Thursday, May 31, 2012

Drunk Not Dead / Sukhumvit


Sukhumvit or Route 3 stretches from Bangkok to Trat. This road serves as the main conduit south to the Cambodian border and its lanes cut through a series of coastal cities and town. In Pattaya Sukhumvit is more highway than road, although drivers speed over its asphalt with an abandonment of regard for life and limb, theirs and anyone else in their path. Car crashes, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian hit-and-runs occur with deadly frequency. Houses are bigger and cheaper on the inland side of the motorway, but living live in Pattaya excludes endangering your life crossing the busy thoroughfare.

"Sukhumvit taang lu; ang mah dtaai." Pi-Uan, who rented cars outside the Buffalo Bar, worked the rescue crews cleaning up the bloody aftermath of wrecks. He called the road the highway of dead dogs, because scores of pi-dogs litter the verge and I have dreamed of joining their corpses. The number of farangs who meet their maker on Sukhumvit is a classified secret of the Thai Tourist Board.

The origins of the adage 'god loves a drunk' are lost in time, but the words were once more proven true by a Sattahip musician, who succumbed to the excess of lao whiskey and pulled his motorcycle to the break-down lane and fell asleep a meter from the death race with his wife in devout attendance, since he had spent all their money. His head rested on his shoes. The police awoke the singer. He sang them a song and fell into a heavy slumber at a bus stop.

Thailand has only four breathalyzers, so the attending officers were unable to get a blood-level reading from the unconscious entertainer. His wife advised the uniformed police to let him sleep it off and two hours away the singer arose from the dead.

A miracle on Sukhumvit and it occurred in broad daylight.

To Die in Pattaya


The NY Times published a list of why Americans die.

The leading causes of fatality come as no surprise; heart disease, cancer, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease in that order. Almost all of them are related to environment, bad food, obesity, or a cocktail of the three. You are what you eat.

However westerners in Pattaya are promoted from this mortal coil for a contrasting set of circumstances.

#1 Motorcycles.

Men over 40 hit their second stage of youth. They rent a Japanese riceburner without a helmet. The wind blows across their bald plate, as they sing the title line from BORN TO BE WILD until they plow into a slow-moving song-thaew at full speed. DOA and I know because I survived a crash two years ago, because I was wearing a brain bucket.

#2 Sex on Viagra.

A farang is 55 years old with a pacemaker. He's 30 kilos overweight. He drinks 10 beers a night at least and barfines a 45-kilo go-go dancer to bring back to his hotel. In his hotel bed the farang has lost his ardor and drops two Viagra to re-awaken his dormant libido. He's totally out of shape for this sprint and shares a pipe of Ice with the go-go dancer. His heart redlined to 10,000 revs. The aorta clamp shut down on an OD of lust. No one knows how many farangs are bodybagged for in Bangkok-Pattaya Hospital each month for exceeding the speed limit for heartbeat per minute. Some say 50-60/month.

At least they died in the saddle.

#3 Suicide.

The farang has blown out his bank account, savings, and credit cards for an 18 year-old bar girl named Lek. Once his ATM goes dry, her eyes dart over his shoulders.

“She can’t be looking at that 80 year-old fat man?” He asks himself.

Two minutes later Lek’s sitting being the octogenarian on a taxi bike waving as if she were going to 7/11 to a phone card. Last the farang will ever see of her. No money. No bird. Nothing other than a plane back to Heathrow. His family will be waiting in East Doversham. There's only one place to go.

Graham Greene wrote in OUT MAN IN HAVANA that suicide was the work someone who reckons that the odds of ending it all are better than going on.

I know from personal experience it’s always darkest before the storm and whatever doesn’t kill you will only make you wish you were dead. Once you get past that drama then things get better and you can drink beer again. In the words of Scarlett O’Hara, “Tomorrow is another day.”

Add in drinking, ODs, and murder, you have to ask, “Do any farangs in Pattaya die of natural causes?”

Not if they can help it.

Greatest of the Great


On my birthday several friends and I were having a conversation about the greatest athlete of our lifetime at Frank's Lounge. We were all in our 50s. Larry had seen Ali, Homer claimed for Magic Johnson, AP proposed Andre the Giant, then I said, "Evel Knievel." "No way." Larry shook his head. AP and Homer called me a fool, but I stood by my choice.

Evel Knievel broke over 400 bones broken in the pursuit of aerial excellence, but his most heroic leap was the attempt to clear the Caesar's Palace pool in Las Vegas.

That New Year's Eve in 1967 on New Evel dropped $100 at the blackjack table. He zeroed out his chips, then had one shot of Wild Turkey before exiting the casino to climb on his Triumph Bonneville 650 cc.

Linda Evans filmed the crash at Caesar's pool for the Wide World of Sports. His approach is perfect, but somehow the engine cut out on the ramp. The bike's rear tire caught the receiving ramp. Evel tumbles a football field into the casino. Linda Evans caught every agonizing second. Evel was comasized 29 days.

Next jump.

Houston Astrodome.

19 cars.

Harley 750.

Successful both times.

None better.

Evel Knieval. The Greatest of the Great.

to seethis jump please go to this url

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYGGCVE2lKY&feature=related

Drunk for Australia


An Australian man mourned a dead friend by drinking himself into a stupor. His friends dropped him at his house and he staggered several feet before collapsing on the lawn. A neighbor took a photo which ended up on out Google's StreetView website as DRUNK GUY.

"I'm not too happy about it." The drunk Aussie said about his fame. "But it was for a mate.'I know what he would have done if I left - he would have partied, too. That's what I would've wanted him to do so that's what I did with some friends.'

Street View is the latest invasion of privacy foisted on the public by a bored Internet audience.

It could have been any of us.

On Christmas Eve 1970 my bosses from Zayre's thanked the overtime workers with a bottle of Whiskey. I drank it with Mitch, the sports clerk. We went to Eddie's Diner next to the Quincy Shipyard's and ate breakfast. The bacon and eggs didn't stick with me long. I puked them on the table and staggered from the diner to drive home in my 1965 VW Bug.

It was snowing on 128 and I opened the door to guide my path with the dividing lines on the highway. I somehow arrived home without driving into the winter scenery and parked the car in the front yard. I never made it to the door and crashed on the lawn.

I was lucky to not freeze to death.

"How you feeling?" My father woke me under a blanket of snow.

"Not good."

"Good." He lifted me to my feet. It was dawn. "Now get the car in the garage and take a hot baht. By the way. Merry Christmas."

It was more a blurry one.

Thai Fender Bender


Thais pride themselves in the maintenance of their cars, however in the present economic downturn drivers are skipping necessary cosmetic repairs such as seen in this pictures from www.2bangkok.com

The impact looks like he hit a light pole in reverse.

I can't think of any other way. But I will listen to suggestions.

The Miracle Of Unconsciousness

Sunday morning Camp and I left his house for breakfast. His daughter was in the back seat. On the way down the dirt drive to the main road we passed the wreck of a Nissan sedan. The chassis was bent in a U and the front end twisted by the accident's centrifugal forces. Tangled wires and strips of metal tailed off the body in all directions. The rear was the only intact part of the car. "That looks like a John Chamberlain sculpture." The American sculptor was famous for his auto-shop masterpieces. "My next-door neighbor had an accident." Camp rode past the totaled vehicle without a glance. "With what? A tank." I looked back at the ruined car. "No, the car went off the road and fell into a ditch." "That's all." I'd never seen a car that destroyed before. "He didn't live, did he?" "He was stuck in the car six hours before anyone found him." "Dead?" "No, not a scratch on him." Camp checked both directions before turning left toward the bakery. "What time was this accident?" I figured midnight after a lot to drink. "No, noon time." Camp kept the car to the speed limit. He had two tickets awaiting judgment at the local traffic court. "Noon? He didn't go to sleep. He was on oxycondins and passed out. He probably had no idea what happened to him until he came out of his stupor." It was the only way that the driver could survive the crash. "How old is he?" "23." "I rest my case." Anyone sober would have died in that wreck once more that if there is a God, then he loves a down freak more than a drunk.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

60 Is The New 15

Two days ago I was at a lunch in Millbrook. The house belonged to a nice couple from good families. Their kids and those of the guests were playing in the pool. Our host and I drank vodka and lemonade. My good friend Camp congratulated me on my upcoming birthday. "How old are you?" my host asked restiffening our drinks. "59, but on Tuesday, I'll be 60." I felt reasonable alive, mostly because my ribs had been staved in while playing basketball at the deKalb Park. Pain is a great reminder of life, unless it's constant pain, which has the opposite effect. "60 is closer to 100 than 20." Camp was quick to add. He had turned 50 earlier in the month. "That may be so, but I'll challenge you to a footrace right now to see who's really old." The British decorator and I had drank until 12 the previous evening. His daughter and newly born son had woken him at 7. I had slept until 9 and had an hour nap before coming to the lunch. My advantage was enormous. "No way." He recognized my age, but my host's 15 year-old daughter accepted the challenge. "I don't know if that's a good idea." Camp's wife was worried about my condition, but she hadn't napped this morning. "It's not whether you win or lose, but whether I can still run." I directed our host's mate to set up a video position at the finish line and a minute later I shook hands with the young girl. Her name was Gi-Gi. "Best luck." "You're going down, old man." This was not a joke to her. "Ready set go." The shout came from the other end of the lawn and Gi-Gi got an easy lead, when my feet slipped from under me. I almost lost my balance, but soon my stride made up the lost ground and I finished a half-step ahead of Gi-Gi. "Thanks." I congratulated my competitor. "Best of three?" She was ready for another. "No, thanks, I concede those." I returned to the porch and my glass of vodka. It tasted like victory and not much does when 100 is closer to your age than 20.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Another

Two days ago Eric D. Warren, a US Marine Hospitalman was killed by an IED attack in Afghanistan's Helmand Province. The dead have names. His friends in Shawnee will miss him. They have families. He came from Oklahoma. They are not forgotten. Bring the troops home. ps the photo is of Eric D. Warren taking photos. It was his hobby.

