How I spent my first day in Tel Aviv

  • Slept on the beach, until the psy-trance boom box got too loud and I had to retreat to a sparser patch of sand. 
  • Slept some more.
  • Felt a lot of cynicism about the whole country and its timeline (as I superficially imagine them). The public spaces are friendly and inviting…but why so few Arabs? Apparently they weren’t invited.
  • Walked around the port worrying about whether I had burned my face while sleeping (I had).
  • Felt a surprising swirl of annoyance and suspicion toward a sad old Arab man selling pens for too many shekels.
  • Bought a pen.
  • Read an article about a radical alternative Ulpan where newcomers learn Hebrew by engaging in critical discussions about Israeli society, the Occupation, etc… Felt a lot of sympathy for the outraged conservative comments (“go back to America and critique your own country”, etc…). The whole endeavor does smack of tremendous privilege.
  • Looked up the Ulpan to see if I can go while I’m in the city.
  • Drank a dozen coffees. At Aroma, at a coffee shop on Ben Yehuda, at a friendly flower shop on the port. Is there any city better for lounging around getting caffeinated?
  • Watched a thick crowd on a hill top by the sea launching dozens of kites into the pink gauze of sunset.

A tense conversation by the river Elbe

Now, I don’t think you’re a war criminal. None of my boys do. Heck, even General Bradley ain’t gonna think you’re a war criminal. But there’s an important difference between the systems we’re coming from that I think you’re failing to appreciate. If a photo gets onto the front page of the New York times of Misha and Seryoja here shooting Fritz Q. War Prisoner over a ditch, while I’m standing in the background smiling…well, faster than the morning post can deliver angry letters, I’m going to be looking at a pair of MPs taking me to be court-martialed. Nobody is ever going to ask you “Did you respect their human rights?” because your bosses are reasonable men who know what these guys deserve. But I don’t just have to win, I have to make it look pretty. So, having clarified my position, I am strongly advising you to let us take the prisoners and give your men the night off. — Vlad, does he get it, or did you fuck up the translation?

Letters to Sean

Hey Sean, 

I love the stuff you’ve been posting this week, my numbers are through the roof! Keep up the good work! I just wanted to let you know that I’m being flown out to Kuala Lampur next Monday (big meetings, maybe big investments), can you whip up a new post for Tuesday or Wednesday? Maybe some realizations about globalization and inequality after a street stroll or something like that.  You know how Abbey is always Liking crap like “blah blah Capitalism, Poor People”, it seems like a good opportunity to show her I care– she probably doesn’t want to date bankers so try to put in a little self-criticism. But don’t make it too political; the last thing I need is my boss thinking I went all Buddha on him. 

Thanks a ton buddy, hope you have a great weekend!

Chase Levinson | Investment Strategies Analyst
JP Morgan Asset Management Division

Vegetarians don’t last in New Orleans

Some observations about New Orleans. 

    First. Food which does not contain shrimp must contain pork. There are very few exceptions to this rule. 

    Second. If you are so foolish as to attempt to nap in the seemingly residential Irish Channel neighborhood, a brass band will immediately assemble around your house and start playing. 

    Third. Alligator does not, as often stated, taste like chicken. It is, in fact, a convincing imitation of an unhealthily soft lamb. 

With regard to the first observation, we encountered a food wizard named Milte, who passed unto us secret knowledge about the dark and mysterious world of New Orleans’ vegetarians. Milte pressed upon us a holy quest to seek out the following foodsmiths and catalogue their rare and controversially meatless creations. 

  • Carmo @ 527 Julia Street (“Caribbean/Asian/African”)
  • Pizza Delicious @ 617 Piety Street (“have vegan pizza”)
  • Golden Feather @ 704 N. Rampart (“mardis gras indian owned/operator”)
  • KimSon @ 349 Whitney Ave (Way out on the West Bank)
  • Cafe Abyssinia @ 3511 Magazine Street
  • Nile Restaurant @ 2130 Magazine Street
  • Kuknya @ 2227 St. Claude (“slavic food inside of Siberia”)

A graceless sketch

Alex walked up to Union street, considered taking a left, and for the third instead continued forward.

“I need a coffee,” he thought. “I I start down Union, I’ll have to call Siobhan and I can’t do that until my mind is social. A coffee is going to pull me out of this state.”

Alex didn’t notice the two two bodegas he passed while thinking about coffee and soon he was cursing the scarcity of bodegas in New York.

“How can such a dense street not have a single shop?”

He was starting to panic– he might never find coffee and thus, never call Siobhan.