A true story from Amsterdam (2019)

Gordon Meyer holding a guitar pick

We had a “date” to meet Kay and Flo for drinks the day after our joint nighttime dinner cruise of the Amsterdam canals. Gale and I arrived early and settled in at “Bar Americain” at the American Hotel. (The fact that we were early will surprise few of you.)

The walls of the bar are filled, corner to corner, with framed 8 × 10 photos of celebrities. Gale immediately recognized a few — such as Boy George — and as we waited for the arrival of the server we tentatively identified several more, including Slash.

Our server, Roger, confirmed many of our guesses and explained the photos were all taken in the bar. (I was wrong about Lenny Kravitz, it was a Dutch singer that Roger assured me I’d never heard of.) Gale and I were both surprised at how bad Billy Idol looked and would have never recognized him. And of course there was no mistaking the boys from Texas, ZZ Top.


One of my favorites, which Gale spotted, was a young Dweezil Zappa.


Dweezil Zappa photo

Kay and Flo — who were staying at the hotel — said they heard that it was soon to become a Hard Rock property. Which makes sense, given the rock star appeal. A guest book in the lobby displayed the signatures of UB40, who were playing in town that weekend.

Roger did a good job of keeping us well served and told us, when asked, that he was a true native, having been born just a few blocks away. He also offered Kay and Flo a couple of tips for their next destination, Barcelona.

As we left I gave Roger a Bucktown pin, and he gratefully reciprocated with a Bar Americain guitar pick.

We had a great time visiting with Flo and Kay. We left them well after dark (despite intentions otherwise) and had a long walk back to our canalboat, in a heavy rain. But it was worth the experience and friendship, both new and old. I’m hoping we get back to see Roger again before we leave.


I do not accept advertising, but the Amazon want you to know that some links may contain affiliate codes that dangle the promise of earning me a few pennies towards running this site should you happen to purchase a qualifying product. Humbly, Gordon Meyer

I am judging your return address labels

"The mass of men lead lives of boring return address labels. I choose not to count myself among them."

I couldn't agree more. Join the author and me in spreading a little joy with every missive:
One Foot Tsunami: Fun With Address Labels

I do not accept advertising, but the Amazon want you to know that some links may contain affiliate codes that dangle the promise of earning me a few pennies towards running this site should you happen to purchase a qualifying product. Humbly, Gordon Meyer

Book Review: Londonist Mapped

It was only the second day of our long trip across Great Britain and Europe and here I was at Waterstones in Kensington purchasing a large-format book. Bless my wife for putting up with my impulse to buy it. (But she made it clear that I was the one who would have to stow it until we had a chance to send it home.)

Gordon Meyer Londonist Mapped Book

The hassle of hauling, and eventually mailing, “Londonist: Mapped” was worth it. It’s a self-described book of “Hand drawn Maps for the Urban Explorer,” which is accurate, but it isn’t until you page through the book that you discover how quirky and enchanting the contents truly are. Londonist.com commissioned many artists to create the maps and each one offers and different style and perspective on the city. It’s impossible to pick a favorite, but “Things you might not have done near Brick Lane,” “A banker’s pub crawl,” and “A guide to tube pedantry” are all fascinating. And as a visitor, the brief but enlightening text that accompanies each map made me feel more knowledgable than I am.

Now that we’re back home in the U.S. — and locked in our mandated self-quarantine — opening this book not only takes me back to happy memories, it also reminds me that things to love and appreciate are everywhere underfoot.

If you’re fortunate enough to be a Londoner, I suspect that you’ll love this book. If, like me, you only get to enjoy London occasionally, get this book now and you’ll have a greater appreciation when you’re there, and happy daydreams of visits until you return. You can order a copy here at Amazon.


I do not accept advertising, but the Amazon want you to know that some links may contain affiliate codes that dangle the promise of earning me a few pennies towards running this site should you happen to purchase a qualifying product. Humbly, Gordon Meyer

Levelator is not dead!

Oh! Thank you to MacSparky for blogging that a new version of The Levelator is available in the Mac App Store. This utility is a must-have for anyone producing spoken word audio. I'm glad to see it's back from the dead.

