Wednesday, May 24, 2017

FREE THE WORLD

In 2011 gold soared to record prices and every day a steady flow of customers entered our diamond exchange on West 47th Street to sell their precious jewelry and family heirlooms. They were of all ages, nationalities, and races. Most of them were honest, but buying stolen merchandise or swag was a crime. Richie Boy, his father Manny, and I didn't care who they are as long as they possess a valid ID for our police records. None of us were young men and we had too little to gain from doing the wrong thing, when we could churn out a 5% profit.

Our first question to these sellers was, “Who much do you want?”

Most of them said that they don’t know, but they all had a final price.

"Let me check it out." I ignored their feigned ignorance and tested the gold for karat and weight.

We calculated everything in pennyweights or 1/20th of an ounce. The Middle Age measurement confused the buyer, but we always handed them a slip of paper from a adding machine. Everything was in black and white.

The final price was determined by the market value of an ounce of gold, which fluctuated day to day.

In 2011 the price soared toward $2000/oz.

Weight and carat determined the scrap worth of gold.

We paid nothing for sentimental value.

Our firm had a good reputation for paying the most on the street.

"We only make 5% on this."

It was the truth, but some pieces could be flipped for more, especially diamond rings.

Late in the summer a young man of Semitic descent approached my counter. He had a few diamond ring in a bag. They were relics of a ruined romance.

After settling on a price of $1500, I advised the young man to buy something for himself.

“Paying off bills does not soothe a broken heart.”

“Yes, but for $1500 you can buy a good used motorcycle. Let me see your ID.” I took his driver’s license.

His name was Arab andI entered it in the police book.

“Are you from Iraq?”

“No, Palestine.” Mohammed spoke flawless English. His father had grocery stores in Queens. He was running three of them.

“Palestine is a forbidden name on this street.” 47th Street was predominantly Jewish.

They backed Israel right or wrong and Israel could do no wrong in their eyes. I was a goy. I had my own beliefs.

"It's my country"

"I'm half-Irish. My people lived under the British for four hundred years. “I can only say one thing.”

“Which is?” He was used to America’s prejudice against Palestine.

The movie EXODUS had blue-eyed Paul Newman as a member of the Zionist terrorist gang and a young blonde Jill Haworth as a kibbutz farmer. There were no Hassidim in the film.

Only tough white-skinned fighters.

“Free Palestine.” I had a tee-shirt in my closet stating the same slogan.

I raised my fist, the accepted sign of world revolution.

“Good, but it is better to free the world.” Mohammed smiled and accepted his money.

“I’ll think about that bike and you think about the world.”

“I’ll do that.” I leaned away from the counter slightly stunned.

I had been taught an important lesson by this young man.

A simple lesson.

All politics that are local are also global.

They effect everyone.

Everywhere.

Free Palestine.

Free the World.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Hypocrisy Of The Endless War

A bomber struck a Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.

Over twenty young people were killed by the explosion.

The destruction was horrific.

Young innocents.

Dead.

Why?

Israel attacking a Palestine beach.

Yemeni children killed by a drone missile strike ordered by Obama.

Bloody Sunday by the Brits.

When will there be peace.

28-3 / Go Celtics

I am a die-hard Boston Celtics fan.

I listened on the radio to their games in the late 1950s.

I watched the Green on TV in the 1960s.

I still consider Bill Russell the greatest player ever in the NBA.

I was lucky enough to see their battles at Boston Garden in the 70s.

Hondo, Cowens, Silas, Jo-Jo, Don Nelson.

I loved that team and they beat the Bucks to win a 12th Championship for the Celtics.

The Bird years.

The Big Three.

And now the new team.

Blown out twice by the Cavs.

Isiah Thomas out for game 3.

Then they fuck Cleveland at home.

An LA friend asked for my prediction.

"Celts in 6."

"How?"

"28-3."

"28-3?"

