Maiden Voyage

This is one that the weathered gent in Baja recommended, after brainwashing me into thinking I needed to join the seafaring life.
Tania sailed in a 26′ sailboat around the globe in 2.5 years, with the longest non-stop stretch being the trip across the Atlantic back to New York (48 days). Along the way she makes friends who impart sailing wisdom and advice, which was necessary for Tania, who had never sailed a boat alone. The trip was a challenge from her father, who bought her the boat in lieu of college tuition, and as she set sail at age 18 to cross the globe. The intended goal was to become the youngest woman to circumnavigate the globe alone. This record eluded her, as she gave a friend a ride for 80 miles through the South Pacific, discounting the thousands of miles spent alone on the seas. Her constant companions were her cats, and a Swiss chap she met along the way, who sailed along with her to Malta. Tania’s plan was to write articles along the way to help pay for her travels. Judging from the book, not many articles were written, as every time she put pen to paper, she had writers’ block. After many dispiriting emergencies, her father would fly to her aid (in Sri Lanka, and Gibraltar) with new equipment, including new sails, radar, solar panels, electrical equipment.
The writing itself was average; Tania cannot simply say “cloudy skies”, but instead “skies heavy with cloud,” and other such distasteful murmurings. I believe her writing style was influenced by her choice of reading material; she preferred spy stories and romance novels to the weightier classics her mother recommended. The injection of Tania’s life story among the details of the sailing adventure became a bit nauseating. I lost interest in how her parent’s divorce created havoc for her adolescence, and snored through stories of her life as a NYC street punk.
Overall, the story itself floated clear of the burden of Tania’s immature writing. Very entertaining reading for the armchair traveller.

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Roughing It

Discusses the stagecoach trip from Missouri to Nevada; lingers in Mormon country for awhile, attacks the text of the Book of Mormon for being hogwash (ripping off the Old testament but adding in modern elements, such as during the Ark rip-off, they had a compass…). Silver mining in Nevada, and living it up in San Francisco; sailing to Hawaii. Contrary to the misattributed quote that “the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco,” Mark Twain actually noted that the weather in SF is 70 degrees year round. (see the reprints page)

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Top Picks of 2002

1. The Gastronomical Me by M.F.K. Fisher
2. Being Dead by Jim Crace
3. A House for Mr. Biswas by VS Naipaul
4. Desperate Characters by Paula Fox
5. You Can’t Win by Jack Black
6. Vanity Fair by William Thackeray
7. Into a Desert Place by Graham MacKintosh
8. Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
9. The Man Without Qualities by Robert Musil
10. The Comfort of Strangers by Ian McEwan
11. The Prime of Miss Jean Brody by Muriel Spark

David Mamet’s American Buffalo

Smack dab in the middle of the ‘Loin is the Geary Theater. This gem is an old triple decker theater built in 1910 that seats 250-ish people. Tuesday, after a somewhat disappointing dinner at The Slanted Door, we drew ourselves up into our most cultured posture and headed for the Theatre.
With our $10 2nd balcony tickets in hand, we arrived early and toured the lower level. We walked up to the stage and wondered at the abundance of “atmosphere.” American Buffalo is set in a Chicago junk shop, and this stage was crammed with every imaginable item, from bicycle tires to racks of retro-clothing, from banjoes and drum sets to silver do-dads. The furnishings included a well-worn couch, a card table, and a office desk with swivel chair. The most impressive part was the lighting effect- the windows and door allowed in this “natural” sunlight that had me fooled at 8pm at night.
We climbed up to the 2nd balcony and settled in. The lights dimmed, and the magic of acting overtook us. I haven’t been to many plays with professional actors, but every time I’m amazed by the performance. Ok I admit it, I’ve only seen this play and Art, which are incredible plays in and of themselves. But the acting was impassioned, the set design phenomenal, and the audience appreciative. Every detail was worked out with precision. Whenever the door would open, you could hear snippets of Latino ghetto-blasted music. Every so often the place would shake with the passing of the El. When Don was on the phone, you could hear someone on the other line, or the busy signal, or when the phone was knocked off the hook, the incessant beeping. [Speaking of beeping, a much needed reminder to turn off cell phones and pagers boomed out before the show began.]
Matt swore that Teach sounded just like Joe Mantegna, but I didn’t really see it. Teach’s voice boomed, Bobby squealed, and Don sighed. Perhaps this trio will lift me out of my non-theater life by virtue of their virtuosoness. Ah, shut it.

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Books I wanna Read

The wall / Marlen Haushofer
The Lover/Marguerite Duras (french)
Violette Leduc
Basketball Diaries/Jim carroll
A Time to be Born/Dawn Powell
Can you forgive her/Anthony Trollope
personal history/katherine graham
Secret Power by Marie Corelli pub 1921
Greener than you think by Ward Moore, 1947
Working by Studs Terkel
The Pursuit of the Well-Beloved (and the well beloved) by Thomas Hardy
USA by John Dos Passos

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How to Be Alone: essays

Franzen begins to grate on me after awhile. I enjoyed the essay Lost in the Mail about the Chicago post office and its seriously problems (mountains of undelivered mail from years ago to present day, stashed bundles hidden in carriers’ apartments, fires lit with undelivered mail).
Most of the other essays were at least skimmable. I glazed over a couple of times and just had to give up outright on some essays.

