Monthly Archives: March 2012

Rubber chicken with Mr. Kissenger. Yes a dream.

     Well, maybe not everyone’s dream… Some would prefer ‘Brad Putz’, whoever, these days. But I don’t claim to write my own dreams, and this one lasted all night. And I feel a need to document it, for the amusement of Xangans everywhere.


Folding tables and paper table-cloths stretched to the dream-horizon in both directions, and I was seated directly across from, obviously, Henry Kissinger. Though not obviously to every guest, as you will see.


The Players:
Me: Most of my dreams seem to explore some emotional challenge. This one was a test of my ability to finesse the presence of a Household-Name, to his satisfaction, and that of the random crowd.
Mr. Henry Kissinger; Looking worried the whole time. I can only surmise that he was weighing the pluses of an edible meal versus the down-side of having to re-enunciate his whole historical Geschicte  to a gang of unpredictable strangers.
Son/brother: Yes, my younger brother, ‘D’ and my oldest surviving son, ‘I’ are always a confused amalgam/mess in my dreams. Even in real life, if not careful, I call them by each other’s names. No idea why. Perhaps they are both Jungian competitors for my plan to kill my Dad and mate with my Mom? Speaking of which:
Mama: Oblivious to geo-politics as always, her role was to put an acceptable chicken on the table. Along with the ‘help’, equally aloof, and for whom recognizing a key player from the world’s negotiating history was about as comprehensible as a Modem to a Duck.
And so my dream-jobs were as follows:
1) Ascertain, not in so many words, whether Son/Mom recognized the Guest. I don’t recall my skillful challenge-questions, only that it became quickly clear that, to them, the Guy was just some random ‘hairy-eyebrow’ fellow with a German accent… and a suit he probably hadn’t bought  at Sears. Onward…
2) To do my sound-asleep best to help this man, whom I genuinely respect, to feel comfortable. I think I led off with: “Probably not the first ‘Vielicht-Vogel’ (possibly-chicken?’) you’ve had the pleasure of giving eine Augenblick?” (an eye-blink‘)” Thus re-assuring him that quasi-faux-Deutch wouldn’t be a problem, in extremis. Hey, it’s a dream. Sue me.
He smiled, which was a good sign. I adjusted the pillow for the long haul.
And yes, I have No-Idea’ why I dream this stuff. I had e-mailed my brother the night before that our negotiations for a sibling division of a communal property reminded me of the Geneva disputes over the shape of the table. Perhaps that was the cue. Gehe vays?
Anyway, with all the other ear-shot guests at a loss as to what small-talk to exchange with this foreigner, I launched into a Complex Question, which I’d estimate took about two  hours, dream-time, to express. I asked the veteran diplomat across the table, while he tried to feign love for the cole-slaw, about his thoughts regarding our current ‘peace-partners’. Specifically, to what extent, (or not), they hold themselves to some ‘duh’ basic Socratic mantra, where when the facts are obviously not in their favor, they maturely admit such and accept the Truth.
Mister ‘K’ seemed to appreciate the question, but at the same time glanced side-wise before answering, Any hint of some previous expertise in the matter might telegraph to the feast-goers
that he was ‘special’.
My son gave me a ‘WTF?’ look. Ditto my Mom, for whom the Chicken, its flavour, et. al, was, hands-down, the only ‘uber-alles’ on this occasion.
Finally, he opined, conspiratorialy:
“Ja,natürlich. Sie hab’n keine Ahnung!” (‘Of course. They haven’t a clue.’)
My Mom, no stranger to German, overheard and thought only about her poultry: over-cooked/under-cooked?
All in all, I decided that I’d done my part for Peace in the Middle East for one night. It was going on 4:30 AM. A quick break, to piss, and I forgot the whole escapade. Until just now.



Henry is already on a flight to Frankfurt, or Dulles. I may learn more tomorrow night. Thanks, meanwhile, for your attention./JS/ Tel Aviv

