August 8. Pushkin and the Vegetarian in the box.

Happy birthday Caspar! Saint Petersburg is very pretty. Today, we visit a flea market with many interesting things on display. I remember a Russian magazine with Madonna the popsinger on its cover, lots of old clothes, binoculars, children’s toys, old photo cameras, fur coats, vantage prams, records, engine parts. I socially walk on but feel the urge to write and do so in a Russian buffet restaurant.
Then the afternoon comes and we go to Pushkin. Such a wonderful park they have built, the tsars. Tourists flock here to see the world famous amber room, taking their photographs in traditional costumes and stroll on the pretty lanes. We walk around and enjoy the park a lot. We are saturated with all those architectural highlights when we take the slow train back to the city.
Black box vegetarianism. I only care about input and output. If I put in a black box one not suicidal strict vegetarian, one living pig, one dead pig, a sack of potatoes and enough utensils to cook it, and I wait long enough, what will be in the box when I open it is two dead pigs and a frenzied non suicidal scrict vegetarian with maggots nestling in his hair. He has eaten the potatoes, the living pig has starved to death and the dead pig has begun to rot. If I would have put a not so strict vegetarian in there, the contents of the box after the experiment would have been a perfectly healthy living vegetarian and a living pig. To translate this to the real world: we have to intelligently interpret where the walls of the black boxes are.
Oh old and mighty Chickadee
America, thou art a recipe
Take a loaf of constitution
toss in the federalist papers
stir it for one century
then add Lincoln’s Gettysburg address
stir it for one more century
subsequently add the words of Martin Luther King
the sermon after Rosa Park claimed that bus seat in Montgomery
and season it with the most vehement speeches of Malcolm X
pour some shots of John Fidgerald Kennedy’s inaugural address
now shake it and serve with a handgranate and an assault rifle.

August 8. Pushkin and the Vegetarian in the box. was originally published on Meandering home

August 7. A Neva ending boatride.

Today we take a beautiful boatride. This is not supposed to be a touristic site but the boatride through the canals of St. Petersburg, passing all the beautiful facades and museums, the rattling Russian voice – don’t forget to bring your Russian friends! – explains about the house where Pushkin lived, the tsar’s palaces, the area where Dostojewski strolled as he pondered about his great novels, and it concludes the trip going out on the Neva, breeze in your hair. This, the Hermitage, the Dostojewski house, the Kunstkammer, a stroll over the Nevsky, make a great stay in St. Petersburg. Order your personal ticket at… etcetera. It is good for the soul too. It is really a very nice place to be, as a modern city (some might concern her a bit too expensive) St. Petersburg is a blend of haste and calmness, of frantic activity and relaxation. There are so many corners to discover, so many anecdotes if you are in love with Russian literature, and so many smiles – you will be willing to go back to her. Just one small thing. Please don’t call her “Peter”.
It can suddenly end. There will be a next sentence one day, a last utterance we need a last breath for, perhaps it will be an arbitrary and banal remark, or a careful recapitulation of our life’s thinking. That one last sentence, what if we miss it? What if we prepare ourselves for it, as good as we can, I suppose that will always be imperfect but that is another story, we prepare ourselves for it as we see the day approaching and then it turns out we have been mistaken. It is not our last breath. Of course it catches us by surprise anyway, no matter in which direction we run. Our vanity has been boundless, we tried to prepare for this? Didn’t we know there will be a breath after the last one, a breath we don’t even get to breathe? I think we should just be less concerned with that. That said, our words will still in the end sum up to some “total”, a body of text that will be interpreted depending on our level of fame. And there will be a last sentence, it will be turned and twisted and molded into whichever shape they want; we can’t do anything about that so we shouldn’t care. And yet… we might have the chance to play a little joke on our receptors. Something better than hey I own Asklepios a cock.

August 7. A Neva ending boatride. was originally published on Meandering home

August 6. St. Petersburg, Parks, Pancakes.

Bryndis comes, the interesting girl from Iceland. Together we explore this amazing city some more, walk through her parks, feel happy as we breathe the atmosphere of this masterpiece of architecture. It is almost unimaginable that this place has been a swamp only three centuries ago. At home I make pancakes, just to do something about my mission of Pancakes around the Globe, the one aspect of Dutch cuisine I take pride in, and that is usually welcomed in the continents I try it out.
A handy thought experiment if you feel you are not in the center of the universe. It goes as follows: construct an adjective which superior version applies to your location as well as to a series of growing sets to which such an adjective can be found, that are all containing each other, and eventually being the universe thus concluding a trace. I write this in Helsinki and my trace is “the largest city in the coldest nation within the strongest economic block”. From now on, you are always in the “place to be”.

August 6. St. Petersburg, Parks, Pancakes. was originally published on Meandering home