I never gave up hope...

Monkey! I knew that I would hear from you again. Our bond is strong. Even across oceans, I believe we have that magic still. Something noone can deny.

Yet, what am I saying, words cannot express my happiness at having found you again. Your face may have changed, but my feelings... never.

Here is a song that expresses how I feel...

Welcome back, ASM!


Livin' in the KKTC

Lefkoşa, KKTC

Jew? Where are you? What's happened to your side of things? Did you give up on me?

I don't know if it's even a good idea to talk about this. I mean... what's happened to me.... and what happened to Heidi...
You will notice that I am a much changed man, Jew. Let's just say, after running afoul of the Austrian milch mafia, my dapper and statesmanlike mien had become a liability. Fortunately, Petey knew a reall good plastic surgeon here in Northern Cyprus. Jenny and I were able to hoe the barque down the Danube to Turnu Severin, where friends of Irina accepted 50 euros from each of us to drive us down to Thessaloniki in their mititei delivery van.

At Thessalonki, Irina's friends helped us stow away on a cruise ship headed for Antalya. Boy, that was an unpleasant trip. I came down with trichinousisf rom snakcing on the raw mititei in the Zalinescu's van, but Jenny never let go of my hand, even as I shed 18 pounds -- moost of those gained from a surabundanceo f Vienneses Sachertorte... which I guess doesn't make it that bad -- while consuming a strict liquid diet of the airplane bottles of Ouzo whcih Jenny was somewhow able to obtain from the ship's bartender, Isaak. Any was, once we got to Lefkosa, Dr. Avci was able to eliminate the infection while completing the reconstruction of my face.

From Antalya, we bought a couple of bus tickets to Mersin, eating only hard-boiled eggs and black olives while watching some kind of movie about vampires fighting werewovles, but dubbed into Turkish. It was all very strange, but in a somewhat poignant sort of way. Mersin, anotherr 200 euros got us place on a fishing boat bound for Girne. Jenny and I lay aboard under the full moon surrounded by nets full of mezit and levrek.

We whispered of alife of stopping running, of fishing tranquilly along the coast of Bilbao, of preparing our favorite recipes for each other, one day schnitzel, another day bouillabaisse. Sitting on the terrasse of a dusty T1 of T2, quizzing each other on whether we were "the mother" or "the mistress" according to the latest issue of Elle's criteria. I talked a bit about you, LIJ. Of houw I wanted Jenny to meet you one day -- that is, if we could every clear our names. I'm sure you'd get along great!

We arrived at Girne as the sun was just poking above the horizon, Jenny's hand warm and moist in my grasp. The flies had begun to amass and their bites stirred me from the sweet loukoum dreams of yesterday. Once I had shaken the stiffness out of my legs, I helped our hosts build an improvised brazier on the quai of the fishing port. We improvised a copious breakfast of grilled mezit, tomatoes, and a modling block of kasar peynir that had begun to stink more than the boat -- hell, what am I saying, more than I, myself, di.

Thus sated, Jenny and I began to make our way on foot across the countryside, relying on the renowned hosptiality of the Turkish Cypriots. As we approached Lefkosa, I unfolded one more time the crumpled SPAR receipt on which Pete had scrawled the address of Dr. Avci. It's been almost 6 months since I first stepped into his office. I first saw my face without the bandages shortly after I heard the news of the election. Jenny and I made custard for our hosts in order to celebrate.

Yes, I am staying in safety with certain people whose names I cannot mention for obvious reasons. Again, Irina has been very helpful in connecting us with some of her more esotreric networks who, for whatever reason, understand more than you or I about how to make as if some people don't exist. Some days, Jenny and I will go out into Lefkosa, or take a road trip to Gazimagusa, just to pretend that we're leading normal lives. Right now, I'm in a cybercafe in the capital. I don't want to say anymore for fear of compromising my hosts. As you may be able to tell from the picture, I am putting on some weight, perhaps not so much the bountiful generosity of our hosts as the constraints on our activity occassioned by our fugitive status.

