...THIS IS HEAVEN available for pre-order on Amazon, here...

Dec 26, 2013

Jesus Christ! (Plus Roman abortion clinics and the conversion of homosexuals)

No, she won't go away, Sarah Palin. And she can't because the left wages War on Christmas. And not only Christmas, but all the other Christian holidays they can lay their hands on as well.


Sarah Palin

So Sarah goes on FOX to promote her book against the "War on Christmas" and says:

"It makes me so gosh darn angry. The liberal left in this country has targeted Christian holidays and is trying to secularize them right out of existence.
"When Jesus celebrated Easter with his disciples there were no Easter bunnies or egg hunts. There were no Easter sales at department stores or parades in the street. Easter was a special time of prayer and Christian activism.
"Jesus would gather all the townspeople around and would listen to their stories about the meaning of Easter in their lives. Then he would teach them how to love one another, how to protest Roman abortion clinics and how to properly convert homosexuals.
"You can't even do things like that these days without getting called out by some wacko left-wing human rights group. Christians had more freedom under Roman rule than we do now in our own country! We need to return Easter back to the way it was when Jesus was alive."
She says this in an interview on FOX news. Now, Easter was celebrated first in the second century AD to commemorate Christ's resurrection. One always wonders whether Palin and her ilk actually do read the Bible --- according to the biblical record, Jesus had disappeared from the cave where he had been laid to rest, and later reappeared as wraith to his disciples and before his ascension to heaven. He did not celebrate anything on that Sunday following the fatal Friday night of his crucification --- but never mind.

Dec 20, 2013

This is funny...(Sacha)



...for a while. In fact, it took us a few years to understand that "bonjour" is more important than "s'il vous plait." We've commented on this before, here.

Dec 10, 2013

Green Eyes --- Chapter 32: The humble worm C. Elegans

Previously --- John fell in love with Alex. That's the most important thing. But other events interfere, such as the rape of Maurice, a friend who lingers in the hospital at the moment, or the attempt of the rapist to eliminate Maurice as the witness to the crime (Maurice survived thanks to John's interference). John is about to leave the hospital and go home, where his Tea Party father awaits him.

I'm on the Coastal Highway again, driving home. Some new billboards have gone up, or changed their tune---right, next week is Georgia Beach Week, the so-so attempt of the local business community to replicate Woodstock, or Burning Man, and put our town on the map by means of a local festival. It’s always themed, the Week of Festive Sales, and this year it’s vampires. Men and women with extreme fangs have replaced dental paste and Pampers on the bill-boards, the undead appearing with their fangs next to the fresh, ever-reborn face of the new mayor. I'm behind as usual, I haven't even seen the latest installment of Twilight. I'll have to ask Luke about this and fetch some food anyhow for tonight.

Caenorhabditis (“C.”) Elegans (enlarged)

I tell Luke about my truck and the galactic Merc man. Luke is quite interested, I even tell him about the ‘Armani minimum,' he likes that, too. "Keep me posted," he says.
“The Week is coming up, with vampires. Your work?”


Dec 1, 2013

Green Eyes --- Chapter 31: I expect you to die, Mr. Bond

Previously --- well, basically we fell in love with Alex. That's actually the most important thing. But other events interfere, such as the rape of Maurice, a casual acquaintance who lingers in the hospital at the moment, or the attempt of the rapist to eliminate Maurice as the witness to his crime.



We've been here before, right, I’ve seen these eyes before, and the person to whom they belong, and I know this room, a hospital room with a bed between my vantage point and the window, and lying on this bed is a person I know as well, wait, it’s Maurice, the guy who is dozing. A hint of concern, how does it look in the greenest eyes of the world?

My field of views widens until I realize that I'm a patient myself, lying on a bed next to Maurice's bed, more or less in horizontal position, my head between the ears of a pillow. The head section of the pliable mattress is inclined somewhat. "This head section, it's inclined at 35 degrees, right," I say (I don’t know why, but it’s the sort of thing I do). Alex laughs.
"You’re getting dangerous," he says.
"What am I doing here?"
"You were getting dangerous," he replies.

A spy flick comes to mind, with a German accent hovering above an encumbered spy who's strapped to some torture bench but asks in an odd gesture of helplessness: 'What do you expect me to do?' and the German accent replies: 'I expect you to die, Mr. Bond.'


 Sean Connery and Gerd Fröbe in Goldfinger (1964)

I tell Alex. Alex laughs his dry laugh again. The more I make him laugh, the more he’ll give me his email address. I raise my arm, trying to clutch his arm in an awkward gesture, he understands. We never held hands before. "Why don't you give me your email address," I ask.
"You've got anything to write?"
"I'll remember it."
"It's Alex-six-five-five-three-seven at gmail dot com. What's yours?"
"That’s almost a phone number."
"Two digits are missing," he says.
"Come to think of it, it's not a bad idea, helps you to remember your own number."
"Until you move out of state."