Memorial Day 2012

Memorial Day traditionally kicks off the summer holidays in America. Parades are held to honor the nation's soldiers and sailors, who have fallen in battle, after which families gather for BBQs before creating massive traffic jams on the highways of the USA. Historically Memorial Day was celebrated on May 30, which preceded my birthday by one day, so as a child I looked forward to the holiday with doubled anticipation. As a Boy Scout in the early 60s we marched into the town cemetery with veterans from the country's many wars, firefighters, police, and politicians. A prayer was said at the Civil War monument and a military color guard shoot blanks into the air. Somehow I thought that some of the accompanying veterans had fought in the Civil War, but the last survivor of the War between the States had been Albert Henry Woolson, who died in August 2, 1956, so maybe these ancient soldiers might have been the last men standing from the Spanish American War. Memorial Day was first held in Charleston South Carolina, when colored townspeople laid flowers on the graves of dead Union soldiers. Decoration Day was popular with the veterans of the Grand Army of the Republic, as the remains of the dead were moved from where they fell to their home states. Today I raise my glass to the hundreds of thousands of dead. They are not forgotten. A Memorial Day Thought: "Obviously what causes war is the desire for power, position, prestige, money; also the disease called nationalism, the worship of a flag; and the disease of organized religion, the worship of a dogma. All these are the causes of war; if you as an individual belong to any of the organized religions, if you are greedy for power, if you are envious, you are bound to produce a society which will result in destruction. So again it depends upon you and not on the leaders - not on so-called statesmen and all the rest of them. It depends upon you and me but we do not seem to realize that. If once we really felt the responsibility of our own actions, how quickly we could bring to an end all these wars, this appalling misery!" -Krishnamurti

Orgasm Mai Ching

Back in 1991I had sex with a Thai woman, who writhed in passion with her bones crackling like popcorn. At the end of an hour the twenty-year old Isaan native said, "I finish many times. You #1." I tipped the Marine Disco free-lancer an extra 200 baht and was very proud of my stud accomplishment, until hearing the same line during several subsequent encounters with other Thai women set afire by the ardor of my devotion. The tips got smaller and smaller, for their praise was either the truth or a lie and I was man enough to admit that perhaps these women might have been faking their finish. Ching ching or mai ching. A 2008 survey stated that 70% of Thai women don't experience an orgasm during sex. They feel nothing, while 79% of Thai men say that they have good sex without caring about their partner's needs. Foreplay is taboo for most men and western females are in agreement with their Thai sister. Orgasm is a rare occurrence, due to their sex partners' lack of foreplay, then again women have to realize that for most of a man's sexually formative life, we are forbidden by girls to touch their breasts or any other erogenous zones, so that by the time women actually want foreplay we've been preconditioned to consider most of their erogenous zones as off-limits.

This theory comes from Nick Hornsby's HIGH FIDELITY, but I have heard many Thai women swear that they never had an orgasm with their Thai boyfriend.

"He too quick. Only care for him."

Also Thai women have a problem with feeling free, since good girls wouldn't enjoy sex.

Only dok thongs or sluts like sex.

Not so, because while you can't eat love, it sure fills the heart when two come together as one. And I know, because no one ever fakes orgasm with me. NOt even me.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Health Advice For Beer Worshippers

Over the last ten years the Bangkok-Pattaya Hospital on Sukhumvit has expanded east, west, north, and south as well as up into the sky to handle the expanding community of western and Thai retirees making up a greater segment of the resort's population. One extension had been named the Gra-dai teung sawan or Stairway to Heaven Wing and last year I spoke with several Thai doctors about the influx of sick farangs.

Most believed that the new wing could only help the health of the Pattaya residents, although one doctor bucked the entire trend of health addicts and wrote up the following advice to the bar stool sitters of Pattaya.

HEALTH QUESTION AND ANSWER SESSION

Q: I've heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life; is this
true?

A: Your heart is only good for so many beats, and that's it... don't
waste them on exercise. Everything wears out eventually. Speeding up your
heart will not make you live longer; that's like saying you can extend the
life of your car by driving it faster. Want to live longer? Take a nap.

Q: Should I cut down on meat and eat more fruits and vegetables?

A: You must grasp logistical efficiencies. What does a cow eat? Hay
and corn. And what are these? Vegetables. So a steak is nothing more than
an efficient mechanism of delivering vegetables to your system. Need
grain? Eat chicken. Beef is also a good source of field grass (green leafy
vegetable). And a pork chop can give you 100% of your recommended
daily allowance of vegetable products.

Q: Should I reduce my alcohol intake?

A: No, not at all. Wine is made from fruit. Brandy is distilled wine,
that means they take the water out of the fruity bit so you get even more
of the goodness that way. Beer is also made out of grain. Bottoms up!

Q: How can I calculate my body/fat ratio?

A: Well, if you have a body and you have fat, your ratio is one
to one. If you have two bodies, your ratio is two to one, etc.

Q: What are some of the advantages of participating in a regular
exercise program?

A: Can't think of a single one, sorry. My philosophy is: No
Pain...Good!

Q: Aren't fried foods bad for you?

A: YOU'RE NOT LISTENING!!!... Foods are fried these days in
vegetable oil. In fact, they're permeated in it. How could getting more
vegetables be bad for you?

Q: Will sit-ups help prevent me from getting a little soft around
the middle?

A: Definitely not! When you exercise a muscle, it gets bigger.
You should only be doing sit-ups if you want a bigger stomach.

Q: Is chocolate bad for me?

A: Are you crazy? HELLO Cocoa beans! Another vegetable!!! It's
the best feel-good food around!

Q: Is swimming good for your figure?

A: If swimming is good for your figure, explain whales to me.

Q: Is getting in-shape important for my lifestyle?

A: Hey! 'Round' is a shape!

The doctor ended this session with the following advice.

I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions you may have
had about food and diets.

And remember:

"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of
arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather
to skid in sideways - Chardonnay in one hand - chocolate in the other -
body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO, What a
Ride"

Happiness ala Vietnam

Sometimes you have to share a joke in this modern world, especially if its humor addresses an eternal question.

An American, a Frenchman, and a Vietnamese refugee had a discussion about the happiness of life.

“To me, happiness is returning home on a Monday evening, having a wonderful dinner prepared by my wife, then slouching on the sofa watching Monday Night Football,” the American said.

“You Americans are not romantic at all”, the French injected, “Spending a lovely evening with my lover, walking along the Seine River, and having a romantic dinner on top of the Eiffel tower. That is happiness of life.”

“You call those things happiness”, the Vietnamese said, “then you two still don’t understand life at all. Imagine this. You are sleeping soundly at night in Sai-gon. Suddenly you hear loud knocks on your front door. You hear loud voices, ‘Mr. Nguyen Tuong Van, open the door!’.

Awakened with fear, you rush out and open the door. Right there, you see two secret policemen ready to handcuff you. One man says to you, ‘Mr. Nguyen Tuong Van, you are under arrest for possession of heroin. You are being sent to Changi to be hanged. Sweating profusely and shaking uncontrollably, you reply to them, ‘Comrades, Mr. Nguyen Tuong Van lives next door.’ That moment is the ultimate happiness of life, my friends.

BOEING 797

A hoax
The hoax about the BOEING 797 has been circulating on the web since 2006. Claims for a blended wing fuselage aircraft with the flying distance of 10,000 miles at Mach .88 have been refuted by the Seattle-based aircraft company, although some aviation experts have sourced the rumor to Boeing itself, since the company has been losing order to the AIRBUS 380. Easy for the corporate heads to foist a myth on the public than the real thing. Another example of American free market capitalism at its best.

