Monthly Archive for June, 2003

normandy
i’ve returned from beautiful normandy. we were able to walk on every beach (utah, omaha, gold, juno, and sword) that the allies assaulted on D Day. the photo above, of the american cemetary overlooking omaha beach, says more than i can in words. there are over 9,000 americans buried here who gave their lives to help free france and the rest of europe from tyranny. it was a very sobering trip but one that made me proud of my country.

ponte du hoci’m leaving tomorrow morning for my very first trip to normandy, france, to visit the fighting ground and memorials to all the brave allied servicemen who gave their lives for freedom on D Day, 06 June 1944. we’re taking the bus-ferry-bus there and will have guided tours most of the time. in preparation for the trip, we all chose an aspect of the D Day assault, gave briefs, and wrote short papers on it. i covered part of the remarkable, US Army Ranger attack on the 100 foot cliffs of pointe du hoc. i had known nothing about this part of the D Day assault. omaha beach seems to overshadow most everything else. if interested in learning more, this Army site covers it in much detail and i built my brief mostly off it and the cornelius ryan novel, the longest day. i rented the dvd version of the movie based on the novel and it holds up well considering it was made in 1962 and is fairly bloodless by saving private ryan standards. star studded cast too. roddy mcdowell’s best work before his groundbreaking turn as cornelius in planet of the apes. you thought it was a stretch, him playing an ape….in this one, he plays an american serviceman. if you blink, you’ll miss him though.

meteora skullsin keeping with my new baadass theme, i thought i’d post a digital photo i took from inside the awesome, clifftop monasteries of meteora in central greece. pictured are skulls of dead monks kept for posterity. even those monks were baadass. besides collecting the skulls of their brethren, which is baadass enough if you ask me, they also had to fight off the damn turks who tried killing them off when they occupied greece. desire of isolation for prayer and safety from the bloodthirsty turks are the main reasons they built these sprawling complexes perched on the rocks. i believe the james bond flick for your eyes only featured these in its opening(?) chase scene.

i want to make a disclaimer here that i in no way condone the use of firearms. the new weblog design is just a spoof of the blaxploitation film genre, customized with my white ass and some of my favorite thangs: my supa-fast type-r, my bitches (a page3 girl, xtina, and a pin-up girl), and some scenes of londontown. it’s obviously not geographically correct, with tower bridge visible from battersea power station. by the way, can you remember who featured battersea power station on an album cover? (clue: a flying pig was also included)

speaking of metro systems, having just spent some time in roma on the metropolitana let me diss how weak the eternal city’s underground is: aged, filthy, seemingly built on-the-cheap, and limited connectivity with (count’em) two lines in service … pretty lame for a so-called world capital, considering the incredible systems of madrid and barcelona. granted you can only add so many lines and maybe those buried ruins mess things up, but these things should like sports arenas; you should more-or-less replace these things (i.e. cars, station interiors/facilities) every 20 years or so take advantage of modern technology/ammenities (let’s start with air filter systems and freon, amici!). i will say i was pleasantly surprised to find this map showing a new, third line in the works which will actually stop in san pietro (cipro & ottaviano are still hikes/unecessary pennances) as well as get you closer to some cool stuff (around pza navona, pantheon) than barberini currently does.

my bling blingahhh, how nice it is to be back to a place where you can flush toilet paper down the toilet. but seriously, the greeks are starting to get their act together, plumbing problems aside. they have a great, new airport and a nice, spacious metro system. the drivers are still the maddest in the world (#1 in per capita auto related deaths), but the roads are improving. i love my every visit to greece, but this one might’ve been the best. i was a little disappointed in the weather early on, never got the chance to taste the greek mac at mickey d’s, and it was tough to post to this blog while i was on the road, but we had a great time and i’m an extremely lucky man to have so many lovely relatives over there. i even got some bling-bling from the girlfriend (pictured).

santorini sunset
normally, i’d be bitchin about the weather we had while on the beautiful, volcanic island of santorini in the aegean (clouds and rain three out of four days). but it was so gorgeous regardless of the weather, i won’t. there’s really no place like it. we were lucky in that all but one day cleared out enough at dusk that we were able to experience some of its famous and amazing sunsets. we also had a great little apartment at the highest point on the lip of the caldera (in the town of imerovigli) with a spectacular view. yes, fro-boy was there and sportin the colors. to the other side of mainland greece next – the much greener, ionian island of kerkira (corfu).