Saturday, December 30, 2006


You're Wrong
An Irregular Column
by Mykel Board (for MRR 286)


"Never give advice! Let them stew in their own juice and rot!...the more the better!... one little piece of advice and people never forgive you!” -- Celine

Before I start in on my Celine violation-- handing out advice like it was candy to a pre-pubescent. First, I've got to bring you into my bedroom. Here, have a seat in the desk chair.

It's late. I lay in bed. My fall-asleep jerk off, already jerked. My nightly chapter of NIGHTMARE ALLEY already read. It's time to hit the hay, crash, catch some Z's. Visions of Orientals dance behind my closed eyelids. It must be midnight. I've got to get up at 7, make coffee, check eBay, drink coffee, shit, brush my teeth, roughly in that order. Then the subway to work where, at 9:00, I begin the task of teaching Japanese housewives how to talk good English.

A faint whirring comes in through the closed window behind my head.

The whirring gets louder. Ah, a police siren... and voices. Lots of voices, and whistles, and more sirens. I'm up now, madder than a Jew at a bacon breakfast.

Jesus fuck! It's another demonstration. This one later than any rational person would be on the street. I bet it's bikes. Sounds like the storm troopers of Critical Mass.

I look out my window. I see first one then a dozen guys on bikes. The first to enter my field of vision wears a yellow shirt, black spandex shorts, and a helmet with a big circled A on it. Then, there are dozens of 'em. Bikes, riders in spandex, with helmets or not, shorts or not, leg muscles out to here, skimpy clothes in the fall on Broadway. Average age? I guess 25. Not a chubby one in the group. Fit as fiddles, the lot of 'em. Kids out for a good loud time. Causing chaos down below. As a fan of chaos, you'd think I like this kind of thing. You'd think wrong.

Is it anarchist? No! It's fascist. It's goose pedaling to the beat of the master race. It's macho, saying if you aren't tough... if you don't have the leg power to ride a bike, stay at home, you faggot! You wimp! WE own the streets.

Are you an 80 year old woman? Tough, ride or die! Paraplegic? Fuck you cripple. Pedal with your hands!

The Critical Mass website says, “We aren't blocking traffic. We ARE traffic.”

Yeah, tell it to the guy who dies of a heart-attack or is felled by a stroke because the ambulance couldn't get through your bells and whistles.

It's not only in Critical Mass demos that this spandexed machismo runs rampant in the city. I dodge it every night, when common bike riders don't have the decency to put a light on their bikes. When they say to pedestrians and drivers: death? Hah! I'm tough. I don't fear death. My death is your fault. If you can't see me, that's tough for you. Come on, hit me. I dare you.

I see it in riding the wrong way down one way streets. I see it in bike riders terrorizing pedestrians going through red lights and shouting at people to get out of the way.

“It's my world,” they say, “and if you want to survive in it, get out of the way.”

Listen, buckaroos, if you want to ride a bike, it's up to you. I'm pro-choice. But if you want ME to ride a bike. If you tell me and my wheelchair-bound parents, and the old lady who lives next door, and the heart attack patient, and the UPS driver, to ride bikes, I'm gonna fight back. I'm not gonna take the bullying. I will defy you.

Sudden flat tire? Guess who. Chain slipped? Hmmm, I wonder. I'd like to take that chain and shove it up your critical mass. If I don't, someone else will. My advice is: watch your back.

Am I saying that militant bicyclers are the cause of all the world's problems? Ah, were it only true. We could just open our car doors into traffic. BLAU! Downhill splat. Like spraying mosquitoes. It would be easy.

But there is another group... just as totalitarian, just as macho, just as dangerous. Before I discuss them, I want you to join me in some time and space travel.

The year is 2004. The place: the highlands of Mongolia. It's the winter. Mongolia faces its worst zuud in fifty years.

[Aside: A zuud is a series of winter blizzards accompanied by extreme cold. It kills millions of livestock and hundreds of people. A zuud means physical and economic devastation.]

A herder on the steppes walks over to one of his goats, frozen solid in the extreme weather. Hungry, newly impoverished (in Mongolia, your animals are your wealth), he thinks about lying down in the cold. Letting it devour him. It's easier than living through this.

Instead, the man cradles the dead animal and carries it into his ger (those big round tents that Americans like to call yurts). There is a dung-fueled fire in the central stove. On the stove, a pot of water boils. The man's wife, a moon-faced woman with high cheekbones and a square body that belies her extreme hunger, sits and waits. Their 3 month old son sucks hungrily at her almost dry nipple. Next to them sit his three daughters, eagerly awaiting his return.

The man has decided he wants to live. His family needs him. He will be poor, but they will live.

Inside the ger, it's toasty warm. Mongolians are experts at insulation. In a few hours, the goat thaws enough for the man to skin it, cut it apart and put it into the boiling water. The plunging meat cools the water a bit. The boiling stops. Then a few bubbles rise to the surface. In an hour, it's time to save some lives.

As the family begins to divide the fresh meat, the sound of a helicopter comes from overhead. The ger shakes as the whirlybird comes closer. In the front of the ger, the man hears a sharp THUMP. Then, the sound of running and a bang on the door.

Stunned, it's a few seconds before he goes to the door to see a young American wrapped in plastic, dragging a parachute.

“Stop!” shouts the American. “You can't do that. Don't you know MEAT IS MURDER?”

Yes! I'm talking about vegetarians!
Like people who ride bikes for pleasure, I have no complaints about casual vegetarians. I eat pizza with friends who go for a half-sausage half-mushroom. I'm yelling at those swaggering, victual hitmen. Food fascists who demand the world pay homage to their preferences.

They would have Kwashiorkor (disease caused by sever lack of protein) sufferers die to save the life of a lamb. They would scoff at complaining when a JAWS shark has a water-skier for lunch. But let the skier be on the other side of the table. Whoa! Save the sharks.

Okay, let's look at the whole picture. Half a million people die in Iraq. Are a few loud bikers that serious? The U.S. government is building a database on every American, every email, every phonecall. Are a few hundred (thousand?) jackass vegetarians that important in the scheme of things?

Answer: They're not important like the E-Coli virus. They're important like a rotted liver. They are not the disease, but symptoms of something very serious. Bike riders and vegetarians are part of the same totalitarian thinking that gives us George W. Bush and Southern Baptists. They are symptoms of the idea that we know right from wrong and you have to follow our right-- or we will hurt you. They are symptoms of all fascism.

Just as there's no space in the world of the bike riders for the weak or handicapped, there's no space in the world of the Baptists for homosexuals or prostitutes.

Just as there is no place for meat-eating self-determination in the world of vegetarians, there is no place for Iraqi self-determination in the world of G. W. Bush. It's no accident that Hitler was a vegetarian. The most basic foundation of vegetarianism-- and bike-riding-- is fascism.

Want my advice? Tough, you're gonna get it anyway. That is: STOP IT. STOP IT! STOP IT!!! Your way is not the only way. If you want to ride a bike, do it. But realize there's no moral high ground in it. Recognize it for what it can be: a macho exercise in self-glorification.

If you want to eat vegetables, do it. But realize there's no moral high ground in it. Recognize that one gal's broccoli is another man's chicken a la king.

My advice is the same for bike-riders, vegetarians, war supporters and racists. Learn a little tolerance. Not everyone is like you. Not everyone should be like you. Relax. Give the rest of us a little slack. That's my advice. Sorry Celine, I'm not keeping it to myself.

ENDNOTES: [email subscribers (
god@mykelboard.com) or website viewers (www.mykelboard.com) will get live links and a chance to email comment on the column]

-->Global Warming? What global
warming dept: the Competitive Enterprise Institute released two TV commercials just before Al Gore published his book on the horrors of global warming.
CEI is an industry apology group funded by Exxon, Amoco and the American Petroleum Institute. Their commercials feature children blowing dandelions, animals skipping around in their natural habitats, and people getting into their cars.
Say the ads: "They call it pollution. We call it life."
So first they say there is no global warming. Then, they say humans didn't cause it. Now they say, there is global warming, humans caused it... and it's good for you.

