Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Drone Bomb Religion

The German city of Koln was bombed 261 times by the Allied air forces. The first thousand-bomber raid was struck against the Rhine city on 1942. The last attack was by a B-25 in March of 1945. The Allies swore that they were not targeting the ancient cathedral next to the railroad station, but the gothic structure was struck countless times by 250-pound bombs without joining the rubble of the devastated city.

In recent years the US Air Force has stated that their bombers can hit targets with pinpoint precision without adding that the blast radius of their bombs are 61-yards or two football fields. I hope that they can improve on this, when they subject the Baptist churches throughout the Bible Belt, although only on non-Sundays.

It is time to end William Miller's madness of apocalyptical vision.

Ban All Religions

Indiana Governor Pence signed at law allowing businesses to practice religious discrimination.

The case of a Bible-believing photographer refusing to shoot a gay wedding has coalesced the religious right into a frenzy about another attack on their beliefs, however any prejudicial refusal to offer services to anyone because of their sexuality is a hurtful reminder of White America's deep-rooted bias against non-whites.

Judging from his backers in this bill Pence has to be considered an enemy of freedom, however it's shocking that many black churches have fallen in line with their white Christian cohorts in condemning homosexuality as an abomination without considering that their savior was a single man hanging out with a dozen other men and Jesus lived with his mother until he was 30. Judea and Jerusalem didn't have Broadway shows during the reign of Augustus, so we will never know if the Messiah loved show tunes, but considering the enduring success of JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, I would have to conjure that my man Yeshua was one of us and not one of them.

We shall survive.

God Might Not Be Dead

God might not be dead to the billions of brain-dead Christians and Muslims and Jews, but I really wish they would shut the fuck up.

Go Batman, teach Robin about atheism.

Drunk As A Russian

I like my drink.

I have drunk in many countries around the world.

But no one drinks like a Russian on a holiday yacht.

Check out this URL www.youtube.com/watch?v=sXi_7UJHXZA

Monday, March 30, 2015

Beer Versus Jesus

Top Ten Reasons That Beer Is Better Than Jesus:
a) No one will kill you for not drinking beer.
b) Beer doesn't tell you how to have sex.
c) They don't force beer on minors who cannot think for themselves.
d) Beer has never caused a major war.
e) When you have a beer you don't knock on people's doors trying to give it away.
f) Nobody has ever been burned at the stake, hanged or tortured over a beer.
g) You don't have to wait 2000 years for a second beer.
h) There are laws saying beer labels cannot lie to you.
I) You can prove you have a beer.
j) If you are devoted to beer then there are groups who can help you stop.

Palm Sunday

According to the old Judean calendar the Christian messiah entered the Roman occupied city of Jerusalem on the seventh day of Nisan during the reign of Augustus Caesar. Jesus or Yeshua Bin Joseph symbolically rode a donkey as opposed to a horse, since the former was considered a sign of peace. while the horse was deemed a sign of war. The palms spread on the ground came from ancient Greek traditions and the Holy Day of Sukkot.

Roman historian Josephus wrote that at this time the capitol of Judah had a population of 80,000.

10,000 belonged to the Pharisee sect with the rest coming from all parts of the Empire.

Yeshua was feted by his followers singing the psalm 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. We bless you from the house of the Lord'.

Neither his apostles nor their leader could have foreseen his demise was only a week away.

Palm Sunday was celebrated by millions of Christians around the world.

But not by me.

I missed church and stayed in bed.

The altar of sleep.

It's better than any ride n a donkey.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Palm Beach Sunday

In June 1 2008 I was living on Palm Beach.

A barrier island off the Florida coast.

So many of the mega-rich had migrated to their summer haunts of the Hamptons, Nantucket, and the South of France that the Sunday night streets of this exclusive resort felt, as if the Khmer Rouge had marched the wealthy into the Everglades for greed re-education. The emptiness was only an illusion.

That evening, as the remaining rich were idling in their mansions, while I bicycled across the middle bridge in a vain attempt to wire by Thai wife $200 via Western Union. Within an hour I discovered that nothing was open on a Sunday night in West Palm Beach.

I was in Purgatory.

I phoned my wife with the bad news.

She asked if I've found a mia noi.

"Mai mee puying suay." There were no beautiful women on Palm Beach.

Only heiresses whose skin seemed to have been dipped in a Botox dip.

Tight as a turtle's neck.

"Good man." She's happy I'm alone.

"Thanks, I'll send the money tomorrow." I hung up and wandered by bike over to a convenience store. A 24 oz. Modelo beer cost $2 or 60 baht. 5% alcohol. Actually cheap than Thailand, except you can't drink in public, so I rode the bicycle back to Palm Beach drinking from a can in a brown paper bag..

Thankfully Florida has bike paths, but I got a little worried each time the cops passed me, since DWI includes bicycles and golf carts.

I made it back to Chilean Avenue without any mishaps.

No place to buy more beers, so it's to sleep and dream of driving on the wrong side of the road with a beer in my cup holder.


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Billy's Topless

New York was a different city in the last century. Neighborhoods were populated by native New Yorkers. Stores served their needs. Bars dotted the avenues as a refuge from the daily wear and tear of urban living. One of my favorites was Billy's Topless on Avenue of the Americas.

The cozy strip club had been opened by Bill Pell in the heyday of the Sexual Revolution and the girls were our friends trying to make a dollar by showing their breasts to working-class drinkers. The music came from a jukebox and the bar treated its guests to free food, while they watched the dancers. There was no cover charge and drinks were cheap as befits a true dive bar. None of the girls had breast implants and none of them gave lap-dances, since lap-dances were a thing of the future in the late-1970s.

