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It's a fine line between living for the moment and being a sociopath.

Patricia B McConnell: For The Love Of A Dog.

Pema Chodron: The Places That Scare You

Daniel Wallace: Mr Sebastian & the Negro Magician

All paths lead to the same goal: to convey to others what we are. --Pablo Neruda

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Blossoms of disbelief

Late last week, I read, I can't remember where, that only 13% of Republicans in the US Congress believe that the global climate change is caused by humans.

On Saturday night, I finally watched Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth, which Flame-Haired Angel had given me for Christmas.

Sunday, as we strolled in the beautiful Parc Monceau, in Paris, the spring blossoms were out on the trees. In February. The middle of European winter.

As we walked, FHA and I discussed my one disappointment with An Inconvenient Truth. As impressive and deftly incontrovertible as it is, it fails to make one of four critical points in the case about climate crisis. Those four necessary points are:

1. Climate crisis is real.

2. Climate crisis, if unchecked, will result in disaster for you and me.

3. Man is causing (or, at a minimum, dramatically exacerbating) it.

4. Man can fix it.

Gore makes points 1-3 look like child's play. That is the movie's power. He fails completely to make the last point, however. He does show, quickly and neatly, how we can reduce our emissions to pre-1970s levels, which is good. He does not show that doing so will make things better. Which is bad. He doesn't claim that reducing emissions will slow the cooling of the planet. Nor does he make the more important claim that we can cool the planet back down.

Having been hyped into fight or flight mode -- with no option for flight from our only planet -- we need to see clearly what is the potential outcome of the fight. After spending so much of the presentation/movie convincing us that the damage is already at a catastrophic point, it isn't enough for Gore to say we can reduce our destructive pace. We need to know if we can reverse it.


Sunday, February 18, 2007

There it was. In my mouth.

We lie to our cheese monger. He’s proud, and we like him. So, we lie to him. We think he appreciates it. We’ll never know.

In a country globally famous for its food, we live in the foodie capital, gourmet central: Paris. Throughout the city, food fetishism is rampant, but it does vary in intensity from neighborhood to neighborhood. The most utilitarian Paris neighborhood is food proud but, then, on another plane, there are neighborhoods that are tantamount to paradise for sensualists: streets for sybarites bounded on both sides by institutions for the indulgent. When we arrived in Paris three years ago, we unknowingly moved in to one of the latter.

The market where we buy our vegetables is famed even among Parisians. So is the fromagerie -- the cheese shop -- on the same street, which sits behind a prodigiously quaint façade. It’s famous for the quality of its stock, but also for the expertise of its owner, a “maitre fromager”, or cheese master. He wears his reputation proudly but affably, with no hint of the arrogance with which the French are often unjustly saddled by reputation.

He is a man who greets new customers with something bordering on seduction, and regulars with nearly the intimacy of old lovers. The language of his love-making: rotted milk. Which is, after all, pretty much what cheese is: bacteria-infested dried milk, often with mold growing on it. Yet, to listen to the affectionate dialogues in a fine fromagerie, one is reminded more of amorous longing in a garden of love.

Flame-Haired Angel and I are charmed by the myriad quotidian ways the French show their affection for food. Although it might surprise those who know the French only by stereotype, this is not a people given to affectations about food. Their food talk is not fussily urbane. It is mostly straightforward, often earthy. It’s just that they know so damn much about the subject, it would be hard for them not to sound, well, expert. Even a Frenchman who isn’t the least fascinated by cheese could probably name upward of fifty types. The same is true of wine, of course, but also of things like sausage, pâté, mushrooms and bread. That’s not wanky any more than is a NASCAR fan’s knowledge of engine parts.

Flame-Haired Angel and I enjoy watching just this kind of animated discourse take place in the fromagerie. There is much pointing and tasting and encouragement and debate. With each customer. Over each choice. In America or Australia, this long, word-fuelled purchasing process might be seen as a threat to the pace of business, especially over something as simple as a bit of cheese. In France, of course, it *is* the business, and there’s nothing simple about cheese.

However much we enjoy the debate, it is only partially open to us. Oh, we are embraced by the jovial fromager, but he knows we cannot engage in the rich back-and-forth that is his trade with other customers. We didn’t grow up with four dozen different kinds of goats’ cheese, so celebrating the subtleties of a particularly fine example is lost on us. We can barely remember the basic differences between a few of them from week to week. And that’s without even considering the cow and sheep cheeses. So, he guides us with gently educational proddings, many of them remedial each visit, a little more or less encyclopedic depending on how far the line stretches out his shop door. Some things he has taught us we have nevertheless learned well. One of these lessons concerned a cheese called Époisses.

