Thursday, May 28, 2009

Future With Cool Pictures Alert!

Our Faculty of Law "Seminar Weekend" is upon us. We're all going to Rayong, to a nice resort that Peace Corps has treated me to previously. Very nice, the Phala Cliff Beach Resort, great food.

I was just asked if I would be one of the "Fah Low" at our big party on Saturday. That's a fantasy/mythology character, I'll be decked out in silk with a turban and a lot of make up like some kind of Jinny.

These things are a lot of fun. Last year I won a nice umbrella in the song contest. I have my song picked out for this year, "Imagination." (Easy to teach the band, and I get to pick the key.)

Wish me luck!

Mr. Fred's Poetry Corner: A New Suit

Remember, I don't go out of my way to torture you with Poetry. But I like this one:

A New Suit

Measure me for a suit that stitches up the back,
Use one of my ties, not some horrible thing
That attaches with a clip, a travesty, fooling no one,
Don’t forget my glasses, part of me,
I couldn’t see shit without them, even close,
Easy on the pretty flowers, I was allergic,
Pray if you must, but keep it to yourself,
Too much and I may start rotating counterclockwise,
I would have liked to think that someone would cry,
But probably there’s more relief than grief,
Enjoy the after-party, it’s the Irish way.

May, 2009

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sukhothai: Wat Mahatat

An interesting thing about the Sukhothai historical area is the mix of styles. Usually it's a temple of one style over here, another style over there, but in Wat Mahatat, the biggest temple of the complex, it's every style that was available all at once. Stylistic elements from Ceylon, India, Thailand, Lanna (an ancient Thai kingdom in the North), and the Khmer all are present in the one temple.

Elements of many religions too. Buddhism, of course, plus Hindu, plus the Linga/Yoni stuff that predated Hinduism in India. It's pretty wild.

Thailand Is A Well Ordered Society

Over here you buy a movie ticket for a specific seat. They expect you to sit in that seat, even if there’s only four people in the theatre and you find out that your seat is too close to the screen. If you take a leak at a mall, you may be comforted to know precisely which urinal you are employing, as they are all numbered.

A while ago I made a casual mention of the early onset of the rainy season. I put it in terms of the monsoon, “the Southern monsoon started early this year.” “No,” said my school colleague, “this is only storms.” How could it be the monsoon? The Southern monsoon doesn’t start until late-June or July, please, a little order.

This instant I’m watching a CNN story about this year’s early onset of the Southern monsoon. The world is less orderly than Thailand would prefer.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Khun Fred Dispelling Fear

In the iconography of Buddhist statuary, this pose is called “the Buddha dispelling fear.” Usually with the one hand, but sometimes, when he was really up against it maybe, with both hands.

This picture was taken in Sukhothai, Thailand by my excellent Motorcy-Tuk-Tuk driver, Khun Do-Do (which may be a silly name in English, but in Thai it means double “doh,” which is the word for “grown-up”).

I suppose this picture is blasphemous, but it wouldn’t be the first time.

A Touristic Interlude In Sukhothai

When Thais refer to something as “ancient,” it may be anything from two hundred to some thousands of years old. The “ancient” capitol of Thailand at Sukhothai was ascendant during the thirteenth century, which in Europe was a rock’s throw before the Black Death, which in turn immediately preceded the Renaissance. The city is surrounded by a huge flat area of what is literally the greatest farm land in the world, now devoted mostly to rice, with the odd bits devoted to fruit orchards, all laced by rivers that are clogged with fish. It’s no surprise that the place was prosperous. In fact, it still is prosperous.

I was paid to go up and teach a class on Sunday, and I decided to make a tour of it. I wasn’t disappointed. I’d recommend it to anybody. Anybody, that is, who is naturally tolerant of searing, brutal, hyper-tropical heat. Sukhothai is famous even in Thailand as a really, really hot place; even Thais tell you in all seriousness that it is like dangerously hot there. I can tell you that it was hot enough this week to make you bandy-legged and delirious. And this was with heavy cloud cover and some rain from an early-arriving rainy season.

