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Sunday, October 05, 2003

K.L. and the Corvids is the most exciting thing I've heard in years. Makes me want to pick up the fiddle again...
Hmm. Wade asks why I haven't been updating this site. Couldn't remember the password? No, that's not it. I'm sure there was a good reason, but I can't remember it now. So why am I writing now? Maybe I've come full circle - it's raining again.

Wednesday, August 14, 2002

Vltava receding
It looks like the river's stopped going up and they're expecting it to start receding tonight at 15 cm per hour. Finally some good news! Old Town square has been opened up to people again, so it looks like the authorities expect the flood barriers to hold.
More pictures are available at a local site. Old Town square is still dry, but the flood barriers put up two nights ago are reported to be vibrating, meaning they could burst. If they can hold out, experts are still expecting the river to rise only for a couple more hours, which would mean it won't burst these barriers. But they're fighting the largest volume of water that's ever been recorded here, as I understand it. Parts of the city are under 7 feet of water. Our designer's apartment is now a fish tank. An otter escaped from the Prague zoo and was seen downriver. An elephant that resisted attempts to move it somewhere else was shown on TV up to its ears in the water last night and many people turned on the news to see what'd happened. They'd had to shoot it in the end. Also an old lion was put down as were other animals. But many were also saved. Really sad, since the zoo has been improving a lot and modernizing. The Lesser Quarter is under water, so really nice buildings are being ruined or already are destroyed. Anyone who knows Prague knows how horrible this all is. It could be worse and people are still hopeful. So far, the Charles Bridge is holding out.
Floods in Prague
Yes, things are pretty bad here. As of noon, the river was still cresting, though they expected it to stop yesterday afternoon. Now it's expected this afternoon. They're about to blow up a ship by the National Theater that got stuck with engine problems and couldn't go to a safe harbor downstream. It would take out a good four bridges, since it can't go under them anymore. I'll be putting pictures up here.

Thursday, August 08, 2002

GI Joe armed and dangerous
Hee hee. Here's a good one.
Translator God Alex Zucker suggests the following link to a collection of Czechoslovak matchbooks dedicated to Child Safety. Yes, Lileks has been alerted.

Wednesday, July 31, 2002

Thanks Ken!
Those that came here via Ken's site will understand why I haven't gotten much up on this thing in a while. The wedding went off well and lots of old friends happened by. Tony Ozuna was there spinning records with the irrepressible Doug Arellanes, his wife Anna and their darling daughter Joey. Simon Gray came along for the fun, as did one of the best photographers on this planet, Jeffrey Young. (His work from the wedding should be up on my album in a matter of days. It's awesome, and I'm not kidding.) Heck, we even had juggling. Anyway, thanks for the kind words, Ken. We're looking forward to the rest of our lives.

Monday, July 15, 2002

Spidla's in

So Spidla's taken over from Zeman here in Czecho. It's a relief to see Klaus out of the front pages in what we can only hope is a slow slide into irrelevancy. But that's wishful thinking and some people think he might do more damage in true opposition. The big bet with Spidla is whether he can keep a handle on public spending. So far, people aren't giving much of a chance.

Tuesday, July 09, 2002

A reader from Poznan writes to say he feels left out of the great Eastern capital race, but it's not really a sympathy play. He knows them all and gives Warsaw the lowest ranks. I have to agree. The fact that he actually stumbled onto the page is real shocker, actually. That boy is _really_ lost, was my first reaction and I'm not even going to touch the fact that he's in Poznan (it's in Poland all you non-geography heads). So Mike: Is Poznan or is it not the Cleveland of America. Or if you're from NYC, is it Trenton? Just curious, having never been there.
Someone writing like that out of the blue is sort of the opposite of what happened to me at about 2 a.m. in the Katowice train station in 1991 or so. Taking the night train from Prague to Krakow, you get spat out at the most ungodly hour into one of the grimmest scenes in all of Europe. And you have to hang out there for a couple of hours with the drunks. I was half dozing off with the background music blaring out of a little radio one of them had when the Rob McLean show was announced, and a guy calling himself me came on the air. It was a crappy pop music show in English. I sort of cowered in my seat, hoping no one would notice me. Luckily, no one did.

Thursday, July 04, 2002

Fourth o' July

Nice piece by Lileks. My only beef is that I don't see what orange juice has to do with a great country. He's taken the easy way out and said we're great because we have immigrants and 40 kinds of orange juice. Been to Germany lately? Maybe there's only five different kinds, but chances are the person who serves you will have ancestors from Turkey, the East Bloc or Africa. Same with France. And even Czecho has its warehouse shopping these days, as the Central European countries by-pass the analogue era of retail and are jumping straight into digital. It's great that shopping is so convenient and accessible for so many Americans, but it's not what makes it a great country. Which begs a question that I too will take the easy way out on...