Sunday, May 31, 2009
The Manchu Court settled the naval history of China by usurping funds for ships to build a Marble Barge for the Emperor's Summer Palace. That was over a hundred years ago and the Chinese Navy has yet to recover. The Thai Navy repeated this error with the purchase of an aircraft carrier. The Chakri Naruebet was delivered in 1997. No Thia pilot has flown off the flight deck in years and the ship has largely remained in the port of Satthahip as a monument of national prestige. The USA is not above making such idiotic purchases as demonstrated by the Bush regime's reliance on Hummers in the Iraq invasion. These GM cars lived up to their low quality expectations and became death traps for US soldiers patrolling the combat zones.
The Thai military plans to repeat history by ordering five high-definition, infrared cameras from Axsys Technologies Inc. which will be mounted on helicopters to patrol the northern border against Burmese incursions, regardless of data showing that no one in Thailand can operate the simple CCTV security cameras dotting Pattaya, Bangkok, and Chiang Mai.
Also no one seems concerned that Axsys is looking to sell its company.
Like Eisenhower said, "Beware of the military industrial complex."
They never saw a toy that they didn't want.
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 TREK 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.
Thailand is famous for knock-offs. I bought the complete collection of Star Trek for less than $100. The cost in the States would have been over $1000. My guilt was assuaged by this savings, especially since most of the money goes to the bosses instead of the workers. This rationale would not prove my innocence in a court of law and last year my culpability was tested by an arrest in Thailand. The crime - Internet copyright infringement. My website was #1 on Google for Ferrari shirts. Luck, because my Internet promotion skills are zero.
My mistake had been to meet with several Italians about producing shirts for them. I gave them an alias. This subterfuge kept them off my trail, until they hired a private investigation firm in Bangkok, Quantico LLD operated by a Yale graduate. A customer in Texas placed several orders, then announced that he had burned his credit card. He asked if he could send the money via Western Union. It was for $500. Sales were down. I needed the money and said yes using my real name.
A month later a min-van pulled up to my house and 10 police surrounded me.
They busted me for possession of twenty shirts. Like I said sales were down. They never cuffed my wrists or took away my telephone. In fact they stopped on the motorway to order me a #3 dinner from KFC. At the police station I was put into an a/c office. The police asked if I wanted to watch a movie. I picked out THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY. Two cops watched it and I explained how Clint Eastwood was a bad hero. After process I was taken upstairs to be filmed by the national TV.
Thousands of shirts were piled against the wall. The police colonel said they were mine in Thai. I coughed and said that he must be mistaken. He looked at me and smiled conveying that this was no mistake and no problem either. These shirts belonged to someone big. I was taking the fall. Another policeman whispered, "Not worry. This only cost you $100."
And he was right.
Ferrari was safe from the ravages of my website. Thai honor was redeemed and I was out on bail. I went drinking with my Bangkok friend. He was a cop. A good one. They always are when they're your friends.
I've been to Aranyaprathet on visa trips as well as exiting from several overland trips in Cambodia. it is far from the consciousness of most Oregonians, yet this past week Columbia Sportswear products staged a raid on a counterfeit factory and arrested a woman reputed to be the manager by private investigators. On the way back to Bangkok the national cyber-crime unit was stopped by an angry mob and members of the Thai army, who demanded the woman's release. The angry confrontation ended after the police asserted that the Army had no jurisdiction in this matter.
Columbia managers in Oregon blames this altercation on corruption. Outlaw factories operate openly to produce their products cutting into the profits that other factories in the same country reap by paying workers meager wages in unsafe conditions. They say that these raids are to protect consumers, but it's really all about profit loss for most of these 'fakes' come from their own factories after-hours.
I have a Columbia jacket from Thailand. There is no way to tell it's a fake. A real one cost over $100. Mine was less than $20, which means Columbia like Nike, Adidas, Ferrari and other brand-name properties are scamming their public and stockholders alike by firstly not sellign their merchandise at a reasonable price and secondly not revealing the true profit line to their stockholders. Of course this is all baseless supposition, but I'm good at that.
The woman was later released on bail and it was announced that she was a low-level employee. Her boss was still unavailable for questioning.
"We believe it's a matter of principle and integrity to protect loyal Columbia customers from imposters," said Tim Boyle, Columbia president and chief executive.
Friday, May 29, 2009
In 1994 I am in Moscow doing a fashion shoot with Shalom Harlow. We are at the beautiful Goum department store next to the Red Square. Suddenly I scream, "That's here that's here !!"
My team look at me trying to understand, "That's here, right here that William Klein did one of his picture".
They have no idea what I am talking about, and I am so excited I can't explain, i just recognize the exact spot where Bill shot 40 years earlier. For me it is mind blowing. I had never thought that Bill's images, or any images, could be so engraved in my memory! Just to be sure I ask Shalom to move a bit to the right, and i take the picture for the fun, very eager, once back to NY, to compare it with the original.
Finally today, 15 years after I took my image, i just compared and i can't believe how close i was from Bill picture, but more than that, i am puzzled that i could even recognized that wall and those stairs. I guess it was the crossing of the people, the light falling on them and the silhouettes coming down from the stairs.
Strange, probably my strongest homage to the photographer that has influence my entire approach to photography.
Photo by Stephane Sednaoui
Amazing how one image can be printed in someone's head
January 2008 started with my arrest for 'copyright infringement' by the Thai police from the cyber-crime division. The commander told me not to worry about anything, despite the national TV presenting this arrest as a major blow against intellectual piracy. 20,000 shirts and $250,000. None of it mine. I was guilty of possessing 20 shirts, but the authorities had to blame the crime on someone other than a Thai.
I went through the legal process. The arresting officer put me in an office and bought beer. My bail was lowered from $5000 to $1000. No one asked for a bribe. After my release the police invited me for dinner. I barely survived that evening and woke up with a hang-over wondering about my future in Thailand.
Most foreigner convicted of a crime are jailed or at least deported as a persona non grata. The police captain once more said, "Not worry. This cost you $100. You not kill anyone. Not sell ja-bah. Small problem."
His thumb touched the end of his little finger to indicate the severity of my situation. A Pattaya lawyer thought differently and suggested that my troubles could vanish for $10,000. My friends told stories about deportation from the court. My wife and girlfriend said that I was okay. I didn't know who to believe and on my appointed day of judgment I entered the Pattaya court wondering if this might be my last hours in Thailand. The police processed my papers. I was put behind bars for the first time. $20 bought a chair. The horde of evil-doers were brought into court. The woman judge heard each case and assessed fines.
No one pleaded 'not guilty' or poop-ri-soot.
Most paid less than 2000 baht.
Finally only three people remained on the docket. The first had been caught selling 200 tabs of ja-bah.
My eyes widened as did those of the next prisoner.
And he seemed relieved that the sentence wasn't longer.
I was up. The judge asked if I could pay 3000 baht.
"Then have a good day."
The police captain was waiting outside. We drank a bottle of whiskey. Johnny Walker Black. He explained that I was free to do whatever I wanted in Thailand as long as it was legal. I remained concerned about my status and left the country under a cloud.
Was I persona non grata?
I went to embassy this week. I plan to visit Thailand in June. I presented my passport to the consulate visa desk. The next day I came back expecting an angry red mark across a page, however the clerk said that I was more welcome than ever.
"Khap khun kap." I wai-ed him and emerged onto 52nd Street without a shadow.
I'm going home.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Last year my sister handed me a newspaper clipping at her kitchen table. She had circled a request for a medical survey on sleeplessness. Beth Israel Hospital was paying $1500 to those candidates completing the 10-day experiment. I was broke and called the clinic. The receptionist scheduled an interview for later that morning. My sister taught at a college down the street from Beth Israel and drove me into the Fenway. I walked over to the hospital. I had been born in its Richardson House. This was my first visit since that day.
