Sunday, April 22, 2018

Lhasa-Nepal 1995

I spent September-October 1995 in Tibet.

I traveled around Lhasa visiting various monasteries.

I prayed at each one for my baby brother's departed soul.

Michael had died of AIDS that summer.

I especially liked the Jokhang.

There was no place holier on Earth.

Michael would have liked it.

He was spiritual in many ways and I taught English to monks and workers.

The People's Army were a big presence in Lhasa, but no Chinese soldiers were allowed inside the Jokhang.

The female cadres were good fun atop the Potala.

They never had guns.

The men carried AK47s.

The ARs had no ammo.

At the end of October my Chinese visa neared expiration.

The Friendship Highway to Kathmandu had been reopened after work crews had finally cleared a gigantic landslide covering the road connecting China and Nepal.

It was time to say, "Kha-leh phe." to Lhasa.

My English class sang me farewell.

Their choice was SAILING by Christopher Cross.

I thought, "What a silly song."

Somehow dust got in my eyes and I wished my students well through a shimmer of tears.

Lhasa had been good for my soul.

I hoped my baby brother felt its holiness in the cosmos.

The next day I boarded a bus to Shigatze.

It was the last big town before the border.

I spent a day visiting the ancient monasteries.

I even climbed to the dzong.

The fortress was in ruins.

The Chinese had destroyed most everything Tibetan during the Cultural Revolution.

The next day I detoured off the main road to Gyantze.

The Gang of Four had sent the Red Guard here to cleanse Tibet of the Old Ways.

The Tibetans were in the process of rebuilding the main stupa.

The inn at Gyantze was horrible. The noodles were greasy. The beer was dusty. Fleas ran rampant in the beds and the flies buzzed through the cracked windows. I slept about five hours and woke to a brilliant blue dawn.

The morning bus brought me back to Shigatze.

It truly was civilization after Gyantze, although packs of dogs roamed the alleys.

The Tibetans have a joke about these dogs.

Why do you need two sticks to go to the toilet? One to stick in the ground and hold onto and the second to fight off the dogs.

They were vicious creatures far from Man's best friend.

The paved highway ended at Shigatze. No buses ran to Nepal. I hitched a ride from a van heading to pick up backpackers. I gave the driver $20. Tsering was very happy and we set off south.

The high Tibetan plateau was like the surface of Mars.

No water.

No people.

Only dirt.

The dust plumes of transport trucks were the only sign of man.

We saw one every hour or two.

That afternoon dropped into a canyon.

Tsering pointed to the opposite slope.

"Landslide."

It was a mile across.

Workers were clearing the road.

"You walk. I drive van. No problem."

A large stone rolled down the slope. Workers scattered for safety. I ran to the end of the slide.

It was a bad road.

After that road climbed into the high plateau.

15,000

16,000

North of Lhatze the van became mired in mud. A Tibetan herder had his horse haul us clear.

Tsering gave him $3.

Two minutes later the herder was out of sight.

Tibet was open to the sky.

My brother's soul was in the heavens.

I prayed for his happiness in the Here-Beyond.

He would remain 35 forever.

China National Highway 219 split off to Mount Kailash.

I asked Tsering how was the road."

"Very bad. Very dusty."

"Really." My eyeballs were grated red by the road dirt.

"Yes, # 1 bad." Tsering's eyes were red too.

This was the Roof of the World.

We passed a French bicyclist struggling uphill.

I shouted out the window, "Do you want a ride?"

"Non, merci."

I collapsed into my seat.

We were high and getting higher.

After Tingri I spotted a giant snow mass to the south.

It was miles away.

"Chomolungma," said Tsering in reverence.

"Everest."

"Yes, to the West. Miyolangsangma, the Goddess of Inexhaustible Giving, lives on its peak."

I offered a prayer to her for Michael.

The icy summits of the Himalayas filled the southern horizon.

I had Tsering stop for a minute at the top of the Yakrushong Pass.

"Not long."

He was on a tight schedule.

I said a prayer for my younger brother.

We were at 16,900 feet.

My words were few.

The wind carried them to the swirl of Himalayan peaks.

The sun descended to the West.

We drove down to the border and arrived at Zhangmu in the dead of night.

I could breathe easy for the first time in a month.

Trees lined the valley.

I gave Tsering another $10.

We drank beer for an hour and then went to sleep.

It had been a long day.

In the morning Tsering was gone.

I boarded a bus to Nepal.

Tibet was behind me.

The Araniko Highway was good. A restaurant served pizza in Kathmandu. My baby brother liked it with extra cheese. Tears dropped from my eyes. It wasn't from dust. I was back in the modern world.

