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Posts Tagged ‘Tattoo’

 

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN TRANSIT:

The last few days before leaving on a trip are usually part of the voyage itself, even if, like me, you just fuss and fume about not doing anything to prepare. A few days before departure, I did manage to throw some clothes and medicines into a suitcase.

Usually, I have no anxiety about going on a trip — no matter how long and arduous it may be. This time, however, I was apprehensive. Perhaps, it is because of the state of my health or maybe it is my age. In any event, whenever I think about my travels this summer an indefinite shadow of concern rattles around the back of my mind.

On Wednesday evening, Dick drove me to Sacramento Airport for my overnight flight to New York. After saying goodbye to him and to HRM, I walked into the airport. I decided to act the part of a bent and befuddled and creepy old man. An easy task since I am, in fact, a bent and befuddled and creepy old man. So, leaning heavily on my imitation black thorn shillelagh cane, I stumbled around and forced everyone to repeat whatever they tell me twice. I did this because I thought it would help me get assigned better seating and boarding preference (it did), and also because many, many years ago when introduced to “method” acting one of the exercises was to stumble around like an old man. Now that I am an old man, I thought it would be interesting to see how accurate we had been. It was great fun.

In New York, I managed to spend a bleary-eyed day at Kennedy Airport waiting for my flight to Milan. It doesn’t matter how old, bent and befuddled you may be, in New York they will still tell you to “go fuck yourself” or the like if your responses are too slow.

No matter how tiring and uncomfortable traveling may be, especially by airplane, there is usually something interesting to watch. That is probably because unlike passing strangers on a street or in a restaurant, on a plane or waiting around an airport boarding area you are involved in a short term community and with people with similar goals— to survive the trip.

While waiting in New York’s Kennedy Airport at what I thought was the correct gate, I noticed that the boarding area across from me was fitted out with tables and chairs decorated as though a party was going to be held soon. Waiters spread out among the other gates in the area offering everyone free fruit juice. Soon strangely dressed people began to drift in outfitted in various odd costumes usually including a strong dose of sequins. It all began to resemble a Fellini film. Then the star of the show arrived. At least I think it was the star since almost everyone in sequins and some without would come over to her, smile and then kiss and hug her. She was about six feet two inches tall with one of those tight skinned expressionless faces like Trump’s wife’s that are the frightening wonders of modern cosmetic surgery (you wonder how and why). Her breasts were out of a porno comic, her butt something that would make JayLo’s appear malnourished and her dress easier described by what it did not cover than what it did.

Anyway, eventually they all gathered at the tables and after about 20 minutes or so of partying and picture taking, they all got up, including the super-star, and marched through the gate marked “Vienna.” So, if you read or hear about anything unusual happening in Austria during the second week in June, I’d love to hear about it

Shortly after the carnival departed, I learned I that I had been waiting at the wrong gate. So, I rushed across the airport to the correct one where I was met by Frank Cozza, an Alitalia employee, who Nikki arranged to take me through security and generally ease my transit. He told me that he had paged me for an hour or more. But, I guess, with my diminished hearing and all the partying, I did not hear it. Frank arranged for me to decompress for a half hour in the first class lounge.

The most interesting thing about the flight was that sitting a few rows from me was about five deaf Italian women who had been visiting the US and were now returning to Italy. Although I cannot read sign, I could understand them easily since I am proficient in Italian facial expressions and hand gestures. In the US and most other places, I guess, signing carries the message with facial and hand gestures used for emphasis. In Italy, or at least among these women, facial expressions and hand gestures carried the message while the signs seemed to be used only for emphasis.

They were loud also. At the luggage carousel, everyone’s eyes were drawn to them as they talked or argued in sign over the various pieces of luggage that trundled by.

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B. TAMIL AND SACILE:

 

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Pookie a Child of the Corn. 

