Thursday, October 27, 2005

Brief Commercial Message

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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Corruption Ho!

Ahoy, Maties!

Avast! Arrr! Batten down yer hatches and tilt yer grog to the Pirate Shanty for Our Times! Aarrr! This ain't no scurvy musick, like the saltless simperin' preferred by sart'n land-lubbin' lib'r'ls we know! Aarrr! Nay, this humerous harmonie be gettin' hearty howls outta all sixteen men on any dead man's chest! Yo-ho-ho and a bottle o' political satire!

As ye know, thar ain't no more cruelly effective solution to the world's problims than to harpoon 'em with a few sharp jabs o' comedy. Arrr! Prodded with a hale and hearty belly larff, greed, mayhem, murder, an' social injustice soon be walkin' the plank to them sardonic sharks sneerin' up from th' briny deep below! Yo-ho-ho! Ike ike ike ike ike ike ike!

And so it be in that thar spirit which I now offer ye all a toothsome hand-signed CD of "Raise the Jolly Roger" fer the mere price o' 12 green dollers cash!

Shiver me timbers, did you 'ear right? Aye! Barely a fraction of a doubloon! Countin' inflation!

Why not haff o' that? My cutlass will pertend it didn't 'ear that scurvy question, mateys. But if I had, I'd say it's because I've added a treasure chest o' other songs so scandalous the CIA is prayin' you don't 'ear so much as the blarsted titles! Aye, the fun will close them AND the Vatican down! Aaarrrr!

Ticklin' them skulls and bones,

Cap'n Tom Dark


Tom Dark (copyright etc)

Ahoy! We're the hale me-hearty mighty pirates as of yore
The fickle-fingered mother's sons of  Babylon's Big Whore,
We'll steal your stuff and swash your buckles 'til they're stiff and sore!
We've sailed by today to say that Business is better than ever before!

With our fancy new enhancements we do more than sail the seas
Our ships have names like Abrams tanks, A-tens and F-sixteens
E-Z payment plans will partly replace your rape and robbery!
As we raise the Jolly Roger o'er the Land of Liberty!

So pledge allegiance to the Jolly Roger if you please!
(Little sailor's hornpipe dance here)

We bring refrigerators and we bring new SUVs
Expensive sneakers, microwaves the latest DVDs
We'll fill your face with fast food 'til your fat falls past your knees
Then we'll sell you diet drinks and drugs and dope and more disease!

Make no mistake we're on the make until your final breath
So don't complain we'll cause you pain,
we could nickel and dime you to death!

Nickel and dime ya ta death!

Nickel and dime ya ta death!

Nickel and dime ya! Nickel and dime ya!



So if you've got a mean dictator who just hates it when you're free
We will crush this freedom hater 'neath the wheels of a Humvee
Then we'll raise the Jolly Roger o'er where he used to be!
And indulge your uncontrollable urge to buy a Democracy

And install new low-priced leaders for a very reasonable fee!

As the cannon's mighty roar keeps our business interests free!

And we roam from shore to shore, trying not to look greedeee!

As your resources get explored, for their profitability!

As we raised the Jolly Roger o'er the Land of Libertee

'Til all mankind will march in step with our ideologee!

So don't you weep, just stay asleep, it's all you're meant to be!

As we wrap the Jolly Roger 'round your calls for decency!

This message brought to you by pirates from the laaaaand
Tweedle de deedle de dunk!

write to

Monday, October 24, 2005

War, Peace and Hehpsehboah

(More unusual people I have known. Oh, there'll be more. There always are)

War, Peace, and Hehpsehboah

September, 2002

Any human being, left alone, would naturally choose peace over war, especially one who has been through it -- face-deep into the shooting and bombing and the horror and the terror, that is -- and not just twirling a flag from some cozy front porch or political pulpit, coaxing others to die for one righteousness or another. Those of us who want peace now need to do something about it.

So what are we doing about it?

A Vancouver, B.C., woman named Hehpsehboah means to do something about it. She saw her family wiped out in the midst of war, despite her warnings.

At the beginning of September, 2002, with the help of friends, Hehpsehboah, 65, set up a spot in downtown Vancouver, braving cold nights and a downpour to begin generating a global peace movement right where she lived. She sat outside, speaking to people straight through the weekend, breaking only for a catnap here and there. She broadcast across a free internet service called "Paltalk" for 52 of those hours.

She spent the first day of her marathon weekend hungry; she eats only two little rice-cakes a day, but friends forgot to bring them. There were computer breakdowns and sabotages by vandals. A security guard went through her and her friends' pocketbooks, stole her last five dollars, and stole a copy of the book she had self-published, out for meager sales. She chased some pot-smoking teenagers out of one of the teepees that had been set up for the event.

The Vancouver media ignored her. They also ignored a peace march that had been scheduled that weekend, which was broken up by the heavy rain.

After the downpour and 3 days of non-stop speaking and broadcasting to supporters and catcallers, the peace gathering was over. Hehpsehboah went back to her apartment, $32,000 in debt to a friend for the tents and permits and no money for the month's rent.

No more than 70 or 80 people had gathered around to listen to her at any one time that weekend. Still, the windows at the nearby hotel had been open, so perhaps visitors had listened from their rooms. And still, Hehpsehboah was proud to point out a few individuals who came up and wished her well with all their hearts. "...if we could just shout to the world 'keep it going!'" said three women from Seattle.

Some who stopped to speak to her were war veterans, or soldiers on furlough in Vancouver: Canadian, Israeli, Palestinian and Angolan soldiers, each of whom had seen real combat and lived to deplore it and any further excuses for it.

Hehpsehboah said "Some of them broke down and cried, and told me 'this is the time more than ever before... people have to learn to respect each other, and to love one another, and understand there must be,'" she emphasized, quoting one of the soldiers, "'No! More! War!'"

One of the Palestinian soldiers had an Israeli wife. They had a baby, which prompted them to leave the middle east. He said "What should I have them do, cut my son in half?"

First attempt done, Hehpsehboah had no food in her house. No dog food for her 18 month old Pekingese pup, Qian Long, either. Finally, a friend volunteered to pay October's rent. By September 19, Hehpsehboah had obtained some food for her pup, but none for herself. Her longsuffering volunteer assistant, Katharina, gesticulating over the months of frustration and deprivation, unmet commitments and false promises, exclaimed "what ARE you doing this for, anyway?

Hehpsehboah replied "I'm still in a body, aren't I? I'm not dead, am I? So long as I'm still here there is a chance to accomplish this. If it comes to it, then I'll go out on the street and beg for food."

What an unusual story.

And what kind of a global peace movement is this? A pathetic gesture by some poor old crazy lady who watches too much TV news? "When I watch CNN, I usually smile," Hehpsehboah said. "I can see how they are slanting their news to make people think it's something other than it is, and I can see them hiding things from the public."

As unusual as it is, and as impossible as the goal seems, this story stands as a not untypical episode in the unusual life Hehpsehboah has led. She has an uncanny ability to perceive when someone is hiding something. I joked to her that it must have been impossible to hide Christmas presents for her as a little girl. She said I was right.

When she was four, Hehpsehboah lived in the Netherlands, in the midst of the second world war. Her father, owner of a 400 year old brewery, was a leader in the Dutch underground. His little girl's remarkable talent proved invaluable to the allied underground: she could tell where the Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe would be attacking next.

Her ability to sense the probable movements of the enemy ahead of time saved thousands of lives. Her uncanny accuracy made newspaper headlines across Europe. The papers deemed her "The Little Prophet."

One day the Little Prophet warned all not to take shelter in a nearby warehouse. They did anyway, including her family. The warehouse took a direct hit from a German bomb and all were killed.

The Little Prophet grew up in orphanages, where she was often severely mistreated, while her abilities improved with age. Not long ago an American paper nicknamed her "Nana Nostradamus," referring cheekily to her now-legendary ability to pronounce future events in her bubbly, matronly manners of expression... without concealing them in obscure rhymed quatrains, as Nostradamus needed to do.

Even a modestly skeptical reader viewing the past global weather predictions posted on Hehpsehboah's website might dismiss them as fake -- how could anybody be that good? But she is indeed "that good" -- so far. "So far" incorporates about 6 decades of phenomenal accuracy.

Karen O'tay lives not far from San Antonio, Texas. On Sunday, June 30, 2002, she took a drive to San Antonio, not expecting the weather to have anything to do with anything. She expected to drive back home that night.

"There hadn't been any forecasts of rain for at least the past two weeks," she said. "Nobody was expecting any. The TV weather reports said nothing. Then it started coming down in sheets. I was trapped right in the middle of Northeast San Antonio during the whole thing."

The whole thing lasted 8 days. Thirteen inches of rain deluged the area. San Antonio experienced its worst flood in 100 years. George W. Bush took a photo-op trip with his FEMA chief to survey the damage and ceremoniously declared it a disaster area.

Karen had remembered Hehpsehboah's prediction too late to get out of the way. Hehpsehboah had been the only one to foresee the disaster, from among scientists or seers. She'd said it would happen on June 30, and there it was.

An Insurance company in Chicago relies on Hehpsehboah's ability to foresee disasters. "I spent eight months with her in Vancouver," said John, who handles catastrophe claims, "and I got used to the fact that every time she predicted a major storm or an earthquake [anywhere in the world], there it was."

Hehpsehboah has been pretty darn good at foreseeing other kinds of disasters as well.

A few weeks ago on Saturday morning, September 14, 2002, she called to tell me that she had sat up straight in bed in the middle of the night -- she'd heard terrible news about the state of Kashmir, India.

Violence would be starting there within 8 hours, she told me. It could lead to a tremendous crisis. If this trouble in Kashmir weren't averted, it would result in an international crisis in about a week. Kashmir is claimed by both India and Pakistan, and has been the trigger of violence frequently since 1947. It had been quiet lately.

I checked for news reports after we rang off. Nothing. I e-mailed a friend in Kolkata. He wrote back immediately that, yes, violence had begun to flare in Kashmir.

That evening the first reports began trickling in over internet news services. The Indian government had begun to force voting among the Muslim population in Kashmir, leading to the deaths of two political candidates and 17 others.

The reports of atrocities and street fighting with the Indian army grew within hours of Hepsehboah's own report from her bed in the middle of the night. A week or so later, the temple at Gujarat was bombed by fanatics,resulting in rioting, killing well over 1,000 and injuring twice that many, creating international news.

"I am not a psychic," she declares, "I don't tell fortunes. I hear news from the Creator and I pass it on for the good of all who will use it."

It might take months to catalog Hehpsehboah's long record of remarkable accuracy. Doubtless, she would consider such an undertaking quite vain. Her stated purpose is simply to help people get out of the way of trouble, no differently than were her childhood efforts during World War Two.

Predictions, or prophesying, however, may not be her most remarkable trait. Ask the young man we'll call Jason, who walks around on two sound legs these days.

When he was a little boy, Jason was scheduled to have a leg amputated. The night before the surgery, the boy's father and an uncle took him from the hospital and brought him to Hehpsehboah. By 6 o'clock the following morning, they brought the little boy back to the hospital, his leg completely healed. The doctor stamped his imprimatur on this fact.

Hehpsehboah's past is also peppered with hundreds of such instances -- miraculous cures of diseases of all sorts diagnosed as terminal and hopeless by doctors. She is careless about saving letters of testimony; however, she has hundreds of these from grateful people whom she pulled from the brink of death, or from doctor's diagnoses of "inoperable" or "terminal." There are accounts of spontaneous healings at meetings, and "remote" healings of people who wrote or called for her help from a distance, as well as from those who attended her lectures.

She refuses to make a fortune through exploiting the sick and the dying -- even against the advice of the famed religious healer, Kathryn Kuhlman, who once urged her to do just that.

Instead, Hehpsehboah, somewhat naively, has been exploited. She once spent some months healing people at a naturopathic clinic in British Columbia. While working 16 hour days there, one of her clients told her he could no longer afford to come. Surprised, she asked why. She then learned people were paying $125 for 5 minutes of her time. Repulsed by the greed, Hehpsehboah walked out the door and never returned. She did, however, continue with the client, who subsequently recovered from his daily epileptic attacks.

