Monday, October 15, 2007

I just got back from Vegas.

At least I think it was Vegas, it all seems pretty hazy. I remember losing my sweater in the airport (the expensive one I bought in Copenhagen) and then a short conference, and waking up throughout the night and finishing this huge 800-page book I bought and being reduced to reading magazines about all the scary shows and weird shit that is Las Vegas, and then going back to the airport where the constant electronic plinging of the slot machines, which you can't escape, is enough to drive you crazy. Over the intercom, some guy announced "Will the person who left their false teeth and hearing aid in the men's room please come claim them, if you can hear this message..." and then later "will the person who dropped $5000 held together with a yellow rubber band please come to information where we have your yellow rubber band." Yeah, funny, right. But everyone laughed. Then I got on the red eye to Chicago, slept the whole way, landed and took a cab to my parents, where I took a shower and had a birthday brunch for my brother with the whole Chicago branch of the family. We ate, talked a bit, then I went right back to the airport where I got on yet another plane and came back to Stockholm, arriving yet again at the crack of ass. All in roughly four and a half days.

So tell me, those of you who are serious travellers, how do you do it, with all the time changes and the bad air in planes and hotels, and the trauma of going through "security" - yeah, it's necessary, but why the hell to they yammer on stridently about it being an "orange threat level," I mean, what is an orange threat level exactly and what are we supposed to do about it?

The Swedish word for the day is bortrest. It means away travelling.

- by Francis S.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Why should it surprise me that Pacifica Radio doesn't want to broadcast Allan Ginsburg reading his poem "Howl" - one of the greatest of poems in the American canon - because they are scared of being fined by the FCC.

It's all due to crackdowns since the Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction, apparently. It is amazing that despite the poem being the subject of a celebrated 1957 obscenity case, some 50 years later it is again being repressed, in effect.

Watching the U.S. from the other side of the Atlantic, I can't help wondering: What the hell is going on over there? Secret legal decisions advocating torture, no health insurance for poor kids, puritanical censorship - I understand that people aren't out in the streets demanding change - there are so many awful things happening at once it's overwhelming.

The Swedish word for the day is avsky. It means disgust.

- by Francis S.