Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Story of my life

Story of my life: hustled my way into the first class lounge on an expired gold club card.  I toast myself with 18 year-old Botran rum.

I should add: I also hustled my way into gold priority check-in. Membership has its privileges--but so does bullshitting.

Adios Land of Forests

Goodbye Guatemala ("Land of Forests"), I will miss being the tallest tree here--it is a rarity that I tower over most.

I head back to a land where a clown is running for president, from a country where a clown actually is president.  Yes, Guatemala really elected in the last election a clown as president, Jimmy Morales, who ran on on a slogan "Ni corrupto, ni ladrón" (Neither corrupt nor a thief”).

Morales beat another former First Lady, Sandra Torres--a woman who divorced her former-president husband because relatives are barred from serving in the office of President.  She said she would be "married to the people."

What the World Costs-Guatemala II

Free: tea and coffee at the International Mochilero Hostal from 8am-10am, 5pm-7pm; a month trial of Netflix
1 quetzal ($.13): one brown egg at the store; 4 tortillas bought on the street
1.5 quetzales ($.19): fifteen min of internet
2.25 quetzales ($.29): 5 oz refried beans
3 quetzales ($.39): a baby snickers; 30 min of internet
5 quetzales ($.65): 1 lb of rice; a cup of tamarind juice; mangoes with chili, lime and salt; 12 oz cocal cola in a glass bottle; empanda de pina;
6 quetzales ($.77): gansito (Central American Hostess-style cake); oatmeal-raisin cookie at Dona Luisa
7 quetzales ($.90): 250ml bottle of Venado Aguardiente
8 quetzales ($1.03): a tube of Colgate toothpaste
8.5 quetzales ($1.10): mississippi mud ice cream in a cone, covered in chocolate sauce and cookie crumbs
9 quetzales ($1.16): 1 piece of fried chicken (breast)
10 quetzales ($1.30): 1 hour chicken bus ride from Guate City to Antigua; can of tuna at the grocery store
11q ($1.43): 225ml of crema pura
12q ($1.56): jar of Cafe Quetzal instant coffee; 1 litre whole milk; espresso macchiato at Cafe Refuge
14q ($1.81): Traditional Guatemalan Hot Chocolate with milk; Espresso Cortado Doble at &Cafe
15q ($1.94): large fresh-squeezed carrot-orange juice; entry to Museo del Libro Antiguo (5q for Nationals; 30 q for foreigners; 15 q for me); 350ml Gallo beer
20q ($2.58): large lemonade with soda; pipian de pollo w/ rice and avocado at La Canache; caldo de rez in the market
21q ($2.71): Huevos Rancheros at Dona Luisa
22q ($2.84): Bottle of Gallo at Cafe No Se; Bottle of Dorada Draft at Restaurante Calle al Fondo, Desayuno Chapin
23q ($2.97): 2 pieces of Guate Fried Chicken, fries and spicy coleslaw.
25q ($3,23): 15 minute taxi ride from Zona 10 to Trebol; a pina colada at El Viejo Cafe; a shave
30q ($3.87): entrance (for foreigners) to Museo de Santiago de Caballeros (nationals is only 5 q--I'm not sure even that would have been worth the entry); Pollo Asado, salad and potato salad at Rincon Tipico
33q ($4.26): Mezcal Mule at Cafe No Se
35q ($4.52): a glass of Malbec at the wine bar (5 quetzales discount on each subsequent glass); chille rellenos with rice, beets and soup
40q ($5.16): 375ml bottle of Ron Botran 12 year Rum; whole fried fish w/ rice, guacamole and salad on Lago de Atitlan; entrance to Las Capuchinas convent
50q ($6.46): dorm in Antigua, no breakfast
55q ($7.10): a 2cl glass of Mezcal Anejo at Cafe No Se
56q ($7.23): two caldo de gallina and two Negro Modelo
58q ($7.49) Kaq-ik--Mayan turkey soup at Restaurante Fondo Calle Real
60q ($7.75): a bottle of Argentine Merlot at the store
72q ($9.30): A plate of Pipian de Pollo, rice and tortillas at Restaurante Calle al Fondo
80q ($10.33): 3 hour tourist van from Antigua to Lago de Atitlan; shuttle from Antigua to airport
100q ($12.91): room at Hospaje de Santo Domingo in Lago de Atitlan, no bathroom, no breakfast;scuba gear
2,500q ($322): 25 days stay at an apartment with a kitchen and private bathroom (with hot water)
3,829q ($547): roundtrip flight to Guatemala

Monday, March 21, 2016

Last evening in Antigua

I wandered out into the day's fading light.  I headed over to a cafe in the parque central that had become a semi-regular evening spot.  The place had immaculate hot chocolate--stirred by hand, and a great view of the purple Jacaranda trees in the park.

