Friday, January 26, 2007

You're Wrong
An Irregular Column
by Mykel Board
for Maximum Rock'n'Roll #287
April 2007

There shall be no compulsion in religion. --The Koran

Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven. –The Bible

It's more satisfying than a Christian Scientist with rabies. I sit here. Letting the brown semi-liquid pour out of me. Feeling the relief down to my naked toes. Sometimes, I think I drink just for this. Just for this moment of release. Just for the ecstasy of draining myself. I can feel it for hours. A joyful emptiness. A relief like an innocent defendant must feel at a not guilty verdict. A masterful AAAAHHHHH.

April is the date of this issue. Like an April morning, I feel renewed. Back from the depths of an alcoholic winter. Blasting my way to spring.

Each blast loosens another, higher up, further to the right. Blaaatzing out, spraying green or okra or whatever color that fried calamari has become overnight.

Oh my God. This is wonderful. I'm going to get drunk EVERY NIGHT just for this experience. It's better than sex!

Then, the headache hits... and the nausea. AGONY and ECSTASY. If only I could separate them.

Freshly empty, I pop an Advil and pad nakedly to my bedroom and turn on the computer. Before I check with PornoTube-- to increase my total evacuation-- I tune into

The New York Times called that site “a MySpace for Adults.” Adult usually means sex. I check it out.

Instead of sex, I read an attack on my hero Jimmy Carter. Written by Alan Derschwitz, Israel's chief apologist, it completely ignores Carter's arguments and attacks him-- or his foundation-- for accepting money from Saudi Arabia. The group is “anti-Semitic,” says Derschwitz.

Being a shill, Derschwitz uses typical shill tricks. I wonder if the Israel lobby trains people to paint everyone against them as anti-Jewish (if they're not Jews) or “self-loathing” (up from “self-hating”), if they are Jews. It's called an ad hominem attack. It means if you can't attack the ideas, attack the people and no one will notice.

With Derschwitz, it's easy to see that his ideas, are wrong. His methods are wrong, and he's scum as a human being. (Is that ad hominem enough for you?)

“What is this crap?” I ask myself, embarrassed to be in the same tribe as this guy. “I've had enough.”

I click on PornoTube and write Scat in the search window. Not much. One ugly guy with a hairy belly. That, I don't want to see. Here's one that looks like Kitty Porn. Oh I get it: SCAT!

Hmmm, looks like they tightened up. No shit! Well, I might as well click on the news icon. Here's something from Israel:

The Israeli human rights group B'Tselem has said that last year Israeli security forces killed 660 Palestinians. In the same period, 23 Israeli civilians were killed by Palestinians.

Jeezus 660 to 23!!! This is getting nasty.


Whoever killed a human being should be looked upon as though he had killed all mankind; and whoever saved a human life should be regarded as though he had saved all mankind. -- The Koran

"For I will at this time send all my plagues upon thine heart, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people; that thou mayest know that there is none like me in all the earth." --The Bible


Newly limp, I dress and walk down Bleecker Street. You know how we deal with ethnic minorities as special friends? You refer to people as my black friend, my vegan friend, my gay friend, my Japanese friend. It gives you a feeling of tolerance. You're such a mench because you have all kinds of friends. You trot them out for special occasions. You invite them to parties. You let your real friends know how liberal you are.

I'm walking to the subway to go to Amal's place in Brooklyn. Amal is my Muslim friend. When I get out of the station on the Brooklyn side, I hear some loud music. It sounds vaguely Middle Eastern. That's okay, I'm on Atlantic Avenue. Everything is vaguely (or not so vaguely) Middle Eastern.

I look over at the source of the music. It's a huge van with a giant menorah on the side. A guy comes up to me. A chubby guy, dressed in black. A chubby guy, dressed in black, with long curly sideburns, and a big hat. A chubby guy, dressed in black, with long curly sideburns, a big hat, white fringes, carrying a big book.

“Are you Jewish?” he asks.

I'm ready with my usual. “I'm a Jew. No -ish about it!” but I don't say it. I'm not in the mood today.

“Why?” I ask.

“I just want to invite you inside to bind tefillim. Jews are special people, and as a Jew you should celebrate that.”

“Who said I was a Jew?” I asked.

“Your face says it,” he replies.

I shrug, and continue walking.