On the fifth floor I was met by the doctor directing the test. "Basically you have to stay up 60 hours straight. Someone will be with you. This experiment is to see how far a human can go without sleep."
I had been on a coke binge for two-days. This had to be easier. I agreed to the test, however I failed the physical. My liver readings were redlining from a session of drinking vodka with my brother-in-law. We were celebrating a Celtics victory.
My younger sister later informed me that 60-hours sleep deprivation could cause lasting mental problems. She was glad I hadn't submitted to the test, but I thought about those 'enhanced techniques' used by the CIA on the thousands of suspects passing through the off-shore torture camps. Vice President Cheney always insisted that losing a little sleep didn't hurt anyone and neither did standing on their feet for 8 hours at a time.
I beg to differ, for I've been suffering from jetlag the last week. Too many flights. JFK-Moscow-Kiev-Moscow-St. Petersburg-Moscow-JFK in eight days. Normally I get a good 8-10 hours a night. On Sunday three was a luxury. I dragged at work. My vim was shot. This was nothing. The CIA kept detainees up for weeks on end. Without any cocaine either. Give me a little blow and I'll stay up for a week, but my nerves would be very frayed, despite Cheney's protestation that a little torture is a good thing.
I love my sleep.
I'm old-fashioned about my dreams.
Cindy Crawford, please.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
I wish I had a time machine to go back to 1987. I was living in New York doing blow. I can't even remember if I was working. Walking Street would have been so much fun. The ticket couldn't have cost more than $600, but I got it together by 1990.
I was Big Sexy.
21 years ago at the Marine Disco.
I was only 38.
Young for Pattaya.
Click on this URL to regain your youth
It's hard to imagine Pattaya untouched by development. I first arrived in 1990. The only disco was the Marine. A girl took me back to a Jomtien hotel. No one lived out on the beach. We swam at dawn. Little fish leaped from the turgid water. It wasn't clean then, but it was paradise once. Still is in many ways for anyone not looking too hard. Otherwise travel through time by clicking on the following URL
Pattaya was so much younger then.
American women are fairly unforgiving about adultery. If their husband cheats on them, they rape him for 50% of everything. American men cry about this loss of material goods, however Thai women react in the extreme to their mate's infidelity. Last summer I was sitting in a West Palm Beach Thai restaurant with my friend Lisa. She was berating my indecision about whether I should stay with my wife or mia noi.
"I'm 9000 miles away from Thailand. Who knows when I'll be back." I ordered a Singha beer from the patroness, a 50ish woman from Bangkok.
"You can't avoid the situation forever." Lisa was a single mom. Her husband hadn't dropped a dime on the upbringing of his son. She had a right to be angry at men. "You're going to have to tell them both."
"Not good idea." The owner said with a shaking head. "Thailand not America. Man tell wife he have mia noi. Wife cut off penis. Feed penis to ducks."
"Why ducks?" Lisa was acquainted with Japan, who are more like Swedes to the Thais being Latin.
"Feed to duck, because pigs not eat penis. Eat everything else, but not penis."
Lisa didn't believe her and I told the owner that I was keeping my mia noi a secret. She smiled a blessing, since it was common knowledge that I was taking care of both families equally. I barely had enough money to afford bad wine, but I had no intention of telling either wife anything. Thai women cut off penises all the time. Just recently a Belgian tourist had his penis mutilated by his jealous Thai girlfriend. He stupidly told her about having a 'geek' or girlfriend as she was fellating him. The doctors at Pattaya Memorial Hospital re-attached the organ. Police are seeking to arresting the woman on charges of aggravated assault.
The Thai Visa Forum was abuzz with the usual wankers castigating the Belgian for thinking he was a sex god. Their holier-than-thou attitude remains a sore on the Gulf of Siam. Maybe someday the killjoys will be rescue by Jesus and taken off this Earth for good.
That day can't come too soon.
Meanwhile all you infidels sleep with one eye open.
I know I will on my upcoming trip to Thailand.
Monday, May 25, 2009
To view this segment click on the following URL
Spiderman #1 is a valuable comic. Even more valuable is the Marvel Tales introduction to the superhero. This comic book is worth several hundred thousand dollars in mint condition. I bought Amazing Fantasy #15 in August 1962 at the little soda shop near my Nana's house in Wollaston, Massachusetts and purchased Spiderman #1 a year later at the drugstore down the street from my other grandmother house in Westbrook, Maine. My grandmothers appreciated that I was reading and also that I had paid for these comics and many others with my own money. I had a paper route for the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, and the Record American. Mornings and afternoons. My father was not so supportive of my collection and several times he tore them up in my face. Calling them a waste of time. Millions of other fathers throughout the US of America felt the same way and destroyed the comics like they were a Nazi book-burning mob. A few survived this purge and their value is based strictly on their existence on the verge of extinction.
I had the Fantastic Four #1 too.
My father ripped it in half.
I forgave him years ago.
After all it was only a comic book.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
The 2009 Cannes Film Festival concluded with Austrian director Haneke's "The White Ribbon" winning the Palme d"Or for yet-another movie about the Nazi. My old girlfriend Candida Romero said back in 1988, "When will this war be over?" Possibly never. ANTICHRIST was also recognized by the ecumenical council as the 'anti-film'. It was booed at the screening for rank offensiveness, yet the film's actress, Charlotte Gainsbourg won the award for best actress. Nice to see that the jury can run against the current of outrage.
So Cannes is over. The hotels rolled up the red carpet. The yachts dotting the bay disappear over the horizon and the paparazzi return to the hives of society. Director Amos Poe also evacuated the film festival, abandoned his $1400/week Fiat panda at Nice Aeroport and jumping on the train to Italy. His voyage terminated at Ventemilla. He had missed the connecting train to Milan and was forced to stay in this border town. Amos had nothing good to say about it and neither do I.
I got stuck there in 1985 on the way to Antibes, missing the last train by 10 minutes. Somehow the town's father' must have arranged this delay with the railways on both sides of the border, otherwise no one would ever visit Ventemilla. The trainmaster informed me that the next train was at 6am and suggested a hotel across the street. I walked over to the lobby. The air was stale. The clerk took a hundred-thousand lira room #421. It was sandwiched between the elevator and a TB cough. 40 watt bulb hanging from a wire. A bed valleyed by thousands of 1-hour stands. Sheet slippery as baloney. Several flies buzzed out of reach. After an hour I packed my bag and slept in the train station.
Some things never change and usually they are the bad things in life.
Lastly Charlotte Gainsbourg would be perfect for a movie about Patti Smith, n'est pas?
Friday, May 22, 2009
Tiffany's on 5th Avenue has a very special return policy for its jewelry.
"Go down to 47th Street to sell it."
Many other people seek to transform jewelry into cash on the busy block between 5th And 6th Avenues. Some are in possession of estates or family heirloom. A few are thieves, but many are ex-engaged women. Their beaus have proven themselves to be frogs rather than princes, although the men were gracious enough to leave their former loves with their engagement rings, which under New York Law should be returned to the beau, since it is part of a contract to get married.
Most men are happy just to see their exs go without any further conversation and at least once a day a failed bride enters our exchange with a no longer magical diamond ring. Most are looking for fair value. We give it to them. Diamonds are a commodity.
Yesterday a 30ish blonde executive female came into the exchange. She showed her ring. The stone looked like a 2-carat. Her eyes were reddish. The break-up was painful. I hate dealing with sadness, but like I said diamonds are a commodity.
