Monthly Archives: August 2009

Compliments and Apologies

I don’t know where to start.
On the Plus side, I assumed my christian readers would be familiar with the bones of the biblical Paul, (a.k.a. Saul)’s story of his Epiphany on the Road to Damascus. You can look it up here, (if being a christian for you means mainly making Easter eggs and kinda thinking Jesus is a great guy.)
On the Minus, anyone regularly reading my confabulations ought to know that I invent stuff: This piece (below) is an obvious musing on what it would be like if Paul had been my errant brother. Mebbe I have really do have a brother. I’ll share that tidbit after we get to know each other a little better. I’d hoped my little pre-discussion with Wu had made clear the ‘spoof’ nature of the post.
This is the kind of stuff I write. I don’t intend to stray anytime soon from the format. You are free to ‘Un-subscribe’, obviously.
While you’re on Google, check ‘P.S: Your Cat is Dead’ (GOd/DOG), the ‘Midnight Ride of Paul Revere’, ‘Procul Harem’, etc. I dream of a world where my little jokes merit a rim-shot, but the drummer just called, he’s stuck in traffic./ JS/ Tel Aviv/ Israel

P.S: Your GOD is Dead

WU: Oh No you don’t! Not another veiled, reference-strewn assault on religious zeal. The seekers wanna know, like, “How’s the wife, how’s the kids, how’s yer love-life, whaddya think about Mike Jackson?”
: Fine, fine, fine, and sad. Ok? Now, can I be me a second?
WU: Fine. Nobody said change was easy. We’ll deal with it in your next post, son. Pay at the desk

    Ok, I had to intervene. I mean, what Son-of-Man even half-full of the Skim-Milk of Human Kindness can watch his Elder Brother’s compass skew off toward the antipodes without opening his mouth?
And so, yesterday I sent Saul this calmly-frantic e-mail:
To ‘Paul’: RE: Veer
Hi guy. Hope you like the title. ‘Veering off-course’, of course, my insinuation.
You’ve always been my  knightly man-on-horseback, riding the DEW-line: “One if by Land, Two if by Sea.” (‘Four if by C++’?) Anyway, Mom told me you’re off to Athens on Thursday. Maybe we can have lunch before then? Gnudha’s House-O-Gnoodles in Tarsus Corners sounds like a good place to chat. I’ll be there at 7 PM unless I hear otherwise. /Johnny

    Not hearing otherwise, I was sitting in our usual corner booth when he walked in the door, pockets stuffed with papers and carrying a painted plywood sign-board with the letter ‘P’ on both sides. He shoved it under the table and we shook hands.
“Is that an epistle in your pocket, or are you just over-prepared to see me?” I asked, but he just shrugged, looking a bit tired.
“An apostle’s work is never done. Hope I can get this letter on the plane.” Saul moved the sign a tad. “Epoxy paint. What do you think? Supposed to last a generation.”
“I think… “ I started, then decided to be as neutral as I could manage: “Who get’s the ‘P’?”
“Um, the Phillipians..”
he muttered, not sounding too certain.
“Or the Fillipinos?” I asked.Paul’s letter to  Manila, done up in tasteful Vanilla?”
I knew I couldn’t hold my tongue much longer.
“Seriously, Saul, why’d you even think you could get across the border into Syria? It was on Channel 10; they made you look ‘deluded’ is a tactful term.”
Saul just looked at me with an odd new expression. Pity? “Call me Paul, ok?” he kinda barked, as if the pity-look should have put me in my place.
“What’s wrong with ‘Saul Solberg’?” I asked, adding “..other than it sounds needlessly redundant?”
“Saul is Dead”, my brother announced. “You know what it’s like to be blind for two weeks and not remember how to wipe your own butt when you regain consciousness? No? Then shut up. I’m Paul.”
“Ok, ‘P.S’
I gave in on that point. “Still, it sounds like.. you know.. like a human addendum.”
‘Paul‘  looked at his watch. “I have work to do; people to meet; souls to MSG.”
The waitress brought us our orders. A new girl, robust and busty.
“Separate checks?” she asked. Saul tried to avoid eye-contact. Not like him, I thought. Saul/Paul slid his omelet away from my order.
“Yes, separate. ‘Be ye not un-equally yolked with non-believers.'” he muttered, and quickly jotted it down on a scrap of paper which had fallen out of his shirt pocket.
“Nu, so what you going to Greece for, huh?” I blew on my steaming noodle soup. “Gentiles?”
“So? Big deal. They’re human just like us.”
he shot back.
“I’ll have to Google that.” I told him, joking. “Gentiles with genitals, huh, Paul?”
He wasn’t amused. “The..the..Thessalonicans have a saying..”
“Funny, I never heard you stutter before.” I said with some sympathy.
“It’s since the Revelation. The bright light, maybe the horse, I know? The opthamologist’s got me scheduled for a CT when I get back from Rome.”
Suddenly I didn’t like the smell of this. Paul was finishing his dinner, and I hadn’t made much progress in my rescue. Plus Rome? Suddenly my shirt-collar felt… felt tight.
“It’s cool.” Paul saw the concern in my eyes. “Berlusconi’s got a hot temper, but he’s no Nero.”
“Mebbe you ought to leave a note for your siblings before you ‘get on that plane’?”
I suggested.
“Zayin on the stinking Heebies. Write that down, Scribe.” Paul looked kinda ‘out of sorts’, I think they call it.
“So ‘Z’? That’s your ‘Letter to the Hebrews’?”
“Yeah, screw ’em. They killed Jesus.”