15 Minutes For A Nobody

In 1968 Warhol wrote that "In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes." for a catalogue of his work in Sweden. Eleven years later Warhol crowed the triumph of his prediction by saying, "My prediction from the sixties finally came true: In the future everyone will be famous for 15 minutes." The statement is more true today than ever, as proven by Anderson Cooper's interview for CNN with Stacey, a member of Pastor Charles Worley's Providence Road Baptist Church in Maiden, North Carolina. Stacey is unable to answer his questions other than to reiterate her pastor's belief that gay and lesbian people should be put in concentration camps. "Build a great big large fence 50 or 100 miles long. Put all the lesbians in there. Fly over and drop some food. Do the same thing with the queers and the homosexuals. Have that fence electrified so they can't get out. You know what, in a few years, they'll die out. You know why? They can't reproduce." Pastor Worley with his extermination plan for homosexuality. The young lady agreed with her pastor, but years ago the mainstream media would have never given legs to this story and certainly not wasted a penny interviewing such a stupid person. The 24-hour news cycle force-feeds the American public this trash in order to sell Doritos or trucks or the rest of the Chinese-made bullshit that the corporations of America have convinced the masses to buy or else suffer deprivation. I threw out my TV to be spare such abuse. Not everyone deserves 15 minutes or 15 seconds of fame. They are better left in the dust of ignorance. Normally I'd give the URL to see Stacey speak, but I'm shunning her instead. "I'm a nobody, are you a nobody too?" Emily Dickerson Lesbian Poet Back to the cow fields of non-fame, where you and all the bible thumpers belong. ps fuck CNN too.

One More

Monday. Qal-ah-ye Mirza Jal, Afghanistan. Enemy combatants attacked a PATROL of the Indiana National Guard with RPGs. Circumstances unknown, but Arronn Fields of Terre Haute died his his wounds suffered in this engagement in a town that even I can't pronounce and Goggle maps couldn't find in its search engine. The 27 year-old was the 23rd Indianan to die in that war since 2001. The Pentagon no longer sends a car to inform the family about their fallen son or daughter. Arronn's father received a phone call near midnight. The ex-military man told the Banner Graphic that the family was devastated by the news, but also added that, "We'd fish. It was a time for him and I to reflect on life. We spent just about every spring and summer in the evening fishing. He was a good fisherman." Their loss did not make CNN, NBC, or Fox News. One more death in the war that will not end soon enough. Arronn Fields RIP

Thursday, May 24, 2012

U-Nai Teelat

Thai girlfriends are renown for their devotion to untruth, especially when it comes to letting their absent boyfriends know their whereabouts. “I’m in my village with maih.” I’ve heard this phone conversation from the bed of many a naked woman and Soi 6 is certainly not Isaan. Many suspicious farangs increasingly hire detectives to track down their errant loves only to disbelieve the facts, however a solution to their girlfriends’ mysterious travels might be available through the microchips. These tracking devices would be perfect for implanting in retired bargirls. GPS surveillance at all times from the comfort of your home. “I know all and see all.” Just what your girlfriend wants to hear, because anyone who thinks they’ve know all the answers haasn’t heard all the questions.

GPS Tracking Thai GF

If you google on detective and Thailand, the search engine will come up with hundreds of sites, offering services for finding missing persons, background checks, record searches, and surveillance of foreign visitors and local residents especially Thai wives, fiances and girlfriends.

Foreign men come out to Thailand, marry a woman half their age after knowing them a week, and then wonder, "What the hell have I gotten myself into?"

Some hire an investigation team.

Most major Thai cities have detectives. There used to be one office at the bridge beside World Trade in Bangkok. A small building promising satisfaction to farang and Thai alike.

Their detectives will discover that your girlfriend has had a Thai boyfriend or husband, that she still see this Thai boyfriend or husband, and that some of the money you give her ends up in his pocket, despite her saying, "We finished long ago."

More troublesome is not knowing your beloved's location, once she's out of sight.

Everyone is trackable these days with a GPS tracking system. You can stick a device on the car or motorbike for her whereabouts around Pattaya. Farther afield you can stick a bugging GPS in her telephone. She might not answer it all the time, but she will not be without it. Just remember you might not want to know where she goes, unless you're going someplace you don't want her to know where you are. Then the GPS device becomes a defensive measure.

You can visit your mia noi in peace, knowing you're wife is still at Big C or have a relaxing massage comforted that she is still in Buriram.

The other possibility is to get her an ankle bracelet that cops use to insure parolees remain under house arrest. You'll have to get it covered in gold, because your wife won't wear just anything.

Once more this is mostly to prevent your getting caught with your pants down.

But remember Thai women are geniuses when it comes to find out where you have been.

If Osman Bin Laden owed a Thai woman money, she would have tracked him down in a matter of days, instead of the ten years that it took the USA to get a clean shot at him. ps here's a website for tracking your tee-lat online. http://www.track-your-partner.com/index2.php Good hunting. photo from stickmanbangkok.com

Safer Than Peanuts

The top 15 causes of death in the USA are the following according to worldlifeexpectancy.com ( I have added the major causes of these top causes of death based on my hunches and not scientific fact); 1. Heart Disease (obesity and tobacco) 2. Cancer (tobacco, pollution, stress, and fast foods) 3. Stroke (obesity, fast foods, and stress) 4. Chronic Lung Disease (tobacco and pollution) 5. Accidents (stupidity and lack of luck) 6. Alzheimer's (aluminum and over-saturation of visual stimuli ie TV) 7. Diabetes (fast food and obesity) 8. Influenza and Pneumonia (lack of rest and sleep) 9. Nephritis/Kidney Disease (alcohol and fast food) 10. Blood Poisoning (processed foods) 11. Suicide (too much stress) 12. Liver Disease (alcohol) 13. Hypertension/Renal (too much stress) 14. Parkinson's Disease (pollution) 15. Homicide (heart failure) The same site lists the top 50 causes of the death in the USA at this URL http://www.worldlifeexpectancy.com/usa-cause-of-death-by-age-and-gender None of them are related to marijuana, but the police aren't kicking down the doors of JR Reynolds, because smoking is a matter of choice, not propaganda. MInd you, I don't really smoke marijuana these days. Too chronic for an old hippie. I do defend the right of heads to get high. It is harmless not matter what the fat boy Governor of New Jersey and CALM (Citizens Against Legalizing Marijuana) feel about legalization to protect the special interests of police unions, private prisons, Big Pharma, Budweiser, and prison guard unions. Safer than peanuts. Hell, someone in Iowa has a better chance of getting killed by a shark than dying of marijuana.

Sunset From Brooklyn

Yesterday my landlord and I bicycled over to North Williamsburg for an art opening. We ate sushi and drank beer, wine, sake, and tequila. The paintings by Charlotte Eschenlohr-Seidl were a pleasant surprise. We bid good night a little after 7 and rode down to the East River. An armada of rain-clouds lingered over the Manhattan skyline backed by a pink sunset. The city retains its majesty. AP and I got back to Fort Greene without any incidents. No DWI on bikes. Yet.

Pattaya By Foot

Pattaya offers locals and tourists many forms of transportation, but at one point you must walk from a vehicle to your destination. The uneven levels of the sidewalks, missing grates, and the errant baby elephant require constant alertness and courtesy is a valued asset along Beach Road, where stalls protruded into the public walkways and the vendors consider this ground there sacred property granted by eternity.

A smile while stepping aside feels much better than a nasty glare and you can never go wrong by giving way to an elderly person or pregnant woman.

Both Thais and farangs appreciate good manners.

Walking on the more congested roads can prove a greater challenge and my best advice before getting out of your car or baht bus is look in every direction; left, right, ahead, and behind. You usually can forego checking the sky, unless you happen to be under a coconut tree. Second plan of action is to once more check in every direction. Motorcyclists travel in all directions on every inch of the street including the sidewalk.

Pattaya’s streets are wide and the traffic reaches a good speed. Thanks to the wonders of the modern communication the vehicle’s operator may concentrate more on a mobile phone conversation than your safety. The lights at some intersections allow pedestrians enough time to reach the other side of the street; however crossing between those lights can be treacherous, especially neasr any of the major shopping malls.

Due to the length of traffic light sequences these areas experience intense 30-second surges of cars and bikes. Most pedestrians adhere to several techniques to cross the roadways. The first is the athletic sprint. Three seconds and you’re a winner, unless you misjudged your distance. Be aware that objects are actually moving faster than you think. Another tactic is the go-and-stop, which entails traversing the street in sections. Not an advisable strategy since oncoming vehicle outweigh even the heaviest farangs or khang noi by a ton.

I personally prefer waiting out a gap in the traffic surge and walk briskly to the other side. Establishing eye contact with the oncoming driver with a wave helps the passage as does not darting into the street to catch up with friend. This is not the running of the bulls in Spain.

