Et puis �a

Yesterday’s cliffhanger about dinner with Texan students actually concluded swimmingly. I found that they handled indonesian food with healthy curiosity, i guess they appreciate good eatin’. There were in fact no political debates, and I’ll admit I was seeking to avoid them if they weren’t necessary. At some point I mentioned Condi Rice, but when I did it I put my napkin in front of my mouth and I was leaning close to the one guy who was actually from NY state. We were discussing her academic career for whatever reason, I thought it was ironic that in a group of non-northeasterners with one exception, I spend most of the evening talking to the exception. He was in fact an immigrant, so we understood each other right away. (thats how it works with me) I even recommended that he take his upcoming date to my favorite eclectic restaurant that serves up a mean veggie couscous.

How did the evening’s conversation carry on, you might wonder. Well, in fact I do have something in common with texans. I guess most of the world has this now: an encyclopedic knowledge of Seinfeld and the need to quote it verbatim. Annoying? Not to me. Though if I heard a recording of the evening I’d probably kick my own ass.

My most lovely and dynamic dinner company asked me one of those “make you think later” questions tonight. We were polishing off a big plate of Ethiopian… fingers sticky from all the alecha scooped with scraps of injera, when she asked “what do you think you’ll be doing.. five years from now.” Classic no? But I hadn’t thought about it in a while. My answer?: Finished with my PHD and looking for a teaching gig somewhere interesting. Of course always keeping my home base as the ‘dam.

What I forgot to mention? Raising chitlens, riding in my own faux tour de france, and starting my world-wide bicyclemark speaking tour. Which in fact has already begun, details demain. Hooray for podcasting sunday.

Today’s Sounds: RFI – La Radio du Monde

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Beyond Horror

When I left New Jersey in 2001, it was immediately following Sept. 11th. I mention this because being back, I do remember it often. Usually its as I begrudgingly drive down the highway and still spot the faded bumperstickers with supid-ass slogans like “these colors don’t run” or the images of the Twin Towers with a yellow sash that reads “Never Forget” just in case you were forgetting while searching your car-cupholder for change to pay the -now 70 cent- toll. I usually shout “shut the fuck up” as I pass them, mostly just to hear my own voice. The only thing I really get MORE pissed off at are those annoying yellow ribbon stickers on people’s cars, that read “I support our troops.” I always shout “I don’t support your goddam war asshole….”… the sound stays within my car, of course, it keeps me alert and relieves road rage as I struggle to see the road, blinded by the monstrous SUV’s headlights which align perfectly with normal cars’ rearview mirrors.

But this isn’t about roadrage. I wanted to say that the tragedy which has just taken place is beyond understanding. I’ve tried to imagine the horror… to picture all those dead in my head. 2,000 plus in Thailand… where a dear friend of mine has only recently returned to her family. 15,000 in Sri Lanka, which only recently began recovering from a terrible civil war. 25,000 plus in Indonesia, where they can’t even find dry enough ground to bury the dead. 7,000 dead in India, near Madras, an area where so many wonderful people who have influenced my life, come from. The list goes on and on… tiny islands facing flooding which threatens their very existence.

Where are the bumperstickers… the shock in the streets, in every corner of the world? I’m waiting for the outpouring of good will, and even better, the traditional declaration of war against the cause of this. Natural disaster you say? Fine. But I can only imagine if the entire planet, especially wealthy nations, focused the wasteful energy and resources that go into the so-called war on terrorism, to a campaign of natural-disaster global readiness, we wouldn’t have such an unbearable and unimaginable death toll. I don’t look at this and say “wow, natural is so cruel” … I say “wow, the society I was raised in has such a twisted value of human life when it comes to Africa, Asia, and anything OUT THERE.

Thank the golden calf for bringing us blogs that care… that feel… and that share.

In keeping with the usual “everything is fine” spirit, my dumbass went out and bought an MP3 player. It was made Asia, that way I can feel better about myself.

Special guest tomorrow, in my new segment “I SEE DEAD Historical Figures”

Today’s Sounds: Jamiroquai – Return of the Space Cowboy

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This Guy

Everyone else had already boarded the rather large and spacious boat, the engine was running, and the beer/wine was securely stowed. The Torontonienne was attempting to keep what was left of her balance after one of those unbeatable Amy-dinners. As she stepped from the random boat that we were double parked with I whisper, “I’m so blogging about this!” To which she smiles and replies, “Your such a nerd.”

And so it is, and so it was, courtesy of Big Jim, a man who knows about water, and a veteran Jersey exile who once again – makes me proud of the people coming out of my homestate. He took us around on the fantastic vessel which had actually been salvaged, a once sunken treasure now decorated with church candles, random expats, and the beer I spilled around 2am.