“Um, no we didn’t, Paulsky, it was your blow-buddy Romans, you know, the guys you’ll be be-heading into their loving hospitality. Incidentally, re-suturing a severed head might tax the skills of the ‘hospitality’ there… just so you ‘shouldn’t die stupid’.” I just love that Romanian expression. But it fell into the widening crack between us, ending up on the floor, as ‘Paul’ gathered his things to leave.

Well I tried. And failed. Miserably. Plus I ended up paying both checks: all Saul had was drachmas in his leather satchel.
The Moral: Even Gnudha’s exquisite Gnoodles haven’t the power to disembue a True Believer from his tru-bleef. Not the belief, and not the (-sic-) ‘true’. Maybe my brother Jimmy can talk some sense into him….

‘Blessed be them what hunger and thirst’. Up to a point.

This year’s   ‘Give ALLAH A HALLA!’ shout-fest/food-fight was a step in the wrong direction, I told myself, sneaking out of the shuk un-observed and hungry.   With this year’s  Ramadan fast falling in August, ‘all that’s left this is the smile’, so to speak. And an unsettling one at that.
      Ditto, to be fair, my thoughts on the ‘SUSEJ Egg Mc-JESUS’ entre which suddenly appeared on the breakfast menu down at the Souls-R-Us Diner. “Start your day on the Cross.” it says. Um..Pass…

    And so, out of loyalty to ‘our people’, I opted for good ole ‘Abe’s’. Only to find the place renamed. ‘Abra-ham Sandwich Shoppe’? WTF? ‘Et tu, He-brute?’ Plus the place was closed already at 4PM.

“MAH, ARBA?” (‘What? four?!)” I asked the tailor next door.

“Is good question.” he answered in pidgin english. “But put that camera out, no problem?” We not saying ‘Cheese’ here. Bad enough Abraham…”

     So imagine my nirvana on the way home to find at least one place open. ‘MOZES SEZ OM.’ Tasteful saffron curtains in the windows, and only a 20 year wait for a bowl of brown rice. God, I’m hungry.

LION IN OIL: 160 gm. Producto de Balzonia


Yes, there will be one, near the End, for the Faithful
For those un-familiar with the term; ‘to re-veal’ is what happens when you order the veal parmigian, get something by mistake obviously made from a ‘mature’ turkey, bring this fact to the waitress’ attention, decide, on the strength of her dirty look, to just ‘live with it’, but then, on second thought, insist on your original choice. The plate grudgingly tossed toward your table is called by  culinary pros a ‘revealation’. You’ve been re-vealed-at, or -to.
(Re-volition, coincidently, is the act of deciding to exercise your free will, and stand on your own hind legs, hapless diner though you be.

But mercuric and fishy as it sounds, I’m actually a sucker for Tuna. “ANUT4TUNA” I’d call myself. Which is why I felt discordant when the guy at the corner store broke the news: “We’re out of tuna.”