I know that it’s low-season, but the place was unnaturally empty. All of this “Yellow-Shirt/Red Shirt” street protesting stuff has really cut the tourist crowds. My very nice, deeply-discounted resort was a ghost town. It’s a shame, because Thailand is still a safe place, fun and cheap, a tourist paradise, that’s without a trace of sarcasm.

I’m afraid June may turn out to be Sukhothai Month on Spin Easy Time, because I have some decent pix with accompanying stories worth telling. So bear with me.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Canvorse All Stars

I hardly notice this stuff anymore. The fringes of trademark, the dark corners of Asian intellectual property. I see, but hardly notice, as some little factory somewhere tries to make a living selling “Canvorse All Stars.” It’s cool, baby, go ‘head on with your bad self.

More interesting by far is when someone reaches a little too far for a mellifluous English name for their small business. Like the massage place in my building, a legitimate massage place, get your minds out of the gutter. The whore-house is across the street.

“Restz and Relaxz,” is the name of the place. Who, when, why, where and how did someone come up with these spellings? Memorable, I suppose, so maybe it was a good idea.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Funny Dream

I was walking around Venice, California, with my wife, she was making notes about what people had done with their houses, getting ideas. The houses were garish, wild designs and lurid colors. On bright blue, Gaudi style house had a small swimming pool built into the parking spot at the curb, complete with small palm trees.

I went to the corner to smoke a cigarette, there was a big street with an elevated subway, my favorite oxymoron. I overheard a long conversation between a lawyer and his client, it was a divorce. The lawyer was played by Gene Hackman. He was explaining what he would get her, and how they would win, with references to decisions and cases with made-up names, like the “Tse-Tse decision,” as in tse-tse flies.

Her prospective next husband returned carrying a CPR infant, the lawyer had sent him off to carry it around for an hour to see if he was ready to have children. He was exhausted and had doubts.

As the conversation ended, the client’s brother announced that he and the lawyer’s (male) clerk had already closed the deal. They embraced and kissed with abandon, then they climbed to the top of a nice, antique cabinet, pushed off the chachkas and buried the hatchet.

Dreaming is another of my favorite things.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

My Most Successful Post

This one from almost a year ago: " "Memories of College Point.""

Amazingly, this post still generates comments.

I should write more about the old homestead. Hey, Homies, how about comparing notes about the greatest fights we saw in College Point?

My first nomination is Lenny Deniker v. Rickie Ioli at a Summer dance at PS 27, outdoors, about 1961. Not a long fight, that one, and unusual for the great number of solid punches landed (all by Lenny).

Without Satan, The Beatles Would Have Been Nothing

There’s a new book out, “The Lennon Prophecy,” which posits some kind of contract between John Lennon and, could it be? Satan? The writer is a long time Beatles aficionado who at some point said to himself, wait a minute, these guys couldn’t be this great, or this successful, without diabolical assistance. He dug deeper and found lots of clues, like all of that “Paul is dead” stuff, and came to the conclusion that John Lennon made a pact with Satan in December, 1960, insuring his success. Evidently the rest of the band is blameless, especially Ringo, who didn’t come on the scene until a couple of years later. Also evidently, Paul and George were talented enough to become rich and successful without Satan’s help.

The writer figures these pacts for twenty years duration, so he runs the dates back from John Lennon’s unfortunate, unanticipated death by shooting in 1980. It would otherwise be difficult to understand the Beatles spending 1961 and most of 1962 entertaining two dozen Germans at a time for like no money.

The genius who has delivered this astonishing realization to the world is Joseph Niezgoda. I suppose he won’t mind me telling you all his name. Maybe somebody wants to buy the book.

