Wednesday, October 29, 2008
F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote, "There are no second acts in American life."
It was a nice quote, but completely untrue.
People re-invent themselves all the time; Richard Nixon, Michael Jackson, Madonna, and this phenomena has occurred in Thailand, as the 33 year old son of the Interior Minister has been charged with the campaign to keep Thailand's toilets clean.
The perennial bad boy is now known as "Mr Happy Toilet" or Khun Hong-nam Yin-dee.
"I am apologizing publicly for my behavior in the past that might have caused the public not to be happy with me." Wan had been involved in several bar brawls, culminating in the murder of an off-duty policeman. He fled the country until the witnesses suffered collective amnesia. His father previously attempted to install his son in the government as the poster boy to stop drinking and smoking, despite his subscription to both vices. Public outrage forced the young man into early retirement, but the Deputy Minister has high hopes for the nation to forgive and forget and Wan has learn from his past judging from this statements to the Press. "I will work for the nation to show I can correct my past mistakes."
One day cleaning toilets, the next president.
Strange things have happened in this world.
So give Mr. Happy Toilet a break.
Wash your hands after a piss.
I get calls from my American friends overseas. They ask if Obama is going to win. I tell them that it will be a landslide.
"That's not the way it looks on the News."
"I know." Not really since I never watch the political gum-bumpers on TV. I'd rather misshape my opinions on my own.
"And I have so many friends who will not vote for a black person."
"That's because you're white and somewhere in your mind you know that you don't want to vote for him too. Don't worry. It's only subconscious and you won't go to Hell for thinking that." Anyone voting for McCain will be exiled to purgatory after Obama is elected president. "Trust me. This is going to be a breeze."
My confidence is based on the theory that in normal times most people do not want to change the status quo, however whenever the status quo threatens your way of life, then it is time for a change.
Anything is better than 4 more years of the GOP.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Everyone in New York knows my history. Most recent. Six years in Thailand. To most westerners the word spells out 'sex'. Mostly because they're not getting any and have to fantasize about someplace else where the world is free
Well, not free, because nothing is really free. Certainly not sex. In fact it can be very expensive, as my friend Vladtah, showed me his online sweetheart.
"She's the most popular girl on this website. She spends most of the time with other men in her chatroom."
"How can you tell if it's her?" I am a stranger to online relationships.
"Because you can see her on the webcam."
Vladtah opened her page. The Thai girl was stunning, although not 19 as advertised. I figured her for 27-28. I can't recall the site right, but I'd recognize her on a go-go stage in a second. At least before I drank a couple of beers.
"I can't understand why no one had married her." Vladtah was smitten with this girl. Her name was Pai.
"Maybe she hasn't met the right guy." I knew nothing about this woman yet everything at the same time, since I had seen this scam before. "How much does it cost to call her?"
"$3/minute." To Vladtah it was a bargain. He had several real GFs in New York. Dinner costs $150 at most good restaurants or 50 minutes with Pai.
"Really." It was cheap considering that the deposed governor of New York was paying $1000/hour to hookers. President Clinton was lucky to get it for free. At least from Monica Lewinsky.
"Next time you're out in Bangkok maybe you an look her up for me." Valdtah wanted me to bring her a present. He wouldn't say what it would be.
"Sure." I had a ticket for Dec. 30, 2008. "I'll tell her you love her long time."
"Thanks." Vladtah was actually grateful for this promise and I wondered whether the clock would be ticking if I met Pai in Bangkok. Of course $3 is only 6000 baht per hour, which might be expensive for punters in Pattaya, however cheap in comparison to the price charged to a Kon Yai politician to contact an A-List Thai actress as mentioned in this Sunday's Bangkok Post.
700,000 baht to look at her breasts and millions for anything else.
I won't be bringing her any presents.
Being near-sighted beauty is a little wasted on me, but not wickedness.
For story in bangkok post go to this URL
In 1929 Wall Street crashed dramatically on October 28 and 29 with the Dow Jones dropped 11% and 13% on those two days then sunk to 198.7 on November 13 completing a 50% decline in value. The slide continued throughout the rest of Hoover's presidency, as he relied on the forces of the Free Market to recover the lost gains. Instead the real bottom was reached in 1932 at 414.32 or a nearly 90% wastage of wealth.
The millions were gone and in 2008 we have seen a similar decrease in value from 14000 to 8200, as President Bush and his economic staff said the economy was fundamentally sound. Obviously these capitalist shills were hearing an echo from the empty shell as was John McCain, the GOP hopeful. These guys don't get it. America is in trouble and like a beer belly this problem didn't get there in one day and won't go away in one day either.
The Free Market has failed and now the GOP has raised the threat of communism. The same communism beaten back by Ronald Reagan and its messiah is Barack Obama and his plan to spread the wealth rather than rely on the trickle-down theory of Alan Greenspan, who recently admitted to Congress.
"We might have made a mistake."
Nothing sets up a panic like the guru telling the king that his robe is not invisible to the people, but that it doesn't exist.
You can't base an economy of service industry or selling potato chips.
Forget the R-word.
And start talking how to avoid the D-word.
Put your faith in beer.
Even the hangover is more valuable than Goldman Sachs and this is going to get a lot more ugly before it's pretty again.
"Ride 'em cowboy."
Alain Badiou heads the International Center for the Study of Contemporary French Philosophy (CIEPFC) at the Ecole Normale Supèrieure, Paris. For many years a Maoist, he remains a committed political activist. In addition to several novels, plays, and political essays, he has published a number of major philosophical works, including Being and Event, Theory of the Subject, Manifesto for Philosophy, Gilles Deleuze: The Clamour of Being and Handbook of Inaesthetics. In 2006, Badiou published Logics of Worlds, a sequel fifteen years in the making to Being and Event. The English translation by Alberto Toscano will become available in November. After the election of Nicolas Sarkozy as the new French president, he wrote De quoi Sarkozy est-il le nom?, a polemical book that sparked much heated debate in France and elsewhere.
Alain Badiou enacts a return to full-blown philosophy, striking as a thunder into the morass of postmodernist sophisms and platitudes. His work aims at the very heart of politically correct radical intellectuals, undermining the foundations of their mode of life!
— Slavoj Zizek
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Miguel Abreu Gallery
36 Orchard Street
New York, NY 10002
(between Canal & Hester)
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Here’s an email from a friend.
She is a writer and we share the same astrological sign.
Every May she throws a party for fellow Geminis.
I was back in the States this May but she cancelled.
The Gemini Party did not go according to plan. It got ugly at the S——- household, and I just couldn’t play Whose Afraid of Virginia Wolf last night with a room full of bystanders - innocent and otherwise.
Everything was on track until about 2:30 when Donna and I arrived at my apartment with a van load of supplies we got at the Costco in Queens.
Raging Joe, my husband, was waving papers and shouting, “Look what I found!”
I had left a story in the trash — what would Freud say?
It was the story I had recently read at KGB which describes in gruesome, depressing detail:
how 90 second midnight episodes passed for sex with my generally impotent husband
how if that was all he could do, I wanted comp time. I got my kid out of the house several times only to be forgotten in the bedroom
how he wanted to use my nipple clips
how he only paid bills when we were being sued or the lights were off
how I posted a profile on Ashleymadison.com, got liquored up and found myself at the Liberty Inn with a muscular young black man with a dick like a maglite.
There was more, but as Oprah has shown us - who is to say what is fact or fiction?
So Joe was standing in the living room waving this document around declaring he would read it in front of everyone at the party and we would see how funny it was.
I didn’t have the heart to tell him I already knew it was damn funny because I already read it to a room full of people at KGB two weeks ago.
By this time, Donna had beat a hasty retreat to the staircase by the elevators where she was out of sight but within earshot just in case I needed to shout, “Semper Fi!”.
