Monday, May 31, 2010

Voodoo Chile

Sometimes Jimi will come on the radio at the right time and place and I pretty much have to pull over. This song blew me away this afternoon. It's not that I think I'm some kind of Voodoo Child and I "relate" to his music but what I hear is a man at his peak of excellence and execution. He's got the slow blues down perfectly and his playing is so clean but still sounds dirty and improvised. He's all over the neck but it comes together as neat composition. It's smoky late night bar room blues - but recorded in a studio. That is a hard thing to do, to summon that feeling of desperation and angst and inspiration when you're in a climate controlled room with lots of rich people surrounding you who would never follow you into a smoky bar room. It's a lie, but when I listen to this I hear the truth and I'm moved. That's magic. Thank you, Jimi.

Common Sense: Part 1 of 4: Oggy Goes to Zanzibar

Common Sense
By Oggy Bleacher

In 1992, I joined the Merchant Marines. My goal was to join the Seafarer’s Union and ship overseas to the Persian Gulf where two friends of mine were making $400 a day in hazard pay looking for undersea mines. I arrived in New Orleans with a fresh National Guard endorsement and went to the union hall only to learn the demand for sailors was non-existent and the demand for green deckhands was even less. Able Seamen and Mates were taking jobs as Deckhands. Captains were taking jobs as Mates. Chief Engineers were washing dishes to stay employed. I was welcome to pay the health fee and begin paying union dues but it was likely I’d be donating to someone else’s union benefits and would never ship out. “Try Houston or Los Angeles,” said the dispatcher.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Last Man Standing

Not to brag, but about 4 people have been fired from my Hockey merchandise gig and I got promoted to the "Walkie Rider" My feet still kill me from about 2 PM onward but at least I can accomplish more in the time I'm there.
I don't know what the secret to keeping this job is. I'm still pretty flaky and distracted but I've learned the computer interface and some of the secrets to boxing odd items. I do not like the job. I hate it pretty passionately, but that's normal. It's repulsive to me that some 11 year old American wants to buy a pair of shorts with a built in jock strap because he wants to be safe playing hockey. Well, after dealing with hockey equipment for 3 weeks I can say that hockey players are a bunch of fucking sissies. Knee pads? Elbow guards? Cock guards? Throat guards? Padded wrist guards? What's wrong? If the puck hits your wrist will you not be able to jerk off your boyfriend?


I guess when a game requires so much equipment to protect you from getting hurt during the game and that game only involves a stick, a puck, and a net, then what the fuck? A pro hockey player couldn't make a single piece of his equipment. An Asian seamstress probably couldn't play hockey but I guarantee her job is more dangerous and taxing than playing hockey. I guarantee it. Hell, MY job is more taxing than playing hockey and I don't do shit compared to the seamstress in Thailand or China. Ooooh, three 20 minute periods. Wow! You could play your entire game during the time I take a break from my 12 hour job. Goalie equipment is like a NASA space suit. Why? So Mrs. Nancy Don't Hurt Me can stand directly between the puck and the goal. Uh....

Whatever. Hey, let's employ thousands of people so some guy can play hockey and not get bruised. That's a great idea. That makes sense. Maybe one day they'll promote me to the Rugby equipment department...oh, wait a second...the only equipment in Rugby is the ball.

Alright, enough hating.

Bleak Bleak Outlook

The mental junk that I digested today makes my head spin. I can't repeat it all here because if you watch television or get sucked into a lurid CNN Crime story then you know what I'm talking about. Death, cannibalism, rape, murder, war, pollution. Call me sensitive, but it's too much. I started laughing inappropriately during a "True Crimes" type piece on TV in the break room. "When we return," the commentator said, "We'll learn how this man raped his daughter every day for two years, faked his own death and then preyed on girls at a local high school after getting honorably discharged from the army..." I laughed out loud. It bordered on insane laughter (I think my sense of humor is returning after a 12 month absence) and everyone else just shook their heads. I was appalled of course, but the way it was presented as so intentionally macabre and then the very next image is a woman doing push ups. "Do you have flabby triceps? Well, you can firm up in less time than it takes to wash your hair!"

I laughed and laughed.

None of this adds up. I'm sorry for not adjusting or assimilating but it's not realistic anymore to ignore the culture I'm in. The culture is not insane, it's diabolically manipulative. There is no way in the world you would accidentally get a creepy story about a serial rapist sandwiched between a bunch of cheerful frozen pizza and Viagra ads. No. No way is that accidental. In Orwell's worst nightmare did he not imagine media would sink to the depths it is at right now.

I don't want to stick my head in the sand because this is a serious serious disease that's being inflicted on Americans. The price we are paying for free Simpson's episodes is our mental health. DO you understand? This is a mental health issue and it's national and in my opinion it has reached unacceptable status. It makes me feel like I can't really coexist with anyone who isn't deeply troubled. Are we that numbed? The worst part is that I worked for 12 hours and only had about 9 minutes of access to the world...and it still polluted my brain~!

So, I'm looking for answers. Yes, the news picks the most lurid and grotesque stories to cover. When a couple plays checkers on the couch and then goes to sleep...the news doesn't make a story about it. I get it. But holy Jesus do they have to scrape the absolute bottom of the human trough for content? It's a drug, plain and simple, to go from jaw dropping astonishment and horror of atrocities to "Happy Meal at McDonalds fills you up and makes you smile!"
You see? It's like, chemically, your brain wants to eat McDonalds as an antidote to the rape suicide sodomy story you just watched. AND CBS KNOWS THAT! Those motherfuckers! No chance can they plead innocent to this kind of mass manipulation. Rupert Murdoch, there is a special torture chamber in hell awaiting you. 1000 televisions will play Fox news while Larry King shits in your mouth. For eternity.

Sorry. I promised myself I would stay positive but I got excited. My apologies, Rupert. Keep up the good work!

Where was I? Oh, yeah...the thing is that when you turn your back on the media, which is something I recommend, then you will not be able to reach the people who are sucked into it. You have to plumb the depths to learn the secrets of the deep and map the way back out. I don't want to get spiritual on your ass but there is a chasm called Corporate Media and it is swallowing everyone's soul. The only way to solve the problem is to go to the source and return, leaving some bread crumbs so people can follow you out.

I don't mean that as a life goal. I mean that is something to do while I'm saving up money to move to Guatemala, where they worship some guy named Jesus.

Please, unplug and go outside. And while you are out there do not rape or cannibalize anyone. No exceptions! Please. By exiting this page you legally promise to behave yourself. Write a letter to your mother for god's sake!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Ode to an Unknown Seamstress

Chinese Lady with nimble slave fingers,
we are separated by 10,000 container ships of hockey pucks
an ocean of petroleum dildos
and toaster ovens
and microchips
I feel your presence in every youth size mesh practice jersey,
the goalie masks you tended with your beautiful hands
and passed down the road to me, your secret American lover.
Where do your thoughts go, lonely lady, when the 11th hour of your shift clicks off
and the silence of the assembly table becomes like a hum of angels and you can not focus?
Do you think of me in my cardboard kingdom, absently picking 44 delicious padded wrist guards for a sporting goods store in San Diego?
You placed them in a box with tender mercies and now I touch what your fingers touched. You can not pass a message across these oceans because
likely you would lose your job for acting independently. But I know you have thought about it.
What would you say to me?
What color are your eyes?
Where do you live, my love?
What are your dreams?
How can I help you?
I am here for you always and receive only the fullness of your love and desire for love in the tremendous volume of boxes filled with skate blade cozies and jock straps and roller blade stickers.
You focus on that needle pounding the goalie knee pads like a Samurai slicing the chaos away with his holy blade. I am your slave forever, Chinese lover.

Zhōngguó nǚ núlì yǔ língqiǎo de shǒuzhǐ,
Wǒmen xiānggé 10000 qūgùnqiú túlún jízhuāngxiāng chuán
1 Hǎiyáng shíyóu jiǎ yángjù
Kǎo lú hé kǎo miànbāo jī
Hé wēi xīnpiàn
Wǒ juéde měi yīgè qīngnián wǎng guīmó de zuòfǎ qiú yī nín de guānglín,
Shǒuményuán miànzhào nǐ hé nǐ dì měilì de shǒu wǎngwǎng
Bìng tōngguò le wǒ de dàolù shàng, nǐ de mìmì měiguó qíngrén.
Nǐ de xiǎngfǎ qù nǎlǐ, jìmò de nǚshì, dāng nǐ diǎnjī guānbì 11 xiǎoshí lúnbān
Hé jíhuì biǎo chénmò biàn de xiàng yīgè tiānshǐ, hēng hēng, nǐ bùnéng zhòngdiǎn shì shénme?
Nǐ xiǎngqǐ wǒ zài wǒ de zhǐbǎn wángguó, xīnbùzàiyān de tiāoxuǎn le yījiā tǐyù yòngpǐn shāngdiàn zài shèngdìyàgē 44 měiwèi de hù wàn diàn?
Nín fàngzhì zài yǔ cíbēi xiāng nèi, xiànzài nǐ de shǒuzhǐ chùmō wǒ gǎndòng. Nǐ kěyǐ bù tōngguò kuàyuè hǎiyáng de xiāoxi, yīnwèi zhèxiē
Nǐ kěnéng huì shīqù dúlì sīkǎo nǐ de gōngzuò. Dàn wǒ zhīdào nǐ shì xiǎng de.
Nǐ huì zěnme shuō wǒ ne?
Nǐ de yǎnjīng shì shénme yánsè?
Nǐ zhù zài nǎlǐ, wǒ de ài?
Wǒ zěnme bāng nǐ?
Wǒ zài zhèlǐ wéi nǐ shǐzhōng zhǐ néng shōu dào nǐ de ài hé duì zài yǔ huábǎn hé lúnhuá tiē zhǐ kē qí sī xiāng liàng hěn dà, chōngmǎn ài de kěwàng fēngmǎn.
Nǐ bǎ zhòngdiǎn fàng zài zhège chōngjí xiàng rìběn wǔshì dāo qiēpiàn yǔ tā de shénshèng de hǔnluàn líkāi shǒuményuán hùxī zhēn. Wǒ yǒngyuǎn shì nǐ de núlì, zhōngguó de qíngrén.

Friday, May 28, 2010


Driving home today I was thinking, "Oggy, what the fuck in the world is the use of cars if they take you to and from a job where you walk for 12 straight hours? You're quietly desperate, working more for a few nickles than you would ever work if you raised food in Guatemala. It's all backwards and it's all a bunch of bullshit. Cash the next check, buy some tires for El Conquistador on credit, and get the fuck out of here. You are working for absolutely no material end. America's economy is a fraud because you're getting paid inflated wages for a job that serves no purpose. Do you really give a fuck if a kid in Michigan has brand new adjustable hockey pants? Get your bag and walk away from this dead end job. You've got 20K worth of credit and if everyone else is declaring bankruptcy and then keeping their swimming pool and Porsche then get on the wagon. You can't have less money than you have right now. Bankruptcy would probably be a good financial move. Go to Labrador, live with the wolves, they're the only sensible animals left. You're going to die anyway, so at least do something interesting."

This conversation came about because a coworker's grandmother died of a stroke during our shift. As he told me I heard someone behind me say, "On the pack and hold orders can I put all the delivery numbers on one sheet?"

