Saturday, December 13, 2008

Mykel's MRR Column for no. 307

Saturday, December 13, 2008
Mykel's Column for MRR 307
December 2008 

You're Wrong
An Irregular Column
for MRR 307
by Mykel Board

Travel is pointless without certain risks.
-Paul Theroux

I was happier than a foot fetishist in a shoe store. A month. Travel. Adventure. Sex? Booze. NO WORK. Hooeey!

The plan: one week in Trinidad. Two in Venezuela. Then back to T'dad for another week. Aooogah!

Trinidad, actually Trinidad and Tobago(tm), are two small islands, the southernmost volcano tops poking through the Atlantic in a sideways J. Seven miles from South America. You can spit to Venezuela. Maybe you should.

If you've heard of Trinidad at all, you know Carnival. You probably also know the Steel Pan,a percussion instrument made from a cut oil drum. The Trinis tune it to make notes when you hit it with a mallet.

Venezuela is the land of oil and Hugo Chavez. Maybe you like the guy. He called W, The Great Satan. He gave free oil to poor people in New England. He built schools in Nicaragua. The U.S. government and press hate him. He must be good, right?

Hmm, I'll tell you later.

As I write this, I sit in THINK café. It's a local (NYC local) coffee shop. Coffeecally correct (free trade, free internet, recycling, with face-pierced clerks and Bob Dylan on the stereo), it's my closest comfortable writing location.

To experience my adventures in the Caribbean you'll have to join me in my testicular time machine. Climb in, I know it's cramped, but you'll make it. You in? Seated? Come on, squeeze! There's still room behind that vas deferen. Ready?

Now the stroke. That's it! A little more! Aaaah, a spurt to the past. August 15, 2008.

I've just arrived at the airport in Trinidad. A long trip. New York to Atlanta. Two-hour wait. Then four more hours to this land of 2,000,000 brown-skinned angels.

I have a hotel reserved. A guesthouse actually. $35 a night. One night. Then, on to a couch surfer in the countryside. I figure a guesthouse will look better to the immigration officer than the address of some stranger I've never met.

It doesn't matter. The immigration guy says, “enjoy your stay in Trinidad.” And waves me through. He doesn't care.

Outside the airport I wait for the guys from ANTI-EVERYTHING, a Trini punk band I found on My Space. I'm half an hour late, I hope they didn't give up.

I call Randy, the guitar player.

“Hey man,” (he pronounces it MAHN, like Jamaicans), “you here?”

 “Yep,” I say, looking around at the plenum of people surrounding me... Everyone looks Negro or Indian-- or some combination. I feel like I'm in the Harlem of Calcutta. And good-looking? Yow! Hubba hubba.

“I'm at the airport, a little late, but here,”

“We on our way,” says Randy. “See you soon.”

I wait by the curb. A big Negress sits on her suitcase. She talks to me.

“Oh,” she says, “if you take a taxi, make sure you ask one of the guys in white shirts. They'll take you where you want to go. The others...”

“OK,” I say, “you waiting for someone.”

“My sister,” says the woman. “She was supposed to be here an hour ago. She knows... This your first time in Trinidad?”

I nod.

“You'll have a good time,” she says. “Just watch your back.”

Eventually, her sister shows up. I'm standing there. At the curb. I'm tired from the planride. My neck hurts from the strain of trying to watch my back. My new friends haven't....

Here comes a car. An old beater. Ford? Chevy? A young guy with a ponytail rides half out the back window. His arms raised in the air.

“Mykel! Mykel!” he's shouting, as the car rounds the curve on two wheels.

I wave.

The car screeches to a halt in front of me.

The front door opens and this young guy, with glasses and a scraggly beer gets out. He looks Indian... like most of the folks around. He gives me a hug like we're old friends.

“Randy?” I figure.

“Yah Mykel,” he says. “Sorry we were late.”

He opens the trunk and I throw in my bags. Then I get in the back seat. Next to Randy is a beautiful girl who looks like she's just stepped out of a Bollywood movie. Next to her is a big guy, an Indian with dreadlocks, friendlier than a puppy.

The attractive brown guy who was half out the window sits next to me in the back.

“Hey, Mahn,” he says, “I'm Allan...” He hands me a beer.

“You drink beer, mahn?” he asks.

“Does the Pope shit in the woods?” I say.

He doesn't get it. Who cares? He hands me a beer. And we're off.

Everybody in the car has a beer. Including Randy, a beer in one hand and the steering wheel in the other.

We plow through traffic. Sometimes on the right. Sometimes on the left. I can't figure out which side these people drive on. I don't think it matters. It's a DODGE 'EM-CRASH 'EM car chase. Whiz. Screetch. Dodge that truck. Quick turn. There goes the beer. Who cares? There's more where that came from.

Allan is on about something. He's gesturing, talking a lightyear a second. He mentions bops... watch out for 'em. (I later learn that bops are policemen. Probably rhyming slang with cops.) I should try some babash. I'll never get it in New York. Something vex him... (that I can sorta figure out). Something semi demi happened. He's not interested in any mampy. And look at that jagabat out the window there. Yowsah! What language is this?

Randy talks a little more normally.

“I guess you're tired,” he says. “I'll drop you off at the hotel and see you tomorrow.”

“You don't want to be limin'?” asks Allan.

“Lime-ing?” I ask. “You mean like having a piece of green fruit?”

The others laugh.

“Limin', limin'” says Allan.

“It's like hanging out,” explains Randy. “You know just drinking, and hanging out with people and...”

“Oh yeah,” I tell him. “I'm really want to lime. I want to see everything.”

“OK,” says Randy, now nearing the guesthouse. “We'll pick you up at eight.”

“Sure,” I tell him.

At ten o'clock, they show up.

Out we go. Same people in the car. We're off to SOMEPLACE.

“Ghetto mahn,” says Allan.

On the way, at every stop, (not stop light or stop sign... those don't mean anything, but just where we HAVE to stop because the car in front of us stopped, and there is another car on the right and left), Allan rolls down the window and yells at the passers by.

“Chinkies?” he says. “You (unitelligible) Chinkies?”

I'm worried I've discovered some kind of anti-Chinese racism.

Some people shrug. Some people point. The car careens ever forward.

We end up on a sidewalk on a side street. The main street itself is the loudest street I've ever heard. Competing music: socca, calypso, soul, rap, hip hop, what-the-fuck? All at volumes high enough to drown a jet engine.

We pile out of the car. Allan accosts a passer-by. A young woman more black than Indian-looking. She's got a pair of buttocks that you wish would invite you to move in between and take up residence.

“Chinkies? Chinkies?” he asks.

The woman smiles and points. We're off.

It turns out Chinkies is an outdoor stand (a chain?) where they make lots of things with lots of pepper in them. Everybody buys one of something.

“What should I ask for?” I ask Randy, reaching for my wallet.

He shoves a paper-wrapped something in my hand.

“You're with us,” he says. “You don't pay.”

I take a bite of something really messy and really delicious. It drips brown out of the thin paper and down my arm. I run my tongue over my arm, scooping up the sauce. It's peppery with the bite that Indian food should have, but rarely has among the pepper wimps in New York.

The delicious something still in hand, we approach a bar.

“Shouldn't I finish this food first?” I say.

“Why?” asks Randy. “It goes better with drink.”

Turns out, in Trinidad, you can buy food one place and bring it into another. You can buy booze one place, bring it into another or just drink it on the street. Except for my passport on entering the country, I had to show my ID exactly NO TIMES in Trinidad.

“You want a Stag?” asks Bryan.

Do I know? A stag could turn out to be anything, but what the fuck?

 “Sure,” I say.

It's a beer... the man's beer.

We walk, drink, eat, look at girls, talk, get drunker. Go limin'. Lime some more.

I pull my digital camera from its holster and shoot the scene.

“Be careful with your camera,” says Bryan. “It's not so safe around here.”

I am not careful.

All-in-all it's the best first night I've had in a country where I didn't get laid. I wasn't allowed to spend a cent. I was completely plastered. Filled with Chinkie's chicken with peppah. Smiling a mile a minute, completely unaware of how I got back to the guesthouse.