"How much can I get for this?" The woman asked with expectations of paying off a few bills or going shopping.
Diamonds have their own language of sparkle and this stone was dull.
"This stone is not for me."
"Why not?" She sounded like a lawyer.
"I don't deal in this material."
"My boyfriend bought it at Tiffany's."
"The ring is Tiffany, but the stone is a CZ."
"Cubic Zirconium." Someone had to tell her the truth.
"It can't be."
"It is." I didn't even need a diamond tester. It looked fugazi or fake. "Sorry."
"How do I know that you're just telling me that to buy it cheap?"
"Miss, I don't have the time to waste try to hustle you." I like to deal straight. It saves me lots of problems. "Go check it out with another dealer or the GIA."
"Maybe you switched the stone?" She was definitely a lawyer. They don't trust anyone.
"Miss, I'm not a magician." I handed back the ring.
"I want to speak with your boss." She was pushy.
"No." I shook my head. "I am the boss, so please leave before I call security."
She left in a huff and Manny joined me at the counter.
"Good work. Next time just ell her nothing. Most people can't stand the truth."
And I had to agree, because Manny is 100% right at least 3% of the time.
The Old Man of the Mountain was the symbol of New Hampshire. The profile of the granite cliffs on Cannon Mountain were emblazoned on the state's license along with the motto 'Live Free or Die'. Daniel Webster immortalized the stone face with the words. "Men hang out their signs indicative of their respective trades; shoe makers hang out a gigantic shoe; jewelers a monster watch, and the dentist hangs out a gold tooth; but up in the Mountains of New Hampshire, God Almighty has hung out a sign to show that there He makes men." The sign was not meant for eternity and in 2003 the Old Man of the Mountain succumbed to the forces of Nature and tumbled down the slope in a massive rockslide. 2003. Franconia Notch has been lonely with its demise. Mourning citizens leave flowers at the base of the cliff and now some legislators have suggested that the State build a plastic statue to re-mask the rock formation.
This new Man of the Mountain would offer admirers a scenic skywalk within the monument and lights would blaze within the structure.
Sounds great, but as a New Englander this project seems like trying to fix something that's perfectly broken and there's no fixing something like that. Probably won't stop from people from trying, but there's plenty enough fools in New Hampshire to pursue an impossible dream.
After all it is part of the Red Sox Nation.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
$3 billion dollars.
The USA had surrendered this amount to Israel every year without ever really questioning the cost of this support. Israel is a victim. Palestine the outlaw terrorist state. Anyone questioning this reality is lambasted as an anti-Zionist and the pro-Israel lobby showed its power with a letter signed by 76 senators strongly urging President Obama to consider the dangers of finding peace in the Middle East.
Senators Christopher Dodd, Arlen Specter and Republican Senators Johnny Isakson and John Thune wrote the epistle as an addendum to Obama's meeting with the right-wing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose aide called the two-state solution 'childish and stupid'.
Beggars should be more choosy with their words no matter how powerful their allies, although the media has deflected the public's attention to this topic by publicizing the threat of Iran to the 60 year-old nation.
I only have thing to say.
Not in this lifetime, but some time soon.
One more thing.
Cut off the aid and see how fast Israel accepts Palestine as a partner in the Levant.
"Anytime anyone says it isn't about the money,it's about the money."
My boss Manny Winick taught me that rule and he's 100% right 3% of the time, which is more than most people.
Here's the AIPAC letter.
Dear Mr. President:
We are writing out of our shared concern over 60 years of conflict in the Middle East, and a mutual desire to see peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors. While the obstacles are formidable, we agree with you that every effort should be made to realize that peace.
Many years of strong, principled US engagement led to historic peace treaties between Israel and both Egypt and Jordan. We believe that achievement of a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians requires adherence to some key principles. These include an understanding that while the United States has an important role to play, the parties themselves are the ones who will need to negotiate and live with whatever agreement is reached. As we work closely with our democratic ally, Israel, we must take into account the risks it will face in any peace agreement. Without a doubt, our two governments will agree on some issues and disagree on others, but the United States friendship with Israel requires that we work closely together as we recommit ourselves to our historic role of a trusted friend and active mediator.
We must also continue to insist on the absolute Palestinian commitment to ending terrorist violence and to building the institutions necessary for a viable Palestinian state living side-by-side, in peace with the Jewish state of Israel. The more capable and responsible Palestinian forces became, the more they demonstrate the ability to govern and to maintain security, the easier it will be for them to reach an accord with Israel. We encourage you to continue programs similar to the promising security assistance and training program led by Lieutenant General Keith Dayton, and hope that you will look for other ways to improve Palestinian security and civilian infrastructure.
Finally, we hope that you will promote far greater involvement and participation by the Arab states both in moving toward normal ties with Israel and in encouraging moderate Palestinian elements. Everyone in the region has a stake in the success of these negotiations and should contribute to a lasting and comprehensive resolution.
We look forward to working closely with you on these critical issues.
Ted Kennedy did not sign, thereby winning my vote for most senile senator next election.
Humble Pie's 30 DAYS IN THE HOLE enjoyed widespread FM radio play. The supergroup's record company didn't release the song as a single, mostly due to its drug-laced lyrics.
"Black Nepalese, it's got you weak in your knees, it's just some seeds and dust that you got buzzed on, you know it's hard to believe, 30 days in the hole."
The FCC didn't like that shit in the 70s and now is no different, but getting thrown in the hole isn't always the result of a drug bust. An Aussie holiday-goer was arrested by Thai police in Phuket for the theft of a branded bar towel. Her friends prtessted to police that this crime was a barroom joke. The local Police-Superintendent was not amused and announced, “This is not a joke. The police do not make allegations without facts to back them up."
The charges were pressed at the insistence of the bar owner and the woman was kept in custody for 48 hours before release on bail. Her passport has been confiscated by authorites and the Australian embassy is seeking to resolve this issue, but it all goes back to the wanker farang owning the bar.
The owner of the Aussie Bar in Phuket now says he isn't pressing charges anymore.
All for a 40-baht towel.
30 days in the hole.
All for a towel and a laugh.
Who's 555 now?
Last week Johnny Zombie sent me to Russia. Three of his company's clients were not paying this debts. He thought my visit would show that he was not forgetting or forgiving their obligations. $500/day plus expenses. I could use the money, but when I mentioned to trip to Ty Spaulding, he expressed his concern.
"Russia's not Iowa." This was in reference to my recent sojourn to the American heartland. Cornfields are not dangerous, unless if owned by Monsanto, however Hollywood has documented the threat of Russian gangsters.
"I know that." I had been stuck in Moscow airport in 1994. I had to drink 2 bottles on vodka with a Norwegian couple on the 8 hours lay-over. A near-death experience.
"Be careful. You have kids."
I heeded Ty's warning and survived the three meetings without a scratch. I didn't get drunk either. On my last day I played the tourist in Moscow. Nearing the Kremlin a man passed me. A wallet dropped from his back pocket. It was secured by plastic. Various currencies were visible. I alerted him to this loss with a shout and and retrieved the moneyclip for him. I'm basically an honest man and handed back the money. He thanked me and a clearly passer-by man said, "Good man."
The two men proceeded on their way until accosted by a third man. He quickly flashed a badge and demanded our papers. I showed him mine and he said, "Where is second packet?"
"There was only one." I realized this was a scam and my feelings were hurt to think that this trio thought I was an easy mark. They also figured I was dishonest, because this scam works best when you stick the wallet in your pocket. Guilty by greed.
"Let us see the bills in yours to check the serial numbers." The pseudo-cop was seeing this through to the end. His drunken comrade once more said, "This honest man. Good man."
