Archive for March, 2012

5 Writers I’d Like to Booze with

There´s No BusinessWednesday is chess night, which sounds very academic and intellectual unless you take into account that I usually get stomped like a NARC at a biker rally. Anyway, the conversation takes a few weird twists when you’re playing chess at a strip club at 2 a.m. on a Wednesday. Thus the birth of this list.

Let’s start with who didn’t make the list. Aldous Huxley was a last-minute cut. Huxley wrote Brave New World, was a visionary and responsible for the name of The Doors. Also, as he was dying he had his wife inject him with LSD as she read to him from the Tibetan Book of the Dead. This is all pretty bad ass. However, I cut him because he would surely say ‘dystopian’ too often and would probably bring the party down in general. Plus, doing LSD at my age probably wouldn’t be good for anyone in this city.

Neither Shakespeare nor Hemingway made it. They may seem like obvious additions to this list, but Hemingway would just want to fight me, and he would probably win. Being able to tap into Shakespeare’s writing mind would be amazing, however, he wears tights. I draw enough negative attention in this town to add a guy who wears tights into my life.

Here’s the list. I am interested in your opinions…sort of.

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squirrel looking for food“Before cats go into heat there is a period of destructive behavior present,” I say. Then add, “My couch was in shambles.”


“Did you know Steve Martin plays the banjo? He won a Grammy last year.” I sip my beer. “I want to win a Grammy.”

My interlocutor is staring at me over the top of her beer. “What?” she asks. And she is well within her rights to do so. For I have lost the ability to converse. And I blame Donald Barthelme.

I’ve always been susceptible to literature’s saucy influence. Watership Down forever ended rabbit as a dining option. My Bukowski phase was awkward for everyone.

Now it’s Barthelme and the staccato, stream of consciousness vignettes that make up his stories. I haven’t made sense in four days. The issue was pointed out earlier today, when Collin asked if my beer was good and I replied: “Emma and I are buying a website and we’re going to do our sex blog there.”

Collin, having had five years to get used to my weird conversation habits, rolled with the punches. “I am awaiting my fermentation vessels this week.”

We sat in quiet until I spoke up again. “Randomness countered.”

We drank.

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Encierro Italiano (Running of the Italians)

Rising Up!I am walking along the streets of Old Town Prague and stuffing strawberries into my mouth at an alarming pace. I am mentally jotting down observations as I go: cobalt blue sky, strawberries everywhere (in mouth, hand, shirt and somehow ears), women dressed as though a house fire didn’t allow them to complete their outfits. So far, it looks as though my hypothesis is correct.

My interest has been sparked since noting recent changes. My interest in celebrity suicides has ebbed, actual sunlight comes through my bedroom window before 1 p.m. and the cat has started shedding her fur in such volume that I can finally build my evil cat navy of the Vltava. With these signs, I’ve taken to the streets for further investigation.

As I continue my walk the empirical data builds. People aren’t staring at the ground as they walk, there is even the occasional smile and most of the bums have moved from red boxed wine to white boxed wine. A wolf spider on a wall is a good sign.

Everything points to spring; still, I haven’t seen the clincher, and I suppose that is why I’m roaming the streets. From behind me, around a corner, comes a low rumble that breaks the air like thunder in the distance. I pause and prepare; this might be it.

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5 Unusual World Customs That Never Caught On

Chinese Punishment, Whipping A Lawbreaker [c1900] Attribution Unk [RESTORED]If I were to recommend an occupation for those interested in useless facts, teaching English as a second language would surely be the one. ESL coursebooks are (obviously) focused on language and geared towards keeping a student’s attention, therefore it’s chock full of factoids that will in no way enhance one’s chances of getting a job.

Via ESL coursebooks, I have learned that the first microwave was as large as a refrigerator, that post-earthquake search and rescue teams use rats instead of dogs and that scientists are developing a wall climbing suit.