I do not accept advertising, but the Amazon want you to know that some links may contain affiliate codes that dangle the promise of earning me a few pennies towards running this site should you happen to purchase a qualifying product. Humbly, Gordon Meyer

There's no shame in little or slow

Today's culture seems to only value big successes. But little successes have a lot to recommend them too: The luxury of atypical success

I do not accept advertising, but the Amazon want you to know that some links may contain affiliate codes that dangle the promise of earning me a few pennies towards running this site should you happen to purchase a qualifying product. Humbly, Gordon Meyer

Join the IndieWeb

Another nice summary of why you should be posting at your own domain and not a parasite like Medium: Autonomy Online: A Case For The IndieWeb — Smashing Magazine

I do not accept advertising, but the Amazon want you to know that some links may contain affiliate codes that dangle the promise of earning me a few pennies towards running this site should you happen to purchase a qualifying product. Humbly, Gordon Meyer

Book Review: Homicide — Bucktown

Gordon Meyer with book

This book by Samuel T. Logan features police reports and post-factual location photographs of nine neighborhood murders. I was fortunate to review a prepublication copy and wrote the text below, which Mr. Logan opted to include on the back cover.

“The Chicago neighborhood of Bucktown is known for its tree-lined streets, family-friendly attitudes, and easy access to downtown. All in the shadows of the working-class factories that are now high-end condos. But there are darker shadows too, which neighbors only speak of in hushed tones (or private Facebook groups). Like all such gossip, much of it is exaggerated or just plain wrong. In Homicide: Bucktown, Sam Logan has done the painstaking work of shaking loose the actual facts from the government authorities. But if the cold procedural descriptions make you feel uneasy, the accompanying in situ photographs provide reassurances that, despite horrific events, life goes on. But do take heed, you can’t unlearn what you’re about to discover.”

Get your copy (and its earlier published sibling “Murder: Wicker Park”) at Quimby’s Bookstore.

I do not accept advertising, but the Amazon want you to know that some links may contain affiliate codes that dangle the promise of earning me a few pennies towards running this site should you happen to purchase a qualifying product. Humbly, Gordon Meyer

Time Traveling in København

Our first encounter with the future, on this very strange day, occurred in the Assistens Cemetery (c1760). We were playing the fabulous Shadow's Notebook puzzle walk and it led us to the grave of Andreas Morgenrødt.

Andres Morenrodt Grave

According to local lore Andreas made at least four trips back in time and eventually perished in a forward jump, in 2064, as noted on his tombstone. Or, at least that's what I think the story is, as the scant info findable online is in Danish.

That evening, at Tivoli Gardens, we encountered a tightly packed array of wildly spinning and tumbling time machines. Every one had a bright red LED display that indicated the relative year for each pilot. Above the carriages, a giant mechanical clock ticked backwards at a steady cadence.

Tivoli Gardens Time Machines

Tivoli Gardens (c1843) is said to be the inspiration for Disneyland. That may not be verifiable, but it is easily believable, as the attention to detail and whimsy is apparent at every turn. Also notable is the tenor of the rides — they operate at speeds and heights that no lawyer would ever allow in the US.

Tivoli Gardens Ride

Our third and final time-shift of the day happened in Tivoli’s homage to Danish back alleys. There we ordered two delicious “toasties” for dinner. It wasn't until after finishing our sandwiches that we noticed this, below the cash register:

Sign in Tivoli Gardens

Not entirely sure of its meaning, we took it as a sign to bring our day to a close.

Postscript: After telling the above story to our friend George (Hi George!) he correctly prognosticated that our time travel would continue the next day with a visit to the 1970s at Christiana — the autonomous commune/utopia within Copenhagen. Groovy, man.


I do not accept advertising, but the Amazon want you to know that some links may contain affiliate codes that dangle the promise of earning me a few pennies towards running this site should you happen to purchase a qualifying product. Humbly, Gordon Meyer

A true story from Shetland's only town

gordon and goat

Standing outside the Lerwick store that specializes in goat’s milk soap, Connor the goat and a ruddy one-toothed man raise money for the regional hospital to buy an MRI machine. Last week, Connor raised nearly £2,000. Connor’s human friend loved the Bucktown pin that we gave him, after dropping some coin in Connor’s collection plate, of course. In retrospect, Gale observed we only assumed that Connor and the man were together. He might have just been standing nearby.

I do not accept advertising, but the Amazon want you to know that some links may contain affiliate codes that dangle the promise of earning me a few pennies towards running this site should you happen to purchase a qualifying product. Humbly, Gordon Meyer