Thursday, February 28, 2013

Liberatore En Paris

My old comrade and the heroic animator of Lubna from RANXEROX has an opening in Paris. I saw his painting in 2012. If I had the money, I would buy one. Check it out Ouevres sur papiers Galerie Petits Papiers 91 Rue St. Honore Last night was the opening, but what the fuck?

Turned Away Eyes

"For years I have been walking the streets of New York and wondering why women avert their eyes from men. It took me a long time to realize that men have been terrorizing women to such an extent that they fear even visual contact, almost as if a glance is a harbinger of assault or worse." James Steele. End Rape.

Deaf Girl

My friend's sister was deaf. I liked how Nancy danced funny to the beat that she could feel on her skin. One day she came back from deaf school taught by nuns. I asked her what was wrong. I couldn't sign, but Nancy told me a horrible story. We went to the police. They said she was lying. Our parents yelled at us for accusing the Church. I said nothing. That was what the nuns expected, but I knew that Nancy was telling the truth. We were only 12. Adults never believed the young.

RESCUE FROM ABOVE

This afternoon a friend of Richie Boy walked into the diamond exchange. It was the end of the day. Kwan wasn't wearing a suit. I had never really spoken with him. The Wall Street trader had a high opinion of himself. His clothes had been purple lapels and his cars ran faster than the State Troopers lining the highway to the Hamptons. Like every other time he didn't say hello and I didn't mind, because I blamed him and his ilk for the end of prosperity.

"Can I speak to Richie?"

"Sure." I surveyed Kwan's wardrobe. His suit was a year old and the shirts were frayed at the collar. He was hitting bad times and I waved him into Richie Boy's office. I watched them through the darkened glass. Kwan dropped his head into his hands. Richie Boy was saying nothing. He was hearing a confession. I saw money change hands. Richie Boy was an easy touch, especially for down-on-their luck friends needing money. I just hoped that their was enough money left in the house to pay salaries on Friday.

Kwan left the office without saying a word.

He was no longer a master of the universe.

Richie Boy joined me at the window.

"Kwan's busted. He was getting sued by his ex-partner and the judge decided against him."

"How much?"

"Ten million."

"Shit." I had gone through $100,000 in the last year.

"And we thought we had it bad." Everyone was looking for a miracle. They looked to the skies, but the UFOs were staying clear of Earth. We were broke and ET was waiting for us to get broker.

"We're lucky, because we know how to scrap and guys like Kwan made their money easy." I had no respect for Wall Street. I considered them scum.

"Listen, I made a good living off them."

"They were no better than crack dealers." In actuality the crack dealers had been more honorable.

"Maybe, but Kwan's my friend." Richie Boy owed him money. More than he could pay today, but no one broke gets an even chance in this world.

"It's getting tough out there."

"We're in a recovery." Richie Boy was a true believer in capitalism.

"Yeah, right." I trusted in cash. The economy was a year away from revolution, but I couldn't say that in White America. They still drove SUVs.

We closed the safe and headed off to the nearest bar. They were serving oyster for $1 each. It was the new soup kitchen.

Let them eat oysters.

I like the ring of that and I supposed so had Marie Antoinette before the deluge.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Beauty Of The Soviet

Mixed Marriage

There is nothing in the Torah against Hassidim marrying other ethnicities, but I can't think of a single case of them marrying outside their religion. There's always a first time, because in the end love is blind. PHOTO by James Velaise

$600/Month

Last week an Hezbollah operative was put on trial in Cyprus for tracking Arkia Israeli Airlines, a charter carrier with Tel Aviv as its hub. Police and investigators have accused Hossam Yaacoub of targeting these flights for possible attack, however the 24 year-old Lebanese argued that he was a pawn in a much bigger game and that his confession had been extracted by traditional tactics. I tend to agree with the young man, since his monthly stipend from Hezbollah was a mere $600. Cyprus has a per capita income of $30,000 per annum and there's no way Mr. Yaacoub could finance an attack with those funds. But this story made the NY Times and pages of various other mainstream newspapers. $600 wouldn't pay for a single night with a houri in Cyprus, although Mr. Hossam Yaacoub could score six girls from Walking Street in Pattaya for a short-time imitation of the mythic 77 virgins. You get what you pay for and this case the NY Times shows its usual laziness by writing only the news that fit to print. The truth takes more of an effort.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Night-Stalking Bed_Stuy

Friday night I attended a Protest Art opening curated by Richard Beavers at his House of Art Gallery. Its location was not in Midtown, Chelsea, Soho, or the Lower East Side, but at 408 Marcus Garvey Boulevard in Bedford-Stuyesant, a Brooklyn neighborhood for its famed motto 'Bed-Stuy, do or die'. Little Harlem fell on hard times in the 60s. Gang wars and race riots led to white flight. Robert F. Kennedy attempted to address the social inequity facing the residents after his election to the Senate and fought against the Democratic gerrymandering of the district. In 1968 Shirley Chisholm was elected to Congress from the 12th and fought hard to keep the Brooklyn Navy Yard open, but the 70s were even harder with Bed-Stuy bottoming out with the 1977 Blackout during which hundreds of businesses were looted or burned to the ground. Crack cocaine robbed the next two decades and only recently has the neighborhood revived thanks to the gentrification of the old brownstones. Richard Beavers was born in Bed-Stuy and mentioned about the hopelessness of those times, while also praised the works of the four artists featured at this show; Charlotta Jansen, Frank Morrison, Dan Ericson, and Anton & Najee Dorsey. "These paintings are meant to wake up our minds to speaking out against injustice." No one spoke about Warhol, Larry G, or Gerhard Richer. This was art aimed at opening our eyes. I drank wine, conversed with the guests, and then decided to walk to Fort Greene. I hadn't realized it was so far away from where I lived near the Atlantic Terminal. I cut through streets without a single person on the sidewalk. A few boys played basketball next to a school in the dark. The abandoned lots are cleaned of trash, signaling their extinction. I didn't see any gangsters or cops either. I didn't hear any shootings or police sirens. Bed-Stuy isn't what it was back in the 80s and I arrived at the Fort Greene Observatory foot-weary, but never threatened by danger. These might not be the best of times, but they are not the worst of times either. For this is no longer the time of dying, but the time of living. Go see PROTEST. It's well worth the trip. Even if you take the subway.

