Christoph Blocher out, Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf in

As I said previously, I rarely talk about politics but the last couple of days have been just, well, exciting.

The charismatic leader of the far-right SVP (People's Party), Christoph Blocher, and Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, who was a member of the SVP (but of the rather more tolerant Grisons section) is in as the Justice Minister. The SVP has thrown her, and the other party member who was elected to the Bundesrat, out of the party, and the SVP itself has pulled out of the government in protest. There's infighting going on within the party, and the news media here are calling it the biggest shakeup in Swiss government in 50 years and things like that.

I was going to write a whole thing about this to explain it to non-Swiss residents, but the SwissGuy has done it far better than I could.

It's not comfortable as a non-white person to live in a country where a small but very vocal minority with xenophobic and racist and protectionist views is prominent. Sure I may look harmless but, and I am, but still. I had to pass by those black sheep posters all the time. I ain't no black sheep! (I could be a cuddly light brown one maybe.)

In any case, this is really great news and I hope it does signal a turn in another direction for this really otherwise nice country.

Wow, they threw out Blocher. I hope it sticks.

I rarely, rarely talk about politics, here on the blog or in real life. I am the most apolitical person I know. I hate politics.

Still, today's news is quite amazing and exciting: Christoph Blocher has been ousted as a Cabinet member.

Things are not settled yet, but do I ever hope all the political maneuverings will succeed in throwing the old bastard out forever.

Maybe the tide is turning, finally, against the racist, xenophobic, sexist, paranoid views of the SVP.

Flying to Zürich is always a culture shock

In this Op-Ed article in the NY Times, Thomas Friedman says, among other things:

Fly from Zurich’s ultramodern airport to La Guardia’s dump. It is like flying from the Jetsons to the Flintstones.

That made me laugh. Flying back to Zürich-Kloten airport from most everywhere, but especially the U.S., is always a visceral shock. "Ultramodern" doesn't adequately describe it.

The list of topics about Swiss Life

The topics just about every expat living in Switzerland writes about on their blogs, or at least rants and raves about to the folks in the home country, eventually:

  • The trials of getting 'them' to pick up your garbage. 'They' won't do it unless you do it correctly. This can often be an epic saga.
  • The Laundry Room Nazi (usually the oldest female resident of the apartment building)
  • What do you mean the stores close at 4 pm on Saturday and are closed all day Sunday?? I'm being deprived of my God Given Right to shop all weekend!

Grey, grey Zurich with a slightly rosy hue


I am pretty sure that the ancients started the winter festivals that have evolved into our modern Christmas, New Years and other holidays because winter can be so depressing otherwise. I feel this so much more in Switzerland than I did in New York, even after about a decade or so of living here off and on. Most years, if I had a choice, I'd go somewhere - anywhere but here - during January and February.

Welcoming the new year with The Concert

New Year's Concert: Wiener Musikverein concert hall, all decked out for the New Year's Day Concert 2007.New Year's Concert: Wiener Musikverein concert hall, all decked out for the New Year's Day Concert 2007.

New Year's Day doesn't quite feel like the start of a new year, mainly because it's a holiday. I also usually wake up rather late, and slightly groggy. Not that I overindulge on the champagne or anything, but something about New Year's Eve makes me want to stay up way past my usual bedtime, even if it's just watching old movies.

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