bedroom has remained empty for long stretches of time. And this displeases us.

So imagine my delight when my usual barrage of travel newsletters in my e-mail were screaming about Fall fare sales! There’s a United sale that you have to move on – it ends tomorrow. I’m more intrigued by the Lufthansa sale. You have until August 20 to purchase and it covers flights well into 2009 (until March 25, to be exact).

So look at your calendars and think about a trip to Germany! The Christmas markets will be in full swing after December 1. Come skiing in the Alps sometime in January. Or we could touch base here in Regensburg and then jaunt off to somewhere warm – Greece? Sicily? Turkey?

Give it some thought, U.S. peeps. And comment or e-mail me if you want to talk about specific dates.

Cripes, just say what you mean!

Hot off the presses from http://www.knbc.com/politics/17024705/detail.html?rss=la&psp=news:

SACRAMENTO — Anti-gay marriage groups say California Attorney General Jerry Brown is twisting their words.

Supporters of a ballot measure that would ban gay marriage want to amend the state Constitution to say “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”

But last week, Brown’s office changed Proposition 8’s ballot title and summary to say the measure seeks to “eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry.”

Project Marriage coalition spokeswoman Jennifer Kerns says her group plans to sue to get the language changed back.

Uh, why? I don’t mind putting words in her mouth. I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that she’s worried that might seem discriminatory. Or hateful. Or — and this is a rough one — less likely to get voted in.

Doesn’t the fact that saying what you mean on the ballot decreases the chances it’ll pass point toward something that’s bad for the voting public? And does Project Marriage think that they can successfully sue to euphemize their ballot without appearing to deceive the very voters they want to woo? What does that say about their regard for the voting public?

My problem with that is completely in addition to and beyond the usual argumentation:

  • It undermines marriage!
  • There are serious consequences!
  • Such as undermining marriage!
  • …which has…uh…serious consequences!

Anyone against same-sex marriage (you can call it anything you like – same-sex marriage, gay marriage, homosexual matrimony, whatever — the terminology in this regard is unimportant) reading this, please listen up. I’m trying to help you — especially if you live in California — by pointing out how you are being Animal Farmed out of legitimacy. The Protect Marriage coalition doesn’t think you’re capable of noticing that “only between a man and woman is valid or recognized” means the same as “eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry.”

Oh, speaking of legitimacy: please explain to me again how anyone’s heterosexual marriage gets undermined when two men or two women tie the knot?

I know two things:

  1. Same-sex marriage has zero effect on my own marriage.
  2. Same-sex marriage, legal throughout the country, would be a tremendous boost in pride for me as a citizen. It would mean that we treat people fairly by offering all the same financial benefits and a shot at being happy together.

Organizations like “Protect Marriage” really get my dander up because “Marriage” is not under attack and does not need protection — except from those who would seek to use it as a tool of bigotry.

Cherries — help! / English Vacation Schedule

We’ve got to be doing something wrong.

There are some lovely cherries on sale at pretty much every place you can buy food around here. Stalls out on the square, produce mongers of the wine-and-cheese and imported meats variety, even plain old supermarkets are all offering beautiful, luscious, juicy, dark sweet cherries from places like Turkey, Italy and even Franconia. They’re good — really, really good in yoghurt or just rinsed and pitted as a snack.

Seems like fruit so excellent like these cherries are would be great candidates for baking into cobblers and muffins and all sorts of things, right? That’s what I thought too. But after two attempts, we’re still having no luck. Somehow we’re baking all the good flavor out of those cherries.

We’ve tried a cherry cobbler recipe (last year, and we had high hopes for it; so high that we were traumatized and couldn’t even speak about it until now). It came out of the oven looking and smelling pretty darn nice, but upon digging in, all we could taste was the oatmeal-based streusel over the top of it. It was very disappointing.

Tonight we tried these muffins and we were skeptical, having tried something similar with some fantastic blueberries lately (and being less than nonplussed with the muffin results), but they smelled great while cooking, looked great coming out of the oven (in spite of our odd oven), and renewed our hope. And then:


Actually the muffiny part of them was much better than we expected and we’ll be using that recipe again in the future. But again the cherry flavor is Just. Not. There. At least the muffins stand up on their own. But how can I bake with these dark sweet cherries and hope to preserve any of their flavor in the finished product?

English School HolidaysIn other news, it would seem that the English and Germans’ royal relationships* are still manifesting themselves in the school holiday schedule.


Hey, it’s another one of those websites missing a vowel towards the end there! But I’m giving it a look-and-see anyway. There are a lot of trips on the horizon for us — some for both of us, some for one of us, some next week and some next year — and poking around on the dopplr site, it would seem to be pretty slick, allowing you find your fellow travelers and keep track of them — as much as they’d like you to — with relative ease.

So give it a shot…you should be able to find us there under our familiar first and last and user names. And who knows — maybe we could hook up on some future travel together, or at least share some travel tips.

My parents are on the go more and more — and lately, separately. My mom is in Bolivia at the moment (see the map?) and my dad is fluttering back and forth between the main house and their cottage with the dog. He’d been interested, in light of the fuel prices lately, in knowing who was going to be headed up to or back from the little community of cottages up at the lake to carpool. Let’s face it, lots of people are headed up at the beginning of a holiday weekend and headed back at the end of it. The trick would be to know more precisely who and when.

I suggested a pretty standard bulletin board system like phpBB or BBPress to take care of that need, but that might be more overhead than what he needs — just a simple way to keep track of who’s going to be where when. These are already people he knows (they’re neighbors after all) so the information sharing thing shouldn’t be a big deal. Oh, and did I mention it’s free (he’s on a fixed income, ya know) and they have a nice commitment to user privacy? That’s comforting.

This looks like a nice system. Thanks go to J over there in Bonn for featuring dopplr on his blog; that’s how I found out about it.


Every time someone sends me an email and signs it

Sam Sample

a tiny little voice in my back of my head goes


I’m totally not baggin’ on anyone who does that. It’s just a thing my brain does, like when you type ––> into a PowerPoint file it gets automagically corrected into . You know?

In other news, this:

Leopard Luggage

Isn’t it awesomely hideous?

Obama in Berlin

Sarah and I were just watching Barack Obama’s speech. Nice work — not Earth-shatteringly good (didn’t move me out of my chair), but pretty good.

I am a little perturbed at the German TV commentator’s reactions to it. One dude said (and I’m paraphrasing here…no TiVo in my brain…yet):

We were expecting something like a rock concert, sure didn’t get that…

May I ask why? I know they were remarking upon the relative youth of the crowd gathered to hear him speak (one guy guessed an average age of about 25). Do you think that was the reason they thought they were going to get something other than what Obama delivered? Were the German commentators expecting a rock concert atmosphere by virtue of the attendees? Should the attendees feel offended? I think I’d be (am?) miffed that the TV commentators thought a youngish crowd to hear a politician speak would bring a rock-n-roll atmosphere with them. I mean, they attended to listen to Obama — they knew what they were in for. Why were the German newsfolk suprised?

This kind of reminds me of the taste left in my mouth after reading about a potentially really offensive headline over at PapaScott.de a while back. It’s not so much that it’s outright offensive — just oddly wrong and out-of-place, like they’re using words they don’t quite understand or just told a joke they don’t really get.