She’s been waiting to kick Joe’s ass for a couple of years ever since he charged into one of our parties bitching about being able to hear us in the parking lot.
I don’t quite recall the sequence of events, but he started yelling words like SLUT, BITCH, FUCKING BITCH, etc and smashing the bouquet I had bought at the Costco against the wall until all the blossoms were gone. Then he threw it on the floor and stomped on the stems. Honestly. He busted the plaster Elvis on the terrace, too.
He announced that he had faxed this document to his lawyer and his sister.
Given that his sister has loaned him in excess of $250,000 over the last few years, I can only assume that she will not be surprised to learn that he can’t get it up in bed any better than he can run a business.
My friend who is a social worker says people act rashly when they are angry.
Kathleen, Donna and I went to the apartment of our friend who insists on remaining nameless.
Michael looked about the living room and said he’d never seen such a lovely mausoleum.
Exquisite candelabra and objets d’art.
I lay on the layers of oriental rug looking up at the ceiling, painted with clouds with a golden art deco chandelier directly over my head.
It was like the Sun Room in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
Kathleen made me call my lawyer to say I had been afraid for my safely what with all the breaking glass. I called my psychiatrist too to say I had been traumatized. Then Kathleen and Donna took me home to make sure all was quiet on the domestic front before leaving me there for the night.
At the moment, everything is under control and Joe took our son to the Yankees game. He’s still hollering SLUT at me every now and then, but I told him to simmer down or I’d have his balls for breakfast. He knows I can and that I’m done being nice. But it’s all very tiring, and I’m so sorry about the party.
JUST GOES TO SHOW YOU THAT ALL WOMEN ARE THE SAME. THEY ONLY LIVE IN DIFFERENT HOUSES.
It was raining last 4th of July in Pattaya. No crowds lined Beach Road for the celebratory fireworks, the American flag was absent from the bars, and the only parade was the stalled line of cars at the beginning of Walking Street. Homesickness was running in my blood, until Nick called from Soi 6, “C’mon down here, you wankin’ Yank.”
Drinks and a burger from the Queen Victoria Pub with ogling the short-time girls were worthy replacements pyrotechnic patriotism and a backyard BBQ. Soi 6 is about 5 minutes from my house at 60 KPH. I made it in four. Nick and his mates were stationed in the Bus Stop Bar. My entrance was greeted with anti-American insults. I told them, “God fuck the Queen.”
The teabags groaned with revulsion. I ordered a gin-tonic. Nick told a short story about being stalked by a 20 year-old and then said, “You wanna play ‘Spoof’?”
“Never heard of it.”
“Great.” Nick had plenty of drinking games. Most of them consist of getting as much alcohol down his gullet as his brain can handle without his stomach revolting in dismay. “You play ‘Spoof’ with three coins. Everyone put out their hands and you have to guess how many coins are in everyone’s hands.”
“Oh.” It seemed simple enough.
“Whoever loses buys a round.”
“I lost the last time.” An Atlanta Reb declared with a red face. “We have to get our 4th of July victory.”
“Why not?” I would have stood a round for America’s birthday anyway.
There were six of us.
We held out our hands.
The count at most could be 18. The least zero.
I tried to guess what everyone was holding and failed miserably, yet managed to get knocked out thanks to a lucky guess and was rewarded with a gin-tonic.
Not too strong, because the bars on Soi 6 never pour full measures.
The girl behind the counter was cute.
“Watch out.” Nick knew my taste run to thin.
“No worries.” My wallet was also thin.
Down to my last 1000 baht.
At least until after the 4th of July.
Nick called for another game. I couldn’t refuse and lost. Another gin-tonic. After thanking Nick, Simon, Roger, Reb, and the bar owner for the education, I tried calling Scoby’s for a pizza.
This was July 4th in Pattaya.
Hungry, drunk, and going home.
Actually it wasn’t too bad, since I had learned something new by ignoring an old lesson.
Never gambled after drinking, unless you want to lose your money, especially at Spoof.
For a related article click on this URL
Men have many expressions for an erect penis; tentpole, wood, are so hard you can hang a bucket of nails off it are a few. Hardness is a matter of pride as well as how many times you can achieve an erection. Shame comes from the opposite result. No wood, Softitis, and the cashew are derisive terms banter about in the company of men. None are brave enough to admit suffering from ED or erectile dysfunction, but the clients number in the millions judging from Pfizer’s Viagra profits.
“I’m a man.” The Yardbirds.
Virile, hard, and hard for a long time. A schoolboy cock on a 50 year-old man and the harder the better. Superman hard? Kryptonite-proof Superman? No one knew the frontiers and the Journal of Sexual Medicine surveyed thousands of men to gain a consensus about the degrees of penile hardness.
The Erection Hardness Score (EHS).Patients were asked to rate their hardness on a scale from 1-4. Women were also included in this survey to give an objective eye.
The results are as follows.
1. Penis is larger but not hard (severe ED)
A classic pre-mature erection or softie.
2. Penis is hard, but not hard enough for penetration (moderate ED)
Most men will resort to oral sex in the vain hope they will hit critical arousal mass. It’s not a bad tactic, since ED can come from mental stress.
Like do I really want to have sex with my wife?
Loss of hardness.
If I fake an orgasm, will she believe me?
Back to the cashew state.
Viagra was invented for men with incompatible partners.
Especially their eyes say they don’t want have anything to do with your Johnson.
“It might be broken.” Most men think after too much of that look.
3. Penis is hard enough for penetration but not completely hard (mild ED).
This isn’t a problem as long as you get some help from your partner.
“Can I have some help?”
And we know what help means, for while the State of Georgia might regard sodomy ie fellatio a sin, Bill Clinton rightfully placed a BJ outside the boundaries of sex so that it is now more like a handshake between good friends.
Remember the word ‘help’, ladies.
It takes two to tango.
4. Penis is completely hard and fully rigid (no ED).
Hard beautiful wood.
This rating system was destined to help women and men discuss the ED problems and also to have men understand that an erection is a good indicator of the body’s health as ED may be a warning sign of a wide range of diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hyperlipidemia and hypertension.
I usually wake with an erection.
Women hate sex in the morning if you wake them up, but if they rise before you and find the erection then they might give you the green light, but not always since a French girlfriend considered a morning erection an indication that you had been dreaming about another woman.
“Or you want to piss.”
Now you can see why men lose wood.
For a related article go to this URL
The PPP have backed away from their proposed ban on alcohol sales for Loi Krathong, Christmas, and New Years, despite polls attesting to the popularity of this ruling. Bar owners and 7/11s throughout Thailand are ecstatic.
"Drinks for all my friends." As Mickey Rourke says in the movie BARFLY.
Public Health Minister Chalerm Yubamrung was not happy with this decision, but admitted that a ban of booze throughout the holidays could seriously damage business prospects for the high season, which is already threatened by the worldwide economic collapse.
In actuality the poll which the minister quoted for support of his plan came from people agreeing that the major cause of traffic accidents in Thailand are alcohol-related and over half of those polled agreed with the nationwide ban.
So Chalerm is acting on the behalf of 5000 polled Bangkokians to push through this system.
Democracy at work.
Chalerm plans to enact the ban next year.
As if he'll still be in office.
To the citizens of the United States of America from Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
In light of your immediate failure to financially manage yourselves and also in recent years to elect incompetent Presidents of the USA therefore not be able to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately.
(You should look up 'revocation' in the Oxford English Dictionary.)
Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (except Kansas, which she does not fancy).
Your new Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, will appoint a Governor for America without the need for further elections. Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire may be circulated sometime next year to determine whether any of you noticed.
