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Miss you

Mark Mardell | 08:45 UK time, Monday, 11 May 2009

I am off. In more ways than one. German election rally, 10 May 09

First I am going on the campaign trail for what will be a pretty intensive month before the European election results are announced on 7 June, and don't expect to be in Brussels much. Of course my colleague Jonny Dymond has a head start on me and has already "done" France and Ireland.

For me it's first stop France, and there'll be more on the mood there later this week.

But I am also leaving Europe this summer. I've just been appointed the BBC's North America editor, replacing Justin Webb, a hard act to follow indeed. It's why I have been missing for a bit, mugging up and cramming. I am thrilled, excited beyond measure, that I will be covering what is possibly the most important story in the world: how Obama copes with the numerous challenges before him, from the economy to climate change, to the terrorist threat to America's image in the world - challenges that are not only important for the United States but the rest of us as well. All that and a new continent to explore too.

But I will twinge as I travel round Europe for the elections, wondering what I will miss, and what I will miss the most. I surprised myself when I came here four years ago that I really didn't miss much in Britain, apart from friends and family. Perhaps I shouldn't have been surprised: every reminder of home, from Marmite to the Sunday newspapers, is easily available in Brussels, and it's only a couple of hours on the train to get back to dear old Blighty. But walking round the back streets of Rome, the bustle of Berlin, the ever unfolding glory of the French countryside - these are a few of my favourite things. If you are an expat from either continent, Old World or New, what do you miss from home?


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  • 1. At 09:19am on 11 May 2009, frenchderek wrote:

    I must have been here too long, I suppose, because I miss very little. Most supermarkets here in "la France profonde" have an "international" rack or even a "British" rack of goodies - which we mainly use for stocking up when visitors are expected (apart from Marmite, that is - for my wife). My wife also misses Hellman's Mayonnaise; I miss access to probably the widest selection of wines in any other country (though at what a price!). You have been well served, in Brussels on the wine front, though: they have probably the second best selection of wines of the world.

    But, Mark, what will you miss most in leaving Europe?

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  • 2. At 09:32am on 11 May 2009, gulfstreamblues wrote:

    This is sad news indeed, as I very much enjoyed Mark's EU reporting. Mark you did a fantastic job with this coverage and I hope your replacement will be as enthusiastic about blogging as you have been. I'm an American living in Europe, so I will be curious to see your take on the US (in a new blog I hope?) I would be particularly interested to hear your comparisons between European politics and American politics.

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  • 3. At 09:37am on 11 May 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    You've been "mugging up" and "cramming"?


    Cramming means studying. I know that, however I can't imagine what books you've been reading to study America. Do the BBC have a required reading list for folks sent to the might USA?

    "mugging up" has me beaten, however. It sounds like a bunch of Englishmen gathering together to assault and rob a frenchman. What does it mean?

    Oh well, it is a pity this blog shall come to an end. But all good things do. Speaking of Justin Webb, two inches to the rights of Marks shocking news, he writes that he is "back in England on a flying visit". So he is either being kept in the dark, or he lies for the sake of the practice.

    Admit it, Mr Mardell, the reason you are so excited is because you will get access to the Big O, and that is journalistic gold because he is such a rock star. You even state: "I will be covering what is possibly the most important story in the world: how Obama copes with the numerous challenges before him"

    Surely the better story is how the world copes with Obama's decisions, rather than how Obama copes with the world? But anyway, you are the journalist.

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  • 4. At 09:57am on 11 May 2009, belgianfrank wrote:

    What do I miss from home? The chavs. There's just nothing like them here. Closest is the Bogans in Oz, but that's too far to go.

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  • 5. At 10:02am on 11 May 2009, Purple-scorpion wrote:

    They've chosen one of their best people. I'm sure all of us will wish you well.

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  • 6. At 10:10am on 11 May 2009, Gheryando wrote:

    Congrats..although a little sad..this blog will be DEARLY going to the US has one advantage as well. You will be able to explain and relate things much better to anyone who will ask you about the EU. You might be paid by the BBC and thus the British public but remember that, by virtue of your experience and your transformation into a "European", you now also (and maybe especially) represent us, Europeans.
    p.s. I will start following more of the North America stuff since I'm sure you're going to write very informative pieces.

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  • 7. At 10:14am on 11 May 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Uncroyable! or I don't know what. The main thing is not to panic. Look round the sub compartments! All hands to the deck! As you were!
    That is, sorry, it's now "Recover!" :o)

    Mark Mardell, whose dear smiling face has stood for "all things European", will now stand for "all things North American". That's what life does to people. Well, one blogger he has guaranteed :o)

    Paradigm shift, an earth quake. And we have weaved up a so nice nest here! All good things in life end sooner or later. That's why the hand shakes with Hillary Clinton it was? She charmed him away! And I thought Mark is missing preparing to cover Eurovision :o)))))

    Well the gang should hold a council where we live now. Not much strategic choice. The obvious solution would be to include Northen America into the proper continent within ? how much time we've got? 2 months? Then our problems will become their problems! and the other way around. :o) Anyone has better ideas?

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  • 8. At 10:15am on 11 May 2009, mightychewster wrote:

    I only really miss the countryside where I live(d) in the Lakes and proper beer!

    The longer I stay away from the UK the more I realise that there is a good chance I will not return to live there full-time

    It is a real shame because I love the area I am from and would like to enjoy it again, but the UK holds no advantages at the moment. The government are morally bankrupt and the whole political system needs changing but it will never happen; maybe one day - but I doubt it

    Good luck in the USA! I enjoyed my time working over there, good friendly people in the most and some amazing countryside to enjoy

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  • 9. At 11:40am on 11 May 2009, Menedemus wrote:

    So North America it is for me too! I am actually looking forward to being able to pontificate on North American matters as much as MAII does about European Affairs. ;o)

    Like Alice, I'll be joining Mark's North American Blog once it is up and running.

    We canot have Mark running off to 'do' America without some of his regular commentatators coming along for the ride.

    Goodbye Old World , Hello New World!

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  • 10. At 12:20pm on 11 May 2009, MaxSceptic wrote:

    Good Luck, Mark.

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  • 11. At 1:05pm on 11 May 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    My advice to you, read the three seminal documents which define the United States of America; The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, and the Bill of Rights. Then read a good history of the United States written by a respected American historian, not a British historian. If you want to understand the US at all, get it from an American perspective or you will surely wind up a superficial hack reporter who talks about America without knowing what he is saying the way Webb did.

