Put your money on the table; drive it off the lot.
Cred: for above and below– Sara Naim Khatib & Yasmeen El Khoudary
Yes. I am stupid! And convoluted.
As this (below) is a blogspot blog, I could not re-blog. So I did the next best thing: cut and paste a bit.
CNN was interviewing Yasmeen El Khoudary, the author of the blog, “Gaza Out of the Blue.” The ‘crack(d)’ CNN news duo, talking heads, apparently got bored or pissed at her (she was giving them some grief over their stupid questions, and rightfully so), and CNN cut her off.
And Eventually only broadcasting half the interview.
Fuck You CNN!
Only FOX could have done worse.
Anyway, I managed to get her name and thus found her blog, which I am honored to be able to share below:
To a child in Gaza:
– “How old are you?”
– “Three wars, and still growing.”
– Sara Naim Khatib
“Gaza Out of the Blue” may be found below:
“Morning hallucinations from Gaza هلوسات ساعات القصف الاولى”
It’s five A.M., It’s me again
“It’s 5:00 AM in Gaza and I’m unable to sleep. I pick up my book and read under the window, catching the lazy sun rays, given that we haven’t had electricity for about 35 hours by now. I happen to be reading “Kafka on the Seashore.” A few pages through, I find myself reading:
“The glittering airplane we saw way up in the sky reminded us for a moment of the war, but just for a short time, and we were all in a good mood. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, no wind, and everything was quite around us- all we could hear were birds chirping in the woods. The war seemed like something in a faraway land that had nothing to do with us. We sang songs as we hiked up the hill, sometimes imitating the birds we heard. Except for the fact that the war was still going on, it was a perfect morning.”
I thought for a moment of the ‘humanitarian ceasefire’ that was due to start in about 3 hours. Would the same paragraph apply to the young children who by now are too accustomed to the chirping of planes and the terrible songs of war? Would they be able to forget all that and remember the chirping of birds and the children’s songs for the duration of the humanitarian ceasefire?”
Please follow the link above to read the rest.
See her here
Yes! WordPress is Stupid!!
Wanted this at the top!
Was not to be!
I sped off still heading south. I observed her fade fast in my rearview mirror, but not before I saw her mouth hanging open in wide disbelief (As if I were actually calling her bluff). After about a half-mile and her no longer in sight, I stopped, opened a beer, popped in a Joni Mitchell–Hejira–cranked it up, lit a Marlboro and waited.
Presently I could make out her petite form marching through the sandy haze, her skinny arms flailing back and forth, not unlike a power-walker. As I watched her approach I snuffed out my second cigarette, tossed the empty beer bottle onto the back floorboard, turned down the volume on Joni’s Black Crow, and waited to see if she was getting back in the car.
She opened the door, threw herself in and off we drove, not saying a word until we got within about five clicks of Sharm el Sheikh. Her face was dirty with trails of sweat running down, making small rivers of mud, her hair windblown and looking to have absorbed quite some substantial part of the Sinai.
She did not look happy.
“Are you sorry?” she finally blurted out.
“Sorry? Sorry for what?”
“Sorry for being an asshole,” she said.
“Oh, that… What!?” I was genuinely confused.
“For refusing to have sex with me this morning after that Israeli dude left.”
Now I am laughing. She wasn’t.
“Are you fucking serious Janet?” I asked after I had regained some composure. “You heard the man. We had to vacate. Did you think I was in the mood for love? With the IDF watching us? Shit Woman! It was time to go.”
“There was time enough… in the tent,” she said somewhat between clenched teeth and somewhat subdued—at the same time—a talent she had perfected over some years. (Ed. Note: Janet had five years on me)
“You are unbelievable. Okay, ‘I’m sorry for not fucking you’. Gimme another go? Right here. Right now. In this fuckin’ heat and in this fuckin’ sardine can of a car? Or would you prefer it on the burning sand with the scorpions and spiders?! For Chrissake Janet!”