Then the guy went home and I went back to looking for hockey pucks. My job would go so much better if someone just told me, "Pretend there are no consequences for anything you do and you're never going to die." Ah! That makes sense! Otherwise, this is pure fucking industrial suicide.

Top Ten Things I Think About While Working

1. Elena.
2. Pain in feet.
3. Moving to a country that doesn't consider the death of Gary Coleman news.
4. Prostate health.
5. The Chinese women who sew these yellow mesh hockey shorts with a built-in plastic scrotum cage. They must be zen monks of tranquility to do that job for more than one day for slave wages. Either that or welfare must be fucking pitiful in Red China.
6. The oil spill that is approaching the worst catastrophe in the history of man. Ramifications that will be felt for eternity. Children playing with matches.
7. Nonexistent, laughably fragmented family life. How do I start a family without the memory of what a family looks like? Or should I be like everyone else and just wing it?
8. Labrador.
9. Death.
10. Meaning of Life.

(No, my job does not make it into the top ten.)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Ad Copy

The test: Write ad copy for a BMW M3 Convertible. Sell the car is 60 words or less.

My response:

Brazen. Liberating. Engineered for the top down executive and the top up associate. Prepare for 8 polished cylinders of Lift Off and 4 liters of Kick Your Ass. The 2008 BMW 3-Series Convertible is not for everyone. Test drive a RWD M3 only if you want to go to confession on Sunday. Wolves mate for life. BMW drivers don’t.

My analysis:

Should I walk you through this process? See, it's supposed to be "persuasive" but that means "manipulative". But you are manipulating someone with $55K to spend on a car (more likely their law firm will be passing the lease payments onto their estate clients) then you have to be creative (which is why this is a job that is paid).

So, I think, what will persuade a persuasive person? Some humor and honesty...something they don't expect. But don't be cliche. Start off with a staccato note. Brazen...period. Liberating...period. Let them think about that for a second. "Engineered" is a bit predictable and generic but it's a verb so it works for the next part which is top down executive, referring to the convertible and the person driving it. Or top down associate, referring to the young family man with a kid to think about (and not speed through tunnels high on coke). "8 polished cylinders" is a sexual innuendo of "lift off" (drug reference) and 4 liters of "kick your ass". That part is vulgar but this is a test ad I'm sending to a copywriting company who read and write thousands of these so I want them to either hate me or love me. I also checked out their website sample ads and this is similar to their snarky voice. Anyway, they would just change it to "In your face" which is a weak and outdated basketball reference but it's not my car so fuck it. "Not for everyone" is a generic tag on anything too rich for the Walmart crowd so anyone buying it can feel superior to white trash. So I want to remind them that they are superior even though being a CFO is a zero skill job when it comes down to bushels of wheat or apples. It's worthless. A fat CFO will be roasted on a spit when the apocalypse comes and eaten with Walmart dinner napkins to mop up the grease. Ha. That's a good ad.

Anyway, "Test drive...only if you want to go to confession." I like that because it hasn't been used before and it suggests the coke head lawyer driving one of these is still an altar boy inside. It's obvious but it is original and should raise an eyebrow...which is manipulation.

Then the last tag which is funny because it's a nod to my beloved wolf, exploiting them with a dagger through my own hands. As our oceans become permanently destroyed I'm looking for a job selling cars. I'm worse than Judas. I'm the coward centurion who hands Judas the bag of coins. I'm crucifying myself with this reference, punishing my weakness for turning to whores to pimp my words for death engine Johns. But fuck it and fuck the wolf. "Wolves mate for life (arguably not true) BMW drives don't." This suggests that BMW drivers fuck casually. Again, this can't be printed but it's direct enough to demonstrate that I know beat writing, I know the methods of manipulation and ad rhythm. End with a tag, always look for a tag that can be copyrighted and put on t-shirts and coffee mugs. That's what they want. They want branding because branding sells cars by creating a tribe of BMW owners. You see the playboy symbol on the license plate? You think that's an accident? No, they want you to associate this car with fucking playboy centerfolds. And my job is to write this ad to get the same reaction. Sex sells.

This is an exclusive car but I managed to write the ad without using the word exclusive. That's the nature of ad writing but because the ultimate goal is another fossil fuel burning luxury car I can't really get behind this job. It's irresponsible.

Thus endeth the lesson of how to become a whore in 60 words or less.


I just got my ass handed to me in straight sets by an out of shape restaurant manager. My serve is weak and off the mark 50% of the time. My volley is erratic. My footwork is like Michael J. Fox got drunk. I won't quit my day job.

World News

Could the headlines be more morbid? I'm seeing an imminent Korean War, Reggae and Mexican folks shooting each other over cocaine, a damn oil spill that is costing 22 million dollars a day to fix. And the Celtics lost twice in a row. It's hard to keep your head up but as long as you are above ground then that's what you have to do. My job is going to kill me soon enough or riding the moped around on these crumbling Portsmouth streets or my diet of ice cream and those chocolate wafer things from Ocean Job Lots.

I'm thinking that yes, events aren't much different from 100 years ago, but we have instant access to every pimple on the face of earth right now. It's like those big magnifying mirrors that when you look at your skin you start to freak out because it's filthy up close. Well, from a normal distance it's fine. Right now our age of information has given us the most ridiculous real time access to world events. In 1910 you might hear of a revolution a few days after it ended. Now we're getting videos of the actual loading of weapons before the invasion. I do want to hide from it and write my poems and children's stories and finally learn to play the fiddle. I can't do anything about a Jamaican drug war! I've got ants in my closet!

La Cancion De Las Andes

Here's the Peruvian folk tale I wrote and translated with google translate. if you care what it says then you will cut and paste it into google translate. Otherwise you can read it to your 4 year old kid and it will make sense. Es para ti, Molly. I'd love someone to illustrate this but I'm still working on it.

Marquita era la hija de una familia que vinieron de España hace unos años muchos.
Su madre conoció a un músico de otra aldea y se casaron a pesar de las objeciones de su familia.

El padre de Marquita no era bienvenido en la aldea de su madre y la madre de Marquita no era bienvenida en la aldea de su padre.

Marquita fue a la escuela en una universidad privada y no se sienten aceptados por sus amigos porque decían que era medio indio. Así que ella tocaba su violín solo.
Un día su padre se fue y no volvió a casa.

Marquita decidió que su padre se fue porque la familia de su madre no darle la bienvenida.
Así que ella salió de su casa con su violín y se fue al río a tocar una canción para llamar a su padre a casa. Conoció a un chico llamado Zócalo hay que jugó una vieja canción de la flauta de pan de bambú.

Juntos abandonaron sus hogares para buscar

Marquita busca en la costa para la gente de su padre. Busca en el Zócalo bancos de la iglesia para la gente de su madre. Ambos trepar al árbol Chichona para buscar a sus padres.
La Chichona hojas de sombra a partir de las bandas de la quema de sol.
El perezoso se cuelga de un árbol. El mono se ríe. La iguana duerme debajo de un tronco.
La vicuña se mueve en manadas por los campos de quinua.
Ellos tocan sus instrumentos en las montañas y en el desierto.
¿Dónde están sus pueblos? ¿A quién pertenecen?

¿Pertenecen a la Moche o Nazca o el español o el aymara o el Inca?
Desde las colinas de los Andes hasta las orillas del Amazonas y el Zócalo Marquita tocar sus instrumentos a llamar a sus padres a casa.

Hablan con un chamán y un alcalde para pedir consejo.
El chamán les dice que si beben té Chichona raíz continuación van a encontrar a sus padres. El alcalde les dice que tienen que llenar unos papeles para comenzar una investigación. Las oscilaciones del mono con el loro vuela sobre los campos de maíz y arroz.
Marquita y dormir acurrucado entre Zócalo alpacas para mantener el calor.

Soñaban con el cumplimiento de sus padres de nuevo en las faldas del volcán Misti.
El dios del sol voló desde arriba y los visita con vestiduras de oro. Él dijo:

Ustedes son los niños del Perú.
Al igual que la niebla de las montañas que se mezclan con los árboles y la tierra y las cataratas.
Dormir en los cañaverales del lago Titicaca
Dormir con tapas pesadas
Tu hija está en el camino a casa
Canciones de los indios.
La música es la lluvia que cae sobre la arena seca de la costa
Las notas del churrango hace piel mojada de la vicuña
El llora el agua en los jardines del alma de las personas.
Como cada hoja del árbol Chichona pertenece al Perú para hacer que pertenece al Perú. Usted es el pasado y el presente y el futuro.

El dios del sol regresó volando hacia el cielo y despertaron a los niños con brillantes rayos dorados. Se fue a casa tocando sus instrumentos a los sapos croar y burbujeantes arroyos.

Here's the same thing translated into Czech.

Marquita byla dcera rodiny, která pocházela z let Španělska před mnoha lety.
Její matka se setkal muzikant z jiné vesnice a oni byli oddáni navzdory její rodiny námitky.

Marquita otec nebyl Vítejte v matčině vesnici a Marquita matka nebyla Vítejte v otcově vesnice.

Marquita chodil do školy na soukromé škole a neměl pocit uznání její přátele, protože si řekla, že byl napůl Ind. Takže ona hrála svou housle sám.
Jednoho dne se její otec opustil a nepřišel domů.

Cricket in the Monastery II

OK, Lyle, have at it. The setting was supposed to be a monastery and inside the monastery are some monks and there is also a cricket that represents the unquiet mind. See? So, I see the cricket as disturbing the peace of the monks until the monks accept that the cricket is only their unquiet mind. There is no cricket. They are the cricket. It could mean other things too.
It's for kids who study Vipassana meditation. There's a market for this and besides it'll be fun to have a kids book for your kids.
I would make the pictures something a 5 year old would marvel at.

Shhhhh. There is a cricket hiding in the monastery
Listen with only one ear
He is eating grass wedges with his sharp mouth
The monks watch their breath in the cool evening calm.

Suddenly, the cricket is quiet. His dry eyes await your applause
He’ll sing you to sleep with his crocodile wings.

Quiet minds see quiet times
The buzz is in the cricket’s head
Bees swim in the ocean of air
While you sit in deep repose

Tame the cricket
Silence the buzz and hum of the insect mind
Watch it dissolve and evaporate
Dissect the blade, not the bug.

Behave, cricket, or else the mouse will
Crawl from his cavern
Cross the wood planked floor on his curled claws,
sniff you out in your grassy den
and eat you, dear cricket,

Wait for the moon to rise through the pitchfork trees
The wolves are loose in the forest
The monks arrange their begging bowls for rice
The heavy gong rings through the halls of the monastery

The cricket is still hiding from the mouse
The mouse is hiding from the owl
The owl is hiding from the wolf
And the monk is hiding from the moon mirror.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

El Conquestador

Trying to make things look pretty on the blog and added a panoramic collage Ernesto took from the trip down the Baja. That's my 1974 vespa ciao and his KTM motocross bike we stuffed into my van in San Diego and drove 2000 miles through the desert on a ridiculously unplanned expedition having absolutely no idea where we would sleep each night or eat or even if the van was going to make it.

We both started out with working bikes and both soon ran into trouble. The difference is that I managed to fix mine with a Leatherman tool and bicycle parts. His transmission broke and the bike ended up in the weeds and was probably stolen for parts. The desert will destroy everything but it didn't get my Ciao. I refused to allow it to be taken from me. I made it survive.