Neigh For Horses

Horses have been worshipped by Man, but also hunted as a food source since the Paleolithic Era. Upon my arrival in Paris I was surprised by the number of butchers offering 'cheval', which has been a part of the French culinary history since the Revolution. The Haute Bourgeoisie regarded horse as a meal for the lower classes, although all classes ate the beloved beast during the 1870 Siege of Paris. Horse meat is deemed tref by Jewish dietary laws due to their having cloven hooves and few people in the USA feed on horses. We loved BLACK BEAUTY and FLICKA. Boys my age knew the names of our cowboy' heroes' horses. The Lone Ranger rode Silver and Roy Rodgers had his faithful stead Trigger stuffed to be admire at his museum in Victorsville, California. Europeans are fond of the horse, but none more than the Irish and British who were shocked to find out that various supermarket-sold lasagnas, burgers, and pastas contained horse meat and even worse the meat is tainted by assorted antibiotic harmful to humans. All for the sake of profit. I've probably eaten horse somewhere along the line. Maybe in France, but I can't recall ever ordering it, because horses are another of man's best friends. And at least I'm not eating my best friend, for I don't think any of them would taste as good as horse.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Ruins Back Then

When the Bronx was Da Bronx. 1976. The birthplace of Rap. A neighbor has a photo of two boys playing basketball with a tenement on fire in the near background. That's the way it was.

Donnie Ward of the 1270

The 1270s was a decade of turmoil throughout the known world of the Christians, Muslims, and Mongols, but the number 1270 for members of Boston's gay community was revered, for the city's best dance nightclub was the 1270 on Boylston Street near Fenway Park. I was introduced to the duplex of disco by a passenger in my cab. Bruce loved the Red Sox and men. It was the age of sexual revelation as well as revolution. The # 1 dancer at the bar was Donnie Ward. He was our good friend. I love this photo of him. None of us saw what was coming. And it was better that way, for those were good times and no one or nothing can take them away from our memories.

You Bet I Would Rita Hayworth

Her birth name was Margarita Carmen Cansino. The Margharita was named after her. And Tequila was invented to forget that I will never see her again.

Ex-Benedict For Brunch

I love Eggs Benedict for Sunday brunch. Even better I would love for the Pope to get arrest tomorrow. His crimes are many and most are against the helpless. FUCK THE CHURCH and have a lovely breakfast with an atheist. We never preach.

Chuck Norris Top Ten List


After Tom Selleck, Chuck Norris was my late gay brother’s favorite actor. Michael’s favoritism was based on trim facial hair. James Brolin was his third choice. Strangely Bryan La Boeuf, painter and rodeo phenom emailed a top ten list for Chuck Norris. And Bryan is straight.

Being a Bruce Lee fan I have never understood the white guy martial arts thing, especially the fascination with that hairdresser Jean Claude Van Damm.

Steven Siegel said of that actor, “He’s a nice ballerina.”

Chuck is actually be tough and can back up being tough. Here's Chuck Norris's Top Ten List

1. Guns don’t kill people. Chuck Norris kills People.

2. There is no theory of evolution. Just a list of animals Chuck Norris allows to live.

3. Chuck Norris does not sleep. He waits.

4. The chief export of Chuck Norris is Pain.

5. There is no chin under Chuck Norris’ Beard. There is only another fist.

6. Chuck Norris has two speeds. Walk, and Kill.

7. The leading causes of death in the United States are: 1. Heart Disease 2. Chuck Norris 3. Cancer

8. Chuck Norris drives an ice cream truck covered in human skulls.

9. Chuck Norris is my Homeboy.

10. Chuck Norris doesn’t go hunting…. CHUCK NORRIS GOES KILLING.

Bruce Lee Versus Chuck Norris

Chuck Norris has deservedly been called one of the all-time great martial artists, but he has admitted on several occasions that Bruce Lee was tougher, even though the two never competed in a tournament. Bruce Lee staged a fight in the 1972 film RETURN OF THE DRAGON and Norris remembered his conservation with Lee. "I want you to be my opponent. We'll have a fight in the Coliseum in Rome," Bruce said with excitement. "Two gladiators in a fight to the death! Best of all, we can choreograph it ourselves. I promise you the fight will be the highlight of the film." "Great,"I said, "Who wins?" "I do," Bruce said with a laugh. "I'm the star!" "Oh you're going to beat up on the current world karate champion?" "No," said Bruce. "I'm going to kill the current world karate champion." I laughed and agreed to do the movie, after gaining twenty pounds at his request (he wanted me to look more formidable as his opponent) "One time we were in New York, staying at the same hotel. As we went up in the elevator, we started sparring and kept doing so in the hallway of our rooms until 4 a.m.! I still wonder why we weren't turned in to hotel security." Another time, when we both lived in Southern Calif., I was over Lee's house. In his garage he had several mannequins set up for practicing martial arts techniques. He was particularly proud of the one with a head that bobbled. "Do a round-house to its head," he said with a smile. Wearing then some pretty tight '70s denim jeans, I told him, "Not with these pants." After a little more prodding by Bruce, I quickly pivoted by body around and jostled its head like a teeter-totter in fast motion. Of course we both laughed hysterically when my jeans tore in two at the crotch and literally dropped down to my ankles. Gracious comments from Chuck Norris. To see this fight from THE WAY OF THE DRAGON, please go to the following URL http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqzQ2qrtBeg