Where do these amazing abilities come from, then? Hehpsehboah says "from the Creator of the Universe." With that, she may describe energies from what one may call the spiritual realms, with which she has been familiar since her earliest memories. She subscribes to no religion and preferrs to point out the great damage the world's religious blunders have often caused the world.

Nevertheless, she recognizes the validity of the individuals who have been of service to mankind in quite tangible ways, whatever their religious background.

Take Padre Pio, the Catholic mystic currently under canonization process by the Vatican. Padre Pio was world famous for healing the sick in the name of Christ. He suffered the stigmata -- that is, the phenomenon of routinely bleeding from the wrists and feet and chest, mirroring the same wounds Christ showed the doubting Apostle Thomas, in the New Testament story.

Hehpsehboah said "the stigmata was very, very important for Padre Pio. He needed this phenomenon to reaffirm his own faith in the Creator of the Universe, and this is where his power to heal came from. "I tried the stigmata once myself," she said, "but I decided it was childish, so I stopped it."

The Vatican is unlikely to canonize Hehpsehboah, who claims Zoroastrianism as her personal religion, but when the good Padre met her years ago when she was still a young countess, he broke down into tears of recognition.

The North American First Nation people's organization named her "Thunderbird Woman." This means that, according to Native American prophecy among various North American tribes, she is the woman who would be sent to the planet to serve as a messenger directly from God. (Hehpsehboah's mother was a full-blooded Mi'qmak indian from Eastern Canada. Her Dutch father the brewery owner came from a long line of nobles.)

Not long before she was born, Hehpsehboah's parents-to-be had a strange visit from a priest, an astrologer, a lama, and a rabbi. They all told her that their new daughter should be named "Shri Shanti A Deva Dutta." This name means "God's Holy Messenger of Peace."

This is not to say that Hehpsehboah is an unceasing beam of unblinking know-it-all. She has been wrong about certain things (thank God), and she is frank. Here's a good example of this lady's frankness:

One day Hehpsehboah happened to meet the Dalai Lama in a store in New York City. After a brief chat, the Dalai Lama paused, and said quizzically, "Is there something you want to tell me?" Hehpsehboah thought, and replied "I think that you are like a bird in a gilded cage. You were picked as a child by a bunch of old men who thought you were a bunch of other old men. It is impossible to be happy when you live your life trying to be someone you're not!"

Who else would tell the Dalai Lama a thing like that?

Neither are her prophetic statements or remarkable healings Hehpsehboah's most conspicuous personal traits. She did not earn the nickname "the Mother Theresa of Canada" from the papers for nothing.

Over the years, Hehpsehboah has established soup kitchens and shelters and housing for the poor, never using a nickel of the donations for her own luxury. She has had, and often still has, indigent and poverty-stricken people sleeping on the floor of her own small apartment, eating her food, sometimes leaving none for herself. Her altruism has often gone to such extremes that, as an old friend recently complained to her bluntly, "you've let people eat you out of house and home, and strip you right down to the bone!"

In 1993, while busying herself with healing and with finding food and shelter for the impoverished (she sleeps only about 3 hours a night, and sometimes doesn't sleep at all), Hehpsehboah had a remarkable experience.

She describes it this way: "It was as though a very great curtain descended from the sky all around me. A voice said to me 'You have healed men's bodies for a long time, and now it is time for you to begin to heal men's souls.'"

And there it started, on a streetcorner in Vancouver protesting the latest, greatest war.

[Epilogue: Maybe Hehpsehboah's anti-war weekend didn't make CNN, but Bishop Desmond Tutu did call and congratulate her for it.]

9/22/11 I see by the stats a fair number of people are reading this article. If you're curious, Hehpsehboah can be found at -- the site looks hokey, but she can't do anything about it.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Fat Old Man

Just ask me for a copy. I hear it's really good.

Fat Old Man

Tom Dark

Some days I feel like a fat old man. Some days I don't.
Some days I feel like a fat old man. Some days I don't.
Some days I will behave like a fat old man. Some days I won't.

I'm a fat old man... talking in my sleep, from three to five
I'm a fat old man... mumbling my mumbo jumbo about the universe... every night from three to five.

And while I mumble and I wonder, there's that gal there over yonder, listening, making sure I'm still alive.

She's a fat old gal... a churning urn of sweet concern.
She's lyin' there awake, listening to me mutter, taking careful note of every word I utter, she says sometimes there is truth in the nonsense that I blurt.

If some truth jumps out to bite her, while I'm lyin' there beside her,
I hope it doesn't hurt.  Swing it, fellas.


We sail across the rolling silence through the middle of the night
I am the captain of the blankets, snoring orders left and right
With my spyglass on the sleeping seas in search of distant dreams,
If I mutter "Thar she blows," she knows that all I mean

Is that I am a fat old coot... talking in my sleep, from three to five
With the moonlight on our shoulders, anchored like a couple boulders, she will rock the boat to ascertain that I am still alive.

And I appreciate that -- and I should tell her so
But I'd just as soon she didn't know
Can't help it, though, even so,
I am talking in my sleep, I know,
So let the whole world know
That I'm just a fat old man.

That's all right honey, don't get up.  I'm just goin' to the bathroom...


LIVE from the Wooterville, Ohio, Lion's Club and Oddfellows Hall! It's the annual Father's Day dance and pot luck free-for-all! Bring a covered dish and canasta cards! Best cookin' on either side of the Cuyahoga! We're too old to remember which side this is. But come on a' supper, wherever we are!

This is a true song: Some days I feel like a fat old man, some days I don't.

I've been practicing to be a fat old man since I was fourteen years old, which, at this point, as of my birthday today, is not so far from forty years ago.

Depending when you finally read this, that point may have been well over forty years ago... maybe even a hundred.

If for you it is now over a thousand years since I began practicing being a fat old man, I've misjudged my own importance.

If all new babies look so cute to us old folks, how much cuter must babies not even due for a thousand years look? More neotonous molecules could not be imagined. If it’s past 3000 AD when you are reading this: hellooooooo, you adorable, adorable little sweeties, whirling in the air, as yet unborn!

I bet that a thousand years from now, your language sounds like "zip!" "vip!" and "boopbeepboop!"

Let it be written in the language of Zipvipboopbeepboop that I didn't invent practicing growing old. My best pal Paul Richard did.

Paul was practicing being a fat old man before we met. He got really good at it. He'd stick his belly out, splay his legs and grunt and snort and complain just like a fat old man. He could roll complacently down the sidewalk just like a fat old man. I learned how to say "Aaah, shit. Snuffle. Snort," from Paul. Lots of us did. We thought acting like fat old men was very funny.

Paul made a fat old monkeyshine that history should record for you teens in your zipbeepboop helmets and silvery space suits a thousand years away.  One day after school, as we were seated in a tired old after-school teen hangout called Porter’s, Paul grunted out the latest teen hit song as a fat old man, dressed in the latest teen fashions. I fell out of the booth laughing.

"Come on baby light my fiiiiiiiiire," he grunted, like a hairy old man with a mountainous belly in a swayback bed singing in the middle of the night.

Paul said, "imagine waking up on a Sunday morning when you’re 70 dressed like a hippie clown singing that. That’d be real keen.” "Keen" was an outmoded word even then, a thousand years ago. Paul had a double sense of irony.

Maybe there won't be such a thing as "Sunday" in your time, unborn molecule kids. It was a day for going to church, and most of us had stopped going to church even back then.  Most of us stopped going to church because we began to suspect it wasn’t who we really were.  I hope people can still translate what Paul meant into Zipvipboop.  He meant, "imagine waking up on the morning when you are most supposed to be who you really are, but who you make of yourself is a silly clown in a puffy polka dot shirt and striped bellbottom pants and square-toed shoes with high heels, singing about being sexy."

Are there still polka dots in your time?  Are they now a sign that you know who you really are?

Yes there are least a thousand years left from now.  The wicked world leaders we now have, a thousand years ago, are only temporary.  If mentioned in Zipvipboop at all, they'll be amused footnotes about how humans most think they are important when they least realize they are clowns.

This information is presently top secret for most people.  The government is hiding it.  But a thousand years from now, you maybe probably know. Truth has a way of leaking out, if slowly.

"How do you get to the belly of the whale?" Paul asked rhetorically one day after school, smoking cigarettes and drinking soda pop in my room. "Just follow the Yellow Brick Road," he rejoined to nobody and everybody, staring out the windows of the upper floor of that big old Victorian house. This sounds crazy now, but a thousand years from now, you all probably understand.

I nicknamed Paul "the King." He committed suicide at age 19. He'd already thought everything a fat old man thinks, felt all a fat old man cares to feel and decided to leave the planet early.

After slitting his wrists on three different occasions across the next year, the King succeeded in killing himself.  He'd stop by in dreams now and then in the same fashion we used to hang out together, now in dreams.  One night he described what his death was like: it was all a black nothing; then he'd remember he was somebody and that it was a Sunday morning -- which it would have been, had he not killed himself.  Time to get up, looking forward to sweet rolls, milk and the funnies; then he'd realize he couldn't wake up, he'd remember he'd killed himself.  This led to a seeming eternity of horrific mournful sound and regretful feeling, after which, there'd be nothing again. This would repeat endlessly, remembering himself, trying to wake up, and realizing he couldn't. Although I was only an observer, it was terrifying to see what he described.

After a few rough dreams of him as these, the King was doing well enough.  He'd finally put the suicide behind him and grew up in some other reality. When things got lousy for me over the years, he would show up in a dream to cheer me up.  By jove, I'd cheer up.  Things did get better.

He hasn't visited my dreams in quite awhile.  We tend to get lost in busy-things at middle age, too absorbed in them to be sociable, even when one of us is dead.

Insomuch as you may still be somewhere conscious of me, old King, I have given you a song with a fat old wife in it for the probability in which you achieved the fat old manhood you were practicing for.  In this probability, you despised your mother and didn't want a girlfriend.  You didn't even want to masturbate.

In fact, King, I wrote this song with Susie Narak in mind, who is really young, really really smart and really, really, really cute.  Susie gave me permission to use her name.  She can be your fat old gal in some nether-nether land.

I have a photo of Susie standing with Melissa Ferrick, which Susie sent me.  I've taped it to the mirror in my studio.  Susie looks innocent and unaware that she is more delicious than pie a la mode and as warm and fuzzy as a gerbil. Melissa looks like a kitty cat who has just found the key to the gerbil's cage.

I laugh each time I look at it, which is often.  And so, I hoped also to make something that would make young Susie laugh just as goofily.

I love that photo.


I woke up in the middle of the night humming the beginnings of this song not long before my 50th birthday. Shortly after, my deejay friend Don Campau opened the door and discovered a whole lot of people standing there going "Happy Biiiiiiiirthday!"  He too had just turned fifty.

And now, fifty was longer ago for us than Youth Today would like to imagine.  You wake up and there you are.
Surprise, surprise, old fella.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Suicide Therapy

(I wrote this for a kid who was suicidal who thought he wanted to be a comedian. He was always repeating long bits verbatim from comedians who cuss a lot. Well... he repeated those bits kind of in the fashion that Dustin Hoffman's autistic character in "Rain Man" repeated Abbot & Costello's "Who's on first" bit. The kid looked at the bit I wrote for him and he shucksed away from actually trying it out... BUT. He was doing fine last I saw him; he'd decided to go to diesel mechanic school instead, seemed pretty happy about it.

Maybe some budding yet depressive young comedian out there would like to try this? If so, copyright Tom Dark, y'know.)


Real gun, real bullets in a box with powder and caps REMOVED. Bowie knife, hidden. Notebook, hidden. Hunter's jacket with lots of pockets to fumble around in.

Bit: attempted suicide onstage.

