I don't think I would have needed up on top.
Saturday, November 30, 2013
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
He did what he had to do to do his best for himself and his people.
When I was young, I shopped at different stores for different gifts.
Your choices were delights.
The prices were good and the quality guaranteed the products might last six months or more.
Sam Walmart and his family has eliminated the corner stores, the main streets of America, and the curio stores by a scorched-earth policy against middle-class businesses. Their success has been lauded by Democrats and the GOP free marketeers and this Black Friday Walmart proudly announced record sales for the day after Thanksgiving.
According to Al-Jazeera Kory Lundberg, a spokesman for the chain, said that in a span of four hours Thursday evening, Walmart stores across the nation processed 10 million register transactions. On Thanksgiving, Walmart.com received 400 million page views, and on Friday, by noon, customers had purchased 2.8 million towels, 2 million televisions and 1.4 million computer tablets.
"We had record-breaking Black Friday results in our stores."
Videos showed the hordes of shoppers hurtling through the doors to fight over TVs, laptops, tablets, dolls, and anything on sale.
"Buy, buy, buy."
Most of it in my mind was crap and all of it was produced outside of the USA.
Protests against Walmart's starvation wages were met by police.
Courts attempted to block demonstrators with injunctions.
Walmart pays $8/hour. That come to about $320/week before taxes. No one can live on that wage and an organizer told Al Jazeera, "We are not slaves. We are people just as well. At the end of the day, we want the things that the people who run Walmart have ... We shouldn't have to pick and choose what bills we are going to pay."
In her four months at Walmart, McKinley says, she has made little over $2,400.
Truthfully Americans should boycott Black Friday, Walmart, and shopping malls, however their minds have been warped by millions of TV ads and I have to say that revolution in America will not depend on those consumers thronging to Walmart.
Before they were the lumpen proletariat.
Now they are simply victims of the global free market.
They produce nothing, they buy crap, and they believe the lies on TV.
These victims of zombie economics number about 200 million Americans with another 100 million of their income-challenged countrymen yearning to join their ranks..
The filthy rich at only .0001% of the population.
They wouldn't be caught dead at Walmart or anywhere where their class wasn't dominant.
That leaves 30 million Americans possibly struggling for good or bad or the in-between.
People get ready.
Our time will come.
Death to Flat-Screen TVs.
Long live the GTO.
On Black Friday millions of Americans hit the shopping malls to purchase marked-down electronics and toys. This frenzied spending spree kicks off the Christmas shopping season. This year's Black Friday was an all ugly affair and getting uglier by the year.
The term 'black Friday originated from Philadelphia retailers' description of the four-week holiday season as one that turned the red on their books into black.
The BBC estimated that nearly half America participated in the madness.
Yesterday I restrained from assaulting the XXXL Mall on Fulton Street and purchased two cans of beer from Ralph's Meats on Lafayette Street in Fort Greene. He wasn't opened, but Ralph had some beer for me. We are old school.
They went down so good that I'm thinking of drinking some more today.
Happy Boozy Saturday.
ps the bronze Ballantine beer cans are from Jasper Johns.
Thursday, November 28, 2013
"My people arrived on the Mayflower. Howlands. We're still here. Where are the Wampanoags? On Nantucket protesting Thanksgiving. Happy Turkey Day."
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Banned for Turkey Day.
I'm so proud of myself.
Butter was supplanted by margarine in the 1960s. Ads extolled its taste and the supermarkets priced the corn-based spread cheaper than butter. I refused to eat the shit. My mother and father wouldn't buy butter, so I used the money from my paper route to buy butter. I wouldn't give any to my sisters or brothers unless they joined the boycott against margarine. My father joined the rebellion after I had him taste mashed potatoes with butter.
"It tastes better."
Because it was real.
Wisconsin was the only state in the Union to back my fight. Margarine was declared illegal by its legislature. Marlon Brando furthered the cause by spreading butter on his female co-star's buttocks for the infamous anal entry scene in LAST TANGO IN PARIS.
Butter was all-purpose.
It spreads better.
My brother-in-law feels the same way and sent this email missive.
Margarine was originally manufactured to fatten turkeys. When it killed the turkeys, the people who had put all the money into the research wanted a payback so they put their heads together to figure out what to do with this product to get their money back.
It was a white substance with no food appeal so they added the yellow coloring and sold it to people to use in place of butter. Both have the same amount of calories.
Butter is slightly higher in saturated fats at 8 grams; compared to 5 grams for margarine.
Eating margarine can increase heart disease in women by 53% over eating the same amount of butter, according to a recent Harvard Medical Study. Eating butter increases the absorption of many other nutrients in other foods.
Butter has many nutritional benefits where margarine has a few and only because they are added! Butter tastes much better than margarine and it can enhance the flavours of other foods. Butter has been around for centuries where margarine has been around for less than 100 years .
Margarine on the other hand is very High in Trans fatty acids and triples risk of coronary heart disease, increases total cholesterol and LDL (this is the bad cholesterol) and lowers HDL cholesterol, (the good cholesterol), increases the risk of cancers up to five times, lowers quality of breast milk, decreases immune response, decreases insulin response, and here's the most disturbing fact.
Margarine is but ONE MOLECULE away from being PLASTIC and shares 27 ingredients with PAINT
The last test.
Purchase a tub of margarine and leave it open in your garage or shaded area. Within a couple of days you will notice a couple of things:
* no flies, not even those pesky fruit flies will go near it.
* It does not rot or smell differently because it has no nutritional value; nothing will grow on it. Even those teeny weeny microorganisms will not a find a home to grow. Why? Because it is nearly plastic. Would you melt your Tupperware and spread that on your toast?
And we are what we eat.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
The Wampanoags were not the savages.