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Chuck Norris Ain't Shit

The other day in the diamond exchange a young woman offered to sell a diamond ring. I examined the goods. The stones were poor quality, but I saw about $500 in it. "Come with me." I sherried her over to my friend. Eddie needed the business and I owed him $200 from a sale in early January. I explained the circumstances to him and walked back to our counter. Stepping inside I turned around to be confronted by Lil' RV, a Bukharian first-generation diamond dealer. "What?" "I should whack you in the face. I get all the shots after you." RV was 5-6 with a swiftly receding hairline. I liked him most days, but coming from Boston I reacted by slapping his wagging finger out of his face. "Listen, you little shit." He had been mouthing off to me, as only the young can when they don't know any better. "That's the second time you've threatened me. You do it one more time and I'll throw you down the stairs. Then I'll drag you up the stairs and throw you down them again. And if you call any of your Bukharian stick pussies to back you up, I fucking break them like dogs, because that's all you are to me." No one in the exchange heard a single word and RV stomped off to smoke a cigarette outside. I could tell me was expecting an apology and I stepped onto the sidewalk. "RV." "My name is Avi." "Not until you show people respect." The previous week one of his thugs had tried to steal a customer from my partner Hlove, who was equally as hotheaded as me. "This is just a job. Stop taking it so serious." I suspected his was on Big Pharma speed. He didn't look like a coke fiend. Later in the day he said loud enough for me to hear, "It's not about how big you are, but how vicious." Hlove saw me tense up. "Don't, he's just a kid." "He's over 15. He ain't no kid." I walked over to his booth. Three of his fat thugs stood at the counter. I pushed them out of the way. "You're right about size. The toughest fighter in the world was Bruce Lee." "Chuck Norris was a better martial artist." RV wasn't in a listening mood. "Maybe, but like me or Hlove he was a brawler. Our best fights were never in a ring and the best fights of all was beating down someone who thought they were tougher than us, as Bruce Lee did to Chuck Norris in WAY OF THE DRAGON." "I don't like Orientals." He knew my wife and kids were Thai. "And you think you're not Asian." I came from Irish-Yankee stock. "There's nothing about you that's white and remember that." "Fuck you." RV thought he was a tough guy and I returned to my booth. "Feeling better?" Hlove had witnessed everything. "Not really." The stairs looked better, but Bruce Lee had let Chuck Norris live and I did the same for RV. At least until the next time. And with a punk like RV there is always a next time.

Last Meal In Les Halles

Back in May 1982 Walter Durkacz and I were celebrating my 30th birthday with a luncheon at our favorite Paris cafe, which served the gourmands of Les Halles. I ordered the steack au poivre and Walter had the sole. He was a very slow eater, so I drank wine waiting for him to finish his meal.

"You want dessert?" Walter asked between a thoughtful chaw on the soft fish.

"No, I'm good." The carafe of wine was half-full. Walter was a slow drinker too. I turned my head.

The man next to us was dining alone. His face was more than a little red. He coughed and fell forward onto the table.

I snatched his plate of duck before he could face-plant in his meal.

His head thocked the table and he sighed his last breath.

Everyone in the restaurant regarded the man; knives and forks in hand.

I felt his pulse.

There was none and I told the waiter the same in my Boston-accented French.

"Merde," said the waiter since the dead man had yet to pay his bill.

The rest of the diners shrugged and tucked into their lunch.

"Dessert?" Walter repeated his offer.

"Creme Brulee."

Life goes on.

Fashion Week Paris 1985

Me, Mira, and Karl Lagerfeld 1985 Paris.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

In Heaven Above

Back in the 80s I was invited to fashion shows by Claude Montana and Azzedine Alaïa. My friend were models and designers. Some have become famous and I was lucky enough to have known some of the most beautiful women in the world. Few were more exotic than Marpessa.

She was half-Dutch and half-Indonesia. Her beauty was frightening, but I seduced her into a dinner with the infamous art dealer Vonelli by saying that we wanted to exploit her beauty for NASA.

"Why?"

"Because NASA is broke and they want to hold a lottery to see who will be the first man to have sex in Space," I told her this in Dave's restaurant on Rue St. Roch. His BBQ ribs were exquisite and I piggyback their flavors to bullshit her about Vonelli being a NASA scientist. "He saw your photo on the cover of Vogue and said this woman could launch a Space Shuttle."

"C'est Vrai?" Marpessa spoke four languages and a fifth was saved for her lovers.

"Absolutelment." Vonelli was in his prime. He looked 50% CIA in his Brooks Brothers suit.

"Your face will grace posters across the globe. One night with Marpessa. $1."

"$1?" She usually gave it away from free to French painters.

"Times one billion people. We will make you rich." I couldn't believe she was buying my hooey, but Vonelli dropped a card on the table. It was only partially stained by BBQ sauce. "We will guarantee you $10 million for your efforts."

"And I'll have to go to Space?"

Vonelli and I pingponged a glance.

"Yes." He nodded like a senator okaying a secret assassination. "We call the project IN HEAVEN ABOVE."

"I'll do it."

We toasted our future.

It lasted to the door of Dave's.

Marpessa went her way in a taxi.

Vonelli and I repaired back to our table. Dave sat down and said, "You are mean. I want to wrapped you in Saran Wrap and cover you in Mayonnaise."

Sounds like the perfect Space Suit."

"For Heaven Above." Vonelli pointed skyward to the ceiling.

"You are mean to ignore me."

"And beauty is even meaner." Vonelli ordered a bottle of wine. We drank it regaling everyone about Heaven Above.

Everyone wanted to believe, for when the shit gets a foot high the cool step a foot higher.

