Wednesday, November 28, 2012

THE DEATH OF ME by Peter Nolan Smith

Last December I attended the opening of the "Dream' exhibition at Luxembourg's Mudam Museum. Madame l'Ambassador bailed from the event early for a formal dinner with diplomats. I was not invited for supper. "It's a diplomatic thingee." Madame l'Ambassador explained, as we walked through a thickening fog to the waiting Jaguar. "I understand." A writer-in-residence has to understand his place in the scheme of plans. Francois the driver opened the right-hand rear door for Madame l'Ambassador. It was the safest seat in the back of the car. He asked if I needed a lift back to the city. The museum was located on the opposite side of the gorge running through the city. I had traversed it several times on foot and refused his offer.

"You go with Madame. I'll be fine." After all I am simply the guest writer.

I lingered at the soiree for another half hour. The crowd was young and artistic. The curator waved to me. The amiable Italian was chatting to an aristocratic couple in their 70s. Patrons of the museum were much more important than a well-unknown writer and I ordered a beer. The bartender poured it into a special glass with reverence. Mittel Europe worshipped its beers.

I leaned at the bar and studied the passing faces. The queue at the bar seemed contently unconcerned by the chaos of the Euro. Their luxurious clothing cloned the bare threads of down-and-out artists, then again Luxembourg has the highest individual income in Europe and even the poor are rich in comparison to America.

The first beer had gone down quick and I ordered a second.

Luxembourg doesn't possess the ancient heritage of Belgium's Trappist beers, but their offerings are better than the Bud of the USA. The grand duchy also marked the highest beer consumption per capita in 1993 with an unbeatable score of seventeen beers for each man, woman, and child in the tiny country. A light-weight in my late-50s I put down my third beer and called it a night. The alcohol content of 6.7% was strong enough for a fourth to knock me off my feet and I had a good walk ahead to the upper city across the canyon.

Outside the I.M. Pei structure was shrouded by a gloomy fog. I skirted the spectral display of shadow and light, remembering my High School German teacher's telling the class the word for fog.

"Nebel." Bruder Karl spoke with a muted thunder.

Nebel coupled with Spiegel became fog and mirrors, the mystic atmosphere for magic and the intrigues of the Gestapo.

No one else challenged the deepening murk and I descended through the reconstructed fortifications in a silence of darkness. The Mudam disappeared into the gray murk. I followed the switchbacking trail like a man going blind. A train sounded its whistle on the tracks below. It was the 7:43 from Troisvierges.

Luxembourg had housed thousand of soldiers during its reign at the Gibraltar of the North. This path from Fort Thungen would have been travelled by hussars, dragoons, and mercenaries back in the 17th Century. Tonight my footsteps ricocheted unanswered against the stone ramparts.

The slurry of leaves crossed my path and I thought about a film a friend of mine who had made here several years ago. The story concerned a director casting a real vampire in his film. My friend Bill had played a vampire. The city's medievalism had lent the movie's exterior scene an unexpected aura of horror and this evening I glanced around me with a rising apprehension.

I was all alone.

The city was old.

I no longer believe in God, but I had watched enough vampire movies to know that I offered a fairly easy target for a bloodsucker. Were-wolves were not a worry. The earth was in the middle of the synodic month.

A twig cracked in the surrounding woods. Something was out there in the forbidding shadows. I wished for a sword, instead I bracketed a set of keys in the knuckles of my right hand.

A single pinpoint of light broke through the swirling overcast. Venus was too bright to be to be a star and I salvaged a little confidence by sighting a familiar object in the night sky. When my eyes dropped to Earth, a lisping wind scrapped the bare branches to chant an incantation from a time before electricity.

My pace accelerated to reach the tunnel underneath the bastion. A shiver scrapped a dull razor against the skin of my spine. My cellphone dimly illuminated the black passage of stone. Running would have been a sign of fright and creatures of the night prey on the weak. I arrived on the other side and the 7:45 train to Wiltz raced beneath the steep embankment. The smooth cobblestones gave way to gravel and the trail bore the ruts of wagons.

A rusting grate blocked the tunnel under the railroad tracks. Something inhuman was in the trees. I hopped over the metal fence and bushwhacked through the underbrush to the tracks. I looked both ways and clambered across the double set of steel rails to the other side.

I safely reached the street ten seconds later.

A streetlight glowed overhead.

My cell rang. It was Francois the driver. He asked if I was all right.

"Okay." The word meant the same in English as in French.

"Sure?" Madame l'Ambassador was concerned that something bad might have happened to me. She was a longtime friend. We shared mutual acquaintances. Neither of us wanted anything bad to happen to me on her watch.

“Fine, I'll be back at the residence within fifteen minutes. Thank the ambassador for asking." It was a nice feeling to know someone care and also that a good scare makes a man feel alive and that's 100% better than being killed by vampires any night of the week.


Punk died before Disco. The next alternative defender of rock and roll was the New Wave, which combined electronic and experimental music with a minimal beat. Bands such as The Psychedelic Furs, Simple Minds, and Echo and The Bunnymen achieved critical and financial success during the early 80s, however American New Wave acts were shut out of the surge. TuxedoMoon, a San Francisco Post Punk group, had attained a modicum of fame within the USA, although not enough to satisfy their egos or pockets and the band emigrated to Belgium hoping to break into the European market.

Sell-out concerts Paris, Berlin, and Milan did not translated into box office boffo in America and the group toured the States in abject poverty. Battered vans and second rate-hotels were complemented by long road trips to isolated college towns always in hope of a lucky break. Few came their way in the Lower 48.

The group played the Bains-Douches in 1983. I was working the door at that fabled Paris nightclub. I saw two great SRO shows. After a tumultuous encore the band retired to dining room. I offered drinks to Steven Brown and Blaine L. Reininger. We knew each other through mutual friends.

"How was your last tour?" I was avoiding America. Reagan was in power and the NYPD Internal Affairs had a few questions to ask me about pay-offs to the 20th Precinct. The Atlantic acted as a good buffer zone between me and them.

"College campuses loved us. New York and LA too. Only problem is that the record companies could figure out what to do with us." Steven was eying the blonde bartender. She smiled at him. Corinne was a darling.

"It's not like you're Top 40." I loved their songs The Stranger, Scream With a View, and What Use?/Crash. No Tears should have been a hit in 1978, although 'no tears for the creatures of the night' stood little chance against Andy Gibbs SHADOW DANCING.

"We never said we wanted Top 40." Steven protested, starting an argument between Blaine and him about band direction. Within a minute they agreed that they were not destined to replace the BeeGees.

"Strangest Top 40 experience on the trip was during our drive through Tennessee. Wintertime in those hills the roads get dangerous. Snow, ice, and fog." Steven sounded like he did most of the driving.

"Don't forget the mountains." Blaine held the horror of the suicide seat close to his heart.

"One afternoon I'm driving from Knoxville to Johnston City."

"I know that highway." I had hitchhiked it in the summer of 1975. "Pretty country in August."

"Bare trees and blowing snow in January." Steven's words were a granite testimony to the highway's treachery in bad conditions.

"Fog too." Blaine was feeding lines to Steven. They were poets as well as musicians. "No one else on the road."

"Hit a stretch where I could see much, except a glow in the mist. Then we spot an accident. Three cars torn to shreds. One was on fire and a man lay on the highway."

"We missed him by inches." Steven and Blaine had transported me to that interstate by imitating the screech of brakes. "We stopped and walked back. Everyone was dead. Four people. Couldn't tell what had happened, only something bad. We drove another mile to the exit, where we pulled into a diner. There were two waitresses, a cook, and a few customers inside. Blaine called the cops, as I told them what we had seen and the waitress put down her apron said accidents happen there all the time. She went over to the jukebox and dropped in a quarter."

"Played B-5." Blaine was the straight man.


"Biggest crossover hit in 1980.

"Number 1 in the USA and UK."

"You could always do it as a cover." I loved covers.

"We don't do covers."

And they never had a #1 hit like ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST, but I loved them still.

