Monday, November 30, 2009
The night Barack Obama was elected president, people were dancing in the streets of New York. Our man had won against the GOP. I looked into the eyes of a man my age and we started crying, not out of joy, but because of the sadness of the lost years since 1968. He was one of us. He took office two months later. The presidential limousine drove his from the inauguration stage to a series of parties. Thousands of supporters gladhanded their president and at the end of the festivities Barack Obama found himself in the White House.
The Oval Office. The Red Phone to Moscow. The Briefcase. They were his along with two wars and a shattered economy. He must have looked at his wife and said, "What now?"
If I was Michelle, I would have said, "What about the Kennedys?"
Then again I'm from Boston.
Still the President must have access to deep, dark secrets buried by various agency; Roswell, Martin Luther King, Pearl Harbor. Some many questions, yet nothing new has come to light during the first years of his administration and considering the body count for asking the wrong questions, so I can appreciate his patience.
It takes time to unbury the truth.
Maybe the truth will be set free on 11/22/2012.
Unless the world ends as predicted by Hollywood.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Back in 1979 I was working at Hurrah's, Manhattan's only punk disco. My girlfriend, a blonde B Model from Buffalo, was rightfully jealous of my late hours. We had met at the Romantics' concert. Lisa was so beautiful that I abandoned by live-in girlfriend for her. She was wrong to suspect my doing the same to her. I was faithful throughout our yearlong affair. Women don't like being wrong and one night as I was leaving for work she smacked the back of my head with the new frying pan that my mother had brought as a Christmas gift. I dropped to my knees, thankfully my mother had bought steel instead of cast iron.
"Don't hit me again."
"You're not leaving this apartment." Lisa swung for the fences at my head.
I ducked the blow and disarmed Lisa. My income from Hurrah was split two ways. I chucked the frying pan in the corner and stormed from the apartment. Lisa never said she was sorry, giving me the unwanted insight into the murderous temper coursing in a woman's veins and the famed golfer Tiger Woods might have have experienced a close encounter of a very jealous woman the other night.
Police report his leaving his Florida house in the early morning. 2am. I know that part of Florida. There is nowhere to go at that hour. His SUV hit a tree. The police came to the scene of the accident. His injuries were not those attributable to a car crash. Fingers point to a broken golf club wielded by his blonde wife. Police are investigating the matter, but Tiger should seriously consider sleeping away from his gated community for the next couple of weeks, because his wife probably has a better swing than my Lisa.
Motive for the attack.
Tiger was guilty whereas I was innocent.
Then again all men are guilty in the eyes of a jealous woman.
The crowd at Donovan's Sports Bar was watching a golf match. I was drinking a vodka-tonic. At a break in the action an oil worker complained that his new girlfriend slept most of the day. His friends said that their girlfriends suffered from a similar somnalepsy. The oil worker hailed from Texas. He was overweight and bald. "And when she wakes up, she eats like an escapee from a concentration camp then watches Thai soap operas before sleeping into a coma."
"Same with me." His friends were dumbfounded by the malaise. Sleeping 20 hours a day has to be a disease. The golfers were glad it wasn't infectious. Donovan's owner had a 4-handicap. To the oil worker this skill was genius and he asked Steve, if he had any idea why their girlfriends slept like the dead.
"I don't have a girlfriend." Steve was the smartest man in the bar. His Thai waitresses understood more English than they let on and he changed the subject. "Think Tiger Woods will play the Hong Kong Open?"
The golfers bailed after another drink. Their tee-off at Khao Kheo Golf Course was scheduled for 9. I paid my bill. Steve forestalled my departure with an offer of another vodka-tonic. My finances were suffering from the skinnies ie brokedom and I accepted his buy-back with gracious humility. Steve and I discussed Manning's Scramble in the Super Bowl.
"In the regular season he would have been whistled dead."
"Caught in the grass." I am a Patriots fan.
We clinked glasses and he said, "I don't have a girlfriend, because I hear too many stories from my customers about theirs."
"I won't ever tell you about winning the Worst Girlfriend of the Year in 2001."
"Thanks, my head filled with enough unhappy endings to write a soap opera, but I have a question. Why you think Thai girls sleep so much?"
His question echoed off an unspoken affair whose mysteries defied his rational mind. I speak Thai. I know bar girls on a platonic level. They tell stories about 'customers'. Some of them might be true.
"The most obvious answer is the one no one wants to believe."
"They're tired. You try spending a night with a drunken farang sucking down beers and tequila like the Taliban were at the city gates. I promise you that you would be a little slow to get out of bed."
"But that's not the real answer, is it?" Steve wasn't accepting the easy way out.
"No, their sleeping sickness is either pretend or a reaction to having to spend so much time with a farang. Faking sleep keeps you off them. Not many people have a fantasy about sex with a sleeping woman. The second option is that they are so freaked by being with a farang that they wrap sleep around them like a blanket. You have to think of it like astronaut in suspended animation for inter-planetary travel only Thai girls sleep after they've landed on Mars. They have no interest in the Martians.
"You mean us?"
"We are the farangs. Did you ever see BOB CAROL TED AND ALICE. Ann Margret sleeps throughout her affair with Jack Nicholson. Why? Because she didn't want to be there."
"So what do you do when your girlfriend sleeps?'"
"I certainly don't wake her." The peace during their slumber was priceless.
"Let sleeping dogs lie."
"As long you're in bed for when they wake up."
We clinked glasses again and I ordered another drink. It was pushing my budget. What the heck. My wife was out of town and my mia noi was already asleep. I was safe. If only for tonight.
Friday, November 27, 2009
When I was a kid, my father would see road crews leaning on their shovels and called them lazy bastards. Only if my mother wasn't in the car, then they were simply lazy, but I have challenged many people to hack at the earth for more than five minutes. Most quit after two minutes.
Farangs criticize Thais for the same weakness without realizing that Thai workers are pushed to the limit. 10 hours a day. 6 days a week. 200-300 baht a day. The money goes to cigarettes and alcohol to fuel their labor, so whenever they get the chance they'll find someplace to catch up on their sleep and no one does it better than this day-laborer lying on a steel atop a townhouse.
Click on photo to enlarge and you'll see how comfortable.
The global economy of the late-20th Century depended on unimpeded growth. Double-digit supports of production were extolled as paradigm's of capitalistic success and 3rd World economies shed their backwater status with the dawn on the new millennium.
Bigger, taller, larger, faster were the axioms for the new era of excess.
Pattaya joined the frenzy with the spread of condos and enclosed villages blotting the former farmlands and fishing villages along Thailand's Eastern Seaboard. Nothing and no one was allowed to stand in the path of progress and bolstered by that philosophy a real-estate developer announced the planned construction of Asia's highest residential tower in Nah-Jomtien.
Ocean One. 367 meters tall. The crowning jewel of Jomtien. 2005.
Developers promoted the site. Government officials cut ribbons. A new street was built for the 91-story tower. Buyers dropped million to gain access to heaven on earth.