Whales for Sale USA

Back in 2007 two humpback whales became befuddled by the backwash of mobile phones in San Francisco Bay and swam seventy miles up the Sacramento River. Oceanologists failed to seduce the errant sea mammals to the open sea with love sirens from other whales and Japanese researchers offered to lend California marine biologists a sonar signature of their whaling ships in hopes that the whales will flee the estuary in terror. The Bush administration responded with an entreaty from a Sapporo fish market, which would purchase the pair for scientific culinary purposes should the whales die.

"Maybe this gesture will ease the entrance of US beef into the Japanese market," one FDA official mused at a Georgetown sushi restaurant.

Whale meat?

Yes, whale meant.

Back in the 1960s a Haymarket fish market served whale sandwiches to Bostonians. My friend and I tried one. It tasted nothing like beef or chicken or salmon. It was much better, although my great-grandaunt Bert who sailed around the world in the 1870s said that that the cheaper slabs were very blubbery and full of fat.

Despite its deliciousity I never ate it again for moral reason.

I guess it was too much like eating a fat person, but it's a good thing whale meat has no aphrodisiacal properties or else the Chinese would have sucked the bone marrow out of the last whale decades ago.

Lip-smacking good.

ps thankfully those whales made it to the sea after feasting on the fish in the estuary.

Dali Dinner Tables

Dali was way ahead of his time with this photo. Allen Jones lovingly purloined the surrealist's image for the Cordova Milk Bar's furniture in CLOCKWORK ORANGE. His table went for $1.5 million at the Gunther Sachs auction breaking the record for the artist threefold. Then some people just want to be a table. The Japanese call this 'Nyotaimori' or'female body presentation. Supposedly virgins help flavor the fish. Personally I prefer a salty female. They taste better than fish.

Free At Last In MIssissippi

The Mormon author of THE REDEMPTION OF COLUMBUS offered the supposition that slavery was a boon to mankind, since that particular institution established a value to human life previously sacrificed to satisfy the blood lust of pagan gods. A GOP politician echoed Orson Scott Card's theory in the 2012 election by saying that slavery in the South had improved the lives of Africans by cultivating western values in the savage beasts. Such thought is considered progressive in some parts of the Deep South and this week the country was astounded to hear that the State of Mississippi finally ratified the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery.

The vote was brought about by a University of Mississippi Medical Center professor after viewing the film LINCOLN and subsequently discovered that the measure had been passed by both branches of the state legislature, but never registered with the Federal authorities. This oversight was righted by an unanimous vote, although a number of 'ssippi representatives abstained from casting a yea or nay.

I was speaking with a Southern friend who defended Mississippi's reluctance to join the modern world, "Everyone sold slaves back then. Africans captured other Africans to sell to the Arabs and Portuguese."

"That may be true, but it's also no excuse for slavery." My Yankee side of the family had been involved in shipping during those centuries of human trafficking. There was a chance that they might have transported slaves to the South and West Indies, but that was a long time ago. "There's no place for slavery in this world, even though it exists throughout the world and even in the USA where young people are forced to work as unpaid interns with corporations."

"They have to learn somehow."

"Not as slaves." There is no other word for it.

The South will not rise again and neither should slavery exist in any state in America, but it does no matter what Mississippi does.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Pope Reverend Ike I

The College of Cardinals is gathering in Rome to elect a new pope after Benedict XVI's sudden resignation. The Media has been playing a guessing game about his successor, however the cardinals will most likely vote for a prelate in the present Pope's mold, since he elevated 60% of them to higher ecclesiastical office. The new pope will not be non-European, black, radical, woman or a cleric of a lesser rank than cardinal. The Holy Mother Church does not believe in change. If the Holy See was seeking a metamorphosis, then I would like to see them elect someone like the famed Reverend Ike. “Forget about the pie in the sky, get yours here and now.” Damn, right, Ike. “Everything is a condition of the mind.” Tell it loud. "You can't lose with the stuff I use!" Frederick J. Eikerenkoetter II wasn't shy and no one ever accused him of any wrong-doings. Sadly Reverend Ike passed in 2009, still if I had become a priest like my mother wanted, then I would have worked my way up the ranks to cardinal by now and I would have cast a write-in vote for Rev Ike, who said it was all about the money unlike the Holy Roman Church, for whenever anyone says it ain't about the money, you can bet it was about the money. He was my kind of preacher and I'm an atheist.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Penguins and Dwarves


a joke from the roue of Bangkok, Alan Platt

The 7 Dwarfs go to the Vatican and, because they are the 7 Dwarfs, they are immediately ushered in to see the Pope. Grumpy leads the pack.

'Grumpy, my son,' says the Pope, 'What can I do for you?'

Grumpy asks, 'Excuse me your Excellency, but are there any dwarf nuns in Rome?'

The Pope wrinkles his brow at the odd question, thinks for a moment and answers, 'No, Grumpy, there are no dwarf nuns in Rome.

In the background, a few of the dwarfs start giggling.

Grumpy turns around and glares, silencing them.

Grumpy turns back, 'Your Worship, are there any dwarf nuns in all of Europe?'

The Pope, puzzled now, again thinks for a moment and then answers, 'No, Grumpy, there are no dwarf nuns in Europe

This time, all of the other dwarfs burst into laughter.

Once again, Grumpy turns around and silences them with an angry glare.

Grumpy turns back and says, 'Mr. Pope! Are there ANY dwarf nuns anywhere in the world?'

The Pope, really confused by the questions says, 'I'm sorry, my son, there are no dwarf nuns anywhere in the world.'

The other dwarfs collapse into a heap, rolling and laughing, pounding the floor, tears rolling down their cheeks, as they begin chanting......

'Grumpy screwed a penguin!'
'Grumpy screwed a penguin!'