This is not one of those “here’s what I did last night” posts. This is about a new goal or a renewed goal in my life which Big Jim accomplished in the mid nineties. The man rode a Yamaha motorcycle (he says he’s not actually into motorcycles) from the UK to Saudi Arabia and then thru Asia down to Indonesia. I’m sure some other dinner guests saw me drooling for more of his stories. I kept stopping him in certain countries, shouting things like “Did you make it down to the Atlas mountains?”, “What was Sarajevo like, all destroyed?”, “Did they give you shit at the Israeli border with Jordan?”, “Did you see mount Ararat?”, oh and the all-important “Had the entire Nepalese Royal Family been gunned down yet?” He seemed to welcome the interruptions, and told stories of bribing middle eastern border patrols with German porno mags given to him by random truckers. Or the futuristicness of Dubai and the UAE.

The journey took him 3 years. 3 YEARS! I kept thinking… could I? Will I? I can definitely say this, when I do, I’m going to my new friend Big Jim to plan my route. But I suspect it won’t be as long. I think the first thing I’m going to get working on is re-doing the Guevara/Granada trek from Argentina down and around the South American cone. And no, I doubt I’ll go by motorcycle.

Like the Fenway Park, the Communiqu has been setting attendance records this week. I hope that means new readers, be they old or new friends, or simply folks I haven’t met yet, I like having discussions, welcome to the blog!

AND – This is an announcement: After lengthy discussion, and still standing by most of the points I have made, I have decided to put the blogs electoral support behind JFK.

    Because I wish his wife could be president.

    Because I intend to be his biggest critic once his worse-than-Clinton ass gets into office.

    Because I listen and respect the experienced opinions of good friends like Drock and blogger friends like Professor B and all the other people.

    Because I reserve the right to change my mind and be a hypocrite where and whenever I please.

    Because I still love Nader, Peltier and Cobb, and I’ll defend them at any dinner party.

    Because yeah, I want to see Bushie shrivel up and be forgotten like his loser father.

    Because I keep thinking of that Simpsons episode where the two Aliens take over the bodies of Clinton and Dole, and they make campaign promises like: “Abortions for everyone!” (boooooo) “Abortions for no one!” (boooooo) “Abortions for some, miniature American flags for others!” (yaaaaay, commence flag waving)

So that’s it, I’m laying down my guns until this election is over, which according to past experiences should be sometime in December right?

And And- Happy 111 years of age, to the man who inspires me to blog.

*NOTE – This ol’park might return next week. I’m too beat and busy today.*

Today’s Sounds: Joe Strummer – Streetcore (damn I miss him)

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Ice Cream Princess

There was that day where I was crossing the Nieuwendijk chatting away with Mathemagenic, upon our first (of many I predict) offline meeting. Speeding by on her bike was the heiress to the Chilly Philly Ice Cream company. I didn’t realize she was still in the dam, apparently on her own self-imposed exile. I shouted “hello” and kept right on walking, engrossed in good conversation.

Sure enough last night I get an email from the heiress that basically says:

“Hey BM, glad to see you’re still bopping around Amsterdam. I was wondering if you already voted, I’m sure you have, but if not, I happen to have an extra federal ballot, and it could be yours if you want.”

Now, it has been documented that this year I just couldn’t get my absentee ballot in gear since I despise both alleged candidates, but still, I admit to being disappointed with missing the local races. Especially since I’m obsessed with looking at different states’ absentee ballots. So I told the heiress that I would like it, but to be forewarned, I’ll likely vote green and not for her boy JFK. She replied expressing her disappointment, stating that this election was really important. DAM RIGHT, I thought, it’s important I vote for the party or candidate who best represents my ass. And not for the horse I think is going to win the race. But to her credit she is still bringing me the ballot – a federal one, I’ve never heard of such a thing? Credit this fine city and it’s great people, all I did was walk down the street and say hi, and the daughter of alternative ice cream moguls reached out a helping hand.

(PS – If you’re in Philly, tell me if their shit is any good, go to any of these places)

Now, they say Indonesia has a corruption problem. If they’d only add me to the payroll, I might not blog about it. But alas, Wahid didn’t pay me, and neither did Megawati after him. But I was charmed by her long family tradition of politicing and ruling over the world’s largest Muslim democracy. (though we should all know its much more than only Muslim.) Still it’s an impressive thing from where I sit, how smoothly and often Indonesians change presidents thru elections. So welcome Mr. Yudhoyono, now its your turn. Take note Tony Blair, you three term whore.

There are a whole lot of bloggers writing about colored sox today. Especially those who normally write about baby bears.

Today’s Sounds: Outlook on the BBC worldservice – Running Around St. Petersburg with Returning White Russians

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