 

The following day, I arrived in Italy, the land of expressive hands and dramatic noses. Nikki met me as I exited the plane at Malpensa near Milan. He was scheduled to fly a plane to Tokyo in a few hours. We had lunch. I ate spaghetti and lobster. I actually could taste the lobster. Perhaps my taste is returning. Or, perhaps I can only taste things that come packed in their own slime.

Then it was off to northern Italy by train to Sacile where I was met by Vittorio who promptly drove me to a cafe where the two women owners implored me to assist them with drafting their proposal for developing a techie way of assuring artist profits in the face of discount sales. I agreed. At a little after one AM, I finally got to bed following well over two days of traveling with little sleep.
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Sacile

At 8 AM the next morning, Vittorio and I drove across the Veneto farmlands toward another town where he was to play in a marching band during a commemoration ceremony for the town’s Alpine troops who died in the two world wars. As we drove, on our right the pre-alps rose above the fertile plain like a Roman shield wall before an assault by the Gauls. It was a lovely day.

Vittorio plays tuba in a number of bands and orchestras in the area. Like with Peter Grenell, who I often follow along to his various gigs, I happily follow Vittorio along to his whenever I am here. I guess I can be viewed as a “geriatric groupie.”
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Vittorio and His Tuba

Vittorio’s band mates and the Alpini veterans all wore their distinctive hats with one stiff erect eagle feather jutting above each. I learned that the dark feathers ment the person had been an enlisted man and the lighter stiff erect eagle feather signified an officer. I could not help noticing that the stiff erect feather of the officers was, on the whole, distinctly smaller than those of the enlisted men’s except for one or two of the officers whose stiff erect feathers were larger than everyone else’s. You may make whatever sociological conclusions from that you want.

Upon our return, we stopped in Sacile for Prosecco at Lucia’s “Le Petite Cafe.” Disney-world is not the happiest place on earth, Lucia’s “Le Petite Cafe” is.
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Lucia and Vittorio at “Le Petite Cafe” in Sacile.

Following an afternoon nap, we set off for a bon voyage dinner in honor of Vittorio and Teacher Brian’s impending 30-day walking pilgrimage to Compostela in Spain. But, that is for my next post.

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“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”
Marcel Proust, À la recherche du temps perdu

 

 
While conversing with my friend Peter in front of Bernie’s coffee shop in Noe Valley San Francisco, for some reason we got into a discussion about India where Peter and his wife Barrie spent many years and where I have, for a long time, longed to go. I mentioned a book about India I read several years ago of which I was quite fond. I could not remember its name but promised Peter I would search for it and let him know. After three days of searching on my computer, I located the book and sent the information to him. I also decided to buy the book on Amazon and reread it on my Kindle to see if it was as enjoyable as I remembered.

After reading a few pages, I recalled that the book was also one of the reasons I had put off traveling to India. You see, when I travel, I prefer traveling alone and although I enjoy the “Great Sights” like anyone, I especially like searching for the odd and a little dangerous — like the night I found myself in a knife fight in a rural town in Turkey that eventually prompted the leader of the Turkish mafia to demand I persuade him why he should not have me killed. I knew India for me would never be merely a visit to the Taj Mahal or the Red Fort and the like, but a lifetime commitment.

“A journey, I reflected, is of no merit unless it has tested you. You can stay at home and read of others’ experiences, but it’s not the same as getting out of trouble yourself.”
Shah, Tahir. The Complete Collection of Travel Literature: In Search of King Solomon’s Mines, Beyond the Devil’s Teeth, House of the Tiger King, Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Travels With Myself, Trail of Feathers. Secretum Mundi.

 
Anyway, I guess the book can be considered a travelogue. There are many great travel books, like “A Short Walk Through the Hindu Kush,” and several by Krakauer that read like great novels. Tahir Shah’s book is one also — where the travel leaves off and the novel begins, however, is difficult to discern.