Laughter is good medicine

I watched Bruno, the follow up spoof movie by Sasha Baron Cohen who did Borat. I thought Borat was funny and I think Bruno is hilarious. It is fast and furious and I laughed out loud many many times.
The funniest part was when he says of his "pygmy" boy lover, "We're just a normal stay at home couple." and the next scene is him pouring champagne out of his ass into a glass.

And I cringed when he was doing baby casting calls for his baby crucifixion photo shoot and he said, "Would you be ok with your baby lighting phosphorus on fire and operating heavy machinery."
and the mother said without pause, "Yes."
And then he said, "Your baby is kind of chubby. Is your baby ok with losing 10 pounds?"
"Yes, she can do that."
"If she can't would she be open to liposuction?"

That might have been staged but for the fact I lived in Hollywood and can attest to exactly that mentality for the wannabe stars. It's like I said when I was pitching my Thoreau script,
"Can we have Thoreau getting drunk and fucking the neighbor's daughter in a boat on Walden Pond? That would be good."
"And the vegetarianism thing won't work. Can he be a cattle farmer...with a gun...and a huge cock?
My dreams were absolutely destroyed by greasy men while their call girls waited in fast cars. Read more about it in my "Hollywood Moment" story under the top posts.

I'm serious. The questions I got made my jaw drop and since I haven't seen a movie with my jaw hitting the floor then the questions were legit. Those producers really want to see you on your knees. They want to break you or else you aren't reliable. But if they break you then you are worse than are unoriginal. But the law of the land is that when you get in that room with a suit who has 10 million dollars behind him then you say, "Yes. Yes Yes Yes Yes." You never say no. And when I watched those mothers sell their babies into a photo shoot where the baby would be "wearing a nazi uniform and pushing Jesus in a wheelbarrow into an oven." and the mother was very happy...I got an awful flashback of the Hollywood pimp psychology that drove me insane. Then I laughed a little.
If you like dry humor that mocks America then Bruno is a good pic.

In other news I premiered my tune "JJ Newberrys" at the Press Room tonight. It didn't stop people in their tracks but it's done and out there. I'll post a home recording of that song one of these days. Then I asked the Gideon Brown frontman if he wanted to make a video and he's down for it so expect some more music news as that production begins next month. It's another zero budget affair but that's where I am most comfortable.

Prostate Update: The throbbing in my prostate has subsided. Hooray! Thanks Bruno!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Cricket in the Monastery

I've been trying to write this children's story for 15 years. It involves a sort of symbolic cricket who represents the agitated mind of the seeker of peace.

Here's what I've got so far...

Shhhhh. There’s a cricket in the monastery
Listen with only one ear
He is eating grass wedges with his sharp mouth
Suddenly, he’s quiet. His dry eyes await your applause
He’ll sing you to sleep with his crocodile wings.

Would you read this story to your kid at bedtime? It's not done yet. Anyone want to illustrate it?

Monday, May 24, 2010

m4m - for a few dollars more

Just to show I am an equal opportunity pervert I have changed the craigslist adult services feed to male 4 male. Somehow I'm not as upset by a man in short shorts offering to give hand jobs for $150. Why is that?

I see some of the women who show ass crack and cleavage and I just think this is so sad that they show their ass and then write "Classy and discrete. Service with a smile." I think, god, what is going on? These women had mothers and first grade teachers and I was a kindergarten teacher and I was trying to teach kids to wash their hands and not insult each other and to appreciate birds and fish and "look at that sparkly rock" and we sang songs and danced and learned numbers and that girl is listing her numbers so you can call her and have her pounce on your balls in high heels. That's what makes me sad. That all that labor and hopes and dreams and little stars on their homework all end up being a $150 blow job in Van Nuys because the rent is high. I know not everyone is a hooker but I just get sad when I see all these women fucking for money. It gives me relief to see men doing the exact same thing. Gay or gay for pay. Who knows? They need money and there are gay men who will pay them to fuck their ass or get a blow job.

One guy once offered me money just to allow him to give me a blowjob.
"Close your eyes and it'll feel just like a cheerleader," he said.
Theoretically he was correct. Hell, I've had blowjobs from cheerleaders and they ain't nothing special. That guy, a black truck driver from Texas with big lips, could probably suck the tongue out of a cat's ass. It would feel better than a cheerleader. He's probably sucked a ton of cock in his day, more than any cheerleader, and he's got a cock so he probably knows how to get sloppy and nasty and not treat it like a damn crystal chalice. Furthermore, he was hungry for cock. Willing to pay me to suck my cock or even just watch me play with myself. He was horny from driving all day and really wanted to fuck me, to feel my cock in his mouth. The dude chased me down on the highway in an 18 wheeler. He was itchin' for dick. I can't say that about any girlfriend I've ever had. Can you? He could probably get me off in a minute. Except it's a black dude in a wife beater t-shirt at a truck stop in Louisiana. I mean, what the fuck? So...I passed on it even though I needed the money. It doesn't make me better. I'm just puritan like the folks in the Mayflower. Sorry. That's me. If I grew up in Los Angeles I would've 69'd that dude all night long and bought myself a nice steak dinner and hotel room with the money I made. But I'm from Portsmouth and I said no thanks and slept in my car.
And now there ain't no New World to go to so I rant on my velvet cushion.

oh I don't have any answers. It's all so mad.

Population Quiz

I was pondering the work that made the allied victory in WWII possible. It was done with 130 million people in the States and about 2.5 billion in the world. (1940 numbers.)

I like to think that since it was done once (a total paradigm shift) then it's possible again to change our approach to energy and resources. But then I remembered that we don't live in 1940 anymore.
Instead of 130 million people in the States all getting on the "Kill the Nazi Wagon" we have 300+ million who have to become hemp wearing hippies. A two fold increase.
Instead of 2.5 billion we have (gulp) 7 billion plus on the planet, including people like Paris Hilton who count as about 4000 Haitians in resource terms.

Between 1804 and 1927 was the time it took to go from 1 to 2 billion.
That's 123 years.
In 83 years we went from 2 billion to 7 billion.
We'll reach 8 billion in 2025, 5 years past the point of peak oil production and the agreed upon point of no return. It isn't 2012 like the movie says. 2020 is the projected point when resources will be completely taxed. We're already collectively using 5 times more than the earth can sustain. In 2020 fresh water will be more valuable than oil, and oil will be very valuable. World harvest yields will be threatened by climate instability. Fishing will be taught in history classes like how we demonstrate Indians heating acorns and grinding the flour for tortillas.

And the change that has to take place is among 8 billion people. 8,000,000,000. I predict an entire generation of people who will be janitors of the planet and you know when you go into a public bathroom and someone has shit on the seat? You know how you feel when you see the shit smeared on the seat and sometimes the wall? Ok, multiply that feeling by 8 billion and you will get an idea of how that generation is going to think about us. Facebook and youtube will be looked at like we look at spraypaint on a school wall...the ape-like scrawlings of inconsiderate infants who deserved a worse fate than we will eventually get.

I wish I had a punch line for this.

Locked in

You might call it dedication and you might call it being flaky for 11 hours and then trying to catch up the last hour and hustle through my job and still shrink wrap the pallets when everyone is punching out...and getting locked inside the warehouse with all the hockey equipment.
I got locked in a Target garden shed on Thanksgiving two years ago. They closed two hours early and I was totally hidden away with snot running out of my nose in an open air garden shed way behind the garden department where the bicycles for the Christmas orphan giveaway were getting staged. The rain poured on me as I tightened wheel nuts. They closed the store without chekcing on me and I finally packed up and was totally trapped in Target. That sucked.

Fortunately, my current boss saw my car in the parking lot and ran back to let me out the door. That and the blood blisters in my feet and sharp pain when I breathe will probably signal the end of my current job. Get in touch with me if you want the name of the temp agency who will hire you for this most excellent position.
I may have another gig lined up in Newburyport which means I can live at the Park N Ride parking lot and ride my moped to work. Anything to save a buck.

P.S. Medical question: when your prostate aches is it already too late to do anything about it?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Cinnabon and Weight Watchers

This is the trend that I've seen in the past: I get a job, the job is a 12 hour shift back to back to back and is so far from my house that I consider sleeping in my car at the site to get more sleep. But I have to eat and change my clothes so I go home and have a maximum of 8 hours of sleep if I go to bed instantly. The dishes are all dirty, the place is a mess, an unfinished chess game sits around. And instead of doing anything related to house work I sit at the piano and play "Faithfully" by Journey for two hours. Then I brush my teeth and fall asleep in my clothes on the sofa. When I get up there is exactly enough time to speed to work. But since the job only allows 30 minutes to eat and the nearest eatery is 15 minutes away I have to bring something to eat. What do I bring? Fucking Cinnabon roll ups from Ocean Job lots. Disgusting cheap calories and a $2.50 Weight Watcher microwave Salisbury Steak meal.
See, something has to be sacrificed if I want to eat a salad and since what I really want to do is play the piano I refuse to sacrifice money or time. I'd rather eat my single serve meal and play "Walking in Memphis" by Marc Cohen than prepare a plate of pasta to eat at lunch.
The job causes so much blood clotting in my legs that by the time lunch comes around I don't even care about eating. I must ice my ankles.

My back is killing me but I fucked up so much today at work that they will soon fire me. I love it, you deal with 5,000 boxes and when you have 5001 address labels they look at you like, "Don't you know how to count?"
I guess I don't because I need Weight Watchers to add my calories.
Time for sleep.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Bygone Portsmouth Tour

Led my first walking tour of "Oggy's Bygone Portsmouth" tonight. The big hit was the Laverdier's Drugs store story where myself and Bradley got caught shoplifting gum. It is now Jumping Jay's fish restaurant. And the Alf figurine encased in epoxy at the old mystery spot location brought gasps of amazement.
The fact my brother's first job was at Strawberry Court, a restaurant that no longer exists, did not excite anyone even when I said we were all proud of him and came down to see him in his apron. More interesting was my job at Richardson's Market where I smuggled beer out the cellar door to pay my debt to the paving company for dumping two wheel barrows full of hot tar on a customer's lawn.
I improvised a little when it came to the Richardson's house which was moved after purchased for $1. Anyone know more about that story? Where did the house come from?
The Alf story got me remembering that my own mother was responsible for having flag holes put in the sidewalk for colorful flags on Market Square Day back in 1976. And those holes are still around town and I believe Alf now resides in the hole that was originally for a flag. I could be wrong but that's what bygone history implies; it's the story you would never read in books.

My dogs are barking after a brutal day at the hockey distributor. Fortunately, I daydream 90% of the time which means a company in Michigan that ordered several dozen ice skates will receive a box of old taco bell receipts.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Rags were a poor man's music and I'm a poor man, but my world just got a little richer. I sold my last piano in August of '08 so it has almost been 2 years without one. I did have access to one in Mexico for two months and that was nice. But I got a paycheck that gives me a few days of breathing room and I lucked out with a guy who priced this Clavinova CVP 20 to sell below my price range and I made my move. My goal is to learn the entire Late For The Sky album by Jackson Browne or at least the pretty ballads. And this piano will make that happen. Thanks to the Chicken Man for helping me carry it up the stairs without breaking this old man 's back. Any song requests?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


It's pouring rain, I work 12 hours a day on my feet, I am starving and I just bought a Clavinova digital Piano I can't afford. What else is there to do except hike to the top of Mt. Monadnock and look around at the fog? Now I'm so sore I can't walk and I need someone to help me drag my piano up the stairs to my apartment. Any volunteers before I go to Labor Ready and pay someone five dollars?