Pattaya has several walks away from the cars and buses. The 2.7 kilometer from North Pattaya to Walking Street is especially nice with the tide out, so the first part of your journey can be barefooted over sand bars. The short walk onto the Bali Hai pier in South Pattaya provides an advantageous view of the sea frontage stretching north to Si Racha as well as a refreshing breeze at sunset. The stroll from the Jomtien Police Station to the Pattaya Water Park offers a nice change from the heavily trafficked roads of Pattaya. Most recently the city has opened a park on Jomtien Hill. The garden views of the harbor are especially nice as the sun is setting.

Lastly gentleman, you may like a brisk stroll, but if you are walking with a lady or an elderly person, please dip into your pocket and take a baht-bus or a motorsai taxi to save them discomfort. Save for appreciation of a good walk along Bali Hai pier at sunset. Everyone will be happier and healthier in the end. Once more keep your eyes open. Cars are waiting for you like zombies at sunset.

Accidents Thai Style

Pattaya’s roads are tattooed by spray-painted outlines of bodies and tires. Directional arrows indicate how the accident occurred without attributing blame to any of drivers. Many foreigners fear that they would always be at blame for a fender-bender, yet this shouldn’t be the case, if you follow a few rules of courtesy and patience during the post-accident process. SOP such as getting all Personal Information From the Other Driver sounds fine, but fleeing the scene of an accident is a Thai tradition in many parts of the country. Most rental cars have insurance, so call the rental agency to arrange for the arrival of an agent. Overall remain calm. As long as you haven't killed anyone, then everything will work out for better or worse, although there are many other possibilities between those two extremes.

Should a crash occur, the usual policy is to wait for the police and insurance agent to investigate the incident. The coppers show up and get out their pens, take statements, while one officer sprays white paint on the road showing directions and the suspected point of impact.

Remain calm.

The language differences can lead to great misunderstandings. The officers will sort out who had the right of way. A difficult determination since many accidents will involve a motorcycle driving off the sidewalk to hit a car illegally reversing down a one-way or a driver crashing into a suddenly stationary parked car or even the odd sideswiping of an elephant, while your speaking on the cellphone or having an argument with your girlfriend.

Remain even more calm.

Officers in Pattaya do not respond kindly to threats or raised voices. Neither will the Thai drivers. Curses in western languages might not translate easily, yet Thais understand a heated tone. If you happen to have an accident with a fellow citizen, then you can vent profanely like a Yellowstone geyser for the amusement of the Thai onlookers. Otherwise be patient.

If the other driver gets belligerent, stay in your car.

If they get violent, flee to the nearest police box.

The judgment does not always go against the westerner.

Years ago in the dry season I had occasion to be driving a dirt bike north of Fang along the border of Burma north of Fang. The dust from the previous car had not settled on the dusty dirt road. Neither the driver of a pick-up truck nor I saw each other until impact, which flung me over the top of his truck into the flatbed.

Despite breaking my wrist I was grateful to have survived the head-on collision, but taken aback by the angry farmer’s tirade. Seemingly he thought a farang kee-nok shouldn’t have been driving on this road. After examining the tire tracks, the local police told the farmer to pay for my hospital treatment and the damages to the bike. The pick-up driver begrudgingly dropped the trail bike at garage in Fang and drove me to the hospital for treatment. He paid the doctor for my treatment and promised to sell a pig to settle the bill at the repair shop. I never saw him again.

A recent conversation with a Pattaya policeman at the scene of an after-midnight accident revealed that the gendarmerie is required to make snap judgments to spare the city and the drivers the cost of a trial. Payments are meted out according to damage and fault.

In minor accidents it is better to resolve the issue of payment before the arrival of authorities. Recently I drove over the foot of a woman selling lottery tickets. Her toe was bleeding. An on-looker suggested we wait for the police. I said we should go to a nearby clinic. I paid for the treatment and medicine and gave the woman 1000 baht.

She was happy with the arrangement, especially after I purchased two lottery tickets. Neither came up a winner.

It’s always best to avoid accidents. They cost time and money. None of us are Michael Schumacher and just where were you going in such a rush anyway? Not to work. Not to a fire. Taking your time might not be exciting, but a low speed allows space to correct for errors. We all make mistakes. Those outlines on the road always tell a story, if you know how to read an accident right.

None of us are Michael Schumacher and just where were you going in such a rush anyway? Not to work. Not to a fire. Taking your time might not be exciting, but a low speed allows space to correct for errors. We all make mistakes. Those outlines on the road always tell a story, if you know how to read an accident right.

Paradise Now

In 1990 I took a midnight barge from Surathani to Koh Samui. The rising moon reflected a shining path to the warm horizon and dolphins sang a swimming song in our wake. At dawn the ferry docked on the palm-covered island. I rented a motorcycle and rode through coastal coconut plantations to a coral beach south of Chaweng. My simple bungalow was sheltered by the shade trees. There was no electricity during the day and a slight sea breeze wafted across the shore at sunset. The beer was cold food was a delight. We swam in the sea by moonlight and washed off the salt with buckets of monsoon rain. Sleep was to the music of gentle waves caressing the sand. Photo of W resort on Koh Samui. Twenty years ago there was no need for a fucking swimming pool, but things change, except in memories.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Farang Poll by Nana Plaza Girls

Last January the Old Roue and I stayed out later than planned in Bangkok and I stayed at a cheap hotel on Soi Nana rather than spend 1000 on a taxi back to Sriracha. In the morning I woke up wanting to to kill the cat, who fouled my mouth, then called Fenway's mom, who asked, if we had a good time at the go-go bars. I groaned that I had got 'mao ka' or legless without explaining the main reason for my near-death experience was that the Old Roue and I had conducted a survey about farangs with the bar girls and go-go dancers of Nana Plaza.

The multi-floored quadrangle of bars attracts tourists from every country on Earth. Every language is spoken in the bars and go-gos. Some countries are more heavily represented than others. The Thai girls generally are even-handed with the generosity of their opinions, however there are favorite and conversely there are least liked nationalities. The Old Roue and I were not surprised by the results.

TOP FIVE
1. France - Good time and don’t have to speak too much English. Negative - Menh or smelly.
2. Norway - Free with the money and drink more than they should, so they pass out before sex.
3. Italy - More interested with drinking and speaking with their friends than paying attention to the girls, but a good time, since they are usually too drunk to have sex.
4. Swiss - Go to sleep early and let you go out with your friends ie boyfriend. Very trusting.
5. UK - There are a lot of them. Volume overwhelms any of their numerous bad points.
WORST FIVE
1. India - Smell and cheap
2. Israeli - Dirtier and cheaper
3. Italy - Smell
4. UK - Smell and there are a lot of them.
5. USA - Smell and they are fat and cheap too and think they own the world. Farang kee-nio.
The reasons for these decisions were based on good time, free-spending, and not asking too many questions. Not bathing was a problem for several groups as well as jealousy, which put the Italians in the worst and best categories.
A final consensus was that the girls liked older good-looking men with money. They also liked fat men, since they were warm in bed and had bigger members than their previous boyfriends.
Young men were considered too much of a problem, because they wanted too much sex and smelled bad.

I guess we all smell bad, but no one worst than the Indians, but the old Roue and I knew that all along, because sex has matters not to bar girls.

It's all love.

Trust me.

I know.

Dead And Forgotten

Three names; tobias alexander, jesse ozbat, samuel watts. 3 names added to 1,934 already on the list No mention of these soldiers from Oklahoma, Virginia, and Illinois on CNN, Fox News, or NBC. Only the NY Times is keeping count and no Americans know the names of the Afghani dead, but they can tell you the name every contestant in AMERICAN IDOL. Bliss is ignorance.

International Dating

WHITE WOMEN:   

First date: You get to kiss her goodnight.

Second date: You get to grope all over and make out a bit.

Third date: You get to have sex but only in the missionary position.

IRISH WOMEN:

First Date: You both get blind drunk and have sex.

Second Date: You both get blind drunk and have sex.

20th Anniversary: You both get blind drunk and have sex.

ITALIAN WOMEN:

First Date: You take her to a play and an expensive restaurant.

Second Date: You meet her parents and her Mom makes spaghetti &
meatballs.

Third Date: You have sex, she wants to marry you & insists on a 3-carat
ring.

5th Anniversary: You already have 5 kids together & hate the thought of
having sex.

6th Anniversary: You find yourself a Mistress.

JEWISH WOMEN:

First Date: You get terrific head.

Second Date: You get even more great head.

Third Date: You tell her you'll marry her and never get head again.

CHINESE WOMEN:

First date: You get to buy her an expensive dinner but nothing happens.

Second date: You buy her an even more expensive dinner. Nothing happens again.

Third date: You don't even get to the third date and you've already
realized nothing is ever going to happen.

INDIAN WOMEN:

First date: Meet her parents.

Second date: Set the date of the wedding.

Third date: Wedding night.

BLACK WOMEN:

First Date: You get to buy her a real expensive dinner.

Second Date: You get to buy her and her girlfriends a real expensive
dinner.

Third Date: You get to pay her rent.

