Dienstag, 28. Juni 2011

Gin & Water!

"Most gin in this country is drunk with tonic and ice and lemon. And, if you want to take trouble, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. After many years of exposure, I find this a rather unworthy, mawkish drink, best left to women, youngsters and whisky distillers. Its history is suspect: in the days of the Empire, you were supposed to drink quinine water, the ancestor of tonic, to keep away fever. Someone noticed that the vile stuff went down a little better if you splashed gin into it. What an idea!

One large gin and tonic is acceptable as a thirst quencher.[…]
For further, serious drinking I recommend gin and water- and ice and lemon. This combination is favoured by the understandably popular George Gale. My advice: make sure you don’t overdo the water. Gin and water is an all-round improvement on gin and tonic: cheaper, less fattening and less filling as well as being not sweet or gassy. Gin is a real and interesting drink, carefully prepared with those botanicals and all, and it deserves to be sampled with its flavour unimpaired…"
(Kingsley Amis, Everyday Drinking, p.104 f.)

I find this completely acceptable also with mineral water, too. We in Austria have some excellent mineral waters by the way...and they also have a certain cachet since they are not widely known.

Freitag, 24. Juni 2011

Martin Heidegger

The greatest philosopher of the 20th century. Unfortunately only a few Germans and some Japanese scholars and Zen-instructors understood him till now...

Freitag, 17. Juni 2011

Old Ivy

As a thing sacred to Dionysus, I specially like ivy. It has a cooling, relaxing effect on me. It also feels good when buildings, monuments and old stones are partly covered by it or by vines and convolvulus. Maybe because it is a sign that nature will eventually reconquer, re-cover and reabsorb all of our man-made endeavours.

Red Socks and Testosterone

I hate red socks except when I wear them myself. When I see them on others, they arouse my annoyance, at times even my anger at such pseudo-intellectual artsy wannabes!
[excepted are only the British and those in pinstripe suits!]

Eccentric Loafer (Karl Ivants)

From: Helge Sternke (Alles über Herrenschuhe)

As I have said previously here somewhere,
I like loafers in all their forms but how about this?
Maybe a bit too much? But used in place of those
ubiquitous desert-boots: any day!

Donnerstag, 16. Juni 2011

A Tale from My Family

I come from a family of lower gentry based in the Eastern part of Lower Austria. My forebears were farmers, woodsmen and wine-growers and some of my relatives still are. They also often did administrative duties or ran errants for the higher aristocracy, one was for example first hunter-master of the ancient Kuenringer family whose 'heirs' and descendants are known under the name of Liechtenstein today, another one once had the duty to deliver a substantial amount of money to some workmen in service of the Hapsburg-Emperor.

It must have been in the 18th century when the times were still rough. When he stayed at an inn, some highwaymen unfortunately took the money of all the other guests. Yet, they left my ancestor alone because for the journey he had donned the coarse robes of a monk and when the bandits observed him, he kept his eyes on the prayer book that he had brought along silently moving his lips.

"That filthy beggar-monk has got no money, anyhow." the robbers said and left him untouched so that he could safely deliver the earnings to the craftsmen, even though he could have kept them for himself since news of the incident, though not of its details, had spread by then, already.

Dienstag, 14. Juni 2011

The Master and Margarita: Hangover Breakfast Russian-style!

Masterpiece. Apart from this authentic description of a hangover-breakfast it concerns itself with the breaking in of diabolic phantasm into paranoid reality.

"'Forgive me ...' Styopa croaked, feeling that his hangover had presented him with a new symptom: it seemed to him that the floor beside his bed went away, and that at any moment he would go flying down to the devil's dam in the nether world.
'My dear Stepan Bogdanovich,' the visitor said, with a perspicacious smile, 'no aspirin will help you. Follow the wise old rule - cure like with like. The only thing that will bring you back to life is two glasses of vodka with something pickled and hot to go with it.'
Styopa was a shrewd man and, sick as he was, realized that since he had been found in this state, he would have to confess everything.
'Frankly speaking,' he began, his tongue barely moving, 'yesterday I got a bit...'
'Not a word more!' the visitor answered and drew aside with his chair.
Styopa, rolling his eyes, saw that a tray had been set on a small table, on which there were sliced white bread, pressed caviar in a little bowl, pickled mushrooms on a dish, something in a saucepan [The saucepan was opened and found to contain frankfurters in tomato sauce], and, finally, vodka in a roomy decanter belonging to the jeweller's wife. What struck Styopa especially was that the decanter was frosty with cold. This, however, was understandable: it was sitting in a bowl packed with ice. In short, the service was neat, efficient."