I can't even remember who the Patriots beat in the Superbowl other than they blew out their lungs and had nothing left for the 4th quarter.

28-3.

Go Green.

Monday, May 22, 2017

NIGHT ON THE TOWN


Back in 2012 I was in Thailand. I no longer resided in Pattaya. Too many Russians, retirees, and I preferred Sriracha up the coast, where I lived with my son Fenway and his beautiful Mom. Sriracha was a totally Thai town and I was comfortable drinking beer with Mam and playing with my son, but Mam understood my need to see old friends and one night I received a phone call from Ed. The Hollywood real estate broker had just divorced his wife in LA and needed a guide to the go-go bars of Pattaya.

"Go see your friend. But not see any women." Mam kissed me good-night at the bus stop on Sukhumvit. Fenway eyed his father with suspicion. The two year-old had no reason to worry. My body and soul belonged to his mother.

"I'll be back early." The sun was setting in the Gulf of Siam. I would be at the Buffalo Bar by 7. Ed couldn't be fussy after 25 years with the same woman. "Before midnight."

"Ha." Mam knew men better than me. "Come home when you want."

"Pai." Fenway waved me onto the bus. I blew him a kiss and he wiped his cheek with a smile. He was a good jokester.

The ride to Pattaya Klang took 30 minutes. The motorsai taxi was another five minutes to the Buffalo Bar. Ed sat with the owner, Eddy. She was my age and looked older. Jamie Parker was by his side. We all knew each other from New York in the 80s.

“Ed thought I was dead.”

“I heard more than one version of your death.” Ed and Jamie had been bad boys at Max's Kansas City.

“None close to true.” Jamie had been a good boy in Pattaya. Most of the time. He excused himself to speak with the owner. We ordered beer. The first was good the second cold. Used to Manhattan prices, Ed laughed at the bill. “The girls in here seem friendly.”

“Friendly as Fereghinis.” Thais bore no physical resemblance to most venal of Star Trek races. They were more beautiful than any woman on Melrose and twice as thin.

“I thought we were farangs.” Ed ordered two drinks for the bar girls who had appeared to massage our necks.

“It’s what they call all of us.” The word’s meaning depended on how it was said.

“Not me. I’m a farang lao.” Jamie returned to the bar.

"Only because you eat insects.” The CIA called his kind 'snake-eaters'.

“And speak a little Lao.” Jamie paid the bill and asked, “Are we taking Ed on a Black Diamond run?”

Jamie’s no-hold’s barred pilgrimage to Pattaya’s night spots included most hellholes not of the regular visitor’s radar screen.

“Let’s stay with intermediate slopes.” Ed was no stranger to Jamie’s taste for danger.

We got on motorsai taxis and headed down to Walking Street. 8pm was early and Jamie suggested the Tiger Lounge. “It has great AC, they’ll play anything we want, and the two early girls are the best-looking on the street. If we're lucky neither has been barfined yet.”

Ed was a happy man. Both girls were in the bar. Their combined age didn't add up to that of his ex-wife.

Beer, AC, The Ramones, plus Wan and Fah stereo-massaging his back.

No man could ask for more and Ed recounted the damages of the divorce from his wife. “Malibu house gone. My firm considered me a pussy for not fighting the divorce and axed me from the board.”

“And that was bad?” Jamie’s history was nightlife and prison. He only worried about parole boards and that was a long time ago.

"From where I sit now it was a good thing.”

“And it’s only going to get better.” Jamie dragged us to Living Doll 2, where he harangued the manager about an erotic hot dog eating contest coupled with the most hot dogs you can eat contest. The manager deemed the idea a little too 'lo-so' for his clientele. Ed disagreed. “A bunch of fat guys sucking down dogs followed by go-go girls eating hot dog. Nothing could be sexier.”

“Really?” I asked, since Ed was seated with twin sisters. The skimpy bikinis revealed that some farang had their silken skin tattooed with the same craven images front to back. Thankfully none showed his name.