Nov 30, 2013

Active duty (reposted)

A bit scabrous, perhaps, this short story...

...that will appear soon on the pages of Etherbooks:


I’m standing here next to this artificial pond, holding my bike with one hand, and an umbrella with the other. It’s raining. It’s barely 11 PM and there’s still a suggestion of light in the doomy clouds above us since this is June in Amsterdam, the sun setting past 10 PM, dust stretching past midnight. The pond belongs to the Easter Park, the nearest cruising ground. I must be horny, really, there’s no other excuse for this, cycling through the pouring rain in search of casual sex. It’s fairly cold, by the way, I'm almost shivering.


Nov 27, 2013

Digging too deeply: The boys of the summer (Cathy)

We have been in vivid contact with Cathy, the soul of Hollywood hates me, her brilliant blog. And she has started this series about song lyrics. And we suggested the song The boys of the summer by Don Henley, a song that plays a role near the end of part one of the Green Eyes (Nick, the owner of Nick's restaurant, performs it at one of of darkest moments of John's brief life), and also at the beginning of the second part of the Green Eyes (we explain later). And she listened. So here it is, her analysis.

By popular request ("popular" means "one person," right?), here comes an analysis of Don Henley's The Boys of Summer. You know you can't wait to learn what this song really means.

Nobody on the road
Nobody on the beach
I feel it in the air
The summer’s out of reach

Our first verse opens in September. Everybody's gone back to school, except our singer. Possibly he's a dropout, possibly he's too old for school. All he knows is that, man, it was great when everybody was back in town for the summer, hanging out at the beach and on the road.

"Stop looking so happy. I really miss you guys!"
"Stop looking so happy. I really miss you guys!"

Nov 25, 2013

The hunger games

(You must watch this:)

Pictures from an exhibition (Anonymous)

A friend sent these pictures, but requested anonymity. 







Just in case you were wondering, there is a famous composition for piano by the Russian Modest Mussorgsky of the same title (his most famous composition), which is usually performed in an orchestral version arranged by Maurice Ravel:


Dear Mom.... (Suzy)

A mother passes by her son's bedroom and is astonished to see the bed nicely made, and everything tidied up. She takes note of an envelope propped up on the pillow.


It is addressed, 'Mum.' She opens the envelope and reads the letter: 

Dear, Mum:

It is with great regret and sorrow that I'm writing you. I had to elope with my new girlfriend, because I wanted to avoid a scene with Dad and you.

I've been finding real passion with Stacy, and she is so nice, but I knew you would not approve of her, because of all her piercing's, tattoos, her tight Motorcycle clothes, and because she is so much older than I am.

But it's not only the passion, Mum. She's pregnant.

Stacy said that we will be very happy. She owns a trailer in the woods, and has a stack of firewood for the whole winter.

We share a dream of having many more children.

Stacy has opened my eyes to the fact that marijuana doesn't really hurt anyone. We'll be growing it for ourselves, and trading it with the other people in the commune, for all the cocaine and ecstasy we want.

In the meantime, we'll pray that science will find a cure for AIDS so Stacy can get better. She sure deserves it!!

Don't worry Mum, I'm 15, and I know how to take care of myself.

Someday, I'm sure we'll be back to visit, so you can get to know your many grandchildren.


Love, your son, Nicholas.

P.S. Mum, none of the above is true. I'm over at Jason's house. I just wanted to remind you that there are worse things in life than the school report that's on my desk..


I love you!

Call when it is safe for me to come home.'

Nov 24, 2013

Sunday matinée



Yes, it's a fox. We met him/her a few days ago in the Esterel park nearby, perhaps one klick from the house. The picture was taken by Seong-gon, our friend from Jeju, Korea. 

Nov 19, 2013

Erosion



Heavy rains washed a lot of debris into the sea this morning---the stream ends up in the left corner, next to the marina---and you can see the border between the muddy rain water and the sea water. 


Interesting, isn't it?

And while we are at it...our Korean in-laws are still visiting...

Nov 16, 2013

Sunday matinée

We were at such a low, we considered joining the ranks of tasteful bloggers and post this picture for the Sunday Matinée...



...instead of, say, this one...



But then we discovered this article about the X-factor applied to Italian writers (link), clearly a phenomenon we failed to appreciate when starting to write the "Green Eyes." The article has a link to a Monty Python sketch, a sketch you doubtlessly knew already, but we didn't, so here it is:


Nov 14, 2013

Sometimes we need some pun (1) Glenn

The fattest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference. He acquired his size from too much pi. 

