Sunday, December 30, 2007

Mykel's Column for MRR 298


You're Wrong
An Irregular Column
Column number 298
by Mykel Board


"Anytime you find you're right, you should be wrong.”

-- Richard Ford

Jesus, what is that? I've been feeling it all day. Like a pinprick. Finally, in the privacy of this stall I can poke it out. Right in the fold, the brown wrinkled part. I've got just enough nail left to scrape around a bit. Ah, ah, there it is, plucked from the sphincter. An anal booger. I bring it up to my nose. Smells like everyday shit. I take a closer look. It's a seed. Some kind of little seed, like the outer sprinkling of a sesame bagel. I'd thought those things were metabolized, became part of my body, like how fish turn into brains and ice cream becomes fat and heart disease. I had no idea they pass right through you. POW! From the mouth to the toilet. I'd never have known if one hadn't gotten stuck where it hurt. Who wudda thunk it? Knowledge is a pain in the ass. But I guess it's good for you.

I don't know when you'll be seeing this. It doesn't matter. You only need to know that I'm writing it in December. In that quiet period between Christmas hell and New Year's drunken debauchery. It's a year-end column-- for me. A summation of what I've been trying to tell you. A list of how you-- like me with my misbelief about Sesame seeds-- are wrong.

Time and space prevent me from telling you every way you're wrong. But here are a few important ones-- a recap.

Recycling is bad for the environment. You think the opposite. You think that every time you drop your Mountain Dew bottle in that round holed container by the park, you're doing a good deed. You're wrong.

It's Thursday morning-- real early. The exhaust-belching recycling truck winds its way through city streets. Stopping every half block, some poor shlub lifts plastic bag after plastic bag of old soup cans, shredded stock reports, Coke bottles. He throws them into the truck.

“OK! Next one!” he shouts.

Somewhere around 10AM, they're done. Then it's off to the recycling plant. At the plant, dozens of workers tear open each plastic bag, empty the contents, and throw the bags onto a mound of unrecyclable plastic. They separate the contents. Then ship them to other recycling plants using other gas-powered, exhaust-belching trucks.

Let's follow the paper to the plant. When it arrives, electrically powered machines soak the paper. Gallons and gallons of precious water. Then more electric machines mulch the wet mixture and turn it into paper soup.

After mulching, the paper is electrically dried and pressed. All that electricity uses resource-depleting turbines or radioactive timebombs.

After that, still other machines wrap it in still more paper and ship it to a Staples warehouses. Staples stamps the paper RECYCLED, puts on a higher price, and then ships it to their own outlets.

You think this uses less energy than cutting down a tree? Yeah, right.

Then what do we do? Nothing?

How about not using the paper in the first place? How about sending an email and NOT printing it out? How about giving a phone call? Buying a used book? Calling the catalog company to ask them to take you off their lists?

Recycling lets you consume guilt-free. That's its real destructive nature. Recycling tells people “everyone can help. Just do a little bit. Separate your garbage and we'll be all right.”

It lets the big guys off the hook. Hey don't worry about G.E. buying water and reselling it to impoverished Africans (get rid of comma, use the period, you did both). Don't look at Exxon sucking out the earth's belly like giving a giant blowjob. I bet G.E. and Exxon recycle. So it's all okay.

Vegetarianism causes hunger: You think the opposite. You think that every carrot you eat feeds a starving child in Darfur. There's more on the bottom of the food chain than at the top. If you eat at the bottom, you use fewer resources. You're wrong.

In case you missed the publishing event of 2007: The Official Punk Rock Book of Lists by Amy Wallace and Handsome Dick Manitoba came out in November.

In that book, I list nine ways in which vegetarians are destroying the earth. The fundamental reason-- the one that underlies all the other-- is that cattle already exist. If we don't eat them, they live longer.

Here's Bossie. She eats her hay, blinks the flies away from her eyes. Shits. After 3 or 4 years, farmer Joe leads her off to the house of horrors.

PLOW! Blood spattered, she's torn limb from limb. Her doe-eyes gouged out. Body cut into thousands of pieces, patted into thousands of Big Macs, and shipped off to Mickey D's.

Now imagine a world of increasing vegetarians. There aren't enough people to take care of all the Bossies at three or four years old. Farmer Joe has to wait. In the meantime, Bossie shits more, eats more food, drinks more water. Then what?

If the average cow lives four years and then is slaughtered, that cow consumes four years worth of resources. If there are more vegetarians, then the average cow lives eight years, instead of four. That means the cow consumes twice as many resources. Plus, the vegetarian also consumes her own resources, competing with the cow, creating even more scarcity.

Take responsibility for your food. Eat cows raised humanely, outside the factory. Use the evil marketplace against itself. Encourage farmers to give cows more space. Feed them better food. Buy organic so farmers will GO organic. Buy humane so cattlemen will see humane sells. But vegetarianism only makes the problem worse.

Smoking is good for you: You think the opposite. You think big tobacco companies are evil. Worse than Nike, Wal-Mart or Microsoft. You think smoking causes cancer, emphysema. You think people are at risk from Second Hand Smoke. You're wrong.

A little internet research is all you need. Except for The Bahamas, the United States has the lowest men's smoking rate in North America, 28.1%. (I use men only, because in some cultures, women just don't smoke.) In cancer, America is number one. But how about lung cancer?

The U.S. has the highest lung cancer rate of any place in North America, South America, Oceania, and all of Asia except Seychelles. (Where?) In Japan, more than half the men smoke (59%). The lung cancer rate there is 47.9 per 1000 people. In the U.S. it's 85.9. Looks like smoking PREVENTS lung cancer.

What's up with all the TV commercials? In New York, we have a commercial with a guy talking through an artificial voicebox, swabbing his neckhole in the shower, telling people how cigarettes wrecked his life. Yeah, who speaks for the other dead? Where are the commercials showing the agricultural workers breathing pesticide? Where are the pictures of the throatholes of coal minters slowly strangling from Black Lung disease?

Hey buckaroos! It's a trick! Tobacco companies are the sacrificial lambs for corporate America. Never mind the shit that goes in the water you drink. Never mind the crap spewed into the air-- or the radiation from depleted nuclear weapons, used in Iraq, stored in Kansas. Oh no. If an American gets sick, it's smoking!!

Smoking in 2008 takes balls. Lighting up means you're not falling for the ruse. It means, you've seen through the deception and aren't buying it. If you smoke, you're showing the world you KNOW. Of course, I recommend American Standard or some other indie non-pesticided cigarette. But even a Marlboro is better than nothing. Don't allow yourself to be bullied into thinking if you get sick... you did it. Bullshit.

THEY did it.

Science is not god: You think the opposite. You're an atheist. No God, so what do you believe in? Science. If only people would look at the world in a scientific way, you say. The world would be a better place. Trust science to find truth. The scientific method will analyze the problems and give you the right answers. You're wrong.

Scientists can tell us what will happen to a bog if ATVs roll across it indiscriminately for a decade or two, What scientists cannot tell us is how to weigh the relative importance of mechanized joyrides through the bogs, a healthy water table, the preservation of bird habitat-- and the will of the majority... These are moral and political issues, not scientific ones. There is a certain implicit conceit that if you attach the word scientific to anything, then that makes it more important or more valid. And that's really metaphysically wrong; it's not true.
--John Toren in Macaroni Zine.

Yeah, I hate religion as much as the next guy... or at least as much as the next guy should. But science is one of the best arguments FOR religion. At least Catholics take a moral stand-- even if it is the wrong one.

You're dying. In the hospital. A new drug could save your life. It hasn't been approved yet, but it looks promising. It works a new way, targeting disease cells without damaging the tissue around them.

Breathing is hard. You've got tubes up your nose, forcing air into your lungs. The effort of expanding your chest hurts so much you just want to pull them out.

Yet you cling to life. Maybe this one last drug. This last chance will help you pull through. You've agreed to be a guinea pig. This is your last chance.

HAH HAH! Fooled you! You got the placebo! You're the control group! Someone else got the real medicine. See you in hell!

Science demands a control group. It demands a neutral test. It demands that people die. Science has no ethics. Scientists make medicine, cluster bombs, computers, napalm all with equal morality... or lack of it.

Scientists are interested in proof. They want to know how and why. They're not interested in SHOULD.

Of course, some scientists have ethics. Just like some religions are tolerant. But science itself has no more ethics than a TV set. Like monotheistic religion by its nature is intolerant, science by its nature is amoral.

Religion is ethical totalitarianism. Science is no ethics at all.

GW Bush is not evil incarnate: You think the opposite. You think the man is Mr. Evil. You think that even Hilary Clinton would be better for America and the world. You think George is only a tool of the right. An idiot with no principles... or at least no principles you share. You're wrong.

