Tuesday, November 27, 2007

We Momentarily Pause This Blog...

... To bring you tidings of comfort and joy.

"Winter turned to Spring. Spring turned to Summer. Summer turned to Winter. And then Winter gave Spring and Summer a miss and went straight on into Autumn."

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition, but when the hell did the holidays get here? This is the major confusion of my life right now. I left town at Halloween, traveled to the land of eternal summer, and then came back to Christmas, and it's more than a little bizarre. Where the hell was fall? In any case, in an attempt to force myself into submitting to the spirit of the season, let's talk Jingles.

In the history of the Goo, no post has even come close to the number of hits that my search for the True Christmas Cookie has received over the past year. It turns out I'm not the only one who appreciates these store-bought goodies more than any homemade cookie.

Through the intrepid efforts of one anonymous commenter, I'm pleased to announce that you can BUY Salerno Jingles through the tubes of the internets, and that you don't even have to approach some black market entrepreneur named Vladek in Warsaw to buy them. It's a holiday miracle! And just in time, since the other holiday miracle- the Amazing Shrinking Kitchen- is getting really old.

But it still doesn't quite feel like Christmas. The search continues.

Back to your regularly scheduled blog.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Where To Begin?

So yeah, I went to Uganda and saw heaps of sick people.

Literally, heaps. No matter that beds were filled. The people just bring their mattresses and stay on the ground. No worries! Also, no deodorant.

I have no idea where to begin, so let's just start in Mbarara, a city of about 1.5 million that's a four hour drive southwest of the capital, Kampala.

Sunday morning on the patient wards in Mbarara:
Father and his sick son (check out his left ear) in the courtyard of the university hospital.
Walking around with my camera, I felt guilty and intrusive. People were sicker than you can begin to imagine, and here I was snapping photos with my special brand of slummy tourism1. We always asked before we took pictures and were generally received warmly- especially when people found out they could see their pictures right away- oh how the instant gratification of digital became the tie that binds!

This little girl was fine with having her picture taken...

...But perked right up when I showed her the picture of herself. She asked to take another one. Prepare to be dazzled by the toothiest grin you have ever, ever seen:
These two kids were working with their family in the maize field outside of the hospital grounds. We had never seen them before in our lives, but they came running up to us and greeted us with huge hugs as though we were dear and long-lost friends. Their mother stayed back, but smiled and waved at us. And there you have Ugandan hospitality- warm and completely unassuming.
More to come...

1.White guilt alert! White guilt alert! I bitch and moan when I have to wait for more than 15 minutes at the doctor's office to get my tonsils prodded.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Culture Schlock

I'm back!

I can't even begin to explain how weird it is to be back. And this ain't helping:

Monday, November 12, 2007


Dear Internet,

I missed you SO MUCH! I can't even think of the last time I didn't see you for five days. Last time I was in Africa?

So, here I am at my dispatch in Uganda. I have so much to tell you! First off, sadly, the equator is NOT marked by a giant red and white dashed line, so you can't actually see it from the plane. Sad, no? The reall equator is marked by two small circles and a toilet you have to pay 200 shillings to get into. The lock on the stall door was on the outside of the stall, and the door was springloaded, and so did not close without the lock, meaning you take your wee in front of everyone (hovering in a squat, since toilet seats are few and far between) or else you hold the door for someone else while you do the omigodihavetotinkleohgodwe'vebeendrivingforsolongi'mgonnadie before you can get a turn with a closed door. That said, body mass is 3% less at the equator, so it feels like you're floating over the seat (NOT TRUE).

Happily, the mall has sculptures of dinosaurs in the parking lot, so I know I must be among friends.

It's 8:30 in the morning here, which means it's 12:45 last night for you guys. Also, this page took six minutes to load (not exaggerating), has had to refresh twice, and I've sucked up the rest of the minutes I paid for in this internet cafe trying to figure out what the hell I'm typing, since the keys that I press on the keyboard are not the characters that appear on the screen. It's fun; it's like a guessing game! But my time has come, so it's off to work... I"ll write more when I can.


The Goo

P.S. Had a perfunctory update of the news going on of late- roofies in the Chinese toys now? What, was lead paint too boring? I don't even want to know why peoples would want to give the kiddies the date rape drug.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Here Come the Men in Black

Having grown up in Chicago but lived for the past five years in DC, it can be difficult to choose my loyalty sometimes.

Chicago has the better flag.

DC's flag is kinda lame in comparison, plus it has a the unfortunate mullet reference.

DC definitely has the better local commercial- the Eastern Motors jingle is probably one of my top five favorite songs-

-while Chicago's Eagleman commercial, although a local favorite, doesn't have quite the same panache.

But when it comes to the only sport I really care about watching, my MLS loyalties are clear:


This is mostly because at a party after a Chicago Fire-DC United game in 2006, DC keeper Troy Perkins (this was pre-Goalie-of-the-year, when he could still hang out with us poor slobs) and some other players bought us beers if Carijudy (also a DC emigre from Chicago) and I promised to become DCU fans. Other than the fact that they're FUCKING AWESOME, I can't really see any better reason to choose loyalty to a team for life.

So I'm thrilled to be going to tonight's playoff game, part of DC United's Blackout push to the MLS cup, just to watch Ben Olsen, Fred, Troy, Emilio, Jaime, and the other fine men in black and red kick some Shitcago ass tonight and move forward. It's already a done deal- I mean, even Britney Spears is attaching her star to their wagon o' success with the release of her new Blackout cd. She may be a train wreck, but at least she knows good soccer.

On that note, I'm leaving you all for a little while- I'm off for my adventures with blood in Uganda. Ok, I don't actually leave until Monday, but I have one or possibly two things to do before then, so I'll need to sign off for a while. I'll be back the week of Thanksgiving, just in time to see the MLS Cup at RFK stadium. If I get a chance, I'll keep you posted, but apparently internet access at the hospital I'll be visiting is sporadic at best, mostly due to their failure to pay the phone bill.

Nope, not kidding.