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  • 12. At 1:05pm on 11 May 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Mendacious, America has survived worse, it will survive you too.

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  • 13. At 1:14pm on 11 May 2009, Buzet23 wrote:


    You left one little thing unsaid, who if anybody has been appointed to replace you and will they have an European blog. OR is the inside feeling that the forthcoming vote will be such a disaster for the federal, treaty, EU types that all forums and blogs are to be disbanded wherever possible to quell further negative discussion.

    Anyway good luck in the USA, enjoy the cooking, lol, and I like others will visit you on your new blog to ensure you're kept on your toes.

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  • 14. At 1:15pm on 11 May 2009, Beavervalley wrote:

    Congratulations Mark - I suspect that a N. America blog will not interest me as much as your EU blog postings and the resultant discussions have, but I'll give it a try as and when.

    What do I miss as a UK ex-pat? Good indian restaurants, proper beer, lots of sportscars, a proper service culture (compared to France!). Certainly not enough to make me want to move back to what is left of the UK post Blair and Brown. :-(

    Best wishes for the next step across the pond.

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  • 15. At 1:18pm on 11 May 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Menedemus, hold on, :o) "like Alice, I'll be joining Mark.."

    I actually meant Mark has one blogger guaranteed I meant MarcAvreliusII :o)))) not me!

    I mean, I didn't mean to start from threats, at once! LOL, Would be very un-human and un-elgant of me. Given such a perspective Mark might urgently review his plans and go to some third continent where he'd write under a pseudonim and with glued on moustache. We don't want that do we?

    Mark has got to have some time first, to tune to his new audiences, take the pulse, figure out what to write, equip himself with a photographer for pictures and all.

    Then he starts writing all the correct words, and then come we and write all the wrong ones. Under the banners. :o) On the whole it's called democracy - or pretty close to the max you can reasonably expect abroad.

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  • 16. At 1:34pm on 11 May 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

    Enjoyed your blogging and I wish you all the best. I hope it's a pay rise for you too (as long as it isn't too much as it comes out of my licence fee ;) ).

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  • 17. At 1:43pm on 11 May 2009, Maria Ashot wrote:

    My preference is to have the best of both worlds by going back and forth. But having lived most of my life in the US, and enjoyed a great deal of it, let me tell you the following: Best US Museum? National Gallery in DC, hands down: plus, it's free, as a great museum should be. Best state to live in? California, North or South, but preferably close to the Pacific. Best US destination for a holiday: Hawai'i: well worth the money and the distance. Best gourmet experiences? Yountville, California, and, of course, lots of San Francisco places (my favourite, hands down, is Kokkari)... HAVING SAID THAT, the EU still has the very best food available anywhere, especially in France, but really pretty much all of Europe has better food than the US -- I don't mean at the restaurant level, I mean at the most basic farmed and available for home preparation level. Keep a close eye on how American food makes you and anyone you care for feel: much of it tends to leave a person sluggish and fuzzy-headed.... and then, of course, the energy drinks crank you up!

    Enjoy the scenery and the occasional reruns of Frasier.

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  • 18. At 2:16pm on 11 May 2009, Smeashy wrote:

    Well Mark,
    I've been a regular reader of your blog and your work as Europe editor has been educational and insightful, in a way seldom achieved through headline stories. All too often the story stops at the venue itself, but these blogs have given a valuable look into the guts of issues within European politics, rather than 'Europe' as an issue on its own. I hope your replacement does the same, and as mentioned above, continues to blog about poorly covered policy issues.
    Best of luck.

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  • 19. At 3:19pm on 11 May 2009, mikewarsaw wrote:

    What do I miss about the UK? Good Indian and other south Asian cuisine, decent farmhouse Cheddar and other English hard cheeses (Irish versions are just not the same!), salt and vinegar crisps, Branson pickle. Everything I can purchase locally. Other than that a quick 2.5 hours flight handles everything.

    Mark, enjoy the USA, though frankly, compared to Brussels the food will be a disaster unless you are into plastic!

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  • 20. At 3:21pm on 11 May 2009, threnodio wrote:

    I will be sorry to see you go. On the other hand, if you can bring blogging from the States to the same level you have achieved here, I too will be joining you. Let's hope whoever succeeds you has the same enthusiasm for the blog. (By the way, when will we find out who that is?)

    Bet you are glad you went on that survival course last year.

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  • 21. At 3:41pm on 11 May 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:


    "Keep a close eye on how American food makes you and anyone you care for feel: much of it tends to leave a person sluggish and fuzzy-headed'

    That's what invariably happens when the portions are large enough to fill you up.

    I'll bet the prion laden mad cow causing and foot and mouth disease infected beef was some of the best tasting in the UK. Poor us, we never got any. Our supposedly hormone and anti-biotic tainted beef was banned in Europe and so European beef was not allowed in the US. Weren't we the lucky ones.

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  • 22. At 4:00pm on 11 May 2009, magnificentFrankO wrote:

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  • 23. At 4:35pm on 11 May 2009, WhiteEnglishProud wrote:

    Sad to see you go Mark but its probably the right time for a re-shuffle.

    Please can you tell us if the Blog will continue under a new European Editor or will it be disbanded? Who will the Editor be not Justin Webb PLEASE.

    Good luck in the U.S

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  • 24. At 4:37pm on 11 May 2009, greypolyglot wrote:


    I know what you will almost certainly miss once you have spent more than 48 hours in the US: any indication whatsoever that, other than Iraq and Afghanistan, there is a world beyond the borders of that nation. If ever you thought that we Brits are insular then you are in for a rude awakening. Americans have redefined the word.

    You may also get to miss the absence of a national flag from your field of vision wherever you cast your eyes.

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  • 25. At 5:36pm on 11 May 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    MarcusAureliusII wrote:
    "My advice to you, read the three seminal documents which define the United States of America; The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, and the Bill of Rights. Then read a good history of the United States written by a respected American historian, not a British historian. If you want to understand the US at all, get it from an American perspective or you will surely wind up a superficial hack reporter who talks about America without knowing what he is saying the way Webb did."

    In other words, if history is not written by Americans, it is not to be trusted. And three documents written hundreds of years ago, by massively wealthy slave owners who favoured their own style of a republic, will tell you everything you need to know about the great, glorious, gloriously great, peerless USA.

    This rabid nationalism is what I have come to expect from Americans, even from educated and intelligent specimens.