Dubya has appointed more Negroes, Hispanics, and other minorities to more high offices than any other president. Two colored secretaries of state. One of them, a woman. Was it for show? Check out his former Hispanic attorney general... an old pal. His secretary of state... they went way back. Who else can say that? G.W. has been the most principled, least racist president the U.S. has ever had.

During his lame-duckedness what does he do? Pardon his friends like Clinton did? No! He vetoes child-insurance because it's “too socialist.” Sure he's wrong. It's harder to be “too socialist” than to have too much nookie. And that's hard! But he's stuck to his principles. More than any politician since Jimmy Carter. You've got to admire that.

OK, that's a summary of the most important ways you were wrong in 2007. Hope you had a drunken New Year. Next year's election should be as easy as ABC (Anybody But Clinton). It's better that you don't vote at all, than vote for Hillary. I'll explain why in a future column. In the meantime, remember you can improve your life-- and the world-- by eating meat, smoking, distrusting science, not recycling, and putting in a nice word for G.W. Bush.

Yeah, changing the way you think is, like a sesame seed caught in your anal fold, a pain in the ass. Trust me, it's good for you.

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]


-->If I wanted to donate to sweatshops, I'd buy Nikes dept: I get this letter from SOHO partnerships asking me to contribute. This group pays local homeless people to clean sidewalks, empty garbage cans, do stuff no one else wants to do. Many of these people are required by law to work. In an amazing Catch 22, New York law says homeless can't live on the street in the winter. BUT, in order to use city homeless facilities, they have to work. Who'll hire people with no address and no references? You guessed it, good ole SoHo partnership. And the wages? $6 an hour!! I don't know where you work. In New York, $6 an hour doesn't pay for lunch. PLUS! They have to use another 2-3 hours of non-wages to pay for the shelter they don't want to stay in. Er... who was it that abolished slavery? When did that happen?


-->But in This Case Dept: Usually I think it's lame to put down someone because of spelling mistakes. Most geniuses, including Einstein and me, are bad spellers. But my jail-pal Kyle sent me this ad for merchandise from The Racial Nationalist Party of America. You've got your Mussolini videos, your “KKK with Blood drop” flag, and Storm-trooper Marches CDs. Want something punker? Well, you can buy a ton of CDs by Screwdriver. Yep, that's how they spell it in the catalog. You'd think they, of all people, would know!
The website corrects the error, but still entertains with their description of payment method:
The RNPA has taken itself out of the Jewish banking system so do not send checks or bank originated money orders. Send only postal money orders. Make payable to Karl Hand. Send cash only at your own risk. All orders are considered as a donation to the Racial Nationalist Party of America. Include 10% shipping and handling.

-->Running business like a government dept: After all, the hideous Bloombergs of the world talk about “running government like a business.” You now have Google, planning to run their business like a government-- the American government.
According to The National Coalition Against Censorship, Google is “developing ambient-audio identification technology” that turns on the microphone in personal computers to listen in on what's going on in the room. According to Google, the purpose of this is to “monitor what television channels Americans watch.” Yeah, right.


-->Running education like a government dept: F.I.R.E., a libertarian Free Speech site, issued a report that shows nearly ¾ of the surveyed colleges have “speech codes” already ruled unconstitutional. These include:
Northeastern University in Boston, which prohibits students from using the university’s network to “transmit or make accessible, material, which in the sole judgment of the University, is offensive…”
Florida Gulf Coast University which prohibits “expressions deemed inappropriate.”
Ohio State University which instructs students in the residence halls: “Do not joke about differences related to race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, ability, socioeconomic background, etc.”
There are tons of other examples. Go through the supporters of such stupidity and you'll find a pantheon of liberals who believe in “freedom of speech”-- as long as it doesn't offend anybody.

-->Running governments like governments dept: The Committee to Protect Journalists ranks the U.S. sixth among jailers of journalists. That puts us just behind Uzbekistan-- tied with Burma.

--> A touch of inspiration dept: Many of my readers have attended the Brian Deneke memorial shows around the country.
The average MRR reader was still nursing when a Texan jock killed Deneke, 15 years ago. The reason? The 19 year old was a punk-rocker. He had a mohawk. He listened to the same music you do.
Every year, there are memorial benefits around the country in his memory. I attended the one in New York. Valerie aka Xena, who organized it, is a goddess of the highest order. All the bands were great. (Especially a new kiddie band from Staten Island called Lucky Fucks ... and they are! I saw the teen-aged lead singer making out with this hot girl in front of the show. I was jealous of BOTH of 'em!)
The atmosphere was terrific. People of all ages, genders, persuasions, in the pit and out of it. Friendly as a Dominican whore! Wow! Find out about the memorial at the MySpace website
or just Google. You'll find a ton of links!



Monday, December 03, 2007

Mykel's Column for MRR 297 Feb. '08

You're Wrong
An Irregular Column
for MRR 297
by Mykel Board



If you're really devoted to your calling, you can expect the worst.
--Celine


I didn't plan on writing about sports. I HATE SPORTS, except baseball, which isn't a sport. It's a game.

But, I was madder than a Yankee fan at the end of last season. News articles-- a ton of 'em. Barry Bonds, the greatest homerun hitter since Hank Aaron... or Sadaharu Oh (look it up!). And the stupid papers complain about steroids. More, a New York One News “snap poll” finds that 60% of the respondents think that the hero “should go to jail.”

Here's a guy who sacrificed his body, took risks, rose to the top. A real baseball man. And look what happens. Jezus fuckin' Ruth.

While seething at this injustice, my Yahoo screen flashes. Click here for the latest news:

   The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has annulled all sprinter Marion Jones's results dating back to September 2000. She won five medals, including three , in Sydney but they will be re-allocated by the International Olympic Committee. Jones is to serve a two-year ban after admitting she used steroids.
       The federation has also recommended that the other members of the relay teams be stripped of their medals. Gold and silver medals won by Jones at the 2001 World Championships in Edmonton will also no longer be recognized.
       The United States Olympic Committee says they will abide by the IOC's decision on relay medals and not appeal.

If I hadn't hated the Olympics before, this would have been the butterfly jump that broke the camel's ankle.

SCENE SWITCH ONE: It's the fifth grade. Little Aiden Schwartz sits quietly at his desk but not for long. Nothing is for long with Aiden. His tussled blond hair defies every comb to challenge it. His clothes are more tears than cloth. Now, Aiden raises his hand.

“Teacher, teacher, can I go to the boysroom?”

“You just went,” answers the teacher.

“But I was drinking a lot of Evian that Mom packed with my lunch. I gotta take a piss.”

From the back of the class come snickers. From somewhere else, a loud farting sound.

The teacher, a slightly chubby woman, in her early 50s, is just starting to feel comfortable in the half glasses she peers over to look at the boy.

“Young man,” she says. “We don't use that language in school. Is that what your parents taught you?”

“You don't need to be taught that you gotta piss,” he says.

“Out!” says the teacher, pointing to the door. “But not to the boysroom-- to the principal!”

It isn't long before a dejected Mr. and Mrs. Schwartz sit in front of that administrator, Ivan Rinsky. He's a big guy. His blond hair, high cheekbones and barrel chest show his Slavic roots.

The Schwartz's squirm in their seats. Small, Jewish-looking, they know Aiden is a problem. He's a smart boy. Loves to read. But he's a trouble maker. In class, he stands too close to the girls. He chases after smaller boys, and picks fights with bigger ones. He's rarely without a broken bone. Never without a bruise.

The boy loves exploring. Loves adventure. He's thirsty for new experiences, new thrills. He loves learning, trying, experimenting, testing the limits. He never has enough.

“Our school psychologist has examined Aiden,” says the principle. “His diagnosis is ADD. That's...”

“We know,” says Mrs. Schwartz. “We've suspected it for a long time.”

“It's a disease,” says the principle, “like diabetes. But it can be treated. I have a prescription right here...”

SCENE SHIFT TWO: It was a horrible hurricane. 120 mph winds. Struck the coast like Barry Bond's bat. Worse than a tornado. Houses wrenched from their foundations. Flipped over. Torn apart. Scores dead. Among those was Mildred Wenchpot, a 27-year-old bride-to-be.

A thousand miles away, Herbert Pudnick watches the devastation on his hotel room TV. He does not yet know his betrothed is a soaking pile of dead meat. He does know that things look grim.

Phone lines are down. There's no way to contact anyone. Herbert is helpless. He sits on his bed, mouth hung open, barely understanding the destruction of his city-- his life. Absentmindedly, he runs his hands through his thinning hair, digging his nails into his scalp. Sweat pours into his eyes. He's not sure if he's crying.

A heaviness seizes him. Like nothing he's experienced before. It would take more energy than he has in his entire body just to move his little finger. He stares at that finger. At the flaking skin around the knuckle. At the tiny hairs that grow from the back of the first joint. It doesn't move.

“I can't take it,” he thinks. “I'm going to die. I know I will. It's just the hope that Mildred might need me that keeps me alive.”

