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Subject: Iceland #71 - Pondering Phallological Pursuits
(Posted on May 22, 2014 at 08:47AM )
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So you're in Iceland for a wedding, and there's definitely lots to see and do in country, with not nearly enough time to take it all in, especially if you're a fan of the great outdoors, natural wonders, flora, and fauna. There are many unique elements to experience, but something cultural to put at the top of everyone's "to do" list here is to check out the Icelandic Phallological Museum.


Yep, you got it. The place looks like some lair where Lorena Bobbitt would ditch, preserve, and exhibit her treasure trove post Bobbitization spree(s). It's a spot that would no doubt give her ex, John Wayne Bobbitt, the creeps, after what he went through at her angry hand (and knife) back on June 23, 1993, a day the lads need to remember. Here's the overview on all that.


Given our Ecuadorian gal's inspiration and capably demonstrated experience, she might well qualify as a capable curator in Iceland, although she may prefer the field work angle.

Founded in 1997 by Sigurður Hjartarson, it was originally located in Reykjavík, and then moved to much more remote Húsavík in 2004, but relocated more conveniently back to downtown Reykjavík the last couple years. The museum houses a wide array of that memorable member of mammalian malehood (and related bits and bobs), from the massive, to the medium, and on down to the microscopic. Bob would show you the hamster one, but some say it needs a magnifying glass at just 2 mm (or 0.0787402 inches) in length.


For the longest time since opening, the museum was missing one all-important exhibit--that which came straight from mandom. But, happily for all, and complete satisfaction, this glaring omission was resolved and here's the skinny on it in this insightful trailer for The Final Member.


It doesn't end there folks, cuz, like, there's always something bigger and better just around the corner, as all the ladies know. There will one day be forthcoming an even greater donation from the mass of mandom out there, and from Manhattan, no less. So much for everything being bigger in Texas. This recent HuffPo piece speaks to Jonah Falcon's pledge to give to the cause one day down the road, when he passes on. It will be a good replacement for the current donation there as the piece explains.

At the end of the day, the museum is definitely NOT a typical place on most folks' tourism itineraries, even if you are some well-traveled single guy hitting weddings all over the world. As they like to say there, "It's all about dicks."


ICELAND, an awesome place that's on the map for many kool reasons, and getting all studious on things phallological is just one of them. When done there, some of the ladies may get all thirsty for a refreshment.


Photo of enthusiasitc founder Sigurður Hjartarson outside the old Húsavík museum location

Bob's ass be pulling no punches deep inside the trenches of global wedding tourism adventures as some single guy.


Subject: Barcelona #62 - Cookin' Cucu in Cugat
(Posted on May 17, 2014 at 02:57PM )
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So, you find yourself on your way to some outdoor wedding ceremony in Sant Cugat del Vallès outside Barcelona, sitting on a bus (or motor coach if you wanna be fancy pants about it) with other guests. You're killing some time in your mind, and wondering about the origins of the place, its name, and what was up with all that trying to get rid of some cat called St. Cucuphas way back in the daze of antiquity. The place ended up being named after him (initially, it was Castrum Octavianum) because of what happened next.

Well, it seems the Roman prefect at the time was going a tad creative with trying to get rid of our man. Judging by the following 3-step process, you'd think like maybe, somebody was going to consume our cat Cucu once he was deemed "ready."

1) Tenderize - Get a dozen soldiers to soften him up by whipping him, and then tear up his skin with nails and scorpions. Inspired
2) Marinate - cover him with vinegar and pepper. Creative kitchen
3) Cook - Roast him alive. Wuz it low 'n slo'? Dunno.

But something miraculous seemed to happen, and our man Cucu escapes death and injury per the tale. Hmmm, the prefect has a rethink on things, deciding to have a really BIG bonfire made and burn him up. Ooopsy, next thing you know, something backfires, and his executioners all die in the flames, but Cucu's okay. Righto.

The prefect has him thrown back in his cell, and then softened up some more with iron whips this time around. Presto majesto, said prefect mysteriously went up in flames in his carriage by divine intervention or sumpin' like that. Lesson learned, and his replacement decides to keep things really basic and has our man finally done in the old fashioned way by having his throat slit. See, keeping it straightforward and not trying to get fancy worked just fine in the end.

Painting: The Martyrdom of St. Cucuphas, (Public Domain)
Ayne Bru (1504-07 estimated)

And that's the way it supposedly went down for our man Cucuphas back in AD 304 during the Diocletianic Persecution.