But today, I looked out towards the west, towards the sun setting behind the majestic volcano.  The volcano was wrapped in a shawl of clouds.  The sun's fading light shined out from the clouds behind the peak.  It was a stunning bit of white light filtered through the clouds as the sky was slowly fading dark.

I sipped my velvety hot chocolate, and watched the clouds pass over the face of the volcano and slowly across the horizon.

To the east, the almost-full moon began its rise in the night sky.  In the cool blue evening, the greenish-white moon was beginning to show.

A nice end to remember Antigua by.

I had planned to make my last meal in Antigua at Pollo Campero, the famous Guate Fried Chicken restaurant.  They do it so proper they have table service for fast food fried chicken.  When Pollo Campero opened in the U.S., there were ridic lines.  But I just couldn't eat anymore Guate Fried Chicken, as good as it is.

So I opted for a meal at the nice local spot Restauant Fondo Calle Real.  I had been there once prior, and had not been impressed but they had a dish I wanted to try: Kaq'-ik.  Kaq'-ik is a hearty turkey soup with tomatoes, chilies, spices, cilantro and mint.

It was absolutely wonderful.  It had the rich achiote paste flavor in the complex soup.  I added in rice, pieces of tortilla and white tamale.  The turkey on the bone stayed cooking in the warm soup and was tender and flavorful.  I sipped a black beer, Moza, to accompany the Mayan meal.

A nice end to remember Antigua by.

Clinton-Warren '16

Clinton-Warren '16.  How is that for a ticket.  Shows that the nominee is listening to Dems and gets a diehard Progressive on the ticket.  A first female ticket and one that would be exciting.  And perhaps prime two terms of presidents of the fairer sex.  

Clinton-Warren '16.  You heard it here first.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

the dawn of time

It's interesting--I admit I have become pessimistic about the present, feeling lost in a tangle of worlds that seem so topsy-turvey,  Yet through this increased pessimism in the present I have also become more interested in the very, very distant past.

While in Eastern Africa, the cradle of humanity found in Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia, I became quite intrigued by mankind from a million years prior.  I tried to fathom the eternity in human skulls from 1.75 million years ago.  I saw Lucy in Addis, whom dates back some three million years.

I have been trying to wrap my head around the shear volume of time that man has existed and evolved on Earth. I have been reading more on Neanderthals, and their breeding connections to homo sapiens. Also the Denisovans, and their continued existence in Melanesians 

I find it fascinatingly incomprehensible of this human-like species disappearing.  Yet disappearing in a 10,000 year period or so.  Ten thousand years.  As I mark my monthly paycheck and worry about my daily life and time slipping by.

I think part of this fascination with ancient, ancient history is to try to come to grips with the present realities.  In short, if we can survive so many thousands-upon-millions of years, perhaps we just make it out of this election-year-decade-century-millennia still alive.

Sobering Reflection

"A sobering reflection on the complexity of identity: If I were to die rescuing a child from a collapsing building, news reports would describe me as “a college lecturer popular among his students and colleagues, a dedicated teacher of aikido, and a devoted husband and father.” And this description would be factually accurate.

If, on the other hand, I were gunned down by police, news reports would describe me as “a 200-pound developmentally disabled man with a history of violence.” And this description, too, would be factually accurate."
-Nick Walker

Scenes from Antigua I

Some pics from Santiago de Los Caballeros de Guatemala, ot St. James of the Knights of Guatemala aka Antigua Guatemala or now simply Antigua.

 It was Cortez' right-hand man Pedro de Alvarado--a man known even among conquistadores for his brutality, who conquered Central America and in 1524 founded Santiago de Los Caballeros de Guatemala--the city to become Antigua. Santiago was once the capital of the Kingdom of Guatemala. 

The Kingdom of Guatemala, or The Captaincy General of Guatemala, was the seat of Spanish colonial power in Central America for centuries. From Santiago-to-be-Antigua, the Spanish controlled a Central American empire that stretched from Southern Mexico to Costa Rica.