I thought I saw an eye-doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian.

She was only a whisky-maker, but he loved her still.

A rubber-band pistol was confiscated from an algebra class, because it was a weapon of math disruption.

No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering. 

A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France would result in Linoleum Blownapart.

Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.

A hole has been found in the nudist-camp wall.. The police are looking into it.

Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

Nov 9, 2013

Dr. Urknall

The Dutch CVB, or whatever the alphabet soup, sends us a new European Insurance Card. Because we had discovered belatedly in the ER of the Spital Visp, CH, that the old card had expired. ER? Yes, as in emergency room. Because we had gone deaf.


 (If you continue reading, there's a payoff) 

We use ear plugs when we can't sleep. The wax from the plugs talks to the organic ear wax, canals get clogged, hearing gets impaired. We attempt to clean the ears but push the wax deeper into the canals until we go completely deaf. Which is quite something. You step into the street and get killed. You say good-by to Mozart and Lady Gaga and the telephone and to the relationship with your lover beyond anything but the soundless exchange of bodily fluids.

 (If you continue reading, there's a payoff) 

I had hoped that some natural process would provide relief and foster a recovery of my hearing. I wait one day, two days, three days. Nada. So I give up and flee to the ER of the Spital Visp, a place I know well. Dr. Ursprung is not around, unfortunately (follow the link). I explain my case. People listen patiently. I listen patiently. It's like you're listening to the Urknall (the Urknall was silent, there was no atmosphere to carry sound).

 (If you continue reading, there's a payoff) 

They ask me to rest on the emergency bed (gestures, folded hands put to your (their) left ear). I lie down. Wait. "Wait!" Where is your European Insurance Card? I don't understand. Somebody gets a piece of paper and writes "Europäische Versicherungskarte." Aha. I find my wallet and flash the card. There's a picture of Obama on the card (just kidding). Everything is fine. Somebody will take my blood pressure. The nurse looks quite concerned.

 (If you continue reading, there's a payoff) 

They try all sorts of things. Liquids dripped into my ear, compassionate facial expressions, electrodes applied to my testes, prayers, Alpine cleansing rituals, shaking heads. Shaking heads. It's my fault because the European Insurance Card has expired. The healing hands are raised in despair and I am sent to the local Hals-Nasen-Ohren doctor who cleans my ears with a nanoistic vacuum-cleaner and ask for 108 CHF in cash. I can hear him loud and clear and pay and call the Dutch alphabet soup and ask for a new, valid, European Insurance Card. Which arrived today, the card. I'm not making this up.

If you are still there, here's the payoff:


Nov 7, 2013

Read my lips






And the mandatory fragment from the Green Eyes? From Chapter 20 of course, My father and your father were fathers:  

We're talking about John's father:

You wonder whether he ever raped me? No, he didn't. My mother just caught him on the wrong side of my body, when the thing stopped. Let me explain, I'm politically incorrect here in a terrible way, I know.

Nov 1, 2013

History of the world --- Venice (3)

When yours truly arrived in Venice 25 years ago for a brief sojourn at the Business School, Massimo, his correspondent, picked him up at the airport and took him to a down-town café stuffed with pastries, liqueur bottles, and high tables inviting patrons to stand and drink sprits, small glasses of white wine with a schuss, a few drops of Cinzano, say. The spritz then was the stuff of true Venetians, tourists wouldn't know and drink Chianti or Campari instead---if they would drink in the morning, that is, because true Venetians had two spritzes at breakfast. Habits have changes in the meantime; the spritzes have tripled in size and been taken over by tourism, so true Venetians refrain from the stuff and drink lager instead.

"I'll spritz you."

I spent two weeks in Venice as a non-tourist and learned a lot, especially about tourism. Already then, Venice was almost completely touristicated---cool, folks, what an ugly word, "touristicated," but the spell checker doesn't recognize it so it's possibly a neologism1---, and the locals behaved like a dying breed. They would avoid tourists like the plague, would only patronize their own restaurants (hidden away in secret alleys where the food was three times better), would not speak English, would not know about directions, would not make appointments because you only had to step into the street to meet friends, would sit on roof-top terraces and enjoy life, would spend week-end afternoons in secluded gardens (not having sex, by the way, just dozing off jointly for a few hours), would recognize the voices of the passing gondoliers at night (while still enjoying life on the roof-top terraces)...