To hear NO TEARS go to this URL

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

THE FOG November 2012

Shannon Greer captured the morning fog lingering off the Southern California coast. There are no ghost ships within the fog, only within our minds thanks to John Carpenter's movie THE FOG. It did not star Kurt Russell, but Jamie Lee Curtis had a role. I think she survived to the end.

Man Or Beast

The bedroom in my old East Village apartment faced an air-shaft. One summer evening I had to listen to a woman in the throes of pleasure for hours. My hillbilly girlfriend hollered for her to shut up. She was more the quiet type. The same scenario repeated itself night after night. Moving into the living slightly eased the noise. My girlfriend and I figured the woman was living two stories above us and my friend was giving her the business. My girlfriend wanted me to speak with him and the next morning I confronted Bill on the stairs. "We need to talk." "Yeah, we do." "Can you do something about your girl's screaming?" "My girl's screaming? I thought it was you." "No, it's not me." "Well, if not you, then who?" The door opened for the fourth floor apartment and out stepped two very content-looking females. One was petite and the other was three times the man Bill and I would ever be in this lifetime. We moved out of their way. Even back in the 70s a man knew his place amongst his betters.

Monday, November 26, 2012

A Letter For Ralph

Last October Ralph Jawad of Ralph's Meats on Lafayette Street in Fort Greene was arrested by the NYPD for possession on marijuana and two guns. The neighborhood mayor is out on bail after a period of incarceration on Riker's Island. The NY Post today heralded the approach of legal marijuana sales in New York, yet Mayor Bloomberg continues to target smokers and low-level dealers rather than the pharmaceutical companies selling oxycondin and countless other prescription killer drugs. We demand freedom for Ralph. If you live in Fort Greene, please write a letter to Ralph to help his defense with your contact information and bring it to Ralph's asap. Just follow the steps below. 1. Introduction: Who You Are. What you do for a living and for how long. 2. How You Know Ralph: For how long, and relationship, neighbor, landlord, 3. Give Specific Examples: i.e. good things he’s done, his reputation, honest etc. 4. Provide a good contact number, email, & / or address" Free the Ralph. It's the neighborhood thing to do.

Christo's Pyramid

The world-famous wrapper Christo has announced his newest project, MASTABA, a multi-colored pyramid constructed of hundreds of thousands of oil barrels. The $339 million structure will be erected in the Abu Dhabi desert as a permanent tourist attraction for the wealthy emirate. The height will beat out that of the Great Pyramid of Giza and according to the Daily Mail Christo said: 'When the sun rises, the vertical wall will become almost full of gold.' What's more amazing than the scale of his pyramid is that Christo found financing for this folly. My good friend Kenny Schacter felt that there was a myriad of better ways to spent money than this waste of effort in a desert. Fans of Christo claim that the project will employ numerous people, creative and otherwise as well as that the money spent by Christo will go into the pockets of regular people, and inspire millions. An equal amount of money is spent in one night at a large auction, often taking art out of public view and doing no good for anyone except those who have more than enough money already and that society benefits as a result. One woman asserted that Christo ALWAYS and ENTIRELY self-finances his projects. He raises funding from the sale of his drawings and then pays a very good wages to young artists to fabricate and build. I personally think it would have been better to buy 14125 fully loaded Prius 2s and gathered them together in a multi-colored circle to give them away to a waiting horde or donate nearly two million children multi-colored computer tablets instead of glorifying the addiction to oil. But what do I know about Art?

Yet Another Facebook Hoax

We are suckers for thinking that we are smart enough to fool the machine and this weekend thousands if not millions of facebook users posted the following warning in hopes of protecting their privacy. "In response to the new Facebook guidelines I hereby declare that my copyright is attached to all of my personal details, illustrations, comics, paintings, professional photos and videos, etc. (as a result of the Berner Convention). For commercial use of the above my written consent is needed at all times! (Anyone reading this can copy this text and paste it on their Facebook Wall. This will place them under protection of copyright laws. By the present communiqué, I notify Facebook that it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute, disseminate, or take any other action against me on the basis of this profile and/or its contents. The aforementioned prohibited actions also apply to employees, students, agents and/or any staff under Facebook's direction or control. The content of this profile is private and confidential information. The violation of my privacy is punished by law (UCC 1 1-308-308 1-103 and the Rome Statute). Facebook is now an open capital entity. All members are recommended to publish a notice like this, or if you prefer, you may copy and paste this version. If you do not publish a statement at least once, you will be tacitly allowing the use of elements such as your photos as well as the information contained in your profile status updates." debunked the validity of this posting and suggested that people chill out about their privacy since most facebook members tell all and say all, but if they are truly concerned about this issue, there are three remedies; 1. Do not subscribe to Facebook 2. Bilaterally negotiate a modified policy of privacy with Facebook 3. Cancel your Facebook account My course of action is to do nothing and pretend that nothing I am is of interest to anyone other than myself. No commercial value, no sell-out - James Steele

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Texas We Love It

Janis Joplin came from Beaumont, Texas. She was an early bloomer and the U Texas campus newspaper wrote about her, "She goes barefooted when she feels like it, wears Levi's to class because they're more comfortable, and carries her Autoharp with her everywhere she goes so that in case she gets the urge to break into song it will be handy. Her name is Janis Joplin." The singer didn't finish school and headed out to San Francisco to become an icon of rock. About 116,000 Texans are feeling the same after the re-election of President Barack Obama. They have signed a petition for secession from the Union to show their unhappiness with the present state of the USA. Their leader Larry Scott Kilgore has stated on his website, "Secession! All other issues can be dealt with later.” Mainstream media has been enthralled by the talk of leaving the States, even though the signatories amount to .006% of the voting populace of the Lone Star State. By law any petition over 25,000 signatures require a response from the White House. Disgruntled voters in Alabama, Florida, Colorado, Louisiana and Oklahoma have joined the trickle of madmen seeking independence from the mightiest nation on Earth. The last secession didn't work out so good for the South. The 20th Maine stopped General Hood's Texan dead in their tracks at Gettysburg. The Texas petition reads: Given that the state of Texas maintains a balanced budget and is the 15th largest economy in the world, it is practically feasible for Texas to withdraw from the union, and to do so would protect it's citizens' standard of living and re-secure their rights and liberties in accordance with the original ideas and beliefs of our founding fathers which are no longer being reflected by the federal government. I only have a few words for these 'cess' mad rebels. Remember the 20th Maine and secede in your mind. No one will notice that you're gone. Unlike Janis Joplin. She still rocks. To hear COMBINATION OF THE TWO, please go to the following URL

The What Button

A Parisienne friend was at the Doors at the Paris Museum of Modern Art and discovered that someone had added new images to the men and femmes bathrooms. I played ignorant and asked, "What's the dot over the F line?" Ruth responded immediately, "Seriously? We need to talk. "Is it something mythical? "The on button for a woman." "Where's the off button?" I have certainly never found one with any woman I met over my sixty years of life. "Why would you want one?" Ruth was mystified by my query. "So I would know that a woman loves me for just me." In truth I should have answered 'a desire for peace and quiet'/ "The button is not a spot I reckon you could be loved for your brain and how it has you coordinating your Self and your "Id"." I loved how women have no idea what men think, for I have no Id only an idiot button which get's turned on after six beers. I am a simple man.

