Newly (and barely) updated in November
(You wouldn't believe how many hits this page gets! Golly, I seem to get a lot of requests from fawny-sounding coeds with named like 'missy' who tell me they found a broken link, and wondering if I still update this and how they can get their favorite links added - all for the good of their students, they say! Golly!)
There's a few things I think of from time to time; usually they seem so obvious yet for one reason or another the rest of the world (the fools!) continue to live in the dark ages. So to get this critical information out there for the good of The People in whatever form possible, I disseminate it here. No charge - it's kinda like a public service. The CIA calls it 'osint' - open source intelligence. I'll bet you'll learn a few surprising facts. So don't get me started - oh, too late, I've already started.
[the general format, really it's a little template for my updates:]TITLE:
[example:]REAL ESTATE AGENTS:
Thank you for contributing to the downfall of the economy. By the way, please refrain from putting your photos all over the place - you are all really weird looking.
[okay, here we go:]A FEW GOOD INVENTIONS I'M STILL WAITING FOR:
Macrowave freezer, etc.A JOKE I NEED TO PATENT BEFORE SOMEONE ELSE COMES UP WITH:
have been meaning to look on the web to see if the joke here i came up with on the edge of sleep some time ago was already invented, and didn't find anything. so here it is:A FEW WORDS I HAVE TO TRADEMARK:
'donaldnacht' (for the rampage of 'anti-other' violence that trump enthusiasts will go on if that mental midget & emotional cripple stuck in a 10-year old rich kid's mindset wins ... or loses).A FEW KOMPUTER THINGS I WISH WOULD GO AWAY FOREVER:
Those stupid spinning circles that are all over the web and komputers when they can't do something (another reason to stick to good old html, so you can see it), and those dumb stacks of lines that link to the actual website that apparently all websites now think is 'the way' and thus needed. Headers or menus - too old fashioned, you're so uncool, this is the future! I'm guessing that both these annoyances are heavy on i-phones, and so people are actually enthralled, blissed-out by them, since they come from their beloved, precious, dear, and meaning of like i-phones. While I'm on that, another - the dumb 'non-threatening little native people in an ecotourism forest marimbas i-phone 'ring' sound. Criminy, I used to like me some marimbas (xylophones almost as much), before this ruined it. About as bad is the dumb sampled 'ringing phone' (and its digital cutoff)... Both about as bad (or maybe nearly so) as the 'distorted and already awful pop song that's so good I have to listen to it at full volume for a while before I answer the $#@!! phone' phone ring - that's bad too.Maxims:
Just so it's on record, I wanted to state here a few universal truths I've trademarked as phrases, that I'm always observing, and which I am constantl yrepeating to others:BE MY FRIEND:
I know I am getting old and all that but the world is starting to get away from me. Now I hear all this stuff about people desperately trying to fill out their 'friends' lists on me-tube or whatever the fad website of the season is. The first time I heard somebody say i should 'join' some or another website so I could be their 'friend', well golly, I plum didn't know what the hell they was talking about 't all - especially as we were drinking beers together and talking in a bar as we did every now and then and that was enough for me, and I assumed them, and so filling out some paperwork - even if it's on a website - seems a little too ceremonial. Almost ten years later I see that this post-modern concept of 'friend' (a consumerist concept wherein 'friends' are data to be displayed as a collection of items acquired) has become quite popular, and maybe is overtaking the idea of actually hanging around with a person without any URL linking. I get, from time to time, these weird automated emails from websites that are obviously launched at the command of people who, to my old-fashioned mind, are already my actual friends (sensu traditio). So of course I delete these and think no further of them (except when writing this or when another one arrives). I also of course get the ones tat are far more