Papal Bungee Jumping

On 17 June 1982 London Police discovered the body of Roberto Calvi hanging by a rope from Blackfriar's Bridge. The Vatican's banker had bricks in his suit and $15,000 in his pocket. Investigators declared the the death murder. Five Mafia members were indicted for the crime. None were found guilty. A miracle for the Church, then again dead men never tell lies.

Pope Evil The 12th

I was baptized a Catholic in June of 1952. My Aunt Gloria held her godson before the fount, as I cried incessantly, as the priest called for my renouncement of Satan and all his works. Auntie Gloria answered for me. "Yes, I thereby renounce Satan and all his works." No one said anything about the evil of the Holy Roman Church. Nothing about the Inquisition, the Laundry schools in Ireland, the Crusades, the burning of midwives at the stake, the persecution of atheists and heretics, the assistance to the Nazis, or the chronic sexual abuse of young boys and girls by the priests throughout the diocese of their empire. Last week Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation on the grounds that he was too old to discharge the duties of the Papacy. The last pope to quit his office was Pope Gregory XII to end the Western Schism in 1415. On the weekend my younger sister phoned to ask, "You're a good conspiracy theorist. Why do you think that the Pope resigned?" "I don't have a good grip on this other than to say that an institution as ancient as the Church never acts in haste, but there are two prime possibilities; the first being his involvement with the criminal child abuse endemic to the Church." "You mean he was one of them?" "You don't get that high in the Church without getting the right dirt on you. Remember that these priest considered the abuse to be a rite of the Church." "No way." "You might not remember, but thousands of priests and nuns left the Church after Vatican II and I think a good number of those departures were a result of the silence demanded by the abusers. The good nuns and priests had no choice. As Cardinal Archbishop of Munich the present Pope was responsible for rooting out this evil and nothing really happened. You know a certain government is seeking his arrest." "Which one?" "It can only be Germany, because he has failed to protect the Nazi wealth in the care of the Vatican. All the child abuse forced the offending priests to obey the dictates of the banks." "Getting back to the financial?" My sister was a lawyer. She could follow my unorthodox thinking. "HIs butler snitched him out to the Italian authorities. A man as faithful as that does not betray the Papal trust without good reason. The mounting law cases against the Church could force it into bankruptcy." I would be happy to see its demise, but my mother was a devout Catholic and I said, "I was never touched by the priests. I knew of no one who was touched by them. They gave me an excellent education and I am grateful for this gift." "Maybe you could be a character witness for the Pope." "I don't think so." I had worked twenty years as a nightclub physionomiste and my eyes were trained to seer into the soul. "He is not a man I would want to know." "Me neither." My sister had abandoned the Church for some Protestant faith a little west of agnosticism. It was a good place to be at the end of the time of evil.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sammy Was Black

Only one black man earned a spot with Sinatra's Rat Pack in Las Vegas. Sammy Davis Junior. Mister Show Business might have been the token black for the Silent Majority, but Mr. Show Business was well aware of his place in the white world after a stint in the Army. "Overnight the world looked different. It wasn't one color any more. I could see the protection I'd gotten all my life from my father. I appreciated their loving hope that I'd never need to know about prejudice and hate, but they were wrong. It was as if I'd walked through a swinging door for eighteen years, a door which they had always secretly held open. My talent was the weapon, the power, the way for me to fight racism. It was the one way I might hope to affect a man's thinking." While a headliner at The Frontier Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, Davis lived on the other side of the tracks and club owners subjected him to the same Jim Crow treatment prevailing throughout the Deep South and most of America. As his popularity rose, Davis refused to play any casinos practicing racial segregation, which was a brave act considering most of the joints were owned by the Mafia. Even worse was his kidnapping by a mobster to prevent his dating the actress Kim Novak. He got the message by broke a long-standing white-black taboo by kissing Nancy Sinatra. After JFK refused to invite him to the inaugural party, Davis switched parties andhis support of Richard Nixon tarnished his stature in the black community, but he was the first black man to sleep in the White House as a guest. I don't have a bad word to say about him. He was all Show Business. To see his talent, please go to the following URL http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFYiRTPsrqg He did what he had to do to do his best for himself and his people.

Mark Kamins RIP

I was stunned to hear that Mark Kamins had passed away in Guadalajara, Mexico. The legendary DJ had discovered Madonna at Danceteria and spun discs all around the world. The famed singer told Billboard, "I'm very sorry to hear about Marks death. I haven't seen him for years but if it weren't for him, I might not have had a singing career. He was the first DJ to play my demos before I had a record deal. He believed in me before anyone else did. I owe him a lot. May he Rest in Peace." She was gracious with her words as was Mark with his life. After finishing his studies in Greece, Mark hit New York in 1981 to DJ at Danceteria. I was shocked to see a heavily mustached young man behind the turntables. At first I thought that he was a Freddy Mercury wannabe. The other DJs and club people joke about his facial ornament and he shaved off the 'tache to please us. He was a good friend to many and a loving father to his son. We shall miss him and dance to his spinning in our heads.

Near Misses From the Stars


Yesterday a meteor scorched the sky over Russia. Its sonic boom broke windows and flaming contrail brightened the snowy steppes. Its path was recorded by thousands of cell phones and both RT News and the BBC broadcasted various videos of the fiery celestial visitor. Its sonic boom over the Ural city of Chelyabinsk broke thousands of windows and the flurry of broken glass shards wounded hundreds of residents watch the cosmic phenomena.

Chelyabinsk was off-limits throughout the Cold War, since the USSR's top-secret nuclear research were located to the far north of the city and now is Russia's main nuclear-waste management area. Accordingly Chelyabinsk has a well-deserved reputation for secretiveness along with a nasty streak of inhospitality.

The meteor came out of the sun and there was little warning of its approach.

The explosion from the meteor's break-up was estimated to equal twenty Hiroshima blasts.

No one has found the earth-fall of the meteorite.

