Thursday, November 29, 2007

Quoth The Spaniel, Buy a Ford!

Sam Marley here. Does anyone remember trying to figure out just what Mad Magazine was all about?  Today, as I was painting my front door red ––I do this each year on the 29th off November––and I don't want to talk about it, my inner Hi Fi system, you know the one that plays the songs that get stuck in your head, started reciting a famous poem by Baltimore's own Edgar A. Poe.  Before I talk about that, I'd like to mention that I have a real issue with people whose last names fit what they do too closely.  Like I knew a Doctor Foot who did feet, and there is a well know guitarist in Germany called Peter Finger and there was a baseball pitcher called Raleigh Fingers.  So you got Poe and he is a poet and I think that's just creepy and I'm painting the door at the bodega here and my inner HI FI doing The Raven, by Poe.  We this wakes up an old Mad  bit where they get this talking spaniel shows up at an ad agency on Madison Avenue (of course) and starts giving sales pitches in perfect voice without sounding the least bid bored or insincere.  The joke is the story is told in rhyme like the "Raven" except instead or saying "Never more" the dog rhymes  "insincere" with "Drink Schlitz Beer" and "slightly bored" with "by a Ford"  and there was one where he says "Eat Kraft Cheese" but I can't remember the rhyme.  I don't even remember what happened in the gag.  Like I was saying it was kind of hard to figure Mad Magazine out and it wasn't until many years later when I came to be working at a studio in NYC and chanced to spend a few days with a friend's parents out on Long Island that I got the joke.  It was about Jewish people who lived on Long Island and worked in the city.  Gentiles as well  But all those comics by Dave Berg were spot on.  Of course, I could have lived on the Don Martin cartoons  with those crazy looking guys whose feet would bend when they walked.  I can still go hysterical at the thought of some of those.  Go here and click on "the don martin shrine"  You might think its funny.

Me, I am going into the inside outside bodega and read a book.  Take care.


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Time Bomb Tomas

Got a paper letter yesterday from a fellow called Steve representing a "Bank" that was more than willing to loan me $3000 in cash if I would consent to repay the loan or "nut" at the rate of $284 per month each month for two years. Now the interest or "Vig" as I believe it is called in the loan shark business works out to a 96% APR.  A person in big financial trouble might easily read that as 9.6% because there are laws against charging folks over 100% interest on a loan which, if you do your sums, you will see that you will pay Steves bank $6816 in return for the use of using his 3k for two years or about $9.30 each and every day.  Talk about putting your money to work for you.  Well I got to say that I saw Red (as in Communism) and I'm going to do something about it as soon as I figure where T-Time has hidden that paperwork.  She is a good care taker and does not wish to see me explode. 

We don't have a traditional thanksgiving here in Panama.  Instead it is called Retribution Thursday or Danger Day, and basically if you are Spanish, Los Indios will try to kill you and if you are from Estados Unitos everyone will try for a piece.  The best thing would be stay inside and devise games of martial skill using turkey parts.  That's the deal.

My resolution for this coming year is to find this criminal bank and fuck them up.  You want to help?  Fine.


Monday, November 19, 2007

Turn your radio on.

That's right folks.  In the approaching darkness of the dark hours and minutes that will soon blanket the great Canadian Prairies in the all night of winter there will be a sparky little spark floating in the windy ether of Manatoba. What do you mean Texino? ask the small but important group of full fledged citizens who make up the blog readers of the blog.  Well here's the scoop gang.  Texino, that's me, is appearing on a radio broadcast aimed at your ears every Tuesday at 11 AM on CKUW  Real Music-Real Ideas- Real people (+Texino) : 95.5 on your FM dial or www.ckuw.caon the internet.   The show is titled "Chicken Fried Lunch" with your host William W. Western and he plays some decent music as well.  This week I will be discussing the disgraced dinning society, The Cannibals O' The Glen and we will listen to their pipe band play the 1967 hit "Downtown." Next week? I don't know.  Possibly a thing to do with bears.  Tune in and see.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Down the down stairs

Do you realize that all your life you are climbing some kind of step.  You make it to a landing and it may be a while before you have go up another; you know, a lot to learn before the next level.  I guess some people sprint up life's stairs while others take their time and look around, but if your mind is sound, you will probably end up at the same level as your peer group and be swimming along with the general flow exchanging the latest strokes and slick moves and happening ideas with your schoolmates as it were.  It's a big class so the dropouts are not missed and to stretch the fish metaphor just bit longer there will come a time where you can't overlook the fact that some folks are just getting the hook and being yanked right out of the world you know.