Now, as a take away point, you generally don't see girlfolk messing around with making things complicated for no good reason. Case in point was these two women deciding to take out a "player" back in March 1881. In this fine recounting, our man Francisco "Chico" Forster, 40, was sleeping around under the guise of marriage promises when he got his sorry ass caught out in L.A. Here's some more detail on all that.

Our slighted gal, 18 at the time (guess FCF was goin' younger), just popped him straight through the eye with a pistol shot. Ba-Blam! No messing around entertaining more sophisticated torture approaches a la Roman prefect earlier in history per above.

Image: Twoons.com | 2009

Then, as a huge bonus, and no doubt benefiting from a crack legal team, our girl Lastania Abarta gets off employing a defense of "female hysteria."


Go figure. Alas, the ladies can no longer plop that ploy away for potential recycling down the road when there is a need to get rid of your man, whether he be cheatin', or not. Said medical condition was taken off the books as this informative video points out.


All BNB can say, as some simpleton single chappie out there attending weddings all over the place, is a man gots to stay on his toes. Sometimes, reaching deep for knowledge is needed to remedy what ails, just like our man Dr. Swift here below, and the tale of his special treatment for female hysteria.


So what was that drink that took out Dr. LoveSexy the night before the wedding in Jordan, and gave him a big hangover the next day?

Arak is a well-known, anise-flavored spirit distilled from grapes that is consumed all over the Middle East. It is usually accompanied with food, just as it was with the fine open-air mezze dinner on the shores of the Dead Sea. The drink does a great job of clearing the palate, even better than wine.


A lot more on how it is made can be found here in this Wiki piece. This Economist article from 2003 goes on about the history of the drink, the Arab invention of distillation, and other drinks related to Levantine arak like pastis, ouzo, sambuca, raki, mastika, and absinthe, and others. Note the arak in the Middle East, should not be confused with the drink of similar name arrack (and sometimes even the same spelling) in South East Asia that is NOT related at all, has no anise in it, and is coconut, sugarcane, or grain derived.

The process by which this clear spirit turns cloudy white when it is mixed with water is called louching. Basically, the anise oil which is colorless in the alcohol, emulsifies when the water is added, and presto, the drink transforms to its milky color as this short video shows.


Arak is usually served in a shorter glass with some ice already in it, and mixed with water thereafter, in a 1:2 ratio.


Maybe it wasn't just the arak that knocked things out of the box for Dr. LoveSexy, but perhaps the combination of beer, sucking on the hookah / shisha pipe, and any other alcohol that, collectively in combination, may have been the culprit for his hangover the next day and putting him in need of some serious greasy food as a cure. In any event, right or wrong, as a scapegoat perhaps, Bob claimed that "Haddad haddid him in."

The brand being consumed by all that night was Haddad, a local Jordanian brand made by Eagle Distilleries Co. that was established in 1953, and one of the first companies in the country (number three actually) licensed to manufacture alcohol.


When you're some single guy hitting weddings all over the world, it pays to be open, flexible and chillaxed about the food and drink going down around you. It's all part of the fun and experience of different cultures and traditions.

In any event, no matter where you are, or what you are drinking, it's all about the "Cheers!" or fe sahetek / fi sahitak in Arabic [say Figh sa hee' tik], or literally "to your health." This handy table lists the greeting in 60 languages.



Some things in life, you don't need to necessarily experience to know enough to stay away from altogether, like, erhm, say sumpin' like anal electrocution.

Illustration Credit: Bobbissimo

Or when someone who has been there already with some life experience,usually suffering for it, and offers up some deep and heartfelt advice. One needs to remember that stuff for future reference. You just know from the way they said it, that they have lived it, and it's sooooo true. Those kernels of wisdom doled out from time to time most certainly apply to marriage. Stay alert and focused to pick up on these gems when they come across your radar.

Way back when, when Bob was a teen, he got some of that type of insight from Lulu as recounted in the book, when Bob asked him what it was like to be married 42 years. Tough to follow and fathom when you've just turned 18 at the time, and he's 63. His reply was short (at only six words total, and two words were each used twice to boot, for added effect). Bob's still ain't no closer to getting married after all these years, but he knows that Lulu's words ring really true. Lulu had it going on, when it came to life lessons like that.

Here are a few more tips for all the married fellas out there, on how to navigate those perilous waters with longterm success. Learn from your other shackled comrades in arms and their past faux pas and serious speed bumps they have experienced along the way. We guys can all learn!

