Dear Tissue Girl

Dear Tissue girl,

I watched your show last night at the TheaterFabriek and you were by far my favorite of Les 7 Doigts de La Main. I thought it was going to be an average friday night until Toronto’s finest chef in exile offered me tickets to see your fantastic show.

I must confess, I’ve never seen Cirque du Soleil, or much cabaret in my lifetime. I grew up in Jersey where no one ever spoke of Circus School. I was fascinated last night as I ate my apple pie and you told me about how you got your start back in Montreal. Your art – tissue – as you called it, is fantastic. The way you bend your body into pretzels and seemingly float in the air using flowing strips of fabric, I was hypnotized.

Although I’m sure you’re quite busy and have no time for guys like me, I daydreamed of the life we could have together. I know, you’d be on the road alot, and I’d be doing whatever the hell it is I do here in the dam, but I’d still have green bean soup and bacalhau ready and waiting when you got home from your latest tour. Et on peux toujours parler en Français si tu veux. Sometimes I’d go on tour with you and sit in the corner and cheer you on in multiple languages. On your days off we could catch a flight to the Açores, or La Reunion (island), and swim with dolphins.

And as a bonus, we could have little bike-riding, acrobatic, academic Quebecois-Portugûes-American children, who would impress the world with their keen biking skills, capacity for abstract thought, and impeccable balance on one toe. Hell, they might even grow up to be good bloggers!

Anyway I realize you might actually surf the net sometimes, and be horrified by this bizarro letter. But know that its just a daydream. In the end, you’re probably all married and busy, and not understanding what the F a blog is. And I’m committed to my bike, blog and the Amsterdam. Still, it was a pleasure to see your show and chat with you. Crazy Dr. M was also pleased to meet you, he especially enjoyed the show, reminding him the days when he did theater. (OH YES!)

Good luck in the future, don’t worry about needing a restraining order against me, I’m fairly sane (I think). And if years from now you read this and remember my bearded face and long eye-lashes, use the email and maybe we can get some Eritrean food and discuss the future of the world and our imaginary family.

Prends soins de toi,


Today’s Sounds: Decemberists -Her Majesty

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Hey Herb

High Times magazine isn’t going to call this year. I know they’re not. For the first time in three years, I won’t be present at this years biggest stoner party. Worst of all, I won’t be making the tax-free big bucks, along with the all access passes, free gourmet dinners, and YES – the mountain of maryjane that every employee gets (which I promptly distribute to my friends).

It’s not that bm is much of a ganja smoker, hell no, I’m more the observer. But it’s the spirit of the event I’ve grown to love. Every late November a hoard of Americans, Canadians, Germans, Dutchies, and -increasingly- Japanese, invade the Melkweg on one quest – to smoke dope and sit around with strangers going “hey man… this shit is great.” (insert appropriate Tommy Chong accent) But wait, I’m not mocking them, their stories are often amazing; the vietnam vets, the cannabis photographers, the young hippies living in pseudo communes in some remote county of California, the Vancouver people, and finally – the straight up New Yorkers who love the chronic.

Let me not forget the kickass music. Over the past two cups I’ve seen De La Soul, Fishbone, and hung back stage with George Clinton and his granddaughter. All completely free of course. (thanks DRoCK)

But alas, the thrill is gone. They don’t need my skills as an employee anymore. I served happily last year as an voting booth supervisor. Sounds easy enough doesn’t it? That’s what I thought initially, until I found myself trying to communicate with distracted hippies, who could never seem to fill out ballots correctly or quickly. They brought their notebooks with them, filled with chickenscratch about which coffeeshop was the coolest this year. (coffeeshop? places in amsterdam that serve weed) Yet it always required my intervention, to tell them to not vote twice, or to not ask their neighbor about which hash was better. Then came the begging “Hey man… can I get one of those I voted T-Shirts”.. to which I would say no, and later they’d re-appear with items for bartering, and like any good native, sometimes I traded with the colonists.

Occasionally you can find women at these things. And when you do they are often excessively beautiful, and on the arm of a mafia boss/coffee shop owner from Moscow. Constantly surrounded by an entourage aka bodyguards. Last year I met swiss miss; long blond dreds, blue eyes, and an excellent accent from the alps. She and I had a bond, which consisted of standing at our respective booths stealing glances at each other, and occasionally just staring at each other. That was our thing. By the last day we had ventured into the world of conversation, became friends, and presently I hear from swissy whenever she’s in town.

The worst was when one of my stoned colleagues would not show up to relieve me after my shift, and I would stand there angry as hell and starving. The Norwegian cannabis chef would stroll by in his white labcoat with a cake or a shake, and – as if knowing I was starving – would ask if I wanted some. To which I’d hungrily reply – “Yes, what is it!?” And that madman would proceed to show me the marijuana mango cake he had baked and the cannabis oil popcorn he had popped. THE HORROR. Here I am starving, and this guys trying to get me high. So of course I nibbled on the popcorn, to tithe me over, hoping not to get stoned since I had work to do, real life to tend to. Alas, the end of an era.