Ladies and gentlemen let me get right to the point. I'm a jerk. An idiot. I'm a creep. A fool. A doofus. I'm goofy. A shit-head. A fifth wheel. A total failure. A big fat prick. Also a shitty little prick. An arrogant nobody. A loudmouth know-it-all. I'm living a lie. Guilty as sin. It's my mother's fault. But she couldn't help it. I was an ugly baby. She was an ugly mother.

(Pull out gun, put to to temple). People don't like me. Nobody should. I don't deserve it. They were right. I'm an asshole. I'm glad they laughed at me. I deserve to be laughed at. Go ahead and laugh now. That's what I'm here for. Ready? Here goes.

Grimace. Squint. Tremble chin. Look emotionally convincing. Pull trigger, nothing. Oh yeh. Heh heh. Forgot. Bullets. They're around here somewhere.

Guess I was just nervous... I forgot to load up, folks! Just a sec. Fumble around in pockets. Pull out various memorabilia, like maybe a "dear John" letter from girlfriend, etc. Pull out ammo box. Take out a bullet. Show audience. Explain why this is the best brand of bullet to use for close range. Be technical. Load gun while chattering apologetically. Show audience loaded chamber. All set? Ready? Good. Point to temple. Grimace. Tremble. Grit teeth. Pull trigger.

(Nothing). Woops. Check chamber. I know what it is. These bullets have been sitting under the counter at the Army-Navy surplus store for a long time. They've been improperly stored (give a little lecture on how to properly store ammunition)So maybe the powder's wet or something. (Move chamber. Click smartly back into place. Grimace. Pull trigger again. Nothing. Pull trigger rapidly, repeatedly, grimacing while working into a fury like you get when your computer keeps crashing. Mumble goddamfuckingetcetc, incoherently.)

Throw gun to floor (have somebody take it for safekeeping). That's just another example of what a loser I am! And what a loser I am for putting up with myself! (wait 4 slow beats)

I guess you're wondering why I decided to commit suicide on stage here tonight.

This is a college town. There's a lotta smart people in this town. I wanted to be a smart guy. Smart people sit in coffee houses and write depressing stuff in their journals. You can't sound smart in your journal unless you write depressing stuff. So when you die, somebody will read your journal and feel sorry for all the bullshit you had to put up with. "Awww, jeeze... we... we didn't know... if only we could apologize for being such... (both fists clenched in the air)... assholes!"

So I decided to keep a journal and write depressing stuff. What could be more depressing than riding on the city bus? Here's what I saw on the bus this week (read from notebook):

"Monday. There's a guy with no legs. It took 5 minutes to load his wheelchair onto the ramp. That's depressing. I'm depressed"

"Tuesday. A guy sitting in front of me is chewing some brown stuff and then spitting the brown stuff into a jar. Chewing on this weird brown stuff and he's spitting it into a jar. Once he spits this brown stuff into a jar he stares at the brown stuff he spit into the jar. Every time he spits into the jar, he stares into it. The jar's half full. Getting nice and gooey in there. I can't stop watching this. I'm gonna be sick. I'm gonna get some brown stuff and spit into a jar.

"Wednesday: A completely tattooed stripper. Completely. She gets off at one of those buildings on the main drag that looks like it came in a plain brown wrapper. She's going to wiggle her tattoos in front of a bunch of high school principals who come in wearing hats on their laps. She's going to take off her clothes and wiggle those tattoos and she'll look like the Night of the Living Dead with a pussy.

(To audience. I think that's depressing. Do you think that's depressing? No? How about you? Yeah, it's really depressing. I don't know what's wrong with that jerk. This is depressing stuff.)

"Thursday: A crazy guy sitting in front of me looks like he just came out of a Popeye cartoon. He's having a boxing match with the air. Every ten seconds he jumps out of his seat and starts punching the air. Then he sits down like nothing ever happened. Maybe he just got back from Guyana. Damn big mosquitos down there in Guyana. He's got no teeth. Maybe they sucked out his teeth, too.

"Friday: A guy with no face and no hands gets on the bus. No cheeks, no lips, no nose, just eyes and a hole [note: all this is true material. But we're not making fun of disabled people here.] So what did his ma tell him before dinner? 'Wash your face and ha -- er... wash out your straw, hon... '"

You know why there are disabled people on this planet? God put them here to remind the rest of us what assholes we truly are. We're a species of asshole from the dirt in the Garden of Eden. Of the genus dinkus assholius. Subgenus Biggus assholatua largae.

We are complete, total, universal, whining, whimpering, squealing, complaining, simpering, sniveling, bitching, complaining, self-loathing, no holds barred, instructions on rear panel, batteries included, self-contained, all-repelling ASSHOLES.

Here's John. He's got the use of a few fingers and he can talk and that's all. That's it. No legs, no arms, can't even move his head. He asks people to move his head for him when it gets stuck looking up at the ceiling. They move his head back down for him. He gets through life like that every day. I like John. I go, "how ya doing, John?" and we'd slap hands if he had a whole one.

"Fine," he says. "How about you?"

I'm doing lousy. Lousy. Phhhhhhhht... I broke a lace on my sneaker. I've got a zit. My girlfriend left me and I'm not rich enough and I want a new car and I hate my job and I haven't been laid in three months.

So John looks at me like "So that's what happens when you have legs and arms that actually work?

" This guy's just fine and I'm an ASSHOLE with arms and legs that work. A complete, total, universal, whining, squealing, complaining, bitching, simpering, sniveling, complaining, self-loathing, no holds barred, instructions on rear panel, batteries included, self-contained, all-repelling ASSHOLE.


(check the time)

Shoot, I'm late. Okay, I'll do it just like the japanese do it. Hari-Kari. Maybe talk about hari-kari and the tradition. Pull out the great big knife.

Then stab yourself -- make it plain you didn't do it very hard, just enough to prick your belly. Spend the denouement bobbing back and forth going "Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow!" like you're surprised just a little pinprick hurt this much. Leave stage going "Ow! Ow!"

Hometown Pedophilia, Slavery, Treason

(This got quite a few responses in just a few hours when I spread it around in 2001.  That's in "Probability, Responsibility and You," the followup essay.  It will prob'ly make more sense by reading this first.) 

Hometown Pedophilia, Slavery, Treason

Tom Dark

Child sexual predators have long been considered the worst kind of scum mankind has inadvertently defecated on itself.  Many people, if fanatically, equate this behavior with the most savage kinds of murder.  In fact sometimes torture and murder of children are involved, even for sport.

"Pedophilia" may have its supporters of a fashion, who refer to the customs of the days of Socrates -- the sexual play between adults and children seemingly implied in certain tales of the gods -- or to certain current schools of psychology theory.  But even for these, the idea of coercing a child, dependent on adults for its life and wisdom too, into sexual acts, can instill a sense of horror.  It is a reaction on which the media often capitalize with hearty morbidity, without serving any kind of solution.

One Australian city's newspaper gloated over a former mayor found with his lifeless face beaten to hamburger by the hammers of anonymous avengers; he had confessed that, in his younger years, he seduced boy scouts.  There was the South African politician who resigned in disgrace for having been caught with child pornography on his office computer.  There was the university professor who committed suicide, having been caught with the same. There was the Boston priest who, decades later, was finally caught up by the dozens of altar boys he’d molested. There was the Detroit woman who brained her boyfriend, caught diddling her young daughter.

Priests, rabbis, preachers, teachers, Boy Scout leaders, doctors and psychiatrists and psychologists, government officials, and more, have all been caught in the act of preying sexually upon children. Child sexual predators have been psychoanalyzed, shamed, jailed, beaten and murdered.

They've roamed free and still do, sometimes knowingly allowed by associates and relatives and even the courts, sometimes not.  Consider the famous photograph of John Wayne Gacy beaming proudly from his clown suit with a smiling First Lady Rosalynn Carter; she doesn't appear aware that the clown she was favoring with this photo-op, for his charity and political work, happened to have 37 boy corpses buried in his basement, all of whom he had tortured to death.  Couldn't she tell? (Then again, a President's job does indeed appear to have child-killing in its roster, albeit as "collateral damage." There is no official notice of this atrocity either.).

Consider your own home town.  In a test of this essay with five or six women friends, all of them responded by relating childhood incidents of sexual predation by an uncle or a stepfather or a stranger.  None of them wrote to me from Sodom or Gomorrah.  None of the victimizers went to jail.

This will not be an essay appealing to anyone's helpless fascination for hidden domestic horrors, but a query: nothing has solved the problem, not civil law nor religion nor psychology; how is it that a problem which routinely balloons into horrific scenes, continues on so strangely?  Why isn't it faced "out loud" among the masses of the people from whom it springs?

While I write, and while you read, a commercial slave trade goes on in the world. Money changes hands between wealthy child predators and, usually, poverty stricken parents, for their young children.

Who is even aware of it? I checked child+sex+slavery on the internet and found 196,000 entries; that took less than a third of a second to complete. There are indignant essays and reports and TV shows galore. Even the glamorous news show "60 Minutes" has been in on the act, referring to slavery in Sudan (in the 1980s "60 Minutes" helped fuel hysteria and crucify several innocent day-care workers from Newport Beach, California; the day-care workers were convicted of child sexual abuse by toddlers who were prompted to give false testimony. Their lives were destroyed; this too made equananimously interesting news).

With all that hubbub available at the click of a computer mouse (not counting in that number the come-on sites selling child-sex and sex-slave fantasies), one might guess millions of people are working day and night against child sexual predators and their commercial venues thriving merrily in this world. But if they are, 196,000 entries are dwarfed by the number of fantasy sex sites one may find, touting “young! young! young!” selling photographs of naked prostitutes of so-designated “youngest legal age”; any combination of teasing words brings up millions of such sites in the same split second. Never mind a mere couple hundred-thousand.

Away from the internet and into reality, the subject seems like the proverbial crazy old aunt in the attic; she’s a problem we don’t speak of.  A sane discussion among the respectable on the subject seems out of the question. Perhaps we fear the guilt-inducing noises our crazy old aunt could make, should we approach.

Owing in part to the secretiveness inherent in child sex predatory behavior, any statistics showing it to be an uncommon activity in this world can probably safely dismissed.

My real experience is that it's never very far out of casual earshot.  Like my correspondents with their private stories, I didn't grow up in Gomorrah either.  Mine was the middle class Midwest and New England. Without racking my memory, I can count 8 individuals who preyed sexually on children, or tried to.  These incidents involved childhood relatives and friends. These 8 do not include the uncountable number of adult men who propositioned me while I was a teenager, a minor, in one brief happenstance or another.  One of these latter was a respected schoolteacher for whom I did odd jobs.

Twice, once as a teen and years later as an adult with my own son in school, I had a hand in exposing chronic child sex predators to the community. One of them was a sixth grade teacher in Watkins Glen, New York, who was tenured there, who already had a criminal record of child molestation in Pennsylvania. This teacher had been frottaging an 11-year-old boy in front of his sixth grade class nearly every day.  No one wanted to believe the little “troublemaker,” least of all his own religious fundamentalist parents. It was four years before anyone accepted reality and responsibility and ushered this child sexual predator to jail.

In the course of my life, about one out of every five women with whom I have confided has related a story of having been molested as a little girl, by a father, an uncle, a neighborhood friend, a stranger.  These are all women in ordinary walks of life with ordinary lines of work. Not prostitutes.  Not mental institute inmates. Not magical movie stars who've overcome terrible adversity and lived to tell the tale in tears on TV; they’re ordinary hometown people.

Not long ago, one of my brothers discovered, about 30 years after the fact, that there had been a certain amount of sexual predation going on in our own family -- beyond what I myself had to contend with in a high school friend in that small town in those days.  The 30 year old news upset him deeply.  He wrote to all our brothers and mother about it.  Is everybody okay now?  What did this do to us?  Why didn’t the parents know about it?

Our other brothers lambasted him for “upsetting mom.” Our mother's reaction was to quote the bible and blame him for having brought it up.

I wonder if we don't have a whole civilization that, individual by individual, doesn’t just ignore its crazy old aunt in the attic, but aspires to successfully ignore her.

