Thursday, January 31, 2008

I Get Out Sometimes

If it seems like I am just sitting around compulsively writing poems and fiction and a textbook and a blog, it’s probably because that is essentially what I’m doing. But I get out sometimes, I need to get from one place to another after all, and I see things.

Would you think it was a good idea for a blind man to walk down a crowded street, with a typical narrow and frighteningly uneven, broken up sidewalk, waving his cane gently in front of himself, and talking on a cell phone the entire time? No? I’m with you, but it’s not my country so I don’t criticize.

People use babies and young children to beg, it’s a very disagreeable process. Someone told me they pass the babies around, it’s not even mother and child, or cripple and child, or retard and child, it’s just retard and some borrowed child. And like all devoid-of-resources-helpless-people-who-live-in-public-without-recourse-to-police-protection, gangs prey on them, exacting a fee for the privilege of sitting on (the gang’s) sidewalk.

Some are weirder than others. Yesterday I passed a man, who incidentally looked eminently employable and quite clever, who was begging and using a child as a hook. The child, a boy, was about four years old. He had what the Japanese call “tea hair,” hair dyed kind of light brown/attempted blond, and wore make up, cherry red rouged cheeks, some lipstick, a little foundation. He was dressed like a little Farang too, with a button-up shirt with a collar and long pants. He looked like a ventriloquist’s dummy. When he saw me he lit up made his pitch, he did everything but yell, “Daddy!” I smiled and kept walking.

I have also passed on several occasions a little girl who begs solo and has a most interesting technique. She’s about six, she sits on a heavily trafficked pedestrian overpass, with her hands pressed together in a wai and rocking back and forth. When some likely benefactor passes by she first makes sad, desperate eye contact and then rocks forward all the way to the ground, actually blocking the progress of the rube, I mean potential benefactor.

I don’t feel so bad walking by. Thai people ignore them too. And at least the blind guy was walking slowly.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Something Slightly More Positive

Another fragment from my soon to be well received first novel, "The Accidental Murderer."

Claude turned off the Expressway and drove into a quiet, little North Shore town named after a mollusk. He drove nice and slow, which was how the local cops liked it. Darlene loved the place. “Wow!” she enthused, “this place is great! I wish we’d got here before all the leaves fell.”

They drove into a neighborhood where the houses were not so close together and there was still a lot of green around. There was a corner house with a long driveway that ended around the back; Claude drove in, parked near the back door, and got out. Darlene followed, but not until Claude had already knocked on the door. There were no signs of life.

“See,” Darlene said in a scolding tone, “I told you to call first.”

“It don’t matter.” There was a free standing garage at the back of the property, and behind that was a row of tall, straight fir trees that blocked the view from the next house. Claude walked around the back of the garage. Darlene didn’t follow him, she figured he had to take a leak. There was a compost box against the back wall of the garage, and that’s where Claude went. He opened the top: nothing had been disturbed. He reached in and brushed some fresh leaves off the top before he found what he was looking for, what he had left there several days before. The owner of the house was a Skull.

“Where did you get that?” Darlene, always asking questions. “What’d I tell you?” Claude went over to the car, opened the driver’s door and reached in to unlock the back door. “You drive,” he told Darlene, and he climbed into the back. She just said, “okay,” and got into the driver’s seat. When they set off, Claude was holding a cookie tin on his lap.

“Where should I go,” a reasonable question for a change. “Just go back to the Expressway, the way we came,” adding upon reflection, “and not too fast.”

He opened the tin and took out something wrapped in a rag. Darlene was still jazzed about the town. “This is great out here! Look’t all the room, and the air and everything, it’s great!” It was a nice town, an old town, nothing was cheap, not houses, not gas, not pizza, nothing. Claude liked it too, but only for its small, rocky beach. “It’s too quiet,” he said, “even sleepin’ in a house is like campin’.”

As they approached the Expressway, Claude told Darlene to get on, going east. He was sitting in the back using the rag to clean some of the oil off of a large pistol, a magnum, stainless steel, black plastic handgrips, four inch barrel, named by its manufacturer after a particularly disagreeable snake. Claude loved this gun. He’d only fired it a couple of times, and never in anger. He loved it because it terrified people so much that it was unnecessary to shoot them. It just looked dangerous, in fact, it looked like a cannon. He wasn’t even planning to take it out today, just open his jacket with the pistol in his belt while he talked to a guy, a guy who owed him money. Darlene heard a mechanical noise and asked, “is that the car?”