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The Man Without Qualities

It was an intelligent country, it housed cultivated people who, like cultivated people all over the globe, ran around in an unsettled state of mind amid a tremendous whirl of noise, speed, innovation, conflict, and whatever goes to make up the optical-acoustical landscape of our lives; like everybody else, they read and heard every day dozens of news items that made their hair stand on end, and were willing to work themselves up over them, even to intervene, but they never got around to it because a few minutes afterward the stimulus had already been displaced in their minds by more recent ones; like everyone else, they felt surrounded by murder, killings, passion, self-sacrifice, and greatness, all somehow going on within the Gordian knot that was forming around them, but they could never break through to these adventures because they were trapped in an office or somewhere, at work, and by evening, when they were free, their unresolved tensions exploded into forms of relaxation that failed to relax them.
“Why,” Ulrich thought suddenly, “didn’t I become a pilgrim?” A pure, uncontingent way of life, as piercingly fresh as ozone, presented itself to his senses; whoever cannot say “Yes” to life should at least utter the “No” of the saint. And yet it was simply impossible to consider this seriously. Nor could he see himself becoming an adventurer, though it might feel rather like an everlasting honeymoon, and appealed to his limbs and his temperament. He had not been able to become a poet or one of those disillusioned souls who believe only in money and power, although he had the makings of either. He forgot his age, he imagined he was twenty, but even so, something inside him was just as certain that he could become none of those things; every possibility beckoned him, but something stronger kept him from yielding to the attraction. Why was he living in this dim and undecided fashion? Obviously, he said to himself, what was keeping him spellbound in this aloof and nameless way of life was nothing other than the compulsion to that loosening and binding of the world that is known by a word we do not care to encounter by itself: spirit, or mind. Without knowing why, Ulrich suddenly felt sad, and thought: “I simply don’t love myself.” Within the frozen, petrified body of the city he felt his heart beating in its innermost depths. There was something in him that had never wanted to remain anywhere, had groped its way along the walls of the world, thinking: There are still millions of other walls; it was this slowly cooling, absurd drop “I” that refused to give up its fire, its tiny glowing core.

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Electric Circus

Still I have heard nothing about this album in the mainstream press. Am I looking in the wrong places? Am I just not looking? Hip-hop rock and roll, keyboards everywhere, and a live band. Common, sporting an afro and beard, gets all Hendrix on us, lacing heavy electric guitar, soulful vocals, and live drums into a swatch of hip-hop culture.
Looking at this, Common’s now seems to have switched to the “culture” side of the “divide.” Thank you, Google: Davey D thinks this is nonsense.

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The Perfect Dinner?

baby lettuce with winter fruit and parmesan
tarro and porcini soup
whole thai snapper with white wine, parsley, lemon, anchovies
butternut squash with ……
bottle of 2000 …….rizzou
ah hirsch 16 year old bourbon
homemade cookies (ginerbread, peanut butter, sugar, chocolate/macademia, oatmeal raisin, …)
courtesy Rose Pistola, the day of LZ’s 28th year.


Loud Latin Laughing is a web catalog of reading. This site always under construction. Inquire within.

Joyce, Ulysses, Chapter 3

My Latin quarter hat. God, we simply must dress the character. I want puce gloves. You were a student, weren’t you? Of what in the other devil’s name? Paysayenn. P. C. N., you know: physiques, chimiques et naturelles. Aha. Eating your groatsworth of mou en civet, fleshpots of Egypt, elbowed by belching cabmen. Just say in the most natural tone: when I was in Paris; boul’ Mich’, I used to. Yes, used to carry punched tickets to prove an alibi if they arrested you for murder somewhere. Justice. On the night of the seventeenth of February 1904 the prisoner was seen by two witnesses. Other fellow did it: other me. Hat, tie, overcoat, nose. Lui, c’est moi. You seem to have enjoyed yourself.
Proudly walking. Whom were you trying to walk like? Forget: a dispossessed. With mother’s money order, eight shillings, the banging door of the post office slammed in your face by the usher. Hunger toothache. Encore deux minutes. Look clock. Must get. Ferm’. Hired dog! Shoot him to bloody bits with a bang shotgun, bits man spattered walls all brass buttons. Bits all khrrrrklak in place clack back. Not hurt? O, that’s all right. Shake hands. See what I meant, see? O, that’s all right. Shake a shake. O, that’s all only all right.
You were going to do wonders, what? Missionary to Europe after fiery Columbanus. Fiacre and Scotus on their creepystools in heaven spilt from their pintpots, loudlatinlaughing: Euge! Euge! Pretending to speak broken English as you dragged your valise, porter threepence, across the slimy pier at Newhaven. Comment?

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The tipping point

Very much enjoying this one. The three rules of epidemic: law of the few, stickiness factor, power of context.
Law of the few: connectors, mavens and salesmen
Paul Revere was a connector (one who is charismatic and knows a lot of people) and a maven (broker of information). Hence the revolutionary war.
How ideas tip into the majority, from being thought up by a minority of innovators. Highly recommended.

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