The people of the dawn were near extinction from a bacterial infection carried the settlers and wars with the Micmacs and Pequots.
Despite these calamities the natives living near the Plymouth supposedly helped the Pilgrims celebrated a good harvest in 1621.
The event is poorly documented by the colonists, but the legend lives in the minds of Americans as a cherished moment of peace between the Old America and the New.
Within forty years the Wampanoags would suffer through the King Philip War.
Only 400 survived the fighting.
They sought refuge on Martha's Vinyard.
Today the Wampanoags number almost 2000.
I know one.
A big man.
Wampanoag and proud of it.
Happy to be alive.
And me too, because I'm half-Irish.
Happy Turkey Day.
One and all.
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Once a Knight of the British Empire Roger Casement was led to his death before a firing squad.
His crime was treason.
He had tried to arm the IRA against the English during WWI.
The Germans had failed to supply the arms.
They had delivered him to the Brits.
His friends rejected the revolutionary after the English published his Black Diaries professing his homosexuality.
He was hung dead and thrown naked into a grave to be covered with limestone.
A traitor and a queer.
In 1965 his remains were returned to Free Ireland and according to Wikipedia after a state funeral the corpse was buried with full military honors in the Republican plot in Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin. An estimated half a million people filed past his coffin. The President of Ireland, Éamon de Valera, who in his mid-eighties was the last surviving leader of the Easter Rising, defied the advice of his doctors and attended the ceremony, along with an estimated 30,000 Irish citizens.
Casement's last wish, to be buried at Murlough Bay on the North Antrim coast has yet to be fulfilled as Harold Wilson's government released the remains only on condition that they not be brought into Northern Ireland.
The BBC reported on his death. They tried to debunk his struggles against oppression in Brazil, the Congo, and Ireland. One thing remains true.
Free the world.
Roger Casement would have waned it that way.
Shannon woke with a hangover. It had lasted two days.
The phone rang.
Bill, his partner said, "I need you."
The next sound was a death rattle.
Bill was now his ex-partner.
Shannon got out of bed with his hangover intact. He picked up his gat. Someone was going to pay for Bill.
Outside in the night air he stopped at the newsstand. "Cigarettes."
Ali said, "You stopped smoking three years ago."
Shannon lit up and said, "It was three years too soon."
The taxi to Bill's place cost $10. He told the driver to wait. The cops had yet to show on the scene. It was the change of shifts.
Bill was lying on the floor. A gun in his left hand. Blood stained the floor.
Someone was in the other room.
It was a girl.
Not a woman.
She looked at Shannon and asked, "Is he dead?"
Shannon looked over his shoulder. "Yes." He believed in telling the truth only because he was too lazy to tell a lie.
Shannon was no cut-out detective. He was the real thing. There wasn't many of them left around.
I love to hear her say FUCK THE UPPER CLASSES.
To hear RICH BITCH - Die AntwoorD please go to the following Urlhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bdeizHM9OU
In 2002 I caught two shows on Arthur Lee in Brooklyn
I was with Andrew Pollock from Andrix and Ivan Julian from the Voidoids
We sang to each song.
Everyone in the audience sang to every song.
With each stanza, with each chorus, with each word we realized how much we loved LOVE.
And this was not only people of age, because the audience was young old and then some.
Recently I cried listening to his music thinking how much I miss Arthur Lee.
Especially when I think about him coming out of prison and the Lemon Drops approaching him to say let's do a tour.
And him saying "Yes."
To hear Arthur Lee perform ALONE AGAIN OR, please go to the following URL
Sunday, November 24, 2013
This afternoon I watched OLDBOY, a Korean revenge thriller directed by Park Chan-wook adapted from a Japanese manga of the same name written by Nobuaki Minegishi and Garon Tsuchiya.
I was mesmerized by the movie.
It rips part the soul and plunges deep into the heart.
Nothing is spared in the search for the truth.
OLDBOY won the Grand Prix at Cannes.
I give it five *****
To view OLDBOY please go to the following URL
The temperature in New York is below freezing.
This afternoon my longtime fiend AK phoned from Jupiter Beach.
"It'll be in the 80s later. We might go to the beach."
Not a chance I'm swimming at the Rockaways till next summer.
"I called to tell you a funny story. My younger son came into my bedroom this morning and said he had two hairs near his penis. I told Reese about puberty and that his body was going through changes and at the end of my explanation he asked if he could start dating girls."
"What's wrong with that?"
"He's only ten."
"And what's wrong with that?"
Kids grow up so fast.
My youngest boy is five.
That is too young to date.
Bordelle, the high-end lingerie line, came out with Christmas delights. One 18K-plated girdle dress will cost over $7000 in London's Selfridges department store.
There are less expensive options for a rich man to offer his mistress.
Fashion stylist Sasha Lilic asked, "Would you spend $7000 on lingerie?"
My answer was simple.
"I'd spent it to take off lingerie."
But I only have $200 in the bank, so for now I have to be happy with looking at $7000 on the flesh.
I have a good enough imagination to furnish the pleasure of giving and taking.
Nymphomania - Excessive sexual desire in and behavior by a female.
Lars Von Trier's new film NYMPHOMANIAC begins with a scene in which the female lead Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg), a self-diagnosed nymphomaniac, is found beaten in an alley. The older man takes her home and Joe recounts the story of a life driven by sexual desire.
The Compleat Angler
How does an ordinary bag of chocolate sweets become a symbol of sexual victory?
As Joe and her experienced friend B embark on a train trip, they bet on how many men they can seduce on the ride.
The grand prize is a delicious bag of chocolate sweets, and it soon becomes clear to Joe that in order to win, she needs to lure the prey into biting the hook like a skilled fisherman.
