Friday, May 29, 2009

metrosexuality update

Of all the countries I've ever been to, Sweden has the lead (by a long shot) in the number of times I go, "WHOA, that's a dude!!!"

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

picture time

Photos from recent research trip to Sweden are up here.


Back when I was getting my fancy big-city education, I had this class with Stephen Metcalf, which I loved partly because of the nerdy journo books we read (Paul Berman, Claudia Roth Pierpont, Murray Kempton) but mostly because of Metcalf's awesome vocabulary and labyrinthine sentence structure. He would throw down phrases like "Raskolnikovian garrett-dwelling troglodites" on a regular basis, all casual. It was impossible to identify, much less answer, any of his questions on first listen - they were paragraphs long, full of Chinese-box clause-upon-clauses, speckled with dangerous wormholes leading to alternate universes, and they were more likely to end in a closing parentheses than a question mark. They warped space and time - is that exaggerating? Anyway, he was a lot of fun to listen to, if intimidating to converse with.

All of which is just to preface a recommendation: Metcalf hosts the now-weekly Culture Gabfest podcast on Slate, and I stacked up a bunch of episodes on my beloved iPod before coming to Sweden. They're great - almost like being back in class, only with a tighter focus and without the enormous tuition bill or the expectation of intelligent response. And you can rewind. Check them out if you like hearing very smart people talk about the issues of the day and/or Tom Cruise.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Hello. I'm in Sweden - therefore duty-bound to watch at least a few minutes of the 2009 Eurovision song contest on TV, which I did last night after dinner with my little old ladies. A Swedish opera singer called Malena somehow reached the semi-finals. She's terrifying! Check her out, if you don't believe me.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I made a cameo appearance in Sunday's New York Times travel piece about Portland, which experts have called "a far cry from frugal" but which I actually thought was pretty good, given the territory and the audience:

(That's right, I sent Matt Gross to a strip club. It's Portland; they're everywhere. Besides, obviously, I favor the oppression of women. In my defense, I also accompanied Matt to an art gallery on First Thursday, and to that Lizard Lounge free-good-beer party, and to Ground Kontrol and Backspace. And I'll have you know I pushed for the Magic Gardens over A-crop; they've got a huge burger there that's even cheaper than the steak. I think Mary's Club is still my favorite, though.)

OK. Back to work! Hoho.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009


Yo, neglected peeps: I finally put up some photos from the week I spent in Mexico for Damian and Ramie's wedding. Stories to come! (Eventually.) I'm off to Stockholm in the morning, for a month, for a Lonely Planet update. I plan to be just as devoted to regular glob posts as ever, so - fear not. Ha.


Tuesday, May 05, 2009

oh boy

From a story in The Local, an English-language web mag of Swedish news:

"Swedish men have become more metrosexual and less masculine in recent times, according to a new survey polling both sexes on their opinion of the Swedish male..."

Monday, May 04, 2009

Doctor Costa's new book!

I can't wait to get this (and if you don't know who Dr Costa is, you need to go out right now and rent the movie Faster - right now! You'll like it, it's narrated by Ewan MacGregor) --

Today, during a emotion-filled ceremony at Clinica Mobile in the Jerez paddock, I launched my new book Grand Prix College.

Many riders came to hold it, stroke it, make it feel welcome, appreciated and loved.

Valentino Rossi, who had helped me write the book preface, looked at the cover and commented, �My brother looks better than me�.
Andrea Dovizioso promised me that he�d read the chapter about him and horses during the night.
Jorge Lorenzo wanted to read his own words about fear, remembering all about that interview, one night when fear was knocking hard on the door of courage.
Loris Capirossi and Ingrid were moved by the mention of their young son Riccardo.
Dani Pedrosa saw his photo in the book and started to read the chapter about him while the Clinica Mobile physiotherapists treated his injured knee.
Roberto Locatelli read the pages about his terrible accident here at Jerez two years ago, telling how he was born to this world a second time.
Nicky Hayden, after celebrating the launch of the book with the other riders, continued treatment at the Clinica after his recent race crashes.
Andrea Iannone, Raffaele de Rosa, Chris Vermeulen, Bradley Smith, Danny Webb, Marc Marquez, Pol Espargaro and all the Rookie Cup �baby� riders smiled to the photographers from the Clinica truck steps to celebrate their book, their hospital and their home.

The book is available in Italian, English and Spanish: I�d like not just the children, but also their parents to read it and understand all that passionate young hearts can do to put the coldness of reason into perspective.

My feelings that came from hidden places inside me and guided me in writing this book can now mix with the feelings and emotions of those who read it.