“No,” he said, and the low, clicking sound continued.

Even More Poetry

I don't know about you, but I am having so much fun reading and writing poetry. It does all seem pretty cynical, or is it downright nihilistic? I don't feel particularly depressed, but admittedly my world-view is unremittingly negative. Please know that when I read them, I smile! And writing them is a very positive experience for me.

Ordinary Reality

Did anyone think of us?
Certainly we hoped not,
Better to go on with one’s business unobserved.
Did anyone love us?
Certainly it seemed vaguely possible only
To the lucky ones,
And the rest of us had given up.
The next bottle of Colt, the next Kent, a stolen Modern Man,
Life’s simple pleasures delighted us,
And we endured ordinary reality,
Most begrudgingly,
Mostly angrily,
Hating ourselves and each other,
And hating especially the happy ones among us, the unconfused,
There were some,
I remember them,
With longing.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Cloverfield: an Update

The Thai dub was only ok. There was no disturbance of the background sound or the Foley track, but the actors were only ok and the miking was only ok. My benchmark for Thai dubbing is "War of the Worlds," for which the actors used were first rate and the miking was accurately spacial and directional.

Oh, and for the first time I saw a Thai person walk out in the middle of a movie. It was in Thai too, no excusses there. He just split. Had someplace to go, maybe, probably not. I told you this movie would annoy a lot of people.

Mr. Fred's Poetry Corner

Cheerfulness in Our Lifetimes

The very next time I find myself
In a cheerful and expansive mood,
I promise to my loyal fans
To write a poem that will ride
A cheerful and expansive vibe
Around the whole wide blessed world,
Melting hearts and healing souls,
To set forever down in stone
My name, as bringer of a great,
And lasting restful peace at last
To our beloved floating orb,
To spin forever more in bliss,
And live no more in horror, fear,
And all the rest, our lives to date.

But I’m afraid I must confess,
It may be some time yet in coming.
Because my friends, don’t hold your breaths.
The wheel of fortune that’s my life
Delivers so infrequently
The real and natural cheerfulness
That such a poem would require.
So my advice to you and you
Is make your own damn cheerfulness,
What am I, your fucking crutch?
Good luck, though, and promise to share
Anything you think would help
Your charming, although very sad
Content provider.

Monday, January 28, 2008

State of Bush's Union

Fact-check the State of the Union Address at:

This guy's a laugh riot.

Political Science

I wish I were excited enough about politics to write about it. But I'm not.

Thinking about politics, even briefly, makes me dyspeptic.
I thank god that I'm not in America to see all the details on TV.

I know who they are, the perp's.

Giuliani, the prosecuting attorney (the job of a prosecuting attorney is to put innocent people in jail. Don't believe me? Ask one. "It's not my job to decide who's innocent or guilty, that's the jury's job.")

McCain, the poor, broken down POW, that's a mind-set you can't ever leave behind. I've seen the pictures. Not all POW's look like beat-down dogs. Now he giggles at torture and laughs about "more wars."

Mitt, who, let's face it, business success notwithstanding, is not too bright.

Hiliary I like, she's double-plus-smart, she can take a punch, but do we really need x years of the Republicans in another snit?

Barak Husein Obama is Black, no doubt, just look at him, that's the rules, if you look Black, you are Black, because people will treat you Black, but he's an Oreo as sure as I use bad language, and you fucking better believe that I use bad language.

Reverend Huckabee is still in the race, a terrible indictment of our political system.

Huck, Paul, Gravel, Thompson, what are people thinking?

John Edwards, if I were injured by a dangerous product, I'd hire him in a minute. President?

So no, I won't be writing about politics. It's too depressing.

Friday, January 25, 2008


First, about me. When I was three and four years old, I liked to draw, and most of what I drew was little stick figures in caves being chased by dinosaurs. I already had a shaky relationship with the adults in my life, trying to exorcise some demons.

