Sunday, December 16, 2012

It's the End of The World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine)

So what’s this mumbo jumbo about Mayan calendars and the end of the world?  I don’t pay attention to the classic crackpots with the signs saying ‘The End is Nigh,’ so this should come as no surprise when I have to cry BULLSCHEISSE! and let slip the dogs of sanity.  Everyone with half a brain knows that the fuckin’ world ain’t gonna end any time soon.  And if it did, would it be forecast by ass clowns on a mud hut pyramid 2000 years ago between human sacrifices?  And then, would it be all of sudden like?  Ka-BOOM!?

Entropy takes its sweet time.  It’s a one way ticket to midnight, all going down. You see, all matter breaks down into lesser forms of matter over time.  The ice in your glass melts in the hot room, your car runs itself into the ground and the food in your mouth gets reduced into inert matter (aka scheisse).  Can the End of the World™ happen in one day?  Only in the minds of religious freaks and other weak minded, superstitious fools.  The fundamentalist born again Christians believe that they will literally be yanked by the hair by Jesus up into the clouds.  They call this The End Times, The Rapture, and some other gobbledygook I couldn’t quite follow in Sunday school.  Some of those weaker minded fools in the church who couldn’t quite grok it grew up, grew a beard, drew a sign and did the Thorazine Shuffle on Main Street.

Religious nuts and other feeble minded people believe the most ludicrous things.  Global warming doesn’t exist in the conservative, religious mind.  Because the earth doesn’t matter; belongs to Satan, it does.  Jesus will yank all those believers up by their hair into Heaven.  The rest of us will have to deal with the Zombie Apocalypse.  Or Satan and his minions.  One of those two events.

We love endings.  In films, happy ones.  In real life, apparently, we only want the whole fucking thing to fall apart—suddenly—so we don’t have to think about our own individual oblivion.  If everyone is going with you into the abyss at once, it ain’t so lonely now, is it?  Think of the huge popularity of the zombie films.  The first zombie films had them taking over the small town malls.  Now every other film and tv show that’s NOT about vampires is about zombies taking over the world.  All of it.  From Tokyo to Tennessee. A few years ago when facebook was new, I hit the ‘like’ button on something called ‘The Zombie Apocalypse.’  It was an event I could attend.  I think the date is coming soon, probably right around the time the Mayans ran out of calendar pages.  I like a good social parody and the Zombie Walk flash mobs you hear about.  I’m hoping that I’ll open my door soon and see my zombie neighbor eating my landlord.  That will be a most excellent start for the end of the world for me.  Then I don’t have to pay rent, YEEE-HAAAWWWW!!!

Mayans, shmayans.  What did they know? Nice pyramids, nice hot sauce, nice human sacrifice. The irony was that the real end of the Mayan world happened five minutes after they wrote the calendar.  It was off by a few thousand years; it was just over the hills, sporting metal helmets, spearheads and the Spanish language.  I suspect these conquistadors even had a dusty bible or two in their luggage.

Things fall apart; it’s scientific.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Ouzo Uber Alles! Greek Food with a Kick

Asteria Greek Restaurant (Schönhauser Allee 143, U2 Eberswalderstr.) is my one of my favorite restaurants in P’berg.  Not because they serve grilled meat dishes smothered in sauce and cheese, not because the happy waiters defy all bad Berliner service stereotypes—but because they keep bringing you free Ouzo shots from the time you walk in to the time you stagger out the door with a bloated belly.

Portions: massive and heavy.  Prices:  reasonable considering all the free shots.  Location: just far enough walking distance to stretch the legs before dinner and walk off all the meat, cheese, sauce, wine and Ouzo streams on the way home.

Did I mention they like to pour you free Ouzo shots all night?  Achtung!  Broke artist wannabe types and hipsters not welcome.  If people like them start showing up for the free shots, it will ruin it for the rest of us.  Hint:  don’t order raisin salad starters and glare at the waiter with beggar’s eyes.  Your Ouzo will flow in accordance with the tides of the liquor universe.  Order food and the shots will come. I don’t know what that means my damn self.  You just have to drink it to believe it.

I don’t like Ouzo (last time I mention Ouzo...maybe) normally, but hey, it’s free, frosty and served by a jovial Mediterranean man who shouts ‘yia mas! (Greek for Prost!)' after each pouring.   I quickly learned this phrase (it was written on the napkins) and proudly proclaimed it after each shot.  I was either trying to be more multikulti or priming the pump for more shots.  One of those.

I like Asteria because the food is rich, delicious and flavorful (not the usual German bland, salty, greasy/sloppy/ketchup/curry bollox), served in portions large enough to choke a bull moose (and God, I know, I am one).  Dunkin’ Berliner recommends ™:  Number 83.  I don’t know what it is called because I am STILL full of Ouzo as I write this.  Also, their website is down.  And my semi-furious Googling of words like ‘souklaki,’ ‘souflakis’ and poopacrapaplopolis’ yielded nothing.  Just order number 83, trust me. They bring you a hot iron skillet with 3 massive grilled, ground pork patties smothered in smoky, creamy orange (Metaxa?) sauce with melted cheese on top.  Side of rice and salad included for around 12 E’s. This is my favorite type of food on general principle:  smoky, grilled, saucy and cheesy.  I hate dry food and this dish is the polar opposite of my hate (That would be LOVE for you hippie-dippy types).

You just won’t find food this good and service this friendly anywhere in Berlin.  The donut gods know I’ve tried.  When you finally ask for the bill it comes with (wait for it) more Ouzo shots.  And espresso.  Gratis.  I love you, Asteria, and I’m still trying to find one of the many Greek words for love to describe my overall feelings for you.  I’m thinking a bit of philia, a bit of eros and a whole lot of agape.

photo by Gabriela Sarževska