Life on Mars: It’s not for everyone

    Astronauts are training for the mission to Mars as we speak, but take it from ‘someone in the know’, their major  worry is not ‘being there’. That part will be ‘piss-your-pants exciting’, for anyone who loves visiting new travel destinations.
    No the big problem is in-flight-boredom. Our current propulsion technologies give cabin-time estimates of over a year, spent mainly watching the planet Earth grown teenier.
And ‘Ain’t it a small world?’ jokes among the crew will only kill so many months of mute tedium.
And therefore, without much media fanfare, NASA initiated the ‘EPIC’ program about a year ago. And I am proud, if that’s the word, to be a part of it.
Short for Extreme Poetry Immersion Chamber’, I now know quite a bit more about the training module, there in the spacious compound at Huntsville. A mock-up of the crew-compartment, it is totally sound-proof, as befits the deadening silence of inter-planetary space. In fact, that was the reason they gave to fly me to their own studios to record my poetry and commentary. I’d offered to save the government money, but you know, $1000 toilet seats and all, they insisted on their perfect zero background noise.
Dick Thorenson, veteran audio engineer with the US space agency, sat me down in the booth. A Sennheiser, a wind-screen, a pair of headphones a bit more serious than my Radio shack version at home, and a cue from the console, and we were On the Air.
I finished the poems, and Dick stopped the taping for a moment to tell me to, like, ‘talk about ’em, explain ’em…’ in his words.
Talk about a compliment! I tried to kinda summarize my poetic theories in succinct sentences, but he kept waving his hand; ‘More’. And so, an hour and a half later, I’d estimate, in the middle of a particularly complex sentence, Dick finally gave me the hand-across the throat ‘Cut’ sign.
He told me to wait a second, while he opened the door to the room with the recording console and shut off the machines, waking up the Sound Engineer in the process. Groggy, the fellow gave me a thumbs-up, and I was led to the office to get a check. Three-hundred bucks + airfare, and a chance to be a small part of history. I felt like a million bucks on the flight home.



I just wish I hadn’t Googled ‘EPIC/ NASA’(!)
My verses, and even more-so, the attendant explanatory blah-blah, were chosen by a panel, according to Wiki, for their ‘soporific, mind-numbing character’ (!) I quote:
“The Module’s task is to acclimatize the personnel to repetitious, essentially meaningless noises, to attempt to explore their capacity to remain alert and functional in the face of this unavoidable aspect of inter-planetary…” I quit reading at that point, a broken man. I’m not sure I even want to cash the check. Somebody will know. Tellers will talk. My career is shot.
    Dick did email me a week or so ago, since we promised to stay in touch, that at least one astronaut-trainee, a combat veteran ex-USAF, had quit/resigned from the program as a result of my ‘significant contribution to the selection regieme.’ Yeah, they probably woke him up to tell him he wuz ‘outta there’.
“I’ll be damned if I’m gonna sit here with a digital thermometer up my ass listening to this idiot drone on about vowels!” were his last words as he collected his things and left, on his way back home to Kansas. At least that part’s not in the Wiki. Yet.


Poem 714

An over-eager ogre bought an
auger at a sale
Drank  Little-leager Lager®, watched his
logger data fail

A less-than meagre cougar got Pete
Seeger out on bail
‘An overt egret yogurt’ gets thumbs-up
in The Daily Mail

Excerpt from my commentary:
“.. and so, yeah, like, you know, with the Kiki and the Bouba, the sounds of the words, their vowels especially, have this kind of primal essence of their own. I mean, ‘Lloyd leads a load of loud, lewd lads from Leeds to Lodz’ just say it out loud, or even “Luke likes to look at the leak in the lake, but he’s out of luck; lacks the key to the lock.” And sometimes they even happen in order, AEIOU, long and short, like in
For the sake of some saki, I seek just one second
My psyche is sick, and I can’t soak my socks
There’s no succor in a sucker
So for the flavour I savour
Just fill up my sack and I’m gone
Now, I’m not sure why this should all be so intensely fascinating. The Greeks, beginning in the third century…”
ZZZZZ

Synesthesia *and* Perfect Pitch? Hey, thanks guys, for the head’s up!

     Woulda been a nice touch if someone had clued me in at an earlier age.
On the number=color thing I do remember when it became clear, finally, that I was a weirdo.
Second grade. Teacher asked what’s seven times twelve? and I answered ‘yellow ‘n-blue, of course!’ Must’ve been in a rare confident mood. Dumb looks all around. I covered my tracks with ’84’ but asked my ‘fiance’ at the time, Sandra Milligan, at recess, why the teacher was ‘being mean to me’. She tried to tactfully explain that numbers are numbers, and colors are colors, and never the twain… Whatevah, she had no idea what I was talking about.
So I dumped her. But none of the other proto-chicks showed any understanding of numbers, (and letters too, ugh!) having their god-given colors either, and so I spent my final year, 2nd grade, in the public education system an outcast, wondering if I was perhaps the Return of the Messiah I’d heard some talk about.
    P
erfect pitch was equally hard on me. My Mom probably had it to some degree, ditto her Dad. Since then I’ve learned what it is, through self-diagnosis, and now know that my first-born, too soon departed, suffered also from the curse/blessing, as does my cousin. But in those days nobody wanted to talk about it. Especially not to a little precocious kid who has colors for every note on the stupid piano. Admit something like that publicly and before you know it he’s gonna ‘think he’s smart’, which in our culture was a sin roughly equal to being a serial killer.


Flash-forward: As of 2012, I know everything  Google knows about my ailments. Kandinsky had it, as did Rimsky-Korsakov. Great, now that it’s too late to e-mail them.
And surprisingly, or not, all I really wanna know anymore is the damn mechanism for the beasts; how in the Hell does my brain count vibrations and distinguish between, say, 440 wave-crests per second and 440.5? And why is the number three light green? Yes, ever since I held up three baby fingers in front of my face at age one? It could no more be red than the sky orange, for god’s sake! So what’s the deal with that?

