Wednesday, December 07, 2011


Due to some poor planning, I managed to arrive in Bratislava on their national holiday. Apparently the night before is a HUGE party, as there was no one on the streets -- it looked like the second scene of a zombie movie.

But I still managed to see the quaint city center (in spite of  it being enveloped in fog) and the National Gallery.  And, of course, take some photos to snark on.


Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Who's Up For A Trip To The DMV?

Some crack Saudi researchers recently performed a "scientific" study that "proves" that women driving leads to hedonism and a dearth of virgin brides. Even more shocking, he claims to have heard of a UNESCO study that "linked women driving to adultery, divorce, rape and illegitimate children". Which is odd, as I had the mistaken belief that none of these required cars AND were all prevalent before cars. Clearly, my knowledge of the subjects can't compare to Professor Kamal al-Subhi.

The study goes on to claim that allowing women to drive would "provoke a surge in prostitution, pornography, homosexuality and divorce". Which I have to agree with -- nothing makes me hungry for hookers, porn and gay sex like seeing a woman drive. Actually, how does homosexuality come into play here? I can see an argument* for women driving increasing lesbianism, but male homosexuality? Will the sight of women driving be arousing enough that Saudi men will stick their penis into the nearest human, regardless of gender? Shouldn't we be worried that they'll also be so turgid with automotive-induced rage that animals might be defiled?

Finally, since Dr. al-Brainiac managed to only interview subjects with negative views of the effects of women driving on society, who was peer-reviewing this document?

OK, that's enough ranting. Let's go meet some slutty chicks -- car wash or drivers license renewal?

* A really, really, really stupid one, but still.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Indian TV Is Awesome

FBers go HERE for video. Let's be honest -- this is about a billion times better than American Idol or whatever replaced American Idol. I couldn't care less about the various "talent" searches, but throw in driving a car over someone (even a hilariously small car), and I'm in. Danke, Sunny!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

There's Nothing Better Than...

Waking up with your fever broken. After feeling like crap for 24 hours, repeatedly waking up shivering or sweaty from bizarre dreams, to wake up in the middle of the night and think, "Hey! I'm neither cold nor hot -- I don't need these 14 layers of blankets" is pure bliss.

Monday, November 21, 2011

I've Solved The Greece Problem

Even after the short-term solution of short-sighted loans made by French and Germans banks to the Greeks is solved, the long-term issue of insufficient revenue for the Greek government will persist. Will their economy grow by 20% with no growth in government? No. Will the citizens magically decide to start paying taxes? No. So, how can this be fixed? We know that vague threats of future negative events do not prevent stupid behavior in the near term*. What we need is a way to reward the Greek population for actually PAYING their taxes. And I have discovered that reward: the Elgin marbles.

The Greeks have been moaning about the return of the marbles ever since they were pried off the Parthenon and loaded onto a ship bound for London -- with some justification. But due to my stroke of brilliance, now the 17 pieces can be returned to their rightful home. An independent Swiss** firm will audit the annual tax receipts for Greece and if they are at the expected level for the residents' estimated income, the British Museum will ship a piece to Greece. Each year that the Greeks pay their taxes, they get a piece back. Tax revenues short? No piece that year!

Of course, it's not a perfect plan. There are only 17 pieces, and training a new generation of Greeks to pay their taxes will likely require 20 years or more****. But it's a start, and a damn fine one. So, Papademos, Merkel, Sarkozy, Cameron -- get your people on the details. You can do this! Just let me know when to start writing my Nobel acceptance speech.

* See: smoking, shady bankers doing shady things, the continued movie career of Mel Gibson -- the list goes on.
** The Swiss are experts in shady art deals. See: 1938-present.
*** Since the average Greek starts work at 28 and retires at 48****.
**** As always, all jtingermany numbers have been fact-checked by Fox News.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Live Blogging Bratislava - Poppy Seed Musings

To help you better understand why I can't keep a girlfriend, here are some random thoughts inspired by my poppy cake*:

- I like to imagine that the cafe I'm in is actually a Victorian opium den. Of course, this means I try to think of my waiter (or waitress!) as having a Fu Manchu mustache. It really adds to the experience.
- I hope Mr. Peterman hasn't scheduled my drug test for tomorrow. If he has, I'm not going to get to see the Bushmen**.
- Does anyone even do opium anymore? It strikes me as the drug of choice for hipster Amish.
- I always think that Euro waitrons who claim no English are lying. Oddly enough, I'll believe it at ethnic restaurants in Dallas if the food is good enough. I figure the time they spend on great food is taken from their ESL study time.

* Not to be confused with my usual poppycock.

** Yes, that reference is nearing 15 years old. Do YOU have a better one in mind? I didn't think so.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod Touch

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

My Skills Are Complete

It's not as well-recognized as a bar mitzvah, a quinceañera, or even a sweet sixteen party, but when a cook makes his/her own chorizo*, it's like a Jedi building a lightsaber -- your skills are complete**. And here is the proof:

Sure, it looks like dog crap. But it tasted soooooooo good. It was missing the grease of store-bought chorizo in the USA. They make that out of some incredibly obese pigs, apparently.

* The mexican version -- I'm not smoking/curing my own meat for a while. Insert joke here.
** And, just like Yoda didn't say shit about "Hey, watch out for the Emperor shooting lightning from his hands", I also can't make a bunch of basic sauces (beurre, hollandaise, etc.) and I'm recipe-cooker. But I needed a post, so chill.

Falling Back

After spending the last month dead for tax reasons*, I'm back to blogging. And to kick it off, here are photos from a few days of biking in the 'dorf this fall -- with snark, of course. FBers go HERE for photos. And if you're wondering about the blog advertised in one of the photos, it's HERE. * Thanks, Douglas Adams!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Guinnessing Up: Fallon's

Apparently, cleaning one's own pipes IS better than having the Guinness guys do it. To quote Chandler, could it BE more tasty?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod Touch

Guinnessing Up - Kehoe's

I've managed to survive a phenomenal meal AND the exhausting Dublin Writer's Museum and am now having my first Guinness of the day. Better than working? Damn straight!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod Touch

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Bottom Of The Friend Barrel

Apparently, I've either accepted or rejected all my legitimate potential Facebook Friends. Now Facebook has started to suggest that I befriend random people -- no friends in common*, they don't work or study at places I have, nor are they ultimate players (we always have ultimate-related photos handy). Who are these strangers that Facebook thinks I should know? * I would guess that we might have friends in common but that privacy settings prevent me from being told this. So I'm getting anonymous friend tips -- Facebook has morphed into some sort of friendship hotline.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

It's About Damn Time

As I've mentioned before, there are shitloads of rabbits in the parks of the 'dorf (not so much in the surrounding fields). In almost 6 years, I've seen ONE real predator* -- a grey (well, it looked grey in the dark) fox. Until this morning on my regular** Saturday morning bike ride when I saw ... a hawk. And it was prettyyy, prettyyyy prettyyyyy badass. Of course, being the only one of its kind in the area meant it was too skittish to stick around for a photo. But I've seen it, so now I know why the rabbits prefer an urban setting to the lush fields filled with veggies. Because they're scared. Of one hawk. Ugh. Is anyone else in the mood for Hasenpfeffer?

