Sunday, September 01, 2019

You’re Still Wrong Mykel's Blog for September 2019 or We’re Number Two

You’re Still Wrong Mykel's Blog for September 2019 

or We’re Number Two 

Mykel’s Post-MRR Blog
September 2019
We're Number Two
by Mykel Board

"Travel  is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime."
Mark Twain

It was a more brilliant idea than the invention of masturbation…. a bigger adventure than petting a live crocodile… a riskier task than walking into a room of black lesbian feminist vegetarians. Disappear! Go away… vanish. Not permanently (sorry folks), but for more than a month. Just go off and not tell a soul where I’m going. POW! Be gone.

By the time you read this, I will be gone… a brief trip to help celebrate my nephew’s college graduation. Then POW… off to I-know-where to disappear with only a few scattered traces. Here are the first two of a slow series of hints to my location:

1. Saturday Night Live

2. It’s a place I’ve never been to, but MAYBE not a country I’ve never been to.

More to come (check my travel facebook page for hints).

So for my last blog before I go, I want to talk about travel.

While I make the necessary preparations for my disappearance, I’ve been thinking about my trips in the past. Once, while hiking through the woods somewhere, maybe Estonia, I squatted to take a shit. There’s something wonderful about being alone with nature… trees, leaves, shrubs. And then just squatting and taking a shit. It’s a Buddhist-like communion. I am one with the bears, the chipmunks, the boars… my fellow creatures who shit in the woods.

It’s a medium shit… the consistency of toothpaste… the size and shape of Katz’s pickles. But the wipe… What about the wipe?

I open my wallet to look for an old receipt or any other scrap of paper…nothing… only green bills: three ones, four fives, and a twenty. It would be a great statement to wipe my ass on hard cash. It’s a statement I do not make. I pinch my cheeks together and pull up my pants.

FLASH TO GREENLAND: Until Trump’s offer to buy it from Denmark, most Americans had never heard of Greenland. Half of those who have confuse it with Iceland. Denmark controls much of Greenland’s foreign policy. It issues passports and prints the money for the country… but it does not OWN the country… at least not in the way the US owns Puerto Rico.

It’s 2017, I step off the plane from Oslo, Norway to Nuuk, Greenland. At the door to the plane is a roll-away staircase. The other end sits on the small tarmac below. I climb down and follow the other dozen or so passengers into the main building… fishing out my passport ready to present it to the immigration officer who’ll ask why I’m there, do I have anything to declare, and can I open my bags so he can see if I have any booze or munitions.

I don’t see an immigration officer. There is a guy in a sort of uniform (black shirt and pants), sitting at a desk.

Are you immigration?” I ask.

He nods.

I hand him my passport. He opens it, looks at my picture and hands it back.

I clear my throat.

I know this is an odd request,” I say, “but I like to keep records of places I’ve visited. Would you mind stamping my passport?”

He shrugs.

“Sorry,” he says in better English than mine, “we don’t have any stamps. We don’t do that in Greenland.”

So began a journey, like all others, different from any journey I’d had before. A country with NO SECURITY. No x-rays at the airport, no immigration, no bag inspection, no taking off belts and shoes. A country where people watch whales frolic from their windows… and then eat them. Where locals can see the aurora from those same windows. It’s a place where caribou hunters video their kills on iphones. A place where a fine halibut steak costs $5… and a single cucumber costs more. All the land is owned by the government. You have a right to use the land where you want to build a house, but you can't buy or sell it.

We sit at a bar near the center of town. I’m with Inuarq my couch-surfing host for my time here. I raise my glass.

Kazuta!” he says.

Kazuta!” I reply, downing the beer.

A beautiful Greenlander enters the bar with a bunch of young men in tow. She reminds me of those young Japanese women who die their hair blond. Oriental-looking, like most Greenlanders, she’s tall and thin, unlike most of the other locals. I figure she’s a local celebrity. I figure right.

That’s Ursula,” says my host. “The only transsexual in Greenland. She’s a superstar here. On television... people follow her around. The biggest thing in Greenland since the igloo. EVERYBODY wants to be her friend” [NOTE: I forget what her name REALLY is, so I use Ursula, because it’s a sexy name.]

In Greenland, the stranger, the novel, the outsider revels in her strangeness, her novelty, her outsiderness. Rock-star status… The way it should be.