Von Triers went hardcore on the trailer. Youtube pulled the segment due to a micro-second shot of fellatio.
At five hours long NYMPHOMANIAC promises to be an endurance test of will not to masturbate in the theater like the old days in Times Square.
Raincoats are optional.
To view the film clip of NYMPHOMANIAC, please go to the following URL
On March 25, 1931 a fight broke out a freight train traveling the Southern Railway line between Chattanooga and Memphis. Nine black hoboes battled a few whites and two women. According to Wikipedia the whites were kicked off the freight car and a posse stopped the train at Paint Rock, Alabama and arrested seven teenage blacks for assault.
Olen Montgomery, age 17, Clarence Norris, age 19, Haywood Patterson, age 18, Ozie Powell, age 16, Willie Roberson, age 16, Charlie Weems, age 16, Eugene Williams, age 13, and brothers Andy, age 19 and Roy Wright, age 12 or 13.
The two white women, Ruby Bates and Victoria Price, said they had been raped by the black teenagers.
A lynch mob assembled before the Scottsboro jail intent on exacting justice for the violation of the white woman. The accused survived the night thanks to the courage of Sheriff Matt Wann, who threaten to shoot the first person to come through the door.
According to Wikipedia he then removed his belt and handed his gun to one of his deputies. He walked through the mob and the crowd parted to let him through. He was not touched by anyone. He walked across the street to the courthouse where he telephoned Governor Benjamin M. Miller who then called in the National Guard to protect the jail before taking the defendants to Gadsden, Alabama, for indictment and to await trial by the all-white jury. Although rape was potentially a capital offense, the defendants were not allowed to consult an attorney. Most were illiterate.
The proceedings were held in typical Southern fashion.
"The courtroom was one big smiling white face." - Haywood Patterson.
Victoria Price took the stand. Her words condemned the boys.
"There were six to me and three to her....It took three of them to hold me. One was holding my legs and the other had a knife to my throat while the other one ravished me." - Victoria Price
The trial convicted the seven of rape and the judge sentenced six to death.
"He couldn't get us to the chair fast enough." - Haywood Patterson
The appeal trail knocked down the penalty to life imprisonment, even after Ruby Cates reversed her previous testimony.
The boys continued life behind bars into the 1940s for a mythical crime.
This week Alabama finally pardoned the Scottsboro Boy and Gov. Robert J. Bentley said in a letter, “The Scottsboro Boys have finally received justice."
The right thing to do was an apology in recognition to the injustice done to the Scottsboro Boys, one of whom was murdered in prison, then again everyone is guilty of something in the minds of the police; North or South.
Saturday, November 23, 2013
Last week Christie of New York auction off a Francis Bacon triptych for a record $142 million to an unknown bidder. The rich and even more rich were ecstatic with the result, since the high-altitude sale reinforces all recent purchases of trophy art by dead painters. The Guardian wrote, "There can be no doubt the night belonged to Freud as well as Bacon. When he sat for Three Studies of Lucian Freud in 1969, this painter of harshly real faces and bodies in sparse London rooms was ever so slightly in Bacon's shadow. Now they orbit one another as the two great British artists of the 20th century, and probably will always be grouped in art history as blunt individualists who defied the supposed inevitable progress of the readymade to paint like modern reincarnations of Velázquez."
Everyone in the Art world awaits the next grand coup, as the ultra-wealthy spend money like it was going out of fashion, however the masses of the world was working too hard to rejoice in the triumph of capital over labor.
$142 million could pay the monthly wages of the tens of thousands of Nepalis constructing the 2022 World Cup stadiums in Qatar for several years. Most of them are exploited for nothing. Hundreds have died in miserable conditions verging on slavery.
All to scrimp and save dinaris for the Qatari Museum of Art, which purchased the Francis Bacon work.
Sheikha Mayassa bint Hamad al-Thani, the sister of Qatar's emir, is dedicating her family's fortune to establish her country as an international cultural power.
Here's another triptych.
The Nepali man is holding a photo of his dead friend.
That is the price of Art.
The days never belong to them in Qatar.
Friday, November 22, 2013
Supposedly Time-Warner controls up to 90% of certain segments of the USA media such as TV , newspapers, and books.
Time-Warner tells America what to think through CNN, HLN, TNT, TBS, The Legal Talk Network, Cartoon Network, Turner Classic Movies, truTV, Turner Sports, The Legal Forum Radio Show, Atlanta Medical Journal as well as Time Inc. and Warner Brothers.
Recently the media giant has attempted to debunk the Kennedy legacy by attacking JFK's progressive politics on race and civil rights.
They ignore his sending troops to the South.
He was not a conservative,
He believed in changing America,
The media also suggested that JFK was a fiscal hawk.
Anything to suggest that the government of today mirrors that of the Kennedys.
Not true and more than JFK not wanting to go to Space.
The man had vision for this country.
To help the poor.
Something Time-Warner and Fox News have never done.
So fuck them.
They are lying for the rich.
When the time comes their place will be against the wall.
All we have left is the revolution.
ps the BBC is no better than CNN.
Not only do I know where I was 50 years ago when I heard about JFK, I know exactly what I was wearing.
The school uniform for St. Mary of the Hills.
We miss you JFK.
Fuck the debunkers of Camelot.
Thursday, November 21, 2013
In the late-18th Century Marie Antoinette' coiffeur sought to camouflage the queen's baldness by upsweeping her thinning tresses to cascade over her ears. The femme fatales of the ancien regime imitated 'le bouffant, until the royal coif lost its popularity with the Marie's final haircut by the guillotine.
Almost two centuries later Jackie Kennedy, JFK's wife, reincarnated the fashion during her tenure at the White House.