Tenth Date: She's pregnant by someone other than you. 

THAI WOMEN:

First Date: You get drunk on beer, barfine her and have sex back at your hotelr.

Second Date: She quits working and you ahve sex ten times in one day.

Third Date: You rent a house. One week later, her mother, father, his girlfriend, her two sisters, her brother, all of their kids, her grandma, her father's girlfriend's mother, her two cousins, her sister's Boyfriend and his three kids move in and you live on sum  tam  for the rest of your life in your home that used to be nice, but now looks like a shack in Isaan. ARAB WOMEN:   

First Date: Mother, Father, Brothers, Sisters, Cousins, Aunts, Uncles, Friends and entire Arab community finds out. 

Second Date: You are shot dead.

No third date.

Thai Ties

Every time I visit my tailor for shirts, he asks why I don't buy any ties. I tell Pinky that I wore them for most of my life and don't see the point of wearing them in Pattaya. Like who am I trying to impress?

My drunken friends or the madam of the Buffalo Bar?

I don't think so, but occasionally I spot farang men wearing ties in Pattaya. Most look like missionaries, however it got me to thinking on what occasion would a tie be appropriate in Thailand.

The four most popular reasons in the West for wearing a tie are weddings, funerals, seeing a judge in court, and because your stupid boss told you to wear one.

Sporting a cravat at your wedding sets a bad impression in that your Thai relatives might think you have more money than they had previously imagined and they'll start hounding your loving bride to fleece you at a previously unimaginable rate. Not that she wants to exploit you, but Thai women put their families before a farang. It's just the natural order of things.

Funerals is another event for a tie, however no one is going to waste 100 baht of buying you a tie if you are a stiff. A farang would be lucky to get a clean set of clothing on your corpse for your final voyage to the homeland or the nearest incinerator.

A tie presents respectability in a court of law back in the West and the same value is matched in Thailand. The judge will look at you standing there all handsome and say, "Alright, add a zero to the fine."

Finally the work place.

Unless you are a salaried wage slave for a corporation sucking out your life's blood, then there is no acceptable reason to wear a tie, unless it is to goof on those who have to wear a tie every day and in that case wear the loudest and most out-of-date tie possible and by all means don't worry about any food stains. After all ties started out as scarves that we used for wiping your mouth after a good meal. Why should now be any different?

Fashion Faux-Pas in Pattaya

Pattaya is a well-known beach resort for a variety of reasons, but the fashion consciousness of its male farang population is certainly not one of the drawing points. The town boasts more sweep-over hair-dos than a General MacArthur lookalike jamboree and a surprising number of gentlemen sport beards and moustaches better suited a b-grade pirate movie from the 1960s. Obviously many guests have been spared a woman's touch before their arrival here and they are oblivious to their present girlfriends' entreaties to smarten up their appearance.
Now there's nothing wrong with keeping your wardrobe simple. Everyone should have a couple of jeans and a good shirt, but a staggering number of farangs consider the standard attire of a tee-shirt and shorts appropriate for every occasion. Breakfast at the local bacon and egg joint. Tee-shirt and shorts. Golfing with your mates. Tee-shirt and shorts. Beering yourself brainless. Tee-shirt and shorts. And some of these sartorial folks wear the same outfit more than one day in a row telling to themselves, "Funny, I don't smell dirty." Like hell you don't. God forbid one of these nose-dead farangs should get on the elevator. You barely have time to hold your breath. Of course the one time most farang men make an effort to dress is in preparation for a stroll down Walking Street in search of female companionship. Young men inevitably splendor themselves up as boy band wannabes with spiky hair, groovy shirts, and snappy trousers like they just got thrown off the set of AMERICAN IDOL. Middle-aged men with a Peter Pan fixation wear sport sleeveless tee-shirt to exhibit the muscles earned from long hours at the gym aided by about $5000 worth of steroids. Newly arrived travelers see a silk shirt in a tailor's window and think. "Silk. Sexy." On a girl near naked in bed. Sexy, but Thai women think silk shirts makes you look old. I know. I've bought a few and my girlfriend always shakes her head. "Old, old, old." And she really doesn't care what I look like as long as I come home from a venture to Walking Street with some money in my pocket. My friend Gordon was approaching 70. He didn't make any effort at all. He wore vulgar Hawaiian shirts and perched two sets of glasses on his red ribbed nose, while drinking rum and cokes. He couldn't be any happier. "What I have to worry about being good-looking. I left my looks in my 50s." Actually in the old days the only essential fashion accessory in Pattaya was a baseball cap onto which you can clip a 1000 baht note. It might not get you the girl of your dreams, but someone will come along and say, "Hey, sexy." After all it is low season.

ZEN AND WISDOM OF LIFE

Many of expat westerners live in the Orient without fully understanding the spirituality of the East. We are trapped by the Ten Commandments or our own preconceived notions of life. All humans might have to pull down their pants to go the bathroom, but few farangs will stand on the toilet seat to take a piss. We shared a multitude of different ways of doing things and the same goes for spirituality.

It's all about coming to grips with the contrasting views of good and bad.

Touching someone on the head is bad for a Thai.

Patting someone on the head is good for a farang.

These gestures can sear the soul, yet we can find a common ground if we are willing to open our minds to the ways of the East.

Adaptations of ZEN

1. Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me either. Just pretty much leave me the hell alone.

2. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a broken fan belt and a leaky tire.

3. it's always darkest before dawn. So if you're going to steal your
neighbor's newspaper, that's the time to do it.

4. Sex is like air -- it's not important unless you aren't getting any.

5. Don't be irreplaceable. If you can't be replaced, you can't be promoted.

6. No one is listening until you fart.

7. Always remember you are unique -- just like everyone else.

8. Never test the depth of the water with both feet.

9. If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car
payments.

10. Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away, and you have their shoes.

11. If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.

12. Give a man a fish, and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.

13. If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.

14. If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.

15. Some days you are the bug; some days you are the windshield.

16. Don't worry--It only seems kinky the first time.

17. Good judgment comes from bad experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.

18. The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it back in your pocket.

19. A closed mouth gathers no foot.

20. Duct tape is like the Force--It has a light side and a dark side, and it holds the universe together.

21. There are two theories to arguing with women. Neither one works.

22. Generally speaking, you aren't learning much when your lips are moving.

23. Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

24. Never miss a good chance to shut up.

25. We are born naked, wet, and hungry, and get slapped on our ass...then things get worse.

26. Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.

27. There is a fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness".

28. No matter what happens, somebody will find a way to take it too
seriously.

29. There comes a time when you should stop expecting other people to make a big deal about your birthday...around age 11.

30. Everyone seems normal until you get to know them.

Deja Trop Vu From Holyoke

This April I visited Boston's Museum of Fine Arts for the first time in decades. My sister, her husband, and daughter slowly inspected each and every painting, while I sought out Northeast classics such as Fitz Hugh Lane's Owl's Head, Winslow Homer's The Fog, and Childe Hassam's Boston Common at Twilight. I have admired these iconic images for ages. It was good to be close to them, as was seeing my family members out of the corner of my eye. Familiarity breeds more familiarity and I am a native New Englander.

This weekend my producer and I traveled to his lakeside house outside of Springfield on the Merritt Parkway. We detoured off the route to visit East Rock, a basalt traprock promontory north of New Haven. A tall stele tops the park. Eric and I had driven by this monument hundreds, if not thousands of times we moved to New York City in the 70s. Most of the families celebrating the sunny weather were Mexican and one side of the base was dedicated to the American victories against Mexico in the 1840s. The other side were dedicated to the soldiers and sailors of the American Revolution, and the Civil War.

"See that bump on the far horizon?" Eric pointed to a blue hill beyond the farthest ridge.

"Yes."

"That's Mount Holyoke."

"I haven't been there since the early 60s." My father had taken our family there on a Sunday drive.

"We'll go there in the afternoon. It's only a half-hour from my house." Eric motioned for me to get back in his car. His house was another hour away and we had plans on eating at Crazy Jake's. The family restaurant in his hometown had great fried clams and that compliment comes from a man raised on fried bi-valvals from Wollaston Beach.

Lunch was delicious. The clam bellies were fat and succulent. Eric's house was a minute away from Jake's. We unloaded the van and I pulled weeds from the front lawn. The backyard was overrun by knee-high dandelions. Eric mowed the grass and after an hour of landscaping we had tamed nature.

"How about that trip to Mount Holyoke?" I threw the piles of weeds into the woods.

"I have a few things to do on the internet." His video production company was a non-stop enterprise. "We'll go around 4."

"Fine with me." I went outside to chop down a tree shattered by a winter storm. A long branch endangered passers-by. The ax was dull, but the heavy swing hewed a gut in the log and within a half-hour I shouted 'timber' to the bugs. The limb fell several feet from me with a threatening thud. Sweat stained my shirt and I dragged the branch to the wood pile, ready for a beer.

