28 November 2007

Hippy Holy Daze

Remember that Santa and his Angels are occupying Iraq for our sins.

18 November 2007

US Foreign Policy

Enough said.

16 November 2007

Being Flogged By Naked Russians

Lonely Planet recently announced the sale of 75% of their company to BBC Worldwide. Most LP readers, according to comments on the Lonely Planet Blog, seem to feel good about the possibilities of this maneuver.

If you subscribe to Lonely Planet's email list, you will sometimes surf your way into culture stories such as "Bathing Naked With Russians" -- which I've excerpted here:

"Russians like to belt each other with venik (birch sticks) while they bathe[...] The moment I felt that first light brush of another's branch on my buttock I was like a terrorised deer[...] They then proceeded to thrash me[...] I don't know if anyone has ever said you haven't really lived until you've been flogged by a naked Russian, but I'm saying it now. Once you get over the alienating culture shock it's quite relaxing."

Kudos to Lonely Planet for, among other things, managing to expand readers' perceptions about other cultures. Some of us may thrive on 'culture shock', but for those who don't, LP provides ample warning.

12 November 2007

A Magical Fluke

It's not often that I pay attention to news stories, and less often that I'll recommend one to my regular readers, but the following Reuters story popped up at the top of my gmail inbox, and I'm moved to bring it to your attention.

Reuters story

Original website where the man posted his description

What blows my mind about this is the number of NY city inhabitants (8 million) -- and that the internet made it possible for this guy to find one (1) person with a basic cartoon sketch. There really is magic in the world if you look for it.

31 October 2007

John Cage's Rules For Learning

Of course you'll have to click on the image, it's much too small to read like this.

07 October 2007

Czechs & Slovaks in American History

The Library of Congress offers a "European Reading Room" with a special projects section on their website. Each provides a historical timeline for the important contributions of particular immigrants to helping shape the USA, or what is most commonly referred to as "America" when abroad (sorry, Canada).

Czechs in American History

Slovaks in American History

There are also links to pages on the Finns, Germans, Portuguese & Luxembourgers on the main Special Projects page.

22 September 2007

Goth Poetry Generator

In an earlier post I provided a link to the Post-Modernism Essay Generator, which creates the kind of schlock written by many unfortunately aimless academics.

Well, here is a parallel machine geared for many of the black-clad hipster students who worship these sad professors... It's called the Goth-O-Matic Poetry Generator, and a few moments with it yields the kind of poetry many overworked editors must reject daily (in order to maintain some semblance of esteem in the literary landscape).

Types of goth poetry you can generate include:
Supernatural Violence & Horror
The Feeling Very Sorry For Yourself
The Fear of Religious Persecution
The Eternal Love of Vampires
The Black Abyss of Righteous Hatred

09 September 2007

Czech Black Humor

Czech & Slovak humor is something I can relate to well, most likely since my dad's grandparents came from this region of Europe. It's a humor that holds nothing back -- nothing sacred -- for if humor can't encounter any hypothetical situation or topic, then what can?

During the summer of 2007, a Czech group known as Ztohoven (think of a modern version of Ken Kesey's Merry Pranksters) hacked into a morning TV segment in which cameras pan across the country's terrain. What resulted was a fairly realistic rendition of a nuclear bomb going off in some godforsaken village during the breakfast hours.

Immediately, both TV station representatives and other municipal authorities promised justice against these "terror-inciting hackers" (paraphrase). First, read Ztohoven's response, then watch the video footage and judge for yourself how much harm could possibly come of it.

To me, it seems anyone with half a brain could tell this was a prank simply by switching to other channels. Remember 9/11? On every channel. If something like this were real, it too would be on every channel.

19 July 2007

More Prague Pics

Click for more Prague photos -- winter 2006-2007, as well as miscelaneous sites around town, JESUS SIGHTINGS, and a trip to Bratislava, Slovakia.

17 July 2007


As you may well know, WILCO has been one of my favorite bands since I picked up their first album AM from a discount bin in the early 90s. Now you too can experience their music for very little cost: only a few moments of your time. CLICK HERE for a free downloadable EP album made available on the WILCOworld website.