Similar reports came from San Francisco and Cuba, leading some astrologists to conjecture that these were fragments of a large asteroid passing very close to the Earth.

About 17,150 miles (27,600 kilometers) above the planet's surface.

And that's close.

But a miss is okay with asteroids.

I have no interest in acting as a screaming extra in the remake of Bruce Willis' ARMAGEDDON.

He really does suck as much as Chuck Norris.

ps there were two cars in Iowa in 1903. They had an accident outside of Davenport. Of course that could be a myth, but I remember reading it somewhere.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

St. Valentine's Day Massacre / BET ON CRAZY by Peter Nolan Smith


Every Valentine's Day diamond dealers and jewelers on 47th Street anticipate a winter spending spree by lovers for their loved ones. Each year of the 00s the sales numbers fell and nothing has improved in the last few years, as the economic downturn cuts into everyone's surplus income across the board. This afternoon the chocolatiers along 5th Avenue were packed with shoppers as were the high-end stores offering peach fuzz soft cashmere scarfs and arousing lingerie. Rose hawkers manned every corner and no man was going home empty-handed, if he knew what was good for him. Hlove and I stood in our diamond shop at noon. Not a single customer had entered the exchange. "This is not looking good." I was wallowing in pessimism. My kids in Thailand needed money for the weekend and I was late on my rent. My debts were mounting as was to expected after a long period of the shorts. "Valentine's Day isn't what it used to be." HLove was a little better off. He had given five guitar lessons in the last four days. The extra money came in handy. "Not that it ever was good." I couldn't recall a good Valentine Day. It had been that long. My telephone rang and I checked the number. It was an unknown caller and I answered the phone with caution. It was a friendly voice. "My name is Alex. I was recommended by a friend. Are you open?" "Very open." There wasn't a single customer in sight. "What can I do for you?" "I need a gift." "Then come on over and I'll help you find something." I hung up with dismay. Richie Boy and Fat Karl had stripped the store bare for the annual Palm Beach Antique Show. The two were the engine fueling the business. Without them and the merchandise we were almost dead in the water. Lenny the Bum had rapped on the window earlier and mouthed the question if we had been robbed. "Not at all," I answered in mime, but we had nothing to sell and I complained to Manny my boss. "Stop your crying." Manny had seen four score plus Valentine Days and he had spent most of today arguing with his girlfriend in Florida. Everyone on the Block was heading south this time of the year, because nothing said 'loser' louder than pale winter skin for non-Hassidic diamond dealers. "Selling when you have goods is easy. Selling when you have nothing is the sign of a great salesman. When your G comes in, act if you're standing in Cartier, because you are in the center of the diamond world and you know where to get everything." "Right." There was no sense in fighting Manny, since he was usually right, if he wasn't wrong. At noon Alex showed up with a smile on his face. His budget was $3000.

"How long you been going out this woman?" $3000 was more than most men spent on their wives all year and 2013 was not a particularly good year for most of us.

"Six months." Alex sounded like they were still having sex.

"Really? What she do?"

"She's from the Ukraine. Studied at University of London and works at the Bank of America."

"Oh." According to my calculations Alex was about one zero away from happifying this woman and I pulled out diamond hoops for $15000. They were the only ones left in the store.

"Way too much." Alex owned a high-tech company, but his budget was his budget.

Most men were avoiding jewelry stores like toxic waste dumps, so I showed him a pair of Italian diamond earrings with two carats in diamonds set in 18K white gold flower design. I had sold several other pairs over the last month and I had guaranteed each male customer a happy ending, but suspected that might not be the case for Alex, so I asked my diamond associate for her assessment of the diamond earrings. "THere's very nice." Danni was Eastern European, young, and adored jewelry. Her engagement ring came from Jacob and Company. Her mother-in-law ran Moscow's largest jewelry store. She examined the earrings and asked Alex, "How long you been with your girlfriend?"

"Six months. She's petite. Like a ballerina."

"The earrings cost $3000."

"They are beautiful. Italian too." Danni was telling the truth. We always do, mostly because it is easier to remember than a lie.

"I'll take them." Alex paid the $3000 without haggling for a lower price. We gave him a nice box. It was a classic ring-box-go sale.

"If you don't get a happy ending, I'll give the money back." It was our standard offer.

After Alex left, I called Richie Boy was at the Palm Beach Antiques Show. He wasn't happy with the sale. There was only $500 profit. "He's a friend of a friend."

"Oh, great." He had to share the profit with me.

50/50 minus the expenses.

"Better than nothing." I hung up the phone and put the money in the safe minus my commission.

My Valentine's Day plan was food and sleep before calling my wife and children in Thailand.

The train to Brooklyn was crowded with couples carrying Valentine Day gifts. They wore smiling faces. My effort had made Alex happy. I spent $10 of my commish on a Mexican dinner and fell into bed with Pier Brendon's THE DECLINE AND FALL OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE. Within three pages I was out cold and didn't wake until 8am.

It was Sunday morning. I called my wife in Thailand. She was happy to hear from me and my daughters and sons wished me much love. The store wasn't opening until ten, so my wake-up process lasted longer than normal. I read a little more of the book. England had really put it to India. I left my apartment in Fort Greene at 9am.

The subway was empty and I arrived at work a little past 10. My co-worker, Hlove, was waiting by the safe. The musician's face wore a veneer of exhaustion. He said he had yet to go to bed. The sixty year-old had stopped drinking due to doctor's order.

"I could get to sleep."

"Don't worry, I'll set up the front window."

"Thanks."

Rain was splattering on the sidewalk. It was promising to be a slow Friday.

I was wrong.

Alex showed up several minutes later. The chagrin on his face revealed the answer to my question, "How'd it go?"

"Not good." He stood at the counter sagging with the weight of disaster.

"Let me guess." The $240 in my pocket didn't feel like mine anymore.

