May 31, 2014

The Valais valley today

Finally, with a week delay, here's a picture with the view from the chalet, taken today around 6 PM:

May 27, 2014

Gundulić's Dream

We really have to watch out, otherwise this blog turns into yet another Facebook page. Anyhow:
Glenn sends this picture to a few friends, including us...

(Click to enlarge)

...and writes: "Boy, those guys sure were busy back then. Is that Michael observing from the shore? His guardian angel was a snappy dresser! Maybe my bible expert could tell me about this painting."

Not bad, Glenn's guess, because, turns out---Google reverse image search---this is a reasonably famous painting by the Croatian artist Vlaho Bukovac titled Gundulić's Dream. And this Gundulić is apparently Ivan Gundulić, a fervent advocate of the Roman-Catholic counterreformation during the 17th century.

And then Sacha (the model for Jack Horn in the Green Eyes), who also got Glenn's letter, sends another picture, namely this one...

...and writes:  "Definitely Michael! More hair though!"

And then there's a mini-flurry of more emails:

"Michael needs more hairs to survive here [in Switzerland] at this moment." (Chang)
"Yes, the alpine sun is strong. Make sure he wears his hat..." (Sacha)
"I will tell him,it is cold here." (Chang)
"FDLMFAO" (Glenn)
"Is there anything you don't know?" (Glenn again).

I will teach you a lesson folks, watch out:

May 26, 2014

Time for a really bad poem (2)

Our post Time for a really bad poem is an enormous success page-view wise (possibly due to the accompanying picture (reposted below)), so here's another really bad poem with another, really baffling picture. Spoiler alert: this one doesn't rhyme (the poem).

 Unbeknownst to most film historians, the Empire's Stormtroopers often enjoyed cosplaying as WWII soldiers (Cathy Ulrich) 

Handlers of ever-lasting grief,
Veracious or ferocious,
For eternity deployed,
With all their might,
Their kingdom has come,
Until now.


Godzilla! (reblogged)

Here's a timely post from Cathy's blog Hollywood hates me, reblogged with her permission:

I wanna see the new Godzilla movie (even though we pronounce it wrong), but my daughter doesn't.

"But it's got giant monsters destroying the earth, honey! How can a small child NOT want to see that happen?"
"But it's got giant monsters destroying the earth, honey! How can a small child NOT want to see that happen?"

Sadly, pointing out that I've given up my social life for her isn't having the desired effect.

"Nuh uh. You're an antisocial nerd with a horrible personality, Mommy. You did this to yourself."
"Nuh uh. You're an antisocial nerd with a horrible personality, Mommy. You did this to yourself."

Monday matinée

Bob Bienpensant

May 25, 2014

Meet the Trabbi

We're on our way to Switzerland, getting gas (diesel, to be precise) at the gas station of the Geant mall in Mandelieu, and there's a motorcade of alike-looking cars riding up to the pump next to ours. They are all from Germany, from Cologne, to be precise. They look antique. "These are Borgwards?" I ask one of the young men descending from the conveyances. "No," he says, "these are Trabbis."

Communism lives, folks, these Trabbis (Trabants) were the Volkswagens of East Germany. They didn't have a good reputation in my days. Production was soon discontinued after the fall of the Wall. Why do you do this, I ask another of the young men. He doesn't answer.

Bürchen in Switzerland (reposted)

Milka milk chocolate, with the milk from happy cows---that was the slogan of a chocolate commercial during my youth in Germany. And there we are, in Bürchen, Switzerland, and it's true.

Near Bürchen, Bietschhorn in the background (peak in the clouds)

Bürchen is located on the southern side of the Valais valley, near the side valleys of Zermatt and Saas Fee, at 1600m altitude. The ski lift begins right in front of our settlement, the Chalet zone.