* And don't give me any BS about crows or other birds being predators because they eat worms. If it doesn't eat mammals on a semi-regular basis, then it's prey not a predator. And, yes, I consider my vegetarian, vegan and pescetarian friends to be prey. ** Once every six years is "regular", right?

Saturday, October 08, 2011

My Superpower Is...

knowing EXACTLY how many bags I need for the groceries I'm buying -- and then bringing one fewer to the store. I'm expecting the X-Men to call any day now. Watch it Magneto, I'm coming after you -- with arms full of groceries

Monday, October 03, 2011

Happy German Unity Day!

Today is a holiday in German -- German Unity Day. Or, as it's known in Poland and France, "Civil Defence Readiness Day"*. So, sit down, pour yourself a Tegernsee, grab a brezel** and a bratwurst, and say the sacred Siegfried Oath. As for me, I'll be wearing a scarf with my lederhosen and complaining about how I can't go shopping on a holiday. It's called assimilation, baby***. 

* In Greece it's "Just Send Another Damn Check! Day" and in the USA "You Kids Better Not Make Me Come Over There Again Day" (in some areas it's "Suck it, Commies! Day")
** Or a pretzel, it's your call
*** Yeah, I'm using your "baby" now.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

All Nickelback, All the Time

Well, that was humbling -- within 30 minutes of posting the entry mocking Nickelback, I had 7 pageviews -- about normal for weeks for a post. It's soooooo gratifying to know that referencing Nickelhack is more appealing to the public than my usual self-centered whining.  What do I do now?  Pander to the public.  It's going to be all Nickelback, all the time.  Set your browsers to, 'cause here I come!

Book Review: Reamde

OK, I'm a HUGE Neal Stephenson fan. It's been three years since his last novel, and I was pretty, pretty, pretty excited to see a new one in the book store.  I've read all his books (save "The Big U" which has eluded me so far), and "Snow Crash" and "Anathem" both are among my favorites*. So when his newest, "Reamde" (no, it's not a typo) came out, I was on it** immediately. I tore through it (all 1000 pages) in a few days, and it was both great AND a disappointment.

At his best, Stephenson is a whirlwind of action and big thoughts -- "Anathem" is as much about the Platonic theory of ideals as it is about a first encounter with aliens, "Snow Crash" mixes Sumerian mythology, swordplay and a pre-Matrix Matrix and "The Baroque Cycle" covers the discovery of calculus, monetary theory, metallurgy, alchemy*** and some cryptology to keep you on your toes***. But "Reamde" is more of a straight-up techno thriller. The characters are Stephenson's usual mix of naïveté and extreme competence*****, but the ideas that keep you engaged when not reading are much further apart (aside from his ideas on using MMORPGs to solve real-world problems).

So, is it possible to be disappointed in a book I repeatedly stayed up til 2am reading? That's the problem with following up a great effort -- it happened with Barbara Kingsolver after "The Poisonwood Bible", M. Night Shyamalan after "The Sixth Sense", George Lucas after "Raiders of the Lost Ark" (I thought his movies from "Return of the Jedi" until "Revenge of the Sith" were, at best, meh), and Ricky Gervais after the "The Office" to name a few. Creating greatness is tough; repeating it is a bitch. 

The Verdict: 8 (out of 10).

* To be honest, "The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady's Illustrated Primer" and "Cryptonomicon" aren't far behind, either.
** Like Oprah on the proverbial ham
*** Did you know Isaac Newton spent his last 30 years investigating alchemy, specifically looking for the Philosopher's Stone? I'll bet your math and physics teachers never mentioned THAT 
**** To be fair, he had 3 really large books to do all this 
***** Pretty much the exact opposite of Belgian Beer Fest organizers

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Mmmmm... Street Gummi...

Biking home this week, I saw the saddest Gummi ever (FBers go HERE for photos and video):
It's the polar opposite of the Gummi Venus de Milo:

Aaaannndd Now I Hate Nickelback Even More

Let's be honest, Nickelback sucks. All their songs sounds alike*, and they all, well, suck. I don't think there's much way to get around this. You may disagree; of course, you may also have bad taste in music. Anyway, I wanted to hear "Super Bon Bon" and clicked on the first video that popped up. As it began to play, I noticed the word "Nickelback". I got the same feeling that I imagine a man** gets when he leans in to kiss a woman for the first time and thinks "wow, she really has a prominent Adam's Apple". And my fears were justified -- it was as shitty as I thought it would be. So, thanks, Nickelback, for once again resetting the standards for suckage. FBers go HERE for videos: -- Ugh! And here are 2 far superior live versions by the dearly departed Soul Coughing: * And some ARE the same -- their FAN CLUB was pissed off when they released songs 2 years apart that are exactly the same. Well, not EXACTLY. A defender of the band on youtube claimed "These two Nickelback songs played together do NOT match up perfectly as if they were the same song. They aren't exactly the same length, the choruses don't start at the same time, and it doesn't sound like 1 song playing when it's both of them." Unfortunately, it just sounds like the vocals for another shitty Nickelback have been played over this one. ** Well, a homophobic man. Just go with me here.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

She's Just Using You For Your Name

So, I was out with friends last weekend, and one of the women fell IN LOVE with one of my friends, let's call him "Tomberto".* More accurately, she fell in LUURRRVVVEE with his name (which for blogging purposes will be "Tomberto"). Throughout the night, she would loudly exclaim, "TOMBERTO, my love!" Which was made all the funnier by her sobriety**. Everytime she or he would return from the bar/dancefloor/toilet/police station, or if there was a slight lull in the conversation, we would again hear of her intense feelings for his name. Which made it HI-larious when later in the night, she (still sober) proclaimed***, "ROBERTO, I LOVE your name!" She tried to explain how it was pretty much the same, but the damage had been done -- never cheat on a name in front of it. * In spite of his being a supporting character to the leading character that is his name, "Tomberto" wanted anonymity ** My stronger level of sobriety did not, sadly, add to the humor *** I've used both pro- and ex-claim, but I just can't get declaim in the post. Dammit.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Swiss Efficiency!