"What was that noise?" Eric didn't lift his head from the computer.

"Chopped down that hanging branch." A real woodsman could have accomplish the task within five minutes, still I was proud of my effort. I had all my fingers and toes and hadn't thrown out my back.

"Give me another ten minutes and we'll head over to Mount Holyoke."

Eric was true to his word and fifteen minutes we were driving through the verdant green woods of Western Massachusetts with Eric recounting tales of his youth. The park was open and he drove up the winding road to the summit teased by ever-scenic vistas of the Connecticut River Valley. Eric parked the van beneath the mountain house, which was surrounded by a chain-link fence for renovation. A path led to the northern side of the summit and we climbed to granite slab.

"That's the oxbow." Eric pointed to a gentle loop in the river.

"I know this view." I had seen it recently.

"Thomas Cole painted it in the 1840s."

"The View from Holyoke." I had stood before his arcadian tableau at the MFA. His viewpoint was more to the east, but recognizable from my vantage. "For a second I thought it was a deja vu. I once had a similar one in the South of France."

"Where?" Eric had family in the Luberon. His father had met his mother in Normandy a week after D-Day.

"Perpignon." I had spent the summer of 1989 with my faux-family on the Cote Vermillon. "I was writing a collection of short stories there. My cousin and I drank in various towns up and down the coast. We gambled in Spain and ate great meals in Sete. One afternoon Jacques said that he had a favor to ask me. I said, "What?" and he replied that his wife wanted us to attend a classical quartet concert in a mountain monastery. I hated that type of music. jacques felt the same way, but demanded on our blood that I accompany him. I agreed and that evening we drove up into the Pyrenees under a glorious sky. Turning a corner I spotted the monastery atop a hill and was staggered by a tidal wave of a deja vu. I had been here before. Physically. Jacques asked what was wrong and I told him about my reincarnation. He laughed and explained to everyone in the car about my deja vu before explaining that half this monastery had been sold to an American, who planted the twin at the end of Manhattan."

"The Cloisters." The renaissance edifice was a highlight to everyone driving up the Hudson.

"One in the same."

"So no deja vu."

"No and I guess none today." I couldn't recall the last time that I had experienced that mystical sensation. Maybe I've seen too much over these last six decades to be surprised by deja trop vu, but I doubt it and my eyes stripped away the trees and the laces on roads to time-travel back to the view of Mount Holyoke seen by Thomas Cole. It was easy once I took off my glasses.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

You Bet I Would # 64

If only to hold hands with Charlotte Rampling, I would love to have a time machine.

41 Blanco Street Austin Texas


In the late-winter of 1975 I drove an blind piano from an art-deco hotel in Miami Beach to the flatness of eastern Texas in his Delta 88. Everyone at the Sea Breeze Hotel had warned about Old Bill's driving. I thought that they had been kidding, but outside of La Grange on Route 71 he ordered me to turn onto a dirt road.

"I'll take over from here. My lady friend lives a couple of miles up this road." He motioned to get out of the car.

"You know where you are?" There wasn't a single house in sight.

"Road 4123, right?"

"Yeah." I didn't ask how he knew, having witnessed the extraordinary powers of the blind man's remaining senses on more than one occasion. I stepped out of the car and grabbed my bag, as Old Bill slid over to the driver's seat.

"Good luck." I watched the old piano-tuner grasp the wheel, as if he were reading the braille from the road. He was really going to do this.

"You too, hippie boy, am I pointed straight?" The white orbs of his eyes blinked with radar precision.

"I left you on the crest of the road." The hard-scrabble two-laner ran straight as a strand of dry spaghetti to the hazy horizon.

"Then I'm good. See you, when I see you." Old Bill laughed and drove off slow, weaving from side to side. After a few minutes the Delta 88 was a black speck swallowed by yellow dust of East Texas.

"You too, hippie boy, am I pointed straight?" The white orbs of his eyes blinked with radar precision.

"I left you on the crest of the road." The hard-scrabble two-laner ran straight as a strand of dry spaghetti to the hazy horizon.

"Then I'm good. See you, when I see you." Old Bill laughed and drove off slow, weaving from side to side. After a few minutes the Delta 88 was a black speck swallowed by yellow dust of East Texas.

A trucker stopped a half-hour later. The long-hauler dropped me south of Austin near sunset. The far horizon was boiling with splattered layers of color. The next big city was El Paso. I had read about Austin in Rolling Stone magazine. The World Amarillo Headquarters had been anointed the musical navel of the Southwest. Jerry Jeff Walker and Willie Nelson were regulars at the rock venue. I had some time to kill before heading out to the coast and hitchhiked into town.

A red Ford pickup with Texas plates pulled over to the shoulder. Two hippies were in the front. I was a longhair. We flashed each other peace signs and I told them my destination. "Commander Cody's playing tonight with Asleep At The Wheel." The driver motioned for me to jump in the back.

"First round on me." I jumped into the flatbed. It smelled of cowshit.

The Amarillo was located next to a roller rink. I brought my bag inside with me. The two hippies knew the man at the door. We entered for free. I checked my bag with a dazed girl at the coat check and walked inside the enormous club. Billy Bob, the pickup's driver, informed me, "The Amarillo used to be an armory."

"The acoustics suck." His scrawny friend lit up a joint. Marijuana possession was a serious crime in the Lone Star State. Huntsville Prison was infamous for the harshness of incarceration. My hosts could easily be narcs. They both wore battered cowboy hats and shit-covered boots. I stepped away a few feet from them.

"Don't worry, there ain't no one gonna bother you in the Amarillo about weed." Billy Bob accepted the reefer and his inhale expanded his lungs to the bursting point of a thin balloon. His exhale released a thunderhead of smoke smelling of across the border.

"Cops, lawyers, judges, everyone comes here to hear the music and drink beer. I thought you said that first round was on you." "That's right."

I surrendered my caution and bellied up to the bar. Lone Star was the beer of choice. I ordered six. We drank with other cowboy hippie, who were well over 6-feet. Most looked like they had played college football for an angry coach.

I don't recollect the opening bands, since Billy Bob, his friend, and I tossed back shots of tequila to get in the mood. Billy Bob had been wrong about Commander Cody, but he was right about Asleep At The Wheel. They were a killer band. Most of the audience watched from tables, but the dance floor was active and I performed a country version of the Hustle with a redheaded woman in a filmy black dress. "You're new around here." "Just got into town today from the East Coast. "Nice." Her accent was Dallas. "Where you staying?" she asked after a breath-taking swirl. "Nowhere." I hadn't slept with a woman in over two months. An actress was waiting for me in LA. It was a long way away.

"I live on Blanco." Ginger was thin and still a waif at 25. "I don't know where that is." "It's not a walking distance."

"I don't have a car."

"Me neither." "They have taxis here?" I was hoping that we didn't have to ride a horse. At this stage of the evening I was too off-balance to challenge heavy machinery or large animals. "Probably one waiting outside." Her fingers graced the inside of my elbow. Seduction was her mission. I was an easy target.

"Then let's go to your place." I was 23. 5-11. Long brown hair. Ginger and I were made for each other.

"If you need someplace to stay later, call us." Billy Bob wrote his telephone number and address on a napkin. 22nd and Chestnut. "We have a commune. One more or two ain't gonna kill us."

"Looks like the Yankee Boy done good." His friend winked his approval. "He won't be needing us tonight, but if you do get up our way, just ask for the hippie commune. The peckerwoods will show you the right way, if they don't shoot you first."

"Tomorrow."

Because tonight I was a lucky man.

Ginger's house was a bungalow not far from Shoal Creek. The classic western decor spoke old cow money. Ginger had two family names echoing the importance of their past. Her bed was brass. The sheets were scented with spices. <

She placed Joni Mitchell on the stereo. It was a Marantz. The song was CALIFORNIA from the album BLUE. James Taylor was playing guitar. Our young bodies recreated Eden on her bed and we didn't fall asleep until dawn. My clothes were piled on my bag was in the corner.

"You have to leave before noon." Ginger's drawl was exhausted by her effort and mine.

"Noon." I mentally set an alarm in my head.

It failed to go off at noon and Ginger's violent shaking ended my coma.

"You have to go." A silk robe was wrapped around last night's body.

"Now?" I was very comfortable.

"Now."

I heard the slam of a truck door. A man's cowboy boots were lined against the wall. They looked size 12.

"My husband is back from the oil field."

"My husband?"

A man called out her name. I grabbed my bag and clothing. Ginger pointed to the bedroom's open window.

"See you at the Amarillo later."

There was no time for a kiss. I fled the bungalow naked without a backward glance. A taxi took me to the commune. The driver knew the house. He came inside to smoke some weed. Billy Bob and his friend were sympathetic about my plight.

"Even cowgirls get tired of fucking cowboys."

Billie Bob belonged to a vegetarian commune. We ate cheeseburgers before showing up for the evening meal of mushed broccoli and peas. My passport into their midst was a big bottle of red wine. Eight co-eds from UT, Billie Bob and his friend. We ended up at the Amarillo. I repeated the previous night with Ginger.

