Saturday, April 02, 2005

I have a friend who owns a company that does business in Poland. He reports the following exchange with the manager of his small Polish office:

MY FRIEND WHO OWNS A COMPANY THAT DOES BUSINESS IN POLAND: "Say, Malgosia, if the Pope dies, is the entire country going to shut down or something? I mean will there be a whole week of mourning or something?"

THE MANAGER OF HIS SMALL POLISH OFFICE: "I do not know what you mean."

MY FRIEND: "I mean, is everybody going to stay home from work for an entire week if the Pope dies?"

HIS MANAGER: "You mean I can have the day off?"

MY FRIEND: "Oh, never mind."

Friday, April 01, 2005

Number 12 on Tom Waits's top 20 favorite albums of all time:

Bohemian-Moravian Bands by Texas-Czech (Folk Lyric) 1993

I love these Czech-Bavarian bands that landed in Texas of all places. The seminal river for mariachi came from that migration to that part of the United States, bringing the accordion over, just like the drum and fife music of post slavery, they picked up the revolutionary war instruments and played blues on them.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

I was about to lament the fact that Prague chatterboxes haven't made more of the kerfuffle over Jeff Koyen, one-time editor of the defunct Prague Pill. Then I noticed Patrick at Dog Eats Blog was all over this more than a week ago.

Koyen left the rarified corridors of the Pill to become editor of The New York Press, the scrappy alt-weekly competitor to the Village Voice (where I started out as an intern). Veteran Prague hack Peter Green covered the move in The New York Times, interviewing the pair at "one of Prague's American-owned, American-favored brunch spots."

Koyen took his boss, Alexander Zaitchik, with him, and left Micah Jayne the unenviable task of managing the paper for the remainder of its short existence. Here was my obit, of sorts, for the Pill; here's PragueBlog's; and here's that obnoxious Post obit, in which Koyen tells the Post's Frank Kuznik: "You got big and lazy, and you needed a snotty little brother to give you a good kick. I wish we had been there longer to kick your ass more."

If you're too lazy to click on the first link up above, it's enough to note that Koyen gained an almost bankable level of noteriety with a cover story on "The 52 Funniest Things About the Upcoming Death of the Pope." Sen. Chuck Schumer and Mayor Bloomberg both called it "disgusting," the former deploying a hyperbole ("The most disgusting thing I've seen in 30 years of public life") that indicates the Senator really ought to get out more. The short of it: Koyen refuses to accept a two-week suspension and quits the paper in protest.

The publisher defends himself against Koyen's accusation that he's a "spineless alt-weekly weenie," arguing that Koyen's mistake was not running the Pope piece (which the publisher vetted) but plain old insubordination. (His explanation sounds believable, but then, I don't know the players too well and I don't know the context. An anonymous letter from a Press employee sheds more light on a situation that, for those of us who don't live in Manhattan, is about as important as a the number of seamless steel pipes manufactured in Chomutov last year.)

Gawker reports that Koyen might "return to Eastern Europe."

What I really found notable was this: "One enterprising wag has even taken to selling a copy of Koyen’s mid-90s ‘zine, Crank, on eBay."

Damn it, damn it. Why oh why did I toss those old Pill issues.