Archive for November, 2013

Turkey Envy

Thanksgiving at the TrollsI could just cut to the chase: You are stuffing your throat with the best food on Earth and I am teaching people the definite article in a chalk-covered sweater vest. But I’d rather draw out my temporary disdain for all of you Thanksgiving revelers in a short blog post.

So enjoy this list. And if you are in the U.S., I hope you choke on it! (…the list, not the food)

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Premature Jubilation

copicclass4I was on the metro, trying to translate an advertisement. The words were in a cartoon bubble coming from the mouth of a small green Martian. He was evidently trying to sell me on the idea of buying a loved one a laptop for Christmas. It was October 20th.

It’s no secret that the Christmas powers that be milk every possible second of retail time. And for this reason malls and shops inch Christmas a little earlier each year. Pretty soon Christmas decorations will be up in June and Santa Claus will be HoHoHoing his chunky ass off in a Batman costume on Halloween.

Now this doesn’t bother me the way it seems to bother some people. I mean, some of you are really really irked by this, and I guess I can understand that. It can be rather unpleasant to feel as though you are being coerced into spending more money under the guise of holiday cheer.

My concern is not the coercion; my concern is the disruption of other Christmas traditions.

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Sounds of a City

Warning, Ice cream.When you live in a city for a long time you become used to the sounds of it. These sounds could be unique to the city or an everyday sound that resonates with you for some reason. In Pittsburgh it could be fireworks, as they are set off to celebrate everything: a Pirates’ win, a Tuesday without rain. In Jerusalem it could be the muezzin calling Muslims to prayer. And in Dallas, the people walking around saying, “Holy fuck. I live in Dallas.”

In any case, you’ll probably continue to identify some sounds to your city until you get really old and start pooping on your stove. Then you’ll live in a place where the only sounds are Matlock on the television and your 16:45 dinner bell.

Here are some sounds that make Prague…well, Prague.

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Apology and Retraction

April2011 651I’m feeling particularly scattered today. I am having trouble concentrating on anything for longer than a few moments. I feel like I have ADHD or something and I blame my dwindling attention span on the rising popularity of segmented articles.

Apology and Retraction: The author would like to take this opportunity to state that he has nothing but respect and admiration for segmented articles and meant nothing in his joke about them and their alleged role in the development of ADHD. Moreover, he understands that the issue of ADHD as a result of segmented articles is nothing to joke about and he understands that words hurt. He fully retracts his seemingly harmless joke and asks that all writers and readers of segmented articles make several short prayers for him as he strives for a better understanding of this important issue.

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5 Ways Bartending Prepared Me for Life

Flairtending 5 - B/WLike most people, I employ a whole set of skills that I was neither born with nor taught at any school. I’ve learned some of these as a teacher, some as a writer, and some as a guy desperately trying to pass myself off as normal. Other skills I developed just by screwing up enough times.

Some of these skills I learned in my time as a bartender.

Bartending is a great job. Anyone who hasn’t done it either envisions Tom Cruise flinging bottles around or some suave guy flirting with women and occasionally pouring a Manhattan.

The reality is that bartending may be a great job, but it’s a hell of a tough one. You have to move fast, think fast, remember a lot of information, and develop a load of other skills in order to cope and not run screaming into the night. Some of these skills stay with you forever. Here are five that help me cope on a daily basis and keep me from running screaming into the day.

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Why is Everyone Trying to Make Me Cry?

WretchedIt’s morning and I’m crying.

This is odd for a couple of reasons. In the first place, morning usually isn’t conducive to exhibiting a range of emotions. Morning is a time reserved for a mixture of depression and confusion that I imagine will only get worse as my age stampedes forward.

My tears are also odd because I’m on Facebook. The emotions I usually exhibit on Facebook are annoyance – people really need to figure out what constitutes a fucking meme, laughter – I don’t care what you say, cats make me laugh, and disgust – great, he’s procreated. Now if he could only differentiate your from you’re.

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The Impossible Dream

546 Dark ForestScenario

I spend Monday evening eating pizza and engaging in a delightful chat session – read: gossiping – with colleagues. I drink four dark beers and eat a meat-laden pizza that sends shivers down my GP’s spine. As usual, work is our most discussed and debated theme. By the time I get home it must be deeply implanted into my unconscious for later perusal on my mental YouTube.

And, what’s a man to do at 11:32 pm on a Monday night when he’s brushed his teeth, jammied up, and is drowsy with four dark beers and a pizza running around his digestive tract? Yes, he watches The Walking Dead.

Analysis: Ingredients taken separately = benign. Ingredients aggregated = disaster.

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Homeless Grim Reaper

A Hard Day´s WorkI am walking out of Hlavní Nádraží (main train station) and eating, thus in the meditative state of a Yogi. The food in question is the finest Czech gastronomical tradition: a sausage baked in a buttered croissant. It is warm and delicious; the one in my jacket pocket warms my belly as it awaits the fate of its crusty, buttery brother.

I notice the homeless man as I pass him. He is staring at me, sitting at an odd angle on a bench surrounded by piles of ooze that surely used to inhabit his stomach. His skin is rusty and sort of off-yellow, like a late-stage hepatitis patient. I am eating pure ambrosia, so it takes me a minute to realize that he’s dead.

Unfortunately, seeing a dead homeless man is not out of the realm of possibility at Hlavní Nádraží,  known as Sherwood Forest to some of Prague’s residents. The cast of characters inhabiting this little park include meth-heads and junkies, who inject dope at all times and in plain sight. There are also drunks and squads of homeless people residing on the park benches. With so many homeless around and so many places to buy cheap booze – boxed wine, gut rot brandies, and cut-rate booze that sometimes ends up being methanol – seeing an occasional dead homeless person is a fact of life in Prague.

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