Archive for September, 2009

The Celtic Balloon Knot

26,September, 2009

I just spent a couple of days at the International Brotherhood of Magicians’ convention in Southport England.  I did two performances and as part of my contract I got a table in the dealer’s hall to sell my novel Shadowmagic.  The dealers hall at a magic convention is a strange and wondrous place.  People selling all sorts of magic devices from: collapsible animatronic bunnies, to full sized guillotines.  All day magicians picked up my novel and asked, “What does it do?”  By the end of the day I was screaming, “It’s a book!  You read it!”  I sold about 70 of them.

In the stall next to me, selling balloons for balloon animal twisting, was latex sculpture extraordinaire – Gerry Luff.  He saw the Celtic knot on the cover of Shadowmagic and sculpted it with balloons – have a look.  Thanks Jerry.

Balloon knot

George and the Ukes

15,September, 2009

The versatility of  George Frideric Handel as demonstrated by The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain.

I’m a published journalist now.

14,September, 2009

I really have no idea where they got that picture – I have no memory of it ever being taken.

Atop the Acropolis

6,September, 2009

I seem to see Athens it terribly chic.

Atop the Acropolis it’s terribly Greek.

There’s Venus, Adonis and us cheek-to-cheek.

Oh how chic, to be Greek cheek-to-cheek.


Beefy Commies

4,September, 2009

I’m in the Ukrainian port of Sevastopol – the main harbour for the Russian Mediterranean fleet.  Part of the controversial Ukrainian independence deal was that the Russian still get to birth their fleet here.


Everywhere you go there are beefy Russian sailors and even beefier Ukrainian men that look like they just came out of a casting call for Rocky IV.  (Isn’t that the one where he fights the Russian?)

I think maybe the reason we Americans hated the Russians for so long was because they were handsomer than us.  The road from the harbour is filled with memorials to the war dead, all built in that imposing Russian block style and adorned with that hard soviet calligraphy.

As a child of the cold war I can’t help but feel a bit uneasy.  I was taught to hate this race and fear the sound of this language.  It occurs to me that if this was the 60’s the only way I could have been here was as a spy.  If I had been caught walking around with my tiny spy camera – I would have been banished to a Siberian salt mine as the US State Department denied my existence.

A video – Where am I?

3,September, 2009

Galloping Senility

1,September, 2009

I’m sitting in a seaside café in the Ukrainian city of Yalta. I know nothing of Yalta except that after WWII it’s where Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt met to sort out Europe. What a meeting that must have been. I now know the girls on the beach are pretty and you can get a good omelette at this café with a name in an alphabet I’m not familiar with.

I should explain that I’m in port from a cruise ship and not wandering around Eastern Europe with galloping senility (‘Galloping senility’ is a term a teacher of mine – a nun – accused me of having when I was nine.) I know I should make every port a learning opportunity but these days I just look for a good cup of coffee and free internet access. When I got on this ship I didn’t even know where it was going. I only knew I boarded in Istanbul and left in Athens. Yesterday I was in a town in Turkey and I didn’t even know its name. There is something very pleasant about walking around with no idea where you are. Maybe I’m just practicing for the onset of senility.