Saturday, March 19, 2016

rayweees

Oh, the surprise of the day: those were not a bag of raisins I bought in the market, and I put a handful into my mouth. They were tiny desiccated HOT peppers.

Children's Crusade

Yesterday I stumbled upon a Children's Crusade through the streets of Antigua.

 Processions of children cucuruchos (penitents) traversed the cobbled streets in purple robes, carrying the Passion Play on their backs.

 Young penitents swung their thuribles of frankincense to fill the air with incense smoke. Little vestals in white carried the Virgin Mary in their tiny white-gloved hands.







Forgetfulness

The name of the author is the first to go
followed obediently by the title, the plot,
the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel
which suddenly becomes one you have never read, never even heard of,


as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor
decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,
to a little fishing village where there are no phones.


Long ago you kissed the names of the nine muses goodbye
and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag,
and even now as you memorize the order of the planets,


something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps,
the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay.


Whatever it is you are struggling to remember,
it is not poised on the tip of your tongue
or even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen.


It has floated away down a dark mythological river
whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall


well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those
who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle.


No wonder you rise in the middle of the night
to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war.
No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted   
out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.
-Billy Collins, "Forgetfulness"

Friday, March 18, 2016

Presidential Clown

Presidential clowns, eh?  And I am not talking about Trump.  Guatemala's current president is indeed a clown.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

#GuatemalaProblems

Umm...the churchbells have been ringing for 25 minutes straight. I think that means I should flee. There is an active volcano nearby. Maybe this is my cue....

The stranger's case

Four centuries ago, one William Shakespeare spoke in the defense of the strangers in our midst. He spoke out in "The Book of Sir Thomas Moore" against the mob rabble who would strike at refugees and foreigners. This comes from the only known manuscript written in Shakespeare's handwriting:

“You’ll put down strangers, Kill them, cut their throats, possess their houses,
 And lead the majesty of law in lyam
 To slip him like a hound.

Alas, alas!
Say now the King
As he is clement if th’offender mourn,
Should so much come too short of your great trespass
As but to banish you: whither would you go?
What country, by the nature of your error,
Should give you harbour?
Go you to France or Flanders,
To any German province, Spain or Portugal,
Nay, anywhere that not adheres to England:
 hy, you must needs be strangers.”

Sir Ian McKellan gives incredibly poignant life to these words



The further backstory is here

Random bus adventures

I was taking the tourist bus back from Lago de Atitlan to Antigua. We were going over windy curves (the sign said "Cuervas Peligrosas" dangerous curves).

The guy in front of me was getting sick. He was spewing a lot, and in a paper bag.

The bag broke and spilled all over the floor. Thankfully the bus window was open, and thankfully I had run out of deodorant. My own b.o. was far better to hide my nose in than someone else's stomach bile.

Atitlan

I sat on the weathered, tangled branches of a tree with its roots over the crashing waves.  The Smashing Pumpkins´ "Disarm" came in through my ear buds.

The killer in me is the killer in you...

The evening came in without much fanfare.  I had a happy hour daiquiri  (dai-key-ri in spanish) in a restaurant on the lake.

I was disturbed in my happy hour by a table of gringos sitting in the table next to me.  They were complaining about P.C. culture in America.

"Ya cayn`t call ´em "Retarded" or "Black" anymore."

Really?  I escape ´Murica so to be away from this inanity.  Check please.

I grabbed a churrasuito at a parilla on the semi'-bustling Calle Santander.  A plate of carne asada--grilled marinated steak with a grilled spring onion on top.  Alongside rice, guacamole and warm tortillas.

I spent my evening shuttling down to the lake.

I headed back up to Pana Rock Cafe.  This is Panajachel´s tribute to Hard Rock Cafe.  And it surprisingly rocked.

The band was an Argentine guitarist who could shred.  The American bassist wasn`t bad, nor the drummer from unkown origin (perhaps here?).

They kicked it off with a good Santana cover.  They did a decent Sweet Home Alabama and a good Rolling Stones Paint It Black.

I see a red door and I want to paint it black...

I stuck around for a bit, and left after a Zeppellin cover--pleased enough with all that I had heard.


Perhaps the world needs more cover rock band bars around the globe.  Both locals and gringos were enjoying it.  It was one of the first places in Guate where I saw such enjoyed space.