I mention these anecdotes to challenge every reader: if you deny that child predatory behavior is not far from where you happen to be standing, then maybe you prefer not to know, quote your bible too much and like to blame others.

Because it exists in your hometown, it doesn't take too strenuous a leap of imagination to recognize that there exists a commercial market for all this.  It is a fact that there are countries in this world where slavery thrives largely for the buying and selling of children as "sexual delicacies" (so it was expressed to me by an Angolan man who knew about the trade).  It is improbable thinking to pretend the United States isn't one of them.

The customers would usually be highly polished professional men in high places, who have the cash to try anything, who are approached by those with the "anything" for them to try.  This would be organized commercial behavior, a very brisk business.  Very young children are traded for money, not to pluck cotton and sing hymns, but to sexually gratify wealthy child sex predators.

Whatever else this grotesquery may be, it is slavery.  This crazy old aunt is real, whether people are listening to her screaming or not.

It is certainly against the United States Constitution to engage in slavery, and it is high treason for an American to support it.  Any country that engages in slavery is an enemy of the United States, and any United States Citizen who supports slavery in any material way is aiding and comforting an enemy of the United States, in favor of perpetuating slavery.

A United States citizen who does business with a slave owner commits treason.  Any representative of an official United States office is made aware, by swearing an oath, that it is his personal responsibility to uphold and defend the United States Constitution.   If he engages with slave owners for any purpose but to publicly defeat them, he knows he is defeating the law and ideal of the Constitution, and committing high treason against his own country.  American businessmen who trade with countries engaging in slavery, who claim to know nothing about the trading of hundreds of thousands of child sex slaves to sexual predators might be blind, blame-prone bible-beaters, or participants.  They are a part of it.

Elsewhere among the 196,000 entries on the subject of child sex slavery:

High ranking members of British Prime Minister Tony Blair's government were recently implicated as part of a child-sex slave ring.  Blair himself quashed the story, employing a "D-notice," a legal means to censor the media as a matter of national security.  Is the story true?  It has been censored, but it has not been retracted. This child sex slave ring seems to operate through Portugal.

At the same time, a child sex slave ring which had operated for many years in plain view of Portuguese authorities was exposed in Portuguese media.  The stories were not censored by the State boss.

Further elsewhere, officials of a U.S. government-hired company, Dynacorp, have made high profits supplying child sex slaves along with weaponry in the Balkans.  President Bush has not canceled the Dynacorp contract, despite the wide-open facts of the matter.  Is a bit of hand-slapping, if any, enough?  How about even a speech?  As to this and other child sex slavery incidents involving Americans, the U.S. State Department has officially resolved to cluck as hard as it can; but as we have seen with the "war on drugs," such official paper clucking tends to increase taxes, the size and oppressiveness of government, enrich suppliers of weapons like Dynacorp, and fatten the crazy old aunt in the attic.

At this point one must finally walk up the attic stairs and take a look at the crazy old aunt. Consider the transactions between so many wealthy American businessmen, governors, senators, what have you, over the generations, with Saudi Arabia in oil and weapons and personal friendships.

As of 2000, according to the U.S. State Department's information, there were an estimated 450,000 child sex slaves in Saudi Arabia -- all of whom, logically, would be concentrated in the hands and harems of only the wealthiest Saudis. Could half-a-million child sex slaves from Central Africa (to name only one of many exporters), escape the notice of both the bin Ladens and their multibillion dollar business partners, the Bush family?

This crazy old aunt could crash through the attic floor one day soon, and it really should.

Tom Dark

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Lottery a Dangerous Source of Terrorist Funding

This statement is addressed to every human being on this planet.

I, Thomas H. Dark, of the United States of America, hereby depose and declare the following statement to the entire world in decent respect to the opinions of mankind.

I also with this declaration hereby serve notice to the current occupants of the Jutland Peninsula, and all human societies, clubs, companies, affairs, etc., engaged within the geological confines of the Jutland Peninsula.

You are to clear out of the Jutland Peninsula immediately, except for servile, unblemished young women from among whom I will select for procreative value when I arrive at the Jutland Peninsula. I want the Jutland Peninsula. The Jutland Peninsula belongs to me now. It is mine. The Jutland Peninsula has been promised to me. I had a dream. I wrote it down.

In that dream, my great great great great great great great great grandfather, a hut-dwelling mud salesman named Hvovkin, the Only Living Son of Thor, who once ministered to his people in a swamp on the Jutland Peninsula, appeared to me. He approached me with eyes blazing and hair afire. When he spoke, his tongue appeared as a silvery sword, brighter than the sun. He commanded me to write down all he said. Therefore I must now re-occupy the Jutland Peninsula, as it is my ancestral and spiritual home.

I recommend that this Declaration immediately be taken seriously. The Jutland Peninsula is mine by racial, biological and divine right. In addition I have done political favors to earn support for my cause: I once refrained from voting for Al Gore. Everyone knows this helped turned the tide of the Presidential election in 2000 A.D. (3161 A.H. [Anno Hvovkin]). I can now expect Republican support at the U.N. for my plan of re-occupying the Jutland Peninsula for myself and my chosen harem of buxom repopulators.

Short of peaceful political solutions, I am prepared to take the Jutland Peninsula by force and by terrorism, as necessary.

I fully intend to be the sole winner of a very large weekly lottery. I will invest a portion of those vast winnings in Weapons of Mass Destruction, which I will aim at the Jutland Peninsula.

I will also invest in a very large bulldozer. I will use that bulldozer to bulldoze the homes of residents of the Jutland Peninsula who refuse to capitulate to this Declaration of Reclamation of the Jutland Peninsula.

If the Jutland Peninsula is not immediately evacuated and vacated, you will bring misery upon yourselves. I will personally bully each unwanted person remaining on the Jutland Peninsula. I will treat them as third-class citizens. I will deny them the right to vote. I will provoke them into fights they can not possibly win. If anyone remaining on the Jutland Peninsula but cute babes should resist, their children will be blown to pieces. The elderly will be blown to pieces. The less than attractive women will be blown to pieces. The disabled will be blown to pieces. The able men will be tortured with an inhumane genius, and then they will be blown to pieces.

All of this is not my will. It is the will of Hvovkin, Earthly Progenitor of All of Thor's Children, creator of the Jutland Peninsula. You now must return to me the Jutland Peninsula and the women of my choice for repopulating the Jutland Peninsula.

Hvovkin's will be done. I have it written down, in a notebook, sitting here at my desk. I will reproduce for you exactly the vision as I wrote it, after I awoke on that fateful night.

It would appear that my handwriting can play tricks on me in the middle of the night. The text now appears to say "What about the jelly jar? Show them the jelly jar." That is not what I thought I had written down. I don't remember anything about jelly jars at all.

I hereby apologize to the residents of the Jutland Peninsula and to anyone else on whom my warlike statements may have had an unsettling effect. Believe me, it was an honest mistake. Nevertheless, I still fully intend to win the lottery.

Tom Dark


The Man From Xebos

I've been reminding myself for years now to write down the story of what happened one night in early June at the Cafe Lena coffeehouse, in Saratoga Springs, New York.

Cafe Lena, most wouldn't know, was a focal point for the national folk music scene.  Bob Dylan and Loudon Wainwright III and The McGarrigle Sisters and Dave Van Ronk and Don -- whatsisname?  Who made a hit of "Bye Bye Miss American Pie",  and lots of other famous folkies had been playing there regularly for years.  It was only two bucks to get in.  I even played there and so did some of my friends.  Oh yeh.  Don Maclean.

One night one of my pals was playing a set there.  I'd had enough of his songs, but a friend's a friend, so loyally, I went.

While waiting around for him to play, a nondescript man in a dark suit with red tie took the stage.  He was so nondescript he looked suspicious.  Average height, weight, hair, eyes, whatall.  "I'm sorry I don't have any jokes for you tonight," he started out nervously, "you can see I'm nervous." He was  nervous.  His hands were trembling. "I'm not a professional entertainer. I'm not a musician, but I wish I knew how to play... and I hope you enjoy the musicians.  It takes a lot of hard work to learn how to play music."

Pause. "Tonight... I'm going to tell you something I've never revealed to anyone before.  Not my wife, not my children -- I have two very beautiful children -- not anyone."

Pause.  We waited.  Then, "I -- am not from this planet."  Pause again.

All of us perked up our ears. Oh boy, a comedian!

Giggles of anticipation rustled through the crowded room.  But there wasn't any sly set-up expression in his face.  If he was putting on an act of appearing nervous, the sweat on his brow in that cool room was quite a feat.

"I'm from a planet called Xebos," he said.   "I've been on your planet for 18 years as an observer.  I have six months left in my stay here. You will never see me again after tonight, and no one will ever see me again six months from now.  "I didn't get here by rocket or flying saucer," he said, "but through the mind.

"You on earth have your greeting signs -- hippies put up the victory symbol with two fingers meaning 'peace,' your generals give each other salutes, and on Xebos, we do this."  He put his right hand across his forehead, in what we might think of as an old silent movie actors' expression of grief, but more gently;  "...and this greeting means that 'all things can be accomplished through the mind.'"

"We're not supposed to reveal ourselves during our stays on this planet.  We observers are never supposed to let the people of this planet know we're here," he said.  "But as I've been here observing for 18 years,  I've grown afraid that love is dying on your planet," he said.  "So in my last six months here, I'm going to go wherever I can and try to sow the seeds of love again wherever I can."

"There are so many things I don't understand about your civilization.  The first thing I don't understand about your civilization is your churches.  How can you worship a bloody man dying on a cross?  That's the most horrible thing I can imagine.  That isn't love, that's horrible!"

"And your racial hatreds. All human skin colors are beautiful, but you have prejudices against each other for your skin! On Xebos some of us have stripes and some of us have polka dots and we love each other for it! I don't understand your hatreds for having different skin!"

"And I don't understand your laws!  I don't understand why there are laws keeping two people who love each other from living together; but there's no law against two grown adults whipping each other with toilet paper!"  He waved his arms demonstratively, whipping imaginary toilet paper in the air in front of him.

This was maybe funny, I thought, hoping he'd be getting to a punchline pretty soon.  As I gazed at him expectantly, I thought to myself, maybe he's gay.  Maybe that's why he'd want laws to permit gays to get married (it was against the law in most places in those days).

The man looked directly at me.  "No, I am not a homosexual," he said.  "But I don't understand how your civilization treats love."

"In your schools, you're taught the sciences. You're taught about the five senses" -- he counted on his fingers -- "sight, sound, smell, taste, touch -- but you're not taught a thing about the sixth sense, love!  And you're taught about the bodily systems -- respiratory, digestive, reproductive -- oh, especially that one -- but not a thing about the system that creates it all to start with -- the system of love!"

As he stumbled through his impromptu speech for about half an hour, it grew less corny and made increasingly good sense.  I looked around the room while he was speaking, and saw every single set of eyes fixed on this man as though all were in trances.

The room had taken on a unique feel of its own.  Outside in the spring night, I could feel the soft darkness of infinity.  It seemed that all that existed was this room, this earnest man, and these silent folkies gazing at him.  We were an island in a familiar universe needing no name on a sweet deep green spring night.

The man never relaxed.  His hands, when he wasn't gesturing, twittered nervously like a kid's standing before a class for the first time in his life.  He moved anxiously from one point to another, as painfully as a man reading an unexpected Dear John letter out loud.  Science taught no love, religion lip-served it with brutal symbols and self-righteousness, spiritual notions taught all about a never-never land in the cosmos, the divorce rate was booming, selfishness and greed were thought of as practical, and on and on.  Mankind was in trouble for staying ignorant of the true value of ordinary, down-to-earth daily love.  

We jaded might have thought of it as the usual fare, come to think of it.  But after awhile, it no longer mattered whether he was from the planet Xebos and some people on Xebos were striped and some were polka dotted and they got along just fine, unlike us and our racisms.  It didn't matter that the "dead and bloody man on the cross" was "somebody we sent two thousand years ago."  Fairy tale or not, he made his point, and it seemed to be touching every single person there.  Even the waitress had stopped and stood listening, jaw slacked.