Black Friday Beer

On Black Friday millions of Americans hit the shopping malls to purchase electronics and toys marked down for the kick-off of the Xmas shopping season. The term 'black Friday started with Philadelphia retailers describing the four-week period as one that turned the red on their books into black. The BBC estimated that nearly half America will join the consumer frenzy this weekend. I refrained from the frenzy and on Black Friday purchased two cans of beer from Ralph's Meats on Lafayette Street in Fort Greene. They went down so good that I'm thinking of drinking some more today. Happy Holidays. ps the bronze Ballantine beer cans are from Jasper Johns.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

In Vino Veritas or Oblivio

Back in the summer of 1985 I resided at a small hotel on the grounds of Osbourne House, Victoria's palace on the Solent. I shared a cottage with Vonelli, a retired CIA agent. He said that he was an art dealer. No one believed him, but the hotel was a special place A Danish guest had heeded his Harley Street doctor's advice to eliminate vodka from his diet and decided to take the cure on the Isle of Wight. At the hotel Kurt instructed the help to only serve rose wine. He wore the same kaftan every day. It was summer and a warm summer for the south of England. His outfit smelled of a trapped animal. Staying in the dining room was difficult, however sleep was difficultized by the long hours of sunlight. In the very early morning I descend to the dining room for a solstice breakfast. The Viking blonde sea captain was sitting with his lovely Saudi Princess wife. It got toney on the ground of the royals. Kurt's elocution was already in deep distress. At his feet lay four empty bottles. By day's end he would have consumed 14-16 bottles by himself. Nearly dusk his dutiful wife would lift Kurt to his feet. Staggering toward the stairs he would look over his shoulder and say, "You're all shit." "He's not wrong." Vonelli was all for telling the truth. "I guess not." We drank wine, but not like Kurt. And tomorrow morning he would be waiting in the dining room with four bottles at his feet. In vino veritas – Pliny the Elder In more wine more truth – James Steele In magma vino oblivio - Me

A STORY OF O by Peter Nolan Smith

In 1994 Crazy Santa Klaus had a special guest card to the Russian Baths on East 10th Street. Opening time was 8Am. The steam room crew began to heat the river boulders at 6am. The two-ton stones glowed red by 7:20. Crazy Santa Claus was in the dry steam room at 7:21. He was a rich junkie, who was the last family member of an 18th century fortune. Heroin had not ruined his sense of entitlement.

As a permanent member I could have entered the Baths at that bastardly hour, except my alarm clock was set for the opening. At 8:10 I exited from my apartment two doors down from the entrance with a towel over my shoulder and strolled east at the Wall Street workers strutted west.

I was a routine every day of the year and I read the seasons with every step, witness Fall’s surrender to Winter, the snow on the sidewalk, the ornamental pears blooming in Spring and the return of the hot sticky summer.

I liked the look on the faces of the day workers headed to the subway. Their eyes asked where I was going. The Baths weren’t for everyone. It was a temple to cleanliness and rejuvenation, in which the weight of a night’s hard drink evaporated after 30 minutes in the 180F heat. Every morning I entered and spotted Crazy Santa Clauson the top tier of the heat room. His white beard remained fluffy despite the Venusian temperature, then again his body fat ranged at zero.

I knew the Jersey heir to a deodorant fortune through my Uncle Carmine. Crazy Santa Claus had a small room in Uncle Carmine’s basement. The walls were covered with hippie posters.

Crazy Santa Claus’ real name was John Lyon. His other alias for the addicts of the Lower East Side was Junkie John. He was a sucker. His family had big money. Crazy Santa Claus had assets

I helped him turn $80,000 of stock into gold coins, which wasn't an easy thing to do in 1993, since the Feds were hunting drug dealers laundering money. Collecting the coins took a little time. I asked Uncle Carmine, if I should fuck him.

“He’s going to get $2 million at 50.” Uncle Carmine was patient. “We’ll get him then. He promised to take care of me.”

Trusting junkies was a losing proposition.

Crazy Santa Claus lost the gold coins to his crackhead girlfriends within a month. We hadn’t spoken since the sale.

The near-albino nodded, as I sat opposite him in the gaseous vapors hovering under the basement ceiling.Crazy Santa Claus’ skin was parched dry as a Death Valley corpse. Junkies like vampires don’t sweat, unless they are jonesing.

“Hot, huh?”

“Always hot this hour.”

“You wanna smoke some O?” Somewhere in his head I suspected that I had ripped him off. He wasn’t man enough to blame himself and stood up with a towel around his waist.

“It’s a little early.” I was wearing a matching towel and my own flip-flops. The ones at the Baths were cheap. Like wearing wooden shoes.

“No one’s here and anyone who is here let’s me do what I want. My money buys freedom.”

I remembered how he talked about his money. I should have left, but followed him to the front of the Baths. I hadn’t smoked opium for years. We entered the bathroom and he pulled out a glass stem. We lit up a small ball of black tar. The Chinese had run thousands of opium dens in New York. Chinese rocks had closed most of them, but this morning Crazy Santa Claus had opened one on East 10th Street. The aroma was Golden Triangle, however the country of origin was Mexico.

Tijuana black.

I faked my inhale. John like most junkies only cared about his high. The heroin flitted through his blood and he sagged against the wall. His rush lasted 30 seconds. I went upstairs to say my good-byes to the owner.

“Where is Crazy John?” The owner had another name for Crazy Santa Claus.

“In the bathroom?”

I nodded wiping the sweat from my face. A little of the D was running in my arteries. Work would be tough for the first hour.



“I will make sure that he doesn’t die.” Dead people were never good for business.

“I could care less.” That was the drugs talking and a little bit me too. We both spoke the same language. Selfish to the bone.

Band Reunion of Bad Boys

That Thursday had been a long day at the diamond exchange. Manny was worried about money and Richie Boy had shown up late schitzkah or drunk. His son was our big earner.

"Nice to see you." His father checked his watch. It was after noon.

"Same for me." His eyes the color of deviled ham and vodka vapors fuming from his flesh. Last night he had dined with clients. Entertaining customers was tough on the body

"Huh?" Manny at age 80 hears 10% of a normal person. I don't let him answer the phone.

"Richie needs some OJ." I used to be Richie Boy's co-pilot. Nowadays I went home just as his customers wanted to have fun.

"And a bacon and egg sandwich. Don't forget the cheese."

"You got it." I knew how he felt, because I had deja-vued too many mornings in the past. The rest of the day passed as fast as a train being dragged across a swamp by oxen. None of us made a sale and Manny decided to close early for once.

"Thank, Dad." Richie Boy was very grateful. He had a busy tomorrow. "Two customers for $200,000." The profit would pay a chunk of our debt and my weekly salary. We left the store and Richie Boy headed home to his wife. Pillow time was his desired destination. I walked over to Grand Central Terminal for a bowl of oyster stew at the Oyster Bar. The train station was bustling with commuters rushing to their platforms. I turned on the western steps to avoid the rush of suburbanites and caught sight of a spectral apparition amongst the well-fed faces.

The man was gaunt and grey.

His head lowered in a heroin nod.

I stopped in his path, thinking I was seeing the ghost of William Burroughs.

Over the years I had spotted the grey eminence of heroin shuffling across Grand Central Terminal. It had been close to where the infamous novelist scored his drugs. He didn't know my name. In fact he knew nothing about me other than we shared the same affliction, mine a mere shadow of his colossal addiction. Still he had acknowledged our affiliation with a finger to his head and for a second I expected the same from the approaching man, except he was not William Burroughs, who had been dead for years. The phantasm was familiar for another reason. It was my old friend, Davy, who was younger than me by a decade, but looked twice my age, although just as likely to survive every person in the terminal with a junkie's determination. I almost let him walk by, then called out his name.

Davy's yellow teeth gleamed in the half-light of the sunset streaming through the terminal's cathedral windows.


"You look good." I would have said the same about anyone whom I thought was dead.

Davy was happy that I didn't ask many questions. Even happier that I didn't ask him if he was holding any dope. I would have loved some. A little smoke would take away the pain of being in New York without my family.

I mentioned a soiree featuring punk rock. "Emily and Pat are showing their film NIGHTCLUBBING at NYU." Davy had loved punk rock, but said, "I really don't go out much anymore."

"Neither do I." We had our reasons. His were more believable than mine. "I have a picture of you, Barney, and Phillip. We look like an old rock band re-uniting for an oldies tour. I'll send you a copy."

"I'd like that." My friend bid me farewell.

I wanted to say that I wouldn't tell anyone about seeing him, for the mention of his name sets everyone's heads to shaking. He's a bad boy, but he's still alive and I am glad for that, for there are too few bad boys around these days and one day I might need to ask him for help, because my days of being a bad boy aren't over, simply delayed to a time near death. My wife thinks that date is years away. For my son's sake I hope she's right. I wanted to live to 78.

Fenway would be 20 then.

And Mem, my wife, only 46.

Ah, youth.

So fleeting and wasted on the young.

