Hail To The Chief

I had to wake up to the cruel dark, rainy morning again. I am really getting tired of that! It is bizarre how dark Paris is in the mornings. The sun doesn’t shine until about 9:30 AM and then it gets dark around 5:30 PM. There is such little light in the winter! It drives me mad.

I didn’t eat breakfast because I forgot about it and wasn’t very hungry, so I headed for the train. I have to transfer twice on my morning route to school, and the first transfer was insane. There were so many people waiting for the 6 train that I couldn’t fit on it the first time, then barely squeezed myself in when the second train arrived. The 6 trains really need to be updated. The trains on the 1 line are much roomier, they would be nice to have.

Because of all the people, I was running late, but it didn’t matter too much because I was only going to a demonstration today. No cooking necessary. The demonstration was very confusing this morning. To begin with, none of my classmates, including myself, were very awake. There was just something in the air of Paris today that made us all tired and disinterested. Then, Chef prepared two incredibly similar recipes. He always demos several recipes, but we only make one in our practical class. Usually, he differentiates between recipes, but not today, so we were all very confused. Then, all of a sudden, he had whipped cream made. He hadn’t prepared it during the demo, nor did he tell us when we were supposed to make it in the process, so we were again, very confused. I am an assistant this week, so I had to help prepare the tasting by cutting up all of the baked goods and plating them. When I finally tasted it, I was so bored. I didn’t like it. I realized then that I really enjoy making pastries more than eating them. In fact, I have no interest in tasting anything I make, and that bothers and saddens me because I know that there are people who would love to eat these things. There are homeless people who are starving for a meal, and I would love to give it to them, but I don’t know how.

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When I got back to the apartment, I realized that I needed to go to the grocery store. I was excited to find something called “Mexican Tortilla Chips.” The French have obviously never had an authentic Mexican meal. They were coated in pepper and paprika. I have never seen anybody from Latin America eat a chip like that. For lunch, I bought a frozen meal that had been imported from Tunisia. It was something with chicken and potatoes and was very good. I have come to be very impressed with frozen European (and African) foods, from Italy to France to England, I have never had a bad experience. It is so different from the frozen meals in the USA, delightfully better really.

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It was then, in the beverage aisle, that I had a very embarrassing moment. I will forever refer to it as my Lady Gaga moment. I was looking for orange flavored Oasis when Poker Face by Lady Gaga came on the radio. I didn’t realize that I was singing along very loudly to the music until people started to stare at me. Realizing what I was doing, I stopped, blushed crimson, rushed to the counter and paid.

Back in the apartment, I made chicken and rice for dinner. My stove is absolutely uncontrollable. The knob that says 1 seems just as hot as 6, sometimes hotter. It makes no sense. It is impossible to make rice this way, it won’t simmer, it either boils, or it’s off. I really hate it actually.

Now, I will talk about today’s Inauguration. Excited? Good.

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In Paris, there are two channels on basic cable that are covering the Inauguration madness, CNN and the French version of CNN. I have never been the biggest fan of this channel. They are all very pompous and proud of themselves and then there’s Anderson Cooper, who is the only redeeming anchor, I find. I had no other way to watch this “historic moment in history” as they repeatedly referred to it, so, I sat down and started watching.

I was immediately struck by how hilarious the coverage was. One of the hosts went down into the crowds and asked, “Why did you choose to come out today, aside from witnessing history?” Every time she asked it, I cracked up with laughter. Both halves of the question are hilarious.

Next, they had Bow Wow come on to be interviewed. Really? Bow Wow? Was he ever famous? No. Supposedly he was instrumental in the youth vote, but I have my doubts. All he really had to say was everything was, “Beautiful, it’s beautiful, all is beautiful, everything is beautiful.” That’s a direct quote.

The most irritating part of their coverage was their incessant insistence on referring to Barack Obama as “Barack Obama, the next president of the United States of America.” Every time they said his name, they used that whole phase. Then at noon, they said, the “New President of the United States of America, Barack Obama.” It was as if each time we were supposed to go, “Who? Obama? He won, really? Thank you CNN for informing me.”