FLASH TO MONGOLIA: In Mongolia, at least in 1996 Mongolia, there are no roads between the cities. You drive over the desert in the general direction of the city. When you come to a ger (one of those big round tents Americans call “yurts”), you ask the way, and the ger-owner adjusts your path a bit, and you go on to another ger and get adjusted again. When the sun begins to set, you stop at a ger, tell ‘em you’re a traveler, and the people feed you, put you up for the night, and adjust your direction the next morning.

It’s the evening, I sit with a family I’ve never met. We’re someplace in the Gobi desert… not a city… not a town… just a ger, not close to anything else except sand and a few mountains. It looks about 6 o’clock from the sun and the sun is all we have to go from.

I’m the only one here who doesn’t speak Mongolian (except for the phrase Mongol-hun bain? (Are you Mongolian? Not very useful in Mongolia.) Tsengel, student and the driver on this trip, translates when it’s necessary.

Dinner tonight is lamb, bread, and vodka. Dinner EVERY night is lamb, bread, and vodka. Our hosts, a man and woman in their late 40s, open the cupboard to fetch the bread and vodka. There is one loaf and one bottle. The man pours a rather large single glass of vodka, then dips his ring finger into it. Holding his finger with his thumb, he releases it spraying vodka into the air.

It’s a first offering for the Gods,” Tsengel tells me.

Then the host passes the glass among the rest of us… and we all take a sip. Then he refills the glass, takes a drink and passes it around again. While we’re drinking, his wife takes the loaf of bread and cuts it into the same number of pieces as there are people. She passes it around.

After we finish, there is no more vodka and no more bread.

What are they going to eat or drink tomorrow?” I ask Tsengel. “They have no more bread. No more vodka.”

It’s never tomorrow… always today” says Tsengel, “so we don’t worry about it.”

Further on in the desert, we’re almost out of gas. There is a small town with a handpump filling station that will be our last stop for 2 hundred miles. I suggest we fill all available containers with gasoline. One of them is ¼ bottle of vodka.

We’re going to need that container,” I tell Tsengel.

I can’t drink a quarter bottle of vodka,” says Tsengel. “I have to drive.”

Then dump it out into the sand,” I tell him.

That’s vodka,” he says, looking like I’d asked him to cut off his testicles.

I know,” I say, “just dump it.”

But, that’s VODKA!” he says. “You can’t dump it out.”

But we do. I can see the tears in his eyes as he pours it into the Gobi sand.

FLASH TO NY: Gavin, a pal from Guyana, is visiting me. He’s spent some time in the Amazon, trying to synthesize traditional music from escaped slaves with punkrock. You can see some of what he does here.

It’s Drink Club night at the Peculier Pub, Gavin shows up late as the Guyanese are wont to do.

This is my friend Gavin,” I say by way of introduction. “He’s from Guyana.”

Really,” says a friend from New Jersey, “tell me about it. I’ve always wanted to visit Africa.”

Flash to any American patriotic rally. I’m here because I have to be doing something ELSE… and the rally is blocking my way. This one is on some street in a small town between New York and Baltimore. I’m driving to visit my friend Kesha and it’s Memorial Day (or Labor Day-- I always get them confused) weekend.

WE’RE NUMBER ONE! WE’RE NUMBER ONE! WE’RE NUMBER ONE! comes the shout from the crowd.

More like we’re NUMBER TWO,” I think-but-don’t-say for personal safety reasons. Then, the idea strikes me, what do these people REALLY think is the number two country.

I tap the shoulder of a blond girl in a blue tanktop.

Hey!” she says –not in a friendly way.

The massive white guy standing next to her turns around. He looks down at me, like a vengeful god might have looked down at Moses when he (Moses) smashed the Ten Commandments.

What’s up with you, Mister?” asks the white guy.

Sorry to bother you,” I say, “but I was just wondering. If America is number one, what country is number two?”

What the fuck?” says the big white guy. “They’re ALL number two.”

I see,” I say. “Well then, of all the countries you’ve been to, what’s the difference between them and us?”

Are you serious?” he asks. “What kind of question is that? I’ve never been out of the U.S. I don’t need to go. Everything is here. Purple mountains majesty… that kinda shit. And the biggest army in the world. We RULE! Don’t you know that? Are you some kind of foreigner?”

I don’t really know,” I tell him.

One facebook friend says he’s been to over 100 countries. Turns out he went to most of them with the army. Spent all his time killing the locals, so he knows how awful they are. Otherwise, he was with Americans and it’s just like he never left home

Others of my “friends” tell me LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT. These are usually the same guys who want to ban immigrants.

I can’t leave it,” I tell them. “The other countries are banning immigrants and won’t let me in.”