The book begins with Tahir Shah as a young boy in England visited by Hafiz Jan, the hereditary Afghan guard of the tomb of his ancestor the great Muslim general Jan Fishan Kahn (a nom de Guerre that translates to, “He that Scatters Souls.”) He traveled to England because he had a vision of young Tahir, the last of his line, falling into a culvert and dying. He believed it was his duty to prevent it. Hafiz Jan is welcomed by Tahir’s father and takes up residence in Tahir’s home where he sleeps on the floor in front of his bedroom door. The Afghan guard had also spent some time as an apprentice to a great magician in India before assuming his hereditary duties guarding the tomb. The magic we are talking about here is not magic but illusion — the illusions of magicians like Houdini and the Indian god-men and sadhus for thousands of years. Hafiz Jan began teaching the eager young Tahir some of the secrets of illusion he had learned as the magician’s apprentice. The training went well until one day, during an exhibition of Tahir’s magic educational accomplishments, a mishap occurred that almost set his parents on fire. Soon after, Hafiz Jan was sent back to India to resume his hereditary duties.

Years later, Tahir, as a young man, traveled to India found the guard, apprenticed himself to the guard’s teacher, a rather overbearing sort and after a mostly unpleasant education sets off at the request of his teacher to travel throughout India searching for “insider information.” What one learns along with Tahir are the tricks of the trade of the god-men, sadhus and the like that have enthralled millions of poor and gullible Indians and attracted hundreds of westerners to journey there to sit at the feet of holy mystics absorbing their wisdom — for a price.

“Because,” he called out, “we were on a quest . . .” “A quest for what?” “For a third eye. You see, in the seventies, India was Disneyland … it was the Disneyland of the soul.”… “[W]e had all been to India in search of the third eye, but had left with nothing but diarrhea.”
Shah, Tahir. Sorcerer’s Apprentice: An Incredible Journey into the World of India’s Godmen. SArcade Publishing.

While searching for these Godmen, Tahir and his sidekick, a 13-year-old thief and con-artist named Balu, spent some time at a luxurious mostly pink ashram of a well known Guru and in addition to describing at length the oddness of the entire set up,  Tahir recounts some of the Godman’s more private weirdness:

“When it came to divine eccentricity, Sri Gobind was no exception. His followers took great pride in the tales of their teacher’s irregularities. Every so often, gripped by an insatiable desire, the guru would jump naked from his bed. Running into the heart-shaped gardens, he would relieve himself in the bushes. Or, in the middle of an address, he had been known to rip off all his clothes and anoint his flabby belly with buffalo milk butter. Each morning, his fans averred, the holy man would douse himself in a bath of potassium permanganate. The immersion gave his skin its exotic purply-brown tinge. He would dress his hair with a pomade of seasoned egg whites,-dab his earlobes with witch hazel; and spray his nether regions with his own blend of catnip cologne.”
Shah, Tahir. Sorcerer’s Apprentice: An Incredible Journey into the World of India’s Godmen. Arcade Publishing.

During his travels, Tahir explores and writes about the economic and social life of India through stories about the people he meets. People such as the cadaver collectors and their business providing the bones for the skeletons in most medical school classrooms of the world, and the women who rent cows after the owners milk them in the morning then stand on the street corners during the day selling the pleasure of feeding the cow to passers-by and in the evenings selling the cow patties to brick makers before returning the cows to their owner. The reason why India with its incredibly concentrated population is not sitting on a pile of garbage and human refuse is that that very garbage and refuse is the resource that supports much of the population.

“Real travel is not about the highlights with which you dazzle your friends once you’re home. It’s about the loneliness, the solitude, the evenings spent by yourself, pining to be somewhere else. Those are the moments of true value. You feel half proud of them and half ashamed and you hold them to your heart”
Tahir Shah

Pookie says, “Check it out.”

