Sunday, September 30, 2007


I have been struggling for the past few weeks, wondering how I was going to tell you, stalwart reader, one of my favorite Munich stories. It’s so complicated that I knew it would be difficult to convey effectively. Well, while at an underground jazz club in Prague (where I met a lovely couple from Austria who bought all of my drinks for the night), it suddenly dawned on me: I am going to tell you the ending first, and then we will go back in time (Tarantino would be proud) and see how I arrived at that ending. So, here’s what happened:

I called a gay mime at midnight and told him I was in my underwear lying in bed.

If you are not cleaning up your own bodily fluids that leaked during that outrageous burst of laughter, go back and read that sentence again: I, Matt, telephoned a mime. That’s pretty funny. He’s a gay mime. That’s hysterical. I told this gay mime that I am in my bed, alone, in my apartment, in just my skivvies. That’s damn near genius. How the hell did this happen, and more importantly, what happened afterwards? Here’s how it went down:

One day, long ago, I was strolling down the boulevard whistling a merry tune, greeting elderly ladies, and giving lollipops to eager children in sailor outfits. Twas a fine summer day indeed. Whilst meandering down the lanes, I suddenly came upon a golden man. Literally, he was made of gold. My curiosity got the best of me, so I went over to investigate, only to discover that he was a local street performer who I had seen before. Rather good, as far as Munich performers go. He is one of those “Hey, I’m a statue. Hark! A small golden coin! I am now no longer a statue, but instead I shall change my position in a mechanical looking way and surprise all of my onlookers” street performers. He was smoking a cigarette in human mode, leading me to think he was on a mime break. Since I fancy myself a charming chap, I sauntered up to him and started to chat. He speaks English. Great. He is Polish. A rather fine young fellow.

Zoom ahead about two months.

I see the mime occasionally and he gives me a knowing wink every once in a while (even whilst still in statue mode! The others never detect it. The newbies…). While with Natalie and Philipp one day (actually the day we bought lederhosen) we ran into the mime again. After chatting, we discover that he is also a bartender at night. He kindly invites us to the establishment, so we decide to exchange numbers. To give me his number, he calls my phone (A Note to the Elderly: today, we have devices called cellular telephones [hereafter referred to as “cell phone” {“cell” is short for “cellular}]. Instead of remembering all cell phone numbers, we can “store” them in the phone. To do that, we call the other phone and after their phone number pops on the “screen”, we can “store” it). We continue to exchange pleasantries for a few more minutes, and then depart.

Zoom ahead three weeks

Natalie is getting a new cell phone. Hoorah! Well, she calls me to tell me that she has a new phone (the number pops up as “unknown” as her stored number did not pop up, as she was using the new phone to call me). I am delighted to input Natalie’s new number into my cell phone as “Nat New”, but not until a few hours later. After those few hours elapsed, I went into my phone and took the last missed call, which was unknown and just a series of unknown digits, and labeled them as “Nat New”. That was incredibly easy, efficient, technological, and enjoyable. I start doing a dandy dance, tip my cap, and leap with my umbrella/parachute down a nearby chimney.

Zoom ahead about two days

Natalie calls me in a panic. Philipp was out having one too many drinks, and called her to tell her he was drunk. Mid-conversation, he stops talking and all Natalie can hear is Philipp breathing heavily on the other end. She freaks out. Is he dying! Where is he! She calls me. I tell her to calm down, he probably just fell asleep in his apartment and is gong to wake up in a few hours with nothing more than a ripping hangover. In fact, Natalie, I will call Philipp a few times tonight and see if I can wake him up. And indeed, I do just that. I call him maybe three times over the course of two hours, but he never picks up. He must be very drunk. Oh well, I am sure he is fine. I call Natalie back, to tell her that I didn’t get an answer from Philipp, but Natalie doesn’t answer. Perhaps she is talking to Philipp now! Great. I am going to watch more episodes of Lost and go to sleep.

Zoom ahead a half hour

I get a call. It’s from “Nat New”. I answer the phone with something like “What up gangsta?” or some other pithy, modern phrase. It’s not Natalie. “Oh hey Philipp!” He must be very drunk, but he is calling me to tell me that he is ok and currently snuggling next to Natalie, right? Why else would he use Natalie’s phone? He asks what I am up to. “Oh nothing, just sitting in my bed in my underwear.”