American women idolized the glamorous First Lady regardless of their politics.
Overnight millions of housewives hit their local hair salon to acquire the look.
Movie stars such as Audrey Hepburn and Kim Novak further popularized the rage and within months the only women rejecting the coif were Durgin Park's gang of crew-cut bull dyke waitresses and the nuns at my grammar school, Our Lady of the Foothills.
The bouffant died out with the advent of the hippie era.
Young women grew long hair and coif was once more threatened with extinction, except for brief respite from the lead singers of the B-52s and the late English singer Amy Winehouse.
Last year Jamie Parker and I were happy-houring at Solas in the East Village. We had the Irish bartender to ourselves. Moira liked a good laugh and Jamie told her stories of his go-go bar in Pattaya.
After our second margharita an attractive woman walked into a shadowy bar. Her bleached blonde hair was stacked high on her head. Stiletto heels added another five inches to her Amazonian height.
"A model." Jamie Parker smirked at the passing beauty in designer drag.
"Probably coming from a shoot." The actresses in TV show MADMEN had revitalized the early 60s, although few woman in present-day America could pull off the time-travel make-over.
"She looks like a 1960s transvestite." The lanky ex-con squinted down the bar.
"And that's a bad thing." I caught the scent of Chanel No.5. She was high-class.
The goddess sat at the end of the bar and Moira went to attend to her need. She was into girls.
"Not in this light." It was almost night that deep in Solas.
"You don't like the bouffant?"
"Not at all."
"And why not?"
"Because the Mr. Kenneth who re-invented the hair style for Jackie Kennedy was queer."
"You have something against gays?" Back in the 60s gays were feared by young men, unless they were looking for a good time. This was the modern times. Gay-bashing was not in fashion.
"Me, I love gays, but gay hairdressers used the bouffant hair style as a strategy to turn straight men gay."
"What do you mean?" I wasn't following Jamie's line of thoughtlessness.
"Just that it's not a really natural look and women refused to have sex to avoid ruining the helmet of hair on their head, so men sought release elsewhere."
"With other men?"
"The sexual revolution freed us from our chains." Jamie was a couple of years older than me, although he didn't look it.
"I had a girlfriend with a bouffant in 1965." Jo and I met in the Mattapan Oriental Theater. We were both 13.
"And you went all the way?"
"Not even close." Steel-rimmed bras safeguarded against any attempts by unschooled boys to reach 'second base'.
"It had nothing to do with the bouffant."
"You're from Boston. Men from Boston love Jackie Kennedy's bouffant. You probably went to bed jerking off to the First Lady."
"Not that I can remember." Jackie O rode horses and spoke French. Women like her were destined to marry rich regardless of their hairstyle. "Jo was my muse. I know my place."
"Don't we all." Jamie was in the States visiting his mother. She lived in the Bronx and thought that he was teaching school in Thailand, instead of running the Pigpen A Go-Go featuring fat pretty bar girls and skinny ugly pole dancers.
"My mom had a bouffant."
"It had them feel like a queen."
"Better than knowing your place."
"Send the princess a drink on us," Jamie told Moira.
"Happily." Moira played for the other side.
"Do you like the bouffant?"
"It's very Kim Novak." The blonde had mesmerized Hitchcock in his film VERTIGO.
"Wasn't she gay?" Jamie asked eying me.
"I think so." Moira played for the other side. She was holding the model's hand. They looked like a nice couple.
If only for happy hour.
"Ah, here's to the bouffant." Jamie raised his glass.
"And Jackie O."
At my age I might think about her once in a while.
After all she was the mother of the modern bouffant.
The night Barack Obama was elected president, people danced in the streets of New York. Our man had won against the GOP. I looked into the eyes of a man my age and we started crying, not out of joy, but relief of having endured the lost years since November 22 1963.
Obama was one of us. He took office two months later. The presidential limousine drove him from the inauguration stage to a series of parties. Thousands of supporters gladhanded their president and at the end of the festivities Barack Obama found himself in the White House.
He had it all.
The Oval Office.
The Red Phone to Moscow.
They were his along with two wars and a shattered economy. He must have looked at his wife and said, “What now?”
If I was Michelle, I would have said, “What about the Kennedys?”
Then again I’m from Boston.
The President has been politically wounded by Obamacare, the budget fights, and defection from his base, but he still has access to the deep, dark secrets buried by various agency; Roswell, Martin Luther King, Pearl Harbor.
We have too many questions, yet nothing new has come to light during his administration and considering the body count for asking the wrong questions, I can appreciate his patience.
It takes time to unbury the truth.
Even fifty years after the fact.
The Boston Celtics are a storied team in basketball.
No NBA franchise has won more championship and suffered fewer losing seasons.
Last year Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett were traded to the Brooklyn Nets to complete the break-up of the Big Three.
"This is my team," Rajon Rondo declared to the Boston media, except the all-star point guard hasn't played a single game due to off-season surgery.
The other night the Celtics went down to the Houston Rockets.
The game wasn't even close and I wondered whether this year's squad was as overwhelmed by the rest of the league as the 1998-99 Celtics consisting of Kenny Anderson, rookie Paul Pierce, Ron Mercer, Antoine Walker, and Tony Battie, which went 19-31 in a strike shortened season.
The only Celtics team to rival that record was the 1978–79 Boston Celtics.
29–53 to finish 5th in the Atlantic Division.
The next year the revived squad lost to the 76ers and Doctor J in Eastern Conference Finals and won the NBA championship with the first Big Three of Bird, McHale, and Parrish.
I don't see that reversal of fortune happening this year or the next, but I am a Celtics fan forever.
No matter how high the hoop, I believe in the green.