Tuna in oil, that is. I don’t eat Tuna in water. Feels creepy to bury them in their own medium.
“Smoked Salmon?” he asked me.
“Nope. never got that desperate.” I defended my honor. He took it as a comment on the thousand-dollar-a-gram price. I asked what else they had, hoping he understood my query as a compliment.
“Um, something gnu, just four ewe.” he winked when he said that. The advantage of being a regular. ‘Yoni’, he calls me. And I heard someone call him “Elbert’, so I guess that’s his name. ‘ELBERT TREBLE” it says on his name-tag. Funny, I never thought of him as ‘directionless.
“LION IN OIL”, Elbert whispered, kinda conspiratorially.Gave me pause for a second. Felines? Kosher? For a small donation I’m sure I could find a Rabbi here to invent a new blessing: “Baruch ata Adonai, melech ha’olam,asher ‘motz’eh khat’oo’lim min ha… min ha pach zevel.” I’ll leave that un-translated.
Still, I was distracted in my religious journey by the way he’d pronounced ‘SALMON’. That supposed-to-be-silent ‘L’ screaming  down Aisle Seven. Reminded me of Salman Rushdie, I thought, hurridly. And Salameh Street in Jaffa. The signs call it ‘Shlomo Street’. Nobody wants a reminder of the diseased ‘mastermind’ of the Munich Olympics, even if the street’s traditional name was Salameh. Luckily, and through a certain diligent effort, the bastard was explosively turned into sickening gobs of un-identifiable meat, blood, and bile. I know whom to thank, but we’re not allowed to publically compliment her.

     Anyway, the Revelation will not be televised: not on Revelife, that’s fer sure. I saw their name and checked out the place. “Revelry”? “Teeming with Life in all its finery“? Nope. Only ‘The Blood of the Lamb who Died on the Cross for ur sins.’  Gag me out with a spoon.
    So now it’s RAMADAN. Starting, this year in the end of August, since the Arab calendar counts the year as having, I think, 306 days. Hey, ‘mistakes were made’. A holiday named after a Holy Message received from Heaven: Rashid, urged by his Mom to blow himself up for Allah.. (oh, and 27 virgins), sent this bitter SMS shortly after arrival: “NADA, MA!   /’R’

The Revelation?
I wouldn’t trade my dear intelligent readers for up to 73 virgins. My lucky subs get all the jokes. No, and no deal either for 995 LOL-ishes’s/ -itas; One wonders what they could possibly be laughing at, given their first-grade reading level. Thanks for existing, guys.

Wu: I think you’ve  offended three(3) montheistic religions here.
Me: Not to worry, the polytheistics can still read me without sun-glasses.
Wu: No more virgins for you, kid.
Me: Well, Wu, they’re over-rated, I’d say. Only one I ever really enjoyed schtupping was the Virgin Mary, and she made me swear never to tell…
Wu: Whoa, boy. There’s a limit.
Me: Ok. Sorry, I meant ‘Virgin Merry-go-round’. Gotta love those squeaky-clean little horsies


Me: It’s called ‘WHISTLING IN THE DARK’, guy. All’s I’m saying is, like, if I had readers they’d be sweethearts, ok?


‘Z’: ‘Sorry guy: Last hired, first fired’.

Yes, I’ve decided to do without the letter ‘Z’. Gave it some serious thought the last few days. Final Conclusion: “Who needs him?” Really.

    Astute readers may remember my recent single-handed defence of ‘Q’s place in the alphabetic lineup, against the hordes of self-inflated xangan front-page gas-bags crying for her blood. The bumper-sticker “Save ‘Q’: She can’t do it without ‘U'” is probably what made the difference. Nowadays most of you (us?) think in catch-phrases. Still, whatever it takes….
      But scan the following list and you may agree with me: Twenty-five letters is probably enough.

