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small white square Previously I mentioned my monitoring of the VOA during this trip. In an email, T wonders...

Whaddya mean no Voice of America in the hometown? Is this due to inferior electronics or is it jammed?
The Voice Of America is not broadcast to North America, a policy which sounds sinister even if they do have a good reason. You can hear their stuff in various formats on their web page, including RealAudio. Their announcers are a robust lot - one can hear a faint echo of that pompous, old-fashioned newsreel-style speaking in their voices' timbre. Naturally there's nothing critical about our government's policies in the content, but the focus I hear is mostly on the international scene. An interesting program, since we can't hear it at home, is called Talk To America - it's a call-in radio talk show. They give out this 202-619-3111 phone number and tell their listeners to make international collect calls to it - I invite my East Coast readers, to whom this is a local call, to give the number a try. What I'd find most amusing would be a confrontation in a DC bar between VOA and NPR workers - kinda like a bunch of frustrated Young Republicans meeting with their smug, laid-back liberal opponents. The thing I like about VOA is there's no commercials, unlike the endorsements one hears more & more of on NPR. Also the VOA seems to lack any of that irritating NPR bubblyness so obviously manifested by the noxious Susan Stamberg; or the simpering, stammering style of Scott Simon and Daniel Zwerdling. While I'm naming names, here's three from the VOA: David Chadwick, Larry Freund and Tom Mahoney. Thanks for your work from the people you represent, but who can't hear you.

small orange square Tonight's entry is being written on a pleasantly speedy machine in the Internet Cafe in Zürich's Uraniastrasse. It's a Digital computer, one of a dozen here running Windows. There's plenty of room, a smoking and non-smoking area, and R.E.M. is playing ("It's TEOTWAWKI, and I Feel Fine") on the stereo. Yes I have reached die Schweiz (or Switzerland in English). This means excitement is building, since tomorrow I meet up with the Swiss Miss. My newer readers may wonder who this is, why she doesn't appear on the Who's Who page - well, we met in March, and had a couple other adventures, but then she flew back. We've kept in touch by email. Now she wants to get a green card, and come back. Depending on how things go, she may figure more prominently in my life, so she may become known by that unused letter "W".

small yellow square After I left Ljubljana in Slovenia, I rode the trains across Austria and stayed last night in Innsbruck, my first visit to that city. That place must be a special paradise to the skiing crowd; it's ringed by tall mountains. Last night it was raining, and was cloudy this morning; but by the time I left the sun had come out and lots of blue sky was appearing, and the ceiling was lifting revealing many snowy slopes. Being oblivious myself to the charms of the ski, I enjoyed my walk around the central old town, before heading for the station to board the train to Zurich. This was when I had the decision in Feldkirch - get off and explore Liechtenstein? I decided not to, and my express train zipped through the one railstop <1> in that teeny country. (Art Lovers please note: the country is Liechtenstein, pronounced "Leechtenstine", as opposed to the great artist, Roy Lichtenstein.

small cyan square Good news in current events: I was reading the International Herald-Tribune, which has a front-page article indicating that polls show we trend-setting Californians will vote Democratic next week, bringing in governor Gray Davis (thankfully removing that fascist Lundgren from the public payroll) and re-electing senator Boxer. Also, John Glenn is in orbit again.

STS-95 mission patch
DC - the District of Columbia
NPR - National Public Radio
TEOTWAWKI - the end of the world as we know it
VOA - Voice Of America
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<1>Schaan, not the capital, Vaduz; a destination which would've required additional bus rides.