    Indeed, in "The Audacity of Hope", Obama speaks for hundreds of pages about the westminster system and the common law, and never once does he refer to any political system outside the USA, nor does he cite one single English law judgement, or judge. In the whole book, he only ever refers to American precedent, and the US constitution. You could be forgiven for thinking, having read Obama's book, that the USA invented their system of government and law.

    I find that remarkable, and extremely odd. I doubt it would be possible to find any book by any law lecturer that deals with political structures and the evolution of the common law that simply refuses to mention anybody from the historical centre of that structure and law.

    So, Mr Mardell, I suggest you read Obama's work, and take due note of the fact that the UK is absent from his understanding of the common law, and the representative political process. That should give you a big, super sized "heads up" regarding how you will be treated in the USA. The americans are great talkers, but they simply do not listen. They are the inhabitants of the home of "freedom", but you will never meet a more brainwashed bunch of hyper nationalists. And make no mistake, never, ever say anything that might be construed as critical of the USA. You will not simply be disliked. You will be hated. You will be attacked. You will be branded a mentally twisted freak.

    And that is by the university professors.

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  • 26. At 5:38pm on 11 May 2009, Maria Ashot wrote:

    Actually, MAII (No. 21) I eat only very small portions in the US, and usually take considerable pains to find a higher-grade kind of food to begin with.

    The US problems with nutrition go far beyond portion size and even the peculiar practices documented by Michael Pollan in The Omnivore's Dilemma (amongst others).

    The US does not adequately regulate its food supply; moreover, it complains about the EU's regulatory preferences. But who lives longest and has the best health outcomes?

    Whatever we eat becomes who we are and what we think with. If it does not matter enough to us what elements and processes contribute to the production of every mouthful of food or drink, we deserve what we get (and become) in return.

    And Americans do, by an large.

    At the same time, it was certain Americans-with-a-conscience (alas still a minority) who first brought the matter of their own unhealthy food supply to my attention, and steered me, and countless others, towards tactics that might mitigate the harm done.

    America's robust nutritional supplement industry garners considerable derision from conventional medics, but it is genuinely a magnificent resource. And I have found nothing quite so developed in countries that have a proper public health service. In the US, so many people have to fend for themselves for health care, that these kinds of resources have established a thriving niche for themselves.

    (And by the way, they might help cut the costs of general medicine if more human beings were encouraged to at least take some small amount of proactive responsibility for basic treatments. When I meet young ladies whose reason for taking hormonal pills is "to clear up acne" -- and they obviously have no clue of how to do it otherwise -- I am saddened that so much basic, inexpensive knowledge of the 'home remedy' variety has been lost. Most acne will respond extremely well to old-fashioned home remedies.)

    In that sense, the American 'frontier spirit' of self-reliance and even self-help where feasible is actually worth emulating. The Internet offers so much information... Sensible Americans do actually have high self-improvement motivation.

    Unfortunately, the corporations who produce most of the food that is for sale remain uninterested in self-improvement. Maybe Mr Mardell can help spread the gospel of healthy gourmandise together with his colleagues in the foreign press. Americans will only applaud the effort!

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  • 27. At 6:12pm on 11 May 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    Perhaps in your efforts to cram, you might watch Robert Gates discussing America Empire in a recent interview.

    He quotes Madeline Albright, who said that the United States is not an imperial power, but rather an "indispensable power". The view is that nothing gets done in the world without US leadership, and therefore the US simply must be present, as the leader, in every international project.

    Gates also suggests that if the USA is an empire, it is the only empire that always wants an exit strategy. This is at the tail end of a discussion regarding Afghanistan, and the desperate need to not leave that place.

    So.... be warned. Americans, even the most intelligent specimens (I have huge respect for Robert Gates), are capable of the most astounding double think.

    They will look you deep in the eyes, and suggest that the USA is the only country fit to lead the world, because every other country is worthless. But America is not an Empire, because they only ever go to war to spread peace, and then they always leave, straight away.

    Then you can have a discussion that refers to US bases in western Germany and Japan that project power into European and Chinese markets, and you can discuss the plans to build permanent military bases in iRak and the Stahn. The american will know about and discuss these bases. Then they will look you in the eye again, and say with total integrity and honesty that the USA does not do empire, because they always want to leave, just after they have established the peace.

    If you have not been to America and witnessed this incredible capacity for doublethink, you are in for a severe intellectual shock. It is best to remember what Stalin said. If he had possesed hollywood, he would have ruled the world.

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  • 28. At 7:07pm on 11 May 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    why is everyone so concerned suddenly about Mark Mardell's menu? :o)
    I feel I must contribute as well. The best thing preparing for a? well, say what Russians are constantly ready to be prepared for, is to dry up dry breads. Mark, you chop a bit of dark bread, pepper it with big size grained salt, and slide on the metal tray into the oven. Thus you get a bag stuffed with tiny dry bread pieces, in case of exile, Siberia, places, which is light-weight and can be had with beer if things turn to the best.

    - How long one can live on the crumbs from the key-board if you shake it well?
    - Well. If you don't start gluttony...days, approximately, two !

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  • 29. At 7:54pm on 11 May 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    Welcome to the North American beat, Mr. Mardell. I have just two tips for you:

    1. Mr. Webb is not that hard an act to follow.

    2. MarcusAureliusII is not the best source of advice among the BBC's North American readers, as you will find for yourself.

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  • 30. At 7:57pm on 11 May 2009, Orsted wrote:

    Not exactly an expat from another continent, only from the UK, in Europe. The only thing I miss is London - for all its dirt and ripoff mentality still IMHO the most exciting city anywhere. Good luck in the USA: I too will miss your commentary on affairs European and look forward to following your US blog. Gosh, it can only be 3 1/2 years till the Presidential election so no doubt they'll soon be starting campaigning.
    And looking ahead to when you come back: whom will YOU be knocking off his/her perch on the Today programme, I wonder...?

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  • 31. At 7:59pm on 11 May 2009, newsjock wrote:

    Enjoy "The Grand Tour", Mark.

    Once you are "Stars and Stripes" side, you can still look forward to our continuing saucy responses to your blogs.

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  • 32. At 8:06pm on 11 May 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    democracythreat (#27) "They will look you deep in the eyes, and suggest that the USA is the only country fit to lead the world, because every other country is worthless."

    Without objecting to your overall thesis, I don't believe many Americans consider every other country to be "worthless."

    US citizen

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  • 33. At 8:08pm on 11 May 2009, ZwarteSchaap wrote:

    "every reminder of home, from Marmite to the Sunday newspapers, is easily available in Brussels"

    As I said a long time ago, Mark, you need to get out more! It's the sad fact of many an expat (Brusselaar/Bruxellois) that they think Europe is wonderful because of what they find there. A bit like Peter Mandelson's life, it's a different world.