You Can't Put Your Arm Around A Memory

In May 1984 I ran into Johnny Thunders in Paris. He was playing at the Gibus club outside Republique. His manager was a German drug dealer. I owed Chris $200 for an 8-ball I had bought in 1982. It hadn't been half-bad. "You have to pay me." The German thought he was a tough guy. "Or else." "Fuck off." Paris was my city. "You think I'm joking." "No, but fuck off anyway." I had a black gang backing me. The Buffaloes came from the concrete suburbs. Johnny liked that I had told his manager to piss off. "Fucking kraut."

"That's right, you don't owe nothing for New York in Paris." We went to a cafe on the Canal St. Martin. A dealer gave us a couple of bags. The powder was brown. China White was impossible to find in Paris.

I was never friends with Johnny, but I loved YOU CAN'T PUT YOUR ARMS AROUND A MELODY. At dawn we bid each other farewell with a nod. He went his way and I went mine. Several years later I was saddened to hear of his death in New Orleans. I suspected foul play. Johnny was a cold stone junkie. Nothing could kill him. Certainly not drugs.

Two years ago I found this posting on Facebook from Patricia Jarozynski.

"Many rumors surround Thunders' death at the St. Peter House in New Orleans, Louisiana in April 1991. He apparently died of drug-related causes, but it has been speculated that it was the result of foul play. According to the autobiography Lobotomy: Surviving the Ramones, Dee Dee Ramone took a call in New York the next day from Stevie Klasson, Johnny's rhythm guitar player. "They told me that Johnny had gotten mixed up with some bastards... who ripped him off for his methadone supply. They had given him LSD and then murdered him. He had gotten a pretty large supply of methadone in England, so he could travel and stay away from those creeps - the drug dealers, Thunders imitators, and losers like that."

What is known for certain is that Johnny's room (no. 37) was ransacked and most of his possessions were missing (passport, makeup, clothes). Rigor mortis had set in with his body positioned in an unnatural state, described by eyewitnesses as "like a pretzel", underneath a coffee table. Friends and acquaintances acknowledge he had not been using heroin for some time, relying on his methadone prescriptions. The police did not open a criminal investigation.

Singer Willy DeVille, who lived next door to the hotel in which Thunders died, described his death this way:

"I don't know how the word got out that I lived next door, but all of a sudden the phone started ringing and ringing. Rolling Stone was calling, the Village Voice called, his family called, and then his guitar player called. I felt bad for all of them. It was a tragic end, and I mean, he went out in a blaze of glory, ha ha ha, so I thought I might as well make it look real good, you know, out of respect, so I just told everybody that when Johnny died he was laying down on the floor with his guitar in his hands. I made that up. When he came out of the St. Peter's Guest House, rigor mortis had set in to such an extent that his body was in a U shape. When you're laying on the floor in a fetal position, doubled over - well, when the body bag came out, it was in a U. It was pretty awful."

An autopsy was conducted by the New Orleans coroner, but served only to compound the mysteries. According to Thunders' biographer Nina Antonia as posted on the Jungle Records web site, the level of drugs found in his system was not fatal. And according to the book "Rock Bottom: Dark Moments in Music Babylon" by Pamela Des Barres who interviewed Thunders' sister Marion, the autopsy confirmed evidence of advanced leukemia, which would explain the decline in Thunders' appearance in the final year of his life. This also sheds light on the interview in Lech Kowalski's documentary "Born To Lose: The Last Rock and Roll Movie", where Thunders' sister Mary-Ann's husband says, "Only Johnny knew how sick he really was."

In a 1994 Melody Maker interview Thunders' manager Mick Webster described the efforts of his family, "We keep asking the New Orleans police to re-investigate, but they haven’t been particularly friendly. They seemed to think that this was just another junkie who had wandered into town and died. They simply weren’t interested." Marion claims that the original police report is largely missing and Webster further explains that the Coroner who conducted the autopsy was fired for falsifying a report in another case.

Thunders was survived by his ex-wife Julie and four children, sons John Genzale, Vito Genzale, Dino Genzale, and daughter Jamie Genzale. His oldest son Vito is serving a prison sentence in the Southport Correctional Facility in New York for drug dealing, having completed a previous sentence in Attica.

Like father like son.

Only these times ain't like the 70s.

Johnny Johnny we miss you now.

To hear YOU CAN'T PUT YOUR ARMS AROUND A MEMORY, please go to the following URL

Thursday, November 22, 2012

COLD TURKEY john lennon

I like nothing better than left-over turkey for a post-thanksgiving jolt of big bird coma, then John Lennon says it best in COLD TURKEY To view his holiday gem, please go to the following URL

The Dream Is Never Over

After spending a lovely night in Houston, JFK and his wife boarded the presidential jet for a short hop to Dallas. The crowds lining the route applauded the president and his hostess, Mrs. Connolly, commented, Dallas loved him and he replied, "That's very obvious."

The single bullet and then another struck JFK within a second of his reply.

November 22, 1963 was a bad day, however the video shows that he was having a good time in Texas.

The love was real and real now too.

Johnny Boy we miss you. To view the lovely night in Houston, please go to this URL

# 1 Song November 22, 1963

The # 1 song on the U.S. music charts Nov. 22, 1963 was Dominique by the Singing Nun. To hear this ancient religious hit, please go to the following URL

Lady Words That Men Don't Know or Use

JFK was reputed to be the fastest speaker in the English language. Whereas expert typists can tap out 120 words per minute, JFK could string over 300 words in a minute.

JFK is the recognized champ, however my fast-talking mother could have whipped the Boston-bred president like a red-headed step-child, mostly because women have a larger everyday lexicon than men.

16,215 versus men's 15,669.

Feeling has to be one of them.

Men only say that word singing the song FEELINGS.

Here's a sampling of words listed by The Magazine which will never cross our lips.

Book club: A female dominated affair, perhaps because women read more fiction, or perhaps because men aren't very good at talking about it.

Accessorize: If men were ever to use this word it would only be in the context of cars.

Empowering: Men never use this word, perhaps because for the 200,000 years humans have been on the planet, men have had all the power.

Burlesque: Something involving strip-tease that can apparently involve the above.

Size zero.

Home birth.

Pilates: Men in the UK, particularly, seem to have no interest in building up their core strength.

Pomegranate: Men seem ill-equipped to understand the significance and full range of superfoods.

Absolutely beautiful: The words women often use to describe friends who are not.


Emotional intelligence: Something that men usually do not possess, instead preferring the kind of intelligence that involves dates of battles.

What are you thinking?: The classic female condition check.

Feminism: If even veteran feminists can't agree on what this means then it's probably best avoided by men.

Airbrushing: The process by which magazine picture editors oppress women in an underhand way.



Why: As in "why do you never call?"

Now that I think of it, JFK never used any of these words, because he was a real man.

Just don't tell my wife Mam I said that.

My Brother In Law's Thanks 1961

1961 was 51 years ago. I'm thankful to have DR as my BIL.

Today's Thanks

There was a Thanksgiving parade in New York this morning. I saw none i=of it. High school footballs between bitter rivals are played in the afternoon. I haven't seen the results between my high school and their North Shore rival. I've yet to leave my house, but I do have things to be thankful for this year. I am alive. I am making money. My children are healthy. Mam loves me sometimes. President Obama was re-elected to the White House. A ceasefire has been declared in Gaza. A bottle of wine awaits in the refrigerator.

Today America commemorates Pilgrims’ gratitude to the local Indians lessons in food-gathering, especially those tribesmen of Squanto who helped the religious refugees survive that first year in Plymouth. In response to this unexpected aid the settlers held a 3-day feast for their neighbors. The holiday was made official in 1789 by George Washington, although Squanto’s tribe had long vanished from Massachusetts.

Dead Indians don’t celebrate Thanksgiving.

Still every 4th Thursday of November Americans travel by train, plane, and car to feast with friends and family on turkey and all the fixings. Once their bellies expand to a girth of near-explosion, the men watch a meaningless football game in a stupor mimicking a boa who has swallowed a goat, while women repair to the kitchen.

Being male I have no idea what they do other than clean dishes and pots. Younger children are happy to gorge themselves on pies, while their older siblings sullenly vow to not end up like their parents.

Like all holiday the situation is prime for a good argument.