I thought it was the finest speech I'd ever heard. But who wrote the passage he'd quoted?  He quoted what he thought of as the finest passages about love in human literature: a woman lying with her lover staring at the stars in a reverie, invited to go fly forever with the gods in the cosmos; instead she kissed her sleeping lover and stayed on the ground with him.  Then he apologized for not being more entertaining, told an old irish joke and disappeared down the stairs and into the night.  The audience woke up at the joke and applauded as though he'd been a good comedian after all, but seemed also to be waking up from a trance.

I listened politely to my friend play his songs, then went back to my apartment and wrote down all I remembered of what the man from Xebos had said.

I folded the paper up and sent it to my girlfriend, whom I loved as deeply as a 19-year old boy could love a girl.  Wendy was an excellent folk guitarist and singer.  It was how we met.  We'd done a few gigs together. She had a warm appealing voice and an easy talent for songwriting.  It had been a lonely time for me, as I hadn't seen her since college let out.  We'd been writing each other often, but lately I hadn't heard from her.  I thought she'd love this great, strange story.

I didn't hear back from her for weeks.  Something was wrong, I thought. I finally wrote her again, with a guess, which I hoped wasn't a good guess.

It was a good guess.  She finally replied.  She had been seeing someone else all summer, she said.  They'd decided to marry.

He was an older man who ran a horse ranch, she said.  He had many more qualities than I.  He was older, had money, could provide her a much more secure life than I, and could indulge the fact that she had been a horse-nut since childhood.  In conclusion, she was not going to write me any more.  This would be my fault, somehow.

A few years later I learned from a mutual friend that this fine new husband was in the habit of beating her and not letting other men speak to her.  Her new hubby had forbidden her to play music any more. That was done with. No more of that sort of thing.  This was love and love means sacrifice, like the dead and bloody man on the cross.   If love isn't whipping each other with toilet paper in lieu of sex, it certainly isn't beating your wife, either.

End of story?

Years passed, I fell in love again, married, had a son, and wound up in Southern California. Yet I still dreamed about her occasionally...  my psyche, I guess, still trying to put together how that crazy thing ever happened.  I had no idea what ever became of her after last hearing the news of her unfortunate marriage to the better man.

One year I began thinking about the Man from Xebos again.  Perhaps Wendy had saved the letter I sent her so long ago?  I'd had a series of mysterious dreams about her.  In each of them, she lived among huge, lonely, snow-capped mountains, far, far, north. I'd never see her in these dreams, only the immense mountains and an immense feeling of loneliness.

At the time I'd begun experimenting with the dreams I'd remember and write down.  What the heck; I wrote a letter to the rural address I remembered -- her parents' summer home in the woods -- maybe I'd hear something.  I asked her about the Man from Xebos story in my letter.

Some weeks letter, to my surprise, I got a reply from her, postmarked Juneau, Alaska.  She had been living in northern Alaska, among the immense, cold, lonely mountains. She lived with her new husband, Paul.  Boy were those two happy!  Happy, happy and happy!  Paul let her play guitar!  She did sets of folk music at some local hotel.

Our correspondence continued.  Maybe she had my old letters somewhere, she wrote, with obvious indifference.  Life has been this and that and that and this since back when and here is how it is now, et cetera. We exchanged an unexciting drub of mandatory pleasantries, but for some reason, kept writing one another.
One day one of Wendy's letters seemed so extraordinarily happy, happy, happy, happy, AND happy, it gave me a foreboding.  Nobody's that happy.   On an impulse I looked up her phone number and gave her a call.  She answered the phone, quite surprised to hear from me.

I'd caught her off guard.  She confessed to me that the night before, Paul had smashed her guitar to pieces and hustled her naked into the bathtub and turned the hot water on full and tried to scald her to death.  Her blisters were now peeling, she moaned.  He was as jealous a monster as her first no-nonsense useful husband had been.

I was playing in a band at a posh club in Newport Beach at the time.  I'd made a couple-three women fans with whom I'd sit during breaks.  That night, I told them Wendy's story.  Two of them had been through similar.  They volunteered to send her money for a plane ticket, to get out of there NOW; Wendy could stay with them until she could get herself back together.  I relayed this back to Wendy, but she chose other friends with whom to camp.  Fine and good.

A few years wore on, and so did our occasional correspondence.  She did do a lot of complaining, but didn't remarry.  A new boyfriend here and a new boyfriend there, and a lot of cocaine, which was cheap in Alaska, she said.

One day I got home from work and parked in front of the blossoming plum tree in front of my house.  As I stepped under the plum tree, a gentle breeze wafted through it and showered me with blossoms.  I stood in the magical bath of blossoms a moment wondering, then checked my mailbox.  There was a letter from Wendy. What a strange omen!  Love, maybe?  Love is magic, after all.

Wendy wrote that she had got into trouble with her friends, all their faults.  She knew my wife had left (amicably and unscathed); she was now sniffing around to see what I might do for her after all!  I began my reply in a good humor, "Oh, Wendy, stop complaining -- you'll be fine..." knowing what she had in mind.  I made a few dry practical suggestions about relocating herself here and finding a job, if she wanted to move here, that is; and a job, that is, not my loving, loving, happy financial largesse.

I never heard from her again.  I never saw my letter about Love Dying On The Planet According To The Man From Xebos again.

After all these years, I remember the half-hour speech from the Man from Xebos better than I remember those months and years of Wendy.

All About Mike

Another True Story: I had an artist friend back in the late 80's. He was a superb illustrator and top notch neurotic. He made an okay living at the former. As to the latter, it gave him ulcers and other such chronic tics, plus, a tendency to make new friends (me, for instance)he could call up in the wee hours of the morning and talk to and talk to and talk to and talk to and talk to -- and talk to and talk to and talk to.

Still, he was such a smart sort of guy, it was like listening to PBS radio, only the PBS radio had a show on a bit too often about how this guy really hated his mother and never would speak to his mother and hung up the phone any time she called. He also told his wife to hang up on his mother whenever she called.

He hated his mother, he said, because she didn't believe art was worth anything and that he should do something better with his time than draw pictures and stuff.

I'd met his mother a few times. She was called "Bob." Funny, same name as my father. I suppose it was short for Roberta. Seemed like a nice-enough lady. She didn't seem like a female army tank. And if she had ever told Mike he shouldn't be just spending his life drawing pictures and stuff, I imagined it was something like, "Honey, you're such a smart boy with so many etc. etc., do you really think that what you want to do is draw pictures for a living?"

And when he wasn't drawing pictures and stuff (even illustrations of Goodyear Tires) or talking ad infinitum, he was going to a psychiatrist.

One day after some tests the psychiatrist told him he was "bipolar schizophrenic," I think the term was. The psychiatrist was going to prescribe some Prozac, which was the going thing then.

By the way, for those of you still thinking about it, Prozac apparently has as much a "side-effect" as Thorazine for "suicidal tendencies." But then, nobody reported the down-side of lobotomies for quite awhile, either.

Well Mike told me that the doctor said that, basically, Mike had never known what it was to be plain, ordinarily happy. Not sunshine happy, not ball-game-and-hot-dog happy, not play with puppy happy, no happy at all. Some people with bi-polar whatchamacallit were that way. So Mike would get this prozac, and he would know for the first time in his life, thanks to whatever chemicals it lit up in his brain, what it was like to be sniff-roses happy, birthday-card happy, peanut-butter-and-jelly-sandwich happy.

Months wore on and oddly enough, Mike never had anything to report about this new feeling of chemically triggered happiness. Nothing. I didn't ask him about it. I still think it's rather rude to ask people how happily they're doing, unless it is so conspicuous that they aren't, it'd be ruder not to offer some kind of psychological gurney.

Mike still wasn't talking to his mother, I knew that much. And he was still drawing and illustrating away. In fact, he was supposed to be making illustrations for a project I had written for him to make illustrations for that he asked me to write so that he could illustrate it.

He never had sent me anything he said he was illustrating. Finally one day, he sent me a letter, saying that he had finished an illustration for my MS of epigrams (called 'CARE AND CLEANING OF YOUR SOUL') and that he had decided to keep it for himself. Once in awhile, he said, he'd draw something else about what I'd written. But, basically, without saying it aloud, Mike had decided his illustrations were too good for me.

This man must have been truly happy with his own illustrations, since he was going to keep them to himself, and not even let me peek at one, even though it was illustrating something I'd said.

"Shame on you," I wrote back. "If you can't keep to what you said you were going to do, send me all my stuff back." (In fact, Mike had reneged on more than one illustration project while I knew him -- and those paid money). "And shame on you for wrapping your life around hatred of your mother," I wrote, something like this. Actually, I told him something like he lived torturing himself with an imaginary mother living in his belly telling him he wasn't allowed to draw pictures. I don't remember, exactly.

But in a week Mike sent me all my stuff back, including that letter. What I'd said got to him like a rolled up newspaper on a puppy's nose. I thought no more of it.

Not too long afterwards, I'd heard, Mike finally called his mother. He made up with her. Not long after that, his mother died, and left Mike seventy five million dollars, I think, from her. She was a major stockholder in an auto parts plant. I heard also that Mike wasn't doing much by way of illustrating any more, either.

If I shamed Mike into calling his mother and making up after all ("I never meant that, Mikey, what I meant was..."), I wonder if his cousin, who was otherwise slated to get all that loot at the bone-picking, has yet forgiven me. She hated her own parents for leaving her only a fixed income, like some irresponsible kid. I don't know. Is $500 a year in subscriptions to magazines one barely reads irresponsible? But maybe she doesn't know about the Aunt Bob caper. Drat the luck.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Cindy Sheehan, Weasels, Commie Rats

THIS WEEK (August '05. Awhile ago, huh?): The media has been cackling in controlled cacophony over Cindy Sheehan.

From here in Reality, I see a woman who feels violated at her son's hapless death, whatever the cause. Guilt changed her mind about having been sheepish and nice to the Spoiled Rich Kid when she was herded in and out for a hypothetical display of sympathy, production-line style. That Spoiled Rich Kid has a war to prolong. She must have sensed in person what those of us who have senses sense from our distances: the Spoiled Rich Kid sees human beings as fodder units.

That's a healthy guilt. Conscience had her camp out on the Crawford road to the Bush Showroom, a promo device for which the name "Just Folks Ranch" was probably rejected for being a bit transparent. She was then joined by sincere sympathizers, whose critical mass attracted a Circus of Flying Opportunists.

Comprising this Circus are the usual suspects. Apart from whatever agents provocateur have slithered in, "left" and the "right" media clowns create the show for us unwashed to whom the physical event is just our imaginations and emotions. The "left" vends the kind of social guilt that makes people's imaginations bleed, the "right" hawks the kind of guilt that makes people's imaginations want to stab.

I know some "leftists." They're easy enough to find when you're not rich. The conservatives I know don't resemble the media-made "rightists" at all. I'm not crazy about greed, sadism or the mind-numbing repetition of pop sports, so I've been lazy about keeping in touch with what of this type there may be out here in Reality. When wired as media whores, this type will do sadistic or mind-numbingly repetitious media acts for money. They're pestering the air with anti-grieving-mother buzzing.

Ten-dollar whores Limbaugh and Hannity et al are unapproachable by us unwashed, so I found who I could. I contacted a few lesser "rightists" who are sliming Cindy Sheehan for their supper.

Nickel word-whore Phillip Brennan, a wearisome old goody-two-shoes at Etherzone ( publishes "left" and "right" articles) brags that he writes for a living. So I asked him about his bread-and-butter descriptions of Ms. Sheehan's various remarks as "demented," and "offensive to millions of Americans." All right, which Americans? Suddenly, he has no time for honest questions. Enough only for quaint adolescent insults: I am psychotic, demented and should go get medication.

Here is a precise excerpt of what Phil wrote me: "...wjho have been trying to kill us since bib Laden de;ertade."

