In case you missed them, posts from this past week!

Christmas is over for those in the west, but in the east – Orthodox and Copts party on!  Also in the new year, three lucky European cities hold the title as European Capitals of Culture in 2010.

Also in the new year: France continues to overreach with its tentacles, first on education, now meddling with everything else under the sun.  Russia tries to curb its drunkenness by slapping on a new liquor tax.  The Swedish unlashes their passive-aggressive rage in common laundry rooms. Old Communist states are feeling somewhat nostalgic, while everyone is blanketed in snow.

In the world of narcissism, on our ability to chew on imports and spit them out as our own, we enter the following into evidence. Throughout the decades, Americans have managed to turn the best export out of Eastern Europe – vampires, into creatures so thoroughly American, that they master baseball, and become politically conscious! The Chinese are convinced that Avatar was some kind of coded message, made to parody the dreaded eviction notices given out all around the country. And Asians continue to invade the world of classical music, now entering the heartland of romanticists.  As for the execution of the questionably sane Briton in China, the Brits says good riddance, while Americans turn it into a discussion about domestic politics.

In politics: North Korea has the world fawning all over its New Year’s greetings with one small gesture of reconciliation. Its rather sneaky resolve to find more food for its starving and thoroughly destitute citizens go utterly unnoticed.  Ukraine’s sexy lady Prime Minister fancies herself Eva PeronJapan continues to staff the un-staffable position of Finance Minister.  Here are some pictures of China that will most certainly not make it to Xinhua.

Other tidbits of the week:

The Irish don’t mind the recession as much, because poverty is not too distant in memory.

Championed by women, polygamy is alive and well in Russia, Malaysia and South Africa.

Scandinavian food are so well preserved that they will out-last you.

Jews still don’t like Sarah Palin.

Learning Chinese will not save you from the hell of unemployment.

Dutch’s adorable diminutives.

What success in chess has in common with the Eurovision.

Cellphone use and cultural habits.

Last but not least, introverts’ ascension to corporate boardrooms.

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