I can remember a rock bar in Calcutta where the Bengali rockers did a money Sultans of Swing

The Sultans play creole...

Maybe my next act in cultural diplomacy will be to set-up cover bands at American Corners around the world.

Anywho, I woke up at the usual early.  I wandered down and had breakfast on the lake.  Desayuno was quite good.  I had Desayuno Chapin, which is scrambled eggs with refried beans, fried plantains and queso blanco--a good salty white cheese.

The queso blanco was a bit drier and more pungent than usual--it was good.  There was even banana slices that I covered in bits of cherry jelly that came on a star orange.

I filled warm tortillas with a layer of frijoles, then the queso blanco, then the scrambled eggs.  A bit of spicy salsa to top it off.  An occasional piece of platano thrown in too.  These were good plantains, fried just a little crispy but still ultimately soft.  The plantains were great with a bit of queso blanco with it.

I sat full, listening to the Latin rock on the radio and the sound of hammers constructing a new lake observation deck.  The outlines of volcanos hid in the morning haze across the lake.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Rings of Saturn; Lake of Atitlan

"As a doctor, who saw disease growing and raging in bodies, he understood mortality better than the flowering of life. To him it seems a miracle that we should last so much as a single of day. There is no antidote, he writes, against the opium of time. The winter sun shows how soon the light fades from the ash, how soon night enfolds us. Hour upon hour is added to the sum. Time itself grows old. Pyramids, arches and obelisks are melting pillars of snow."
-W.G. Sebald, "Rings of Saturn"

I took a short break from Antigua to come over to Lago de Atitlan.  After a few hours in transit and a brieft stint finding accommodation in Panajachel ("Pana"), I arrived to a volcano-lined Lago de Atitlan.

Aldous Huxley wrote of this magnificent lake:

“Lake Como, it seems to me, touches on the limit of permissibly picturesque, but Atitlán is Como with additional embellishments of several immense volcanoes. It really is too much of a good thing.”

I sat out in a cafe on the lake, reading "Rings of Saturn," a recent acquisition from a hippy Allen Quartermain and having a piña colada.

I had long lunch of a wonderful fresh fried fish--served with rice, guacamole, tomato salad and warm tortillas.

I love whole fried fish.  I abandon my fork, and I pìck it apart with my fingers.  I have spent too much time in Africa to waste my time using a fork on a whole fried fish.  I devour it with my fingers, and it tastes so much better.

The white flaky fish was delicious, especially when I took hunks of the fried fish and wrapped it up in the warm tortilla, and rolled it up with raw onion, cucumber, tomato and guacamole.  With a lil dash of salt.

A Cuba Libre to wash it down.

Somewhere a man beat on a xylaphone in a jazzy Caribbean fashion as the lake`s waves crashed, and the wind came cooly in.

And I sit in the courtyard filled with palm of tender young coconut and small green lime trees.  

Monday, March 14, 2016

Cunning Linguistics

Two fun vids from Finland and Estonia.

First, a Finnish take on the U.S. Elections.

Second, the staff of the U.S. Embassy try to pronounce Estonian words.

On pigs

"Dogs look up to you.  Cats look down on you.  But pigs will always treat you as an equal."
-P.G. Wodehouse


Antigua Procession

Antigua is full this weekend.  There are Semana Sancta processions going on.

I left my guest house to go find the procession.

I opened the door to the usually empty street.  Outside the procession found me.

There were purple-robed cucuruchos.  Penitents in purple robes and white gloves, with purple hoods.

Scores of these penitent pilgrims passing by my doorstep.

Bands of purple-robed penitents swung thuribles of smoking frankincense whose plume of smoke filled the night air.

A giant float of Jesus amid the Passion Play passed by.  His giant float was borne on the backs of the purple-robed penitents.

After the Passion huffed passed in sturm und drang, 
in a very waltz and dirge fashion.

The Passion float was followed by a band of woodwinds, horns and giant drums.

The Passion Play passed.

Not too long after, a float of the Virgin Mary came through on the backs of women in white blouses and black skirts.

They were followed by a band of trumpets, horns and trombones.

The procession passed me right by, followed by the legions who clean up after a parade.  Dump trucks and men picking up the trash left behind for the dumpster.

The whole procession passed by--right outside my door.  It's still going on, I can hear it.  I can hear the horns still blowing in procession in the night.