Époisses (pronounced “ay-PWOSS”) is actually a shortened, familiar version of the cheese’s proper name: Époisses de Bourgogne. Like so many French cheeses, it is named after the village in which it is made, both the place and its product having long, noble histories, involving monks and wars and other pestilence on the French countryside. Despite all, however, Époisses has been made in pretty much the same way for hundreds of years. So dear is it to the French palate, it is affectionately known as the "King of Cheeses" and is now protected by law. Screw with this cheese, and the French authorities will have your ass.

Époisses is considered noble for another reason. France, an obviously cheese-proud nation to be sure, considers Époisses a bit of a test cheese. It’s not for everybody, this Époisses. By which they mean it’s not for the faint of heart. You may think you’ve had a stinky, runny French cheese. I’m here to tell you, you don’t know the French definition of stinky and runny unless you’ve had Époisses.

Flame-Haired Angel and I like strong cheese, and we heard about Époisses early in our Paris tenure. We weren’t sure whether to take the storied extremes of the fabled thing as a beckoning invitation to new heights of cheesy pleasure, or simply as a dare. Either way, it wasn’t long before we were standing in front of our maitre fromager asking, in poor French, for “une belle Époisses”.

Knowing us a little, after weeks seeing us prostrate ourselves before his recommendations, he noted our asking for this famously challenging cheese by name.

“Ah, you know our friend the Époisses?” he asked in bemused French, cocking an eyebrow.

“No, but we’d appreciate an introduction, Monsieur,” I think I replied.

He smiled. “When is this meeting to take place?”

“Tonight. A small romantic dinner. Just the three of us,” I said, trying for a joke with my clumsy French.

“For tonight, then. This one just here,” he said, picking up a small, round wooden box, “is perfectly ripe today. Tomorrow,” his eyes flashed a little, “who knows?”

The box sat out on our marble cheese board as we prepared dinner. Almost disappointingly, it didn’t stink. To a close whiff, it gave up a fairly typically cheesy sour-milk smell, but if this was France’s ball-buster of cheeses, it was a let-down.

We were prepared to give the cheese its full due as nobility, nevertheless. After a light meal, we opened a wine chosen especially to be its partner, and we tore small pieces from a resiliently yeasty traditional baguette bought from the best artisan baker (boulanger) in our neighborhood. Only then did we lift the lid off the little round box.

Inside, filling the box plumply, was a smooth skin of the brightest, most violently fluorescent orange I’ve ever seen on a food other than Cheez Doodles. Both of us were a little taken aback. This wasn't noble livery; it was the colour of a come-on from a cheap hooker. Anything occurring naturally in that colour -- say, on a forest floor -- should be assumed deadly toxic.

It was about then, as Flame-Haired Angel and I recovered our composure from the initial visual assault by the thing we were considering putting in our mouths, that the Époisses announced itself to another of our senses. Its pong had begun to rise.

Perhaps that fragile looking cheese box offered a more effective seal than its appearance had led us to assume. Or, perhaps, at exactly the same moment we lifted the lid, the cheese, having warmed resolutely throughout dinner toward room temperature, reached nuclear critical mass. Whatever the catalyst, the contents of that little box were now filling the room with invisible fumes, as if from a mad scientist’s table-top experiment with -- from the olfactory evidence -- flaming cow assholes.

I would like to claim that the long wordless moments that followed were spent in contemplation of the bouquet of this apparently perfect specimen of French artisanship, a cheese heritage passed down through the centuries. Instead, our specimen seemed to have been rotting for centuries, and we were struck dumb with fear. For, if we were to follow this exploration through to its conclusion, that substance was going to have to pass even closer to our nostrils on its way to our mouths. The thought of what might happen once it was on our tongues was beyond imagining.

But there we were, in Paris, with the Frenchest of French cheeses, its beady orange bloat staring us down with stench. We couldn’t contemplate surrender. We would never be able to face our fathers -- English and American, respectively -- if we let the French get the better of us. Besides, hadn’t we only recently arrived from living in China? And hadn’t we, there, put all manner of stomach-turning nastiness, parading as foodstuffs, into our mouths?