“There was a time when you’d never refuse me, no matter where or what,” she said and then clammed up, starring out the window.
Fine! I thought as I gave the volume back up to Joni.
Just on the outskirts of Sharm (The whole Sinai Pennisula was ‘Outskirts’) we came upon a Bedioun ‘roadside do drop in’ sort of place.
“Hey Janet! Let’s check this out.”
“Can’t we just go in to Sharm?”
“No. I wanna talk to these folks. Besides they may have some stuff we need.”
“Fine.” (And then someday too soon, this woman would be my wife…)
I parked the car and got out. Janet cleaned her sunglasses and remained behind. I walked up to the ramshackle place and was greeted by an old grizzled Bedouin.
“Salaam alaikum,” I said.
“Salaam alaikum,” he said back. Then, “Amer-ca?”
“Yes,” said. “English? Speak?”
(I spoke just enough Arabic (and Hebrew) to get me into trouble back then.)
“Sodas? Coke-a-cola?” I asked.
I gave him a pack of Marlboros. He gave me two cokes. Apparently inflation had set in here. I smiled though and shook his hand, happy to have made some cultural advancement. Jimmy Carter shoulda seen me that day. Got back in the car. Janet, still incogneto, remarked,
“Was that worth it?”
“Yes. It was. Thank you. We are reps of the State Department. WE are suppose to be ambassadors. Don’t you git it?’
“Yeah. I ‘git’ it. I get that I want this trip to end soon. I am tired and hot and sweaty and thirsty and hungry and horny. And I see no end in sight for me.”
We drove on into Sharm.
As I have reported, Sharm back then was not much. There was one hotel, but who had money (or desire) for that? It had a tentative look about it anyhow. This was ‘Israeli-Occupied Egypt’ after all and finding investors to pump money into a region, however beautiful, must have been difficult, given the volatility of the times and the probability that Israel would eventually give the desert back to Egypt (even though Israel had ‘held’ the Sinai for more than ten years at this point)
Past the hotel was a small ‘camping ground’ of sorts. There were ‘bird houses’ for rent: ten bucks per night and a communal shower/latrine area. I say ‘bird houses’, because that is exactly what they resembled: Thatched roof, two wooden ‘bunks’ side-by-side, and too small for a six-foot-one cowboy to sleep on. I lay down and test-drove one. I discovered that by leaving the door open I could be fine with the sleeping arrangements, letting my feet hang out, though if Janet and I were to have some privacy for any ‘Woo-Hoo’ / ‘Whoopee’, we would have to pretend we were in the back seat of a compact car and make due. (Unless we opted to keep the door open: an option my shyness would never allow me to consider)
At this point I must admit Janet was always a trooper during such times. She was of course a soldier, albeit a weekend one, and had previous experience with less-than-pristine habiliments. After we had decided to spend the night at this place, taken our showers, had some drink and sandwiches, her mood (and mine) improved as the sun went down and the heat subsided. Behind us were the mountains. In front of us, the sea, and ahead of us, our future.
We were after all, two lovebirds deep in love and in our own private birdhouse.
We made love in that birdhouse after sundown.
And with the door open.
And why not?
We were young.
(And we had all that ‘Diplomatic Immunity’ bullshit to boot)
I love Joni’s smile. She don’t smile often, but when she does… magical shit happens. Shoots bolts right through my heart Baby!
To Be Continued…
I have been to the Suez Canal at least 300 times.
I’ve been witness to some incredibly funny shit in my day, but never nothin’ even remotely approaching this
Monumental Shipping Screw-UP!
Because I am a Smart-assed Moron:
Clik the GD Link Below!
Jet, the oldest at the table–about thirty—wore a goatee, long brown hair on top of a head that looked a little too big for the rest of his frame.
He had a laconic manner, but was not what one could ever call ‘brusque’.
He just didn’t say much. He seemed to save his words like cash money is what I’m saying.