I found out about this fascinating new book at World Net Daily Dot Com. ( I don’t suppose they’ll mind my sharing this information either. They’re as crazy as Mr. Niezgoda. Check them out, especially if you agree that President Obama isn’t even an American citizen.

Somehow, John Lennon as a Satanist fits into the current right-wing agenda.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Where's Freud When You Need Him?

Those happy-go-lucky generals in Burma are a pre-Freudian treat. This new bullshit trial of Aung San Su Kye (sic) is taking place at INSEIN PRISON.

I Love Flying

My first ride in a plane was a TWA flight from Washington, D.C. to New York’s LaGuardia Airport in 1952. It was a Lockheed Constellation, I was four. We’d gone down on the train; I was thrilled by both experiences.

I have always loved flying. I find the view endlessly fascinating. Sometimes, though, it gets as good as it gets, and that is always very special.

Last year I flew back from way-out-east, Thailand, and it was one of those flights. We took off a little before six, with almost an hour of sunlight to go and a flight time of about one hour, flying West.

There was some kind of very ocean-like floor at about 10,000 feet, alto-cumulus clouds if I don’t miss my guess. We were flying at about 20,000 feet. Looking down, it looked like a big body of water, complete with optical-illusion wave action. The tops of some big cumulus clouds protruded like icebergs, or mountains. The last bits of the sun lit up the Western edges of the cumulus clouds in a brilliant orange-pink, and the sky above was still a lovely blue, streaked with darking, high altitude cirrus and cirro-stratus clouds.

Some plane tickets are worth more than others.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Thailight Zone: Thai-ed Up Again

Two weeks ago, Khun P., one of our department secretaries, told me that I would be proctoring tests this week, starting Monday, today. She is my usual conduit for such information. She couldn't tell me what building I'd be in, and neither could anyone else.

So this morning I got up early and made my way to school, dressed for the prom. I went to our department office, where by today they were supposed to have a list of test locations. Then I got Thai-ed up.

In the first place, the tests don't start until tomorrow. In the second place, my name is not on the list at all.

Pretty typical really.

Next weekend I'm teaching in Sukhothai, at least I think so. More than a month ago, Ajan K. told be I'd go to Sukhothai, and he gave me four possible weekends. I penciled them in. A few weeks ago he gave me the date: May 24th. This is standard procedure, I entered the date and made preparations.

I bought my plane ticket, and also booked and paid for a nice hotel, several days, Sukhothai is a big-time historical sight and I figured I'd make a trip of it. Friday, Ajan K. called me and told me to call another Ajan to check the date that I'd be teaching. Oh, I told him, whether I teach or not I'll be in Sukhothai next weekend. Why? he asked. Because, acting on your instructions, I have obtained and paid for a plane ticket and a resort hotel. His response? Ok, next week then.

Most Thais don't keep daily calendar schedules, and somehow it's not surprising. Planning it tough when the ground is constantly shifting.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Port Of Bangkok

The Cha Prayao River runs up through Bangkok from the Gulf of Siam. It provides a deep channel for about fifty miles North of the city, a little past Ayuthya, the former capitol.

This picture was taken in the port area, near the docks. Here's an outbound container ship passing a nice little, typically Thai "long-tail-boat." This long tail is a ferry of sorts, shuttling people back and forth across the river.

Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain

This is Asia, where form beats function every day of every week. Take, for example, President Bam-something-or-other-unpronounceable of Indonesia, speaking at a seventy-nation conference on the world’s oceans.

“We must come to the rescue of the oceans. We must save them from the ravages of abuse and over-exploitation by humankind, from the havoc due to pollution . . .” He went on to say, “this is a life and death issue for the community of nations, including Indonesia . . .”

To the credit of The Nation, a Bangkok English-language daily, the article went on to note:

The president made no mention of his own country’s massive failings in conserving its environment, ranging from rampant illegal logging to over-fishing and the destruction of coral reefs through the use of bombs . . . with garbage and diesel oil clogging the waters . . . close to the conference venue.