The project went bust and the investors are left owning air.
A victim of greed and unsustainable growth.
Somehow no one in Dubai ever heard about its failure.
Sorry, but 'sum num nah'.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
In SEVEN PILLARS OF WISDOM TE Lawrence wrote about a visit to a desert castle. His host led the British officer through a series of room, each whose walls were permeated with frankincense, myrrh, and other exotic fragrances. They finally arrive at a very simple room. One window. It's open to the desert.
"What do you smell?" asked the host.
"No, that scent is the desert and we had the desert before the arrival of the English and we will have it after you go."
This story was meant to highlight the impermanence of Western Influence on the Arab world, however no one in Dubai seems to have shared that sentiment in view of the present financial crisis in that Gulf State.
$80 billion in debt.
The actual Emirati population is 17% of 2.3 million inhabitants.
Each one owing roughly $200,000 to the banks thanks to the unbridled development of the emirate. Giant skyscrapers, massive housing development, and a modern infrastructure cost money. More than Dubai could generate from its projects. The country's leaders are begging the banks for a six-month grace period to re-organize its debt. They will probably receive the same answer I got from my bank about a series of unexplained overcharges.
"Bank policy firms states...."
In other words Dubai is fucked and world financial markets reacted with a slight panic, for the international banks had deemed Dubai a safe bet. Once more capitalism was wrong and this debacle is sure to effect over economies around the globe.
It's a small world after all and to paraphrase Rick from CASABLANCA, "We'll always have the desert."
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
How apropos for these times.
This song was written by Hamilton Camp. Quicksilver Messenger Service recorded it for their 1st album in 1968. On LSD John Cippolina's guitar touched every cells in your soul with the chagrin of greatness.
They were bigger than the Grateful Dead too and still are in my mind.
More proof I'm just an old hippie.
To hear this song click on the following URL.
Facebook didn't not ban me. The problem was due to my cookie settings. And I thought my comment was important enough to merit censorship. I guess I'll have to go to the bad words. Seven according to George Carlin.
Anything else is acceptable.
My pride is my shame.
This evening I wrote the following on my Facebook page.
"My people arrived on the Mayflower. Hamlins. We're still here. Where are the Wamanpoags? On Nantucket protesting Thanksgiving. Happy Turkey Day."
An hour later the message and comments were removed by someone.
I am unable to use my home page and Facebook posted this.
Account Temporarily Unavailable.
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Banned for Life.
If so I'm so proud of myself.
Half my family arrived in the Americas on the Mayflower. The Hamlin clan owed its survival that first autumn to the Wamanpoags or people of the dawn. The Saints and Strangers of the Old World showed their gratitude by forcing the disease weakened natives from their ancestral home, much as the Moses' ancestors evicted the Philistines from the Land of Milk and Honey. The Pilgrims thought they owned the land, while the Indians believed the land belonged to the people using it. Native thought versus the Old Testament. The Bible has many lessons for those of the past and present and probably the future.
The Wamanpoag Tribe luckily survived the mass extermination of the coastal Indians and every Thanksgiving gather on Nantucket to mourn the failed alliance between the Old and New Worlds.
At least the wqild have come back to their native land.
Give the Wamanpoag Tribe a few slot machines and who knows where they'll celebrate No Thanksgiving on the 400th anniversery of the Pilgrims' landing.
My family's ancestors crossed the Atlantic on the Mayflower. The Hamlin clan spent that first autumn in Plymouth. Their food supplies were dangerously low and only intervention by the native tribes spared the settlers from starvation. Americans have celebrated the largesse of the Indians with an annual feast of turkey and all the fixings. Little if any mention is made of the Wampanoag Indians, who were later wiped out by the Puritans, then again extermination has no place at the dinner table.
Prayers of thanks are saved for family friends and God.
Turkey is the main meal.
I've had the bird most every Thanksgiving in my life.
Mothers around the USA spent hours preparing the feast. The day was filled by chores. Peeling apples, potatoes, turnips, carrots for our eight family members and another 5-10 guests. My older brother called it 'KP Day'.My mother would cool the bird in the garage. Why was never explained to us. She would just take the big bird out of the oven and say, "Put it in the garage to cool."
One Thanksgiving I obeyed her command. The garage door was open. The air was cold. I had spent the morning at the football game between my hometown and their arch-rivals. My next-door neighbor came over to the driveway with a football. We went into the backyard to emulate the day's heroes. After bobbling a long pass Chuckie pointed to the front lawn.
DJ, a neighborhood dog, was attacking something. His entire head was stuck in the other animal. I ran closer and then heard my mother scream.
DJ had stolen the turkey from the garage. I picked up a stick from the ground and charged to save our holiday meal. The big black Doberman fled from our yard, leaving behind a mauled meal. My mother cried, "Where are we going to find a turkey now?"
My father looked at me. This was my fault. I didn't even bother to explain. When you're wrong as a child, proving you're right is a waste of breath. My older brother and younger siblings thanked me for ruining Thanksgiving, although it didn't turn out so abd, since DJ's owners paid for our meal at a nearby hotel. The food was good and my mother didn't have to wash any dishes. We didn't have a home-cooked Thanksgiving meal for another five years.
We still thanked family, friends, and God, but my older brother and I also thanked DJ. Even bad deeds can turn out good as long as no one brings up the Wampanoag Indians.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
My flight to Beijing left American airspace someplace over Plattsburg, NY. Several F-16s are permanently on call to protect the country from terrorist attacks. On 9/11 only twelve jets were available for interception of the final hijacked plane. Its target was supposedly the White House. It crashed in Pennsylvania. America has been riven into two camps by that day.
Left or right.
In truth the division dates back to the 50s and 60s.
To the right the left are commies and to the left the right are Nazis.
These accusations were best stated in the famous William F. Buckley - Gore Vidal debate during the 1968 Democratic Convention.
William Buckley had served the nation as the WWII honor guard for Harry Truman, whereas Gore Vidal was stationed in the Aleutian Islands, an infamous destination for suspect homosexuals. The two argued about the validity of the US involvement in Vietnam. Vidal told Buckley, "Shut up a minute."
Buckley accused the Yippie protesters of Nazism and Vidal responded by saying, "As far as I'm concerned, the only sort of pro-Crypto-Nazi I can think of is yourself."
Bill Buckley got hot.
"Now listen, you queer. Stop calling me a crypto-Nazi, or I'll sock you in the goddamn face and you'll stay plastered."
Classic confrontation TV.
To see this moment in history go to the following URL
Technology is advancing at a blinding speed in the 21st Century. Someone born in the last century would not recognize the modern world. Many of the changes have been technological; cellphones, computers, lasers, and GM crops. These innovations have led to drastic social upheavals as the peasant classes have descended on the cities to achieve fame and fortune. Most people never realize these goals and their lives are devoid of any human contact other than at the workplace.
