Since I am re-posting shit…

Silent Eyes

You’ll have to

scroll down.

If you want the song.

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 live there? 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,

Lance

Gainful Employment, Part Duh

Preface:

Lance (LIFE) is An Angry Man. An Angry White Man.

Now. That (above) is just for fun

What means this?

Nothing.

Just thought I’d say it.

Why?

“Dunno.”

Read On.

(Oh! And One Last THING: If you do not follow the links, well, do not come back to me crying: “Lance! I don’t get it!”–Please don’t force me to be an asshole–I really hate that.)

I’ve been around the world (twice). Seen two white whales fuck. Seen the sun come up over many exotic venues. Been drunk at sunup looking at Kilimanjaro. Been sober at sunset watching Jews at the Wailing Wall, mostly wailing, them Jew (sic). Seen monkeys steal golf balls off the course at Subic Bay Naval Base. (A “gimme-drop” or a ‘mulligan’ in the local rule book) Heard the call-to-prayer while on my early a.m. runs in many Arab lands. Seen incomprehensible acts of bravery and also of coward-ness. Seen inspiring acts of kindness. Seen unbelievable acts of selfishness and cruelty. Seen some things that oh so briefly, made me want to believe in (a) God (those passed—quickly—trust me on this one folks).

Seen men die.

And seen men live.

Have made countless great friends. Friended them. Been friended. Been De-Friended.  Cannot say I can even know where any one of them are today, or if they are even still alive. Such has been my way in life… Suppose a selfish life (my take). Most who really know me would never say that. I have been called ‘Generous to a fault.’ I have also been called ‘conceited’ ‘arrogant’ ‘self-important’, ‘pompous’, ‘asshole’ et cetera, but one thing I have never been called is ‘cheap.’

I am proud of that.

In brief: “I have heard the chimes at midnight” with many good friends, however much I always seemed to cast them away, sorely by neglect. Friendship, I now know, requires tending, not unlike an aquarium or a garden. Next life… maybe.

I need not go on. Hell, most of us who attain some bit of longevity can attest to these experiences, or at least, reasonable facsimiles. Nothing unique about me here, but I have traveled a bit more than most and generally, I have taken some good mental notes.

Which kind of brings me to my point:

Jobs I Have Had: Weird Version (not in any particularly chronological order)

Walmart: I took a job at Walmart long after I had quit my regular job of almost ten years. My money had run out and I was living (by the good graces of my landlady—a friend) rent-free in Commerce, Amerika. My intent was to attain gainful employment in Iraq, so I had quit my regular job, just SOOO certain, given my previous ‘Overseas War-Zone Experience’ that I would be beating the HeadHunter’s offers away with a very large stick. Alas. No one seemed interested in hiring me to go to Iraq and risk my neck, (Even though I had made it abundantly clear in my cover letters that, ‘Beheading’ to me, is just a ‘scare word.’ No dice. No sale. No Job.

Strangest Aspect of working at Walmart:

Pajama Day. Yes Friends: on Pajama Day (Fridays as I do recall) a Walmart Associate could, if so desirous, wear pj’s work. Many did.

I did not.

UPS: I currently work (seasonal) for UPS. As far as I know, there are no pajama days, but there seem to be ‘incoherent days.’ I have been showing up for now two weeks and I am as clueless today as I was on day one. If I were kind, I’d call it ‘organized chaos.’ Most of you who read me know I am not really one to spout euphemisms. No. Just ‘chaos’ will do for now. And gee! I really do hope all y’all get your parcels on-time. I truly do. Merry Christmas

 

SFM (Sinai Field Mission) Completely run by the US Department of State back in the Seventies…

Wow! I have written of the insanity that went on there. Hell! There is even a documentary film on it (completely bogus, but here is the link, if you do not believe me:

http://www.zipporah.com/films/30

Hay Hauling: Yep. A more insane occupation cannot be imagined (in The Seventies) Drunks mostly all of us hay-haulers. Peanut comes immediately to mind

 Navy SEALs: What can I say?

Worm Ranch: Worm Counter.

Yeah, I used to make a living… counting red-worms: Seventy-five cents a box. Good money. Dodge the alcoholic! (For that, I did not get paid extra—it was before OSHA doan cha know…?

Enuff!

More later.

Maybe

 

And don’t you know?

I am the reason God Made OK.

(Not really)

But…

I have a sense of the ludicrous.

THERE IS SOME RHYME AND REASON (YES ALL CAPS) THAT I LOVE KRIS:

HITS TOO CLOSE TO HOME)

DON’T IT?

Let The Buyer Beware

 

Daily Lenny

Yeah, I have pissed in a lot of sinks.

 Truly, I have.

gomer-1-and-gomette-2

 

“I know this goddamn life too well.”

-Janis

Hamas, Gaza, IDF, Israel, Intifada, and U.S. (us) And why we should care (?)