Newts and salamanders are fragile animals and rarely seen. They live in the mud and hide under leaves. This little red guy was hanging out on a log probably because the rain had saturated every other place. I'll ask my wildlife friend if this is a newt or a salamander. I forget the difference.

Thanks to Naomi for identifying this: "Red Eft"- it's a juvenile Eastern newt:
a newt is just an aquatic type of salamander."

It moved very slowly when I approached it. Long live the Red Eft!

I told you so...

How many times has someone said, "Oggy, how in the world is Hannah Montana related to the demise of civilization?

I thought it was obvious. She normalized a high resource lifestyle, was wasteful, ego-centric, ethnocentric and deceitful. She dressed like a prostitute.
Here's a sample of her lyrics to the song "Let's get crazy."

You see me on the cover of a magazine
Remember, things are always different then the way that it seems
Here's an invitation, to every nation
Meet me on the dance floor and we'll make the scene

Let's get crazy
Get up and dance
Take a swing, do your thing
If we're taking a chance

Let's get crazy
Yeah just kick up your heels
Don't miss out, time to shout
Always keeping it real
Let's get crazy

If you're brave then you'll watch the video. I literally gasped when I hit play. It's making me rethink the first amendment.

She is so obviously a manufactured Disney device, customized to sell memorabilia to girls and habituate a totally unsustainable lifestyle. Oh, it's so repulsive! This, this is willful negligence. Really, Disney is a despicable den of vipers. This is pure propaganda directed at the most impressionable kids. I'm serious, a 6 year old girl does not stand a chance to resist the incredible weapons Disney has at their disposal. This is an all out attack on autonomy. I know I sound insane but then I read the following news item today...

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Wal-Mart said Wednesday it is pulling an entire line of Miley Cyrus-brand necklaces and bracelets from its shelves after tests performed for The Associated Press found the jewelry contained high levels of the toxic metal cadmium.
In a statement issued three hours after AP's initial report of its findings, Wal-Mart said it would remove the jewelry, made exclusively for the world's largest retailer, while it investigates. The company issued the statement along with Cyrus and Max Azria, the designer who developed the jewelry for the 17-year-old "Hannah Montana" star.

Now do you see? Now is it clear? I'm not fabricating a conspiracy. Disney is actually killing people with the propaganda of a social menace. Kids are paying to be killed by toxic accessories. We are not only turning our children into brainless barbie fuck dolls, we are KILLING THEM IN THE PROCESS.

Unforgivable! Jesus, how much more evidence do we need? I'm so repulsed by the existence of Hannah Montana and I was questioning my own sanity until I saw this news. Now I see that the only thing I have to question is how deeply brainwashed are those around me. From the looks of it not a single person has agreed with me and therefore you deserve all the cadmium laced jewelery you can get. You are all guilty of murder! And for refusing to sign my petition to boycott all things related to Hannah the Whore of Disneyland, you can go to hell. Why do you question my judgment. I'm making things so easy for you. I'm being forced to start my own cult where people just do as I say. I'm not out to rule the world but I am out to protect everyone from obvious snakes in the grass like this talentless tramp. Please, rid the world of this repulsive monster.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Memorabilia 2.0

I never get tired of reading some of this book. And the funny thing is the person stubbornly insisting that it can get published is the person beating me up in the scene below. Can it get published?
You be the judge.

Dear editors,
Please accept my submission to your “undiscovered literary genius” category. Memorabilia is a novel length obituary to nostalgic compulsions, pop music trivia and the minutia of Boston Red Sox history. It’s my first novel and if it isn’t published soon it will be my last novel, which will mean my own obituary will read something like, “Oggy Bleacher, an unmarried general laborer, was also an unpublished author when he passed away, kind of like that crazy uncle your father didn’t like talking about…” I hope we agree how unpleasant that sounds. You have the power to change my obituary!
Set in 1991, Memorabilia follows the fixated pleasures and pains of Oggy Bleacher as he attempts to reverse history through delusional stubbornness to enable the 1986 Red Sox win the World Series. Oggy takes the old saying, “If you put your mind to it then you can accomplish anything” and totally disproves it. At the end of Memorabilia the reader will say, “No, there are some things you can’t do no matter how hard you try.” Part mystery, part comedy and part filler stolen from obscure Herman Hesse novels, Memorabilia is a permanent tattoo that keeps bleeding through the tattoos you get to cover it up. The original title was You Broke My Heart You Worthless Motherfucking Losers, but my friends recommended I shorten it. What’s your opinion?


“Did you go in my room, nut bag?”
This could only be my brother addressing me with one of his many inventive titles. I wheeled around quickly in case he was already charging in to give me a beating. Thankfully, I hadn't decided to go into his room to record “Xanadu”. See how treacherous expanding your music library was in 1980?
“No,” I moaned, “You told me not to go in your room, so I didn't do it. I'm innocent. Please don’t hurt me.”
I instantly wished I had taken a different approach. My earnestness was too obvious. He would know I had read one of his Fantastic Four comics.
“So what did you take, Queer boy?” he asked as he smacked his fist into his palm. “Tell me now and I won't beat you up too bad.”
“I didn't. I didn't take anything. Dad!” I called to my father just to be safe, maybe get him moving in my direction before the bloodshed began. “I'm not lying. I don't want another beating. Please, Brooks.”
Again, this was too obvious. No one telling the truth would ever say, “I'm not lying.”
Brooklyn was apparently feeling benevolent because he paused and said, “If I find something is missing then I will beat you down. I told you before, Ogden. You will be beaten until you submit. I might even take your hat.”
At the threat of losing my hat I placed my senses on high alert. Few things upset me more than being separated from my hat.
“Naw!” I said as I leaned away from Brooklyn. “I was just sitting in here waiting to record Xanadu off the radio. That's all. Honest.”
“Ha! That’s your first lie. You’re sitting here listening to that fag Billy Joel. And if you’re listening to a fag then that means you are a fag.”
“Billy Joel is a wicked awesome singah.”
“You act like you’ve never heard of Black Sabbath. That is just more proof that you are fag of monumental proportions.”
“B-B-Black Sabbath?” I whispered. “Dad told you not to listen to Black Sabbath.”
“Well, Dad told you to stop being an idiot, so that makes two of us who don’t do as we’re told.”
“But Black Sabbath is evil.”
“No. Billy Joel is evil. Ozzy Osbourne is the God of Rock. You would know that if you stopped listening to that junk.” Brooklyn examined the album cover. “Glass Houses?” he sneered. “That pussy never took a chance in his whole life. Now, KISS knows how to rock. Ace Freely…hey, is that an Air Supply record? I’m going to kick your ass if you have an Air Supply record.”
I tried to hide my Air Supply record. My mother had bought the record for me at a Harvard Square thrift store and I didn’t want Brooklyn destroying it. And I didn’t even want to think about what would happen if he saw John Denver’s Greatest Hits.
“Wait! Please! I never went in your room, Brooks. Anyway, you're in my room.”
This seemed like a perfectly logical argument. If he could come in my room then why was I not allowed in his room? Why indeed?
Brooklyn paused and crossed his arms.
“Because I'm older and you're weak. Ha! What? Did you say something, Goober?”
Brooklyn lunged at me. I instinctively fell back to protect my hat and accidentally hit the turntable. The needle skipped to “It's Still Rock and Roll to Me” scratching the vinyl with an ugly synthetic tearing sound that was still about three years from becoming popular among Rap artists. I gasped.
“No! You butt dog. You scratched it. It's mine and you ruined it.”
Brooklyn raised his arms up in triumph.
“That'll teach you not to go in my room, you Troll. I guess Billy Joel isn’t so cool anymore. Too bad.”
I'd have a bruise where I hit the turntable. My Billy Joel record was precious to me and now it was ruined. All because of Brooklyn.
“I hate you. I hate you so much,” I said as my chin began to wobble. “You''re evil! You're an evil person. Get out!”
Instead of leaving, Brooklyn jumped on me and wrestled me onto my back. I tried to bite his arms but he was too strong and my strength was quickly spent. He straddled my ribcage, taking the breath out of me, and took my right hand and punched my face with it.
“Stop!” I gasped. “You’re killing me.”
“I’ll stop when you say Billy Joel is a fag.”
“No!” I cried. “Billy Joel is wicked awesome!”
“Say it! Say, ‘Billy Joel is a fag.’ Then I’ll leave.”
Brooklyn punched me in the face again with my own fist. I thrust my knee into his back and he acted like this was an unforgivable breach of the peace.
“Now you’re asking for it. Now you fahked up! And I’m gonna make you pay!”
Brooklyn forced both my arms into a flurry of face punches that left me delirious.
“Please.” I moaned. “No more!”
“Say ‘Billy Joel is a fag.’ I’m serious, Oggy. I will beat you all day long.” He bounced on my rib cage so I wanted to vomit. He bounced until I cried.
“Alright. Billy Joel is a fag.” I was so tired my words were slurred. "You're hurting me."
“And he sucks cahk,” Brooklyn continued.
“And he sucks cahk.”
“And he can’t sing.”
“And he can’t sing. Come on!”
“And if I go in Brooklyn’s room I’m dead meat.”
“And if I go in Brooklyn’s room then I’m dead meat,” I repeated and coughed up some phlegm.
Brooklyn gave me one more punch to the ear that made me squeal in pain before getting off me. He turned around and as he was leaving he casually picked up a stack of loose baseball cards off my Red Sox altar. He looked at them with feigned interest and then tossed them on the ground like they were trash. I was breathless from the beating and stared in horror as the cards tumbled into a disorganized pile. I wiped my running nose on my Red Sox stained sweatshirt as tears fell from my brown eyes.
“No! Dad! Brooklyn's being evil again; he threw my cards on the ground after I just put 'em in order. And he threatened to take my hat! He’s listening to Black Sabbath again too.”
My father was presumably in his room and didn't have a ready response to this crisis. Brooklyn pointed his finger at me and hissed, “You watch your mouth or the beating you just got will seem like a present from Grandma.”
He pounded his fist into his palm again. I was helpless and crying as I tried to gather the cards up without bending any corners. A bent corner was the difference between a “Mint” condition card and an “Excellent” condition card. I picked up a card and showed it to him as I cried, “When Julio Valdez is worth a million dollars I'm gonna make you pay for wrecking his card. You'll pay for being evil!”
Julio Valdez was a switch-hitting prospect for the Red Sox who had shown great talent at shortstop. His card was one of those now excluded from the Mint condition because of a bent corner.
“Look what you did!” I said as I held up the card as evidence of Brooklyn's evil. “I hate you! Get out! This is my room. Now get out!”

Monday, May 17, 2010

Errand Boy

This is a message for The Earl of Nottingham from the King of Chicago. "You can be an Errand boy for Rock and Roll."

