where the tulips come from…

Dear Diablog,

Despite being a committed Brexiter I have always been hopelessly in love with Europe so, a couple of weeks ago I took a 45 minute torture course – well, Easyjet from Luton – to a wonderfully attractive city


where I rented a suitable local method of transport for Mme and the pair we went with


and booked into an AirB+B par excellance.


After checking out the neighbours…..


Continue reading “where the tulips come from…”

Al-Qaeda, Al-Aqsa, Al-Gebra

Dear Reader,

We have a new terror organization. Time to fear for your life, this time for real.

After Al-Qaeda and Al-Aqsa, we know give you Al-Gebra.

This group is so dangerous, it has been hiding in plain sight for hundreds of years.

And they are strong. Strong as in they have hundreds of millions of followers.

They have infiltrated diablog already. Yes, I am willing to come out as a follower. Shocking, I know.

Why now? One of us got caught. This guy:

You can read about it here:


If there ever was a plea for more education, there you have it.

Our Idiot of the Day medal goes to that airline passenger, obviously obsessed with “If you see something, say something”. I hope she does not reproduce.

And I still request a zero-security-check-airline. I’d sign up right away. I fly at my own risk. With all those dangerous things like water bottles, pocket knifes, tweezers, shoes, tooth picks, etc.

Stay sane,

Engine Room

2nd living room abroad

Dear Reader,

With limit living space in NY and a general preference for going out – instead of being homely – comes something I call 2nd living room. And I have more than a few of those.

During a visit to London, where Glynsky showed me around, I found one spot, that would become my 2nd living room. If I lived in the area, of course.

The area in question is Maida Vale. The atmosphere resembles Gramercy, one of my favorite residential areas in Manhattan. Glynsky showed me Little Venice, part of Maida Vale first. And then we looked for a place to have lunch.

When passing this place:


I noticed a sign: Cash Only. And I said: We have to go there.

Glynsky asked why, and I explained. If today a place can afford to kiss good bye to all credit card business, it must be worth visiting. From the top of my head I know only one place in NYC, that does, and that is the world’s best steak house, Peter Luger.

So we went there, and this is what we found:

Continue reading “2nd living room abroad”

Amateur night

Dear Reader,

If you come to NY, please come prepared. The reason I am asking you, kindly, is what I call an amateur night.

I had visitors. From out of town. Big eyes. Big mouth. “Show us The City. We can take it.”

So, we started the night at McSorley’s, with a few beers. Side note, McSorley’s has the most beautiful Irish women in town. Just beware of their brothers. And it is the oldest Irish tavern here.

On to a few Bass Ales. I know, you English pretty much gave up on it. I still love it. Next, a few Brooklyn Lager. There is a reason you come to NY. Have the local brew. And then I needed something stronger.

So I ordered a few Singleton. My company skipped that, I had them all. Next up, The Balvenie. Again, I had to drink that one alone. That’s when I asked my guests: “Why don’t you take advantage of your hotel rooms?”

They accepted quickly and gladly. Which left me with a bottle of Barbera D’ Alba. All by myself. Life is good.

If you come to NY, I beg you, come prepared. No amateurs, please. This is a professional town.

Stay tuned,

Engine Room

Spanish Ska

Dear Reader,

As mentioned here, I had the pleasure of traveling into Spanish speaking territory. And I had the pleasure to party – when did this become a verb? – with youngsters. And at one of those parties, in the early morning hours I played Madness. Two guys went nuts on the dance floor first, and then asked: “Do you like Ska?” What a question. Diablog readers know, Glynsky and I love Ska.

Then they surprised me with Spanish Ska. I wonder, whether Glynsky knows this:

The band name, Ska-P, is wordplay for escape as well as Ska – Punk. Supposedly, they are big in Latin and South America.

Stay tuned,

Engine Room

Alternative Holidays

Dear Reader,

While Glynsky complains about office parties and tries to motivate you to pick up crazy sport here, I’d like to introduce you to an alternative holiday set up.

Some background first, my family is huge. And I had the great pleasure to enjoy tremendous holiday parties, some lasting three days, some going on for two weeks. Never less than 15 people, mostly we were 25 to 45, having great fun, a lot of warmth and harmony, delicious meals, great wines, and everything you could ask for.

On the other hand, I also have very fond memories of my first holiday season all by myself. For a long time I had access to a huge house in a skiing area. The house had an entrance hall with a huge fireplace, library, music room, salon, bar, playroom, TV room, dining hall, and eight bedrooms. There were two kitchens with fully stocked fridges and freezers plus a wine and beer cellar. The most useless room was a gym.

One year all this was mine to enjoy, all by myself. And luck had it, that year we had a ton of snow. The village was snowed in, cut off from the rest of the world. For four days nobody could get in, and nobody could get out. It was by far my most silent holiday season ever.

I spent it in front of the fireplace, reading, enjoying simple food like steak and whole chicken with delicious wines. It was quiet and peaceful and very relaxing. If you are tired of big party holiday seasons, if you want to unwind, I highly recommend something similar.

And here is the music I discovered then. This is Eric Satie with six of his most famous pieces:

I mentioned him earlier on diablog here. Eric Satie influenced people like Maurice Ravel and Pablo Picasso. And Keith Jarrett “borrowed” heavily from him.

This music is excellent, maybe one of the best, for a lazy Sunday, for calm and peaceful days all by yourself. Sitting by an open fire, enjoying drinks and a cigar, following your own thoughts.

Happy holidays,

Engine Room

Early Morning Brain Check?

Dear Reader,

Smiles is trying here to sell me tips, which I gave him four years ago here. Then he hadn’t been happy with my choice of music, Will Smith – Going to Miami. So he got a second song here, Jan Hammer – Crockett’s Theme, the Miami Vice anthem.

Either our brilliant commentator is developing Alzheimer’s, or he is checking my brain. Just because it is early morning, rest assured, my brain is working just fine.

That’s why I remember, that at the end of the Spanish-American war in the outgoing 19th century, Cuba went from being a Spanish colony more or less straight to being a US colony. Check the Platt Amendment, which among other things let us have Guantanamo still. I wish we haven’t.

By the 1920s, thanks to the prohibition in the US, Cuba was turned into an American ‘paradise’ of drinking, gambling, and prostitution. This era is partially responsible for the Myth of Cuba.

Fast forward to today, tourism is again a huge industry, annually some four million people are visiting Cuba, population around 11 million. With an official monthly income of ~ US$ 19 (!!!) it is a destination for the cheapest and sometimes disgusting mass tourism.

Is it fun? I cannot say, I have not been there yet. Yet all my friends, who have been, were more depressed than impressed.

So, let me ask with The Pet Shop Boys – What have I done to deserve this?

Stay tuned,

Engine Room