Presently, he asked, “Mog, when’s your next run to TA?” (‘TA’ = Tel Aviv).
Mog (who spent words with reckless abandon) replied, “I got the fuckin’ R&R run tomorrow.
Shit! Hey Lance, what run you got? Wanna trade?”
Mog hated the R&R runs mainly because R&R runs meant taking passengers. He loved driving the trucks into ‘Town’. Two reasons: He loved trucks and he loved to drive trucks very, very fast. Mog was a great driver, but riding with him scared the shit out of me.
“Sure Mog; I’ll trade with ya.”
“Which run you got?” he asked, now slightly wary at my all too quick agreement.
“Aw Shit No! Forget it.”
SFM Basecamp was about thirty klicks from the Suez Canal.
Every day an R&R vehicle left SFM to rendezvous with one coming from Cairo. Passengers would take a small boat across the canal and continue on to Cairo or back to SFM.
Incoming and out-going mail was also exchanged. Having ‘The Canal Run’ meant getting off-base only for an hour or two.
Going to Tel Aviv meant driving only four hours, checking into the Sheraton and having the rest of the day and night to paint the town red with Per Diem and whatever else one wanted to contribute or muster out of his own purse.
Mog had an Israeli girlfriend in Tel Aviv, actually she was his fiancée, and he took all the Tel Aviv runs he could get, so he could go see ‘The Little Mama’.
In fact all the drivers had Israeli girlfriends except Big Mo. His ‘Honey-Co’ was a Big-Boned, Tall Drink O’ Water, Texan Gal, working for SFM, just like us.
Her name was ‘Big Mammu’ and if those two didn’t eventually get united in hellish matrimony, then I say ‘Fuck it.’
There is no hope for the rest of the world. Perfect for each other they were, is all I’m saying.
FUCK ME TO TEARS!!
Street Cred Vid: UnionSquareMusic
Yeah. I’m a fukking Moron!
(For any who do not get my sense o’ humor… You boarded the wrong boat)
Sink or swim!
Sassy and Sexy
does not even begin to come close to properly describing these ladies.
Especially Susanna Hoffs!
(See below ‘Waltz Like an Egyptian’ vid)
People just don’t seem to have fun anymore—too uptight
Or perhaps old age has made me jaded.
When the ‘Gyptian’ vid came out I was floating around on the USS Callaghan, somewhere in the North IO…Indian Ocean…
HQ in San Dog had sent us a copy of the vid.
Guess what we did.
We had the ship’s photographer film the crew…
Walking like Egyptians.
I wish I had a copy, but you can use your imagination.
Footnote to this story:
In ’79 Egypt hired a Jap construction company to dredge the canal and to increase it’s girth by about thirty-three percent.
This made life difficult for me.
From then on I had to take my passengers to Ismailia close to the Med coast to be able to cross over into Egypt proper.
Added about an hour to my travel time.
Happy Fucking B’Day to me. Blow out the candle and hand me my scotch. I was born two
months weeks, three or four, before Sputnik, ’57.
This makes me special. Real fucking special. I should have slapped my mama and moved to Moscow. Below taken from an email. I do hope I deacted, redacted, crossed out… Her name. If not. I gots beeeg trouble. Here goes:
“Oh fucking K. Four weeks and change B4 Spuds (Spittering Nic) MacKenzie….Math ain’t my thing. Never bin my thang. Shit! I was two weeks old. Gimme a fucking break.
On Fri, Sep 10, 2021 at 11:15 AM Lance Marcom <email@example.com> wrote:
Do NOT neglect the Linda at the end.On Fri, Sep 10, 2021 at 11:13 AM Lance Marcom <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
“They say it’s Lance Marcom’s B’day. Les go burn down his house.”
“He ain’t got no house.”
“OK, let’s just burn him.”
“He is scary.”
“Doan wanna get that close.”
“Good pint. We can burn something else.”
Tomorrow I embrace my Sixty-Third Year.
I find me asking me of late:
“So… Lance, what have you done?”