I’d love to hear a physics/neurology explanation of my perfect pitch and synesthesia, but in the big picture, it’s prolly more important to figure out why no one wanted to speak up, to warn me, and Beatrice, about Life in all its you-know-whats. Not that we woulda given less milk. Jus sayin…

“Bob’s having Fun!” I don’t like the sound of that…

     I was.. (Sorry, “So I wuz…“) cutting evil asparagus at 5:30 this morning. It grows here everywhere  the lazy local natives allow it to. Kills trees, makes the supposed Promised Land look like back-water Alabama in the throes of a Kudzu epidemic.
And I asked myself, out loud for effect: ‘So, what-ya doin’, sunshine?’
Had to think about it for a while. I mean, a guy asks you a serious question, deserves a serious answer, no? 
And in a flash it hit me:“I’m having fun!” I said, in the voice of a Comic-book Ad I saw once; it portrayed
‘Bob’, surrounded by nubile 50’s chicks, X-ray spec discretely perched on his imposing forehead like Warren Beatty in You’re so Vain‘.
And from the back page of the book, I was being told, not in so many words, to send my child-like life savings, $3.19 at the time, to somewhere in Texas,  and then I’d ‘have fun’, Just like Bob.
I didn’t, which is probably why my childhood was such a wash, fun-wise.

Anyway, I don’t even like the sound of the phrase, hence this post.“Fun” I get, but why ‘having’? To me, “Having” is for ‘having a stroke’, or a conniption-fit, or having the neighbors in the next trailer-home over for burgers on the Fourth, just to see if they’re as dumb as they sound.
  
And so, having turned up my nose at the expression in English, it behooves me ( if I want to be an ass about it, or a donkey) to check other languages. Surely their ‘Bob‘s have fun also, even though they do have to take courses to learn how to talk to each other about it in foreign tongues.
1) Hebrew: Strike-out. We don’t even have a progressive (‘-ing’) tense. There’s a verb for ‘enjoy’ but it sounds so formal, plus I don’t even know how to use it in the first person anymore here. ‘Fun’ we got: ‘Kef’. Kids talk about it. Nah, too juvenile. If backed into a corner, I’d tell the guy that I’m ‘ooh’say ha’eem’-ing. (‘Making a life’.) But it’s really not how I’d describe killing asparagus if I had a choice. Next.

2) German: Surely the fun-loving Aryans have a plethora of expressions? Let’s try Google:
‘Ich habe Spaß’
.’ Yeah, figgered. They’re stuck in the same rut as us in English, ‘cept their word for fun sounds like ‘Bob’ but with a Swedish-chef ‘sh’ tacked on. Pass. (Oh, the ‘B’ is an ‘SS’? Well, too late, sauer-kraut…
3) French:
Je m’amuse Ha. ‘I’m amusing myself.’ Sorry, sounds vaguely masturbatory. Auf wiedersehen,Froggie-breath.

4) Spanish: Google claims Me estoy divirtiendo. Somehow I never heard a native speaker say that. Must be a diversionary tactic. I’m sure someone here can tell me what real Latinos say when they’re having some kind of fun.

5) And finally, from left field, some unknown language, chosen to add diversity to this post. Lets’ see… hmm.. ok, Polish, why not?:
Jestem zabicie szparagi
OMG! I looked at this phrase and felt an electric shock of kinship, as if perhaps somewhere in my lineage a smiling Polish bride, complete with a retinue of well-wishers shusshing the flies off her bodice, was telling me from beyond the grave; ‘Paisano! You are one of us.
So Polish, thank the loving gods.
All in all it was a a productive experience; this Q & A before dawn. Some questions apparently can only be answered in a language which embraces the the essential human thrill of … well.. killing asparagus. Perhaps at first as a metaphor, but over time, solidly entrenched as standard vocabulary.
Ok, back to Herbicide.

Dear Beth: Thanks for the peas♥. (Sorry about the Ads!)