Four year my father cautioned my plump 20 year-old niece that she wouldn’t lose weight if she ate any more pie. Sensitive about her size she broke into tears. My older brother demanded an apology. My father adamantly said he was only telling the truth. My brother ordered him to leave the house. My father obliged his edict and drove across the lawn rather than wait for anyone to get their car out of the driveway.

I would have really like to have seen his tires plowing furrows in the grass, except I was in New York. No turkey that year either.

I celebrated the holiday alone.

Google Goggle Hey Goggle Hey to paraphrase the Ramones.

Max’s Kansas City had turkey dinner for the punk orphans during the late-70s.

Free too.

Beer half-price.

Praise be the Turkey.

And those sexy Pilgrims.

Bad Mouthing the Eagle

Benjamin Franklin proposed the turkey for the national bird. The turkey of his era was nothing like the domesticated bird slaughtered for Thanksgiving. The wild turkey was a cunning wood creature living in large communes of fellow avians. Huge flocks of brightly plumed turkeys would cloud the skies. Benjamin Franklin was vehemently against the choice of the eagle as the national bird.

“I wish that the bald eagle had not been chosen as the representative of our country, he is a bird of bad moral character, he does not get his living honestly, you may have seen him perched on some dead tree, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the labor of the fishing-hawk, and when that diligent bird has at length taken a fish, and is bearing it to its nest for the support of his mate and young ones, the bald eagle pursues him and takes it from him…. Besides he is a rank coward; the little kingbird, not bigger than a sparrow attacks him boldly and drives him out of the district. He is therefore by no means a proper emblem for the brave and honest. . . of America.. . . For a truth, the turkey is in comparison a much more respectable bird, and withal a true original native of America . . . a bird of courage, and would not hesitate to attack a grenadier of the British guards, who should presume to invade his farmyard with a red coat on.”

Nice talk for the national bird.

As for eagle as a meal, I googled cooked eagle and only came up with the following query on I was driving the other day and hit a bald eagle that was flying across the street. It was a country road that usually isn't very busy, but I figured I would cook it since I've never had eagle before. Are there any recipes I should know about? Or any spices specifically? I live in Eastern Iowa so you know what may or may not be available to me. I didn't mean to hit it, it was like if a deer ran across the street. 2 years ago This posting attracted outrage and weirdos. KILLER: I kill eagles all the time, for fun. Especially since bald eagles don't even exist where I live. maie: okay i believe you didnt mean to kill it, well you cant help things like that all the time, but they are an endangered species and it is illegal to kill it (on purpose im sure they will forgive an accident) and it is also illegal to have possession of it. i would call the local animal control center and see what they would tell you to do cuz if someone says that you have one, or sees it in your trash then you can get arrested. at that point you havent made a report and you cant prove what happened. OUTRAGE: It is a Federal Offense to Kill a Bald Eagle, or even HAVE one of its feathers in your possession. MOR: WITH HOT SAUCE AND POSSUMS! NOM NOM NOM! just cook it like chicken Otherwise nothing else on the internet. So I guess eagles don't taste good.

Black Dogs Love Turkey

Yesterday I walked through Grand Central Terminal. Thousands of passengers were striving to catch a train home for Thanksgiving. My sister had invited her family feast outside of Boston. I have to work on Friday and outed out on the holiday exodus to spend a quiet day in the Fort Greene Observatory. I made myself eggs and toast for breakfast. My options for a turkey dinner are limited to the buffet at Frank's Lounge. It's only a few blocks from my house. I could forego turkey, since I've eaten the bird most every Thanksgiving in my life. This afternoon millions of mothers are putting on the final touches for the big dinner. As a youth my family was no different from the rest of America. The early part of the day was filled by the chores of peeling apples, potatoes, turnips, carrots for our eight family members and another 5-10 guests. My older brother called it ‘KP Day’. After the turkey was done, my mother would take the the crispy-skinned carcass out of the oven and order me to carry the big bird out the garage. Why was never explained to us.

One Thanksgiving I obeyed her command. The garage door was open. The air was cold. It wouldn't take long for the bird to be ready for dinner. My next-door neighbor came over to the driveway with a football. We had spent the morning at the football game between my hometown and their arch-rivals. The two of us went into the backyard to emulate the day’s heroes. After bobbling a long pass Chuckie pointed to the front lawn.

"What's with DJ?"

DJ was a neighborhood dog. I was in love with his owner, Kyla. The German Shepard had his entire head was masked by turkey and I heard my mother scream, “The turkey.”

I picked up a stick from the ground and charged to save our holiday meal. The big black dog fled from our yard with a slobbering snarl, 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 my side of the story.

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. 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.

The next day Kyla kissed me on the cheek for not beating her dog.

So even bad Thanksgivings can turn out okay, when life is good and it's always good to the last slice of pie on Turkey Day.

No Thanks Day

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 that they owned the land, while the Indians believed the land belonged to the people using it.

Native animism 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.

No Thanksgiving.

At least the wild 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.

Me, I'll hopefully be in Thailand eating crab curry with my children.

Mea Culpa redmen.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Good Nose

I graduated 'sin laude' from university. Most of my classmates entered straight 9-5 jobs. I drove across the USA with my friend Andy and a coed named Carole. Two months later I returned to Boston. America was in a recession. A banking personnel director said that I had a stutter. He was right. I didn't get the job, but my gay friend Bruce knew of a position at Filene's Department Store as a perfumer.

"I don't know anything about scents." I wore Old Spice.

"Doesn't matter." Bruce was connected in the gay world. We went to baseball games together. He had a thing for Bernie Carbo of the Red Sox. Bruce hoped that he was queer.

The manager of Perfumers' Workshop hired me on sight. Pay was $200/week plus commission. I mixed fragrant oils for old ladies searching a cheaper version of Chanel # 5. We had the combination in our playbook. The boss talked about sending me to New York.

"The Big Apple." Bruce was excited by this prospect. He liked back rooms and dirty sex. New York was infamous for its loose lust.

I failed the final test.

IE sleep with the boss.

Bob fired me the next day and my career has an olfactory engineer came to an end. My good nose went to waste, although the entrails of scents haunted every inhalation. Peaches reminding me on an old girlfriend. Cinnamon of my grandmother's kitchen. Burnt tree of a fire that my older brother set on Easter Morning. The conflagration covered half of Chickatawbut Hill. We fought the blazes with hoses.

Great fun.

But not Singapore.

That straits enclave is notoriously the most unsexy city in Asia. The women work from 8-8. Out of the office they spend two hours at the shopping mall. Dinner is rice balls. That ain't no life, then again Singapore is a city where it is against the law to not wash your hands after urination.

Fine for violation $200 Singapore.

Worst is that the government of that city/state has hired people to smell the hands of its citizens to insure that the masses are following this edict. I could have gotten a job with Singapore, except I'm no coprophiliac or piss lover.

I like flowers and the smell of my son as he sleeps.

Mam too.

She's Fenway's mom.

And a woman you love always smells good.


Thanksgiving Day plus One started the Holiday season on West 47th Street. Accordingly the majority of the ground floor exchanges extend their operating hours and stay open every ding-dong day until Christmas. Throughout the week regular customers and natives to New York flock here, but on the weekends they are replaced by busloads of tourists from Shawallagah, PA or Dover Delaware. Armed with a box of chicken and a bag of quarters, they gawk at the jewelry and demand incredulously, "Those aren't real diamonds, are they?"

"All of our diamonds are real and set in 14K and 18K gold or platinum jewelry," I answer cordially, for the most part.

We might enjoy poking fun at these out-of-towners, yet their purchases can only add to our profit line, so once they're in the store we treat them as we would any valued customer, even if they're only looking for a Big Apple charm or want to tell us about an opal ring their great-grandaunt possessed back in Schwallaga, PA. As my boss says, "Be nice. It can't hurt."

While my company prided itself in dealing relatively fairly with members of the trade and our customers, there are a few diamond dealers who prey on these unsuspecting tourists like wolves tailing a cripple calves and every year ABC NEWS1 20/20 puts out a report to warn about unscrupulous diamond dealings on 47th Street.