Friday, April 20, 2018

7 Million and Counting


Charles Manson died in California penal system as punishment for the 1969 murders at the Sharon Tate home along with several other mass murder punctuating the end of the Summer of Love. The state never really proved that the ex-convict personally killed any of the victims, yet the LA DA convinced a jury that this guitar-playing drifter was the mastermind behind these diabolical slayings.

With the help of LAPD.

Experts of linking A to B.

Millions of other Americans have been prosecuted by a vigilant criminal system intent on jailing 5% of the population in order to compete with Russia as the # 1 nation for punishing its populace with jail time and even worse rural communities in America have expanded their role as penal colonies.

More prison.

Less schools.

Bust reefer smokers.

Throw meth heads into purgatory.

That is the new industry of America thanks to the law and order motherfuckers.

Dying towns in the hinterland are begging for prisons.

Close a New Hampshire paper mill. 220 jobs gone. Open a prison. Plus another 330 jobs.

Crime pays the state.

Dunkin' Donuts loves jail.

Nothing says cop better than the smell of a honey-dipped donut on a cop.

Book em Dano.

Free The Weed


The war on drugs has been lost by the governments of the world. Reefer dealers make house calls in New York City and I've done cocaine in Thailand. Both act are criminal under the present laws, however the time has come to legalize drugs.

Not decriminalize.

Legalize as suggested in Ben Elton's HIGH SOCIETY a brilliantly funny novel about an obscure MP rocketing to fame on the back of a drug legalization campaign.

Free the weed.

In 2010 a correspondent in TIME magazine suggested the same thing this week.

"A deal: give us drugs, after a certain age — say, 80 — all drugs, any drugs we want. In return, we will give you our driver's licenses."

This offer is only chipping away at laws such as New York's Rockefeller drug laws, which have packed the prisons of America to a point where 1% of our population is a guest of the state. This number translates into 25% of the world's inmates. At $30,000 per prisoner the penal budget for the USA comes to $800,000,000,000. Not all those 3 million convicts are pot smokers, but enough of them are to consider cutting them loose to hang around their houses smoking bongs.

American politicians subjected to a barrage from online questioners about legalization of marijuana. Pot is the #1 cash crop in California. $14 billion last year. 20% tax = $2.8 billion. Carlos Santana, guitar god, suggested, "Legalize marijuana and take all that money and invest it in teachers and in education. You will see a transformation in America."

Right on.

Not that I smoke pot.

A lot.

But it definitely is cooler than popping Oxycontin.

The drug of choice for teenagers in America.

The controversial painkiller has killed hundreds over the years versus zero for marijuana, but no one has been kicking down the door of the manufacturer Purdue Pharma or incarcerating the executives of Phillip Morris for killing hundreds of thousands.

I'm not for Hydro-weed, but natural grass.

It's the real thing.

War on Drugs Victory

I was a good boy throughout the 1960s.

I did no drugs.

I drank beer, fought in senseless brawls, and drove my 68 VW Beetle like it was my father's Delta 88.

The summer of 1970 was my baptism into the drug culture.

Coming back from the Surf Nantasket after seeing the Chosen Few I smoked a joint in my VW Beetle with Tommie Jordan. The reefer had no effect until  the lights on 3A in Hingham. The red light lasted an eternity and we laughed with the joy of cannabis enlightenment. It was never as good as that moment.

I've done everything. No confessions. Only the truth.

My mother says I lost my edge.

She was right and in many ways I wish I could say I had never done anything, because no high is better than the rush of holding my daughter. I'm a better man now. I moved to Thailand was to remove myself from sources of temptation. Billions have been spent by the DEA to combat the spread of drugs without any success.

The prison was packed with offenders and the justice system is overloaded with cases prosecuting. Drugs are everywhere. It is time to admit failure. My side won, for even the President of the USA is in need on a fix, judging from a recent photo.

Desperate and I know.

I worked at the Bains-Douches in Paris. One night Jack Nicholson and Ron Woods entered the club. they gave me the same sign, only they wanted 'downtown'. GW doesn't play that game. He's a reborn Christian. Temptation is only a knock on the door away.

Look what happened to Clinton on a snowy night.

Intern

Pizza.

No sex

History.

No one can be strong forever.

4:20 2017

Today is 4/20, when people celebrate smoking marijuana worldwide, despite the draconian laws against te weed.

In total 29 states have legalized marijuana use.

The hold-outs come as no surprise.

God and pot do not mix.

The states are Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, North and South Carolina, Virginia, Kentucky, and a handful of die-hard anti reefer backwaters.

We only have one thing to say to them.

Leave us alone.

Happy 4/20.

