Last night I caught up with an old college friend visiting from Berlin, his charming German wife, and their infant son. We sat in his parent's living room chatting with a some mutual friends, drinking beer, and catching up. When they put the baby to bed we opened champagne bottles with a cavalry saber... like you do.
My friend has a law degree but decided to start a role-playing game publishing business instead, and has registered as an artist with the German government's Künstlersozialkasse program, which provides a pension, among other things. The government also provides his wife four months full pay for maternity leave, plus up to a year unpaid. I find it ironic that he's a republican artist suckling at the teat of the German socialist state, while I'm a liberal democrat working two jobs and paying tens of thousands in taxes to the American war machine. But it's this kind of contrast that keeps our conversations interesting, and I certainly respect his opinions and choices.
Someone had an iPad so I got to play with it a bit. I have to say they're better in person than on paper. The book reader application is a lovely piece of software, the device is very light, it has great battery life, and I could see buying one if the price drops below $300. But for $500 it just doesn't offer much more than my Hackintosh netbook
for twice the price. It can't even stand up on its own.