Singapore and Hong Kong are renown as the most unsexy cities in Asia. Manhattan has become an enclave of aging singles. The population of Europe is shrinking thanks to the lack fo sex between adults. Pregnancy is a teenage phenomena. I have friends who ahven't had sex in years. I was one of them. My email inbox is crammed with offers for porno, viagra, penis growth, and baldness cures. The other day a new missive came from the business servicing older men without women.
Love robots from Japan.
Better than the real thing.
The price affordable.
And you never have to take them out on a date.
Oh the beauty of the modern world
Monday, November 23, 2009
The American ideal for a man is based more on movie characters than reality. Bravery is defined by cinematic shoot-outs and wisdom quoted from famous films. Politicians recognize this weakness in the voters' psyche and their press attaches strive for photo-ops mirroring Hollywood moments.
GW Bush was hailed for his MISSION ACCOMPLISHED appearance on the US aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln. Uniform, jets, a sea of sailors spoke victory to the masses watching the staged scene on TV. Six years later the word still evades US and coalition forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.
His predecessor Barack Obama also has a perchance for playing to the camera, although his bow the the Japanese emperor during his tour of the Far East was regarded as a sign of defeat by the talking heads of Fox News.
"General MacArthur must be turning in his grave."
The American Caesar never bowed to any man or god-king.
He had his movie moment before Congress.
"Old soldiers never die, they simply fade away."
MacArthur was pushed out of his position of Far East Caudillo by a runty president from Missouri for disobeying a direct order. Truman wasn't abut bowing to the military, however Barack Obama's bow to the Japanese emperor was not a sing of submission as much as one of respect. It was only a limo dance in reverse because the emperor is almost a midget.
Washington and Obama has no intention of bowing to the GOP over health care.
At least we hope not.
When I was traveling through Tibet, herdswomen greeted strangers by sticking out their tongue. At first I thought it was a come-on, but my guide explained that Tibetans devils don’t have tongues, hence I stuck out my tongue before entering any encampment. If you didn’t respect this custom, then the villagers would stick out their tongues to show that they were not demons. They expected the same offering from strangers.
Everyone greets people differently.
Western traditions include Americans shaking hands, the French kissing cheeks and the English knocking you out with a head butt.
Thais rarely shake hands and if they do it’s a limp-wrist clasp like they fear you’ll snatch away their arm. Instead they prefer the traditional wai. The joined palms are held to the chest and the head is lowered in deference.
The higher the status of the person you are greeting, the higher you hold your hands and the deeper your bow. A revered monk blessing your house deserves the class A wai. Bringing your hands to the bridge of your nose. The over-the-head wai with floor prostration is reserved for the king.
I had a friend from Yala.
She was an elderly woman running a school. Her family was connected to the royals and when we traveled people would instantly drop to the ground. She said, “I like being with you, because it’s hard to talk to people like this.”
I wai authority figures ie doctors, lawyers, and my wife’s father. Never a cop looking for tea money, unless he’s angry. A wai is a perfect gesture for eating crow.
You do not have to wai beggars or girls in short time bars. Kids don’t get wai-ed either. People will think you an idiot if you do or rather more an idiot than they think most farangs are.
A simple nod or a tip will suffice
Exercising good manners can earn good results. I was staying on Tioman Island during the visit of a sultan. After finishing his address to the locals, his highness made his way back to his yacht. the backpackers gawked at his passing. I wai-ed him.
He came over and asked where I was from.
"New York.” he smiled and held my arm. “I went to Studio 54 there.”
"I worked at Studio.” I was doorman for its last month.
"Really. How would you like to have tea on my boat?”
"Love to.” The tea was sweet and the view from the deck sublime.
The reward for obeying etiquette.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
The Thai government will be issuing free paper tapes to measure a man's penis size according to width. The range will be 49-52-53-54-56 millimeters. The test is suggested to improve the use of condoms within the macho society. Those men with larger and smaller penises will be left out of the push to combat the rising number of those men infected with the AIDS virus.
"Larger size condoms can slip off or deaden the pleasure during sex, while smaller ones will cause discomfort to wearers. These factors dissuade people from using condoms - which encourages the spread of HIV/Aids. Making good fitting condoms available will be useful in dealing with the reemerging HIV/Aids problem as well as promoting the widespread practice of safe sex in Thailand." Group organizer said about organ.
Free condoms will be distributed throughout cities and villages.
No one seems to consider the shame of a man finding out his penis is smaller than normal or that some men might wear the paper tape to boast of their girth. I expect a big spike in penis enlargement sales.
The best way to measure your penis is to stand and measure the penis parallel to the floor. Tape from the root on top to the tip. Do so on different days. Sometimes we are larger than other. Calculate the average size by adding the findings and then dividing by the tests.
My size is well-known.
Almost 6 inches.
Plenty for me, although for once I'd like to hear a woman say, "Not with that you don't."
Actually I have heard that, but they were more talking about me.
Scientists have reported that ocean currents have created a Sargasso Sea of plastic in the Northern Pacific. The expanse of waste products is approximately the size of Texas. No one wants to add their hand in this phenomena, but everything made of earth seems to be wrapped in plastic. Most of it ends up in the ocean.
Several nations have banned plastic bags outright and more have imposed a plastic bag charge. The vast majority of countries are oblivious to the rising tide of trash. Thailand's 7/11 are famed for packing purchases in several layers of plastic bags. One for the coke can, one for the straw, and one to insure the other two don't break is a classic example of the store employee to distribute plastic bags to millions.
Phuket has reacted to the complaints of beach goers to the plastic bags semi-buried in the sand like jellyfish doomed to never deteriorate. The city council has given major retailers the right to charge customers for plastic bags. The fee has succeeded in Ireland with a dramatic 90% drop in plastic bags. Of course the proper tactic would be banning them, however some people love their free plastic bags.
They make good Loy Krathong balloons.
Brooklyn Tony returns from school and says he got an F in
"Why?" asks the father.
The teacher asked ' How much is 2 x 3,' I said "6,'" replies
"But that's right!" says his dad.
"Yeah, but then she asked me ' How much is 3 x 2?'"
"What's the fucking difference ?" asks the father.
"That's what I said!"
My older brother works too much. He has a big house. I suspect he re-mortgaged it during the last 10 years. His son goes to an Ivy League school. His education is an investment, which is why my brother hit the roof, when I told him that Franka was visiting New York to see the country-western phenom Taylor Swift on SNL. Pissed at Franka because his grades were not great and pissed at me for being a bad influence.
I always thought that was my best attribute for the young.
"I'm not blaming you, but Franka thinks he's getting into medical school with a B in biology." My brother was in his office. It was Saturday. He had plans to work on Sunday. "I'm not here for my health. And I'm not really angry at you. Franka's a big boy. He makes his own decisions, but I have to pay for them."
He mentioned how much it cost to attend an Ivy League school. I could live very well on the tuition. I understood my brother's temper tantrum. I support two families. I eat left-over. More than twice a week.
"Franka has to do better in science." Bs were not good enough.