The next morning... late morning... I'm having breakfast in the guesthouse restaurant. The Daily Express is there for the perusing. Headlines: Dengue Fever Outbreak, inside: Brazen Murder in City. Next page: Chopping Suspect on the Run.

I put the paper aside and pick up The Guardian. Headlines: 52 Killers Escape Hangman. Yowsah.

In October 2005, there was a march on the capital of Trinidad to protest the rising crime rate. 305 people, dressed in white, laid down in the street to symbolize the number murdered that year. That's a huge number, considering the population of the whole country is less than the number of people who live in Manhattan. In 2005, there were fewer than 100 murders in Manhattan.

“Watch your back,” the guesthouse clerk tells me. “Trinidad has a really high crime rate. More than 400 murders so far this year.” And it's only September.

So I'm thinking. OK, you have a free country. No traffic police. No drinking age. Never show an ID. No TV cameras on the street. No finger printing visitors. Really free. But are you paying for that freedom with murder?

Later in the trip, I ask Bryan about it.

“You got it,” he says. “I was in Florida once. I felt like I couldn't do anything. I needed an ID to rent a videotape. I was carded, watched, everything. But, I guess I was safe. Here, we are freer, but the price for bops that don't care is crime.”

After a night at the guesthouse, I move in with a New York-born Jew who worked in the diamond business. He retired at 40, married a Trini woman (who wouldn't?), built a mansion with a swimming pool and servant's house. I had my own room.

“What do I want with America?” he says. “You have no freedom. You have no healthcare. People are stupid... and ugly.”

“So you want to stay here?” I ask him.

“Sure,” he says, “the only problem is the crime.”

I'm thinking about this as I get on the airplane for Caracas, Venezuela. I'm thinking about how freedom maybe isn't so free if you always have to watch your back. It'll be interesting to see what it's like in a more controlled country. See how my idol, Chavez keeps control. What kind of freedom do the people have there? Should I be willing to give up the quest for freedom for a tad of security?

On the other hand, I never felt in danger in Trinidad. My rich Jew host in his mansion never locked the door. The people in his little town all know-- and watch out for-- each other. I donno. It's a tough problem.

I don't sleep the night before the Venezuela flight. I'm out limin' with the gang. Then Randy brings me to the airport.

I get on the plane for the 20 minute ride to Caracas... and pass out.

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

-->Ho ho ho dept: Jim Hass sends me a clipping about a 52-year-old man who was convicted of beating an elderly street minister to death, in downtown Atlanta in 2004. Prosecutors said the killer was dressed as Santa Claus at the time of the attack.

-->Contact dept: My new friends in Trinidad and Venezuela need CONTACTS. Help bring them into the world. Look for the Trinis on MySpace under their bandname: Anti-Everything. You can find the Venezuelans on MySpace at APATIA NO! or email 'em at:

-->Another disappointment dept: Next week you'll read about my disappointment with Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. In the meantime, Ms. S, who I've written about before, sent me a clipping from the NY Times, International edition.
  Seems like in Cuba, the Raoul Castro government couldn't stomach the lyrics of punk rocker Gorki Aguila Carasco. He was arrested at a concert for “social dangerousness..” A charge with as much meaning as the American “conspiracy.” Fortunately, public pressure (including President Bush!), forced the Cubans to release him with a $28 fine.
  His comment on release, “I've walked out of the small cage, into the big one.”

-->Hole in my theory department: I usually never go to places that tell you how great they are. I'd never shop in a store that calls itself Best Buys. I won't eat in a Delicious Diner. Or buy shoes at the Wonderful Shoe Shop. I figure if a store needs to name itself Best, Wonderful or Terrific, it's not.
  But in Trinidad, where everything is great anyway, I went to the Excellent Stores Shopping Center to use the internet café. Nothing special, right? I just walk up to the counter, pay the attractive girl $15 Trini dollars (about $3 US dollars), plug in and surf.
  The first week of my Trinidad visit, I do this exactly twice. Mundane, boring task, right? Hooey!
  I leave Trinidad for two weeks in Venezuela. When I return, I go to the internet cafe. The same girl is behind the counter.
  “Hi!” she says with a smile from Port of Spain to Hicksville New York. “It's great to see you again! Where have you been?”
  I'm her long lost friend. After two visits. Less than five minutes of commercial intercourse. And suddenly we're pals. Yowsah! What can I say, but EXCELLENT!

-->I wonder if it's full of shit dept: It's called The Colossal Colon, and it was on display at the Indiana State Fair. It's a 40 foot long model of the human colon. Visitors can crawl through it and experience what it must be like for a real live turd. No word on which politicians or talk show personalities have made the treck.

-->Really bad timing dept: I think it was Jim Haas who sent me the article about Greyhound Canada pulling its ads. The ad campaign featured happy bus travelers with the tag line: There a reason you've never heard of bus rage.
  The ad was pulled after Vince Li, a recent immigrant to Canada, was charged with murder. The guy allegedly attacked another bus passenger, stabbing him several times. As the other passengers fled the bus, Li severed his victim's head, displaying it to the passengers outside. A police officer at the scene, said that he saw Li “hacking off pieces of the victim's body... and eating them.”


You can go to Mykel's homepage for lots of other interesting, weird stuff.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Mykel's Column for MRR 306 November 2008

You're Wrong
An Irregular Column
for MRR 306
by Mykel Board

America has Race Fever. It's not an actual race war, but a sort of racial Cold War. A grinding war of nerves. And it's impossible to escape. A race war would be anticlimactic at this point. --Jim Goad

[NOTE: This is my LAST column about race and the elections. I promise! Next month, something more personal... from Trinidad and Venezuela. This will NOT, however, be the last column where I talk (about) shit. I LOVE shit.]

When girls shit do they do something dainty? Me? I pinch a loaf. Lay some cable. Drown the chocolate slugs. Slash the brown trout .... Macho, tough-sounding excrement. What do girls do? Drop some daisies? Plant the coffee beans? Dot the i's?

I've talked with a lot of girls about shitting. Sadly, the biological process doesn't satisfy them as much as it does the testiculared class.

“It's just something you do,” says Miranda. “Like taking out the garbage or washing the dishes.”

“I do those things every month,” I tell her. “I don't feel especially pleased afterwards.”

“Exactly!” she says, as if that proved something.

“That's sad,” I tell her. “It feels so good. Like shoving a carrot up your ass. Only in reverse.”

“If you say so Mykel,” she says.

“Okay then,” I ask her. “What do you call it? When girls have to paint the porcelain or dunk the brown klaxton?”

“What the fuck are you talking about, Mykel?” she asks. “We just do it. Do you have a special name for washing the dishes? It's just something you do.”


Of course! You only have special names for things that are special. You have euphemisms, funny names, tech-speak, graphic language. All this to describe what's important, fun, sexy. If taking a shit doesn't mean shit to you, you don't need a special name for it.

That's why I decided to again write about the up-coming election. Though, by the time you read this, McCain may have already been sworn in.

In any case, it's important to talk about language. I wrote about NIGGER before. This time, I want to write more about language and race. How we use special words for what's important. How words themselves make us think in a certain way. How language can confuse or obfuscate.

“Tom McCain doesn't have a racist bone in his body,” says Joe Lieberman after McCain makes some racist remark.

I wonder about this. Where is the racist bone? I don't remember one from science class. And I sure spent a lot of time with that anatomy textbook.

I check It says that the human body has 206 bones. I check out the names. No racist bone. Maybe NOBODY has a racist bone.

I finally find a diagram of the appendage. You can see it at:,if your browser will let you.

[Aside: is a free website where you enter a long URL and it changes it to a short URL, starting with: For example, you find something cool at:

You plug it into The website generates a much shorter address, maybe That's what you forward to your friends. Great service right?

Well, spammers found the site is also useful for covering tracks. They put in their spam addresses. Tinyurl generates another, untraceable, address. Then the spammers use that one.

So, like in airports, where security security security trumps convenience, free speech, free movement, free anything, some browsers and some websites (like MySpace) block all tinyurl addresses. They might be spam, you see. Better safe than... I donno, annoyed?

Fuck Security! One of these days we'll be so secure we won't be able to do anything! But we'll be safe.]