Recent results from the CERN supercollider* in Switzerland seem to imply that particles are moving faster than light. Researchers have asked the general public to come up with ideas. Being an idea man, I've already solved the problem. Anyone who knows the Swiss know that they are sticklers for efficiency and timeliness. Swiss neutrinos are no different* -- if they were to show up EXACTLY on time, rounding might make them appear late. So they're early. If you run this experiment in Germany or Austria, you get the same result. In Spain or Italy? The particles are a bit slow. In France? They show up hours or days later, after a quantum "greve"**. In the USA? The particles show up on time, but MUCH heavier than expected. * Little-known quantum physics fact -- subatomic particles take on the characteristics of the nation where they're observed. It's the Richardson Nationality Principle ** French for "strike"

Am I Being Sexist?

When I make the "whipped"* sound after a male coworker sends an email to announce he took his new wife's last name? Or is it just an acknowledgement that he's punching far, far above his weight? * Wh-chish? Do we have a standardized spelling for this?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Damn You, Neal Stephenson

You've sucked me in again. "Cryptonomicon", "The Diamond Age", and my favorite "Snow Crash" -- and now there's a new tome. So, due to "Reamde: A Novel", further posts will be delayed indefinitely. I'm not sure if it'll top "Anathem", but I'm keeping an open mind. If you're missing my snark, read old posts or, you know, get a life.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Brussels 2011 - Friday Night Lights

FBers go HERE for photos! So, year 2 of our long-standing* tradition of attending the Brussels Beer Fest**. The gang was much larger, with returnees/survivors Meg, Berti and T joined by newbies Scott, Peppi, Anita, Alex and special guest blogger, Steve. We learned our lesson*** from last year, trained it down and arrived in time for a few introductory beers (Hellloooooooo, Val Dieu!) at the Fest, then some hand-pulled noodles. A quick note about the noodles -- the guy stretches them out downstairs and they. are. awesome. The gang (I'm looking at you, Berti & Steve) were skeptical about my restaurant choice, but their skepticism was met with a slap in the face by my friend, Mr. Tastiness****. Suck it, punks. We then were taken to a cool "local" bar by local pro Maria. Unfortunately, we went to the same local bar last year, so we were underwhelmed. To be fair, it was cool, so we were just adequately whelmed. At this point, we had a split -- Meg & I took hyper-jet-lagged Steve back to the hotel (the sweet BXL Room) then had a last beer at Poechenellekelder (or, as we call it, the Classy Delirium). The rest of the gang kept going, which turned out to be a HUGE mistake for Scott (stolen smartphone + massive hangover = should've gone to Classy Delirium) and may or may not have generated stories for the rest of the gang. I've been sworn to silence by McGiver himself. * If I can consider myself to be "average height", I can consider 2 years "long-standing" ** Technically, the Belgian Beer Weekend, but I think "Brussels Beer Fest" sounds about a billion times better *** Well, some of the lessons **** No, that's not sexual. Get your mind out of the gutter, you perv.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Brussels 2011 - Walkabout

A bit of a walkabout in between beer and tasty food. As always, you pay* for the photos, you get the snarky captions for free. And before you get to the variety of racial caricatures from the Belgian Comic Center, the deal is that one of the artists had a blurb that explained that his african character, complete with oversized, bright red lips, was "not in the least racist". Which apparently referred to the character's actions (intelligent, often outwitting the various white characters**) rather than his incredibly racist appearance. However, this became a running joke between Margaret and I as we saw the rather wide variety of racist characters in the museum. Sure, they were products of their times, but still. So, as you see them, just tell yourself, "not in the least racist". * Well, "pay" in this case includes the amount "zero" ** Or, "crackers"

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Worst. Duck. Ever.

Call it the Not-So-Happy-Mosel. This thing was pathetic -- bony wing, bill that looked like it'd bleached in the sun for months and a generally scraggly appearance. It was the Gary Busey of ducks.

Fortunately, the rest of the Mosel was a bit more photogenic. More to come!

Why the consecutive posts? Because one of my readers* wondered if the blog was dead or if I was just incredibly lazy. It's the latter, but I'm still blaming Steve for visiting.

* I like to call him "50% of My Readers"

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Best Pizza In The Dorf - Part 2 Da Noi

Next up in the Best Pizza in the 'dorf - Da Noi. It's been off and on my rotation over the years. There was a multi-year break due to a bad service incident (that led to several of my friends skipping on their parts of the check -- possibly unknown to the staff), but I had to give it a shot. Helped by Scott, I went back once more into the fray.

What We Ordered: After some deliberation on the menu, I passed on the house-named Da Noi (kind of forgot the ingredients -- that's how boring it was) to go for the awesomely-named Blöde Ziegen (fresh goat cheese, rucola, shaved parmesan and red onions):

Scott opted for the Inferno (salami and legitimately spicy pepperoncinis):

So, how was it? From the bottom up...

Crust: 7 - It was a middle-of-the-road, slightly chewy, slightly crispy crust. Good, but nothing amazing. On a related note, I've realized how hard it will be to discuss crusts in detail each week. Oof.

Sauce: 5 - Very tough to rate -- they opted for a just a light brushing of sauce. It gave the crust a nice whang, but it was very understated. Which is better than just bland (I'm looking at you, Su Nuraghe).

Toppings: 8 - The fresh goat cheese won the day here, with the spicy pepperoncinis getting an assist. It was creamy, but juuuust a bit goaty (in a good way)! The red onions and rucola were both fresh with enough of a bite, but the salami was the typical meh salami.

Cheese: 5 - Not great, not bad. Since I bumped the toppings for the goat cheese, I'm going solely on the "normal" cheese. And, this being the 'dorf, it's fing gouda. Why this town is obsessed with gouda on their pizza, i don't know.

Intangibles**: 7 - The outdoor seating is nice, if you can ignore the buses that stop directly in front of the tables. If you can't, then eat quickly before the next one

Final Decision: 32 - It's not toppling Di Napoli, but it was tasty. A return visit might improve the score, but til then, it's above average. Barely.