Zoom ahead a tenth of a second

Wait a sec. This isn’t Philipp. Holy shit. I recognize this voice. It’s the mime. I thought his voice sounded different! I panic. I realize it is the mime, I realize I just told him I am alone in my bed at midnight in my underwear…quickly, I try to end the conversation. He invites me over to watch Monty Python. Um, no… thanks… I have, uhh…. my period. We hang up. I sit back and reflect. Did that really just happen? Oh my god. I know what happened. When I stored what I thought was Natalie’s new number as “Nat New”, I used the last missed phone call. When Natalie called me with the new number, I didn’t miss her fucking call! I answered it! FUCK. I never miss calls, because my phone is next to me at all times. My lasted missed call was from weeks ago when the friggin mime called me to give me his number! And I didn’t call Natalie before… because “Nat New” isn’t Natalie… it’s the mime! That’s why he called me: because I called him first. I am an idiot.

I have to solve this. Let’s call Natalie. Well, she cheered up upon hearing my misadventure. She told me to call him back and explain the situation. Um, no. I am not calling the mime… ever. In fact, I need to avoid him for the rest of my life on Earth and beyond. But I can’t just let it go either. What if I see him again? I might get a sly wink and a firm, open hand slap on the behind. That can’t happen. I could never live with myself again.
I decide to text message him. Basically it said: “Hey ____ (his name), sorry dude I thought you were somebody else in our last conversation. Sorry for calling you at midnight.” Succinct and not open to debate as to whether or not I was hitting on him. Loud and clear. He sends one back in broken English saying “no problem. I cant sleep now. Watching m python now. Maybe we watch m python another time.”

My life is a joke. I hope you enjoy.

ps. The mime isn’t actually gay. I think he might be, as he showed up as a big blip on my Gaydar (come to think of it, “blip” is one of the gayest words I have ever heard). But the story is a bit funnier if you imagine he is definitely gay. I can exaggerate sometimes. Sorry.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Secret Agent Man

Whenever I am traveling (as in “the act of traveling”) I like to assume false identities. No, I don’t change my name… however cool that might be (I think I’d pick “Mathias the Shark-Eater). Instead I like to assume an exaggerated persona of some stereotypical character. For example, when I took my plane flight to Switzerland, I was the “loner journalist.” In order to truly become the LJ, I accessorized by wearing a jacket with too many pockets. LJ’s always have an unnecessarily large number of pockets. They do that in order to store important things like mini-pencils, notepads, film, and flasks of Jack Daniels. I was the red wine drinking, pocket-plentiful jacket, jeans, and boots wearing LJ who snickered at the conversations of others (I purposely let other people know that I was listening. Often times, I have found, people want their conversations to be overheard. I’m just giving the people what they want) and would periodically contort my face and quickly unsheathe a folded paper on which I would rapidly scribble indecipherable gibberish. If I was a smoker, I would have been chain smoking cheap Russian cigarettes. Basically, I gave off an aura of smugness and mystery. Imagine Indiana Jones crossed with Ernie Pyle and a touch of George Clooney.

Today, on my plane ride, I decided that I hate the people who clap when the plane lands. These people (shame on you if you are one of them) must be among the most pessimistic people on the planet, not to mention among the dumbest. First, are you friggin surprised we landed? Does the pilot need your encouragement to land the plan safely? If so, I am in the wrong airplane. Also, after a few hours of flying, I am usually pretty cranky and smelly. Don't fucking clap your hands. You make me hate you.

I need a vacation (sly wink),

Thursday, September 27, 2007


And so my journeys have brought me to Prague.

First Impression: eh.

I kind of like Munich more. Here's why: Prague is a very old city, which is fantastic. However, the old city is covered in touristy shit. All of the old buildings house restaurants or cheezy gift shops (my favorites sell those fuzzy hats and the dolls that fit inside of one another. The best part is that those are Russian and have absolutely nothing to do with Prague). It is sort of like using that antique mahagony nightstand to display your prized Batman action figure collection (complete with Batman bat-arangs, bat-grappling hooks, and "Oops, I crapped my pants" Robin).

The food is cheap, if somewhat skimpy on the portion sizes. I had leg of boar last night in a deliciously thick red wine sauce. The people (I know I'm stereotyping here) are a bit more cold and suspicious, especially compared to the Bavarians (heck, Bob Ross was a dick compared to most Bavarians). The first interaction I had with a Praguer was a cab driver. I learned, if a cab driver starts haggling the price before you even step foot in the car: warning. I could just tell this guy was not to be trusted. Forget you, cab driver, I'm walking! I get 10 feet down the road and start regretting my decision. It's raining and my feet are wet. I should have taken a cab. Dammit. I can't go back now or he will judge me. I don't want the Czech cab driver to hate me. Woe is me, and the sufferring I withstand. Matt the Martyr.