1) I accuse Emile Zola of secretly plotting to self-promote this dumb letter, in connection with his ‘Mr. Dreyfus’ literary effort, but let’s move on, shall we?
2) Zorro was kind of a Zero, at least for us. My Dad was so sick of farming with horses that by the time they invented TV, we weren’t allowed to watch men-on-equines on the little tube. Or ‘shooting’ either. That left Mickey Mouse Club and little else, but we survived. Without Zorro and his ‘Z’

3) Zeno’s Paradox/ ‘Pair-of-Ducks’ (“You can’t get there from here.” has been debunked for millenia. Plus the Greeks spelled him with an ‘X’, anticipating ‘Xanga’

4) Zen? Well, I’ve had about enough of trying to clap with one hand. Dunna wanna work. Ditto for Zoroaster and Zarathustra. Speak what you will, yer time is past.

5) Zebras? They’re just striped horse-ies. Big deal. That’s why God invented paint. And cheaper for the ‘Zoos’, which will sound less condescending when renamed  “Animal Mini-habitats”. Get used to it.

6) Bizarre?=”Manifestly strange”.Bazaar?”= “Cheap shit for sale on folding tables out in the sun.” See, don’t need ‘Z’ for adjectives or bargain-hunting either.

7) Zambia, Zimbabwe? Not insurmountable. Burma’s now what? ‘Myanmar’ ?  Peking’s Beijing, Bombay’s Mumbai. Hell, even New Zealand would probably embrace ‘Enthusiasia’. Just a suggestion..

8) Zombies, lately so en vogue, turn out to be simply lovey-dovey-Haiti’s main cash-crop, created by a closely-guarded process of psychoactive Herbs (Watch out ‘H’, you’re next!) and regular night clubbing.

9) Which leaves the Zodiac. Tell me, what thinking person still believes in ass-troll-ogy? It’s been calculated that the nurse helping to pull your slippery butt from your Momma’s womb had more gravitational force than a thousand Uranuses. You were born April 17th? Great, that’s your Birthday; here’s a balloon. And CYA, ‘Z’.

Cue Theme-song:

“Hey Zeus, don’t be a fool/
Spell it ‘Jesus’, He’ll make it better…”

Zinc: Good luck galvanizing support for my demise, if you catch my sarcasm?
Me: No luck. That’s why God invented Bismuth and Antimony
Zionism: Speaking of God, you got somewhere else you’re thinking of settling us?
Me: Sure, Uganda. Turn the lights off when you leave. 

Gigahertz: Have fun without me, you clockless maniac…

Me: Ooh, that hurts, but you’ll get used to it in no time.. 

This is what? Your fifth ‘Defence-of-the-Ditty’?

Try it: You’ll like it

Read the words and feel the meter
Feed the birds and watch her rhyme
‘Cheetah’? Nope, we’ll say ‘Ant-eater’
Call-it: “Poems for Aardvarcks Killing Time“?


Someone‘s got to hold the blow-torch
High above those blankety-blanks.
I gum some dumb numb crumb from Mum, then
Blow a rhyme, (don’t sue me, thanks.)

But now we’re:

Back a-stride expressive ponies
Racing ‘e.e’ to the wire. And
on my side: aggressive cronies
Hounds like Fi-fi never tire;

They bet their biscuits, all their loot, on
‘Dogerrel’, win, place and show.
‘We’re ‘curs’, not ‘curses’, ‘mutts’, not’ mute’.
With furs for verses, in case of snow.’

So if you:

Read this far, you must agree
That ‘canine-wit’ (at least for me)
Is rightly known as ‘Man’s Best Friend’
Here, ‘Have a bone, my fans’. The End

Wu: Oy, this is what I’m getting paid to defend?
Me: A one-hand applause will do. Hide it in ‘billables’ somewhere.
Wu: “WU!”
Me: Ah so. The secret Zen-ga handshake!
: Nah. I just realized: Life is an inscrutable mix of good and bad…

Me: Poetry?
Wu: I didn’t say that.
Me: No further questions. Spot of rice tea, Wu?