Typically during holiday season the show's producers send out a young man to purchase a diamond engagement ring and inevitably ends up getting nailed by the same dealer on the corner of Sixth Avenue. The entire process of the sale is recorded by a hidden video camera to reveal the dealer's misrepresentation of the diamond's quality.

Weeks later Diane Sawyer will confront the dealer with the proof of his lies and close with a warning for the public to beware. One would expect that the dishonest merchant would be punished by such negative publicity, however the dealer points to the photo of Diane Sawyer hanging on his wall and proudly states, "Diane shops here every year. One of my best customers."

To avoid getting fleeced, we suggest anyone looking for a diamond to head up to Tiffany's or Cartier first and get one of their diamond buying guides, which are free and offer a great thumbnail source of information to the novice.

Otherwise caveat emptor. Let the buyer beware and remember if it sounds to good to be true than it is too good to be true.

For any questions on jewelry or the diamond trade stop by 34 West 47th Street.

The first piece of advice is always free.

Everything thereafter cost. How much? Depends on the day.

Singapore # 1 In Sorrow

Fresh on the failures of Gallup's presidential predictions the company releases the results of a happiness polls citing that Danes are the most satisfied people in the world and those from Togo are the least. Most bummed out was understandably tied between Greeks and Iraqis, however denizens of the Asian city-state Singapore responded negatively to many of the questions, saying that only 2% felt like they liked their jobs. I understand that feeling. Two years ago I wanted to take the gun out of the safe and shoot my boss. Singapore has much more stringent gun laws and an interviewee on Forbes stated, “We don’t clap very loudly. I’ve been to concerts where people don’t even applaud as much as they should.” Yet back in 1991 I flew into Singapore from Sumatra. The transition from old Asia to new Asia was striking with the city-states' gleaming skyscrapers and shopping malls. I had heard people complain about the emotionlessness of the city. That evneing I went to the cinema to see CYRANO with Gerard Depardieu. The French was subtitled into Chinese and English. At the end of the movie there wasn't a dry eye in the house when Cyrano cries out, "I shall always have my panache." Maybe emotion is something better saved for the dark of a movie theater or better yet a bedroom. Plus who gives a shit what Gallup says?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Live Long and Prosper Iowa

Wilbur Harrison had a hit with KANSAS CITY. My schoolmate, Joe Fielder, traveled to the Paris of the Plains in 1965. The police caught him in St. Louis. He escaped through the bathroom window and my 14 year-old friend reached KC the next day, where he ordered a steak and then rode a Greyhound back to Boston. His parents were relieved by his return and asked why he had runaway to Kansas City.

"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. Later at school Joe told me that KC had no crazy little women, but he couldn't think of anything else to tell his mother and father.

"They were no pretty women."

"It was all a lie." Joe shrugged like he knew all the answers to every question about girls.

Three years ago I drove through Kansas City with Brock Dundee. The Scot was filming a movie about a sculptor close to death. We drove through the Power and Light District at dusk.

"I don't see any pretty women." Brock was a fan of the song KANSAS CITY.

"Some things don't change." The song was as much a lie in 2009 as in 1965.

Most of the cities of the Midwest are hollow shells, but not so Iowa City. This small town on the Iowa River hosted the campus of Iowa U. My old friend James Rockford lived on a farm twenty miles to the west, on which he grew marijuana instead of corn. Brock Dundee and I rendezvoused with the elder statesman of the hippie era at the Deadwood Tavern, which was 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. He liked his drink.

"It's not a bar. It's the future birthplace of James T Kirk." Rockford broke out a vial of 1978 Bolivian cocaine. He was a true gourmand.

"You're shitting me." I've been a devout Trekkie since episode one and poured a pile of powder on my hand. No one at the Deadwood noticed my huffing the mound.

"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 that we were crazy, but said it wasn't the first time drunks had given Riverside Iowa as a late night destination.

"Nobody in the world would know about Riverside if it wasn't for James T Kirk. The town holds less than thousand souls. They don't even celebrate March 22. I'm a Trekkie too." The driver lifted his hand in the Vulcan greeting. I

The taxi traced the English River to the small town park. The greeting plaque welcomed us to the future home of James T Kirk. The driver stopped by a statue. Another marker proclaimed his future birth. I breathed in the night air thinking this town made James T Kirk, the captain of the USS Enterprise, was he was. I was that drunk.

"How you feel?" James asked, as my Scottish friend drank a beer with Rockford.

"Like I went to Jerusalem." In fact this was even more holy than Jerusalem. Jesus was a myth and James t Kirk was a myth in the making.

"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.

Living Long Is The Best Revenge

My great-grandaunt Bert lived to 103. Aunt Marge made it to 95. My father hit 90. My family suffers longevity well and at 60 I can still beat teenagers at basketball, so I suspect that I'm headed for a ripe old age in full control of my diminishing facilities and if so I hope to age much like Levi Montalcini. Three Aprils ago the senator for life and Nobel Prize winner in Italy celebrated her 100th birthday. She came to the event honoring her centagenarism in an elegant navy-blue dress. The ageless beauty had been banned from academia by Mussolini. The Nazis had hunted her in the 1940s. Senora Montalcini was no stranger to adversity and told her admirers. "Above all, don't fear difficult moments. The best comes from them."

She discovered her truth about nerve fibers in a bedroom lab thanks to Mussolini.

You never know where the road will lead as long as you stay forever young.

Dif-Tor Heh Smusma

The Masoretic version of the Bible purported that Methuselah achieved the epic age of 969. His name has become synonymous with longevity in the West. No one in modern history has touched his nonacentarian record, although my great-grand aunt Bert lived to 103.

She circled the world in a sailing ship. One port of call was Bangkok. Bert was the first of my family to visit the Siamese capitol, but not the last. Other relatives have reached ripe old ages. My father lived to 90. I expected to hit at least 110 if only because many more Americans are living longer, for wrinklies are becoming the largest growing segment of the population.


People don't die as much as they used to die.

Once past 30 few people want to live by the James Dean adage 'live fast and die young. Leave a good-looking corpse', especially since most of the young in America aren't attractive after the age of 13.

Even morticians don't want to hump fat kids and those ghouls will hump most everything dead.

With that macabre phenomena in mind I'm living as long as possible.

I don't want anyone touching my dead flesh until I'm way pass my prime.

Of course Vulcans like STAR TREK's Mr. Spock live to 300.

LIVE LONG AND PROSPER or Dif-tor heh smusma in Vulcan.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Green Everywhere Around Israel

After WW2 hundreds of thousands of Jews sought refuge in Palestine joining the thousands of their religious kinsmen who had fled the pograms of Czarist Russia. This influx of refugees swelled the small British Mandate, so that by 1948 32% of the population of nearly two million people were Jewish, yet the UN resolution awarded over half the land to the newcomers, who seized even more territory after their decisive victories against the Arabs in 1948, 1956, 1967, and 1973 as well as occupying major portions of the West Bank and Gaza to quell any rebellion against Israel. Americans tend to think that Israel has existed forever, however since the Romans conquered the Hebrews no Jewish state existed for almost 2000 years. We have seen countless movies about the struggle to establish a homeland for a people persecuted by the Nazis almost to the point of extinction. Our sympathies were heightened by the romanticism of EXODUS. No president has ever really spoken out against the apartheid democracy and my fellow Americans consider all Arabs as terrorists as evinced by this facebook entry by my cousin Kim "I'm worried about Israel...there will never be peace but hopefully a cease fire. McCain calling for Bill Clinton to go in. Anyone that is willing to cross boarders with a bomb strapped to their chest is a dangerous zealot. No Israeli would do such an act. Beyond war into terrorism. Golda Meir said the conflict would end when the Arabs love their children with the same intensity that they love their children..below a map. Israel is surrounded by enemies. Kim posted the above map showing an Israel wrapped by green. I responded as follows; "Israel put itself in that situation when they stole the land from the palestinians. How many palestinians were at Dachau? Zero. As for the terrorists with a 10lb bomb strapped to them, what about the US made F-16s strapped with 1000 pound bombs. Oh, I forgot that's precision bombing. Fuck an eye for an eye. All I want to say to the two parties is what Grace Slick said at Altamont, "Calm down people." addendum ps on a geographical note Israel has four neighbors and the sea. Then again Americans aren't too good with geography. Kim, I'm glad you have GPS or else you couldn't find your way to Starbucks Her friend Jay jumped into the discussion, "Let's all relive history and make Israel the bad guy again. After all it worked so well last time... NOT!" Kimberly wasn't amused either. Zealots on both sides have no sense of humor, "I shall always love Israel, and what it stands for..Jews persecuted for centuries..shit on for all time..mass graves...gas...six million slain as they whisper the one hope: Israel..the promised land. Yesterday at 3:44pm · Like "Once more there were no Palestinians at Dachau. Love an ideal, do not support apartheid." I wasn't leaving her with the last word. Or at least that's what I thought. Kim. "Hamas is a terrorist organization. The Muslim brotherhood is a terrorist organization. No need to talk down to me. Apartheid. REALLY? We will have to agree to disagree. I tried to reason, "This is all a shadow play at the cost of lives. The plot cannot be seen by those unprepared to challenge the lies of politicians, media, and perception. All is not what it seems, but you know what you've been taught to know. There are no other options when you don't question the truth. Kim: "What, are you in the CIA? LOL" "No, but I know what happened. Over the past months parties within Hamas, Israel, and Egypt pursued a peace pact. The proposal was handed to Ahmed Jabari and hardliners within Hamas snitched him out to an equally obdurate faction within the IDF, who ended all peace prospects with a drone attack. Of course this is all a hunch based on Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, but then all life is an imitation of art." "Unleash the dogs of war." - General Chang Klingon commander I love Star Trek.