But on a serious note, I do like the city. I took a walking tour of it yesterday. Naturally, I can't help but be slightly critical of the "tour". I must say, her technique was all off. Talking to the buildings and not the people, not projecting to the people in the back.... freakin' rookie mistakes. But she was pretty cute, as far as Prague people go, so I'll give that to her. She wins. On the tour, I met a very cool American doctor named John. He is from California and just visiting some friends in Europe. He and I sort of hit it off, sharing travel stories and the like. We decided that that night we would do a Pub Crawl.

Bad idea. Well, I tried Absinthe for the first time. It's overrated. Tastes like black licorice. Did I say black licorice? I meant the Devil's butt juice. But, since it has such a stigma to it, I decided to drink it all anyway. We rocked out for quite awhile, but I decided that I had had enough partying relatviely early in the night and was in bed by 12:30.

Today, I wondered around the city: the Jewish Quarter, the Old Town, the New Town (where I am currently). Right now I am in a kind of sketchy restaurant with free wi-fi. Now that I think about it, I am kind of the sketchy guy, because I am huddled in a corner of the rather large floorspace typing away furiously while the other patrons enjoy their Mai-Tais (I, as you can imagine, am enjoying an oversized and overpriced cappoccino. My third of the day. It's what I do when I need to sit down.)

My waitress isn't good looking, but.... interesting. There is something weird. I can't figure it out. She sort of is incredibly attractive, but not really. She's ridiculously hot, but not at all. I'd hit on her, but I'll pass. I wonder what she is doing later, but I really don't care. I hope she likes the "on the outside kind of bristly on the inside musical theater" type, but I'd rather jab rusty spoons into my eyes.
What sixth sense exists inside of human beings that can unexplainably draw us towards each other for no good reason whatsoever? This happens all the time to me. I just sense something in certain people (both men and women, but not "like that" thankyouverymuch.) that draws me in. With this girl, I think it is the eyes. She has those very Eastern European/Slavic eyes that are filled with mystery (the heavy black eye-liner accentuates them). She will be in the next Bond film.

Well, I leave Prague tomorrow morning at 8:45am. Now the question is: do I wake up at 6 and go to the airport, or party like a rockstar and never go to sleep? Only time will tell!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I Got Friends in Löwe Places

Well, I made it to Prague in one piece. It was a pain in the ass to get to my hostel, so I was therefore immediately grumpy. After a brief exploration, I went to bed early and figured I will really start the next day. That's today. I'll let you know what happens.


I think that my new goal in life is to meet as many people as possible. Not just in passing, but to actually make real friends. I have always admired those special people who can just walk into any room in any given place and immediately make a friend with a complete stranger. What a talent. It shows confidence, friendliness, and personality. All my life, I have tended to be the loner in the corner whenever I was put into new and potentially intimidating surroundings. When with friends, yes, I can be quite the ham. Perhaps too much so. But not with new people. No, I tend to withdraw into my own little twisted mind. But I want to make a conscious effort from now on to be that guy who is unafraid of others. Honestly, nobody is better than anybody else. Just different. Once that is realized, then what harm is it in approaching a stranger? None! Well, that’s not true. They might think you are the “weird guy” who goes around talking to random strangers. Then they might think that I am trying to seduce/extort/proselytize them! Holy crap, what if I am the weird guy? Am I “that” guy!? I have no idea! This started out as a concerned introspective exploration and has rapidly transformed into my usual paranoia concerning the thoughts of others. Dammit.

Oh, breifly: So, I was sitting on the train on my way to Prague. I had just said goodbye to Natalie and Philipp, which was difficult as you can imagine. Just when I am comfortably sitting in my chair, laptop out, headphones on, an extremely elderly lady enters the train and asks if she may sit next to me. Naturally, I invite her to sit down. At the exact moment that her butt hits the cushion, the song “Buttons” came through my headphones. Needless to say, I quickly turned my computer off.

Monday, September 24, 2007


Can't make it out to Oktoberfest? Lean back and let me paint a picture for you:

"Half the adventure is in the journey", and the Wiesn (as the locals call it) is no exception. Attempting to make your way to the festival grounds is like squeezing through a crowd of rowdy Australians in heat; desperate for beer, food, and sex.

Actually, that is exactly what happened.

The subway system thankfully provides more than one exit for the Wiesn, but regardless, the trains are overcrowded with smelly men in Lederhosen. With my face smushed into the sweaty chest hair of a rather jovial fellow traveler, I momentarily reflect on what I am doing with my life. No matter, the journey must continue. The Fest beckons...

Once we reach the stop, I exit the train (more like I am forced to exit, being pushed out) and take my first breath of fresh air in 10 minutes. The designer of the Wiesn train stop must be a freakin genius, as once you exit the platform you must ride a long escalator up to the ground floor. Truly, it was like ascending into Heaven. The sunlight was motioning with its cheery rays "Come. Play with me. Bask in my glory." Basketh I shall. Reaching the top, I felt like Sir Edmund Hillary. However, as I entered onto the fields, I was struck by the first impression that strikes every Fest-goer immediately like a pimp with a temper:

Dude, it's a giant carnival.