-->Further on the global warming front dept: The Utne Reader reports that researchers from Duke and Harvard Universities piped carbon dioxide into a controlled forest environment at levels expected by 2050. The result? Poison ivy grew 150% faster and produced a stronger concentration of urushiol. The “poison” in Poison Ivy. If global warming continues, things are gonna get mighty itchy around here.

-->I'm king of the Bushmen dept: Leo De Caprio being called on by the Kalahari Bushmen to help save their land from evil diamond miners? Sounds like the plot of a Hollywood blockbuster - except it's true.
Cute-boy De Caprio, star of Blood Diamond, a new movie about this sinister diamond trade. Meanwhile, real miners have just started digging in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve.
The Kalahari bushmen have lived in the area for thousands of years but are only now succumbing to First World diseases. AIDS is spreading rapidly as they get screwed in more ways than one by corporate investors. Their way of life is under the threat of extinction as they are evicted and forced into reserves. They have called on the Titanic heartthrob to highlight their plight to the world. See www.survival-international.org for more details.

--> I'm number 885,550,364 dept: Are you feeling loaded? No? Well how about some help to put it into perspective? At www.globalrichlist.com you can enter your yearly income and it will calculate exactly how rich you are. So, I am the 885,550,364th richest person in the world! Top 14.75%. No you cannot borrow $10. Ask number 885,550,363.

--> Carrying the torch dept: For many years I had an organization called The World for Free, where folks could stay with each other free, all over the world. The idea was to screw hotels, meet fine folks, and maybe end up screwing each other (in a good way).
Post office incompetence put an end to THE WORLD FOR FREE. In the meantime, I've discovered two similar organizations, internet based. I joined them both: couchsurfing.com and hospitality club. I have no idea if they work... yet. I'll let you know when I get back from your couch.

-->Yowsah dept: I wanna thank Maria and Rys from ROCK YER SOCKS in Connecticut. They put on a great show, had me read between bands, and I sold a ton of books. Yeah! If you're looking to play somewhere between New York City and Boston, check out www.rockyersocks.org. They're great people and really easy to work with.

-->And also dept: Part of that CT show was a band called BOVACHEVO. You can check them out at their MySpace spot. They are jaw-droppingly great. No vocals, just a hugely powerful trio with a drummer who gives Dickie Peterson a run for his money! If you don't see these guys, your life will be worth a little less.

-->Seems like every month there's another story about Norway. We had one about traffic tickets, one about how Oslo is the world's most expensive city. Now a United Nations survey ranks Norway as the world's best nation to live in. Number two is Iceland. The U.S. ranks number 8. Hard to believe we're so high on the list.
Oh yeah, in case you're thinking of traveling, Sierra Leone is smack dab at the bottom.

-->Higher numbers dept: If the U.S. manages to rank a high number 8 on the livability index. It ranks a low number 53 in Worldwide Press Freedom. After a mediocre 17 in 2002, we've plummeted to a new low.
Reporters without Borders, who does the ranking, rated Finland as number 1. They dropped DENMARK, the former number one to number 19. The country dropped because of serious threats against the authors of the Mohamed cartoons published there in autumn 2005. For the first time in recent years in a country that is very observant of civil liberties, journalists had to have police protection due to threats against them because of their work.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

You're Wrong
An Irregular Column
by Mykel Board (for MRR 285)

"As scarce as truth is, the supply has always been in excess of demand.” -- Josh Billings.


War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength. -- George Orwell's NEWSPEAK in 1984

“I am not going to put that thing in my mouth,” she says. “It's just been up my ass.”

“But it was your ass!” I whine. “It's your own body after all.”

“No!” she says with a voice like a stomping foot. “Last time, you asked me to stick a carrot up your ass while you jerked off. Okay, I did it. You had a good time. Did I ask you to eat the carrot?”

“But the carrot wasn't attached to me!” I tell her.

“What's that got to do with it? It's still eating shit! Ok, wash it first,” she says. “Then we'll talk.”

“But it'll go soft if I wash it,” I say. “Look! It's already drooping.”

My little friend has stopped looking at the ceiling. It slowly droops to fix its gaze on the wall. First in the center. Then, where the wall meets the floor.

“Come on,” I beg. “I've swallowed enough of your menstruation to transfuse the Iraqi army. Don't you think we can go tat for tit on this?”

SCENE SHIFT TO NEW JERSEY: It's the 19th annual Chinngis (you know him as Genghis) Qan (you know him a Khan) festival. Every year in New Brunswick New Jersey the Mongolian American Community Association celebrates this holiday. Mongolian-Americans and visiting Mongols from all over the US attend. Me too.

Women dress in beautiful silk deels. People are friendly, happy to see the BIG NOSE crew is interested in their culture.

This year, it's a celebration of 800 years since the rule of Khan. To most of the world, Genghis is a cruel tyrant and marauder. To Mongols, he's a hero. (Can you name two famous Mongols?) He ran the largest empire in the history of the world. He not only conquered the land, but set up structures of rule, taxation, and law.

You cannot maintain control of an area that size just based on cruelty. If everyone hates you, they can gang up and overthrow you. Before Khan there was chaos. After him, though there was fear, there was order.

I'm not here to defend Khan-- or to praise him. I just want to let you know there's more to him than meets our history books, and he's like a God to the Mongols.

The featured speaker at this meeting is an Italian scholar, Nicola di Cosmo. A professor at Princeton, he's presenting a paper on the system of kings and how Khan changed it.

According to the professor, by the time Genghis was just a teen, he had already amassed a small kingdom. Around him was chaos. It was time to tame it. But the leader needed to be sure his inner circle was faithful. He had to count on them to rule for him-- and not against him.

“Kill your favorite horse,” the great-Khan-to-be said to his trusted circle of followers. Most of the men took their trusty sabers and swish swish. Headless horses. Those who allowed their horses to live were swish swished by Genghis.

A great pile of horse and man heads lay in the center of town.

“Now,” said the young ruler, “kill your wives.”

Most of the men immediately lopped off the heads of their better halves. Those female upper body parts joined the head heap. A few more male heads-- those who refused to comply-- were added to the kaput capita.

“Now,” said the ruler, “kill your fathers.”

This time, there was a hundred percent compliance.

Satisfied, Genghis built his inner circle.

“This,” says Dr. Cosmo, “shows the strength and bravery of young Chinngis. It was perfect politics in a time of chaos.”

SCENE SHIFT TO MENTAL: I write this a couple weeks after the U.S. mid-term elections. My fellow liberals walk on air. We won! We won! They shout.
I say, “Waddaya mean we, whiteman?

Maybe some people I voted for won. In New York, if you vote for a candidate on any party, they still get the vote. Say Latoya Schwartz runs as a Democrat and as a Dance-Your-Booty Party candidate. She earns 5005 votes as a Democrat and 302 votes as a DYB. Her total is 5307. That beats Albert Pennyweather's 5104 as a Republican-only candidate. This way, if I like Latoya, I'm not forced to vote Democratic to see her win.

Other states (Massachusetts, for example) don't have that system. They count each party as if it had a different candidate. That forces people into voting for decent guys in bad parties.

This year I voted straight Dance-Your-Booty. Maybe someone from that party won. I don't know.

But was I happy about the election? No!

William Safir, a NY Times columnist and intelligent conservative, explained it best. His column after the election siad that this wasn't a radical victory. It wasn't even a liberal victory. It was a victory for moderation.

Hillary Clinton, an Iraqi war supporter, insurance company flak-girl, pro-censorship pusher, “let's work with the anti-abortionists,” princibleless carpet-bagger, starts her victory speech with GOD BLESS AMERICA! Please tell me how that's different from what Laura Bush would say.

Joe Lieberman, the Republican's best Democrat, runs as an independent and beats the anti-war Democrat running against him. Elliot Spitzer, the anti-porn crusader wins as NY governor. In California, the same goes for middle-of-the-road muscleman Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The election was a contest between people with bad principles and those with no principles. The NO PRINCIPLES won.