Some of you may know of my history in the Mideast.  Most of you may not.  Some of you may know I get emotional about issues.

Some of you may not.

Some of you may give a shit.

Some of you may not.

No matter: I don’t have a dog in this fight: The current Fight between Hamas and the IDF (Israel)… Actually, I did, once upon a time, have a dog.  He died. But that was many moons ago.

And we did/didn’t call in the dogs back then: the ‘Fight Between the PLO and Israel’… “Let ’em duke it out!”

–Ronald Reagan, “et them all, et tu, Brutus?”

And about who could wrap some arms about Yasser Arafat?  No one. Not even Ronnie. Then he (Arafat) became ‘Rocky Balboa’ to some of rest of the world. Yes! Fast forward… but who among the thinking of us and the remembering of us, can ever forget

Munich in ’72?

Munich

And I was on the ‘good’ side.

I was for the ‘Home’ Team: Israel! Nineteen Sixty Seven! The shining moment of the IDF! Just like the Lord: ‘Fought for Six Days and Rested on the Seventh.”

“Didn’t them Jews kick the ever-lovin’ shit outta them A-Rabs?! Fought for Six Days…”

Biblical! (Yay God! and Madison Ave…)

Then I learned to read (and listen)

Point is:

I, as most of us (I hope) want the killing to STOP. It hit ‘Home’ today when I went to buy a beer. There were Palestinians in the road… In Memphis America! They were not happy. Unhappy Palestinians. Goddamn Right! They were unhappy! In Memphis!

I do not blame them. I am not happy either, but that said, Israel has some right to defend… don’t they? If you would like to argue, I welcome that, as I, more than some of you out there, have lived on both sides of that pond. And on both sides of that issue.

I have driven through Gaza. Too many times. I have seen the refugee camps. The poverty.

And I had intimate sex (is there any other kind?) with an Israeli Sabra, of Yemenite ‘distraction’ (i.e., she was Arab: Arab Jew) More than twice… Yet that sex did not prejudice me… (Well, maybe it did… just a little)

Putting sex aside, I know some politic, especially when it comes to Israel and Islam.

I have been on both sides.

Call me out, yet consider that I am foremost and always just a simple Texan.

So, be nice (or not)

Peace

Screenplays: ‘Alien’ Explore The Genesis…

Or, “Would you like some opium?”

-H.R. Giger

The subject matter of this post may well be somewhat dated and esoteric, but I do submit that it is ‘spot on’ for all my fellow writers out there… well if you are of a science fiction bent, or just want to write screenplays (The terms are not always mutually exclusive).

I am a fan of Dan O’Bannon. Some of you will not recognize the name. Here is a clue: “In Space No One Can Hear You Scream.”

cat alien

Yep. The original “Alien” masterpiece. I have to drill down into the old memory cells to download my first experience watching “Alien.” I was still in the Sinai (SFM). It was 1979 and I was driving the R&R vehicle to Tel Aviv. My lone passenger that day was my good friend Bill Brown (and he was in fact, brown—i.e., he was a black gentleman. We had a leisurely four hours to kill, so I asked him, “Hey Brown,” (we had a propensity back then to use ‘last names’, just like one would expect in the Military,) “seen any good movies in TA lately?” (Bill Brown was married to a Filipina, not that that is relevant, but I often throw in some irrelevant shit)

“As a matter of fact,” he said. “I have.”

“Do tell!”

“I saw this movie, ‘Alien.’ Dude! You havta see it. It’s still playing. Check it out.”

“Sci-Fi?”

“Yeah, but more than that.”

He then proceeded to tell me the entire story of the film (complete with ‘spoilers’—And thanks for that Bill Brown!)

His main interest was the black dude Parker. Whom he always referred to as ‘My Man.’ Understandably so, given the fact that back in the Seventies, not many black men had important roles, unless one is speaking of Blaxploitation Film.

Once we got to TA and I had checked my vehicle, I went out on the town determined to see this film. In Tel Aviv back then, one could actually smoke cigarettes in a movie theater and good thing that, as I do think I smoked an entire pack of Marlboros while glued to the screen.

My point in all of this is that I have, ever since, been fascinated with this movie. More fascinating now is how it was ‘birth’d’ and the writing process that got it to where it now resides in the annals of one of the greatest movies of all time.

Thanks to Dan O’Bannon.

Below is a link to his original screenplay. For all writers out here, it is worth a read, but only if you know the movie and how it changed the genre.

And of course if you are curious about how great, actually mediocre, (The dialog was too corny, much like mine) writing hits the stage. More important though, I do think, was the ‘idea’–revolutionary (almost) at the time. 

Point is: It worked.

Who can say what will or will not go ‘viral’ anyhow…

Script below.

Vid Link below that; do not confuse the two. (Some things are important to me, if you have  bothered to come this far…)

http://www.dailyscript.com/scripts/alien_early.html

Video Credit:

DuneInfo