Gamely, I grasped a spoon as though it was a fiery sword of righteousness with which to confront this sulphur-belching demon. Époisses, we had been warned, would make a mockery of any knife. A spoon was required, for, the moist waxy rind being a mere feint, a defensive redoubt with the texture of amphibian skin, the cheese within was pure goo. I placed the blade of the small spoon on the bulging center of the boxed noxious beast, and thrust it through the orange flesh.

It was at this moment that the true aroma of the Époisses offered itself up to us. What belched forth from within was a smell that transcended anything for which our noses had been designed by god. Only Darwinian notions about the survival of the fittest could explain why we did not immediately begin rotting on the spot, the odour eating away our flesh, face-first. If the smell of the un-pierced rind had been bovine anuses aflame, then decomposing intestinal entrails had now been heaped high on the bonfire.

An ivory-coloured liquid porcelain ooze the consistency of thick mucous flowed out and stuck aggressively to the spoon, which had become difficult to extricate from the sphincter of the cheese. I reached out, rashly, bracing two fingers of my non-spoon hand against the orange rind, peripherally noting its slimy, poison-frog-skin texture, and twisted the spoon out with the other. I half-expected the bowl of the spoon to have corroded away, but it emerged intact with a great blob of creamy effluent, which immediately began sliding down the spoon handle alarmingly toward my bare fingers. Not quick enough to grab for bread, I did the most instinctively reflexive thing: I popped the whole spoonful into my mouth. Bravery didn’t enter into it. I just wasn’t thinking.

So, there it was. In my mouth. I had only two options, both of them bad: I could swallow the unctuous cheese, committing it to my digestive system, or I could leave it on my tongue, committing it to my taste buds. I froze, unable to gather the courage required by either choice. And that’s how the Époisses came to be on my tongue long enough for my brain to begin registering its reaction. What my brain started telling me was garbled and confused, but it was obviously coming from the most unexpected place: the pleasure center.

The Époisses sat there in my mouth oozing and farting extraordinary, subtle cascades of layered flavour: creamy florals, dried fruits, foresty nuttiness, mown fields, and the clean skin of a youthful lover after a warm post-coital doze. Really. It was that good. Sublime. And only ever so faintly cow-y.

Carried away on a magic carpet of gastronomic reverie, I absent-mindedly lifted a wine glass with my non-spoon hand, brought it to my lips, and nearly passed out. My head spun, my stomach turned, my toes curled, and netherward spongy tissue shriveled. In my peripheral vision, I noticed a slimy sheen sweating on the finger tips holding the wine glass. The radioactive rind, now smeared on the glass, was spraying its stench in all directions. My brain was now in a battle with itself, torn between mouth and nose. Must eat more cheese! Must run from the cheese!

I vaulted from the table to the kitchen, threw the wine glass in the sink, disinfected my hands, and got a spoon with a longer handle. Thus armed, Flame-Haired Angel and I proceeded to scarf about half the ambrosial insides of that fetid blob, cautiously avoiding the rind, until we were well stuffed. Sated, we went through two rolls of plastic cling wrap mummifying the box before placing it carefully in the fridge with titanium tongs.

It was the next weekend before we visited the cheese shop again. Our fromager friend perked up immediately when he saw us.

“Ah! And how was your first meeting with our friend the Époisses?”

“It was truly remarkable, Monsieur.”

He looked impressed. “I am so glad I had a good ripe one for you,” he said, turning serious. “So many sell them far too young. It’s just as flavourful and sweet, of course, but the Époisses needs just a little more time to develop its true nobility, robustness and depth of, uh, character.”

Flame-Haired Angel and I looked at each other. It was possible to get all the great flavour but with less of the, uh, character?

We’ve had Époisses many, many times since then. Every time, we approach the question from our friend the maitre fromager in the same way:

“When will you be eating it?” he’ll ask.

“Uh, in about a week,” we lie, grinning in anticipation.

Behold its reddish patina,
Observe the beads of moisture on its sides,
Inhale the subtile aroma so beloved by epicures,
And you’ll agree this is a noble cheese.

Charles Patriat, 1900
Poème sur l’Epoisses (extract, translated)

For more information: The Syndicat de Defense de l'Epoisses

Our fromager is Alleosse.