If you can't get to the picture on your browser I'll describe it. The racist bone is at the tip of the right thumb. It's not clear whether it's the entire upper digit, or just a small extra growth. But that's where it is.

Is this fact? The picture is an artist's rendition, not an actual photo. It may be in the artist's mind. A figment of his idiomatic imagination. I still can't find a person who has one to show.

No one brags, or even thinks about the racist bone unless they DON'T have one. The lack of that bone defines it. I google for someone who HAS a racist bone, and is proud of it. I can't find anyone. Everyone denies it. Nope, not me. Not a racist bone.

Maybe it's like holding a candle to something. You only find people or things that CAN'T hold a candle to other people or things. If someone CAN hold a candle to something, you don't hear about it.

I bring this racist bone thing up to a Democrat pal of mine. She wears an Obama campaign button bigger than Obama himself. She once clobbered a Ralph Nader supporter for “giving us George Bush."

“So,” I tell her, “I've been looking for the racist bone. The one that John McCain doesn't have one of in his body. I heard it's at the end of the thumb. Which bone do you think is the racist bone?”

“They all are,” she says.


We're all racists. At least all of us in America in 2008. We live, breathe and think race. Race is what we first notice about others. (Unless they have a physical handicap. Then THAT'S first). Race is what we're drawn to or repelled by. It's what completes the phrase Some of my best friends are... We're all racist. We have to be as much as we have to shit. Now I'm beginning to see. But wait! There's more...

Besides bones, There're cards. This or that politician is playing the race card. That's even harder to find than the racist bone. I locate a chart of the picture cards in a 52-card deck.

I figure that the race card must be one of the picture cards, not a number card. Except for the Ace of Spades I can't imagine how the numbered cards would have anything to do with race.

For the picture cards, I find out the King of Hearts is Charlemagne. The Queen of Hearts is Judith (of the Book of Judith,”an Apocryphal Book of the Bible.” Something Christian, I guess.) The Jack of Hearts is "La Hire," a famous French warrior. The King of Spades is King David of Jewish Star fame. The Queen of Spades is Pallas, a.k.a. Minerva. The Jack of Spades is Hogier the Dane, one of Charlemagne's paladins. (What the fuck is a paladin?) The King of Diamonds is Julius Caesar. The Queen of Diamonds is Rachel (of the Bible). The Jack of Diamonds is Hector of Troy or Roland of France. (I've heard of neither.) The King of Clubs is Alexander the Great. The Queen of Clubs is an anagram of Regina, all the queens of England put together. And the Jack of Clubs is Lancelot.

Except for the Jews, David and Rachel, the rest of 'em seem like generic white Europeans. One, not much different from the others. Which is the race card? And how exactly do you play it? No telling from this chart.

I go to and ask Which card is the race card?

For an answer, I get some references to people playing that card (always negative... usually involved with politics), and some sponsored ads for Visa and American Express. Not very useful.

As any student-with-a-last-minute deadline has learned, when you want well-researched and consistently incorrect answers, you go to Wikipedia. This is what it says about the race card:

Playing the race card is an idiomatic phrase referring to an allegation against a person who has brought the issue of race or racism into a debate. It is a metaphorical reference to card games in which a trump card may be used to gain an advantage.

The phrase is commonly used in two contexts. First, it alleges that someone has deliberately and falsely accused another person of being a racist to gain some sort of advantage.

An example of this occurred during the O.J. Simpson criminal trial, when critics accused the defense of "playing the race card" in presenting Mark Fuhrman's racist past as a reason to draw his credibility as a witness into question.

In the second context, it refers to someone exploiting prejudice against another race for political or some other advantage. The use of the southern strategy by a political candidate is said to be a version of "playing the race card", like when former Senator Jesse Helms ran an ad showing a black man taking a white man's job. The ad was interpreted as trying to play to racist fears among white voters.

On the other hand, George Dei and Karumanchery, in their book
Playing the Race Card, argue that the term itself is a rhetorical device used to devalue and minimize claims of racism.


That's it! The charge of playing the racist card is racist! It's a racist attempt to either inject race or falsely take race out of the sphere of debate. It's using race, and, in a racist way, tries to invalidate it.

The American presidential election in 2008 is all about race. No bones. No cards. No nothin'. No matter what Obama says. No matter how awful his religious proclamations, his self-cultishness, his stupid Russia bashing or his fawning over war in Afghanistan. No matter what, this is about race.

For the first time, America has a real chance to put a political end to the racism that's defined America since The Constitution. It has a chance to trump the racist card. To break the racist bone.

Every voter has a duty to put the period on the 200-years-of-slavery sentence. Negroes were slaves. Now one can be president. If this fails (and I believe it will. Americans are just too... well.. racist... to allow a colored president), America will fail again, and continue being the most evil country on earth.

If it succeeds, the America disease will not be cured over night. Objectively, America may not get any better. But we will have won with the race card. We can finally make it as valuable as any other card in the deck.

Am I saying that NOT voting for Obama is racist? Am I saying that even if you vote for Nader or don't vote at all, you're committing a racist act? Am I saying that voting against Obama because you don't like his stand on religion in government, or the Afghan war, or gay marriage, is STILL racist?

YES! That's exactly what I'm saying. Not voting for Barak Obama is racist. Bone or no bone. Card
or no card. Race isn't the main issue here. It's the only issue.

ENDNOTES: [email subscribers ( or website viewers ( will get more endnotes (There's a new column length limit at MRR.) live links and a chance to email comment on the column. Subscribers will not get the columns any earlier than anyone else.]

-->Target practice dept: King Abudullah of Saudi Arabia has offered his country as a meeting place. Who for? “Representatives of the world's monotheistic religions.” Why? “to discuss how to "shore up faith" in a world of "declining family values and rising non-belief."

Says the king, "The idea is to ask representatives of all monotheistic religions to sit together with their brothers in faith and sincerity to all religions."
Wow! What an opportunity! The leaders of all the world's monotheistic religions together in the desert. Makes you think of one giant bullseye, doesn't it?

-->Pervert dept: This year, Police arrested Michael Bessigano for downloading bestiality images from the internet! Who knew THAT was illegal? I donno, maybe it violated the conditions of his parole.
In 2002, he was convicted of having sex with a chicken and in 1993 for "a matter involving a dog." Two years in jail for sex with a chicken... probably getting raped there. That's supposed to cure him? Maybe it'll cure him of his animal love so he can start raping humans, like normal people do.

-->More jailbird's addresses dept: I think I already wrote about Cassidy. He's been in the clink for ages for stealing a pair of socks. He's put together a prison project, collecting real pictures taken by real folks from places around the world. If you've got some good ones, send 'em to him: Cassidy Wheeler, #14282456, 82911 Beach Access Road, Umatilla OR 97882

-->Sometimes I forget how much I love Mexicans dept: Yowsah! My pal Gilberto tells me that Sucieded Discriminada is coming to New York. 40+ year old punks, still doing it! From Sonora in North Mexico. I'm there (ABC NO RIO).
The Mexis are sandwiched by two younger punk bands, both Boston based. I like 'em both and BOTH of 'em give me free recorded material. A 3-CD set from Max and the Marginalized ( Their shtick? They write, record and post a news song every week. That's not a typo. They write NEWS songs. Topical stuff. Like about Lou Dobbs. One a week.
Talk about productivity! One of these columns a month kills me... and I don't have to worry about a drummer Speaking of drummers, the other gringo band: LIBYANS, has the best drummer I've seen this century. Amazing!! He's only in two bands.That's because he lives in Boston. In NY, he'd be in 40! Punk rock with a girl singer too! Contact:
As for the Mexis. Holy Frito Bandito. Great show! Complete with rubber masks of famous Mexican politicos. I danced with one over my head. It did not smell of nachos
Contact them at

-->They've started coming-- me too dept: I wanna thank Dick Berger and Tom Washington for the homemade DVD they sent me. Yeah, I believe your name's are Dick and Tom, like I believe America invaded Iraq for humanitarian reasons. But thanks in any case, by any name. It's a DVD that'll get a lot of use. And Dick, that's a nice Tom you've got there.
Keep those things coming. Send me your homemade sex tapes. As usual, I'm at POB 137, Prince St. Station, NYC 10012 USA.


go to Mykel's homepage

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Mykel's Column for MRR 305 October 2008

You're Wrong
An Irregular Column
for MRR 305
by Mykel Board


Woman is the nigger of the world. --John Lennon, 1972

  Jimi Hendrix was a nigger. Jesus Christ and Grandma, too. Jackson Pollock was a nigger. Nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger. Outside of society, they're waitin' for me. Outside of society, if you're looking, that's where you'll find me. --Patti Smith, 1976
  Guns don't kill people. Niggaz do.    --Bumper Sticker last seen 1992

  Jesse Jackson uses the N-word. -Headline, NY Post, 2008

When I hear someone say, “The F-word,” it's like listening to mom talking about “pee pee.” Little Mickey shouldn't hear PISS. He might start talking dirty in front of the relatives.

