Saturday, October 18, 2003

In my Media Writing class, I've been trying to drill into my students' heads the importance of active construction versus passive construction. Here's a rather egregious example of passive construction: "Alas, in the early-morning hours, the wrong computer file was sent to The Post's Bronx printing plant. "

Uh, no, the computer file was not sent. Somebody sent it.

(It's the NY Post apologizing for their Dewey-Defeats-Truman editorial about the Red Sox beating the Yankees. Ha ha. Looks like the thing's not online anymore. Damn.)

Thanks for that to Theo, who tried to explain the Latin ablative case to me at a bar called "Blind Eye" last night. After reading Wikipedia's definition, I still don't understand.

Last night we ate at this great Slovak restaurant on Nitranska Street in Vinohrady. I highly recommend it. I think it's called U Krbu. Basically, it's like stepping through a transporter and suddenly finding yourself in Slovakia. Everything's sort of the same, just a little bit different. Ain't nothing smazany here -- it's vyprazany all the way. The weird thing is, the menu's in Czech, so you order something in Czech and then the owner says it back to you in Slovak. If you're Czech or completely fluent in Czech, this isn't a problem because of the mutual intelligibility thing. But for the rest of us, it's kind of disconcerting because you're not sure if he's saying something important like "Yeah, I can bring you that salad, but it'll have sand and pebbles in it" or if he's just repeating your order.

And then you go outside and you're back in Prague.

Also checked out this place called Blind Eye, owned by a guy named Noah with a bald head and a little goatee who used to work at Video Express here in Prague. It's a nice place, considering -- considering he just took an old abandoned space (hole in the wall? why there's one right there!), installed a bar, and called it a bar. Mostly spillover from the Clown and Bard hostel, more semester-abroad students, and expat slackers. We played "spot the Czech." I saw one Czech girl playing fussball.

Must be that trendy new Zizkov I was reading about.

We talked for a while with a guy named Brian. In the middle of the conversation he blurted out, "I suppose I should tell you guys I grew up in Saudi Arabia." There was no particular reason he should tell us that, but I'm glad he did. I learned a Very New and Interesting Thing: When the oil company set up the gated foreigners' compounds in the 1970s, they gave everybody a still. Yes, that's right, the expats in Saudi Arabia all make their own alcohol. Fascinating stuff.

Then there was this girl Mindy, a semester abroad student who looks a bit like Janeane Garofalo. I keep running into her. Twice last night, once outside Akropolis and again at Blind Eye. Mindy introduced me to Andrea from eastern Germany who -- get this -- knows actual Sorbs. About 20 of them, in fact. They're just like regular German people except sometimes they talk to each other in a language nobody else understand, she said.

In other news, I inched closer to discovering the identity of Bloopy, the writer of this blog. Last night I found out his first name. He once wrote that we've met before, which is possible, but given the information I have, I honestly don't remember. (That happens a lot. It's not Bloopy, it's me.)

By the way, Bloopy's gonna give me nightmares with this link. Basically it's one of those old optical illusions where there's something wrong with the picture, and you gotta figure out what it is. Thing is you really have to examine the picture for while before you notice it. Make sure you have the sound turned up, because after a while the audio will start giving you hints. Very creepy once you finally notice it.


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