15 serving 30

Martin was back at the tennis courts and challenged me to a game where we keep score. I wish I could go back in time and play him 50 years ago...when he was my age. Jesus. 50 years is a long time and I thought 40 years was a long time. I was reading the Portsmouth obituaries and saw a face that looked like Martin and the guy was from Newfoundland. What the hell? But it wasn't Martin. The dead man was 96 years old and also served in the navy. Something tells me Newfoundlanders have good genes because that's simply unusual for two 90 + year old men to be living in Portsmouth. Martin must've been a good tennis player because his instincts are still there but he has to watch the ball bounce because his feet can't get him there in time. He's come to terms with it. After our single set match he did what most 90 year old men do: go sailing. I'll have to go out with him sometime to see him in his natural element...if my back is up to it.

The Labor Hall was a depressing place this morning. A man was snoring on the table while I read the help wanted jobs. Another guy was limping around talking about pawning his bicycle for $15 to buy pain killers for an infected injury. On the television was "Troy" with Brad Pitt, a terrible piece of shit film that everyone ignored. The pretty Greeks could not possibly shine on our collective misery of poverty, hacking coughs, limps and neck pains. The phone was silent and I finally walked out with no fanfare. In fact, because I was on the list before some of the other guys I thought I heard a sigh of relief. It's a waiting game like hitchhiking. The longer you wait, the better your chances are to make $30. More than likely the sound I heard was someone's last breath.
If I can't work then I might as well play tennis.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Behind our backs.

Each time I take these other jobs to learn some humility I manage for a few hours and can even ignore the grinding pain in the joints, but when I look around at the mammoth scale of the operation and how completely unacceptable it is to expect Thailand and China to produce this much specialty athletic equipment, I start to lose my mind. I think, "No, Oggy, you need the money. Fuck it all. FUCK THE EARTH. WE FUCKED IT UP. IT'S NOT GOING TO BE SAVED."
I try to convince myself that whatever moral principles I cling to are so pathetically futile and self-destructive that I'm being pointlessly stubborn. Just give up! Fuck it all. Work, take the money, buy some crack and shoot up in the bathroom. Who fucking cares? Look around at this fucking square mile of athletic equipment. Just look. This is insane. Nothing can justify this many jock straps that can withstand a 90 MPH impact from a piece of molded rubber. No. It's totally and completely wrong. No way are you going to justify a factory in China devoted solely to sewing jock straps for hockey players. Nope. Impossible. Not hundreds of thousands of them. No no no no no.

So, I try to ignore it, punch the time clock and move on, but then I think, wait...wait...hold on. The reason I am shocked and repulsed is because I'm actually seeing something that is shocking and repulsive. No one would think this is normal if they would just leave the seacoast of New Hampshire or read something other than Sports Illustrated. I mean, yes, this is totally normal AS LONG AS YOU ARE AN ETHNOCENTRIC CAPITALIST. If you aren't then you will quickly see this operation as utterly unsustainable and wasteful. Shameful. I mean, this is the kind of operation historians will highlight as evidence we were blind amoral pigs.

Stop, Oggy! I will continue until they fire me...Just take the money,,,just... but I'm telling you that this can't go on. I realize these specialized pieces of equipment are well designed and long lasting, but this is HOCKEY. ROLLER HOCKEY! What the fuck>>?

Again, it's because most of humanity only sees the five styles of rollerblades at the one sporting goods store or at Walmart. They think, "That's it. There are only this many rollerblades in the world."

Well, I intentionally worked at dozens of different Target stores and now at the place that distributes to Target stores and I'm stunned by the volume of crap that is being produced. I don't mean it in a bad way but you are an incredibly ignorant person if you believe the only rollerblades in the world are at the one Walmart you visit. My brain can barely comprehend the number of indestructible jock straps that currently exist. The volume is like sand in the desert. Just imagine a jock strap that is 6 stories high and weighs 700 pounds.

It's the nature of capitalism, the compulsion to produce and consume, that we never pause to consider what the grand scale of things is. In fact, I admit I don't naturally pause to consider the grand scale of things but I have forced myself to take jobs in factories and in the Gulf of Mexico so I can actually experience some of it and the final conclusion is that we've collectively run amok. It's not a myth made up by pot smoking hippies; it's true. Commerce has been taken over by the most short sighted people in history and television has normalized a lifestyle that is completely blind to the consequences we will all soon suffer and which the developing world is suffering right now. We're plugged into the dream machine so it's impossible to see the machine. The sky is falling and no jock strap can protect your nuts.

I have a lot of time at work to ponder if unregulated commerce is Man's attempt to protect himself from the elements or if it is actually a plot by a tiny minority to get rich by encouraging and exploiting Man's childish nature, by catering to our infantilism. I really wonder because I know this can't last. An American child uses the resources of 7 children from a developing nation. The theory is that if America is comfortable then the rest of the world will eventually benefit. But what I see is tens of thousands of indestructible jock straps. You can theorize all you want but when I see a hundred thousand lime green roller blade wheels in boxes stacked 6 stories high then, excuse me, but I start to question all theories. This is not the benevolent hand of grand commerce. No. Something horrible is happening here and that is why there are fences around the building. You go to a Walmart or online and you think you are ordering a special set of rollerblade wheels made specially for you by tree elves. I'm telling you the truth and there is basically a thunderous downpour of rollerblade wheels, hockey pucks and jock straps and you are ordering a single item that is so insignificant compared to the whole that only a computer can tell when a piece is missing. We have mountains and mountains of specialty athletic equipment in the world. MOUNTAINS like small skyscrapers. Factories are devoted to jock straps. Containers...cargo ships are completely filled with superhero themed goalie masks and ON THE OCEAN RIGHT NOW.

The truth of commerce is so ugly and wasteful and dirty, and the myth of commerce is so glossy and perfumed and hair free, that I can only rant about it and pray Naomi Klein and Noam Chomsky write a solid essay on my behalf. I'm telling you that this contradiction is almost something that can't be explained. You have to experience it to understand the dimensions. Naomi Klein is pretty good at describing it but I think modern commerce is too complicated for anyone to completely grasp through an essay. Like, on the front of Lester Brown's Plan B there's a quote by Bill Clinton "Good book." Ok, Bill. Nice of you to put the hamburger down long enough to write the blurb. No way did Bill Clinton demonstrate he learned anything from Plan B. Why? Because all he did was read the book. That's not good enough. You basically have to go work in a modern factory if you want to understand modern commerce. Right now. Quit your specialized job and go do someone else's specialized job in a factory. That's my only recommendation. We all need to swap jobs and see what's going on behind our backs. If you don't do it then you will dismiss me as alarmist and continue to suckle the Fox News tit for misinformation, you gullible, cowardly cunt.
Sorry, I got angry.
(deep breath)
Please come work with me for one day. That's all it takes. I'm not asking you to change careers. Just see with your own eyes and you will understand. I can't describe it well enough and they strip search me before and after I go to work so I can't smuggle in a camera. Please. I'll get you in touch with my placement agent.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Struggle for the legal tender

That's what's happening on the surface, a hustle for a buck, but underneath everything is paid training to be focused on the moment. This is not easy for me as 12 months of pondering infinity have left me weeks behind the present moment. I'm mentally in Utah looking for a place to park in a butte filled area near Salt Lake City, slowly dodging pot holes, looking for birds and wildlife and finding hundreds of shotgun shells and computer husks. Are we lucky the earth is big so our carelessness is hard to notice or are we careless because the earth is so big? Anyway, that's where my consciousness is and the only thing that's good for is the careful analysis of human (my) experience. It's philosophy if I'm able to write a treatise or manifesto that revolutionizes man's. If I am unable to do this then it's called daydreaming. Emerson had a line that I stole for my screenplay (It was in his "Oscar" monologue) "The true preacher can be known by this, that he deals out to the people his life ... life passed through the fire of thought."
I set it as a slow transition from Emerson at his Unitarian Church in Harvard giving the Thoreau getting a canoe ready in Concord with Emerson's words echoing in his head as he stares at his reflection in the river. A bit polyanna, but a guaranteed Golden Globe award.

Anyway, I took this statement personally, as a challenge to walk through those same flames. How else could I call myself a philosopher? Impossible. Another quote that I read early on and has figured on my journey through the fires is from Socrates, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”
I took that as a challenge too and it's been 20 years since I decided to examine my life and walk through the fires of thought. Two decades. My findings are as slippery as fine sand. How can I explain them when I can't control them? The other influential concept is from Ignatius in Confederacy of Dunces. He speaks often and highly of cultivating a personal worldview that is ever evolving from new experiences. The worldview is basically his conceptualization of the ideas put forth by Socrates and Emerson, that a person is responsible for self examination and reflection and self criticism. That a man's entire moral and social code must be generated from within.

Another book I incorporated into my fantasy was "The Razor's Edge" I read it before the Bill Murray movie came out and everything by Somerset Maugham is excellent. It's a very good study of wanderlust. It also predates Into The Wild by many years and I'm surprised it doesn't get referenced more in discussions about Chris McCandless. I don't think it's a perfect comparison but there are elements there that fit. It was about the sole pursuit of truths. I wonder sometimes if reading books by Thoreau and Maugham shaped me or if they just reinforced and refined my own self image as a seeker of truth and wisdom. I will ponder that.

Anyway, defining ones moral code is easier written about than accomplished. My own book set in Santa Cruz is an attempt to not only extend these excellent concepts, but to demonstrate the disastrous consequences when one takes them too seriously, or when one dismissed them entirely. It's a groundbreaking approach that will break my spirit if it doesn't kill me first. But it's the culmination of a 20 year research assignment. It's my manifesto.

As Ignatius learned, eschewing social norms while living in normal society is just a terrible idea and leads to awful confrontations. And god help you if you actually succeed and replace most or all social conventions with some patchwork worldview based on books and songs you like. GOD HELP YOU.

And yet, (and this is the kind of question that makes me fuck up the most basic task because it can never be answered without constant consideration) WHAT ELSE ARE YOU GOING TO DO? Do you adopt WHAT IS simply because IT IS? Or do you make a thorough investigation of your self and your surroundings and come to scientific or philosophic conclusion as to your conduct? If you answer that it's best to go along with the status quo then what is that saying about our autonomy? And if your pondering results in a personal incompatibility with society then you are also fucked.

And another dynamic I'm looking into is the difficulty in being unbiased TO BEGIN WITH. Like, no matter what conclusion you reach it will not be scientifically or philosophically based, but more inclined to stem from early, suppressed, almost innate learning that could easily have been implanted because of an article in Time Magazine or an episode of Sesame Street. So what the fuck? Is it all futile? Can we never be fully responsible for our habits and worldviews? Is Big Bird our philosophical patriarch?

These are difficult questions and since I'm at work right now I can not go further into detail. This whole time I was supposed to be organizing boxes of shoes but I thought it was more important to sneak into the boss's office and use his computer to type this essay. If I didn't do it now then I might forget all these fine details and formulations. I mean..what? Oh. Shit. Here comes the...fuck. I just got fired. Here come the security guards. God damn it! Why does this always happen to me? Fuck! I only have two more seco...

Friday, May 14, 2010

Short Essay Contest: Are we Microsoft Serfs?