There isn't an F-word. There is FUCK. It has dozens of meanings, from whatever (as it “Fuck it, who cares?”) to Wow (as in “That was fuckin' amazing!”) to sexual intercourse (“Wanna fuck?”).

When I hear someone say “the N-word,” it's like listening to mom talking about poo-poo.

Little Mickey should hear SHIT. He might start talking dirty in front of the relatives.

Yo, buckaroos. There isn't an N-word. There is NIGGER. It has fewer meanings than FUCK, but more connotations.

Wikipedia says:

In the U.S., theword nigger was not always considered derogatory, but was instead used by many as merely denotative of black skin, as it was in other
parts of the English-speaking world. In nineteenth-century literature, there are many uses of the word nigger with no intended negative connotation. Charles Dickens, and Joseph Conrad (who published
The Nigger of the'Narcissus' in 1897) used the word without racist intent.
Mark Twain often put the word into the mouths of his characters, white and black, but did not use the word when writing as himself in his autobiographical
on the Mississippi.

In the UnitedKingdom and other parts of the English-speaking world, the word was
often used to refer to people of Bangladeshi,
Pakistani, Kashmiri, Indian or Sri Lankan descent, or merely for darker-skinned foreigners in general; in his 1926 Modern English Usage, H. W. Fowler observed that when the word was
applied to "others than full or partial Negroes," it was "felt as an insult by the person described, and betrays in the
speaker, if not deliberate insolence, at least a very arrogant inhumanity."
The note was excised from later editions of the book.

In the 1800s, as nigger began to acquire the pejorative connotation it holds today, the term "Colored" gained popularity as a
kinder alternative to Negro and associated terms. For example, abolitionists in Boston, Massachusetts posted warnings to "Colored People of Boston and vicinity." The name of the
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People reflects
the preference for this term at the time of the
NAACP's founding in 1909.

I give the NAACP a poo-pooload of credit for not abandoning “colored people,” when the language fashion changed. But it's a damn shame that colored people... and everyone else... has abandoned NIGGER, running from it like Christians before the wizards of Harry Potter.“Don't say that word! It's evil! Satanic! Witchcraft! You'll die!”
In 2008, NIGGER has more power than Albus Dumbledore. I don't want to give it up.

Patti Smith got it right. Niggers are outside of society. They are the trouble makers, the bad guys, the ones who refuse to fit in, refuse to be nice. If that's you, then embrace your inner Nigger. Call it by name: NIGGER!

Years ago, homos reclaimed the word QUEER. They figured, why let the phobes have the best words?

If you think about it, you can see the logic. Would you like to be a homosexual? Yuck. Sounds like a tweed jacket, pipe, elbow patches.

“Oh yes, I happen to be a homosexual. Pip pip ole' chap.”

It doesn't matter how much semen has loosened itself in my anus. I am not a homosexual. You can bet my ass on that.

But queer! That's me. It's a word with power. One syllable. Hits you in the balls. Think of the rhymes: Fear! Beer! High gear! Yeah, I'll be a queer any day. Call me queer. Thanks! But I am NOT a homosexual.

And Nigger? For rhymes we've got Vigor! Bigger! Trigger! Oh yeah, I'll be one of those. Why let the crackers have the best words?

Nigger is more than a potent word. It's a potent image. A potent history. Like “punk,” it's a word of contempt. And has been since the 1900s. Also like punk, it's a word to wear like a medal, if you're brave enough earn the contempt of others.

So Mykel, waddaya want from me?

Glad you asked.

I want you to sit under a tree. Fold your legs in full lotus. Rest a hand on each knee. On each hand, touch the thumb to the middle finger, making a circle. Close your eyes and listen to your breath. Follow the air as it goes out of your lungs, then back down... down... down... into your body. Let your consciousness travel inward with that breath. Concentrate.

It may take awhile, but you'll see it. First a black speck, then a black pea, then a ping pong ball. Keep following it. You're on the path of discovering your inner Negritude. The Nigger inside.

Surprise! You're outside of society. You don't want to be respected by stockbrokers. You don't want to show your ID at the bar door. You don't want to live from nine to five and go shopping on the weekend. You're a Nigger. Great first step.

The next and hardest part is to be proud of it.

You found it. Embrace it. It isn't the N-word. It's you. And me. And Patti Smith. And every Nigger who did the right thing and earned the contempt of the world for it.

Punks! Smokers! Fat People! Pedophiles! You're Niggers!

Muslims! Femmy guys! Butch girls! You are too.

Cripples! Old people! Underage drinkers!

Outside of society, Nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger,
nigger, nigger, nigger.

We are the world's Niggers. And I'm marching in front of the crowd, the N-word branded into my chest by a hot cup of Starbuck's coffee. Come on, fellow Niggers. Are you with me?

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

-->Cause and effect dept: In a classic example of mistaking cause for effect, The Bottom Line notes that people who are overweight are more likely to have bad breath than their fat-impaired counterparts. The magazine says the reason may be "because they eat a diet that promotes dry mouth and/or because of poor dental hygiene.”
       They've got it wrong. The bad breath came first. Then their friends stayed way. They got depressed. They ate to relieve the depression. They got fat.

-->We're number one... er... dept: The U.S. now ranks 19th, er... dead last... among industrialized nations in preventable deaths. This compares with 15th place 10 years ago. Why? Now THAT'S not hard to figure out. Healthcare anyone? How about diet? Advertising? The insurance industry?

-->Fecal mental health dept: In Madison Wisconsin, police charged Tammy Lewis and Alan Bushey with "causing mental harm to a child." The reason? Alan Bushey, a self-proclaimed Bishop, said that a dead 90 year old woman would come back to life if they left her on the toilet where she died. That corpse stayed on the john for two months. The police said that the children in the house, a 15-year old girl and a 12-year old boy, suffered because of the smell.
  The smell? That's the cruelty? What about the inability to use the toilet! Grandma's sitting there rotting. Where do you shit? In a soup pot in the kitchen? That's WORSE cruelty, I'd say. But I'm not a cop.

-->Sin tax dept: Florida State Representative Rick Kriseman has written a bill that would impose a $1 tax on "adult entertainment" clients to increase Medicare benefits.
     Says Kriseman, "People that frequent these businesses tend to go in with wads of bills. I don't think they'll miss one."
     Angelina Spencer, executive director of "the Florida Sunshine Entertainment Association," opposes the bill.
     "What we're opposed to," she says, " is an arbitrary tax that singles out one particular industry."
     Oh, you mean like gas, cigarettes or booze?

-->Number One With A Bullet Dept: Kyle N writes me that he's in jail with Jay Scott Ballinger, the guy who burned down 33 churches saying he was serving LUCIFER. Kyle gave Jay a copy of my book, I, A ME-IST. Ballinger was "appalled and shocked" at my writing. Yowsah!

-->Insult? I'd say compliment dept: Kyle also sent me a clipping about a group of four people (2 women and 2 other) from the island of Lesbos, off the Greek coast. They're suing a Greek gay rights group, asking that the group be prohibited from using the word "Lesbian" to describe gay women. The complainers told the court that the word LESBIAN "causes embarrassment to the women of Lesbos." These women, he says, are afraid to call themselves "Lesbians" because people might think they are gay. As of this writing, the case has not yet been settled.
  I guess the folks from the ancient city of SODOM, are waiting for a decision to see if they, too, will sue. Stay tuned.