May 18, 2014

Demons (Imagine Dragons)

(Let's put it this way: we're only one year behind: this was published on May 7, 2013) 

When the days are cold
And the cards all fold
And the saints we see
Are all made of gold

When your dreams all fail
And the ones we hail
Are the worst of all
And the blood’s run stale

Dutch for beginners

May 17, 2014

San Francisco (last post) --- Neighborhood eatery

We discussed this before, the Riverside Café in two of its emanations,

(1) as a proper river-side café and
(2) as a hill-top café in Phuket town in Thailand,

"river-side" here being code for the hex value #00703C == Dartmouth Green == upmarket conversations in clipped voices at neighboring tables about Muffy who did not make partner at Overy & Allen == Chardonnay as default wine == chicken breast fillets served with sauce Hollandaise == checks that do or do not carry remarks to the effect that a 17% tip would be obligatory == and so on.

Now we're on our last day in San Francisco, we have a writer's blog after a productive morning, we hit the Castro District where old-fashioned in-your-face homosexuality is still en vogue, HIV and all, and we are on our way back home. The idea is to have dinner at the Chinese restaurant we've frequented so frequently during the last 2 months. But yesterday, on the way back to our apartment on Potrero Hill we walked past an outfit with a wooden sign saying "Neighborhood Eatery"---we were on 24th Street, between Mission an Potrero (street), a peek through the window convinced Michael that this is, in fact, a neighborhood café, and there's a person outside smoking and interrupting his cell-phone conversation and assuring us that the place is "great."

Neighborhood Eatery, interior

So, today, now, we walk along 24th Street again and I raise the subject of this "eatery" as an alternative to the Chinese restaurant. Chang, still mellow after my birthday yesterday doesn't really object but insists on studying the menu first. There's no menu outside to study, we have to enter the place---bistro layout, open kitchen, glasses, bottles, international semi-upmarket---to have a look at the menu.

"I would venture, folks, practically everywhere else in the world you eat better than in France."

The menu is incomprehensible to anybody living in France where dishes come in six or seven varieties (Steak frites, Magret de canard, Loup grillé, and so on), and (where dishes) are always accompanied by rice/potatoes/aïoli (don't ask). While we are at it: It's a well know fact that the French are the best cooks in the world, so they cook well BY DEFINITION, which means they have to make no-effort-what-so-ever-to-serve-drab-and-overpriced-fare-through-jaded-garçons-or-garçonettes who have more important things on their minds than to help their customers. I would venture, folks, practically everywhere else in the world you eat better than in France. It's Obama's fault, of course, because he's not only from Kenya, he's also French, as has been recently shown in a lengthy study from the Heritage Foundation.

May 7, 2014

Find a caption (Sacha)

Michael Ampersant, surfing the net for pictures for his blog

(Artwork by Virtues, you can order this on Fiverr for $5)

May 4, 2014

Computer science

San Francisco (15) The Warhol factory

Our title is misleading, as usual. And unfair to Warhol.

Anyhow, while we are at it: somewhere around 1966, the term Pop Art made it to Europe, and the name of its inventor, Andy Warhol. There were also pictures of the guy, and from the first picture I saw I fell in love with him, especially with his hair. Great, I thought, great, that's the hair I want. Blond, ebullient, expansive (the hair sticking out), extraneous even, subversive, inspired.

Andy Warhol: Self portrait

Andy Warhol died in 1987, in tabula, i.e., not the way you would have expected him to die after having watched too many clips of Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground (one of the productions of his factory), or of Joe Dallesandro, the hunkiest hunk ever, another one of his productions, no, he died on the operating table.

May 2, 2014

San Francisco (14) --- Connubial bliss, Nordstrom, and so on

Nordstrom on Market Street, San Francisco

Michael A. to Nick Ch. (02 May 2014 07:25:14):

...just great to be in the many ideas...this one came from some billboard for some San Francisco Law School...
“Certainly,” he says, “that’s why we are in the business of writing, isn’t it, to feel inspired, and by feeling inspired getting inspired, and by getting inspired feeling more inspired, and so on.”
“You sound like an expensive graduate course of something,” I say.

Nick Ch. to Michael A.  (02 May 2014 07:26:50 -0700):
Are you still here?


Michael A.. to Nick Ch. ( 02 May 2014 07:29:44 ):

...until May 10...

...Chang sits on the bed next to me (as we speak) and tells me he doesn't want to go back to Nordstrom (the department store) on Market Street, because he went to the toilet there which turned out to be cruising territory, and he fears the police will come next time and arrest him...

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