Gaza Versis Goliath

The Old Testament has great plots; Adam and Eve, Moses freeing his people, and the classic David versus Goliath. Israel has touted their relationship to the young shepherd downing the giant throughout the wars against their neighbors without ever mentioning the help of the West. They were never really alone, but few Arab states have openly supported the PLO or Hamas on a military basis in fear of earning the wrath of the Big Dog of the USA. The most recent escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip has resulted in over a hundred dead on both sides, although the Palestinians are taking a beating from their arch-nemesis. Low-tech rockets in one direction and top of the line bombs and missiles in the other. Egypt has offered terms for a ceasefire. Israel demands no hostile fire from Gaza and an end of arms shipments to Hamas, while their fellow falafel eaters demand a cessation to the Gaza blockade and Shin Bet assassinations. While newly re-elected US President Obama attempted to reach a common ground between the combatants, he also green-lighted Israel's right to defend itself. No one wants Israel to lay down in the face of aggression, but neither will the world approve of a bloodletting such as occurred in the last Gaza incursion. PM Netanyahu has called up 75,000 army reservists and Hamas has said 'bring it on'. The IDF has superiority of arms, but as they learned in Lebanon their tanks are only good for one thing, so Israelis are rightfully worried that "Bibi' is leading them into another war without victory only more mayhem. Come on people, demand for a ceasefire. As Winston Churchill said, "It is better to jaw jaw than war war."

Saturday, November 17, 2012

What's Yours Is Ours


A rich man comes out of his mansion and spots a young man camping on his lawn. Filled with indignation he strides up to the squatter and demands him to leave or else he'll call the police.

"How did you get this land?" The young man remains seated by his fire.

"What difference does it make?" The rich man wishes he had his shotgun to put the fears in this interloper.

"The difference between my staying or leaving."

"I worked for it." 18 hours a day when he was a young investment banker.

"And who owned it before you and your kind?"

"I don't know." Rock salt in the young man's ass would get him moving.

"It belonged to the Indians, right?"

"I suppose so." Buckshot might work better.

"And how did they lose their land. Someone took it from them and I'm taking it from you."

"You're only one." The rich man was thinking of a .45. A single shot to protect his estate.

"Not one." The young man pointed to the ivy-covered wall. Hundreds of people were climbing over the barrier between those that have and those that don't. "We're many."

"This is theft." The rich man would need more than the police to evict this many people.

"We like liberation better, my name's Jake, neighbor."

And they lived happily ever after on the rich man's wine cellar and grilled foie gras, because a barbecue was better than a bonfire.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Not Chuck Daly

Two days ago I went into the NBA store of 5th Avenue and a salesperson on the elevator said that I looked like Chuck Daly, the 80s coach of the Detroit Pistons. I was crushed that I was in such a state of ruin, however today I went there to buy a gift and the same salesperson apologized and said, "I went home thinking about it and realized that you didn't look like Chuck Daly, but someone else." "Who?" I was hoping that it wasn't Al Franken. "Eric Robert." "Better." I was insulted until seeing his photos. Younger than me and I loved him in RUNAWAY TRAIN. ps I actually went traitor to the Boston Celtics and bought my nephew James Pollack a Knicks tee-shirt. # 1 Amare Stoudemire "Is he good?" James asked with the blessed innocence of a seven year-old. "He is very good," his father replied with love. His four school friends and James chanted, "The Boston Celtics suck." It sounded cute, but last night that was the truth versus the Brooklyn Nets. "James, sssh." His father stilled their mantra. His son obeyed his order. They are a good father-son team, but the Celtics will out in the end. 2013. Beat the Heat.

My Boy Tristam

Tomorrow night at L'espace 11 111 Rue Stalingrad The good, the bad, the wicked. My boy Tristam. Nothing better.

You Bet I Would Commie Teacher

And Commie teachers never wore underwear. Just like the nuns at Our Lady of the Foothills. And any woman featured by Roy Lichtenstein.

Drummer Boy

There are rock drummers and then there is Keith Moon. To hear the bare drums of Keith, please go to the following URL

The Sky Is Green

Scott and his girlfriend were coming over to New York from London to celebrate his birthday at the Who concert at the new Barclay Center in Brooklyn, which is only a few blocks from the Fort Greene Observatory. I half-expected to be invited along with the glamorous couple, except upon the day of their arrival into this fair city, Scott texted a message. "Problems." His girlfriend Cara, a smart blonde publisher, clarified the situation with another SMS; "Glitch in concert plans." Within hours the two were planning on permanent separation. She was too attractive a girl to lose over nothing and I argued for re-conciliation, since I had never seen the Who. I had come close in 1970. They had been playing at the Boston Tea Party, but I went to see Rod Stewart on the Commons. I missed Woodstock in 1969 along with Altamont. This year I thought that I could relive my past through the present. I was wrong. Yesterday Scott and I sat in General Fowler Square eating bagels and he explained, "No matter what I said about the blue skies, she said that it was green." "Couldn't you last out the madness?" PMS is only called PMS because Mad Cow Disease was already taken by another ailment. "Impossible." "You know you're not the most communicative of people?" Scott didn't answer the phone. He thought that texting was intimate. I thought that he was dead wrong. "I know." "Recognizing your faults is a step in the right direction." "Maybe, but I can tell you right now that we aren't going to see the Who tonight." Scott and I had played basketball on Tompkins Square Park, he had preferred to snort K with me rather than go home with Naomi Judd, and my first article was in his Paris magazine. "Not a chance?" "Not none. The sky is blue and she sees it green. She's taking a friend to see the Who." "I know what you mean." I hung up the phone and cursed Cara for fucking up Scott's birthday and then damned her for not taking me. The sky is frequently blue from the windows of the Fort Greene Observatory, but I have seen green too.

The Freedom of No Speech

Moses led his people out of Egypt without a map. The distance from the Nile to Palestine was a ten day walk, yet the prophet wandered through the eastern deserts for forty years. Like all men he wasn't willing to admit that he was fucking lost and neither are the Zionists of the occupied territories who have most recently declared that their seized lands are Jewish and that they also know how to identify a Jew like Josef Mengele the SS doctor.

"Jews to the right. Arabs to Gaza."

A facebook 'friend' posted a video from the Israeli Ambassador showing the normalcy of life in Gaza. Glittering buildings, vibrant street life, food in the groceries, and cars on the roads. I posted a riposte, "Welcome to the gulag of Gaza."

She defriended me for this comment, for like most people living a lie they do not want to see the truth.

Free Palestine.

As for Giselle, you are a hypocrite.

