I am only going to say this once (Thank Baby Hey-Zeus!)
The People Who Died On Nine – Eleven
Were NOT Heros!
THEY were VICTIMS!
That is ALL THEY Were!
Let us revenge avenge them!
Ed. Note: Of course the first responders Were, nay ARE Heroes and shall always remain such. And as Mark pointed out so were those civilians inside the towers who gave their lives trying to help their fellows escape. When I refer to ‘victims’ I am referring to the ninety percent who were just doing what we all do everyday: We get up, go to work, come home, kiss the significant other, pet the dog or the cat or the goldfish, and then next day, rinse and repeat. They were just innocent victims.
And I have been to war, and revenge is lame and not really strategic.
It is just… death.
(You figger out my meaning)
I am done here.
P.S. If anyone out there knows history of the Mid East….
I invite debate.
And I worked so hard… to get the “Stray Cat Shuffle” for y’all. And here it was, right here, all along:
And for some YouTube Reasons the above link don’t work: try the one below.
(Yeah! I am pissed at technol–Oh Gee!)
Don’t give up,
And remember: if your computer is ‘broken’, re-boot.
Solves ninety nine per-cent of problems…
These word ‘O’h These words!
From an’ old computer geek.
(And no! I never envisioned that day, that day, whereby, I would even think, let alone, utter, those words. Guess I have come full circle.)
“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)”
Thus ended my last ‘serious’ transmission regarding my recently orphaned series, bits of which may be found herehereherehere…
WordPress is not Facebook and I would do well to remember this, yet if memory serves, the above is indeed how I did in fact, end my last sober transmission regarding this never-ending (Insha’Allah) story I still call without shame or sham, My Life.
Guess what Friends. I am gonna end it now. Hang onto yer butts.
All true, but I have a tendency to grow bored with my own writing and this does not bode well, well…
I have just recently been returned from my Sabbatical, (kicking and screaming) which was spent in some dark happy place looking for answers. Finding none, save one, I have returned to these pages more or less now unobstructed and with fresh thoughts unobscured.
“Whatever does he mean, “Unobstructed”? “Hey Y’all! Come look he’ah! Lance done lost his mind!” (a-gin)
Means, Dear Readers that I am just gonna tell “THE TRUTH” from now on. Not that I have not ‘til now been telling same but, now I am gonna tell the Whole Truth, because by omission, I have been lying.
No Sugar, no mas.
This I gleaned from my Sabbatical. “So thanks Sabra. And thanks for the lobotomy, and gee! That shock therapy was da bomb!”
Oh! And to tie up that last loose end:
Janet and I spent a wonderful day or two at Sharm, then went back to SFM and carried on. Things kinda went to shit after that… for a spell.
But then we got married and it was all copacetic–For about two hours.
Yes it was on our honeymoon and we got into an argument and ended up after the ceremony un-ceremoniously sailing our newly purchased and vowed-upon wedding rings off the balcony of the Sheraton Hotel, (tenth floor) gleefully watching them bounce on the sand in front of the Mediterranean Sea, to wait there for some intrepid happy beach comber to later discover and claim ‘pirate treasure’ no doubt from Sodom and Gomorrah… (Yes, American tourists are stupid)
After we had ‘dissolved’ our new marriage in that ancient simple way, we went back to drinking and fucking, and for some I suppose that is what one could call a decent marriage, at least in the early stages.
And honestly, I think that is all way too much information about my time spent with her and Moses in Sinai and in the ‘Rest-of-the-Holy-Land.’
But perhaps not.
(See? I am sharing “deep thoughts” here) with you thanks to my newly ended Sabbatical. Now don’t you feel ‘very unique’? (Ed. Note: I HATE that! There are no degrees of ‘unique’. You can look it up)
If ya wanna…
I really don’t want to write about Janet but… damn it! She is such a wonderful, truly true, truly colorful, truly unique, one-hundred-and-one pounds of fun character, especially after we arrived in Nacogdoches Texas and began our ‘unique’ married life.
We are all, all of us, ‘very unique individuals’.
Or aren’t we all just deluding our own unique selves?
Probably will be continued when They let me out again for ‘Social Time’
And Finally I leave you with a good Sunday Morning Song. We used to sing this as we ran in formation to chow when I was in BUD/s Class 158. Can you imagine? Probably not.
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? 😉
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.”
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.”
“I saw this movie, ‘Alien.’ Dude! You havta see it. It’s still playing. Check it out.”
“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…
Vid Link below that; do not confuse the two. (Some things are important to me, if you have bothered to come this far…)
Arrived Tel Aviv one afternoon Late ‘78. Soon to be Stoned, Dazed and Confused and somewhat abused. One of my fellow SFM drivers, Perry, a good bud of mine, had convoyed with me into TA. Each of us driving deuce and a’halfs and at dangerous speeds.
We checked into the Pal Hotel which SFM had retired to after the New Sheraton had made it plain they no longer desired nor needed the patronage of Sinai Field Mission types, specifically the Texan ones. I preferred the Pal Hotel anyway.