I love the part about the bombs, that shit is cold.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Re: No Raves For Junior Brown

What? No gasping-for-breath comments on Junior Brown?

Sure he's a hayseed, with a cowboy hat and a home-made "git-steel" Telecaster hybrid on a stand. But catch those effortlessly thrown in Hendrix quotes, and the weirdly extravagant Nashville licks.

I'm sure there are better examples, but this is the one I found. Treat yourselves!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Junior Brown: The Country Jeff Beck

Chicken pickin' just like ringing a bell!

I think it was Brother Johnson that told me about Junior Brown. He used his legal research skills to uncover such wonders.

Thanks, Glenn! Wherever you are.

The Bus Accident

Taking a simple bus trip is a big adventure for me. I have a good bus-map, so finding the right bus is no problem, and paying is no problem, even though you need to explain your destination because fares are based upon distance, I can handle that. The problem is figuring out where you are and finding the place that you need to get off. Asking for help has been less than fruitful for me. Either they don’t understand me, or they understand me but think they know better than me where I am actually going, or they don’t have a clue where the bus is at any given moment, which would seem odd in any country except Thailand (is it that important? we’re on bus number 113, in Bangkok), or maybe they’re just screwing with me. Now I just smile and try to figure it out for myself.

Last week I took a bus trip for a hospital visit. Map in hand, I tracked our movement across the city, as much by time and distance as by landmarks, Thailand is not a great signage country. Along the way we encountered a tiny drama.

Bus stops can be chaotic, there are about fifty buses along the road outside my condo. The buses don’t always actually stop, some drivers preferring to roll slowly along as people get on and off. I’m sure it’s fun for them, and maybe they have a reason. Our bus was a beat up old fan bus, and at one stop our driver quickly pulled in front of a bus that was using the rolling method. The other bus was a beautiful, new, bright yellow air-con bus. The other driver declined to stop rolling, and in the process we clipped his fender, I didn’t see anything but it was loud and we felt a bump.

Our “stewardess,” all Thai buses have a uniformed ticket seller on board, shouted the alarm and our driver pulled to the curb on the other side of the bus stop. He got out and walked around to say hi. I figured, we were in front of him, he could see us, he could have stopped. I was wondering how long this would all take when the driver almost instantly got back on our bus and we set off. All taken care of with a simple smile, no doubt.

In Thailand, as many problems as possible are taken care of at the most local of levels.

We Can Learn From Each Other

Sometimes Thais ask me about how things are done in America. It’s a whole different world, that’s for sure. I smile and say, neither way is better, they’re just different, I think both cultures have things to learn from each other.

One thing that Asian culture can learn from Western culture, which I can say without qualification: how to get on and off an elevator (it’s the same with subways).

Riding on an elevator in Asia and arriving at your floor, the doors open and, if there are Asians there waiting for the elevator, they barge into you en masse and act like your presence is a big surprise, and you are in their way. This complete violation of common etiquette really twists my nipples.

Related phenomena: Asians in general cannot grasp the concept of lining up for something (a mob forms and everyone pushes towards the front); Asians frequently come to the end of an escalator ride, take one step, and come to a full stop, often in a group (with total disregard for the ten or twenty people whom the escalator is delivering into the same space).

It’s a two way street, but Asians have a couple of things to learn.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Successful Operation On Your Child Is Always A Wonderful Thing

My friend Choophong is a good guy. He’s closing in on forty, been a lawyer for more than ten years. Last year he got a Master of Laws degree from my university, I was one of the professors involved. He and his wonderful wife Somjai are country kids from way out East, proof that brains and hard work can get you a good life in Thailand, they started out in big, poor farming families with hardly pots to piss in.

They actually worry about me, it’s very sweet. I live a quiet life in Thailand, far from my family, whom they honestly and correctly believe that I love and miss very much. My predecessor Farang Law professor was also a California lawyer with a sadness in his heart that just wouldn’t quit, and he ended up throwing himself, or being thrown, off a high balcony, it’s a long story. Choophong and Somjai took this as a lesson in human behavior: people disposed to sadness, far from home, and alone, need watching and can use a little attention. I thank God for them.

