I am sorry to pass along such bad news, especially to those of you who didn't know him, but I think it bears mentioning that our friend Carlos Carrillo was killed in a motorcycle accident last weekend. I hadn't seen much of him in the last few years, as we moved through different circles, but Carlos was a good friend and one who made it easier for me to come home after moving back to Los Angeles in 1987. He was a good man who knew how to enjoy life and he will be sorely missed.
For old time's sake I will include a brief story. Sometime in the early 1990s, when our only sport was seeing how many parties we could find in one night, a bunch of us ended up at a party thrown by Billy Idol's ex-wife, a useless piece of information so important then I still remember it. Some of you will recall this party as the one in the Hollywood Hills where Shelley Woods went swimming in the pool on X, either in a nightie or in the all-together, depending on who tells the story. I was not a witness, being in my usual place, rummaging through the fridge for hidden bottles of beer. The party was starting to fall apart, but there were still quite a few people very, very high on the "love drug", and apparently they had annoyed Carlos more than usual. In addition to alcohol, the party was also running out of food, so he found a can of dog food, emptied it onto a plate, and artful arranged some slices of cheese onto it. Several of us were watching by now, and I'm not easily surprised, but I was pretty amazed when Carlos put the dish in the microwave to make it "more appetizing" and put it out on the kitchen counter, where several of the hapless ravers began consuming this dish using leftover tortilla chips. I can't remember how hard I must have been laughing, he certainly was, but I do remember I left the party immediately, and still today this is among the funniest things I've ever seen at a party.
I hate to add another down note, but I saw this the other day:
Ten Years On, Nigeria's Ogoni Minority Mark Saro-Wiwa's Death
Ken Saro-Wiwa was a popular writer in Nigeria, not so much an intellectual as someone who wrote one of the best comedies there in the early 80s, a TV show called "Basi and Company" about a constantly scheming hustler and his quirky friends in the city of Lagos, then booming with oil money. He made the mistake of helping his people, the Ogoni, to stand up against Royal Dutch Shell, and the government executed him for treason, an action that got Nigeria thrown out of the British Commonwealth. This heinous action against a fellow writer was also the subject of my first "screed", if you can call it that, an e-mail I probably sent to about five or six people then in November 1995. Yeah, that was 10 years ago, and still nothing has been done about it. But obviously I'm still pissed off.
I guess there is nothing to say after all that except, Thanksgiving is past and the posadas are coming, so it must be the holidays again. Pardon my dripping sarcasm, but without any scratching, biting young children to brighten my existence, I'm left with death and boredom, and the more psychologically astute of you might sense a lashing out. Perhaps I should have gone to Miami for the week...well, enough of what-might-have-been. Obviously we cannot waste time on that, because the moon and the stars are demanding something more productive of us, warning us away from complacency.
So, on with the lunacy. This year, I'd like to celebrate the holidays with fires, long chatty cig breaks, big glasses of champagne, and oh yeah, Hollywood celebrity bullshit always makes for a warm feeling:
Tom Cruise buys sonogram machine to watch baby
It also comforts me to know how little the kids are learning from the hard holiday experiences of their elders:
Young, Assured and Playing Pharmacist to Friends
By Amy Harmon
The New York Times
Not that the oldsters always have themselves in control:
Grandmother Charged in Baby Jesus Theft
Or our neighbors:
Vandals Burn Swedish Christmas Goat, Again
But us forty-somethings really have it on the ball, eh? I'm pleased to report that my contemporary, Heidi Fleiss, finally got her jail-bait ass out of Los Angeles and has taken up residence in charming PAHRUMP, Nevada.
Hollywood Madam to open Nevada 'stud farm'
Apparently Miss Fleiss, a graduate of a good Catholic school here in Los Feliz (Immaculate Heart) bought the Cherry Patch out in the wastes of Nye County. I spent one night at the old Cherry Patch Ranch some years back (not what you think, Mom.) I was driving past the Nuclear Test Site late one night, rounding from Death Valley towards the lights of distant Las Vegas, when I espied this weird fake plantation house with a flickering runway in the middle of nowhere. Dead tired, I asked the proprietors if I could spend the night in their parking lot in my faithful Audi Fox ("El Azote de las Carreteras", 1990-1994). They were having a slow night and offered me a room for nothing, very kind, bored women, and I missed the opportunity to learn more about desert living. Anyway, you can visit them more vicariously:
If anyone is interested, many brothels are going out of business and coming up for sale in Nevada. You may not believe it, but EBay is the place to shop for a brothel. It's a living, for Heidi anyway.
Everyone is getting in on the act this year:
Erotic moments from Bible
You can order this sexy (and Christian) German calendar here:
It's the spirit of the holidays:
My Daughter, Who Lives At 152 East Medgar St. Apt. 4, Can't Keep Her Damn Legs Crossed
Okay, before I go off the deep end, here's a gift, free 411 service (with an American catch):
Here's another treat for the season, the weird maps people have created at "Google Maps"; if you can think it up (like how many people were gored in Pamplona on a certain day, or the locations of the chocolatiers in Paris), someone probably has a map for it.
Google Maps Mania
How about Google Maps to the stars' homes here in Los Angeles (although I couldn't get it to work; thanks anyway, Geri):
Or how about all the places that some guy named Sam Sloan claims to have lived...whether true or not, scroll down and it's actually a pretty bizarre journey (thanks, Robert):
Anyway, I am glad to see that my friends in Europe are being more assertive about the wonderful technology of just finding out where you are:
** Europe names Galileo trailblazer **
Europe announces a name and launch date for the craft which will start in-orbit testing of its satellite-navigation system.