* The top crime-fighting pair in the topping universe
** Well, some of these are intangible. But using the word makes me feel like I'm rating players for a draft. Thank you, Jay Bilas!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Note To Nature - No More Wasps

So, Mother Nature/God/Evolution/Liberal Media are apparently not satisfied with the number and variety of stinging beasts on the planet, and so now we have this:

That's right -- a Jay Leno-inspired wasp that has jaws longer than its friggin' legs. Ugh. It can be up to two-and-a-half inches long, and has what biologists call "hideous, ungodly eyes that recall the works of H.P. Lovecraft*". Evolution, intelligent design, Spaghetti Monster, whatever -- enough is enough. How about producing some magically tasty animals instead of horror movie rejects? Maybe a Bacon-Wrapped Scallop? Now, THAT is an evolutionarily-stable-strategy

* It's a technical term. Also a fair description of at least one of my exes. Feel free to guess which one!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Best Pizza In The Dorf - Part 1 Su Nuraghe

Ok, first contender in the Best Pizza in the 'dorf - Su Nuraghe. It's a neighborhood joint, tiny but full with a constant stream of take-out customers -- a good sign. What was not so good was that most of these were eating pasta (tasty-looking pasta, but, still). But it was a Friday evening, and not everyone in the 'dorf is a blogger intent on finding the tastiest pizza in town. So, as good as the pasta might've looked, I went ahead with pizza.

What I Ordered: After some deliberation on the menu, I passed on the delicious-sounding Siria (bresaola, gorgonzola rucola and shaved parmesan) to go for the house-named Nuraghe (fresh mushrooms, spinach, onions, and garlic). I agreed to both extra garlic and "spicy" because a) I'm a hardass and b) I wasn't going to hook up on Friday, anyway. So, how was it? From the bottom up...

Crust: 8 - Su Nuraghe opts for the ultra-thin, crispy crust. It was quite good, actually. A bit smoky from the wood oven, and even the last pieces were crisp. Unfortunately, the center was a bit soft, which kept it from perfection.

Sauce: 5 - A solid "meh". Not bad, just blah. Even on its own it was bland; it had no chance against garlic and onions.

Toppings: 4 - The mushrooms were fresh, but buttons have no flavor. The onions had a bit of bite, but not too much. The spinach, however? Frozen. If I return, I'll be ordering to avoid the potentially frozen veggies. And ordering in fear is never a good thing. Remember Yoda's wisdom: fear leads to bad toppings, bad toppings lead to bad pizza. Or something. It was Episode I, so I forget. Anyway, frozen spinach in summer? Nope!

Cheese: 5 - Not great, not bad. It had little flavor, but good body. Then again, not many cheeses will stand out against the Dynamic Duo of onions and garlic*.

Intangibles**: 7 - The wine choices were weak (house red and white), but salvaged by a light, lightly sweet Lambrusco, which is a great summer aperitif. And the neighborhood feel is awesome. Sadly, it's not my neighborhood.

Final Decision: 29 - It's not toppling Di Napoli, but it was tasty. A return visit might improve the score, but til then, it's above average. Barely.

* The top crime-fighting pair in the topping universe
** Well, some of these are intangible. But using the word makes me feel like I'm rating players for a draft. Thank you, Jay Bilas!

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Dorf's Best Pizza

As both regular readers of my blog know, I've been a bit sporadic this year in posting. I've experienced "the sort of general malaise that only the genius possess and the insane lament"*. So, I need a project. Friends have suggested charity work, but helping other people really isn't my thing.

But I am an expert** on pizza. And there are a wide variety of opinions amongst my friends as to the best pizza in the 'dorf, and that is precisely the dilemma I mean to solve. How? I plan to go to every pizza place that the local "experts"*** recommend.

Now, I, like Fox News, have a specific bias -- I think Da Napoli is the best pizza in the dorf. Unlike Fox News, I've admitted my bias and I am more than happy to have it exposed as false -- I'd love to find better pizza in the 'dorf, but I'm skeptical.

So, how will this work? Every week or so, I'll visit one of the places that's highly reviewed. I'll choose from the various dining guides for the dorf, plus recommendations of friends. I'll sample one of the pies (or more, if joined by friends), then report with photos and, likely, snark. Which pizza? If they have one named after their restaurant, that one (unless it has sardines - ugh). If not, whatever takes my fancy. And then I'll report back in detail about the 4 components of a good pizza -- crust, sauce, cheese and toppings and with an other category to include atmosphere, beverage choice, etc., each rated on a 10-pt scale. Or maybe 5. Or not at all.

To be fair, I should probably sample the same pizza at each place. But I like variety, and this isn't a scientific test****. So, here starts my grand adventure!

* Dr. Evil quote!
** I'm using "expert" in the Internet/talk radio/Fox News sense -- I think I know a lot about a topic, regardless of experience or knowledge
*** Part of being an expert is expressing disdain at other people who try to lay claim to the title in one's area of expertise
**** Though I might wear a lab coat while eating, it just depends on my mood.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

How Do You Say "Pedo Van" auf Deutsch?

I don't know about you, but when I see a white van with no side windows, I'm a bit suspicious. When it also has Harry Potter references*? Well, that's kind of a red flag. So, if you have kids in the 'dorf, remind them not to trust anyone driving the "Hogwarts Express".

* Especially a racist that says "Muggles not wanted". Not just creepy, but also biased against Muggles. Ugh.

Friday, August 19, 2011

They Work Hard...

And they play hard! Since when do construction workers in the Dorf work topless in shorts? Since they started taking fashion tips from the US Steel Industry:

And this isn't homophobic -- I couldn't think of any other place I'd seen that fashion combo in heavy industry. FBers go HERE for photos/video.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

London 2011 - Saturday Night Photos

Ok, we'd done the British museum, I'd bought a fleece because a) I wore shorts and a t-shirt and b) I refused to bring a hoodie beccause I was living in denial of that "summer" in London means. So, it's evening and time to visit pubs. Because, you know, that's evening culture in London. Though Patrick kept reminding us that musicals were cheap and fun, and we kept reminding him that we were a group of guys.

FBers go HERE for photos. Or don't. Like I'll know the difference.

Friday, August 12, 2011

London 2011 - Food and Drink

OK, I only took annoying (to my cotravelers) photos of one meal, but I'm still going to stretch it into a post. We had a super-tasty meal at Ba Shan, and the rest of the photos are from various parts of London Town.

As always, FBers go HERE for photos and snarky comments

Thursday, August 11, 2011

London 2011 - Friday Night Debauchery

So, after the War Museum and some tasty Hunan Chinese food, we decided to head for the Beer Fest. Which we quickly tired of -- a sweltering venue and warm beer combined to make you feel like you were at a trade fair. So? Off to the pubs!
FBers go HERE for photos!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

London 2011 - British Museum

To be fair, this should be the British Museum Ancient Egypt and Near East Collection, but that was a bit much for a title. I love the museum (free to anyone from a country where they've stolen stuff that's on display**) especially all the ancient artifacts*, so I spent my short time in this wing, much of it checking out the insane detail on the Assyrian reliefs. So, enjoy the photos and the snark. FBers go HERE for pics!