The hated Mayor Guiliani waged a war against sleaze. The realtors raised the rents of porno parlors in Times Square and his police enforced a no-nudity ordinance of establishments within 500 feet of a school or place of worship. Billy's second owner fought the forces of good by having the girls wearing bikini tops, but the time of wickedness had passed for New York.

Billy's Topless is gone, but not forgotten by those people in love with a Babylon lost to time.

The Birth Of Puberty

This morning the temperature in New York finally rose above 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 this summer." The ocean was never warm off New York.

"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 informed Reese about puberty and explained that his body was going through changes and at the end of my talk he asked if he could start dating girls."

"What's wrong with that?"

"He's only thirteen."

"And what's wrong with that?"

Kids grow up so fast.

My youngest boy is six and that is way too young to date.

Sitting In The Korova Milk Bar

I loved CLOCKWORK ORANGE, Stanley Kubrick's 1971 homage to Anthony Burgess' violent vision of the future. After famed interior designer/sculptor Alan Jones refused to work on the film for free, the director hired set designer John Barry to replicate Alan Jones' naked female tables and chairs for the movie's Korova Milk Bar.

For years I had mistakenly thought that Alan Jones was responsible for the decor. I like JohN Barry's mimicking plagiarism, but I prefer Alan Jones' work, because nothing like the Milk Bar anywhere in this future.

To view the intro to CLOCKWORK ORANGE, please go to the following URL


The Sky Of Road

In my earlier years I traveled the world.

I loved seeing vistas such as this one.

I'll see them again, although maybe not the north side of Mt. Everest from Tibet.

The Sky Of Road

In my earlier years I traveled the world.

I loved seeing vistas such as this one.

I'll see them again, although maybe not the north side of Mt. Everest from Tibet.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Assata For Freedom

Resistance is not futile.

Save The Library

Haoui Montauk was a poet. He lived a long life in the last century. The New York native regarded the New York public library as the epitome of intellectualism. Haoui was right, but in the era of greed-driven ignorance certain special interests have sought to change the format of the library's mission from knowledge to profit.

Tomorrow a seminar will be held at the Midtown Library to discuss the services offered by the Midtown Library.

The meeting will be from 6 to 8 pm in the Edna Barnes Salomon Room on the third floor of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. Enter at the Fifth Avenue entrance (at 41st Street, between the Lions). Refreshments will be served.

Knowledge is all, unless we want to end up like the Eloi of THE TIME MACHINE BY HG Wells.

All the books from the past ended up as dust and the Morlocks liked nothing better than roasted Eloi.

To those solely interested in profit, ignorance is an easier sell than knowledge.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Hurrah Punk Nightclub

Hurrah disco on West 62nd Street died after the opening of Studio 54. The owners experimented with a dance club featuring mainstream rock with video monitors hanging from the ceiling. When this scheme didn't work, the owners called on Jim Fouratt to animate the ex-dance studio and the impish impresario booked punk and new wave bands, then hired his friends to work the door and DJ booth since they were all into this music.

I was put out front as the doorman, my security was an old black boxer Jack Flood and a moonlighting cop named Bobbie Gardiner. Haoui Montauk and Aleph Ashline sat at the desk dispensing tickets and free passes to the VIPs, and upstairs George Wrage took the tickets, Carlos Rodriquez was the lightman, Sean Cassette spun reggae, punk, and new wave, Randy the bartender was so handsome and Jhourry his partner was so very wicked, Barney and the Odinesque Ron Jaggar paid our salaries every Saturday night. We all made good money, however the owners fought with Jim about paying the bands so much money.

It was the height of the cocaine era.

One night they told Jim that he had been terminated. "Because we're tired of you."

Jim was rightfully pissed at them.

The one-eyed manager ordered me to toss out Jim.

I asked him nice.

If I had been more honorable, I would have left with him, instead he told me to fuck myself and I was a hothead back then. Still am a little bit, but that night I escorted him out of the club.

I owe Jim Fouratt a big apology.

He was a true radical and visionary.

And not only with music.

But then this is about Hurrah and it was simply sex, drugs, and rock and roll.

To view the entrance of Hurrah circa 1981, please go to Merrill Aldighieri VDO


Hurrah Hot Foot

Back in the late 70s I was working at Hurrah as security. A good number of the punk disco's male clientele came from the bridge and tunnel suburbs of New Jersey and Long Island. The gay owner thought that they were cute and these tough boys were easy pickings for the pudgy Texan after these boys dropped a few 'ludes.

Once the poor things collapsed in a stupor, I ordered the bouncers to arrange the 714 'Lude zombies on the banquettes holding hands and linking arms like live sculptures. At the end of the night I woke the sleeping beauties with a hot foot i.e. sticking wooden matches into their sneakers and then light then.

Nikes burned fast, as anything made out of plastic and the boys' feet stamped the floor, as the flames worked their magic.

None of them got hurt and we had a good laugh.

Times were so simple back then.

Watch The Steps / Hurrah Nightclub

Throughout the late 1970s Hurrah was New York's premier punk/new wave dance hall with DJs filling in between the live bands such as the Damned, Buzzcocks, Dead Boys, Klaus Nomi along with Divine in the off-Broadway exploitative prison play WOMEN BEHIND BARS. Jim Fouratt hired me to work the front door. Haoui Montaug handled the guest list, while George Wrage collected tickets at the top of the stairs, since Hurrah was located in a second-story renovated dance studio. Getting up them was much easier than getting down, especially after drinking and drugging like it was 1978.

The stairs were dark and steep.

The deep-throated security man working with George was renown for his parting advice.

"Watch the stairs."

Most people succeeded in reaching the bottom of the steps, but not all.

On more than one occasion John Phillips warned customers and then a clatter of heels signaled the tumble of a body down the stairs. If they were lucky, the mezzanine landing stopped their descent. A few made it to the bottom. No one ever needed to go to the hospital, but New Yorkers were tougher in the 70s.

A lot tougher.

"Watch the steps."

Monday, March 23, 2015

Rock Bottom

"Failure is always easier to maintain than success."

And hard drinking in a dress says rock bottom to me.

Unless you like dresses, then it's fine.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Old Man In The Mountain

The Old Man in the Mountain was first sighted by Europeans in 1805. The craggy profile had been carved by the glaciers of the last Ice Age and sculpted by the centuries of harsh weather crossing the White Mountains. Over the years millions of visitors have traveled up to Profile Lake to view the natural wonder popularized by Daniel Webster's words, "The Old Man was famous largely because of statesman Daniel Webster, a New Hampshire native, who once wrote: "Men hang out their signs indicative of their respective trades; shoe makers hang out a gigantic shoe; jewelers a monster watch, and the dentist hangs out a gold tooth; but up in the Mountains of New Hampshire, God Almighty has hung out a sign to show that there He makes men."

In May of 2003 the stone formation collapsed down Cannon Mountain.

The profile is merely a memory, but has been replaced by the silhouette of Eric Mitchell, star of stage and screen.

Kudos to the new Old Man of the Mountain.

May he grace the skies forever.

IRISH TWINS by Peter Nolan Smith

In the summer of 2010 my father's mental condition had deteriorated to the point where he was a danger to the public safety. My old man had driven into the town cemetery to visit my mother's grave and town police had found his Mercedes parked in the gravestones. No one could figure how he had gotten that far without hitting anything.

“I never get in accidents," he protested from his car.

A tow truck hauled his Buick from the graveyard and the next month we moved him from his assisted-living apartment to an Alzheimer hospice south of Boston.

Once a month I rode the Fung Wah bus from New York to South Station and then took the commuter train to Norwood. It was a ten-minute walk to his rest home. Each visit there was less and less of him there and by Labor Day my father couldn’t remember where he was or what he was doing there. He was better off without an explanation.

My brothers and sisters warned that he didn’t recognize them and I approached the converted doctor’s house with a heavy heart. His room was on the second floor. The door was open. My father was sitting in his old rocking chair by the window. He had put on some weight. This was the man who carried me as a child. He smiled, as if shaking off the grip of senility.

“I know you.” One of his teeth gleamed in the afternoon sun. It was gold.

“You do?” I expected the worse like I was his old school friend from Westbrook High School.

He greeted me by name. I still existed as an atom within his brain.

“Are you still in New York?” He was two for two.

“Yes.” There was no way that he could go three for three.

“I know what you’re thinking?” He frowned with a well-known sternness dating back to my youth.

“That I’m happy to see you?” I had disappointed him on more than one occasion.

“No, you’re wondering how I recognized you.” His eyes shone with alacrity.

“That too.” It was better to go with the flow.

“These people come here. I don’t know who they are.”

“The nurses?” I sat on the bed. It smelled clean. This was a good rest home.

“No other people.” He picked at a dry patch on his forehead. I had inherited the same habit.

“Probably my brothers and sisters. They come to visit all the time.” At least 2-4 times a week.

“Maybe it’s them, but they don’t look anything like my children.” He had six. My youngest brother had died a year before my mother. My father had sat with him every day of the end. There was no sense in mentioning Michael now.

“They’re grown up.” We had been grown up for more than thirty years. “They don’t look like they did when they were young.”

“And I do?” At 58 I had my teeth and hair, but the reflection in the mirror belonged to someone else.

“No, you look like a stranger too, but something about you reminds me about your mother, so when I see you, I think about Angie.” He shuddered at the connection. My mother and he had been married over forty years. She was the only love in his life. I was half her and half him.

”I’m half her.” My father and I weren’t friends until my mother’s passage from this world in 1996. I talked a lot. She spoke more.

“And half me too.” My father looked out the window. His memory had lost the path. “The leaves are falling from the trees. They do that this time of year.”

“It’s autumn.”

“October. I can’t remember what comes next.” His grasp of the present, past, and future was touch and go.

“You remember your son Frank?” The doctors cautioned against any tests of the past.

“My # 1 son.” He was having a good day. “You two were Irish twins. Your mother dressed you alike to prevent you fighting over pants and shirts, but she also loved that people thought we were twins.

“We weren’t really Irish twins.” The term pertained to children born within a year. My older brother and I were separated by 13 months, but my mother’s family came from west of Galway and time beyond the Connemarra Pins was not measured by a watch.

Frank was born on April 1 and I arrived a year and fifty-nine days later on the morning of May 29.

“60 days seemed like a week back then.” He was talking about the 1950s, when TV was black and white, Eisenhower was the president, and America was the leader of the Free World. My father pointed to the clock on his desk. Time meant nothing to most to Alzheimer patients.

“You were never on time.” On time for my father meant to the second.

“I was never really late.” My punctuality ran 15-30 minutes behind the clock, although I had achieved perfect attendance throughout five grades in grammar school. My mother had saved those awards. The one from 5th Grade hangs on the wall of my apartment in Brooklyn.

“Oh, yes, you were and late by more than a half-hour.” My father’s Downeast blood worshipped order. Nothing was ever broken as along as you could fix it.

“I stayed out at my girlfriend’s house.”

“Past midnight and her mother wasn’t home.”

“That’s an old story.” Kyla and I had been alone. WBCN had been playing THE VELVET UNDERGROUND. We had come close to losing our souls to ROCK AND ROLL and I had kept telling myself that I would leave after the next song. Each one had been better than the one before.

“If it was so old I would have forgotten it.”

“Forty years is a long time.” Kyla had been wearing her cheerleader outfit. It was football season. She had been the first girl to say the love word to me.

“Forty-five years to be exact.” My father had been an electrical engineer. He had studied at MIT. Numbers and math were his expertise.

“You’re right on the money.” The year had been 1967. I was 15. My hair was over my ears. I liked the Rolling Stones. The Beatles were a girl group.

Kyla’s mother had come home at 1:30. I had left through the backdoor with my clothes in hand. I had dressed in the backyard and watched the lights go out in Kyla’s house. There had been no yelling, but I waited for a minute to see if she came to the bedroom window. It was a waste of time. Kyla was a cheerleader and not Juliet and the only breaking light was a harvest moon.

I walked out the backyard onto the street lined by dark houses. Everyone was asleep. The buses stopped running at 9. My neighborhood in the Blue Hills was a good four-mile hike. I heard a car coming from the opposite direction. It was my Uncle Dave. The Olds stopped at the curb.

Uncle Dave had served in the Pacific. Three years on a destroyer had left him with shakes in his right hand. Smoking Camels helped calm whatever he had left behind in the Pacific.

“You want a ride home?” He was coming from the VFW bar.

“No, I’ll walk it.” I was in no rush to get home.

“Your mother and father know where you are?” Uncle Dave made no judgment of other people’s kids, even if they were family.

“Sort of?” It was a teenage answer.

“I was a teenager once. Your dad’s going to be pissed at you, if you haven’t called.”

“I didn’t call.” You sure, you don’t want me to drive you home?”

“I’m good.” I thought about sleeping in the woods. It wasn’t that cold, but that would make it even worse. “Thanks for the offer.”

The Olds drove off in the direction of Quincy. Uncle Dave would be home in five minutes. I figured that I had another hour to go.

I was wrong.

My father pulled up to me at the crossroads before the parish church. He flung open the door of the Delta 88. It hit me in the thigh.

“Where have you been?” He demanded with a voice that I had never heard from him.

“At a girl’s house.” I hadn’t told my parents about Kyla. My mother wanted me to be a priest. Kyla's mother was a divorcee. The pastor at our church regarded such women as a temptation to married men.

“At a girl’s house?” My father knew what that meant. He had six kids. “You have any idea about what your mother thought happened to you?”

“None.” I hadn’t been worrying about my mother or father or school, while lying next to Kyla’s hot flesh.

His right hand left the steering wheel in the blink of an eye. His wrist smacked my face and blood dripped from my nose.

“I didn’t want to do that.” Tears wet his eyes. “I thought something bad happened to you.”

“Nothing bad happened, Dad.” I rubbed my face. He had never hit me before. I tasted metal in my teeth. All of them were intact after the impact.

“Next time call and let us know where you are.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Let’s go home. I’ll handle your mother.” He sighed with regret. Trouble diverted him from the pillow. My father liked his sleep.

The next morning my eyes were shadowed with black and blue. My mother was horrified as was my father. Kyla cried upon seeing my face. She said that she loved me. In some ways I felt like she had become Juliet, although I was no Romeo. My father and I maintained a cautious distance throughout the remainder of my teenage years.

Hitting me had scared him and at the nursing home I held his hand. I had kids now and said, “I understand why you did what you did that night.”

“What night?” The memory had sunk back into the fog.

“The night you drove me home in the dark. You were always a good father.” I kissed his bald head, as my older brother walked into the room. My father looked at him with doubting eyes and I said, “It’s Frank, your oldest son.”

“That’s not Frank. He didn’t look like that.” He squinted, as if he was trying to see through time.

I thought that my older brother’s wearing a suit might have thrown off my father and I stood next to Frank.

“See the resemblance.” My brother and I had matching smiles. Our crooked teeth were a gift from our mother.

“We’re were Irish twins,” My brother took off his glasses. In this light we had to resemble one another.

“You two were never Irish twins, except to your mother.” He shook his head and smiled with a memory vanishing on the tide.

“It was good enough for her, Dad.” She had loved her children with all her heart as had my father.

“Then it’s good enough for me, whoever you are.” He offered a hand to both of both.

That visit we spoke about Irish twins three times in succession without his retaining a single word. His mind had been swept clean of the good and the bad and I was lucky enough to possess a memory of both good and bad for him. My mother wouldn’t have it any other way.

I was her Irish twin and that was good enough for my father too.

Twins Separated By A Century

This photo of Lewis Powell, a Lincoln assassination conspirator, was taken after his capture on the ironclad USS Saugus, while awaiting trial for his unsuccessful attack of the Secretary of State. The Alabaman doesn't look guilty in this shot, but he swung by the rope along with the members of John Boothe's murderous cabal.

My family of the Yankee side never resided in Alabama.

We were New Englanders to the core.

The Great State of Maine to be exact, however after seeing my Boston Hackney Cab license from the early 1970s my friend, David McSurley, said, "You look like Lewis Powell."

"I do."

"Yes, he was so hot. But you're not."

McSurley had nothing good to say about me.

"Not at 62."

The photo in the taxi license had been shot in 1972. I was twenty that year.

A year younger than Lewis Powell in 1865.

He never made it to twenty-two.

Better him than me.

My long-lost twin.

Party Girl Gone

She ain't here no more.

Only her ghost.

International Write-Off Day 2015


Julius Caesar returned from the conquest of Gaul and paid off the hoi polloi's debt. The rich were bribed with gold. Romans called this holiday a 'jubilee' and the common man extolled Caesar. They were no longer slaves to the upper classes, who hated Caesar for disrupting the ancient social order. Caesar thought that they were his friends, but the rich have not friends.

Still I love the idea of Jubilee.

What better than International Write-Off Day.

It's a simple idea.

No one owes anyone anything.

Imagine the freedom.

No debts.

No old worries.

Only the new.

Of course the rich will somehow come out ahead in the end, but for a few years we might be free.

International Write-Off Day


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Military Industrial Theft

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed."

~Dwight D. Eisenhower

3Is And A Genie

An Israeli, an Iranian, and an Irishman are lost in the desert. They discover a brass lamp in the sand. The Israeli rubs it and frees a grateful genie, who will grant a wish to each of them. The Israeli insists on going first and demands a wall 100 feet high around all of Biblical Israel with no Muslims inside the wall.

The genji claps his hand and the deed is done.

"What about you?" the genie asked the Iranian, who says, "I want a wall 200 feet high around the lands of the Muslims with no infidels.

The genie claps his hands and the deed is done.

The genie turns to the Irishman, who asks, "Can you fill those walls with whiskey?"

The genie smiles and says, "Your wish is my command. Fainne oir ort!"

The Irish are a sensible people, although an old friend asked after hearing the joke, "Jameson or Bushmills? It matters."

Jamesons of course with its pure pot still taste.


Treason Is Treason

According to family legend my Irish great grand-uncle was executed by the British crown for treason.

He was a Fenian traitor in the eyes of the His Majesty.

Erin Go Bragh.

Most recently in America the GOP's senators undermined ongoing negotiations with Iran at the behest of a foreign government by sending a letter to the Supreme ruler of that country, while the Secretary of State was conducting talks in Tehran. The nation should have been outraged by this diabolical manipulation of State Diplomacy, however the media is controlled by special interests and the vast majority of Americans have been brainwashed to regard any Muslim nation as an accomplice to 9/11, so a good percentage of the nation will view the Senators' crime as an act of conscience.

The GOP leader John Boehner also usurped presidential powers by inviting the Israeli leader Netanyahu to speak before Congress.

Sadly more skullduggery will follow, as the Presidential election draws closer to November 2016.

I don't expect anything to change, for no one can hear the truth until they stop listening to the lies.

No change unless Johnny Two_Guns comes to town.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy Padraic's Day

Shot from the Stone Throne of Ballyconneeley 1997

ERIN GO BALI by Peter Nolan Smith

My first trip to Bali was in 1991. Kuta Beach was most tourist’s destination for sea, sun, and fun. Being a pseudo-intellectual I opted for Ubud, an idyllic village of Legong dancers, ornate temples, and quiet evenings.

I rented a small house overlooking the stream at which the villagers bathed in the evening. My house servant made me breakfast in the morning. I wrote on a Brother Electric Typewriter. There was no phone service with the outside world and traveler’s checks were the sole form of international money transfers.

TV was local Indonesian fare, so at night I listened to the BBC World News and read tattered used books. Dragonflies buzzed through the room and the stars tolerated no earthly rival. I loved Ubud and stayed in the town for several months.
Nearing March 17th I mentioned to several westerners or ‘mistahs’ that we should have a St. Patrick’s Day. None of them had Hibernian roots , however my Balinese friends were enthused at the idea to celebrate being Irish by drinking beer.

"And we wear green."

My house servant Tuut shook his head.

“Can not wear green. This unlucky color.”

“Unlucky.” He had used the Bahasa word ‘blog’. I had never heard it before.

"Yes, my uncle he have green car and have many accidents.”

"Green is good luck in Ireland and Ireland is the European Bali."

"Ireland tidak Bali. No green and you not wear green too." Tuut was adamant about this edict, but said, "We drink beer and make music."

"That is good luck?"

"Drink beer always good luck."

Especially if a 'mistah' paid for it.

I didn't argue with tradition and adjusted St. Patrick's Day in accordance with local customs.

On March 17th Tuut, his friend, and I drank beer at the Cafe Bali. They brought drums. I sang Irish songs and at sunset we marched down Monkey Forest Road with me singing BY THE RISING OF THE MOON.

Tuut said it was a sweet song.

“By the rising of the moon.” That was the only line that came to mind.

I made up the rest.

Other Balinese joined us. We trooped back to the Cafe Bali and switched to 'arak', a strong palm wine. It wasn't as strong as Jamison's Whiskey, but it was a good drink for the first St. Patrick's Day in Ubud and I told Tuut, "Maybe one day you will wear green."

"Maybe a long time away from today."

"But not as far as never. Semoga Beruntung."

I thought that meant good luck and replied, "Go n-éirí an bóthar leat!"

Everyone clinked beer glasses.

And I told myself that maybe one day I'll get the Balinese to wear green.

It's a color close to my heart.

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Lent Of No Beer

Lent is the six-week period of Catholic fasting from Ash Wednesday to Easter. This self-denial allows the faithful the chance to absolve sins for the previous year. The forty days mirror the span of time the Messiah spend in the desert before He succumbed to the temptations not of Satan, but his own mortal flesh.

While I'm a full-blown atheist, this last Ash Wednesday I decided to give up beer for Lent.

"No beer?" Uncle Drunkey said at the 169. "Why?"

"Just to see if I can do it?" I haven't given up anything in years.

"So you still drink wine and liquor."

"Not to mention cider," added Dakota, the lead singer of Wicked Womb, from behind the bar.

"Then here we go." I drained my last 'Gansett and ordered a Bombay Tonic.

"Gin's nasty." Uncle Drunkey like his Jamison whiskey. "You know why Hitler didn't drink Gin."

"No." I recalled hearing the joke, but not the punchline.

"Because he said it made him mean," jibbed Dakota with wry smile.

"Too soon," said another drinker. Gin did make you mean and even worse were the hangovers from the old Dutch spirit derived from juniper berries, even though the drink was initially marketed as a remedy for kidney ailments, lumbago, stomach ailments, gallstones, and gout. There was no cure for the nails-in-your-skull morning after malaise, yet I remained true to my abstinence.

No beer.

No stout.

No ale.

No lagers.

No exception.

Last weekend at the 169 Dakota suggested giving up the ghost.

"I can handle the gin," I slurred from my bar stool.

"Yes, but I can't stand the belligerence." Dakota was half my age. He hailed from a tough life in Tucson. He was no Girl Scout and I said, "What the fuck you talking about, hippie boy?"

The bouncers heard this retort and chucked me gently out of the bar onto the last snowdrift of the winter. Ice lay five inches below the powder. The impact of my old body on the frozen slush took the fight out of me. The bouncers pulled me to my feet and apologized, "Sorry, man, but you were out of line."

"It wasn't me. It was the gin."

"Then do us all a favor and switch back to beer."

"I can't until the end of Lent."

"And when is that?"

"April 2nd."

"See you then."

"You're banning me?"

"Not you. Monster Gin."

I understood and nodded my head.

I slept in the taxi over the Manhattan Bridge. The driver deposited me at the Fort Greene Observatory. I tiptoed up the stairs and fell into bed. I was in no condition to take off my clothes.

That Sunday was a long novena of suffering.

My only positive act of the day was to change into pajamas. I watched crappy films on Netflix and ate a hot dog cooked in my toaster oven. It was my one day off of the week.

Monday wasn't much better, although by evening I regained 30% of my power.

I came home without any alcohol in my shopping bag.

Tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day.

I called my old friend from Boston. Bishop Ray was high up in the church. He heard my confessions every ten years.

"Are you a little early?" he asked from his sacristy on Commonwealth Avenue near my old alma mater.

"This isn't about my sins."


"No, I gave up beer for Lent."

"And everything else?"

"No, I've been drinking gin instead."

"At your age?"

Pay was no tee-totaler, but firmly believed in excess in moderation.

"Yes, your eminence, but tomorrow is St Padraic's Day and I was wondering if I broke fast, would that be bad?"

"Aren't you an atheist?"

"Yes." Proudly.

"Then by the power invested me by St. Peter and his Holy Roman Church I waive the abstinence for Lent. Of course I am required by faith to ask, if you are seeking to rejoin the Church."

"No, your eminence."

"Then go back to your heathen ways. I'm watching the last episode of THE WALKING DEAD."

"Thank you."

"and say one Our Father and Three Hail Marys."

I thought___"

"Five Hail Marys and stay away from Mother's Ruin. It's been the end of many a strong man."

Ray was right.

Gin had killed millions in London.

I hung up the phone and put on my pajamas.

I wasn't drinking tonight.

My heart wasn't in it and I had a funny feeling that tomorrow might also belong to sobriety.

It's not such a bad thing.

Especially when beer was waiting for you somewhere soon.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Fenway's First Beer

back in 2011 my son Fenway and I were sitting with his mother at the Blue Moon Bar in Jomtien. Mam said that she wanted to check on the laundry. Fenway watched her across the soi. He gave me a smile and picked up my glass of icy Leo beer.

"Chim dai, Dhim mai dai," I warned him that he could taste the beer, but not drink it.

Fenway took a quick sip.

A bigger smile.

Footsteps on the concrete soi.

My son knew them well.

His mother was coming. I sipped from my Leo.

It was cold.

Mam looked at us.

We said nothing.

Like father.

7 Billion More or Less

The population of the planet in 1952 was approximately 2.635 billion people. I was born in May that year. I will be 63 in two months.

Several years ago UN announced that humanity has reached seven billion people faster than predicted by the most Malthusian experts on growth. The death rate of 150,000 people each day can not keep pace with the birth rate. 50 million short every year from the 1952 population means that over 3 billion people have died since my birth.

3,000,000,000 was a rough figure as was my estimate that 700,000,000 people out of 7,000,000,000 are 60 or over.

One-tenth of the world older than me and 90% younger.

That latter percentage includes my son Fenway and Fluke and my daughters Angie and Noy.

Forever young one way or the other.

ps I heard a population expert asked a question by a TV interviewer.

"What will be the population of the world in 2050?"

"One billion," the venerable scientist answered without a pause to think.

"One billion? The UN predicts 8 billion." The reporter checked his notes.

"They're wrong." The scientist was not impressed by the UN numbers. "One billion worldwide."

"And what will happened to the extra six billion people on the planet now?"

"They will be gone." The scientist laid out his thoughts about how nature will reduce the global population through floods and natural disasters due to environmental change. "And there is nothing we can do about it."

"That is a very dire forecast." The reporter was taken aback at such pessimism.

"No, because those years will be very exciting for the young. The old will not survive. Not them it will be hell, but for the young, it will be a new time of adventure."

In 2050 I will be 98.

I will be living in Thailand on the shores of the new ocean.

My rice factory will turn out the best beer on the planet.

My children will be happy. Their children too. And their children too.

It's all about location for the oldest man left on the planet.

Shotgun in my hands.


Last year Susan Cheever entered the ranks of prohibitionism with her entry in the NY Times DRUNKENFREUDE. Her glib mangling of the classic German term 'schadenfreude' meaning taking joy in the misery of others opened with a 10 year-old tale of a woman's heavy drinking at a Christmas party then shifted into an observation that New Yorkers no longer got drunk at festive gatherings.

While heavy drinking was sometimes a sign of alcoholism, it was often an indication of heavy drinking leading to more heavy drinking in a time where nothing really matters.

Not your job, your life, and certainly not what any writer in a newspaper or blog have to opine about the issue of inebriation.

Several years ago at the retail basement of the Plaza Hotel I was running a jewelry store for Richie Boy. The place was a disaster. The Israeli managers played one CD of Modern Lounge Music.

From opening to closing like this space felt like a training ground for Shin Bet interrogators.

One night the two Turkish-Austrian managers of the exquisite patisserie Viennese Demels, and I were drinking Tyrolian wine in the store. My friend Richie Boy scolded my drinking, but only because he wanted something left for the other guests.

When they didn't show to our little gathering, we finished of the rest of the wine without giving any to Richie Boy.

My longtime friend was a complete buzzkill.

After quaffing the last glass I went to dinner upstairs at the Oak Room at the Plaza. I got home at 10:30 and fell into bed with GHOST TOTEM, a novel about Chinese dissidents trapped in Inner Mongolia during the Cultural Revolution. The book lasted about two pages before falling onto my face, but I awoke refreshed by a good nine hours sleep.

So am I an alcoholic or just a drinker?

I claim to be the latter, while recognizing the approach of the former at times.

At least my drinking hadn't interfered with my job as a diamantaire, mostly because there had been no sales that holiday season.


So what me worry whether Susan Cheever doesn't think it's attractive to get drunk.

She's probably only attractive when I'm drunk.

I checked Google to make sure.

She was at least five drinks from being attractive, but then she was smart and intelligence always lasted longer than beauty and I guess that I shouldn't be so hard on her being a non-drinker, but let's face it the real reason she hasn't seen anyone drunk was that no one drinking liked a preacher.

So happy Beermas to all my friends.Let everyone else drink tea.

ps the beer in Fenway's stroller is empty.

To read DRUNKENFREUDE by Susan Cheever, please go to this URL


She is stone cold sober.

18-Foot Waves

In 2009 Hurricane Bill was aiming at the East Coast. Weatherologists predicted a massive tidal surge from the possible category 4 storm and warned of 15-18 foot waves along the coast. Surfers were ecstatic with this possibility of big-time swells, but I recalled the 'Perfect Storm' of October 1991, when the wind-driven tides pushed the sea up the East River to flood the FDR Drive. Commuters initially ignored the warning of the police and drove onto the inundated motorway with blind purpose of lemmings.

Scores of cars were washed away by the waves.

Thankfully no one drowned in the surge.

At the height of the tempest Rock Temerian and I went out to Lido Beach to surf. The ocean stretched to the horizon as acres and acres of unbridled hell. Houses floated past us in the surf. A monster wave thudded onto the sand with the weight of a million whales. We looked at each other and shook our heads.

A couple of other surfers gazed on fury and shook their heads.

We were all of the same mind and Rock said, "Looks like we're landlubbers."

"You got that right."

We returned to the station wagon for the drive back to the Easts Village.

It was safe there.

At least from the Perfect Storm.

THE EYE OF THE STORM by Peter Nolan Smith

In early September of 1960 Hurricane Donna struck New England as a category 2/3 storm. The radio station WBZ announced numerous school closing. My primary school on the South Shore, Our Lady of the Foothills, was one of the first on the list following Beaver Country Day School in Newton. My older brother and I were happy to stay home. We were new kids in town.

That morning a raging gale howled against our split-level ranch house and the windows vibrated in their sashes. The electricity died at noon and my father lit a kerosene lamp, which he placed on the kitchen table. Our family of seven huddled around the flame like Neanderthals sheltering in a cave.

Several hours later the howling hurricane abated to a whisper.

“Where are you going?” my mother demanded with hands on her hips, her voice ringing with the authority of a woman, who had carried five babies in her womb.

“Outside to show them the eye.” My father loved a good storm and waves crashing over the sea walls.

“Hurricanes are not a joke.” My mother had experienced the 1938 hurricane. That tempest didn’t have a name, yet hundreds of New Englanders had died in its path.

“I know.” My father shrugged in weak surrender to the truth.

"You act, as if you don't."

Hurricane Edna in 1954 had destroyed his sailboat on Watchic Pond. The hull lay in our backyard.

Six years later he had yet to repair the damage to the mast.

Five kids under the age of ten were a lot of work.

“The skies have cleared." My father looked up and then back to my mother. "We’ll only be a few minutes.”

“I wanna go too.” My two-year old brother bounced off his high chair.

"Not a chance." My mother grabbed his wrist. Padraic had almost died at birth from pneumonia. She wasn't giving Nature any second chances and sternly regarded by father. “Only a few minutes.”

"Maybe even less."

"Then go." My mother trusted my father to obey his promise, since he loved her enough to convert to Catholicism.

“I’ll keep them safe.” My father led us outside.

We lived in the shadow of Chickatawbut Hill.

A sultry wind raced through the trees. Branches were scattered across the yard. Overhead a counter-clockwise swirl of the cloud funnel opened to the blue heavens.

“That is the eye of the storm.”

The three of us 360ed on the lawn to gawk at the storm’s awesome power and glory. Lightning pulsed within the cloud wall like the Aurora Borealis. If my best friend hadn’t drowned a month ago, the cyclonic display would have reinforced my faith in the Almighty. Instead I said, “Wow.”

Rain dotted the walkway. They stunned our skin. The brief respite was coming to an end.

My mother yelled at us to get inside.

My father lifted his finger to indicate we wanted a few more seconds.

He had fought the Maine’s Great Fire of 1949. I never had seen him scared of anything other than my mother’s wrath. He quickly explained to my older brother and me how hurricanes formed in the tropics. We were 9 and 8. His meteorological lesson was lost on us and the oppressive pressure of the powerful storm weighed heavily on our skin.

“Remember this for the rest of your life. Few people see this.”

My mother’s next demand was an ultimatum.

“If you don’t come in, I’m locking the doors.” She was serious.

“We better do as she says.” My father guided us inside the house. He gave my mother a hug. She was relieved to have us back inside.

The second half of the hurricane stuck within minutes and lasted into the evening.

The weatherman on WBZ radio announced the all-clear message wagon, as we were going to sleep. School had been cancelled throughout New England. My father was excited as a child on Christmas Eve and he whispered, “Tomorrow Revere Beach.”

The beach there was ideal for watching the storm die against land. Giant waves would slap the concrete flood walls with a force strong enough to make the streets shudder with fear.

The boyish joy in his voice kept us awake for another three minutes, for tomorrow promised to be a day of big waves and wild sea spray.

We could hardly wait.

Slurpee Waves

The winter of 2014-2015 achieved record colds throughout New England. The accumulated snowfall in Boston towered over humans, shutting down highways and public transportation. Even worse were the incessant sub-zero temperatures freezing rivers and coating the ocean with a thick slush tapping at the coast.

At the end of February Jonathan Nimefroh photographed a series of frozen waves crashing to the shore in Nantucket.

According to boredpanda.com, Nimerfroh said that the high temperature that day had been only 19F, or -7C, cold enough for ice to form near the shore, but not cold enough to form solid pieces of ice, which is why the waves had to travel through a layer of slush to reach the shore.

No one was attempting to surf these 'Slurpee' waves.

The phenomenal swells vanished after a half-hour and the sea went flat.

To see more of these wonderful photos, please go to the following URL


It has been a cold winter indeed.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

OI VEY CHEESECAKE by Peter Nolan Smith

As a young boy growing up outside of Boston, my classmates and I were jealous of the liberal closed-day policy of Beaver Country Day School. The predominantly Jewish school had more snow days per annum than any other institution south of the St. Lawrence River and the shuffle of holydays shortened their school year by weeks. I begged my parents to transfer their second son to Beaver Country Day.

The year was 1964.

“And I’m not sure that they let in gentiles.” My mother dreamed about my becoming a priest. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I was a non-believer.

“I sure if you gave them enough money I could get in.” I had pitched Beaver Country day as the best school within the 128 Belt and as the # 1 7th Grade student at Our Lady of the Foothills.

“No way I’m driving you 45 minutes to another school.” My father’s commute headed into downtown Boston. in the opposite direction.

“Please.” My reasons were two to be exact.

They had a short year and Jewish girls were rumored to be easy.

At 12 my body was going through changes and so were those of young girls.

“Not a chance.” My father ended my early attempt to become the shabbos goy

2014 AD or 5774 by Jewish reckoning had eighteen high holidays scheduled throughout the year. High holydays such as Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah, and Passover were familiar to many gentiles in New York, however the significance of Succot, Sh'mini Atzeret, Simchat Torah, Yom Hashoah, Yom Haatzmaut, Lag B'Omer, Shavuot, Tisha B'Av, and Purim draw blanks from the city's goyim., although I attained that status after long years working for Manny in the Diamond District. I learned why rabbits are tref, girls shaved their heads, and why Jewish brides smiled going down the wedding aisle.

Manny never closed his store, except for Passaich and Yom Kippur.

Manny and his son, Richie Boy, were also bacon Jews i.e. eating bacon isn’t a sin.

So far this year they had ignored Tu B’Shevat, Purim, Shushan Purim, Passover, Second Passover, Lag B’Omer .All the others were workable days for their firm, since the first rule of selling diamonds is ‘nimmt geld’ which is Yiddish for ‘take money’. I no longer worked for them, but dropped by 47th Street to wish Manny a 'Happy Shavuot'.

"Happy for what? Business sucks."

"For Shavuot." Seven weeks had passed since Passover.

"Shavuot isn't a holiday. Today is a Wednesday. I'm open for business." I once calculated that Manny had worked basically seventy-five years since his Bowery diamond store had remained open seven days a week from 1954 to 1989.

"Shavuot honors Yahweh’s giving the Torah to his people.”

"Like I said it's not a real holiday."

"It is for the Hassidim." And Beaver Country Day School

"Who cares what those gonifs think?" Manny would have worked Christmas if he had a chance.

"They believed in the Torah."

"All they care about is making money. Same as anyone else, so we’re open tomorrow. Same as any other day.” His work ethic rejected the holiday madness of Beaver Country Day.

“What about having some cheesecake?” Cheesecake and sweets are Shavuot traditions.

“If you want cheesecake, eat all you want.” Manny was worried about putting his hand in his pocket. These were hard times and his family looked to the 80 year-old for sustenance.

“What if I buy you a piece?”

“Save your money for your kinder in Thailand and stop trying to be such a good Jew. You’re a goy and not a yid."

"I had once been the Shabbos goy."

"Not anymore. You don't even have a job."

"That's true."

"So worry about yourself and not cheesecake." Manny was a tough guy from Brownsville. He would have no weekdays off until the 4th of July. The Diamond District was closed for that week and then Manny was driving to Florida. His girlfriend was waiting in Miami Beach and being with her was no cake walk for Manny.

She was a schitzah and those girls were trouble at any age.

"I'll see you around." I left the exchange.

The best cheesecake in New York was at Junior's. Flatbush Avenue was on my way home and nothing tasted better after a long bike ride than a slice of cheesecake.

Especially for the Shabbos Goy.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Space Vulcan

No one ever better.

Even singing.

Only two country songs were on CBGB's juke box.


By Kenny Rodgers, but I love the Spock version.

To hear RUBY by Leonard Nimoy, please go to this URL