A true story from Wales

In the ruins of the old Roman fort called Caer Gybi stands the 13th century Saint Cybi’s Church. A sundial on the face of the chapel is inscribed in Latin, “Life though long it stay will end in night and day.” (Thank you, Wikipedia.)

Saint Cybi

As we explore the medieval grounds a middle-aged Welsh couple approaches and the man warmly asks “Are you locals?”

The woman’s name is Ann, we learn. The man’s name will remain a mystery, after two repetitions and my unsuccessful attempts to say it back he kindly lied “Yes, you got it!”

We continued to chat, with a few more linguistic puzzles being brought forth, then Man offered us a religious tract. “We are Christians,” he said, then clarified when asked, that they are not members of the church where our impromptu meeting was occurring.


I immediately remembered the Hare Krishna we met on Portobello Road and offered one of our Bucktown buttons (“badges,” they call them here) in exchange. This time, it was accepted.

Later, in the town of Holyhead, we see Man and Ann across the street. We exchange waved hellos.

A true story from Dublin

The Temple Bar
(Dublin, August 1, 2019, early afternoon)

A tall slender dark-haired woman with exotic eyes rises from a previously unnoticed floor trap in front of the beer spigots. Her sudden graceful and seemingly unannounced ascent, not unlike Salacia rising from the sea, surprises all the patrons crowded around the bar top. She, as well as her coworkers, are unperturbed as she quietly closes the hole in the floor and begins to draw an ale.

In the corner of the room, a singer plays on.


Thank you, Pinboard

Congratulations to Pinboard, a bookmarking service that has reached the age of 11 years. That's an eternity in the Internet world, but I'm not surprised, because it is a service that I not only love, but consider essential. I've only been a member for 10 years, and during that time I've stashed thousands of links, which are searchable, cached, and virtually at my fingertips. Additionally, I have an archive of every tweet I've made since joining Pinboard, which might come in handy in court one day. (I kid, I kid.) It's also remarkable that Pinboard remains a one-man, lovingly crafted artisanal software operation. If you're the type who bookmarks pages so you can refer to them later, you should definitely sign up.

A true story from Portobello Road, London

The robed Hara Krishna follower approached me with an outstretched hand holding some sort of sticker. “Gift. Gift.” He said, gesturing with whatever it was.

I reached into my right pocket and his eyes crinkled with a smile. I extended my hand, offering him a “Bucktown” neighborhood button that we commissioned for our trip.

Bucktown Button

“No. No.” Shaking his head he thumbed the edge of his robe to indicate he wouldn’t, or couldn’t, pin a button on the saffron garment.

I extended my hand again, asking him to accept it anyway. He turned and briskly walked away saying “No. No. No. No. No.”

(July 2019)

Book Review: Chicagoing Straight to Hell

Subtitled “The Unofficial Secret Insider Guide to Nonexistent Chicago Tours” this booklet by “Mr. Dan Kelly” (clearly a pseudonym) of Highland Park (of all places) demonstrates a fun and snarky sense of humor. The publication makes a compelling case for tours that are beyond the downtown area (“Rahmsylvania”) and cover more than just the insipid “touristy crap.” Examples include a walk along The 666 elevated cattle shoot, a survey of the Lake Michigan Lizard People who, having bred with humans, are responsible for a race of ensconced Alderpersons, and a stroll through neighborhoods where residents pound out paranoid NextDoor posts.

Gordon Meyer with book

I thoroughly enjoyed this inexpensive self-published monograph (available at Quimby’s) and I was rather sad at the end that these tours exist only in Mr. Dan’s warped and hilarious imagination. For more of that, don’t miss his website.