"we'll see how he does this semester." My brother buried himself under case files and I went to Durgin Park for lunch. I called Franka and told him about the visit to his father.
"Uncle Bubba, don't worry. I'm doing fine." He's 21. Most of his life is before him. My territory diminishes every day. Then again I didn't do well in school. It does take its toll.
Of course Franka could not study at all and hope to pass the
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Mrs Carolina 1995 and I were on a road trip. NYC-Maine. we stopped at Govonis Italian Restaurant, 521 Lost River Rd, North Woodstock, NH for a plate of veal and a couple of bottles of wine. it was biker weekend. A lot of leather. As we were fixing to leave, several of them warned, "Be careful about the moose."
"You want me to drive?" My driving scared Mrs. Carolina 1995.
"I been riding these roads since I was six." Most of them as a hitchhiker or backseat driver behind my father.
All the hotels were filled in Laconia. It was biker weekend. The only rooms were in Conway, 30 miles across the White Mountains. I drove along the Kankamangus Highway at 50. a safe speed on a full moon night. Nearing the pass I spotted movement in the underbrush.
No, moose. A whole tribe of them gamboled onto the road. I jammed on the brakes. They turned their heads with disdain, as they ambled across the road.
"Moose?" Mrs. Carolina 1995 eyed the passing herd.
"Moose." The biggest was a bull. 10 feet tall with 15-foot broad antlers. An accident with him would have been a fatality and the bikers back at Govonis could say, "He said he knew all about moose."
I drove away from the pass convinced that moose were the king of the road.
At least up north they own the road.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
The term 'generation gap' was coined during the tumultuous years following World War 2 as the focus of the American media swung from the conquerors of the Axis Powers to their spawn, the Baby Boomers. Big Crosby gave way to Elvis and the King was deposed by the Beatles. Each succeeding wave of teenagers have attempted to assassinate the influence of the previous generation and I now find myself adrift in a sea of ignorance when it comes to popular culture.
My last landfall was Nirvana.
The year was 1991.
Almost twenty years ago so when my nephew called from U Penn this summer, his request to aid him in meeting Taylor Swift seemed as hopeless as a homo sapiens asking a Neanderthal to drive a Lexus.
"Huh?" It's the only Neanderthal word to survive their extinction.
"Uncle Bubba, don't tell me you have no idea who Taylor Swift is?" His voice was rimed with pity. He called me by that name, as all my nieces and nephews have since they were babies. It sounded so cute back then.
"Let me guess." She didn't sound like a go-go dancer or porno starlet. Those names are tattooed on memory like hieroglyphics on the pyramids. Taylor Swift formed a face and then a career. Her cherubic features had graced the cover of People at the 7/11 check-out counter. "She's pretty."
"Is there any way you can help me meet her?"
I had known Franka all his life. He was genuine. I was the uncle with the connections. There was only one answer.
"I'll see what I can do."
Throughout the hot season I called my contacts in the music industry. They were powerless or worse regarded my story as a thin veil to meet the skinny blonde country singer. My friends know my type. Franka was resigned to his fate.
"I'll never meet her."
I had felt the same about Francoise Hardy. Her PREMIERE BONNE DU JOUR remains a French classic along with LE TEMP D'AMOUR. We met at a dinner in the 13e arrondisement. At 40 she was ravisssant. Her husband, Jacques, smoked a cigar. He thought he was a genius. Selling a couple of million records can blow up your head.
A trip to Thailand and I forgot about Taylor Swift. My wife is my only vixen. Chicken bone thin. Mem is my ideal.
Back in New York I worked selling diamonds. Somedays success. Others complete failure.
My cell phone rang in late-October.
"Uncle Bubba." It was Franka. He had not forgotten my pledge. "You have a friend a Saturday Night Live."
"The art director." We went back to a softball victory over the Upper West Side's best team in 1987. He was ten years younger than me. His latest award was an Emmy. Franka was supposed to be study medicine. His interest in the country western singer would have been spooky in any other person, but my nephew was too cool to be a stalker.
"Can you get us tickets to next week's show? Taylor Swift is the host."
I'll see what I can do." The art director was a friend. One of us had driven in the winning run of that game two decades ago. Neither of us could remember who that was.
Getting tickets to the show was tough. Taylor Swift was in demand. Kanye West almost shouted her off the stage of the MTV awards. White outrage translated into sales. She was everyone's girl.
"You don't really want to watch the show." The art director realized I was happy to sit backstage.
"Only certain sections. Like the opening." It was the best part of the show. If it sucked, then the rest of the show sucked too.
His job granted me wandering rights to SNL. My nephew was happy with this option, since the odds of his meeting Taylor Swift were greater in the working area than the third seat on the farthest right.
"What should I say when I meet her?" Franka actually believed this was a star-crossed rendezvous.
"Just be natural." This was good advice. Not great. Only good.
I mentioned the show to my older brother. He was not too happy about Franka's coming to see me. It was parents’ weekend at Penn. Tuition was 30K.
"Franka should be studying."
I agreed with my older brother, but left the decision to see the show with Franka. His mother called to say 'don't disappoint my son'. She knew how much seeing Taylor Swift meant to Franka. I was beginning to feel the pressure.
The night of the show Franka took the bus up from Phillie. We met at my apartment in Fort Greene. I explained to him about being back stage. "Be there but don't be in anyone's way. Don't say nothing to anyone, unless they say something first."
We were waved through the barriers at 30 Rock. Our names were on a list. The art director's son was waited for us at the elevator. I introduced him to my nephew. Franka blurted out his desire. Austin understood the situation. He was 18. They were of the same generation. Nothing they said made any sense and I wondered if they had been abducted by aliens. I retreated inside the offices for the opening.
Franka needed this moment alone and I was giving it to him as long as he was with Austin. He found me backstage with a glass in my hand. Austin's father was familiar with my needs.
"How was it?"
"It was awesome. You made my year. I might not have met her, but she walked a foot away from me." He grinned like a paparazzi finally capturing a photo of a reclusive celebrity. "She was so cool. She even smiled at me."
"Good." I had watched most of the show on a monitor. Taylor Swift smiled a lot. She had a pretty smile. Most 20 year-old beautiful country-western sensations are lucky that way. Austin's father proposed that we head over to the after-show party at Oceania, a restaurant not far from 30 Rock.
"Can we go?" Franka was enthused by the possibility of seeing his obsession another time. He also had a schoolmate in SNL. Jenny Slate. She had been funny that night.
It was past my bed hour. I had less than $20 in my pocket. There was only one answer.
The party was filled with show members, guests, and friends of the crew. I only knew Austin's father. He was speaking with the music director of MTV. I had nothing to add to their conversation and wandered out back to the table farthest from the action. A beer in my hand. Franka had one too. Austin wasn't drinking. We sat down and Franka recapped his evening to Austin. I was more than ready for bed, then saw the two boys' eyes light up like they were having an epiphany.