Six months later, Herbert is a wreck. Somehow he's managed to get to his sister's house in Rockford Illinois. He doesn't remember-- or care-- how. He hasn't left his sister's couch except to piss and shit-- and not always for that.

His sister, Fortuna, is a usually jolly woman, about 35 with a svelte athletic body and tremendous breasts. Today her smile looks forced. She enters the living room with a man Herbert wouldn't recognize, even if he had the capacity to recognize anyone. The stranger, tall and thin, has a dark complexion over European features that makes you guess Indian. He's dressed in a conservative suit, and carries a small bag.

Fortuna kneels besides the couch. She gently strokes a loose strand of thin hair from Herbert's forehead.

“Herbie,” she said, barely louder than a whisper. “This is doctor Goupal. He can help you.”

Herbert rolls on his side and moans. “I just lost my wife, my future, everything I've lived for. My life is ruined. You can't help me. Just leave me alone”

“I understand,” said the doctor, subtlety moving Fortuna aside, taking her place next to the bed.

“When we are depressed,” continues the doctor, “we think it's our own fault. We think it's because of life's little problem and vicissitudes...”

He pauses dramatically, “it's not that. It's chemical. It's just like diabetes. Your body doesn't produce the right amount of serotonin. Here, take this pill. It will help make you all better.”

SCENE SHIFT THREE: This is real: (http://tinyurl.com/239o8n)

Arkansas, 1979, the year Bill Clinton became governor: The state sentences Charles Singleton to death on a murder charge. He spends more than 20 years on death row. The problem? Charles is psychotic.

In the 1920s, Clarence Darrow showed that it was even worse to execute schizos than to execute regular people. Would you kill a 2-year old who picked up Dad's gun and playing, pulled the trigger? Of course not. Why? The kid didn't know what he was doing. The same with schizos. But the Arkansonians, in a typically American thirst for vengeance, sentence this guy to die.

Here's the catch. For the State to legally kill someone, that person has to be aware of what is happening to him. If Charles is kablooey, they can't execute him.

What does the state of Arkansas do? They force him to take drugs to control his symptoms. That makes him appear normal, so they can execute him. Arkansas law says that the government can force people to take drugs “only if it's in their best interest.”

The local court rules that drugs “make Singleton feel better” and are thus “in his best interest.”

He's executed in 2004.

DENOUEMENT: Get it? This is a pill-popping society. Too sad? Take a pill. Too happy? Take a pill. Too lethargic? Too active? Eat too much? Shop too much? Don't fuck enough? Take a pill. Your sickness saving you from death? Take a pill.

Along with violence and God, pill-popping is the all-American solution to every problem. It's as American as a cluster bomb. How can anyone blame athletes for solving their problems with a pill? (Or an injection, just a pill in liquid form.)

Barry Bonds didn't CHEAT. Neither did Marion Jones. Unless you consider every American on some prescription Pfizer profit-maker a cheater. If you took steroids would you run as fast as Marin? Hit as many home runs as Barry? You bet your Prozac you wouldn't. That takes skill and talent and training. That's there, drugs or not.

More than that, all athletes know the risk of using the drugs. They know roid-rage, the shrinking testes, the heart attacks. Still they do it. Why? They want to win! What else are sports about? It's the only thing!

Blame these athletes for steroid use? That's as hypocritical as Bill Clinton telling the Columbine kids that violence doesn't solve problems while bombing the crap out of Yugoslavia. People who live in glass bathrooms shouldn't throw shit. Clean your own medicine cabinet first!

When general society says that people can solve their problems-- without the use of chemicals-- then maybe it'll have the right to condemn those who use chemicals. When we create a place where winning isn't the only thing, then maybe we can complain when someone really wants to win. When the quick response to I can't, is no longer, you should take something to help you, then we can grumble about those who DO take something.

Until then, to Barry and Marion: this Lude's for you! In my book, you're winners. And that's the only thing.

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]

--> Must've been a Christian dept: The Black Frog Restaurant, in Minnesota was famous for its SKINNY DIP. Docked in Moosehead Lake, the restaurant is perfect for those with a love of water. Evening diners eager for a swim and a bargain were – until recently – welcome to peel off their clothing and jump into the lake’s chilly waters. Those who did, got a free sandwich, called, a SKINNY DIP.
         Leigh Turner, the restaurant owner, found out about a single complaint against the practice. It happened when he tried to renew his liquor license. If he’s formally asked to stop allowing his clients to have their bit of naked fun, there won’t be any more free Skinny Dips served in exchange.
        John Simko, the Town Manager for the area, apparently was contacted by the only person to have visited The Black Frog and complained. Because of this, Simko has suggested that the Police Chief talk to Turner about the sandwich deal. If that happens, it’ll be a fat chance that anybody will be earning a free Skinny Dip in the future.

-->Wishful thinking kidnapping dept: My pal Bob sent me this:
          Nothing is moving north or south on the Chicago Expressway. A man knocks on the window of one of the blocked cars.
          The driver rolls down his window and asks, "What happened? What's the hold up?"
         "Terrorists have kidnapped Hillary Clinton, Rosie O'Donnell, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. They are asking for $10 million ransom. Otherwise, they are going to douse them with gasoline and set them on fire. We are going from car to car, taking up a collection."
         The driver asks, "On average, how much is everyone giving?"
        "About a gallon," he answers.
    (I wudda left Rosie O'Donnell out of the joke.)

-->Bad enough to be in Indiana dept: Last month, I asked you to write to my jailpal Kyle Noneman Since that time, he's been transferred. Here are the new details:
          (Write to this guy! He's lonely and in the former home of Timothy McVeigh... the Oklahoma bomber. His fellow prison mates are REAL SCARY!) Find out the details: Kyle Nonneman, #68528_065, United States Penitentiary, PO Box 33, Terre Haute IN 47802

-->I'm international! dept: New Zealand Customs has a list of "Indecent Publications" at:
http://tinyurl.com/24velt
          These are banned from entering the country. ABUSED AT ATTICA, one of the porno novels I wrote for hire in the 80's, is on the list! Yeah! Somehow, I feel that makes it all worthwhile.

-->From the folks who brought you Hiroshima and Nagasaki dept: I got an offer to subscribe to FREE INQUIRY magazine. I guess it's a magazine for atheists, kind of a support group.
           What caught my attention was the offer of a free book with my subscription: CAN SCIENCE HELP US TO MAKE WISE MORAL JUDGMENTS?
          The implicit answer is YES!
          Besides the atom bomb, we've got steroids, smart missiles, poison gas, and iPods. Wise moral judgments?
          Might as well read the companion: CAN RELIGION HELP BRING PEACE TO THE WORLD?
         The answer to both: yeah, right.

-->Didn't scientists invent those bottles? dept: You buy everything in them. From water to Tennessee whiskey. Plastic bottles. If you're using them because you don't like the idea of aluminum cans causing Alzheimer’s ...er... think again.
           Prevention Magazine says that BPA, a chemical in plastic bottles, leaks into the liquid they hold. Studies show that after several days mice exposed to BPA develop insulin resistance. That means diabetes! And how many of those have YOU drunk from. I'll take water, thank you. From a glass.

-->It sounds like a porn movie dept: I nominate Pomegranate Blue as Spurious Health Drink of the Year. And yes, it comes in a plastic bottle.
           The label shows a picture of a pomegranate with a few blueberries lying artistically next to it. The name, like the label combines those two fruits.
           The motto at the bottom of the label: JUST A TAD SWEET.
           Now, check out the ingredients:
           Number one (after water) is SUGAR. Next comes grape juice CONCENTRATE.
          Only then do we get pomegranate CONCENTRATE. Not real fruit...
          There are no blueberries at all. The closest is second-to- last "organic blueberry flavor." What is that? The chemically-made taste of organic blueberries?
          Oh yeah, the real kicker, the name of the drink company: HONEST ADE.

-->Bend over pahdnah... sheh sheh dept: The Chinese national language registry has added a new term: duan bei. It literally means "broke back." But the current meaning of the slang word is "male homosexual."

-->Aw come on! dept: New York Metro reports that the City Council wants to raise fines and jail penalties for guys who expose themselves in the subway. Fines would be raised from $500 to $1000 dollars. Maximum jail time goes from 90 days to a year. OK, that's not news.
What is news is the headline the newspaper used for this war against flesh exposers: STIFFER LAWS EYED FOR CITY FLASHERS... Yowsah!

-->Kyle, my jailbird pal sent me a clipping about Kansas City police who are investigating a 20-year old who tried to flush her newborn kid down the toilet at McDonald's.
         The woman was discovered when workers saw she didn't return from a restroom visit. They called the cops who discovered the flush. Unfortunately, the kid survived, and will grow up to mug you or invade some classroom with an AK47. Can you imagine entering the world that way? And then some Xian is gonna say, YOU ARE LOVED.