To aid in the transition to a British Crown dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:
1. The letter 'U' will be reinstated in words such as 'colour,' 'favour,' 'labour' and 'neighbour.' Likewise, you will learn to spell 'doughnut' without skipping half the letters, and the suffix '-ize' will be replaced by the suffix '-ise.' Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. (look up 'vocabulary').
2. Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises such as ''like' and 'you know' is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. There is no such thing as U.S.English. We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take into account the reinstated letter 'u'' and the elimination of '-ize.'
3. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday.
4. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers, or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you're not quite ready to be independent. Guns should only be used for shooting grouse. If you can't sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist,then you're not ready to shoot grouse.
5. Therefore, you will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous than a vegetable peeler. Although a permit will be required if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.
6. All intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will start driving on the left side with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables. Both roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.
7. The former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been calling gasoline) of roughly $10/US gallon. Get used to it.
8. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries are not real chips, and those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called crisps. Real chips are thick cut, fried in animal fat, and dressed not with catsup but with vinegar.
9. The cold, tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all. Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be referred to as beer, and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as Lager. Australian beer is also acceptable, as Australia is pound for pound the greatest sporting nation on earth and it can only be due to the beer. They are also part of the British Commonwealth - see what it did for them. American brands will be referred to as Near-Frozen Gnat's Urine, so that all can be sold without risk of further confusion.
10. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as good guys. Hollywood will also be required to cast English actors to play English characters. Watching Andie Macdowell attempt English dialogue in Four Weddings and a Funeral was an experience akin to having one's ears removed with a cheese grater.
11. You will cease playing American football. There are only three kinds of proper football; one you call soccer, Australian Rules and rugby (dominated by the Australians). Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which has some similarities to American football, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like a bunch of nancies).
12. Further, you will stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the World Series for a game which is not played outside of America. Since only 2.1% of you are aware there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable. You will learn cricket, and we will let you face the Australians (again World dominators) first to take the sting out of their deliveries.
13. You must tell us who killed JFK. It's been driving us mad.
14. An internal revenue agent (i.e. tax collector) from Her Majesty's Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all monies due (backdated to 1776).
15. Daily Tea Time begins promptly at 4 p.m. with proper cups, with saucers, and never mugs, with high quality biscuits (cookies) and cakes; plus strawberries (with cream) when in season.
God Save the Queen!
PS: Only share this with friends who have a good sense of humour (NOT humor)!
From my good friend Nick, A Tottenham Spurs devotee.
Friday, October 24, 2008
What happens if you give an elephant LSD? On Friday August 3, 1962, a group of Oklahoma City researchers decided to find out.
Warren Thomas, Director of the City Zoo, fired a cartridge-syringe containing 297 milligrams of LSD into Tusko the Elephant’s rump. With Thomas were two scientific colleagues from the University of Oklahoma School of Medicine, Louis Jolyon West and Chester M. Pierce.
297 milligrams is a lot of LSD — about 3000 times the level of a typical human dose. In fact, it remains the largest dose of LSD ever given to a living creature. The researchers figured that, if they were going to give an elephant LSD, they better not give him too little.
Thomas, West, and Pierce later explained that the experiment was designed to find out if LSD would induce musth in an elephant — musth being a kind of temporary madness male elephants sometimes experience during which they become highly aggressive and secrete a sticky fluid from their temporal glands. But one suspects a small element of ghoulish curiosity might also have been involved.
Whatever the reason for the experiment, it almost immediately went awry. Tusko reacted to the shot as if a bee had stung him. He trumpeted around his pen for a few minutes, and then keeled over on his side. Horrified, the researchers tried to revive him, but about an hour later he was dead. The three scientists sheepishly concluded that, “It appears that the elephant is highly sensitive to the effects of LSD.”
In the years that followed controversy lingered over whether it was the LSD that killed Tusko, or the drugs used to revive him. So twenty years later, Ronald Siegel of UCLA decided to settle the debate by giving two elephants a dose similar to what Tusko received. Reportedly he had to sign an agreement promising to replace the animals in the event of their deaths.
Instead of injecting the elephants with LSD, Siegel mixed the drug into their water, and when it was administered in this way, the elephants not only survived but didn’t seem too upset at all. They acted sluggish, rocked back and forth, and made some strange vocalizations such as chirping and squeaking, but within a few hours they were back to normal. However, Siegel noted that the dosage Tusko received may have exceeded some threshold of toxicity, so he couldn’t rule out that LSD was the cause of his death. The controversy continues.
For a related article click on this URL
Last year I re-wrote my punk novel MAYBE TOMORROW. The story is about a car thief, gay hustler, and a runaway teenage girl who form a punk band in 1976 to rip-off a rich kid, but fail because they succeed musically for one night. I first sent 30 pages of this book to Emma Parry, a New York literary agent. She passed on it, but suggested my sending the first 30 pages along with a synopsis to SOFT SKULL. I dropped the manuscript in the post last week. I didn't expect to her from them in months. A letter showed up in the mail today. It could only be one thing.
A rejection notice.
And the letter looked like they had used the same piece of paper to send out two other rejections.
The November sun atop the Jersey Palisades flashed a dying ray off a West Village window. This wavering reflection stalked the Christopher Street pier to a lone youth tuning a battered guitar. The blonde appeared unaware of the approaching glow, then broke into a smile shy of surprise, as the sapphire shimmer transformed the twenty year-old into a fallen angel regaining his halo.
John McCain has excoriated Barack Obama on the Illinois senator's proposals to hold meetings with our 'enemies' without preconditions. This intransigence has led America to an all-time low in stature with other nations, as President GF Bush's White House staff dictated the degrees of hostility to the rest of the world. Blue for the UK. Pink for Canada. Glowing red for Iran. John McCain wants to continue the war in Iraq to Victory or when Hell freezes over.
Obama is offering a second way following the advice of Winston Churchill, who once said, "It is better to jaw-jaw than war-war."
Thai and Cambodian mid-level officials have also decide to heed those words by meeting in Siem Reap to discuss ways to alleviate the tension between the two nations. The rendezvous point is a world-class golf course. 18 holes and a beer or two in the 19th hole sounds better than one Thai and three Cambodian soldiers dead at the ancient Preah Vihear temple.
"We want people on both sides to believe there is no armed conflict."
And I suppose nothing does that better than a round of golf.
As long as no one is cheating.
GOP strategists have laid the electric shockers onto the corpse of John McCain's campaign with accusations of 'socialism', claiming that his opponent's suggestion to spread the wealth of the wealthy is another plot by the Soviets to ruin the American way through the curse of 'universal health care' and now they've geared up their attack dogs with the new ruse that the Stock Market meltdown is a result of Barack Obama's populist promises.
AN BARACK PANIC - MARKETS FEAR OBAMA reads the New York Post.
And they will hammer this into the brains of the middle-class white men throughout the next 3 weeks, for the best lies are the ones you want to believe so you don't have to blame yourself.
Bring on the revolution.
Friday's stock market ride resumes the roller coaster ride of the past weeks, as the Dow Jones dangerously nears the 8000 level. Old man Greenspan's admission that he might have been wrong about predatory de-regulation and sell-offs by the foreign markets have triggered a widespread panic within the financial universe. No one can figured out where is the bottom.
I suggested 0000 to several investment friends at a gala event hosted by the Plaza Hotel.
"It can't go that low." Joel had been betting 'bear' for years.
"7500 has to be the bottom." Alex's hedge fund was clobbered over the past year.
"I still think 0000, because most of the stocks have no value and 0000 would reset the clock to a new meter." I said with the confidence of someone who owns nothing and owes everything, although without a forwarding address for my creditors to harass me into thinking that I'm a bad man. "My only worry is that 0000 is not low enough."
"They Dow Jones can't go below zero."