Their daughter is five years old, and she’s had more experience of the hard-knocks world than most. She just had her fourth heart operation, as in open-heart, I’m no doctor, I don’t know what they were doing in there but I can see the scars.

If her dad had not clawed his way up to a very good income she’d be dead already, and, in fact, if her dad was not such a great guy her days would be numbered even now.

Thailand, to some degree, has socialized medicine. Doctors, nurse time, and hospital beds are available to average citizens at little or no cost. But there are catches, lots of them. Medicine? Not covered, it’s pay or die. Doctors come in all sizes and stripes, this is a country where you go to college and major in medicine and after four years, poof! you’re a doctor. And the pace of the provided medical care can often fall way behind the pace of your illness. Get in line, brother, there’s lots of sick folk out there.

Luck is a funny thing. I honestly believe that most instances of luck are self-generated. Or, in this case, generated by our dads.

Choophong is such a decent man, so genuine and friendly, that he takes an interest in other people and tends to try to help them if he can. Bear in mind that he is an experienced Thai lawyer, his help is really worth something. So all through his daughter’s health problems he has gotten to know the doctors involved, he has listened to them, and he has sometimes identified problems of theirs, and he has helped them whenever he could. So they naturally like him, he’s a real likeable guy. And, human nature being what it is, some of them have tended to help him when it was in their power to do so.

And that’s what happened. When monolithic “Thai Medicine” was telling him that his daughter could wait until she was twelve for her next operation, which is “Asian-Speak” for go home and die, Choophong’s daughter just had her operation in the best hospital in Bangkok, Bumrumgrad, one of the two “International Hospitals” in Thailand, staffed with American-Board-Certified doctors and full of Americans seeking bargains, and prosperous Emirates Arabs, etc, come to Thailand for the “bargain” priced world-class doctors.

And the prognosis is: very good indeed! I visited her today, and she is already back to her old self, jumping out of bed and walking around, having some fun, four days after her operation. The doctor, who really appreciated the tax advice, says that this should be her last open-heart surgery, she should be fine after this. They scratched each others backs on the price too, big time.

One more happy story in a less than perfect world.

Thunder And Lightning Are Fun!

This happens sometimes around here. Right in the middle of a good thunder storm someone decides to go in the pool, on the fifth floor and fully exposed to the elements. Usually a solitary man, not much fun other than the possible first row view of an electrocution.

Today, another daredevil, much more fun to watch, a young mother, with her twenty-or-so-month-old son in tow. A beautiful young mother, in a very non-Thai bikini, nothing modest about it, scientifically designed to ride way up in her crack. Nice boy too, a little reticent at first but he got into it. Frolicking amongst the flashes, in the pouring rain, oblivious to the danger.

This is the tropics, don’t forget, and our thunderstorms mean business. Huge, ripping, barn-burning, booming crashes of thunder. Evidently, there are lots of Thais that never got the memo. Why not hold a golf club up in the air while you’re at it?

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Cool Web Site Alert

Check out

For great lines like: Building asks a smoked visitor in the outside smoking section that you cannot smoke in.

Thanks to my friend Tichachat for the heads-up!

Great Lines From Awful Movies

Last night was a slow TV night and I ended up watching about twenty minutes of XXX, that’s as in “Triple X,” staring Vin Diesel. It’s an awful movie.

After most of the lines I imagined something that would have been much, much better. But in amongst the crap was a real gem:

XXX: you know, smoking will kill you (or something to that effect).

Former Soviet Army Prague Gangster: “I like smoke better than air. If I could, I’d smoke in my sleep. I’ll smoke after I’m dead.”