28 June 2007

Po-Mo Essay Generator

Behold! the Post-Modernism Essay Generator, the secret tool used by thousands of professors working in publish-or-perish institutions.

More than once while doing time at Pepsi State University I realized the 'critical' texts I was reading were absolute schlock... structurally coherent, yes, but that was where it ended. And now I know how those texts were written.

09 June 2007

Cool Words

or Aeon Iota

A cool word is abscond, I said
to which Stephen responded with timepiece

Yes, an oxymoronic compound, I wrote
and we thought about this

02 February 2007

IKEA Job Interview

For those who've ever purchased from IKEA, you'll understand this better than most. The most ironic thing about IKEA products is that I've never needed to consult with their assembly instructions (very easy to assemble), yet they come in more languages than you can imagine.

18 January 2007

Charles Baudelaire:
Two De Profundis Poems


O my sole love, I pray thee pity me
From out this dark gulf where my poor heart lies,
A barren world hemmed in by leaden skies
Where horror flies at night, and blasphemy.

For half the year the sickly sun is seen,
The other half thick night lies on the land,
A country bleaker than the polar strand;
No beasts, no brooks, nor any shred of green.

There never was a horror which surpassed
This icy sun's cold cruelty, and this vast
Night like primaeval Chaos; would I were

Like the dumb brutes, who in a secret lair
Lie wrapt in stupid slumber for a space...
Time creeps at so burdensome a pace.

(translation by Sir John Squire)


You forests, like cathedrals, are my dread :
You roar like organs. Our curst hearts, like cells
Where death forever rattles on the bed,
Echo your de Profundis as it swells.

My spirit hates you, Ocean ! sees and loathes
Its tumults in your own. Of men defeated
The bitter laugh, that's full of sobs and oaths,
Is in your own tremendously repeated.

How you would please me, Night ! without your stars
Which speak a foreign dialect, that jars
On one who seeks the void, the black, the bare.

Yet even your darkest shade a canvas forms
Whereron my eye must multiply in swarms
Familiar looks of shapes no longer there.

(translation by Roy Campbell)

07 January 2007

Types of Relationships

Ever one to question the status quo, I was a year or so ago researching the anthropological history of intimate relationships, as well as the fairly recent (within the last few hundred years) origins of 'romantic love' as we know it, when I stumbled upon this chart somewhere on the web. I saved it then, but forgot to note its source. I looked for it again recently via google image search, but could not find it. Anyway, I think it says plenty about our limited perceptions as to what relationships can, could, and/or should be. If you have questions about any of it, don't ask me - I've no idea what a "delta-triad" or a "tertiary" is, only that they must have existed in some societies and cultures (and probably still do somewhere).

Let us all make 2007 a renaissance for learning and self-study... a new age of enlightenment.

02 January 2007

Great Tom Waits Quotes

Tom Waits is no ordinary songwriter. He's probably one of the greatest American writers in American history - and partly because he has soaked up so much of it. The guy doesn't just reinterpret all things Americana, he's basically a walking Smithsonian. Here are a few of my favorite lines from his music, as well as another quote or two from interviews:

"Money's just something you throw off the back of a train"

"You'll be buried in the clothes that you never wore"

"My daddy told me, lookin back, the best friend you'll have is a railroad track"

"You can put all my possessions in Jesus' name"

"How do the angels get to sleep when the devil leaves the porch light on?"

"You know there ain't no devil, there's just God when he's drunk"

"Come down off the cross, we could use the wood"

She's my black market baby, she's a diamond who wants to stay coal"

"I'll bet she's still a virgin, but it's only twenty-five to nine"

The piano has been drinking, my necktie is asleep... And the combo went back to New York, the jukebox has to take a leak... And the carpet needs a haircut, and the spotlight looks like a prison break... Cause the telephone's out of cigarettes, and the balcony is on the make... And the piano has been drinking..."

"Disneyland is Vegas for children" (interview in Playboy, March 1988)