31 July 2010


John is my colleague and friend, and he is on this trip through Europe with me. I would like to share two quotes with you, which I believe present an idea of John as well as idea of our trip.

Quote 1:

"The Europeans take all the money that they should spend on deodorant and they spend it on hair gel."

Quote 2:

"What do we do in Paris?" "We drink Rum St. James."

(Rum St. James, to fill you in, is a drink we started drinking last year, based on Ernest Hemingway's accounts of his time in Paris in "A Moveable Feast". It is comprised of Rum St. James (a brand, very delicious, from Martinique) and grapefruit juice, and sometimes grenadine.

Pere Lachaise

Today, a mostly free day from the kids, and a chance to get away on our own for a while led the other staff members and me to the Pere Lachaise Cemetery.

This is the cemetery where Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, Moliere, and many, many other famous world figures are buried.

Here are some pictures of the place, as well as some random shots from around Paris. The grave with all the lipstick kisses is Oscar Wilde's, the bottom one is Jim Morrison.

Home in a few days!

World Record Sit Down Paddle Ball

I had just planned on a quiet day at the beach in Viareggio. Instead, John and I invented a sport and broke the world record all in one day.


World Record Sit Down Paddle Ball

Restaurant Assistance

I need a restaurant recommendation for Paris ASAP!

Every year, my colleagues and I save up our entire "staff deveopment stipend" from the trip and go blow it on one big fancy meal...which is tomorrow.

I know some nice places here in Paris, but I am looking for something to blow my mind and something new for all of us here.

I cannot log in to my Facebook currently (their security is very strong, it seems), so I send this missive out to you, dear readers, in the hope that one of you can assist me.

Any ideas?

Italy to France

Well, we have moved on to France, and it feels good. Paris is beautiful and not hot, and I love it just as much as I do every time I am here.

We have been busy, visiting cathedrals and museums and churches and restaurants. We have been biking all over the city,
Through gardens and intersections and across the river many times. We have nearly been arrested (no joke) and have heard the words, "you are going to jail" in French (vous alley en prison), but we got out of it.

(to make a very long story short, when trying to get into a place and past security, John and I explained that we both had knives with us. The cop inside told us to hide it outside or throw it away, so we hid them. Then when we tried to retrieve the knives, they had been taken...by some other cops who then gave us a hard time. Thank god for our friend Emily, who speaks great French and has a convincing manner).

Anyway, I am here and not shackled and life is good and in a few short days I will be home with my wife and friends and pets and garden, which is wonderful.

More photos soon. Here's a few random ones.

29 July 2010


I am in Paris!

I will have pictures to share tomorrow, inshallah....

27 July 2010

Institutions of Higher Learning

I, as many of you know, received a Masters Degree from Cambridge University.

Not to brag or anything.

I also know others that attend famous institutions around the world, and what most amazes me about their experience, as well as my own, is that people at the best universities in the world are still animals, still crazy, still idiots.

And so, I share with you the following email, with all names removed, but with all original information and photography retained. Enjoy! I won't say what school the email comes from, but suffice it to say that it is from one of the most elite and important universities in the world.

(note: those that are fecophobic may not wish to scroll too far down)

Dear all,

I am extremely disappointed to have to contact you regarding a matter which was brought to my attention on Saturday afternoon.

You may be aware that the bathroom on the ground floor of your building had to be closed on Saturday afternoon - this is because someone thought it appropriate to defecate on the bathroom floor and do nothing about cleaning up the resulting mess (the attached is a photograph of what greeted me when I checked the room in question on Saturday afternoon).
I was unable to get any emergency cleaning services into the building until earlier this morning but the room has now been cleaned and re-opened.

Someone must know who is responsible for this incident, whether it is the individual themselves or one of their guests, and I would ask that they come forward to me before 5pm on Wednesday 21st October; if no-one comes forward, I will have no option other than to refer this matter to the Dean.

Furthermore, please note that, under the terms of your tenancy contract (1.11), if no-one comes forward, I reserve the right to impose an administrative charge on all residents in addition to the additional costs imposed by the cleaning company.

I look forward to hearing from the person responsible for this incident in the near future.



25 July 2010


News from home: The onions are drying so that they can be stored. I am sad to have missed the pulling up of my first crop.


Last night I had a number of nightmares that all revolved around trying to find a good meal at a restaurant.

Funny, because I have had almost no bad meals since arriving in Europe two weeks ago. Even cheap meals, found quickly and with little forethought, have been wonderful. Perhaps I am worried that my meal tonight, which will take place at the restaurant Il Latini , and which promises to be fantastic, will disappoint and not be as amazing as I have hoped and read and planned for.

I shall report back soon.

24 July 2010


Internet has been shoddy here, so I have not had much of an opportunity to keep up here, but all is well.

Florence is beautiful, and I think that I may have actually seen a few Italians, though it seems that this summer they are rather hard to come across. Americans, Germans, Dutch, English seem to feel the streets.

The lady that did our laundry is Albanian, our bus driver is from Kosovo, which is cool, but which just adds to the bizarre lack of Italians in our lives.