"The Romans had no mathematical concept of zero. Where are they now?"
Joel and Alex went to their wives. They had heard enough of my bullshit. I wonder how they're feeling this afternoon.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Thais have an excuse for everything as seen in this tale from the old roue
Here's a classic for the ages. My little pole dancer, Oy, was supposed to come see me tonite. But...
"Cannot come tonight."
"I have accident."
"What did you do?"
"Hurt my leg."
"Fell off the stage."
The military of Thailand suggested to the PM to take a vacation and Somchai has obeyed their edict by scheduling a trip to Beijing, where we will meet with his Cambodian counterpart in hopes of resolving the two SE Asian countries' border disputes, which escalated into a bloody confrontation last week, leaving dead and wounded on both sides of the frontier. Several Asian ministers have volunteered to referee between the two parties at this meeting.
We hope that cooler minds prevail so that this conflict can subside with time and understanding.
Several years back when I was living in the East Village, I bought a slice of pizza on 9th Street and crossed over to 10th on Stuyvesant Street. I had eaten the pizza down to the crust and intended to finish it off, except a car blew the stop sign and nearly smashed into me. The window was open, so I threw the remaining pizza at the driver. It hit him in the face. The car braked with a screech and the driver jumped out to chase me. I wasn't running because he pulled a badge and New York cops love shooting fugitives, real and imaginary.
"You piece of shit!" He threw me against the iron fence of the St. Mark's Church cemetery.
"Me?" I pushed him back. "You ran a stop sign and almost killed me."
"Let me see ID." He was shorter than me. In fact he was shorter than the 5-4 height set by the NYPD standards.
"Let me see your ID again." I had a good suspicion that his badge was a comp. One the cops give friends of the force to get them out of speeding tickets and possession for small amounts of drugs.
"I'm not showing you any badge." He backed off to the car. His girlfriend was yelling for him to get going. They drove off and blew the light at 2nd Avenue. He was no cop and this morning the same thing happened to my mia noi in Jomtien.
Mam was sitting outside of her apartment waiting for the food carts to roll by. Everyone who had to be at work was gone and the street was quiet. Her aunt was asleep in the back room and her uncle was working upstairs on a toilet. A single motorcycle cruised down the soi and stopped before Mam. She was feeding milk to her baby, Fenway. The man got of his bike and showed an ID claiming to be the police. He wanted to see Mam's ID.
"Why? I haven't done anything wrong." Mam was scared. Thai police can do whatever they want.
"Doesn't matter. If I want to see your ID, I want to see your ID."
Mam handed over her card. The man in his forties accused her of smoking ja-bah.
"I don't smoke ja-bah. I have a baby."
Mam is skinny. Always has been. The man interrogated her about her working on Walking Street. Whether she had a farang boyfriend. Said he wanted to search her room.
"If I want to make you trouble, I can make you trouble."
It was only 8am and no one else was around on the soi, but Mam asked to see his ID again. It had no photo. She asked where his gun was.
"I don't need a gun. I'm undercover." He grabbed her arm.
At this moment her uncle showed up and asked what was the problem. The fake cop got on his bike and drove off. Someone later said that this impostor had tried to pretend he was a cop. Maybe he was an ex-cop.
"He smelled of whiskey. My uncle said he wanted money." Mam gave him none.
So beware of fake cops and even be more scared of real ones. These are tough times and bribes are going to be more expensive than before.
The Thai word for bribe is sin bon.
The Supreme Court of Thailand dealt a serious blow to Tuesday Thaksin Shinawatra by sentencing the deposed prime minister to two years in jail for helping his wife in a shady land deal. A bizarre twist in these legal proceedings is that the court revoked an arrest warrant out for his wife. She is already facing 2-3 years in prison for her connection to another trial on corruption.
Doesn't look like the pair will be spending Loi Krathong in Bangkok this year or any year soon.
Still not to worry, they are seeking asylum in the UK and we know how the British love criminals seeing how many of them are in Pattaya.
Joba Chamberlain of the NY Yankees was arrested in Nebraska last week for speeding, driving under the influence, and having an open container of alcohol in his car. The hour was 1am. The ex-Cornhusker ace was returning from a night on the town in Omaha. The last stop had been at a strip club. His blood-alcohol count was 1.5 times the legal limit. The Press excoriated the pitcher for his behavior.
This would have never happened in Pattaya, Thailand.
Firstly strip bars don't close at 1am, despite the present mayor's wishes to turn the beach resort into a family-theme park.
Secondly there are only 4 breathalysers in Thailand. 3 in Phuket. 1 in Bangkok. If you get stopped for 1.5 times the legal limit. The police often force you to drink water until you are sober enough to resume your journey home to an angry girlfriend or wife.
Lastly the Press in Thailand have no idea who Joba Chamberlain is, although the friendly Pattaya TV crews love sticking a camera in your face, whether you are guilty or not.
This incident will cost Joba a a couple of thousand dollars, a suspended license, and the loss of a sneaker commercial.
It would have been cheaper to fly to Sin City.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Most tourists to Thailand are fascinated by the food cart selling with fried insects ie crickets, grubs, cockroaches, scorpions, and several unidentified members of the insect species, although most react with revulsion and Thais revel in daring westerners to cross that culinary line in hopes of seeing witness the European upchuck the crawly creatures as if they were rehearsing for a musical version of THE EXORCIST III.
Back in 1991 I caught a songthaew truck from Fang. It was headed for Doi Mai Salong, the old opium HQ of the exiled Chinese Armies. The road was dirt and the villages few. Halfway to our destination the driver stopped for an old lady and her granddaughter. She was a goddess bless with a naive innocence.
I heard a buzzing in her bag. She answered my inquisitive gaze by revealing a weaved basket filled with hundreds of live crickets. My smile flattened to a frown and her eyes revealed that the distance between us was unbridgeable. Her grandmother laughed at our awkwardness and scooped out a handful of cooked grubs onto a banana leaf.
I ate one tentatively, expecting it to transform me into Jeff Goldblum’s stand-in for THE FLY. Instead I was surprised by the salty nutty taste. Crunchy too.
My grandmother and goddess got off before Doi Mai Salong. She blew a kiss good-bye. I still savor the glance she threw over her shoulder, almost like I was supposed to follow her down the footpath to a hidden valley, where we’d eat insects and smoke opium for the rest of our lives.
She’d be about 35 now. Not old for a Thai woman.
Since then whenever Thais offer me grubs or crickets, I make a big show about how disgusting insects are, then eat them like pop corn, thus depriving the audience of their humor.
555 in your face, however if I tried a cockroach, I don’t think I could keep it down. This revulsion may arise from having lived in the East Village, where cockroaches were the bane of our tenement apartments. Scientists predicted they would survive an atomic bomb. My efforts to eliminate them were futile. Sprays, traps, and poisons had no effect. To demonstrate their invincibility they would crawl onto my bed to invade my nostrils.
Disgusting and I was never fast enough to kill the intruder.
In the summer cockroaches took over my apartment and I escaped their tyranny to the Hamptons. A welcome guest to a palatial seaside cottage until vagrant cockroaches piggybacked my bag and infested paradise.
Their victory over Man seemed secured in oven grease until Oct. 1997. No cockroaches had scurried across the bathtub in ages. I checked under the sink and in the refrigerator. Not a dead body in sight. At first I was happy, then remembered that cockroaches were supposed to outlive the human race.
If they were gone, why were we still here?
“Be grateful and don’t ask so many questions.” My friends hadn’t seen any cockroaches either. It was a Pied Piper of Hamblin type of miracle. St. Padraic leading them into the East River. And they never came back.
Not while I was a New Yorker, but the big water bugs make an appearance at my house on Moo X. Two inches long. Same size as the ones offering at the insect cart. Only those are dead and I had to ask myself, “How do these guys kill the insects?”