Taylor Swift was coming our way. She sat down at the table next to us. She was right next to me. She was speaking with Jenny Slate. The trial member of the cast waved to Franka. She remembered him from Milton Academy. Taylor was having trouble with her cell phone. This was his chance. I gave him the green light. So did Austin. Franka to the rescue. He fixed the problem and spoke with Taylor for two seconds. I heard him ask for a photo. I had my camera in my pocket. I took it out fast. Her security saw it in my hand. I had to act fast. The first shot was with fast. The second was perfect.
"I loved your show. Best wishes for your success." I told the star as her bodyguards assume their protective shield. She really was pretty. Her smile wasn't fake and I had liked her performance. Franka was in heaven. We went to find Austin's father. His conversation was over and he was ready to head back to Brooklyn.
Franka was good to go too.
He had accomplished his mission.
In the morning I made him breakfast.
"I don't know how I can go back to Penn and lead a normal life after last night."
"I don't know either, but you will find a way."
"Thanks, Uncle Bubba."
"No problem." I was only doing what men nicknamed Uncle Bubba are supposed to do.
Coming through with the impossible.
Monday, November 16, 2009
The power in Burma rests with the families of SLORC, the ruling junta. The generals' sons, daughters, and grandchildren have been blessed with the 'droit de seigneur' or the feudal rights of privilege over the masses of the oppressed, even those who are deemed valuable to the junta. Just last year the ultimate leader's grandson kidnapped a top fashion model to avenge a loss of face by his best friend. Her ransom was paid after three days. Rumor mills in the capitol say the price was taken in flesh. SLORC banned any mention of the abduction in the press or that the grandson likes Ecstasy.
“Sometimes, government intelligence services produce rumors as tactics of psychological warfare,” said a journalist in Rangoon who spoke on condition of anonymity. “Sometimes rumors come from rival groups among the ruling hierarchies.”
Interesting if true.
Then again no American newspapers commented on GW Bush snorting cocaine during his presidency.
Never touched the stuff.
But even old GW Bush was no kidnapper.
At least of women.
He was more into Arab men.
Photos of War are ugly. It is not a video game or a Hollywood re-make of THE A-TEAM. The US Military shoots over a billion bullets a year in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many of them hit their targets. Many more hit anyone in their path. And the smart bombs aren't much better. After two soldiers drowned in a Hindu Kush River, a coalition fighter bombed friendly forces searching for the missing men. It's all ugly and it won't get pretty, until someone has the courage to call for a cease-fire.
It's not a question of 'yes, we can' anymore. It's 'yes, we will'.
End the war.
Click on the photo to enlarge.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
"The face of Satan was here in Fallujah, and I'm absolutely convinced that that was true," said Lt. Col. Gareth Brandl, with the U.S. Marines fighting for control of the Iraqi city of Fallujah after discovering a torture pit in several houses. The year was 2004. The Marines had attacked the city after four KBR contractors had been ambushed on the Fallujah bridge and hung from the girders. They were protecting a convoy supplying an ESS catering operation servicing another KBR operation and no one has ever explained what KBR was doing in Fallujah.
Cleaning the water?
I have no fucking idea, but this organization is pure evil.
Still working for the USA.
“Torture is wrong, even when Americans do it.”
~ God , 2007-10-01
The US Defence Secretary has succeeded in stonewalling the release of American troops torturing terror suspects in the occupied territories of Afghanistan and Iraq. His request was backed by the Obama Administration on the grounds that the publication of such graphic photos could subject US soldiers to a greater risk than they already experience in those two countries. The ACLU has argued that that 21 of these images represent 'an important part of the historical record". In truth their release will shed more light on the widespread abuse of prisoners held by the US military without ever reveal the true extent of the CIA Rendition Program.
Murder, torture, blackmail ad nauseum.
"Say it ain't so."
GW Bush protested the drastic measures of the CIA, US Military, and their private contractors prevented acts of terror against America, especially through his Vice President Dick Cheney.
“In seeking to guard this nation against the threat of catastrophic violence, our administration gave intelligence officers the tools and lawful authority they needed to gain vital information.”
President Obama has supposedly closed the secret prison and detainee ships around the globe and said about the previous practices of the Bush Administration, “Our [former] government made decisions based upon fear rather than foresight and all too often trimmed facts and evidence to fit ideological predispositions. In other words, we went off course.”
Really far off course and Defense Secretary Robert Gates shows that off-course is someplace where the CIA and Pentagon feel really comfortable.
Win Lose or Draw.
My first major in college was Math. The field of study was chosen by mother. My 710 score in the Math SATs provided convincing proof that her second son was a future Einstein. She was not privy to the fact that I was smoking pot and dropping acid. Both opened my mind to the infinite, while reducing my ability to add and subtract. I survived the first two semesters. My grade for multi-variable calculus was a B-. Without the drugs it might have been a B.
I started an affair with a divorcee the summer between freshman and sophomore years.
Linda worked in the same office as my father. She wore lingerie. We had sex for hours twice a week in the back of my car. I moved into a small apartment near my college. Sex in a bed was better than in the back of a VW Bug. I drove taxi to pay the rent. My grades suffered, since my math class was at 8am. I missed most of them. My professor for linear algebra was Rene Marcuse. He could calculate missile trajectories in his head. My mid-term result was a D+. I showed up for the final two weeks of classes.
"Who are you?" He asked from the front of the class.
I told him my name.
"I thought you had withdrawn from the class." He was short and bald. A little overweight, but his eyes sparkled with an intelligent designed for NASA and not a pot-smoking underclassman.
"No." I explained that I was working to pay for school.
"You know you're in danger of failing?"
"Yes." I hadn't realized that you could pull out of a class mid-term. This was December. Too late to withdraw and my ignorance committed me to taking the final.
My crash cram failed to pierce the intricacies of determinant and vector spaces. I showed up at the final with the book in my hand. I cheated without any fear. I paraphrase the text regardless of the question. Two hours were more than enough. At the end of time I handed in my test.
"How you think you did?" Professor Marcuse asked staring at my textbook.
"Aced it." I went out and smoked a joint and then went to work. I didn't get home until 3am. I made over $70. This was good money in 1972 and would have to be. I read my test score on the math department wall.
"Aced it?" Professor Marcuse was standing behind me.
"Better than a zero." I was in danger of failing out of my college. My lottery number was 81. If i wasn't going to school, then I was headed for Viet-Nam. "But not good enough to keep me for of the Army."
"If you drop Math as a major. I'll give you a D-." Professor Marcuse was offering a lifeline and I took it. My mother was disappointed, but I sat out the war with Linda in my cold-water apartment and I thanked Rene Marcuse for keeping me a civilian.
Bad math would have determined another destiny.
Death and Sex.
Those are the two prime drives according to Freudians.
At the age of 57 death seems closer than sex, although I'm flying west to the East this coming Saturday. My wife will meet me at Bangkok airport with my son Fenway. I'll give him a big kiss and her a hug. Nothing more since my one year-old boy is very jealous. same as his father.