Today’s Sounds: Coheed & Cambria – In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth

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Dark Days Indeed

Abu Ammar is dying. As this text is written, a lifetime of struggle must be passing through his mind, as the machines take control over his fading existence. He might be thinking how much he wanted to visit the beaches of Tunisia once more, or how he’ll never get the chance to be on the Daily Show with that Jon Stewart who cracks him up. And I can only imagine he regrets the way things have gone over the past years.

Some people in power have tried (successfully) to marginalize him in these last years, while his people live in despair, and the Berlin Wall part 2 is built, he himself has been trapped in a legendary “compound” for over two years. They’ve tried to say he is responsible. They’ve tried to re-write history and call his people’s struggle a terrorist movement. When a bombing occurs, they blame him for not magically stopping it. If they could, they’d go into the Nobel records and erase his name from the co-peace prize he received with Rabin, and Peres. (then again, so would I, to take away Kissinger’s)

It is almost as if his death is a victory for those who have been burying him for years. Ironic that the junior world leader who has baptized him as irrelevant has been re-elected. A leader who has less than 4 years experience with world affairs compared to a man who was born without a country and has been on the international scene since the late 50’s.

Was he a saint? Probably not. Did he encourage or allow violence amongst his people? He fought in a civil war, so yes. Did he live a comfortable life while his people lived in misery? Possibly, like most leaders.

But was he loved? -most certainly. Did he actively contribute to the Oslo Accords, and other peace negotiations- clearly. Is he one of the most recognized and talked about cats in the history of the middle east (or the world) – YES.

And for that reason this is my blog tribute to the man. Love him or hate him, none of us really knew the man. All we knew was what media tells us, mixed with testimony from those who experienced first hand the complexities of the region’s situation. I’m saddened by his death, if indeed he passes in the coming hours or days. I believe, after a lifetime of war, death, watching all the suffering – on both sides- he had the wisdom and the will to negociate a lasting peace. I realize many will disagree… others will get angry and shout curses. But these are my thoughts as a lowly world citizen. And so I raise my glass, and bid farewell, to one of the classic faces in world history – ARAFAT.

Today’s Sounds: Sveriges Radio – Swedish Public Radio playing Faith No More

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Exile Consultant

(bloggers problems have been killing me today, trying to blog all day)

By now you’ve been walking around the internet and taking it all in. As No Coins said, the web is a bit depressing today. Lots of folks angry, sad, disappointing, shocked, etc. More folks talking about moving, to Canada (the campaign has begun!), etc. This idea is one I can speak on, and maybe I have special insight as an almost 4 year expat.

In an effort to get you through the despair, I present:


    – Call a friend or a relative and yell alot, use lots of curses, let it out.

    Daily Show. Lots and lots of Daily Show, plenty of material now.

    – Turn to drinking, the last legal drug until the administration brings back prohibition.

    The Surreal Life; it may be old news where you live. But this show can keep you entertained for a good hour every week. Washed up 80’s/90’s entertainers living together. I’ve determined that Ron Jeremy is a good guy and Eric Estrada should run for president. (since brains don’t matter)

    – Get to know other bloggers, today I had dinner with JAmie of The Known Universe and friends, he’s in the dam for a few days, and it was good fun to get to know the man in person.

    – Plot assassination. (I heard its illegal, but you could call it a pre-emptive strike)

    – Move to Europe, S. America, Asia, Australia, or Africa. I especially recommend Ireland, cause the economy is strong, Thailand where the people are wonderful (not to mention beautiful), S. Korea where you can teach English, and Brazil where Lula is doing a kickass job.

    – Move to Amsterdam, I can help.. but it does require some work. In no time we’ll have you riding your grandma bike, searching for another temporary apartment, and spending 4 hours with the same hot chocolate at a cozy café that used to be a church.

    – Stay in the US, or wherever you are, and fight in whatever way you’re best at fighting. Be it through blogging or lobbying or NGO work, or even studying law to ultimately overturn some of the dumbass laws that have gone on the books. (like the ones that prevent people who love each other from getting married.)

    – Did I mention drugs yet? Hey.. it don’t make you a bad person. I mean.. did you see the election? Pass the prozac.

My only request is this, get it out of your system now. Because if you’re still pretending you’re going to move to Canada in a month, you need to stop all the talking and make the move. An incalculable number of people, throughout history, have left their home country due to political, economic, or all sorts of reasons, it’s a global tradition and deserving of some respect. I’m not saying everyone should move, I’m saying if you feel oppressed or in danger, don’t be afraid to get up and do it.

Today’s Sounds: Free Speech Radio News, on 99.5 WBAI NYC

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