Friday, February 16, 2007

Discovering your work

Waking up, these days, the thing I’m least certain about isn’t whether I’ll succeed in the new job. It isn’t whether we’ll find a life we enjoy in the U.K. And it isn’t whether we’re making the right decision in up-ending our lives again. After all, the safety nets under all these things are wide and tightly woven. Even if we chuck it all in after a year, we’ll be fine. We are risking little more than a smidge of preference for the status quo, and maybe some pride. The risk of standing still is far greater. To stand still is to be carried out backwards.

The thing I’m least certain about, the thing that sometimes won’t let me wait ‘til morning to worry about it, is whether I’m losing my soul.

What you do changes you if you do it for long enough. And what I do for more hours a week than anything else is push corporate barrow.

I am lucky in almost every way, in my job. It is financially rewarding. It is intellectually challenging. I have a good boss. Frankly, I know relatively few people who can say all three of those things as affirmatively as I can. I am fortunate.

This is not blind or dumb good fortune, I know. In addition to being blessed in whatever supernatural way, I’ve also contributed to ending up where I am now by making a series of decisions that have led me here. I only say that to emphasize a corollary point: I continue to choose to do this job every day. And it is a sound choice. The job returns to me things that I value: principally the esteem of my peers, the ego-food of being valued for being good at what I do, and -- most compelling on the mornings when I’d rather not face all that comes with corporate existence -- a rewarding salary. This last isn’t just a necessary wage; it represents the base of a secure financial future for my little family, and it enables Flame-Haired Angel to pursue her professional dreams, which are not yet self-sustaining.

That’s all pretty obvious: common, even. The trade-offs I make every day are so normal as to be entirely banal: relative security and recognition within a framework society endorses. That this trade-off is common and that it is completely rational do not prevent it from causing me continual re-examination. Recently, perhaps brought on with clichéd predictability by the approach of mid life, that re-examination has grown more intense.

There is nothing ignoble about how I have structured my life around the job I do. There is nothing bad -- and there is much good -- about the job, itself. In the big picture, I am in an industry that benefits people, providing something that people genuinely want and which -- not always the same thing -- benefits their lives.

Yet, I cannot deny that I am experiencing the most stereotypical upper-middle-class malaise imaginable. It comes, I think, at the moment when one can, for perhaps the first time, imagine that he can see the path carved for his entire future, and feels constrained by it. At that moment, he issues his plaintive cry, hoping it’s not a rhetorical question: Is this all there is?

I am grateful to be unsatisfied. It means I’ve still got perspective. It means routine and habit have not yet seduced me completely. I know that this job, with its fancy title and salary, is little more than a post pitching plumbing supplies, high tech thought they may be. I don’t belittle all the many ways in which I should exalt my good fortune at having such a fine job, but I haven’t lost track of more than one set of values by which it can be judged. So, questioning it, as the fundamental structuring element of my current life, is a good thing.

I am, however, more fond of action than contemplation, especially when the contemplation begins to loop on itself. That’s particularly frustrating when the first part of the answer is so obvious, but I can get no farther. That obvious answer: No. This isn’t all there is. What else there is, that’s up to me. So, what is that?

And that’s where I get stuck. I’m in no prison of my current choices; not even the prisons that most people like me brick themselves in to from which they are convinced there is no escape: the demands of children, big mortgages, paltry savings, rich parental expectations. I have the freedom and the will power to make other choices. What choices? That’s the question that unhinges me. The rest of my professional life is not a picture of high-tech plumbing supplies as far as the eye can see, but what is it? I have no idea.

It is that, not the numbing nature of corporate barrow-humping, that gnaws at me with the idea that I might be losing my soul. Working the white-collar production line isn’t the problem. It’s not knowing what else I would have myself do.

I have been reading a lot of Jon Katz’s books, recently: the ones about dogs. He’s partial to Border Collies, and he’s entranced by the notion of dogs and their work. That dogs, at least working breeds, need to find work and apply themselves to it in order to be at peace, is a simple notion. His interspecies conversation, spoken in the habits of his life with dogs, has convinced him that not just any work will do. It isn’t as simple as concluding that herding breeds need to herd, or hunting breeds need to hunt, or that boxers need an inexhaustible supply of squeaky toys.

In his experience across many different Border Collies, he has seen different dogs lighting up about different kinds of work. Some are, sure enough, completely addicted to herding. Others aren’t. Those that exhibit less passion or talent for herding seem to find other pursuits that they consider their work. And that is the point for the dogs, Katz believes: they are a working breed, and they are most at peace when applying themselves to their work. Discovering, with the dog, what its particular work is, well, that’s a little harder.