     My Dear Beth: {sp? Venison, the Natural Protein.org}

     I want to thank you… {Hallmark Cards.com}
for the, (ok, let’s call em the ‘small round objects’)… (Nice try, Sherlock. all_Seeds.com./ geometry_online 4 Idiots.co.ru}
…which you sent me. {Fed-Ex: the Logistical Solution}
I looked carefully this morning… {Optica:_4_ur_I’s}
…and it appears that 99% of them… {occupy_Wall_Street.org Join the fight!}
…have already raised their little heads above the surface. {micro_cephliacs_anonymous.org}
This was such a sweet thing you did for me. {‘Saccharine, the modern sweetener!’}
Truly, God seems to be blessing our little endeavor here in the Holy Land. {Oy! Get Right with God.com/ Israel in Biblical Prophesy: the Truth!/ See following page for much more…}
Perhaps I should not have  had any doubts… {U2- ‘Losing my Religion’ click here for free download}
…but lately, everything I do seems to backfire. {Chilton Auto manuals: click on your make ‘n model for price!}
At any rate… {digital Sensors.com velocity/throughput, we have it!}
…I couldn’t have done it without your help. {‘Seven Steps to a More confident You}
And so when I get a chance… {Round_to_it.com: Jokes direct to your Inbox}
…I will send you a photo… {No file attached! Send anyway? Ok?/ Cancel?}
…of the progress… {‘Pilgrim’s Progress’ @ Amazon.com/ ‘Progress #9’, when you seriously need a Pea!}
…of my green garden. {Sustainability.org}
Just don’t pay attention… {‘A-D-D’.org We are here for you. Remember?}
…to all the weeds. {NORML.org
Yours truly, {Find Ur Tru_luv @ Carbon14_date.com
Yonatan Solberg {RootsWeb.comSearch your ancestors. Free!}

A new high, or low, at Gmail

     Yes of course they read your letters while you type them. We knew this.
Write ‘How now, brown cow?’ and you get ads for ‘Artificial Inseminators Near You! even before you hit ‘Send.’
But now it just got better. Or worse? Yes, I’m taking a ‘poll’. (Cue illiterate ‘poll-dancer’s‘ ads. Uh-huh, with the extraneous apostrophe. GIGO, as they say.)


See, I just wrote a short note to my friend/rental supervisor, and mentioned that I was ‘sending him a file.’
I hit ‘Send’ having blithely forgotten to attach the thing. And Google came creepily to my Rescue with this pop-up, a new one for me at least. Take a look:

The Reader needs to know that I routinely forget to attach the file I’ve just talked about. Half of my out-going messages start: ‘Oops, forgot to send the file, duh. But now, luckily, it shall never happen again. Neither will my cattle go un-bred, nor my poles be unadorned by topless dancers with bottomless whatevahs. Thanks, Google.


So you’re probably already asking “What’s next?”
Well yes, I do have a few more that I’ve heard are ready to be launched as we speak…

1) Let’s say you write: “I’ll tell you the story about my Mom and her new  gay Armenian lover in a second, but first:  Hasn’t it been warm lately, blah blah blah…?” Then try to send that without spilling all the gory details to your BFF. You’ll get THIS:

2) You begin a letter:
‘Dear PP&L, my trusted, caring partner serving my residential electricity needs for over 70 years:
Go fuck yourselves, and stick your incomprehensible on-line statements back up your ass where they came from!’

You can try to hit Send, but Google is there on duty. This pop-up reminds you not to send mixed messages, I guess:

3) And finally, as @blonde_apocalypse found out, (or will, after Xanga starts with the ‘smarter than y’all’ snooping over the shoulder), don’t expect to write THIS, without consequences:
“So anyway, I bought a book in the airport at Tel Aviv before a flight to the States. Three years later(!) when we finally landed, I’d finished the dumb thing seven times, the guy in the next seat had grown a beard, and my little daughter, born somewhere over Cyprus, was entertaining the passengers with Shirley Temple imitations.”
Google, partnered with Xanga, to the rescue:

There ya go. Brave New World, isn’t it.


Oops, forgot to add the pix. Thanks Goo-goo.


WU: So that’s what it was. I thought it was a virus, got a blizard of pop-ups!
Me: Whadya write, Wu?
WU: I wuz breaking up with my girl. Typed:  “My dear loving sweetheart! I’m attaching a picture of our cute little pussy-cat, but first I wanna tell you an amazing story about what happened this morning on the bus. Well, under the bus. You probably wouldn’t get the joke. In fact, now that I think of it, I’m pretty damn sick of you and your dumb-ass cat. I been feeding the thing for like, 150 years and do you ever thank me? I hate you, tell the truth. P.S: your cat is dead.”
Me: Yeah, you hit em all there, buddy. Sorry about that. At least you got the
dating-site ads now, right on the page.

Five Pleasantries you meet on the way to the Super

File under: Berlitz/Hebrew/Greetings/Whassup?
     On a day like this, 80 degrees (F)outside  after freezing rain for three weeks everyone here is seemingly in  Muy-convivial Mode. Even on a normal day I can’t get to the Supermarket without acknowledging at least a half dozen townspeople, but today was over-the-top to a blog-worthy degree. A hidden camera-man following my progress would have asked himself whether this show of stereotypical Our-Town camaraderie was staged: I mean, the Mayor, the Postman, the Doctor, the Plumber, the Guest-worker, the Drug dealer, and the Rabbi all within five blocks? C’mon, nobody lives like that anymore? Or do they? Well yes, in a small-town Berlitz Paradise like mine  we keep the 50s B&W TV cliche alive with a vengeance.
Let’s get to the fun part: Essential Israeli Pleasantries.