It was not the Republicans who lost this election. It was ideals, vision, principles. And it disgusts me.

One exception was Charles Rangel, a colored Democrat from New York. He suggested starting the draft again. (I told you before the last Bush election, that it would be a Democrat, NOT a Republican who'd bring back the draft.)

I don't know his plan, but if it were mine, I'd say: EVERYBODY GOES—- in reverse order of family income. Start with the Billionaires. Got big bucks in your family? Yeah! Pow! In the army. Front lines. See how many wars we get into after that. You'll see a fuck of a lot fewer invasions. That's my bet. That Charles has balls. If he were representing my congressional district, he'd have my vote. I'd actually be happy if he won.

But is there anyone else? The anti-war people lost. Democrats, who ran on nothing more than Republicans are fucking up, have no plan on how NOT to fuck up.

Iraq? The solution is simple. It's just what the Republicans accuse the Democrats of saying... but the Democrats lack the balls to say:

“We fucked up. We shouldn't have gone in there in the first place. Sorry. We're leaving.”


SCENE SHIFT to Oprah Winfred. She's talking to a female school teacher who is a registered sex offender.

“Just like a pedophile,” says Oprah.

Jezus fuckin' suckin' humpin' Christ!

The guy was 13. He had a crush on a cute young teacher. And he made it!! He followed through. Had balls. Did what every 13 year old wishes he could do.

“You ruined that boys life,” says Oprah.

What the fuck? The arrest. The trial. The love of his life vilified. THAT ruined his life. Getting laid? Come on!!

“I know,” says the teacher sobbing. “That's why I came on this show. To warn others. To ask people to get help so the same thing doesn't happen to them.”

I think I'm going to be sick.

SCENE SHIFT to NOW.

I sit in BurritoVille on Nassau Street downtown New York. I've just finished my pair of tacos.

[ASIDE: It's a clichè, but like most clichès, it's true. You cannot get good Mexican food in New York. New Yorkers are food wimps. Anything spicier than salt throws their delicate little tongues into a tizzy. Mexican food, Thai food, Indian food, it all sucks in New York. Korean food is decent. That's because Koreans make it for Koreans, not the mealy-mouthed locals who think Taco Bell is a bit too heavy on the pepper.]

Across from me is an older Chinese lady and a younger Hispanic woman. Maybe they're on the same jury. It is the court neighborhood. Me? I've just returned from opening an account with AmeriTrade stock brokers. I decided to sell my 15 shares of Pfizer. I just can't scratch my balls in good conscience, knowing that I'm part owner of one of the most evil corporations in the world. Among the worst corporations in the world. It made number 6, right after Phillip Morris and before Suez-Lyonnaise Des Eaux. The latter is a French company that privatizes water and sells it back to locals at a huge profit.

Pfizer is notorious for selling its AIDS drugs at more than most people (let alone POOR people) can afford and actively going after anyone who tries to make the same drugs cheaply. For them, it's us or die. OK, they make Viagra, but they don't give it away free-- even to stockholders. I'm unloading.

My economically sophisticated friends say I shouldn't.

“Leave your morals aside when you invest,” they say. “You've got to use your money with your head, not your heart. When you make a bundle, give to the needy. But investing and morality just don't mix.”

SCENE SHIFT to THE NETHERLANDS: Holland, that bastion of personal freedom. That land of marijuana coffee shops and homo weddings. That land of ladies in windows and 12 year old age of consent. That land has banned burqas.

You know, burqas, those long Muslim gowns. They only show the eyes. Women in Iran wear them. In Iraq, women will soon be wearing them again. Sadaam banned them... and now the Dutch are doing the same. No one cares. Could you imagine if they banned yarmulkes?

Are the burqas a problem? How many European terrorists were dressed in them, hiding ticking TNT under their tresses? Er... none.

Well, are they a police problem? Thousands of burqa-wearing babes running pell mell through the streets, mugging at will, with victims unable to report what the perpetrators looked like? Er... nope. There have been NO reports of burqa crimes. Fewer than 100 women wear the things in all of Holland. So what's it about?

Glad you asked me.

I've said that Freedom of Religion is the least important of American freedoms. If there were no religion in the world, it would be a so much better place. During the last dozen or more years, more people have died in religious wars than in any kind of national aggression.

If I could piss in a genie bottle and make religion disappear in a flash, I'd do it. But I can't. There's some basic human spiritual need that religion fulfills. The commies tried to wipe it out, and died trying. It won't happen. So we've got to deal with it.

But this Holland law goes beyond religion. Muslims are dark, have kinky hair, “a look.” You can see it in the cooks at the hallal stands. You can see it in the owners of half the delis in L.A. We Jews consider ourselves a race as much as a religion. The world considers Muslims to be one.

It's racism. A. B. and C. That's it. Those nice liberal Dutch. Those blond haired, blue-eyed giants, stomping through tulips in their wooden shoes. Those models of good sense, are racist.

Like Israelis who say anyone can be a citizen, as long as she's a Jew (and her mom's a Jew). The Dutch are saying, anyone can wear what she wants... as long as it doesn't say MUSLIM.

Ah yeah, socialist Holland... or should I say National Socialist Holland.

FINAL SCENE SHIFT: It's rarer than a Democrat with principles. How many times have you said, “You can hold it while I pee.”? How many times has she done it? Yowsah!

I lay naked in the bathtub. She's holding it straight up.

“Go!” she says. “Now's your chance. I said I would and I will, but I'm not waiting all night.”

“But it's hard for me to do it if someone's watching,” I whine, forcing hard, but releasing only a fart against the dry tub.

“I'll close my eyes,” she says. “Then I won't be watching, I'll just be holding.”

“Try it!” I tell her.

When her eyes close, I feel my own close. The urethral muscles relax. The warm liquid millimeters its way forward. Yes! Yes!

“Yes! Yes!” I yell. She opens her eyes and directs the spray right, left, over my body, my chest, my legs. The warmth spreads over me like a blanket over a baby.

I drip dry.

“That was disgusting,” she says. “But you liked it! That means it's not the same as eating a shit-covered carrot. You still owe me.”

The earth shakes. My blood turns cold. The roof cracks and allows God to shine down from her heaven. The girl's right. I've missed it.

I missed how people, because of their intractable beliefs, take the most obvious facts and twist them. When truth is so obvious, so direct, so true, you, me, the Dutch and the Democrats go through contortions to avoid it.

How can we believe this stuff?

Pissing on yourself for fun is the same as eating shit you find disgusting. Chopping heads off is good politics. People with no principles are better than people with principles we don't like. Giving someone pleasure is bad. Banning someones beliefs by banning their clothes is good. You should “forget your morality” when you enter the stock market... or anywhere else.

You've got an angle to avoid the most obvious truths. You've got some cover, some internal mechanism that disconnects the crap detector when it inconveniently smells of your own shit.

Sorry buckaroos. I'm here to rub your nose in it.

ENDNOTES: [email subscribers (god@mykelboard.com) or website viewers (www.mykelboard.com) will get live links and a chance to comment on the column]

-->Who's got the family values department: So, the fundies want to have faith-based” instructions about family values. Well, not so fast buster.
George Barna, an evangelical pollster reports that "born-again Christians are more likely than others to experience a divorce. That pattern has been in place for quite some time...and challenges the idea that churches provide truly practical and life-changing support for marriages." <
Other research shows that Bible Belt states have higher divorce rates that Northeastern "liberal" states. Actually, the Northeast has the LOWEST divorce rate in the country.

-->Are hate-crimes a 2 way street? dept: The Associated Press reports that a Manhattan court arraigned seven women, all from New Jersey. The charges? First-degree assault and first-degree gang assault. One member was accused of stabbing a man with a steak knife.
          The victim, Dwayne Buckle, said he was standing outside a movie theater when he saw the women walking by. He said "Hi," and one of the women spat in his face. He spat back. Then they started hitting him and one of them stabbed him in the abdomen. He said the women were lesbians and the incident was "a hate crime against a straight man." We'll see what happens with that one.