Nicolás Gómez Dávila

Dávila is still very unknown and not widely published in the English speaking world. I have mainly read him in German in which some of his works came out even before they did in his native Spanish.
Wiki-article, A Blog containing a few translations
I am much inspired by both Dávila's writings and his biography, and to those who know German and would like to read him in that language, I would recommend the well-presented selection of some of his aphorisms edited by the Eichborn Verlag titled 'Das Leben ist die Guillotine der Wahrheit'. Good, full translations of some of his works were also done by the publisher Matthes und Seitz of Berlin, others in the Karolinger Verlag of Vienna.

Freitag, 10. Juni 2011

Curiously Inquisitive, Honest, Excellently Outrageous Comments by Prince Philip:

To an Aborigine in Australia:
"Do you still throw spears at each other?"
To his wife, the Queen, after her coronation:
"Where did you get the hat?"
When asked if he would like to visit the Soviet Union:
"The bastards murdered half my family."
To a Briton in Budapest:
"You can’t have been here that long – you haven’t got a pot belly."
To a driving instructor in Scotland:
"How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to get them through the test?"
To a student who had been trekking in Papua New Guinea:
"You managed not to get eaten, then?"
To Elton John after hearing Elton had sold his Gold Aston Martin:
"Oh, it’s you that owns that ghastly car – we often see it when driving to Windsor Castle."
To the President of Nigeria, dressed in traditional robes:
"You look like you’re ready for bed!"
To ex-chancellor Kohl of Germany:
"Thank you for the welcome, Herr Reichskanzler!"

Sonntag, 5. Juni 2011

The Bar

I once was a regular of a bar that was not meant to be a bar but rather the drug-storage and antechamber of some yakuza who held meetings in the rooms next door. It was only frequented by me with either a Chinese girlfriend or some American buddy of mine. We always were the only customers- only once, two scared looking young men in black suits were there and another time two old drunks. I guess as foreigners we were tolerated there cause we were considered as outsiders anyhow. Of course there was also the barkeep called Hiro, a.k.a 'Hero' (he even had that moniker printed on his business-card, too).

The place was very small and dirty only consisting of the bar, two tables with seats and some bar stools, some posters and graffiti and what looked to us like dirt mixed with fluorescent goo on the walls. Hero was always stoned and in the rare moments when he was there talked about his daughter who wanted to build a career as an idol-singer in the capital, but most times he had to do some business-errants. In the interim we were unofficially given responsibility for the place and could help ourselves to free beer and the small range of hard liquors they served such as Cutty Sark, Stoli or some other basics of that kind. Basically it was irrelevant what we took as this went under 'calculated risk' for the people doing business next door- or so we suspected.

But unfortunately this period of unhindered boozing did not last for long. One fateful night we stood before closed doors and later we heard that our dear barkeep and hero was in jail on the charge of possession of illegal substances. After a few months, when he got out, he never seemed to be the same again...from then he seemed nervous, always kept a close eye on his merchandise and wasn't as talkative as before...absentmindedly he stared into nowhere and if we hadn't known it better we would have thought that it was not the drugs but prison combined with the absence of former that did that to him...

Freitag, 3. Juni 2011

The Charles Bukowski Tapes:

The Daodejing


Recommended translations in English are: Cleary, Henricks, Mair, Mitchell, Yutang of the newer ones, Legge and Waley are already older and Möller, Schwarz and the older Wilhelm of the German ones.

Mittwoch, 1. Juni 2011

An Oasis of Civilization in a Desert of Democracy

Bruce Boyer: The Signature-Item

"T[he] approach, of allowing one item prominence in an outfit, also has the advantage of promoting a sense of individual style. Some men choose one item and repetitively give it a certain prominence, so that it becomes a signature of sorts for them. The familiar pink shirt, or the bow tie, or the tweed hat are small but telling signs that these men recognize convention but insist on their individuality as well, as we all should- and know the satisfaction of finding something they particularly like and sticking to it regardless of the trendy whims of fashion and the impersonal machinations of the garment industry." [Bruce Boyer: Elegance, p.56]