Have little SS gangs of insects murdering for them?
Spray them with DDT. Maybe, but DDT leaves a funny taste in the mouth.
The mystery was solved during my last visit to Ban Nok.
During a rain storm my mother-in-law filled a bucket with water and illuminated a neon light. The bugs gather around the light and fell into the water. My wife’s mother scooped them out of the water to fry in boiling oil. No DDT or mini-gallows or electric chairs. A light, a tub of water, and a wok filled with oil. 30 seconds and done to the sound of lip smacking from the gathering.
Fresh bugs like in STARSHIP TROOPERS, only those bugs fought back.
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The earliest exposure to gout came from movies showing Henry VIII hobbling about the set with his foot swathed in bandages. The disease came from rich foods. Only the very rich or obese were supposedly prone to such an ailment, although in recent years friends have limped into restaurants or parties to explain, “I have gout.”
Healthy folks would laugh at the sufferer’s prediction.
After all you are what you eat and everyone thinks that there’s no way they’ll ever get gout.
The first symptom of gout is a sore toe.
Two weeks ago my toe was more sore.
Gout is caused by a rich diet of red wine, meats, and peas.
I eat a lot of frozen peas and drink wine too.
Being a hypochondriac I feared that swelling pain might spread.
I went to the Internet and scoured the online medical journals.
Eat asparagus, spinach, and broccoli.
I like those.
My friend Sam Royalle called from Thailand and asked, “Why don’t you go to the doctor?”
I only go to the doctor for my annual check-up.
“I don’t have gout.” The pain was minor.
“And if it doesn’t go away?” Sam liked hospitals. He was living in Thailand. A visit to a doctor in the USA costs over $200, unless it's to my friend, Doctor Nick. He does it for free.
“Then I’ll go to the hospital.” Until then it’s broccoli sandwiches once a day with a glass of white wine.
Red is supposed to be the killer.
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Barack Obama has attacked the last 8 years of GOP rule as a period where the middle-class of America lost much of their purchasing power. The 'Trickle-down' theory failed because the Rich got so rich that they couldn't spend the money fast enough and the Democratic nominee for President suggested that it is time to 'spread the wealth'.
The right wing flaks and attack hounds have seized on these three words as if the Illinois senator had proposed armed revolution against the upper classes.
"At least in Europe, the Socialist leaders who so admire my opponent are upfront about their objectives," His opponent John McCain continued the assault and we can expect to hear someone say, "Goddamn commie." before too long.
"Goddamn commies want to socialize medicine."
"Goddamn commies want to surrender in Iraq."
"Goddamn commies want to save the goddamn squirrels."
Yes, those goddamn commies want so much, but mostly to get GF Bush out of the White House.
My dreams of returning to Thailand have been short-circuited by the need for money. My good friend, Richie Boy, called and asked for me to open his new diamond store in Manhattan's Plaza Hotel. I had $20 in my pocket. My only answer was 'yes'. So it's back to suits and ties after six years of leisure. Of course $20 isn't enough to buy a suit, so I traveled north to Boston, where the possessions of my previous life are in storage beneath the stairs in my sister's basement.
There's only one way for a man with $20 to get north and that was hitchhike. I took the subway up to Pelham Parkway and stuck out a sign saying BOSTON. Two minutes later I had a ride to Providence. The young driver was heading back to school. I told him a few stories about the Orient; Sophies in Phnom Penh, Soi 6 in Pattaya, the Eden in Bangkok as well as walking around the Potala in Lhasa and swimming in the Ganges. He kept looking over at me, as if I were a mad man. He dropped me on the highway and I chanced getting a ride before the cops arrested me for hitchhiking. I waited three minutes. A middle-aged man braked sharply. He was driving a Lexus.
"I haven't seen a hitchhiker in years."
"I guess they were extinct until I came back."
"Good to see you."
We spoke about the March on Washington in 1970. He had been dead set against the war then and was now.
And he gave me a ride all the way to my sister's house. She had him in for a glass of wine. It was almost like 1969 except I'm more hobo than a hippie now.
Friday, October 17, 2008
“Why farang so fat?” Lil’ Noi the 16 year-old waitress from Chez Michel asked at the end of the night. “Kin mak.”
Lil’ Noi was right.
Farangs ate a lot, although not as much as a hungry Thai woman during the course of the day. Morning rice and chicken, mid-day sum tam with Chinese noodles, fruit, snacks, dinner of fried shrimp and maybe a little vegetables, then a big dinner of everything in the refrigerator followed by a bunch of satay from the evening food cart and end the evening with ice cream.
I can’t keep up with their pace and neither can Thai men, so I couldn’t tell Lil’ Noi that over-eating caused fat farangs.
“Kin mai mak. Kin mai di.” It’s not how much you eat, but what you eat.
I have studied the rock documentary GIMMIE SHELTER for any seminal signs of the epidemic obesity striking the West and edges of the developing world. The only fat people are two members of Canned Heat, a fat naked girl on LSD, and another fat black man who gets the snort beat out his by Hell’s Angels. Otherwise millions of young thin hippies.
Hippies were notoriously skinny, so I surveyed a stadium of beer-drinkers. at the 1986 WORLD SERIES GAME #6. A No really fat people in the Fenway Park stands. Bloated maybe, but not fat.
Obese Americans were a rarity, until something was added to the national diet and it wasn’t Mcdonald’s supersized meals. In the late-80s farmers from the fly-over were stuck with mountains of excess corn thanks to the federal subsidy programs. Midwestern silos were bursting with the unwanted crop until a FDA flunkie OK’ed the conversion of billions of kernels into HFCS or high fructose corn syrup as a cheap alternative to sugar.
If you couldn’t believe margarine wasn’t butter, then how smart could you be to accept high fructose corn syrup as sugar?
“Damn, it’s sweet.”
HFCS entered the food chain through soda, ketchup, jellies, yogurt, cereals, soy product additives, pastries, cakes, chips ad nauseum, except Americans didn’t get sick, unless more than 300 pounds is an illness.
I still couldn’t explain the impact of this sugar substitute to Lil’ Noi.
The 16 year-old hadn’t finished high school and worshipped 7/11, the temple to high fructose corn syrup, plus Lil Noi wasn’t fat. Only a little pleasingly plump to speed up the blood of older men to a dangerous pace.
“French man not same America. Why did they have big bellies?” French men made up the everyday clientele of the small restaurant on Soi Buffalo and frogs definitely eat better than Americans. There was only one answer.
“Farang penh uwan lahkor farang chob dim lao beer.” I blamed the Gallic waist on beer consumption.
“Thai man drink beer too. Not fat.”
“”Young not fat. Old fat.”
“So old man fat.” Lil Noi’s eyes went a funny with the realization that all men end up fat.
“Old man fat.”
I weigh 85 kilos and am a six-footer. My BMI is a nudge over 25. ”I’m only a nidnoi fat.”
“Nidnoi uwan.” She laughed and rattled several Thai sentences off to the cook. They thought it was a good joke. “What part nid noi uwan?”
“Maybe my feet.” I refused to tell them that a man’s penis is the only part of his body that doesn’t gain weight, although I suspected this phenomena was common knowledge.
“Nid noi uwan.”
I gave up right there and went home to examine myself in the mirror.
Nothing nid noi about it.
At least someone thought it was funny and I might have even cried if I didn’t have a beer in my hand, for a bottle of beer will never say you’re fat.
The Pattaya City Hall has been scandalized by the Belgian TV show Russian Dolls 2 and another Belgian-based newspaper “Het Laatste Nieuws”. The first revealed the process of procurement used by pimps touring the countryside for Pattaya-destined talent and the second informed its 250,000 readers that Pattaya was the world's sex capital. Both were in Flemish, which makes one wonder what thai knows Flemish and secondly who really cares what the Flemish think about Thailand?