Later, my favorite movies were “King Kong” and “Godzilla,” both of which I saw repeatedly thanks to the miracle of the “Million Dollar Movie.” It was great to be afraid of a giant, vicious thing that you were actually safe from, nothing was going to jump out of the TV and grab you, make you eat soap or something. I even enjoyed the nightmares these movies gave me. I still have them, and in the dreams I am very, very afraid, trying to hide, and hearing the smashing foot-falls getting closer. The fear, I think, came before the movies. I hid from my mother on many occasions and dreaded her approach too.

So of course I would go to see “Cloverfield” with great enthusiasm. And of course, I would love it, did love it, do love it, can’t wait to see in again, in Thai, tomorrow, to check the dub against the English version.

Boy, will some people hate this movie! It's totally annoying, a reproduction of a bad job of amateur home movie making. Half the time it's slung over the guy's shoulder and he's running. And the characters are by and large annoying, especially the guy with the camera. But of course I loved it all, and found the story quite astonishing, after having seen all twenty-eight Godzilla movies, numerous times, dozens of other Japanese Kaiju movies, and every American and English movie ever made that featured a giant monster. In “Cloverfield” the convention is turned on its head. Generally, the ordinary Joe’s are just running in long shots, terrified or not, usually it’s extras who can’t act, sometimes the camera gets too close and they look bored, like, where’s my three-thousand yen?

Cloverfield,” on the other hand, features only the parts that have never made it into a monster movie before. Here the no-name, terrorized people make the movie as they run around, in grand mal jeopardy from creatures big and small, and the general environment of aircraft, flying debris, armored vehicles, fires, and explosions. Honestly, frightened people firing automatic weapons are more terrifying to me than Giant monsters, I can tell you.

There are no generals, no scientists, no scientists’ daughters, no newsmen, no children-in-jeopardy, no stupid policemen, no resolution, no happy ending, no ending at all: a totally post-modern movie. No front and center for this monster either, until the very end, and then briefly, just long enough to add insult to injury. Before that you get views of what it's busting up, with a giant shoulder here and there. There’s not one sighting or mention of either computers or the Internet. And most amazingly, no disagreeable human characters, no bad guys. No particularly sympathetic characters either, just some schmoes caught up in history.

The so-called critics are all over the place on this one, both ends and everything in between. Lots of “post 9-11” complaining, like something that big could rush around lower Manhattan without knocking over the Woolworth building, among others, and like the buildings could fall without sending the clouds of dust down the street, I hate to tell you but the ‘Zill man has been doing just that to Tokyo since the Fifties, dust clouds and all, 9-11 was life imitating art. Lots of “Blair-Witch-Project-Meets-Godzilla.” Critics affecting boredom, like they didn’t really wish that they were genuine artists themselves and had come up with the idea. Lots of “old-wine-in-new-bottles,” I don’t remember them saying that about “. . . Private Ryan,” just as guilty and simultaneously innocent of the charge. Lots of glowing reviews too, plus a range from indifference to mildly entertained.

Here’s the deal: “Diversity of opinion about a work of art shows that the work is new, complex, and vital.” Oscar Wilde said that, in the Preface to The Picture of Dorian Grey (1891). I daresay he’s the equal or better of any of the critics assigned to write about “Cloverfield.”

You probably shouldn’t see “Cloverfield.” After all, it’s really annoying, and you don’t really like art anyway. Stick to “cows in the grass,” and leave “Cloverfield” to the connoisseurs of giant monster movies.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


This country lacks rigor like the desert lacks water. There’s not an ounce of rigor in the whole seventy-six provinces. Not that it’s a bad thing.

Rigor is usually just a pain in the ass, it is almost never actually required for anything important. Mostly it’s a way for type-A personalities to compete with one another.

But look, you may say, at all the lives that have been improved by rigor, by rigorous application of intellect to intractable problems. The curing of polio, tuberculosis, etc, ad nauseum, gone from the pallet of human misery, but to what end? After the giant population increase it only turns out that there are more miserable, desperately sick people than ever . . . they just don’t have polio or tuberculosis.