This guy knows what he's doing for sure in this sweet little clip, and it all sounds so much better and credible with a posh British accent.


Then there's the scoop on all the poop when a guy is thrown into the proverbial doghouse by da Boss in his life for having a crack moment or brief lack of focus with disastrous consequences.


Tim Hawkins has a fine singing version chocka blocka of good advice for all the married fellas out there.


There are always those simple but highly effective tips humanity can borrow from the animal kingdom. This one is a classic around out there on the Web for several years now in various locations, but it still presses home the message effectively.

SINGLE


MARRIAGE


DIVORCE


MARITAL BLISS

So, at the end of the day, why would any (soon-to-be) married guy listen to all this marriage knowledge / experience coming from some still-single guy who has spent a lot of his time, effort and $$$ going to weddings all around the world? Well, as the ever-astute Dr. LoveSexy once said, "Yo, I ain't had no safe fall on my head yet either, but I know it would hurt."

You can bank on that for sure.




Subject: Montreal #12 - Hockey, Politics + Language
(Posted on May 7, 2014 at 04:11PM )
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Two things that haven't changed with Bob's hometown since childhood, have been the city's devoted following of les Habs / Canadiens (especially now that they're in the second round of the playoffs battling it out with the Beantown Bruins, another place he knows well) and provincial level politics with its discussion / debate around Quebec's (potential) separation from the rest of Canuckistan.

It was the case when Bob was a kid, and again at the time of the opening wedding of the novel back in 1987, and just as true today decades later. The talk of an independent Quebec may be quiet now for a couple years given the election outcome a month ago today, but it will be back again no doubt one day. It just sort of seems to take a break every now and again, to regroup and rear its head once more. But both topics can always be a good excuse for a sprited discussion at a wedding, or any other event for that matter

Bob might be out of Quebec a long time now, and cross-polinated (or polluted, if you prefer), by many other countries and cultures, but on the plus side, he can still get a fix of maple syrup, poutine, and a smoked meat sandwich as needed, but not necessarily all at the same time though (which you really won't be getting at any wedding), and he certainly doesn't miss winters out East in Montreal anymore either.


Then there's one of his local flavor favorites on the humor side that has emerged in Têtes à claques (TaC), which has been around now since August 2006. It was all originally in French (still the best version by far if you can understand the language), but there are quite a few sketches that have been translated into English and Spanish too. However, for full effect, one can't beat the original ones for their authentic local Québecois accent, which bemuses many folks in France and other countries in the French-speaking world.

Here's one TaC sketch in French with English subtitles, so those that don't speak the language can pick up on the local Quebec French accent and still follow along otherwise.


This cat Obsesik does a good job on breaking down the difference between how French speakers in Quebec and France sound like when speaking English.


And this gal Julie Supastar doles out a good basic primer on how to speak some of the more important local French words in Quebec, handy for any tourist or Bruins visit to Montreal and La Belle Province, be it for a wedding, hockey game, or otherwise. Just generally useful everyday French 101 stuff going on here.


And as regards the outcome of the current Montreal - Boston NHL series, kinda just like with the fate of marriage longterm, as they say in Spanish, "vamos a ver lo que pasa," or we'll see what happens. Bob ain't got no crystal ball or nothing, since he's just some single bozo bumpkin attending weddings all over the place. C'est beau, c'est bon.

Subject: London #15 - Thirteen (13)
(Posted on Apr 28, 2014 at 11:40AM )
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Is thirteen an unlucky number? I guess it depends who you ask, and where in the world you are. This Wikipedia entry covers it off well from both sides of the coin, but it sure looks like this number remains largely viewed as being more unlucky rather than lucky.

This Straight Dope piece from 1992 delves into the matter a little more, pretty much solidifying the take that 13 is really not gonna be your friend most of the time.

In the interest of fairness to the overall debate, and covering both sides, here's a little more on why some state 13 can be your friend and not a foe. Some think the symbolic presence of 3 in there from a numerology perspective makes it all good and positive. Plus the preceding 1 is good too on its own, and putting them together means there is some greatness in union, and it's a prime number to boot. Here's some more on this thread posting on the positive aspects of 13 worth mulling as well.



Apart from the background above, it boiled down to just one of those little things I noticed, while sitting in a church for a wedding, and looking around a bit to kill some time, and then spot the church organ pipes as below.