The first thing you see is literally dozens of rollercoasters and ferris wheels, merry-go-rounds (not so merry with four liters in thy tummy) and haunted houses. Bright lights and children frolicking about in funny hats and painted faces. Balloons in the sky. Hot dogs and roasted almonds in eager hands. This is seriously just a giant amusment park.

Panic strikes and my heart rate accelerates: I didn't see any beer. Where's the beer? Oh dear God, I need to taste the beer. My mouth is parched and my hands are clammy. That's WRONG. My mouth needs moisture and my hands need beer stein condensation. Must... satisfy... desires....

Hark! Mayhaps the brew is located in the tents. And when I say "tents", I mean those enormous freakin' college gymnasium-esque structures with giant, majestically rotating steins and cheerful cartoon chickens sticking forks into themselves. I am no genius, but my intuition tells me that's where the beer is. Extending my arms out and dropping my jaw, I saunter zombie-like across the field in search of my prey.

Weaving through tens of thousands of people takes longer than expected. Progress is slow and exhausting, but my goal is in sight. The tent. It's called the "Hippodrom." Maybe Russell Crowe is inside slaying a heavily armed slave-demon or Charlton Heston is racing around in a chariot brandishing a Colt .45 and a sawed off.

Nope, just lots of beer.

The inside of these tents is sort of very much like a college or high school gymnasium. Wooden plank floors with picnic tables and long benches as far as the eye can see (which, by the way, is not very far as the frat brothers in front of me block my view). The band is playing German brass band music. Everybody is singing. Thousands of people singing. It is always surprising how on pitch and in key masses people are when they are in one area and heavily intoxicated (think baseball parks, Oktoberfest, men's a cappella, etc). Every single person has a beer stein in their hands and most are standing on their benches (that's kosher, but standing on tables is prohibited). Unconsciously, I wrap my fingers around a handle and can feel the thick, heavy glass resting comfortably in my hand. We were made for each other. I love you. However, looking down, there is no beer in my hand. It was an digital illusion (get it?). I must remedy this situation immediately.

I push and shove my way through crowds of people so drunk that they have lost their nationalities. They are a homogenous mix. That's right, homogenous mix. I meant that. How can that be? Well, they are all wearing different clothes, but all sound the same and are acting the same and smell the same. Beer is everywhere. In steins, on the floor, on my shirt (oh shit, some dick just spilled beer on me...).

I find a seat outside in the beer garden. A waitress (when I say "waitress" what I really mean is a dude dressed in a dress. Not that many transvetite waitresses at Oktoberfest, but I got one. Or maybe he/she was transgender? Transsexual? I am not sure of the correct name, but all I know is that he/she was very nice, had a low baritone, and wanted to give me beer. Naturally, we hit it off.) quickly spots that I lack a beer in front of me. I order one like a pro. No second glances, no repeats in English, just a knowing nod and a scribble of the pen. I lean back and hitch up my lederhosen suspenders (did I mention? I am in lederhosen. Big fucking surprise.) in complete satisfaction. So this is Oktoberfest? Not bad. Not bad at all. I have a moment with myself. I love it when I have these personal moments of complete tranquility surrounded by unchecked chaos. I would have them at frat parties as well. Just me, with my thoughts, in the middle of a swelling sea of over-intoxicated, over-sexed co-eds.

And that is about it. I met some friends at a table and had a good time. More details to come. For now, I have a lunch date. By the way, I may not be able to post for a few days as I am going to Prague for a few days. Should be fun. Ciao!


Friday, September 21, 2007

It Starts...

Tomorrow is the big day: the first day of Oktoberfest. I imagine tonight I will sit up in my bed all night, clutching my pillow in eager anticipation of the big day. I feel like I am eight years old all over again. It's like Christmas all over again, except instead of presents, I get beer! Instead of family, I get throngs of drunk Australians. Instead of the birth of Jesus, I get to see the pre-conception ceremonies of many a drunken couple. Riveting.

In other news, another guy died in China from a gaming binge. That's right, this guy died because he was so into a computer game that he neglected his... umm... life.

Am I going to Hell, because the only reason I read the article on is because I wanted to see what game he was playing. If it was Halo, alright dude, I'll cut you some slack.