Sunday, November 17, 2013
The most beautiful holidays in the world are the Hindu Diwali and Thailand's Loy Krathong. These festivals of light celebrate the full moon night of the twelfth lunar month. I have celebrated Diwali in Lhasa Tibet with the Indian cooks of the Snow Dragon Hotel and Loy Krathong with my wife and children. Sadly this year I once more missed joining them in offering a krathong or decorated flower basket to float down a river or out to sea.
"I float for you," my youngest son Fenway told me over the phone.
"I wish I was with you." Especially since I could stand with his mother and vow to be with her forever.
"You come soon, papa." Fenway was my superstar. Mam was my love. This evening I went down to the East River into which I threw in flowers and coins under a full moon with Venus crowning the sky. I asked forgiveness of the goddess of water 'Phra Mae Kongka' for fouling her rivers and streams over the year. There were no 'khom loy' or floating lanterns in the night sky. Thailand is on the other side of the world. We share the same moon and I read the Loy Krathong's lyrics in the dark.
November full moon shines,
Loi Krathong, Loi Krathong,
and the water's high
in the river and local klong,
Loi Loi Krathong,
Loi Loi Krathong,
Loi Krathong is here and everybody's full of cheer,
We're together at the klong,
We're together at the klong,
Each one with this krathong,
As we push away we pray,
We can see a better day.
A better day will come with the union of my family and me.
A black Suburban headed west on Route 2 at the top of Lake Michigan. The late afternoon traffic was nearly non-existent and no state troopers cruised the two-laner crossing the Upper Peninsula. The driver was cruising at 85, then stamped on his brakes. A white van was parked in the Wonderland Diner parking lot. After the SUV lumbered to the side of the road, the tall man behind the wheel reached over for his binoculars and focused on the back of the van.
“Now I have you.”
The plates matched those of the fugitive.
Only this morning the Assistant Field Director in Petrowsky called off the hunt for their quarry.
“The fat man has slipped through our net, but someone that size will surface sooner or later.”
The driver of the black car hadn’t imagined ‘later’ would arrive so soon and he punched a number on his cell phone. The direct line to the agency was busy. 911 and the State Police were off line. Someone jamming the service.
SOP demanded back-up and the agent waited for the phone service to come back on line.
The diner’s sign blink HOME COOKING every 15 seconds. The neon enticement was playing to an empty house. Thirty minutes went by without a single car or truck passing the Wonderland Diner.
The sun dropped beneath the pines and the light lessened by half. Darkness would give the fat man cover to escape into the Upper Peninsula’s trackless woods. The agent tapped out 911.
He pulled out his 9mm. It was loaded with 15 rounds.
“Fuck SOP.” The agent shifted the SUV out of park and drove right behind the van. He flicked off the safety of his automatic and got out of the Suburban.
The door opened with a creak.
Neither the cook nor the young man at the counter broke from their fixation the food fest at table #5, where a fat man in overalls was shoveling down the remains of grits and eggs.
“Where them pasties?” The fat man pushed his stubby fingers through lank hair.
“They’re coming.” Michigan had no law against eating yourself to death and the cook flipped the half-dozen meat-stuffed pasties onto a plate, then turned to the tall man at the entrance. His suit was rumpled and his right hand was behind his back. His build was a little too athletic for a man in his forties, but the cook had seen all types during his ten years running the Wonderland.
“You comin’ or goin’? Cuz either way you gotta shut that door.”
“Business so good you can insult customers.” The newcomer shut the door.
“Sorry, mister, I don’t heat the great outdoors. Not this time of year.”
The tall man sat at the counter.
“Most everythin’.” The fat man wiped his mouth with the back on his hand. “Chicken pot pie was damn good. Pork Chops too. Ya should try that.”
“I’m not that hungry.” The tall man eyed the young man at the counter. The dirt on his hands had not come from any honest labor and the leaves in his long hair indicated a night under a bridge. He was no one and the tall man whipped out his 9mm.
“Don’t shoot me.” The cook dropped the plate of pasties.
“No one’s shooting anyone.” The fat man poked a fork into the flapjacks.
“Not if I don’t have to.” The tall man produced a badge. “I’m a duly authorized federal agent and that man is a fugitive from justice. You two stay out of the way and nobody will be hurt. Big man, keep your hands in front of you and stand away from the table very slowly.”
“I….” the hippie stammered and the agent snapped,” This doesn’t concern you.”
“Stay out of it,” the fat man mumbled through his pancakes.
“Drop that fork.” The agent approached the booth.
“Ya goin’ to shoot me for eatin’?”
“I’m not kidding.” The agent wasn’t in a laughing mood.
“Damn, who ya’ll? The fat people police?” The big man rose with extraordinary grace for a man his size. “Yer wanna arrest me, Ah ain’t gonna fight.”
The fat man was wanted Dead or Alive and his lack of resistance surprised the agent.
“You’ve been through the drill; turn around, face the wall, and spread them wide.”
“Tell me, if Ah’m gonna be safe with ya’ll.” The fat man stretched his elephantine arms and legs against the Formica wall.
“Ah mean, the only reason Ah ain’t surrendered before was that Ah weren’t sure that yer cud keep me someplace safe.”
“Oh, we have safe places for you.” The agent dangled handcuffs to the cook. “Slap these on the man. If he moves, I’ll shoot him.”
“Shooting a man that big like trying to hit a bear in a vital spot.” The cook took the cuff. “No offense, big man.”
“None taken.” The fat man’s head swiveled to show a toothy smile. “Yer a good cook and Ah gots to dig yer fer that.”
“Keep your eyes straight ahead.”
