Monthly Archives: March 2009

Jesus ‘probably’ didn’t steal my wheelbarrow

    Just going on percentages here, mind you, but I haven’t seen any of His clan running around these parts for years, ‘cept for maybe a tourist now and then. Christians would stick out like a sore thumb here, if there were any; using their turn-signals, yielding the right of way, stuff like that there.

So that leaves Mohammed ™ and Moses ® as the prime suspects.
I did a Dumb Thing: Left my tired little wheelbarrow within eyesight of the road overnight. It wasn’t there this morning of course. Somebody decided it’s Ok to take what doesn’t belong to him.

I’m ruling out Zoroastrians. They usually carve, (or lately spray-paint) a big ‘Z’ somewhere nearby.
I think that as a dutifully respectful NA (non-affiliated/not applicable I have a Gourd-given right to start judging religions by whether they ‘run’ or not. Just like late-model used cars.
A tape-recorded robot-rabbi got me awake an hour ago, called to ask for money. I told him/it to just give me back my wheelbarrow and I wouldn’t press charges.
There are arab “work” crews trying to build houses on both sides of my property lately. Quaint, how they still use those time-tested 13th century  construction methods. Anyone I’d ask here would point and tell me “Those guys done  it.”. But I’m not so sure… The instructions were in French, and worn off long ago.
     Maybe I should just blame some god-less sad sack; some conscience-less infidel without even a supposed belief system to betray. That’d make it easier to split his skull into enough fragments that not even Richard Leakey could reconstruct the mess. Religious thieves though, you’re kinda obligated to yell ‘Shame on you, you hypocrite.” before you smack ’em silly.
I’ll keep snooping around. Might get lucky. Don’t worry, I’ll be sure to ask the culprit what he wants on his tombstone, a cross, a crescent, or a star-of-David? Or ‘none-of-the-above’. At least I still have a shovel. Wait, I better go check…

“Hey, I never did this before..”

Yeah, that’s what I should have admitted to Ms. Rossi, before pumping her full of procreative fluids, despite her instructions. By the third time that night in ’67, I should have presumably mastered the routine, but you know, some things take time to master. Luckily we only had two weeks of terror to weather, not that I wouldn’t have been been eager to be a  father to her youthful offspring, hopelessly in love t’was I. (I fault the paucity of sex-education amongst my farm-boy set; turtles, etc. were reluctantly admitted to occasionally engage in connubial bliss, with a dismissive de-emphasis on the ‘bliss‘ element; humans were etherically depicted as ‘above it all’))
     ,Sorry for the digression. Inspired by the title: my first upload of a musical gem here which is not of my own creation. I’m confident of the performer’s permission, should I have had the opportunity to request it.
Speed Caravan’s “Kalashnik Love”. An Algerian electric oud player, assisted by an equally powerfull bass-player plus a girl ‘manning’ the drum-machine.
I heard this on a typical Friday night’s listen to Israeli Radio-Station Galei Zahal’s “Ha’col Zorem” world-music show. As luck would have it, the station publishes a complete play-list on their web site: I’d missed the name of the artist, and located it a few days later…
Note: If anyone thinks playing the oud a la Jimi Hendrix is easy… well you haven’t tried it. My own oud, safely for now in my Pennsylvania attic awaits the couple years of practice, in my non-existent free time, which would be required to even get close to his mastery.
So enjoy, listeners. “Kalashnik Love” by “Speed Caravan.
It really does remind me of that night with Deanae. (Yes, Google your name sometime,  sweetheart; I’d do it again in a heartbeat, only more cautiously…

Down-size Me

I’ll save you all from a lengthy de-briefing of my arduous multi-stage quad-vehicular schlep across the Pond; by now almost everyone has his own Sorrows of Werther flight-horror show. Think ‘five separate-but-equal  minyans (groups of at least 12 righteous but over-weight men) taking turns dressing up in shower curtains with boxes tied to their foreheads, clogging the aisles and refusing to honor the Seat-belt Commandment. If we stay in the air, they’ll claim it’s because of their prayers. If we go into the drink, I’ll swear it was all their fault . I spent most of the 11 hours in the cockpit, trying in vain to convince the first mate to open the rear cargo door and simply …um..jettison them. Oh well.