sinister and are, apparently, yet another method of sending spam, or tricking people or something - that's something else I can't understand and will have to add a comment on that as well, but here we are thinking about the 'friends' as list phenomenon. Anyway, I can't think of anything more unrelated to being a person's friend than needing to register demographic data and submit to web-surfing observation by a large media corporation. And I can't understand why or how this could be interesting or useful for an actual friend of mine, unless they really are so neurotic as to think that their worth depends on how long their list of 'friends' is on this month's popular website of that variety. All this doesn't bode well for my future success in the increasingly mysterious world, I guess.THE UPPER PENINSULA BLATZ LINE:
The eastern UP and the western UP have greatly divergent beer cultures. In the west-inherited/shared/borrowed from Wisconsin and from the mid 20th century. There you can buy good, decent, normal beers like Blatz, Old Style, Leinenkugel (not the fancy shit they sell outstate, the real stuff), etc. In the east - you're stuck with the awful megabrews that one would be taught to drink by popular media: Budweiser, Michelob, Labatts (I know, but it's the same)... I am horrified to reinforce my memory, but I have seen far too many of these country type drinking - get this - 'Busch Lite'! to forget. <image of WF Buckley looking aghast at a k-mart plaza from a taxi/ > What the hell??TENT SHAPES:
After spending a lot of time in a lot of different tents while camping and working, I can say that the $#@!! $450 hilleberg akto is the worst I have experienced. The problem - even in dry weather with a breeze and all the vents open the $#@!! thing got so wet inside from condensation that it began dripping on me after a couple hours and then took hours to dry every morning. In the rain, it was worse.ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON WEB SURFING:
You are not 'going' anywhere today. You are not 'visiting' anyone 'here' (there). You're actually quite far from the site author and I have no idea you are even looking at the screen, or even that you exist, sorry. Send me an email if you need reassurance that you exist. You are not 'interactive' in any way. You are passively looking at text, pictures, and animation, occasionally buying shit by pressing some plastic mouse buttons. You are alone and probably slouching in your chair. Even if I use the word 'hello' here, it is insincere, since I don't know who sees it and when. I want decent people to feel good and relaxed, of course, but I really have no idea who you are. A revolution - now that's interactive! (1999)PECAN PIE:
I cannot believe I went most of my life without it. Now I know, and live much better these days. Ingredients should not include corn syrup, but should contain honey, nutmeg and cinnamon, real butter, and may be enhanced by *generous bourbon*.*(1999)FRYING PANS:
Cast iron is the only acceptable option, unless you have a condition which makes them too heavy (i.e., you are a wimp or over 90 years old) or you need the fast reaction of thinner materials (on a gas flame of course). If properly cared for, cast iron pans are the ultimate non-stick. I can't understand why people use those horrible Teflon "coated" pans, with their flaking layers of 'no stick'...* (2000)FLYING:Update: Recently (finally) got a wok, too: carbon steel. Excellent material for the function, gas stove critical.
From frying to flying, ha, ha ha. Don't feel bad if you accidentally kept some silverware at mealtime, because it's small and well made - good for picnics or camping. Also many have nice design. Don't go through Frankfurt/main if possible; especially if connecting transatlantic on a 747! Schipol has good shopping, especially if you go downstairs (through customs). For cheap thrills fly on an airline in the former USSR - the Tu-134 is fun plane, but the 154 is kinda crowded. Yaks are good, too. don't worry, and ignore the threads showing on the tires; the tires are actually in good shape compared to the hydraulics. **OLIVE OIL:Update: No more metal silverware on airplanes! You might stab us! Good thing I got it while I could! I wonder what happened to it all... Hmmm, will have to look on Ebay...