-->Kyle also sent me info about Jack McClellan, a pedophile with the balls to call himself one. He has a website: http://www.stegl.info/ that tells about his likes and dislikes. He's never been convicted of a crime, but somehow that didn't stop a California court from issuing an injunction against him. Stay away from playgrounds! A court action, for a website! Long live freedom of...

-->Money from the war dept: Not THAT war, but the right-wing invented "War Against Christmas"
            The American Family Association brought in more than half a million dollars selling buttons and magnets reading "Merry Christmas: It's Worth Saying." The Rev. Jerry Fallwell's (R.I.T.) (Rest in Torment) Liberty-Counsel took in more than $300,000 pushing a "Help Save Christmas Action Pack."
             The Alliance Defense Fund sold a similar kit for $29 a pop. It consisted of two buttons and a document called "The Memo that Saved Christmas," supposedly legal advice for those who want more Christmas in public life.
            One thing missing, however: examples of government hostility toward Christmas. With so little go on, most organizations had to gripe about language used by privately owned stores and businesses. Pretty lame.
            Oddly, none of these groups complained about the White House's 2006 Holiday card, which did not once mention "Christmas."

-->Used to be called CHEAP dept: These days everyone and his enterprise are being ECOLOGICAL. 20 years ago, the same actions would have been called CHEAP!
            Some hotels participate in something called PROJECT PLANET. They write on a door tag: "The Project Planet program is an effort of this hotel to protect the environment through conservation of water and decreased use of detergent. If you are staying more than one night, as part of the Project Planet program, we will launder your linens every three days."
           If that doesn't get you to feel good about sleeping in your own dirt, let 'em throw in the guilt!
         "If you would prefer not to participate in this program, simply hang this card on the outside of your door and linens will be changed today."
         Umm, excuse me, Mr. Hotelman, if I'm “saving the planet" by not using water and detergent, what am I doing for you? How 'bout a discount, bub!

-->But I can carry my six-shooter dept: The National Coalition against Censorship reports that Boris Mills, a representative from Texas, the state with the most executions in America, removed two works of art from an exhibit in the Capitol Building in Austin. The Representative complained about the pieces which showed a lynching and a man tied to an electric chair. He said they were "offensive." Maybe the rep needs to chill out. I know a pill that'll help him.

-->It's a tiny one dept: For this column I've used a free internet program called tinyurl (available at tinyurl.com). The program translates very long URLs with lots of number to SHORT urls that fit on one line. The end result is the same.

-End-


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Mykel's Column for MRR 296
(December 2007)

You're Wrong
An Irregular Column
for MRR for 296
by Mykel Board



It's certainly hard to accomplish all that's required of one in life, first as a butterfly when young, then as a maggot when the end comes. --Celine

Piss on your ancestors. --Patti Smith

Damn! I'm still dripping. I thought I got it all. I shook hard. Even reached underneath and ran my fingers back and forth. Like trying to get the last inch of toothpaste out of the tube. Every drop, I thought. And now, in some stranger's bed... on a blow-up mattress actually. I am leaking even more drops. Fuck.

I'm in Beloit Wisconsin. Here for my 35th reunion. That and a booktour of Chicago and Indiana. The reunion is mine. The booktour was set up by my pal Sid Yiddish, the matzo ball shaped, shofar-blowing, throat-singing, oddball-genius poet I've often written about. An amazing guy. We'll be touring together. He's a great performer. Me, I just read from my books.

As for the reunions, I go every five years. It's fun to see how much lost hair and gained weight afflict my fellow students. Usually, I stay in the local Holiday Inn or Econolodge. My classmates are there. We can continue our drunken times from the 70s. More beer. More beer bellies.

At our 20-year reunion, the cops came. Busted the class for grass. Making a stink. As it turned out, Bob, one of the dorkier alumnis, worked for the D.A.'s office. He talked with the busting cops. Got us off with a warning.

“I understand,” said the cop. “But you guys should've outgrown that by now.”

What did he know? We hadn't outgrown shit.

Now, I'm tired of motels. I don't travel for motels. I travel for adventure. Instead of Holiday Dudd, I go to couchsurfing.com and find Jesse, a current Beloit student. That's where I am now. In her apartment. Slightly dripping onto her blow-up bed.

I called Jesse from New York to make sure she'd be home.

“I'm away sometimes on school stuff,” she told me. “I'm head of the Latina Students League. Sometimes we go to Madison or Chicago for events.”

Jesse didn't have italics in her voice when she said events, but I had it in my thoughts. What kind of events? A bunch of Hispanic girls getting together and doing stuff? Yowsah! I'm there!

I gave her the dates of my stay. She said it was fine and she'd blow up the air mattress for me.

“Also,” she said, “I work at The Coffee House, the on-campus bar. I'll buy you a beer.”

Meeting her is fraught with irony. She's a perfect Latina. Brown complected, curving in the right locations. Her body's a capital-S. I feel my tumescence tumenting.

“You're English is perfect,” I tell her. “But if I saw you on the street, I'd have you pegged for a Brazilian in a second.”

“I come from Maine,” she says. “My family's originally from Germany. I studied Spanish, went to South America, loved it. That's why I do all the Latina stuff.”

A Latina by choice-- not by birth. Yeah!

At the reunion, my class is as thrilling as a shopping mall. A convention of whatever happened to..., my kids are graduating from..., and I'm over the chemo, now. But lemme tell ya...

The girls in my class are now women. Chubbed out, with bulging bellies. Breasts sag onto those bellies as if too worn-out to stand by themselves. More O-shaped than S.

“I don't know about these kids,” says Meredeth, an old friend who now works for PBS. “We knew how to protest the war. We had demonstrations. These kids should learn. They're just trying things for themselves... reinventing the wheel.”

I ditch 'em fast. Go to the library where Fred Burwell, the college archivist, is recording old farts in an Oral History Project. He wants to get us on cassette(!) before we kick off. He thinks there's value in what we remember. In our points of view.

Okay, Fred is an Archivist, a kind of historian. A 96-year old talking about his struggles to pay $300 a year tuition is exciting to him. He'll enjoy me talking about my adventures spelling USA in partially dissected fetal pigs on the football field during halftime in 1969. It's his job.

What's amazing, is that Fred has a host of students working for him, for free. This stuff fascinates them. And it's NOT their job.

When I was a student, if a bunch of guys older than my dad showed up on campus, I'd be off the other way. No thank you. Get outta here. We got a revolution to make, and you guys are gonna get bowled over. Squished like sand under tank wheels. I've got nothing to say to you, and even less to learn from you.

And now, here's this eager student, a pretty blonde with mid-west cheeks and perky co-ed breasts. Here she sits, trying to figure out how to operate the cassette recorder. She writes for the college paper, The Roundtable, just like I did when I was at Beloit. Now she's recording my oral history. I wouldn't mind giving her some oral future.

“I can't believe I'm taking to Mykel Board,” she says. “I just read what you wrote in The Roundtable in 1969. I thought it was so cool. Just what I think.”

Yowsah!

There's Jesse the voluntary Hispanic, and this Roundtable girl... both showing more humanity than I ever showed at that age. Both girls sexier, more playful, more full of life and future than any dozen parents trying “to get their kids into a good school.”

These girls are arousing, not one is a snob. I say, never send a woman out to do a girl's job.

********************

From Beloit, I'm off to Chicago to meet Sid. I'm staying at his place for awhile. We've got 3 shows in town. Then to Indiana.

I promise Sid I won't write about his apartment, so that stays a secret. What isn't a secret is the work he's done setting up all the show dates. This guy know how to send email, and use the phone. A great skill in things I hate to do.

Though I spent my first 3 undergraduate years at Beloit, I actually graduated from Columbia College in Chicago. Their Writing Workshop taught me more about writing than Ron Jeremy taught me about sex.

Sid also graduated from Columbia, so he calls them to see if we can do an alumni reading. No luck, but the 20-something head of the alumni office takes us both out to lunch. He NEVER hits us up for money. Wow!

The college TV station and the newspaper interview us. We sit for the newspaper interview in a vacant office near the alumni bureau. Chris, the student reporter, is an attractive young man, with a hairless face and a suggestive earring. He's even more interesting because he crosses his legs at the knee and occasionally looks at his nails from the back of his hand.

Seems like he's read my book because he asks the right questions.

“What's your view of sexuality?” he asks. “How do you look at people's gender attraction?”

“There are no homosexuals,” I pontificate. “No heteros either. There are only people as sexual beings. We're free to do what we want. To label yourself “gay,” or “straight” is to put yourself in a box. Make rules for yourself. Lock yourself in a cage.”

“Wow!” says Chris, “That's exactly what I think. I'm a bisexual...”

“That's a trap too,” I say. “You should just be open to explore. Don't consider gender, race, age...”

“Well,” says Sid, “I think people should be able to do what they want. But I don't go that way myself.”

“Shut up!” I don't say. “Can't you see I'm hitting on this guy?”