* Or, as I normally refer to it, "all the cool shit Britain stole from everyone else"
** I.e., the entire planet Earth. Visitors from other planets have to pay, though.

Monday, August 08, 2011

London 2011 - Imperial War Museum

A trip to London is worthy of many posts, so I'm doing them in order. First up? The Imperial War Museum, also known as Where Men Go While Women Shop. The gender distribution of the visitors was, shall we say, a bit less than representative of the population as a whole. FBers go HERE for photos

Friday, July 29, 2011

Nerdistan: Harry Potter 7.2 Review

So, my 12 years of Harry Potter fandom are at an end. It's been a fun ride, but the ending wasn't exactly perfect. While I thought the movie did a passable job of adapting the book, the problem is that book had an ending almost as drawn-out as The Lord of the Rings*. Harry died more times than Richard Nixon's career**. But here are a few points you might've missed:

  • This was the first HP movie to feature a gratuitous cleavage shot -- the camera zoomed in Hermione after the freefall. It was like accidentally seeing cleavage of a friend's young daughter -- kind of weird
  • Hermione trying to be Bellatrix Lestrange was pretty awesome -- that Helena Bonham Carter sure can act.
  • The Harry Potter movies are probably the only movies of the last decade to be set in the "modern world" AND to have no cell phones. Teens NOT texting? Kinda surreal
  • Did anyone else think it odd that the teens were facing a war for their existence, yet they took time to express their long-suppressed feelings of love? If not, why don't we see these kids of scenes in war movies?
  • I'm thinking Harry would have about 2 months of adulation in front of him before the Brit tabloids turned on him and started claiming that he was in league with Voldemort
  • Dumbledore got off easy in the movie -- none of the shadiness that was in the book.  Also, unsurprisingly, none of the hints of his homosexuality, either.  Odd, those not appearing in a major movie in fairly homophobic America.  Hmmmm.

Finally, a big shout-out to Tobias for the word "Nerdistan"!

* Not a good harbinger for the upcoming endings to Wheel of Time or A Song of Ice and Fire. At least for the latter we won't have to worry about that for a few decades
** A "Dave Barry Slept Here" reference. If you haven't read it, you damn well should.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Overreact Much?

So, US Soccer canned Bob Bradley today. While I'm not shocked, it's kind of a bit late -- the Gold Cup is done. After all, World Cup qualifying is usually a breeze for the USA, and I don't see what else has changed in the last 12 months since the World Cup. It seems like this is a knee-jerk reaction to the loss to Mexico. Which I understand, but will it really change the problems with the US team? Will the next coach magically change US Soccer at the youth levels so that attention is given to players based on ability and not their ability to pay? And which coach are we going to get to replace him?

On the bright side, an impulse firing after a loss is a sign of soccer's increasing importance in US sports!

Cologne Photos

I met a friend in Cologne last week for dinner, and we took a post-meal stroll along the Rhine and up a skyscraper with a nice view of the city. FBers go HERE for photos

O Brother, Where Art Thou Facebook Status Updates

I do love "O Brother, Where Art Thou" -- not a bit, but a lot. Easily one of my favorite flicks, while rewatching it I realized how filled it is with great Facebook status updates. Some of my favorites:
JT ...
is a Dapper Dan man
is in a tight spot
is gonna R-U-N-N-O-F-T
isn't here to make a record, you dumb cracker
is mass communicatin'
was bad til yesterday, but me and Pete been saved
hates cows worse than coppers
loved him up and turned him into a ... horny toad*
needs a shot in the arm -- the goddamned arm!

The rest will have to wait until the next time I watch!

* This one is better for women -- or gay guys.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Kirmes 2011 Part 2

More Kirmes photos!

Snarky Serendipity

So I'm at the monthly Expat Meetup at O'Reilly's last night, talking to this Japanese* woman. We exchange the usual pointless small talk, "How long have you been in Düsseldorf?", etc. That's when we have this exchange:

Her: Where are you from?
Me: Texas
Her: Oh? Is it dangerous there?
Me: What do you mean? (I'm assuming she's referring to the usual foreign concept of everyone in Texas packing heat, all the time)
(At this point my Mexican buddy Alberto walks up to join the conversation)
Her, whispering: Because of the Mexicans

Now, this is like Christmas come early to a smartass like me. Had Alberto not just walked up, I might've answered seriously. Instead...

Me, pointing to Alberto: Yeah, those Mexicans make it terrifying for everyone.

She then realizes what she's said and goes into hyper-apology mode. This is clearly mortifying to her, but Alberto was a gentleman and immediately let her off the hook by saying it was no big deal. I would not have been so kind!

* This will be a material detail to the story

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Though They May Be Rat-Like In Appearance...

... Truly, the are kings among men -- Homer J Simpson on carnies. FBers go HERE for photos & video!

Another year, another Kirmes. Lots of crowds, but disappointingly few mullets. Sigh.

Here's a bit of Petula Clarke to either a) get you fired up or b) give you a hint about the project you're working on:

Monday, July 18, 2011

Nerdistan: A Dance With Dragons Review

For a nerd, I came fairly late to George R. R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire*" series, known to most as the source for HBO's "Game of Thrones". I finally read the first book 2 years ago and the rest last year, so I "only" waited a year for book 5 -- "real" fans have been waiting for 5 years. Well, I finished it yesterday after a manic week of reading. Here are my thoughts, with spoilers at the end (and hidden, I think).

I'd rate it as the 3rd best of the books behind books 1 and 3 (my favorite). While it focuses on my 3 favorite characters, it leaves EVERYONE in a cliffhanger. And one of those cliffhangers is suspiciously similar to how Davos's story ended in "A Feast for Crows" (Book 4, and my least favorite).
My favorite characters are Bran, Jaime, Tyrion and (surprisingly) Asha. Only one of these has a strong book, but I liked it anyway.
I loved the Bran chapters and how he may (or may not) have been in several others. But we waited too damn long to get stuck with just 4 or so POVs from the boy wonder.

If you're trying to get a role as a POV character in the series...

DRAGONS! Finally!

After ending the previous book with talk of a major conspiracy, there was exactly 0 progress or mention of this. Pretty freakin' disappointing.

The Melisandre POV was a letdown ...


All Martin's talk of the Meereenese knot ...

Why on Earth would Jon think ...

The Horn of Joramun ...