Obviously the mayor who responded with a draconian crackdown on Soi 6.
After meeting with bar owners the mayor proposed a compromise for Soi 6.
Bars could open at 1pm, but with only two girls outside. Neon lights must remain off until 6pm. Girls can not block the traffic and neither can lady boys. Bars are also responsible for any violations of these new rules and are expecting to rat on offenders to the police.
There will be a dress code too.
Shoulders that historic erogenous zone must be covered.
Could this be the end of 'Hello handsome man?"
I received a phone call from a friend intending to travel to Thailand.
"Is it safe?" She was scared of the riots, the political uncertainty, and the border confrontation with Cambodia.
"Safe? It's safer than New York." This didn't mean much to the woman. She was a professor at Duke. The last time that school made headlines was for the Lacrosse team supposedly raping a stripper. "I'll explain it this way. The only reason people died in the demonstration was because the police used crappy Chinese teargas bombs. The Prime Minister has no one on his side. He'll have to resign in favor of another flunkie of the deposed PM Thaksin. The border skirmishes won't effect farangs, unless you're traveling to Angkor Wat. The greatest danger is Thai drivers who sometimes confuse recklessness with bravery."
"Thanks for the information." She sounded a little less worried, but then I added, "Not that it matters but Thai gamblers are headed to Burma, instead of Cambodia. They don't trust the Khmer croupiers in the present climate."
"I don't intend on gambling." She was heading to Thailand to speak with Buddhist monks about their treatment of emotional disturbed people.
"Good, because those casinos are no good." I don't gamble at all, unless it's driving drunk. "Have a good time."
Meanwhile I'm staying in New York for a few more months.
I don't know if I can stand more.
Young Chuck moved to Texas and bought a donkey from a farmer for $100. The farmer agreed to deliver the donkey the next day. The next day he drove up and said, 'Sorry son, but I have some bad news; the donkey died.'
Chuck replied, 'Well, then just give me my money back.'
The farmer said, 'Can't do that. I went and spent it already.'
Chuck said, 'Ok, then, just bring me the dead donkey.'
The farmer asked, 'What ya gonna do with him?' Chuck said, 'I'm going to raffle him off.'
The farmer said, 'You can't raffle off a dead donkey!'
Chuck said,'Sure I can! Watch me. I just won't tell anybody he's dead.' A month later, the farmer met up with Chuck and asked, 'What happened with that dead donkey?'
Chuck said, 'I raffled him off. I sold 500 tickets at two dollars apiece and
>made a profit of $998.'
The farmer said, 'Didn't anyone complain?'
Chuck said,'Just the guy who won. So I gave him his two dollars back.'
Chuck now works for the Goldman Sachs.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
The World Banks gave the stock markets a lifeline this weekend. Yesterday they treaded water on a rising Dow Jones. My friends in the financials crowed, "The bottom had been reached."
Today the Dow Jones climbed another 400 points before investors exhibited their natural nervousness by selling off the stocks so esteemed yesterday.
Profits before stability.
And so how low can we go.
The Mayan had a zero in their math.
"The Dow Jones won't go to zero." Investment bankers laughed in my face at the bar last night.
"No, it can go lower."
I don't want to see that happen, but it could, after all we still have the same frat boys in charge.
Natalie is sexy.
She doesn’t need the piercings or the tattoos.
Her libido sends the message to her customers she’s on the game and if they want to play them they have to pay. Riding her is like driving a Ferrari on ice. Your skill levels have to be honed to a professional level.
And if they aren’t, Natalie doesn’t mind. You paid your way.
“I was not always like this,” she told me on a rainy night.
“I know. Everyone was a young once.” I ordered a tequila.
Her favorite first drink.
“I came here when I was 15. My mother was working a bar.” She downed the shot and signaled for a beer chaser. Her belly is showing the early signs of this repeated investment in beer.
“You don’t need to tell me this.” My belly was a fat portfolio.
“Tell you. Not tell you. Same.” Her hand caressed my thigh.
“I’ve heard the story before. Girl comes to Pattaya. Has boyfriend. Boyfriend leaves her. She works bar. Can’t love anyone but me.”
“Not same story me. 15 not have boyfriend. Boyfriend can’t leave me. My mother work bar. Not me. I can love anyone. But only 4 men. Have maybe 3000 geeks. Love only 4. Maybe can love two more times.”
Natalie is 25. 3000 in 10 years works out to 300 a year at 1000-1500 baht each. 400-500k puts her in the top salary bracket in Thailand.
She has nothing to show for it.
Me neither for 55 years.
“Now I go with man old. Easy money. Only worry that they die on me.”
“Anyone come close?” Viagra, 60 year-old, and a young girl is a fatal combination in Pattaya.
“No, but sometimes think man will die.” She puffed out her cheeks. “Luat-keung-nah.”
“Blood makes their face go red.” I waved for my check-bin.
“Like red light.” Natalie doesn’t want me to leave. Not without her. Rain is starting to fall. It’ll get heavier in minutes. There are no men in sight. only me. ”Before i say I young once. 15. My mother works bar. She have friend want virgin.”
“And you were a virgin?” Ten years ago I was living with Vee. My one-eyed mistress. She was no virgin.
“Never kiss a boy.” Her hand moved higher on my thigh. “Borisut.”
“So why you want to have sex?”
“Not me. Mah.” Natalie swung between pidgin and perfect English. She had lived in the UK twice. Sweden once. “Mah needed money.”
“For what?” I wondered how many times she had told this story to kak or customers.
50, 100, every night.
“Krai lu?” she answered with resignation.
A Thai daughter has to obey her mother. No matter what. No explanation necessary.
“Man gives me 4000 baht. Not hurt because he know how to make love to virgin. I didn’t like it the first time. Second time too. After that. Love it all the time. You want me show you?” Her hand rested on my crotch.
“Wish i could.” I was faithful to my wife in deeds.
Thought was impossible.
I gave Natalie 200 baht. “For kin khao.”
She wai-ed gracefully as a 12 year-old and said, “You can run, but you can’t hide. One day i show you my pierced clit.”
“I’m sure you will.” I escaped before the downpour drenched the streets and came home to an empty house. My house will never know how hard I try to be good.
Or how hard it can be.
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21st Century teenagers are like dogs. Neither can see black/white TV.
We tried explaining his appeal to these youths.
Total failure, so we kept our vigil alone.
ps Paul Newman rarely played cops and soldiers.
It was better that way.
The Golden Gate Bridge has been a magnet for suicide since its construction. One person jumps from the legendary span every two weeks. Only one person, a woman has jumped twice. She was successful on the second jump. Up to now there has been no safety net under the bridge, as the operators considered such a measure would detract from the aesthetic beauty of the bridge and possibly threaten its structural integrity, however they recently voted to install such a device from end to end in hopes of losing the dubious title of 'most popular place to commit suicide in the world'.
I've jumped from bridges for fun. Nothing over 40 feet. The Golden Gate Bridge is over 200 feet tall. I'd never jump from that, although I have contemplated suicide occasionally without ever having a real plan as to the method. Guess I'm lucky that way.
Back when I was in high school my friend's mother attempted suicide off the Tobin Bridge in Boston three times. Always on a Friday. Always in the rain. Always at the end of the day. Traffic would back up on the feeder roads for miles, as the police tried to dissuade the woman from taking a fatal plunge. Finally her husband would show up to add his pleas to the rescue, but his appearance triggered a spike in her resolve. She'd take one look at him and jump off the walkway.
