The Rest of the Weekend

Well, visiting the cottage is never my favorite way to spend a weekend, but it wasn’t too bad.  After yesterday’s epic bike ride, we drove up in the afternoon and it was about  4 o’clock by the time we got there.

Al Pacino playing a drunk guy.  What a surprise.

Al Pacino playing a drunk guy. What a surprise.

Still stinking hot, and  all the kids  were in the pool.  A circular, above ground pool, not a lap swimming  pool.  So, we got  in.  Our kids and their 3 cousins, who for the most  part think of meas  a pool toy.  I am there  to be jumped on, strangled, dunked and other stuff they find entertaining.

The funniest moment of the weekend  was when Helena suggested they do handstands.  Patrick (8) did a perfect one, but the fact that he wasn’t wearing any swimming trunks presented a sudden, and very comical image.

Watched Harry Potter: The Philosopher’s Stone on TV, which I know well enough that it  didn’t matter that it  was in Czech.  I loved the books.  I don’t quite understand  the tremendous success of the  films.  When you see them in a foreign language you realize that for the most part it’s a lot of people cheering at sports  events and award ceremonies.  ( I exaggerate a bit.  I did like the movies.  But they are not the books.)

Today I picked a lot of cherries, some red currants, and some black currants.  I took a couple of long walks, saw some magnificent vistas of Česky Raj, startled a hare, and saw a deer running away from us through the woods.  And got beat up by the kids in the pool again.

Home again, Helena and I just went to the outdoor cinema and saw “Danny Collins” with Al Pacino.  There were parts of it I liked very much.  Helena fell asleep.

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Bike Ride

After lunch, we’re going to drive up to the cottage in Český Ráj and come back tomorrow afternoon, so I’m writing today’s blog now. The kids are already up there, and Helena and I took advantage of that fact to take a serious bike ride this morning.IMG_3702
There is a path which starts near us. Just after crossing the dam where they’re building those new ‘Dockland’ apartments (which would be super lovely if they’d somehow clean up that little backwater so it doesn’t look like the aftermath of a flood in a garbage dump. Some of them are completed, people are moving in, and you would have thought that would be job #1) the path bifurcates.
Left is past the kayaking course, the zoo and on out of Prague in the direction of Roztoky, quite a lovely ride. Right goes up into Vysočany and then keeps on going. We had heard that it loops back around and winds up in Žižkov, from where it’s a two minute coast downhill through the tunnel back to our place in Karlín, and we intended to find out.
It is, indeed, possible that it does do that, but if so, we have yet to find the way. A bit past Vysočany, near Hrdlořezy, near where we stopped for this photo, the path splits in 3 directions, and then there are several turnoffs after that. We took our best guess and carried on.
We passed some lovely homes along the creek and about the point where we asked directions there was a house where somebody actually had chickens, it was the country in the city. The couple we asked didn’t know which way to go for Žižkov, but told us we were headed for Černý Most. I thought that was kind of cool, because if the bike trail goes to Černý Most, then it goes right out of town, and you could bicycle right up to Poland without being on city streets, if you had a mind to. You’d probably need a little bike trailer for the tent and all the gear and stuff, but it would be worth it.
So, we turned back and eventually came out at a point where I knew where we were and how to get home, but part of it was on regular streets.
All in all, a pretty good morning.

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Heat

It was a hot day today, a sweltering hot day. Up until about a week ago, we were having a very moderate Summer, an extended Spring really. But today, as soon as I stepped outside, I felt the heat. I found myself looking for shady patches to walk in and hurrying through the sunny spots.
I didn’t have to go out much, though. I went to the doctor’s office this morning to get him to sign some paper that Sam needs for football camp, but he’s on vacation for the month of July. That’s right in the neighborhood. A few hours later I went to take back a library book, late, because we couldn’t find it, Sam had lent it to a friend which he ‘forgot.’ Booger.
That meant a trip into the center. Although residential neighborhoods were looking empty and somnolent, the center was as filled with tourists as ever. I do not care for this trend of people with snakes around their necks, although I guess they get enough tourists wanting pictures that they make money on it, so what can you do? To each their own.
Most of the day, though, I was at home, working on my next book of poetry. I was amazed, looking through my files, how many poems I’ve written that aren’t in any book yet. Some are crap. It will require some editing, but I expect I’ll have it ready in a week or two.
Then, Helena and I went out to see Divergent II, because they have an open air theater thing in the park, and it’s cheap and a nice thing to do, and the kids are up at the cottage with their grandparents, but there were technical difficulties. We hung around for a while, waiting, and it may have eventually happened, there was still a crowd waiting when we decided to pack it in and come home.
It’s now 11:20 at night and still hot.

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Webb’s In

Jim Webb has announced that he is running for the Democratic nomination for president. This brings the number to 4, which is approximately a dozen less than on the Republican side. However, the Democrats make up in quality what they lack in quantity.