Can you truly imagine it! This dude was like, "Hour 34 of World of Warcraft. I havn't eaten in three days. Basic hygiene has been abandoned. My mage is at level 23. Must keep going." I am almost tempted to say that this is an admirable display of willpower (or lack thereof). He actually ignored his hunger and fatigue in favor of electronic entertainment. Wow. I couldn't do that. They consider binge gaming an addiction in China (it really is), treatable at "internet addiction" clinics. How does rehabiliation work for these people? I imagine that they just open the windows in a room, "Fear not! This is light. That is sun. It is your friendly yellow friend. Go meet him." Then they throw a couple of beach balls outside and start playing "keep-away" from the fat kid. That always seems to join people together in a spirit of joviality.

*Reality check: I am sitting in a cafe, injecting cappoccinos into my veins, writing a smartass web entry. Seek help. And, while I am being honest, this is the video I am watching at the same time. I apologize to humanity for sharing this.*

Thursday, September 20, 2007

If I Became President, Part 2

Again, I wrote this very late at night and it is preachy. Excuse that. Enjoy:
How to deal with Iraq:
Listen. America messed up. That’s no secret. Ever since Vietnam, the US has protected its economic and security interests in the world by covertly (and sometimes not so covertly) tampering with the governments of other nations. I am talking about the Iran Contra, the Bay of Pigs invasion, the shipment of weapons to anti-Soviet Afghan fighters, the revolutions in many Latin American countries, etc. Those were short term solutions. They supposedly kept America safe from the danger of Communism. Well, now we are seeing the effects of those actions. Many countries hate us. Can you blame them? Not all the people living in these countries were bad people, and here comes the US to overthrow their government and support violent and bloody revolutions. Part of the blame for the problems we see today should lay on the CIA and other US organizations throughout the Cold War (60’s-80’s). That’s why so many people hate us. That, and the current situation in Iraq. Heck, we were pretty damn popular during the Clinton years! So, here is my solution:
Fire all the old white guys who some how convinced America that this was the right thing to do. All of those Vietnam era guys who enjoy “the game” of politics; who like scheming behind the scenes. This isn’t the Cold War. We don’t need to worry about provoking the USSR anymore. We learned that all this scheming comes back to bite you in the ass. They need to go.
We are in Iraq. Pick up any history textbook and you will see that if we leave that country right now and completely withdraw all of the troops in a short amount of time, there will be a bloody civil war. That is a fact. It might be a civil war or a war that is influenced by another outside power (Iran, anybody?), but it will occur. No questions asked. If we left quickly, there would be a power struggle for the vacuum left by the American army. To leave now would be one of the most selfish acts ever committed in history. We went into their country under false pretenses, deposed their leader (which might be the only good thing that happened there. No doubt, Saddam needed to go. That was Bush Sr.’s big mistake), destroyed their capital and killed many thousands of their innocent people. We screwed it up, and dammit, we better fix it. My plan would be to directly address those who are blowing themselves up, trying to kill American soldiers and good Iraqi people (the majority of Iraqis, for that matter). I would say, you want us to leave? We won’t leave yet. We will leave when we clean up our mess. I propose we treat Iraq like we treated Europe and Japan after WWII. The Marshall Plan called for using that most powerful American tool: Industry. Re-build Iraq using American money and American companies. Let the Iraqi’s actually supply labor. That way, they get a new, state of the art infrastructure and the dignity of building their own houses and highways. America makes money, Iraq makes money. Also, all of the bidding and contracts will be open to public scrutiny. None of this Halliburton crap. The companies that get contracts should be regulated, scrutinized, investigated, and applauded as they are going to fairly help re-build Iraq in Iraqi style. We don’t need to build American apartment buildings, but Iraqi architects can design the buildings in Iraqi fashion, with America supplying the heavy machinery and materials. We have the experience, let’s use it. It might take a long time, but heck, the Iraqi people deserve it.

...and stepping off of the soapbox

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

If I Were President, Part 1

I wrote this last night and for some reason I was in a preachy mood. Please excuse the preachy-ness. Here goes:

