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Saturday, August 17, 2002



‘Your money goes quickly in Amsterdam. Or it has mine. I had been here 16 hours, and already I had spent $600: cab fare from the airport to the hotel @$45; a no-frills hotel in the museum district @$150/night; $200 for the hooker; $60 for two 3-gram baggies of hashish (not a lot, to the naked eye, but yr hash seems to stretch nice & far in Amsterdam), another $60 for three baggies of freeze-dried psylocibin - which is over-the-counter material at head-shops Amsterdam-wide, and about $40 at a Transylvanian fish-house, whose manager put me immediately on edge’.


Psychedelic novelist and Gonzo reporter Todd Brendan Fahey quoted above, describes a mystical experience while writing an article for ‘SMOKE’ magazine in 1997.
After visiting the Amsterdam Art Gallery ‘the Anton Heyboerwinkel’ he writes:

"It was as if I were being beckoned into Aladdin's Castle from way out in some super-mall parking lot," says Fahey, of his experience. "I will never be able to put it into words; but there was a pull, a connection, and then, after studying the many `Logbook' pages for several days in this shop, there came a long moment of illumination."
Fahey describes this "illumination" as an ecstatic vision, in which he claims to have understood the mystical emphasis of much of the `Logbook' drawings.

The logbook Fahey mentions; constitutes the pivotal artistic work of Walter Karl Gluck, an American who came to Amsterdam in 1963. Gluck remained in Amsterdam for the rest of his life, living on his houseboat the ‘Henry David Thoreau’, moored in the Amstel river, close to the Amsterdam Opera.
Gluck: alias Bulgar, alias Viktor IV, crafted his art partly from flotsam that he salvaged from the Amstel River. For years he kept the logbook that is part of the Amsterdam Stedelijk Museum collection. Apart from his paintings and logbooks Gluck also designed timepieces and clocks, that run backwards, under the ‘Bulgar’ label. The watches won him popular acclaim.

Gluck was a trained scuba diver; who took daily dips in the river. One day in 1986 as he was doing repairs underneath his ship, he drowned.

I wrote a poem loosely based on his life:


Bulgar Time

The river runs glossed and lipstick-kissed
below the lavender footbridge to my left
and rounds my time coliseum
a 12 digit pilgrimage

Time: straight no chaser
Time: life’s coup d’etat

My name is Viktor: or rather Demetrius
I used to be a shvitzer. but now I am Vip-lounged
My bath is far removed from brothels
salt scrubs, Neutrometics, or the rush of cold sweat

Today I’m wrinkle-cleaned, my steady regimen
fulfilled a lifelong dream-
I released a message in a bottle of my own
and watched it slowly counter the stream
as swimmers and legends do

The river pursues a destination beyond my reach
and as it flows underneath the white arches
of the railway bridge to my right-
continues to mumble life-like dialogue

© Walter van Lotringen 2001


For info on the life and times of Viktor IV

For an interview with Todd Brendan Fahey:

posted by Walter at 8/17/2002

Friday, August 16, 2002

Mer a Boire

It’s hot. I’m working my ass off to meet several deadlines; and after a long day’s haul, I’m thinking what most men are thinking of all day:

B E E R !

Koerber Brewing Company of Toledo, Ohio USA: offers a collection of songs with good cheer:

Beer song

I'll not sign you a song of sherbet
For sherbet with beer will not rhyme
Us working men can't afford champagne
It's a bit more than five cents a time.
But I'll sing you a song of a gargle,
A gargle we all love so dear,
I refer you to that grand institution,
That wonderful tonic called beer-beer-beer.

Beer, beer, glorious beer,
Fill yourself right up to here,
Drink a good deal of it,
Make a good meal of it;
Stick to your old-fashioned beer.
Don't be afraid of it,
Drink till you're made of it,
Now altogether a cheer--HOORAY!
Up with the sale of it,
Down with a pail of it,
Glorious, glorious beer.

It's the daddy of all lubrications,
It's the best thing there is for the neck;
Can be used by people of every station,
By people of every sect;
Well, we know who the goddess of wine was,
But was there a goddess of beer?
If so, let us drink to her health, boys,
And wish that we had her right here--here--here

Then, off to Aussieland for the big swill!