PS: Amazon had a special on where one could buy all of Tahir Shah’s travel books for the price of one, so I bought them all. I am now enjoying his story about finding a fake map of the mythical King Solomon’s mines in a curio shop in Jerusalem and setting off to Ethiopia where he believes the mines described in the fake map might have been located — if they were real. There he hires a taxi driver as an interpreter, travels by some of the most uncomfortable and dangerous modes of transportation imaginable, explores an illegal gold mine where children are sent into the narrow tunnels and many of them die, spends several nights in an Ethiopian jail, just misses a dinner with Idi Amin, is befriended by the manager of a government gold mine who wants to emigrate to America, travels to a land where the men, instead of head hunting for a hobby, cut off the testicles of their enemies and carry them in sacks around their necks and so on and on. Alas, despite the danger and discomfort he finds nothing but adventure.

“Most journeys have a clear beginning, but on some, the ending is less well-defined. The question is, at what point do you bite your lip and head for home?”
Tahir Shah

(It sounds a lot like life, doesn’t it?)

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The following is the introduction to a retelling of the first few books of Genesis taken from a manuscript whose author is unknown but refers to himself only as “Joe”. The manuscript was discovered by Trenz Pruca laying at the bottom of an extra-large sized jar of Skippy’s Creamy Style peanut butter that he was frantically scraping to dig out the last bits of peanut butter for his usual lunchtime peanut butter and jelly sandwich on white bread.

INTRODUCTION

My Dream:

One night I had a dream and it went something like this:

I dreamt I saw old Abraham in his tent drunk on fermented camel’s milk surrounded by his sons and a few hangers-on. Outside the tent his wives, concubines and female slaves tended the cook fire and drew lots to see who would sleep with the smelly old bastard that night.

Old Abe was raving about the rejection of his application to join the Babylon Men’s Camel Dung Rolling Club when suddenly he realized the truth. “O my Unmentionable Deity, I must be Jewish.”

“Why would I want to join their damned club anyway” he shouted. “They could not be very exclusive if they would allow someone, living in an Unmentionable Deity damned tent like me to join.” And with that, both antisemitism and Jewish humor entered the world at the same time.

“I will form my own club and will not let anyone join. I will show them real exclusivity.”

Isaac, a pimply faced overweight adolescent, fearing this could lead to the end of his sneaking out of the tent at night after the old man passed out  for some action with the sweet-smelling Babylonian girls leaving him only with the dung smelling camel herding sluts his dad preferred, protested, “We can’t do that. We don’t have a membership card or anything.”

Abe stared at Isaac whom he disliked and surmised was probably gay. He thought, “Maybe I should kill him now before he gets a chance to breed.”

“We will make our own membership cards, clay tablets,” Abe announced.

Everyone groaned.

“No, you’re right, too heavy. It will break the line of our robes. Tattoos,” he suggested.
“No, everyone’s got tattoos nowadays.” “I’ve got it,” he exclaimed. “We’ll cut off the ends of our dicks. Nobody will have membership card like that”.

“You got to be kidding,” cried Isaac.
With that, Abe grabbed his knife jumped over the fire grabbed Isaac by the shirt and said, “I’ve had enough of you, you  little shit, prepare to die.”

In good biblical tradition, Isaac thought quickly and lied. “Wait,” he said,”I see the hand of God What’s His Name staying your hand from killing your son because he and all your sons submit to the will of What’s His Name”.

With that, Abe relented killing Isaac. Instead, he cut off the end of the dick of every male present. At the moment of initiation, each one screamed, “Yowee that hurts!”

When it was all over Abe rested. He looked at all his sons writhing in agony on the floor of the tent and said, “You know, I like that. Up to now whenever the guys hung out talking about their gods it was always Ishtar this and Baal that. They would all laugh when I mentioned the God Whose Name Could Not Be Uttered. From now on in recognition of this event whenever we utter we shall utter the name of our all-powerful creator, ‘Yowee’. What do you think?”