"And not so stupid either. Let me see your badge again." I demanded and backed away from them. The 'policeman' didn't pull out his badge and I said, "Better luck next time."
I walked away with the trio going their separate ways, sure to reconvene for another attempt at shucking the unsuspecting tourist, whether Russian or foreign.
That was as close to danger as I came.
Other than contemplating crossing a broad Moscow avenue.
Certain death at the speeds they drive.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Willem Dafoe has played many roles throughout his career. Most famous the sergeant in PLATOON gave him an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor. The film won the Academy Award for Best Movie. Willem was beaten out by Michael Caine in HANNAH AND HIS SISTERS. His most controversial performance aside from acting like he wanted to have sex with Madonna in BODY OF EVIDENCE was portraying Jesus Christ in THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST. Catholic protesters gathered around cinema, outraged by a messiah without divinity. One theater in France was torched by zealots. One movie-goers was killed in the blaze. Undeterred by this tragedy Willem Dafoe has continued to act in quirky films and no more so than Lars von Trier's ANTICHRIST.
Naked with animals. Naked with Serge Gainsbourg daughter. Naked with the devil.
The film drew gasps of disgust at Cannes.
Derisive laughter from some.
No telling what is funny these days, but I hope the Academy watches this movie carefully, because Willem is due.
Long over due.
Now all that's left is to play GOD.
The CBGB's bathroom had many purposes. The main use was the traditional release of body waste. Another was spray-painting or magic-markering a band's name atop the thousands of previous honorees of the toilet hall of fame. The inhalation of cocaine or heroin was more popular in the stalls than shooting up dope or speedballs. The smell of the urinal kept conversations short and sweet. There was no mirror in the men's room, so self-grooming was reserved for the women's room. Its state of filth revealed Hilly's opinion of sexual equality. We deserved nothing better than the worst and that grungy atmosphere suited some people's desire.
One night I was at the bar. A raven-haired girl in torn fishnet stocking and black plastic mini-dress asked for a drink. A JD and coke. Her hair was tousled by the wind and her mascara ruined by tears. She wasn't wearing a bra. Her breasts were a 32-A. A languid gaze betrayed her dabbling with 'ludes. Our dialogue headed in one direction and after two minutes she downed her drink.
"Let's go to the bathroom."
She grabbed my hand and pulled me through the crowd. I signaled to BG behind the bar to watch my beer. The Cramps were on stage. Luxe was singing SURFING BIRD. The brunette waved to the bass player. He gave a sardonic grimace and nodded to indicate he was jealous.
The opening band called out her name. She was popular. We climbed down the stairs and the brunette led me into the ladies room. She pushed open the door to a stall and locked it shut.
"Keep your back to it and don't let anyone in." She dropped to her knees without any ceremony.
I was single, 25, and a punk. We lived for sex, drugs, and rock and roll. This scene most certainly fit into the sex part of the equation. A minute passed with her writhing on the tiles. She pulled down her dress.
"When you're ready, cum on these."
I did exactly what she told me to do.
I was good at following orders.
Someone stormed into the bathroom and pounded on the stall's door.
"Brenda, you in there?" It was a man.
Brenda lifted a fingernail to her lips and stood pulling up her dress. She kissed me and opened the door. The man was a punk too. Leather jacket and engineer boots. His eyes narrowed with anger. Brenda laughed in his face.
"We were only doing drugs." She held up a packet of cocaine.
"Brenda's my girlfriend." he wasn't buying her lie.
"Then that means you're next." Something about sex in a bathroom brought out my cockiness and I returned to the bar. The Cramps had finished their set. The bass player winked at me. My beer was still on the bar. BG asked if I had a good time.
Someone tapped my shoulder. This was a classic lead-in to a sucker punch. I figured it to be the boyfriend. I ducked and felt a fist go over my head. I was right. It was the boyfriend. I was too close to punch him, so both my hands clutched his throat. he did the same. We were choking each other to death,. We couldn't breathe. Out of the corner of my eye I spotted Brenda taking the drummer of the earlier band outside. Her boyfriend saw the same thing. Unable to speak our eyes called a truce.
"You had enough?" He gasped for breath.
"Sure, you want a beer?"
Guadalcanal and I became friends after that evening. We never mentioned Brenda. She became a redhead. The color change suited her skin. Brenda became a cabaret singer. She didn't go to the bathroom with men anymore. She was too good for that.
For us too.
We were strictly sex tools and with Brenda neither of us would have it any other way.
Monday, May 18, 2009
9/11 changed many aspects of life both in the USA and around the world, most noticeably air travel. Travelers are subjected to extensive security procedures such as racial profiling and physical searches. I always pick the queue with the cutest male TSA employee. Not that I'm gay, but if I'm going to be manhandled than I want it done by someone with looks, however Homeland Security has been trying to modernize these dehumanizing intrusions by installing whole-body imaging machines throughout the USA. These devices take 15-30 seconds and reveal everything about the subject to the TSA agent assigned to be the eyes of America. They emit 10,000 times less radio frequency than a cell phone and the images are immediately deleted once the doors are opened by security personnel. Over 40 machines are scattered across the USA with plans for hundreds more, however anti-pornography religious advocates are opposed to the scanners on the grounds that people will be electronically stripped naked, thus opening the possibility of a new XXX market for scanner images of naked Americans.
One opponent said, "We'd be much better off going after bad guys ... and back to pre-9/11 levels of airport security. There's a huge 'cover your ass' factor in politics, but unfortunately, it doesn't make us safer."
I was in Moscow the other day and a bull dyke security guard was patting down all the attractive women.
And they have a scanner too.
Some perversions are too hard to give up.
My boss on 47th Street is more than twenty years my senior. He comes from Brownsville. Mike Tyson lived there for 6 years. It was a tough neighborhood and even tougher in Manny's youth.
"We had to fight everyone."
Manny is 100% old school and one day he caught me writing a letter.
"What are you doing?" He hated his employees using his time for personal matters.
"Writing Mrs. Carolina a goodbye-letter." She had been my mistress for five years. We had traveled to Peru and Guatemala, skied the Rockies, and she had always treated me right. I just couldn't love her.
"Never put anything in writing." Manny tore up the letter. "Especially to a woman."
I've followed that advice, but also have honed it by refusing to lie. The truth is always easier to remember and I bet Nancy Pelosi wishes that she had kept her mouth shut about the CIA lying to her about 'waterboarding and torture'. Leon Panetta, the present CIA director defended the agency by saying that last week that “contemporaneous records from September 2002 indicate that CIA officers briefed truthfully on the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, describing ‘the enhanced techniques that had been employed.’”
The GOP attack dogs have been yapping at her exposed 'ass' on the TV with the Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele saying on NBC’s MEET THE PRESS.
“She has put the Democratic Party in a position where the question for me is does the president support Nancy Pelosi’s version of what happened or the CIA director’s version of what happened. You have the speaker of the House saying that she wasn’t told, that she doesn’t have a clue, and the evidence contradicts that.”
House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) was even harsher in his judgment.
“Lying to the Congress of the United States is a crime, and if the speaker is accusing the CIA and other intelligence officials of lying or misleading the Congress, then they should come forward with evidence. I think she ought to apologize to our intelligence professionals around the world. Instead of criticizing them, instead of accusing them of lying, we ought to be patting them on the back and telling them, ‘Job well done.’”
The CIA is renown for the obfuscation of the truth and manipulation of facts, especially in the build-up to the 2nd Iraq War, which Rep. Pelosi opposed as well as the 1st Gulf War. This debate sounds like another GOP attempt to switch the issue from CIA torture which might lead to charges against the previous White House for the violation of human rights in order to weaken her attempts to get to the truth about the torture policies of the Bush regime.
