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Amsterdam Zoo.

Today I had meant to take the train to a place near Leyden called Keukenhof where the big tulip fields are. But it’s hard to get back on the road after coming this far. So I rode my (Luc Sala’s) bike to what looked like a park on the map.

Turned out it was a zoo called Artis, the oldest zoo in the Netherlands. They did have one little patch of very nice tulips, and I pretended it was a giant field.

Near the tulips was a statue of a dinsosaur. He looked so ecstatic, so punk rock. I mean, he looked like Joey Ramone or Joe Strummer! Or a happy kid. Roar!

Future archeologists might imagine that in our time we “worshipped” dinosaurs as we love building idols of them. And in a way we do worship them, don’t we. The ROAR. Often people imagine that everyone is/was stupid and robotic in civilizations other than the one that they’re currently living in. Sure dinosaurs are among our gods. But we’re not all that serious about it. Why be serious? We’re all gonna die, just the same. Might as well have fun while it lasts. The average person always knows this. Joyous daily life is the highest possible religious observance. Let’s go to the zoo on Easter Monday!

I saw a nice elephant, they call them oliphant here, a man and his son were cheering him, “Dicke oude oliphant,” meaning “Fat old elephant,” but in a friendly way. It’s not insulting, really, to call an elephant old and fat.

Giraffes wearing Turing cellular automata patterns. Odd to be in a zoo without my granddaughter. And more grandchildren are on the way!

I had to change apartments in Amsterdam when I got back. I talked them into putting me up for eight nights, so they’re piecing my lodging together. The new place is a bit further out, but the street cars are good and I’ve got that bike. I love biking here. Real no-kidding separate bike-lanes. And the car-drivers aren’t, like, shocked to see you. And it’s all flat as a pancake.

I’ve been having a slight problem using up my time. So hard to just relax and soak in the beauty. The eternal “What next?” nipping at my heels.

Starting tomorrow I have a series of duties and meetings, which I look forward to. Ad for our reading in the window of the American Book Center. Amazing store. I was looking at a book about an artist called Roman Signer who blows things up and makes art with fireworks. My son Rudy would like his work.

R. U. Sirius will be here tomorrow—see him looming up behind the tulips? I can’t wait to show him the Smartshop on Staalstraat; they sell a brand of shroom called Psylocibe Mckennia. Our psychonaut brother, passed on to statelier mansions.

Oh, I found a good model for the alien Peng in the zoo. South America’s Great Rhea! Big, mild eyes with long lashes. Their expression a bit bland, and world-weary, but if you hold something close they’re very quick to peck and gobble.

Dark skunk stripe in their feathers down the middle. Bald-man tufts of feathers above the flat ear typani in the sides of their heads. Very large nostrils in the beak. Whiskers around the beak. They’re constantly twitching their wings so that the halves of the body seem to twitch together at the top—no doubt they have alien lice.

In the evening I got some company which was great. Dorien Zandbergen, on the right is the woman who is organizing the talk series that I’m here for. She’s a graduate student writing a thesis having to do with the sociology of eschatological and messianic notions among Silicon Valley computer types. I have no idea why I was invited to speak. 🙂 On the left are Dorien’s friends Marÿke (yes, that’s a letter Y with an umlaut) and David.

We had dinner in classic Dutch “brown café” with nice paneling salvaged from all those defunct churches. Killer meal. Dutch treat!

5 Responses to “Amsterdam Zoo.”

  1. Steve H Says:

    Maybe I’ve just lived in the ‘God-haunted South’ for too long, but I kinda like the idea of churches falling into disuse while dinosaurs are publicly idolized.

  2. Al Says:

    It’s sort of sad seeing the Catholic church fading because of all the art it’s inspired over the centuries, but who’s going to miss those white-washed Calvinist kierks? Just the Calvinists, I guess.

    It’s killing me seeing the great time Rudy is having in Amsterdam, but I’m consoling myself with the knowledge that he’s obviously on a creative roll and I will ultimately benefit from that when I read the book.

  3. Rob N. Says:

    Hi Rudy, good to see you enjoying Amsterdam. I think I had a good time when last there! Be careful of those coffeeshop desserts, some rich stuff.

    BTW, thanks for responding to my email about the Berry and “Rudy-naught” numbers. I was surprised to see a reply so long after writing you, but happy you eventually had the time to respond to a fan, despite your busy schedule.

    Keep writing your books, I really enjoy them.

    Rob N.

  4. OranjeFranjeBeu Says:

    Leiden is in het Engels ook Leiden, en de Keukenhof geen plaats, OEN

  5. Rudy Says:

    Whatever, orange dude.

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