Wu: So, what’s on the agenda today?
Me: Don’t think we’ve met, ‘Wu’. Where’s ‘Q’
Um, she left. Started her own site. ‘Q-TIPS’. ‘Advice for the un-advised’.
Me: She doesn’t worry about copyright-infringement?
Wu: Nah, it’s a jungle out there. Plus, in an emergency she can always go with “SPIT-Q”
I wish her well. Ha, a deep well. Still, I’d recommend ‘E-TIPS’. Especially since she can be

so SPITE-full at times.
Wu: That’s why I volunteered to replace her, guy. You don’t deserve to be mocked by your own doppelgangers, I say.
Me: Thanks, yer Wu-ness. Anyway, I decided what I want for my birthday.
Wu: I got 23 shekels in my pocket; speak.
Me: Yup. One that goes forwards and backwards.
Wu: Hah. ‘So you can see where you’ve been?’
Me: Wow, that’s what my Dad said, when I was twelve and re-assembled the Farmall H’s gear-box backwards after an overhaul. It had five speeds reverse and one forward. He asked me if I had any experience ‘pushing’ a plow. I spent four more nights up in the barn with a flashlight in my mouth and fixed ‘er up. Minus the embarassment.
Wu: Good boy. See how I don’t rush to pour salt in your wounds… like dumb-ass ‘Q’. Hope her site sits there staring at ‘Add-Comments’ till she quits and comes back here with her tail between her legs
Me: Funny, I never noticed she had a tail. But then I’m so discreet. Shabbat Shalom, Adon Wu.
Wu: Gam le’chah, ou’ve’rach.

Politically correct. Factually, um, less so…

My bank’ll take yer cash, even if you’re a coon, a gook, or an old goddamn fossil. That’s the discretely-disguised message on their log-in page, which features ‘randomly’ chosen photos of ‘typical’ customers. Mouse-over the picture and you read its in-house title. They may not have intended this feature to be visible though. The hispanic kid is titled ‘young adult’, the pair of adoring old geezers: ‘mature couple’, and the obviously Asian girl: ‘young business-person’. But today I ran into an true anomaly:

mo-fo and daughter

Here we have an Afro-American man holding his sweet child, but the title calls him basically ‘Madonna and child’.   ‘a real mother of a customer’? Possibly this is part of their colour-blind-ness to gender? I should really email the bank’s Front Office. After all, they claim  to be: “Small enough to know You/ Large enough to sue yer pants off  if your balance goes negative.”
Really, how can I trust their claim that I have $48.93 in my account if they can’t tell a man from a woman?

Don’t buy a bolt from a nut: He’ll put you through the washer.