Enjoy Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

The 420 Bus to Hollywood

In the late spring of 1995 I was living with Scottie Taylor in a North Hollywood pool house.

The homeowner ran a strip club off West Pico Boulevard. Dennis' dancers sunbathed nude in the mornings. They were Jesus freaks and read the Bible like a choir of fallen angels. Scottie and I were sinners in their eyes. We were running a nightclub in Beverly Hills.

The Milk Bar.

Decor very CLOCKWORK ORANGE.

Clientele; young, semi-famous, and druggy.

Every morning the naked sunbathers' prayer session interrupted my sleep and I stuffed my ears with cotton to reduce the words of the Bible to mutterings. Jesus was not saving my soul. My wake-up hour was noon, after which I ate breakfast at a diner, then played basketball at North Hollywood Park. A bicycle was my transportation. I had bought it from a junkie on Vineland. He wanted $50. I gave him $20, which was probably $10 too much.

My cousin Sherri lived on Hartsook. I spent my afternoons writing in her house, while she filmed XXX films with lesbians over in Van Nuys. Some of those girls were Jesus freaks too. None of them broke ranks, especially for a nightclub doorman without a car.

Only losers walk in LA, because walking got you nowhere.

Scottie was my ride to the Milk Bar most nights. We opened at 8.

He drove a mud-colored Pinto with questionable steering and shuttering brakes.

Riding in the passenger seat was a test of courage, however Scottie and I had another problem.

The trip from North Hollywood to Beverly Hills took twenty minute by car. The Simpson aired Sundays at 7:30. The show lasted 30 minutes. No one told jokes in LA. No one told stories either. Laughs were hard to find at the Milk Bar. Homer Simpson filled the gap.

"I can't believe you are going to be late for a cartoon show." Scottie only watched the History Channel. He liked to be serious.

"It's not a cartoon. It's the Simpsons. You could always watch it with me."

"I own the club. I have 20 people who work for me. They get there at 8. I get there before them. Otherwise they'll come in late. Like you."

"I'll take alternative transportation."

"Such as what?"

Hitchhiking was illegal and the train system was a work in progress.

"I don't mind taking the bus." The 420 ran over the Hollywoods Hills to Sunset Boulevard. I caught another bus on the corner. It went to Beverly Hills. The trip lasted 45 minutes.

Sometimes less.

Sometimes more.

I read a book and never made eye contact with the other passengers.

"Besides no one comes until 10."

"You ever think about giving a good impression." It was an odd question, since Scottie didn't shave, his clothing dated back five years, and he drove a Pinto.

"Not out here." I wasn't trying to be in the movies. My novel was about the last man on earth.

Pornography too.

Dirty cops.

Lesbians.

Murder.

High-tech sex.

I was on chapter 23.

200 pages plus.

THE END was off in the distance.

"I'm on time the nights the Simpsons aren't on."

"What about the nights with Star Trek?" Scottie knew my schedule.

"That's VOYAGER." Seven of Nine was sexier than any of the Bible strippers. "Monday night."

"I can't believe it." Scottie left me in the pool house.

I sat before the TV with a glass of water in my hand.

The clock on the wall ticking its way to 7:30.

It was time for the Simpsons.

NO matter what, because a good laugh was a treasure in a city without any laughs.

And Homer was always god for "Ha ha ha.", which were hard to find for a man riding the 420 bus.

The Dangers of Marijuana

REEFER MADNESS was a 1936 film financed by a church group intent on informing American youth about the reputed dangers of marijuana. A ten-minute Google search failed to reveal the name of the church group, however the film's focus was hijacked by the addition of salacious scenes by an exploitation producer, Dwain Esper, supposedly a horrible director.

NORML, a pro-marijuana group rediscovered REEFER MADNESS in 1972 and bought the rights from the Library of Congress for $272 to distribute the movie across the USA. It was an instant hit and its popularity has spawned books and a Broadway show, for the only dangers of marijuana are the criminalization of grass, getting beat by a dealer, and eating the contents of your refrigerator.

It does not cause madness or death.

LEADING CAUSES OF DEATH USA

http://drugwarfacts.org

Tobacco 435,000
Poor Diet and Physical Inactivity 365,000
Alcohol 85,000
Microbial Agents 75,000
Toxic Agents 55,000
Motor Vehicle Crashes 26,347
Adverse Reactions to Prescription Drugs 32,000
Suicide 30,622
Incidents Involving Firearms 29,000
Homicide 20,308
Sexual Behaviors 20,000
All Illicit Drug Use, Direct and Indirect 17,000
Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs Such As Aspirin 7,600
Marijuana 0

Zero.

Free the weed.