-->Are your genes too tight? dept: Allerca Inc, a San Diego company, has genetically engineered cats not to produce the protein responsible for allergies. Since the cats are new, there's no telling what else this genetic manipulation might cause. Can you say CAT PEOPLE? Werecats? Hmmm, I think I'd rather sneeze. Especially since the price tag for one of these monsters is $3950... but for you...

--> We won dept: Remember I was talking about the South Dakota abortion referendum? Jerry Fallwell said it was an important test for the whole nation. Well, we won that one! The ban was repealed. Congrats! But I still haven't received a postcard from Souix Falls.

-->On the other hand dept: Besides the twin tragedies of Hillary Clinton and Joe Lieberman, 11 states voted to prohibit gay marriage. While I'm against gay (and straight) marriage, I think it's a bad idea to officially prohibit it. I could be convinced, however. Next year, I'd like to see those same states vote on measures to prohibit straight marriage. If they pass, I'll move there.

-->We're number one... er... two... er... three... er... four...er... dept: The United Nations released its report on the best countries in the world to live in. Number one, for the sixth year in a row was NORWAY. Next was Iceland, followed by Australia, Ireland, Sweden, Canada, Japan, and then at number 8 the U.S. Frankly, I'm surprise we scored so high. Denmark? France? Germany? Where are they? People in those countries can see a doctor when they get sick. They can read when they finish high school. They can drink before their hair turns gray. They've got to rank somewhere higher than this big lump of dirt.

-->And what about that Chinese mp3 player you bought last week? dept: At the Chinngis Qan ceremony I learned that the current politically correct term for Inner Mongolia is Southern Mongolia. Who knew?
                I also learned that the country, still under Chinese occupation, is even more repressed than Tibet. At least, Tibet has the PR and the Beastie Boys to make folks sit up and take notice. Inner... er... Southern Mongolia has only me. And...The Southern Mongolia Human Rights Information Center. Check out their website (http://www.smhric.org). It'll give you some idea about what's going on.

-->One for the Monster Dept: CNN did a special report on Energy Drinks. Probably a prelude to liberal calls for the banning of such drinks... or setting an age limit. I've been championing MONSTER over ROCK STAR for several months.
                Here's what the network's energy drink expert said: Monster is more of a hard rocker, maybe with a little punk thrown in, much more hardcore. Rockstar (distributed by Coca Cola)is the more mainstream, glam rock band that's more about partying then playing.
I especially like that “punk thrown in” part.


-end-


Thursday, November 02, 2006

[If you want to comment on this column, you should go to the BLOG version, that allows you to say whatever you'd like about it.]

You're Wrong
An Irregular Column
by Mykel Board (for MRR 284)

"Always go to other people's funerals. Otherwise they won't go to yours.” -- Yogi Berra

ONE: A mosquito buzzes under my desk lamp. I don't actually hear it buzz. My hearing's shot from 35 years of punkrock. Instead I see it buzz. A dark flash under the fluorescent light.

I stand. Slowly I approach the bug. Stopping and starting. Damn! I lost it. I sit down and wait, straining my eyes against the light. Flash! There it is again. I move fast this time. CLAP! Got it! Smashed between my hands. A bloody mess, like a stigmata, in my palm. Then I feel the itchy welt on my forearm and realize the blood on my palm is MY blood. That fucker bit me! Ah revenge. Even sweeter.

TWO: James Harrington aka Jimmy Reject is someone I've mentioned a few times. An early punk fixture, he was pals with DONNY THE PUNK, and wrote about his adventures with Donny (and Me!) He called his book The Enemy's Within. I don't remember exactly what he wrote. I do remember he said-- with regards to Allen-- that I was more of a Woody than a GG.

Jimmy and I have been in occasional touch since the book came out. Sometimes, while ego-surfing, I run into a review he's written about my music or writing. Usually, it's praise with just enough nasty edge to make me like it.

His review of the Artless CD: Mykel Board is the hero of individualists, right wing punk rock reactionaries, and free thinkers everywhere. Mykel Board is the enemy of punk conformos [sic], left wing dogmatics and close minded ideologues the world over.

Yowsah!

At the end of 2005, he interviewed me for his short-lived fanzine, Proud Disgrace.

Jimmy: Name the members of your dream rock'n'roll band. Go into detail about each member's importance and then describe your dream gig.

Me: That's a tough one because individual musicians that I like would be HORRIBLE together! For example, Dickie Peterson, the drummer for BLUE CHEER, is my favorite drummer ever. But, could he play with GG Allin? I don't think so. Tom Verlaine is my favorite guitar player. Could he be in the same band as Alan Vega? Naw, they'd be at each other's throats. So maybe I'd just have to say that my dream rock'n'roll band is THE VELVET UNDERGROUND and my dream punk band is THE DEAD BOYS and leave it at that.

Dream gig? That's easier. ARTLESS, SKREWDRIVER and CRASS on the same bill. ARTLESS would open.

In September, I get an email addressed to me and a whole bunch of other people. It it's a one liner: If you are a friend of Jimmy Reject, he died suddenly in August. His Dad.

It's not clear how he kicked the bucket. Some internet gossips say suicide. Most just say "died suddenly." I don't remember meeting the guy. He looks vaguely familiar in his internet pictures. I'm not sure. But just like that. Blam. He's gone.

THREE: CBGBs had its last show over the weekend. Patti Smith was there. Lenny Kaye performed. Blondie too. The shows were sold out in a minute. I didn't go.

It's Sunday, the day after closing. My pal Sid Yiddish is in town. He wants to "pay his respects” to CBGBs-- like dropping in at a funeral. I'm not so keen on the idea, but I agree to go. I'm curious to see what happens. I have a column to write.

I walk inside. Sid wants a T-shirt. I feel nothing. I don't look at the stage and think, Ah, I saw the Ramones and The Dead Boys there. I don't even think, Ah, I played there. I don't feel or think anything.

It's a dingy stage in the back of a dingy club. Yeah, it's the kind of place I love. Small, filthy, layers of graffiti and stickers. I still like the place, but I don't feel sad that it's going away. I don't feel anything.

My friends say I'll change my mind when it's a Starbucks. I don't think so. I'll hate the Starbucks because it's Starbucks-- not because it used to be CBGBs.

********

If your IQ is larger than my penis, you've figured out that this column is about death. When you get to be 65, you think about death a lot. Most folks my age dread it. They snarf statins and have doctors they know on a first name basis.

I don't fear death. It's not that I'm so brave. There're plenty of things I do fear: incontinence, senility, pain, jail... but I don't fear death. A stroke. Paralysis. Impotence. Being slowly devoured by cancer. Having my kids turn into bankers or vegetarians. Those things are serious. Dying? That's nothing.

Before I went to Mongolia, maybe I feared death. I would have kicked off not doing what was most important for me. But I went-- and returned. So what's to fear? A smack? The stain of a bloody mess on someone's hands? I don't get it.

Our society regards murder as the greatest of evils. It's the only crime they can kill you for. The death penalty is the ultimate punishment for death. Why? Why is it worse to gently put someone to sleep than it is to stick a curling iron up her ass and plug it in? Why does Dr. Kevorkian go to jail for helping people who WANT to die? Why is the call of both abortionists and vegetarians that the people they oppose are murderers? Is that the worst epithet they can fling?

By the time you read this, G.W. Bush will have easily killed more Iraqis than Saddam Hussein. Guess who will be executed for their crimes. Too bad.

But these massive deaths: Ten thousand. A hundred thousand. Six million. How can we understand them? Except in number, how are they any different from the mosquito I smashed under my light. Why are they any sadder?

A person is there, walking around, la-de-da changing a tampon, scratching his balls, taking a shower, and then POW. She's dead. Lying in pieces on the ground, or as part of a pile on the gas chamber floor. Now you see it. Now you don't. What's so spectacular? Why the fuss?

I can't just dismiss it though. It's too ubiquitous. Every culture has special rituals and ceremonies connected to death-- even if they don't have ceremonies connected to birth. More cultures celebrate DEATHdays, than BIRTHdays. Why?