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Single Most Remarkable Thing Ever

I was just puttering around in my condo and I heard from the TV (CNN) the single most remarkable thing that I have ever heard:

Eight armed men attacked a wedding in Turkey, killing forty-four people. Police suspect a jilted ex-boyfriend of taking revenge.

Weird attacks with surface similarities to this one are commonplace these days, it’s true. The usual rationalizations have a reality beyond the personal or local. This one, though, seems to hang on a tiny thread of someone’s failed attempt at reason. BBC reports that, “there seems to have been a long running feud between the families.”

A jilted boyfriend? (With the help of seven friends?) A family feud? (With forty-four people dead in one attack?)

Something about the Twenty-First Century is making people think that their own little grievances are somehow supremely important; that their own little frustrations are somehow cosmically meaningful; that their own little personal narrative requires resolution; that their own little community must rule the world; whatever.

What is this shit? You tell me. Something about encroaching old age has driven me out of the speculation market.

Movie Review: Under The Flag Of The Rising Sun

When I saw this in my cable guide, I hoped that it was another of those “heroic Japanese troops” things, in the manner of “Attack Squadron,” reviewed a couple of weeks ago. It couldn’t be more different. This one is a very serious movie, a heart wrenching and cold-eyed examination of the reality of the experience of ordinary Japanese soldiers caught up in the mayhem of the Pacific war, their experiences upon returning to Japan, and the effects on their loved ones. Great, great cinema, and recommended without qualification.

I was thinking that such a serious movie would be impossible to understand in the original Japanese, but it turned out to be easy. The acting, the story telling, it’s all so very well done that after I picked up the narrative thread I had no trouble at all getting the gist of every scene.

It is the story of a woman who lost her husband in the war. Twenty years afterwards she is trying to piece together what really happened to him and how he met his end. The bureaucracy is no help at all, so she seeks out men who had served with him. Their reports are offered in flashbacks, featuring a mix of actual photographs and new dramatic footage, mostly black and white, occasionally flashing into color for effect.

The reports are uniformly horrible: Japanese soldiers being slaughtered by the relentless (off-screen) Americans; lots of starvation and fighting over food, including trapped rats; lots of cruel non-com’s and officers smacking troopers around and ordering futile Banzai! charges.

The officers are really the bad guys here, as it was in reality. In one flashback, an American plane is shot down and there is one survivor, some poor Airman with stripes on his arm, probably a radio operator, or a gunner. An officer orders a non-com to decapitate him with his sword, but the man recoils from and horribly botches the task. After shooting the American with his pistol, the officer badly beats up the nonplused non-com. One of the great, semi-untold stories of WWII is the brutality and hardship that ordinary Japanese troops were forced to undergo.

One blind guy’s story affects the woman greatly. Was cannibalism involved? There are some quick scenes of starving soldiers seemingly evaluating dead bodies. Telling the story didn’t make the blind guy happy either. After she leaves he furiously rapes his vigorously protesting wife and then kills himself.

Self-serving officers tell rosier stories, but the stories of the regular soldiers get grislier and grislier as the movie goes on. She returns often to one reporter, now a junk collector. As she updates him about what she has discovered, he becomes more and more listless and sad, and he fills in more of the blanks that he was trying to protect her from.

Her husband was a non-com “in charge” of a group of deserters, including the junk collector. Once, an officer came upon them hiding in the hills and tried to arrest them, with a lot of knocking them around and screaming at them. One soldier freaks out and shoots the officer, a mild wound. The officer goes wild and attacks them with his sword, cutting off the arm of one man. Now the little group has no choice and they shoot the officer dead. The junk collector tells of staring first at the arm, then the fire, then back to the arm. Finally the arm is cooked and eaten.

The husband and two others are finally captured by the Army. They get a last meal, a handful of white rice, and are executed on a beach by pistol shots to the head.