Maybe the CIA had lied to her, but Rep. Pelosi is then guilty of accepting a lie as the truth.
The USA has torture people. It does right now and the CIA will do so in the future.
It's what they do, just like Jack Bauer in the Fox TV Show '24'.
Torture seems to work on TV and the American people only believe what they see on TV.
But they don't listen otherwise they would have heard ex-Vice President Dick Cheney snitch out his boss by declaring that approval for waterboarding went past his office to the president. Enhanced interrogations played well to GW Bush. It made him feel like a man and waterboarding was soft in comparison to the other methods used on prisoners.
Nothing was out of bounds and for ignoring that obvious truth, Nancy Pelosi along with the rest of the USA is guilty.
Me too, but only because the lingerie looks so expensive.
His ashes are buried next to Marlene Dietrich at the Städtischen Friedhof III in Berlin.
Click on this URL to see more of his photos
Sehr Mittel Europa.
Friday, May 15, 2009
Three days ago I was walking through the Peter and Paul fortress along the River Neva. This Czarist bastion is demilitarized these days, however it still exists as a land of rules and regulations judging from the sign above.
Most of these tourist hieroglyphics are decipherable.
Some make no sense and Merrill Aldighieri suggested a different slant.
1. say "heil hitler"
2. pee on a parking meter
3. shoot a rocking horse in the head
4. jump off the bell tower
5. french kiss a goose
6. go topless if you have a beer belly
7. fart while riding a ski lift
8. go fishing in a garbage pail
9. set a turtle on fire
10 go drinking with a lampost
11 cycle while holding a loaded gun
12 lean on a tree too weak to hold you
She has a good sense of humor.
Jesse Ventura has retreated from public life for most of the year. He lives 'off the grid' on the Baja, devoted to losing weight through surfing. He was recently on the Larry King Show promoting his new book. His response to Larry King's query about Dick Cheney saying 'waterboarding wasn't torture' was quick.
“You give me a waterboard, Dick Cheney and one hour, and I’ll have him confess to the Sharon Tate murders.”
Jesse Ventura had been subjected to 'waterboarding' as a Navy Seal trainee.
"Damned if it did any good."
Jesse also suggested the legalization of marijuana and normalization of relations with Cuba. The more he speaks, the more he makes sense. And this is coming from a man who wore boa feathers into the wrestling ring.
Jesse Ventura - 1st US ambassador to Cuba since Philip Bonsal.
Has a nice ring to it.
To watch the full interview go to these URLs
A friend of mine sent a trailer for a Swedish movie. DEAD SNOW. This horror film is a remake of the classic EVIL DEAD set in the snowy forests of the north. Teenagers on a holiday discover treasure. It is guarded by zombie Nazis. Blood and guts. My friend thought it was great. Beer, teens, and the living dead.
Personally I prefer the slow-moving zombies of yesteryear mostly because I survived an encounter with the flesh-eaters.
In the mid-70s I was traveling out of Mexico in the direction of Austin Texas. The bus stopped in a two-burro village. I ate two tacos. Contents muy mysterioso. By the time I reached the border my body was struggling with a fever. I got a motel room and fell asleep reading HP Lovecraft.
My dream was inspired by his Gothic fantasies. Zombies in a decayed garden. flesh-eaters. Slow, but they cut off my escape and I took refuge in a screened gazebo. Their dirt-clotted fingernails scratched at the screens. Their breath smelled of the grave. There was no escape. A gravelly voice propositioned a deal, "Tell us the secret of human life."
"The secret of human life?" I must have slept through that lesson in Philosophy 101. "I don't know the answer."
"Tell us the secret of human life and we'll let you live for another 60 seconds."
"Oh." His question have provided the answer, for despite the horror of the zombies tearing me apart, I still wanted that extra 60 seconds. The secret of human life was wanting more.
No matter the consequences.
I woke up with divulging this to the zombies, thereby saving the human race for the threat of Nazi Zombies in Norway. Ein Zwei Die. Of course there was another Nazi zombie movie in 1977, however that one was underwater.
Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Barack Obama's administration has angered opponents of torture with the refusal to release compromising photos of the military abusing prisoners. The Pentagon campaigned the White House on the grounds that these photos could endanger US Troops. They obviously involve more than waterboarding, despite the Bush regime's longstanding claim that they never exceeded the bounds of decency. This lie was accepted by the American public, because any violations of human rights were 'isolated incidents'. Any one with a brain would have surmised from the Abu Ghaib prison photos that the system of torture was widespread throughout Iraq and Afghanistan.
Photos of Abu Gahib
For a refresher of your memory, do these pix look like fun and games.
Obama has to listen to the Pentagon, because they are threatening a coup d'etat if they are pushed too hard.
They want it their way, so the president will have to play along for now, but there will come a time of reckoning and on that day Dick Cheney will be going to prison.
I'm an old man. My body, not my heart or mind. At 56 I'm well past my mind, so I had to laugh when my Thai girlfriend told me on the phone that she was very jealous or 'huung' that I was in Russia.
"Whatever for?" I had been faithful for my extended absence.
"Russian women are very beautiful." She sounded as if she were really worried.
"I've been in New York for a year without touching another woman." True, mostly because 33% of the women are obese, another 33% are fat and the rest are disinterested in a man my age.
"New York women not same as Russian women." Mem lives on Jomtien Beach. Russians are the #1 tourist group throughout the winter. "You not go with Russian lady?"
"Not at all." My purpose in St. Petersburg is business. My only friend Seva doesn't drink smoke or chase women. I'm only looking at women on a purely aesthetic level. "I'm true to you."
"Promise?" She had her doubts.
"I only have you." I hung up feeling pretty good about myself. A 25 year-old woman worried about my being unfaithful. She knows me oh so well, but I'm a good man these days. Only because I'm too lazy to be bad.
Russia is the country with the world's largest land mass. Canada is second, but most American would be hard pressed to locate either on a map judging from a recent BBC interview asking Americans very simple questions like 'name a country beginning with U' or 'how many sides to a triangle'. Granted the vignette was edited to show the worst possible result, however these people knew nothing.
Check out this URL
And we're not alone.
The Brits did just as badly.
We are not human. We are all idiots. Even if you went to clown college.
The best answer for a question to which you haven't a clue is 'huh'.
You can't go wrong with that.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
I've been in Moscow airport three times in the three days as I bounced around the ex-USSR on a risk assessment tour for my friend, Johnny Zombie. All legit. I was traveling from Malaysia to Paris on Aeroflot. Kuala Lumpur-Karachi-Dubai-Moscow-Paris. The flight to Moscow took about 24 hours. None of them comfortable. I disembarked at Moscow to discover my connecting flight to Charles De Gaulle was delayed and wouldn't take off until the next morning. Two Norwegians were in a similar predicament. It was only 10PM but nothing was open and there was no place to sleep, however the Norwegians had two bottles of wine. I had two as well. We drank them within two hours, then wandered the terminal for more alcohol. Stateless transients were huddled in makeshift cardboard villages. They had nowhere to go, but one of them sold us a bottle of vodka. I think it was homemade. The liter took a long time to drink. Several Russians joined us. They had their own brew. It burnt a hole in my stomach. The session ended for me with the announcement of the imminent departure of the Moscow-Paris flight.
I was completely inebriated, so much so that the Norwegians had to carry me to the plane. I was in no condition to be near heavy equipment and bounced down the aisle to my seat. Every passenger prayed that I wouldn't sit next to them. I found an empty row and passed out within seconds of clicking my seatbelt shut. I woke several hours later at Charles De Gaulle. Still drunk but happy to have escape from Moscow Airport. I'll be back there on Thursday and again on Sunday.
