Fly me to the moon

That's not Frank

Yesterday, I spent the afternoon in the Imperial War Museum, which like all state run museums in London is free. At first, it was pretty cool, all those guns and planes and stories of heroism kept me busy snapping photos of the various exhibits. But there on the third floor was the Holocaust exhibit. It’s strange, I studied the Holocaust quite extensively in school, from various perspectives (anthropology, psychology, etc) and have read at least a dozen academic books detailing the atrocities committed by Europe. Yet, I had a very hard time not crying at several parts of the exhibit.

So, I don’t know about that museum. Why have a place that on the one hand celebrates war and in the very same hand shows you the very depths of madness that humanity is capable of — which has absolutely nothing to do with war? I really should have known better than to go there. My time would have been better spent in the National Portrait Gallery, or the cast room of the British Museum.

Afterwards, I did manage to find a great little pub called the Prince Alfred, just north of Paddington, where I had a great steak pie, with a “rocket” salad (it’s ARUGULA, God-damnit!) and some of the finest of whipped potatoes. Now I know wht you’re thinking… how good were those potates? Whipped with probably no less than an entire stick of butter and a quart of heavy cream, they were delicious.

There were all these little rooms in the bar, where you had to duck under a child-sized door and you’d get into a room that held maybe ten people. They called these rooms, “snugs” and you could reserve them for parties. Neat idea, I wonder where I’ve seen that in America?

Oh, and they had free wifi.

I left there feeling like I shook off a bit of the Imperial War Museum having had a couple pints and a great dinner and decided to end the night back at the Swan here near the hotel because I have blisters on my feet and cannot walk around much any more. That’s where I snapped the photo of the dude there at the top of the page. I don’t remember his name but he’s the owner of the Swan and he does this karaoke “tribute” thing to the Rat Pack. It was a bit wild, seeing this man and his side kick sing Rat Pack tunes. They weren’t half bad singers and by the end of the night they had a few of the older ladies dancing. After that I just went back to the hotel and crashed.

ZOMG! Google maps is so beyond cool… One of the overlays here in London is the tube routes. Very helpful if you’re ever wandering around London and you really need to know how far the next tube station is.

Anyway, the Arsenal thing. Uhh… Let’s see… have you heard any good jokes lately?  I have a doozy: Arsene Wenger is going to play Eboue today! Words fail me here, it’s just incredible the stuff that this player gets away with. Arsene is convinced that Eboue has learned his lesson after the red card at Tottenham. The only evidence his gives for this conviction is having spoken to the player and that he’s young. Wenger here is flying in the face of all reason and overwhelming evidence to the contrary. How could he forget Eboue’s retroactive red for “hitting” Wayne Bridge during the Carling Cup final 2 years ago? Or how about the straight red he garnered for the studs up karate kick on Evra? He didn’t learn his lesson after those two incidents, what makes Wenger think he’s learnt his lesson now? It’s preposterous, all evidence suggests that in a big match Eboue turns into a fucking retard and yet, Wenger is determined to give this man chance after chance. I’m not on some Eboue hate band wagon, I’ve had my doubts about the player for over a year.  I even had to intentionally stop commenting on the player because he was so maddening that all I could muster was a stream of invective and hatred. I think I’m going to have to go back to that self-imposed ban and not mention him any more because he’s driving me bat-shit crazy again.

How much you want to bet I have to mention him tomorrow? He’ll probably judo chop Alan Wiley on the neck and then do the whole prostrated beggar routine he always does when caught.

Maddening.

Wenger is going to start Eboue and leave Arshavin on the bench, is he trying to ruin my trip?

All right, well, I have to get to the Famous Cock and find a seat for the Chelsea/Villa crapfest. I also need some moleskin for my feet, a cuppa coffee, and a spanking new Arsenal away shirt.  Oh bythe way, I’ve changed my mind, I’m getting Eboue on the back — maybe the curse will see him off, lord knows Wenger sure won’t.

Hey, ho, let's go!

tube

Good afternoon, kickers, sorry again for the late blog but I spent half the morning chasing a pipe dream. I went to bed last night with the television left on “Friends” and awoke with quite a start to the sound of jackhammering at 8:30am sharp. Seems that not only do I get complimentary wifi (at £5 a day) I also have an 8:30am wakeup call!

Fuck it.. I rolled out of bed and now that I’ve paid for wi-fi in my room *shakes a tiny fist at the world* even though I didn’t need to *shakes an even bigger fist at the world* I thought I might check out some really posh breakfast joint here in town.  I googled “Best breakfast London” found a place called “Tom’s Place” in Chelsea, got directions using Google maps and made like a baby and headed out for the tube.

Right away there was a problem: I got lost on the district line. In all fairness to the Londoners the stops are all clearly labeled, the trains are labeled, everything is labeled,  I mean it’s all there, all you have to do is pay attention. When you are headed down the stairs and you see a train with doors open, and you’re a foreigner, you rush to get on that train in front of you. The Gods couldn’t be so cruel as to put you on the District line headed to Tower Hill when you meant to get on the Wimbledon train, could they?