"Last night we were going to the ballet. She came out of her bedroom in a dress which looked like it was woven out of the wind. On her ears were two-inch long strands of diamonds. They were antiques and looked like her family stole them from the czar. I handed her the box."

"The box." I had luckily given him an expensive box. "It cost over $20."

"She looked for a name."

"Oh." The box was elegant, but anonymous.

"She opened it and her face dropped like I had called her mother a bad name. She examined the earrings and said, "You have to be kidding." She didn't stop either."

Most women like her don't when they're on a good roll realizing the man was defenseless.

"She said they looked like they cost $600 and said they were for a kid." Alex was reliving the pain from his failed offering.

"Enough already. I blew it. It's my fault." I went into the safe and counted out his money. He handed over the offending gift and I returned his cash. The bills were still crisp. I shrugged and said, "I don't know what to say."

Actually that wasn't the truth. Several bad words floated at the tip of my tongue.

"I don't know whether to leave her or not."

"There's only one thing you can do at a time like this." It was the day after Valentine's Day.

My wife had called to wish me love.

Alex's day of romance had been ruined by this unfeeling chuva which is a bad word in Yiddish, so I said the only thing possible, "Do what you think is best."

My advice was non-committal and exactly what he wanted to hear, because any advice from me would be seen in a negative light. I had ruined his Valentine's Day.

"Thanks for taking care of this." Alex held up the money. "This girl might come by to check out this place. she's that type of girl."

"No problem." I waved good-bye. "I'll be polite."

After Alex walked away, Hlove said, "That sucks."

"Big time. Can you do me a favor?"

"Anything." We were partners.

I asked HLove to T the G or follow Alex for several blocks.

A half hour later he came back and said the lovelorn executive had beelined into Van Cleef.

"Sucker."

"Yeah." I phoned Richie Boy with the bad news. He took it with grace. We've lost bigger sales this year.

"That fucking bitch. A guy gives her a gift for $3000 and she shits on it. I can't believe it."

"First time it happened to me."

"Stay long enough in this business and you'll see everything." Manny said the same thing. His son and he were from the same school. Everyone was out for themselves and no good deed goes unpunished.

Around 2:30pm a small blonde in designer clothing entered the store. A wide-brimmed hat hid her face. She was no ballerina in my book, but Alex must have seen a different performance of SWAN LAKE than me. She examined the jewelry and I pulled out the earrings.

"You mind if I ask you a question?"

"No." The thirtyish woman was dowdy, but she wasn't telling the truth. She wanted out of here.

"If someone gave you this for Valentine's Day. How would you feel? Good? Bad? It cost me $2300. Maybe it's a little girlish for you. Women in their 40s like something bigger."

"I'm not 40."

"Are you in your 50s." I was being mean. Someone had to be for Alex.

She huffed out of the store. Hlove gave me the thumb's up. He was happy that I revenged her slight. I would have been happier with Alex's money in my pocket, but sometimes you have to settle for what you can get and some days revenge is all there is, when beauty is in the hands of the holder.

Valentine Globalization


Valentine's Day has become a global holiday, although few people know the exact origins of why hearts are sent to loved ones. The tradition was mainly attributed to a Roman priest Valentine who performed marriages against the wishes of the Roman Emperor. According to Wikipedia Emperor Claudius took a liking to this prisoner – until Valentinus tried to convert the Emperor – whereupon this priest was condemned to death. He was beaten with clubs and stones; when that failed to kill him, he was beheaded outside the Flaminian Gate. Supposedly before his execution Valentinus wrote a farewell note to his beloved inscribed 'From your Valentine'.

Back then priests were not celibate.

The Holy Catholic Church makes no mention of this marital anathema on Valentine's Day.

Not that the priests of the Vatican are celibate.

Still the holiday is celebrated around the world and young people in Thailand vow to have sex with their lovers.

Puritan Thai authorities disapprove of this adaptation of the Valentine rites and officials post police near honeymoon hotels to prevent teens from acting on their desires. Contradicting this moral conservatism the Culture Minister has ordered his officers to distribute 10,000 condoms to teens in preparation for their civil disobedience. In truth the boys are praying to be lucky and I know that when I was a teenager girls were thinking in the opposite direction. Most teens will go to eat with their friends and the boys dream about getting the green light as they pay for the meal.

Only a few will be so lucky and that's only because they were lucky before.

So Happy Valentine Day youth of the world.

I'm celebrating mine with my favorite lover.

A bottle of wine.

You Bet I Would Flexible

I had a Flexible Flyer sled as a child. We like flexible females too.

Air Command Mentality

President Obama supported the drone war in his State of the Union Speech. A vast majority of American public back the continuation of GW Bush's air attacks against reputed Islamic militants in Yemen, Afghanistan, and Pakistan to prevent another 9/11, despite the collateral civilian killings and the fact that the White House has condoned the assassination of US citizens in foreign countries. Of course drones are much more accurate than a B52 bombing strike, which is an improvement of the Cold War warrior General Curtis LeMay's attempts to bomb Vietnam into the Stone Age. Still the drone attacks echo the same thinking of the following quote from "Bombs Away" LeMay; Every soldier thinks something of the moral aspects of what he is doing. But all war is immoral and if you let that bother you, you're not a good soldier.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Drone Sweet Drone

General Curtis Le May defended his indiscriminate bombing of German and Japanese civilians by saying, "If you kill enough of them, they stop fighting." The much-decorated Air Force general proposed bombing the Vietnamese into 'the Stone Age'. Presidents Johnson and Nixon bought his high horizon thought. And Nixon actually thought that the 1972 Christmas Bombing campaign had forced Hanoi to the point of surrender. 1975 proved him wrong and the same is true for Barack Obama with his continued advocacy of drone missile attacks in the recent State of the Union Speech. I voted for him this election, but I will never approved the indiscriminate killing of civilians. Not in Afghanistan and not in Pakistan. It is wrong. Always. Fuck Obama. He is one of them.