Let's take a look at this again: "...wjho have been trying to kill us since bib Laden de;ertade."

Anybody? This looks like the demented sentence of a psychotic on medication. Did I take it out of context? I can't even tell. Anyway I didn't tease him about it. He is an old man. I wrote back some straight statements and got several lines of infantile abuse in return.

Also at Etherzone, another Cindy-basher named Greg Strange. Strange indeed, to sputter word-bile at a bereaved stranger because it suits the ideological agenda of some gargantuan mindless floozy. "No time" to answer straight questions. Afraid of "an e-mail war." Uh huh. He's not afraid to see people's kids killed in a politically manufactured operation, though. He's too busy flouncing his pompoms in the air, cheerleading.

This woman Sheehan has ten times your testicles, buddy. You've got nothing under your little skirt. Just a fear of questions.

I replied to Mssrs. Strange and Brennan that they are cowards. Brennan insulted what remains of the honor of the U.S. Marine corps by blustering back at me he was once in it. One can't help but notice that the old strumpet came back alive -- yet would verbally abuse a grieving mother whose son was killed. I'd doubt any fishy wife tale about his having seen action, then. Phillip Brennan will suck shamelessly on the whole Marine corps to subvert simple truth. Cowards will do that.

They'll also duckspeak political party lines. We might put these smirking schoolgirl slanders against this heartbroken American down to the typical beer-pissing of the species of potbellied flag-waver that is found in this country, (tho' I wish it weren't) -- except that I see that these two, among a larger herd of similarly possessed media swine, routinely and methodically spew out a curiously predictable party line.

There is not an original turn of phrase among this ilk. The bilious language looks like it's from a political handbook on how to frighten churls (read also "voters"). These geriatric junior Lenins scatter catchphrases that seem designed to divide doltish onlookers, right here in River City. Which party has ever employed such tactics? I smell two little commie rats.

The Sting of Stang

That's where Alan Stang comes in. I read The Etherzone largely for Alan Stang's column. It bothers me when he's not in it (even tho' he's got his own site at

I KNOW some of you are going to shudder. But trust me, you need to know who Alan Stang is. Anybody remember Robert Welch? That's "Bob" Welch to Mr. Stang; to baby boomers, the name is an eerie echo of old-time commie-baiting, which scared some of us as badly as did the flying monkeys in the Wizard of Oz. That was the John Birch Society, back in the day.

Commie-baiting was a bugbear to lots of us kids. I'm the kid who once lambasted and shut up a whole townfull of threatened males for squealing at me about my long hair from the windows of their passing cars. My long hair supposedly made me a "communist;" me and Thomas Jefferson. I whupped 'em through the local newspaper. I made the village safe for boys who wanted to look like they were wearing an unsheathed mattress over their heads. Even my dad, who insisted archly that I looked like great Aunt Myrtle, was proud of me for that.

I was just out of diapers then (whereas Brennan and Strange still seem attired that way, if but psychically; will not inquire further), but thanks to a small book I'd plucked out of my dad's study, Welch's final discovery stuck quietly in my youthful, hippie hair-covered mind for decades. He had expanded his anti-communist view somewhat. The current buzzphrase for it is "new world order."

In 2001, "9/11" had me toying around reading Stang's columns, looking for clues or an antidote to the bullshit vapor being spread countrywide by Bush chemtrails. I forgave his putting tales of realpolitick in terms of "communism" this and "communism" that. Then one day in a column, Stang called TV whore Mike Wallace (60 Minutes), for whom he once wrote, "a prostitute." By jove! Dad! Is that you? Lama sabacthani?

Until I viewed Brennan's weaselly old visage at his cheap website, I'd always thought that Mike Wallace was "America's oldest living active male prostitute." I knew now I had a soul-pal. Mike Wallace in Stang's view is not just an old Babylonian male whore, but a communist Babylonian male whore. He even confronted him about it and Wallace just stared down at his more-than-ten-dollar shoes. I like this guy Stang.

Here is, if imperfectly, the weltanshaung Welch and Stang deduced: We appear to have had two warring ideologies ruling the economies of the world for several generations; they are "Communism" and "Capitalism." They make it impossible for the world to exist in peace. They are diametrically opposed and the countries involved are immortal enemies, like Lucifer and Gabriel. It requires people pay lots and lots of taxes and their kids' lives be on call. Elsewise world domination of one of them will doom us. But this is only an appearance. Those who set up this stultifying fairy tale have been in cahoots all along.

I will wing what "Capitalism" has long become in this scheme: it is a rather chaotic non-system where the obsessed children of the wealthy, in order to falsely justify their existences, attempt to control the world and everybody in it. Whereas "Communism" is a contrived system where they can do that in an orderly fashion called "government." Combined, they guarantee that those of us not born into wealth wind up wearing ninety-nine-cent plastic shoe-product at a markup designed to keep us equally poor.

"Communism" in Stang's logia is no happy, happy utopia where we work-shirted folksingers all get to dance equally around the Teats of State, taking needed sucks between our industrious endeavors. It must be defined as those events it has propelled have devolved in the generations beyond Marx's fantasies. It was and remains funded by the so-called capitalists as a grand, expedient way to create and isolate consumers, drain them of their individualities, and set the stage for a totalitarian world government to do more of the same (and of course a fine new religion-product would accompany that -- no messy independent thinkers).

And then these elites get to dance merrily around the labor of those gullible folksingers, sucking whatever can be borne without permanently depleting the Teats of this unprecedented Golden Cash Cow.

Stang didn't make these mixed metaphors up, I just did. I'm still playing with what my own intuitions have been gathering from his and other analyses. They tell me he that among the forward observers of world affairs he is too right.

Yeah yeah yeah, the Illuminati, the Masons, the Jesuits, the Skulls and Bones, Fabians, Malthusians, your Rothschilds, your Rockefellers, etc., yeah yeah yeah. And "the puppetmaster." I'm sure there are all KINDS of clubhouses and lots of obsessive perversities to choose from. But names are meaningless to us unwashed who can't afford the dues. This guy gives a concept through which one's guesses get more educated.

Communism would be a worldwide elitist enforcement arm to -- as
George HW Bush once put it -- "consolidate all the money and all the power into higher, tighter, and righter hands." We the people (read "fodder units") are put under the constant threat of punishment through annihilation by "Communist countries." Same goes for the the people in said Communist countries about us. Of course lately "the Muslim world" is pinch-hitting for the seeming defanged Russians. (My guess is that China is the next big "enemy" planned, complete with nuclear attack).

I'm leaving out a more complex viewpoint for now.

Keeping people psychologically divided must always be part of the plan. It is an old scheme, predating nonsense like "thesis and antithesis" in 19th C. communist twaddle by forever. The conviction that Hegelian logic works requires the same kind of literal-mindedness that makes a fundamentalist "Christian" a mindless fanatic. Question either and you'll get an answer like "...wjho have been trying to kill us since bib Laden de;ertade." The true believer will hammer that square peg into round hole if he has to destroy both to do it. Instead the grand ploy is the same old thing: a giant boogey man is out to get you unless you do as we say. Here are your 99 cent plastic shoe products, to start with. Wear them patriotically, pay for them often.

We "masses" get handed imaginary enemies as surely as the elite get tax breaks disproportionate to us workshirts. They are provided for us for their safety. So we now have the "left" communists who will have us bleed about Cindy Sheehan, and the "right" communists who will have us cut a terrified woman being brave to the world. There is money to be made by the same elite either way (in case there are those who don't realize it, news items make big money). Commie cretins like the two I met the other day serve as more advertising for the purpose.

As communism's core belief -- "economic determinism" -- is sheerly materialistic then Stang's own characterizations are dead on. They've bought and gutted religion, too. Take note of these media creeps claiming to have Jesus as their top philosopher... "Pat" Robertson for instance set up to short some stocks, then called for the murder of a foreign leader, which guaranteed a stampede, and he made a killing in those stocks. Tell me THAT isn't commie behavior.

I expect Cindy Sheehan has been set up as "the symbol for the anti-war movement." This way she'll make a handy pawn in a fixed propaganda game beyond her personal intent. One side could "win" and the other could "lose" according to decisions in which the Bush gang plays only a part. The genuine (and only truly effective) issue of the value of human life is conveniently being drowned out in the carnival barking.

Individual human life has no intrinsic value in communism either, does it, Mr. Stang? The Bushes would know they are expendable, like it or not. It remains to be seen whether they play the trump card of another "terrorist attack" in this embarrassing affair. If there's enough money in it, it'll be there. If not, it won't. "Economic determinism."

Cindy Sheehan alone knows her own intentions. She wants an end to the grief she feels, although it may last her the rest of her life. She wants an end to the war that caused it. To that extent she reflects the unspoken feelings of those who haven't the courage to say so themselves. Don't just "agree with Cindy," you dupes. Be you. Show a little more individuality than the two little commie rats that triggered this essay.

Those of us who see through the hubbub orbiting Cindy Sheehan, in whatever fashion we may, know we are on our own. That's the way it should be. Let's hope we can see well enough to navigate through the burgeoning clouds of greasy nonsense as yet to come.


Next: How To Bash Religion Properly.

Under Cover of Drunkenness

Gentlemen and Ladies to whom I am forwarding this authentic "epistle",

Years ago in college my philosophy prof, now decades dead of old age, told me of a friend who never drank, who decided it was a good idea to get drunk now and then. He'd take a jug o' squeezin's out to the woods once a year and get drunk. The rest of the year, he was as dry as the moral attitudes popular in Missouri.

I vowed to do that myself.  I have often missed years in a row of this great idea.  Alone in the woods is no place to get drunk.  So tonight I got drunk at an art show opening instead, grabbed somebody's guitar, bawled out "St. James Infirmary" and a few other items with a trombonist, was pleased at the reaction of a chic 24 year old girl (had I a daughter), walked home, thinking, "drunk is the way to address the e-mails that have accrued in several days' e-mail exhaustion." I am now supremely drunk on the right stuff -- wine. In Vino Veritas.

The e-mail count last night was over 40. The count tonight twice that many. I'm not establishing a writer's career here. I am foolhardy, doing my 1/290,000,000th bit as an American citizen, to see that this country stays together. I can't tat out a little happy happy to keep a fan a fan. I must read them all and brood and answer. I can't keep up. I'm broke and this pays nothing and time is bruising me. Still, it's a citizenly duty.

Some of you are more than aware there are those who would split America to pieces for economic advantage or reprehensibly misguided idealism, religious or "political," or out of sheepish irresponsibility to the ideals that took our population a relatively successful distance. Like me, lots of people have been aware of the potential for a breakup for decades. No litany of facts necessary here. Some of you know it as intuitively as I do.

Most of you are Kaminski's correspondents. As I said, some of you are brilliant -- particularly the several with whom I've taken time for more detailed correspondence.

In view of the small yet spectacularly effective political ventures in which I've participated in my life, I'd call you "live wires." You can personally affect the thoughts of hundreds or even thousands of people on your own -- and there is nothing "the CIA" or any group of hooded thieves or masked heroes, whatever they may be, can do to prevent it.  Emerson was absolutely correct about the power of a Good Idea.

I've pleaded with Emerson in my "prayers" the way Ginsberg once pleaded with Whitman.  Speak to me, old man!  We've gone awry!  (I once gave Emerson's great great great granddaughter singing lessons, and thereby learned that one does NOT inherit wisdom, by any means. One requires it, and there it is.
Otherwise it isn't.)

Notice that I can still write just fine, totally drunk.  I get up to think-puff a cigar and stumble.  Still virtually no typos.   A 19th Century habit.

The United States of America is the Good Idea.  It is being picked apart by piranhas, materially and philosophically and spiritually, by those for whom "a shallow consistency is the hobgoblin of a narrow mind." There are too many.  Many are lately becoming like walking dead.  That Good Idea has never yet been applied fully in most lives.

To some extent the country is sinking psychically the way New Orleans has, in a morass of religious superstition, and in a morass of greed and insecurity, fueled by a rise in self-righteousness and the uncertainty that tends to spawn such behavior.

