Brilliant! LX760 was scheduled to take off at 0715h this morning - we actually departed at 1205h, so I missed the morning meeting. Really great - Swiss, this will not go unnoticed ... but until then, I am off to dinner - at least something to look forward to!


Brussels, anyone?

Early tomorrow morning, I am going to Brussels until Friday. Is there anything I shouldn't miss? Probably not, if Angus Lordie's hymn God looks down on Belgium as published in 44 Scotland Street is any indication:

God's never heard of Belgium,
But loves it just the same,
For God is kind,
And doesn't mind -
He's not impressed with fame.

Well, I guess it's safe to say that she's no eurocrat ...

Personal skater?

This really looks rather disturbing, especially the stairs bit ... (via rb).


Three Miles Off

I did a lot the other day! Or maybe, I am just lazy that way ... be that as it may, I really did receive Three Miles Off, the new jazz CD with Oliver Friedli on the piano, Alex Hendriksen (sax), Fernando Fontanilles (bass), Andreas Hoerni (drums) and Daniel Woodtli (wind) in the mail the other day. I've already written about it here - well, ok, not about the CD proper, but about that formation's summertime performance, and perhaps about jazz musicians' reluctance to have a useful online presence ... like Alex's, Oliver's is not very helpful at the time of writing, even though a bit of marketing wouldn't hurt sales, I am sure. What is it with those guys?!

But on to the CD! The Pessoa inspired well composed ten track piece has pretty much lost all of the progressiveness (except for Sugartree, maybe) present in the live performance I attended. But I love it! Alongside some unknown pieces, they present a few standards in a rather cool, laid back mainstream fashion which is bound to bring this CD pretty high up in my iTunes most played selection. Woodtli is definitely a valuable addition to the formation, especially in the colourful duets with Hendriksen. I love his throaty fraying in Morgan Station!

Unfortunately the booklet has its strengths more on the atmospheric rather than in the informative. The question is permitted: What's the purpose of a booklet, particularly when combined with a non-existent, yet referenced website? Come on, Oliver, you can do it!


Eschenmoser Warranty

The other day, I returned a 4 years old digital pair of scales to electronics discounter Eschenmoser where I had purchased it. The thing was fairly expensive as far as scales go, but it never really worked properly, what with it being a rather early model I guess. Since it was a real nuisance to lug around, I postponed returning it, knowing that I had a very generous warranty of 10 years on it anyway.

But there's the rub: Eschenmoser accepted that it wasn't working properly right enough, but since it was an old model, they couldn't replace it in kind. So they proceeded to refund the purchasing price minus a third because of its age - or so they thought. But that's where they hit on the wrong customer, of course. As the terms of warranty make no mention of time value replacement, I refused to accept that refund and made a general fuss about it. After a bit of that and demanding to speak to management, the clerk came around without much more ado & refunded the full price. So, never give in to unfair terms thrust upon you - it pays!



Whenever I am in the UK in the first weeks of November, I join the crowds in wearing a poppy on my lapel. People often ask what it is all about when I leave it on on the continent, and I am happy to explain that it is a traditional British gesture of remembrance for those who gave their lives in the big wars. While I do not think that wearing a poppy is necessarily the first step to Britishness, I can well understand the author's emotion about many immigrants' apparent rejection of that civil gesture of community, if not identity. The community of those that fight for their freedom reaches across borders, and that's why I like to join in even though I hail from a permanently neutral country.


Geiz ist geil

If you thought that the whole German Geiz ist geil thing, or the Buy nothing day thing for that matter, were weird, then think again: Freegan definitely rules supreme in weirdness (via rb). Enjoy your turkey, I guess ...


US nuclear strike on Iran?

Not so good news - but an interesting analysis of the strategic situation in the US-Iran relations. Personally, I do not expect that short a notice, but rather by spring next year. Also, I do not think they would be stupid enough to use the nuclear option - but never misoverestimate Dubya ... and conventional resources are already strechted to the limit.

Goldman goes green

Good news! Now that investment banking behemoth Goldman Sachs embraces environmentalism whole heartedly, you can safely say it has gone mainstream. Watch this space - interesting innovations are bound to come out of that.