Here is what I would do in an ideal world:
It is hard to hear criticism of the US, as the immediate reaction is to defend our actions. I am very guilty of this. But one of the most important lessons that everybody can learn is that it is extraordinarily important to not react to different opinions or ideas with aggression. Listen to the opposite side. It is important. When one hears an idea different from one’s own, consider the new alternative and then re-assess. The worst thing one can do is get angry or defensive when a differing opinion is heard. At that moment, intellectual investigation stops and is replaced with egotistical banter. That’s why if I were President, my Cabinet would be as diverse as possible: I want the Noam Chomskys and the Ralph Naders (very liberal) along with the Bill O’Reillys and Tucker Carlsons (very conservative) in the same room. If you have an informed, well considered, fact-based opinion, and are willing to hear the opinions of others without getting angry, your opinion should be heard as well. What is the good in surrounding yourself in a room full of people who think the same as you? We don’t need advisors to parrot each other or the President, because then there is no diversity of opinions. I want to have an Advisory Board of Harvard graduates and truck drivers. Give me a room of 15 men and women who are interested in weighing options and finding solutions; who are interested in hearing an opinion that is completely opposite of their own because they are looking for the positives in other opinions so that a new, better opinion can possibly be formed. Give us a bottle of wine, a chalkboard, pens and paper, comfy chairs, snacks, good lighting, and a fine view out the window.
Some might say that that Advisory Board is Congress. That makes sense, but it has always confused me how the President is not allowed to attend sessions of Congress. We are all on the same team! Maybe that’s why I respect the British style of politics, where the Prime Minister has to actually address the representatives of the people. But, I think Congress and Parliament are too big to facilitate true intellectual debate and consideration. In a room with dozens of people, group mentalities take over an individual’s reason. Cliques form and stick together, no matter the given subject, or just vote/speak as they are instructed from above. In my Cabinet meetings, there should be times of silence in the room when everybody is individually thinking about a solution to the problem at hand. Ego must be left at the door. No political parties and no representatives of organizations: only diverse individuals tackling a problem with their intellect and reason.

What I Wish I Could Do:
Make “lobbying” illegal. I hate the idea of lobbyists. The fact that tobacco companies, the NRA, the Restaurant Owner’s Association, the Center for Happy Laughing Babies, or any group whatsoever can pay a member of the government to represent their views is completely unacceptable and is honestly only a legalized form of bribery. If the loudest voices heard are the voices of those who possess the most money, then there is something truly wrong with the system. Lobbyists can write letters expressing their views. They can even request meetings with politicians. But the moment a gift, whether that be monetary or material (baseball game tickets, a teddy bear, or a night at a strip club) is exchanged, it is illegal. That is bribery. The same goes for those running for election, and not in the government yet. I guess this falls under the category of “campaign finance reform.” Whatever.

Dismantle and destroy Guantanamo Bay detention center. It is a concentration camp, no way around that. By definition, it is a facility that detains people without trial for an indefinite amount of time. It is unfair and a human rights violation. We know the conditions are harsh. We see the pictures. Time to give those held there a trial and either imprison them or release them. If there are criminals there, detaining them will only strengthen their resolve once they leave. The purpose of this is simple: improving America’s ethics will improve America’s international reputation, which will, undoubtedly, decrease international security threats. This is addressing the cause of international threats rather than the effects. Rather than chasing and eliminating “terrorists”, we address the root of terrorism: why do some people wish to harm the US?

Tune in tomorrow, dear reader, to see how Matt single-handedly solved the entire problem in Iraq!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Tall Paul

No matter what you are doing... stop.... and watch this video. It is enlightening, entertaining, energizing, and electrifying. My boy has grown up.... way up. He can even walk in slow motion.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Bad Dream

Spooky. I had a dream last night that I died. I never die in dreams! It is kind of fuzzy (as dreams usually are) but I remember that I was voluntarily dying for some reason. I chose to die. I don't know why. But all I remember is that I was not afraid to die and that I welcomed the near martyr experience... until it was just about to happen. As I am writing this the dream is sort of coming back to me. I remember being in this dark house, sort of run down. Actually, if anybody has seen the video of Saddam Hussein being hanged (it's freakin crazy. Some guy took the video on his cell phone and it was all over the internet. I am sure you can still find it), it looked a lot like that. I was going up a stair case and then my mind started racing and I was deathly afraid. All of a sudden, I didn't want to die. I remember thinking, "I want to grow old. I want to be an old man some day." Also, I kind of remember thinking about other people like friends and family. No one in particular, just the idea that life was ending and I wouldn't see them. OH yeah, interestingly, the idea of re-incarnation went through my mind. I remember thinking that I did not want to "come back" to Earth. I wonder, did I think the thoughts that everybody who is going to die/dying thinks? Who knows. Then I woke up. Kind of a traumatic experience.

For some reason my last two posts have been rather morbid. Honestly, it is just a coincidence. I am doing great! Work, friends, leisure... It's all going great. No need to worry (mom!)
Have a nice day!