Yo, what was up with that? Who would build 13 pipes on an organ ? Maybe for Sunday services, it may fly and not matter, but one is sure a few getting-married folks may well notice that, and perhaps be a little spooked by it.

This wedding happened way back in 1991, but I was recently curious to find out who built this puppy. Turns out it was put in back in 1908 by Bishop and Son in the UK, which has a history dating to 1795. Bob will ask them why thirteen pipes on this sucker they apparently built and see if they come back with an answer. Maybe it was all just pure coink-e-dink, or limited by budgetary reasons on the part of the church at the time, like they only had enough do$h cum dinero for the 13-pipe version, and not a pipe more, or sumpin' like that.

Additional church pictures of St. Nicholas in Shepperton (interior and exterior) can be found here. The stained glass windows looked nice enough, and the appreciation thereof at the time certainly may have had a helping hand by all the pints the lads consumed before the ceremony.

More pictures of the wedding day's venues at the pub, church, reception, and in and around the Greater London area can be found on this Pinterest Board.

Last but not least, this couple got divorced in 2008. They lasted a long time, at 17 years (beyond our unlucky 13 subject), but not "forever" and whatever that is supposed to mean in this day and age where our average life expectancy has pretty much doubled from the point when these vows were created iand put into practice in the first place.

It would be neat to try and get some church statistics over the years to see how many couples married in this church got divorced over time, as compared to the norm locally or in the UK in general, and see if the numbers reveal something significant regarding 13 pipes on the organ being a factor (or not) in long-term marriage success. One could then use that as a bellwether for 13 being lucky or unlucky, in that limited sense only.



Subject: Cancun #25 - Hell in Mexico
(Posted on Apr 26, 2014 at 07:54PM )
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What's in a name, especially, when it's Hell?

Painting: An image of Hell, with some angel leading a soul into the party, in the style of Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch, and likely done by some Italian punter (oil on wood, circa 16th century).

Supposedly, that "hot spot" has several characteristics, and certainly many names (to describe its multiple facets), judging by this here interesting and informative Islamic piece alone. Call it what you will, be it Jaheem, Jahannam, Lazaa, al-Sa'eer, Saqar, al-Hatamah and/or al-Haawiyah, but it takes on a whole new dimension when you're down in Cancun, mid-winter, with your girlfriend, and fighting daily about anything and everything on what is otherwise supposed to be an awesome tropical vacation getaway.

Okay, so we took a break from sparring on Valentine's Day, just for optics, praise be Allah.

Regardless of what was going on with our personal relationaship at the time, bottomline, we were there for a wedding and had to suck it up, be nice, and make like we were a tight couple.

Here's how Bob's mindset at the time made that day in paradise for the couple come out and seem, at least upside his head. Go figure.


Nice work here by the way. Diggin' that whole Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead in Ingreesch) look, even if that doesn't really come around in reality until Halloween in the rest of North A-merry-ka, and we were there in February.

By the end of that trip, Bob and her had split up, but the couple married that day back in 1996 are still trucking along just fine. Maybe all that tequila on the day/night of helped a lot long term.

Despite my whole "go to destination wedding with Swedish girlfriend and break up" domestic strife siutation at the time, the wedding was set against a dazzling beach backdrop in Cancun and the area around it on the Mayan Riviera, as this Pinterest Board attests to with some great photos (all of which are NOT his cuz like, Bob didn't own a cameria). This was all well before the day of mobile smartphones and tablets with hi-res, built-in, on-board cameras.

The wedding, coupled wirh the GF split, all made for one of the more memorable and unique wedding experiences in Bob's life, as some single stumblebum hitting matrimonial events worldwide.


Subject: Wedding Chronicles - Location Photos on PInterest
(Posted on Apr 20, 2014 at 10:18AM )
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Wedding Chronicles is a novel about some single guy's global wedding travels and humorous misadventures, plus a whole lot more.

There are no pictures as a formal part of the tale for each event in the book, but there are Pinterest boards to paint the international wedding backdrops. They feature the specific places, surrounding areas, actual venues and other cultural elements like the food and booze that formed a part of the trip.

There are boards for all thirteen weddings in this first instalment of the eventual trilogy. They visually dive into the exotic locations in the book, from Tenerife, Cancun, Santiago, Mustique, and Hawaii, to Amman, Barcelona, Iceland, and Singapore among them. Additional photos are being added continuously in drip fashion to fill the boards out even more.

