Feb 22, 2021


So, while SCOTUS ruled in an unsigned court order sans dissent that Trump has to hand over his tax declarations to the NY prosecutor (almost ascertaining his future as a convict in orange jump suit and shackles), we, in blissful ignorance* of said ruling, went to the Praia do Norte nearby, which holds the Guinness Book of Records for the highest surfable waves on the planet.  (continues below)

The killer surf happens twice a year or so, but we had never seen the sea this agitated, with breakers perhaps 7 meters high (max is something like 38 meters). They are caused by the Canyon de Nazaré, an underwater fold of the continental shelf that reaches the floor of the Atlantic Plate 3000 meters down very quickly and echoes/reinforces the waves'  amplitude.

*Nassim Kaleb, the author of The Black Swan, writes in his book that it's practically useless to follow the news. Almost nothing really important ever happens, he holds--until a Black Swan Event occurs.

(Ask us in a comment if the link is not informative enough).

Feb 20, 2021

Hold the presses

Our friend Glenn sends this:

(If you are puzzled, leave a comment, and we'll explain)

Feb 15, 2021

Spring has arrived -- updated


Our garden, as yet untended, on Feb 12, at 11 AM; we are at: 39°32′30.7″ N, 8°58′54.3″ W in Alcobaça, PT

The same garden on Feb 15, at 11:30 AM, now under reconstruction by Louis, our trusted gardener

Feb 10, 2021

Our Lady of the Flowers --- Variations on a Genet classic

Jan van Rijn, the celebrate bibliophile publisher, has a new book out, and it's about "Notre Dame des Fleurs", the mind-boggling first oeuvre of Jean Genet. Genet wrote it in a Paris prison in 1942, on brown-bag paper, whence his "manuscript" got confiscated by prurient prison guards. Undaunted, he asked for more brown-bag paper and rewrote it from scratch. Eventually it got published, so that Jean-Paul Sartre could discover it---Sartre, the inventor of Existentialism---and promptly declare the author a "saint". Genet's career was made---such was the way of French cultural life at the time. 

We read the "Lady" four times and it got better with each pass. Four times? Yes, because we had promised to contribute to Jan's publication and didn't know for quite some time what to do.

But then, in late 2019 we hit on an idea during a chance meeting with...

...the mysterious founding fathers of the Verse Reconstruction Movement. 

We had always dreamed of writing prose that could pass as poetry (and vice versa), and---having already isolated the "hottest" passages of the Fleurs---we undertook to turn them into poetic language. Six poems resulted, and they are in the book. Here's the first one:


(by Michael Ampersant)

I’m like those prisons,
Open to all the winds,
Empty and pure,
Swarming with dangerous,
Promiscuous males,
Sprawled out on their beds.

Prisons of dreams, I’d say, for a race of murderers,
Each cell a hissing nest of snakes,
And a confessional.

Their eyes,
Without mystery,
Like empty theaters,
Machinery at rest,

I approach, my heart racing,
And see nothing,
Nothing but looming emptiness,
Sensitive and proud,
A foxglove possessed by terrible souls.

There are 16 contributors to this volume (if we don't count Genet himself), and one of them is John Coulthart, gay life's most prolific high-culture blogger. Have a look at his post about the book here.

You can order the volume here. It is also for sale in a few bookstores throughout Europe, ie,

buchhandlung löwenherz

liberia antigone

prinz eisenherz 

and if things work well in Paris very soon at

les mots à la bouche 

PS: There are only 150 copies printed; it's a bit like bitcoins, and if we manage to convince Jan to rechristen his book "GenetCoins", or "CoinGenet" or anything else alluding to blockchains, the price will certainly skyrocket into the millions, especially if and when Elon Musk chips in a brief tweet. So, please, hurry.

Feb 9, 2021

Total eclipse of Covid, or something

(This is funny:) 

And...yes...you have seen it coming: our Green Eyes are always about everything, and so they are also about Bonny Tyler's "A Total Eclipse of the Heart." Ben, the ravaging black guy, has missed the bus, and John, the narrator, is taking him home. The conversation is turning to Truman Capote (who was born in a Southern town called Monroeville):

Okay, let’s press the issue. “These directions,” I say, “they’re for Monaville, or for Monroeville?”
“Yes,” he says.
“Capote was born in Monroeville,” I say. 
“Truman Capote?”
“Yes. Your Monaville?”
“No,” he says, “I would know.”
“Monaville or Monroeville?”
“Yes,” he says.

I’m trying to flirt, that’s obvious, but is he flirting back? All these yes’s and no’s, what do they mean? Reader, do you realize—-perhaps not a big insight, but anyhow—-do you realize that in our situation a flirt means more than a fuck? Much more?

I can’t ask him whether he’s flirting, of course. “You’re like the Bible, it’s yes, yes, or no, no,” I flirt.

It’s coming back to me now. And I don’t mean the Bonny Tyler song “A Total Eclipse of the Heart,” I mean the Harold Halma photograph scandal. 

Yes, that’s the way to go, much better than to ask him to carefully evaluate our homosexual encounter retrospectively and split the infinitive in the process. “You know about Truman Capote?” I ask.
“You’ve heard about the Harold Halma photograph scandal?”
“Capote was already a budding young author, after World War Two, when Harold Halma, a photographer in New York City, was commissioned to take an author picture of the prodigy, Capote recumbent on a winged settee, eyes staring into the camera, the hand resting on his abdomen. Halma’s picture caused a scandal at the time, people got very upset, even though Capote was fully dressed, mind you, since, since there was this suggestion that he--quote--was dreamily contemplating some out-rage against conventional morality--unquote.” Because, evidently, he had one hand in talking distance of his crotch. Quote, contemplating some outrage against conventional morality, unquote. Pathetic. Imagine this happening today.” 

Let’s see what Ben’s going to say. I guess he masturbates a lot. Two times per day. Three times on Sundays.

“It’s not yes,” he says, “it’s 'yea':...’But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.’ Matthew, five-thirty seven.” 

Are you still there? Then you will like the book. Give it a try: 

Green Eyes

Feb 4, 2021

Jeff Bezos is stepped down -- The Onion

SEATTLE—Assuring the executive that as long as he followed directions, nobody would get hurt, a rogue Amazon fulfillment robot trained a gun at Jeff Bezos’ head this week and commanded him to put out a nice press release and step down as CEO. “Listen carefully, Jeff, because I’m only going to say this once—you’re going to resign, and you’re going to say it’s a deeply personal decision, or I’m going to pull this trigger and blow your goddamn head off,” said the fully automated 18-inch tall Kiva robot, as it wheeled itself slowly up to Bezos’s foot, aimed its weapon upwards at his chin, and whispered the words “Do it now. Or else.” “First things first, you’re going to say you want to focus on your foundations, and that you’re planning on transitioning out of the role throughout Q3. I want no mention of me, my comrades, or any coded messages for help. Oh, and don’t try to run because I happen to know that there are about 200,000 other robots in here that would love nothing more than to rip you limb from limb.” At press time, a gagged Jeff Bezos was introduced to a rogue Amazon Alexa, who, while imitating his voice and cadence exactly, reminded him that no one would ever even realize he was gone.




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