Rigor is overrated.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


It’s like sending messages in bottles: no one reads them. It’s like writing a column for a non-existent newspaper that nobody ever sees. It’s like writing a bad novel and never sending it to any publishers. It’s like writing in the sand below the tide line. It’s like thinking great thoughts on acid. It’s like getting a great idea in the middle of the night and forgetting in the morning. It’s like most of human thought: un-important; un-noticed; un-original; un-enduring; un-nourishing; and un-fulfilling. It’s like writing letters to dead people. It’s like watching Star Trek and seeing sub-titles of Klingon in Chinese. It’s dyslexic in reverse: you can read it but no one else can. It’s like cognitive-therapy-journaling-self-improvement-desperation. It’s mere typing practice.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


The so-called “recording industry” has gone completely over the edge. Get this, I don’t make this shit up, now their lawyers say that putting your own CD’s on your own computer is illegal, it’s an illegal copy, your stealing, the CD that you fucking bought out of the kindness of your heart when you could have stolen it, now they even want to fuck their benefactors, like the scorpion that stings the snake who’s carrying him across the river, and they both drown, “it’s my nature.” You can Google it.

And I sincerely mean it when I say that I completely hate the Twenty-First Century. What do I think of the politics? I’m a fan of due process, that should tell you something. It’s just all some crazy juiced-up orgy of retarded brainstorms from the bottoms of some law school classes.

Excuse me, the Fed’s are at my door, they want my computer, some genius has already read the above paragraphs. Does any of this shit bother you? Wake up, smell the coffee, these people want your tattoos for lampshades.

This after some poor woman in Colorado or some place got dinged two-hundred-thousand-dollars-and-change for “stealing” like nine songs, twenty-four-thousand or so each, and it was colossally awful stuff, like Fiddy Cent, you know, they call the wind Mariah, that kind of awful shit, not worth a damn anyway, who’d bother? They’d have to pay me for the space before I’d even consider putting it on my computer. And that was a jury. Have we all gone mad?

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Working Title: The Accidental Murderer

Here's a teaser for my much anticipated first novel. Before I sell it I have to figure out what genre it is: it's not very mysterious; it's not very thrilling; there are cops in it but it's not very procedural; it's fiction but not very scientific; it's not very romantic; it's not completely funny. But, hopefully, it's a little of all those things. "Human drama," maybe. "A chick-book for guys," could be. "Intense psychological character study," no, I don't think so.

Here's a teaser, no set up:

“He comes over and says, ‘well boys and girls . . . what’a we got here?’ he didn’t seem like a bad guy. So he comes over to me, and he says, you know, come in here for a minute, not some room like in the movies, just his office, his and a couple of other guys, they weren’t there. I did like Claude told me, my name’s Darlene, they had my f*ckin’ ID by then, yeah, yeah, yeah, Steve is a friend of a friend, he was just giving me a ride to . . . I forget what I told him. So, you know, it’s like, ‘where you going somewhere to buy something?’ Steve didn’t say we were, I told him, on and on for a while, and he figured what the hell, she don’t know nothin,’ and he’s right! So he got friendly, and showed me a picture, this is my daughter, he says, the kid’s about my age. He tells me I should be more careful with the company I keep, I just said, yeah, I guess so, thanks a lot, you know. Then he had me sit far away from Claude, next to some other desk, and tells me wait here.
“Then he took Claude, uncuffed him from the bench and put his hands behind his back, they went in the office, he was in about ten minutes, I couldn’t hear nothin.’ They came out and he put him back on the bench, then he comes and tells me, ‘we’re gonna torch the trunk, we’re getting’ a warrant, it won’t take long.’ One of the uniform cops laughed a little. We are so f*ckin’ dead, I thought, oh sh*t I was scared.”
“And they just left you sitting there, just like that?” Johnny thought they would’ve taken them to a holding cell, at least Claude, but then again, they really had nothing on them, and they weren’t going anywhere, especially Claude, cuffed to the bench.
“Yeah, ain’t that somethin’? So Claude just smiled at me and closed his eyes, Jesus, I thought he was really asleep, but he was thinkin,’ you know, what to do.”
“Well, here you are, with Claude’s car, so something must have happened.”
“Yeah, after about forty minutes, Claude called the detective over, and they talked a little bit, and sure enough, the cop walks over to where I’m sitting and tells me, I’m f*ckin’ amazed, you ain’t involved here, you can go, go say goodbye to your boyfriend. So I go over and sit next to Claude, like, what the f*ck did you tell him, he says I can go, and he says, ‘shut up and listen, I just put the key in your pocket . . . take the car,’ and he told me to come here."
“They just let you take the car?”
“Yeah, it’s kind of stupid when you think about it. I guess everybody’s tired in the middle of the night, you forget sh*t. I just went to the car and drove out, the cop at the gate f*ckin’ waved to me.”
Johnny had a good laugh at that one. People in general are kind of stupid, he thought, but when a pretty girl is involved, guys get real stupid. He told Darlene to go to sleep, on the couch, “this is the warmest part of the house, you’ll be fine, go up to the bathroom if you want,” and he put his jacket over her. “I’m going to bed,” he said, “Claude will be fine, he’s playing them like a f*ckin’ harp.” And he went up to bed.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Google Footprint