-->Not quite dead last dept: In its first-annual survey, the travel website Expedia asked 4,000 hoteliers their opinions of various nationalities as tourists. The Japanese got the most praise. Americans tied with Thais for an unimpressive 11th place. The French came in 19th. The Chinese were 21st-- last on the list.

-->Death penalty for attempted suicide dept: Juan Alvarez ran out of his gas-soaked SUV after parking it on railroad tracks in Glendale California. A train ran into it, killing 11 people. Alvarez was arrested and charged with murder.
  He pleaded not guilty. The man said he had intended to kill himself and then changed his mind. He couldn't get the SUV off the tracks in time, so he ran. The jury disagreed and found him guilty. On 11 counts of murder, he could face the death penalty. Does he hope so?
  [Late Note: just before the deadline for this column the papers report that Alvarez got life in prison. I wonder if it'll be a long sentence.]

-->Bad guys try again dept: California laws have repeatedly struck down requests of parents for home schooling. Mostly supported by right-wing Christians (with a few hippies for added disgustitude), home schooling is just a way to pass prejudices, skewed philosophy, and religious intolerance onto the next generation of idiots.
      Public schooling forces (or should force) race, gender and idea mixing. It should challenge parents and open students to ideas they would not have heard.
     Parents say this is unfair. They should have a right to educate their children into whatever idiocy they choose. Of course they already HAVE that right. They can teach their kids whatever they want... AFTER school. That's the way it should be.
       Unfortunately, the badguys don't give up. They're trying again and the courts must yet again decide the case. I'm not betting on the good guys in this one.

-->Let's hear it for God dept: In 1999, Oregon passed a law that bans parents from treating seriously ill children with prayer alone. This year, a 15-month-old girl died of pneumonia when her parents treated her with prayer instead of antibiotics. I say the police made a mistake. God, in her own way, is at work here, cleansing the world of future Christians.

-->Speaking of Niggers dept: Barack Obama is trying his hardest to get me not to vote for him. He votes YES on the citizen spy bill. He says religion should “play a greater part in U.S. domestic policy.” Oy vey! He's acting like an African American. Maybe Jesse Jackson was wrong.
        The only decent thing he's done in the last six months is to complain that the New Yorker Magazine insulted Muslims. That took some balls. These days, insulting Muslims is as safe as insulting the KKK. NOT insulting them takes courage.
       That courage might be the little piece of Nigger in Obama that'll still get me to vote for him.

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Saturday, August 09, 2008

Mykel's Column for MRR 304 September 2008

Mykel Board sez
Column for MRR #304
September 2008

"Always go to other people's funerals, otherwise they will not go to yours” --Yogi Berra


Mom died yesterday. Or the day before maybe. I don't know. In the morning I go to the gym. I come back home, take a shower, check my voicemail. Three calls. First, from my sister, Gayl. Tearful. “You gotta call me.”

Second, from the hospice lady taking care of Mom. “You gotta call me.”

Third, from the hospice lady taking care of Mom. “I hate to leave this on your voicemail, but I know it's the only way to contact you. Your mother passed this morning-- or last night-- in her sleep. She was very peaceful. They're coming to pick up the body at around 1 PM. I'm very sorry.”

I must be in shock. I don't cry. I don't do anything but think.

Why do you hate to leave the message on my voicemail? I'd LOVE to leave such a message on voicemail. Somebody dies? I don't want to break the bad news. I don't want to sit there while the embarrassed receiver chokes back tears to thank me for telling him something horrible.

Last time I cried for a death was when Timmy Yohannon bit the big one. George Tabb left the message on my voicemail.

Stutter dialtone. That's what they call it. Instead of a BAAAAAAAAAAAA, it's a BAH BAH BAH BAH BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. You know you have a message. Shock. Then the tears. Did George want to listen to that? I don't think so.

Leave a message. The truth. All the facts. Not some mystery that I'll agonize about until I finally reach someone.

Family wiped out in a terrorist attack? Leave a message. I've got cancer? Leave a message. End of the world? Leave a message. The last thing I wanna do is blubber to the messenger. Tell it to the machine.

I call my sister. Dad's alone with a dead body. Somebody has to be there. She has a car and is 20 minutes away. I have to rent a car and drive an hour. I call her cellphone. Before she speaks, I hear what sounds like an announcer over a loud speaker. Then her voice.

“It's me,” I say.

“Oh,” she says, “I'm at the ballpark. I took Josh (her son) to the ballgame. Dad's okay. I talked with the people at Sunrise.” (That's the old folks home where my parents have been living).

“You what?” I don't say. “You took the kid to a ballgame when your mother's lying dead and your father's 'sitting the body? You went to a ballgame? Holy existential batman! That's harsh.”

“Mykel,” says Gayl, “are you okay? You don't sound too good.”

I hang up, call the rabbi, get his voicemail. Whew!

“Mom died this morning,” I tell his voicemail. “I'm heading to Sunrise now. Could we meet at 1 or 2?”

I call Hertz and make an on-the-spot reservation. I'm in New Jersey in an hour. As I pull into the parking lot at Sunrise, the rabbi calls me. “I'll give you a few minutes alone with your Dad. Then I'll come over.”

On entering Sunrise, the receptionist gives me a hug. Then the attendants, one by one. “My condolences,” in Tagalog, Spanish, Chinese accents.

Each hug brings tears. I'm dry-eyed, in control, until I get a “my condolences,” hug. Then the tears flood and the snot drips.

Dad sits by himself in the corner of the group livingroom. He's slumped in his wheelchair. Maybe asleep. His blackening gangrene food is propped up in front of him. Multiple strokes, final stage diabetes. On and off dementia. I thought he'd be the one to go first.

I wake him with a kiss on the top of the head. He looks at me and smiles. Then come his tears. Then come mine.

“I feel like my whole insides are being torn out,” he says. “They woke me up this morning and said they had bad news. I thought they were going to tell me I died. They said, 'we're sorry, but your wife died.' I thought they must have been wrong. It was me who died. I've never felt like this in my life.”

One of the attendants comes over to me. “Your mother is in the other room. We took your father out right away. You want to go in?”

I excuse myself from Dad and walk into the room. Mom is the most peaceful I've seen her in years. Looks like she's sleeping. I expected the smell of death. The shit released from uncontrolled bowels. The piss from a useless bladder. But there's nothing. Just like she's sleeping. I heard that dead people are cold, but when I put my lips against her forehead, Mom's skin feels warm. Not hot, kinda neutral.

“Bye Mom,” I say.

Then I leave the room, not crying, but furious. I call my sister. Luckily her voicemail answers, “If you're not too busy at the ballgame,” I say, “your mother is dead and your father is in pretty bad shape. If you could make it over here, it would be much appreciated.”

“We called your sister this morning,” says Carmalita, Dad's favorite attendant. “We scheduled someone to pick up the body as late as possible, but they will be here soon. You have to sign some papers.”

She gently places a pile of papers in front of me. I look for blank lines and sign all of them. Who knows, they could be knocking on the door tomorrow to take this computer. Maybe I'm giving 'em permission. Show me a line. I'll just sign.

Dad and I just sit quietly for some time. Tear flow a bit. I get up to find tissues. Not finding any, I bring some paper towels from the kitchen. They'll do.

The body snatchers come at around 1pm. They wrap Mom in a red blanket-- head-to-toe-- and wheel her out through the livingroom where I'm sitting next to Dad.

“Is that her?” asks Dad.

“Yes,” I tell him.

They go out the back door. Dad and I sit quietly. What's there to say?

In a few minutes the door to the livingroom opens again. It's the rabbi. There, open arms. A big hug. I start crying again, pressing my head into his chest. Like that famous picture John McCain with George W. The rabbi is younger than me. He's a Chassid, with fringes and a long brown beard. No gray in it, unless he too uses JUST FOR MENTM. After we separate, he comes over to Dad. Hugs him. And sits with us.

“How are you feeling?” asks the rabbi.

“Like someone took all my insides out,” says Dad. “I've never felt like this. I want to yell, but who can I yell at?”

“You can yell at me,” says the rabbi. “If you need someone to yell at, you can yell at me.”

Dad doesn't say anything.

