Eli's Weblog ≡x≡

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Cambridge - Where Newton Cut Down the Apple Tree (and didn't lie about it).





More London. And Cambridge too. The moneyshot is, I think, me dancing in front of the old buildings there. Or perhaps it's me with Achilles. Can you tell which is me and which is the Greek warrior/crankypants?

Sunday we took the train up to Cambridge, of which we have lovely photos, but then again so does Google Images. I remember drinking at a pub where Syd Barrett hung out while forming Pink Floyd, and there was an informative punting trip in which we learned that it was illegal to trap and eat the geese and that students used to do it anyways. I hollered and hollered for Stephen Hawking, but wither he wasn't within earshot or I couldn't hear his electronic response because the volume was set too low. We had a great lunch at The Eagle and marveled at the ceiling, where RAF and USAF pilots had burned and lipsticked their names and squads while stationed in Cambridge during WWII. I briefly considered waxing nostalgic, but then thought better of it and decided not to care about the heroic and the dead at all.

Well, there were too many sights and good times to recount, but i will say again that London is Fundon and now i remember why i had so many Brit friends in all those countries i used to live in: the Brits are all right.

London





London may be the coolest city I've ever been to - a shining example of what a city can be like when funded and governed well by thoughtful humanists (Hume-anists?). Our friends put us up in their Wimbledon flat. One of them, Harry, has a beard, as the photo makes clear. It was my idea to check out Highgate cemetery. Though I had no dead people in mind to visit, the first tomb to surprise us was Douglas Adams'. We might not have noticed it but for the plastic toys on top and the pens stuck in the turf. I gave Petya my only pen so she could plant one. One thing among many that I liked about Adams was that (I heard) he had to be locked into a hotel room by his agent and publisher before he would consent to write anything.

The next grave - very fresh - had a wooden board with 'MM' carved into it. Once, in 1997, I bought a Malcom Mclaren cd. It contained MM singing and molesting Puccini melodies. That may be the very last thing I ever purchased from the music industry.

We were heading towards the exit when the head of Karl Marx appeared, the size, shape, and color of a NASA weather balloon. Flowers lay strewn about the place where his genitals would have been if they'd given him a statue that went down that far. The strains of 'The Internationale' were coming from - i thought - a hidden speaker in Marx's chin, but we the saw a chinese couple fingering the four sides of the monument, and Petya noted with supreme disgust that the old song was coming from the little maoist's cell phone. I went over and took the phone away from him, sneering, "Silly Maoist, this is for capitalists!" All of this is true except maybe the last part there. Maybe.

And then we saw and did everything else worth seeing and doing in London.

Friday, April 16, 2010

You Can Earn $1500,00 a Day Just By Reading This Over and Over



Should i kill this blog? I keep having to explain delays. I guess I do it for the few friends who still believe joining Facebook will mess with their "Privacy" (still believing such a thing continues to exist or have value). Furthermore, with Petra nicely knocked up, my attention has turned to details nobody outside the family cares overmuch about. I do have an unending stream of invaluable and hilarious comments and insights, but i'm saving those for The Cuckoo Wasps of Tokyo, so you're going to have to pay for them at some unspecified date in the future.

Petra is halfway to delivering our boy, Maxim. Maxim has a nice punch to it. "Max Beaver" they'll call to him in the streets. I include a picture of him here. Fucking scary, right? It's not a real photo - it's a sauna-gram, which accounts for all the distorting steam. Still, wouldn't want to meet that baby in a dark alley....

Obama was here to agree to not have enough nuclear weapons to destroy the planet 1000 times over. Henceforth, we can destroy it only 300 times over. From the vast beer garden on top of Vysehrad we could see Prague Castle, where all the papers were being signed and hands shooken. Inside, The Dead Kennedys's "Terminal Preppie" roared:

John Belushi's my hero
I lampoon and I ape him
My news of the world
Comes from Sports Illustrated

and:

want a wife with tits
Who just smiles all the time
In my centerfold world
Filled with Springsteen and wine

Now when I say "inside", i mean the structure in which the beer was being poured, not inside the Castle, where papers are signed, although i hope to hell Obama had a few pints of Pilsner while he was in there. I know i would need a few pints if i had to stand in the fetid presence of the arch-imbecile President Klaus for more than a few inhalations

What else? Hm....

