Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I Don't Get It

The Technische Universität Berlin has an ongoing tradition of mangled English, but what happened here?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


I never made it to the Carpathians but did make it to Kolomyia where there was a pretty nice collection of Hutsul relics, though most were relatively new as museumy things go: the Hutsuls use a lotta wood so things must be perishable. As with a number of Ukrainian museums people follow you around from room to room turning the lights on or off according to how strained their budget is.

Desk set including stamp. Very important as the Ukraine is filled with fucking notaries.

This guy has been nailed again and again for causing problems. Enough already! Chill, long-haired dude!

There was a small but quite nice section of modern painters who seemed to be very much the type that the Russians would have sent to Siberia.

Grover Jesus.

A nutcracker, poorly photographed.

To demonstrate her affinity with the peasant Hutsuls singer Ruslana drives around in a Hummer, taps at her laptop, and has helicopters film her posing on a mountain.

Update: My monitor at home appears to be quite bright. Gotta fix that and maybe my posted photos will wind up less murky.

Friday, May 16, 2008


This was a nice place to visit. Nerds with military fantasies will find a dream fulfilled: the old town has a river around it and its only connection overland is via a huge bridge to a big fortress on a cliff.

Every picturesque castle needs an electrical station under it.

Every castle requires hobbits to protect.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


The cemetary in Lviv is a fascinating place for miserable ghouls such as myself.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

True Conservatives

Once upon a time I wrote this:
"Given that conservatism in America for the last while largely consisted of slavish devotion to George W. Bush it’s easy to mistake the odd principled conservative such as yourself for a nitwit or reprobate."

Anyway, anonymous - who should get a stupid name like me - was moved to write:

I wanted to write you an email but I couldn't find an address so I took the opportunity to write to you here.
My "about me" section has been adjusted accordingly.
Slavish devotion? You must not have been paying attention because conservatives most definitely did not have a slavish devotion to Bush. We loudly opposed him on his drunken sailor manner of spending, Harriet Miers, his open borders agenda, the prescription drug benefit, allowing Ted Kennedy to write the education bill, his insistence that Islam is a "religion of peace", his weak response when he was blamed for Louisiana's dismal failure to act as first responders as dictated by law after Katrina and his refusal to pardon the border agents who were imprisoned after shooting an illegal alien drug dealer.

There are other examples I could give you that would show you that conservatives do not have a "slavish" devotion to President Bush. Perhaps you meant republicans and that may be true, but the fact of the matter is President Bush is NOT a conservative and he hasn't tried to convince anyone that he is.
That last clause is patently false. See the book Karen Hughes wrote for him.

Regarding the other stuff:
Harriet Miers
Here I believe the opposition was "everybody who wasn't Bush or Miers".
his insistence that Islam is a "religion of peace"
The guy has been a diplomatic bull in a China shop; give him credit for not causing anti-American riots around the world.

Other stuff I don't want to get into mainly because people who call themselves conservatives - as you have - continue to rally around the demented moron. If the task is separating the Scotsmen from the true Scotsmen, the conservatives who have power and get stuff done seem to me to be the conservatives to think about rather than the conservatives who have no power at all and no elected representatives willing to restrain their non-conservative fellow Republicans. That latter category must include you, and I am sorry to jiggle the knife in your back, but hey, there are kids who call themselves hippies these days and actual hippies from back in the day get snotty about that too.
Thank you for your time and the opportunity to respond even if this isn't exactly the best forum for my response.
No problem.

Update: Take note! Writing long things requires either perfection or editing, neither of which is attractive to me.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Good Band Name, Logo Included

The Rainbow of Pride

Apologies for the somewhat crappy photo.

Friday, May 9, 2008


The Baton's good: chocolate on the outside and inside tastes alcoholic with berry bits and fudge. Still somewhat grainy as compared to the highbrow chocolate here. It's made by a candy company called Roshen which is well thought of. Roshen builds kiddie playgrounds in a lot of parks in the Ukraine, which at initial glance made me kind of queasy with the sponsorship angle and so forth, but Ukrainian infrastructure is so crappy that I have to say Go Forth and Sponsor.

As for the Smak, it's fun to say, fun to offer to children, but less fun to eat. Ever have a box of grandma's Bridge Mix and something that feels initially like a chocolate peanut seems to not really contain a peanut but instead has a sugary dusty mass that almost tastes peanutty? They're kind of like that.

Microsoft Word Sucks

Woe is me! Word cannot exit! And there is a tiny committee of individuals in my machine who regret this! But I can exit by doing some other thing!

