Saturday, March 29, 2003

ST. PETERSBURG (October 13, 2002)

Mollie's Irish Bar

Mishah returned from the bathroom with yet another confirmation that this city is Russia's "Cultural Capital" (as opposed to Moscow, which is just the capital):

In the bathroom, three men were peeing next to Mishah, and two of them were talking.

"Why did Alexander III dislike England so much? What do you think?" asked the one who looked like a Russian mafia guy (leather jacket-training suit-thick golden chain uniform, his pale hair trimmed too short, which, in a different situation, would have been a sure sign of lack of imagination and excess of discipline).

His friend, who resembled a legendary Russian rock musician Yuri Shevchuk (bearded, bespectacled and unkempt), paused, looking at his dick, and replied: "Perhaps they just forced him to say so?"

The third man (the gentlest of them, a lookalike of Valeriy Meladze, a pop singer) continued to urinate in silence.

One thing Mishah and I are still wondering about is which Alexander III they were discussing:

Alexander III, Czar of Russia, had strained relationship with Britain because of "the Russian expansion in Central Asia."

Alexander III, King of Scotland, "quarreled" with Henry II "over the old English claims to overlordship in Scotland."

Alexander III, a Roman Catholic Pope, had to defend "the rights of the Church during the quarrel between the two impetuous Normans, King Henry and St. Thomas Becket, though many a time exciting the displeasure of both contestants."

As I said, we're still wondering.

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

I pretty much know what kind of place I want Neeka's Backlog to be - but it doesn't seem right to just start posting, without providing some sort of introduction. So here's a brief mission statement, which is also a memo to myself:

I keep running into stuff I wrote a while ago - typed and printed out; typed and stored on the computer; handwritten in notebooks and on napkins; in English and in Russian; finished and unfinished; never published and never sold. Random fact and random fiction, some of it keeps surprising me when I re-read it - and I really love it when it does. What I would like to do is to "deal with" this "backlog" - by posting it here and reducing it in my head and around me.

As recently as a week ago, it seemed highly unlikely that I'd ever blog. But on March 20, the day the war started, someone directed me to Salam Pax's page - and now I'm hooked. I'm used to the format by now; I have forced myself to try to figure out the most basic HTML stuff; I'm excited about the relative lack of rules here and I hope that my inner censor will go to hell for a while.

I also hope Salam survives this war. I hope that as many people as possible survive it - and that it ends real soon.