I've discovered the "Garage Band" application on my MacBook. One word: Ohhhwoooooow! Within 10 minutes I was laying down and mixing tracks of me hooting and banging the table and kicking at my guitar strings with a bare foot. The loops are hypnotic, autistic, implosive. Be prepared to receive my MP3's in the coming weeks.

That is all.

Friday, February 26, 2010

February Face-Freeze Funtastathon




So we were in Barcelona to see the Arctic Monkeys and I got the Bell's Palsy. Or rather, I got the Palsy before we went to Barca, but I wasn't going to let a little thing like facial paralysis keep me from one of my favorite cities. When we got back the Neuroquack told me I had to stay home and to not use my face for a couple of weeks. It turns out that everything you do involves your face. No reading, no watching anything, no looking at screens, no exercise, no talking. (And stay positive!) I thought about sitting on the couch and staring at the wall for 2 weeks and ultimately decided against it. Instead, I listened to podcasts. Here's what I digested aurally:

How the Mind Works - Stephen Pinker, in 45 parts, Youtube
Hardcore History - Dan Carlin
Fun to Imagine - Interviews with Richard Feynman
Connections - James Burke
Victor David Hanson - Lectures and Interviews
A History of the World in 100 Objects - BBC

and about a million interviews. I'm not going to embed the links because you know how Google works. I tried listening to Cosmos (Carl Sagan) but there was too much "dead time" (nobody talking). I highly recommend Dan Carlin because he's excited and talks like William Shatner.

I also felt it would be okay to write, so long as I didn't use my eyes. Now i see before me scores of pages covered in spastic scribbling that i feel compelled to decipher. One example:

"APPOLONUS: Concical. Parabola, etc., bell curve. Some trouble for 18th c - What does it say about god granting free will when discovered that crime rates are constant?"

and another note, isolated:

"Bison can't be domesticated"

More on that later.

(The photos here are from last x-mas and have nothing to do with the February Face-Freeze UNLESS you remember that Stallone also has half a frozen face, or in this instance, a completely frozen one)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

What Happens in Vegas is You Pay 12 bucks for a Sandwich




It's come to my attention that some people are still reading my blog. Some of them, incredibly, are still denying Facebook, and so have missed out on months - if not years - of quality Status Updates. So here's a few photos - the wedding, Las Vegas, Santa Monica: the sort of things you're used to in blogs.

Yes, we were in L.A. for x-mas. I've spent around 2 years of my life in that city over the past 18 years, but this time i really enjoyed it because i lied to my mom and said a Czech driver's license was valid in the States, and so she let me have her car and i drove all up and down and around the state. (Mom! Sorry i lied! First time - honest!) Seconds after the keys tumbled into my palm my wife and i sprinted to the car (picked up some good ol' american Mickeys bigmouths on the way) and high-tailed it for Vegas. We stopped off at a real trucker diner so that Petya could see what a mountain would look like if it were made of eggs and pancakes. For some godless reason, the diner was hit with a 15-minute blizzard - unheard of in them there parts! The lone waitress squeaked about the beauty of the snow and Petya had to be restrained from killing her - too much misplaced cheer, i guess. After the godless blizzard we yee-HAH'ed a blazin' path to Sin City, which went in my estimation from the best city in America to the #45 best city in the flash of a white tiger's toothy growl. [somebody edit that last phrase for me, plz]. See, i was in Vegas 8 or 9 years ago, and i was able to drink and vomit and hold my own and blackjack and burn holes in my clothes to the appropriate extent. This time it was more like being dropped into a lego labyrinth/windtunnel and having to run through mile-long buffet queues while hemmorhaging 50-dollar bills, though i will say that my bride and i did appreciate being offered sex-for-money every 2 meters by cadres of blimp-sized pimps-on-commission. Well, "pimps" is too kind a word for these flyer-flicking toutes.

