Monday, October 30, 2006

Verizon DSL

So, I know everyone likes to complain about bad service, but for once, I'd like to give some kudos and plaudettes for some quality service from Verizon DSL. When I first got the stuff installed, the service was great, but then is dropped off severely over the past year or so. However, it seems, they must have had a reorg or something, as I just completed a great and satisfying exchange with them. On Friday, it seems I blew out my modem. Don't know how it happened, but I suspect it had something to do with my wireless router. I didn't know what was wrong, so I just phoned tech support and believe it or not, got a person, right away. It was an Indian gentleman, and he couldn't have been more helpful. He didn't waste time, and after a couple of tries, he determined my modem was fried and transferred me to the correct person to order a new one. They told me two to three business days, and it showed up today. I plugged it in, and I am back on-line. Anyways, it was a remarkably painless service call - with the exception of the $40 for the new modem (or was it $30). Does anyone have a modem older than 4 years, because they seemed to think that was about all I could expect out of the thing?



Friday, October 27, 2006


Has anyone ever heard of the German thespian Klaus Kinski? People my age would probably best associate him as the father of the great beauty and sometimes actress Nastassja Kinski. Klaus, however, was a great actor in his own right. Some say the greatest German actor in history. Granted, it seems he made a lot of crappy movies. Some of his better ones include the Clint Eastwood flick, For a Few Dollars More, as well as a remake of the vampire movie Nosfaratu. He also apparently made three classics with famed German director Werner Herzog. All of this might be conveniently forgotten, as well as Kinski's notorious condescending attitude toward directors, volatile temper, and lavish lifestyle, if it were not for a fabulous book he wrote, called Kinski Uncut - his autobiography. Uncut apparently refers to his member, which was uncircumcised, and if you believe half of what you read -- well, let's just say he knew how to use that thing. The book starts out fairly mildly and a bit depressingly, as he apparently had a really rough childhood, that ended up with him getting drafted into the Nazi army when he was 16 and shot by the British. Well, he survives and somehow becomes obsessed with acting and grows into this phenomenal thespian. He is an artist through and through, totally dedicated to his craft, pretty much at the expense of any normalcy in his everyday life. And part of his thing is fucking chicks. I mean all sorts of chicks, here, there and everywhere, which he recounts in lurid detail in his autobiography. I mean reading this thing is like the proverbial train wreck, you want to put it down, but you keep going back to it, mainly because it's so shocking. The enthusiasm he uses to describe his exploits is infectious. Probably, needless to say, all this fucking wasn't great for his personal relationships, and he was forever have blowouts and breakups with girls and women, but quickly then finding new ones. I don't know, as I said I think this is a great book - mainly for the straightforward enthusiasm which is poured into it, even as you know this train that is Kinski is going too fast and going to be headed off the tracks. I told my friend who gave it to me that it reminded me of a Kerouac novel. Kerouac's life, however, ended much more badly than Kinski's I think... but that's all irrelevant now. If you are interested in a vulgar, intriguing, exciting, disgusting, titillating, etc. portrait of an artist, check out Kinski Uncut.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Bye-Bye Prague

The sun sets on my trip.

Say a prayer for my safe trip home.

Evening traffic on the Charles Bridge

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


So, have you ever drank absinthe before? Apparently, it's a big drink here in the Czech Republic. I think I remember Hemmingway drinking it in The Sun Also Rises. I had a couple shots tonight. Pretty interesting stuff. Supposed to be a hallucingen. You decide. Maybe only a couple shots haven't caused me to see much.

Anyway, the way you drink it, here at least, is that you put a bunch of sugar on a spoon, you dip the spoon in the absinthe, which is really high in alcohol conent, and then you light the sugar on fire. I tried this last night for the first time and thought I was going to burn the bar down. Anyway, tonight, I managed to somewhat convince five other people to come out with me for a shot, and we were more successful. We also ordered a hookah for good measure. Anyhow, after you let the spoon full of sugar burn for awhile (it looks like you basing or something), you blow it out and plunge it into your shot glass full of blue colored absinthe. You stir it around and then down it quickly. It has a strange effect. Seems to counteract the alchohol. Anyhow, I'm.. I just thought I'd tell you about that, as I had a couple shots tonight.

Cheers from Czech Republic.


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Prague Pics

On the left is the top of a church, St. James (I believe it is called) that dominates the skyline in the Old Towne section of Prague.
On the right are some wooden carved doors at the base of the Church.