In Mexico, they have El Dia Del Muerte. In America, it's Halloween. In Japan, it's Obon. In most cultures, the dead come back. Revisit. Dance around. Scare a few people. Protect a few others. Is it a way to welcome back those we miss? Why do we need such a day? Is there a human need for death not to be final?

It would be nice if we could accept death. It's just another part of life. A bunch of cells assemble at birth, change awhile, then disassemble. As normal as a fart. There must be something I'm not getting. But I look around.

How many books, TV shows, movies have no deaths? Someone I know dies, I donno, once every three or four months. On TV, it happens every half hour. Are there commercials with death? Does death sell dish-washing liquid, or beer? I don't know. What is death and what's its hold over us? I don't know that either.

I'm reading this book, The Poet of Tolstoy Park. It's a true story about this guy who was dying of TB in the 1920s. He moved to Alabama and started building a round concrete hut. He built the whole thing himself and lived there much longer than his doctors expected.
When he thought about death, he pictured it like the ocean. He tells the story of a wave-- a ripple actually-- in the middle of the ocean. The wind blows the ripple into a gradually bigger wave. The larger wave sees his fellow waves ahead of him. They're blown larger and fiercer until they reach shore where they smash against the rocks and die.

"Oh please stop blowing," shouts the wave to the wind. "Why are you doing this? Creating me just so I can die?"

The wind answers.

"What would happen if I stopped blowing?" It asks.
"I would disappear into the void of the ocean," answers the wave.
"And if I don't stop blowing?" asks the wind.
"I would make a loud splash against the rocks and disappear into the void of the ocean," says the wave.
Suddenly understanding, the wave stops begging the wind and sails forward strong and hard to smash into the rocks.
Makes sense to me. As long as the smashing isn't too painful. Death can be spectacular. The exclamation point on a long series of periods and semi colons. I'll buy that. But is that how everyone else thinks? How come death is so special?
Albert Camus wrote a novel called The Stranger. It begins, Mama died today. Or yesterday maybe. I don't know. The protagonist of Camus's story later goes on to kill an Arab. In those days, that was a crime.

During the trial, they prosecute Camus' hero more for not grieving for his mother's death, than for toasting a fellow human. For the court, not responding to death was a greater crime than murder. Why?

Of course, death has its funny side. As long as there have been comics, there have been jokes about death. In Romeo and Juliet, dying Mercutio taunts, “Ask for me tomorrow and you shall find me a grave man.” These days, Six Feet Under and other TV shows still make fun of death.

Death is always around us: horror movies, Halloween skeletons, Misfits logos. It's not a taboo like kiddie sex. (Try to find a TV comedy about that!) Why?

One more thing strikes me as strange. The belief that you should respect the dead. You shouldn't make fun of someone who recently died. If a person has a last wish, you should follow that wish. Why?

If a live person has a wish and you make it come true, that person will be happy. She may reward you. She may just feel a thrill. You can be happy you created that thrill. That, I understand.

If a dead person has a wish and you make it come true. (Bury me under the oak in Lonesome Dove.) What the fuck? Nothing will change. No one will be better for it. Why not buy me a beer instead? I'm still missing something.

My parents are old. Someday soon they're gonna kick off. I don't think I'll be as cold as Camus' hero. I'll cry. Be depressed. Think back and tear up again. Heartbreak.

But why will I cry? My folks sit all day watching TV-- that's all. They're always sick. Mom hardly remembers how to eat. Dad's in and out of the hospital-- always hurting somewhere. Is death so bad? When they go, it'll break me up. How come? Maybe I'm writing this column to find the answer.

Here's what I've got so far:

1. Death has special meaning in most every culture.

2. In our culture, causing death is the worst thing one person can do to another.

3. In our culture, death, although extremely serious, is something you can joke about.

4. Many people believe that our tribe's death is more important than your tribe's death. American TV news reports U.S. war casualties first. The other side much later, if at all. Dead Jews in WWII were big news. Dead homos less important. And few Americans talk about the dead citizens of Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

5. You should respect the dead-- and the wishes of the dead.

6. The dead are not gone, but in suspension someplace. They come back as ghosts or reincarnated as cows or mosquitoes.

Okay, that's death in our culture. Much of it is world culture. Since culture is the way one group of people is different from another group, death is not really culture at all. It's life.

Long time readers know that this is where I take all these points, put them together, reach a conclusion. Like the final mate in chess. The problem is I don't have the move. That rook keeps knocking off my pawns, and I don't know how to stop it. It's killing me.

  • ENDNOTES: [email subscribers (god@mykelboard.com) or website viewers (www.mykelboard.com) will get live links and a chance to upload comments on the column]

    -->You can read Jimmy Reject's review of the ARTLESS CD at: http://www.geocities.com/jreject/artless.html. Let me know if the site is down-- since Jimmy isn't there to maintain it.

    -->Unplanned-for-dangers dept: Was it Kesha who sent me the story of Natasha Timarovic? She was brushing her teeth at home in Zadar, Croatia. Here's the rest of it, condensed from the newspaper article:
  • Apparently, Natasha suffered severe burning to her anus after being struck by lightning which hit her in the mouth and passed right through her body.
  • She said: "I had just put my mouth under the tap to rinse away the toothpaste when the lightning must have struck the building. "I don't remember much after that, but I was later told that the lightning had traveled down the water pipe and struck me on the mouth, passing through my body. It was incredibly painful I felt it pass through my torso and then I don't remember much at all."
    Doctors treated her for burns to the mouth and anus.
    "She was wearing rubber bathroom shoes at the time. So instead of earthing through her feet, the electricity shot out of her backside," a medic told a local newspaper.
    Must've felt like the day after good Mexican food.

    -->Once a goy dept: Israeli's chief rabbis have stopped recognizing conversions and divorces performed in other countries-- even if they're performed by orthodox Rabbis. It used to be Israelis only refused to recognize reform ceremonies. Now they're tightening the rules. They refuse ALL non-Israeli ceremonies. As for divorce, you need written permission from the husband or there's no divorce. What's next, the veil?

    -->More on the Jew front dept: On September 14, 2006, Germany ordained its first rabbis since World War II. The ceremony took place in Dresden, location of the American created Slaughterhouse Five holocaust of Germans. Congratulations to the new rabbis. Let's just hope they don't try to perform any conversions or divorces.

    -->Jew of the Month Dept: I've been negligent in this lately. But I just finished reading a book called Don't Think of An Elephant by Jew-Linguist George Lakoff. It's an eye opener. I disagree with much of what he suggests, but his analysis is on target. It has to do with the “framing” of various arguments. Once an argument is framed, the conclusion is “logical.” The way you frame a picture changes the way people see the content. Read the book and learn something new!

    -->Fallwell is right dept: According to Reverend Jerry, "What happens in South Dakota will literally affect the future of America." He's right.
    South Dakota recently enacted a complete ban on abortion. Pro-abortionists forced a referendum to kill the law. This is a test. If the referendum fails and the law continues... you can bet your fetus there'll be more laws in other states. NOW is the time to move to South Dakota and vote. Free ARTLESS CD for the first postcard from Sioux Falls. (Send to Mykel Board, POB 137, Prince St. Station, NYC 10012.) I'm doing my part. Whoops, I just realized that by the time you read this, the election will be over. Oh well, I'll STILL give a free CD to the first postcard from Sioux Falls. It takes balls to live there anyway.

    -->War will set you free dept: I've written about how Google and Yahoo censor their search engines in China. Yahoo is worse, it reports forbidden searches to the Chinese government! Well, the May issue of This World Magazine reports a scheme to let search engine victims find the real facts. One plan is to distribute Google-defeating software applications via email. My favorite is to let characters in The World of Warcraft game pass forbidden information to other players inside the game. Since the players are anonymous-- or have fake "game" names-- this allows free info flow that's untraceable. Now, that's a crusade worth burning!

