Lost In Baku

When writing about your travels, you should always remember that there's a very fine line between T. E. Lawrence and J. Peterman.
An Open Letter To Ann Romney
Dear Ann,
Like much of 51% of America that didn’t vote for your husband, I made fun of the fact that you had a fancy-ass dressage horse. To me you seemed like the most exquisite personification of the phrase “Let them eat cake” that summed-up my contempt for the idle rich 1% in America. Then last Monday night something occurred to me. I was sitting on the back of a beautiful Saddlebred named ‘Pudge.’
I was attempting to learn how to precisely control my horses’ speed. You know, the whole “walking trot > posting trot > walking trot > posting trot > extended trot > walking trot > reverse on the diagonal > repeat” exercise. My instructor was an equestrian champion with more ribbons that General Patton and the daughter of the owner of the stable where I take lessons. It’s a stable where people learn how to ride … dressage. Dammit. I’m learning dressage. Yes, I’m the only dude in any of my classes. I’m totally OK with that. The fact that it’s really, really fun completely makes up for the stink-eye I get from husbands and fathers when they see a guy taking lessons. But I digress.
I’m sorry for being such a hypocrite. There is no need to be ashamed of having enough money to afford a nice dressage horse. I’d love to own one myself. With all your wealth, you could have chose many, many worse ways to spend your money. You could’ve bought a mega-yacht powered by the tears of slave children or a blood-diamond bedazzled Buggati. Hmmm. Now that I think about it, that would be kind of cool. Nevermind.
In summary, I think horses are cool and people who like horses are cool. Well, there are quite a few bad guys on horses in the movies so I probably shouldn’t make a blanket statement like that about horse owners just yet. But that’s a conversation for another day. I hope you keep enjoying your horse time. Just don’t let Mitt put your horse on top of the car if you’re going on a cross-country road trip. Kidding.
Sincerely,
Richard Loerzel

An Open Letter To Ann Romney

Dear Ann,

Like much of 51% of America that didn’t vote for your husband, I made fun of the fact that you had a fancy-ass dressage horse. To me you seemed like the most exquisite personification of the phrase “Let them eat cake” that summed-up my contempt for the idle rich 1% in America. Then last Monday night something occurred to me. I was sitting on the back of a beautiful Saddlebred named ‘Pudge.’

I was attempting to learn how to precisely control my horses’ speed. You know, the whole “walking trot > posting trot > walking trot > posting trot > extended trot > walking trot > reverse on the diagonal > repeat” exercise. My instructor was an equestrian champion with more ribbons that General Patton and the daughter of the owner of the stable where I take lessons. It’s a stable where people learn how to ride … dressage. Dammit. I’m learning dressage. Yes, I’m the only dude in any of my classes. I’m totally OK with that. The fact that it’s really, really fun completely makes up for the stink-eye I get from husbands and fathers when they see a guy taking lessons. But I digress.

I’m sorry for being such a hypocrite. There is no need to be ashamed of having enough money to afford a nice dressage horse. I’d love to own one myself. With all your wealth, you could have chose many, many worse ways to spend your money. You could’ve bought a mega-yacht powered by the tears of slave children or a blood-diamond bedazzled Buggati. Hmmm. Now that I think about it, that would be kind of cool. Nevermind.

In summary, I think horses are cool and people who like horses are cool. Well, there are quite a few bad guys on horses in the movies so I probably shouldn’t make a blanket statement like that about horse owners just yet. But that’s a conversation for another day. I hope you keep enjoying your horse time. Just don’t let Mitt put your horse on top of the car if you’re going on a cross-country road trip. Kidding.

Sincerely,

Richard Loerzel

The herd and a few brave riders make their way through a blizzard on the mountain trails of Landmannalaugar Iceland. Thanks to Lone Henrik for the amazing photo. (August 30, 2013)

The herd and a few brave riders make their way through a blizzard on the mountain trails of Landmannalaugar Iceland. Thanks to Lone Henrik for the amazing photo. (August 30, 2013)

Today’s useful word with no direct equivalent in English comes courtesy of Icelandic:

þamb/a v (acc) ( -aði): drink in big gulps

Lava field in Landmannalaugar Iceland from an eruption of Mount Hekla from the days of yore (September 3, 2013)

Lava field in Landmannalaugar Iceland from an eruption of Mount Hekla from the days of yore (September 3, 2013)

The Troll Cathedral of Landmannalaugar Iceland (September 3, 2013)

The Troll Cathedral of Landmannalaugar Iceland (September 3, 2013)

Grasið mitt og þitt geymir mold til vors. Our cabin awaits amongst otherworldly Icelandic mountains.  (August 28, 2013)

Grasið mitt og þitt geymir mold til vors. Our cabin awaits amongst otherworldly Icelandic mountains.  (August 28, 2013)

Even the horses in Iceland look like they’re in bands  (August 29, 2013)

Even the horses in Iceland look like they’re in bands  (August 29, 2013)

Vængur gets ready for her saddle.  She’s a great horse but her gallop on downhills threw me out of the saddle so far, I kept losing my stirrups. But I guess that’s more of a ‘me’ problem. (August 29, 2013)

Vængur gets ready for her saddle.  She’s a great horse but her gallop on downhills threw me out of the saddle so far, I kept losing my stirrups. But I guess that’s more of a ‘me’ problem. (August 29, 2013)

Paddock and saddles waiting for horses in the Southern Highlands of Iceland (August 31, 2013)

Paddock and saddles waiting for horses in the Southern Highlands of Iceland (August 31, 2013)

Juvenile arctic fox checks out the tourists at the ranger station for Thrihnukagigur Volcano in Iceland (August 26, 2013)

Juvenile arctic fox checks out the tourists at the ranger station for Thrihnukagigur Volcano in Iceland (August 26, 2013)