Meanwhile, I’m back and feel a need to vamp on ‘career-choices in a changing environment:’

“You will be wanting fries with that!”
I practice in front of my mirror now, praying three times a day at least.
It’s working. This new program.
I even brush my teeth and shave these days with an assertive, convincing tone. Leaves no doubt in the mind of the chump at the drive-in: ‘Johnny knows what you need, Sir. Just do what he says, then proceed to the second window’.
They’ll grade me on this, I’m sure. The trainers.  They record the percentage of customers I’ve ‘up-graded’ and ‘super-sized’.
Do get fries with that, my friend.” I drip with concern.
“Your Momma, bless her memory, would have wanted you to have gotten fries with that, dear.”
Yes, potatoes. They’re vegetables, kiddo, no matter how it’s spellt.
“No fries??” WTF, are you crazy, man!” I’ll save that one for the hard-sell cases.
“Jesus always got fries with His order, Ma’am. Go thou and do likewise.”
(I scan the bumper-stickers in the wide-angle mirror as they drive up…)
“Yo, man. Whassup? You be wanting fries wid dat order, kewl?” Homie’s usually down with this shit, or words to that effect.
“If I may be permitted to make a small suggestion, and excuse my impudence, but in my opinion, fries would be a superb compliment for that tasty sandwich, my friend.” They usually accept my advice, the knit-tie crowd. If only to avoid hard feelings.
So I believe I am ready for this; Life’s final challenge.No more roofing for this kid. Let them tack polyethylene sheeting to the rafters; learn to eat out of a bag, just like me. Fries have made me what I am today.
Don’t get me wrong. I am glad I finished school. ‘TV Dinner by the pool..’ and all that. “A Defense of Pure Safflower Oil”. Imanuel Kant’s Categorical Imperative:
“I implore you, comrade, to consider the dire consequences were everyone to stubbornly refuse to order fries with that.”
My cat scowls up at me, suddenly dissatisfied with her Tuna-bits™, whatever. “Don’t I get fries with that?” she needles me.I’m not sure whether she’s being sarcastic,  ironic, or convinced. Yeah, she probably just heard me practicing, and has ‘seen the light’.
    The door to the medicine cabinet swings open by itself. A hand reaches out and grabs me by the throat. In terror I listen as a disembodied voice screams from somewhere on the second shelf:
“Give me my mother-humping fries already, bro. I can’t stand it anymore!”

Hmm… Maybe I should start recommending salads.

Temporary note:

     In a rare instance of  second-guessing my judgement, I ‘protected‘ my last entry. Almost as earth-shaking as the Pope declaring. “Yup, condoms, what a great concept; I use ’em, and heartily recommend them for all my sheep.”
Anyway, it had just too many specifics: names, places, etc.If I should  succeed in editing to the point of ‘child-proof packaging’, but preserving the underlying point (“There was a point?”), I’ll re-public it.
    Meanwhile, I’ll all in a tizzy about  packing and my flight: PHL to NYC to TLV to HOME, where the heart is.. or was, when last we embraced fondly.

A classic mixed-bag of heart-break and euphoria, this trip.

I still claim that “people of colour” seem to be in an exceptionally up-beat mood here in the Untied Snakes… The ‘grays’ look worried: “What, I’m gonna have to work till I’m 117 till I can afford to retire?”
Bye all. CYA from the right side of the Atlantic shortly, (when viewed with the North Pole at the top of the screen; an arbitrary choice, let me remind y’all.) -js-

a Silence Supreme

    You all know the feeling: you read something, hear a piece of music, or gaze at an art-work, and know at once that it was “written for you“, so exqusitely does it capture a private place in your soul and express… well, if you’re competitive, you often soon add: “I could-a done that“, or “should-a”… “Would-a”? Sure, buddy. But you didn’t, and now is a perfect time to get with the mantra; we are all deep, each in his own complex universe. And the miracle is that on occasion, some of us succeed in voicing the ineffable with bone-chilling power.
And with that, I post here the piece which greeted me this morning when I woke; from chrome-poet’s pen. Perfectly phrased; it was “written for me”? If not, it should-a been.