“Ain’t that a laugh? Here ya are tryin’ to earn a decent living and this bloodhound starts messin’ with yer customers and orderin’ ya around.” The fat man pressed his face to the wall. “Bet that makes ya feel real safe.”
“You shut up.”
“Oh, they want to censor what Ah gotta say. That’s why they’re after me. Cus Ah’m privy to the truth about lies. Cookie, why don’t ya ask Bossman why he’s arrestin’ me? Doesn’t have a clue.”
“They’re too small.” The cook fumbled with the cuffs.
“You have to open them up.” The tall man glanced at the silent longhair. His hands were over his head. The agent snatched the handcuffs from the cook and stepped closer to the fat man. “Get real tight with that wall and put your hands behind you.”
“Yeah, yer just doin’ your job, only Ah ain’t done no wrong to no one in a long time. That didn’t keep ‘em from comin’ after me.”
“I’m gonna obey your every command, bossman.”
“Cook, you have tape?” The cuffs were too small.
“Ain’t ya supposed to use government-issue tape?”
“I told you to shut your hole and I meant it. Where’s that tape?”
“Right here.” The cook offered masking tape.
“Wrap his wrists tight.”
“Hey, ya don’t wanna be cuttin’ off the blood. Ah mean Ah gotta eat with these hands.”
“Don’t worry, you’ll be stuffing your yap soon enough.” The agent put the cook out of his line of fire.
“I hate GI Joe grub.” The fat man spun on his heels and pushed the cook.
The agent had been expecting this move and pulled the trigger, only the shot went wide and three hundred plus pounds of sweat, fat, and bones squashed the agent into the wall like a Samoan lineman sacking a quarterback. When the fat man stepped away, the unconscious agent fell to the floor.
“You killed him,” the cook declared with horror.
“Ain’t dead, son, only knocked out and people will come in droves, cus ya had somethin’ happen to hear you tell all about what happened and not much happens this time of year or any other, right? If fact ya should be thankin’ me for savin’ yer winter.” The fat man de-ammoed the 9mm. “Cookie, give the man his piece after I’m gone.”
“What you gonna do?” The cook looked at the payphone.
“Ah’m gonna go down the highway and yer can tell the fellas that come for this one that too.” The fat man picked up the pasties from the counter.
“Sure, take what you want.”
“This ain’t no stick-up.” The fat man handed him several twenties and told the long hair, “You can drop yer hands.”
“I’m no trouble.” The long hair stared at the man on the floor.
“And ya ain’t gonna have none neither. I wanya ta drive fer me.”
“Drive for you?” The hippie lowered his arms.
“They have an all-points on my van, so Ah’m takin’ the bossman’s car.”
The longhair retreated toward the bathroom.
“Maybe ya didn’t hear me right. You’re drivin’. Ah can’t fit behind the wheel and ya’ll can. Afterwards ya can say that Ah forced ya’ll, which is exactly what Ah’m doin’, ifn’t I hear the word ‘no’ agin.”
“You’re not leaving me any choices,” the longhair protested to the fat man.
“Yer exactly right.” The fat man searched the fallen agent’s pockets, finding the car keys, and then jerked the pay phone from the wall. “Sorry, Ah can’t take chances. Thanks for the lunch. It was delicious. Let’s go.”
The hippie exited first from the diner. The fat man pointed to the SUV.
“I like big cars. They make me look thin.”
“There’s not many places to run on the Upper Peninsula.”
“That’s okay, cuz where Ah’m goin’ ain’t no one can follow me.”
“You expecting an alien abduction?”
“They already land on Earth. Sum of ‘em tubes. Funny, maybe that’s why people in the fashion businesses are so skinny and Ah’m so fat. They don’t abduct no fat men, cuz they can’t achieve orbit. Now git in the car, we have to go.” The fat man shoved the long hair behind the wheel and then sat in the rear with the SUV teetering to the right.
The hippie studied the rear-view mirror. This steadiness of his eyes came from training and the fat man pegged the drifter as a government operative. Thankfully no helicopters flitted over the treetops.
“Who’s been chasing you?” The hippie backed out of the parking lot.
“The FBI, the CIA, the NSA and even NASA had a shot.”
“Was that guy one of them?”
“He might have been after the million-dollar bounty on my head.”
“Why you worth a million?” The hippie glanced in the rearview mirror.
“Yer seen me enough at the diner.” The fat man pushed him forward.
“I ain’t seen anyone human eat that much.” It was for more than two people.
“Yer can’t get a better disguise than a fat person.”
“So you didn’t tell me why they hunting you.”
“Ah didn’t, otherwise they’d hunt you to the ground.”
“Heck, I’m already wanted for credit card theft, so I’m off to Canada.” The driver spoke with a grim determination. “I’ll head to the Eskimo nation to hunt seals or whales or carve tusks. I’m good with my hands and there’s not much call for that in the old USA, right?”
“Yer wanna hear why they’re after me?” The fat man leaned forward to whisper in the driver’s ear.
“Hell, I’d tell you I’d keep it a secret, but after two beers or a joint I’d surrender the family secrets to entertain the crowd, so if you don’t want it spread around the Eskimo nation, keep it to yourself.” The driver’s gray eyes gleamed with a hustler’s sincerity.
“I guess I can trust you.” The fat man settled into the seat. “Ah was once young and full of life. One day Ah heard a story, which altered my life. A secret Ah wuzn’t supposed to hear and didn’t believe. Anyway this man told me the truth of this world. Oh, Ah heard why we were in Vietnam to stop communism. Fer dope. Why we gave China to the Reds? To control one billion people under one leader. The government waved the flag and blacklisted commies in America, which was smoke fer the real drama. None of those truths got me in trouble. No, the one that endangered me is the greatest mystery in the American Century. Yer have any idea which one that might be?”