It's lonesome away from your kindred and all,
By the camp-fire at night where the wild dingos call,
But there's nothing so lonesome,
So morbid or drear,
Than to stand in a bar of a pub with no beer

Brand building for beers demands epic creativity!

‘Now, as soon as became aware of the delightfully Australian lager, Piss, we had to find out who was behind it. After a diligent search using our usual sources, we came across the name Chris Hodges of Melbourne. Further investigation revealed not only did he have a hand in brand creation, but he also co-ran one of Melbourne's drinking institutions - the Great Britain, where it was said you could get this Piss beer on tap.

And so began the Piss guest, so to speak’.

Gimme some music, turn up the amps. Bartender!

Anthologies of Best Ever Beer Songs by artists like: Wheatus, Silverchair, B52’s, Iggy Pop Meatloaf and many others

If you have never attended a German Bierfest, you’never lived.

From: Des Knaben Wunderhorn: the anthology of Old German Songs. One stanza.

Wer fragt danach,
Aus dem Gelag,
Hab ich mir vorgenommen,
Den ganzen Tag,
So lang ich mag,
Auch morgen nicht zu kommen.
Herr Wirth, gebt Ihr
Die Freyheit mir,
Mich lustig zu erzeigen,
So seht nur an,
Wie wohl ich kann
Die frischen Gläser neigen.

From a German folk song – author unknown

Bier her, Bier her, oder ich fall um!
Wenn ich nicht gleich Bier bekumm,
Schmeiß ich die ganze Kneipe um! Drum:
Bier her, Bier her, oder ich fall um!

A site that holds a plethora of drinking songs in German, French and English. For all of you who never have enough.

posted by Walter at 8/16/2002

Thursday, August 15, 2002

Croc Monsieur

It’s 8.00 am. The parents of the primary school in my neighborhood have just delivered their offspring.
In the chaotic jumble that surrounds the school entrance where parents and pupils are passing through a tunnel underneath the housing block to the secluded schoolyard, a guy in a gray flannel suit exits the fray.
With big strides he moves across the boardwalk below my window. His attire is formal and sober, his suit the kind worn by lawyers and consultants, that occupy offices scattered all across the neighborhood. It is a warm day, too hot for shirt and tie. As he moves by below my open window, he sings part of a tune, and fades out of earshot>>


The song (1977) ‘Ma Baker’ describes the exploits of Ma Baker and her sons, a gang of outlaws from Chicago, who perished eventually after a US crime spree.

She was the meanest cat
Oh she was really tough
She left her husband flat
He wasn't tough enough
She took her boys along
'cos they were mean and strong

Ma Ma Ma Ma - Ma Baker - she taught her four sons
Ma Ma Ma Ma - Ma Baker - to handle their guns
Ma Ma Ma Ma - Ma Baker - she never could cry
Ma Ma Ma Ma - Ma Baker - but she knew how to die

© Boney M


“King of the B’s” Roger Corman: ‘How I Made a Hundred Movies in Hollywood and Never Lost a Dime’, directed the 1970 movie ‘Bloody Mamma” starring Shelley Winters as Ma Baker. Corman’s movies are characterized by his own very effective formula: lean budgets, breasts, bikers and blood.


>>The flannel suit however; misinterpreted the line that he was supposed to be singing. Instead of: -Ma Baker – she taught her four sons-. He sang: ‘Ma Baker – she T O R E up her sons’

As he was proceeding towards his car, parked closeby.

posted by Walter at 8/15/2002

Wednesday, August 14, 2002

Croc Madame

Bizarre twists of the psyche never fail to shock us. As I was doing some background research on this event, I came across a site that exploits our enduring fascination with the obscure and bizarre.

Have a look at it yourself (-):


Bangkok- A Thai woman killed herself by jumping into a pit of more than 100 crocodiles, schocking crowds at a Bangkok reptile farm.

The woman, 40, climbed a two-meter high fence and jumped into a concrete enclosure at the Famut Prakarn Crocodile Farm on the outskirts of the Thai capital, a tour guide who witnessed the event said Sunday.
A crocodile dragged the woman into a pond and several animals swarmed over and tore her body apart.
"She did not cry or scream when she was bitten," Tanet Virayaporn, the tour guide, told Reuters.
"It happened so quickly. Nobody could do anything." 'Just right in front of me, she just jumped into the pond, without a word, without a cry,' he said.
'The moment the crocodile grabbed her body, she even hugged onto him. It was horrifying.'