Reading these books, I have come to the conclusion that I do not yet know what “my work” is. I have a job. I have a career, even. I’m just not sure I’ve yet discovered my work.

I’m grateful for that way of thinking about it. The word “work” in this sense, as the idea of the kind of thing I am trying to discover, is an exact fit for a couple of reasons. First, it points to the idea that, at the end of life, we will leave behind us the results of our labour: our body of work. As it is for artists, work is both what we do, and what results from our having done it. A painter works with brushes and paint and canvases. Afterwards, her work hangs on the wall. It reminds me to ask, for a given kind of work, what will be the resulting works I leave in legacy?

Second, it crystallizes that I am not seeking a mere diversion. It’s not play I’m looking for: not a hobby or a toy or an acquisition. There’s nothing wrong with those things. I have plenty of them. They are not what’s missing. What’s missing is the realm of work into which I will put my shoulder with passion.

The danger is that work is associated with jobs. I don’t want to confuse the two. I have a job. I’m not so sure I’ve discovered my work.

There’s a cliché about the happiness of those whose passion is also their job. They’re lucky, indeed, but I’m not sure that it’s necessary that one’s work be one’s money-earner. I would think, in fact, that the confluence is rare. So many people I know who go to jobs every day consider their real work to be raising their families. I’m not that different. The most meaningful work I have, today, is loving Flame-Haired Angel. It is fulfilling and passionate work, but neither she nor I consider it enough work for a full life.

We, all of us, spend some moments in our lives wondering about work that is worthy of us. Few of us find a full measure. I’m still looking.


Sunday, February 11, 2007

The magical time before the rest of the time

(Written a couple weeks back.)

This is my second week on the job in my new role. It’s that magical time when you’re not really responsible for anything yet, and you’ve got that honeymoon during which you haven’t yet had to say “no” to anyone, so nobody resents you, your presence, your power, or your biases.

It’s that time when it’s not weird just to call peopleup and say, “Hey, I’m keen to meet you and understand what you do.” When meeting people is an end in itself. It’s a time when you can be popular just by listening to people rant – and you’d better. A time so early in your tenure that even your 90-day plan can still be a bit vague. That filling your calendar with action-item-free meetings is encouraged. It’s a time when you’re not yet tired of everyone’s shit, and they’re not yet tired of yours. A time when everything seems possible, regardless of the challenges. A time when, if you play your cards right, it just might be.

A time when learning is the point, and not just something that happens by accident when things don’t go as planned.

It’s a time when 90% of what you see is people’s potential.

When your habits aren’t yet formed, the problem set that will challenge you hasn’t hardened, and people’s habits about you haven’t hardened, either.

When remembering everybody’s name is hard, but greeting people entirely genuinely is easy.

But it’s also a time when you’re not yet contributing anything of value to the business except your smile. And, but for internally sourced confidence based on past experience, you don’t yet really know whether or not you ever will.


Saturday Night Early Valentine's Day

Just after dinner, we went for a stroll. Taking advantage of it while we can.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Euro-Gay Commuter

Before a couple of months ago, I had never heared the term “Euro-commuter”. Now, I am one: in the UK during the week, in Paris on the weekends. The train that takes me to work is the Eurostar, zipping beneath the English Channel on the way to the office on Monday mornings.

It’s temporary. Job titles move faster than contracts. Contracts move faster than house-hunting. House-hunting moves faster than relocation companies. In the interim, I am a Euro-commuter.

We cast our minds forward to the move, looking forward neither to leaving our current home, nor to the kafuffle of picking up and putting down everything in it. Not knowing where, exactly, we will live, we cannot yet look forward to it. Like getting a birthday present from someone who doesn’t know us, we are guardedly excited to find out what lies ahead. We have no idea whether it will suit us.

What you do not understand and are a little aftraid of, you mock. So, we have taken to declaring that we will decide the location of our new home solely based on the joke potential of its name. England offers long lists of possibilities. Just a few within easy striking distance of my new office:

Cockpole Green

Hurley Bottom

Crazy’s Hill

Goff’s Clump

The English don’t find these names the least bit droll. And I’m sure they don’t realize that that, in itself, puts them in the same category as folks who call happy people “gay”.

