Monday, December 3, 2007

So I took off the last month to...

do absolutely nothing of interest to anyone. However, in case I am wrong (it does happen), the highlights included:

- An amazing Thanksgiving feast with a family that included the world's most hyper three (two, one?) year old. Sweet kid made sweeter by not being mine.

-A bonfire in rural Louisiana which featured copious booze and a smidgen of Antisemitism. But after Poland and Slovakia (where a witty lad declared himself, via graffiti, to be an "anti-anti-Fascist") I can't complain.

- The hell that is statistics.

- A recent visit to Lake Charles, a small, ruralish town in western Louisiana where people drank, smoked, fucked and laughed like there is no tomorrow. I trampled a golf course. Yay for the proletariat.

- A visit to the local art gallery. Yes, there are art galleries in the rural South.

- Hanging out at the AIDS fundraiser and in the process (of the visit, the art gallery and the fundraiser) meeting, I am fairly sure, every last gay/lesbian person in southern Louisiana. I counted on both hands.

- Possibily getting a shot at blogging the Democratic National Convention in '08 and getting my photos exhibited that same year. This is worth watching.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Whoreship the Demon Slut

Halloween here is a weeklong affair of self-conscious debauchery as the underfed, adequately nourished and grotesquely gorging gather in various outfits- many involving cross-dressing to some extent (none as terrifyingly hilarious as the muscle-bound six foot tall ballerina) and dance till dawn. A fine time was had by all including your lustful male correspondent who resisted many temptations because he is too emotional for one night stands. (Why, oh why! he cries). Halloween btw is deemed a pagan holiday which was once celebrated by witches. According to this I too worship a false god and so felt right at home.

And did anyone notice that the list calls atheism a false religion? Just sayin'....

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The three flavors of social interaction

Guy1: "Good morning."
Guy2: "Huh."
Guy1: "Can I have a muffin?"
Guy2: "Where you from?"
Guy1: "Here."
Guy2: "Hehe. No you ain't, come on."

Guy3: "How are you today?"
Guy1: "Pretty good, thanks. Nice to meet you. What's your name?"
Guy3: "That's fantastic. I was wondering if you were interested in coming to church sometime."

Guy1: "Morning."
Gal1: "Morning! I was wondering if you would like to purchase this metal doohickey for a thousand dollars." (Insert gloriously fake smile.)
Guy1: "Wow that sounds sweet. What's you name?"
Gal1: "This metal doohickey comes with a plastic whatchamacallit for only 999.99." (No smile.)

Those three cover 99% of the conversations I have most days. A fourth variety is something like this:

Guy1: "Miss, I sent you an email an ice age ago about the project that everything is riding on. Did you have time to read it?"
Gal2: "Yeah it sounds totally fine. I can't promise that it's exactly fine but it seems fineish. Totally."

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Adventures in Democracy

I like to vote just because a) I'm tourettic and enjoy touching shiny buttons and b)it's the only thing to do here for less than five bucks. Before anyone seeks my endorsement, here are some hallowed names from my electoral past:

Bradley, Nader and all the guys yesterday who lost. I can spin this I am sure. Asiatown for the other guy. First thing first, I had to register to vote. This was no easy task. The school had set up a registration table which was where I got an eyeful of the Louisiana voter registration form- where the perennial question was what religion said voter is. It seemed way retro. Anyhoo, I filled it out and pretty much forgot about it.
Elections in Louisiana are complicated affairs. Instead of primaries, everyone runs at the same time and then, if nobody gets 50%+1 vote, the top two run again in November.
Well the first round was yesterday and so about a week ago I had a notion to check up on that registration form. Much to my nonsurprise, it lay dormant. Seeing as I listed my birthplace as Foreigntown, Not USA, they asked for proof of citizenship. So I shipped off a copy of my passport. And waited. And waited.