    -->Sid Yiddish dept.: He's the guy I went to CBGB with. Another Jewpal. He also joined me for some NYC readings and NYC's DRINK CLUB. He's a fan of j...j...j...jazz, but we all have our faults. I took him to a mercy gig at DRINK CLUB. Not bad really. But it was Sid who was the hit of the night. He performed Mykel Board Weasel Squeezer, right from the throat-singing depth of his koshered throat. Yowsah! Check out his poetry/throat singing CDs. Email him at sid_yiddish@hotmail.com for info. Or check out the performance on You Tube at
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-BnnztltTU.

    -->Speaking of YouTube dept: It was a service you know had to be there. I found it: PornoTube. An amazing collection of the stuff that YouTube is missing. Let me know which ones you like the best. So far the Japanese homo bukkake is my favorite. Dozens of naked young Japanese guys standing around jerking off in the face of one blind-folded guy. Yowsah!
  • -->Help me out dept: In March of 2007, I'll be going to Australia and New Zealand. Part book promo tour, part adventure. I'm looking for places to read (preferable between punk bands at shows) and people to hang out with. Email me at: booktour@mykelboard.com if you've got any ideas.



    -end-


    to Mykel's Homepage

    Wednesday, October 04, 2006

    You're Wrong
    An Irregular Column
    (for MRR iss. 283, December)

    by Mykel Board


    Girls aren't supposed to play in bands. They're supposed to give blowjobs to guys who play in bands.
                                      -- Drunk Girl at a party in Scranton PA


    The attractive Dominican boy cups one hand over each of his nipples.

    “I see it like this,” he says. “White girls have it here...” He moves his hands away from his chest. “Colored girls have it here...” He places one hand on each of his buttocks. “But Spanish girls... ah Spanish girls. They've got it here and there and everywhere you want.” You can guess where his hands go.

    This image comes back to me as I think about how the world changes. The two of us sat at a table in a Santo Domingo park. No other listeners. Just me and this guy, discussing things that guys discuss. Things we might feel uncomfortable talking about in front of our mothers.

    This discussion does not come back to me as I gaze at well-proportioned Hispanic girls on the subway. It comes back as I walk down Fifth Avenue, passing this very white girl with very wide hips. She speaks loudly into her cellphone.

    “... So it's like, I want him, ya' know? I'm practically drooling over him. But it's that time.... yeah... that's what I'm saying... I'm bleeding like a... I donno, tell me something that bleeds... hahaha that's funny... yeah, like that. So if I come on to him, ya know, I mean he's gonna get me home and... yeah, grossout! I mean yuck. I'll never see him again... So I told him I had to go somewhere and do something, but... yeah, you guessed it... it was in Soho, right on that street with all the shoe stores... no, I don't know if he likes that street with all the shoe stores... no, I don't know if he likes shoes... why, you think he's gay?...”

    So here we are, the kind of conversation that should be private, across a secluded park table. Here it is walking down Fifth Avenue. It's what people should talk about at home, in a corner café, where the music or ambient noise covers the conversation. Someplace where there are just you two. That's where you should discuss things not fit for public consumption.

    Like the relative appealing endowments of various races, your monthly period and his homosexuality should not be public. I don't want to know. I don't know you. Why should I know about the effusion of your menstruation?

    But kids these days. There is no privacy. Their parents give them cellphones at 8 and the world becomes their private network. It's a new kind of generation gap. When I grew up, one side of the gap had the Vietnam War supporters, the other its opponents. These days, the gap has changed. One side has people who feel uncomfortable yawning in front of others. The other side has people who loudly discuss their genital warts.

    There I have it. The perfect topic for a column. It's tighter than a feminist sphincter. No need to think it through, run it through the mill and see what happens. No need to write the column first to find out what I think. Uh uh. This time I know. It's the new generation gap. Those who have a sense of privacy, and those who don't.

    Ah, but my tightly orchestrated, thought-out, obvious column collapses faster than a hard-on at a Hillary Clinton fund-raiser. I'm in Scraton PA. It's a reading from my books. Part of an open mic night, at a local coffee shop. No booze here. Just an espresso machine and some quiche. I arrive early to scope out the place.

    It's small, with a few tables and a library so people can read while they sip their lattes. I check out the book titles: How to Live Fat Free catches my eye. The other books are somewhat less intellectual. The café is right across from a dorm. That street will be my generation gap.

    Tonight's show will have a record turn out for the café. More than a hundred people. By the evening's end, the promoter will have over $200 in admission. He'll also get another $50 for “special services.” I'll tell you about that later. Me? I'll wind up with bubkas.

    The rattle of a doorknob disturbs my thoughts. A young blondguy enters. He wears jeans, a t-shirt and looks very collegiate.

    Dan, the organizer, greets me with a handshake.

    “You got a fan,” he says. “I was doing promo for this show and this guy says. 'Wow, Mykel Board.' That's one in your corner. I'll ask him if you can stay there tonight.”

    “Is he attractive?” I don't ask.

    Flash ahead: We've moved the furniture. The first performer is a guy and his guitar. The guy has red hair, a scraggly beard and wears sandals.

    “Anybody got a capo?” he asks, pulling his guitar out of its soft case. Someone hands him one and he straps in on the guitar. Then he starts. Cover songs. The greatest hits of the 70s and 80s. Heart felt. Shot through the heart and you're to blame! Half the crowd sings along. When he's done, there is wild applause.

    The next performer is a guy and his guitar. Cover songs. One or two originals. Heart felt. The guy has blond hair, a scraggly beard, and wears sandals. The next guy has light brown hair. Everything else is the same.

    I look around. The folding chairs creak under fat girls who sit with their hands in their laps and applaud to Horse With No Name. Most of the guys sport their first beards, and wear just-bought-for-college sandals. The crowd is really white. There's one huge Negress and another girl who could have some Spanish in the woodpile somewhere. That's it. Not an Oriental in the room. I feel uncomfortable around too many white people. Like someone is going to ask me if I've accepted Jesus as my own personal savior.

    And there are tons of bell bottoms, low cut under tons of lard.

    Yowsah! I think. They're gonna hate me. Me, with my GG Allin t-shirt. And that's only for starters. This is gonna be fun. How long before the groans start? Will they throw things or will my host just say, “er.. Mykel... I think you need to wrap things up.”? Will I need a chicken-wire fence to protect me from the raging folkies? Will they crucify me for my lack of sensitivity? I hope so.

    There's one more folk singer. A guy with a dark beard looking much like one of the Nirvana guys who didn't die. They applaud his version of the 1967 hit, If You Can't Be With The One You Love, then Love the One You're With. Then comes me!

    So I'm staying with some friends in this house in Philadelphia and there's this naked girl hanging from the ceiling... A couple people laugh.

    I continue my story. Getting grosser and more offensive as I go on. The polite laughs continue. One person leaves... but soon comes back, eating a sandwich, drinking a cup of coffee.

    No heckles. A few chuckles. Some polite applause. After I finish, I wave, go back to my corner to sell books. This big Arab-looking guy comes up to me. He points to my t-shirt.


    “GG Allin,” he says. “Yeah, I love GG Allin.”

    He gives me the thumbs up sign, then walks away and sits down. A chubby blond guy is up next.

    “Anybody got a capo?” he asks.

    After he finishes, Dan introduces the other special guest of the night: LIMA.

    LIMA's got dark curly hair. He wears a pink shirt, carries a green mic stand, plastic flowers, and a megaphone. One “guitar” is a Casio VL Tone glued onto a guitar body. He throws confetti in the air and starts playing feedback. Then, a kiddie kind of song, you know like B-I-N-G-O. But his chorus is L-I-M-A.

    “Come on, join me!” he shouts. “L!”

    The audience comes back with a loud L.

    I... I!

    M... M!

    A... A!

    After they've got it. He gets them cheering: LIMA! LIMA! LIMA!

    Then he launches into his next song. He wants the crowd to stand with him. At first a few people come to the center. Then everyone. The entire audience standing. Clapping. Waving their hands side to side above their heads.

    “Come on, everybody,” shouts Lima. “It'll be really gay if you don't join us.”