* Yeah, I think the title is a bit pretentious, too
** Prince That Was Promised, whatever
*** Actually, Jaime is turning into a heck of a negotiator. It helps when everyone thinks that you're enough of an asshole to kill everyone

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Dead Blogging Women's World Cup 2011: USA - Japan

So, some thoughts on the final of the WWC 2011:
  • If you live in a city with an inordinately large Japanese population, 2 words: house party. I can't say that all Japanese fans shriek loudly every time that their team is in a threatening position, but the ones at Fatty's definitely did.
  • On the bright side, this only happened 6 or 7 times. On the down side, Japan scored on two of these
  • Courtesy of Big T: FIFA needs to institute a rule that hitting the post 5 times in a match is a goal. The USA would've won 2-1 or 3-1 in regulation if this were the case
  • In a World Cup final, screwing with the ball in front of your goal is a BAD idea. Both Japan goals were courtesy of the USA not clearing well.  Who clears the ball ACROSS the goal?
  • Based on how much more confident the same players were on their PKs vs Brazil and vs Japan, I'd say that momentum is kind of huge. The USA had 5 fairly unstoppable kicks against Brazil and not even 1 against Japan*. 
  • That kick save by the Japanese keeper was pretty awesome.  Especially because she looked pretty lost for most of the game
  • Having a sign that says "Hope Solo is the Bomb" is a bit insensitive when the USA plays Japan. At least spell it "da Bomb"**

* Wambach's was going to get saved if the keeper guessed right
** That suggestion courtesy of Big T!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Famous For Fifteen... Frames

Andy Warhol* overestimated a bit! I'm the blue blur on the left!

* Have I mentioned how much I dislike Warhol? I think he was a complete tool -- and not a great artist

Happy Birthday Sean!

For my boy Sean, an interview with his current dream woman, Hope Solo. Not only is she hot, but she's wicked* tough -- talks here about making a save that ended with her arm torn open to the bone. Good times!

* That's for all youse bostonians

Justifiable Shoplifting

I'm in line at the grocery store yesterday around 6pm. The line is HUGE, because everyone and their brother wants to buy food so they can eat dinner before going out on Friday*. I ask the cashier if she can call someone else to help, and she says, "no, everyone is off -- their shifts are over."** I immediately think back to when I was working at Hastings, and our shifts just went longer if there were too many customers. I then drifted into fantasizing about just putting my intended-purchases**** into my backpack, sneaking out, and enjoying my food bought with the five minutes I wasted. Instead, I waited my turn and paid out.

All stories lead somewhere. "Somewhere" for this story just happened to mean "nowhere".

* Or so I'm assuming
** Maybe my German isn't so shitty*** if I can say/understand all this
*** Kidding! It really is so shitty
**** Frozen pizza, wine, chocolate and cookies to make a graham cracker crust

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Instant Gratification -- German-Style

I saw a cheap mountain bike on eBay and wanted to buy it. I've not bought anything from German eBay, so I need to sign up. I go through the whole process and get a screen that says they will send me a verification code. Ok, no problem. Via snail mail. Seriously? For an auction site? I shouldn't be surprised -- this is the country where the "last-minute" sale fares on train tickets stop being sold THREE DAYS before a trip. Sigh...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Women's World Cup 2011: USA - France Photos

The USA made the semifinals a mere 45 minutes from the 'dorf -- of course I'll be there! FBers go HERE for photos and video!

So, the USA topped France to make the semis of the Women's World Cup. It wasn't always pretty, but the USA dominated the 1st and last 20 min of the match -- and got the goals. Which is what matters, so they'll face Japan in the final on Sunday. Clearly, I'll be cheering for the USA. I'm betting most of the crowd will be cheering for Japan, for 2 reasons: sympathy for the Fukushima disaster and they don't want the USA to have 3 titles to Germany's 2. No matter, USA! USA! USA!

Just to prove I'm not a complete homer, here's a video of an uncalled handball by the USA's Carli Lloyd:

Monday, July 11, 2011

Women's World Cup 2011: Germany - France Photos

FBers go HERE for photos. Sure, it's a week late, but better late than never, right? Right?

FIFA Needs a Fact-Checker

In their info page on Mönchengladbach, the nearest host city for the 2011 Women's World Cup, FIFA claims "The first settlements in the Monchengladbach area date back approximately 300,000-400,000 years." Now, according to never-inaccurate* Wikipedia, homo sapiens have only been around for 500,000 years. And even at 200,000 years ago, the earliest evidence** for homo sapiens was found in Ethiopia. Personally, I'm not at all surprised that Sleazy Sepp & co. have managed to suss out previously-unknown info about humanity -- after all, his organization has been scandal-free for at least 20 minutes.

* Note the sarcasm. Especially since we all know God created the universe only 6,000 years ago!
** Source: "My Life" by Dick Clark

Sunday, July 10, 2011

My LIGHT Is Leaking?

FBers go HERE for video. It's always comforting when you see water coming out of a light. My landlord was especially pleased to see this on a Sunday afternoon.

Women's World Cup 2011: Holy Flurking Schnitt!

Was our basic reaction when Japan scored a beautiful goal deep into extra time (FBers go HERE for links & video). Germany had dominated the 45 minutes we watched with the exception of one or two decent chances by Japan. Unfortunately for the host(esses?) and two-time defending champs, Japan buried a half-chance. The ref, however, was not going to call a penalty for anything short of a Last Boy Scout-style shooting -- she let more shoving go on than happens on a rush-hour subway. In extra time, both teams gave up on subtlety and just started throwing each other to the ground. Good times!

In case you wanted the Kang (Kodos?) quote set to music, here you go:

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Dorf Graffiti!

The walls of the train overpass near my apartment have some pretty cool graffiti, including a cool mural of the X-Men as little kids (that I kept forgetting to photograph, and now it's gone). But yesterday was, apparently, the day to change it. So here's a sneak peak of the new street art

And I think that "graffiti" looks wrong no matter which combination of multiple "f"s and "t"s you put in.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Women's World Cup Live Blogging: USA - Sweden 1st Half

It's been a while, but live blogging is back! Time "stamps" are my local time.

8:41 - What's the protocol on standing for the anthem when I'm on my couch? I'm pretty sure the Founding Fathers would want me to remain on my ass. So I will.

8:44 - Having attended the France-Germany game last night, I'm curious to see if either of these teams can defend against headers on set pieces. Because the Germans and French BOTH sucked at it. If either team had given up on scoring and just tried to win corners, they easily could've scored 10 goals.

8:46 - Our first "kick it to nowhere" play of the day, or "the Canadian" as it's called in women's soccer.

8:50 - The US women appear to have a strategy of "get in a dangerous position, then pass to the Swedes." It's a bold strategy, let's see how it works out for them.

8:52 - Wow. The US got incredibly lucky when the Swedish attacker was so distracted by Hope Solo's hotness that she shot right at her in a 1-on-1. At least, I'm betting that's what Sean thinks is the explanation.