And, three days ago, finally fed up, I trotted down to the registar who of course had no idea who I was. No matter though as the repeating, repeating and repeating of my name worked wonders. And so the lovely day came and went with a spiffy blue sticker to show for it. And all for a good cause. Who won you ask? This guy came out on top.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

tailgating

after a good swim its time for tailgating. No, I know nothing about football and no, I don't want to learn. They don't have to know tho.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Monday, September 10, 2007

aqua

I was a swimmer since I was a kid. When I was about...five I guess...I started taking swimming lessons from an Olympic medalist who, being an un-PC Commie would haul us out of the water and spank us if we didn't follow instructions. This didn't exactly endear us to him but we learned to swim anyway.

My swimming days ended in high school. H.S. was in a small, very orderly town which sandwiched the school between a mental hospital and a cemetery, thus completing the circle of life. One day, a gent who was midway between the school and the cemetery urged me, through unintelligent mumbles, to remain undressed in the locker room and join him (he was also undressed) in the shower. During this encounter his mumbles were joined by more physical, if blessedly uncoordinated overtures. I relayed this to the management and pretty much stopped swimming altogether until about this summer (oh 12 years on- cuz I'm stubborn).

However, back in Budapest I could not resist the lure of Margaret Island and the Hajos Alfred swimming pool. An outdoor pool within sight of the Buda shore, it was populated by fetching pre-geriatrics (some of whom, in a sad testament to undeserved material wealth, bulged wayyy out of their itsy bitsy yellow polka dot bikinis)and served as a reminder of the many many benefits of exercise.

Transition to the Bayou. A beautiful, warm, clean (!) outdoor swimming pool. True, it's almost never actually open, but is sure nice to look at. Yes it is.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

The thing about my station is that I don't have one

One of the most common expressions down South is "my station." As in, "this is my station in the community," or "I married above my station". My station is shorthand for who is where on the pecking order. (I have never been in a more status-conscious area.) Station is everything- it is how much you earn, where you live, who you live with, what church you belong to( and it WILL be a church), what kind of car you drive, whom you voted for- and so on and on and on to infinity. This is tied in with a particularly Southern-fried notion that nobody (of a certain station of course) has any obligations unless they feel like taking on said obligations. This is the region which protested everything from integration to taxes all under the rubric of states rights- by which they mean the right to keep on doing as they have been for hundreds of years, doing nothing much at all. What all that amounts to is that things which ought to be settled everywhere else- paying your mortgage, hiring on the basis of merit, signaling when you turn left- are viewed as optional here. If you don't want to pay your mortgage, hire minorities or be courteous to others on the road, you don't have to be and darned if anyone can make ya.

Stations are not flexible. You can't just pool together the money to buy a nice house in a gated community and join the country club. So when, oh, lets say, a foreign-born Jewish guy moves in, the very first thing everyone wants to be sure of is that he knows his station- which, being that he is new, not beholden to their mindsets and not in any way their cup of tea AT ALL, will of course be below them.

Question tho- do I have to have a station? Can't I just get a fellowship, do my doctorate and get on with people in my charmingly anti-social way? Yes, yes I can. But it will cost me untold opportunities for, as the title says, quasi reintegration.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Some random observations thus far

After the last forty eight hours I can say the following:


Once upon a time I believed that insane heat and humidity is preferable to insane heat without humidity. I am no longer sure of this.

The closest most here have ever come to meeting a Jew was Jesus and that was a long time ago.

My accent, nineteen years after moving to the States and fourteen years after becoming, nominally at least, a citizen with equal rights, still fascinates.

It also repulses, particularly white ladies.

Salt is A flavoring, not THE flavoring. Please take note. Also, salt is not a preservative. Not ideally anyways.

I will always take honest friendship over false kindness. Please do not smile at me as if I am a large, imperfectly formed piece of shit.

On that note, if you shake my hand, please take hold of my hand physically, rather than using your fingertips to hold it. On that note, please see above regarding the smile.

You are free not to shake my hand. You do not care if my day is alright, please don't bother asking. However, do your work, and do it before the next ice age.

And try not to steal from me.

In addition to a Ph.D., I am getting an education on class and race distinctions. However, despite my designation by my doctorate peers as being of a higher class and race, I am not entirely able to bring myself to give even a mouse sized shit about this.

Alcohol does not replace human interaction.

And neither does marijuana.

I miss New York. People there tell you to fuck yourself and mean it. You gotta respect that.