Friday, March 6, 2009


Photographic documentation of the mad cow invasion is an ongoing process, so check out the VACAS LOCAS link (in the column on the right) from time to time to be sure to see the most current version.

Have a cupcake

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If anyone is wondering why text entries are relatively scarce on the blog at the moment, it's partly because my friend Brad arrived from San Francisco yesterday, so I will be busy playing tour guide this weekend and for much of next week. Also because school takes 7 hours a day, and because I am a lazy blogger, to boot. I promise to try harder at the weekend.

But, for right now, it's time to head out to see "Atrapados en el Hielo" (Trapped in the Ice), the exposition about the Shackleton expedition. And maybe catch the exhibition of photos by Weejee (sp?) in the Telefónica Building down the street.

Have I mentioned how much I LOVE Madrid?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

In the apartment

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Here is a picture of the apartment. Although it is pretty IKEA-ish, it's not quite as bleakly sterile as the photo might suggest. I just uploaded a bunch of other photos of the apartment, the street of hideous lamp shops, and two new cows (yea!!) to Flickr:

I don't know who either of the people in the apartment pictures are, or if indeed they are supposed to represent actual persons.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Book Review : A Melon for Ecstasy


by John Fortune and John Wells

Quite simply the funniest book I have ever read in my life. Written as a series of letters; as the correspondence mounts, the overall message becomes hilariously clear. Never get between a man and his trees.

Starring Humphrey Mackevoy, a man who loves trees, maybe a little too much. The sudden epidemic of holes bored into local trees, all 33 inches from the ground at an angle of 15 degrees to the horizontal, has everyone in town buzzing. The authorities are outraged at such wanton vandalism, the police are on high alert, the ornithological society is ecstatic, believing that the fabulously rare crested woodpecker has returned to the British Isles. Humphrey is more concerned with occupational hazards like splinter wounds and the toxic effects of the new pesticide being sprayed on the trees.

What with the prison chaplain dedicated to making the Gospel more relevant by rewriting it as a Western (Posse from Galilee), assorted power-crazed local councillors, a sex-crazed sixteen-year-old girl desperate to get laid, and the ever-present Humphrey's Mummy, there is never a dull moment.

Given the spicy gumbo that the authors have concocted, rich with every hilarious village archetype you've ever come across, the tree-porn sections are lagniappe. A certain bewitching laburnum stirs Humphrey to flights of soft-porn eloquence:

"Lasciviously I turned my face, brushing the cold bark with my lips, and began to explore its texture with my tongue. And you couldn't stop me, my laburnum, you with your branches pinioned in the air, leaving your trunk so bare, so bare, so unprotected, so vulnerable..."

Possibly the finest epistolary novel ever written.

(Fiesta de) Despedida de Soltera

Spanish for "hen party", and extremely popular on Saturday nights in Madrid. Last night, during my random wanderings, I encountered three, and had some drunken señorita flash me her boobies from a limousine.

By reputation, hen parties are now more boisterous than stag parties, throughout Europe. I am reliably informed that the town of Kilkenny has banned hen parties in perpetuity, after a particularly notorious night of debauchery some years back, in which squads of Gárdaí had to be summoned in from neighboring towns to quell the ongoing raucousness.

Rumor has it that the republic of Slovenia is also plagued by overly rowdy prenuptial public oestrogen-fests.

More ruthless rhymes

Little Willie, mean as hell
Drowned his sister in the well.
Mother said, while drawing water,
"Gee, it's hard to raise a daughter."

Little Willie found a mirror,
Went and sucked the mercury off,
Thinking in his childish error,
It would cure his whooping cough.
At the funeral, Willie's mother
Sadly said to Mrs. Brown,
"'Twas a chilly day for Willie
When the mercury went down."

(from "Ruthless Rhymes for Heartless Homes" by Harry Graham, 1902)