8:58 - Some nice work by the USA, but Abby Wambach forgot that the near post is always shut down.

8:59 - Lepeilbet is lucky to only give up a penalty and a yellow when she drags down the Swedish woman alone in the box.

9:00 - Solo is doing a great job of wasting time before the PK, even getting the ref to make her put her toes on the line. Doesn't matter, though, as the kick was perfect.

9:02 - The Swedish fans celebrate by doing the annoying "7 Nation Army" cheer. I hate that.

9:04 - Wambach had a great play to set up ???, but it's just wide.

9:07 - The German announcer either didn't learn all the American names or they all look the same, since every long ball is "für Wambach"

9:10 - I thought that was a great quick header to Solo by the USA defender, but she didn't see it. SO, more embarrassing than great.

9:14 - This is turning into one of those nightmare games (see: World Cup 2010, USA men) where the USA dominates the ball and the chances, but manages not to score.

9:16 - Rodriguez misses the chip over the keeper (while being held by her defender).

9:20 - Ugh. Lepeilbet is taking over the Agoos role. The free kick ricochets off her to flat foot Solo. The announcer thinks the Swedes are playing "super" but the 2 goals have been off USA mistakes (the first was set up by a missed header). The Swedes are playing OK, but the Americans are making them look much better.

9:23 - The Swedes apparently play Australian Rules Football. They've been clocking the US players at every opportunity, but the ref apparently feels that body blows when you don't go for the ball aren't yellow-worthy.

9:27 - The USA has apparently given up on anything except long crosses. Which would be fine if they were playing against France or Germany, but Sweden apparently expected this.

9:32 - The announcer is now going on about Sweden playing with a self-belief, a surety. Also with the willingness to foul at all times.

So, 2nd half. Not sure I'll blog, as it's been a bit less mockable than the men's games. Perhaps this explains why:

Monday, July 04, 2011

Work Problems -- Hip Hop to the Rescue

Is your boss hassling you because you're late with a presentation/project/deliverable/happy ending*? Well, here are some helpful phrases to ensure that your manager will be ok with the delay:

"I don't think you're ready for this jelly"
"Well, boss, you know pimpin' ain't easy, right?"
"I'm bustin' my ass on this -- I got 99 problems, bein' a bitch ain't one."
"I'm just double-checking everything, I feel that anything less than the best is a felony"

Any suggestions?

* According to Google Analytics, I had some hits from "shady masseuses"** last month, so I'm trying to expand my market share.
** I'm serious!

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Not Even Oxford Gives A F%$* About An Oxford Comma

FaceBookarinos go HERE for the video.

Now that Oxford University doesn't support Oxford commas, the only people who still care are Grammar Nazis, pretentious anglophones,* and bloggers desperate for post material.

* In case you were wondering, the comma before the footnote is an Oxford (or serial) comma. I'm pretty sure that this bit of actual information is a first for my blog.

Goodbye, Ice Cave

See you next year!


And, yes, that is a bottle of vodka and some Thin Mints. What can I say? I'm a classy guy.


I HATE moving. I don't dislike it, I actually hate it. This goes a long way to explaining why I've been in the same apartment for five years. When I was in Dallas I had a semi-firm rule about not helping people move -- just hire movers. But in Germany, I've managed to be roped into helping with 4 moves (though two of those I did about as little as humanly possible). So when Kaisi asked me to help her move the same weekend I was in Amsterdam, I was thrilled to weasel out of it. Unfortunately, this got postponed to yesterday and I was stuck with no legitimate excuses. But here are the three I considered:

  1. I'm out of town -- I've been traveling so much that this seemed believable, but Kaisi knew I was in town this weekend. Dammit.
  2. I have friends visiting -- I didn't want her to call my bluff on this one. Then I would be a liar AND a friendless loser. Not a good combo, just ask former Congressman Weiner.
  3. I reinjured my ankle -- Again, it's getting caught out that killed this one. And if she asked me to just come hang out and heckle Berti, I would've been forced to fake a limp.
Any suggestions?  I need to be prepared the next time one of my friends is too cheap to hire movers.

Friday, July 01, 2011

A Solution To Boring Sports Playoffs

After the Dear Leader invented invisible cell phones to communicate with the brave players on North Korea's men's World Cup team, I thought they were out of entertainment potential. I never should've doubted the Dear Leader & company's ability to bring the laugh laugh! Because they're back! After losing to the USA 2-0 in the opening game of the Women's World Cup, the North Korean coach blamed their poor play in the second half on... his players being hit by lightning. A month ago. But the very fact they could play was indicative of "very strong will". Damn straight.

But, what do we care? I think that North Korea should get an automatic bid into ALL team sports playoffs -- World Cup, Rugby World Cup, MLB/NBA/NHL/NFL playoffs, whatever. Put 'em against the top seed in the first round and enjoy the fun! Can you imagine Mark Cuban's blog posts during a series?

As always, you're welcome for another brilliant idea!

2011 WWC - France v Canada

Tonight at the gym, I finally caught some of the WWC going on here in lovely Deutschland. Here are my thoughts on France-Canada.

Canada's strategy was based on 3 points:

  1. Kick the ball hard -- The Canucks* played a "direct" style -- they would kick it downfield and hoped that something good would happen. This was ineffective for my team when I was 6, and it had the same result for the Canucks.
  2. Play with the ball in front of your goal -- This was a specialty of my high school teammate Beston, and it had the same result here: the other team scores and everyone yells at you.
  3. Play the ball into space -- This is actually a solid technique, unless you speak Canucklish, where "space" means "the feet of the opposing team".

France's strategy was much simpler:
Let the Canadians screw up. This worked well, as the Canadians screwed up like Huey Long voted -- early and often**.

So, supposedly the Canucks were a pre-tournament title hopeful. Based on the 20 minutes I saw, I'd say they have 2 chances: Jack and Shit -- and Jack just left town.

* If you're offended that I refer to them as "Canucks", I don't care. I was offended by their suckitude.
** Maybe it wasn't Huey Long who popularized this phrase, but he was a shady Louisiana politician, so I'm going with it.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Shuffle Serendipity

As I got on my bike to head home last night, I was in the mood to hear "Shimmy Shimmy Ya" by the ODB. Sadly, the iPod Shuffle means that I have to take what Apple gives me* (at least, of the music I chose to load on it). Normally this means either I take what I get or lots of clicking. But yesterday, my iPod liked it rawwwwwwww...

* kind of a primer for having an iPhone, eh?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Only in Germany... And Now Dallas

A coworker and I were talking about the Mavs in the NBA Finals, and he dropped this bomb: "my (German) wife told me when we got married that if she ever had the chance, she was going to leave me for Dirk Nowitzki." I'm pretty sure this is no longer a unique sentiment.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

I Wasn't Faking!

