Saturday, June 07, 2008

Crazy From the Heat

Not much good to say about the process of leaving nice, cool, pleasant Boulder for hot/sticky/humid as hell Atlanta. Most of yesterday was spent on the wrong side of 90 degrees and today it's already sweltering before 10 a.m. It may be easier if you use this handy kit to imagine this blog over the next few months: start off with "it's hot," add a line about how said heat makes it too uncomfortable to do anything (including writing about anything other than the heat), then say "I'm headed to (the bar/work), where at least it's cool." That pretty much takes care of it, other than the requisite "Kloucek has found a new team" post sometime in late July or August.

Thankfully, today, Euro 2008 kicks off, giving me the excuse to spend the day in the aforementioned bar. It's also the last day of vacation, so I'll feel no guilt. The Virginia-Highland fest is also today, but it's outside. So, soccer it is -- I'm supporting the Czechs (who face host Switzerland today), with backup plans in place for Croatia. Old pal Sauer says he's gonna do a Euro 2008 blog -- in the meantime, the Czech and Croatian blogs at are both informative and fun.

What else: I meant to add Frank Black's "Dog in the Sand" to the list of what I was listening to in Boulder, since I probably had that on more than anything else. Fidel introduced it to me a few years back, for which I'll always be grateful. I like the Pixies but can take or leave most of Black's solo stuff -- "The Cult of Ray" always seemed like a high-quality joke album, way too self-indulgent for my taste. But "Dog in the Sand" is fantastic from start to finish. It seems like it's been generally ignored, though since I read about three music blogs, I guess what I mean is that no one's ever come up to me on the streets singing its praises, and I never find it in jukeboxes. It came out on Boulder's W.A.R. records, which I mostly remember for sending me 16 review copies of every Samples album when I worked back at the paper. Anyway, it's great. You can probably find a used copy for 50 cents somewhere on the internet, too.

Moving on: I read a ton on vacation, but didn't finish anything -- probably because I focused on "Mason & Dixon," which is really thick and manages to be more difficult than the rest of Pynchon's work (after a week, I'm on page 170 or so), and because after vowing not to buy any books I bought about $150 worth. Hooray, me. One of those books was

#20 -- "Prague Pictures" by John Banville

which I found used at the Boulder Book Store. Didn't really know what to expect from this, because the cover screams "dour poetry" and while I've never read "The Sea," I seem to remember one or two friends having unkind things to say about it. But "Prague Pictures" is pleasant fun, a ramble through Banville's various visits to the city -- it's not unlike having drinks with an extremely gifted storyteller. He even manages to make Angelo Maria Ripellino's "Magic Prague," which I've found well-nigh unreadable in multiple assaults on its pages, seem accessible in occasional excerpts. Now I'll probably have to try that again, after I finish "Mason & Dixon."

Finally: reluctant congratulations to the Detroit Red Wings, for winning the Stanley Cup. I watched the final game in a bar with pals back in Boulder (an aside: one of the pleasant things about this trip back was being reminded how many people there are back there that I can slip back into easy conversation with, after not seeing them for years. Those people are few anywhere on the planet -- and I met a lot of them during my 1996-1999 sojourn in my home town), and was happy to note that the Wings fans there were generally non-douchebags -- obviously Boulder's civilizing influence has taken hold. And as a Eurohockeyphile, it was good to see both a European captain (Lidstrom) lifting the Cup and a European Conn Smythe winner (Zetterberg) in the same year. All the same, I'd prefer that they miss the playoffs next year.

Enough of all this. Time to prepare for soccer. I used to know the Czech term for "Go Czechs," but I've forgotten, so: Go Czechs!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You congratulate the Red Wings... yet fail to tell your readers what "Red Wings" REALLY are.