And ‘somewhat’ related: And…Talia Shire Will never, ever look so good.
(That Beret! That Beret! Cabaret!)
And of course, not without saying…
And Michael York.
And… whatever happened to Jimmy Buffett’s hair??? (I did read his book, “a pirate looks at
forty” fifty, sixty??. did not glean anything from it ‘cept that he loves ‘boat-planes’– shit! I could have ‘wrote’ a better book. Jes sayin’…)
My tweet (if I ever tweet) to Jimmy:
Dude, stick to music. That is what you do best. Leave the prose to those who have some prose… to share. And no! I ain’t talking ’bout me, but in general speakin’…)
(See way below for the JB bits)
(and, yes: Navy SEALs)
Picks up that conversation:
“Not too much,” I must confess.
“But surely you have touched some lives?”
“Yeah, but mostly in a bad way. I did my best in war zones. I was ‘The antithesis’ of the ‘Bad American.’ Other than that, nope.”
“Perhaps you are being too hard on yourself?”
“You really don’t know me, do you?”
“Well… no. Not exactly. This is just a job to me. Go on.”
“I’d rather not, but hey! Thanks for stopping by.”
“I suppose my ‘work’ here is done. Then?”
“Yeah. You may be excused.”
“Thanks, because I am late for my appointment with J-Law.”
“But you said one thing; got my attention: You said ‘torched’.
“Naw! I said ‘scorched’ There is some difference.”
And I leave Y’all with this. It fits:
Or, as Mammy (Hattie McDaniel) said, via ‘Gone With The Wind’:
“It just ain’t fittin'”
(She ‘won’ an Oscar for that. Ya surely know) And in her acceptance speech, she said, and I quote: “I sincerely hope I shall always be a credit to my race.” Can you believe she actually felt compelled to say those words? Well, it was 1940… I suppose.
Lance loves you Mammy (Hattie)
And look up the word ‘class’ in any dictionary. There you will find a photo of Katherine Hepburn.
Oops! I meant Bette Davis (shit! I cannot tell from the vid which one, Kate or Bette–HBO!–help a brother out here. Which one?) Personally, I am gonna go with
Kate. After further review, I am going with Bette.
“Just hold on and suck in.”
Yeah! I always pick the ‘raw’ video. Jus’ me, I suppose.
It was, in fact, my birthday.
Thanks for riding along.
For, there will be Nothing… Tomorrow! Tomorrow! Tomorrow!
Cheers. Beers. Jears. Tears.
And if you find a plethora of parenthesis here…They are for my friend, SS and solely for her own edification.
If you care to dare, Here is her link:
But Be Brave
Yet…she scares me…
And last and certainly not least….
“We’re gonna let you go.”
I guess “all of the above” rightly sums up my life.
Happy Birthday to me.
Bonus in Honor of 2021 Version of Me:
Streeeeeet Cred: skychurchify
The music is the best part of this post.
Trust me: I’m with the Government.
My very first morning at the Tel Aviv Sheraton. I had a ‘raw fish’ breakfast buffet at zero five hundred. (And there were cucumbers, cheese, olives an’ shit too! Outrageous!) I had never had raw fish for breakfast until then. Cost me five bucks (a lot of money for breakfast in 1977 for a twenty-year-old-kid). I only gagged once and I drank a lot of orange juice, which was the only thing remotely resembling ‘breakfast’ to me. Well, “When in Rome…” I later discovered I could have had scrambled eggs and bacon down the street at the U.S. Embassy for a buck and a half…
My first R&R in November, 1977. I went to Tel Aviv for one week. This just also happened to be the same week Anwar Sadat made his historic visit to Israel and most important, to speak to the Knesset in Jerusalem. The Israelis actually fell in love with Sadat. I did too. Peace was in the air! Sadat was front page news every day in the Jerusalem Post. The atmosphere in downtown Tel Aviv every night was ‘Party Down!’ (Sadly, this could not last)
First Israeli Love. Her name was Gladys Lehani and she spoke French, English, Hebrew, and Lies. I was instantly enamored. She worked nights at the Tel Aviv Sheraton in the ‘Kum Kum’ Lounge, a bar. During the afternoons she was a cashier in the little lobby area of the hotel. A place where one could look out the huge windows at the Mediterranean, have a cocktail, read a book, and flirt with her. I spent many hours there doing all four.