“Look at what you're using on your eyes and nose,” says the rabbi. “Don't use paper towels. You'll hurt your nose. I'll get some tissues. You shouldn't use that.”

From somewhere, he scrounges up a box of tissues and returns to us. We take the box and use it.

“I don't even know what was wrong with her,” says Dad.

“Maybe it was time,” I said. “Maybe it was time and she knew it.”

“You know.” says the rabbi,“we once had a neighbor. An old woman. One day, she went door-to-door... all over the neighborhood. She was just saying good bye. We thought she was crazy. But the next day she was dead. She knew. You know, I think. You know a few days before. You just know.”

“I feel like my insides are being torn out,” says Dad.

“Your wife's Hebrew name is Hannah, right?” asks the rabbi.

“That's right,” answers Dad.

“I remember,” he said. “When I visited before. Your wife was not always so happy. But when I called her Hannah... her face lit up. Like she suddenly recognized something.”

An attendant came over to us. She gave me a big hug. She gave Dad a big hug. Then she reached for the rabbi. He raised his hand to decline.

Orthodox rabbis are not allowed to touch women. I'm not sure of the reason. I think it's related to the Hebrew idea of building a wall around the law. Adultery is forbidden. But then, you need to avoid temptation... a single touch may be all it takes. A rabbi has to be especially careful. Can't even look funny.

This building-a-wall idea you see a lot in Orthodox Judaism. You can't say the name of G-d. Or even write: G-O-D. So The Bible uses only the Y.H. initials. But the initials are close to the real name. You know, like the J*h*v*'s Witnesses say it. Jew've got to say it in a way that means “our lord,” not using the original pronunciation.

When you're not reading the bible, you need to take an extra step back. Another wall of protection. You say “our NAME” meaning the name of the of the name of G-d, substituted for the REAL name of G-d that you're not allowed to say. Layers of protection, like DEPENDS under rubber underwear.

I'm not SURE that's the reason Orthodox rabbis don't touch women, but I THINK it's the reason.

The door to the common room opens. It's a family visiting a relative. It IS Father's Day, after all.

Time passes. Dad cries. I cry. The rabbi doesn't cry, but often puts his arm around Dad and I. More time passes. The door to the common room opens again. A man about ten years older than me enters. He's visiting his mother... for Father's Day.

Time passes. Dad cries. I cry. The rabbi doesn't cry, but often puts his arm around Dad and I. The door to the common room opens. It's my sister.

The care-givers around come and give her a big condolence hug. She walks over to Dad and me. I'm not so warm.

“How was the game?” I don't ask.

“I didn't tell Josh yet,” says Gayl. “Presley (my niece) knows.”

“They took Mom away an hour ago,” I say as icily as I can manage. Then she starts crying.

“You look like you need a hug,” says the rabbi. “I wish I could do it. Wait. Let me call my wife.”

He takes out his cellphone. There's discussion. The rabbi's wife knows my father, but not the rest of the family. I met her for the first time the week before at the local Torah dedication. You can read about that in my diary blog if you want.

In half an hour, the rabbi's wife arrives, giving Gayl a big hug. I don't know if I'm allowed to touch her or not. I don't.

[Aside #1: When Mom went into hospice I suggested that Rabbi Lewis officiate at her funeral.

“I don't want an Orthodox funeral,” my sister said. “My friends would feel uncomfortable. All that separation. My rabbi is on call. He'll take over when something happens.”

For the uninitiated, Jewish funerals have to take place soon after death. We don't embalm. Ashes-to-ashes, y'know? It's the original recycling program. Even the coffins are 100% biodegradable. No metal handles. They take too long to go back to the earth.

Without embalming, bodies, like fish, get pretty rank after a couple days. We need quick funerals. Move fast. Today is Sunday. Tomorrow would be best. End of Aside]

“I couldn't do it Monday,” says the rabbi. “I just have too much I agreed to do. My sister just had a baby. My own daughter is sick. Urinary tract infection.”

“That's okay,” says Gayl, pulling out her cellphone. “I'll call my rabbi.”

[Aside #2: Although I was raised a Reform Jew, I never felt comfortable in the sect. It's a kind of JEW LITE.

The movement started out copying the church. They changed services from Saturday to Sunday. The first prayer books said “Minister” rather than “Rabbi.”

Reform introduced choirs and organs. Most heinously, they installed an American and an Israeli flag right in front, where the Torah is, as if to prove their dual patriotism. Reform Jews are the most pro-Israel fanatics, but least JEWISH of the Jews.

It's weird. The most fanatic of the Muslims are the most religious: the prayer-mat-kneeling, robe wearing, play-music-and-die zealot. For Jews, the most fanatic are the LEAST religious. The I'm-a-Jew-because-I-eat-a-bagel folks. They are the flag-wavers. The kill-all-the-Arab bigots. Someday I might figure out why. Not today, though.

Another reason I dislike Reform Judaism is all that English. Hebrew is mystical, and cool sounding. But when you know what all that walla walla really means... all that CUT DOWN MY ENEMIES, EARTH SWALLOWS THEM UP, STONE THEM FOR WORKING ON THE SABBATH shit. Oy. I don't want to hear that! It's awful. The worst kind of religion is one you actually understand. I'll take gobbledygook any day. End of aside.]

My sister stands up and walks to the other side of the room. In a few minutes, she's back.

“He can't do it until Wednesday,” she tells us.

“Do you want me to do it?” says the rabbi.

“Actually,” I said, “my sister said she'd be uncomfortable with an Orthodox funeral. Our family has a lot of people raised in a Reform tradition... and...”

“The service is the same,” says the rabbi. “There's no separation. It's almost the same service as reform.”

“No, it's fine with me,” says Gayl, looking helpless.

“What do you think?” she asks me.

“I say yes,” I tell her.

“There are a few important things,” says the rabbi. “One is a ritual body washing, Tahara. The Chevra Kadisha will take care of it, but you must ask the funeral home. I'll do it if you like. They do it for free.”

Gayl hands her cellphone to the rabbi. She gives him the number of the funeral home. She's made all the arrangements earlier in the day. Handled the bookkeeping. All the phone stuff that needed to be done.

“It's the only funeral home in Rockland County,” she tells me. “Can you believe it? A third of the county is Jewish and they only have one funeral home!”

“You'd better check on the prices,” says Dad. “They always try to stick you with extra charges... and I thought it was ME who was dead. I thought they were coming to tell me.”

“Don't worry Dad,” I tell him. “The bath is for free.”

The rabbi makes the call and arranges for Mom's last bath.

(As it turns out, dad is right. Although the bathing is for free, the funeral home charges $500 for the use of the facilities.)

“And another thing,” the rabbi says. “I know in Reform the rabbis tear a piece of ribbon and give it to the mourners to symbolize mourning. But Jewish tradition is to tear a garment. A pinned-on piece of cloth is like a pinned-on grieving. I recommend you wear an old sweater or something that can be torn then thrown away. But you need the tearing, like your heart is tearing.”

“My insides are tearing,” says Dad.

The rabbi and his wife leave. My sister and I leave, dividing up the tasks. I arrange for the wheelchair van to pick up my father. My job is to set up the schedule for the next day. Gayl, the kids, the rabbi and my cousin Barb will meet at the old folks home along with the van.

Gayl does all the relative calling, and the arrangements for obituaries. She's got the hard part. I HATE the telephone, I don't think I could manage.

I don't have space to write about the actual funeral. My father collapsed in the middle of it and had to leave in an ambulance. I rode with him to the hospital.

“Yo,” I ask one of the EMS guys. He looks like a college jock: crew cut, muscles out to here, “you guys ever have a pick-up at a cemetery before?”

“Happens all the time,” he tells me.

Flash ahead: It's the Saturday after the funeral. Jews are supposed to go say a special prayer, the Kaddish, every Friday and Saturday for the year following a funeral. I originally had classes scheduled for Friday, but I decide I'll feel like shit if I abandon Mom right in the first week.

I cancel my classes, learning that “a death in the family,” can get you out of a whole lot. Friday night, I go to the local homogogue... the gay synagogue. It's the one I go to on the high holidays every year. Usually, I go with one of the many girls I've turned into lesbians. It's not exactly Reform, but it's like Reform, with the organ and the flags.