1) The Doctor:Haim Kupperman, mid 30s, his eyes radiating practiced concern but also a weariness probably acquired during 30-hour shifts during internship, crosses the street from the local Clinic. His choice is the standard: ‘Mah shlom’kha?” Literally, ‘What is your state of peace?’ Generic, but, like a medium-grey pants-suit, always appropriate. I respond by pretending to check my pulse, then answering, ‘Na’chon le’ach’shav, be’seder.’ (‘So far, so good’, roughly. He smiles and hurries off to his destination, and I to mine, only to see the Mayor strolling towards me:

2) The Mayor: His Honor, Itzhak Golbari always relates to me as if I were his only citizen, towns-person, voter(?). They probably learn that in courses. Still, it’s hard not to feel knee-jerk flattered. I decide to out-Carnegie the guy and prepare a quick treat of my own. As soon as he’s within ear-shot I gush “Walla, ha’bibi, yesh le’cha kha’tikhat avodah po!” (‘Hey, my man, you got a serious piece of work here!’) and point to an obvious crack in the sidewalk. He laughs and shrugs: ‘Atah mas’bir LI?’ (‘You’re telling me?’) and lets it go at that. Both of us know that his real problem isn’t concrete infrastructure, it’s the local wanna-be mafias, against whom he needed 24-hour armed guards for the first two years of his ‘cadenza’, as we call an ‘administration’. I worked actively for his opponent, the incumbent Ezra Levi. Perhaps no one’s mentioned that to him. Anyway, it’s a democracy, and this guy won.

3) The Plumber: Called an ‘installer’ in Hebrew, which I always felt was unforgivably ‘duh’, like yeah, but what do you ‘install? Until I remembered that ‘Plumber’ in English is every bit as far-fetched, based as it is on the Latin word for ‘lead’. I don’t even know this guy’s first name. I see him at the hardware store all the time, looking haggard, be-draggled, and frezzed-out. Spell-check doesn’t like those adjectives. Yeah, I just made ’em up, but they fit, sue me. His greeting is the slightly out-of-fashion ‘Mah in’ya’nim?’ (‘What are the issues?’) He looks too busy for a rigorous answer, and in fact, the question is manifestly rhetorical. Once upon a time I didn’t ‘get’ that. I’d hear the question and start laying out the ‘concerns of the day’, counting on my fingers for the supposedly-curious interrogator. Usually got to, like, the middle finger before the guy made it plain that he wasn’t exactly taking notes. So the Plumber received a nice non-committal ‘eeh, be’seder.’ (‘Fine’). He seemed relieved to hear that. The Rabbi was closing in rapidly behind him, and both of us, working as we do on Shabbat, wanted to get moving. But I never seem to get lucky:
4) The Rabbi: Dressed in what I un-charitably view as an absurd period costume from a Polish stetl, broad furry hat and polyester-gabardine suit over I can only guess three layers of ritual garments, is an impressive figure. Hails from the same little Romanian town as a good friend of mine; we converse in a mixture of languages, old and new. Today it’s all business, Hebrew: “Mah Hadash?” (‘What’s new?’) Of course I immediately wrack my memory to bring up the Jewish Calendar: What religious chore which I’ve been chosen to do for this clown is pending. Every year  before Yom Kippur I have to take off all the plastic sheeting from his porch roof, so that on Succoth, when he makes the porch into a Succah, God (sorry, ‘G-D’) doesn’t have to speak to him from the Heavens through a half-millimeter of poly-carbonate. It’s all in the Torah somewhere. I don’t even protest anymore Anyway, realizing that I am provisionally faultless, us having weathered Purim last week and facing a dry-spell holiday-wise, I answer: ‘Ain ha’dash takhat ha-shemesh.’ (‘Nothing new under the sun’. which is from Ecclesiastes or somewhere. I get one point, and keep walking. Lasagna beckons. Ground beef, three kinds of cheese. If he knew he’d start to pile up stones in the town square.
5) Drug Dealer: Finally, someone normal. His job kinda entails being painfully ‘hep to the jive’, up to date on the de rigeur greeting, and I await today’s version.
“Ah’lan!”. Arabic. Most of our ‘streety’ slang is from Arabic these days. This one’s a couple years old, but, I’m pleased to hear, still en vogue. I answer ironically: ‘Wa’sah’lan’. Why ironic? Well today, on the news, the Gazans, our peace partners, seem to be similarly enthralled by the warm weather, and they’ve been doing what they do for fun, set up the cheap rocket launchers. Try to kill a few women or children. Extra points for both. Usually they miss. Then the Apaches with today’s technology take ’em out. There’s virgins in this for the ‘martyrs’. So no worry. Anyway, you don’t hear Arabic without thinking about our lovely neighbors. He turns off the street into an abandoned orange orchard. Don’t ask, don’t tell.