Driving through Gaza. After I had been with SFM for some months, I was ‘promoted’ to driver (see this story). The most expeditious way to get to Tel Aviv was to drive straight through the Gaza Strip, so of course we did just that. Never felt any wisp of danger. Not once. Then one day someone threw a brick into the windshield of one of our vehicles. This prompted management (And S. State: Our ‘Client.’) to suspend all travel through Gaza.
Now let me tell you, this was bullshit. At that point in time we had been travelling through Gaza for many, many months. This was surely an isolated incident—“Just kids havin’ fun,”–to quote Croc Dundee. Hell! I had friends in Gaza. One in particular comes to mind. His name was Mohammad (go figure) and he ran the gas station where I would always fill up my vehicles when I passed through. We often shared gifts. I gave him American cigarettes and T-Shirts from Texas and he gave me various little Arabic statuettes and such. Once (on his request) I brought him a fifth of Jonnie Walker Red. I thought he was gonna adopt me over that!
The new route we were instructed to take took us through Beersheba and added two and a half hours to our travel time. This was unacceptable, so we (we drivers), ignored it, unless there were ‘uncool’, read, “USG” people riding along as passengers. Most of the rest were in a frantic rush to get to TA and did not want to waste one minute of their well-earned R&R over some State Department Bullshit, so I always conducted a poll before taking the turn off to Gaza: “Any of y’all got a problem with getting to TA in an hour via Gaza? Or do y’all wanna go through Beer’Sheba and get to TA four hours after yer girlfriends done give up on you?”
The usual response was something like this: “Marcom, I will risk Gaza, not ‘cause I am afraid my girlfriend will give up on me, but because I just can’t stan’ one extra minute of listening to your music!” (I had a boom box on the dash and ‘treated’ my passengers to four or five hours of continuous Bob Marley on my trips. I was famous for this. Sometimes I would throw in a little Joni Mitchell, if I were feeling benevolent on that day.)
The Orphan Benjamin. One night, I think it was in late ’78, I was staggering back to my hooch from our little bar. My walk took me through our game room: Two pool tables, a jukebox, shuffle board, ping pong… etc. Anyway, just by the exit door there was a table. On this table was a carton of Marlboro’s, a case of Heineken, a ‘doggie bag’ from the galley, and a one hundred dollar bill. Thinking nothing of it, I just kept on tacking toward my hooch, some fifty meters down the way… I woke up the next morning and instantly thought of all that unclaimed booty and for just an instant hoped that no one had stolen it.
We had a brother/sisterhood there in Sinai. I managed to drag my hung-over ass out of my rack and head in to breakfast in our galley. My trip took me past the table in question. Everything was just as it was the night before; waiting for the rightful owner to sober up and claim. If I had not already been in love with my Co-SFM’ers till then, I certainly was now. Two hundred folks at SFM, and nary a thief amongst us. I will never forget that minor little memory. It touched me deep.
And then I just went into breakfast. You see? This was not… ‘different’ then! Shit! Can’t explain. Won’t try.
You see? We had love. And respect.
I am thinking of continuing this series in light of the recent news from Israel and Gaza. Not saying that my experiences are relevant today, but I do feel the need to write them. Please let me know if you are interested to read of my times spent in the region.
Q&A: Have you ever been to The Middle East?
Do you care? Have you ever had a desire to visit the ‘Holy Land’? (ahem). Do you find me abrasive? 😉
Do you know that I love all comments?
Salaam and Shalom,
Half-way to Jerusalem
Video Credit: andrew91118