Ted Nugent Shows Class

Last night rocker Ted Nugent attending the State of the Union Speech as a guest of a Congressman Steve Stockman (R-Tex.). Huffington Post reported various Democrats' consternation about CAT SCRATCH FEVER's author appearing at the talkathon due to his vitriolic outbursts against the President, but last night the Amboy Dukes' guitarist showed his class. He said nothing during the speech. And afterwards he said his piece. It still is a free country for those that belive in freedom. And that's freedom for all. Even Ted Nugent.

Sly Stone At Franklin Park 1974

Sly and the Family Stone launched funky soul in the late 60s with the Godfather of Soul, James Brown, and Parliament-Funkadelic.

The group hit mega-gold with their 4th LP, STAND and its # 1 hit EVERYDAY PEOPLE. Success was no a friend to Sly. His cocaine habit infected the other band members. He no-showed many concerts and passed out at others. Audiences rioted, earning Sly and the Stone a reputation for trouble, but on July 7, 1974 the group headlined an outdoor show at Boston’s Franklin Park.

Richard Pryor opened the day to be followed by Donald Byrd and the Blackbirds with their cross-over hit ROCK CREEK PARK, The Hues Corporation's ROCK THE BOAT, and Tower of Power. 20,000 fans had paid $5.50 to benefit the Elma Lewis School of Arts. Few expected Sly to perform that evening.

He had missed a third of his concerts in 1971.

My friend AK attended the concert and to this day says that Sly’s performance was unforgettable.

I missed the show, because I was working in Cape Ann as a waiter in a gay restaurant over the town line from Gloucester. It was a dry bar. Customers had to bring their own bottles. The owner fed the staff stiff fried liver and left-overs. I was fired later in the month for eating an off-limit dessert. I can still taste that pecan pie. It was good.

After his peak Sly’s musical efforts dropped down the Billboard charts, although songs from STAND remain a mainstay of 60s rock revival radio stations.

By the 80s he had vanished from the scene.

In 2006 Sly appeared at the Grammy Awards to play I WANT TO TAKE YOU HIGHER.

At the end of the song the once-time superstar walked off the stage and drove off on his motorcycle.

Future outings across the world amplified the singer’s embrace of failure.

Gone were the money, the mansions, the cars, and the acclaim.

Sly re-entered the news with the media excoriating his fall from grace.

Sly Stone lives in a van. His neighborhood is Crenshaw in LA. Friends support this life style. He maintains that he is happy.

Straight too.

The newspapers reported his present state with joy, for those who will never achieve can't love nothing better than to witness a high-flyer's descent from heaven to reinforce their lack of trying.

CBS and Fox News aren't waiting for the collapse of the banks. They love the rich.

But not the nigger rich. They get what they deserve.

Da money come and da money go.

Sly was no exception, but I'm sure he had a good time. All I want for him is to have a happy ending, because listening to SEX MACHINE is a gas.

To hear Sly and the Family Stone's SEX MACHINE

Please go to the following URL

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cffPwrmx6KE

ROCK CREEK PARK Donald Byrd and the Blackbyrds

In September 1974 my good friend AK swears we saw them with the Hues Corporation, Richard Pryor, and Sly Stone at Franklin Park in Boston. If I don't remember that, does that mean I didn't see them. 3 minutes ago · Like Peter Nolan Smith RIP Donald Byrd To hear , please go to the following URL http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PkXh4kRTBVk

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Peg Leg Bates

Clayton "Peg Leg" Bates lost a leg at the age of 12 in a cotton gin accident and learned how to tap dance thanks to getting a peg leg provided by his uncle. The other day someone in the diamond exchange mentioned having seen the famed tap dancer in the Borscht Belt. "Everyone went to see him at Peg Leg's Country Club." It was in Kerhonkson on the other side of the Gunks from New Paltz. People can complain about their lot in life, but Peg Leg was an example of man's will not to survive, but thrive. To see Peg Leg Bates, please go to the following URL http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hayM4B7hcBQ

Monday, February 11, 2013

Hockey Chick

Back in the 90s I had an affair with a punk rock singer. Claudia wasn't the prettiest girl in the East Village, in fact some of my friends considered her ugly, because of her long twisting nose, however Slatta liked me and no woman in New York had liked me for a long time, so I liked her back. Aa a single mom she preferred coming to my small apartment on East 10th Street. One winter evening Claudia showed up unexpectedly with a bottle of wine. "You're not busy?" The skinny singer opened the bottle with a corkscrew. After a month together she was familiar with my apartment's arrangement of kitchen utensils. "Not at all." The Boston Bruins were playing the Rangers on MSG. "Do you like hockey?" She sat on the couch, handing me a glass of wine. "The Bruins are my team." I was wearing a game jersey which was a Christmas gift from the older of my younger brothers. "I like watching you watching hockey." Claudia unzipped my jeans. "I don't have much time. My son will be home in 90 minutes." "Then I guess you better hurry." I began to pull off my shirt. "Don't bother." She pushed down my hands. "I'll take care of you." "If you insist." I wasn't putting up an argument. Two minutes later the Bruins scored on a power play, then another ten minutes later Ray Bourque tapped in a deflection. At the end of the second period Claudia rose from her knees. I was shivering from her attention. She cleared her mouth with a sip of wine. "That was fun." "Yeah." I wasn't much of a post-coital speaker. "Is your team winning?" She picked up her bag from the floor and walked to the door. "By two goals." "I guess I'm good luck." I guess you are." The door shut and I was alone. The Bruins held on for the win and I finished the rest of the wine, grateful for Claudia's visit. She might not have been pretty, but she was good luck as far as the Bruins were concerned and that made her beautiful in my eyes.