“Maybe I’m wrong.” Ed had supported the arts. None more than exotic dance.

“I show you wrong.” Jamie signaled for the chek-bin and we were off to Heaven Above. The white interior reminded Ed of Clockwork Orange and my old club off 7th Avenue. 1986. “The Milk Bar.”

“Except these girls are real.” Jamie had been saving the best for last. Ed rang the bell. The 49 year-old was avalanched by beauties and for the first time in a long time he was happy. An hour later he disappeared. No one had seen his departure. Jamie and I wandered off Walking Street and he dropped me at a taxi stand. The fee to Sriracha was 1000 baht or $30.

I made it home at midnight.

Mam and Fenway sat on the couch watching Ultraman.

My son sniffed at me.

"No perfume." I was ever faithful to my wife. We fought over that fact and made love once little Fenway was asleep. We held each other as if neither of us wanted to let go.

In the morning Ed called me and explained the rest of his night.

“I went back to the Tiger and barfined Wan for the week. I'm taking them to some island not so far away. I’ll call you when I get back.”

“Sure.” Koh Samet was an hour down the coast. I didn't warn him about not falling in love. He had been alone with a woman that didn't love him too long. His holiday might stretch to a week, because time goes fast when you’re having fun. I know, because I've been there too.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Mishistory of STAR TREK


Hollywood has no respect for history. Writers redraft the flow of time according to filmgoers' demographics. I don't really mind these idiots placing the discovery of America at the same year as Mel Gibson's APOCALYSO or the non-existence of emperors in GLADIATOR, however the heresy of the most recent STAR TREKs should be considered heresy by Trekkies everywhere.

Firstly they have James T. Kirk born in space rather than Riverside Iowa.

Secondly they destroy the planet Vulcan and kill off Spock's mother because she falls to her death just out of reach of her son.

Spock also has a relationship with Uhuru.

Lastly the Romulan war criminal more resembled a speedfreak skateboarder than an alien from another planet.

But what can you expect from Hollywood?

Of course I watched the movie online.

I hate sitting with fat soda-slurping popcorn eaters.

Back To Star Trek

According to the intro to the original STAR TREK TV series 'Space is the final frontier'.

Captain James T. Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise voyaged through the Cosmos from 1966 to 1969

Several Star Trek series followed the original, but in 2005 ENTERPRISE was not renewed, despite fans raising $32 million to finance another season, and for the last twelve years there hasn't been a Star Trek series ion TV.

Only movies.

This year CBS will broadcast a new Star Trek series; STAR TREK: DISCOVERY set ten years before the original STAR TREK.

Trekkies rejoice.

Live long and prosper.

To see the CBS trailer please go to this URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRVD32rnzOw

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Leonard Nimoy hailed from Boston’s West End shtel. His Russian father cut hair in Mattapan Square. Tired of giving us a buzz-cut my father drove my older brother and me to the Terminal Barber Shop next to the terminus of the trolley line. I can’t recall any other barber along Blue Hill Avenue.

A native of Maine m father believed in high and tight.

His instructions to the barber were the same.

Once my old man left the establishment on River Street the barber asked, “How you want it?”

“Like Bob Dylan.”

The singer had ended the 1950s with his hit BLOWIN’ IN THE WIND.

“Gotcha.”

The year was 1963.

The barber knew his clientele.

He never mentioned having a son in the theater.

In 1966 he starred in STAR TREK as the Vulcan science officer to James T Kirk.

Leonard Nimoy never had a Boston accent.

His Vulcan gesture for ‘live long and prosper’ was based on how the kohanim or Jewish priests holding their hand when giving blessings.

Dif Tor Heh Smusma

Spock was our hero.

Logic over emotion.

When he died, I broke into tears.

Like my mossaich had passed into the other world.

Trekkies loved Spock.

He transcended TV and made us believe in Space.