"Do you dream of me?" Mem asked over the phone. Her hand is softer than my cell. Her breath warmer than the plastic. Maybe I should get Nokia to construct a cellphone in her shape.
"Sometimes." It was a lie. She had never appeared to me in a dream, although I wished she would, since she is the only woman I want for the past couple of years.
"Do you dream about other women?" This was a trick question. Mem was a jealous woman. Even about phantoms. "You can tell me."
"No, I don't dream about other women." I didn't tell her about my long session with cyber-women on porno sites. "I only dream about you."
"Ko-Hok." She knew men well enough to hear a lie for what it was. "You make love to naked lady on computer. I know you."
"That not same as dream."
"Not dream. Not not dream too. You butterfly same all men."
I wanted to tell her that I was true, but my computer history would never lie.
I'd been with thousands of women in the past three months. some of them even had names.
"I'm true to you. I haven't touched another woman."
"You touch yourself thinking hand is someone else." Her English had improved in my absence. She wasn't going to school. Someone had to be teaching her. I made no accusations.
"No, only think my hand your hand." And this was true. "I only wish I had films of you, then I not have to look at another lady."
"Never. I not do this." She was a good girl now. I was Doctor Doolittle. She was Eliza. It was MY FAIR LADY in Thai. I told her good-bye and went to my favorite pornosite. www.lolastube.com. I clicked on skinny Asians. None of them looked like Mem. Not even close. It didn't matter, because Mem was right.
I am a butterfly.
Most people think that it is impossible to dream about your death. Common myth upholds to dream of your death would cause your own death, however most dreams of death symbolize a renewal of life or a change in the path of your destiny according to dream experts. Freudians regard all dreams interpret the two basic drives in life; sex and death.
I came close to dying in my dream after eating a potato taco in a small Mexican village. That night my stomach rumbled and my head was filled with danger. HP Lovecraft's THE TERROR AT INNSMOUTH is not the best story to read before sleep.
In my dream zombies chased me through a garden. I was trapped in a screened gazebo. Their fingernails scratched at the thin barrier.
"Stop." A dirt-covered zombie called out to his minions. "Tell me the secret of human life and we will let you live for another 60 seconds."
"The secret of human life?" I was stumped having only score a C in Philosophy 101, then it came to me. The secret of human life was that even though my end was goign to be horrible, I wanted those extra sixty seconds.
"I'm waiting." The undead's overlord was impatient and I rewarded his vice by waking up and saving the human race. I asked several psychic freinds for an interpretation of this dream. Most said that dying wasn't bad.
"But I didn't die. I only met dead people."
The majority considered this encounter to be the subconsciousness' way of grieving, except none of the zombies had been family members or friends or foe.
The only psychic who made any sense was an old gypsy woman on the Lower East Side.
"Some dreams don't mean anything. They just are. Same as death in life."
I beleived her words until dying in a series of dreams in 1982.
I died from nuclear blasts in New York, Moscow, and a Siberian airfield after making love with a Russian airwoman. The dreams occurred over a three month period during the Pershing missile deployment in Germany. I was living in Hamburg. The sex and death aspects of these dreams were overpowered by the premonition of impending doom. My fear of nuclear holocaust was superseded by the threat of a German pimp, who said that owed him 20,000 for having sex with one of his girls. Ilsa never said she was working. SS Tommy laughed, saying everyone in Hamburg was working for someone.
I fled northern Germany, leaving behind a car and apartment.
No nuclear bombs killed me and neither did SS Tommy.
Not in reality or my dreams.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
The Model from Paris has been predicting the end of the world since our re-connection on Facebook. The hand at the wheel of our doom is divine, however in the newly-released film 2012 the cause of the apocalypse are those pesky sun rays. Without any Sunblock 1000 the earth's core melts the tectonic plates. California slips into the Pacific as predicted by crackpots throughout the 20th Century.
Spectacular even on the small screen of my computer.
Of course most of the main characters survive the cataclysm.
Those Hollywood actors die hard and even the extras are tough.
If only I should be so lucky to be an extra in the earth's final hour.
I know Bruce Willis would find a way to save me.
Keith Haring lived in the East Village. He hung around with my girlfriend, Ann M. I saw him at various art galleries around the world. His paintings on dog boys on their knees found a niche in the market. He made millions and left it all to his friends and foundation. Keith was a good guy and probably would appreciate Jirapat Tatsanasomboon's stealing his image for his recent paintings for a show in Bangkok.
Plagiarism is a great compliment, although Ferrari didn't think so when I was knocking off their shirts and jackets.
Jirapat has incorporated traditional Thai heroes for his versions of works by Haring, Warhol, Jeff Koons, Robert Indiana and other pop icons. None of their lawyers have contacted him yet, but I'm sure Andy Warhol's foundation will come knocking.
Art is just not a man's name.
To see Jirapat Tatsanasomboon's work click on this URL
A reporter once asked Andy Warhol his opinion about art. The pop icon answered without hesitation. "It's a nice name for a man."
Warhol has been dead for years, yet his paintings have not lost their allure as evinced by the record prices his works achieved in the recent New York auction.
Millions upon millions for the estate of his friend Fred Hughes.
Proving that while you can't take it with you, just because you're dead doesn't mean you can't make money.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Staying with Latin.
Sitting at home with a bottle of wine.
In vino madidus
A paraphrase of Caesar's classic 'veni, vedi, vinci' or 'I came, I saw, I conquered'.
Adepto madidus means I came I drank I fell over.
We've all been Classical Latin at some time.
I've been to Cambodia's Koh Kong more times than I've been to Berlin. My passport is dotted with entry and exit stamps to and from the border town on the Gulf of Siam or Gulf of Thailand as the body of water is labeled on the maps of the Lonely Planet Guidebook. It's a quiet coastal town with a few beer bars and brothels servicing the local male population and those westerners who have missed the boat to Sihanoukville. The provincial peace has been threatened by the designs of Thailand's deposed PM Thaksin Shinawatra, who has announced big plans for Koh Kong.
Hotels, golf courses, and casinos.
The benefits of the modern world with 7/11s on every corner.
All the money going to his selfless effort to regain power in Thailand via his loyal red-shirted supporters.
Sad to say as close as Koh Kong is to Thailand, it's not Thailand and if there's one thing I've learned from Thais over my long years in that country they love Thailand and nowhere else. Of course Koh Kong had been once been a Thai frontier post. Maybe an actress can claim the city for Siam like one did the ruins at Angkor Wat.
Until then Thaksin would be well advised to study the classic palindrome 'Able I was ere I saw Elba'.
My old girlfriend's band BONGWATER recorded a great song THE POWER OF PUSSY in 1990. I couldn't find the lyrics online, but I bow to the beauty of a woman's honeypot. I never feel less like a man than when I'm within a woman to paraphrase a line from Wim Wender's KINGS OF THE ROAD. I worship pussy. Even more than beer, but I was surprised to hear that women in the UK are cosmetically altering their vagina to achieve a trim labia look.