It’s a facile answer, I know. I have a cousin and several friends who’ve left. I’ve already written about the colonies of American expats in Mexico City, Prague, Paris, Roppongi Tokyo, Belize, Thailand… and more. They had the courage to leave. I don’t.

Americans don’t know who won the Civil War or that Guyana is in South America or who was the “enemy” in World War Two.

Americans are the dumbest people on earth,” Michael Moore once said. I think he was giving them (us?) too much credit.

Americans don’t know what it’s like being able to go to the doctor when you’re sick without having to worry if that’ll take away your ability to pay rent. Americans don’t know how it feels when the stranger is a hero, rather than an “invader.” Americans don’t know how good it feels to shit in the woods.
Yeah, there are some exceptions. But they are rare.

Is that a surprise? In a country where school students grow up pledging allegiance to a flag… and a nation under God… what space is there for looking at things a different way.? And in a country, where parents can opt-out of the school system completely, and teach their kids that God made the universe in seven days, how can it possibly be common knowledge that the North won the Civil War and that Ghana is in Africa and Guyana in South America? How can there be common knowledge at all?

Common knowledge is international. Ask anyone in the world what the capital of the US is, and they’ll give you the right answer. How about the capital of Guyana?

The U.S. is a big Number Two. I stay here because I have a cheap apartment in NY, a job I like, 6 weeks a year to just disappear… and I don’t have the courage to say Fuck You and take off for a better place.

Still, we do share things with the rest of the world. Sometimes that commonality loses itself in the details, but it’s in our combined humanity. Is the reluctance to dump vodka in the desert any weirder than the reluctance to use dollar bills to wipe my ass? Only the material is different.

ENDNOTES: [You can contact me on facebook or by email at Through the post office: send those... er... private DVDs..or music or zines... or anything else (legal only!) to: Mykel Board, POB 137, New York, NY 10012-0003. If you like my writing, you can be notified when anything new is available. Subscribe to the MYKEL'S READERS Yahoo group]

→ An actor in one of my favorite movies portrays a transsexual Thai boxer who literally kicked ass. The actor was asked what he thinks when people say that, because of his portrayal of a transsexual , he himself must be transsexual. He answered. “That is the highest compliment. It means I was so convincing as an actor, that people believed the character was me.”
That’s how I felt when several people asked me if I really fucked a guy with two assholes. I know I usually save the blatant lies for my April Fools column, but this was not a lie. It was a story with a purpose. It was a literary way to explore an opposite point of view from mine… and give that point of view some credibility. It was a case where I didn’t have all the answers, and wanted at least to make sure of the questions. The activities did not take place in the “real” world. The questions they raised, however, were real questions.
All the events related in THIS blog are true to the best of my recollection.

As Freedom Erodes Dept: The U.S. representative at the UN made the right call. Kelly Knight Craft, presumably on D.T.’s instructions. made the U.S. one of only three countries to vote against a “condemnation of Nazis” resolution. While condemning Nazi ideology, Craft voted NO on free speech grounds. She recognized that denying speech to one is denying speech to all. It was a brave act, especially since D.T. is such a Netanyahu lapdog. But it was the right decision.

Speaking of Israel Dept: Since the U.S. has practically abandoned international news coverage (unless we’re overtly involved) that task has to go to the foreigners. Two of the best are from the Middle East.
One is Al Jazeera, from Qatar. They have reporters everywhere, and have more real news than any 10 American newspapers. The other is Haaretz from Israel. I don’t know how they’ve escaped government censorship, but they continue to publish what really happens in the middle east without kowtowing to the official line.

The latter does, however, seem to be kowtowing to their advertisers, refusing to show their website to anyone using an ad-blocker. No comment here about confirming religious stereotypes.

 → Pimp yourself dept: I’m rebuilding my LINK CONNECTION database. If you have a cool blog, or newsletter, or something else with a URL, let me know (even if you’ve already done so). You show me yours… you’ve already seen mine. If I like it, I’ll link to it and let you know. Then you link to me. It’ll give us both two extra points in the Google search engine. If I’ve linked to you in the past, send me the link again and I’ll relist it. Send the link via email to Subject: LINK EXCHANGE. No YouTube links allowed.

In the meantime, I’m pimping a couple links here. Ones that I’m sure of.

My spiritual foil, who calls me on my shit Richard Goldberg has a great photo-centric blog at:

Jailbird noise musician and intense critic, Kyle Nonneman has a blog at:

See you in hell...  er… the location’s a secret.



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