In my dream, I wondered how they were going to be able to identify one another as a member of the men’s club. Groping under each other’s tunic was a little more obvious than a Masonic handshake. Maybe they originally held their meetings in the health club shower.

Anyway my dream fast forwarded to 33 AD (although they did not know at the time it was 33 AD, everyone thought it was 3000 years or something since God rested) and the throng (we no longer throng today, we crowd, what a loss) was pressing forward to enter the temple on the sabbath, the day people thronged to the temple, a building that replaced the old health club showers .
The guard at the gate of the temple in Jerusalem stopped one of the throngers who happened to be Jesus of Nazareth.

“Hey you, only Jews allowed to enter the temple. You Jewish? You don’t look Jewish with that fruity double-pointed red beard.”

“My good man,” said Jesus (he was a Rhodes Scholar and had studied in England) “of course I’m Jewish, I speak Hebrew as though I never learned Aramaic.”

“Anyone can learn Hebrew,” responded the guard. “Whip it out and put in on the table.”

Now Jesus had no problem with whipping it out given all the time he spent with the ladies and all that laying of the head on the breast and that sort of thing and he was quite proud of his membership card. So, he whipped it out and everyone getting a look at it exclaimed, “Oh my God!”

“That’s right,” said Jesus, “now all of you get out of my fucking temple.”

Now where Jesus was quite proud in his membership in Judaism, Paul of Tarsus was less so. Where they all marveled at Jesus Membership, they all laughed when Paul whipped his out. So Paul went to the Apostles (the “Come to Jesus’ Marching and Motorcycle Club”) gathered at their clubhouse in Jerusalem (Apostles “gather” they do not “throng or “crowd”) and said to them “This membership card thing isn’t working. It’s too hard to get anyone to join and tithe. Since we’re the new guys (and guys we are) we need a new card. Besides aren’t you all a little tired of having to show your card every time before you give a sermon?”

“Good thought Paul,” said Peter who although not afflicted by the results of being kicked by a horse on the way to Damascus as was Paul, was a shy man. “What should the new membership card be?

“Faith shining through their eyes,” said Paul.

“How would anyone know,questioned Peter?

“We will know. Besides if the light shines through everyone’s eyes what difference would it make.”

Then I woke up and felt inspired to begin writing a new Bible integrating all the people of the Book, the Jews with their Old Testament, the Christians with their New Testament and Muslims with their Koran.

Theology:

Now in writing a bible one of the things one has to wrestle with is theology because no one knows what it is but they all think it is very important so they end up fighting about it all the time.

For example, in each of the Books relied upon by the People of the Book God appears somewhat different.

God’s Personality:

In the Hebrew Bible, Abraham had a lot of different gods to choose from because there were a lot around at that time. He could have chosen a Sun God, all shiny and gold, riding across the sky every day looking like his shit don’t stink. Or he could have chosen one of the Goddess babes that were always sneaking around from tent to tent shagging one God or another or if no God would have them then some mortal that they then out of embarrassment would turn into stone or something gross .

But no, Abe was the worlds first stand-up comic. He thought it would improve his act to choose the one God no one else wanted. He chose the as God for his people the God of insanity.

He was mortified, instead of laughing his audience cheered.

All the other Gods and Goddesses spent their time shagging one another and just about anything else that walked, flew, swam or slithered in, on or under the earth, or they would sometimes play an ancient form of video game, choosing up sides among the Gods and having mortals slaughter each other cheering on their team until one side wins. Oh it must have been great fun.
But not Abe’s choice, He did not join in the fun, instead, He really liked killing. Compared to Him Loki the German god who brought on Ragnarök, the end of the Gods was a choir boy.

In fact, He was a Homicidal Maniac. He wanted His people to kill everyone else and take their land on top of it. If His people lost, He did not just shrug His shoulders and walk away like the other gods, promising to get even later. No, instead He would blame His people. Told them they deserved to lose because they ate pork or something He did not like to eat ( I also hear that he was lactose intolerant).