“Is Elvis alive?”
“Elvis is dead. Ah saw the body.”
“Saw the body?” the longhair demanded in disbelief.
“Ah saw plenty in my old job and heard more. Elvis’s death ain’t the greatest secret in America, unless yer an Elvis impersonator. C’mon, try a little harder.” He squinted, as the setting sun’s golden glow filled the long corridor of pines bordering the highway.
“Biggest secret. Oh, I have it. Who killed Kennedy? You’re talking about that, right?”
“You score ten points.”
The driver stepped on the gas.
“Ah’ll tell yer and it’l take about seven minutes after which Ah’m gonna step out of the car and you drive away. Yer got that?”
“Ah was alive, when Kennedy was killed. Hell, Ah can tell you what Ah was wearin’, cuz Ah went to a Catholic school. White shirt, blue tie, black pants, black shoes. Anyway Ah believed that Oswald was the killer.”
“Same as the rest of the America.”
“Ah believed that, until Ah met the assassin and he wuzn’t no CIA agent either.”
“Who was he?”
“His identity is unimportant, cuz he wuz part of the machine that killed the president.”
“Cause of the Bay of Pigs?”
“Not warm. This story doesn’t begin with the Kennedys. Yer heard of Marilyn Monroe?”
“Yeah, the movie actress JFK was banging.”
“That proves yer an ignorant fuck buyin’ what the TV sells you.”
“Okay, okay, tell me your story then.” The driver flicked on the headlights.
“What yer do that fer?”
“Cause it’ll be dark soon, that’s why.” The drifter acted like it was normal.
“Yeah, right, so as Ah said, the story starts with Marilyn Monroe. Not many people were aware of that she was the illegitimate daughter of a Mafia gangster. Anyway Marilyn becomes a movie star and every citizens in America believes she’s havin’ an affair with JFK, only JFK is usin’ her as a ‘beard’ to hide his womanizin’.”
“With Judith Exner Campbell.”
“Glad you watch The Learning Channel.” The fat man dropped the southern tell the accent. The story went faster without the drawl. “Anyway Marilyn becomes a real pain in the ass and JFK tells his brother, Bobby, to tell her it’s over. Bobby goes to Marilyn after the birthday bash in Madison Square Garden. Normally the sight of a crying woman had no effect on the hard-hearted bastard. Only he’s a man and she’s a beautiful woman and he comforts her broken heart.”
“So JFK never…..”
“Never is a long time, anyway Bobby falls in love with Marilyn and starts telling his business and JFK’s too. Starts talkin’ about leavin’ his wife and the Kennedys had a hard enough time electin’ Catholic in 1960 without having a divorce in the family for the re-election in 1964. JFK orders his brother to dump Marilyn. Bobby says he’s marrying Marilyn. JFK vows to stop this union. He can’t turn to the Mafia, since he’s stiffed them on Cuba. Instead he goes to that old drag queen, Hoover, who’s pleased as punch to get more dirt on the President. The little fruitcake tells him not to worry and flies out to Los Angeles with his boyfriend and they kill Marilyn. Bobby walks in on them and beats the shit out of them. J. Edgar confesses that his brother ordered her murder.”
“Shit. A car’s following us. In fact they’re catching up.”
“Could be anyone.” The fat man glimpsed over his shoulder.
“No, not just ‘anyone’ has flashing lights. So keep the story coming.”
“Thanks, kid, it’s comforting to have a friend in your corner. Now where was I? Oh, yeah, Bobby wants revenge. Nothing comes to him, until the brightest and the best at the White House are discussing the drop in JFK’s polls. The president asked, if anyone has an idea to boost his popularity. Bobby suggested they stage a fake assassination attempt. The rest of the brain trust calls him crazy, except Old Man Kennedy understood street politics and mumbles nothin’ boosts a president’s re-election more than a failed assassination. JFK accepted his father’s edict and gave the CIA the go-ahead. Those university minds plotted the fake assassination in Dallas. A CIA team on the grassy knoll shoots blanks. JFK becomes a hero, the election a landslide, and a mandate assures a new era of prosperity. None of them suspected Bobby would set-up his brother for the old Mafia boss.”
“Who was Marilyn’s real father?”
“Ten points. Bobby tells the old man how JFK had killed his daughter and they planned to place another shooter on the scene.”
“The Texas Book Depository,” the driver spat like he was rushing an answer to a game show.
“No, Oswald was a fall guy. The Mafia chief put his shooter in the building across the street. November 22, 1963. Everyone’s in place. The CIA team shootin’ blanks on the grassy knoll. The fall guy's in the Depository. The Mafia hit man waiting for his shot. Anyway the limo makes the turn and the Mafia hit man bangs away, hitting the president. The CIA team is confused by the change in the plans and pulls off a round. The hit man delivers the coup de grace and Bobby has his revenge. Fratricide.”
“It fits,” the driver murmured with the car gliding to a halt.
“I figured you for a cop.” The fat man dipped his hand into the bag of pasties.
“Sorry, big man,” the driver apologized, adding, “I’m only doing my job.”
“No problem, I understand.” He bit into the pastie.
Blinking lights filled the interior of the car.
“You want to make this easy for them?”
“You think about what they’ll do to you, once they’re rid of me?”
“What are you talking about?”
“Officer Tippitt, Lee Harvey Oswald, Dorothy Killgallen, Jack Ruby to name a few, but we don’t have time to discuss this. I step out of this car and I’m a dead man. You’re dead too, because I told you too much.”
“That was some crazy bullshit.”
“Okay, you talk to your boys. If they ask, if I told you anything, then come back to the car and drive faster than hell. A plane is at a deserted airfield nearby and the pilot will wait another ten minutes. Tell them I have a gun and will only surrender to you.”