Parlay this consistent use of ESL coursebooks with a lifelong fascination with the weird, twisted, stupid and arcane and you have, well, you have the list below.

This list is made up of the five most interesting and unusual customs in the world that have never caught on in the rest of the world.

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Tram: A Love Story

beautiful old yellow trams !Reginald slips the 9 tram into the terminal station as smoothly as laying a worn dollar bill on a satin G-string. As he does, I scurry to the cockpit to peer out through this window. The 1 tram is parked in front of us and Joyce the driver is moving around the car performing post-drive duties such as bum removal, condom scraping and clearing empty boxes of wine and bottles of Tučnak. As we queue up behind the 1 tam, the 16 tram ticks past us on its way out of the station. The 16 tram driver is Jane, a light-haired brunette with a nose you could land a 747 on, who smiles as the two trams pass each other.

And so, for the third week in a row, the love story continues.

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5 Ways to Torture Pet Store Employees

Fat BoyIf you’re anything like me, and dear God I hope for your sake that you’re not, then nothing infuriates you more than a pet store employee. Just the sight of one of those smug bastards sorting dog toys and cleaning bird poop awakens the devious sadist within.

Surely it’s no surprise that I have devoted a good portion of my life to torturing these name-tagged zoophiliacs. After a lifetime of research, I have compiled this list of the five best ways to torture them.

5. Speak in Latin. Actually, you can speak in any other dead language, but Latin allows you to use the scientific names of the animal about which you are inquiring.

“Hello, could you please show me your best Felis silvestris catus?”
“I’m sorry, what is that?”
“It’s a common pet. Is this not a pet store?”

I think you can see where this is heading. This can be both accompanied and made more effective by a combination of muttering and crying. Also, wearing a shirt with the Latin phrase and picture of a dinosaur on it seems to really seal the deal.

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Fear and Loathing at the Slaughtered Lamb

SWFThe man in the picture on Lee’s iPad depicts a seemingly good-natured, friendly person. Otherwise, however, he doesn’t really exhibit any attributes deemed valuable by females. Honza is not an altogether unattractive man, it’s just that he seems to have gone out of his way to choose the single worst picture ever taken of himself. He is wearing a light red workout suit and he is engaged in some kind of demented dance move which makes him look like the least cool Mick Jagger impersonator on Earth. This effect is enhanced, I guess that’s the best word, by the fact that he is holding ski poles.

He has clearly aggravated his barber in some way and his mouth is held in such an unnatural contortion that he must be singing Tuvan throat music Karaoke. He has a mole on his nose, which at this point I am fairly convinced that I transplanted onto him to complete the Arc de Triomphe of his dismal appearance. I’m surprised that I haven’t given him buck teeth and hair plugs.

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The Return of the Šaš and the Subtle Art of Research

2009 san diego comic-con: slave leia haremAs with every visit to The Šaš (my physician), we are discussing Thai women. The Šaš is holding an Otoscope into my ear and offering sage advice on what I should do as a young man in this world.

“Go to Thailand, perhaps Bangkok, and open a language institute that caters to high-class Thai prostitutes,” he says.

“You mean open my own harem?”

He removes the Otoscope. “Sure,” he says. “They need English.”

“I need to buy a whole lot of pillows, then?” I ask

“Your ears are fine,” he says. Then adds, in the same Marlon Brando meets Kermit the Frog drawl, “No pillows, rubber sheets and coconut oil.”

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Recent Deaths

The GRIM REAPERWhenever I wake up in a grumpy or sad mood – every day, different reason, this morning is a stubbed toe – I go to the most cheery webpage online. Recent Deaths on Wikipedia.

Before you judge me as ghoulish or morbid for reading the obituaries over my morning coffee, let me explain a couple of things.

First of all, Recent Deaths is just the start off point. Any given Wikipedia page has the tendency to lead to several other, totally random pages, and Recent Deaths is no exception.

The problem with this is that it makes me a font of useless information, even more than does being an ESL teacher. And that’s saying something.

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