Smurfing the government for smurfs and giggles

Money Laundering for Beginners (1)

The other day I posted a short piece about my adventure at the bank and the topic of money laundering came up and it was pretty obvious that this is a mysterious subject that’s not well understood. If you’re one of those people who don’t understand money laundering (in Romanian it’s called “spalare” or “washing”… Read More ›

Gypsies »

Gypsies 2, Journalists 0 (4)

Gypsy reality apparently includes amanita muscaria mushrooms

I wasn’t even going to write about this until I nearly fell out of my chair laughing as I saw that it’s now an international story. If you prefer video, click here for the Euronews report (in English) or click here for the TVR report (in Romanian). If you prefer print, here’s Mediafax, here’s Adevarul,… Read More ›

1000 Reasons Why I Choose Romania »

Only human (4)


Lately I’ve felt like a priest, going to visit the sick to sit with them a while and offer them comfort. An old friend of mine and her husband caught a nasty virus while working in England and now they’re back home to rest and recuperate. Was the money there good? Yes, but both of… Read More ›

CATS! (pisicile) »

Rub-a-dub-dub (2)


After a week of extremely lengthy posts, I thought it was time for a cat picture. Happy Friday, and if you celebrate it, Valentine’s Day, everyone!

A few of my all-time favorite posts that I've written »

The Lonesome Death of Cicerone Ionitoiu (9)


As I described in exhaustive detail in The Black Hole of Romania, it doesn’t take a shadowy cabal to censor the news, only a virulent form of cultural blindness. I lost half an hour of my life on Sunday (January 26) watching the 7:00 pm news broadcast of ProTV, which devoted their entire coverage to… Read More ›

Word of the Day »

WOTD: Baraj (0)

your ocean is so vast, and my boat is so small

All the recent events over in Crimea put me in a somber mood, my thoughts turning to that strange old aristocrat Lord Alfred Tennyson and his poem The Charge of the Light Brigade about pointless and foolish deaths on that peninsula 150 years ago. Although thousands of soldiers from Russia and Britain suffered horribly, the… Read More ›

my personal life »

Like a G6 (2)

Muchisimas gracias to Digi24 who courteously invited me be on their two-hour show that focused (almost) entirely on Unicorn City. You can watch all two hours here but I cut out all of my segments and put them on YouTube: Since I promised to be more forthcoming about my personal life, I’ll post an addendum… Read More ›

You Know You're Romanian When »

You Know You’re Romanian When… (2)


…a foreign, drunken, philandering buffoon who cheated on his wife during their honeymoon and was best friends with a horrific pedophile is a better ambassador at promoting your country than your own idiotic and unnecessarily combative Minister of Tourism.

English for Romanians »

If I were the ambassador… (4)

Two sheeps is better than not any!

I have to admit that I was initially quite happily surprised to see the latest letter published in the Huffington Post (UK edition) from Doctor Ion “Two Sheeps” Jinga because I thought that perhaps the same ghost writer who recently wrote on behalf of Crin Antonescu had helped the good “doctor” sound somewhat intelligent and… Read More ›

blog бизнес »

Popularity Contest (3)


Recently I’ve gotten a number of very kind, thoughtful messages, thanking me for various things that I’ve written. I’m always grateful when people find my work meaningful and so let this post serve as yet another collective thank you to everyone who visits this site. Nonetheless, while I’m satisfied with my talents as a writer,… Read More ›

Food in Romania »

Mushroom Salad (4)

the money shot

I’m a little busy here today so I’m going to imitate lazy, thieving Romanian journalists and just steal someone else’s hard work and benefit from it. Actually, of course, I’m a deeply ethical person so today’s video comes from Gateste Usor, a Romanian food blog with which I have absolutely zero connection. The blogger Camelia… Read More ›

Video Zilei »

Americans wanting to be Romanians (1)

Wannabe Romanians ❤💛💙— D_Nice (@Dalmaghi) June 23, 2013 God bless Twitter (and Vine) is all I’m saying ;)

Romanian language »

Akum noi toti govarim pa romaneste (6)

I said to the Bucharest man, "Do you speak-a my language?"