Poem: #19 A Splash of Selfish Sorrow

The silence belongs to me,
            not requested,
           not demanded,
the silence belongs to me.

If I wanted to share I would.
If it meant things could change
            and I wanted to share I would.
If it mattered,
       meant things could change
                   and I wanted to share,
I would.

It is between God and me now.
God shows no remorse.
I’ve run out of patience.
 Gifts grow old,
             wear out or break,
tragedy swirls emptiness around naked trees
cold drifts from curb to curb,
keening cosmic winds whine
                through the eaves,
                kiss a heart broken soul,
and are gone …

Meteoric joy skips off  time thin atmosphere.
Life, evanescent, love illuminated;
       seasons harmonize howling pain, guilty laughter;
        memory retains ecstasy, hilarity and wonder;
       retrospect extends life beyond time.
     we imbibe a libation of air,
     each inhalation a sliver of luck.
God need not rue.
Patience has less virtue than I thought.

This is for me and God to sort.

If I wanted to share I would.

The silence belongs to me.

“Send more Chuck Berry”

I am firmly and innocently convinced that the message I just received in a dream, from my dear biological son, from his new vantage-point in the Cosmos, to wit; “Nu, tam’sheek le’he’yot matz’heek!” (‘carry on with the wit already!’) is as Real as the rumoroured ‘comment’ from the aliens, upon listening to the Sagan-inspired collection of ‘Earth-Sounds’, included as an after-thought 0n the 1977 Voyager spacecraft.
Thus, I feel duty-bound to create a post devoid of any modicum of Grief. If and when I have an audio or text expression of his jsolberg-creative  output, I will up-load it here post-haste.
    Meanwhile: ‘Go-desh’ vs. ‘significant other’; a reverie on small vs. large languages.
One of the distinct advantages of using primarily a ‘beta’ language (hebrew, in this case) for daily communication,is in the exciting Right, nay ‘Obligation‘, of the speaker-base to register feed-back on changes in usage and parlance.
I endured almost a week, a couple years ago, noticing the sudden adoption of the word “Go’desh” as a specific term for “restricted traffic-flow“..from 15 to 30 kilometer per hour” on the radio traffic reports.
As a thinking citizen, I shot off a voice-message to the National Academy for the Hebrew Language, protesting, among other points, that the word was already in common usage as a polite term for “stuffed-up nose”.
Five minutes later I received an apology from Gila Almagor in-the-flesh herself, the Queen of Parlance, admitting her error. And sure enough, by the next morning, ‘go-desh’ had been chucked into that great ‘Bit-bucket in the Sky’ of failed neo-logisms.
Trafic congestion is now correctly termed here as ‘ha’a’tah, or ‘p’kack’, or any number of talmidic terms for ‘camel-path-over-load.’
Talk about a feeling of empowerment!
Sooo.. Whom do I call to dispute ‘Significant Other’? The “Academy for Appropriately-Weighty Terminology”?
Significant’, in my modest opinion, is like calling heaven, ‘acceptably pleasant’, or conversely, hell, ‘uncomfortably warm’.
I’d offer “I would die without you-Other”, if I had a similar English 1-800 number to ‘at the tone, leave your message’.
Thus, even though (after about a week of struggle) I’ve almost succesfully re-installed English here, on my trip to the States, I none-the-less feel somehow, ‘un-important’, powerless to fine-tune the argot to my exacting standards.
Hope you enjoyed this, son, where-ever you are. My regards to ‘Maybeline’ . Yeah, why cain’t she be true?