Oct 31, 2013

Now you see it, now you don't --- Venice (2)


Now
(Chang's sister in the left foreground, green jacket)

you

The width of a circle --- Venice (1)

You've made it, you're wealthy now, and preferably American, because Americans are more likely to do it than other mortals. You've already donated a bundle to many causes (causes, let's face it, is now a standard entry on any celebrity's resumé), but soup kitchens and AIDS and blood diamonds get you only so far, and you're among the 53% that love art (as opposed to the 47%), you totally love it, and you totally admire artists, who need all the help they can get since Puccini told us about Mimi and van Gogh, so a foundation it is, a new foundation in support of the ARTS, because there are simply not enough of these foundations. Like. 

Now, your foundation needs to be visible since this is not about you, but about the ARTS. And you always totally loved Venice. Venice, la serenissima, the only city in the world that is in itself a Gesamtkunstwerk, the only city worth your efforts except your hometown that's already stuffed, stuffed, stuffed with a Lisa Hooksey museum (that's your name), and a Lisa Hooksey wing of the local hospital, and a Lisa Hooksey conference room at the local college, and so on, and so it's Venice. 


Venice, Grande Canale, home to the grandest art foundations

Oct 28, 2013

Relax (Tony)


(0.5 million page views in one week. 10k likes. Where could that be?)



Yes, it's San Francisco, CA, the city of our dreams.

Oct 26, 2013

Sunday Mornning matinée (Reblogged)

Cathy Ulrich writes on her famous blog Hollywood hates me:

This morning, I saw a baby llama. At first, I was going to gloat about it, all "I saw a baby llama and you didn't," but then I decided that everybody deserves to have a nice day, so here's a picture of a baby llama to cheer you up.

baby-llama
 Unless you don't like baby llamas, you monster. 
_____________________________________

Update:

It's only a matter of time and Cathy will be the hero of a forthcoming novel, titled FAC, about a girl, named Ann, who's running this brilliant blog, Hollywood hates me, which is famous for its captions. One fine day a fellow blogger, a certain Michael, suggests she "monetarizes" her talent by starting a consultancy, FAC, which is alphabet soup for "Find a caption." Her business takes off immediately, everybody needs her help, but her sudden fame attracts the attention of various agencies that have infiltrated the infamous terrorist organization Famala' al Cqaada based in Cairo, Egypt. Yes, you guessed right, Famal al Cqaada is known in the trade as FAC. Confusion reigns until Ann is abducted by said Famala' al Cqaada to serve as a bargaining chip in the war against (or for) terrorism. Ann's goose seems cooked, but the washed-up scriptwriter thought up a romantic interest, just in time, whose (a) nom de guerre is Raoul, who's (b) a quintuple agent (or some such, we all lost count), and  who (c) is really handsome. Raoul can't even speak proper Arabic, but that doesn't matter since he's really handsome and all his co-terrorist can't speak proper Arabic either --- the terrorist cell consists of nothing but counter-agents. Ann is becoming increasingly aware of this and communicates her findings per email to her kin back home. The NSA intercepts the communication and decides to protect its sources and "take her out." So everybody is after her. Ann, in the meantime, continues to build her business per internet from her cell in the basement of the Cairo dungeon. Consultancy money piles in and up (Condé Nast pays a million per caption), but the funds are misappropriated by evil Wall-Steet types. Ann is elected business woman of the month, quarter, and year, she wins the Emmy and the Oscar for captions, and the American security forces create a fake stand-in ("Ann") who will collect the awards and give speeches in Ann's stead. The plot thickens unpredictably. Sheer serendipity leads to the untimely death of many Wall-Street types, secret agents, middle-men, and Tea Party members. Lot's of Tea Party members; it will be fairly graphic ("Uuurghh"). Good will triumph over Evil, and there's a dog also called "Ann" which will  survive. Raoul, in the meantime, who looks like Benedict Cumberbatch, will fall more and more in love with Ann until she saves his life and they live happily ever after. Stay tuned.

Oct 25, 2013

There's some galactic metaphysics at work...


The Mercedes ML 270 CDI

Yes, we're doing some maintenance work on the house, a friend of Chang was flown in from Korea to help us. And, as you may have noticed on other occasions, it's almost impossible not to find a pretext for dropping yet another quote from the Green Eyes so here it is, the quote, from Chapter 35, Two visible spots:

Godehart is not at home, we'll descend to the basement where Alice grabs three oils on canvas without much ado, although "grabs" is not the right word since there are too many paintings to choose from, not only dotted ones (several racks are filled with plain gray canvas-squares, other racks contain large French flags, or German ones, give and take a color here and there), plus, the paintings are large and require the input of two reasonably agile men. They barely fit into the truck, we have to lower the rear seats, but—as you may have observed on other occasions—there's a galactic metaphysics at work in that it’s almost impossible not to fit anything into an aging Mercedes ML.