What do we do?  Among the writers Kaminski "unconsciously" put onto me are three splendid examples of American-bred thinking.  One thinks in symbols; one comprehends symbols well enough to gather encyclopedic knowledge of them, yet sees behind them nicely; one easily represents both those who live by their symbols and those who see behind them, and has dealt honestly with those who do either.

For some, symbols are considered reality: ancient religious sayings, distorted by time and translation and language are as rock-hard "Truth" as the rock Johnson once kicked to refute Berkeley.  For others, the mish-mosh of Science or "evolution" is the same.  Minds entranced by mere symbols of reality will  spit through their shivering beards at one another and insist on legislating "Truth", despoiling the basic principles on which the American form of government was founded.

For some, either "God" or "Science" are concepts, not realities, which "the prudent are hot neither to confirm nor deny."  They live beyond the fray, but there are times when they shouldn't.  I am one of those.

And to some, the experience of their matter is all that matters, whereas philosophical considerations are left for the weekend, perhaps. Usually not.

All of us belong to this latter category sometimes; but in those terms, it is our own carcasses rotting in the streets of New Orleans or in the sand of Iraq, and in places kept secret; we victimize ourselves with of a lack of personal responsibility which we had not felt was our own, and had left to "the powers that be."

Lately -- generations for some -- the word "freedom" has become a sardonicism. One can not enforce freedom with laws or guns or bombs. Frightened people are simply afraid of their own inalienable freedom.

Frightened, angry, or unafraid, freedom is an inalienable responsibility. Mankind is "doomed" to the freedom of every individual, true, false or unknown.

The only authentic fight for freedom -- as increasingly distant as it has begun to seem to many -- is in the individual mind.  Every single mind counts, like it or not.  There is no action too small to be insignificant in pursuing the ideals of human events.

Yet the smallest minds would conceive the grandest plans to promote the least encompassing aspects of what "freedom" means.  We need a little tyranny to enlighten the misguided!  So goes the rationale.  For me, the most ludicrous example is to fight for "freedom from evil."

Tales of freedom "from" anything can be delusive and a handy way to manipulate sales of arms to whole populations of people gone paranoid.  Freedom "to," however, isn't necessarily so.  There is not one of us who does not have the freedom to think and feel his or her own thoughts.  Despite tales to the contrary,  of drugs and "mind control" by imagined wicked wizards in dank government basements, that is what is inalienable in each of us.

That freedom is as much an instinct as any animal has ever been said to have an instinct about anything.  We are even free to get ourselves into lots of trouble -- although this kind of event largely comes from convincing ourselves we are not, one way or another.

The Good Idea that is American, is in writing in the First Amendment of the Constitution.  We call it "freedom of speech."

This is not something granted to us by some benevolent despot.  It is now, and was at its inception, a highly realistic recognition of an inalienable quality of the human mind.  We must admit, individually, that each of us is free to think -- whether we like even our own thoughts.  Those of us who insist the hardest on one thought or another, often don't.

Neither "the Illuminati," nor "The CIA," nor the "New World Order," or the host of groups real or imagined have brought the United States into the trouble we are now seeing.  The innate freedom to think and speak demands all of our individual exercises, particularly now. That we have not done so all along has brought us into this trouble.

So I'm exercising mine. Your turns if you haven't -- to everybody you know. That's where the solution is. If it isn't there, it's not anywhere. Every single one of you has a stake in it.

The wine wore off 15 minutes ago, by the way.

Probability, Responsibility, and You

Not long ago I wrote an essay titled "Hometown Pedophilia, Slavery, Treason," and scattered it around the internet. Within seven hours of doing that, 42 e-mails about it appeared in my inbox, all from strangers who had read it on this site or that one. All but two were from people who'd been sexually preyed upon by adults in their own childhoods. That added to the eight or nine tales from women I showed the article before publishing it.

In the couple years since, this ominous topic has spread across less exotic internet websites, from more knowledgeable writers than I, to cynical propagandists who saw the possibilities for poisoning the public against their political enemies. Methinks some haven't been poisoned sufficiently, nor has the public awakened to the savagery that stutters out "that's not my problem."

My essay was triggered by an offhanded remark from an Angolan editorial client one afternoon. He said that poor Angolans sell their little children to rich Arabs as sex slaves -- "sexual delicacies" -- because they can't feed them and they expect the rich Arabs will pay for their education too.

The remark was too striking. I looked into it, and, sure enough, apart from the so-called "conspiracy" writers, the U.S. State Department itself has been quite aware of an international child sex slavery ring for ages. I spoke to a State Department man about it on the phone.

Another article implicated the elder George Bush as a paying customer while president, according to a witness at a child-sex party in Nebraska. The alleged child sex-slaver was named Larry King, a local Republican party honcho. An article in the Washington Times during that Bush's tenure implied that group homosexual parties also went on in the White house in those days.

Recent articles [this was 2005] about the younger Bush now occupying the White House imply and rumor similarly: Press Room "reporter" Jeff Gannon is in fact a homosexual prostitute who spent several hundred nights at the White House, "unaccountably" -- and that he himself is a former child sex-slave. Another article says witnesses to any of this are murdered as deemed necessary.

How true is this stuff? How probable that rich politicians merrily engage in criminal or just plain reprehensible sexual activity? Decades after his deification on the half-dollar, we read that John F. Kennedy had prostitutes brought into the White House as a rule of habit. He availed himself of three at a time, courtesy family connections with the Mafia, kept quiet by the Secret Service.

Back then no such news could have been further from the papers. Even of the existence of the Mafia, much doubt was trumpeted. Flat truth, for many, violates their right to irresponsibility. There was no organized crime. A churchgoing president bringing multiple whores into the White House was not thinkable enough even to deny. Both things were the flat truth.

Even less probable, the Bush presidents availing themselves of homosexual trysts with children or "soldier boys" for sale. These world leaders ponder moral decisions of life and death for thousands and billions of innocent human beings. A morally wrong move could bring the entire world to disaster.

They profess Christian values piously. They pray to God for guidance and speak to throngs of reverent-eyed believers. People love and admire them for it. So say magazines.

THAT, not sexual preference, is what makes these people, literally, criminals. The hypocrisy makes them blackmailable. They're disasters waiting to happen. They can't kill ALL the witnesses and human playtoys.

THAT, not sexual preference, is what makes a gullible see-no-evil American public accomplices to the disaster. There will be no solution until the public begins to accept probability.

Until then, just because the mayor of Johannesburg was caught looking at child pornography on his computer doesn't mean American politicians would ever get caught. Just because a former Australian mayor was beaten to death with hammers through his face for molesting young boys doesn't mean the former Mayor of Knoxville, Tennessee, Victor Ashe, has been lately handed the ambassadorship to Poland to stay safely out of the way on behalf of his alleged longtime lover and frequent White House sleepover mate, George W. Bush.

Ya know? Now stop thinkin'. We gots flags to wave.

Bill Clinton's sexually puerile indiscretion was an historical anomaly, certainly, to those who don't read history. Was Kate Summersby somebody? Naaah. Did Missus Harding in fact poison her husband Warren to death for his sexual transgressions? Huh?

I hardly ever drink -- drinking alone seems unsociable, and "drinking to make others more interesting" has never worked for me. I'll have a nice drunk only with people who are already really interesting. A few years ago, I got drunk with a man who had been a Marine Honor Guard in the White House during Lyndon Johnson's tenure. He said that Johnson liked to strut down the hallway with his zipper down and his penis wagging in front of him, calling "here comes the chief! Here comes the Chief!"

This ex-marine regaled me with a few legends of the licentiousness of the high-and-mighty in the United States Senate, Congress, and presidency, back in those days. "You have no idea what goes on there," he said.

Charles, was his name, who paid for the big bottle of gin and had ice in his fridge, told me that the biggest whorehouse in the world is situated just across the Mexican border. It's for American politicians who've done favors, he said. Was he lying to me? Why? I'm not a reporter.

Well, that was funny. A year or so before our famous drunk, I'd had a music client who was a chauffer. One day he told me that he often drove American bigwigs across the Mexican border to the biggest whorehouse in America. It was illegal to do that, but nine bucks an hour is nine bucks an hour. The chauffer was an alcoholic. No drinking partner there.

A couple of years later another story of Johnson's famous "johnson" circulated the internet: he once bared this same penis to a group of reporters as he made his way to a helicopter. "Go ahead, take a picture, I dare you," he was supposed to have said. They were afraid to.

This was another of some myriad of unbecoming anecdotes told 40 years later. It's probable because in view of later items published without fear of institutional revenge, Johnson, the Great Man, was a Great Hick. He often had dignitaries watch as he talked political issues at them while sitting on the toilet. This behavior, then hidden from the public, was no different from the jolly hayseed of yore who ran the local gas station, messing around his buddies... no different from Ken Lay giving George "Dubya" a wedgie. Everybody gets to be a silly boy now and then.

King Louis XV of France also gave audiences seated on his bedpan in the morning, but Western social manners are thought to have changed since then. American ideals, especially, meant to move away from such humiliations as to have to stand in the odor of some potentate's private stink to have to deal with him for any reason.

Are these people, "our leaders," also involved in the buying and selling of little children for sexual sport? Even to torture and murder? Is Tom Flocco telling the truth? Cathy O'Brien? Webster Tarpley? Sherman Skolnik? And a host of others?

How probable all this is? Nobody comes to me or you with first hand witness of this depravity. How do you know any of it's real, then? What difference does it make to you, personally?
And so I wrote "Hometown Pedophilia, Slavery, Treason." I counted up the all-but forgotten incidents I'd noticed since my own childhood. There were quite a few, and mine was a pretty ordinary upbringing. Nearly all my correspondents wrote back with stories of their own, having been molested by uncles and strangers and who-have-you... not to mention Cathy O'Brien, of course. ( )

Look around you, I wrote. If you're a grownup and never heard of occasions of adults consorting sexually, or trying to, with children in your home town, you've likely refused to look. Maybe you're afraid to know. You might feel responsible for it somehow. You might fear turning into a screaming, sleepless hysteric.

We recall occasions of pedophilia around our home towns, but don't wonder aloud how "high up" the behavior goes; perhaps we'd prefer to be surprised.

So what to do about it instead?

Amateur Night Veri-tey

One evening I thought I'd try out my "pedophilia" news test on a group of people at a friendly coffee shop where I was a regular. Would they look into it for themselves? Write a congressman? Even say "huh! I'll be darned"? I gave an impromptu talk to the regulars at a local coffee shop. It was "open mic" night. One could get up and say or sing or do anything for 5 minutes or so.

Fewer than a dozen people lounged in the haphazard chairs around the counter. I began to give a little recital of some of what I'd read. After about two minutes I was interrupted by a queer old geezer seated on a thrift-store divan whose white beard was dyed a festive purple. He felt compelled to take over the proceeding.

"I don't think that's an appropriate subject to bring up here," he ambled, homey and pompous. "This is a time for uplifting things, for poetry, for songs..." The woman he'd brought with him nodded religiously.

A young man who'd brought a guitar chimed in. "Yeah. We come here to get uplifted, to cool out our souls, y'know? When we want bad news we can watch teevee. But I come here every week for like the spiritual upliftment."

I listened to these two specimens of apathy with interest as they both argued their way out of hearing anything about it -- not even the pedophile ring out Fort Huachuca. I remembered how difficult it was to get the cattle out of the barn when it had caught fire, years ago. The cattle, too, preferred to bask in the volition of their cozy habits, barn burning down around them or not. They lowed in protest while my older brothers tugged at them, and came away with burns from the fiery globs of the tarpaper roof on their arms.

The two finished their objecting, so I finished my thumbnail speech of the fiery implications of all this information and bought an espresso. No applause for me.

The ham with the guitar got up and played his particular spiritual upliftment. It was an amateurish song he'd written himself about racial discrimination against him. Strange for a white man. Maybe a girlfriend had triggered it. Polite applause.