     Yes, there were more. The checkout girl… then a lady I just finished a roof for…and then  the Dentist, whom I greeted without opening my mouth too widely and  risking showing him my new teeth. He’s too expensive for me, so I went with a marvelous Arab guy in the next town. On visits we communicate mainly in standard German. And as expected, the ‘Deutsch’ ‘Whassup?’ salutations mirror Hebrew: ‘What’s new?, ‘What’s happening?’, ‘How’s it going?’
Nothing’s new under the sun… And now,cart in hand, I leave y’all. The security guard recognizes me and waves me in with a ‘Yo!’ One of his two words in English. I give him a thumbs-up and a ‘Sup?’ Big smile. Whatever works.

I HAZ SEEDZ!! Beth, Blessed be thy name among women! Amen. (Oh, and God bless Brad, too.)

     I sang long and loud when the package arrived. 2000 sweet peas, among other included gifts. The local dealers here sell peas, (which may or may not germinate,) for 20 cents apiece! I wish I were making that up, but I’m not. Two dollars for a pack of 10 peas: you do the math, in English or in Hebrew. Sucks to be stuck here if you don’t have a beautiful friend like Beth.

Ok, she done a nice thing. But you expected no less from our Xanga Heroine.
And so this post has to be about
Brad. Yeah, I mentioned him in the Title.
You have to understand that I’d completely given up on the seeds’ arriving. Six weeks had gone  by since Beth put them lovingly in the mail. My albeit meagre data-base for shipping-times had entries for ‘letter: 6 days’, and ‘package: 2 weeks’. After a month, the only question was what had gone wrong? A zealous postal-worker throwing them in the trash was the most likely scenario.

For one of two reasons:
1) The Israeli government’s desire to keep us safe from ‘invasive species’. (*muffled guffaw*)
Or, more likely:
2) Laws enacted to protect Israeli seed companies, and to ensure that the average yid will just
give up in disgust whenever he has the urge to create a backyard garden, thereby increasing the
profitability of the monopolistic vegetable marketeers.

    At any rate, I wasn’t expecting a Guest.
 
Innocently pruning broccoli near the chicken-house, I heard the guy’s voice: ‘Solberg?…”Yonatan?’ and of course flipped out. Hid behind the coop and peered
through the screen. See, anyone here who approaches you knowing your name can only be Trouble. Income Tax, Value-added tax, Municipal Enforcement, you don’t need much of an imagination. But this fellow, what I saw of him. looked ‘different’. Jeezuz, the muscles. I decided to take a chance.
“Ken. Ech l’azor ‘e’khah?” (‘Yes, how can I help you?’ I asked in Hebrew.
“Shalo-o-om” the guy said, drawing out the ‘O’ as only a non-native speaker does.
“Heyya, buddy.” I said then, warming up, and signaling that we can use a ‘normal’ language.
“Got something for you here.” he said, relieved, and handed me the package. I knew at once what it was, and felt a joy denied me since… since I fell off my bike two months ago.
“Oh my God, I can’t believe it!” I told him. He looked so tired, fatigued, and exhausted; I hoped my enthusiasm would cheer him up and motioned for him to have a seat, remembering suddenly, like any 3rd-rate robot that humans-of-class often offer hospitality to guests. He sat himself down with a move that looked for all the world as if it were the first time in a month.
And of course, as we talked, it turned out that this perception was not entirely unfounded.
Brad in fact was a contract-worker for, no, not the Israeli government but the United States Postal Service(!) Grew up in Towson , Maryland, a second-year student in Anthropology at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA, he was working for the P.O. on the side to help with tuition.
“So,, they do the hand-off in Haifa?” I asked, trying as usual to pretend I knew more than I do about people’s jobs.
“No, Lancaster. The Atlantic leg started in Philly. same day.”
I had no idea what he was talking about.
“The Atlantic leg?” was all I could come up with.
“Yeah, to the Azores. Most of us stop there a day or so, you know, to rest up.”
“Rest up for what?” I asked, still not grasping  what I was hearing.
“For the hop to Gibraltar and the trans-Mediterranean run. Ok, I hung out in Ibiza awhile this trip. Sorry. I just felt I needed the break. We can take it off the bill, Yonatan.” Brad said, drinking my sad-sack coffee with real or feigned gusto.
“Wait a minute, Brad.” I interrupted, not used to being this in the dark, “You’re saying there’s a flexible flight connection there?” It seemed odd that my package of seeds would rate a personal courier, but I really wanted to hear the details.
“Flight? I swam, Solberg. You didn’t get that?”
I took a long time to ponder what I was hearing. ‘Swam’. Yes, that word in English usually does mean a guy, in the water, moving his arms and legs such as to stay afloat and even move forward. So yeah, ‘swim’. The guy swam. Right. I decided to like totally suspend disbelief. Whatever, I already had Beth’s seeds in my hot little hand.
“So, how was the Med-leg?” I asked, feeling disconcertingly like a counselor asking a troubled kid about his imaginary rabbit friend.
“Well, I had some trouble with the damn GPS around Cyprus. Battery wouldn’t stay connected. I used the rubber-band from the package in my hat to keep the dumb thing alive. Then I almost lost the payload coming into Haifa harbor.”
I felt, let’s call it ‘odd’. But the story, (and other details I shan’t reveal here), checked out. Still, it was a stretch. I had a few more questions:
“So from Haifa to here, how’d that go?”
Brad looked sheepish all of a sudden, and finally admitted:
“I took a bus.”
“Don’t blame you, guy. you musta been beat.”
“Yeah. Even though it felt like Rosie at the Marathon. Plus my time wasn’t ‘bad’, but it wasn’t major-league anyway. Thirty-nine days, eighteen hours to Haifa dock. My training pace shoulda put me here in 38, but I had heavy sea-ice off Greenland.”
“Sea-ice?” I asked, dumbfounded. “Why such a northern route?”
“It a great-circle. Lotta people don’t get that. Airlines fly the route every day, and for a good reason. It’s lots shorter, even though intuitively you’d think to just cut a ‘straight’ line across the Atlantic, on a map, you know.”
I was obviously dealing with a seasoned professional in the Int’l delivery business.
“And all this for eighteen bucks?” I asked him, feeling like an ass for mentioning it.
“Well, $17.89, actually, but the USPS takes ten percent.”
“A shame” I offered, not knowing what else to say. Brad looked like he was anxious to get moving.
“Got a Caribbean run next week. Wish I could stay here longer.”, he got up and stretched a bit.