    "What do I miss from home? The chavs. There's just nothing like them here." Are you sure, or is this "Brussels" talking again. No doubt no people being stabbed, no 50 car windows
    smashed in on a weekend (as happened at my work), no road rage, no bicyles dumped into fountains, no beer bottles thrown across a square for a laugh, no murders in kindergartens, no racism and all the rest. - belgianfrank

    "The government are morally bankrupt and the whole political system needs changing but it will never happen; maybe one day - but I doubt it" See above. Some might say that in Flanders the whole culture needs changing. - mightychewster

    "You are an example to us all. We are European!" Although in many ways we are, we are not. - magnificentFrankO

    "In other words, if history is not written by Americans, it is not to be trusted. And three documents written hundreds of years ago, by massively wealthy slave owners who favoured their own style of a republic, will tell you everything you need to know about the great, glorious, gloriously great, peerless USA.

    This rabid nationalism is what I have come to expect from Americans, even from educated and intelligent specimens." And so it is, that too many Europeans and Europhiles don't seem able to look outside themselves and see anything positive, and then look in and see what's not right. In my lifetime, my childrens, shall I ever see a person of African/Turkish/Asian/Moroccan origin become the first minister/president of European country? I doubt it. A news presenter perhaps, a famous actor/actrice, CEO, bishop/priest, rights campaigner, union leader or anything else...ja/bon, "peerless", what a joke...


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  • 34. At 8:28pm on 11 May 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:


    "It is great sadness that you leave Europe Correspondent. You have uncovered much about the EU..."

    Couldn't agree more, Mark will be a difficult act to follow. Oh and my comment applies to your other remarks too, although Shirin Wheeler did a pretty good demolition job the other week by spilling the beans on what their leader did before politics - he didn't look very happy at all!

    Unless I've missed it, I haven't heard/read who will be Marks replacement in the BBC's Brussels office but for all that I would miss Shirin Wheeler presenting "The Record Europe" she really should be allowed to spread her wings in my opinion, perhaps she could do both jobs?...

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  • 35. At 8:41pm on 11 May 2009, democracythreat wrote:

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  • 36. At 9:28pm on 11 May 2009, KristinaBrooker wrote:

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  • 37. At 9:32pm on 11 May 2009, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    Mark, thank you for your blog. It has been enjoyable to read your notes about Europe and the European integration. You always have been honest and held your journalistic integrity, that is commendable. I wish you well and good luck for your new task. Godspeed!

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  • 38. At 9:57pm on 11 May 2009, dennisjunior1 wrote:


    Miss You

    I also miss you....Best wishes on the road regarding the
    coverage of European Elections...

    ~Dennis Junior~

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  • 39. At 9:58pm on 11 May 2009, dennisjunior1 wrote:


    regarding the good news as being appointed bbc north america editor...that is very good news!

    ~Dennis Junior~

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  • 40. At 10:13pm on 11 May 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    dt #25

    "In other words, if history is not written by Americans, it is not to be trusted."

    Not if it's purported to be American histroy. Perhaps this is one reasn the rest of the world is so cluelss about America, they read the wrong books about it. Sir Christopher Meyers certainly was as he revealed in his BBC interview. Personally, I'd start with a standard high school American history book and one on civics (government) used in a large city public school system, say New York City's. This will give an overview and an understanding of how the average American views his country and government. Then read more advanced scholarly texts to understand the nuances.

    "And three documents written hundreds of years ago, by massively wealthy slave owners who favoured their own style of a republic, will tell you everything you need to know about the great, glorious, gloriously great, peerless USA."

    These are the documents which created the greatest civilization known to human history. There is nothing else remotely like them anywhere. You can view American history in two parts, the events leading up to writing them and the consequences of them having been written. It is unparalled genius that has created from almost nothing a civilization that has rocketed far past the rest of human societies and is continuing to accelerate leaving the others farther and farther in the dust. The election of President Obama is just one small indication of how fast it is moving.

    "The americans are great talkers, but they simply do not listen."

    When someone somewhere else has something to say worth listening to, then America will sit up and take notice. Not before and so far it hasn't happened.

    maria ashot

    "The US does not adequately regulate its food supply;"

    The United States Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration have created a system which gives America the safest, most abundant, cheapest, and most varigated food supply in the world by far. It continues to look for ways to improve. There hasn't been a case of foot and mouth diseas (we call it hoof and mouth disease) in the US in close to a hundred years. The one case of mad cow disease came from a cow that had recently been purchased in Canada. I think there may have been one other but I'm not even sure of that. I think it was just suspected. There are instances of people getting sick from food but America's is still the safest to consume. Even our pet food is safer than most other country's people food...except when it comes from abroad like China. Most Americans enjoy what they eat and enjoy eating it. That is why they are so overweight, that and the internet.

    Were American agrabusiness to close up shop, much of the world would starve to death. Food is America's number one export. Nobody can compete with it. All they can do is rant and tell lies about it.


    "The view is that nothing gets done in the world without US leadership, and therefore the US simply must be present, as the leader, in every international project."

    We're still waiting for Europe to make headway in its jaw-jaw with Iran over nuclear weapons development and in its efforts to save two million refugees in Darfur. So far years of European talk have amounted to nothing just as it always does. Europe can't even talk to itself and figure out how to set up an EU government it agrees to.


    "Without objecting to your overall thesis, I don't believe many Americans consider every other country to be "worthless.""

    That is correct. We look at each one and assess its strengths and weaknesses just as we view our own. Smug Europe loves to pretend it is still a viable important political factor in the world but it is so weak, it is the weakest and most vulnerable area in the developed world. Now that it has succeeded in alienating many Americans, nobody in the US will care to save it the next time it seems to be about to collapse again.

    Web Alice

    We have a great invention called...pretzels. They are salty. Actually they were invented I think in Europe. We have countless other salty crunchy treats to munch on. They often give them away for free in get the patrons to drink more beer.

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  • 41. At 10:21pm on 11 May 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #29 - Gary_A_Hill

    Amen to both of those.

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  • 42. At 10:47pm on 11 May 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    threnodious, it is a fact that I do not know a single good restaurant in Washington DC never having been there.