Somjai left two letters to her family in her purse found near the security fence. A bottle of brandy was also found there. Her distraught teenage son and daughter said Somjai had suspected that her husband, Samut Sethboon, was having an affair.
'She had been under a lot of stress, particularly after having a major operation recently,' said her son, Wilai.
'The thought that Dad might have another woman was hard for her.'

Hundreds of people were visiting the crocodile farm, a popular tourist attraction, when the woman committed suicide.

Source: CNN


Fact is: the woman had to coax the animals to kill her, by swimming straight at them. The animals grabbed her eventually and broke her neck, but the recovered body remained intact.

posted by Walter at 8/14/2002

Tuesday, August 13, 2002

I’ll cry for you Argentina

This news report that I read recently offers a stark image of just how fragile global economics can be:

Rosario-Argentina: Word spread fast through the vast urban slums ringing Rosario. There was food on the highway-and it was still alive. A cattle truck had overturned near this industrial city, spilling 22 head of prime Angus beef across the highway. Some were dead, a few were injured.
A mob moved out from Las Flores, a shantytown of trash heaps and metal shacks boiling over with refugees from the financial collapse of what was once Latin America’s wealthiest nation. Within minutes, 600 hungry residents arrived on the scene, wielding machetes and carving knives. The slaughter began.

‘I looked around at people dragging off cow legs, heads and organs, and I couldn’t believe my eyes,’ said Alberto Banrel, 43, who worked on construction jobs until last January, when the bottom fell out of the economy. ‘And yet there I was, with my own bloody knife and a piece of meat. I felt like we had become wild animals’.

Before the depression In 1999, the country of 36 million inhabitants had a $ 8,909 per capita income-double that of Mexico and three times that of Poland. Today, per capita income has sunk to $ 2,500, roughly on par with Jamaica and Belarus.
The economy is projected to shrink by 15 percent this year, putting the decline at 21 percent since 1999, surpassing the country’s Great Depression years of 1930-1933.

Rodolfo Gonzalez, a retired engineer, sums up the atmosphere:
‘You have to wonder: is all this really happening? Are our politicians so corrupt? Are we now really so poor? Have the banks really stolen our money? And the answers are yes, yes, and yes’.

Source: Washington Post

posted by Walter at 8/13/2002

Monday, August 12, 2002

Sensory overload

At the Annual meeting of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence, oddly enough held in Edmonton Alberta, a breakthrough robot was unveiled. Her name: G R A C E.

Grace stands for: Graduated Robot Attending Conference. She was one of the contestants in the “Robot Challenge”, one of the events staged during the meeting, designed to showcase the state of the art. The challenge for each robot was: to start at the entrance to the conference center, take the elevator to the registration desk, register for the conference and then report to the auditorium at a set time and deliver a speech.

The 1.83 mtr, 136 kg robot gave a PowerPoint speech, detailing her circuitry and software.

‘My chassis,’ Grace said, ‘Is an iRobot B-21base with two Pentia running Linux. I have a laser range finder, sonar and both stereo and monocular active heads for vision. I also have a flat-panel display, speakers and a wireless link for communication. ‘My software has been under development for many years by the various institutions that make up the Grace team. Mobility, vision, speech recognition, speech generation and facial expressions are all separate processes. I use simple, well-defined interfaces to control software complexity’.

The crowd of about 300 ate it up.

However as Grace was finishing other tasks scheduled for her, the Robot hit a snag. Problems with the speech recognition software caused communication problems, delaying her presentation considerably.
This unforseen effect generated even more rapport with the audience, since she seemed to reflect at length about the spoken directions given to her, before continuing to the challenge.
Eventually, Grace made it into the elevator, a feat that drew a large ovation. On the bottom floor, her appearance and exit from the elevator was the cause for thunderous applause, though the adulation may have actually set Grace back because of sensory overload. It took her 20 more minutes to make it across the lobby floor to the registration desk. Ten minutes later, Grace was in front of her auditorium.

‘Thanks for coming,’ she said over the applause, adding, ‘See you next year in Acapulco’.

Source: IHT

posted by Walter at 8/12/2002