Saturday, September 15, 2007


So, I wrote the following at around 3:00am a few days ago, and I am not entirely sure what it means or what motivated me to write it. I am going to just cut and paste it. What do you make of it? Here goes:


That which makes us human. There is nothing quite like memory that lets you know you are alive. It is what allows us to survive. It is what holds us back from the unknown future. Descartes said "I think, therefore I am." I prefer, "I remember, therefore I am pretty sure I exist."
Truly, memory is living. Remembering the past is what governs every activity in our lives. Memory of what foods we can eat, what routine we follow, who are our friends, who are our family.
Love is an extension of memory. A mother loves her adult offspring because she remembers that child when he or she was an infant. She knows the child's experiences. She knows its memories. That is a powerful connection.
When I sit and think about my past relationships with girlfriends, with good friends, and old friends, I realize that, damn, that is my life. The thought! Ha! This is actually my life. It is governed by the people that I meet, but more importantly, how I remember them. What memories do I still have of them? I remember my first kiss. Most people do. That’s awesome. What a pivotal event, and it is etched forever in my memory. Yet, when I die, that memory will be lost. Nobody will know exactly what happened at the exact moment of my first kiss. That is kind of unsettling.
What will people remember you for? Where do you think you live in the memories of the people that surround you?
Wars are fought over memory. Some go on today because of it. Prof. Elukin, a professor of history, once said to me that he wishes that we did not always remember history. He said it would be helpful to have “historical amnesia” sometimes. Jews fighting Christians, French fighting Germans, etc. Sometimes it would help if we forgot the past.
How do we deal with that? That’s quite a weight to bear.

That's it. After re-reading it, I still don't quite know why I wrote it. But, heck, there it is!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Shout Out and an Homage

First of all, a shout out to all of my daily blog checkers! To all the Pauls, Dans, Moms and Dads, and various other people who read the crap I put up on here. Thanks! If, after reading the disturbing stuff that I think about on a daily basis scares you and you don't like me anymore, I understand.

Otherwise, things are still rather slow in Munich. It won't pick up again until the day right before Oktoberfest. Hey, no problem. I like it when there aren't any damn tourists around. Tourists. Christ, even the word angers me. Who do they think they are! Going to another country just to pretend that they belong there. The nerve... wait a second....

The Fest is only about a week away, and, no joke, I am shaking in my boots I am so excited. The buzz surrounding this event has reached near mythic proportions in Western Civilization. Everybody has heard of it (even if they can't point to Germany on a map). My guess is that it is going to be exactly like I imagine it in my head: Lots of overweight Bavarians (and Americans, English, and Australians) are going to be joyfully frolicking about with oversized mugs of frothy beer, singing songs in their native tongue and attempting to sing the cooler songs in German. I will be sitting, in lederhosen, at a wooden table packed with friends, food, and farts.

When I tell you that there is truly nothing like a good German beer, I am not lying. Especially a freshly brewed beer... ahh, my toes are curling in glee. No joke, I just giggled like a school girl at the lunch table. For example, a few of us went to (in my opinion) the best and most traditional beer hall in Munich yesterday (it is connected to the brewery). Ordering a half liter of Augustiner beer (that's a "small" beer around here) I took my first sip.

Truly, a troupe of cherubs began to dance a jig betwixt mine ears. Their voices carried to the hills as they sang a chorus of joyous hymns in celebration of that divine brew which at that moment passed betwixt mine accepting lips. The contrast of the pearly white foam head and the golden yellow brew mingled harmoniously atop mine inviting tongue.

Fresh, brewed-on-site beer is unlike any other beverage. It is so flavourful (I like the British spelling. Truly, it is a bit more pleasing to the eye. Let us compare: 1. "What up dude? Yeah, that Big Mac was so flavorful!" 2. "Good morrow my liege! Ah yes, that cup of earl grey [my personal favorite] was truly flavourful indeed!" It is much more elegant. This just got me to thinking: If I could create the perfect culture by mixing what we already have on Earth, what would I pick? For example, the tenacity of Americanism with the wit of the English, the diet of the Japanese, the hardiness of the Russians, and the wine of the French. Done.) that I feel as if I could chew on the beer. Honestly, it must be savoured (again) with each sip.

Well, it is only 11:40 right now and already I am having a craving for a big ol' Schweinebraten mit zwei Knoedels (um, sort of like a pork steak in a dark beer sauce, with two, ahh, kind of potato and bread dumplings whose sole purpose is to sit triumphantly in your stomach like a brick in a bath tub and to absorb every last drop of the beer gravy). I shall restrain myself.

Until we meet again,

ps. That is so my pen-name from now on. Say it out loud. Get it! I need a freakin medal or something.

pps. For those of you who are still going, What the Hell?... it is "mysteried" or... "mister reed". That's me!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The New West

Airports are like the Wild West of modernity. They are the crossroads where everybody is a stranger. Different languages proliferate. There is a definite vibe in airports.

Myself, I love them. I pretend that, in fact, I am a mysterious loner who just arrived from Dodge City. Quietly, I smoke a cigarillo in the corner (we are pretending, remember). I nod my head to the waitress. Yeah, I'll have another beer. It's what keeps me goin. Keeps me sane. Slowly I place my right hand at my side and feel the cold grip of my colt revolver. My gun. My savior. My protector. My god.