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  • 43. At 00:14am on 12 May 2009, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 44. At 00:28am on 12 May 2009, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    What I do miss when I go back to Germany is vegetarian food. Germany is a nightmare for vegetarians. Switzerland is much better or at least Zurich is. I recommend Hiltls in Zurich. What I miss from Germany in the UK is a decent health service. When I lived in Germany I had no idea how good the health service was or how bad the NHS is because I hardly ever used them. Now I know better.

    I did get fed up with some silly German laws. Like not being able to mow your lawn on a Sunday!

    An Austrian has just been given five years in jail for holocaust denial. Germany has similar laws to Austria on that. We don't need those laws in the UK. We just ignore the sad wotsits. I am not a holocaust denier. I have read somewhere that Merkel wants holocaust denial to be a crime throughout the "EU". That is just the sort of thing we don't need. If they try to introduce that here I might just pretend to be a holocaust denier as a protest.

    I did miss British marmalade but somebody found some somewhere in Germany. The label had been mistranslated. It meant to say in German "contains no preservatives." Unfortunately it said "contains no condoms." One does like ones marmalade chewy but there are limits as to how this should be achieved!

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  • 45. At 01:26am on 12 May 2009, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    On this website I read "The EU says it made no headway with Cuba on its human rights record ..." :

    I hope the Cubans gave the "EU" a lecture on Human Rights and about the right of the people of the UK to have the referendum they were promised.

    If the "EU" is going to lecture the Cubans it could lecture the UK government on its despicable behaviour. It won't because it supports this despicable behaviour because it is a despicable organisation.

    The "EU" is a dictatorship and supports the imposition of its dictatorship on the people of the UK.

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  • 46. At 01:30am on 12 May 2009, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 47. At 03:00am on 12 May 2009, David wrote:

    Someone said here "The Americans are the nationalistic people..."

    Well, go to the comments on China/World and you will find nationalism on a scale not seen since Reagans presidency.

    BUT Europe does have a problem, in that they have many different countries making up a fractious EU. Therefore what could be a confident, influential superpower able to stand up to America/China... is left to France (during last war) They have my undying admiration for saying what they thought (they were right about the "stupid" invasion of Iraq.)

    France you are a great country, still, no matter what "some people" might think. And I have to tell people that like vanity, nationalistic pride is looked down on but is actually a healthy and positive emotion as long as ones feet are on the ground.

    Also, there are lots of parochial people in America, just like in China, who believe the only country that matters is their own country. So, they have a kind of ""ignorance is bliss (ie, in Europe each country is ethnocentric but mainly (parochially) interested in Europe.

    And ummmm, why would you even bother talking to someone who is ethnocentric to the point of bigotry. But, please do not generalize and say Americans are the worst (most nationalistic) of peoples. That is prejudiced and displays ignorance (perhaps a bigotry towards Americans).

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  • 48. At 03:49am on 12 May 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Suffolk Boy, the thing about the EUSSR is that it was designed as a way for France and Germany to unite to confront the USA. Each incorrectly thought it was the greatest country on earth but after WWII, they realized they could not take on the USA alone. They believed that between the two of them together, they could rule all of Europe. But with the EU evolving the way it did, it has spun out of their control, out of anyone's control. Not only did the French not control Europe as they had planned, with the defeat of the Constitution in France it was all they could do to control their own population. It was difficult for the EU rulers to believe that any European nation would not share their vision of a United Europe. But whose vision of a united Europe would it be? There are 27 seperate visions, many of them entirely incompatible with others. This is why France is trying to create another organization, the Mediteranean Union or MU it feels it will be able to control. It is probably making the same mistake. All of this would have been messy enough but the Eurodollar has complicated things infinitely. So has signifigant migration both from the outside and within the EU. When the EU finally collapses and disolves, it will created one huge tangled knot to untie. Should be interesting. Worse than the breakup of the USSR.

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  • 49. At 07:35am on 12 May 2009, Wonthillian wrote:


    Good luck in your new post. I hope this motley crew of bloggers didn't have too much of an influence on your decsion to move away from 'Europe' (if it was indeed your decision). I hope your successor continues your fair-minded approach.

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  • 50. At 10:18am on 12 May 2009, Freeborn John wrote:

    Congratulations to the BBC for replacing Mark Mardell. I hope there will never again be a BBC Europe editor who spends 4 years studiously avoiding any mention of the central issue of the legitimacy of the EU.

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  • 51. At 10:27am on 12 May 2009, Zorgoth wrote:

    I am an American student living in Cambridge, and things I miss the most beyond pizza made properly and without corn (seriously, corn on a pizza is a sign of a nation with serious problems) are probably the general attitude of the people and the (in the West at any rate) wide open spaces about me. The attitude of people here towards Americans has been unpleasantly surprising. As an American in Britain I have generally found people to be friendly but there is also the same "knee-jerk anti-Americanism" that Obama described; people assume that every problem in their country is worse in America, be it racism, antisemitism, politics, or anything else. I find it amazing how people who placidly accept that the Conservatives will have an absolute majority in parliament if they get much over 40% of the vote can talk the way they do about the 2000 election (admittedly we would have the same problem had we three big parties), and certainly antisemitism and probably racism as well from what I have seen are bigger issues in the UK than the US, and yet many people here make quips about ignorant, racist Americans when these same issues are as prevalent or more so in their own society.

    There are a lot of things that the UK does better than America, from health care and education to pastries and sandwiches, but usually the insults to America that you hear have nothing to do with these issues and are baseless and founded only on ignorance. From a single McCain quote I hear people talk about an ingrained racism in Americans, when I am fairly certain that McCain (though I voted for Obama) and America are not particularly racist at all, excluding some people in the South. In America the picture is very different. While politically Americans are much more nationalistic than Europeans, American people are overall I would say more tolerant of foreigners and minorities than British people in person from what I have seen (however I would say the vast majority on both sides is friendly and tolerant), although to be fair immigrants are a small minority where I come from, which probably contributes to the general tolerant, curious (if perhaps not well-informed) view locals have on foreigners. I am not trying to call British people or Europeans racist; it is that many of them call us racist and think nothing of it that bothers me.

    I think that the kind of ignorance I am describing is a serious threat to long-run relations between American and European cultures. Not everything that is wrong is the fault of Europeans, and politics has a lot to do with it, but I think that in the world we are heading for, we, who share the deepest historical and cultural ties, need to maintain our long-standing friendship with each other if either of our peoples wants to keep its place at the forefront of prosperity and innovation, which means that both sides have to put aside their prejudices and work together. I think that the election of Barack Obama shows that America is ready for this. The question then becomes, is Europe ready?

