Thursday, June 10, 2004

Here is a fascinating transcript of a conversation between Reagan and Gorbachev at the 1986 Rejkjavik summit. Gorbachev is hectoring Reagan on the fact that half the movies shown in the Soviet Union are American, while Russian and Soviet films are almost never shown in the United States. Reagan is dismissive of the complaint and comes pretty close to saying, "You just don't get it, do you?"

President Reagan: We do not have any ban on your movies. The film industry is a free business, and if someone wants to show your films he can do it.

Secretary General Gorbachev: I see that the President avoids this question and goes into talk about business.

President Reagan: Our government cannot control the film market. If you want to inundate us with your movies go right ahead. How our movies get to your country, I do not know.
True Porn Clerk Stories. Lots of them.
Cerny's at it again. This time he's gone and done read the whole durn "evil empire" speech from beginning to end. Turns out the speech wasn't much about communism or the Soviets, but about God. Good lordy.
Just watched Touching the Void. Good movie. Best line: "Bloody hell, I'm going to die to Boney M!"

When I was a young man -- OK, when I was a younger man -- I recall being greatly surprised at my inability to get certain ditties and tunes out of my head, no matter where I went or how far I traveled. And in my youth -- that is, my early 20s -- I took this as some sort of profound revelation about the human condition.

So it should come as no surprise that the part I liked the most in Touching the Void is when the mountain climber, having been left for dead and having touched the void inside a deep glacial crevasse on a remote Andean peak, and having subsequently penetrated the void and lowered himself from an elevation of just under 20,000 feet, alone, crippled and in excruciating pain due to a shin bone that has shattered his kneecap and telescoped into his thigh bone, after he finally gets to the bottom of the mountain, suffering from dehydration and delirium, miles and miles from base camp, at last convinced -- no, this time really, really certain -- that he's reached the end, suddenly finds himself with "Brown Girl in the Ring" stuck in his head. Can't shake it. And he doesn't even like Boney M.

"She *looks* like a sugar in a plum. Plum, plum!" What does that mean anyway?

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

So last night we rented the first three episodes of the HBO series "Six Feet Under," about a dysfunctional family of undertakers -- er, death care specialists. So I was naturally drawn to this rather silly article about Ronald Reagan's mortician. And then this passage jumped out at me:

For Reagan mortician, the 'honor of a lifetime' / Longtime devotee's dignified sendoff: "He served in Germany as an embalmer of Americans killed overseas. It was there when he met his wife, a Czech who didn't speak a word of English."

File under "totally useless factoids."
I just watched the movie Ghostbusters for the first time.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

A good friend of mine is visiting China on a junket to promote tourism to the Czech Republic. I just learned that nobody in China has ever seen this picture (according to the LA Times). Via Cerny.
Theo, of the new Prague blog Steal This Idea, recently paid a visit to the intersection in Prague where Reynard Heydrich (bad, bad man) was assassinated in WWII by Czech partisans. It's a landmark event in Czech history, so it's notable that there's not even a plaque there today to mark the spot.

Even today, cars have to slow down considerably to make the turn. There are no markers of the event, but three streets in the area preserve the memory -- Gabcikova, Kubisova and Valcikova [I've removed the diacritics -ed]. A man I stopped on the street told me the attack would have taken place roughly at the Vychovatelna stop for buses headed to Nadrazi Holesovice. At the corner of Zenklova and Gabcikova is a fence that looks very much like one in photographs taken at the scene of the attack by investigators, but the man told the streets had changed much since then. At that time, it was largely a green area with few houses. Today, it is dominated by major traffic arteries, underpasses and an ugly blue building with the name Prometheus on its wall.
There's a photo of the turn.

The story's been told oft times before, but it's worth re-hashing, especially with gruesome tidbits like the fact that Heydrich died (following, presumably a rather miserable last week of his wretched life) after horsehair and wire from the car seat penetrated his spleen. Ew.

Monday, June 07, 2004


Does it strike anybody else as odd that pigeons always have diarrhea?
Larry King just called Brian Mulroney the former prime minster of .. Great Britain. No kidding. Fucking dipshit even called him by his first name... "Thank you Brian!"

They ran some old footage of King interviewing Reagan. "The late Bill Casey said it was hard for you to dress somebody down or get angry. Is that true? You're not a mean person, are you?"

Sunday, June 06, 2004

It's time for Turner Classic Movies or, better yet, some European art house distributors to resurrect the Reagan movies. (Jesus, you don't actually want him to be remembered as a great president, do you?) In fact, I'm waiting for TV Nova to pick 'em up. (Hey Vladan, if you're reading -- how this Dead President business going over in China?)

Memorable quotes:

"And I suppose Jane Wyman -- is the first lady!"
-- Christopher Lloyd as the young Dr. Emmett Brown in "Back to the Future" (1985).

"Why are things so heavy in the future? Is there a problem with the Earth's gravitation pull?"
-- same

(Yes, more space in the brain that could be devoted to EU taxation law...)