Hey, how was I supposed to know? The sign said “Harry’s Hard-ware.” I walked in, and…
Harry’s Mom, Eustacia: “Um, you did read the sign, like, carefully?”
Me: Well yeah, he did have ‘Hard-wear’ crossed out, below it, but you know, Israel, and spelling.. Sucks having no respect or familiarity with vowels.
Eustacia: “Oh, my son’s familiar with ’em, maybe too familiar. We’ve owned that place next door to my tailor shop, for twenty years next November. I just put him in charge last week, after, you know, after he got fired…”
Eustacia: “Yeah, from the ESL place in Kfar Saba. He was teaching English to Russians;  there was this little.. um.. altercation.”
: With knives? I think I read about it…
Eustacia: “Yes, it was on the news. Harry gets a bit overwrought about silent letters. He was always that way, even as a child”.
Me: Funny, all I did was ask him for a ‘Bolt’ Nothing silent there
Eustacia: “Yeah, and what did he say?”
He asked if I wanted ‘a whole bolt’ or a ‘bolt hole’.
Eustacia: “Oy. That’s my Harry. What did you tell him?”
Me: Hah. I debated, then said ‘A whole bolt’. Lesser of two evils. But then he started spitting on the floor, and said something like: “That’s a lot of fabrication, but it’s really im-material. By the way, don’t go with horizontal stripes… in your condition..”
Eustacia: “He’s like that. But you’re not fat, don’t take it to heart, son. He’s just cranky. You told him you hadn’t meant ‘cloth‘?”
Me: Sure. I started to tell him I was constructing something; he started screaming ‘Oh, a light-ning bolt then. You want that heavy or dark, or both? Tesla was an idiot. There’s wire for your dumb contraption in aisle seven.”
Eustacia: “Wow. Classic Harry. You struck back? You should pardon the expression”..
Me: Yeah, I asked himWhy’re we talking about wire? I’m building a gate.”
Eustacia: “He liked that one?”
: Not really. But at least I found the right 17 milimeter bolt, brought it to the counter, and hoped for the best.
Eustacia: “Which didn’t happen, let me guess?”
: ‘A mother knows her son,’. Yeah, he kinda went into orbit when I asked for a nut.
Eustacia“You shoulda known better. What’d he say? The doctor asked me to write this stuff down.”
: Oh, he acted like I’d been irresponsibly vague. “A wall-, chest-, pea-, vielicht eine Brazil-nut, du geshamter Bengel!” were his exact words. I had to pantomime screwing the nut on the bolt for like ten minutes till he let up. Turns out the nuts were right there by the counter. He didn’t like it when I looked at my watch: “Watching your watch, huh? tell me when you fix the language, dickhead.” he growled. His face was turning red, veins were popping out in his neck..
Eustacia: “Oy, he never takes his meds. We got all these un-opened boxes of Valium at home. I’m thinking of throwing ’em in; one with every cross-stitch kit I sell, haha.”
But Eustacia, if I may call you that, the worst part was the ‘Washer’ scene. Man, In the middle of it I was trying to remember who you call on the cell: It’s *100 for Police, right?
Eustacia: “Nu, what happened?”
All I said was ‘I’ll need a washer. He pretended to be happy, but I recognized it as, what do the professionals call it,  ‘inappropriate affect’? “Finally, a big-ticket item.” he said, menacingly. ‘A dish-washer or a clothes-washer?” I tried to pantomime putting a bolt through a washer, but as soon as I saw him take it the wrong way..
Eustacia: *blushes* “Oh boy. That’s another of his ‘issues’. Harry’s never been able to even talk to girls. After they say a few words, which he puts through his private meat-grinder, they look at their watches, you know, and move on to someone more.. more ‘easy-going’
: So he starts jumping around, asks: “You want the dryer to ‘open’ and ‘close’ too, right, asshole?” I tell him: ‘Who said anything about a close-dryer. What, for my fabric? Yeah buddy, tell you what; Give me ten yards of terry-cloth, in Almond. You think you can handle that? And a Kenmore top-loader, in beige, now that we’re on the same peige.’
Eustacia: “I’m really sorry you had to go through this, son. Tell me, what was he doing when you left?”
You really want to know?
Eustacia: “Yeah, the doctor needs to know all about the symptoms. A nice young fellow, just out of Med-school. he’s doing research at the Weitzman..”
Me: Ok. He was changing the sign to read: “Harry’s Hard? Where?” I left a twenty on the counter and told him he really ought to put his pants back on. Customer relations, you know.
Eustacia: “Oof! If his father were still alive, a’lav ha-sha’lom, it wood bee sew much easier four us. English; can’t live with it, can’t live without it.”
: I understand, Misses Hardy, really eye dew.


Give this one an ‘A’ Minus

“All about Ann: An Ann-thology”: Ann Andrews, Author, Artist, and Anthrapologist: Anchorage Associates. (2009)
Ann and an assistant arrive at an arbitrary archipelego anually. After antagonizing any and all aborigines, Andrews assess accepted apology-attitudes. Andrews also addresses abberant art as an aggression-avoidance activity. An ample addendum appears as an  after-word: Art, Angry Aleutian artists, and Accomodation.

My Score: ‘Two opposable thumbs up- An astute and accurate account’. A l t h o u g h .

The third trip, to Tasmania, titled “The ‘T’s-manian tribulations” tackles two tough topics: ‘Tactlessness, tied to the tendency to tack-on throwaway ‘T’s to the thesis’ texts. To tell the truth, the typically-trusting tribesmen tire totally, though they timidly try to ‘teach the teacher’  through tricks: trips to the tribe’s totemic tree-house. Thankfully, the tse-tse-flies thereabouts terminate the treatise-hungry  theoretician’s tutti-fruitti at this point, and she returns to her native Anchorage with renewed respect for  Margaret Mead and click languages. Happy ending, of a sort.

Q: Quite quirky, Quasimodo-breath

A: As always, accolades are appreciated.:)


Q: Looks like you got two accolades. Happy?

A: Exquisitely so! You keep hinting that with a hundred subs, I oughta get a hundred accolades. Don’t work like that, ‘Q’. Most of ’em think I write this stuff for my health, but the ones who take a second to leave a comment reveal tons about the size of their hearts. Helps me to rank-order the human race.

Q: It’s a race?

A: Oof, you’re so prosaic.