We're starting to have a relationship.
Man and airport.
New York newspapers used to report about naive visitors paying excessive fares into Manhattan. The record was set by a Japanese tourist. $2500 and the driver dropped him Harlem when he wouldn't cough up another $500. Things have improved at JFK, however the age-old practice of soaking the uninformed has a global reach. This evening I deplaned in Moscow's Terminal 2. My connecting flight to St. Petersburg was in Terminal 1. No signs suggested how to reach that destination although a taxi driver was willing to drive me the 5 kilometers for $60.
"Sorry. I don't have to be there that bad."
"Special deal. $40." He showed a price card. $60 for Terminal 1
"Why so cheap?" I figured that rate was from Moscow.
"Because I liked George Bush."
That settled it for me. I was in a slight rush, but I would rather miss my plane than join a Bush Supporter. I took the transit bus. Free and got me there in plenty of time. I even was able to drink a beer.
I got screw by them. $10 for a stein. Beer in airports is never cheap, except in Kiev. $5 for a large jeroboam of Stella. I'm getting to like Kiev more and more.
The Kiev Restaurant opened in the late-70s. 24 hours. We went there after CBGBs, Max's, and the Mudd Club. Bacon and eggs as the dawn broke the morn. It was a scene. I had a fight over a tape recorder with Samo and discussed a photo-roman with Klaus Nomi. They went from obscurity to fame. I stopped going to the Kiev after the cook served well-done eggs. I sent them back and the waitress brought a plate of transparent eggs on top the first order. His message couldn't have been clearer. That was 1980.
Kiev meant the Kiev all those years.
I landed in the Ukrainian capitol yesterday. An hour drive into the city. Onion-bulbed domes gleaming in the May sun. I booked into the Domus Hotel and walked around the old town. Punks drank on the corners, goths in the alleys, and bums in the parks. Broken beer bottles glittered on the streets. It looked like a tough city, but Im recognized that there was a distinct female/male advantage. Something like 55/45% in the youth. And none of them fat like Americans.
No 7/11s or fast food.
And the beer is cheap.
A long-hair was playing Nirvana in the main square.
His audience consisted of all ages and two old men danced along to FEELS LIKE TEENAGE SPIRIT. They even knew the words. Not a bad town.
Monday, May 11, 2009
I used to go to the movies all the time. Movies were an event. I saw THE HARDER THEY COME at the Orson Welles Theater in Cambridge. TOWERING INFERNO on Times Square and APOCALYPSE NOW at the Ziegfield Theater. First day. First Screening. These moments were magic, however the movie-going experience has become tawdry with the advent of multi-plexs. Corporate films and cardboard popcorn. I can't even remember the last time I saw a Hollywood film at a theater. No BATMAN No STAR WAR. Now I rememeber. GLADIATOR. I had to see that in a theater. Most of the time now I watch films with DVDs or on my computer. A small screen. Smaller than those in an airplane, but 9/11 erased any love I had for special effects, however I will have to go again, because the new STAR TREK came out and there's no way I'm seeing that on my computer.
I tried but the intellectual property police wiped it off my favorite online site.
I'll bring my own popcorn or wasabi soy beans.
They make my eyes water, so that when I cry in the film I can tell my friend it's the wasabi.
To go where no man has gone before.
My friend Eddie Mickie weighed 400 pounds. I wrote about him in WHEN EVEN FAT MEN FLY. He was a big proponent of travel to the planets.
"When the shit gets a foot high, we have to step a foot higher."
Same as James T Kirk.
"Because they got some crazy little women there and I'm going to get me some." Joe quoted from the song. His parents grounded him for the summer. He later told me that KC had no crazy little women.
"It was all a lie."
I recently drove through Kansas City. The song is still a lie. Most of the cities of the Midwest are shells. Hollowed out by a neglect government, but not so Iowa City. This town is the campus of Iowa U. My good friend James Rockford lives on a farm twenty miles to the west. He grows marijuana. My Scottish friend and I rendezvoused with the elder statesman of the hippie ear at the Deadwood. The city's #1 dive. We drank beer, rum, smoked a joint, talked with coeds, and at the 2am closing James suggested that we go to Riverside.
"Riverside." My Scottish friend thought it was another bar.
"It's not a bar. It's the future birthplace of James T Kirk."
"You're shitting me." I've been a devout Trekkie since episode one.
"Nope, it's waiting for his birth." James smiled with the knowledge that nothing could stop me from where no one I knew had gone before. We bought two six-packs of Tecate and flagged down a taxi.
"No sense in getting DWI'ed on a mission of such importance." James wasn't called 'the colonel' for nothing. The taxi driver thought we were crazy, but said it wasn't the first time drunks had given that destination.
"Nobody in the world would know about Riverside if it wasn't for James T Kirk. Less than thousand souls. No reason for anyone ever to go there. They even have an annual event. Maybe two." We followed the English River to the small town. The greeting plaque welcomed us to the future home of James T Kirk. The driver stopped at a park. A marker also proclaimed his future birth. I breathed in the night air thinking this town made James T Kirk, the captain of the USS Enterprise. I was drunk enough to believe that.
"How you feel?" James asked, as my Scottish friend smoked a cigarette.
"Like I went to Jerusalem."
"I thought you would, now how about going back to your hotel for some serious drinking."
"You got it." James lived out here most of the year. He didn't speak to outsiders much. His wife would hate him tomorrow, but none of that mattered because he had brought a Trekkie to the Holy Grail.
Live long and prosper.
Saturday, May 9, 2009
In the summer of 1971 my friend Peter Gore and I hitchhiked from Boston to San Francisco. Both of us were longhairs. We got rides fast. One driver had a Super B. Lucky drove 110mph from Omaha to Reno. Peter and I stood on the highway in the Sierras for about 30 minutes. A Riviera stopped on the shoulder. The occupants were four elderly convicts just out of prison. They were drinking whiskey. It was noon and the temperature was 100 degrees. Peter wasn't too keen on taking this ride, but the driver asked, "Can you drive us into Frisco. I got me a girl there."
"No problem." Their ride was a brand-new Riviera. V-8 metallic red with a white hardtop. Peter sat in back and I took the wheel. I drove about 110 through the mountains. The old-age convicts finished that first bottle and went through a second. The windows were open to the wind and their skin was stained with salty perspiration. Slightly outside of San Francisco one of the reformed prisoners said he wanted to drive. I pulled into a Phillips 66 and got out of the car. He was in no condition to drive and said as much.
"What you know about driving?" he held the steering wheel with shaking hands and pulled out of the gas station.
"I'm glad to be out of that car." It had been a long ride for Peter.
""Maybe not." I pointed to the riviera. It was stopped before the road. The reverse taillights came on and the car backed into the gas station past us and rolled over the gas pumps. They exploded and the car was engulfed with flames. The convicts were having a hard time getting out of the car. Peter and I pulled them out, as the station attendant doused the fire with an extinguisher.
"Why you leave the car in reverse?" The driver asked with a tongue thickened by whiskey.
"Me?" I stepped up to him. He might have been a convict, but I was younger by a good 30 years. "I didn't do nothing wrong."
A state trooper pulled into the gas station. The convict told him his side and I told him mine. The cop came over to me after his radio call and said, "That car is stolen. Best you go unless you want to spend more time with your friends."
"We're going." Peter picked up his bag and we went over to the highway. A hippie gave us a ride ten minutes later. The trip from coast to coast took us 47 hours hours. It could have taken a lifetime if it wasn't for the cop. We were 3 years late for Frisco's summer of live. Groovy was gone, but we crashed in a pseudo-guru's flat for a few days. It was very groovy. Haven't been back since then. Do you think it has changed?