Amal lives on Harriet Tubman Avenue. It runs parallel to Atlantic Ave. It used to be called Fulton Street. His morning prayers are over, so he comes down to meet me for lunch. We're going for shish-kabob. Amal knows the best places.

Over lunch, I tell my friend that I've been depressed lately. All my people seem to be jerks. Worse than that, the history of my people is a history of jerks.

“Maybe it's time you change people,” he says.

I laugh. But then I don't.

[Aside from The Washington Post, Oct. 9, 2006: Two major American Jewish organizations, The Anti Defamation League and The American Jewish Committee, helped block a prominent New York University historian from speaking at the Polish consulate saying that the academic was too critical of Israel and American Jewry.]


Requite evil with good and he who is your enemy will become your dearest friend... Allah loves the equitable...Allah is forgiving and merciful. --The Koran

For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall surely be put to death. --The Bible


Test 1: I sit at a desk. It's bare. Not a book, candle or paper clip on the shiny wood. I'm behind the desk where I'd sit in any office or home that actually has a desk.

“Now rest your elbows on the desk,” says Amal.

I do.

“Next, make a fist with both hands and stick out the index fingers. Let them point to one another. Leave about 6 inches of space between them.”

I do as he says, though I'm not sure what to expect. Sparks?

“Focus your eyes on the wall, on the other side of the fingers,” Amal continues. “I mean, look past the fingers. When the wall is in good focus, think of Allah. Think Allah is great. Allah is great. Then slowly bring your fingers together. If Allah is truly great, you'll see the great unification.”

And there it is. Floating in the air between my outstretched fingers. Looking like a sausage or a half moon, with a fingernail on each end. There, suspended between my fingers, is the great unification.

“I see it! I see it!” I shout to Amal. “It's like a dildo suspended in space.”

From the corner of my eye, I can see him smile.

“That's not what I would call it,” says Amal. “But I'm glad you see it. Now you know. Allah is great.”

Test 2: It's dark. I walk down a long corridor. A candle glows from a single candle holder attached to the wall. There's barely enough light to see the candle stem, let alone the entire hall. I have to trust my punkrock damaged ears and follow the footsteps ahead of me. Ptht. Ptht. Ptht. I can only just make out the stockinged feet against the hard floor. Suddenly the footsteps stop. I stop close enough to feel the light cloth of the kameez on the man ahead of me.

There's a faint rattling, like a knob turning. Then a sudden rush of light as a door opens, temporarily blinding me in its brightness.

After a few seconds, my eyes adjust to the room. It's white. About 10 feet by 10 feet. There are no windows. The walls are white. The ceiling is white. The floor is white. There is no furniture in the room. In fact, the only thing in the room besides Amal and me is a scale. I don't mean an old hanging scale, like that naked lady holds in Washington. I mean a white scale like you see in the gym locker room or the doctor's office.

Without speaking, Amal motions for me to stand on the scale. I do. He adjusts the weights. 134. Just what I expect.

“I want to show you the power of Allah,” says Amal. His voice is a whisper. So faint I wonder if I'm hearing it at all-- or if it's coming from someplace inside my head.

“Yes,” I answer, “show me.”

“Concentrate on your left leg,” he continues. “You must ask Allah to remove the weight from your leg. You must pray that your leg will weigh nothing. Allah will reduce the weight of your leg, like the oppression of your soul, to zero.”

I nod and close my eyes. I concentrate on my leg. I ask Allah to show me his power. I ask Him to make my leg empty. To free it from its weight, like he will free me from the weight of the world.

Little by little, I can feel it. I feel the weight lessen. I feel my leg getting lighter, gradually free from its earthly attachments. It wants to float. Amazing. I've never felt anything like this before. Tears come to my eyes.

“Now,” whispers Amal, “lift your left leg.”

I lift my leg from the scale, holding it straight up in the air.

“Look at the scale,” says Amal.

I do. 134!! Jeezus fuckin... er holy Allah! My left leg weighs nothing! Through the power of Allah, I have reduced the weight of the leg to zero! I weigh exactly what I did before: one leg less. That means the leg has NO WEIGHT!

“Do you believe now?” says Amal. “I mean really believe.”

I can feel myself sweat. My answer at first is as quiet as Amal's voice. An almost psychic whisper. Yes. Then louder. YES. Then loudest. YES! YES! YES! I shout. “I believe.”

