THERE´S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: Especially if you aren't there for a year.

The world is a big place, but with the help of the likes of Ryan Lewis, Aaron Tobias and company, it´s about to get quite a bit smaller. These Kansas natives have just embarked on the journey of a lifetime and plan to chronicle it.

Check out their blog, it´s good stuff.

Join me in hoping that these young Americans find their own Emerald City.

GIANT PANDAS GO WILD: Giant panda alert of the day. Because endangered animals are wicked necessary to keep track of.

Speaking of which, China plans to release a five-year-old giant panda named Xiang Xiang into the wild...with a GPS tracking device.

Fortunately, the panda enjoys Starbucks and isn´t a member of Falun Gong.

MOST UNAMERICAN MOVES OF THE DAY: A man swipes a Starbucks coffeemaker and in response, the chain moves to France.

Well, not exactly in response.

MUMPS ARE NOT COOL: At 1,273 confirmed cases, it might be best not to visit the state for a bit.


NOT IN SWITZLERAND: Ever have one of those days when you pillow in enough time that it should support Dumbo´s lumbar needs, the escalators are broken, the metro unexpectedly stops, your luggage weighs 75 pounds, you do good deeds and you still miss your flight?

Spreading good deeds optional, of course.

Instead, of soaking up Lugano, I´m headed off to Toledo and possibly Naples. It´s a tough life, but somebody´s got to do it. Again, blogging will be touch-and-go.

THE UNITED STATES OF EUROPE: Thus far, I´ve seen more Americans in Rome, Madrid and Barcelona than Europeans. We´re everywhere. Here´s hoping I´ll meet another Iowan in Switzerland.

That´s right, Iowa is everywhere.

While in Madrid for two days, I´ve already met two of them and dined at the Iowa Cafeteria. Unfortunately, Iowa is in a redlight district. But, if you´d like some Spanish pork chops, head over to Montera 42!


IN THE CANARY ISLANDS: No canaries have been spotted yet. Maybe I should stay longer to really thoroughly look?

CONSERVATIVES COME OUT: Hey University of Iowa conservatives, it´s time to stop hiding in the shadows. Seriously, that´s like waaay Dick Cheney creepy. Not cool.

From April 24th to 27th, small government-minded folks will be celebrating Conservative Coming Out Week!!

Each day will be named after a president with events following that theme. Just imagine a Ronald Reagan Day full of baking Dutch apple pie or an Abraham Lincoln Day with a free play!

On Monday, George W. Bush Day, CR´s will show "Journeys With George" in room 61 Schaeffer Hall at 7 P.M. Tuesday´s Eisenhower Day will include a dodge ball event in the field house at 7 P.M.

Because Ike loved dodgeball. Totally themed.

ABOUT AS NONPARTISAN AS CONGRESS: My good friend and newly-minted UISG President Peter McElligott has pledged to leave all of his party affiliations behind...all of those left-leaning tendancies.

Here´s hoping he can do it, but UISG is a notoriously politically sticky place, even for those who claim no affiliation (as Pete has just done). Particularly when it comes to funding initiatives, there is no way any leader can disguise his core belief set to equally, let´s say, allocate funds to conservative versus liberal issues or groups.

The Executive has a good deal of money to play with, money that Senators have little, if any, pull over. During the reign of Krez/McCarthy senatorial power was severely stripped, as the Executive consolidated to rule over student affairs.

I trust Pete will do a good job--as he has thus far in the aftermath of disaster--but just like any leader, we´ll still need to keep an eye on him.


CORPORATE AMERICA AND COMMUNISM COME TOGETHER: China´s President Hu loves Starbucks. Vladmir Putin last spotted at KFC.

PUNCTUATION AND GRAMMAR: Really not important anyway, yeah?

Dear Readers,

Please excuse all errors. Pretend like I´m the New York Times or something. I am currently blogging from Spain and the keyboards are a bit different. Bear (like a polar) with me.


AUR REBUILD HOUSING? For those of you who are University of Iowa grads, you may know about AUR: undeniably the worst property management company in Iowa City.

AUR developed such a bad rap in Iowa City that it changed its name to Downtown Apartments and then again to Keystone Property Management, in an attempt to shake its ruthless student-unfriendly image.

Well, apparently, they were hit pretty hard by the April 13th tornadoes; in fact, my former apartment was destroyed.

Now they say that they plan to rebuild the apartments and rent them to the displaced student tenants in a similar location at a similar price. Fat chance.

We are watching you and your obscene price-gauging efforts, AUR.