The incessant bells end the night.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Metamorph

I just plucked a beetle out of a bowl of milk (it was for the cat) with some tongs.  I think I saved Gregor Samsa.

I met a traveller from an antique land

I had been having a rough week.  There had been a lot of frustrations with my various projects, and I was facing a bout of isolation and loneliness in my little Antiguan bubble.  Writing is tough work, especially when I wasn't feeling creative but rather just a bit blue and grey. But I was slowly working through it, finding ways to skype past my isolation.

On Saturday, my otherwise empty guesthouse filled up considerably.  Groups of German hikers, and Guatemalan couples began filling up the place.  There was an older English fellow with a long white Gandalf beard and long white hair in a little ponytail-wrapped infinity knot.  We got to chatting, and immediately had much to discuss.

Malcolm was from Britain.  He had been a laborer in Southern France, and in Greece.  He would work for six months in the orange or apple or melon fields so he didn't have to work for six months in eastern Turkey or India.  He had been on the road since 1981.  He was now a birdwatcher, and had been living the last 7 months in Central America.  He had been a bird-watching guide in the highlands of Honduras, and was now traveling through Guatemala.  He lived on his pension, his guide work and savings he had from over the years.

The best way to describe Malcolm was as a "hippy Allen Quartermain."  He reminded me a bit of an alchemist I once met, but he was more earthy--more of a wizard's aura.

It was a fascinating coincidence that he was even at my guesthouse.  He was staying at another guesthouse for four days in Antigua before he headed back to Britain.  But the guesthouse made an error, and did not have room for him on Saturday so they refunded his money that day and he needed to find alternative accommodation for just one night and could return on Sunday for the rest of his stay.  He had been to dozens of places that Saturday morning, unable to find accommodation for the night because Antigua is filled this weekend with people in town for the pre-Semana Sancta processions of cucuruchu--penitents dressed in purple.

We spent the morning chatting about the intricacies of India and Central America.  I took him out for lunch at a hidden cocina spot I knew up the street for some caldo de gallina.  We spent the afternoon further chatting over bowls of hen soup filled with boiled potato, carrot, squash and corn, and sipping Negro Modelo oscuro--dark Mexican beer.

After a trip to the market, we re-grouped on my terrace for a sundowner of Cuba Libtres, with some good Botran 8 year rum he had.  Ice cubes and lime make all the difference.

We spoke of the works of Somerset Maugham and Borges.  Of László Bíró, the Hungarian inventor of the ball-point pen.

He said something to me that really resonated:

"We were the last generation who really believed we could change the world...but it all an illusion."

He spoke of Britain in the 1980s, of being filled with two types: yuppies and self-destroyers.

As dusk faded across the cities, he spoke of white swimming cats of Lake Van.  "One of those special, magical places," he said in describing Lake Van and its boat-ferry that shuttled trains from one end of the lake to the other.   "Epic to man is Lake Van, where the ark came down in Noah and the Epic of Gilgamesh," he commented.  It was sacred space.

We spoke of Zorastrians--fire worshippers, and of the Shelleys.

I met a traveller from an antique land...

We were getting hungry, so I took him through town to an excellent local spot I knew called Rincon Tipico, a giant hall where you can get incredible pollo asado with salads for 30 quetzales.  I had that with ensalada russa--russian potato salad with little green bean shoots.  My chicken was perfectly roasted.  Malcolm had longaniza, squat little Guatemalan sausages with the ensalada russa.  We chatted over the empty plates until we were the last ones left in the restaurant.

We walked out into the bustling night, under an orange sliver moon.  We returned to my balcony, to sip black Moza beer and spoke of the night.

Malcolm talked of working the night shift in the rusty old days in the UK: "If you were on the night shift, you were either stoned, drunk or stupid."

We chatted about moon crazies--luna-tics.  I finally pieced together the etymology.

He spoke of the curious case of Richard Dadd.  It worked in a ditty:
Richard Dadd
went mad
and killed
his father.

He ended up
in Bedlam,
where he 
continued
his paintings.

The Fairyfeller's
Masterstroke




The morning continued the general warblings over mint tea.  We chatted of castes of ants, and of wrens, and admired the Jade de Guatamala, the green flowers that looked like mini green birds-of-paradise that dotted the lovely garden.

It is rare that I find such souls I can connect with, especially at a time when I really needed some connection back to the tangle of this world.  