    No need to worry about gay. Everyone's already standing. Their hands are up high. All hundred plus sway side to side. Embracing, oozing love out of every non-gay pore. Holding hands-- a hippie parody from people who know about hippies from textbooks. A new camp, from people who don't have a clue about camp. They might as well be dancing the Charleston.

    I've never been a fan of audience participation. Especially when I'm in the audience. It's the anti-authoritarian in me. If someone tells me to clap along, or stand up, or honk that I love Jesus, I immediately don't want to. It seems dictatorial to tell your audience what to do. On the part of the audience, it's sheep-like obedience to do it.

    “You guys like sea horses?” shouts Lima.

    A few people answer yes.

    “Let me hear it! Use your balls,” shouts Lima. “Ladies, use what you got.”

    Yes! comes the massive reply.

    Balloons bounce. There's a sound-effects tape of bubbling water. Lima sings about sea horses. Balloons skitter all over the audience. As soon as one begins to fall, an enthusiastic zaftig bounces it back up in the air.

    A pretty girl, tall, with permed hair that looks like it'll break if you touch it, gets hit in the face with one of the balloons. It knocks mascara into her eyes. Lima walks over to her and kisses her on the eyelid. Instantly making it all better. Then he goes back to the guitar.

    The crowd is still bouncing the balloons, clapping to the music, swaying back and forth. Pure form with no purpose. I'm the only one not on my feet. Maybe the only one lamenting the lack of booze in this place. Whassamatter, don't kids drink anymore?

    I'm not feeling very good. It's probably just jealousy. They love him – but can't get it up to hate me. What's wrong with them?

    Lima climbs up on the furniture. Joins in the dancing, let's the Casio play itself.

    'What a great crowd! I love you.” he says. “What a great crowd!”

    As he leaves the stage, Lima shouts, “I have CDs. You can buy 'em from me... or trade. A hug for a CD! That's all I ask.”

    After Lima, balloons, confetti, flower petals litter the floor. Folks are laughing, hugging, panting for breath.

    Dan walks in the middle of the crowd.

    “Now, if everybody can please have a seat, we'll bring back our other featured act: Mykel Board.”

    It's about 11 PM. The Monster is finally kicking it. I'm on again and they are not ready for me. No booing. No reaction at all, except polite applause. I cut it short.

    There is more polite applause.

    “Now,” Dan explains to the crowd, “you know we don't have any money to pay our performers. Mykel is selling some books and CDs, check it out and buy something.”

    No one moves.

    This is the most unpunk group I've seen outside of a Baptist church. Whatever punk is... and it's something different to different people... it's not clapping along to Everybody Wants to Rule The World and strumming guitars. It's not sandals. It's not covers of 70s sensitive rock. It's not trading hugs for CDs. Blowjobs, maybe. But not hugs.

    I'm feeling sorry for myself when Lima walks over to me. He's friendly, smiley faced, no trace of I blew you off the stage man. Just a nice guy from New Jersey.

    “You work for Maxim?” he asks.

    I laugh. “Er, not exactly. I write for Maximum Rock'n'Roll.” I tell him. “But I don't write about music.”

    He smiles and turns as a cherubic girl tugs on the back of his shirt.

    “I wanna trade a hug for a CD,” she says.

    The other acts that night are even more awful. After me comes a guy and his girlfriend. He strums the guitar. She plays the bongos. (I shit you not!) She also sings so off key that even I know there's something wrong.

    “Wow, am I glad we didn't have to follow Lima.” she says.

    Here comes the last act. A smooth-faced young man with a guitar. He's not wearing sandals... He's wearing Nikes.

    “Hey Dan,” he shouts to the promoter. “I'll give you $50 if you don't let anyone leave.”

    From the front of the room comes a voice. “You just bought yourself an audience,” it says.

    The guy turns to us and shrugs. “You do what you gotta do,” he says. “Anybody got a capo?”

    Before I have time to consider this further, the guy with the guitar puts on a harmonica holder, blows a few notes and then starts playing BORN IN THE USA!

    A young man who looks slightly Indian (turban, not feather) comes up to me. I wonder if he really looks Indian, or if I'm just searching for ethnicity in this group.

    “I listened to you tonight,” he says. “Very interesting. How would you describe yourself?”

    “About five foot three inches,” I tell him. “A hundred thirty-five pounds. Brown hair... losing it... Four and a half inches of...”

    “No,” he says, smiling, “I mean if someone asks you What Are You? how would you answer. For example, I'm a theist.”

    “I'm a me-ist,” I tell him. “Just like it says on the book cover. It rhymes with theist.”

    He frowns.

    “Me-ist,” I explain. “Like communist, anarchist, scientist.”

    “I see,” he says. “Tell me, have you accepted Jesus Christ as your own personal savior?”

    Flash ahead:

    “I'm sorry,” says Dan. “We had a good crowd. I don't know why people didn't buy your books.”

    “Maybe it was the wrong crowd,” I say. “By the way, where was my fan?”

    “He never showed up,” Dan tells me. “I don't know what happened.”

    “My fans are not the most responsible people in the world,” I tell him.

    He laughs.

    “I found you another place to stay,” he says. “I'll take you there.”

    We get in my rental car and drive about half a mile. There's a parking place a block away from the house. One and a half car lengths long. When we reach it, I get out of the driver's seat.

    “You park,” I tell Dan. “I'm not very good at it.”

    Without a snicker, Dan gets out, crosses to the driver's seat and parks the car. Then we walk uphill to THE HOUSE.

    It's clear this is THE PARTY HOUSE in town. It's a ramshackle old wooden structure with a large porch on the ground floor and an outside staircase that leads to apartments on higher floors.

    A couple of girls sit on an old porch rocker. One of them wears a thin cotton dress that looks like a 1940s couch covering. The other has on a short black skirt and a black thing that I think people call a bustierre. She's white, but to disappoint my Dominican friend, does not have the bust to be properly boosted by the bustierre.

    “Dan!” shouts the girl in the couch material. “Come here so I can give you a big kiss.”

    Dan walks up to the girls. They both hug him-- one on either side.

    “Party going on?” says Dan.

    The bustierre girl nods, “Upstairs.”

    Dan lets go of the girls and heads up the stairs to the second floor. I follow. Inside is a college house.

    To the right is a bar, the inset, where the counter should be is filled with bottle caps. The caps are all from LIONSHEAD BEER bottles. They are turned face up and face down so they make a pattern spelling out 226, the address of the house.

    In front of the bar, a boy and girl wrestle on the floor. In the room to my right are two couches, a table, a huge TV, and a stereo set. On one couch sit a couple guys in jeans and t-shirts.

    On the other couch sit two other guys, each holding a plastic guitar. They are playing some kind of video game. You have to match the notes on screen with the notes played by a skeleton heavy metal band on the monitor. The music is old blues, tough to play-- like Muddy Waters or something. The TV musicians look like Misfits rejects. The combination is weird.

    The guys “playing” the guitars are very intent, and by the high scores they're racking up, very good.

    On the table are two sets of plastic cups partially filled with beer. Some one arranged them in V-formation, like bowling pins at opposite ends. At each end of the table, a boy-girl team is trying to throw ping pong balls into the opposing cups. I guess it's some kind of game.

    A big guy with a shaved head wears a green football Jersey. I can easily believe he plays in it. He turns as if noticing me for the first time and holds out a meaty palm.

    “Hi, I'm Mike,” he says.

    “Mykel,” I reply. “Mykel Board.”

    “Oh, you write for Maxim,” he answers. “Dan said you might stay here.”

    “Er... no, it's Maximum Rock'n'Roll,” I tell him. “But I don't write about music.

    “Welcome,” he says. “Take off your hat and coat. There's beer in the refrigerator.”

    Few words ring more pleasantly in my ears than There's beer in the refrigerator. I'm off to fish out a Lionshead Light.

    Light beer? Me? Ah well, even a daughter is better than nothing. So I twist off the cap and suck on it. It's not bad-- for a light beer.