“Screw you Sheraton New Hotel!”
Of course for both of you Lenny Fans out there in ‘Radio Land’ I just had to drop this audio bit in. It really is not germane (nor certainly not German) to the point, but it do expand on the title somewhat.
It occurred to me that when using the term ‘Tits an’ Ass” some would not know the etymology. Lenny first coined the phrase. (Bless his heart). He did some jail time too… for his transgressions.
After settling in, Perry called me from his room, “Hey Lance. Got anything goin’ tonight?”
“Nope,” I replied. “Not a damn thing. You know Gladys done dumped me for that Venzu-walon dude.”
“Come on up to my room. We’ll smoke a bowl.”
“On my way,” I said and hung up. We smoked a few bowls of hash, drank some Amstels, and decided to head over to Dizengoff Street to check out the action. And sate some munchies. Just yet another night in TA.
We stepped out onto Hayarkon Street just after sundown and proceeded to float on toward Dizengoff, a few short blocks away. We were stoned beyond repair. As we tried to navigate across the busy Hayarkon four lane, we noticed more than the average number of folk on foot. As soon as we had arrived on the leeward shore of Hayarkon, a teenage girl came running up to us and smacked us both on the top of our heads with a little plastic mallet. Then said something unintelligible in Hebrew and ran giggling away.
“What the fuck was that?!” I asked Perry.
“Dude, I gots no idea, but look yonder!” he said pointing up the street. Sure as shit, there were people everywhere; all armed with similar plastic mallets, just wailing the shit outta each other’s heads.
“Dude! We gotta sort this out. This is just too weird. Must be some kinda religious ritual.” This is what my hashish soaked brain was telling me anyway. We made our way to Dizengoff, after having our heads bonked repeatedly by overzealous religious fanatics. I spied a street vendor displaying the plastic mallets with aplomb.
“Perry, we gots to git one ah them for self-defense.” We purchased one each and went to whackin’ pretty Sabras about the head. (Great way to meet women, I must confess—Kinda Neanderthal—but what the hell?) Later I was told we had experienced some joyful Israeli Halloween-Like festival. Mardi Gras, it weren’t but dammit! I had fun. (But I didn’t get any beads)
To this day, I do not know the holiday, or festival. Are there any out there who would care to enlighten me? Tis one-of-those-unknown-things that still haunt me today. Perhaps if I had not been stoned…
My Jewish Friends: Was it Purim I had experienced? My enquirin’ mind really do wanna know.
My first wife and I got married in Jaffa Israel, an ancient Phoenician Seaport just south of Tel Aviv. The ceremony was performed by a Baptist Minister from Oklahoma in a Presbyterian Church which was maintained by Catholic Missionaries from Sweden.
(Now that right there shoulda told us we were testing Providence)
There were but two witnesses. (Co-workers of ours from Sinai Field Mission who just happened to be in town)
Twenty minutes before the ceremony, my soon to-be-bride and I were hitting all the jewelry stores on Dizengoff Street shopping for wedding rings. Could not find any that suited us or fit.
The clerks always had the same response:
“No problem; I can have it resized and you may pick it up tomorrow.”
We anxiously explained, “But we are getting married in just a few minutes.”
Jewish weddings are a great big hairy deal; so naturally, we were met with gasps of shockedamazement when we announced our time constraint. We tried to explain we weren’t Jewish, but that took just too much time, so we ran from shop to shop.
We finally, and at the very last minute, settled on two plain gold bands (which did not fit), purchased from the jewelry shop in the hotel where we were to rendezvous with the rest of the ‘Wedding Party’.
We all proceeded to Jaffa. My bride was wearing a black dress and I was in blue jeans. My woman and I tied the knot, (loosely, as it turned out). I gave the Okie preacher fifty bucks and we split.
The marriage didn’t stick, but we remain friends to this day.
My next wedding took place in Las Vegas.
My Bride and I got hitched in a venue called ‘The Chapel of Love’.
An Elvis impersonator performed the rites for two hundred bucks. (My woman was an Elvis fan, so what the hell). For fifty bucks more, he would sing ‘Love Me Tender’ A cappella. My girl, ever so frugal, suggested we pass on that.
If she had known that within just a few short hours I would be tossing black chips onto a craps table, she might have seriously considered his offer of serenade.
Next wedding was performed by a Justice of the Peace, who showed up two hours late due to some inescapable last-minute JP business which could not wait. By the time she arrived the Wedding Party (and I do mean ‘Party’) were all hopelessly drunk on Champagne. We did the deed and then all got hopelessly drunker. Several expensive champagne flûtes bit the dust that night, if memory serves… Was a great wedding, as those things go.
Last wedding took place in Arkansas and was just lovely.
None of these weddings took firm hold, I am sorry to say.
Apparently marriage to me is not much more binding than a hand-shake.
Now… Y’all. I am of course not making light of marriage. I do believe in its sanctity. (For other people) It just doesn’t appear to be right for This Cowboy.