“What'd he ask about sex for?” asks Sid, much after the interview. “You know, you kinda robbed me of that interview. You did all the talking. What could I say? I just don't go for men.”

“Robbed you?” I say. “And who said anything about men? Tell me I'm stealing. Tell me I rob. But never send a man out to do a boy's job.”

****************

When you're on the road with someone, you really learn about your differences. Sid likes The Beats, jazz, punkrock and The Beatles. I like The Beats, punkrock and detest the rest. Every chance he gets, Sid makes some jazz reference. Once he gets me to sing the only line I know from a John Lennon song. Something about being crippled inside.

Some stupid pollster said that most divorces in America are caused by differences over money. I doubt it. I bet most are over musical tastes. You damn well better know what s/he likes to listen to before you move in. Otherwise, it'll be hell!

Actually, our trip is not hell. I know Sid's tastes. He agrees: NO JAZZ. NO BEATLES in the car. That works.

After three successful shows in Chicago, Bloomington Indiana is a disaster. Two people show up. Cool girls. One guy comes late, just as we're leaving. He's a beautiful boy, about 20 with thick lips, a smooth square face and a slightly punk haircut. He's a friend of Damian, the promoter.

He complains about how he's having a bad day because his girlfriend wants to break up. I invite him back to where we're staying and suggest he get drunk and forget the girl. To my surprise he agrees to come.

We sit and talk. I do, in fact get this guy drunk. As the night drags on, I suggest he stay.

“You shouldn't go home drunk,” I tell him. “You can sleep on the other side of my bed. The couch opens up.”

“I thought you were going to sleep with me!” Sid whines.

“I'm really disappointed you're not going to sleep with me.”

“What the fuck?” I don't say. “Can't you see I'm hitting on this guy?”

“Ah, I don't think so,” I tell Sid, hoping that'll keep him quiet. He persists.

“Mykel,” he says. “I really wanted you to sleep with me. I was looking forward to it.”

By this time the guy is gone. Riding home drunk on his bicycle. Shit!

Next stop: Lafayette Indiana. We're reading in small cafe. Lafayette's the home of Purdue University, the most conservative big school in the country, in the state where the KKK was born. I'm ready with my Boys In Da Hoods jokes.

Jean, the owner of the coffee house, works with her husband. They're both behind the counter. Their son, Isaac, is also here when we arrive.

About 11 years old, Isaac's dark hair is cut Beatles-style. He has cherubic red cheeks and a skinny little body that cries out molest me! I'm sure Sid likes the haircut. As for me...

I invite the kid to help us move stuff from the car. Gamely, he picks up a suitcase full of books and struggles with it. Around the corner. Through a parking lot. Up the wooden steps to the cafe.

“You like living here?” I ask Isaac.

“It's okay,” he says.

“What can you tell me about the town?” I ask.

He tells me some things I don't remember now. But he's full of enthusiasm for the tales. Finally, we get everything up the stairs to the cafe. Isaac drops the heavy bag he was lugging.

“Great job,” I tell him.

He grins.

Sid starts unpacking, pulling his shofarim from his suitcase.

“Isaac plays the trumpet,” says his mom.

“You wanna try playing one of this?” I offer, gabbing one of the ram's horns.

I hand it to the kid. He blows into it. Nothing happens.

“Go like this,” says Sid, making a brrrrrrrr noise with his lips. “Try it like it's really cold outside.”

He demonstrates.

The kid puts the horn to his mouth. As I watch those prepubescent lips curl around the tip of the shofar, I melt. Then, he blows into it. Just the sound of wind. Then again. A little burpish sound. Then another, longer. He's getting it.

“Great!” says Sid. “You're getting it.”

I can see the kid beaming from his accomplishment. So much joy in something so simple. It makes me lust after more than just the pre-adolescent body. It makes me lust after the ability to celebrate EVERYTHING. Even something as simple as making noise on a ram's horn.

Reluctantly, the kid puts the horn away.

“My mom says I have to go downstairs while you're reading,” he tells us. “You might say some... things.”

“Don't worry,” I tell him. “When I say them, I'll think of you.”

After the reading, mom tells us that Isaac was so proud of himself. Proud how we treated him like a real person. Proud how we asked him stuff about the city, and how he carried our bags. Proud how Sid let him blow the shofar.

Again, I'm seeing how kids nowadays LIKE adults. They treat us as humans. Something I would have never done when I was his age. I would've told me to fuck off.

Just before the reading starts, our hostess for the night arrives. Another girl I met on couchsurfing.com. Her name is Nona. Sid and I agree that she's pure visual Viagra in a woman's body. Dark hair. A fullness of butt that goes beautifully backwards instead of flabbing down the sides of the hips. Breasts with cleavage she isn't afraid to show.

A young woman, maybe early thirties. She introduces herself, explaining that she's a visiting scholar at the local universality. Her specialty is zoonoticology.

“What's that?” I ask.

“It's animal diseases that jump to humans,” she says. “You know like Mad Cow or Bird Flu. I'm working on this new virus. It comes from cats. It infects human red blood cells. I've got a picture of it on my computer.”

Later that night, at her place, Nona opens her computer and turns it on. The screen wallpaper is a picture of some huge red blobs. On the red blobs are gray masses, looking like scabs or pieces of bread crust.

Her chest swells like a new mother.

“Those are my babies,” she says. “I found 'em. Someday they're gonna be named after me. My own disease!”

Sid and I are both after her. He under ages me and I underweight him. Guess who wins.

“Oh,” says Nona, “I'm a lesbian. My girlfriend's back in Brazil. I really miss her.”

That night Sid and I share a futon in a separate bedroom.

“Finally, I get to sleep with you,” he says.

I keep my underpants on and sleep facing the wall... or try to sleep. Sid, unused to the amount of wine he's drunk, snores louder than a Motorhead concert.

I can't take it. Moving my pillow and blankets, I leave the room to sleep in the hall. I figure Nona will come out and ask what happened.

“I can't sleep,” I'll whine. “Sid snores!”

“That's too bad,” she'll say. “Why don't you come into my bed?”

It doesn't happen.

I drift uncomfortably into some nightmare or other. I hear a shuffling. It's Sid.

“What's the matter?” he asks.

“You were snoring.” I tell him. “I couldn't sleep.”

“Sorry,” he says. “I'm up now. You can go back to bed.”

So I go back to the futon and Noona comes out, sees Sid in the hall. Asks him what's wrong and invites him into her bed. Boy am I pissed.

It doesn't happen.

What happens is the girl stays asleep all night and the next day she runs off with this geeky guy dancing by himself in front of the stage at a heavy metal show. So much for the lesbian. What can you expect from a young woman? She's certainly not a girl. Too bad.

She may be a scientist, investigating a blob. But never send a woman out to do a girl's job.

*****************

And now, I read these cheap-ink pages you hold in your hands. I look at the internet. I see a bunch of old farts telling the kids what punk “really is.” I hear guys as old as your father arguing about the finer points of anarchism, or whether one should be offended by flying donuts. And these are the guys who worry about the younger generation?

Oh yeah, the latest issue of The Utne Reader has a feature on How Baby Boomers Can Still Save The World.

Yeah right.

In the 60s we used to say, Don't trust anyone over thirty.

Now, it's time to say Don't trust anyone older than you. Don't trust old farts who tell you anything. They're wrong. Look at the world! Who made it this way? Not you!

Go out. Reinvent the wheel. Start from scratch. Decide for yourself if it works or doesn't. If it feels good or doesn't. If it's important or isn't.

Me? I'm goin' out drinking with my 22 year old nephew. I'm gonna see who's playing at ABC NO RIO... the all ages show. I'm gonna go trolling for teens on Facebook. Let the old guys moan and let 'em sob. I say: never send...


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]

-->Fred Burwell's Oral History Project will be transcribed and posted at: http://www.beloit.edu/~libhome/Archives/papers/index.html. For questions about individual transcripts, you'll find an email link to Fred on that page.

-->Just realized dept: Ever notice that the guys who dispute global warming because it's “unscientific” are the same ones who dispute Evolution, because "it's obvious that God created the universe?"

-->Name that disease dept: A former Navy supply officer pleaded guilty to illegally possessing 60 unregister machine guns. David Carmel, of Madison Wisconsin told the judge he is being treated for a mental illness, but is "in control of his faculties."

-->We need his face on the cover dept: NY Metro reports that GQ Magazine killed a story about in-fighting in the Hillary Clinton camp. The reason? They wanted to use Bill as the coverboy and Hillary said no unless the story was killed. Makes you wonder about anything with Bill on the cover, huh?

-->George's Balls dept: I'm beginning to like G.W Bush more and more. That guy has balls. Can you imagine vetoing insurance for kids? Amazing? Against helping kids?? That's like jerking off in mom's apple pie. What could be more unAmerican? What could be more nasty in the eyes of average Joe! Anti-kids! The president! Wow! I love the guy.