I throw a ten on the table, stand up, adjust myself, and look for my way outta this place. Gate A7. Just follow the signs. Heck. I wish it was that easy.

After a short walk, I come upon a border outpost. They check my papers (the bastards), but they ain't got shit on me. I throw them a quick look, just to make sure they aren't ready to start something with me. God help em. They have no idea who I am or what I am capable of. I pity them.

Finally, we jump into reality and the Wild West is left behind at the gates, only to be replaced by the sterility of the waiting areas. Lots of neutal colors and chairs that are arranged as efficiently as possible. Nobody really talks. It would disturb the balance. Instead, we drink free coffee out of thimbles and audibly shuffle the latest issue of The Financial Times. *Ding dong ding* The chimes announce that we are now boarding the plane from Munich to Zurich. Interestingly enough, the announcement is in English. We are travelling from Germany to Switzerland, yet the announcements are in English. That was kind of weird. Same thing happens on the plane.

The flight attendants entertain me. I love how they have to treat the passengers like children. When a passenger raises his or her hand to ask a question, the flight attendant comes by, kneels down to be at eye level (if it is a woman, she tactfully keeps her legs together while kneeling and places her hands between her knees, just to make sure), and speaks in a high pitched voice. Her hair is pulled back. I guess that makes it harder to grab when somebody throws a tantrum. Hell, they even give out juice and cookies! I want a Winnie the Pooh coloring book, dammit!
During the "Safety Instructions" (sort of like a fire drill), I shot the stewardess a smile. A "This is pretty funny. You must get a kick out of this" smile. She understood fully and returned with a smile of her own. We bonded.

I am rather sleepy. To be continued....

Sunday, September 9, 2007

LOST in Switzerland

Hey everybody, I am alive and well over in our neutral friends to the east, Switzerland. I am here visiting my cousin April, husband Carsten and baby Vivian (though not quite a baby anymore...). The plane ride over here was interesting. You see, I have been watching, religiously, the first season of LOST on DVD and have become a bit obsessive about it. Naturally, when I boarded my plane my first thought was "who am I going to get stranded on a desert island with?"

Lets look around: There is a priest in one of the first rows. Thank God (literally).
Who else? Scanning the plane, I cast my eyes to the guy sitting next to me. Oh man, its "the black guy". In typical Hollywood fashion, this guy has worked his ways up from living in a broken home in poverty stricken Oakland to a successful law career located by the blinding lights of Rodeo Drive. I need to meet this guy. Too bad. He only speaks German. So much for the Oakland story line.
How could my TV series be complete without a foxy and mysterious female lead? Luckily, both of the flight attendants were more than suitable. Can anybody smell Love Triangle! I hope not, because I dont know what that smells like. Regardless, they were hot and I was intrigued. This is perfect.
Across from me is the jaded and slightly grumpy elderly guy in the tweed coat. He had big ears. They were huge. Comedy is in the air.

And emerging from the inner depths of my imagination, we find ourselves back in reality and the continuation of my blog post...

I have not posted in a week or so due to this being a crazy time. My initial worry was that once I left Germany, I might not be able to get back in because my visa is expired (90 days in the EU and I have been here for 93 or so). Though the promise of having a cool "Let me tell you how I got deported" story was enticing, I decided against it and pursued legal measures to ensure my stay in Germany is not my last. After an hour in the "Foreigners Office" I am officially allowed to stay in Germany until the end of the month. Famous last words.... lets see if I make it back in one peice.

Otherwise, a bit of good news. The owner of the company (who is 28 and from Greenwich, CT) came on one of my tours incognito (I played stupid. I knew he was on my tour, but pretended I didnt know who he was) and enjoyed himself thoroughly. After a coffee break with him (cappoccino, naturally), he revealed that he wants me to stick with the company and train to become a City Manager. Think about it! I could be the proud owner of a capitalized title! City Manager. That sounds official. What is after City Manager? I assume "Lieutenant Commander".

Anyway, therefore I get to go back to Germany in November, except this time to Berlin. I will spend a month in Berlin, giving tours, rocking out, and learning how to become a "City Manager". After that, a few months in Paris as Co City Manager, then off to Madrid (probably) as the real deal City Manager. We shall see what happens.

Well, dinner is nearly ready. I will post again on Tuesday.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Lesson Remembered

I just remembered an important lesson that the guy sitting next to me on the plane from JFK to Dublin airport taught me:

Nothing is more important in life than your own health. Your health is more important than your family, friends... everything.

His rational was that if you do not take care of yourself, you will eventually be a burden on your family, thereby hurting them. That would be terrible. Therefore, worry about your own health, so that you may help/serve the ones you love. If that isn't motivating to eat healthy, I don't know what is!