A week of nights with her and every morning I left an hour after dawn.

The Amarillo opened early. The jukebox covered a lot of ground. Bands auditioned in the afternoon. The bartenders knew my name. I tipped better than the goat-ropers. One called me to the side.

"Jo Jo Booth Gammage been looking for you." He placed a Lone Star beer on the bar.

"I don't know any Jo Jo Booth Gammage." The last names were vaguely familiar.

"Ginger's old man and he don't look none too happy."

"Oh." The vague became very familiar.

"Thanks for the info." I tipped him $5 and left the Amarillo by the rear exit. It took me an hour to walk to Chestnut by the back roads. The sun was down by the time I arrived at the commune. The front door had been kicked in. Billy Bob was sporting a black eye. My bag was at his feet.

"Sorry, but the commune has voted you out."

"I understand." They commune was into peace and love.

His friend stood at the door. The girls were shadows in the kitchen.

"I vote me out too." I picked up my bag. The welcome rug had been rolled up into the closet.

"I'll give you a ride to the highway." Billie Bob handed me my bag.

I didn't refuse his offer.

71 was more than five miles away from the house.

The radio played SOME KIND OF WONDERFUL BY Grand Funk and FREE BIRD by Lynyrd Skynyrd. Billy Bob said nothing about the black eye that had meant for me. He was cool and waited by the side of the road, until a westbound Camaro shuddered to a stop. I waved good-bye to Billie Bob and got in the car. The driver was a soldier. He was headed west and so was I.

It was a good time to be heading to the coast.

$148 LEVIS by Peter Nolan Smith


My mother dressed my older brother and me in jeans for most of the 1950s and early 1960s, however when the hippies adopted the tough western trousers as part of their unofficial uniform my mother refused to buy them for us. Cardinal Cushing of the Boston diocese had banned them on his evening rosary program. A fierce Catholic my mother believed that Levis and long hair were signs of Satan. One afternoon in 1966 I got off the school bus to discover her burning my treasured jeans and suede Cuban heel boots.

"No son of mine will be a slave to the Devil." She spoke with a heavy Boston accent as would anyone reared in Jamaica Plain.

"I don't worship Satan." I had tried to sell my soul on several occasions to the Fallen One without his appearing with an offer binding my eternity to Hell. The Devil like God was a myth, except for in the mind of my mother and the nuns of Our Lady of the Foothills south of the Neponset River. "He doesn't want your worship. He wants your soul." Beelzebub also existed as a villain in many movies, but neither their belief nor Hollywood's depiction of Lucifer made him nor God real. "I'm a good boy."

"You better be." "Yes, ma'am." My heels of my boots added a funny color to the flames. My mother bore no suspicion about my disbelief in her god. My father was equally ignorant of my apostasy, which was a good thing, since atheism was unacceptable to the vast majority of Americans. Thankfully heretics such as myself were no longer burned at the stake, but I thought it better for my mother to think that I was a good Catholic boy.

My grade for religion at school was an A. I served as an altar boy at Mass. Latin was my second language. I earned $10 a week from my paper route. My mother banked most of it. I kept the tips and after a few weeks my savings came to almost $12. My next door neighbor and I took the trolley into Ashmont and then the Reed Line into Park Street.

Chuckie Manzi and I walked across the Commons into the Garden over to Walker's Western Store on Boylston Street. The store ran a radio ad on WMEX for jeans. Levis were $6. I bought a pair of jeans. The salesman sold me a paisley shirt too. Chuckie got a bucksin jacket. Our hair was a little over our ears and we strolled over to hippie corner in the Commons to listen to a free-spirited band. Mel Lyman played harp. The messianic leader of the Fort Hill Commune was famed for his 30 minute solo of ROCK OF AGES after Bob Dylan's electric performance at the Newport Jazz Festival of 1965. The girls danced in the sunshine. They smelled of patchouli. Chuckie and I left at 5. My father was on the same train. He looked at my jeans and said, "You better change out of them before you get home."

I did in the woods behind our house and I hid them in the garage. My father never snitched me out, which was a surprise for a man 30 years older than me. All he cared about was that I scored good grades and that I didn't cause my mother any problems.

My waist size back in the 60s was a 28. It's more than that now and so is the price of Levis. Most stores offer them for $40-60. I buy mine in a second-hand stall in Pattaya. They come from aid shipments to Cambodia. Americans don't realize that Cambodians don't fit into big jeans, so the relief foundations sell them to Thai traders. I pay $10 for used Levis. A good price, however the Wall Street Journal reported that Barney's on Madison Avenue are selling American-made Levis for $148 and investment bankers are buying piles of them. I went up there to look at these high-priced jeans. They felt the same as my used jeans and the $6 jeans from Walker's Western Store.

Some things never change.

Only the price.

To hear The Lyman Family with Lisa Kindred - James Alley Blues, please go to this URL

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezeArQMWWhA

I Fought The Law

On August 23, 1973 accidental actor Mark Frechette was arrested for bank robbery a few blocks away from Mel Lyman's commune in Boston. Boston police responded to the silent alarm and shot dead of his accomplices.. Mark threw his gun on the floor. It was unloaded. Bail was set at $2500. He didn't go to jail without a fight, but back then as now no one fought the law and won, unless you had money, and Frechette couldn't make the bail of $2500, since he had given his entire salary for ZABRISKI POINT to Mel Lyman. Those were the days.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Mark Frechette ZABRISKI POINT

"As you get old, you forget. AS you get older you are forgotten." James Steele Some of us never get to be old or even older, especially those doomed by the James Dean's curse 'live fast, die, and leave a good-looking corpse'. Few men of the counter culture were as good-looking as Mark Frechette. In 1968 Michelangelo Antonioni was searching for the male lead of his MGM film ZABRIKSIE POINT. A year had passed without finding the right actor, but casting director finally discovered Mark Frechette in Boston, while the handsome member of the Lyman family commune was having a shouting match with a man in a 3rd floor above a Charles Street bus stop. "Motherfucker." The casting director wrote to the director that he was 20 and he hates. Seeing his photo Antonioni green-lighted the new-comer. Neither Mark nor his co-star Daria Halprin had any previous acting experience, for Antonioni was looking for the raw quality of rebellious youth. The filming of a fugitive gunman took place in Los Angeles and finished in Death Valley. Mark Frechette hated the the experience. He thought the Italian director to be a phony. On THE DICK CAVITT SHOW the high school drop-out tells the TV audience not to waste their money on the film, which was later listed as one of THE WORST FIFTY FILMS OF ALL TIME. Frechette returned to the Fort Hill commune with Daria Halprin and the $60,000. The lovely Halprin fled Boston to later marry Dennis Hopper, but Mark remained true to the guru, Mel Lyman, and attempted a bank robbery with two friends in 1972. His accomplice was shot at the scene of the crime. Mark Frechette had a gun without bullets. "There was no way to stop what was going to happen. We just reached the point where all that the three of us really wanted to do was hold up a bank. It would be like a direct attack on everything that is choking this country to death." He was sentenced to 6-15 years, however the movie star died in a prison weight-lifting accident according to the prison officials. Damn, he was good-looking. And that I don't forget. To see how handsome please go to this URL http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-jyzFfrtLRk&feature=related

FUCK, SHIT, CUNT, PISS

Mel Lyman played banjo and harmonica for the Jim Kweskin Jug Band out of Boston in the 60s. The charismatic musician formed a neo-transcendental commune on Fort Hill in economically depressed Roxbury and in 1967 released a bi-weekly journal called AVATAR espousing the re-birth of the inner-self as reflected by the glory of Mel Lyman. "Love isn't something you find, something you do, something you study. Love is something you BECOME after there is no more YOU." I ran into several of their members in the late-60s. I was a teenager. They had no interest in someone as young as me, since I was male. I begged my father to buy property on Fort Hill. A bedraggled tenement cost a few thousand dollars. He thought that the neighborhood was a blight on Boston. "Best to napalm the hill and start over again." That was the end of the real estate career, but Lyman attracted followers and the Avatar recruited believers from around the country. The commune expanded to several houses and the Boston police under orders from the city's judiciary sought to quell its growth by arresting the vendors selling the Avatar with the sale of obscene material. The Avatar responded with a centerfold provocatively printed with the words; FUCK, SHIT, CUNT, PISS. According to famed defense lawyer, Harvey Silverglate the Cambridge and Boston police attempted to prosecute 80 vendors. Only five were found guilty, but their conviction's were overturn, due to the DA's inexperience with First Amendment issues and the assenting opinion of the State's Supreme Court stated that “this rather sad publication is not obscene.” End of story and the Avatar finished its run as a mouthpiece for the beliefs of Mel Lyman. The Fort Hill commune moved into the future, but the leader passed away in April 1978. According to Wikipedia the exact date and location are unknown.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Joy Division USA Tour 1980