“You don’t have a gun.”
“Yes, I do.” The fat man withdrew a .22 Beretta from under a fold of fat. “Now if I’m wrong, step away, because I’m not goin’ to jail and I don’t wanna kill you.”
“Why not?” The driver rested his hand on the door handle.
“Because you’re my only out.” The fat man flicked off the Beretta’s safety.
The longhair walked to the men behind the cars. They spoke for a few seconds and the hippie returned to sit behind the wheel. The fat man tapped him on the shoulder.
“You were right.”
“I wish I wasn’t.” The fat man had to trust the longhair. They were both dead men if he didn’t. “You ready?”
“Ready?” The driver stamped on the accelerator. The black car burnt rubber to the crack of shots. Several shattered the rear window, missing the passenger and the driver. Sirens filled their ears and the cold air rushed inside the car. “That’s one way to quit your job.”
“No one in my job has ever retired, so it’s welcome to run for your life.”
“Yeah, head out of the highway, looking for adventure and whatever comes your way,” the fat man sang, imitating Elvis’ voice.
“Fire your guns into space.” The driver showed they were on the same team and the fat man repeated the chorus from Judas Priest, “Head out of the highway.” because the open road was the only world left for people like him, until the expected the ranks of the resistance outnumbered the liars in power and that could take an eternity.
As the country approaches the 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination, the American media is revisiting the many theories of his death.
CNN came out to announce the debunking of one conspiracy.
The news article glossed over the possibilities without any depth.
There is only one truth.
JFK was shot dead.
So were Malcolm X and Martin Luther King.
RFK was killed in LA.
Arthur Bremer couldn't get to Nixon, so he shot George Wallace instead.
This country is not ruled by ballots, but bullets and that is the conspiracy.
Frank Hewetson and the rest of the Arctic 30 remain in Russian prison.
There is nothing good about this place.
"23 hour day lock up. One hour a day 'exercise'. No hot running water. Light on 24-hours … It's a mixture of hope and despair."
His partner and mother of their two children said to The Guardian, "I think he could consider that he might be getting a bit old for this kind of game. He could do a slightly less crazy version. Hopefully, he won't have too much appetite for doing it again in a terrible hurry."
Free Frank, free the Arctic 30, free the world.
Saturday, November 16, 2013
Jen Rowley is young.
She loves posing for photos.
I met her at the 169 Bar on east Broadway.
She left that dive for San Francisco.
The City by the Bay must seem more free, but I bet she doesn't have health care and neither do most Americans even though the vast majority are covered by health plans at work.
ObamaCare has changed all that.
Millions of people are losing their coverage, because their insurers do not meet the minimum requirements of the health care legislation and Americans are not bothering to join the new health care network.
So far only 140,000 have signed up to the plan.
27,000 through the website.
The GOP have declared the program a failure.
Democrats are abandoning what they perceive is a 'sinking ship'.
In truth the current national health system is broken beyond repair.
Americans pay more than any other country for less.
They don't know it, until they need health care.
Healthy people don't go to hospitals.
Except to visit sick people and they are generally glad that they aren't sick.
Obamacare is not the answer to this dilemma.
It still depends on profiteering insurers.
National Health Care is the answer.
No matter what the fascist say and I'm sure that Jen Rowley also knows this.
She is a young woman.
In the prime of health, but aren't we all?
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Back in the 80s I was exiting Paris at Charles De Gaulle Aeroport.
A French SWAT team cordoned off a corridor.
An unclaimed bag lay against the wall.
After a minute a small pig trotted over to the bag and sniffed at the potential 'bombe' with its pink little snout.
The pig shook its head as an all-clear sign to the armed CRS.
They blew up the bag.
It was contained with women's underwear.
A very messy affair.
Monday, November 11, 2013
Two Novembers ago I visited the US military cemetery outside Luxembourg City with the British and the American ambassadors. The morning sun struggled to break through the low fog. It would have little success.
The German ambassador was waiting at the gate. He had come to lay a wreath in honor of the dead. Beyond him thousands of white crosses marked the graves of my fallen countrymen.
I got out of the British ambassador's Jaguar and walked away from the assembled dignitaries like the old man at the beginning of SAVING PRIVATE RYAN.
"Are you okay?" The American ambassador caught up with me at a wall rusty with autumn leaves.
"Yes." There were tears in my eyes. These men were from my father's generation. "I'm surprised by it all."
"I felt the same way the first time I saw all these graves." The ambassador was a few years older than me. "Let's walk to the back of the cemetery."
Each one had died in the bitter cold of December 1944. They hailed from every nationality. Most had been in their twenties. More than a few were from my home state.
I think I got some more dust in my eyes, as a lone bugler played taps. The American ambassador patted my shoulder. We didn't have to say another word.
The next day I traveled to Charleroi and mentioned this visit to an American friend. Vonelli poured me a glass of Duvel Beer and we sat by the fire in his living room.
"My father had been with the artillery in the Battle of the Bulge and my old man never got over the horror of that winter."
Vonelli was a veteran of a colder war from the 70s.
"Every morning the platoon commander would hold a lottery, which picked the forward observers from the ranks. After the results the chosen men would shake hands with their friends, knowing their chances of coming back in the evening were close to nil."
"And they went?"
"It's what they did," Vonelli said with reverence.
I thought about the graves that the ambassador and I had passed yesterday and seeing those marked unknown.
"They were the best of the best." We could only hope to honor their sacrifice.
"That they were."
Maybe the dust in my eye had had something to do with the lump in my throat, because those men had been us once and I am eternally grateful in the Here-Now as well as dedicated to keeping the peace in the Here-Beyond.
It's the least I can do for those men.