Ever since I read The Brass Check on my first e-reader about 10 years ago (yep), I’ve been fascinated by which news stories that people who are hyper-aware of the media know about and which stories seem to drift into the general population’s consciousness, as if my magic osmosis. Last night I was doing yet… Read More ›

Mailbag »

Mailbag (0)


Well folks I got about a million things on deck, including some very exciting (and positive) stuff, but first just wanted to share a lovely message I got the other day: Buno Ziwa! I just want to say thank you, I very much enjoyed your book and found it very helpful. We will be headed… Read More ›

Romania Fail Whale »

Un mare pas înainte (8)


If you ask most Romanians what they think of Moldova, you’ll get the impression that they consider their smaller neighbor to be a beloved but backwards member of the family, the bucktoothed cousin who is awkward and unsophisticated but still loved and accepted because they’re kin. The other day I was speaking to someone about… Read More ›

Folk wisdom »

Musețel, un minunat leac universal (3)


They always say that the good die young, so you can be sure I’m going to make it to a ripe old age :P Picture above is a delightful chamomile (pt romani se zice kemomil) plant that I found growing spontaneously in my tiny garden. In all the years I’ve lived in Romania, I never… Read More ›

The Revolution Begins Now »

A million Changs to you all (0)


A million thanks to all of you for an awesome first day of my Kickstarter Project. It’s been great seeing all the excitement (hey, I’m excited too) and the RT’s on Twitter and the shares on Facebook and messages and emails and all the rest. Amazing! The weather also turned golden here today and it… Read More ›

Holidays in Romania »

Games Without Frontiers (6)

So Mr. Polo, what is the purpose of your visit?

Well today is December 1, officially the “national day” of Romania and so I hereby give my official shout out to my adopted home country and wish everyone a lovely day of rest and celebration. I am reminded however of something that happened seven or eight years ago. I was in a van (minibus) heading… Read More ›

Politics »

Angel Rebelde (3)


After a week in which Ponta threatened to resign from politics after this year’s presidential elections, a statement which nobody believed, a statement which Crin Antonescu mocked, a statement which Elena Udrea decoded, a statement which Ponta himself hinted had secret layers of meaning, he then went on Antena 3 last night and said that… Read More ›

another satisfied visitor »

No Sign of Threat Whatsoever (10)

Amen: I rarely felt as safe in a foreign capital as I did in Bucharest. And I am not a naive tourist. There simply is no sign of threat whatsoever. I think Berlin and London are vastly more dangerous. So forget all that crap you hear. Now do you believe me??

Marketing, Advertising and Propaganda »

Old friends in low places (1)

Slicing up

I was innocently minding my own business when I saw this tweet flash across one of my screens last night: Good consultation in Bucharest with old friend Titus Corlăţean on the eve of Athens informal meeting of EU MFAs. Transnistria on our minds.— Radosław Sikorski (@sikorskiradek) April 03, 2014 On the face of it, there’s… Read More ›

Money, probability and predicting the future »

Money Laundering for Beginners (1)

Smurfing the government for smurfs and giggles

The other day I posted a short piece about my adventure at the bank and the topic of money laundering came up and it was pretty obvious that this is a mysterious subject that’s not well understood. If you’re one of those people who don’t understand money laundering (in Romanian it’s called “spalare” or “washing”… Read More ›

Преступление и Наказание »

An Unclean Spirit (2)

You can't polish a turd but you can roll it in glitter

I nearly fell out of my chair yesterday evening when I saw on Czech television that the parliament was considering amending its lustration laws after Marta Semelova, a member of the Communist party, had introduced an amendment to that effect. The good news is that it looks highly doubtful that her measure will be adopted… Read More ›

People in Romania »

Barátok és ellenségek (12)


If Laszlo Tokes had had the decency to die back in 1989, now he’d be a martyr to the revolution, a hero to all of Romania. Unfortunately, he’s still alive and continues to be the burr under this country’s saddle, just like he was back in 1989 when his stubborn refusal to leave Timisoara helped… Read More ›

Balada Supravietuitorului »

¡Solo se vive una vez! (5)


As long as I ever shall live, I will never, ever, and I mean fucking never ceased to be amazed at just what a wondrous and magical journey this life is. Right now my computer is rendering all the wonderful video footage of this past weekend, which I partly filmed for my own memories and… Read More ›

Poor Widdle Romania »

With “Historians” Like These… (6)

Larry Watts explaining to a room full of Securitate agents how Romania frightened the Soviet Union

Since I’m not busy cashing checks from Romanian or American intelligence agencies it sometimes takes me a while to catch up on what’s been going on and be able to properly respond to accusations made here on the blog. Luckily, this week I’ve been able to carve out some time to address this nonsense. The… Read More ›

Scolding of Righteousness »

Incompetence on Every Level (36)


A few weeks ago I read a piece called The Illusion of Corruption on the blog of a Romanian who grew up in Canada but has now returned to his homeland (and as a side note, the author is a personal friend) and the more I thought about it, the more I realized what he… Read More ›

Sexy times »