The $5000 procedure is basically a female circumcision of what some women consider excess flesh or beef hangers in the parlance of British lager louts. The labioplasty is combined with a permanent defoliage of the pubic hair. The look of a Lolita for women of all ages. The operation hit over a 1000 in the UK. Numbers in the USA are unknown.
Some doctors aren't scared of promoting the operation.
"Essentially this is just about removing a bit of loose flesh, leaving behind an elegant-looking labia with minimum scarring. The procedure won't interfere with sexual function. Women want this for a number of reasons - some find it uncomfortable to ride a bike for instance, but for the majority it is aesthetic, that's true. Lads' mags are looked at by girlfriends, and make them think more about the way they look. We live in times where we are much more open about our bodies - and changing them - and labioplasty is simply a part of this."
I can only shake my head.
I had no choice about circumcision and have been seeking my foreskin from Boston's Beth Israel. it has to be there somewhere.
Butter was supplanted by margarine in the 1960s. Ads extolled its taste and the supermarkets priced the corn-based spread cheaper than butter. I refused to eat the shit. My mother and father wouldn't buy butter, so I used the money from my paper route to buy butter. I wouldn't give any to my sisters or brothers unless they joined the boycott against margarine. My father joined the rebellion after I had him taste mashed potatoes with butter.
"It tastes better."
Because it was real.
Wisconsin was the only state in the Union to back my fight. Margarine was declared illegal by its legislature. Marlon Brando furthered the cause by spreading butter on his female co-star's buttocks for the infamous anal entry scene in LAST TANGO IN PARIS.
Butter was all-purpose.
It spreads better.
My brother-in-law feels the same way and sent this email missive today.
Margarine was originally manufactured to fatten turkeys. When it killed the turkeys, the people who had put all the money into the research wanted a payback so they put their heads together to figure out what to do with this product to get their money back.
It was a white substance with no food appeal so they added the yellow coloring and sold it to people to use in place of butter. Both have the same amount of calories.
Butter is slightly higher in saturated fats at 8 grams; compared to 5 grams for margarine.
Eating margarine can increase heart disease in women by 53% over eating the same amount of butter, according to a recent Harvard Medical Study. Eating butter increases the absorption of many other nutrients in other foods.
Butter has many nutritional benefits where margarine has a few and
only because they are added! Butter tastes much better than margarine and it can enhance the flavours of other foods. Butter has been around for centuries where margarine has been around for less than 100 years .
Margarine on the other hand is very High in Trans fatty acids and triples risk of coronary heart disease, increases total cholesterol and LDL (this is the bad cholesterol) and lowers HDL cholesterol, (the good cholesterol), increases the risk of cancers up to five times, lowers quality of breast milk, decreases immune response, decreases insulin response, and here's the most disturbing fact.
Margarine is but ONE MOLECULE away from being PLASTIC and shares 27 ingredients with PAINT
The last test.
Purchase a tub of margarine and leave it open in your garage or shaded area. Within a couple of days you will notice a couple of things:
* no flies, not even those pesky fruit flies will go near it.
* It does not rot or smell differently because it has no nutritional value; nothing will grow on it. Even those teeny weeny microorganisms will not a find a home to grow. Why? Because it is nearly plastic. Would you melt your Tupperware and spread that on your toast?
And we are what we eat.
My work schedule from Thanksgiving to Christmas is seven days a week. I'm fine with those hours. More work. More money. Money I will spent next week when I fly from New York to Bangkok to see my families. The 9000-mile trip takes approximately 26 hours. Faster than my great-grand aunt Bert's journey by sea to Siam by about a half-year, but 25 hours longer than a 23-foot long asteroid's near-miss trajectory past Earth.
No one in charge of protecting the planet noticed its approach, yet astronomers said that the asteroid's impact on the surface wouldn't have been felt by 99.99999999% of the populace, since most of Object 2009 VA would have been vaporized in the atmosphere.
Saved again by our ignorance, then again everyone knows the world can't end until the Apocalypse.
The Bible says so and the Bible is the word of a bearded man in the sky.
Maybe Object 2009 VA was a warning shot across our bow.
HE is said to move in strange ways.
My older brother likes to tell a story at holiday dinners about my protesting against the Viet-Nam War. His version goes something like this.
“I was entering the commons and a group of anti-war demonstrators were lying on the ground pretending to be Vietnamese dead. I look down and there’s my brother. I said ‘hi’ as I stepped over him.”
I’ve been psychologically scarred each time my older brother tells this tale. Partially since I can’t recall the incident and somewhat hurt that he would not join me. Now my pain is nothing in comparison to the suffering of Agent Orange victims denied health care by the Pentagon or the parents of Vietnamese infants deformed by the Dow Chemical product. but the pain exists, especially as my efforts were not rewarded with true peace. Instead Le Doc Tho and Henry Kissinger negotiated a faux peace and the war continued to its inevitable end ie the fall of the corrupt Saigon government.
Undeterred by my defeat I have protested against every US incursion and war since my conversion to anti-violence in 1968. This pacific attitude was strictly relegated against the military-industrial complex, for I’ve always liked a good fight. even into my 50s.
Still my stance against the wars of this country has led to a campaign aimed at establishing a pension for long-time anti-war activist. My letters to the White House were ignored during the Bush years. Father and son. Clinton’s staff never returned an answer too. My petition was as popular with the Obama administration as a parole request from Leonard Peltier, the AIM activist sentenced to life for the cold-blooded murder of 2 FBI agents.
I’m not asking for much.
Just enough to allow my living in Thailand.
A mere $2000/month pension.
Saying it a million times has to be worth something.
The Great War of 1914-1918 ended on the 11th minute of the 11th hour or the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. My grandfather and grandmother were in France. They served as doctor and nurse with the Royal Canadian Medical Expedition. They came home with German helmets, bayonets, zeppelin debris, and medals as souvenirs of that horrible conflict. My grandfather died shortly after my birth, but my grandmother never spoke of her years tending to the wounded and dying soldiers. She never mentioned how the shooting went on well beyond the ceasefire hour, only how she met my grandfather and how they fell in love. Yesterday I toasted them both and thanked the stars that I've never had to fire a shot in anger and thanked the fallen for their sacrifice so that I remain a pacifist.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Millions of Americans voted for Barack Obama with the hope that the new president would withdraw our troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. This was far from an easy task. The USA likes the title of # 1. Any talk of downsizing the troop levels smacks of defeatism to the forward strategists of the Pentagon and resurrects images of the last helicopter leaving the US Embassy in Saigon.
Victory at any cost seems the only road open to Obama. His commander on the ground insists that a 'surge' will succeed in Afghanistan without acknowledging that tactic was wholly dependent on our bribing anti-Coalition forces to cut back on their attacks. Only this week the US Ambassador to Kabul expresses his concern about increasing troop strength without countering the corruption pandemic to the Karzai regime. He refused to comment on The Nation article accusing the USA of handing out hundreds of millions of dollars to Taliban factions to not cut US supply lines.