I took an envious look at my courier. I mentioned muscles? Yeah, he has ’em in places I don’t
even have places. But I guess that’s his job.
“Good luck in school.” I told him when I left him out of the car at Netanya beach. The sea was calm, sun setting almost due west.
“You know the way?” I asked, sorta as a joke.
“Sure thing, buddy. Keep Venus five degrees to the left off your tail and you can’t miss.”
What a guy!

Opening Night Shenanigans in ‘Absentia: The musical’

Looks like ‘Ab’ sent ya a letter,” the mailman intoned, “…is he really in Absentia?
Yeah“, I told the type-cast Nosy Clerk. “He’s covering the elections; the Absentees fill out their ballots this week.(So far, so good…)
Cause I was there once.” he adds. Uh-oh.
Are you sure? It’s just a made up place, ya’ know. A little joke from my blog site.Here, let me sing about it:” I say, trying to steer the show back onto the paved road.
Oy, I only wish it  were! I was actually there. Had just an awful time.
    People were starting to gather around, on cue, there in the mock-up Post Office. This happens in musicals, when the cast knows there’s a song being cued up by frantic Orchestrians. Or ‘Chestrians’, whatevah…
“See, I was looking for Hope Springs…” he continues, to the over-rapt audience  and to me in specific. Yeah, ‘Specific Groves’, that’s was show’s fictional ‘Our Town’ . But I digress, which was not the Director’s wont.
“…for what seemed like an eternity. Finally stopped in some knee-jerk, jerk-water hamlet and asked a guy for directions.”
“Do go on.” I told the mailman, (as if I had any choice?)  Scenery-chewer!
“Yeah, nu, so what did the guy say?” asks a lady behind me with a kid in a stroller. It was hopeless.
“Well, I think he was the Mayor. Or the King or something. I mean, he had at least two teeth.” says the Postman, on a roll.
“In the Land of the Teeth-less, the Snaggle-tooth is King.” pronounces the guy on my left. That wasn’t in the script either.
“Just like in the Republican primaries…” added a wise-guy from the back. The drummer’s rim-shot only added fuel to the guy’s fire.
“So I says to him, I says, ‘Looks like I’m here in error’, an’ all he does is shake his head and grunt ‘Nope, Error’s up the road an’ then a left’.”
‘But I looked for a sign back at the last junction…’, I protested.” the Mailman drew out the tale.
“‘In Vain?'” the Mayor asks me.
“Yeah, there weren’t no signposts. What’s with you people and directions? Can’t get a straight answer.’ I tell him.”
“Try asking in Earnest?” the Mayor offered, and I took him up on it:
” Ok, your Mayoralty, I’m sincerely lost, and I entreat you to see it in your heart to help me find my way to Hope Springs.”
‘Can’t get there from here.’ was all that dental cripple could say, and I was about to give up.”, the mailman was on a roll with his impromptu tu-tu.
“But then what happened?” came a chorus from the riveted cast of extras in unison. Small ‘U’. The band was meanwhile vamping on an Ab7th chord, trying to professionally finesse this obvious ad-lib ‘excursion’. I mean, the Mailman wasn’t even a goddamn speaking part in the libretto. He was just in there as a tool to prompt my show-stopping ‘Oklahoma’ rip-off aria: ‘Hope….it springs etern’ly like the dew on the flowers in the spring…’ (I didn’t write the song, by the way.)