Visit Bob's Pinterest page to check it all out, by clicking on the following icon...

Note that these aren't Bob's photos. He has only slapped them all together up there in a scrapbook / album fashion. When one isn't into photography and rarely takes photos, reliance is placed on others' photography talent to convey what is desired. Good thing there's no shortage of that out there on zee "Interweb."


Subject: Barcelona #62 - When Storms Happen
(Posted on Apr 16, 2014 at 05:23PM )
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After all those weddings over the years, there have only been a handful where the weather didn't cooperate, and even fewer when one was outside at the time and Mother Nature was keen to show who's da Boss.


On that late afternoon back in May 2002 in the mountains of Sant Cugat del Vallès outside the city, the memory of the storm that descended on the outdoor wedding ceremony sticks out to this day. The weather changed for the worse really quickly, the skies darkened, and we were all a little in awe at how intense the rain, hail, thunder and lightning got, all perfectly timed of course for the ceremony, peaking with the couple's vows. We were surprised again at how fast it all went away and the sun came out thereafter. Throughout, the couple were really calm, and seemed completely unfazed by it all. There was a METAL roof over our heads (nice for attracting lightning strikes), but the sides were all open air, allowing for the wind to whip the rain and hail into the left side of the seating area.

This completely separate video shot here on an August 2008 evening shows what things can get like in Barcelona in terms of electrical storms. Keep in mind that the wedding that afternoon was in the hills where all the lightning happens here in this video, so we really felt like we were in the thick of things.


The storm's impression certainly made for a memorable experience overall on that day, but it was all quickly put behind us when the sun came out and bottles of cava were being cracked open in volume.

Overall, Barcelona's an awesome place, and Bob always felt blessed to have been able to live there for two years of school between 1991 - 1993 and get to experience a good deal of all that the city and its surrounding areas have to offer, incluidng some spectacualr electrical storms.

While the wedding on this day was just outside the city proper, I have been to four others there in or around the core that will be covered off in future chronicles in the trilogy.

If you have never been to BCN, maybe the aluure of these two highlight videos will tempt you to put it on your own bucket list.


Subject: Hawaii #54 - Celebrity Cross-match
(Posted on Mar 29, 2014 at 03:02PM )
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Wade Roe laid out the rules pretty plainly for his favorite L.A. bar game, Celebrity Cross-match, in that chapter. Okay, maybe it's a little obvious he was named after Roe v. Wade, so that one wasn't much of an Easter Egg after all, but it may have slipped by a few folks.

As Wade saw it, the game was much more fun and challenging than a more typical, and boring, random celebrity spotting in and around L.A. This variant required a little more quick-on-your-feet thinking and some imagination. Per his decree in the book, any twofold hybrid worked that best fit a target's description, be it a same-sex or male-female fusion. The odd triple-mix combination was rarely permitted, as were easy dead ringer solo shots, but they were not mainstay.

In this small way, everybody was a celebrity, and if everybody was a celebrity, then nobody was a celebrity.

Sounds simple enough, but let's put theory into practice. Here are a few examples with characters taken from that very wedding chapter, as this easily distracted single guest's mind was prone to wandering all over the place.

1) The bride that day, Ku'ene Penelope Makamae Pe Ts'ai Fook Chang Kaneaiakala, was Anne Hathaway meets Joan Chen. Whaddup with her crazy-ass long name too?



2) Her Mom, Paula, was Imelda Marcos crossed with Ann B. Davis of The Brady Bunch TV series fame.



3) Dad, Eala, mashed up Gregory Peck with Herman Wedemeyer (Duke, on the original Hawaii Five-O series). Note for all you detail sticklers, the original series was named with the letter "O" in the title, and the current modern-day resurrection uses the number zero "0" for sly and subtle differentiation.




4) Wade Roe was a younger Christopher Lee meets Ben Affleck.



5) Best man Isaiah Washington was pegged as Morris Chestnut morphed with Ving Rhames.



6) And, saving the best for last, perhaps Wade#39;s sharpest shot ever, from one night long ago at James' Beach, in Venice, CA, was a Carrot Top (aka Scott Thompson) fused with Kenny G combinaton sighted across the room from where we were hanging out nursing cocktails along.



And, if you're bored or have a little idle time on your hands, you can morph and muck about on your own at MorphThing.com.

Every now and again, if it fits, some folks get by with a pure-play, solo shot, like Jock Finn doubling for Rob Schneider. And that's the real deal.