I've been on vacation in Germany for a week now. We're visiting a friend who lives in Feldkirchen, a small town just east of Munich (or Muenchen, as I'm getting used to seeing). If it hadn't been for our friend, Germany would not have been high on our list of places to go, since neither of us speak German. The language barrier is not as bad as you might think - many Germans speak English to some degree (generally more than my German, anyway), but it's definitely hindered our willingness to explore unescorted by our native guide.

Some things are very nice: the weather has been beautiful, especially to our desert-dwelling senses - it's rained about every other day. Munich is a very interesting city - it was the capital of the Nazi party in the 1930's, but now is Germany's equivalent of Silicon Valley. There are several historical buildings and monuments, but so many of them were totally destroyed after WWII that, while they retain their historical significance, the real historical weight that I've felt in ruins (in Ireland, as well as ancient Native American dwellings) is absent since the actual buildings themselves have been totally reconstructed in the last century.

Sadly, I've only had one beer since we've been here, but there's still a week left of our trip! Tomorrow we're travelling to Vienna for a few days, and hopefully Salzburg as well (so we can see the Mozart sights).

If I haven't given you enough web-browsing already, here's a few news items that I'm excited about:
House limits USA PATRIOT act rules on library records. Huzzah!
Fair Use Crusade Maybe some sanity will prevail on Fair Use and the DMCA
DDR in California Schools to help reduce childhood obesity rates Get those chunky kids moving! And while you're at it, stop feeding them Happy Meals!