In fact, the only reason I am able to say anything right now -- I just got a telegram from Pete. The capture of Laurent Nkunda has actually gotten him out of the sticky mess he's been in, due to the massive debt he had run up with certain elements of the Viennese underworld trafficking in Belgian chocolates and sachertorte on behalf of the Congolese rebels. They say that Nkunda might talk. That might be a good thing for Pete -- Heck, maybe even for Jenny and me -- but only time will tell...

G_d forgive us all!


Wasilla = Tikrit?

Reading about Sarah Palin, in today's New York Times, I couldn't help but get the feeling that this could be the story of any ruling clan in an Arab Petro-dictatorship. Really, the home-town cabal, sham integrity, and personal ruthlessness are Baath-rific, but without the secularism...

Certainly, that would give more context to SP's bizarre "That's the beauty of Democracy, Charlie" response on ABC... It was the winking rumination upon popular rule typical of the charismatic, strongman who regularly has to sit down with journalists and put on some window dressing.


Have Message, Will Win

I didn't want a "Fighter" back in the primaries, why would I want one now?
Few hysterical Democrats have recognized in Barack Obama's strategy to counter the McCain campaign's Gothic distractions the sage composure of another of America's favorite, vaguely foreign gurus:

Did you notice how they're dancing in the end? That could be the American people...


People who love me today

Grape Nuts cereal.

The new Website promoting Grape Nuts is one of the most fascinating and enjoyable interactive installation pieces I have experienced in my brief existence. The young man who insists that he lives in the Website has a poignant quality about him, and yet there is also something transcendent about his ability to deliver an oral history of the genesis of Grape Nuts. This is more than an ad campaign; it is a philosophy.

Importantly, you will finally get the answer to the age old question: "Why are their neither grapes nor nuts in Grape Nuts cereal?"

Still, those of you trying to figure out how to avoid confusing your Swheat Scoop kitty litter with your cereal (Again!) will find the site wanting.

My Mother.


Bryan Adams, stop the Love Train or someone will get hurt!

For those who really have done everything for you.


Really, you're just not that interesting

"PW daily called it a “memoir,” a word that makes my skin crawl and which apparently makes everyone else’s skin crawl, too. What is a 26 year old who hasn’t overcome an addiction or been a child soldier doing writing a MEMOIR? But it’s hard to figure out what else to call a book of autobiographical stories, I guess. That is a few too many words to fit onto a computer screen, apparently."

Monkey and I used to hold down office jobs.

As you can see, that has left Monkey an angry, brain-addled and rambling wayfarer and, as for me, I am just bitter and cling to elemental hatreds.

It has come to our attention recently, that the French National Assembly voted to effectively gut the 35-hour work week that figured among the crowning achievements of the incomparable Jospin government. Further, French employees have seen their work year take on added days. From where I sit, the prospect of more mandated office hours can only result in an explosion of time-wasting never before witnessed.

This wasted time will undoubtedly come in the perverse form of needless e-mails.

Somewhere along the way, e-mail became a substitute for work. At one point, I was paid to do things that involved, for example, knowing something about what was going on in the world. (Thank G_d that I can do it for free, now.) In fact, one of the offices I occupied -- occasionally zoning out just to make sure my screensaver still worked -- actually had a compilation of news stories with links relevant to our stock-in-trade that were sent out daily and arrived surely and conveniently in all our mailboxes. Often, we would have people with glorified titles like Something Assistant or Intern compile or summarize news stories from regional press sources so that we could have an overview with what was going on in our particular corner of the world. But, of course, being specialists in some sense of the word, we also kept abreast of our regions and sources ourselves -- after all, why work in a gray matter field if one is to remain uninterested and remain at a distance from the subject of one's predilection.