    I walk back into the living room and sit on the couch. A chubby girl, wearing what looks like a stretchy cloth tube walks up to me. She holds a half-full bottle of Lionshead.

    “Hi,” she says, “I'm Sandy.”

    “I'm Mykel,” I answer. We click bottles.

    “Hey Mykel,” comes a voice from the couch. It's one of the guys who was playing guitar in the game.

    “Sit over there. I wanna teach you this drinking game...”

    He explains a complicated game of touching your shoulder, pointing to other people, making an equal sign with your arms and one more rule that I forgot. If you make a mistake, you gotta take a drink.

    I find myself part of a circle around a coffee table. I'm challenged to move, choose, drink up, choose again. This is fun. The big guy comes over with more Lionheads. It's not long before I'm feeling pretty good.

    What gets me is that these kids don't know me. Most of them weren't at the show. I'm just this strange guy sitting here. Older than their dads. They don't care. I have a beer in my hand, I'm one of the gang. That's it.

    When I was 17 or 19 or however old they are, the intrusion would have outraged me. I would have thought I was a cop. I would have felt invaded. What's this old guy doing at the party? He probably supports the war! That old fart. Thinks he can span the generation gap? Yeah, right.

    But now... there is no generation gap. It hits me. I'm trying to bend reality to fit my concept of it. It doesn't work. My idea of privacy, now that I think about it, is true for all ages. I hear as many old ladies talking about their grandkids, as kids talking about their bloody OBs. I divided it into a generation gap, because I wanted there to be one. My desire made me see it that way. Privacy may be as dead as chivalry, but it's got nothing to do with The Generation Gap. There is no generation gap.

    “Drink, Mykel, drink!” come voices as I focus back to the present. “You missed the point.... Al pointed at you.”

    I smile and down my plastic cup's worth. The big guy fills it up again. The game peters out when one girl sits back in a pout. No more. I keep mishing my shoulder. Any more drinksh and...! She gets up and runs to the bathroom.

    I go out to the porch. There's a crew there. Sitting and drinking. The guy who looked like the Nirvana drummer sits on the stairs. A beer in one hand, a girlfriend on his knee.

    “Hey,” he says, “I'm Randy.”

    “Me too,” I answer. I don't think he gets it. Probably never been to England.

    “Naw,” I correct, “my name's Mykel.”

    “You wanna play the ping pong drink game?” asks the girl, grabbing me by the arm.

    “I already played a drink game. You had to touch your shoulder and...”

    “No not that one,” she says. “This one is with ping pong balls. You got to put 'em in the right place.”

    As she speaks, she's pulling me back into the living room. “Can I chose where to stick 'em?” I ask with a smile.

    She smiles back. “Later maybe,” she says. “Now we drink.”

    She drags me to the one side of the table with the neatly lined up cups. She tells me I have to throw a ping pong ball into the cup on the other side. If I get it in, the other guy has to drink the contents. If I miss, it's their turn. Last man standing wins. Eventually, I lose.

    Scene shift to the next morning:

    Any couch surfer knows that when you sleep at the party house, you're the last person to go to bed and the second person to wake up. It's pitter patter to the shower that wakes me up this morning. Then the thump thump thump of the big guy with the shaved head, wrapped in a blanket.

    I have a surprising lack of headache. In fact, for whatever time it is, I'm groggy, but not grouchy.

    “Whatimzit?” I ask.

    “About ten,” says the big guy with a smile.

    “Okay,” I say, “I'm outta here.”

    I head toward the bathroom just in time to see a naked girl leave and head toward a bedroom. She smiles at me at she walks by. After taking care of my morning needs, I head off to the next reading in Allentown.

    It's a show in an Allentown record store, set up by my long term pal, Sue. It's also a bust. This time only one person shows up. We rope some other folks in. The record store owner buys a few books and records. No one else does

    But it's not a failure, this trip. Oh no. I learned something. The end of privacy will have to wait until next month. But it won't be a generation gap column. I now understand that I've spent so much time looking for the dingleberries, I haven't realized there's no shit to begin with. There is no generation gap. There are no KIDS anymore, except as defined by stupid lawmakers who were born when it meant something to be over 21 or 30 or 40 or whatever.

    I want to raise a Lionshead beer to the drinkers of Scranton PA. I don't give a shit if they voted for Bush. For all I know they think Bush is just another kind of beer. I do know, they drink, fuck, get drunk and don't give a shit about your age, race, or anything more than that you also drink, fuck and get drunk too. Maybe there's hope for America yet.

    ENDNOTES: [email subscribers (god@mykelboard.com) or website viewers (www.mykelboard.com) will get live links and a chance to email comment on the column]

    -->Thanks Dept. Dan Mahoney was the organizer in Scranton. After the show, he buys a book. The only sale of the night. I can't fault him for the financial disaster. He tried, and got a good crowd. It was the wrong crowd for me, but it was an adventure-- and I got a column out of it. Thanks Dan.

    --> Class of 1984 dept: According to the Utne Reader, many schools in “the remote African interior” lack current textbooks. A Swiss company wants to “help” by using satellites to beam textbooks into eBook Readers. The promoters of the technology say that it will be less expensive than replacing old printed textbooks. The eBooks can easily be updated.
                 Governments should love this when they need to change history to suit the political climate. A few clicks of a mousekey will wipe out the past forever. No hard copy to prove otherwise. Slaves? What slaves?

    -->Strange what doesn't make the news dept: Fat chance you'll read about it in America's Christified press, but it happened. Indonesia recently executed 3 Christian terrorists. What did they do? Kill 70 Muslims in a terrorist attack. Nothing like equal opportunity terrorism. Right?

    -->Fox guards the henhouse dept: A US military contractor accused of human rights violations has won a multi-million-dollar contract to police post-Saddam Iraq. The DynCorp company, which has donated more than $200,000 to the Republican Party, began recruiting a private police force in Iraq for the US State Department.
              The awarding of such a sensitive contract to DynCorp has caused concern over the company's policing record. A British employment tribunal recently forced DynCorp to pay £110,000 in compensation to a UN police officer. The courts said it unfairly fired her in Bosnia for whistleblowing on DynCorp colleagues involved in an illegal sex ring.
                          DynCorp, which has its headquarters in Reston, Virginia, employs almost 25,000 people, many of them former US military personnel.

    --> Punk Porn dept: Thanks to Dick Freeman who sent me a DVD Twin set called FUCK THE SYSTEM. It may be the first full-out/self-proclaimed made-for-the-public punk porn production. It's certainly the first porn DVD to come with it's own companion soundtrack.
                        A few of the girls are okay looking, the guys are ugly, but it's a great start. Dick Freeman, by the way, is the editor of BATTERIES NOT INCLUDED, a porn review zine (no pictures), that sometimes features me. It always has great things to say, with writers like Nina Hartley and Richard Pacheco. Sample issues $3 from BNI, 513 N. Central Ave., Fairborn OH 45324

    -->Take out them teeth granny, you're chafin' me dept: BNI also reports that the Senior Citizens' VILLAGES community near Orlando is reporting epidemic levels of sexually transmitted diseases. One gynecologist said she treats more cases of herpes in the retirement community than she did in the city of Miami.
         Socrates, when he became old and lost the urge is rumored to have said, “I feel like I've been freed from an old and terrible dictator.”
           Today, I'm happy to say, “Not so fast, buster.”

    -->Personal dilemma dept: I'm a supporter of kids' rights. I believe people should be allowed to fuck whatever consenting people they want. Kids are the world's captives. They live in legal slavery, bound to people they sometimes hate. I also believe in privacy. My email to you is OUR communication. It doesn't belong to George Bush.
    So what happens when a right-wing Republican congressman gets caught sending emails to a 16 year old page? First, I'm happy. It's a right-winger getting screwed. Then I'm sad, somebody who did NO HARM is getting fucked over in the same kind of scandal I hate. Then I'm happy, because it could lead to the end of the Republican controlled House. Then I'm sad, because it will encourage even more spying and less freedom. Maybe I shouldn't care at all. Maybe I should have a drink.