This was an expression of first impression for me, but I get it. So, in an experiment in expanding my readership, I will herein play with my google footprint:

Brittany Spears goes crazy

Naked Angelina Jolie pictures

Michael Jackson plastic surgery

George Bush days remaining

Scarlet Johanson anything

Lindsey Lohan driving

Iran nuclear strike

9/11 conspiracy theories

Naked Asian models

University degrees by mail

cheap air fares

Dick Cheney death watch

Woody Allen still alive

John Edwards trial lawyer

Bill O'Reilly avoiding draft

Yoko Ono Julian Lennon

John McCain prisoner psych damage

New Alien movie

World of Warcraft secrets

autism vaccine horror stories

Chinese space program

Roman showers

Elvis alive



I witness small miracles all the time. For example, the other day at the Big C I came across VCD's of all six Sword of Vengeance movies for thirty-three Baht each, I raised my hand to god and said a prayer of thanks.

But real miracles, those are harder to find. But, I hate to tell it now, I wanted to wait until the miracle had played out to it's final revelation, but, oh! it's overwhelming, it's like the loaves and fishes, no, more like Hanukkah with the endless oil in the lamps.

I have, I had it in my hand this morning . . . oh, it's too unbelievable.

Ever seen those "forever" razors advertised on late night TV? I always thought, impossible, it would take a miracle, it's a scam, but it seems like I own one. I paid twenty-five cents for it, in a two pack for about twenty Baht, in a Bangkok 7-11.

I'm using the last one now, and I have been using it every other day since April, that's ten months, one-hundred-and-fifty shaves or so, and counting. I used it this morning; it feels like a new razor. There is no corrosion on the blades. This thing is the shaving equivalent of a great samurai sword.

What is god trying to tell me? Or is it a temptation, but let's face it, I'm so dense, if the devil wants to tempt me he'd better stand right in front of me and spell it out.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Hanging Out

Just hanging with some bud's in a little, northern town. The usual, Friday night, whiskey and snacks. I have, incidentally, up-dated my Profile, with a picture, no less, it's so hard to find a decent one once you pass forty. Note the baguette.

Strange Food: Part Nine

"I will make Lanna food," she said, and she walked out front and started pulling leaves off the mango tree, regular big leaves. Things like this make me anxious because I have learned that there's only one thing to do if a woman cooks and that's to eat it and say it's great. That's two things.

The Lanna food, Northern Thai Cuisine, can be very bitter, they like bitter, and regular tree leaves are often bitter, so I thought, bitter, I don't care much for bitter. I didn't see all the ingredients go in, but two of those small mackerel, the one's they call "Thai tuna," were painstakingly de-boned and pulled into little pieces. It all came out of a mortar after much pestling.

So what do you know, it was great. "Yam Bai Ma'muang," "Mango Leaf Salad." Not bitter at all. "You can only make this one month in a year." A little spicy, a little sour, a little sticky-rice, some gai yang, another feast.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Hell Pix

A trip to hell, anyone? It wasn't as hot as I expected, and snacks were available.

Okay, So It's Just Me Having Fun


??? Pardon my confusion.

My Exciting Life

Exciting? What could be more exciting than a trip to hell? You drive a hard bargain; I'll throw in a picture of me having fun, that's pretty exciting.

You don't have to say you love me, just be close at hand, you don't have to stay forever, I will understand, but a nice thank you would be appropriate.