But they have history on their side. Writing this, I am sitting in a pub that has been open since 1135. Not the time, but the year. AD, not a.m. I’m kind of well-traveled but I’m still impressed both by the scope of European history, and how casually the natives interact with it. I’ve spent most of my life in places that consider the 12th Century virtually pre-historic. If they had anything built in 1135, it’d be a tourist attraction. This place, by contrast, is just a neighborhood beer joint. Even though, like, Fred Flintstone got smashed here. You know, back in the day. I think he was feeling gay.


March of the Emperor

Courtesy of Neatorama.

Friday, February 09, 2007

On the move again

Sydney. Los Angeles. Shanghai. Paris.


When we were living in Shanghai and I smelled a move coming, I anticipated trouble would follow the news. And it did, but in the opposite direction to that anticipated.

Foreshadowing to Flame-Haired Angel the possibility of being asked to move to Paris carried the real possibility I would have to hose her down. A romantic, fashion-design maven? I was so worried about the slight chance it all mightn’t come off, lest the disappointment of it all falling through crush her, that I debated with myself the possibility of not telling her until the ink was dry. But, no, I thought, best to tell her everything I know, as soon as I know it, so we can deal with the implications together, good or bad.

The good side of this was that the prospect of announcing to her we’d likely be moving to Paris made me feel like Santa Claus with a full sleigh. I’d have to keep her from jumping out of her skin with excitement. She’d be barking at the door and spinning in circles, wagging. Which is a flattering image for a dog person.

“Honey, nothing’s certain yet, so we can’t bank on it, but I’m beginning to get some indications that it’s possible we might be asked to move to Paris.”


Silence. Nothing at all.


“Oh. Well. You know, I’m just not really done with China, yet.”

I put away the hose and got out the watering can. The last thing I anticipated was that I might actually have to nurture the idea that Paris would be good.

A month or so ago, I was riding an entirely different kind of trepidation on my way home to discuss our next possible move. Fortunately, both of us had seen this one coming. I had been working on a big, industry-shaking merger for months. If I emerged still employed, that would be a good thing. The prospect of our life being unchanged was remote.

As it was, I was among the lucky, with several jobs to choose from as the newly merged company came into being. For a moment, it seemed as though an ideal job was about to be paired with the possibility of staying in Paris, but an ugly episode of last-minute, pre-merger corporate politics reduced the number of cookies in the jar by one.

So, take a good job in Paris, or a slightly better one in Blighty?

I knew Flame-Haired Angel wouldn’t want to leave Paris. And I knew there would be exactly three reasons.

First, let’s face it, Paris is a city that can conquer any amount of initial prejudice against it, and Paris had definitely worked its magic on my Angel. Second, having been married to her a few more years than when I announced our previous move, I now recognize a predilection of which I hadn’t been entirely cognizant previously. She would simply prefer to stay put. Having lived thirty-one of her first thirty-four years in one place, she had embraced roots and continuation as more valuable than novelty, which is well and good on holiday, but not necessarily desirable for home.

The third reason she wouldn’t want to leave Paris would be the most difficult to counter. As a place to live, England holds almost no appeal to her. Nor, frankly, does it to me. It’s wet, cold and grey. It’s expensive. It’s isolationist. The food’s generally crap. And the place is full of whingeing Poms.

There are good things, of course: a legion of them, including crazy extended family that air guitars on New Year’s Eve. But it would be her third international move in six years, and it would be a move away from a city, a home and a group of friends she has come to love.

This time, her reaction was exactly as anticipated. It was also warm generous and full of adaptability. So, we’re house-hunting in Berkshire, moving to perhaps the only major city in Europe that’s more expensive than Paris, and making lists of all the things we’re looking forward to about living in England:

  • Better professional prospects for stubborn non-French-speakers
  • Meat pies
  • Family in Cornwall
  • Friends in London
  • A garden, maybe
  • Great book stores
  • Quaint pubs with snugs and fireplaces

Monday, February 05, 2007

Shakespeare and Richard III: Official Wedding Portrait

The newly married Richard and Caroline O'Hagan, Saturday, January 27, 2007

Actually, she looked gorgeous. How could she not?


Sunday, February 04, 2007

When the word "fartcatcher" came into my life

Stumbling across the video below was like finding treasure.

I saw it for the first time in 2001. I saved it greedily to my hard-drive. But either the file or that drive went walkabout, at some point. I've kicked myself dozens of times, since, when I've wanted to share this vid with someone.

Then, just yesterday, it popped up during a random web walk.

One of the best pieces of self-satire ever. Made by people in the advertising industry about their lives. That they rip themselves as hard as they rip their clients is just joyful.