CORPORATE AMERICA MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE BEEN SMITED: More news of Iowa City's latest random act of nature: apparently, Nature/the Almighty hates Wal-mart and Starbucks.

These two Iowa City meccas for culture and other stuff too, were apparently hit pretty hard. Poor, sweet Starbucks.

LEAVING TOWN: Blogging may be light...over the next month. I'm headed on Spring Break to Rome (for Easter-what an idiot I am), Florence, Pompeii, Barcelona, Madrid, Gran Canaria and Istanbul.

Should be fun, in theory.



TORNADO HITS IOWA CITY: Old news is good news, so in case you didn't know, A TORNADO HIT DOWNTOWN IOWA CITY!

Classes have been cancelled, Western-style looting has commenced (sorta) and gawkers continue to mill past damage.


WE'D REALLY, REALLY LIKE YOU: To raise $1 million for Jim Nussle. Die hard Republicans turned out in droves at last night's President Bush-attended fundraiser in Des Moines.

Okay, let me just state for the record that my constituency is the teeny, tiny, slim margin who "approve" of President Bush, but honestly, this quote, when commenting on Nussle's skills as House Budget Committee chairman, was a doozy: "We have had some lean budgets in Washington, D.C., because we want to cut the federal deficit in half."

Dude, you want to cut the federal deficit in half? Then why don't you quite handing out prescription drug care lollipops to seniors and bowing to election year political pressure?!?!?!

But really, I still like you both.


EGADS, BONO WAS RIGHT: Apparently wearing sunglasses inside not only makes you look cool, but also is the best way to fly.

Why the best way, you ask? Shoot, click on the link and find out already. Too lazy for that, then deal with the explanation that researchers in Edinburgh say it is!

Unless of course the unfortunate nature of air travel comes a-knockin'.

Dr. Chris Idzikowski, director of The Edinburgh Sleep Centre, admits: "I have used this technique on a flight but you have to be aware of immigration officials as they can ask you to take them [sunglasses] off, which weakens the outcome."

Thanks for ruining my internal clock, immigration officials!

BEN AND JERRY PLOT TO CONQUER THE WORLD: Through beer-flavored ice cream.

Imagine if they had released this monstrosity around Super Bowl time? Okay, stop imagining, I'll tell you what to imagine: Ben & Jerry's ice cream minions could have taken out America's whole defense system!

Just think how they could obliterate the entire Kennedy clan. Just think.

UH...WELCOME TO IOWA...WE LOVE YOU?: For the first time in a year, President Bush is dropping by Des Moines today to tout his Medicare drug plan and stump for Candidate Nussle.

Sounds good. If we liked you...ehhh...sorry to rub it in.


NOAM CHOMSKY COMES TO IOWA CITY: Wow, who's next, Jimmy Hoffa? Wait...(see blog entry below)...

Making sure that academic intelligence is still the furtherest thing from it, everyone's favorite leftist pontificator is dropping by campus for a speech. Though the university is advertising him as a "linguist and political commentator," we all know who he truly is.

Noam's speech, "UNIVERSALITY OF HUMAN RIGHTS: PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICES” will be at the Englert Theatre at 7:00 p.m., Monday, April 10, 2006.


THIS IS NOT COMMUNIST FRANCE: Apparently Iowa City bus drivers have been eating bagettes a little bit too much lately. Bus drivers are going on strike!

Despite their efforts, the yellow bus bandits' routes will be covered. No worries, according to Iowa City officials, all of the kiddies will get to school today.

The strike came as a result of bus drivers' growing concerns toward First Student, the school district's busing contractor about issues including personnel concerns and safety.

Bus drivers have talked with Teamsters Local 238 to discuss joining the union. Great. So, the next time little Johnny throws a spitwad, we'll have Jimmy Hoffa throwing a rally.

The wheels on the bus go round and round alright.

WE MEAN BUSINESS: Kudos to the Regents for doing something intelligent - selecting Gary Fethke as the interim president of the University of Iowa.

As the outgoing business dean, Fethke has done an arguably good job maintaining the excellence of the College, as well as spurring the construction of new facilities. Take it from a student, the John Pappajohn College of Business is a great place to learn.

At a lofty salary of $302,050 to lead the university, maybe Fethke will go Skorton-style and support another block party next Fall?

HAS ABSENCE MADE YOUR HEART GROW FONDER?: With the plethora of blogs out there, as well as "real" sources of information, probably not. But, if you're one of those three people out there who really does relish reading Hawkeye Republican entries every day, sorry for the few days I took off.

Jeez, I'm sounding like a liberal. I say days when weeks apply. Europe will do that to you.

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