This is mainly for my teammates from the weekend at Windmill Windup -- I wasn't faking my ankle injury!

So, enjoy your tasty view of my new cankle!

In case you're wondering, Ultimate DeLux went 4-4, good for 33rd out of 41. But we did beat the host team 12-9 (8?) this morning, so we have that going for us.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Living in Fear

Living in the 'dorf spoils you. Apart from an occasionally close encounter with a dumbass driver when I'm on my bike (like, say, 20 min ago), I basically have nothing to fear*. Until today.

I made some tasty tom kha goong** on Sunday, and I bought some new fish sauce. Like a moron, I looked at the bottle and it, of course, said "best if kept in refrigerator". Ugh. So, I had to put it in***. Cut to tonight, I get home after soccer and want a cold drink. This is the first thing I see:

For a split second, I thought, "I wonder what's that in the green top?" Then I realized, and that's when the terror hit me. What if I get home and am a bit tipsy? Or wake up in the night and are too tired to recognize it? Now my fridge has the culinary equivalent of a mousetrap waiting to snap.

What can I say? I like to live dangerously.

* Except fear itself. Or so I'm told.
** Thai coconut soup, it's usually called tom kha gai, but since mine had shrimp, it's a goong.
*** I almost went for "that's what she said", but I don't really think it works here.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

We Miss You, Phil

FBers go HERE for videos. Dammit, I still miss Phil Hartman. Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer, Bill McNeill, Frank SInatra, Troy McClure, Lionel Hutz, so many laughs. Here are some faves(and, of course, big thanks to people that actually own the rights):

I move for a ... bad court thingy

The Simpsons 421
(7:56) Hutz: "Now don't you worry, Mrs. Simpson, I - uh-oh. We've drawn Judge Snyder."
Marge: "Is that bad?"
Hutz: "Well, he's kind of had it in for me, since I kinda ran over his dog."
Marge: "Ya did?"
Hutz: "Actually, replace 'kinda' with 'repeatedly', and replace 'dog' with 'son'."

Frank has chunks of guys tougher than you in his stool

Rocket Fuel Malt Liquor Dammmmmmnnnn! Billy Dee Williams look out!

"When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, then throw it in the face of the person who gave you the lemons until they give you the oranges you asked for in the first place."

Don't kid yourself, Jimmy -- if a cow got the chance, he'd eat you and everyone you care about.

A town with money is like a mule with a spinnin' wheel -- nobody knows how he got it and damned if he knows how to use it

Czech Beer Festival 2011 -- Da Beers!

FBers go HERE for photos. I would be remiss if I didn't include a bit of beer porn after a beer festival. In the photo captions, the "degrees" refer to the Balling scale* -- feel free to google it for an explanation. I'll wait.

Back? So, enjoy the photos. If you're wondering which beer was my favorite, it's hard to say. The Opat Pepper was tasty and unique, but it's hard to pass up a Strahov. And the Perla was cool -- bubbly like Champagne, yet creamy. In other words, just go and try for yourselves!

* Insert your own "balling" joke here

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Is It Just Me? Part 2

Or does "tweet me" on a web page simultaneously sound desperate and mildly dirty?

Prague 2011 -- Photos

FBers go HERE for photos.

I've been to Prague a few times, and I've seen most of the sights. But I love the city, so this time I just relaxed, biked a bit, hung out with my friends and went to the Czech Beer Fest (more on that later). Also, I survived the Rapture, so I've got that going for me.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

America's Next Top Terrorist!

OK, Al Qaeda may be good at a lot of things*, but building a buzz is NOT one of them. It's been a week since Osama Bin Laden's** "death"***, and they've already announced an interim leader,

Why interim? Al Qaeda by-laws require their ruling council**** to sit together in one place, and apparently they're in several different shitholes instead of the same one.

But this post isn't to criticize their choice -- he's an Egyptian terrorist who likes suicide bombings (by other people), poetry and the Yankees -- all important qualifications. This is to criticize their lack of imagination. We've seen hits like American Idol, the Eurovision Song Contest, hell, even America's Biggest Loser -- why not pick their next leader this way? Each week their ruling council could vote one of the asshats off, assuming he***** didn't survive an immunity challenge such as quoting the Koran while dodging bullets, twisting Mohammed's words to justify killing children, or juggling grenades (that may, or may not, have the pin in them).

Who wouldn't watch it?

Photo courtesy of -- thanks!
* Killing people, saving water by not showering, grainy video statements -- they're a triple threat!
** Did you know that Osama Bin Laden means "Bearded Asshole" in Arabic?
*** The quote marks are an attempt to get some of those conspiracy theory nutjob hits!
**** The Pentavarate
***** Yes, i meant "he". Even wearing a burqa, a women isn't going to be telling these jackholes what to do

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Current Event Scam!

Sadly, the various Nigerian princes and ministers seem to have overcome their troubles, as I haven't received any spam from them in months. But today I received this email, and it breaks a lot of new ground -- it is keyed by current events and it's based in China instead of Nigeria (or Nigerians living elsewhere).  Enjoy (my comments in red)!

A plea for help!
I love that she a) gives the letter a title and b) is enthusiastic enough to use an exclamation point.

I am Ms. Mariah Raflat from Benghazi Libya presently in CHINA. I am 23 years and the only Daughter of Late Mr. Mohammed Raflat, one of the leaders of the Libya National Oil Corporation (NOC). My hope is to look for a good person or company that will assist me to claim a deposited FUND with a BANK here in CHINA, due to the local war going on in my country. My Father was killed in this war including all other members of my family by the Muammar Gaddafi's regime.

Putting the words "FUND", "BANK" and "CHINA" in all caps is great -- like bullet points for scams!

The total fund is USA$4.5Million. I will give you 30% after assisting me to finish this business. Please I need your assistance to finalize this transaction. Upon receiving a positive response from you, all details will be made available to you on how to proceed. I wait to see your urgent respond to this mail.
It wouldn't be a scam without at least one grammar error.  "Respond" instead of "response" is minor, but the letter just wouldn't feel right without it.
I will give you my number to call me as soon as I hear from you today.

Mariah Raflat.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Budapest - Photos

So, 4 (or 17, depending on your count) years later, I made my return to Budapest. The weather was great, and I spent most of the 3 days thinking, "was I here?" The answer was usually yes, but the city has changed tremendously. I also went back to the National Gallery for the first time since 1993, and it was TOTALLY different. I remembered a gray, depressing soviet vibe, but instead it was bright, clean and filled with lots of cool stuff. Examples below: