24 July 2009

Night of the Living Dead

I love places like this. Weathered Americana. We were heading back from a cavern trip to southern Ohio, and passed this drive-in movie relic on US-68, just outside Kenton. Man, I wished we had passed it a little later in the night, I would have loved for my kids to see Transformers in a place like this. You can’t see it in the picture, but there is a shabby little playground at the back. That old drive-in really stirred the memories, one in particular. Way, way back, in the last century, my mom, never a movie expert by any means, took me and my brother to a drive-in. I was seven and my brother Larry was nine. The movie my mom took us to? *Night of the Living Dead.* Ha ha ha. She thought it was just going to be some silly Sir Graves Ghastly-type monster movie. . .next thing you know, a little girl is eating her mother’s entrails!!! My brother and I loved it, mom was mortified. Yeah, back then there was Vietnam and Manson girls and race riots and all that, and that probably ain’t even the half of it, but I remember America, back at the time when I was watching that little girl snack on her mother’s guts, as a less vicious place. Was it really? Who knows? What is truth, as Pilate asked?

23 July 2009

Little Palestine

Most nights between 7:30 and 8:00 the Palestinian kids in my strip of the Council Flats hit the Common Area for a soccer game. They’re a raggedy bunch of refugee camp escapees ranging in age from about 9 – 16. They use the covered drain holes at each end of the Commons as goals.

They are well-behaved kids. I say this even though I really don’t know how they behave. They keep to their own kind. They don’t mix with the Asians or the blacks or the white trash among us. Since they will not have anything to do with us, this makes them well-behaved, in my estimation. Perfect neighbors.
The Commons is right out my back door, so I see the Palis turn it into the Occupied Territories almost every night. Saturday I took some pictures, with my two kids tagging along. One of the Pali moms saw me with the camera and asked what I was doing.

“I’m a social scientist. I’m doing field work,” I say.

She stares blankly at me, then jabbers in Arabic to the other Pali moms. They sit there drinking Coke and snacking puffed Cheetos as they watch the bambino Pali rugrats play on the Commons’ beat-up slides and swings. I see her looking at my kids. She sees me looking at her.

“Where your other kids?” she asks.

Other kids?

“’Other kids?’ That’s it. Just those two,” I say.

“Two only? Nine I have.”

Nine? She looks maybe 35. Nine kids. No wonder she’s so fat. She’s been popping them out one after another, without a break to take the weight off.

Nine kids in these tiny Council Flats? Plus two adults? Hell, maybe a couple grandparents, too? A camel jockey demolition derby 24/7. My two kids have put a beating on our little flat, imagine what a wreck their place must be. But Hell, if they came from some slum in Gaza, it must seem like one of Saddam Hussein’s palaces.

“Nine kids. That must be a lot of fun,” I say.

The Pali mom nods her head.

“Why you have two only? Your wife sick?” she asks.

“Sick of having kids,” I joke.

She doesn’t laugh, though. She looks at me like I just threw a shoe at Allah.

I start to slink after my sons, who are heading for the basketball *court* (a small slab of blacktop with a pole, a backboard and a bent rim with no net) when the Pali mom says:

"The Chinese have two only."

"The Chinese?"

She nods.

"The Arabs they keep out. All Chinese come now. Two kids only."

It's true, in the last couple of years there has been a real Asian invasion. The Asians and the Arabs are now neck-and-neck for the majority.

"The Arabs, they don't want. Too many kids."

"I got Chinese on one side," I say.

"How many kids they have?"


She nods and jabbers in Arabic to the other Pali moms. They are all fat. Prolific breeders, never allowed to deflate.

"The Chinese. The smell!" she says, and she makes a face as she shakes her head.

Ha. How many white people have I heard say the same about Arabs? People are all the same, all the same. They all stink, to somebody except themselves.

"The Chinese stink?"

The Pali mom crinkles her nose.

"And they always cooking." She opens her mouth and pretends to vomit. "Pigs cooking."

She jabbers in Arabic, and the other fat Pali moms nod and make faces like a pig has just farted.

"I hear the Chinese walk around nude a lot," I say.

She tells this to the others. They all stare at me.

"The Chinese you see naked?" she asks.

"Not me personally. Somebody else who lives here told me he sees them walking around nude in their house, with the curtains open."

She passes this on. They all look scandalized.

I feel bad for messing with them like that. Like some fucking Bruno or something.

"It's probably not true," I say. "You know how people are. Hey, in the end, we all got to live together, right?"

The Pali mom just looks at me.

"I mean, us poor, we got to stick together, right?"

"Who poor?" she asks, indignant.

"No, uh, I mean, we all just have to get through this together. Make a nice environment. For our kids."

"You have two only," she says.

Man, there's no way out of this conversation. Then it hits me:

"At least no Jews live here!"

Her face lights up. She laughs. She laughs and laughs, then jabbers in Arabic to the other Pali moms, and they laugh and laugh, and I laugh, and we're all laughing. We chat amiably for a couple minutes about this and that. We've made peace. We've made peace at the expense of that old scapegoat. I'd have liked to have done it in a more dignified fashion, but this is the Council Flats, man—you do it by any means necessary.

14 July 2009

The Vision

That’s me. That’s me, there in the chicken suit. I snapped this picture of me on Sunday, as I was driving back from Father Rimbaud’s. When I saw me standing there in the chicken suit, I grabbed the camera and, one-handed, snapped the photo. Snapped? No, I did not *snap* the photo. I merely pushed down on the camera’s silver button.

Anyway, that’s me. Sooner or later, that’s me. It was a vision of the future. Yes, I know. Carpenter Road is not exactly the Isle of Patmos—but a vision is still a vision. It was me, no question. Me in a chicken suit. A human being pretending to be poultry holding a dumb advertisement in front of a strip mall.

Who knows? Maybe I’ll be happier as a chicken? No. No. It is not a question of the *pursuit of happiness.* It is a question of the pursuit of knowledge. Self-knowledge. One of the great philosophers, one of the Germans, I believe it was, once stated:

In order to know the truth, every man must face life from inside a chicken suit. . .

Of course, he did not mean chicken suit exclusively. . .any type of animal mascot costume will suffice.

Looking out from inside the yellow feathers, removed from the play-acting of our typical role as *human being,* freed from having to appear to be *doing something,* we can confront the awful emptiness of our modern scientific and technological existence. In the guise of the dumb farmyard beast, stripped of scientific and technological man’s vanity, we discover anew that we are mere creatures, entirely dependent upon the Creator for our continued being.

The experience will be different for the believer and the infidel. For believers, time spent inside the chicken suit will be a chastening and a refreshing, and offer an opportunity for renunciation of the world. After shedding the feathers, we will return to our First Love.

For the infidel, the experience will be terrifying. Stripped of his/her material illusions, alone in the blackness under the fake feathers, the stygian interior of the chicken suit will serve as an omen of the Outer Darkness that is his/her eventual destination. He/she will peer out from the darkness through the costume’s small eye holes, and see the world to which he/she formerly belonged, and to which he/she is unable to return. This experience itself a shadow of what awaits in Hell:

There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.

For the infidel, the chicken suit is the great gulf fixed. . .

This is, of course, the metaphysical aspect of the chicken suit. The chicken suit also has a utilitarian purpose, answering the question asked here.

What will the new economy look like? It will look like underemployed men and women dressed as beasts, pitifully paid by pawnbrokers and assorted peddlers desperate to attract the attention of the smaller and smaller numbers of the monied class.

But I say to the brethren: fear ye not the chicken suit.

But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him. Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.

08 July 2009

The *Failure* of the Tehranatti

Telegraph.co.uk, 8 July 2009: Almost a month on from Iran’s presidential election, it is now time to recognise that the so-called “Twitter revolution” has utterly failed to achieve anything - save dead and injured young Iranians, and up to 2,000 new political prisoners.

[The complete article may be read here.]

The butthead who wrote the above article actually believes the Tehranatti staged their *performance revolution* for the benefit of the great unwashed of Iran!

Oh, so that is why the Tehranatti held up *protest signs* with English language slogans?

No, the hijinks of the Tehranatti were staged for the benefit of the thick-headed in the West. . .stagecraft to continue the demonization of Ahmadinejad and Iran. . .theatrical propaganda meant to continue the conditioning of the Western masses to accept the necessity of a *war on Iran.*

[Article here detailing Western fingerprints on the Tehranatti.]

The altruism of *freeing* the Iranian peasants from tyranny, combined with the egoism of *freeing* post-9/11 Western nervous nellies from the Iranian *nuclear threat,* make for a powerful cocktail of the noble and the selfish with which to deaden any dissent to the inevitable war on Iran.

No, the Tehranatti did not fail. . .they are the darlings of the West, the Pets of the Month, and they played their roles perfectly. . .and their show will be rerun endlessly in the run-up to the war on Iran.

06 July 2009

The Americanization Of Sahel Kazemi

All the news accounts seem to lament poor Steve McNair. . .they quote friends and family saying what a great guy he was, and they look at his football record as if it has some bearing on his character. He played a game, for crying out loud. He wasn’t a minister or a teacher or a therapist working with troubled individuals. He was, in essence, a circus performer, someone to amuse the masses.

He wanted a piece of strange. Well, that’s not unusual. And he had the means to get it. Steve McNair was just another guy who cheated on his wife, who disgraced himself in the eyes of his children. It happens over and over again. McNair was no better or no worse than most of us. The idea that because he was a slightly-better-than-average NFL quarterback he was *special* is without foundation.

In the end, his own fortune was his undoing. He had enough money to believe he could live two lives, one with his boring family, and another with his exciting young piece of strange. McNair thought he could buy an alternate reality, but, presumably, Sahel Kazemi had a differing vision of their relationship. Had McNair been some paycheck-to-paycheck slob, he could not have created the illusion he was building a life with his piece of strange. McNair was probably stupid enough to believe he could keep stalling the day of reckoning by showering more and more gifts on his piece of strange, but she believed the illusion. . .that they were going to be together. . .and when she kept pushing, and he finally had to admit he had no intention of leaving his family, the naïve piece of strange was devastated. She finally discovered the truth: she’d been fucked over. She’d been tricked into her spreading her legs and whatever other business they were doing. Listen, women and children in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan have been killed for less.

It’s got to be tough to be one of McNair’s kids right now. Finding out football hero dad was banging a teenage Iranian waitress (Kazemi was 19 when McNair started on her). And then it all ends in tabloid spectacle: a blood-spattered love nest. What are those kids going to think, when they see the pictures of their old man parasailing (whatever the Hell that is) with a girl not much older than his oldest son?

As for Sahel Kazemi, the tragedy is how quickly she became Americanized.

From one newspaper article, we get the following:

Kazemi and her family moved to the U.S. in 2002, fleeing Iran to Turkey before settling in Florida. As members of the Baha'i Faith, they were in danger in Iran. They quickly got acclimated in the U.S. Kazemi worked hard and liked earning her own money, the family said. Her greatest dream, Salmani said, was to be famous. "I think she is now," Salmani said. "She is everywhere."

The truth is, she would have been better off in Iran. The kind of corruption that doomed her is much more prevalent in the West. This kind of ugly adultery is not so easy to fall into in the *backward* Iran Americans love to look down their noses at. Americans ought to take a long hard look at this pretty Iranian girl. . . it’s our poison in her corpse. . .can we see the fruit of our *relaxed* sexual morality?

02 July 2009

Round One. . .Of Eternity

The Pryor-Arguello fight was easily the greatest sporting event I have seen in my lifetime. No Super Bowl, World Series or Final Four ever came close to matching it. Two of the All-Time Greats beating the hell out of each other for 14 rounds.

Football, baseball and basketball players are pussies compared to boxers. . .ask Rudy Tomjanovich, if you don’t believe me. . .he got a little taste of what boxing is all about when he ran into Kermit Washington’s fist.

Now I read the news that Alexis Arguello is dead, and most reports indicate suicide, a gunshot wound to the chest. I vaguely recall Arguello had a drug problem, and he admitted contemplating shooting himself. Supposedly he also suffered from *depression.*

We can bring up all the clichés, how life is the toughest opponent and all that. . . for a long stretch, Arguello was considered the greatest fighter in the world. . .we can watch his fight clips from now until the end of technology, see his wars with Pryor, the bloody battle with the Snake Man, Alfredo Escalera. . .he’ll live on in these clips. . .live on in glory. . .if the suicide reports prove true, he wanted to free himself from this life, where he had the world’s glory.

Over and over again, in the broken lives of the great, we see the ultimate worthlessness of fame and fortune. Life for Arguello, like so many countless of the nameless, faceless mass, was a dark corner from which he couldn’t punch or drug his way out. He had to take a shotgun and kill his body to free his broken soul.

Now he is on the Other Side. . .this means nothing to most people. . .it probably meant nothing to the great Alexis Arguello. . .nothing. . .and that is probably what he wanted to escape to: nothing. . .an eternal rest of nothingness, after getting KO’d by this side of life. . .but I suspect poor Arguello, in that instant he crossed over, heard the bell ring for Round One of Eternity. . .a fight he cannot win. . .a fight he cannot even compete in. . .the horror of the total hopelessness of his situation. A crushing defeat without end. . .

Our denial has no bearing on the reality which awaits us. . .

May God have mercy on the soul of Alexis Arguello.