Here is the real story

The Unfreedom of Speech

Freedom of Speech is protected by the 1st Amendment of the US Constitution.

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

This right has been besieged by politicians, church leaders, big business, and the military without respite. Anti-war activists were jailed during World War I under the Alien and Sedition Act and the Supreme Court has ruled that there are special exceptions to Free Speech such as 'fighting words', obscenity, imminent lawless action, and several other infringements on the public safety, however the off-limit for any American is any questions on the sovereignty of Israel.

This past summer White House reporter Helen Thomas was ostracized by the media and White House for her comments on

Here is a transcript of that interview;

Nesenoff: Any comments on Israel? We're asking everybody today, any comments on Israel?

Thomas: Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine.

Nesenoff: Oooh. Any better comments on Israel?

Thomas: Remember, these people are occupied and it's their land. It's not German, it's not Poland ...

Nesenoff: So where should they go, what should they do?

Thomas: They go home.

Nesenoff: Where's the home?

Thomas: Poland, Germany and America and everywhere else[55]

Nesenoff: So you're saying the Jews go back to Poland and Germany?

Thomas: And America and everywhere else. Why push people out of there who have lived there for centuries? See?

Helen Thomas was exiled from the White House press corp for her speaking her mind, proving that free speech does not apply to the State of Israel. She issued an apology to quell the firestorm, but later confessed, "I paid a price, but it's worth it to speak the truth"

And in December Helen Thomas had the audacity to reiterate her earlier comments by saying at a conference centered on Arab Perception, "Congress, the White House and Hollywood, Wall Street are owned by Zionists. No question, in my opinion."

These words earned the old lady more outrage and an accusation of anti-Semiticism, even though her bloodline is Arab ie Semitic.

Here's to Free Speech and Helen Thomas.

She says what she says and damn those who don't want her to say it.

Free Palestine.

Heaven or Hell

Two old men are living in Miami Beach. Their hotel is undergoing renovations. The entire neighborhood has been transformed by young people. Izzy and Moishe sit on the terrace of the Breezemore Hotel and watch the parade of revelers. They are feeling their age and Izzy says, "You know Moishe, we've had a good life, but I've been wondering about what's next?"

"What's next is we die. One of us first the other second." Moishe was more pragmatic than his friend. He had been an accountant. Number added up to a total sum. No more. No less.

"What about Sheol?" Izzy had been a lawyer. He still believe in good and evil. His wife Miriam had been good. Her mother was evil incarnate.

"A bleak afterlife, feh?" Moishe was too pragmatic to be pessimistic.

"What about Olam Ha-Ba?"

"The world to come where we are rewarded for our good deeds. Feh. And Gan Eden is a fairy tale."

"But what if there really is a heaven and hell?"

"I don't know." Moishe had no questions, but there was always doubt, especially at the age of 87. "Listen, I tell you what, if one of us ides and there is a heaven or hell, the one who dies should come back to tell the one staying whether there is a heaven or hell. Is it a deal?"

"For you, anything." The two friends went back to 1st grade in Brownsville.

Neither man thinks anything about the oath until Moishe dies two weeks later.

"At least he went in his sleep." Izzy tells the children who are transporting the body back up north. No one gets buried in Florida. The ground is tref.

A week goes by, then another. A month and then more.

A year to the day of Moishe's passing, the curtains of Izzy's windows billow inward without a breeze. The temperature was in the 80s, but the room is freezing. Moishe can see his breath and asks, "Izzy, is that you?"

"Of course it's me, who else were you expecting?" The voice sounds like it's coming from across the universe.

"Only you, so tell me, are you in heaven or hell?" Moishe is eager to hear the answer, since then he can tell Izzy that he was wrong about heaven and hell.


"Neither?" Moishe hadn't expected this response. "So what do you do all the time?"

"I eat, I fuck, I eat, I fuck, I eat, I fuck, and then I go to sleep."

"Well, aren't you in heaven?"

"No, I'm a rabbit in Montana."

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Good Job

In my youth my father said to me "If you can't do a job right, then why even start?" His statement sought to instill a desire to accomplish an assigned household chore to the best of my ability. Sweeping out the garage, empty the trash, weed the yard ad infinitum. We lived in the suburbs of the South Shore. Boston was the Hub of our Universe. There were high expectations for the children of the Greatest Generation. One summer afternoon my father returned home from working intown. He found me watching TV. There were only re-runs on that time of year. "Why wasn't the lawn mowed?" "I didn't think that I could do a good job." He was not amused and I never tried to skirk a chore again.

Eyefilled In Gaza

The IDF shock and awe display in Gaza in retaliation for the Hamas missile attacks. "We recommend Hamas leaders to keep their heads down the next couple of days." These words from an IDF spokesman was a red flag to Hamas. But the business of the military is war. Never peace.

Calm Down People

In GIMME SHELTER, the epic 1969 film about the mayhem at Altamont, Grace Slick of the Jefferson Airplane beseeched the unruly crowd and the pool cue-wielding Hells Angels from the stage, "Calm down, people." There was no calming down that crowd. Nor do the parties of Israelestine seem interested in peace. Yesterday the Israeli Defense Forces missiled a car of transporting Ahmed Jabari, the Head of the Hamas Military, who is credited with the 2006 capture of an Israeli soldier in a complex cross-border raid that killed two other soldiers according to Huffington Post. In October 2011, Israel traded 1000 Palestinians for Gilad Schalit ending his five years as a hostage at the hands of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the Popular Resistance Committees (which includes members of Fatah, Islamic Jihad, and Hamas), and a previously unknown group calling itself the Army of Islam as reported by Wikipedia. Hamas vowed to avenge his assassination and their military wing launched a fusillade of STS missiles into the Occupied Territories, reaping a deadly harvest in Kiryat Malachi, 20 miles from Gaza. The IDF responded with ATS missiles and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu boasted that Hamas had been defanged by the counterattack. Sirens sounded in Tel Aviv for the first time since the 1991 SCUD crisis, warning Tel Aviv residents of incoming Hamas' rockets. Three struck the coastal city without causing any casualties. Shin Bet and the IDF are at high alert for a possible land invasion of Gaza. The Independent reported that Paz Azaran, a 17-year-old Ashkelon schoolgirl welcomed the Israeli military operation. “We’re standing behind our army and we are very proud.” More to come, but people, what about a little calm or is it too late in the season for peace. To view the IDF Pinpoint Strike on Ahmed Jabari, Head of Hamas Military Wing, please go to the following URL; there are people on the street.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

You Bet I Would Natalia Vodianova

Of course it'd have to be a wicked half-hour in a midtown hotel, since she's married with the heir of the LV fortune and I'm in no shape to be wicked with a beauty like Natalia Vodianova. So you're safe. Curses.

Flotsam From The Flood

According to Wikipedia flotsam is floating wreckage of a ship or its cargo. Jetsam is part of a ship, its equipment, or its cargo that is purposefully cast overboard or jettisoned to lighten the load in time of distress and that sinks or is washed ashore. Lagan is cargo that is lying on the bottom of the ocean, sometimes marked by a buoy, which can be reclaimed. Derelict is cargo that is also on the bottom of the ocean, but which no one has any hope of reclaiming. Hurricane Sandy tidal surge flooded the lowlands of New York and New Jersey. The coastal devastation has driven hundreds of thousands from their homes and this week Fort Greene has seen an influx of bums, derelicts, and madmen who had previously populated the SRO hotels of Rockaway Park. The 'others' i.e. the white newcomers to the neighborhood ignore the new residents, however old-timers have been quick to comment on the meandering of the misfortunates. "They have nothing." Ralph from Ralph Meats has been giving them free coffee. He has a big heart. "They lost everything." I noticed a Hassidic slouch and a dangled-mouthed war veteran ambling to the subway. My wallet was light, but not that light and I called to them. They looked guilty to be alive. "I have something for you." I waved for them to come closer and they edged up the sidewalk like stray dogs in fear of the dogcatcher. I thought about having them split a dollar, but that would have been too cheap for words, so I gave them both a dollar. "Thanks, mister." "Good luck." They needed more than luck as does everyone along the storm-ravaged coast. We are all flotsam in this life.