Piki, Nebunul Oficial de Floresti (0)

cow ass

SCENE: Standing on a street corner in downtown Cluj-Napoca at around 8 o’clock at night. BUDDY #1: Oh my god, look over there. It’s Piki. BUDDY #2: Yeah, Piki the officially crazy guy of Floresti. Me: Why is he the officially crazy guy of Floresti? BUDDY #1: Because everyone in that village knows that his… Read More ›

Solutions »

Mr. Saxo Beat (15)


Well I imagine you’ve heard by now that the singer Alexandra Stan was savagely beaten by her boyfriend a few days ago, landing her in the hospital. The English-language reports decline to show the graphic photos and videos of the injured Alexandra, which are quite disturbing. I happen to follow her on Twitter and saw… Read More ›

Jesus is my Co-Pilot »

Hey Sam, I want to write a book (0)


Me: Hey, what’s up? Person: You have an awesome life. How can I write books like you? Me: I’d tell you the answer but people say I’m wordy so I made up some picture cards. Person: Hey Sam, how long does it take to write a book? Me: Funny you should ask! The girls like… Read More ›

This is a true story »

Romania, where not even the banks understand capitalism (13)


An associate of mine is out of town at the moment and asked me to go to the bank and pay off a small debt that they had, and promised to repay me upon their return. I said, “Sure, no problem.” [[Fast forward to inside bank]] “Hello, friendly lady at the teller window,” I said…. Read More ›


Me and the CIA (6)


I keep getting comments and quips from people about how I possibly might be working for the CIA, so I thought I’d actually write a full post for the FAQ about it and settle this issue once and for all. But before I can do that, I have to tell you a story. You’re Not… Read More ›

Tongue Twister Thursday »

Tongue Twister Thursday (0)

For Engrish Speakers: Tuburi, jgheaburi si cabluri Verde, repede si rar O chinezoica Pentru Vorbitori: “Pile it, pilot!” said Pontius Pilate The writer rider crushed a spider I heard about the boot that fell out the boat

Unicorn City »

A poem for David Ciceo (3)


This weekend I was out at the Unicorn City Airport to pick up the SMG from another one of her endless training-uri when I saw that they were building a new gas (petrol) station alongside the main east-west street here in Cluj-Napoca. The bulldozers were still on site and most of the asphalt has yet… Read More ›

TV/Film »

Linsajul Mediatic (3)

A slap in the face

One of the great downfalls of having values is that you have to defend the rights of utter scumbags. Over in America, a batshine insane preacher is on his deathbed and most people are cheering his impending demise while only a porn star has the mental acuity to acknowledge his contributions to free speech in… Read More ›

weather »

Merry Christmas! (3)


I know it may seem strange to some but my all-time favorite television channel is the Weather Channel (in America). Sadly, there is no equivalent here in Europe so for my Christmas present to all of you, I decided to make one with all of the weather forecasts for today, December 25, 2013. In order:… Read More ›

off the wire »

Broadcast News (1)


Excuse my “absence” lately as I’ve been extremely busy working on a project and haven’t had much time for writing although due to my (apparent) inborn ability to focus on multiple things at the same time, I have been watching a lot. In fact, thanks to a high-speed internet connection and a powerful computer (plus… Read More ›

Transportation »

Frozen Tears (4)

"She died with frozen tears on her face"

Well this week Romanian journalists haven’t had to resort to stealing videos and photos because there’s been non-stop coverage of a domestic incident, the crash of a plane (link in English) in the Apuseni Mountains near Cluj. This story is still ongoing and I’ve been closely monitoring the media but I’ve decided to hold off… Read More ›

Geography »

Iuliu Maniu On Street View! (6)

Piata Unirii, Bucuresti

Well it doesn’t work everywhere yet, but the new Google “Street View” look at Romania is now working enough to play with it. So all of you who have ever wanted to “walk” around the crazy, wonderful, glorious mess that is Romania, now you can. Hey look! It’s Cluj!

wikileaks »

After The Flood Had Swept Over, The Kingship Was In Kish (4)

Just about every week someone new asks me to justify why I live in Romania. I guess I should start a new category of posts just to list all of these answers, which are far too numerous to fit into a single article. One of the simplest reasons is cash money, (pronounced kish by most… Read More ›

Hungarian language »

At Play in the Fields of Paprika (10)


I must say that I am a bit ashamed of my threadbare article that I wrote last year about Cluj’s “Hungarian Days” festival, particularly this paragraph: I can’t say that I ever participate much in the Hungarian days festival, mostly because I don’t speak the language or eat Hungarian foods. I’ve certainly heard the concerts… Read More ›