Microsoft Corporation is a multinational computer technology corporation that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of software products for computing devices. Microsoft was ranked as the third largest company in the world, following PetroChina and ExxonMobil. It is also one of the largest technological corporations in the world. Many of its products have achieved near-ubiquity in the desktop computer market. The ensuing rise of the stock price has made four billionaires and an estimated 12,000 millionaires from Microsoft employees. Microsoft employs 30,000 people in its headquarters alone. The number of employees devoted to the sale, development and service of its products would number in the hundreds of thousands.

Serf: noun
1. a person in a condition of servitude, required to render services to a lord, commonly attached to the lord's land and transferred with it from one owner to another.
2. a slave.

In 500 words or less please formulate a pro or con argument answering the following question: Has mankind become Microsoft Serfs?

The winner will receive a personalized certificate of achievement from The Oggy Bleacher Philosophy Federation. This contest is open until it is closed. Submit your essay in the comments section below. Oggy Bleacher will judge the essays based on persuasiveness, creativity and revolutionary modes of thinking.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

New Menu item!

Head Chef Oggy Bleacher of Cafe Bella has just added a new menu item. This is a fresh butter croissant sandwich with or without cheese and avocado. Fried or scrambled egg and sliced deli ham served with fruit salad (not pictured). All for the low price of $11.95. Summer only! Get it while it lasts.


I think Hobo Joe in S.F. is taking the pictures that should go with the long captions I'm writing. If there's an illustrator who wants to take a crack at this description then have at it. I tried to take his advice and describe what the surroundings are but I got off track. It's so boring to talk about what things look like. How many times does Bukowski describe his apartment or car interior? Or this foggy Richmond (?) scene with the cypress trees and piss stained concrete. The NASCAR sleeping bag pulled out of one of those clothing donation boxes, the five gallon bucket for sitting and also bathing. See the baby carriage on the bottom for shorter trips to the aluminum depot? It takes military precision to survive like this.

The men and women are assembled underneath the plastic awning waiting for the oatmeal to arrive. This river of humanity is a western Ganges with the ashes still loose on bones not yet burned among lotus flowers, twisting between rotten 4x4 posts instead of concrete columns. The rats are hiding from the sunlight and the dogs are sniffing in the piles of wet clothing, snuffing into the feces and urine soaked cardboard near the fence line for the central nest of the rats. The dogs know the source is there in the ivy hidden with the roadside trash and dog shit and flat tires and car parts. The dogs can smell that hot nest of quivering rat flesh but they can’t get through the fence and into the ivy to eat the rats without catching a fat kick to the ass. So the dogs take their frustration out on each other in the muddy yard near the bodies wrapped in plastic, the ugly mouths chewing on chicken bones, cracking the femur of a chicken for the marrow and tearing at the fatty skin with their yellow teeth. There on the muddy field the dogs run until they hear their master call from the parking lot or sidewalk.
The traffic on Highway 1 rolls over the wet pavement in slick paths, old cars and new cars, intent on a destination, a purpose and destiny. The rain falls into the mud and the rats sleep soundly. The picnic tables are cleared of resting junkies and someone finds a week old newspaper with the comic section. Everyone has a favorite comic and the punchlines are exchanged and repeated.
“Garfield is a funny fucker,” says a bearded man. “Garfield makes me laugh,” he says without laughing. He hardly ever smiles because of his awareness of his missing teeth, teeth that were once white and straight and admired by women at the drive-in theater where he worked. He wasn’t always a crippled man hunched over comics on a dirty picnic table, awaiting oatmeal at a homeless shelter, but his past has been washed to the ocean and obliterated by time’s great hammer. He’s tired because he didn’t sleep enough, maybe two hours of sweating in his sleeping bag. He sold the majority of his pain medication so he can’t move without a spasm of pain in his back that radiates to his neck. The doctors say it’s a bulging disk and though the pain is almost unbearable he can’t stand the idea of hands on his spine trying to straighten him, to push the bulging disk back where it belongs. The physical therapists either look through him like a mechanic at a set of faulty brake calipers or else try to humanize him and miss the mark, reduce him to a bundle of nerves and stock footage memories, so he does not go to physical therapy. His hands throb. His legs sting like his veins are filled with battery acid. He scratches at the dry skin on his thigh but only enjoys moments of relief before the crawling sensation returns. He looks around to see that no one has heard him. He is invisible here among the destitute. On the downtown street, when he tries to walk to the post office to see if the general delivery has any messages from his son, he mostly ignores the young couples in their fashionable clothes who ignore him. He knows he is a dead person now and can never recover his status. There is no money for it and he has no desire. His self-destructive habits mortgaged his future and now the balance has to be paid. He is relieved when the pain in his back is so severe that he can’t think about anything else. The doctors say he is also diabetic, whatever that means. Good, he thinks. Good. He’ll die and that will be it, but in his heart he knows his death will come slowly and in expanding stages of grotesque helplessness like the men he’s seen at the veteran’s hospital. They have their game shows and funny papers and impotent flirtations with the nurses but they don’t die, they live until they die and there’s a big difference. Better not to think of it. Better to live in the sepia-toned football memories and after school pool games, back-seat passion, or what passed for it, bleachers in the winter, dugouts in the summer. He can’t quite picture her face but he’s close enough to the shadow lover in his past that the rat dung nearby doesn’t bother him.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


That's the amount of time the average visitor to the blog stays. I am not being realistic if I write something that takes longer than 3 minutes to read. Maybe I should say I'm not being realistic if I expect anyone to read more than 3 minutes worth of material. The urge to serialize my life comes and goes. Lately, the meetings with the placement services have been straight out of a movie where they lay their hands out in front of them and say, "There's nothing I can do for you. We'll keep you resume on file if something comes up." and their tone is like they've given me a terminal cancer report.

I've been falling asleep in my clothes with the radio and lights on lately. The Nat King Cole bio is good but it just reminds me of my lack of piano. He played every day for 6-10 hours and still had to struggle and play for $5 a gig. Then I'll try to get through Plan B and am only up to the shrinking polar ice caps. In 2007 researchers estimated there were 7 years before the climate change would gain more momentum than we could stop. It'll be hard to say if it is our fault. It's 40 degrees in mid May. Vermont just got a bunch of snow. The mid west always had flood problems. Is it because of coal burning energy plants? Maybe. Does it matter? Kind of. We won't know if we'll burn to death or create another ice age until it's too late. Half of the survivors will say it would've happened without 4 stroke engines, and the other half will say we caused it.

Also reading a book of testimonies about the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. It's remote and seldom visited. I had my chance but didn't take a trip there with my roommate. I was crippled at the time and the disabled do not survive a winter in the Arctic Circle. The polar bears hibernate there and the exploration teams wake them up. Is it worth it? Am I a druid who would place the hibernation of a bear, a bit of biodiversity, over the comfort of man. Not every bit of energy goes into video games and McDonalds. Some goes to research cancer cures and develop other forms of energy. So, the bear may become collateral damage but eventually the oil will run out and we'll leave the arctic alone. Maybe we'll set some zoo raised bears loose. Reintroduce them like wolves to Yellowstone. It can happen. Is it specious to argue in favor of preserving ANWR? Do big white bears have priority simply because we read Winnie The Pooh books as kids? That seems fallacious and emotional. We need the oil, obviously, and it's not like we're harvesting it from the bear's liver. They'll just have to find another place to sleep. We can build them some caves and airlift them to an isolated area...and still get the oil. Or we can let them wake up and run away from their blind and helpless cubs. Their being blind and helpless doesn't diminish our need for the oil. And of the Indians living up there, we're not killing them, we're just temporarily altering their livelihoods. We'll airlift them food. Eventually, the caribou will return...just like the bison.

Ok, I'm out of time. My three minutes are up.

Fort Stark renovations continued today. We cut some Chokeberry bushes to reveal some native columbine flowers on the seaside hill. It was cold and windy but we were in good spirits staging rocks for a stone wall and dragging brush. They all want me to find work but mostly they are retired so it's not like they can help. Since there is no budget for dump runs we have found sink holes and throw everything in them. All of New Castle is a land fill so it's traditional.

The American Academy teaching job in Kuwait is only for women so I'm thinking of changing my name to Oggylina Bleacher and wearing a wig at the interview. No, I'm not desperate.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Red Belt

David Mamet wrote and directed a fantasy about a modern Samurai in the land of stars, Hollywood. Ever been there? Ever stood on top of Judy Garland's star or paid a buck to get a picture taken with a guy in Superman costume? Ever ride the La Brea bus up the hill? Well, the only Samurai on Hollywood Blvd. are paid actors, and Mamet knows this, abhors the Me culture of whiskey wisdom and crank courage. Mamet might see himself as a Samurai but I'm pretty sure he knows that if it smells like a hooker and looks like a hooker and charges by the hour...then it's a hooker. Mamet's one of those hookers who looks down on other hookers, or mocks the hooker trade, or worse, believes she isn't a hooker if she says she loves you. He's become more bitter in his years and when I saw him in Westwood he looked like he wanted to punch someone in the face.

Let me tell you about getting punched in the face. A "producer" wanted me to invent a love interest for Henry David Thoreau, my hero, my chaste samurai and the subject of the screenplay I'd worked on for two years. I gagged when I thought of this. Thoreau sleeping with there's romance in a kids will see it and there'll be a part for a cute actress...who is sleeping with the producer's brother, who once slept with someone related to someone even more famour...etc. uhhh. It's a joke because it was like a porn couch casting where you fuck for free to earn the privilege of fucking for money. The Thoreau movie would never get made but she wanted to know how far I would bend to please her...just on the prospect of getting paid. Like a game to abuse me. That's the joke. Anyone would fold if you showed them the money, but most people will fold at the promise of money. I was offered a total long shot and asked to slander my subject, and I could not do it. Yes, it was against my principles. And it was not long after that everything fell apart and I was out of the loop. The producer did not look at me as a noble person. Certainly, she was already looking for a way to nullify our contract, take the script and pawn it off as her own with more romance in it. It might even evolve from a study of nature into a period piece romance.

You are either a samurai or you are not a samurai. Red Belt's thinly veiled round house kicks at the Hollywood culture don't disguise Mamet's contempt for his meal ticket. Of course it's easy for me to turn away, giving up only the promise of wealth and fame. Mamet would actually have to give up wealth and fame. He described conversations with his agent, "They asked me to do what? No. Tell them to fuck off. Tell them to go to hell." Then he described how the agent would calm him down and get him to see the big picture. Yes, and so we have episodes of The Shield. Would I rather die than see Thoreau taking a woman's shirt off and french kissing her? Yes. But that wasn't the choice I had. It was more like, "write a romantic scene with Thoreau, a scene that will never be produced, or we can't do business, which means the promise of money will be revoked." You're asking me to sell out, but not even get paid to sell out? No. If that's the first test of a screenwriter then I failed. Thoreau will probably get naked in the biopic that will be produced, but it won't be my fault.

That's the message of Red Belt. You can not fit a square peg in a round hole. If you want to be a samurai then do it. Be a samurai. But your wife had better want to be a samurai's wife. Parts of the movie were trite, "If we pay cash then we can't pay the rent. What are we going to do?" and other parts were like Mamet was trying to write like his old self, "Let the wheel turn...sometimes you have to...are you have to let the wheel turn...let it...right...ok...if you...honey...let the wheel...I mean...if you....let it...turn...let the wheel turn...ok?"