On Present Day Society

"If you never feel paranoid in present day society, you are probably either insensitive or stupid."
-Heathcote Williams

TY to Malcolm for that gem.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Beware

America, this is dangerous.  There is way too much divisiveness and mob mentality.  And this is an armed mob.  Too many Trump supporters are also those who fetishize that having a gun is a sacred right.   This is scary--this is a powder keg awaiting a match.

Maybe it was already a powder keg, and Donald Trump is the match. Or flamethrower.

Although maybe his toupee is flame retardant.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Draft Biden!

Is it too late to draft Joe Biden? Uncle Joe for President!

Support Indian-Belgian cultural exchange!

My dear friend Malabika ("the Bengali Banshee"), who is an alumni of the incredible State Department cultural exchange residency OneBeat and also of the Global Next Level program, is conducting a music exchange program with her ensemble Brahmakhyapa in Belgium with a Belgian band Auster Loo.  You can hear their collab here.

Brahmakhyapa is crowd-funding their tickets to Belgium.  Please consider supporting it!

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

How did Chinese food get hip in America? Culinary Diplomacy

"Fish: What was the culinary impact of Nixon’s 1972 visit to China?

Coe: One of the big things that happened was that the Chinese did a live broadcast of President Nixon having a feast in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People and sitting next to the paramount Chinese leaders having Peking duck. People just went crazy. At the time, the Chinese food that people knew about was chop suey, chow mein, egg rolls and the like, but it was no longer considered hip food. It was sort of boring and bland and nobody cared about it anymore. But suddenly, after seeing Nixon eating his Peking duck, people decided that they wanted “authentic Chinese food” like Nixon was eating in Beijing and like restaurants catering to Chinese populations were serving. So people went exploring in Chinatowns. There were restaurants opening in New York and the West Coast serving Hunan and Sichuan food, and this was at a time when there was a kind of counter-culture where it was cool to like hot, spicy food—anything with chili peppers. That’s how a whole new range of dishes got introduced to the United States, like kung pao shrimp and General Tso’s chicken. Of course, over the years those dishes then became Americanized and bland."

How Chinese food became hip in America: Peking Culinary Diplomacy with Generalissimo Nixon.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

There is a difference...

"Unfaithful but not disloyal"
-Gabo, Love in the Time of Cholera

Monday, March 07, 2016

lentils

It sounds like the start of a gastrodiplomacy joke, but I finally learned to make good Indian curry lentils all the way down in Guatemala.

Sunday, March 06, 2016

The Eviction Economy

"When James Baldwin observed how “expensive it is to be poor,” this is what he meant."

The Eviction Economy

Saturday, March 05, 2016

House of Elements

The last time I binged through a season of House of Cards, it was the second season. I was living in Brooklyn. I had an epic fight with the Frank Underwood of Netflix tech support.

That weekend, there was a yuuge blizzard that covered New York in snow. I never left the apartment and I watch the entire season in a weekend. My eyes were bleary by the end, but I was pleased with the snow conspiring to help let me do absolutely nothing else over that weekend.

 In Antigua, Guatemala, it is raining today. It isn't the rainy season, and a rain storm is quite rare in this period. Rare and welcome, for the excuse of doing nothing but watch House of Cards until my eyes are bleary.

Friday, March 04, 2016

House of Cards

Hello Frank. Hello Claire.  Goodbye weekend.

Make America...

"The media keeps saying that Trump voters are angry, fed up, and frustrated. I had no idea there were so many synonyms for racist."
-Andy Borowitz

I'll help translate Trump's slogan with another synonym: Make America White Again

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Pale Blue Dot

"Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam."
-Carl Sagan, "Pale Blue Dot"

Pics from astronaut Scott Kelly from a year in space.



Who made journalism irrelevent?

You did, declares O.G. Ted Koppel to Bill O'Reilly.  Watch this masterful exchange between one of the remaining old-school journalists Ted Koppel and Fix News' Bill O'Reilly.



Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Museo del Libro Antiguo

Follow the omens, the alchemist said.

And the first book I find in the Museo del Libro Antiguos is the Ingenious Knight Don Quijote de La Mancha.  Dated from 1615, printed in Madrid.

El libro es una de la posibilidades de delicidad que tenemos los hombres.
-Jorge Luis Borges

The mob that is the GOP

Ah, Republicans....you stoke the fires of a mob, and are then shocked when that same angry mob won't listen and chooses a carnival barker to lead it.