Finally the old coot with the purple-dyed beard set up, complete with a portable lectern. Tonight, through the amateur songs and poems he'd written, we would hear all about a miner's strike initiated by the Wobblies in Bisbee, Arizona, in 1911. Somehow, generations later, he seemed to be taking credit for it. They got beat up and hurt by thugs hired by the owners. Maybe killed, I don't remember; it was ninety-odd years ago. Quite picturesque.

The old man was making a point through art: capitalism is still a bad thing and 1911 socialism is still a good thing. At the final, final close of his wobbling presentation, in theatrical disgust, he intoned "There's got to be a better system than capitalism," and left his portable podium with a dramatic flourish. The same polite applause as everybody else got.

The purple beard hadn't awakened anybody's social consciences either. A White Aryan Supremacist later explained the purple beard for me: "Socialists are idiots who'll do anything to get attention."

Finally, a fellow named George approached me, timidly. "I think that's something to worry about when voting time comes," he said. "I always vote on the issues... and when something like that comes up I'll vote against it."

Okeeeeeee... luckily for George, the issue of whether we should support an international child-sex-slavery ring in our country probably won't come up, even it if IS an unthinkable violation of the Constitution. We socially conscientious types, screaming and sleepless in the night, are apparently on our own in our hometowns.

Tucson, Arizona, has various posters put up around town by anguished parents pleading for information as to what has happened to their kids, missing for months or even years. I've heard dark rumors from local know-it-alls that some have been kidnapped for the child sex slave market, but these are rumors. They don't seem to warrant any more attention than did my speech about it at the 4th Avenue coffee shop.

There may be a few overworked bureaus who have stacked these flyers on a desk, but those parents are on their own; they have discovered how isolated and powerless they feel against organized criminal activity, real or imagined. The difference between them and everyone else is only that it hasn't happened to everyone else. Everyone else has ignored the probability.

The question of probability, and your responsibility as a citizen, does not stop at rumors of criminal sexual behavior in your hometown and among the high and mighty. It doesn't even begin there. A genuinely democratic society requires that we deal personally in some way with every issue that comes our way -- or go back to worshipping kings and high priests, this time with computerized "mind control." In a democracy even our thoughts count. Our thoughts about the probability of things count. We must take responsibility for ourselves that way.

It is probable that creatures like this do infest the buildings and offices of the United States Government. What's done in secret "for fun" may be enormously irresponsible; but we do not recognize well enough the same character of irresponsibility in public affairs, particularily war.

High political leaders must unanimously condemn the murder of children, naturally. So a routine mass killing of little children (on orders, according to an Ithaca soldier returned from Afghanistan) in the "war on terror" demands a euphemism like "collateral damage." It is not considered a sport, at least, in any public forum.

An important American government or political officer knows that children will be killed when destroying villages, but he must seem to mean it less, so as to continue to be taken for a moral Christian. "Collateral damage," so I learned from a lengthy correspondence with a Christian fundamentalist minister and scholar, can be good for the cause of Christianity. God apparently likes the favor of not having another child grow up to be a Muslim. The commandment "Thou Shalt Not Kill" is more like a corporate guideline, he said.

His are the words of a misguided moral idealist. Literal-minded interpretations of books and life leave him, as many, with feelings of helplessness to such an emotional degree that he looks forward to the destruction of a world for which he feels no responsibility -- even though he creates his part of it exactly as everyone else does. He hopes for, literally, a fairy-tale end to it. "God's good" triumphs over "Satan's evil" at the expense of the lives of every single human being on the planet.

He was echoing and repeating the public statements of his mentor, Reverend Jerry Falwell. These nationwide cultists have allowed their fanaticisms to delude them. Like John Ashcroft and other religious hysterics who have unelected, positions in a "secular humanist" government, they quietly imagine God is prompting them to help bring about world destruction -- perhaps like apprentice "destroying angels."

Although there is sufficient "rumor" to implicate the White House in a secret scheme of organized sexual depravity where a truly pious religionist may either warily distance himself or bravely ask questions, Bush may be approved by way of silent fanatical nod -- he is seen as a divine tool of destruction by some. After all, goes the reprehensibly twisted prophecy, in the last days, "God will pour out a madness upon the people."

(To be fair about "religion-bashing," there is a far better number of American Christians who live responsibly enough to see through this manic sensation. One wonders why they are not being heard more loudly.)

Let's say our high government official, outwardly a "God-fearing Christian," secretly enjoys the luxury of indulged depravity, supplied by a criminal organization which also supplies child-targets or their photographs to the disturbingly bored. Films and photos of children being tortured and murdered for sport certainly do exist, and they certainly have been purchased. Someone privy to this much international secrecy would know from whom he is buying his perverse gratification.

Could this high government official really care less whether his furtive service includes the most inhuman of human murder? Would he really feel any responsibility for any of it? Or could the "collateral damage" feigning to normalize the murder of children somehow soothe a thoroughly guilty conscience... or offer a perverse reassurance to a twisted mind that its "evidence" is destroyable? And so the evidence compiled by our State Department, and maybe its implication of High Treason, and all else, sits in some stack, perhaps owing to apathy.

We see instances of greed and crackpotism and short-sightedness, and so on, in our daily lives far more commonly. Say rural County Supervisor Bubba has a cousin who's got some worthless land. By sudden coincidence, this county visionary sees that we need a jet airport! By even suddener coincidence, Cousin Bubba's land would be exactly suitable for it! Non-insiders, namely unassuming taxpayers, will be sold all sorts of nonsense about the unprovable benefits of the latest white elephant scheme. Who cares if county taxes must go up again? Bubba and cousins get a sweet chunk of it and the trickling of the trickle-down theory trickles on the local taxpayer a wee bit more.

Or say years of the arrogant mistakes of a local social services department finally antagonize an unbalanced man into bringing a shotgun into the office and killing 5 or 6 people who had nothing to do with it.

I'm referring to just two events in my own small-town experience over the course of a couple years. Another was that it took 7 years for the school board to "uncover" the reported fact that one of their elementary school teachers was wanted for child molestation in another state. Nobody listened to the two sixth graders who kept complaining (except me). Yes he was a Cousin Bubba. Another Cousin Bubba was known for stealing school gasoline to hand out to his friends, before he was imported to Watkins Glen school district and appointed superintendent at a 6 figure annual income. I smacked him down verbally in public, twice. Lord I ached to get my fist on those shiny new false teeth.

Neither does this kind of behavior stop because the buildings have marble floors and the shoes that tread them are expensive. We see unwanted surprises every day that shouldn't be surprises at all.

Which president has ever said "we're gonna start a war any minute now, folks! Don't you worry! It's coming!"

Which president has said "we don't want a war," and then, surprise surprise, we didn't have one?

Ever read Lincoln's speech scorning and mocking speakers who correctly stated the War Between the States was shortly on the way? Guess who ordered the provocation? Otherwise I can think only of John F. Kennedy, who with his bold shining claims of world peace, deliberately brought the world to what turned out to be 56 seconds from total nuclear destruction -- and that was a little accident that occurred unbeknownst to the spear-rattlers grunting in full rhetorical bloom in the heat of ceremonial pomp. All that windy garbage people transfix on would have been rendered meaningless in a flash of detonations too loud to hear, if not for a lowly Russian grunt. But that's another story.

Supposing this essay reaches many people, nearly everyone who reads will be aware to a fair extent of the current unprecedented level of corruption in the United States Government. We are in a "wartime" that is conveniently unofficial and the enemy is not specifically identifiable. "Terrists who hate our freedoms" must be rooted out and destroyed by any means. These are "extraordinary times," he says, and by that means that he is president and quite enjoys his little piece of civilization. He will sacrifice teenagers to preserve it, or his feelings about it. The president, supposedly, is acting for You and Me: We the People.

So We the People have to get tough, take off the gloves, and put a few of our hated freedoms back in the cupboard to " git 'er done." Meaning bomb the living daylights out of people we never heard of. We Americans have too much freedom in the first place, this president has said. Our enemy is coincidentally much like the biblical Satan: he is invisible, he could be anywhere, and he is second in power and cunning only to the United States Military and God Almighty. God Almighty, the president says, has told him to send our military on the attack.

So We the People have openly attacked and annihilated villages and whole cities of innocent men, women, and children in foreign countries -- two countries that we know about, others that may come as an unwanted surprise later on.

We the People have given any and all opponents enough moral martyrdom to set a world population against us for generations to come. We are outnumbered twenty-to-one.

As we are outnumbered, should "We the People" continue this self-righteous course of blind cruelty, profiteering and crackpotism, our only defense would be to bring the world to total nuclear destruction. Only a hopeless religious fanatic, or a severely "clinically depressed" psychotic, could cheer for world destruction. These would be Americans who have given up a sense of personal responsibility for the conduct of their lives.

As to giving into these self-created enemies: remember that the United States of America is the biggest Cash Cow in history. We are aphids in an ant farm. Our behavior leaves us economically like a cow dumped in a pool of piranhas, fueled by the ill will We the People have created, seemingly in our sleep, while the government handles our affairs among the world. America has encountered destitution before now, more than once, through the irresponsible behavior of the wealthy. Even Franklin D. Roosevelt, another rich fella, made speeches about that.

[Added in 2013: so? How's the economy been doing lately? Was I right or was I right? We're being milked several different ways and given lots of different cover stories for it. We the people are being milked, however. "Git 'er done!"]

It so happens that "Cousin Bubba" is among the piranhas himself. It is easy enough to learn that Bush's family, relatives, and generations of business partners have been in the business of weapons and oil sales since at least 1917, to name a date. They've sold to any buyer, including the Nazis, and of course, to Saddam Hussein (about whom, apparently, they felt double-crossed). We the People are buying weapons and fuel and logistics for this aimless crusade of "democracy" from Bush's friends and relatives. The falsely conceived "war on terror" is making these immensely wealthy people even wealthier.

Provisions of the "Patriot Act," besides now allowing for the arbitrary abduction of We the People into undisclosed jails -- which has happened -- seem also to guarantee the continued flow of taxpayer dollars to this group of wealthy autocrats. Beefed-up security, manpower, law-enforcement technology, costs lots of money. Bush's family is also in that business.

But will this help anyway? Not while We the People cannot even properly face an issue as rudimentary to moral behavior as a child sex-slavery industry, and all its implications.

No congressman read the 250-page "Patriot Act" before hastily voting it into law. We are told that the printed volume of Constitution-canceling rules was passed to congress at three a.m. and a yea/nay vote was expected of them at that morning's session. Could it be that none of them had any clue beforehand as to what particulars were in it? Was there money to be had from voting in this additional juggernaut of tax expenditure? Has anyone thought to inquire what financial interests it may serve any congressman or his ilk?

It is highly probable that We the People are being had in unprecedented volume; that we are part of a longstanding cacophony of schemes to put the free-born energies of every person on the planet under closer control for those who profit from it, for one cracked ideological reason or another.

It is highly probable that the volition of the errors We the People have already allowed will bear out the predictions of many gloomy visionaries of one field or another, to one extent or another, from bad to worse to worst?

How probable is it that We the People will put a stop to it, or at least, to the worst of it?

This too is highly probable.

I've presented a picture of a seamy underside of the human events our tax dollars are paying for, all of which comes from reading. We seem to be a captive audience subsidizing a drama of government affairs which has grown out of our control and far from our better individual judgments. The actors presenting us this drama seem to be playing out the roles of all the possible errors of human behavior. The life and death consequences are real.

There is still another underside to all this, however, which is not seamy, yet, it seems to be just as "hidden" among the miles and miles of typeface currently spelling out disastrous forebodings for this country and the world. That underside is found in your individual perception; you are responsible for it, and you can use it.

Continued next time. E-mail me to make sure I don't forget you. I'm not a news machine. Nobody's paying me anything for this.

(Tom Dark is a freelance editor, music producer, and runs a small world wide dream experiment group. Write me for an album of satirical songs... for people with IQs of above 101. Al Yankovic it certainly ain't. )