Or my Canadian friends imagining where they're going (thanks, Mike):
Former Canadian Minister Of Defence Asks Canadian Parliament Asked To Hold Hearings On Relations With Alien "ET" Civilizations
"The Bush administration has finally agreed to let the military build a forward base on the moon, which will put them in a better position to keep track of the goings and comings of the visitors from space, and to shoot at them, if they so decide."
Can't we all just get along for the holidays?
Report: North Korea Just Enjoys Nuclear Talks
(And as he prepares to eschew kindness and drop off the deep end), NO FUCKING WAY.
Pentagon Used White Phosphorus in Iraq
The Associated Press
US Intelligence Classified White Phosphorus as 'Chemical Weapon'
By Peter Popham and Anne Penketh
The Independent UK
Behind the Phosphorus Clouds Are War Crimes within War Crimes
By George Monbiot
The Guardian UK
Incendiary Weapons: The Big White Lie
By Andrew Buncombe, Kim Sengupta and Colin Brown
The Independent UK
Yep, the warmongers of the world have no compunction about burning it down any month of the year, but they need to watch out, because karma has funny ways of leveling:
Swordfish skewers Israeli fisherman
No, these people are too stupid even for retribution. I mean, dig how they take a little criticism from abroad:
Blair 'Convinced Bush' Not to Launch Strike at al-Jazeera
By Andrew Woodcock
Bush Wanted al Jazeera Gone and He Wanted It Then
By Jeremy Scahill
Nah, freedom of the press, that's just for AMERICANS. Because here we understand the priorities of our Great Leader, and what a talent he has for destruction.
Bush Speech Offers "Clear Strategy"- For Victory or Disaster?
By Ray McGovern
t r u t h o u t Perspective
In case you haven't had the pleasure of perusing the Great Leader's Plan for Victory in Oceania (thanks again, Robert), here it is for you to enjoy. It reads like the outline for a high school paper on "How to Fuck Your Country and Look Good Doing It."
National Strategy for Victory in Iraq
No, dear friends, 2006 is coming and the sword of Damocles is swinging over these murderous morons:
Washington's Wars and Occupations
By Max Elbaum
The War Times/Tiempo de Guerras
Two US Allies Leaving Iraq, More May Go
By William J. Kole
The Associated Press
US 'Can't Maintain Iraq Troop Levels'
By John P. Gramlich
I'm thinking of John Prine's "Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Any More"; 4 decades since we played this game in Vietnam, that's 40 years, enough spins around the sun to make anyone dizzy.
Withdrawal Is Not Retreat
By William M. Arkin
The Washington Post
The best laid plans of mice and men and morons...
South Dakota's tallest building resists demolition
German travel agents robbed in South African township
And they haven't even stayed up all night to write the report for this war yet:
Doubts Grow over US Afghan Strategy
By Andrew North
But it's coming soon, I'd wager. The first strategy to victory in the Middle East, obviously, is to demonstrate American moral superiority:
White House Declines to Totally Rule Out Torture
It's the American way:
Toddlers Trash Kansas School Art Room
Excuse me, the Anglo-American way (or the French might say, the Anglo-Saxon):
Blair Faces Allegations of Complicity in Torture
By Colin Brown and Andrew Buncombe
The Independent UK
I hope that my friends in Europe are serious about standing up against this bullshit:
EU Threatens Sanctions for States Operating Secret CIA Camps
Flight Logs Reveal Hundreds of CIA Flights to Europe: Report
Can't we all just get along for the holidays, like this adorable pair of New Yorkers?
Couple Uses Wedding to Protest Terrorism
Or are we doomed to just blast the hell out of everything?
That's incredibly beautiful...give me a hammer...
Perhaps our freedom of expression will win out in the end...
Patriot Act Extension Shelved
By Rick Klein
The Boston Globe
...but at the moment I seriously doubt it.
Pentagon Expanding Its Domestic Surveillance Activity
By Walter Pincus
The Washington Post
Dishonest, Reprehensible, Corrupt ...
By Frank Rich
The New York Times
Nope, there is only present I want for Christmas:
The Fall of the One-Party Empire
By Jonathan Schell
The Nation and TomDispatch
And I want the same gift for Hanukkah:
access the sent link:
USATODAY.com - Jewish leader blasts 'religious right'*
I mean, if even Bill Clinton can finally "come around", why can't we all? What a tepid bunch of hogwash:
Bill Clinton Calls Iraq 'Big Mistake'
By Lara Sukhtian
The Associated Press
Our next-to-last Democratic President cuts more to the point:
This Isn't the Real America
By Jimmy Carter
The Los Angeles Times
And as a good Christian, Carter definitely sees the danger:
America: The Fundamentalist Invasion
By Philippe Boulet-Gercourt
Le Nouvel Observateur
Televangelist Warns of Evolution Doomsday
Aw, just in time for Christmas, it's Doomsday. DON'T YOU LOVE AMERICA? Remember to get all your shopping done early, delightful pinks and sweet baby blues...and as a favor to your minimum wage friends, do it far, far away from Wal-Mart!
And I'm done! Remember, "Jesus Saves" (cartoon enclosed), and vive le screed!
07 December 2005