You could say that yesterday's trip to InterWhisky was in preparation of the forthcoming visit to Edinburgh on the occasion of Paul D's stag do, and I couldn't possibly argue with that. However, the offering was not overwhelming to the modestly initiated. Nonetheless, the presentations were informative & meeting Avo Uvezian was worth it on its own merits. Also, I wasn't aware of an interesting new Springbank-brand: Longrow gives every Ardbeg & Laphroaig a run for its money on peatyness. The evening found it's most satisfactory conclusion in an extensive Chinese dinner with K&C in Hongkong. Avoid theatre business if you can.


Plain Living and High Thinking

After having hunted London high & low for it, I decided to purchase a copy of The Enthusiast online, seeing that you can now pay by Paypal. Today, my copy duely arrived in the mail from Northern Ireland, in a battered, obviously recycled envelope, yet accompanied by friendly salutations.

The first impression is absolutely immaculate: Well produced, nicely typeset (in lead even?), quirky & quaint illustrations & evidently like readers: From a letter to the editor, proposing to reïntroduce extinct opposites such as gruntled, defatigable, gusted, plussed & shevelled. An evidently not so Rough Travel Guide to India , Nepal & Whitstable (all unread as yet). Music recommendations from Takemitsu to progressive house. Here's a quiz for you: Which of the following are artists and which are cheeses? Which are both? - Cellini, Giorgione, Gorgonzola, Parmigiano, Reggiano, Wensleydale, Epoisse, Spenlow, Jorkin, Jarlsberg. Last, but not least: Advertisements & Employment. GENUINE NEW GUINEA PIGS FROM NEW GUINEA, 3 guineas each. Call 0700 NGGP

I think I'll take out a subscription, enthusiastically!


Cleese's monkey

Now, had he retained his original name, the whole affair would be awfully cheesy, but this way I guess John Cleese will feel very pleased with having a monkey named after him. Especially since his dead parrot sketch receives so much scientific praise lately ...


The Long Tail

Via this NZZ interview, I came across a truly remarkable market analysis of the new economics in the entertainment space in the internet age. This is what I have been talking about all along, and Anderson has written it down for me in good prose a year ago! Mandatory reading!

On a less joyful note: Bloody earthquakes! There's been another one at 4.1 Richter ... I hate them!


Merqueirro-Hennel Disease

Never heard of this terrible scourge of humanity? Fret not, and don't start searching the health sections of the web, because that's exactly what the inventors of the disease, the hacks at PR agency Prentiss McCabe from the BBC's satirical comedy Absolute Power would want you to! In order to cover for the inacceptable behaviour of one of their clients, they spun a new disease, complete with symptoms, website & all, and were very successful with it - for a bit.

I purchased the DVD on my trip to London after having seen in recommended in a blog (cannot remember which one, sorry). It's good, but not overwhelming. The cover has a pretty good testimonial: It's clever and dangerous because, like Yes, Minister - Absolute Power makes you think you know how the world works. You do indeed get that impression ...


Curse of the Were-Rabbit

Back from the ultimate Halloween movie, seen, as it were, in an almost entirely Halloween free country now that I am back in Basle. Wallace & Gromit are absolutely delightful and will put a smile on your face without a doubt. References to horror and other classics are aplenty, puns galore and for the rest, the movie oozes quaint Englishness that it will be altogether indigestible in places like Ireland or Scotland. Lady Tottington "Totty" is lovable, and the Red Barron dogfight fierce, with intermission. You'll like it.

Speaking of England: I feel very hip! Back in London I bought something as superficially dated as this Churchill CD, which now turns out to contain what amounts to a whole lot of sampling material, to be used by the likes of Tubbs in their mix The Storm, available on iTunes! Westward look, the land is bright!


Orange fails me

Hopefully, this is not a bad omen for the service quality I am set to receive with my new mobile operator Orange: The transfer of my subscription was scheduled for today at 0955h, but it never worked. Now I am told that Orange has had a power failure in Crissier, which is the reason why their transfer server stopped working, and now my transfer is delayed by "one or two days" (!). That unfortunately means that right now, I cannot receive any calls on my mobile number, even though outgoing calls are possible. So if you're trying to call me on my mobile number, you'll get a strange message for the time being, until the current operator (Sunrise) has worked out what to do. Sorry.

P.S. All is good now ... the wonders of a good night's recovery!