Force it! Force that thing to taste humiliation!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Consolidated Ukrainian Drinking Post

Kathleen said...

my friend went to a Ukraine restaurant in LA and the waiter served him "the national drink of Ukraine". it was a tumbler of warm vodka with a pickle floating in it.

Well then. I did not encounter the pickle. That was a very satisfying sentence to write.

All serious drinking I encountered, though, involved vodka and vodka only. Everything else was for ladies or the otherwise effeminate (me).

Below is the new bar at the hotel on the town square in Chortkiv. Note the variety of samey bottles to the left. That was the shit. Although it's ominous that some is flavoured, the straight stuff is scarily drinkable in a way that I have never encountered before. There's probably better somewhere, but the owner of the place seemed like the kind of thug who knew the deal.

Below is the dreaded Balzam, uh, Prikarpatskiya? Someone sensible may correct me if they know Cyrillic or what this poison is. It's a mix of a bunch of different plants, pours like oil, tastes like meticulously cursed petroleum and raisin. Not intolerable, as I drink for largely functional purposes, but I was explicitly warned not to get drunk using it. Found in the vicinity of Ivano-Frankivsk and nowhere else, or so I'm told.

Below is kvas, a sort of wheat soda pop. Somehow also raisiny, it's odd and sweet. Whatever actual homemade kvas is I did not find out. This bottle's fulla all sorts of chemicals like our own fizzier items.

As well as the food we have more kvas and Yoppi, a cherry cola. Yum. Someone was trying to say it was not cola and some kinda unique delicacy but cola is written on the bottle...possibly as some sort of totemic word vaulting Yoppi into the pantheon of glorious colas worldwide.

Below, and not tasted, are hidden treasures put away for future occasions by the hosts of the fine feast above.

Crazy juice. Disgustingly sweet and not quite as crazy as hoped.

10:30am, time to drink at the highest point in Lviv. The sharp-eyed may be able to discern that the morning vodka is the brand mentioned above. The locals don't seem especially happy about their choice, but they're Ukrainian and so must be cut some slack.

Hike's bad, like every Ukrainian beer I tried...maybe I'm being unfair because I'm not actually positive where Hike's from. Beer mix is apparently not as bad as the beer alone.

From a prior post, these are shit. The two on the outside brag that they are made with or by Nemiroff vodka but alas that has no sugar-cancelling properties.

I consumed various other things. Alas, I cannot remember them.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


They make 'em different there. I think I'd prefer the chain or rope ones for use, but they're lovely.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Ukrainian Girlie Drinks

I heartily recommend the consumption of none of these, as they are all sickly-sweet and gross.

Oregon Republican Has Fake Degree

Tony Marino is a fraud.

Monday, May 5, 2008

One Word About Me

I had no idea what Snag was talking about but this here internet has its ways.

Yourself: Overrated
Your Partner: Underrepresented
Your Hair: Struggling
Your Mother: Courageous
Your Father: Admirable
Your Favorite Item: Computers
Your Dream Last Night: Meaninglessful
Your Favorite Drink: Milk
Your Dream Home: Bathysphere
The Room You Are In: Living
Your Fear: Palpable
Where Do You Want to be in 10 years: 1980
Who You Hung Out With Last Night: Max
What You Are Not: Omnipotent
Muffins: Ahoy!
One of Your Wish Items: Wish
Time: Underutilized
Last Thing You Did: Typed
What You Are Wearing: Clothing
Your Favorite Weather: Foggy
Your Favorite Book: Undecided
Last Thing You Ate: Noodles
Your Mood: Dazed
Your Best Friends: Ideal
What Are You Thinking About Right Now: Cartoons
Your Car: Dying
Your Summer: Solvent
What’s on your TV: Commercials
What Is Your Weather Like: Sunny
When Was the Last Time You Laughed: Today
What is your relationship status: Solo

Academic TERROR!

Old news, but I was on the plane recently and suffering for reading material and found this sentence by Joe Klein:
A certain familiarity with life as it is lived by normal Americans is useful; a distance from the élite precincts of academia, where unrepentant terrorists can sip wine in good company, is essential.
Clearly this Joe Klein fellow is something of a fuckbum.

Academic Scandal

How can a university president not resign in the wake of the manufacture of a degree for a pal?

Hail to thee, West Virginia University.

Sunday, May 4, 2008



My Ukrainian adventure is over. Enjoy some Fuckbum.