God liked to eat steak, fish, and okra. In fact, one of the original books of the bible was a list of God’s favorite recipes, but it has been lost.

After God’s chosen people began to lose, God even stopped talking to them, instead communicating to them only through his mouth-pieces he called “Prophets”.
He also did not want anyone mentioning His name, but wherever someone did mention Him they had to capitalize the first letter of whatever word they used to refer to Him.

The God of the Christian Bible, on the other hand, seemed to be a bit of a wuss. Sort of all diffident and misty. He did not seem to say much, leaving all the heavy lifting to His Son. He did, however, hang on to the capitalization thing.

The God of Islam seems to be an OK guy. He spends most of his time creating virgins for His elect when they die and generally left operations to His CEO, Mohammed.

Membership:

On the issue of joining the club, each book had a slightly different approach.

The Hebrews were not particularly interested in new members, preferring to kill them and take their land. The Christians and their God liked to beg them to join first and then if they didn’t, kill them and take their land. And Mohammed seeing the difficulties experienced by his predecessors decided on the up front approach, “Either join us or we will kill you and take your land.”

The problem of women:

Some may ask what about the women?

Well, first of all, Abraham, Jesus, and Mohammed all were men and the first thing on any man’s mind besides killing other men is getting it off with a woman. (There is some question about which side of the plate Jesus batted from, but I think the weight of opinion was that he may have been a switch hitter [He grew up in a Greek neighborhood after all]).

Second, the thing that men hate worst of all is women telling them what to do or having to ask if he could go off with the boys and kill a few enemies and rape their women.

No, the whole People of the Book is a guy thing.
Think about it, would a women dream of having 72 virgins after she dies in battle. Women are smarter than that. First pf all, who needs virgins? They won’t be virgins for long and then what? Also, no women would be taken in by some guy promising her nights of pleasure after she’s dead. Besides, who cleans up the place? She would figure it would probably be her as always.

Sources:

In addition to the old and new Testament and the Koran, I have sometimes used for my material, writings of old Jewish comedians, mostly insane Christian hermits and a few Muslim jihadists.

For example, in the Old Testament, at the end of Genesis I, God creates women out of the same muck from which he created man. In Genesis II, however, we see God creating Eve out of Adam’s rib.

Noticing that discrepancy, some of the old jews suggested that there were two women created. The first one Lilith was clearly a shiksa so the marriage, of course, did not work out and after the divorce, she slept around a lot. Eve, on the other hand, coming from Adam’s own rib was a match made in heaven so to speak.

I also moved the triune God invented by the clearly insane St. John the Evangelist up into Genesis because not even Abraham could conceive of anything a ridiculous as a God with a split personality.

I do not include cites and footnotes of what I steal from others. The authors of the Bible did not, claiming that it all came from the hand of God, so why should I.

Language:

In Genesis I, one may notice a focus on excrement and genitalia like that of a 5-year-old boy. One must remember, Genesis recounts events early in God’s career and does reflect his juvenile phase.

One also may become aware of the use of words and phrases that it is said are not used in polite society. This merely reflects Zipf’s Law that in any language a few words get used a lot.

In current English, the words that appear to be used the most are the words, “shit” and “fuck”. These two words we know can be and are employed for effect in all sorts of situations and can operate comfortably in every grammatical format known to the language. I have merely translated the holy books into today’s evolved English usage.

Levee`:

In Genesis I, I introduce the word, Levee`. Levee` is a french word and refers to the ceremony perfected during the reign of Louis IVX where the entire court would gather and watch the King arise from bed and take a dump. The royal chamberlain would then check out the King’s scat and announce to the court whether or not the king was feeling well that day. Given that in Genesis I God did some of his most important work during the mornings of this first six days, I felt a similar ceremony would be appropriate.

Typography:

I use Marker Felt Wide Typeface. It is generally used to denote humor but it is also can be difficult to read. So is the Bible.

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