Fortunately, I only went a few stops before I looked up at the map in the car and said “ha, that’s stupid, why don’t they at least put a map that matches the train you’re in, I’m going to Wimbeldon and THAT is a map to Tower Hill. Typical government…” which is when the driver burst in over the Tannoy and said “next stop South Kensington — this is the District line to Tower Hill.”

Oh for fuck’s sake.

No problem, I’ll get off here and go backwards and get on a new train at Earl’s court. Standing on the platform waiting forthe train, I saw something neat that I wanted to snap a photo of and so I started not paying attention to what I was doing and when the next train arrived, I hopped on. That’s when I got on a Circle Line train headed to Notting Hill Gate. It wasn’t until High Street Kensington that I realized I was on the circle line train. By now you can tell where this is going. I finally got on the right train, got off at the right stop, and then… couldn’t find the road I was looking for.  I tried asking the locals and no one seems to know where anything is in London!

It was like a slow motion episode of Benny Hill, minus the hot nude 1970′s English chick.

At this point, I have been without coffee for too long and I’m getting so hungry that a bowl of wheatberries looks good so I said screw it and stopped at a place that looked fairly busy and had the traditional “Full English:” runny egg, beans from a tin, mushrooms, tomato, two pieces of toast and 4 pieces of meat. I scoffed that and downed a crappachino. Ahhhh.

I think the coffee opened up my senses because I got back here (the hotel) with little problems.

One thing I also noticed is that there are virtually no English people who work in the service industries in London. Why is that? I’ve stopped at a dozen different places and heard 2 dozen accents which makes communication very strained. They don’t understand me because I speak American, I don’t understand them because they aren’t native English speakers (not that I can understand the English folks either) and the whole thing devolves into me using my “big” Americn voice to articulate what I need.

“I’d like to TOP UP this phone, please.” I say in my obnoxious American way (basically I make my voice slightly deeper and project, like I’m talking to a theater full of deaf people) and the whole room stops. What the hell else am I supposed to do? If I speak in my normal voice our conversation ends up being a series of “what’s?” and “excuse me’s?” which is maddening.

I’m not decrying all the foreigners here, in fact, the opposite. I think it’s great. Ever since the creation of the Euro zone opened freedom for both capital and labor, people have been able to move freely and work where thay want. People from all walks of life have the freedom to live and work in nearly every country which means that all of Europe is a melting pot. In a sense, this is what Americans like to think we have but don’t. Try to get a work visa in America, it’s difficult. Unless you want to work in a field somewhere picking fruit for the spoiled American middle class.  My feeling has always been that if capital has the right to move from country to country, labor should have that same right and though it might be frustrating when I order my VENTI DRIP COFFEE WITH NON-FAT MILK in the end it’s the right thing.

Enough about Britain, too much more of that and I’ll have to rename the blog to 7amwake-upandtalkpolitics.com.

Arsenal, on the other hand, are a bunch of good ole Englishmen and there couldn’t possibly be any communication problems in that locker room, what with everyone speaking the Queen’s English. “Rather, I said, try the angle drop next time Andree ole chap!”

“Certainly Samir, want to go out after for a spot of tea?”

“Capitol idea, mate.”

Anyway, I have heard told that Messer Arshavin will be playing tomorrow and I really am excited. I’ve probably bored you to tears with stories about how I was there when Hleb got his only Arsenal goal? Or how about the one where I saw Adebayor’s first home goal?  Well, I suspect that I will be there for Arshavin’s first goal tomorrow. Probably will have to put a few quid on him getting a goal just to put my money where my mouth is. What? It’s only £5!

The other big story for tomorrow is that Chelsea and Villa play in the early match. This is a huge match for Arsenal. As I outlined a few days ago, I think Villa are our closest rivals and pegged this as a match that they need to lose or draw if Arsenal are going to have any hope of making 4th place. Chelsea will be coming out of the gate very strong and looking to put an exclamation on what they see as their fight with United for the title. I wouldn’t want to be a Villa supporter tomorrow as I think Chelsea are going to have at their team.

Of course, it has been quite a crazy season and Villa does have some talent to go with their new found braggadocio, so it’s not like this is a shoo-in for the Blues. Anyway, I’ll be watchng that match from a pub in Islington tomorrow. Should be fun.

That’s it for today, I do want to apologize for typeos. This keyboard really sucks and several of the keysare sticky, like that DAMN SPACE BAR. So, caveat reador.

Cheers!

Hey, ho, let’s go!

tube

Good afternoon, kickers, sorry again for the late blog but I spent half the morning chasing a pipe dream. I went to bed last night with the television left on “Friends” and awoke with quite a start to the sound of jackhammering at 8:30am sharp. Seems that not only do I get complimentary wifi (at £5 a day) I also have an 8:30am wakeup call!

Fuck it.. I rolled out of bed and now that I’ve paid for wi-fi in my room *shakes a tiny fist at the world* even though I didn’t need to *shakes an even bigger fist at the world* I thought I might check out some really posh breakfast joint here in town.  I googled “Best breakfast London” found a place called “Tom’s Place” in Chelsea, got directions using Google maps and made like a baby and headed out for the tube.