Every person that they interviewed said some variant of the following, “Oh, it’s beautiful, beautiful. We are witnesses to history. We will tell our children and or children’s children. Blacks, whites, Democrats, Republicans, gays and straights are all intermingling peacefully!” Obviously there were no Independents, Asians, Latinos or transsexuals.

Next, this really irritating gentleman descended into the happy throngs of revelers to get their impression of the day. He kept saying rather smugly that, “We’re not prescreening folks. These opinions are coming to you raw!” Every person that he spoke to said something like this, “Oh, it’s beautiful, it’s beautiful. It means the world to me!” Gag.

I then started to notice little things that really bugged me. For instance their little logo at the bottom said “Transition to Power!” Where was this power coming from, wouldn’t it be a “Transfer of Power?” From the Bush administration to the Obama administration? Also, the CNN reporters kept talking about the number of cell phone and Blackberry users. Since when were cell phones and Blackberries so radically different. Last time I checked these two devices did basically the exact same thing.

The irritating man continued his voyage through the celebrators. One of the people he talked to replied so stupidly. He asked her, “What’s the mood here, this morning.” She replied, “Oh, you know, yeah, people are saying things like, ‘good morning,’ and ‘Barack Obama,’ it’s great!”

It all makes me gag, if Saturday Night Live doesn’t do a good sketch about this, I will be very bothered. As much as I hate that train wreck of a show, I can’t help but watch it.

Then there was a montage of Barack’s grassroots movement in Des Moines. It was weird for me to see so many familiar sights from home in Paris. In one shot, there was a Target. That is one thing that I miss so much about home, superstores. Everything here is in tiny, uncomfortable boutiques. I don’t like shopping like that.

Did anybody else see Jill Biden’s hooker boots? I already love her as much as Cindy McCain. (She was the most fabulously drugged up political wife, ever. As much as I disliked John McCain and the Republican party during the election, I was sad to see her go, Sarah Palin too, she was such an airhead.)

After Barack screwed up his Oath of Office (which I loved, it humanized him somehow, made me like him more than I thought I would. I’ll admit that I’m still bitter that Hillary lost the Iowa primaries. I mean, did you see her magnificent speech at the Democratic National Convention? It was epic.)

After President Obama’s speech, there was this crappy poet. I am not at all a fan of poetry, but this seemed like a joke. I may not have heard it correctly, but I swear that one of the lines was “darning a hole in a unicorn.” I’m pretty smart and get most allusions, but this one is over my head. If you can make any sense out of it, please do leave a message in the comments below.

Maybe I’m overly cynical, but I found this whole thing to be a gagfest. I voted for Obama and all that jazz, but this celebration seemed to deify him. This worries me.

In closing today, I am going to act like a Bosnian beggar, much to my extreme discomfort. In his speech, Obama spoke about sacrifices and doing things that are bigger than ourselves. He said how we need to do things for our neighbors across the street and in countries across the world.

A while back I said that I was now a crusader against world hunger, well, I’m finally starting to do something about it. I donated to the United Nations World Food Program. 93% of every dollar is used to purchase and ship food out to hungry people all over the world. Did you know that with only three billion dollars a year we can stop world hunger? It sounds like a lot, but it is a laughably small amount of money. Wall Street bonuses alone this year (for Christmas) were in excess of thirty-eight billion dollars! Thirty-eight billion dollars when every six seconds somebody dies from malnutrition and starvation? It makes me so annoyed and angry to hear things like that.

With fifty dollars a year, the World Food Program is able to feed a person for an entire year! Today, I spent twenty-five dollars on chicken and yeast at the grocery store! So, I am asking you sincerely to give what you can to this program. You can give anything, from a nickel to a thousand dollars, it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you are helping those who really need your help. You’ll feel better when you do, I promise.

If this is something that you are interested in, donating is incredibly easy to do online, please visit this website:

https://secure.my-websites.org/supporter/donatenow.do?n=gbss&dfdbid=1044253

Thank you.

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