The British Empire suffered a rout in 1842 after refusing to pay an indemnity to a chieftain controlling the Khyber Pass. Only one soldier escaped that retreat. Over 16000 were not so lucky.
USSR Prime Minster Gorbachev announced that there is no way that the USA can win in Afghanistan and suggests that the Pentagon take advantage of the Kremlin's contacts in the Central Asian nation to effect a total withdrawal from Afghanistan.
"I think that what's needed is not additional forces. This is something that we discussed, too, years ago, and we decided not to do it. And I think our experience deserves attention."
The USSR fought a deadly war on its southern border.
No victory, but they were happy to get out of there.
I'm sure our troops would be too.
Bring them home.
The US House of Representatives passed the Democratic-sponsored Health Bill. The GOP criticized the reform plan as the end of capitalism in America. Far-right demagogues Glenn Beck and Russ Limbaugh asked their followers to protest this swing to the left. President Obama responded to their outcry by promoting the bill to the Senate, where his party has enough votes to enact the measure as long as Sen. Joe Lieberman remains true to his constituency.
If so then the USA will take a small step in dismantling an antiquated double-tier health program in which the insurance companies act as a buffer between patients and medical care. The GOP are marshaling their their forces in hopes of filibustering the Health Care Act, but judging from the shouts of 'Wall Street Sucks' from the hundreds of thousands of Yankee fans gathered to greet their World Series champs along Lower Broadway, they seem to have misjudge the country's love of capitalism.
Another job well-done
Monday, November 9, 2009
It's not difficult to make a woman happy.
A man only needs to be
1. a friend
2. a companion
3. a lover
4. a brother
5. a father
6. a master
7. a chef
8. an electrician
9. a carpenter
10. a plumber
11. a mechanic
12. a decorator
13. a stylist
14. a sexologist
15. a gynaecologist
16. a psychologist
17. a pest exterminator
18. a psychiatrist
19. a healer
20. a good listener
21. an organizer
22. a good father
23. very clean
WITHOUT FORGETTING TO:
45. give her compliments regularly
46. love shopping
47. be honest
48. be very rich
49. not stress her out
50. not look at other girls
AND AT THE SAME TIME, YOU MUST ALSO:
51. give her lots of attention, but expect little yourself
52. give her lots of time, especially time for herself
53. give her lots of space, never worrying about where she goes
IT IS VERY IMPORTANT:
54. Never to forget:
* arrangements she makes
HOW TO MAKE A MAN HAPPY
1. Show up naked
2. Bring alcohol
This entry is thanks to Comrade Pollack.
The revolution will only be videotaped.
Communism is dead, but the 2003 comedy GOODBYE LENIN brings back the good old days for a young man's mother, who has coming out of a coma after the fall of the Berlin Wall. She had been a loyal party member and the doctors fear that she couldn't handle the new reality, so her son recreates the old world for her.
A good fun film for anyone who can read subtitles.
In 1988 I had a series of dreams about nuclear annihilation. The first one was situated in New York. the sirens sounded the alarm and thousands of east Villagers headed to the subway for shelter. There wasn't room for all of us. Someone pointed to the sky and I could see a black missile falling earthward.
The next was in Moscow. The populace filed into trains with calm order and got off at the next station to allow other passengers to continue their hopeless exodus.
The third was at a Siberian airfield. I was making love with a Red Air Force female pilot. The sirens sounded once more. She excused herself from my embrace and ran to her bomber parked outside the dacha. I watched her take off moments before mushrooms clouds rose over the tundra.
I liked the last dream best, but I always thought you weren't supposed to die in your dreams.
Guess I was wrong.
"Ich bin en Berliner."
These words were spoken by JFK before the grim barrier in 1961.
I stood at the wall in 1982. Its shabby concrete was graffiti-splattered on the Western side. The other side was a no-man's land of mines, dogs, and guard towers. I crossed over to East Berlin via Checkpoint Charlie. I was immediately struck by the amount of parking available on the streets. Beer was plentiful and cheap. food was good and even cheaper. There was nothing to buy in the shops, so I spent my deutschmarks on beer for the locals. They grumbled 'danke' like they were stuck with communism for the rest of their lives.
Hope sprung anew with Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan gave this speech at the UN.
"We welcome change and openness; for we believe that freedom and security go together, that the advance of human liberty can only strengthen the cause of world peace. There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace. General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization, come here to this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"
Nothing happened that day and no one expected the Berlin Wall to fall. Its missiles were pointed at the USA and the West. They numbered in the thousands. The hard-liners refused to grant any liberties to the masses. George Bush was more concerned with the Contras in Central America than the Kremlin. Americans were geared for another 50 years of Communist rule over Eastern Europe, yet in one night a faceless bureaucrat shrugged off the iron curtain draped over East Germany and ordered the Berlin Wall to be open for passage between the two worlds at war.
The domino effect was instantaneous. East Germans flocked to the West in wonder. Poland was liberated by Solidarity. The Balkans fought off the old guard and Russia splintered into pieces.
Communism was dead.
George Bush and the GOP claimed the victory.
Democracy was safe.
But even safer was capitalism and as Slavoj Zizek wrote a brilliant opinion piece in today's New York Times celebrating the end of communism in Eastern Europe while recognizing that the collapse of communism was not complete and neither was the triumph of capitalism a victory for the people of the world.
The richer got rich and then got richer.
Both in the New East and the Old West.
So today I'm wearing an old Moscow Dynamos Hockey shirt.
My keys are on a communist key chain.
And my heart is a little pink, but not hued by the blood of Stalin.
Communism failed because there never was communism.
Not in Russia and not in China.
And never in the USA.
Not even under Obama.
But the revolution lives on.
No matter what anyone says.
Across the causeway was the Oak Beach Inn. A large clam shack serving the drunk drivers from everywhere but Oak Beach. On the weekends the parking lot was packed with fast cars and the inlet between Jones Beach and the outer shore barrier island was buzzing with even faster boats. Most of the boaters were drunk too.
There was great friction between the two groups, although none of it mattered to me, since I would only go there on my old 1907 Yamama XS 650. An ugly bike. Still it ran better than most and I loved riding the causeway to the Oak Beach Inn. I'd have a beer and watch the action on the water.
Near-misses were frequent. Boaters regularly ignored the inlet's speed limit. Most of the non-locals didn't realize the speed limit was to prevent boaters from running into shifting sand bars or hidden submersibles. I saw two boats slam into a sand bar within five minutes of each other. The second driver ignoring the first stranded boat. The best was the time a Scarab throttled into the inlet full power. Everyone on the deck expected him to execute a showy stop, but the boater kept coming. So fast it was too late for anything to happen other than a collision. People stepped away from the edge of the deck. Luckily the boater didn't miss a sunken deadhead and split the prow of his speedboat.
A good laugh for all, since no one was hurt.
The Oak Beach Inn is now closed.
The residents of Oak Beach are happy.
And maybe that's for the best, because boats are only faster now. And people are bigger assholes.