  I made a command decision: The show must go on. But not necessarily ‘on and on’. I turned around, all the better to hear the roar of the grease-paint, the smell of the crowd and loudly declaimed:
“Well, Mister Postman-wanna-be-a-star here found another luckless pedestrian, who explained:
“You just keep on driving about five miles, get to the cul de sac, ok?”
‘That’d be my Wit’s End, right?‘ he asks.”
“Yup, and then look to your left, there on the hill. Three towns, you can see ’em from the road. The middle one’ll be yer Hope Springs. It’s above Reproach but below the ‘Radar-enabled Digital Gated communities for the Disabled’.”
“‘Gee thanks. So where am I now? he asks the fellow, getting back in his car.” I continued the song lead-in, giving the maverick Mailman a look which screamed: ‘You’ll never work in this town again!’

“Yeah, where indeed?” the cast found their spots on the stage, finally sensing progress.
‘In Absentia. Now get outa-heah, before they come looking for ‘ya.’ were his last words.” I concluded the spurious saga, nodding to the piano player, who rolled an Eb7 and breathed a sigh of relief.


Wu: Roll credits?
Me: Ok, Greg  @MelFamy for the Concept, Jeff  @doahsdeer for the Groucho clip, and ??? @Kellsbella for the showbiz memories.
Wu: Takes a Village, huh?
Me: Yup, Xanga-ville. Where we strut and puff and the Play’s the Thing.

Why I’ll never read you’re Front Page post

   “So I wuz scanning the 100 Front Page ‘suitors for my attention’ and…”


CUT!!
‘What’s with the “So I wuz..”? You just blew any points your ‘suitors’ metaphor might have bought. With me at least.”

“Um, it’s what you say when you’re in the middle of a story, no?”

“But it’s the first line of your rant. If that’s the ‘middle’ of the story’, where wuz the beginning, silly kitten?”

“Dunno, the device just makes me feel, like, ‘chatty’.”

“Well, chat your way off into the sunset, and take your device with you. Next:”



“So I had the TV on last night and Flubber, you know how he likes to fart on the couch, and I’m like…”


CUT!!
“Again with the ‘So’?” And how did the TV fit you? And no, we don’t know who Flubsy is, whatever, and no, we don’t even start to care. And if you think Xanga was invented so you could enliven the world with tales of flatulent dogs, you were somehow deluded.”



“So I was reading the paper and their saying less people where watch’s these days. What does everybody think about that?”



CUT!!
“I think it’s a goddamn shame and  it makes them less of a person, but until you lern to right gud, you won’t here it from me; not hear at least.”


“So 2000 Friends!! 20 Comments and 10 Rec’s till the next post. OK Guys…”


CUT!!
“No, not OK, with this Guy. Ever thought much about like, content? Or is Xanga some vapid coupon-swap party for you people?”



“But wait till you see my next Huge Update. 1000 new Quotes. Fabulous!”


CUT!!
“So you’re the parasite spending his/her life like a second-rate dung beetle, rolling other people’s phrases into balls? Try this: Stand in front of a mirror, say something all your own,
other than ROFL OMG! and then quote that. Preferably to your gaseous dog.”



“So there’s this lame Xangan, you all know who I mean, going around and saying sh*t about me and I can prove it! here’s the Links!!”


CUT!!
“Yes, I hate him for that. And I hate you for bumming me the f*ck out with the whole tired story, and yeah, ‘you go, Zero!’ The world just became that much more hateful.
And it’s ‘Lynx’, duh. Here’s a link to Wiki, if you ever get a life.”


“193.9!! I f*cking hate my stupid fat f*cking self. Intake: 2 oz. prunes. TofU 3 gm. Binged on distilled water and…”


CUT!! ‘
“Problem as I see it is not Too much food. More like Too much information. I’ll Msg you if I ever need to prop a door open in a high wind.”



“Allistair Evangelina Hupmobille: Age 21 Slytherino from London, Britian. Bi, loves..”


CUT!! The world has enough problems with flesh and blood gargoyles. Go role-play in heavy traffic. Or volunteer for the Peace Corps.”



“So Hi. I’m just getting started on Xanga. Give me a buzz if you have any ideas what to post about..”


“You’re off to a good start. Tell us what y’all had for breakfast…and if it stayed down. You’ll be back on Featured Content again in no time. Especially if it didn’t.”




“So whose left?”
Whose left what??” Shoe? Hand? Oh.. ‘who’s left?’? Um… just the folks I’m already subbed to, I guess. At least there’s that ray of sunlight in the muck.