-->Why I may vote for Ron Paul dept: NY State Democrats are sponsoring a measure that would make the “drawing, etching or display of a noose” illegal. Can you imagine? A picture... not even pornographic... illegal. Once that happens, ANYTHING can be illegal. You find something offensive, PUFF, it's illegal. As soon as they pass the law, I'm making t-shirts with a noose around FREEDOM OF SPEECH. Getting arrested will at least prove a point.

-->And Obama supports corn-gas dept: Jean Ziegler, a United Nations expert has condemned the growing use of crops to produce biofuels as a replacement for gasoline. He calls it “a crime against humanity.” He says that biofuels will bring more hunger into the world. Why? The growth in this energy source has pushed the price of some crops to record levels. It's harder than ever for the poor to pay for food.
            Ziegler calls for a five-year ban on crop fuel. Within that time, he says, technological advances will enable the use of agricultural waste, such as corn cobs and banana leaves, rather than crops themselves, to produce fuel.

-->Quote of the month dept: God knows I'm not a vegetarian, but sometimes the logic of carnivores embarrasses even me. Tom Philpott, writes in the food magazine Gastronomica:
        If we must do the dirty deed of raising an animal to kill it, then we owe it to the animal to wring as much gustatory joy as possible out of the process.
        We owe it to the animal???? Yowsah!

If you want to read more about my adventures in the Midwest. Check out my lazily updated tour diary at: Mykel's Diary.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Mykel's Column for MRR 295

You're Wrong
An Irregular Column
by Mykel Board

So the prophet went into Gomorrah and preached to the people. He screamed to warn them that they have to repent and stop their evil ways or they'd be destroyed. The people didn't listen, but the man continued to walk through town screaming his warnings.
           After several days, a little boy came up to the man.
           “Why are you still shouting?” he asked. “Don't you see that you can't change anyone?”
           “I used to scream to try to change humanity,” said the man. “Now I realize that's impossible. So now, I scream to keep humanity from changing me.

--Ellie Weisel

I'm madder than a pedophile at a nursing home. It's my stop. I struggle up from subway seat, putting my RAZORCAKE in my bag and wiping the bagel crumbs from my pocket. I reach the door, and there's this massive hunk of blubber trying to force his way in.

'What the fuck? Dija go ta retard school? Let people OUT first, you fuckin' ape.”

I don't say any of that, of course. This guy is 6 foot tall and weighs three of me. He could crush me with a flick of his index finger. But I think it. And I think it hard. I hate people who block the subway doors. Kill 'em.

It bothers me until I get to work. It keeps coming back. The I shudda saids and What could he have done to me?s. I spend much more time on this guy's stupidity than its worth. But that's what pet peeves are all about. Getting worked up over stuff that isn't worth getting so worked up about.

They're weird, these pet peeves. It's logical to get mad at George Bush for the murder of so many people in Iraq. It's not logical to get mad at the old lady who stands blocking up the walk side of the escalator. But logic is not part of pet peeve. It's a deep emotional immediate feeling. Fuck logic.

On the way back home, I'm trying to walk up Lexington Avenue to get to Grand Central. Ahead of me is some tourist family, lazily walking down the sidewalk. Asses like twin watermelons. This is probably the first time they've walked since they got into their new pick-up truck in Omaha.

Shoulder to shoulder. Taking up the whole sidewalk. Not letting a single person pass this way or that. Jeezus fuck! Go back to Nebraska! I hate people who take up the whole sidewalk. Kill 'em!

And then there're people with sandals. At a punk show? If I want to see your toes, I'll ask if I can suck them. This is punkrock. This is army boots or Docs or cop shoes or most anything not Nike or so hippie it inspires that foot I want to shove up their asses.

Sandals? Unless you're an Arab belly dancer with a jewel in your naval, you should not be wearing sandals. Fuck sandal wearers. I wanna kill 'em!

So I walk back from ABC NO RIO and I see this guy in a black leather jacket. Between him and a mailbox is this ugly girl. White skin, little white blouse, tied in a bow under her tits. She's leaned back against the mailbox. He's pressing her into the blue, his entire body leaned against her, like she's a piece of dough being flattened for a pizza. His lips press against hers. Her arms feebly wrap around his back. His hips press tightly into her. Grinding.

Dammit, jerk. I'm the first in favor of screwing, but this isn't screwing. This is a show. You wanna prove to the world you're getting laid? Ok, hand out cards. Wear an I'm getting laid button. Write a letter to MRR. This guy's worse that those jerks who talk about their private life on a cellphone in the bus.

Listen Buster, keep your public displays of affection to yourself. I'm not impressed. You disgust me. You're so insecure about your sexlife that you need to show it to the world. Wassamatter? Afraid we'll think you're a homo? Need to prove yourself? You're only proving how pitiful you are. I should kill you.

Every time I heard U.S. troops are mowed down in Iraqi, a little shiver of joy went up my spine.

“Yeah!” I would say to myself. “The bastards are getting what they deserve. I wanna see more. Georgie Bush is getting his ass kicked... and here's another one.”

It was like pro-wrestling. The good guys score a point! The bad guy's down! He's out.

Rarely has there been a war where the division between the good guys and the bad guys is so clear. There are the invaders and the invaded. The attackers and those defending. It's as clear as a chancre.

Every day, I'd check the NY Times report. Watch the rising graph of American Troops Killed, and cheer on Iraqi victories. I hate those fucking American murderers. Kill 'em!

Saddam Hussein was my hero. He was the Abraham Lincoln of Iraq, the only man who could bring together the waring sides and actually rule. While he was president, the Sunnis and the Shiites lived, and worked together. Iraqi women were freed from the burqa and gained more power than in nearly any other Islamic country. I admired Saddam for these things. But mostly, I admired him for having the balls to stand up to the U.S. His murder was a great loss.

Except for that, the war went well for me. Although U.S. newspapers never showed war dead, the statistics were enough. As the numbers crawled to (and eventually passed) 3000, I cheered the power of David's slingshot against the techno-weapons of Goliath. Go David! Kill 'em.

So I'm visiting my pal Stephie in Connecticut. I've known her for years. We used to work at The Scribner Bookstore in New York. In the 1970s, that was the bookshop for the hoity toidy. Norman Mailer shopped there. Lillian Helman too. I was impressed by the clientèle. I lusted after Stephie.

As usual, things don't work out. Stephie got hitched, rehitched, dropped some puppies, became a poet of some note, and moved to Connecticut. I macheted a different path through life's jungle. As happens, we got in contact again and I visited her in West Hartford.

It's a modest suburban home. Stone foundation, pale blue siding. A shed sits off to the side, and a large driveway sweeps up to the 2 car garage. I pull my rental into the driveway, get out and ring the doorbell. In a few seconds, the door opens.

“Yeah?” he asks... not aggressively, but just surprised.

“I'm an old friend of... er... your... er... Mom?” I say, figuring that's the most likely relationship.

The kid is big. Six foot something, with shoulders wider than most doorways. He's built like a football player, but his face shows an intelligence not usually associated with the NFL.

“Are you Mykel Board?” he asks.

I nod.

“My mom told me all about you. I'm Tristan.” he says.

We shake hands.

Suddenly, I remember. Tristan took off for the army. Despite Stephie's wishes, he said he loved helicopters, wanted to be a pilot... or a teacher... and needed a boost from the military. He enlisted and they shipped him to Iraq.

“What are you doing home?” I ask him. “Did you get out?”

He laughs.

“I'm on leave,” he says. “I go back next week. They keep extending and extending. Tour after tour. You can never get out... Wanna Coke?”

“Got any beer?” I ask him.

He laughs, disappears into the kitchen and comes back with a pair of Coronas.

“Mom's out with the husband and the dog,” he says. “They like to take long walks in the summer. Ya know. Mom's a poet. They do things with dogs and trees.”

I nod, unconsciously staring at the guy. His perfect features. His wide forehead, like a scholar's. His nose, strong, yet not hooked or over-bearing. His blond crewcut.

“So, what's it like over there.” I ask him.

“It's like hell,” he says, using like like a 1960s teenager. “You read the reports, but the stuff you read about isn't the awful stuff. The awful stuff isn't big. It's like little. It's like we're not allowed into town. We can't talk to the local people. The base is like a jail. We have like a little radio station. We can download stuff on our iPods, but like our internet connection is really bad. And it's censored. We're like prisoners.”

As he talks, I have to force my attention back to his words. I keep staring at his face. I see the left side of that wide forehead splatter onto the window behind him. His brain leaks out over the exposed skull. An eye dangles from the optic nerve. His lips, blown away, expose teeth fragments in what looks like a bubbling pit of red tar. His shattered mandible wags up and down as his strained breathing pushes out words.

“... and I just want to sit and like listen to my music and read a book. But you can never do that. You're always like on edge. Waiting to fly, waiting for... for... are you all right?” he asks me. “You don't look too good.”