On a very very very up side, we did hook up with my High School "Pipe-Club" co-member, Carolina, and her magnificent husband Dusty, whom i called "Rusty" all the first night we hung out. I haven't the slightest memory of what we talked about, but the great thing about these hotel rooms is they come with a big desk and a nice chair behind it, and you can struggle to that chair in the morning and put on sunglasses and fold your hands on the desktop and say to your wife, "What was said last night, woman?" And she will be able to tell you because 95% of the contents of the currently empty 750ml-bottle of Absolut didn't go into her bloodstream in the 3 hours leading up to a cherished school-chum reunion. My bride informed me that i hadn't terrified these people and that we were invited to visit them in San Diego, which is a good place to visit them since that's where they live. More on that after i eat something.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Big News! Emily Yoffe is a Purveyor of Idiocies!


Two good pieces of news for me this week:
Coffee can help ‘stave off’ type 2 diabetes (my least favorite type); and young-looking people like me and Di Caprio will live longer than you!

Ever thought that watching sports might be wasteful? I gave up watching football (soccer) after the last World Cup because I realized my mind’s limited resources could be put to better use than memorizing the stats of every player in the Premiership. And now, a Yank has come forward and described his easy abandonment of U.S. Baseball:

“My complaint with sports doesn't hinge on the inflexible hours. There's also the issue of return on my investment. The games are relentless, the experience of them too often ephemeral.”

Nowhere does he mention the deleterious effects of cheating (U.S. translation: “doping”) on viewer loyalty; this is the very reason I went from being a Sumo fanatic to Sumo hater overnight.

Sure, many must get a kick out of supporting their own country/island/city/shantytown team, though it seems silly since the best mercenaries – I mean athletes - are often imported from elsewhere. Yes, yes, your country/island/city/shantytown is #1. Applying a wee bit of logic, however, we see that if everyone believes their team is the best, then somewhere around 99.99% of them are dead wrong, and that’s only in a given season. (This logic may and should be freely extended to patriotism, theism, and your goddamned mother’s home-cooking).

In other non-news, Tiger Woods had sex. With women. Well stick my dick in a blender, I never would have guessed. Mega-celebrities offer us valuable insight as to exactly what happens to human nature when you throw tons of cash and affirmation at it. That little boy who used to be in The Jackson Five is a spectacular example; Divas provide further evidence.

Anyways, it turns out that when Tiger doesn’t play, worldwide interest in golf drops by half. HALF. And when people don’t tune in to golf or check out Golf Doofus Digest, some very useful people lose money.

Speaking over over-hyped vacuums-of-usefulness, here is a fine article describing the 3 things one experiences when smelling (P?) Diddy’s new “Unforgiveable Woman” perfume.

(Who knew people were still raw about Maggie Thatcher?)

On a personal level, I find it difficult to read Slate anymore, following a series of reports on Prague by “Prudie”, A.K.A. Emily Yoffe, who normally counsels yuppies considering incest, but who took some weeks off to come to my city and with every word describe the exact opposite of its character. I would place the link here, but to do so would have the quality of passing on to you, say, tapeworms, or gastroenteritis. So I won’t do that.

Furthermore, I may have to give up using the Google News Aggregator, as all this fluff about horny golfers and octmoms is taking up the space where news should be. *sigh*. Back to The Guardian, I guess…

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Results of the Mushroom Hunt, '09




Things went well this morning. I drove, and we didn't die. The woods were a little too travelled to play "Blair Witch Project", but i did find a nice stick for beating away the wolves and boars with. In fact, boar-signs were everywhere - quite exciting for Americans, because we don't have many wild pigs running around outside of D.C.