But it came down to code vs practicality. They aren't compatible. Eventually, you have to choose and if you try to...for instance...bring authenticity to films...then you are in trouble. Do you assimilate or do you stand up for your beliefs? Will you stand alone? Who will fight you? Who will stand in your way? The movie's job is to make the complexity into bite sized snacks. Oh, he fights for the honor of fighting. I understand. In Raging Bull, LaMotta has to throw a fight to have a chance at the title. It hurts to lose on purpose. But in Red Belt (spoiler) the lead is going to be allowed to win because the handicap will go to the other fighters. But what does that mean? He'll win what? It's not fair. And if it isn't fair then the whole sport is tarnished...

I will say that Mamet got one part right: The stakes. The main character risked something in the end and the audience understood what he was risking. He could not win it all. He would lose something but the cost was worth it.

Honor: honesty, fairness, or integrity in one's beliefs and actions:

Honor is as elusive as the water where the ocean meets the river. You can't pursue honor in and of itself. There is no such destination. But it can pervade everything you do and dictate every decision. The Marines use the word honor in addition to courage and commitment as their three core values. Honor. Integrity in one's beliefs and actions.

The most touching part of the movie for me was when everything was coming together for the main couple, they were getting money opportunities but it meant that the lead character would be unable to teach the beginner class of Jujitsu at his studio. What would he do? "I can't cancel it. What kind of message would that send?" he says to himself. That's the part of the movie where he's getting sucked in and away from his core values. He finds excuses. His wife gives him excuses. There's always an excuse to be dishonorable. And it doesn't mean you have brought dishonor to your family. No, that's not part of the definition. Honor is all about you. Your honesty. Your fairness. Your belief and your actions. If you are loyal to the Samurai's code and also a master of your martial art, then maybe you will earn a red belt. You don't win that belt.


"Dynamic random access memory (DRAM) is a type of random access memory that stores each bit of data in a separate capacitor within an integrated circuit."

A little research for a job interview. It may be back to Cyberdyne for Oggy Bleacher even though according to sources close to Oggy he is a "Pathetic loser who wants to fail." The source added, "You're just a disgusting excuse for a person."

The ship is sinking and there is no time to be searching for a more comfortable seat on the lifeboat. Any port in a storm, remember. The goal is the piano. And it'll be an excuse to watch the birds on Plum Island with all the other bachelors. Just picture two men in leather coats meeting on the windy beach every Thrusday.

"How are you?"

"Ah, you know."


"Still above ground."

"Uh huh."

"Might get the kids next week."

"Is that right?"

"If the court order comes through."

"Ah. There's always something."

"Well, gotta go."

"Alright. You take good care of yourself."

"You too. Hey, how's that thing with that girl you met?"


"That one you were talking about last week?"

"She thinks I have too much baggage."

"Don't we all. Hey, hang in there. You'll find someone."

"Yeah, I guess. Alright."

"There's a dead puffer fish washed up back there."


"Check it out."


"See you around."

"Ok. See you."

If that doesn't make you cling to your flawed lover then nothing will.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The People's Parade of Skeletons

When life at the Anarchy House becomes intolerable Robert and Kim sleep in a broken down 1968 VW bus with a bed built into the back. The bus has a cracked windshield and one flat tire. The brakes have not been serviced in 15 years and there is no way to know how many miles are on the engine since the speedometer broke before Robert took possession of it when several kids found a ride on a sailboat to Hawaii and gave him the keys. So Robert and Kim move it around the block and park it in front of abandoned lots, parks and dead end dirt roads in the forest. The flat tire is a problem as the lack of power steering already makes driving nearly impossible.
“Robert! Watch where you’re going!” Kim would cry as the van headed toward the curb or a mail box or telephone post.
“I’m watching! It’s like steering a bathtub!” Robert would shout back as he threw his weight into the steering wheel to miss the obstacle, a man pushing a shopping cart or a teenager pulling his pants up in front of them.
“When are we going to fix that flat?”
“When we get an impact wrench to remove the rusted lug nuts.”
Kim turns in her seat.
“When is that going to happen? We can’t just hope a fairy is going to…Hey…look out!”

Robert is a good driver but it takes all his skill and strength to safely navigate the rusting van around the block, playing the accelerator and clutch pedals like Bach on the pipe organ, leaning over the steering wheel and turning like the captain of a runaway steamship with both hands spinning madly, sweating and biting the tip of his red mustache, Kim presses her white knuckles into the torn ceiling cover, her feet pounding for a ghost brake as they grind past a parked car or startled pedestrian, sparks flying from the bare wheel rim, a thin rut carved in the pavement. They only need to do this every few days for street sweeping or to avoid the wrath of the traffic nazis with their chalk and orange tire boots. The periodic flyers they find on the windshield saying “Get out of the neighborhood! No Hippies!” and the nightly harassment from gangs and the police (who separately have issues with people living in their vehicles in residential areas.) does not bother them. The Police care because the residents complain, the gangs in turn target the van because when the police responded to the resident complaints it made it harder for them to tag the walls with cryptic initials and to sell stolen bicycles and overcut cocaine.
Robert and Kim understand these social dynamics and do not care enough to be upset. Their main concern is the public display of poverty to set the record straight on the woeful performance of American social services. The gangs, being self-governed, sovereign entities are admirable augmentations to conventional ruling bodies and can not be faulted. Their reliance on drugs, Kim explains, is not a devotion to recklessness or corruption, but the natural decay of a people in chronic psycho-emotional and physical pain. They need the drugs because the society has barred any other kind of gainful employment. Everything is manufactured and federally controlled so it is no surprise that when people resist assimilation into the corporate machine they must turn to drugs as both a method of employment and as a way to numb themselves against the untenably oppressive regime.

“Hey, is that Oggy and Isabelle over there? What the hell…”

Robert is concentrating on steering the out of control vehicle through a maze of parked cars but he can not ignore the scene unfolding on the sidewalk. Nor can Kim suppress a gasp of shock.
Oggy is laying on his back on a lawn, his arms flailing in defense as Isabelle kicks savagely at him. A stray dog is biting Oggy’s right leg. Mary and a shaggy, agitated man stand nearby smoking cigarettes and tap dancing the junkie two-step. An overturned peasant’s cart lays nearby and the lawn is strewn with old clothing and a ragged pop up tent.

“We have to help,” says Kim while Robert’s response is to pull the van to one side and tug the emergency brake lever until they come to a screeching stop amid the trash and leaves in the sidewalk gutter.

Earlier in the day Mary, Isabelle, Oggy and Mary’s latest trick, a man with no left arm whose nickname is Lefty, embarked on a mission to collect Lefty’s disability check at the social services complex. Isabelle’s spastic dog and Oggy’s insistence that no fossil fuels be used in the trip complicated this monthly journey though not in the predictable way. Since they were all broke, the fossil fuel boycott was not a major issue until Oggy decided to dedicate the journey to the undernourished of the world. Despite strenuous objections from Isabelle and Mary and resigned indifference from Lefty, Oggy made a cardboard banner with the words “People’s Parade of Skeletons” and mounted it on his brightly decorated push cart. The banner also included a series of small print indictments of the global oil industry such as "exploiting the land at the sake of native cultures" and "Being evil". The timeline of events leading up to the collision with Robert and Kim is as follows:
The “Parade” left the crack hotel at 11am, an hour after they intended to depart (They were delayed by an argument with hotel management over the quantity and quality of residents in the single occupancy room.)
At 11:05 Mary had a violent spasm of her colon that required the entire company to return to the hotel room. Oggy remained on the sidewalk, talking to pedestrians about the dangers of oil exploration and tolerating a warning from the police concerning the blockage of a public sidewalk. Lefty sat in the hotel room staring at his reflection in the black television screen. Isabelle danced naked with the puppy while Mary’s bowels erupted loudly into the toilet.
At 11.52 Mary had recovered enough to smoke the remaining pot from the waterbong and announce, “I just shit a Caesar’s Salad.” Soon thereafter, the party rejoined Oggy on the sidewalk and commenced to walk at a death march pace down the sidewalk as Oggy chanted a capella, “We the hungry of the earth, denounce the practice of oil exploitation!”

At 12:20 AM the single file column of misfits crossed River Street and were verbally assaulted by a truck driver.

At 12:21 AM the truck driver stepped from his truck to physically confront Oggy, who had accused the driver of, among other crimes, murder and corruption of the earth.

At 12:22 AM the driver fled the scene after having two knives pulled on him by Mary and Isabelle.

At 12:38 AM the group of four paused at a taco stand to ask the sales associate if he could spare a burrito or taco or “Anything that you were going to throw away.” The associate said no. Mary insisted that there must be something that they could eat. The associate reiterated his position and was subsequently called an “asshole”

At 12:50 AM Mary convinced a young man to give her fifteen dollars for a sack of weed. She took the money and met up with Isabelle and Lefty and Oggy (who was sitting atop a trash can, commentating on everything thrown into it) Mary bought four bean and cheese burritos and, since Oggy boycotts all fast food establishments, she split the extra burrito with Isabelle while Lefty inhaled his.

At 1:09 PM the People’s Parade was halted by a patrol car near Memorial Park, responding to an anonymous call about a domestic disturbance, and everyone was searched for drugs. Oggy accused the police of “dishonor and corruption” as he was cited for failure to display a parade permit. Isabelle was cited for allowing her dog to roam off leash. Mary had a silver ring confiscated and was warned about her health. Lefty sat miserably nearby half listening to a lecture concerning the company he keeps.

At 1:49 PM the police departed but Oggy decided to organize a sit down protest as he announces, “Until global injustice ceases I will not move.” Mary attempted to be diplomatic and said they will return for him after they pick up Lefty’s disability check (fully intending to abandon Oggy at the park). Lefty said nothing. Isabelle, on the other hand, insisted that Oggy is either with her family or against them. Oggy countered that there were bigger issues to consider and they should all protest the injustice because “in solidarity we’re stronger. We can’t be beaten. They’re trying to divide us. They…”

At this point, 1:50 PM, Isabelle advanced on Oggy and proceeded to kick him. This provoked the dog to attach Oggy also and his cries drew the attention of a nearby dog to leap a fence and descend on Oggy with his fangs gnashing.

Soon thereafter Robert and Kim squealed around the corner in their search for a more secure parking spot and saw Oggy being kicked by Isabelle.

“Let me handle Isabelle,” says Kim. “You make sure Oggy is ok. And if Mary comes at you then watch for needles.”

The two homeless heroes jump out of the VW van and divide Oggy and Isabelle.

“Stop it! Both of you!” Yells Kim in her most assertive, take no shit tone. She is practical when it comes to physical attacks and has learned to channel the dominant parent to get adult children to respond. In this case, Isabelle’s will to inflict as much injury on those around her enables her to ignore Kim’s command. Isabelle kicks Oggy with the might of a place kicker in the NFL.

“I will not fight back!” Yells Oggy. “You are only hurting yourself.”

“Am I? Does this hurt me?” she stomps on Oggy’s bad foot, the one that is deformed and crippled. Oggy yelps in pain as Isabelle nods triumphantly.

“Why don’t you care that I love you?”

“I hate you!”

“I’m in so much pain!”


