High Culture

I knew there were many Russian-speaking tourists in Prague the moment I walked into my hotel room and saw a wall sign explaining that white bath towels are not meant for cleaning shoes and removing makeup. The sign also offered a detailed explanation of alternative (and less messy) ways to perform these tasks.

UBI Enthusiast Sees the Light

A great article on the UBI as a taxpayer-funded gift for Zuckerberg and Co:

To the rescue comes UBI. The policy was once thought of as a way of taking extreme poverty off the table. In this new incarnation, however, it merely serves as a way to keep the wealthiest people (and their loyal vassals, the software developers) entrenched at the very top of the economic operating system. Because of course, the cash doled out to citizens by the government will inevitably flow to them.

And more:

Under the guise of compassion, UBI really just turns us from stakeholders or even citizens to mere consumers. Once the ability to create or exchange value is stripped from us, all we can do with every consumptive act is deliver more power to people who can finally, without any exaggeration, be called our corporate overlords.

The author is a former UBI enthusiast who saw how enthusiastic Silicone Valley is for it and realized what was going on.

I recommend the whole thing. God, at least there’s somebody willing to think about stuff and change his mind.

Ugly Ass in the Square

So I come to the square and feel overwhelmed by the phenomenal castle that the photo does not begin to do justice to. Loud choral music is creating a surreal experience. But it’s impossible fully to immerse oneself in the beauty because some geniuses decided to project a video of some ugly-ass naked guy on the wall next to the cathedral. You can see the bright-lit circle on the wall in the photo. Why anybody thinks it’s appropriate or cute to spoil a once-in-a-lifetime experience of seeing this place for the first time with a video of a really bad quality ass is a mystery. After the ugly ass video ended, we were shown a video of people grocery shopping. At least they were dressed but the whole thing still detracted from the experience.

The worst part is that if you want to hear the beautiful music, you have to stand close to the blasted video.

Svejk’s Anabasis, Part II

I got off the train and found myself in what our Mexican friends call “the ass of the world.” A tiny little station in the middle of nowhere. I had to buy a new ticket from a machine because it’s a Sunday, and everything is closed. Shouldn’t have bothered because nobody checks them anyway.

If you have ever seen a German train ticket, you know how hard it is to read for a foreigner with no experience in code-breaking. There was no wi-fi and no food fit to eat. I mean, there was food being sold, but it was surrounded by clouds of fat black flies, and even I don’t get that hungry.

Finally, my train “to Prague” arrives, I board it and. . I get a really bad feeling. Something isn’t right. Again I start to bug passengers and they manage to communicate to me that it’s not a direct train. I’ve got to change to another one somewhere in the middle of yet another nowhere.

And talking about nowhere, there’s no indication on the ticket that this is a journey that requires a transfer.

I did get to Prague in the end and I’ll try to see what I can in the 15 minutes left before the sun goes down. I’m not upset, though. I’m glad to know I have great instincts and a functional level of German.

Svejk’s Anabasis, Part I

(If you don’t understand the title, then you haven’t read one of the most important novels in Czech literature).

So the last time I posted, I was stuck in Schwandorf with a bunch of confused Thai tourists. Finally, our train to Prague arrived and we boarded it. The train was very full, and I got separated from my Thai friends.

As I say down, I had a really bad feeling. I tried to read but I couldn’t because I knew something wasn’t right. Nobody in the car spoke anything but German, so I started bugging passengers in my deficient German. Finally, I resuscitated some remnants of the language from the depths of my memory and realized that the train to Prague actually went in two different directions. The tail went to Prague while the head went into the profundities of Germany. The two parts of the train had been disconnected after we boarded.

I got off the blasted thing but – and this still bugs me – I couldn’t locate the Thai tourists in time. I have a huge suitcase and the train was too full. There was not a conductor in sight to ask for help.