California symbolized paradise to most Americans and millions deserted their hometowns to populate the Pacific state during the latter part of the 20th Century. Towns became cities and cities spread into the mountains as well as up the coast. Gone is the Los Angeles River, the orange groves, and girls in bikinis. The river is dry, the orange groves are suburbs, and the girls are fat, but even worse is the suburban sprawl has overstepped into the scenery and this week home owners in Santa Barbara were attacked by Mother Nature as wind-whipped flames flashed across arid slopes to scorch multi-million dollars houses.
Burn baby burn.
Thousands have been evacuated from the path of these fires.
"When will they ever learn, when they they ever learn?" from the song WHERE HAVE ALL THE FLOWERS GONE.
Obviously no time soon but then that's why we love California.
It can always be re-invented as somethign else.
I slept late on September 11, 2001. I heard a jet fly low overhead and then a strange muffled sound, which I attributed to the construction crane on East 10th Street, since it had crashed the week earlier. I was wrong. The sound came from a passenger jet striking the north tower of the World Trade Center. Like thousands of Manhattanites I watched from that building and its twin collapse. We groaned collectively not so much in horror as saddened disbelief. I haven't been able to watch a FX movie since 9/11.
Too much bullshit.
Last month New Yorkers panicked upon seeing a 747 fly low along the Hudson. A fighter jet tailing behind it. People ran for cover. Some screamed thinking this was another 'terrorist' attack, instead the media later reported the jet in question was the spare Air Force One. The purpose of the flight was promotional. The right-wing hacks seized this opportunity to lambaste the president for this extravaganza as well as supposedly not informing public officials about the flight.
Somebody had to fall on the sword and today President Barack Obama announced the resignation of the director of the White House Military Office for scaring the bejesus out of New Yorkers. I did the same thing in Boston by leaving my bags unattended at South Station Train Station for ten seconds, while I bought a newspaper. A state trooper was waiting by my bag with two security guards.
"Is this your bag?"
"Yes." I like to keep it simple with cops.
"You shouldn't have left it alone."
"I didn't. I walked over to the news kiosk and came back." I was telling the truth and nothing but the truth.
"Well, people got scared." The cop relaxed since I didn't fit into his stereotype of a terrorists.
"Scared?" I looked at the nearest people. Most seemed to be Americans. "I remember a time when Americans weren't scared of their shadows. Most Americans today are chickens and only good for stuffing their faces."
"Sir, this isn't about them. This is about your bag." The cop was thinking I might be psycho. At 56 I am of the age when men go nuts.
"No, it's not. This is about America. And anyone who is scared about a bag is no longer an American. They're yellah." I picked up my bag and walked away from the cop and his back-up. They didn't follow, probably because they rightly decided I was a greater danger to myself than anyone in the train station, but I was annoyed by their reactionary caution as I was by Fox News trying to capitalize on the Air Force One Fly-By. The deposed director had once been Secretary of the Army. He's still a good man, but in this America no one gets to make mistake, unless you're George fucking W Bush.
To err is human, to err all the time is to be GW Bush.
ps Mayor Bloomberg was told about the fly-by, but didn't think to tell the city.
He had better things to do, but he fired his assistant to cover his ass.
He really is a good politician.
Friday, May 8, 2009
My friend Richard is teaching school in Saudi Arabia. He says it sucks, but he's coining good money. He asked if I want to join him. If all else fails, "Why not?" Saudi Arabia is closer to Thailand than New York. He sent an old joke yesterday.
A man is in bed with his Thai-girlfriend.
After having great sex, she spends the next hour just stroking his dangly bit, something she had lovingly done on many occasions.
Rather enjoying it, he turns and asks her: 'Why do you love doing that ?'
She replies: 'Because I really miss mine...'
It's so easy to be fooled especially when your lust blinds the shrouds of deception.
Years ago I worked at a bar in New York. The name was the Milk Bar. The decor was an imitation of the Malchek Milk Bar in CLOCKWORK ORANGE. White Lucite and gelled light. The crowd cut across the layers of New York. The good, the bad, and the in-between. One of the customers was a narcotic detective. He led raids in Brooklyn. Whenever he walked into the bar, people walked out."
"Friends and colleagues." Rob would shrug off their departure. "I'm not here for work. I'm here to have a good time."
He was only 24.
Good times at the Milk Bar meant something else than Disney rides and one night I see Rob drinking with Dove, a lanky brunette in a slinky Azzadine sheath. An hour later they're holding hands and shortly thereafter both of them are kissing with an audience. I knew Dove as Dave. He was more beautiful as a woman than he had been as a man. Dove fooled most of her prey. She liked them straight. Rob deserved a head's up and when Dove went to the ladies room to powder her nose I sidled next to Rob.
"So what you think?" His face shined with an eager redness. Few women could match Dove's passion.
Normally I would have let Rob find out for himself about Dove's sexuality, but he had become more a friend and my job as a doorman necessitated a little violence from time to time. Having a cop in your pocket was a good card to hold.
"Dove's great, if you like guys."
"Guy?" Rob choked on his beer.
"Dove's been a girl for a couple of years. Beautiful and sexy, but a guy no less." I was worried about Dove's reaction to my snitching her out. She could be very mean.
"A guy?" Rob looked around the bar, as if he were trying to spot a familiar face. The crowd consisted of perps, dealers, politicians, models, musicians, diplomats, actors, and starlets. None of them were saints. He swigged his beer. "I can deal with that."
"You can?" I thought my warning would steer him to clearer water.
"Dove's the best looking woman I've seen in years. Man or woman. And she wants me."
"Then you have my blessing."
The two of them left within the hour. No one noticed their departure. Dove showed up the next day with a smile and Rob's watch.
"He gave it to me."
"Really?" I almost believe her. It was a cheap watch.
"Really." Dove waited that night for Rob to show up. He never did. Dove went home alone. Twice the woman I will ever be.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
“I have nothing against Christ. It’s your Christians I hate.” This remark has been attributed to Saladin. I feel the same way about most religions except beer-worshippers.
“Every day is Beermas.” My mate Nick declared with the fervor of a suicide beer-drinker. I’m an apostate Catholic. I don’t believe in God, Jesus, or an afterlife and certainly not that Mary was a virgin. That story about the Immaculate Conception was a cover-up for her affair with a mere mortal and it’s about time the church gave up that ghost.
A recent newspaper reported that a female convict achieved a virgin birth in solitary confinement.
I don’t remember where.
Thankfully there have been no calls about the 2nd Coming of Jesus, although Christians have been ratcheting up their efforts to convert Thai youth to the passion of God.
Big G wearing a muumuu like Buddha.
Missionaries pretend to be NGOs and refrain from overt proselytizing for the Jesus Revolution. The Word of God comes with patience to Buddhists. My friend Ek lost his brother to preachers in Chonburi. Now he’s a Sunday boy. Praying to God. Happy to be saved for the heaven beyond this life. Bible-thumpers have established a foothold down the street from my house.
I spraypainted 666 on the wall.
The next day the small congregation prayed for the number to disappear by the grace of God.
After 30 minutes they switched to soap and water.
By nightfall the 666 was a shadow.
Only 1% of Thais answer to Christ’s summon. The number is bound to rise with the increased uncertainty of the times. Maybe they’ll get 1.1%. And if Jesus comes they can go to heaven and leave the rest of us behind.
Bon Voyage true believers.
Why do cemeteries have fences around them?
Because everyone is dying to get in.
It's the exact opposite for prison.