There's really not much to the actual conversion ceremony. After all, I am... er... had been... a Jew. The necessary surgery was already performed. It's only a question of learning how to read Arabic. Not so difficult. Each letter matches a Hebrew letter. Just a squiggle where there was a line.

After I learn to read, I learn to dress. For someone who's used to wearing black all the time, the white dishdash takes some time getting used to. And putting on the checked keffiyeh takes some dexterity. It's adjusting that agal-- you know the black headband that holds the towels on us towelheads-- that's most difficult. Now I've got it. I like the way I look in the mirror. Like Yassar Arafat-- a young(er) Yassar Arafat. Maybe I'll stop dying my beard.

Yeah, it'll be a strain living without the booze. I'll have to arrange for spicy cous cous and lamb to make my morning shits. I may be able to avoid the headaches. And yeah, it'll be annoying to have to stop what I'm doing in the middle of the day to find east and let Allah know I'm thinking about Him. So what? Easy lives are boring lives. A little strain will be like that spice in the cous cous.


Do not say to any one who offers you peace: You are not a believer. --The Koran

Anyone arrogant enough to reject the verdict of the judge or of the priest who represents the Lord your God must be put to death. Such evil must be purged from Israel. --The Bible


So, what can I say? My door is still open to you. I have not changed, though I am changed. I no longer have to live a hypocritical life where people “like me” are always on the wrong side, where “my people” are the liars, sleazebags, oppressors, and landlords. I'm back again among the deli owners. I'm back with the underdog, with the freedom fighters trying to bust out of their ghettos.

You may not agree with me. But, as it says in the Koran, I don't care: as long as you come in peace. As for me, I've found peace. Thank G-d... er... Allah.

ENDNOTES: [email subscribers ( or website viewers ( will get live links and a chance to email comment on the column]

-->Christians should like this one dept: BBC News reports that 1/4 of the girls in Cameroon undergo a practice called "breast ironing." The way it works is that mothers heat coconut shells then use them to pound and iron the newly budding breasts of their just pubescent daughters.
The idea is to protect the kids from unwanted sexual advances. The pain is supposed to be incredible, but not as bad as sex, right?

-->A better use for coconuts dept: Rather than tit flatteners, Peruvian scientists have found that coconuts work as bacteria incubators. But it's a GOOD kind of bacteria.
The Bti bacteria kills mosquitoes. Put a q-tip filled with the bacteria in a coconut. Allow it to ferment. Before you know it, the coconut will breed enough of the little buggers to clean up a whole mosquito-filled pond. According to the Peruvians, the bacteria are only harmful to mosquitoes. It's fine for the rest of the world.

-->First Paul Newman, now PETA? dept: Animal's Agenda magazine reports that PETA has reached an agreement with McDonald's and suspended its "McCruelty to Go" campaign. In exchange for the pressure release, the giant burger chain will "increase hen's living space, ban forced molting, and phase out debeaking."
Whew! Wadda relief. Now those vegetarians have a place to go for a double cheeseburger!

-->Modern Times for Old Folks dept: Gives me hope. Bob Dylan's MODERN TIMES LP opened at the number one spot on the Billboard 100. Sixty-five-year-old Dylan is the oldest person ever to launch an album in that spot. Gives me hope for my next book.

-->Yet another Norway story dept: While American churches are taking over the government, in Norway we have the right way to do things.
The Lutheran Church has been of "Official Church of Norway" since 1537. (That's even before I was born.) This year, the church officers voted to abolish its status as official church. They want to be just another church-- NOT a government institution. Yowsah! Christian leaders with integrity? What's next? Feminists for free speech?

-->Yet the reverse: Christians here want to see the wall of Church-State separation topple. Maybe they can learn a lesson from China, where it happened. The Chinese government has chosen Wang Renlei, a vicar, to be a new bishop. They've ignored the Vatican, and picked their own Bishop. Previously, they've picked their own Dali Lama. Hey Christians, beware of what you ask for in a government-religion mix. You just might get it.

-->Health Notes dept: What's wrong with this picture? Why do so many people (doctors and patients alike) believe that drugs are the answer to all our health problems? The statistics, after all, are dismal. Health-care spending has gone up by 73% over the past five years, mostly for drugs. We're now spending more than twice as much per person as the 21 other industrialized countries, but we're dead last in healthy life expectancy. Could the American (mis-)belief in its health have anything to do with drug commercials? Naw, that can't be it.

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