Only Greek oil will do, since with Italian, you don't know what you're getting. Had a favourite from California for a while, though too variable. I do like Lucini from Italy... *
records that I have (If I were 'public radio' I'd be afraid to swear, and
pester you with 'buy these!!' commands and so
Vespers (as recorded by the USSR Ministry of Culture Chamber Choir at the Smolensk Cathedral in 1986, on Melodia Records [update: also bought same recording as 'Moscow Studio Archives' records MOS18733];this record to me is the absolute apex of pleasure and beauty) [Sergei Rachmaninov], Black Market Clash [The Clash] (the original one, preferably on NuDisk but there are non-US CDs of it; just NOT the disastrously recompiled 'Super BMC'), 69 Love Songs [Magnetic Fields], If I Could See Dallas and The Sleepy Strange [Japancakes], The Future /or maybe Songs From a Room/ [Leonard Cohen], Remain in Light [Talking Heads], Telekon [Gary Numan], íÏÄÅÌØ [ïËÅÁÎ üÌØÚÉ] (Model, by the Ukrainian popgroup Okean Elzy), Nerve Net [Brian Eno], Hyacinths and Thistles [The 6ths], Live Between Us [The Tragically Hip], Bizarro /or/ George Best [The Wedding Present], Gold Mother [James], Frobisher Bay [Tamarack], this obscure cheap live cd [Merle Haggard] I bought in Canada, Out of Time [Mojave 3], 101 /or/ Violator /or/ Songs of Faith and Devotion [Depeche Mode], /any record/[Galaxie 500], the first album by [New Order], Nebraska [Bruce Springsteen], Street Hassle [Lou Reed], The Geometrid [Looper], The Ruby Sea [Thin White Rope], On the Beach [Neil Young], August and Everything After [Counting Crows], Street Legal [Bob Dylan], Here Comes the Groom [John Wesley Harding], The Trinity Sessions [Cowboy Junkies], Geogaddi [Boards of Canada], óÏÒÏË ÛÅÓÔØ or ÞÅÒÎÉÊ ÁÌØÂÏÍ [ëÉÎÏ] (46 /or/ the black album, by the Soviet band Kino), All You Can Eat [k.d. lang], Who Are You [the Who], Sons & Fascination [Simple Minds] (when they were really great), October [U2 before they got all annoying], Paranoid(also IV) [Black Sabbath], Gord's Gold [Gordon Lightfoot] (counts as a record because the songs were all re-recorded for this compilation), Everybody Knows This is Nowhere [Neil Young], Empty Glass [Pete Townsend], The Road to Ensenada [Lyle Lovett], Made on Earth [Barbara Gogan and Hector Zazou], Rembrandt Pussyhorse [Butthole Surfers], more. Should add one by The Fall, too. And add 4 or 5 by people from Fairbanks, too - Willis Fireball, Caleb Aronson, etc. Sure, I have weirder, more obscure, or maybe even more 'cool' or 'square' stuff, and there's plenty of good shit that I don't have, but these are really well-made records by any standard.MY FAVO(U)RITE LIQUOR STORES:
Five Points Bottle Shop; Athens GA. LCBO (all of them in the whole province); Ontario. Breeze-in; Juneau, Alaska. Alkoworld; Lviv Ukraine. A couple of great wine shops I visited in the Republic of Georgia, too. Not much in Fairbanks, but lately (2007) Goldstream has had some decent sales.WHEN VISITING A FOREIGN COUNTRY:
Be careful, especially, about whether the door signs say 'push' or 'pull' (best to learn how to gingerly test first time without anybody noticing which direction your force is... pretend to be thinking of something as you enter/exit). Also be careful about loo signs (for example, in Lithuania, 'm' means women - you'll see the unusually comfy decor and wonder). Go to the supermarket and see what people are buying. Buy the local paper, but hold it upside-down while 'reading' it. Don't buy anything at the airport. Take pictures of everything they don't expect you to. If you don't know the language (or if you do), ask first if they speak some obscure language they are sure not to know, then ask about the one you know. Pretend to be from an unlikely place. Even better, pretend to be from a place nobody knows enough about to ask any questions. Drink the water everywhere. Walk instead of taking the taxi for a while. Pretend that the things that are familiar there to you are strange too. Watch out for the 'tarists', who are always looking for you because they hate you for being free (i.e., stay away from the US Embassy and stay abroad if you're a US citizen!) Remember, you are a character out of fiction, and you are also the author and the star. And be sure to fret because anything can go to hell at any moment! - those savages! !the most useful computer format:
pdf - man, that sure solves a ton of problems. hell at any moment! - those savages! ! [I decided not to edit off the remnant at the end of that sentence - i thought it somehow 'worked'.]SHOES:
For hiking boots, I recommend Italian made only. Casual shoes (were) best fromPOSTAL SERVICE:
In the US shouldBest designed items owned: ...but first a little statment on quality...