It's quite clear from the photo that i fit right in with the other woodland creatures. This was an accident. I'm wearing my hat smurf-fashion, pushing my ears out, and i've got my over-sized snowboarding jacket which once belonged to an absent-minded hitch-hiker. The mushroom Petya is holding is edible, will be eaten, is being peeled by my wife as i write this. It looks like we hunted up around 300+ grams of shroomage. Whoever said there's no such thing as a free lunch didn't spend enough time sniffing around meadows and forest floors.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Love Hurts





I haven’t posted anything in a while, so it’ll likely be mete that I rub my target audience again with a few words. This will not be easy, as Petya brought home some bottles the other day and some plastic spoons and we have been watching “The Room” over nad over and throwing spoons at the laptop, which is a brilliant way to spend some time with one’s attorney, though the hangover isn’t so dazzling, even as it springs in me an acute and severe fit of my already intolerable graphomania, the results of which I must apologize for even before I have written it. So here’s what’s new:

The cats don’t like their new cat-tunnel, but when Petya or I wear it on our head it’s like we are giant erasers and we can walk around the flat erasing things with our giant, red, Ticonderoga-esque craniums.

My brilliant wife bought us tickets to the Arctic Monkeys show in Barcelona this Feb. Tears of gratitude threaten to flood Prague-4. I should not joke about floods in Prague, because there was an apocalyptic flood here in 2002, and a lot of animals in the excellent zoo died. I always suspected that the true enemy was water. Be suspicious, friends. Um, we will be there for the weekend, so you should come and listen to my horrible Spanish.

BTW, we will be in L.A. for x-mas, c u there? I’d heart all my BFF’s 2 b there, h8 2 Ms yall.

The other day I started a fight with Petya because I wanted her to consider – as a thought-experiment – a world where wood did not exist. You know what I mean. It was desperately important that we talk about a woodless-world, and I’m not speaking metaphorically at all, you filthy-minded cabrones. I really wanted to posit a world where there were no trees, no wood, and thus discuss what the world would be like without readily-available, cheap-material chairs and warmth and 2-by-fours.

I read some W. H. Auden this morning:
"There must always be two kinds of art: escape-art, for man needs escape as he needs food and deep sleep, and parable-art, that art which shall teach man to unlearn hatred and learn love."
I’m right there with him until that final word. I harbor a fathomless suspicion for that word, and generally don’t like to hear it unless it’s coming from the mouth of my wife. Auden is one of the very few poets I can stomach, but if I had the chance to drink a bottle of London Gin with him, in public, I would dare say that no artist should ever, ever deploy such a vague term. Now, I was a huge fan of “The Love Boat” and can still sing all the lines from the intro song, but there are some words so threadbare that it becomes the duty of the artist to craft or tweak or soup-up a new term so that I don’t get bored and give up. Here are those words: Love, Death, Hope, Money, Pain, Peace, Forever, Bodyguard, Postman, Dennis Hopper, Dance, Wolves, and Baseball.

If you misread the Mayan calendar, you, along with most of California, might actually think the world could end in 2012. This information is based on half-indecipherable scratchings in stone by a people that couldn’t even predict that cutting down all the trees would wash away their food supply. This made me wonder how we could get Hollywood to stop making 100% garbage. Unfortunately, the solution is most unlikely: humans would have to stop paying money for garbage. (Caveat: it’s not only the U.S. that is churning out super-garbage: most film industries are now hard at work trying to replicate movies such as “2012” and “The Hottie and the Nottie”.) On this note, I wish to say that I have already decided never to see “The Road”, based on the trailers I’ve seen. The book will take you an afternoon to read and is astounding. I don’t care if Viggo Mortensen is great. I like his acting too. But the one thing that separates the film version from garbage is that China can’t recycle this film and re-sell it back to the West.