This is that crazy Kahfka statue I was talking about.

On the right is another statue in the main part of O'Town.

These last two images are of the clock that sits in the main square at Old Towne. At left is the action - at every hour, those two doors on top of the clock open up and those guys come out and the figurines on the side of the clock move. Really fun stuff.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Prague Post

So, I finally made it over here to the Czech Republic and the reason I think the movie European Vacation holds up so well, is because it's based on true stuff. For example, there's a safe in the room and I've managed to lock my camera and walkman in there with no clue how to open. For example, we spend a half hour wandering around downtown looking for "Old Towne" supposedly the big tourist attraction here and nobody seemed to know where it was. Anyways, when we did find it, we had dinner in a great outdoor beer garden with heat lamps. Drank the local brew and listen to the big stone town clock chiming behind us. Lot's of great stone buildings here. Incredible old architecture.

One of the most bizzare events of the trip ocurred at Heathrow Airport in London. They made me go through immigration/customs to check one of my two carry-on bags and then when I tried to check back in told me I had to wait an hour because I was too early... anyways, nobody's interested in travel woes... but as I'm waiting this hour, I go up to a coffee shop and log onto the Internet. About a half hour later this bald guy with tattoos on his arms who had been sitting at table nearby comes up to me and says, "Mate, do you know what day it is?" "Why, it's October 16, sir," I enthusiastically reply, but not really like that. I say something along the lines of "I think it's the 16th, let me look it up." And then I do and confirm it and he's messing around with his watch. And then he says, get this, "what month is it?" What month is it? Who the fuck doesn't know what month it is? And this guy was in the airport, and he didn't look homeless. I immediately began getting suspicious, but still haven't figured out what his game was. I told him, he thanked me, seemed to set his watch, and carry on his merry way. "What month is it?"


Friday, October 06, 2006

Espresso and more

So, having a baby around the house seems to have caused me to develop an addiction to espresso. I may have to change the mindset of Ralph's Place from an alcohol-centric bar to a coffee bar. You know what would be great? An espresso/sports bar, in which you were able to accept bets on games. I'd love to have a bunch of wired people placing bets. They'd probably be smarter than drunks, however, or would they? Either way, if you just took a cut on the bets and let someone offshore handle the bookmaking... well I guess that's all illegal now, but it could be the beginnings of a plan.

Has anyone out there ever owned an espresso machine? I think I remember somebody telling me they had, but that it was very hard to make your own good espresso. Starbucks, for all the bad shit you can say about them, does make a killer espresso. My hat is off to them for that. I had about six cups of their ground French Roast, brewed here today, can you tell? and I'm still jonesing for a latte.

In addition to the espresso bar, I have this vision for a book I'm working on, which I've written about 50 rough draft "chapters" for. It basically involves the ramblings of an existensialist middle-class would-be poet like myself. Here's my latest. (My lyrical work is somewhat modeled after Jack Kerouac's Mexico City Blues, where he fancies himself a bluesman blowing his horn in a session - with his words being his riff:

My wife is pretty sexy...
I like to rub her shoulders
help her to relax.
Let out her deep breaths
Watch her chest heave up and down
feel the softness of her breasts.

We just had our third child.
A beautiful little boy
so strong and tough
but still a baby of course,
babies are tough like that
solid little monkies

Now I’m chasing my wife around the house
wanting to make love
grab her and bed her down
and all that kind of stuff

and she rebuffs me and I fight back
too soon she says
but I can see from the twinkle
that she wants it too

lovely little lady
long limbed, full-lipped
enveloping mine like a flower in full bloom
swallowing the pollen that my insect
mouth brings to her
like the good Catholics that we are.



Feeback, criticisms are appreciated.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Vikings Bills Wrap -up

Well, Dr. Dee, your Vikings and your (our) boy Brad Johnson came to life in the fourth quarter. I guess we were unjustly doubting him, based on the ugliness of the first three quarters. Like any masterful QB/field general, he was just setting the Bills up for the demoralizing last-quarter charge. Unfortunatley, his teammates weren't up to the task, as the bumbler Marcus Robinson, the guy who I said used to be real good for the Bears many years ago, stumbled and dropped a beautifully thrown bomb that should have nailed the Bills in their coffin - in a very artistic fashion, no less. Johnson was creating a work of art, a comeback masterpiece, but unfortunately for the Vikes, Robinson was not with the program....