Kim times her attack to a moment when Isabelle is distracted by Oggy’s howls. Kim knows that Isabelle is beyond diplomacy. Only physical means will resolve the battle. She takes one slow step toward Isabelle to make sure she has a clear route of attack and then she moves cat-like and low, taking Isabelle out at the knees with a shoulder tackle. Robert determines that Oggy is not the provocateur of the conflict so he assists Kim in subduing Isabelle. This takes both of their full efforts as Isabelle swings wildly and Mary suddenly awakes from her daydream and notices two people are wrestling her daughter.

“Get off my baby!” she screams and douses Robert’s face with the remaining pepper spray in a can she carries for encounters with unpredictable limp dick speed hustlers under the railroad trestle. Lefty quietly takes this opportunity to slip away into the bushes and vanishes from the scene, grumbling and discontent with his lot in life, stumbling over a pile of aluminum cans left by some luckless hobo, and lurching toward the social services office.

Meanwhile, Oggy has rolled away and comes face to face with a wrapper of some discarded. He reads the ingredients: “Thiamine Mononitrate, Tocopherols, Chicken Fat…” someone, he think briefly before another kick to his crippled foot disrupts his pondering, someone is responsible for that chicken fat, some human awakes in the morning and wanders through a city of sleeping bodies, driving a car to some factory or farm where chickens are dismembered and their fat is dehydrated and added to an ingredient package. Someone does that every day in many places. And another person is responsible for printing the words “chicken fat” on a package that will surround an item that contains chicken fat. And so that person types it into a computer that is serviced by another team of people in a building that is services by hundreds. Maybe they’re sick with cancer and are working in a chicken fat related field to pay hospital bills. Is that possible? Is chicken fat an equivalent to cancer treatment? The ramifications of chicken fat are astounding, Oggy decides. Thiamine Mononitrate is probably…

Oggy yelps as Isabelle’s heel lands on his shin.

“Enough!” shouts Robert as he blindly wrestles the pepper spray away from Mary. Mary loses her balance and falls to the ground bawling like a shorn sheep.

“You keep away!”

“What the fuck? Why did you spray me in the face with acid? My eyes!”

“Teach you a lesson.”

“I wasn’t trying to kill her. Fuck!”

Robert rubs his face with his shirt as he holds Mary on the ground.

Kim finally wins the upper hand despite her small size as she gains an advantage by grabbing Isabelle’s farmer overall suspenders and pulling her center of gravity away from the moaning Oggy. Kim thinks this is all she needs, a wrestling match with a raging lunatic. At the sign of any needles or blades, she decides, she will have to call the police even if that means Isabelle being sent to a mental hospital by the trigger happy police psychologist.

“Isabelle, you will stop now!”

Isabelle struggles to free herself from Kim’s grip but can’t turn around. So she unbuttons the suspenders and drops her overalls to the ground. She’s wearing white waffle weave long underwear, salvaged from the free clothes pile at the Food Not Bombs meal along with her sweater and socks and a book on poisonous snakes of the Amazon.

“Robert! Get her!”

“Can’t see! Ah!”

Kim acts quickly and uses the overalls as a net to tangle Isabelle’s legs. Then she runs with Isabelle so their momentum carries them over Oggy’s writhing body (their feet trampled the chicken fat package and brief headline popped into Oggy’s brain “Chicken fat stomped by homeless wrestlers”) until they both fall into the grass near an overflowing trash can.

“Get the fuck off me you bitch!” yells Isabelle as she tries to untangle her legs, scratching a jagged trail in her own leg with a broken suspender clasp.

“Get off her!” yells Isabelle’s mother in solidarity from her position under Robert’s forearm.

“Stay where you are, Mary. We’re here to help. We were driving past and saw Isabelle kicking Oggy.”

“He deserved it. We’re trying to get Lefty’s disability check (he’s had four major operations on his back and can’t walk without morphine and the damn government has denied his claims for two months so I’ve been hustling for rent money and I myself have liver problems from a car accident when I was six) and Oggy doesn’t think about anything but some damn protest on affordable housing or some shit.”

“It’s the displacement of native populations,” says Oggy as his wobbling chin returns to normal. “We can’t ignore them.”

“Fuck them Injuns,” says Mary. “I’m on my own and so are they.”

“But their lands. Their sacred lands. We’re destroying everything! We have to raise awareness. And the wolf is…”
“Oggy!” Kim tries unsuccessfully to distract Oggy’s building rant. “Oggy, not now!”

“…the wolf is being driven to extinction. It’s on the brink of death because no one cares!”

“Wolves! I hate wolves,” screams Isabelle from the grip of Kim’s hands. “All he talks about is wolves and the melting ice caps and global pollution.”

“You aren’t even listening. You think I don’t notice? You’re smoking cigarettes and eating at Taco Taco. I know where their chicken fat is trucked in from. Do you? Do you know how their trucks are killing wolves five thousand miles away?”

“Oggy, can you not bring up wolves right now? It’s bothering Isabelle.”

“Well that’s tough shit. The wolves are being killed, their whole habitat is disappearing and if Isabelle is bothered by that then she should do something about it instead of smoking pot and dropping acid.”

“I hate you!” yells Isabelle. “I’ll kill you.”

“Kill kill kill. That’s all you’re good at. Why don’t we all kill each other so the wolf has a chance at survival?”

“No one is going to kill themselves,” says Robert.

“But the wolf is dying. The wolf is dying and the chicken fat will completely drown civilization. Don’t you understand? We’re…we’re drowning in chicken fat!”

Kim does not try to understand Oggy’s reasoning as her experience with paranoid schizophrenics has taught her that one will never completely understand the source of such crazed pronouncements. From Oggy’s vantage point, the world is drowning in chicken fat. He may be crazy but denying his conclusions is equally crazy if you expect to make a difference. Therapy begins not from the world of the sane, but from the askew world of the insane. With media corporations buying every news outlet the line between fact and fiction is so blurred that an insane declaration may hold a clue to the final truth and thus the clue to aiding the mentally ill.

“We can’t debate that right now, Oggy. We’re not going to debate the extinction of wolves.” Isabelle tries to bite Kim’s hand and she finds a different spot to hold her arm securely.

“Maybe not. Maybe we won’t debate it. What’s there to debate? The wolf is dying. Chicken fat, fucking chicken fat, is everywhere and the…” Oggy chokes up and swallows before he can continue, “…there’s trash everywhere. It’s everywhere. Could we be further from a sustainable mode of living?”

Oggy rises to his feet and picks up the one piece of trash with the ingredients list that includes chicken fat. He limps to another piece of trash and then another.

“Chicken fat…” he says to himself as he gathers most of the loose trash from the grassy lawn where the wrestling match had been held. The trash has blown from a garbage can that has been scavenged for aluminum and food. Oggy tries to push all the trash into the can but more falls off the sides of the mountain and he has to bend down and pick it up also. He holds up a cardboard box, “Toasted Crackers? Eat toasted death and kill all the wolves. What? That makes sense? We’re toasting the polar ice caps out of existence!”

The spectacle Oggy makes as he limps around the park picking up trash chills Kim’s heart and magically transforms Isabelle from a raging lunatic into a teary-eyed romantic.

“Oggy?” she moans as her muscles relax. “Love?”

Oggy turns around with his hands full of litter, tears dripping from his long eyelashes into his matted mustache and beard.

“We have to lead by example. Yes? Gandhi said we have to be the change we want to see in the world. And his point wasn’t that the world would change but by that he meant that only by representing the change we wish to see would we find peace. The man was gunned down and he probably knew he would be shot but he also knew that his life had to represent, actually embody his beliefs, not just espouse them fruitlessly to his audience. The grain…” here Oggy’s voice cracks because Isabelle gently removes herself from Kim’s grasp and rises with love in her eyes. She moves on bare feet through the long blades of grass over the litter-free lawn toward Oggy. “…the grain, the seed, the source of all action is our own personal choices. Isabelle, we have to be strong.”

“I know, Oggy.”

Robert, Kim and Mary watch in awe as the two embrace over a cardboard pizza box.

Mary says, “I thought you was raping my daughter. That’s why I sprayed you.”

“Why are you even carrying pepper spray?”

“You go deal speed on the levee and you’ll know why.”

“How long have I seen you on the streets, Mary?” asks Kim as she joins the other two.

“Couple months.”

“It’s been longer than that. At least two years.”

“Oh, I wasn’t on the streets the whole time. I’ve had apartments. I was married once.”

Mary begins to pick at the scabs on her legs. She is agitated and restless. Her tongue probes the toothless regions of her raw and bleeding gums.

Kim says simply, “I think your lifestyle is damaging to you and your daughter.”

“Oh, that’s bullshit. You been listening to those social service workers too long.”

“I am a social service worker.”

“Where’s your badge.”

“I don’t have one. I’m independent.”

“Then you don’t count for shit. Tell me what I am. Tell me who damaging who. Bullshit.”

“There are rehab programs.”

“I’m teaching my daughter how to survive! Who else is going to teach her that?”

“You can teach her that in a more sheltered environment. You can get advice.”

“Advice? From a dike sitting in an office? What does she know about living on the street?”

“She knows that you can’t do it for long. She knows that you can take steps to get off the streets to get an apartment.”

“Bullshit. They only want a paycheck.”

“I don’t get paid and I’m telling you the same thing.”

“And if something happens to Isabelle?” says Mary with a nod in the direction of her daughter and Oggy who are tenderly kissing each other’s hands.

Robert rubs and blinks his eyes as he regains his vision. “It’s just going to get worst on the street, Mary. I’ve seen those junkies you hang out with.”

“And she’ll learn to take care of herself. I’m all she’s got.”

“I understand that you want to protect her. I hear you saying you don’t want to abandon her. And I’m telling you that you can have it both ways. Taking her off the streets, getting into rehab…”

“I don’t need rehab. The worst thing for me right now would be staying sober. I’ve got to be awake 24 hours a day to protect Isabelle.”

“What about Oggy? He loves her.”

“Oggy? That kid is a basket case. He was up in the hotel room writing out his ‘manifesto’ and talking to our neighbors about birth control and solar power. Our neighbors are four hookers. His waves don’t reach the shore. It’s that simple.”

“Ok, but you have to sleep. I can tell you’re not sleeping.”

“I’m doing it for her, for Izzy. She needs me.”

“I want you to enter the day shelter program.”

“They drug test. I’m not going there. They drug test and they steal shit from you and they open your mail and they check your possessions. You don’t have privacy. They treat you like a little kid and then wonder why you act like one.”

In a rare display of anger Kim blurts out, “Damn it, Mary, I want you in that shelter.”

“No way in hell I’m going to let you take my child away from me.”

The two women face each other for a moment of tense emotion. Kim knows enough not to burn bridges. She will speak no ultimatums.

“I won’t give up on you. If you need anything you can talk to me. I’m not your enemy, Mary.”

“I’m glad we understand each other,” Mary says with suspicion before turning to Robert and in her most elegant and deliberate tone of voice says, “And I apologize sincerely for spraying you in the eyes with the mace. I was protecting my child and see now that you mean her no harm.”

“That’s what I get for trying to break up a fight,” says Robert miserably.

From where they are seated the three, Mary, Kim and Robert, watch as Isabelle helps Oggy find a discarded cardboard box. She folds it into shape and together they begin to fill it with litter.

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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.