There’s more. I’m going to do us all a favor by not writing it, at least not at this moment. But take my advice: don’t see “The Road” and don’t posit woodless worlds. And try not to say “love” too much, unless you are singing the theme song from “The Love Boat”. Also, in case you didn’t know this, “Love Actually” is actually less useful than a tapeworm. If you tell other people you like this film, it’s kind of the same as being caught reading Rowling or Dan Brown in public. I urge you, stridently, not to do this.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

A Few More Corleone Photos




Very nice.

Corleone







Here is Corleone. The photos don't do it justice, but Petya took some good ones of nuns stalling a car over and over again in a vain attempt to turn a corner. I don't know if they ever made it. We got tired of watching around the 59th attempt.

Petya also photographed these old men sitting around talking. We saw millions of such old men sitting around talking. It turns out Italy is one of the grayest countries in the world, rivalling Japan. What do they talk about? String Theory, mostly. String Theory and the relative merits of the Gregorian Calendar.

There were several vertiginous peaks around town, most of them topped with these outdated execution devices (where do you plug them in?) And now i'm going to shut up and post more photos.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Salina Cat-Color Race-Riot Punch-Up







After Vulcano, we ferried past Lipari to Salina, where all the salt used to come from. You know, when I was a young idiot I thought the Roman soldiers who got paid in salt were using it to improve the taste of mashed-bee pie or whatever ancient people ate. But salt is a wonderful preservative and more valuable in that respect. Kind of like how the Chinese figured out packing vinegared rice around fish would keep it from rotting. And you thought the Japanese invented sushi…

Anyways, a beach made of rocks is fun even as it carries a grave risk of shattered ankle bones and patellae. The rocks look like giant beans. You probably want to eat them. Don’t. It hurts like hell. I got one stuck in my jaw and they had to yank it out with a sort of catapult thing they used to destroy the Knights Templar of Malta.

We did a lot of things in Salina, but the photos only tell you that there is a huge spider there and that I punched a kitten in the guts. Take that asshole! (Trust me, she had it coming.) We were walking between towns and I was delivering a lecture on stochasticity and the Vatican, as is my habit, when we decided that walking blows. We stuck out our thumbs and were immediately picked up by a priest and his – I don’t know – life partner? Petya called him ‘Padre’, but I just said ‘walking blows’, and then, when he dropped us off with a ‘Dios te blesses’ or some such Italianism, I said something like ‘you too’ or ‘safety first, man’, I don’t remember.

We sat in the town square, drinking beers on a bench, willing one or more of the children running wildly around without leashes to step in a big pile of dog crap several meters in front of us. Then it started getting dark so we took some charming night photos.

In our room on Salina, I counted over 32 religious effigies – priests and christs and other deities the natives seem to worship. Petya told one old woman that we have two black cats and the woman leaped up from her seat to arrange an auto-da-fe. This is when I punched the kitty in the belly, after which i climbed on top of a bust of what I think must have been Saul of Tarsus, crying, “I have a dream that one day a cat may be judged not by the color of his fur, but by the content of his character!”

Before we left the island we popped into a shop so I could introduce Petya to canoli. Mmmmmm...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Aeolius, God of the Wind (the bad kind)









We ditched the car and took a ferry to the first of the Aeolian Islands, Vulcano. We rode around and ate sandwiches on black volcano-soil beaches and didn’t heed the signs about extreme intoxication. I look kinda fat on the side of the volcano, but that’s only cuz I’m trying to inhale as much as possible. The volcano known as Vulcan smells like the farts of a gigantic egg-and-cheese sandwich-lover. If the Earth really is hollow, baby, I don’t want to visit the inside.

Also on Vulcano, some people sat in mud. The mud smells like the liquid version of the above disgusting image but is supposed to make you look younger. The mud however, is radioactive enough to be dangerous to pregnant women, kids, old people, and rationalists, and, furthermore, spending unusual amounts of time in direct sunlight is, I’m sorry to say, a good way to look like the Brigitte Bardot of today. So we stayed away from the fart-mud, though I did try tossing a few matches in to see if it would all ignite.