Thank You

My heartfelt gratitude for the thoughtful condolences, expressed or merely thought, on the part of readers of this site. Everyone knows, or sadly will know at some point, the feeling of loss. Our romp on the planet is transitory. We know this, but often forget until painfully reminded.
    And trivially speaking, is there a Xanga-moral anywhere here? Maybe. Find someone to whom to entrust your *password.*.    Seriously.  He or she will then be allowed to go back and tidy up your grammar, your  punctuation, air-brush your profile-pix, maybe even re-master your up-loaded Audio.

Mine’s ‘Rosebud’, by the way, for anyone who saw the movie. -js


Upon reflection, I decided that the responsible thing to do, in this semi-public arena, is to
less-cryptically announce the sudden passing, at age 34, of a heart-attack, of the man whose photo, (as the Child I taught to walk and talk and sing), is pictured below.He will be more than missed by his wife, his children, his loving adopted father, his mother, to whom I was married in the ’70’s, and, broadly, to anyone who ever met him. Life is fragile, as one of my friends here phrased exquisitely in a poem possibly for the occasion. Somehow I expected to be out-lived by my first-born son. Even typing that word turns me back into an un-consolable mess of protoplasm here on the carpet.
Readers: check your pulse, tire-pressure, whatever.  Hourly, Ok? A file specifying who gets your albums (I-tunes?) might also be well-advised. -jsolberg- 


j-krapp’s last post

(Yeah, I can’t do it without a sneaky reference in the title. Forgive me)
I’m out the door in a few minutes. But not without a few parting thoughts:
1) I challenge anyone, fluent as he may be in Hebrew or English, to learn anything of value from Isra-rail’s supposed web-site, other than, yes, they think they have a web-site, god help ’em.And as a result, I will be at the train station at least three hours early, in order to enable me to build a quick, hand-propelled train-let, like in the cartoons, and pedal my way to the Airport on time. The site is so full of garbled language and perverted data. Hell, I oughta offer a One million dollar prize, (like Randi’s offer to anyone proving para-normal infractions of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, among other things), to any brave soul who can prove that the site is worth the cyber-space it occupies.
2) I am dressed in ‘worker-chic’. Pants, clean but showing their history of hard labour, and topped with a shirt from a recent sidewalk ‘find’ which purports to present me as an employee of ‘Connect, Inc.’ Again, clean, but somehow ‘declasse’. I remember in ’67 seeing Buddy Guy and Junior Wells show up on stage at Newport Jazz in their Chicago Maintenance Crew uniforms, and go on non-the-less to play killer Chicago blues. My models-to-emulate here.
3) Some errant Weather-buffoon decided to schtup a foot of snow onto my intended destination(s). I do wish I hadn’t downloaded the cockpit voice-recorder tapes of the last seconds or the recent Buffalo crash. My cousin Chesley, the ‘Hero on the Hudson’ not-with-standing, I have to admit that probably my flight crew will know the vagaries of the McDonnel-Douglas MD-80 better than I do, and I shall put my fate in their hands. Still, I’m sure the stewardess will appreciate relaying to the pilot my “Be sure to de-ice.. oh, and 80% flaps at 2100 ft on approach, don’t forget now!”
I do believe that I’ve thought of everything. Critical files stored on a hard-drive, a flash-memory, and a CD. One of them babies oughta function.
5) Meanwhile, I prepare myself for descent: From ‘sunny and 60F’ to bitter cold and windy at 20+/- degrees, F. ‘I may be heading in the wrong direction’, I tell myself, like the Neanderthals freezing their asses off, clad only in giant-sloth-hide boxer-shorts in the Alps. Oh well, I think I left plenty of warm clothes behind on my last exit, back when Bush managed to ruin my day single-handedly. Obama, keep me warm and safe this time. One expects no less from the Messiah.

See you guys presently, if I can schnorrer Internet access. -jsolberg/ ex-Tel Aviv.