Today we visited Siena, a town architecturally stuck in the Middle Ages, which is so wonderful for those of us who get to visit it. A gorgeous place, of which I hope to share pictures when I get the wifi up and running again.

More soon.

21 July 2010


Rome is good.
Tomorrow we head to Florence.

Home will be nice as well.
I miss family and friends and the garden.

20 July 2010

Roma Ancora

Still here in Rome, which has been and continues to be, an amazing part of this trip. I love this city. I love the buildings and the attitude and the pizza and the pasta and the salads. Most of all I love the arguments, which seem to happen all the time (at least to me) and somehow always seem to end with a new friendship born and all forgiven and forgotten.

Like, for example, the other day: We had dropped off our laundry (for 23 people) at a laundromat. The woman told us that we could pick up the clothing at 2:30, but failed to mention that they were meant to close at 1:30. We arrived around 4 or so to find the place closed. We got in touch with the owner somehow, who told us that he would reopen at 7:30. And so, we worked our way back there, arriving at 7:33, to find the place closed. We called, and the man told us that he had left, as we were not there. He yelled at me, I yelled at him, he yelled, I yelled, he hung up. I called back, we yelled, he hung up, and we repeated the process once more. And then, the next morning, he called me to tell me to feel free to pass by, that the store was open. I did so, we talked and had a nice laugh, and shook hands.

This has happened nearly every day here. It is pretty ridiculous. I have even better examples, but I will have to share them at a later date. (I would especially enjoy telling someday the story of the woman who charged us an exorbitant rate for a drink, and when I told her that it seemed like a robbery to me, basically kicked us out of her bar, and who now, three years later, invites us sometimes to free coffee and jokes with us regularly).

Other than argue, I have spent time here checking out the sites, visiting Pompeii (one of my favorite places in the world to visit), drinking coffee, and walking until chafing becomes a serious issue (cured by Vaseline applied liberally).

But that is another story entirely.

More soon.

18 July 2010


I am in Rome, enjoying the sights and the food. We have had a sick student, so I have been visiting Italian hospitals, which while less attractive sounding, has at least been a sincerely edifying cultural experience.

Today I met an old woman, very beautiful, who was in the emergency room because her son had pushed her down and she was worried that her arm was broken. Her face was bruised and cut and she cradled her arm gently. It was horrible. When I asked where her husband was, she shrugged, and told me that he would not accompany her, that he never did when their son attacked her. "He's like that," she said.

She was amazing woman, very strong, but very tired and beaten down. She told me that she had attempted suicide three times. Oddly, we also spout about studying Latin, yoga, and Athenian museums.

Later, an older couple was waiting with us (the student, our old friend, and I) in the area reserved for patients. The staff kept trying to kick out the old man, whose wife was a patient, but he just laughed at them and made jokes. His wife would shush him and tell him to go, but it was easy to see how happy she was that he was there. She even loved his silly jokes, like when he settled back in his chair and said that what we needed was a nice big bowl of spaghetti.

Today, both the student and I
Should have time to join the group and check out some museums and the like. And tonight, for sure, a delicious meal.

More soon.

15 July 2010

Athens music and a minor head wound caused by a mischievous foray beneath a floating trampoline at the beach today. Attacked by barnacles!

YouTube Video

12 July 2010

Athens Photos

Athens Day 3

The menu for today:

The Acropolis
A Byzantine Tour of Athens
Cretan Cooking Workshop

11 July 2010



Souvlaki, gyros, ouzo, ruins, and museums.

Namely, the ruins of the Agora (meeting place of Athenians), and the still quite new Acropolis Museum.

Tonight we head over to eat gyros and watch the World Cup final.

Temple of Hephaestus

Do Not Chop Up Your Arm And
Throw It In The Toilet

How to Get Out of Financial

John Checks the Map

Fuck Art Lets Vandal

A Great Car for Muscleheads

10 July 2010

08 July 2010

NYC heat

The heat is finally calming down, but it has been crazy crazy hot here. Two days ago was 103 degrees.


Last night's dinner...

Kohlrabi and Fennel Salad with a Lemon-Caper dressing.

Grilled Summer Squash

Moroccan Beef Kefta (spiced meatballs)

Grilled peaches with Blue Cheese and a Balsamic-Cherry drizzle. (dessert)


In NYC. Leaving tomorrow for Europe. Stay tuned for some NYC photos.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

05 July 2010

Headed South

Headed down from Mass to Jersey, to spend the night before Beth heads back to NC and I to NYC.

Friday I leave for Europe. First stop: Athens.

02 July 2010


Justin Richel

A piece by Justin Richel, and my bizarrely related tattoo.

The painting is currently on display at the Whitney Gallery in Portland.


I have been in Maine the last few days, and pretty much out of phone and Internet range for most of the time...

I have been in Acadia National Park, and yesterday we arrived in Portland, which is a beautiful and seemingly very cool city.

I have got to check out of the hotel in a minute, so I will keep this short and share some photographs of the trip.

A presto!

YouTube Video

Part 4

YouTube Video

Part 3

YouTube Video

Part 2

YouTube Video