Hiroshima comes in at the end, with more grisly photographs, so I suppose there is a touch of the typical “oh, we poor Japanese suffered so.” None of the usual heroic characterization though, and it is true, after all, that ordinary Japanese suffered along with other Asians, and Allied troops, in pursuit of glory for a handful of leaders. It is certainly true that the Japanese troops in this movie had nothing at all to do with planning and starting the war. As usual, the world over, it was the sons of bitches in suits back in the capitol who got the bright idea in the first place and subjected millions of people, including their own, to the resulting horror.

A powerful movie, not for the feint hearted.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Gambling, Fred Style

The Hatton/Pacquiao post generated a comment from "sports betting center," telling me that Manny would surely be the favorite against a returning Mayweather because he is, after all, "the best fighter pound-for-pound in the world."

I'm sorry, but betting is not one of my vices. If I remember right, the only fight I ever bet on was Roberto Duran v. Ray Leonard, the first fight, and I won five dollars. As is my custom, I then resolved never to bet on boxing again, to protect my perfect record!

I am also ahead in the California Lottery. My first one dollar ticket was a two dollar winner. I have spent a total of about twenty dollars on tickets, and one of them won a little more than fifty dollars. So I quit, again protecting the record of success.

Gambling is for suckers.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Ricky Hatton v. Manny Pacquiao

That was quite a ring entry, Ricky. Got your own song, “never seen a salad, that’s why he’s so fat! . . . he eats pasties and pies! and a couple of pints of Guinness!” Got “Big Man” tattooed on his back. Tries real hard to look like a tough guy. I never saw him work before, I hear he has a good record, forty-six fights and now two losses. That’s pretty good. I don’t know who he was fighting.

Nobody like Manny Pacquiao, that’s a good bet. Manny came in to an old AC/DC song about thunder and lightning, which beat pasties and pies every time, somebody should have told Hatton. Manny has a great smile, and he makes no big macho show. After all the hype, the fight was very one sided, all on Manny’s side, like seventy two punches landed to eighteen.

Ricky tried to come straight at Manny and push him around, but the Flip wasn’t having any of it. Hatton cocked his hand before every punch, and Manny would either spin away, jump in close, or punch him. Manny is a lefty who sets up square and at this point in his career he doesn’t seem to favor either hand. Right jab? It’s more like a straight punch, or sometimes a hook.

Twice in the first round Manny put Ricky down with those right hand jab-hooks, and besides that he was otherwise pushing him around the ring like a sweeper. About half way through the second round, Ricky dropped his right hand at just the wrong time and Manny spun his torso clockwise and put a left hook that was as solid as a rock into the Englishman’s head, that was all she wrote. Ricky went down in the pole-axed manner and stayed unconscious for twenty seconds.

Manny seems like a sweet man. After the fight a big-shot was singing his praises and Manny cut in to say, “not to forget God.” Maybe God was distracted by the fight: at about the same time there were a lot of flood deaths in the Philippines.

One thing’s for sure, Manny is a great fighter.

Review Of A Movie I Will Never See: The Soloist.

L.A. Times reporter digs into the causes of homelessness and the fallout of schizophrenia. It’s a feel-good movie, evidently.

Once again we are supposed to be shocked, shocked! that Americans who cannot take care of themselves are cruelly jettisoned and required to give it a go on their own. Get going, shit-for-brains! Find a warm spot! Winter’s coming!

And once again, it is supposed to be a shock that talented, intelligent, personable people who go schizophrenic fall off the Christmas list because nobody outside of their immediate families gives a shit.

Bet me: the cello player upon whom this story is based will run through his money and once again find himself outdoors. Individual responsibility, baby!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Alert The Media: Amy Winehouse Not Dead

Not being British, and not thereby consumed by narrow, parochial issues, I could have been forgiven to wonder if Amy Winehouse had fallen off the earth. To wonder, more positively disposed to the affirmative of that proposition. But no, she is still with us. She moved to a new neighborhood and successfully petitioned a London court for relief from Paparazzi.

No new photographs, a shame, it's always interesting to observe her physical disintigration.