The first time she survived the leap. Her family put her into a mental hospital. After many months she would be released under a doctor's supervision. We'd see her in the yard. She seemed normal and then one rainy Friday afternoon she went intown to the Tobin Bridge. Same spot as before. Traffic was snarled in all directions. The police begged her to come down and once her husband appeared, she once more stepped off the bridge.
She survived a second time.
This time she needed a long stay in the hospitals, both for injuries and screwing her head on straight. Months went by before she was released from state care. She seemed normal as before, until another rainy Friday afternoon.
This time she was successful, because she struck a police boat instead of the water.
As far as I know she never left a note.
I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge last Friday. It was a beautiful day. I let the wind wash my soul. All I could do afterward was smile and this is my non-suicide note from that bridge. I live for another day.
Monday, October 13, 2008
It's getting near to Halloween. Pattaya is a good city for the fears. The girls like to dress up as harlots or vampiress. Either one can kill a farang in this city.
To Die in Pattaya
The NY Times published a list of why Americans die. The leading causes of fatality come as no surprise; heart disease, cancer, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease, in that order. Almost all of them are related to either environment, bad food, obesity, or a cocktail of the three. You are what you eat.
However westerners in Pattaya are promoted from this mortal coil for a contrasting set of circumstances.
Men over 40 hit their second stage of youth on a Japanese riceburner or 125cc motor scooter. Death wish while singing BORN TO BE WILD before plowing a song-thaew at full speed. DOA without a helmet and I know because I survived a crash last week only because I was wearing a brain bucket.
#2 Sex on Viagra.
55 years old with a pacemaker. 30 kilos overweight. 10 beers in your guy. A 45 kilo go-go dancer in your bed. Two Viagras in your system to re-awaken your dormant libido which finally burst alive like Mt. St. Helen. spitting out the lungs of lava. OD of lust. No one knows how many farangs are bodybagged for in Bangkok-Pattaya for exceeding the speed limit for heartbeat per minute. Some say 50-60/month.
At least they died in the saddle.
You blown out your bank account, savings, and credit cards for an 18 year old bar girl named Lek. Once your ATM is going dry, her eyes dart over your shoulders.
“She can’t be looking at that 80 year-old fat man?” You ask yourself.
Two minutes later Lek’s sitting being the octogenarian on a taxi bike waving as if she were going to 7/11 to a phone card. Last you’ll ever see of her and now you’re faced with being alone again and having to go back to East Doversham.
Graham Greene wrote in OUT MAN IN HAVANA that suicide was the work someone who reckons that the odds of ending it all are better than going on.
I know from personal experience it’s always darkest before the storm and whatever doesn’t kill you will only make you wish you were dead. Once you get past that drama then things get better and you can drink beer again. in the words of Scarlett O’Hara, “Tomorrow is another day.”
Add in drinking, ODs, and murder, you have to ask, “Does anyone here die of natural causes?”
Not if they can help it, but I plan on living forever.
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The Dow Jones approached my earlier prediction of 7500 on Friday. Today true believers in capitalism threw away their panic buttons and threw cash at the Stock market, pushing the DJ up over 9200. Many analysts attributed the optimism to the emergency meeting of the G-8, however my cousin Robbo, an investment banker, is offered a more rational explanation.
"The Daily News reported that the call girls of Manhattan are still doing good business and if the world's oldest profession can survive the scare of the last weeks, then so can Wall Street."
"But the call girls are actually selling something.'
"I didn't say it was perfect, but if there was stocks in prostitution I'd bet the house on it. Guys are horny when times are good and horny when times are bad. Just the way they are." Robbo had been entertaining his clients at lap-dancing bars. "Those days are over, but they all like a hooker in their bedroom. As long as she can keep her mouth shut at the right moment."
"So they're still paying $1000/hour."
"No way." His clients had been big spender. Now they're a little more cost-driven. "They're getting hookers for $240/hour, but most of them only go for the half-hour. Times have changed, but everyone will be happy tonight with the 'surge'. So maybe they'll be big spenders again."
"I'm predicting 6500 by Christmas." The same idiots who led us into this mess are at the helm. I have complete faith in them to fuck up again.
"It's still going up." Wall Street had yet to ring the bell. "And it's not going down again."
He was in a good mood and I had no idea where the Stock Market was going.
Certainly not 0000
At least not today.
Yesterday I celbrate Columbus Day with my doctor on Staten Island. The doctor is Italian. He makes great meatballs. I asked his kids, "What year did Columbus sail to America?"
"Huh?" they answered in a collective chorus of ignorance.
"C'mon, you gotta know." The doctor and I had met during our freshman class of European History 101. He was a sophomore.
"1882?" His youngest son was the only one brave enough to offer an answer.
"You got two numbers right." The doctor shook his head in disbelief. "In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue. You never head that?"
"Never." The kids ranged from 8 to 18. They had friends with them. Columbus was a blank and I explained that Columbus had been seeking the back door to Asia.
"For Chinese food." His older son's friend Squeak asked with interest. He liked poo-poo platters.
"No, for spices."
"What are spices?" Their eyes were glazing over with disinterest. No kids today care about history. All that matters is today and potato chips.
I didn't bother to answer, but in 1991 I traveled by boat to Ternate in northern Indonesia. The volcanic island was a backwater, but back in the 15th Century European nations sought the quickest route to this destination for its treasured cloves and spices. Hoping to be first to reach the fabled island, Christopher Columbus set sail west across the Atlantic Ocean and arrived safely in the Caribbean, which he called the West Indies to promote future expeditions.
Columbus’ first voyage was remarkable, as he was traveling through unknown waters and only lost one ship, the SANTA MARIA. No men died in that sinking, however the 39 men awaiting his return to Hispaniola were massacred by Carib warriors who detested the newcomers’ boorish behavior, thus initiating the long conflict between Europe and the New World.
Christopher Columbus carried little gold back to the Spanish sovereigns, but did introduce corn, manioc or cassava, potato, the peanut, tomato, papaya, pineapple, avocado, chili pepper, cotton and cocoa to the Old World. It took about 30 years for the chili to reach Thailand, which adopted the fiery spice as its own.
Columbus is no longer considered to be a hero by some, but I still celebrate his discovery of the Bahamas with rum and coke. No one else did in Pattaya, but any Thai woman eating som tam should be grateful for his discovery of the chili. They die for chilis. Maybe they know who Christopher Columbus was.
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I read ON THE ROAD this summer. Kerouac's breakneck semi-memoir about drug-crazed beatniks during the Eisenhower years remains a classic primer for hitchhikers and hobos, however I was surprised by the paucity of roadside tramps during my summer travels. Not a single hitchhiker on the Interstates and state roads. None on the back roads either and when my friend Malinda invited me to work on her farm, I contemplating hitting the road.
"Hitchhikers are extinct." Malinda informed me from her house above Saratoga.
"I was thinking about hitchhiking to you." I would leave from the West Side Highway. I had done so countless times in the 70s.
"You're crazy. No one hitchhikes and no one picks up hitchhikers." Malinda paid for my Amtrak ticket and drove me back to the city after I had prepped her farm for winter. My eyes searched I-91 for the sight of someone standing by the side of the road. I saw no one. Her statement on extinction seemed correct, until I spotted a hitchhiker in Williamsburg. A Hassid on Fort Hamilton Parkway. He was thumbing to his fellow Hassidim.
He got a ride within three minutes.
So hitchhikers aren't dead.
For where there is one, they will be many.
Friday, October 10, 2008
Wall Street collapsed this fall. The whys were discussed by countless TV analysts. None of them seemed to make any sense of the collapse and the government appeared out of touch with the economic disaster. The catastrophe had no effect on me. I was broke, despite having lived the past three months in Palm Beach, so I couldn't have been happier to have been invited by my doctor to join him for dinner at the Strip House on East 13th Street. A pharmaceutical company was picking up the tab.