Right away there was a problem: I got lost on the district line. In all fairness to the Londoners the stops are all clearly labeled, the trains are labeled, everything is labeled,  I mean it’s all there, all you have to do is pay attention. When you are headed down the stairs and you see a train with doors open, and you’re a foreigner, you rush to get on that train in front of you. The Gods couldn’t be so cruel as to put you on the District line headed to Tower Hill when you meant to get on the Wimbledon train, could they?

Fortunately, I only went a few stops before I looked up at the map in the car and said “ha, that’s stupid, why don’t they at least put a map that matches the train you’re in, I’m going to Wimbeldon and THAT is a map to Tower Hill. Typical government…” which is when the driver burst in over the Tannoy and said “next stop South Kensington — this is the District line to Tower Hill.”

Oh for fuck’s sake.

No problem, I’ll get off here and go backwards and get on a new train at Earl’s court. Standing on the platform waiting forthe train, I saw something neat that I wanted to snap a photo of and so I started not paying attention to what I was doing and when the next train arrived, I hopped on. That’s when I got on a Circle Line train headed to Notting Hill Gate. It wasn’t until High Street Kensington that I realized I was on the circle line train. By now you can tell where this is going. I finally got on the right train, got off at the right stop, and then… couldn’t find the road I was looking for.  I tried asking the locals and no one seems to know where anything is in London!

It was like a slow motion episode of Benny Hill, minus the hot nude 1970′s English chick.

At this point, I have been without coffee for too long and I’m getting so hungry that a bowl of wheatberries looks good so I said screw it and stopped at a place that looked fairly busy and had the traditional “Full English:” runny egg, beans from a tin, mushrooms, tomato, two pieces of toast and 4 pieces of meat. I scoffed that and downed a crappachino. Ahhhh.

I think the coffee opened up my senses because I got back here (the hotel) with little problems.

One thing I also noticed is that there are virtually no English people who work in the service industries in London. Why is that? I’ve stopped at a dozen different places and heard 2 dozen accents which makes communication very strained. They don’t understand me because I speak American, I don’t understand them because they aren’t native English speakers (not that I can understand the English folks either) and the whole thing devolves into me using my “big” Americn voice to articulate what I need.

“I’d like to TOP UP this phone, please.” I say in my obnoxious American way (basically I make my voice slightly deeper and project, like I’m talking to a theater full of deaf people) and the whole room stops. What the hell else am I supposed to do? If I speak in my normal voice our conversation ends up being a series of “what’s?” and “excuse me’s?” which is maddening.

I’m not decrying all the foreigners here, in fact, the opposite. I think it’s great. Ever since the creation of the Euro zone opened freedom for both capital and labor, people have been able to move freely and work where thay want. People from all walks of life have the freedom to live and work in nearly every country which means that all of Europe is a melting pot. In a sense, this is what Americans like to think we have but don’t. Try to get a work visa in America, it’s difficult. Unless you want to work in a field somewhere picking fruit for the spoiled American middle class.  My feeling has always been that if capital has the right to move from country to country, labor should have that same right and though it might be frustrating when I order my VENTI DRIP COFFEE WITH NON-FAT MILK in the end it’s the right thing.

Enough about Britain, too much more of that and I’ll have to rename the blog to 7amwake-upandtalkpolitics.com.

Arsenal, on the other hand, are a bunch of good ole Englishmen and there couldn’t possibly be any communication problems in that locker room, what with everyone speaking the Queen’s English. “Rather, I said, try the angle drop next time Andree ole chap!”

“Certainly Samir, want to go out after for a spot of tea?”

“Capitol idea, mate.”

Anyway, I have heard told that Messer Arshavin will be playing tomorrow and I really am excited. I’ve probably bored you to tears with stories about how I was there when Hleb got his only Arsenal goal? Or how about the one where I saw Adebayor’s first home goal?  Well, I suspect that I will be there for Arshavin’s first goal tomorrow. Probably will have to put a few quid on him getting a goal just to put my money where my mouth is. What? It’s only £5!

The other big story for tomorrow is that Chelsea and Villa play in the early match. This is a huge match for Arsenal. As I outlined a few days ago, I think Villa are our closest rivals and pegged this as a match that they need to lose or draw if Arsenal are going to have any hope of making 4th place. Chelsea will be coming out of the gate very strong and looking to put an exclamation on what they see as their fight with United for the title. I wouldn’t want to be a Villa supporter tomorrow as I think Chelsea are going to have at their team.

Of course, it has been quite a crazy season and Villa does have some talent to go with their new found braggadocio, so it’s not like this is a shoo-in for the Blues. Anyway, I’ll be watchng that match from a pub in Islington tomorrow. Should be fun.

That’s it for today, I do want to apologize for typeos. This keyboard really sucks and several of the keysare sticky, like that DAMN SPACE BAR. So, caveat reador.

Cheers!