    Beyond this, I am enjoying Britain and its people, as well as my studies, which I should be getting back to, and I cannot stress enough that we have much more in common than we have apart, setting aside for the moment the issue of bizarre British cuisine (British people have better Indian food, sandwiches, pastries, and cheese, but when it comes to everything else, especially pizza...), which is why I think that if people take the time to learn about each other the currently pervasive anti-Americanism in Europe (as well as the backlash it has created in America) will eventually die. Overall I have a very positive impression of Europe, (but that just isn't any fun to write about).

    PS: I refuse to be used as backup for MAII.

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  • 52. At 11:47am on 12 May 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    Freeborn-John wrote:
    "Congratulations to the BBC for replacing Mark Mardell. I hope there will never again be a BBC Europe editor who spends 4 years studiously avoiding any mention of the central issue of the legitimacy of the EU."

    That is extremely unfair, and unworthy, comment. It is hardly Mardells' job to be judging the legitimacy of the EU, and then preaching the conclusions of his authority.

    What he has done is to instigate discussion, and the vast majority of that discussion has been precisely on the subject of EU legitimacy.

    I despise this habit of shooting the messenger because you can't control the message with totality. It is extreme politics, and implies that dialogue is worthless, that pure monologue is the only acceptable discourse.

    If someone asked me what Mark Mardell really thought of the EU, you know I wouldn't quite be able to give an answer.

    That is a very great credit to him as a journalist. I could never bring myself to write with such discipline (for a journalists wage).

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  • 53. At 12:03pm on 12 May 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    zorgoth wrote:

    "As an American in Britain I have generally found people to be friendly but there is also the same "knee-jerk anti-Americanism" that Obama described; people assume that every problem in their country is worse in America, be it racism, antisemitism, politics, or anything else."

    That was a good post, and much of it is spot on, but this idea that America is unfairly judged needs some revision. Folks who do nothing do not get reputations. They just kind of fade into the background. The flip side of that truth is that folks generally do not get unfair reputations.

    America is disliked because it is feared, and it is feared because it kills so man people in the name of peace, in so many countries around the world.

    It is not a "knee jerk" response. The USA kills huge numbers of folks, for the sake of empire and corporate profit. I mean, bus loads of women and children every month. Lots and lots and lots of innocents are butchered by the US as a matter of normal business.

    Now all this death and power are justified by a media dominated by a certain corporate worldview, and indeed much of the killing may be not only justified but also reasonably justifiable. (not everything that is justified is justifiable, in the same way that not everything that is eaten is edible)

    But it is the scale and increasing frequency of the killing that has people scared. And sure, if it wewre not the USA doing it, someone else surely would. The brits, the chinese and the russians would all love to see themselves as global sheriff, and if it were not for the overwhelming power of the US economy, they would doubtless do so.

    But none of that changes the underlying reasons for the hatred and fear of the USA that has spread throughout the world. The USA is the new rome, and Obama is Caeser in a new shirt.

    The most ironic thing is that the USA seems incapable of extricating itself from this role, and I do believe the majority of Americans would prefer not to behave as an Empire, and to live up to their aspirations of a free people who live by law and principles in the global village.

    But look at Pakistan now, and try to imagine how a war will not explode in that region. The US press demand heros. The careers of thousands of heros demand war stories. War stories demand an enemy. An enemy demands a name. And so the way the USA likes to see itself is dragging the economy and military power of the USA into a quagmire of pointless violence, where goat herding pashtuns are designated "taleban" and assassinated by weapons that cost more than they will consume in ten lifetimes, simply because if they are not sacrificed in this way, there will be no good news about the fight for freedom.

    Americans are an Empire, and they are feared and hated, and it is not an accident. Nor is it the fault of ordinary Americans, who are wonderful and generous people, the best sort of friends a person can have on a personal level.

    But politically and economically, the USA is an Empire based on blood and force, and the world cannot sustain the worldview of religions that preach ever increasing growth and conquest for the sake of personal profits. Something has got to give, and it is going to be America.

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  • 54. At 12:48pm on 12 May 2009, Freeborn John wrote:

    Democracythreat (52): I did not say that BBC Europe editors should judge the legitimacy of the EU. Just that they do not airbrush this most important of all EU issues out of their coverage, as Mark Mardell has done during his years in the role.

    Mark Mardell's long litany of reports about CO2 and fish (some of which involved him returning to the UK while important decisions were being taken in Brussels, such as the failure of the CAP 'health check' to produce any return to British taxpayers commensurate with the surrender of a significant portion of the British rebate) did not involve Mark passing judgement on these relatively minor matters, and i do not criticise the way in which he reported these topics. But i do criticise that he reported so heaviliy on these minor topics while ignoring others of greater public interest, including the central issue of EU legitimacy. By skewering BBC coverage of the EU onto soporific topics, Mark has been very helpful to an 'integration by stealth' agenda that is only to happy for European political union to proceed while the public dozes. These are editorial decisions, and Mark has been the editor, so i believe it is fair to target this criticism towards him.

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  • 55. At 1:09pm on 12 May 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:


    "feared because it kills so man people in the name of peace, in so many countries around the world.

    It is not a "knee jerk" response. The USA kills huge numbers of folks, for the sake of empire and corporate profit. I mean, bus loads of women and children every month. Lots and lots and lots of innocents are butchered by the US as a matter of normal business."

    I just love it when Europeans talk dirty. If enough of you Brits think and talk that way, we'll turn what some would try to paint over as a minor tiff into a gaping cravass as long, wide and deep a the Grand Canyon no amount of diplomacy can patch up. Britain is part of Europe. For better or worse its stars are tied to Germany, France, Italy, Spain. Like many European nations, its skewed view of the world, its fantasy of self importance, its delusion of economic and cultural power have set it up for one gigantic fall. I watch in gripping amusement and fascination with it. I think your views are typical of an underlying seething hatred many Europeans have for the US for eclipsing them, turning them from a political mountain into a mole hill. It's just so refreshing to see it boil up to the surface as it has here. Kind of like watching a volcano erupt. Keep up the good work. I see that on the next thread, France has someone whose views are probably close to your own rising as a political star. How entertaining it will be to watch France go from a nation whose economy is in the toilet to one in the sewer...and take down all of Euroland with it.

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  • 56. At 1:18pm on 12 May 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:


    MAII does not need or want backup. MAII speaks only for himself. However, in speaking with many other Americans around the country in many different walks of life in recent years as I've had occasion to on business trips, I find my views pretty much in agreement with most other Americans on many issues, especially as related to foreign countries. In fact I know it will surprise many here but even I am surprised that to many my views are moderate. For example, I think most Americans equate all Arabs and other Moslems with terrorists. Now even I'm not that blind sighted.