The homogogue has its temporary quarters in a church just north of Chelsea, the rich gay area of Manhattan.

I walk in, my shirt torn. (I did NOT go for the ribbon.) My face wears a suitably grieving look. Working hard to exude a Mom-just-died smell from my armpits, neck, anywhere I can exude, I choose a seat on the right, toward the back.

The only other person in the row is a large black human of indeterminate gender. Grief-strickenly, I smile at her/im and sit down. S/he flashes me a tight-lipped acknowledgment and adjusts her/is yarmulke.

A few seconds later, s/he taps the shoulder of the young attractive guy sitting in front of her/im. He leans back in his chair. They whisper for a minute. Then, my rowmate gets up and moves to the seat next to the good-looking guy.

For the first part of the service, I'm alone in my row.

Later, out of the corner of my eye, I see someone slowly moving up the aisle. I turn to look at the oldest human I've ever seen on two legs. Agonizingly slow, he shuffles one foot forward, then the other. He's bent nearly double at the waist.

SHHHHH SHHHH SHHHH SHHHH, he shuffles. The soles of his shoes never leave the floor. He won't make it another row. I'm sure. He'll die right there in front of me. Two dead bodies in a week. It's more than I can take.

I pat the seat next to me. He looks at me, smiles and sits down. At the end of the service he hugs me, giving me a big kiss on the cheek. That's the only human contact I have at the place.

No one spoke to me, let alone touched me in this open-inclusive house of worship.

Up to now, the only physical contact I've had since I got back from the funeral has been my two local bums, the homeless guys on the corner. They hugged me until I cried. Their comfort was worth more than all the quarters I've ever given them.

I walk out the front door, past a couple of very butch girls, and down the front steps of the de-goyified church. On the corner is a street sign reminding me where I am.

Holy Hoegarten Batman! I'm right down from The Blarney Stone, one of the two or three REAL dive bars left in the city. (As opposed to faux dive-bars, filled with punks or college kids.) I head right for the place.

Linda, the bartendress has been there eight years. The rest of the clientèle look like they were born there.

Linda is blond and heavily cleavaged. Her accent is so thick I understand less than half of what she says. For her, day and flea rhyme.

“Hello, Mykel,” she says, “yer not a-lookin' so feen t'dee. You be wantin' a beer?”

“I just buried my mother,” I tell her. “Gimme something stronger. Irish whiskey.”

She pours me one. Then puts one leg on a crate under the bar and fixes her body in a story-listening position.

“Wenn did she dee?” she asks.

I drink and talk. Soon the tears begin falling and the snot runs from my nose to my mustache. The woman next to me, about 50, big, black, rubs my back. The Puerto Rican guy next to her puts his hand on my shoulder.

I never saw these people before and here they are, worshiping with me at the synagogue of the bottle. They hug me, tell me their names: April and Roberto, and then tell me about their own losses, their parents, a brother and a sister. They give me their phone numbers. Tell me to call if I need anything.

Somehow, my glass is never empty. I just cry. Drink. Hug my neighbors. Repeat. Linda tells me my money's no good. She's taking care of everything.

“I learned something really important tonight,” I say, drinking up my fifth glass of whiskey.

“What's that?” asks April, her arms cradling me like a baby.

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

-->1984 in 2008 dept: Holy shit! They're trying to market it as a “cure for social phobia.” Yeah right.
Here's the (edited) Press Release:

A nasal spray which increases our trust for strangers is showing promise as a treatment for social phobia, say scientists from Zurich University.
They found that people who inhaled the "love hormone" oxytocin continued to trust strangers with their money - even after they were betrayed.

Nicknamed the "cuddle chemical," oxytocin is a naturally produced hormone, which has been shown to play a role in social relations, maternal bonding, and also in sex.
Lead researcher Dr. Thomas Baumgartner said: "We now know for the first time what exactly is going on in the brain when oxytocin increases trust. We found that oxytocin has a very specific effect in social situations. It seems to diminish our fears.”

Yikes! Wait till the government and corporate America get a little TRUST US spray! You know you're gonna put this in THE AIR. Fox 5 News'll spray it from the back of trucks. It's the beginning of the end!

-->Steal my number, please dept: Entrepreneur Todd Davis has dared criminals to try stealing his identity: Ads for his fraud-prevention company, LifeLock, offer his real Social Security number next to his smiling face and name.
Now, Lifelock customers in Maryland, New Jersey and West Virginia are suing Davis. They claim his service didn't work and he knew it wouldn't. It failed even him.
Davis acknowledged in an interview with The Associated Press that his stunt has led to at least 87 instances in which people have tried to steal his identity. At least one succeeded: a guy in Texas used Davis' Social Security number to dupe an online loan company into giving him $500.

-->At first it seems like a tough choice dept: Americans United for Separation of Church and State filed a friend-of-the-court brief when a Pennsylvania public school refused to allow a parent to read from The Bible for a "Parents Reading" event.
Seems like a violation of free speech, huh? That's what the right wing Alliance Defense Fund said when they sued.
Here's the test. You allow The Bible. I'll read from THE SATANIC BIBLE. Howie's mom will read from the Marquis DeSade. If all that is allowed, I say, why not the Bible? But if you've got any censorship at all, then the school is right. The Bible should go. It's the most dangerous of all those books.

-->Daddy's at The Office Killing People dept: Newsweek reports that Sesame Street has a video package for the children of soldiers. In one clip, "little Rosita asks how she can still dance with her dad even though his legs don't work like they used to." The answer? Rolling to the beat-- in Daddy's wheelchair.
According to Newsweek, "The DVDs leave out some of the complexities of war, such as where Daddy is going or who hurt him. Instead, Daddy Elmo simply tells his son that he must leave to do "grown-up work." Yowsah!

-->Another reason to stay free from K.I.D.S. dept: Bottom Line Health reports that childless men are 16% less likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer than their progeny-encumbered counterparts. The reason is unknown.

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Monday, July 14, 2008

Mykel's Column for MRR 303 August

You're Wrong
An Irregular Column
for MRR 303
by Mykel Board

There is a physical difference between the white and the black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together...while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.-- Abraham Lincoln

There are few, I believe, in this enlightened age, who will not acknowledge that slavery as an institution is a moral and political evil." - Col. Robert E. Lee, General, Army of the Confederate States of America, December 27, 1856

Somewhere, there are people who can hold something in their hands, put it down on a desk or table, turn around... and when they turn back, that object is STILL on the desk or table. Right where they put it.

Somewhere there are people who, when something slips from their hands, that thing will drop onto the floor and make a sound. Those people will look down at the floor and the object dropped will actually be there. Right on the floor, waiting to be picked up. That somewhere is not here. Those people are not me.

I was madder than a paraplegic at a three-legged race. I put that stupid letter somewhere, and now I can't find it. I wanted to quote from it. From the Campaign to Save Tibet or something like that. To show the stupidity-- the illogical sappiness. Instead, the piles of paper on my desk shift and hide and apparently eat the offending document.

So, I sit here and scratch my ass... Ouch! Where did that come from? Everybody's got pimples on their ass, but this one really hurts. It's a little mound, with a sensitive spot right in the middle. Maybe a whitehead.

I pick at it. FUCK! Not only does it hurt, but it sends some kind of wave through my body. A trigger... letting loose a bullet somewhere else. On my side. Under my left arm. Like a nail driven into the skin. A pimple on my ass coming out under my arm. I don't get it.

I guess it comes from connections in the nervous system. My ass connected to under my arm. Who knew? Sometimes the connections surprise me. It's what doctors call sympathetic pain. I don't feel very sympathetic.

Oh yeah. Tibet. What is it with Americans? Right and left. Supporting Chechnya, Tibet, Kosovo, who-knows-wheresville. Independence? Yo Yanquis, look in your own back yard-- or at least at your own history. We didn't fight the Civil War over slavery. Lincoln didn't “free the slaves” until the war had already started. “Emancipation” was a cynical move to boost the union army and create chaos in the South. Only SOUTHERN slaves were freed. Get it? Lincoln fought to KEEP THE UNION TOGETHER. That's it.

Fuck the slaves.