Jim Webb

Jim Webb


Every single one of them: Clinton, Sanders, O’Malley and Webb, accept the reality of global warming, and accept the fact that the Earth is a few billion years old and the dinosaurs disappeared millions of years – over 60 million years – before man evolved. Every single one of them has a credible record of public service. During the debates, they may argue about statements made and votes recorded while they were they were mayors (Sanders and O’Malley), governor (just O’Malley), Senators (Sanders, Clinton, and Webb) or cabinet members (Clinton and Webb). They may question things the others have written in books (Clinton and Webb).
But, on the Republican side, I can think of 3 right of the bat who have never held any public office at all (Trump, Fiorina, Carson) and there are some (Rick Perry springs to mind) who I suspect are incapable of reading, much less writing, a book. Lots of them are global warming and evolution deniers and at least one of them (Christie) has a better chance of going to jail than to the White House.
So, I’m pretty confident. I’m still a Sanders fan, I want a liberal, but Webb’s entry makes it even more likely that the Democratic nomination process will be a free for all, and less likely that Hillary will waltz on in, unchallenged.
I welcome him to the race.

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Writing Goals for the Summer

Summer is well and truly here, and I don’t know what to do with it. My resolution is to write two books.
That’s not such an ambitious resolution as it sounds. One would be a collection of poetry, most of it already written. The first step on that is to go through my stuff, what’s on the computer here and there in different files, and see if I’ve got enough. If so, I’ll slap a title on it and send it off to createspace.com. If not, I’ll have to add a bit more. I’m writing an average of three or four poems a day lately, but most of them are very short, like 4 or 6 lines. That’s mostly fueled by my “Poems about Paintings” page, though, and a lot of them wouldn’t really work outside of that context.
The page has influenced my writing, though, and I think improved it. It’s also changed the motivation a bit. Start with nature (the vast majority of paintings I write about are landscapes) and proceed to some universal truth of the universe. Poetry is a way of seeking the answers, of seeking enlightenment.
The other book I would want to be a novel of some sort, and I’m racking my brain looking for an idea. Something that will just hit me and I can start writing and look up a couple hundred pages later and there you are.
I’m going to go sleep on it right now.

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For Greece

I don’t quite understand what’s happening with Greece. Yeah, I know they are having an economic crisis, and can’t repay loans, and the EU is drawing a line, like they’ve never actually done before, but once you start talking economics, you’re talking a language I don’t quite understand.

Some things will not change

Some things will not change


I hope it works out O.K. I’d like to see Greece stay in the European Union, because they are part of Europe. They are an important part of Europe. Sure, they may have fudged the figures a bit when they joined, but I expect the governments of all the other EU nations understood that at the time, and figured it would all work out.
Sure, the EU might have been a bit over ambitious, it may have expanded a bit too far a bit too fast. But still, the EU is a noble experiment and I hope its expansion continues. If Greece is out, it’s a move in the opposite direction and it will be a long time before new members are added. So I think, for its own sake, the EU should be doing everything it can to keep Greece in.
Also, I like Greece. This is the country that gave the world civilization, democracy, and the Olympics. The scientific method, also known as rational thought, comes from ancient Greece. It is the birthplace of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Homer, Democritus who discovered the atom, and Archimedes who discovered the rule that two bodies cannot occupy the same place at the same time and, realizing the brilliance of his own discovery.jumped out of the bathtub and ran naked through the streets shouting “Eureka!”
It is the country of Ouzo and Moussaka and Bazooki (sp.?) music, and men dancing in lines like Zorba.
It is a land of friendly people, relaxed meals lasting for hours, a plate of olives, a plate of sardines, a plate of bread, a carafe of wine, and nothing ever running out at the same time.
They have wonderful beaches, and sunshine most of the time. That’s not going to change, whatever happens politically.
Greece is a great country. Not everything is about money.

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Trump Gets Dumped

As a person who’s written a few sonnets (check out my book, 155 Sonnets), one of my pet peeves (right up there with people confusing to and too and writing loose when they mean lose)is people who call their poems sonnets when they are clearly not sonnets. Sometimes, they are barely poems. But, you can’t tell them anything.

In comedy news from the Republican primaries, let’s talk about Donald Trump. Never before has a candidate’s announcement of their candidacy gone so badly. It was the line about all the Mexican rapists coming across the border. Of course, Republicans say this kind of crap all the time, but Trump somehow managed to be a little bit extra offensive.trump
First, all over Mexico they are selling Donald Trump pinatas. There are all sorts of Donald Trump memes on facebook in Spanish. Five minutes into the campaign and he totally lost a major demographic.
Then, he got fired by Univision, the Spanish speaking TV station, which really wasn’t too surprising. With that, he lost his connections to a couple of beauty pageants. He’s got a hot wife, but that’s got to be a serious blow to his standard of living.
Then, he got fired by NBC. Whoops.
I guess he’ll just have to go back to being a property developer.
Instead of responding to these events with humility and apologies, he has responded with bluster and rage. Not good, Donald.
If you can’t handle Univision and NBC, you can’t really be trusted to negotiate with Putin.

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