"Just bring a good appetite." My doctor suggested and I always follow his instructions on matters of health. "Be on time too."
I arrived three minutes before the appointed time and was led into the red-lit restaurant by an attractive hostess. My doctor introduced the two reps. They were in suits. I guessed their age to be 30. Both enjoyed selling their production. The medicine was aimed at reducing cholesterol in men. The tables in the restaurant were swelling with meat-hungry men. Most looked to be perfect candidates for this drug.
"A steak house is a funny place to promote that." My LDL (Bad) Cholesterol Level was 110 according to my last check-up. I could eat anything.
"I play hockey three times a week," boasted the younger rep. Jim was from New Hampshire. He was in better shape than I had ever been in my life. "I ran a marathon last month. I eat what I want."
"I'm not so lucky." His partner was drinking Diet-Coke. Mike's LDL was in the 200s. He ordered the 12 oz. shell steak. "I'm trying to cut down, but I suggest the 23 oz. rib eye."
It was a giant slab of meat. Mine was medium raw.
"What about when you visit Dr. Martini?" My doctor had been in practice with this GP.
"Damn, he eats like the world is going to end tomorrow." Jim described the portly doctor scarfing down two steaks, a plate of clams, three bottles of wine, dessert, and several gin and tonics. "And then we went back to work."
"It's a good thing he was operating heavy machinery." My doctor joked, but barely touched his wine throughout the meal. In his mind if they talked about Dr. Martini, then they would talk about him. My doctor maneuvered the conversation away from doctors and medicine to sports, then family, and finally my housesitting in Palm Beach. "He was staying in a mansion on the beach."
"It was a modest mansion and I had to take care of a crazy Airedale." Pom-Pom had been rescued from a crack house. It took the better part of two months to teach her how not to attack me. "Afterward she wanted to sleep in my bed. It was a good thing she as spaded."
"I would have thought you found an old heiress." My doctor had held high hopes for my marrying a billionairess with an open heart.
"Nope, only a crazy dog.'
"Well, a dog is the only animal that loves you more than it loves itself." Jim was finishing his steak. I had barely consumed half and signaled the waiter for a doggie bag. None of the other diners seemed to be having trouble with their meals.
"I wasn't so sure about Pom-Pom. She was a little vicious." Actually Pom-Pom was on probation by the Palm Beach Police. "She had attacked two dogs in the last year. Her owner was scared she would be put down. I was lucky nothing bad happened."
"You were lucky, but not so my old girlfriend." Jim waved for the dessert menu. "She was up in Arlington, Mass. on the Green Line."
Being a Boston native I was familiar with that trolley line.
"My girlfriend was asked to take care of this old Lab. The family was going to Italy. They didn't want to put her in a kennel. My girlfriend thought it would be easy and it was for the first week, then one morning she comes in the house and the dog is lying on the floor. It isn't moving. It's dead."
"Bad dog." His partner had heard the story before but obviously enjoyed every re-telling.
"My girlfriend calls the family a little freaked out, except they're cool with it. The dog was old. They tell her to call the vet and he'll take care of the body. The vet is two stops away on the trolley. The Lab weighs about 80 lbs., so she puts the body in a luggage bag, you know, the kind with wheels. She rolls the bag out of the house and struggle down the street to the station. A young man helps her up the stairs and onto the trolley. When she gets off, he says he'll help her. She thanks him for his effort and once they get of the main street, he says that the bag is really heavy and asks what's in it. My girlfriend doesn't want to say a dead dog, so she tells him its computer equipment. The good Samaritan punches her once and runs away with the bag. When she comes to, he's gone. Good-bye, dog.
"That's a horrible story." My doctor had a Lab.
"And I wish it had a good ending." Jim had told this story countless times without ever fabricating a punchline. "She was even more freaked out about the dead dog being stolen than it being dead."
"What about the family?"
"The vet gave them ashes from a pit bull. They buried it in the backyard. My girlfriend thought she should tell them the truth. I stopped going out with her before I found out what happened in the end."
"She probably told them." Most people can't keep their mouths shut and I ordered a 12 year-old port. It was delicious and the next morning I ate the rest of the rib eye for breakfast ever so glad I didn't have to share it with Pom-Pom. She was living in Palm Beach and dogs down there don't have to worry about the collapse of the world economic institutions. In fact no dogs do, especially dead ones.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
A CBS reporter Dean Reynolds has been traveling with the McCain campaign. While the 'Maverick' might struggle with tele-prompters and cue cards, the reporter reveals that the Arizona senator's day seems better scheduled than Obama's hectic pace. Only one event a day and also that McCain's plane smells better than Obama's press plane.
Obviously this assault on his nose has to be a left-wing terrorist plot by Obama's secret Weather Underground cult. Sarah Palin's plane must smell nice. I betcha.
Bar fines in Pattaya have been stable for the last 10 years. Bar girls 200-400 baht depending on the hour and popularity of the girl and 500-600 baht for go-go girls, the higher price being for show girls, however owners concerned about the decimation of their bar staff, as love-starved farangs find love in the arms of the go-go girl or bar girl. By midnight many bars suffer a 50% reduction in staff and most of those girls are the stars of the night.
"I can't keep girls in the bar," one owner complained last high season. "It'd be one thing if it was only for the night, but these guys bar-fine the girls and then I never see the girls again, except when they drop off their uniforms."
Bar owners along Walking Street has responded to this problem by inflating bar fines 300% to 1500 baht. Of course not all that money goes to the owners. They magnanimously bequeath 100 baht to the object of the bar-finer's attention. Most Pattaya veterans balk at dropping approx. $50 of a one-nighter and invest the majority of their funds on strengthening their beer goggles. With those extra 10 beers, everyone is beautiful.
Personally after that many beers I don't want to go home with anyone, even myself.
For a detailed barfine chart visit www.pattayaghost.com
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Last weekend our friend from Iceland came into the city for a show. His art work represented his belief that everything is being destroyed soon after its moment of creation.
"Or even before that." Gutjon wasn't sure when the cycle of chaos began or ended, however his native Iceland has won the undesirable title of first nation to go bust in this global financial debacle.
The national debt is $30,000 per capita. The Kroner lost half its value. Banks went bust. The SE shut down. ATMs froze.
Everything was fucked.
Djofull or Damn.
Gutjon responded to the crisis by drinking in true Viking style.
Early and often.
Guess it's back to fishing.
Watch out you whales.
A recent study found the average American walks about 900 miles a year.
Another study found Americans drink, on the average, 22 gallons of alcohol a year.
That means, on average, Americans get about 41 miles to the gallon.
Makes You Proud To Be An American!
Thailand has been under siege by anti-government protesters since the last election. The army refused to use violence against the demonstrators, while also swearing to not stage a coup against the pro-Thaksin coalition. This confrontation was strictly between the two political parties, until Tuesday morning when the city police pearl-harbored the supporters of the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) at the country's parliament.
The use of tear gas and clubs of the nearly 5000 people outside Government House was authorized by the Prime Minister and Defense Minister Somchai Wongsawat. Thaksin's brother-in-law had been operating out of the old airport Don Muang and wanted to resume normalcy even if it cost lives. In this case at least two with hundreds injured in the early morning melee.
In the wake of the violence Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat has refused any calls to step down from his position. His Deputy Prime Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh has already left the house. He knows when to fold his hand and he should, since he's done it so many times before.
An Army spokesman reiterated the position of the military.
"The army is concerned about the incident. Demonstrators who did not carry weapons did not deserve to be harmed. I can confirm that the army remains strictly neutral."
Meanwhile the man behind the scenes Thaksin Shinawatra has filed for asylum.
Old Blue Eyes knows when to call it quits too.