Well designed items are such a rarity now that it seems unusual to find something that combines function, beauty, and quality, rather than some hunk of 3rd world junk designed to get your money and advertise itself, then fail post-haste so you've gotta buy another... made under the absolute cheapest conditions possible at the highest possible markup to the korporation! It shouldn't be that way - that's wrong in every sense.WINE(in country order, red of course, dark, bone dry, and "gritty"):
Republic of Georgia, Spain, Bulgaria, France, Chile, Greece, Michigan, Ontario. Moldova, Crimea, Italy, Germany [white] and Portugal wine will do in a pinch, but do not mistake wine from the *state* of Georgia USA for "Georgian wine!", or even wine! it's different!PLANTS:Update:Argentina wine also pretty good these days... Enjoying port wine of late, too!
The best ones are those that grow along the shores of big lakes or that may be eaten. Ledum groenlandicum is a fine example. Also stinging nettle.SHOPPING:
Don't go to the store for groceries while hungry. But if you do, see sections [fast food], [beer], [cookies], [pie], [other food items], and [olive oil] on this page. Forget about buying groceries in farbanks, Alaska - your choices are Kroger or Safeway only. How did that happen?? *BEER:
The best comes from Unibroue, Chambly, Quebec. Such fine beer, in such fine presentation! and, in Quebec, so cheap! Well, Ukrainian beer is even cheaper (there)! purkmistr, dark beer from Czechia, is great. So is "forbidden fruit" [Verboden Vrucht] by Hoegaarden, of Belgium [owned, apparently, by the ever-expanding Interbrew cartel...]. Otherwise buy what's local. On days when I'm really not wanting to be part of everybody else's freak show I can be found drinking beer from a can instead of a bottle or mug -it's sorta my ritual, and I cannot remember how it started. So if you see me like that just stay away.SPEAKING OF CANADIAN CIVILIZATION:Update:Best beer in xUSSR to date: Beaver (from Minsk of all places - I remember in the old days having to look at each bottle to see if they leaked, had strange sediments, etc.), Available only on tap at selected street bars of Minsk (Belarus). Liking Ohara's stout of late (2003), too.
(this was written ca. 1998, when it all seemed a little more true; before the oil money hit and the Conservatives ruined it even more; replace a lot of he 'is's here with 'was until a few years ago') The CBC is the world's best broadcaster. Canadian money is also pretty. Many an early morning or late night have I wished that Tim Horton's was an international chain (though probably I should enjoy the Waffle Ho_se while I am still in the American South). I'm well aweare that TH is owned by wendy's, but still it is a little canadian... Canada has better grocery stores than the USA. coffee is cheaper, dairy products are better, and they have poutine. Canada has the best flag. Canada is easy to geographically regionalize.BICYCLES:Update:they keep changing the money designs these days... And more on currencies: Euros are an unfortunate joke: just where are those buildings that are shown on the notes again??
Italy, France, Japan, USA, and especially, the UK. 25+ years old better than new. Also cool old early 1970's Fuji Supreme racing bikes with Suntour components, or my 1981 Colnago Superissimo with Campy SR. Man!SLAVIC CIVILIZATION:
Too much to say here - FOR REAL THIS TIME- the worst, the best; maybe the greatest for me. Maybe not, but it's too late for me!AUTOMOBILES:Update 2015: I have given up on russia - for now at least. My thought is that countries are only allowed to slip into totalitarianism or fascism once per 100 years, and they've exceeded their quota. I just hope there's some dissidents that will survive and maybe over years or decades (of we last that long) they can become a civilized nation again.