32 years ago
New Wave rockers across America were excitedly anticipating Joy Division's May 1980. The Manchester band was scheduled to appear at Hurrah in New York for three nights. None of us were expecting to hear the news of the singer's suicide on the eve of his departure. Ian Curtis was dead. He had hung himself at the house that he shared with his estranged wife. Band members later said, "I think all of us made the mistake of not thinking his suicide was going to happen ... We all completely underestimated the danger. We didn't take it seriously. That's how stupid we were." Here's the itinerary of USA tour 21st - 23rd May 1980 / Hurrah 25th May 1980 The Edge nightclub, Toronto 26th May 1980 Bookies, Detroit 27th May 1980: Tuts - W.Belmont, Chicago 28th May 1980 Merlyn's Madison, Wisconsin 29th May 1980 Duffy's, Minneapolis 1st June 1980 Tier 3 - New York 3rd and 4th June American Indian Centre, San Francisco 6th (or 9th) June 1980 The Starwood Los Angeles 7th June 1980 Madame Wong's, Los Angeles Ian Curtis gone. The band honored his death by never appearing as Joy Division, but their music lives on. To hear SHE'S LOST CONTROL, please go to the following URL http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QVc29bYIvCM

Dining On Diamonds

The BBC News reported that a Canadian man had been arrested in Windsor for swallowing a 1.7 carat diamond worth $20,000. Police xrayed the 52 year-old thief, however diamonds do not appear in x-rays, so they have forced the robber to drink several bottles of laxatives without any movement of the gemstone trapped in his digestive tract over the last week. The owners are eager to get back their stone, which shouldn't have suffered much from its passage through a human body. This crime is not as unusual as it sounds, for back in the last century Richie Boy and I were standing at the booth of an exchange, observing his senior partner, Blake Mannheim, show a 2-carat diamond to a walk-in customer. The sweating man exhibited a suspicious nervousness and we 2-10ed the man ie two eyes watching ten fingers, because the hand of a thief is faster than the hand of the victim and this old axiom was proven true by the quick thrust of the diamond into the thief's mouth. None of us had been expecting this move, but Richie Boy and I grabbed the man before he could flee the exchange. "Let him go." Blake ordered tightening his tie. "Let him go?" Richie Boy and I were half the dignified jeweler's age. "If he wants it that bad, then he can have it." Blake waved for us to obey his command. Richie Boy and I looked at each other, then the thief, who was smiling with disbelief at his luck. "It's my stone. Let him go." We released the thief. He walked out of the exchange into the chaos of 47th Street. Blake regarded the two of us and showed us a diamond. "You really think I would fall for that old trick?" "You've seen that before?" I thought that I had seen most everything. "When you live as long as me, you see everything at least once, but I wish I could see that thief's face, when he discovers the diamond is a CZ." Blake sat at his desk, content with having conned a con. It was a beautiful thing to see, but later Richie Boy and I agreed that we could do without seeing the thief's disappointment after picking the cubic zirconium from his poop. "Then the hand better be faster than the eye." And in cases like that it rarely is.

Drinking Yourself To Death

Every week the Pattaya Media highlights another farang leaving this mortal coil from suicide. Favorite methods of self-demise tend to be jumping from a condo, poison, or hanging yourself with a plastic bag around your head, but few people ever comment on the most popular technique ie drinking yourself to the grave, since the process takes too long to be considered suicide. Still you do hear friends saying about the decreased, "He drank himself to death."

While drinking yourself to death might not be pretty, it's certainly not as ugly as hitting the pavement from a 7th floor balcony plus you're in good company. Oliver Reed for one and the church can't ban you from a churchyard burial at which your friends will say, "At leat he went doing what he did best."

So for those desperate souls seeking solace in a final solution. Get yourself a beer. Maybe twelve. A bottle of vodka and one of gin too. At worst the near-death experience will scare you back from the edge as long as you don't get on a motorcycle during this binge, then you'll have people saying, "What was he thinking trying to dirve in that condition?"

And we can't have people speaking of the dead like that.

Perfect Day

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Lou Reed recorded a signature song on his album TRANSFORMER. Actually more than one. VICIOUS and WALK ON THE WILD SIDE was joined by PERFECT DAY, which was later used for a TV commercial.

“Oh, such a perfect day. I’m glad I spend it with you. You just keep me hanging on.”

Normally hearing a song you love selling a motor scooter makes me never want to listen to it again, however with PERFECT DAY I wasn’t watching that my TV during that time and I also forgive Lou Reed because he needs the money. So much so he sold out HEROIN for a Nissan ad.

More forgivable is Iggy prostituting LUST FOR LIFE for VW.

After slaving 30 years for his music Iggy has little to show other than a penthouse duplex on the Bowery and a vast gap of memories. Guess he has perfect days in his downtown aerie.

A perfect day for me and playing with my daughter at the beach, but other people have more complicated desires and Big Al sent the following list.

PERFECT DAY FOR HER

8:15 Wake up to hugs and kisses
8:30 Weigh in 2 pounds lighter than yesterday
8:45 Breakfast in bed, freshly squeezed orange juice and croissants open presents expensive jewelry chosen by thoughtful partner
9:15 Soothing hot bath with frangipani bath oil
10:00 Light work out at club with sexy funny personal trainer
10:30 Facial, manicure, shampoo, condition, blow dry followed by
12:00 noon lunch with best friend at fashionable outdoor café
12:45 Catch sight of partner’s ex and notices she has gained 17 pounds
3:00 Nap
4:00 Three dozen roses delivered by florist, card is from secret admirer
4:30 Light work out at club, followed by massage from strong but gentle
hunk, who says he rarely gets to work on such a perfect body
5:30 Choose outfit from expensive designer wardrobe, parade before full length mirror
7:30 Candle lit dinner for two followed by dancing, with compliments received from other diners/dancers
10:00 Hot shower (alone)10:50 Carried to bed . . (freshly ironed, crisp, new, white linen)
11:00 Pillow talk, light touching and cuddling
11:15 Fall asleep in his big strong arms

THE PERFECT DAY FOR HIM

6:00 Alarm
6:15 Blow job
6:30 Massive satisfying shit while reading the sports section
7:00 Breakfast: steak and eggs, coffee and toast, all cooked by naked, wench who bends over a lot showing her Growler
7:30 Limo arrives
7:45 Several beers en-route to airport
9:15 Flight in personal Lear Jet
9:30 Limo to Mirage Resort Golf Club (blow job en-route)
9:45 Play front nine - 2 under
11:45 Lunch: steak and lobster, 3 beers and bottle of Dom Perignon
12:15 Blow job
12:30 Play back nine - 4 under
2:15 Limo back to the airport (several bourbons)
2:30 Fly to Bahamas
3:30 Late afternoon fishing excursion with all female crew, all nude who also bend over a lot displaying growlers
4:30 Land world record Marlin (1234 lbs) - on light tackle
5:00 Fly home, massage and hand job by naked Elle McPherson (bending over, naturally)
6:45 Shit, Shower and Shave
7:00 Watch news: Michael Jackson assassinated
7:30 Dinner: lobster appetizers, Dom Perignon (1953), big juicy fillet steak followed by Ice-cream served on a big pair of tits
9:00 Napoleon Brandy and Habanos cigar in front of wall-size TV as you watch football game
9:30 Sex with three women (all with lesbian tendencies…some bending over)
11:00 Massage and Jacuzzi with tasty pizza snacks and a cleansing beer
11:30 A night cap blow job
11:45 In bed alone
11:50 Blast a 22 second fart which changes note 4 times and forces the dog to leave the room
11:51 Laugh yourself to sleep.

Different strokes for different blokes.

The Fatality of Infidelity in Thailand


Several years ago my friend, Sam Royalle, suspected his girlfriend was seeing another man.

"It wouldn't bother me if he was farang, but I think he's Thai."

"How do you know that?" I always have suspected that the reason Thai girls insist of showering after sex is to erase any evidence of sex, although the Thai police insist that criminals can't leave fingerprints on another body.

"She's always late and never answers her phone."

"Thais are always late." The not answering her phone was very suspect and a week later his girlfriend confessed to having an affair with a Thai man.

"Three months." Sam Royalle threw her out of the house without torturing her to find out if it was three months or six. "She'll be back when she breaks up with him."

"Okay." Thai girls always have a boyfriend in the background. 100% and this week a German farang hung himself rather than leave his girlfriend alone. Suicide was the only way he could be sure she didn't cheat on him.

What is wrong with these farangs?<

Magic love potions?<

I was poisoned with one and the only remedy is to have a woman stand over a pot of steaming rice and have her sweat drip into the pot and eat it. The rice tastes a little fishy, but I think it works and certainly would save a lot of people from a death before their time.

For those desperate men ask the cook for Khao nam-lai puying or old woman sweat soup.

The life you save maybe your own.