Lincoln's proclamation promised to emancipate blacks in areas currently in rebellion (in which Lincoln had no jurisdiction), and did not emancipate slaves in the areas that had not seceded or were militarily re-occupied. (From an review, Forced Into Glory, Abraham Lincoln's White Dream by Lerone Bennett.)

But why not let Lincoln himself tell you what was most important:

If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it; and if I could do it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that.

That he did it was one of the great tragedies of American-- and world-- history. For more than the last half-century, the U.S. has been on the wrong side of every war. If we were two countries, we wouldn't have half the world-dominating power we have now. We would never have entered-- or started those wars. Thanks(?) to Lincoln, we're not two countries.

Hu Jintao is the Abraham Lincoln of China. You cannot support independence for Tibet unless you support independence for the Confederate States of America. The wars are the same. The war is not for freedom, or against slavery. The war is not about human rights.

But why not let Hu Jintao himself tell you what's most important:

Our conflict with the Dalai clique is not an ethnic problem, not a religious problem, nor a human rights problem. It is a problem of either preserving national unity or splitting the motherland."

Tibet has been part of China since Genghis Khan brought them together in the 1200s. The Dalai Lama was NAMED Dalai Lama by Genghis Khan in the 13th century.

Even after the dissolution of that empire, Tibet was still a part of greater China rule. Since the founding of the Republic in 1911, it has NEVER been independent.

They tried issuing their own passports to a few people after World War II. According to Wikipedia:

In 1947-49, Lhasa sent a "Trade Mission" led by the Tsepon (Finance Minister) W.D. Shakabpa to India, Hong Kong, Nanjing (then the capital of China), the U.S., and Britain. The visited countries were careful not to express support for the claim that Tibet was independent of China and did not discuss political questions with the mission.

That's it. The only “Tibetan Passports” ever issued. Not much independence there.

Lincoln fought the U.S. Civil War for unity after 90 years of nationhood. Tibet has been part of China for more than 800 years.

Whoa, there Beastie Boy. Don't get uppity. I support independence for Tibet. I support independence for EVERYONE. The Confederate States, Kosovo, Brooklyn. I support it for Dalai Lamists and Texans who want three wives and 12-year-old brides. I support Farrakhanville and DavidDukedom. I give the green light to Puritania and Pervertistan.

But I don't want to hear complaints about Rednecks and Yahoos with Confederate Flags in the back of their pick-up trucks. That Tibetan flag you're waving is a confederate flag. It means INDEPENDENCE.

See? You look at a small part of the world, one far away. You tsk tsk and aww ain't it awful, but you don't see how the sympathetic pain leads from your ass directly to your armpit.

I say, live your life how you want to. Make your own laws. Have your own country. The only requirement should be that people can come and go as they please. No visas. No residency permits. No closed borders. If you don't like it, leave. Go someplace else and be welcomed. There is a country for everyone. It's only customs and immigration that keeps us out.

Oh yeah, on a related front, people who complain about free trade don't get it. The problem is NOT that free trade allows too much corporate movement. It's that it doesn't allow enough human movement. General Motors can move its factories to Mexico, but those Mexicans can't move their families to the U.S. American Express can relocate its tech support to India. But Indians can't relocate themselves to America.

I say, let the corporations move factories to Mexico if the pay is lower there. But then let the Mexicans come here if the pay is higher here. Open the gates. Instead of an ocean-to-ocean wall, there should be an ocean-to-ocean welcome mat. If corporations are free, why not people?

If corporations are allowed to vote with their dollars, average citizens should be allowed to vote with their feet.

In fact, I've got a plane ticket to Trinidad on my desk, right now... At least it WAS on my desk. I know I had it here someplace.

PART TWO: Reaction to my last column was fun, though predictable.

“Mykel, if there's nothing we can do to help the world, we're doomed.”

Right now I say, “Yep.” Buy a fiddle and play it while
Rome burns.

If it were legal, I'd say I was misinterpreted. I'd say that I didn't mean there was nothing you could do... only that recycling your soup cans or eating organic tofu is not going to do it. I'd say one person CAN make a difference... if that person blew up a Wal-Mart or took out a Supreme Court judge. But those things are illegal, and I'm not interested in advocating anything illegal. So I won't say any of that stuff.

I will repeat: every little bit DOESN'T count. One person (except in ways I would never advocate) CANNOT make a difference-- unless that person has tons of money and tons of power. As for you, me and the next guy: The best we can do is not make things too miserable for the gal next door.

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

-->Material for this column came from several books, either directly or indirectly. Among them: Jim Goad: Redneck Manifesto, Lerone Bennett: Forced Into Glory, Abraham Lincoln's White Dream, Robert William Fogel and Stanley L. Engerman: Time on The Cross and Wikipedia.

--Worse than famine war or disease dept: Jim Salinger works at New Zealand's National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research. He recently wrote that droughts in Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. Pacific Northwest are causing shortages of hops and Barley. That means that beer prices could "skyrocket."
And I was gonna write a column on how I don't give a shit about global warming...

-->Maybe he had his head up his ass dept: The AP reports that the New York State Supreme Court ruled that Brian Persuad was not due reparations from Columbia Presbyterian Hospital.
Persuad, a construction worker, sued. The complaint was that doctors at the hospital tried "to examine the rectum of the construction worker.”

“The construction worker was hit on the head by a falling wooden beam."
Persuad's lawyers have not yet decided if they'll appeal the decision.

-->Can you say Duh? dept: Which place in the US has the highest percentage of people who "speak a language other than English at home?" Puerto Rico... at 95%, according to Databank USA. Not such a thrilling discovery.
BUT, California is number two. Then New Mexico, Texas, Arizona, and New York. Pretty conservative areas, except MAYBE New York. Weird huh?
The places where the FEWEST people speak another language at home include Kentucky, and West Virginia. THAT makes sense. Ok, Hillary, why don't you take them and make your own country?

-->A prize you can't live with dept: Kyle sent me this advert for PET IDOL. Like American Idol, you vote for the best pet. I'm not sure if you vote for their performance or just photos. But the kicker is the PRIZE for winning. Yeah, you get toys and treats, but you also get a GIFT CERTIFICATE... to an animal funeral home. Hubba hubba!

-->Maybe she was full of shit dept: In Ness City, Kansas, the sheriff is recommending charges when a woman sat on her boyfriend's toilet for so long that her body became stuck to the seat. Apparently, the woman was sitting there for 2 years. During that time, her skin grew around the seat.
The sheriff said the boyfriend was guilty of "mistreatment of a dependent adult." The boyfriend pleads not guilty saying his girlfriend "has a phobia about leaving the bathroom."

--> I thought glasses protected you dept: In Hammond Indiana, police charged a teacher with hitting his 11-year-old son with a wrench. The reason? The boy fell asleep while wearing his glasses.
Remember in all those old movies where the wimp gets out of being beat up by
donning a pair of glasses. What's the world coming to?

-->Another reason to love Wal-Mart dept: It was sad enough that Debbie Shank was a Wal-Mart employee, though she was slightly lucky that laws and public opinion forced that monster to give her health care. She sure needed it when an accident damaged her brain and confined her to a wheelchair. Insurance benefits required the megastore set aside $417,000 for her care.
She and her hubby also sued the trucking company responsible for the accident. They were awarded a cool million, much of it going to the lawyers.
And Wal-Mart?
They wanted the $417,000 back! No shit. They said they had a contract that “allows the company to retrieve damages won by employees in lawsuits.” Holy fuck!
Good thing it's illegal to advocate arson. Otherwise, some folks might do it. Not me, of course.
Of course.

-->What happened to the good stuff dept: Back in the old days of VCRs and videotapes, I used to get all kinds of homemade vids from my readers. Yeah, THOSE kind of homemade vids.
These days, that has, er... dried up. I'm forced to go to where I can look at other people's homemade vids. Mostly headless guys jerking off.
It's okay, but it's not the same as watching someone pet themselves and say, “Ohh.... Mykel... this is for you... right now... I'm thinking of you... you make me so hot...”
So how 'bout it? Send me a homemade DVD or a CD-Rom with an .avi file or ten!! As usual the address is: Mykel Board, POB 137, Prince St. Station, NYC 10012.

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