Okay, this joke isn't so funny to adults and neither is the appearance of a ghost in Bangkok's Crime Suppression Division, where several guests of the state have experienced sleepless nights due to the unwanted presence of a ghost or pii in a red tank top sitting on a cardboard box.
A man charged with credit-card fraud has been possessed several times by this spirit, who has chosen to groan about being released from incarceration. A cellmate collaborated that he had also seen the unearthly ghost try to attack him. His defensive blow struck another prisoner, after which he passed out.
The ghost is supposedly that of a man charged with rape of a family member who hung himself in the cell early this month. The division commander has ordered an exorcism to alleviate the problem, but Mint from Soi 6 said, "When a pii doesn't want to leave, sometimes it is because they have been cursed for a number of years before they can leave this life."
An exorcism might work for this pii, but probably only if they open all the doors to the prison, since he can not get out on his own.
Sounds like a prison break to me.
The US economy in March 2009 was in dire straits. Banks were on the verge of failure and the stock market was losing points every day. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq remained drains on the treasury and the GOP was vowing to battle any programs by the newly elected government. doom seemed certain and I predicted the Dow Jones would hit 6000 by the end of April. My number was based on guessanomics and my good friend, Andrew Pool, waged a bottle of good wine that the NYSE would rally around the bail-out.
"They have no choice." he said as we happily ate a plate of Chinese dumplings.
"I feel good about my prediction." The USA made nothing. All the news was bad. I had lost my job. We agreed on the wager and waited for the results and on April 30th I called Andrew to announce his winning a bottle of very good Cote de Beaune.
"I still think it's going to hit 6000." This was based on the trajectory of the Great Depression, during which the markets experienced a leveling off before the steep plunge to 10% of its worth in 1929.
We bet another bottle of wine.
The end of summer.
A white wine this time.
It is the season.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
My Scottish friend and I set out from Chicago. The Interstate proved tough going and we opted to travel south on the back roads. I hadn't been this way since 1975. Our route evaded most of the change. Strip malls were unavoidable. Still the land was ancient. The banks of the Illinois river were dotted by Indian mounds. 13th Century. Towns of thousands and the main settlement East of St. Louis larger than London at that time. The Cahokia Mounds were no stranger. We climbed to the high plateau of the Monk's Mound. Facing south the budding woods replicated the a millennium-old vista. Behind us a six-lane highway hummed with midday traffic. Right over the ruins of suburban West Cahokia. No one lives there anymore, but neither do they populate the downtown of Rockford, Illinois.
The 3rd largest city of this Midwestern state has a deserved reputation for crime. No restaurants are open in the center. I didn't see one person. The factories are in ruins and the streets doomed to shadows. Archaeologists blame the collapse of the Mississippi culture to the exhaustion of natural resources.
I thought we had until 2050.
My Scottish friend thought longer, then again he's several years younger.
My future seemed fated to be denied.
Monday, May 4, 2009
NPR reported a story about a small Chihuahua being lost after a 70mph windstorm. The owners found their pet with the help of a psychic. Poochie was in a field downwind from the point of departure. Happy endings.
Not all are as in this photo about another vanished Chihuahua puppy.
She vanished into the crack while her owner was watching TV.
Not all stories deserve a happy ending.
I don't know how many people I've met in my life. I've never tried to count. The number has to be in the tens of thousands and possibly hundreds of thousands since I worked 20 years in nightclubs and have circumnavigated the globe over twenty times. Some people I have forgotten. Some I've forgotten their names. Some I remember very little.
Others exist only as one story surrounded by shards of memories.
Mojo had been the doorman at the Berlin after-hours club. 1980 Broadway and Houston. Up four steep flights of stairs. Mojo was big, black, and a little mean to women. I warned him to calm down. He glared threateningly without a move. My temper was legendary back then. I hadn't seen him years, but I ran into him about two years ago.
Mojo greeted me as if I had risen from the grave. He was smiling. All that meanness was gone.
"I've been working as a chef." Mojo weighed near 300. He had gained some poundage. Heavy people like working in restaurants.
"Where?" I like eating.
"Out in the Hamptons." Mojo shrugged as if it wasn't his first choice. "Tough living out there without a car, but I live close to the restaurant. About a ten minute walk. Even quicker if I cut through a graveyard."
"Nothing scary about a graveyard?" I wouldn't walk through one at night.
"That's what I thought too, but a month ago I was drunk and decided to take the short cut. There was no moon, but I could see the lights of my house, so I knew where I was going. Problem was that I didn't know where I was and i fell into an open grave. Knocked the wind out of me."
"How you get out?"
"Get out? Man my size ain't getting out of no grave. I tried jumping, but it was a waste of breath, so I sat down and waited for someone to come along. I had cigarettes and it wasn't a cold night. I might have even fell asleep, except I heard someone coming. He was drunk. I was about to call out for help, when he fell into the grave. A white frat boy. He gets to his feet right away and starts trying to jump out of the grave."
"Not easy." Six feet is six feet.
"Not at all, but he could climb on me to get out, so I coughed and said, "You can't get out of here that way."
"And what he say?" I was laughing hard now.
"Say? The white boy squawked and practically flew out of the grave like I was Satan." Mojo laughed at the recollection of this moment. "Man, his eyes were bigger than dinner plates. The police come down to the cemetery in about 10 minutes. Nothing gets those lazy fucks working faster than a black devil in the grave. They were nice enough to help me out. Took three of them."
"No more short-cuts?"
"None at all."
Mojo and I bid each other 'health' and went our separate ways. Each happier for his tale from the grave.
The swine flu panic seems to have abated after the news media stopped flogging the story. New cases are still reported around the country, although without the fatalities that struck Mexico. My trip throughout the Midwest ranged far from urban centers. Sometimes my Scottish friend and I didn't have any human contact for hours. The roads were devoid of cars. Everyone was on the interstate. The towns were empty. The citizenry shopped at the malls close to the interstate. It was almost like the world ceased to exist and I related to my travel companion a zombie dream.
"It was 1975. I was taking a bus from Monterrey, Mexico to Texas. I was reading a book by HP Lovecraft. The bus stopped in a small town. I had a taco. It tasted a little funny and that night I was sick with food poisoning. I checked into a small hotel at the border. The Mexican side. It was cheaper. I lay on the bed with a fever. I read my book and fell asleep. Sometime in the night I dreamed I was being chased through a garden by slow-moving zombies."
"I hate the way zombies move fast in RESIDENT EVIL." My Scottish friend was a horror film buff.
"Slow zombies are classic, but there were too many of them in my dream. They cut off any escape and I ran to a gazebo. Old screens to keep out mosquitoes covered the windows. I locked the door. The zombies huddled around the gazebo. Their breath smelled of rotting flesh. They scrapped at the screen with long yellow fingernails. Their teeth ground in anticipation of sinking into my flesh, then a voice deeper than a six-foot grave said, "Tell us the secret of human life."
"The secret of human life?"
"I didn't know what the secret of human life was and there was no stalling the zombies either. When they're hungry, they're hungry. They broke through the screens. I shut my eyes expecting the worse."
"You're not supposed to die in dreams." My friend had read Jung.
"That's what they say and I tried to wake up, but couldn't and I heard the voice say, "Tell us the secret of human life and I'll let you live for another minute."
"And what happened?"
"I realized the secret of human life was that no matter how bad the 61st second would be I still wanted the next 60. The urge to live."
"And then I woke up. No teeth marks, so I'm not really scared of zombies."
"No." I haven't been to a zombie movie in years. "You ever see SHAUN OF THE DEAD?"
"That's not a real zombie movie."
I agreed and that is the why I like funny zombies better than scary ones. We drove north toward Minnesota. No one on the road. Malls are more dangerous to humanity than zombies.