Sweden, Italy, Germany, France, Russia. Old better than new.WORDS:
I propose we all use the word 'person' when discussing individual cats, dogs, rats, otters, et al., and less often for humans.FAST FOOD:
Doner-kebabs as found in Germany [mit bier], Chinese buffets (necessary to have the words "China", "happy", or "garden" in the title, along with the requisite 'buffet'), also apples. mcdonalds used to be a viable option when sick in a foreign country and you need large amounts of food with little taste (this I attribute to my recovery from a week of too sick to eat-ness in Minsk, 2003). The average foreigner in the xUSSR, for example, used to be 30 times more likely to eat there than they are in their home country, in the 1990s.
In USA: Golden Eagle saloon; Ester Alaska, barbecue place in Fairbanks, Oasis Bar; Fairbanks (cheese steak), Taco King (sepecialliy the one in) Fairbanks, Jamaican Caribbean food, Achim's K-bob; Athens GA. Golden Eagle Saloon, Ester, AK (OK, it's a saloon, but the make them yourself habmurgers are the best!). Pelmeni Cafe, Juneau, Alaska. Haven Cafe; Skagway Alaska. Bohemian Cafe; Omaha Nebraska. Canada: Talisman, Whitehorse Yukon; Schwartz's Jewish Deli, Montreal Quebec. In Russia: most shaverma kiosks in SPb, also roadside shashlik stands. In Ukraine: Chelantano/Potato House, Na soborne, Hines; Lviv. Kavkaz Kafe (both of them) at the Produktovi Rinok, Yalta. In Ecuador: Chifa, Cuenca. In Lithuania: Prie fontane, Kaunas. UK: Ivor Dewdney's Pasties, Plymouth Devon.FAVORITE EXTINCT DINERS:
Kafe Uzbekistan; Minsk Belarus. Best Bagel Cafe, SSM Ontario. Others.BAKERIES:
Big City Bread, Athens. Szarkozy, Kalamazoo. Others.OTHER FOOD ITEMS:
50-packs of corn or wheat tortillas, Gardenburgers and Boca-burgers (#$@!! GM soy in the Bocas, curses!),BEER CAN DEPOSITS:
Michigan has the best in the USA, at 10c, but it needs to be increased to account for inflation. Maine's is more comprehensive, however. They should be higher everywhere. See 1974 Herter's catalog, inside front cover for concurring ideas.BOOKS:
Are best found in a second-hand bookshop (especially Pittsburgh, Minsk [Belarus], Irkutsk [Russia], Montreal [Quebec]), otherwise a bargain-book store is better for browsing than some god awful mall, strip mall, or mega bookstore with their computer-generated inventories...Update:Minsk second-hand bookshops now almost all extinct. The Barnes and Noble in Athens, Georgia (and probably all others) is like a vast, depressing wasteland.
This is a delightfully ever-expanding sphere of my expertise. Best so far -McVittie's cookies [ginger nut, abbey crunch, hobnobs, etc.] Say, that'd be a good project for anyone slacky enough to be reading this now - why don't you go make a hobnobs worship site for the web?ORDER:Update: Hobnobs now on sale at some Canadian supermarkets (strangely, with packaging for Australia)! Have seen in Whitehorse, Red Deer, and Winnipeg. Stocked up. (2004)Update: A close competitor to hobnobs, 'country snapjacks' (?) now on sale in Alaska at least at fred meyer stores of the kroger chain. $3.79, I am sure I am in the 5% of heaviest users in the state. (2008)Also, anything made by the Canadian company "president's choice" is OK. It is amazing fact that, for instance, their vanilla wafers are (1), the only naturally flavo(u)red ones I have seen in mass supermarkets, (2), the only ones without preservatives, (3), better tasting, and -- cheaper! their maple cookies are likewise sublime, and so are all the others. Cookies are also not that bloody hard to make at home to specification! Cookies (still there after all these years - those smart ive-leaguers! should always be consumed with milk.