“No,” I tell him, “I'm fine. I'm just spacing out a bit.”

“OK,” he says. “I'll leave you then. Mom should be home like soon.”

“No,” I say. “I want to hear more.”

But I'm, like, not feeling too good.


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]

-->Junkmail from hell dept: I got in the mail what I thought was an offer to subscribe to a history magazine. On the front of the card, it says "Become a Part of History"
       Then I thought it was a science museum. Inside in big green letters: Come for A Visit. Stay for An Eternity. Wrong again.
        The card is from Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn.

-->Get a loadda that finger dept: Bottom Line Health magazine reports that children's scores on math and literacy tests are "linked" to the length of their index finger in relation to the ring finger. I did some research, and here's the scoop.

DISEASE: Longer ring finger: Heart disease. Autism and ADHD are also common.
SEXUAL ACTIVITY: Longer ring finger: Researchers at the University of Cheminitz, Germany, found men with long ring fingers had more sexual partners in the previous year and during their sexual careers
MUSIC: Long ring finger: There was a University of Liverpool study of 54 members of a symphony orchestra. The study found almost all the members had "exceptionally long" ring fingers.
DEPRESSION: Equal Length: A study at the University of Alberta found men with ring and index fingers of similar length - more like women - were more prone to depression.
HOMOSEXUALITY: Equal Length: Scientists at the University of California found men and women with index and ring fingers of the same length were more likely to be homosexual
INTELLIGENCE: Equal Length: Research at Milan University showed men with index and ring fingers of similar length had better verbal skills and were more likely to get good grades.

--> There had to be a word for it dept: Sexsomnia. That is the word for sleep fuckers... well almost. The actual definition is "People who exhibit sexual behavior during sleep-- fondling another person, masturbation, etc." I'm up for some etc. How bout you?

-->Vegetarians get smart(er) dept: A recent booklet put out by vegans urges members to tone down the shrillness in order to recruit more people to the cause. The booklet "Guide to Cruelty-Free Eating" says, among other things:
            "It's important to remember that equating meat with honey will make the vegan case seem absurd to the average person."
        They also urge members to lay off abortion and "other political or ethical issues" to avoid conflict with the potential convert.

-->Americans like it big dept: According to the SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE, in the 1960s, the average chicken weighted about 3 1/2 pounds at slaughter. Today it's 4 1/2 pounds. The average cow was 1,011 pounds. Today it's 1,275 pounds.
            Oh yeah, people: in 1980 the average male was 168 lbs. Today 180. (I'm 130.) The average female was 142. Today she's 152.
        My favorite statistic is about the International Journal of Obesity. It had 509 pages in 1993, its first year of publication. The latest issue has 2,322 pages. My guess is that the increase is mostly from ads for diet pills.

-->Invention of the year department: Mitch Altman, a San Fransisco man, has invented a key-chain accessory called TV-B-Gone. You can use it switch off any TV in a public place. It's small, discrete, and $25 including shipping. Order from tvbgone.com. Maybe I can get a free one for the publicity.

--> Oh yeah, I hate Ellie Weisel. I think he's lost any integrity he might have had when he started. Now he's a cog in the holocaust exploitation machine. Throwing in holocaust, and Hitler, and anti-Semite when anyone criticizes Israel or any Jewish organization.
         That said, I have to give the man credit. That quote at the beginning is not an exact one. It's from memory. It was in the prayer book at the local homogogue where I went for Yom Kippur. But even if I didn't remember it exactly, it's a good one.

-->What's for dinner, Mom? dept: In Belleville Missouri, K. Vickers was charged for “criminal neglect.” Someone called the cops about “an injured woman.” They came, and found that Ms Vickers was falling down drunk... not injured. They helped her to her apartment. Inside they found her mom. Dead. Her leg had been partially eaten by the family's poodle.
             I wonder if the neglect charge was because of mom, or the pooch.

-->Just the caption dept: Here's the caption of a photo published by The Getty News Service.

“At a new rehabilitation facility at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Army Spc. Marco Robledo, aims an M4 rifle at a firearm training simulator as instructor Ross Colquhoun helps adjust Robledo's prosthetic arm.”

'Nuff said?

-->Kyle Nonneman sent me clippings about Mom Eaten By Dog, and Walter Reed Hospital. I used them for these endnotes.
         Kyle's a jailbird in Missouri. He could use some letters, old fanzines, whatever you got. Write to him! He's: Kyle Nonneman, 68528_065, Medical Center for Federal Prisoners, POB 4000, Springfield MO 65801
               Plus, you'll get tidbits from him like “Cannibalism is DIY as fuck, isn't it?”

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Mykel's Column for MRR #294

to Mykel's homepage:

You're Wrong

An Irregular Column

For Maximum Rock'n'Roll Number 294

by Mykel Board


old pond--
frogs jumping in
the sound of water

--Basho (revised version)


You slowly insert your vaselined finger into your asshole. You push it around, massaging a bit. You twist the digit, lubricating 360 degrees. Then you squat over the Crisco-greased butt plug. 5 inches around at the widest point. Can you accommodate it? It’ll be snug. Just right.

Its pointy end up, the flat side rests against the wood on the floor. You lower yourself on to it, feeling the tip pry open the resistant sphincter and slowly slip inside.

Ow! You’re not going to… yes… ah, there it is. You feel like you’ve gotta take the world’s heaviest beershit, but there it is. That hole plugged and ready to go.

You’ve already used a hoseclamp to chock off your few inches of manliness. Or, you’ve wadded an old sock into your girlhole. Now, you can dress and continue the operation.

Underpants on, then jeans, t-shirt, socks and shoes. You pull your earplugs out of the desk drawer and insert them in your ears. You rap on the desktop. You can still hear a faint thud, like a body falling from a building far in the distance.

The bandage will take care of that.

You take two fresh gauze pads and put them over your closed eyes. Then you wrap a bandage… like the ones they use in mummy movies… over the gauze. The same bandage further covers the earplugs.

Again you hit the desk. Nothing. Absolute silence.

Feeling around, your hands strike the cool leather of the ball gag. You feel from the buckle to the center. Picking it up, you open your mouth as wide as you can. It’s not wide enough. You’re afraid of knocking your teeth out. You lick the ball, getting it salivatorily greased enough to try again.

Now you open your mouth so wide you feel cracking on the side of your head. You push. Yes! The ball pops into your mouth. It holds down your tongue, making you gag. When the reflex stops, you buckle the device behind your head.

Touch, you can’t block. You need to navigate. You’ve taken care of sight, sound, taste. You’ve closed all openings below the waist. You have to breathe, so you can’t close your nose completely, but you can protect yourself from any odor that might invade from the local garbage or bakery.

First,you stuff some extra gauze into one nostril. Feeling your way around to the kitchen, you find the refrigerator. It’s easy to open. Finding the vegetable bin is a little trickier. In your quest, you knock something over. Something warm and sticky drips against the back of your hand.

Further down. Bottom shelf. You recognize the onion by the thin loose skin. You peel the skin, until you reach the slightly wet juicy part in the center. Pressing your thumb against it, you allow the finger to soak up some juice. Then, you run your thumb against your mustache under the open schnozhole. Your eyes tear beneath the bandages.

Closing the refrigerator door, you’re ready to face the world.

Slowly, you feel your way to your apartment door. Go out. Navigate the hall with your hands against the walls. You come to the elevator, feel for the call button. Rest your hand against the closed door. You wait for it to open… for the elevator to carry you downstairs, to walk outside in the city air. Ready to face the city.

FLASH TO PRESENT: I'm in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Here on a book tour and haiku conference. I've been interested in haiku since I lived in Japan 20 years ago. That's when I learned that haiku is not the idiotic anything-that's-5-7-5 drivel that clogs the internet. Haiku in English has changed from a lame imitation of the Japanese. In some ways, it’s more conservative, more Zen, than modern Japanese haiku. In other ways, it’s more modern. One of greatnesses is the spirit of awareness. Knowing what’s going on right now. Feeling the wood of the chair slats as it presses into your back. Being able to trace that fart as it slides up the right side of the large intestine, across the top-- like toothpaste squeezed from a tube-- down the left side, where the pressure pain comes in huge bubbles, until finally where it blasts out in a triumphal trumpet. The sound of flatulence.

One of the conference seminars is on a new translation of the famous Basho haiku that you would have learned in highschool, if you weren’t too busy listening to your iPod.

In the old translation, there was just one frog, probably a big ole bullfrog, that jumped into the water. Basho heard the frog and, to surprise his readers, talked about the sound of the water, rather than the croaking sound of the frog.

The Japanese language doesn’t use plurals. The same word means frog and frogs. In the new translation there are lots of frogs. They’re jumping in the water all the time, creating a more or less constant sound, like someone typing on an old fashioned typewriter.