When we arrive at the FedEx outfit in Lewes, the situation has changed significantly. Alice is in trouble now maintaining her anger—let’s throw in a really tasteless, and completely misleading analogy here, think of maintaining an erection during a faculty meeting at my hippocampus—Alice is in trouble, there are credibility problems with her indignation, and you only have to look at Alex to understand why. Save for his eyes, Alex has disappeared. While Alice negotiates the FedEx bureaucracy, Alex is standing next to her, but not like Ben. A ghost is standing there, his hands folded behind his back, and you can sense, feel, undergo how he's forcing himself to stay in place. Women are usually more sensitive than men, and Alice is very sensitive indeed, she has trouble getting her act together now with Alex in this state.

(Done)

Oct 20, 2013

It doesn't quite make sense

We're throwing a lot of books away at the moment, and it looks a bit like this:

René Capone: Passages

Including the dogs, actually, since we have to take care of three pooches belonging to neighbors. We need space on the shelves for the research of Part II (of the Green Eyes), which is getting more and more involved, the research, black voices, pageants, Sherlock Holmes, amnesia aftermath, disturbed youth, Romeo and Juliet, End of the World...and Peggy Noonan, what's her statue going to say on the voice loop, something about "yard signs in Florida"....?

Oct 17, 2013

Off the cliff

We've been discussing this with Glenn and others since a while: the American Right, we argued, is still fighting the issues of the 1861 secession; the trenches of the culture wars are more or less aligned with the Mason-Dixon line. And here's the latest from Frank Rich, the world's leading we-told-you-so artiste, to say it so much more succinctly than we could.

(Follow the link and read the whole piece, our Rich-quote here is just a pretext to hawk yet another fragment from the Green Eyes. First Rich:)

"Implicit in this bipartisan gallows humor was an assumption shared by most of those listening: The non-legislating legislators responsible for the crisis [the Right Wing of the Republican Party in the American Congress] are a lunatic fringe — pariahs in the country at large and outliers even in their own party. They’re “a small faction of Republicans who represent an even smaller fraction of Americans,” as the former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau put it in the Daily Beast. By this line of reasoning, all that kept them afloat was their possession of just enough votes in their divided chamber to hold the rest of America temporarily hostage to their incendiary demands.

"Let's meet in the middle."


Oct 15, 2013

More or less --- read all about it

You've probably seen this, on Amazon, the opening lines of a book description, next to the image of the book cover with a Read more link underneath that yields a few more lines when clicked. So you click and read the rest of the description, perhaps 15 lines in total. And when you've reached the end, the end of the text, there's another link, which says...
"Read less"


(Just trying)

Oct 14, 2013

"Looks like someone out of Kenya" --- the Tea Party protesting at the White House during the weekend



And while we are at it, here's a fitting fragment from the Green Eyes, Ch. 27: I'll charge 100 dollars but am willing to negotiate:


"We're dressed, ready to roll, Ben's got hold of an inch of the fliers, how do we get hold of my father? He has a cell-phone, right? Let's hope he’s not behind on the payments. Technology works, so I tell my father my truck is broken, I need to borrow his car, right now, to drive a friend to the Greyhound terminal in Ocean View. I'll be at the parking lot in two minutes. As we exit the main entrance his back is turned to us, he's expecting us coming down the ramp, he isn't even aware we're coming from upstairs. I won't call him out of course, from behind, or touch his shoulder, I never touch him, save sometimes on the third day, when I throw him out. So I just walk around him in a semi-circle, perimeter of 20 feet, Ben-John next to me, Ben proudly holding his stack of fliers, grinning. Let a little mystery prevail. Ben is born in Kenya, right? I just extend my hand, say nothing, until it holds the car keys, hand father the apartment key (the spare one, of whose existence he's unaware) we get into his crappy, reddish, dirty, misparked Chevy, Ben waves with his hands to my father, still holding the fliers. We've not said hello, we've not said goodbye, we're good." 


Oct 12, 2013

It's cold outside


A tiny reptile (I think it's a salamander, not a lizard (Jacki, what's your take on this?)) on the inside of the widow pane of the bedroom, before sunrise. Real tiny, tinier than it looks on the picture, with large, bulgy peepers, eying me suspiciously as I take the shot. Coldest morning so far this autumn.

Update: I's a gecko, Jacki and Muad write in unison! (Thanks, Ladies!) And then Maud adds ominously in her email: "You're lucky, you don't have cats." It's a Hobbesian world out there, folks, even on a Sunday morning (at least higher up the hill, where Maud lives).