Books, papers, and files may lie scattered and abandoned on the shelf, floor, and work-table, but the kitchen and bathroom should be as clean as an operating room. Dust regularly, clean the windows, and mop all floors weekly, occasionally with bleach.ANIMALS:
All can be trusted except a bunch of the humans. Cats make good pets because they're compact, dogs because they are so enthusiastic. Best to have one of each. Rats - also good. In general, the more hedonistic the animal, the better. Cats--pleasure-seekers. Rats--pleasure-seekers. Dogs--pleasure-seekers. See what I mean??COLLEGE TEXTBOOKS: (this was written when I was buying these; I am certain that since it's gotten worse and the content dumbed-down and cartoonified, like everything else written...)
Are such a scam that there should be a grand jury or inquisition. Printed on cheap magazine paper, with poor bindings, and new "editions" frequently so students must continually buy new ones rather than used. The latest trick is to put some unstable software in the back or a bunch of internet addresses in the text, thus necessitating new "editions" after the links go outa date! It is a good idea to keep textbooks for future reference, though the planned obsolescence of the publishers precludes this even IF they were made with any standard of binding and durability. Obviously the people making these decisions are book haters. Among the worst offenders is Prentice-Hall. British textbooks are better, in general.COMMUNICATIONS:
Shortwave and internet radio stations from far-away places, radiophones, mobile phones [GSM is best, and turn the cursed things off when you're supposed to], creative graffitti, personal letters with color; odd paper; and pretty stamps. Pre-made"greeting cards" are not effective communication. I predict a renaissance of CB radios (though my predictions of coming fads are always wrong, like the one I have about walking-sticks).TOILET PAPER:
When I do go to a public loo in the US, I'm always wondering why the hell the toilet paper (aka loo roll) is so damned secure - high tension on the roll so you can only get one square (or less) without turning the roll by hand, huge and burly dispensers with locks, complex paper routing so you can't try to get more, timers that force you to wait between ration allotments...BARBERSHOPS:
For men at least, should not have any asinine name like 'hair today gone tomorrow' or the like. Should have the revolving swirl thing, but a real one, not some cheap-ass thing from mallsupplyshit.com. Barber should be a 50+ man, and have name like 'Doc', 'Jerry Mahoney', 'steve', 'Jim', etc. [All these names of real barbers I've used] barber shop should be named 'Doc's barbershop', ' Jerry Mahoney's ...', 'midtown', etc. There should be magazines of type 'fishing/hunting', 'mechanical and woodworking doodling for men', 'national geographic', etc., but, by all means, NO 'people' or entertainment news magazines. Mounted fish should at all times adorn the walls, but NOT be covered in 5 years of dust. Barber should know your name and details of your life. Barber should be at all times more calm than the calmest, retired, pleasant customer, except when bitching about his ex-wife.Other:
Here's a whole new page I made with really cool images that show you the Power of the Internet!
The disclaimer: as everybody else reminds you these days about anything they say, write, draw, or imagine: this here treasure-trove of wisdom don't necessarily reflect my views, beliefs, fears, or dreams. Or those of anybody I know or have ever met or even read about. And you can't take anything I say for the words or sense it does or does not contain, and there's no reference to anything real or imaginary, and if you use it or understand it or even misunderstand it or misuse it in absolutely any way and hurt yourself or others or wreck any stuff, then I deny any knowledge about anything, and you can't say I told you so. But of course it's all true. And just be happy I didn't put a bunch of dumb-ass disclaimers you had to click-through, too. </ br>All of this provided as dogma, and you must agree--I implore you. Also this is mainly aimed at my friends, who strangely seem to know what I've written here better than I can remember, so that's a start, but really you people knew all this already, right? Haven't you been listening?
© to you, feel free to turn into spam and send to the government or church officer of your [dis]liking.
See also anything by George Leonard Herter.