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  • 57. At 1:42pm on 12 May 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    stellarBeloved @47,
    I haven't read the Chinese blog but I would tend to agree with your ideas on China as a very self-sufficient society. Or that they think of themselves so. We have Chinese on the ground here. I don't know how Chinese in the USA do, or how Chinese do in Europe (haven't seen any Chinese settled in Europe, only students) - in Russia our Chinese are very very nationalistic.

    Higher degrees than the USA I agree.
    Americans at least marry other species! :o)
    Chinese - never. If they can avoid.

    In Russia they all study Russian and trade and run own factories, there are own Chinese enterprises in Russia. Registered on Russians, but all know that are Chinese. A very little of them, from Perestroyka times' relics, but one can observe. They employ only "own people". These "own people" live separately in communities, beyond Russians or whoever else is the mix here. They live by own rules and systems. They never address police, all police gets at some point is someone's dead body, after they "made justice" themselves. And is informed politely it was "an accident" and is explained who it was, for their records. :o)

    China doesn't care a fig what takes place in the outside world. As far as they are concerned, all aliens can collapse as they please, anything beyond their border is relevant only in relation to China. If Europe falls through the ground, an eye-brow won't move there, and an eye won't wink.

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  • 58. At 2:00pm on 12 May 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:


    what America thinks of itself is of course everyone's problem.
    However the main thing for survival is to take care of your own country brains' condition.

    Kind of, if someone fools itself about its importance in the world, bases its deeds on wrong pillars, - it weakens USA I mean. And not USA only, Britain as well. From countries' competition point of view, "the problem" thus beautifully takes care of itself. :o)

    I'll quote the below for you. I don't find it true. But I appreciate such jokes circulation in Russian internet overall, because it never hurts to take care critically of own brains.

    "An opinion poll in Russia: Why don't you like United States?

    8% From jealousy; they live better than we do.
    10% It's American fault that the lift in our house is not working.
    12% I'd simply choke them all to death because they are so evil don't like us, Russians.
    20% Because they were feeding us throughout the whole war.
    50% Because I am an idiot believe all that the box says.

    An opinion poll in the United States: Why don't you like Russians?

    2% From those savages with the nuclear cudgel one can expect all!
    3% And who told you we don't like Russians?
    95% Sorry, in what league does this team play?

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  • 59. At 2:23pm on 12 May 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #54 - Freeborn-John

    ". . . he reported so heaviliy on these minor topics while ignoring others of greater public interest, including the central issue of EU legitimacy."

    EU legitimacy is not a news element, it is a question of informed opinion. In providing information and, through this blog, a platform on which people like yourself can voice your opinion, Mark has performed a considerable service and I think your criticism is entirely without foundation.

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  • 60. At 2:58pm on 12 May 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Web Alice #57

    Normally I don't correct minor mistakes people who do not speak English as a first language make, knowing first hand how hard is is to learn a foreign language, however, I can't allow this mis-statement go uncorrected;

    "Americans at least marry other species! :o)"

    There are many strange, even bizarre things, practices, and people in America but no Americans marry other species, at least not legally. Now many of us are very fond of our pet dogs, cats, birds, goldfish, ferrets, tarantulas, boa constrictors, whatever. But marry them? Nope. That's going too far. All the legal marriages are with other homo sapiens. Maybe from other ethnicities, races, religions, and countries, now in some places of the same sex but not from another species.

    To tell the truth, I think if a sow married a man and decided she's made a mistake, she wouldn't get very far in divorce court. Not even in America.

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  • 61. At 3:30pm on 12 May 2009, Freeborn John wrote:

    Threnodio (59): The number of people who read a blog (let alone its comments section) is a drop in the ocean compared to the numbers that watch the main BBC news broadcasts on TV and radio.

    About 5 million "10 O'clock News" viewers will have watched Mark Mardell broadcast from a Scottish quayside last November about fish. But while Mark was absent from Brussels the failure of the CAP 'health check' went unreported by the BBC. Tony Blair surrendered about 1 billion pounds of British taxpayer money per year ad infinitum in return for reforms to the Common Agricultural Policy that were supposedly to flow from this 'health check' but which failed to materialise following meetings in Brussels that were going on while Mark Mardell was in Scotland. How can it be that a story about a fishing industry that employs 13000 in the UK justifies the BBC Europe editor flying out of Brussels when decisions affecting billions of pounds of British taxpayer money are being decided there? Nor is this an isolated incident. The BBC has a serious problem with its selection of EU stories, which is an editorial issue that I hope the next BBC Europe editor will do better at.

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  • 62. At 3:48pm on 12 May 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    FJ #61

    "The BBC has a serious problem"

    Evidently so does some of its audience. I'm particularly referring to the ones who watch it on radio.

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  • 63. At 4:16pm on 12 May 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #62 - MarcusAureliusII

    Now that's funny, Marcus

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  • 64. At 5:15pm on 12 May 2009, Zorgoth wrote:

    First, it is far from a justified reaction to judge a people for the actions of their country.

    Second, what is this Empire you speak of? The British Empire controlled a quarter of the world's population with an iron fist and looted their resources. It was founded on centuries of warfare and repression.

    I admit, America has gone to one unjustifiable war (Iraq). That is a terrible thing and should not have happened, but it is not really evidence of an empire or a conspiracy. Afghanistan was a necessary response for a vile attack on our own civilians, targeted at the people who harbored the people who carried out the attack. It has lasted longer and caused more death than we hoped because our enemies hide behind civilians in remote mountains. That is a terrible thing, but it not a reason to let them live. If all you need to do to survive is to get a few human shields everyone will be sure to have them and many more people will needlessly die. If using a human shield means certain death people will act more "honorably." Our wars in the past in Korea and even Vietnam were necessary. Had we not fought and tried to contain the communists they would only have pushed further.

    If you are going to call us an Empire you should find our ragged subjects who want so desperately to be freed. Where are they? We occupy two countries but we have no intention to stay, so they are hardly our subjects. The rest of America is happy enough to live as we are. There is no empire nor any massive corporate conspiracy beyond the same corporate power that resides in Europe and every other country in the capitalist world. The same corporate power without which you would not have had the computer to type up that message or the internet to send it, or the money to have the free time to do so. Wars kill innocent civilians, even justified (and justifiable) ones. We try not to but it isn't so easy as all that. We are not fighting an enemy that will meet us in open combat and fight us in a pitched battle away from people. To conclude this section, there may be pointless violence but what we are doing in Afghanistan is far from pointless. It is about thousands of innocent civilians who were targeted and murdered by terrorists who only want to murder more people as long as we are free of their hateful, bigoted, repressive, extremist, and outdated philosophy and control. Are you proposing we let them have a country for themselves, that is isn't so big a deal?