Inevitably, though, there was the brave soul who would work at home starting somewhere around 5:00 AM. This usually consisted in sending links to the office or to a particular division of important or must-read stories. Sometimes, one is tempted to indicate that one subscribes to the Washington Post -- but the spirit of cooperation precludes such earnestness. I believe it dawned on me at some point that it was perfectly acceptable and an oft practiced work habit to arrive at the office not having read the paper -- which naturally explained, I suppose, the usefulness of having someone to point out to you what you should be reading as opposed to what you want to read. What a revelation, though, to learn that it was entirely ethical to use the first couple of hours of the day to drink coffee and read the news online. How different and unscandalously divine. And -- on those days where you wanted to hit the breakfast buffet at Reeves -- why not just e-mail a couple of articles to your colleagues before 7, and then, you can step into the office guilt free at 10 or 10:30 having already finished some work for the day.

I can't say, though, that it didn't induce a cringe on those days when a helpful colleague would shoot me an e-mail linking to a story specifically about my own sub-region or whatever it was that I was doing. As if to say, "See, I could be doing your job and mine all at the same time." Although the message would always innocently query, "Did you see this?" Seriously, I should think that I can keep up on my own little patch of gray. That is, after all, why I am so paid.

But that, thankfully, is all in the past.

No frustrations with office e-mail though could have ever prepared me for the nightmare that now confronts me -- here in the ivory tower -- in the form of Listservs.

It's not like I haven't confronted Listservs before. I believe my first experience of having a stable e-mail address -- sometime shortly before the turn of the century -- was almost immediately followed by the action of subscribing to some kind of Turkistan digest. Before I knew it, I was in the midst of internecine conflicts between Turkmen and Uzbek, an overflow of flaming, retaliatory e-mails in rambling Turkish touching on the American genocide of "Turkish Redskins" in the New World -- and occasionally, the thunder clouds would break, and a glimmer of information about the Azeri opposition or an oil contract in Kazakhstan would shine through with the hypnotic iradescence of an opal. In spite of these rare gems, it did not take long to understand that a Listserv is more burden than blessing... but inertia prevents a prompt unsubscribe. Instead, I eventually dropped that e-mail address and the Turkistan digest surely kept chugging along in its infinite querelousness.

Now, in the world of "Big Grad" one is required not only to enlist in Facebook, but also to participate in various Listservs. Nothing could be more depressing. Not only that, but through some stupid notion that I'd be engaged in some sort of productive dialogue, I actually subscribed to an additional THREE Obama-based Listservs (on a digest-basis, of course; I'm not that dumb.) The result is a useless bombardment everyday reminding me of the superfluousness of Web communications.

Amidst this continuous tintinabullation the screech of my departmental Listserv stands out in terms of odiousness and self-absorption. Perhaps I would be fine if there were just a constant drone of calls-for-papers for which I am woefully un-prepared. Perhaps, the course announcements for seminars which sound tempting but could not possibly fit my schedule would settle comfortably in my knotted innards. But does anything justify the constant ringing of small-minded voices saying, essentially, "I am here."

First, there's a reason I don't subscribe to the Nation. I do not consider it to be a source that informs my particular viewpoint. But let's ignore that for now and focus on the true abuses...


I apologize. That message was intended for the person who has, since April (I inadvertently deleted all evidence dated January to March) who has sent such useless comments to the departmental listerv as:
"Congratulations, Dr. _______ indeed!!"
"thank you for sharing this article"

"great issue, ______ staff!!"

"a tasteful tribute site as well."

"Congratulations, dr. [stupid nickname]! the university of [look at how awful and stupid I am] is lucky to have you."
And he has also found the time to forward FOUR articles from the New York Times.

Seriously, every time I see his name on a Listserv e-mail I become apoplectic. And, the thing is, not ONE (OK, maybe TWO) other grad student actually abuses the Listserv in this inane, narcissistic manner. Nobody cares if you want to congratulate Abner! You know, if I knew Abner, I would probably send him a PERSONAL message or CALL HIM to offer congratulations. But you -- you insist on having the world witness your magnanimity. This serial Listserv piggy-backing ruins the usefulness of such a tool for EVERYONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You make me barf.