The genius of the poem is that Basho noticed the water’s sound in one moment of inspiration. The frogs were there all the time, splashing around, fucking, farting, jumping, doing whatever it is that frogs do in water. This is so common, so taken for granted, that nobody is even aware of it.

POW! Basho has a great moment of awareness. He hears the water because of the frogs. In one instance, he celebrates his immediate awareness of what’s always around him. This water, NOW. If punkrock means NO FUTURE, you can’t get more punkrock than that.

****************

The opening paragraphs of this column come to me while sitting on the subway. I’m reading the latest copy of VIZ. I look up at the people sitting across from me. There they are. A row of dead people waiting their turn at the taxidermist. Sitting silently as their life fluids drain from their body and are replaced by embalming fluid, via the ears, through thin white wires.

At each stop, I hear the scratch of the opening doors. People shuffling in and out. Snatches of banter, “… and her momma’s gonna be pissed when she finds out…”

The people across from me, don’t hear it at all. They hear Kenny Logins, or Destiny’s Child or Buju Banton. They sit aurally cocooned. If you asked them, they probably couldn’t tell you the race, gender or age of the person rubbing their arm. They don’t care. In an isolated city, these people, taken over, like by iPods of iBody Snatchers, isolate themselves further.

They’ve tried to wipe away their world. Cut out the real universe next to them. Not DEAL with the rest of humanity. Huddle in their opaque bubbles.

Am I better, nose buried in the latest VIZ? Aren’t I trying to shut out the world?

I don’t think so. I can—and do-- look up. I hear the fuss. I see the crotch of the woman in short shorts standing over me hoping I’ll give her my seat. The pod people are aware of nothing. They’re zombies, sleep walking in a self-contained world.

I don’t block my perceptitory input. I do, however, have a history of psychic iPodism.

I complained about the richness of my world. Horns honk the second a light turns green. Trashmen bang dumpsters at 3AM. Ambulance sirens, one after the other down Broadway. I complained! You know the way girls scream when they meet after a long absence? You know the way they hold their hands in front of their chests like squirrels sniffing for peanuts? You know the way they act like complete morons, shrieking at the top of their lungs at the most sensitive point on the human auditory spectrum? That used to bother me.

You know the way homos yell at each other on the street? Stand with their hands on their hips? Bat the word BITCH back and forth like tennis players bat a tennis ball? The way they stand and scream on the sidewalk, at all hours of the night? The way they throw you a What-are-you-looking-at,-Mary look, before they tell you what you’re not good enough to do to them? I used to be annoyed at that.

You know the way freshmen college jocks drink one beer and suddenly feel drunk? You know how they immediately show their suppressed homosexuality, hug each other, sing their frat song at full off-key volume? Sometimes twist each other’s nipples? You know how they shout some unintelligible sports chant or Greek letter drivel? Something that sounds like BUG-UBBA BUG-UBBA BUG-WANNA-BUG-BUG-BUG? There was a time I didn’t like that.

Can you imagine? The richness of this input. The most chaotic punkish of the punk and I complain? The universe is playing itself for me, like water for Basho, and I’m annoyed? What’s wrong with me?

The world is a chorale. Car alarms, screeching subway wheels, twirking pigeons, your grandmother’s farts. The smell of old bums on the street. The sight of plastic bags blowing in the wind from light poles. They’re all part of it. Each instrument is there, playing for me. The world’s biggest concert is THE WORLD.

It hits me like a feminist thrown brick. I smile. Throw my arms back like a diver just before he jumps. I scream at the top of my lungs, adding to the cheerful cacophony. YES! YES! YES!

I run down Broadway. Down to Chinatown. To the fish market. I inhale the scent of the rotting entrails, thrown to the ground in the mass filet. I breathe the durian, the old sock fragrance of the Thai stinkfruit.

I can’t believe what I’ve been missing. Not missing, but experiencing as bad… as something to be stopped, shut out. All this! This great loud, smelly world. What an idiot I’ve been for being annoyed. What an idiot you are for wanting to shut it out. Am I saying that anyone who uses an iPod or a cellphone is a social cripple? Am I saying that wearing deodorant is like walking around with a buttplug up your ass? Am I saying that not enjoying a car alarm is like walking around with your head covered in bandages? Yes! That’s exactly what I’m saying. More than that. Using an iPod on the subway, playing video games on the back of an airline seat, chatting on a cellphone while waiting on line at the bank… all these things are fascist. Okay Jeff Bale, they’re not exactly fascist. But they are totalitarian.

You are trying to play god. You’re not accepting the cinematic symphony that is the world. You want to control it. To bend it to your will. You want to rule over it like a tyrant. Eyes, ears, tongue, nose. You are the master of input. Fuck the world, you say. You want to control it all. To plug your holes. Stop yourself up. Control the input. Humanity and all that’s outside shouldn’t have a chance. And, oh yeah, you probably call yourself an anarchist.

ENDNOTES: [email subscribers (god@mykelboard.com), blog viewer (mykelboard.blogspot.com), podcast listeners or website viewers (www.mykelboard.com) will get a chance to comment directly to me on the content of this column]

-->Thanks dept: I want to thank my pal Brian Cornforth for putting up with me, chauffeuring me around, and letting his dog, Frank Zappa, hump my leg and bite my ass. I was on a booktour in North Carolina just before I went to the haiku conference.
I also want to thank the guys at Internationalist Books in Chapel Hill. Great bookstore, great reading… I thought I lost the check they gave me… and complained. Turns out they paid me in cash. Sometimes I’m an idiot!

-->That’s the way it is with everyone in the world dept: Krzyfztof Wroblewski pounded on a woman’s door from 1AM to 5AM. When the knocking stopped, the woman opened the door and Wroblewski stormed inside. He shoved her to the ground and grabbed her cellphone when she tried to call 911. According to The New York Post, “he believed that he and the woman were romantically involved, while she considered themselves merely acquaintances.”

-->Small victories dept: New York City has publicly apologized and paid $750 to each of 8 artists who were banned by the parks department. The display was part of a Brooklyn College MFA program final. The city said the display was “not appropriate for families” and shut it down… damaging some of the artwork in the process.
Among the displays was an illustrated story that included a Dick Cheney blowjob. Supposedly, there was other sexual content. My question: if sexual content is not appropriate for families, how do families get there in the first place?

The rest of this month’s endnotes all come from Gay City News, August 23, 2007.

-->Queers for Bush dept: Ryan J. Davis posted a video on You Tube called “Gays for Giuliani.” It’s supposed to be a pro-Giuliani video thanking little Benito for “supporting civil unions,” and being pro-gay in general.
Those whose IQ is larger than my dick have already figured out this is a genius attack ad. Created by lefty gays, they’ve aimed it at Republicans who wouldn’t touch homos with a 10 foot dildo. They plan to show it on TV in the Southern States, where it’ll hurt most. I give ‘em 20 points.

-->But I take 20 points away from the Queer Justice League. Somebody famous (me?) once said anytime people talk about justice someone’s gonna get hurt. I was right, of course.
This group is demonstrating against anti-gay reggae acts. Their bogeymen are Buju Banton and Bounty Killa. They want the pair banned from public performances and censored everywhere else. A local state senator is trying to help get the acts banned. Fortunately there’s a voice of reason. Gay activist Bill Dobbs writes,
The effort to use the government to interfere with a message, however offensive, is despicable.
Now, is Giuliani gonna have to hire Banton and Killa to boost his sagging conservative image?

-->Talk about irony dept: A New York jury has awarded $1.5 million to a cop and 2 co-cops. The cop was prohibited from becoming a Youth Liaison Officer because his superior thought he was gay. Two other cops came to his aid, and they were immediately moved off the fast-advancement track to desk jobs.
The city fought hard against the verdict, and is now appealing it. The city argues that none of the officers “suffered enough” to warrant so much money.
OK, that’s not so weird. City governments pay lawyers to be assholes. BUT, on page 7 of the same gay newspaper that ran the story, is a police recruitment ad, paid for by the city of New York. The ad features a picture of a female cop (presumably a lesbo) with the quote: I can’t think of another profession that would make me prouder—being a role model for children. Yowsah!

-->If it says OUCH, spits, and deflates it’s real dept: In California, a plaintiff known only as Joy H is suing her “husband” under California’s community property law. That law says that legally married people own half of all of each other’s property. In a divorce, that property is split.
-->The hitch is that Joy’s husband is a woman and gay marriage is not legal in California. Joy claims that she didn’t know the sex of her spouse. Though they often had sex, “he” used a dildo under the covers. Joy thought it was real.
The judge tossed out the case. I wonder if hubby has since tossed out the dildo.

-->Reuters knows who butters its bread dept: A Reuters Hollywood reporter filed a story about Merv Griffin. Its title: Merv Griffin Died a Closeted Homosexual. When the story appeared, the title was changed to Griffin Never Revealed the Man Behind the Curtain. A number of content changes also suddenly appeared in the final publication.
No comment from Reuters.