    Finally, America has not profited from its wars and has never intended to. Some of our corporations have, and some of their behavior is reprehensible, but they do not found a basis for the anti-Americanism that exists in Europe, or evidently the anti-Americanism oozing from your post. Anyway, I, unlike you, live in the US and see the US press. The US press doesn't report on any kind of heroes; it reports on death, disaster, murders, and celebrities, with a political detour every four years, just like every other corporate-dominated press in the world. There goes that theory. There is no continental conspiracy we aren't telling you about, no bloody empire. Americans are just people, and our government, while it may have been led by a man who lied to both the people and their representatives for eight years, is also made up of people. They may be sheltered and cushioned people, many of whom take money and gifts from lobbyists, who enjoy their place at the top, but they are not murderers and neither is our president. We have fallen in the last eight years but not all that far. Your views here are the perfect case in point for everything that is wrong with Europeans' perceptions of America and Americans.

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  • 65. At 5:17pm on 12 May 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    I get all my inspiration from THE ONE, THE ONLY (Peabody Award winning) GROUCHO MARCUS AURELIUS

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  • 66. At 10:18pm on 12 May 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    @60. Not bad; but not enough.

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  • 67. At 10:52pm on 12 May 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Web Alice

    So then it wasn't good enough for you this time. I'll try harder to please you more next time? :o)

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  • 68. At 8:00pm on 13 May 2009, betuli wrote:

    Ok, Mark, we'll see you on TV from Washington and you will write a blog on US. So I can't see the need to say goodbye. Just congratulations for your interesting and passionate chronicles from the Continent.

    A Spaniard living in London, missing (sometimes) ONLY the light from my country.

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  • 69. At 10:33pm on 13 May 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    @67. You know what I mean. You put Russia and Nazi Germany on the same board. Now, hardly anything will restore you to your previous rights.
    From now on I am going to be a girl hard to please.
    scaffolds, gillio No.

    How about you eat up that post - while I watch ?
    Two to three (hundred) bows to the ground might do. In a church with a good stone floor.

    Alternatively of course I simply put you to the wall, and gun down.
    And after that we talk!

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  • 70. At 01:02am on 14 May 2009, David wrote:

    I really like Marcus posts and webalice posts ...they are refreshing and offer ...different (non-kneejerk) opinions than lots of people post as if bigotry is not a European problem and never will be.

    Every country has bigots, and every country has faults, but it will not make your life better to constantly belittle that country (i.e. China, Japan--they too have their bitter critics.)

    Prozac and Zoloft may be the answer and also, a sense of humor ....:)

    Also, why do I, for instance, come to this blog site--Because I love European history and culture (not knowing that much about Chinese history or Indian history probably lol). But, at least there IS debate here without rancor ....I think (maybe?)

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  • 71. At 01:08am on 14 May 2009, David wrote:

    Also, WebAlice,

    I have lost 10 lbs in one week--from bronchitis that started out as the flu (and turned into bronchitis ...common for exsmoker)

    But, I have read that Mexican people may be more vulnerable to swine flu and that could be why so many died...its in the news..all I know.

    Also, the flu swept through our house (my parents are 77, my brother is underemployed and I'm financially dependent ...anyway excuses, excuses)

    But all had the flu and finally I got it and it was ...horrible..first stomach, then of course breathing problems (my proclivity to bronchitis).

    But yes beware of swine :)

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  • 72. At 02:52am on 14 May 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    stellarBeloved, I wanted to ask how is your brother, you went missing, then I read your Chinese post and got happier. So it was the whole house very much sympathise with you. And who to take care of the ill if all fall ill, disaster. Must be it were you anyway. Please get well soon what do you do ab your bronchitis. What helps me is litres of coffee with milk round o'clock. With sugar. Very much a lot of water, and purely symbolical amount of instant coffee.
    And don't throw away medications' list in case of anything please, what helps, you'll be appointed our emergency centre.
    I am allergic approx. to all that can be bought in a pharmacy, eaten, drank, worn, sniffed, make-upped, detergented, creamed, used in washing, that walks and wags their tails or keeps them perpendicular, flies, grows in ponds and pots, in other words always interested to meet something that is compatible but apparently nothing compares to me! My mother was impressed by the list she's got about me long time ago where she searched in vain for something appliccable and the choice was black tea without sugar, cucumbers and green apples. Which was of course very economical advice re a child up-bringing and possible expense but still. So I am like Rasputin training all my life on various poisons, a little bit of everything and it works.

    If @67 knew what's written in @ 69 but apparently moderators got scared for his life.

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  • 73. At 04:12am on 14 May 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:


    The history of India and China are very simple. For thousands of years things were just fine. Then they were invaded and colonized by Europe. Their people were turned into slaves to be exploited, their treasures and resources stolen by Europe. They finally threw the yoke of Europe off. Both are finally recovering and developing themselves in their own way, both have close ties with the United States which is also an ex slave colony of Europe. When is Britain going to return the Elgin Marbles to its rightful owner, Greece?

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  • 74. At 04:16am on 14 May 2009, David wrote:

    No I work (usually) 5 days a week, and this "blogging" is a habit, but interesting.

    I'll make it BECAUSE I quit smoking 2 months ago. And my stress level went way down. (I knew inside I needed to, to survive)

    I, too, have allergies and claritin or benedryl helps as much as antibiotics--they are miracle drugs.

    But, yes I'm fine, more of a reader than a writer. Also, I love to read fiction and have found some neat new books. But this site is also nice to read. What fine writers and how well read and knowledgeable they are times. But they put much into their comments and I do not have the time to do that AND work AND read ...but

    Surfing the Internet IS fun. Actually I go to the Guardian site And the Daily Mail site--what a big difference in perspective. Sometimes I even go to to read reviews of cds, dvds and books, have a great week. Also, thanks for asking about me :)

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  • 75. At 04:55am on 14 May 2009, David wrote:

    Also, the books I'm reading which are quite involving (but you must take a breath now and then) are by George R R Martin and Stephen R Donaldson.

    It makes me a nerd, but hey BEING a nerd is fun :)

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