Archive for April, 2012


WhyI wake up at 7:30 a.m. and my mom walks into the bedroom.

The first words out of her mouth are: “Is Dad in the bathroom?”

From the confusion inherent to early mornings matched with the weirdness of my dream about Danny Glover singing me the Hora, I respond: “Heh?”

In my family, that constitutes a question type C.

Mom leaves. Her work here is done.

There are three sorts of questions to ask in my family.

A. A question so random that the chances of your companion having a prepared answer are equal to those of him having a scorpion in his wallet.

B. A question that your companion has no interest in answering.

C. A question that your companion has no possible ability to answer.

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Folks: Part I (Preparation)

jonge Koolmees - Parus majorI am practicing my witty banter on a jar of grape jelly. So far, I think I’m winning.

Most people prepare for a visit from their parents by cleaning the flat and brushing up on dental hygiene. I prepare by practicing story-telling ability and polishing up on wit.

Dinner in the Galeone household was like engaging in witty combat. A large family, we spent most of a day separate, piling up on material for dinner. Once we sat at the table it was like hunting season on each other’s shortcomings. We’d fling jibes around the table concerning lacking character and zero in on vexing physical features. When the food arrived, we’d pause for a short while to stuff pork chops and broccoli into our throats as we restored ammunition for the imminent continuation of discourse.

We were not visited often.

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coconut jewel cupcakes 1Mondays are a bitch.

They always start with an early morning run, finish with a two-hour evening class and offer little joy in between except for a homemade ham sandwich and a bag of dried apples.

At 2 p.m. my phone beeps with a message from my Czech teacher, M.

I have a surprise for you. Meet me at Nova Scena at 8.

While I love surprises—cupcakes, canceled classes, smiles from people on the tram—M’s surprises often take the form of physical exercise. I have been surprised by hilly hikes and journeys to cafes that resided at the top of endless stretches of stairs.

Despite my history with this word, I hope for an iced pastry of some sort.

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Kdo neskáče není Čech! (Whoever doesn’t jump, isn’t Czech!)

So, it all starts when I get to the arena for the Czech-Slovak hockey game.

My companion, B, hands me a face painting kit and a girl wearing a ‘skirt’ hands me tiny stickers of the Czech flag. B sticks them on my cheeks before I have time to come up with a dermatological excuse. I stand outside among the Czechs and Slovaks, some of whom are jibing each other with nationalistic epithets and all of whom are drinking beer.

We go inside and I am handed two flags on sticks – one Czech, one Slovak. B informs me with no words that I am not to utilize the Slovak flag. She then tells two people dressed in lion costumes to maul me for a picture, and as their paws grope me to a disturbing pleasure it occurs to me that, while I am against it, I have taken a side in this hockey conflict.

For a heathen, I have lots of daily goals. Eat vegetables after buying them. Stop drinking butter. Use the Internet for informational research and not pornography, music, pornography, Ukrainian dating sites, pornography and adult videos. For the most part, these goals are unattained.

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Notes of a Bored Young Man

KILL METhe first note comes about ten minutes into a ninety minute class.

Kill me.

I have always loved Z, the note’s writer, and killing her in this situation would be a true symbol of that love. I do not comply. I do, however, write back.

Let’s report him to Amnesty International for breaching the UN Convention against Torture.

As it’s a class on the European Union’s global role, this joke is esoteric and mean-spirited applied learning. The professor’s approach to teaching is to tell us everything he has ever learned in his whole life. Ever. Clearly an autonomist, he then allows us to sift through all the information he has ever attained to find the material and information relevant to this course. It’s methodologically ingenious.

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5 Novels You Should Read Cause I Said So

Sometime comes the motherThis is a list of masterpieces that may have slipped under your radar.  It was born at about 2 a.m. this morning as I couldn’t sleep due to the following conversation had earlier in the day with students.

“Do you know Cormac McCarthy?”

“McCarthy, I think so…Is he on Facebook?”

So, I decided to make a bold social statement and write about books. Yes, for the day I am avoiding Czechs, my cat and even pizza. This list is obviously incomplete and welcomes, nay, demands additions. Please judge, agree, disagree and comment.

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Happy Easter, Bend Over

Justice Legg of AmericaIf you have lived in the Czech Republic or are Czech, the word pomlázka either makes you giggle, roll your eyes or, if you are a woman, run for the hills. If you have never lived here, then you don’t care.

In my first Easter in the Czech Republic my student David invited me to ‘the village’ in Moravia with his family. I appreciated the offer but had that same wary feeling I get whenever my boss calls me into her office to talk about my attitude.

“It’s Easter,” he said. “You can’t be alone on Easter.”

I didn’t have the heart to tell him exactly just how much I was looking forward to alone. I love alone. Alone means not grading your language and lounging in underpants. It means a solitary protest against one of man’s greatest enemies: pants. It means eating and scratching and crying at sad parts in books. Alone is glorious.

“Sounds great,” I said. I am spineless.

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Havin’ a Ball

Prom Night, 1983It’s 8 a.m. Wednesday morning and I am standing in the shower with lethargic aloofness. An almost total loss of motor and mental function has led to minor incidents in the last few minutes. I am wearing socks. I have scrubbed my eyeballs with soap, which has resulted in teary eyes already red from dangerous dehydration. There is a squadron of earwigs dancing on my frontal lobe, biting into it with random cruelty. I have cracked the (detachable) shower head into my nose twice.

Despite my critical condition, I giggle in waves at the memories from the evening, night, early morning and morning that are battling the earwigs for my attention.

Last night was the university’s ball, and it was a doozy.


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A Fool’s Occurrence

JesterAt the end of an otherwise normal email to E —ová, I type a short post script.

PS: Let’s get married and have babies.

This statement can be analyzed in several different ways. However, considering that we dated, there might be one way to look at it in particular. You’d think that having dated the likes of me, E would have already completed her time in Purgatory, but alas.

I am celebrating April Fools’ Day and she is my victim.

My finger taps the mouse. In the indescribably brief moment before the arrow clicks on send, I slip into a memory-filled haze of April Fools’ Day pranks gone wrong.

As much as my sense of humor brightens my life and aggravates others on a daily basis, it seems that I really spread my humorous (idiotic) wings on April Fools’ Day. Just as a drinker might glorify St. Patrick’s Day, I really let the bad ideas soar on April Fools.

It is on this day that I am reminded of how bad judgment and the wrong audience usually results in a backfire of epic proportions.

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