Well when we reach an age where we can't overlook the sudden disappearances, we have to step away from the mad stream of life and find a comfortable level where we can relax, regain some leftover vim and come to grips with the fact that the worm has turned.  Step down a floor or two maybe?  It should be easy, after all we climbed all these yearly steps, even having the audacity to skip one or two back in the early years and whether we knew it or not, we had a great deal of support while climbing.  You really don't hear of someone falling up or off the stairs do you?  No, you don't.  What you may come to know the hard way, if you are not a careful stepper, is when you start to fail, as it were, you may find that you have climbed higher than you realized and getting yourself down to a reasonable point in life may require some help.  Help?  Well yes, because maybe your mind's eye has tricked you into believing it's just an easy step down to safety when it is not such a thing at all.  Now here is the rub.  Who you going to call?  You would hope to have younger friends who can still scamper up and down these little levels of conscious comfort and maybe give you a hand over a rough spot.  But heck, that's not always going to be the case.  Hardly seems a lot to ask really, only looking for a hand to hold or a shoulder to touch. These people make the trip all the time, so what's the big deal?  Age is the big deal. You are done to a turn and now you are on your own.  You are heading into that decline and for all our lives we have watched the old people bump and bruise themselves down into the misty gray until they become a fog  bound island with a beach head of musty possessions.  They continue to rise with the tide and dress in the dawn and wait for whatever it is that calls out to them at the end and hopefully, by that time, is just a few small strokes from shore.  If you turn that corner and get bushwhacked by some old age type illness or situation whatever, all you can do is watch your step and get a strong stick.  Some will have friends and family.  Some won't. Not the most pleasant observation, but it's a solid call and if you want to keep it from turning out wrong for you, get to work on building a small fort, gather up some food and make some friends. When I say "make" I'm probably talking about a different type of "friend" than you have.  I kind of "roll my own", as it were.  There is no lack of lightning here and the grave yards never close. (hint hint)  Can you hear me now?    Good.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Monday, November 12, 2007

Dead Men Walking

The woman thought of The Four Horsemen, she had met War;
a fat man with an inappropriate sense of humor, tended to repeat himself...Terry Pratchett

On my way home from Russia I stopped down in the Fat Alley to see Sam.  Baltimore's on the way home from just about any place, so its an easy stop for a day or two.  Plus if you happen to have a buddy who owns an open air bodega and news kiosk thats
much larger on the inside than is possibly possible, something cool is bound to come up.  Well usually.  Today, however is the day after the famous "11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month" when we celebrate the end of the War to end all of the wars.  Well that 11th hour was way back in 1918 which when we do our sums, comes out at 90 years ago, so you can sort of figure
the average "Dough Boy" doing his part and all that, may well have come 'round on the big wheel and be doing it again.  It's a bit of a tug for a guy like myself you see, as there were quite a goodly number of those WWI Veterans  marching around in my 
childhood and it was not too far since the last Rebel had been laid to rest and no doubt there were still a few Yankees and former Slaves posted around as well.  Yeah, that World War surely could have been the last one if people had any sense at all.  Of course people do not have the sense the God gave a goose bump, so they keep at this war thing like it was a game and could be won in some honorable way.  Well that's about the farthest from the truth that can be gotten and still be on the same planet.  If you look at the way that wars are fought  in a modern sense, your going to see that the same mistakes are made over and over again by arrogant general officers who are by and large clueless about how to prosecute a fight with the weapons at hand.  Take your WWI.  The British had a really cool machine gun called a Vickers but it was not very good in an attack and since the English Generals had decided that infantry charges were "the thing" they only give out like two vickers guns per battalion and they kept them behind the lines in a pure defensive position.  OK?  Well the Germans decided that since the Brits were so all fired hot to charge across no man's land; "Follow me boys over the top" and all that, they put a lot of machine guns out in front of their trenches and when ever the Brits or French or the Americans went "over the top" they calmly shot the shit right out of them. Time after time after time until there was not a single family in the english aristocracy who did not lose an heir in that war.  Not one. And they might still be fighting if not for #1 the invention of the Tank and #2 the invention of that inexhaustible alliance of money and manpower, the USA.   That second situation was so unbelievable to the bad guys on the Continent, that they just had to try it out again in 1941 with the same results.   Of course this gave the US the mistaken idea that "They" could go out and win wars on their own and we all know what happened then.  Or, I should say, maybe we do now.  If you look at the picture I have put up, you will see a pretty extreme show of foolishness.  Those boys walking through that "portal" are  getting ready to go home from Vietnam.  I know this because I walked through that same gate twice. Of course my "two tours" worked out to a year and a half.  Something a lot of Vietnam guys forget to mention is the second tour or extension was six months and for a guy like me who was not out in the field fighting for his life day after day, it was better than finishing my obligation in some stateside soldier town  where every crook saw you coming before you left your rack.   Can't say that my part of the war was all cake but guys had it worse, lots worse.  What I mean about the "foolishness" is these kids did 11 -13 months in country and then went back to the "world."  There was stuff for them to do but they felt funny because the war had made so little sense and you were there and then back on the block with half the people you came up with giving you the evil eye and you starting to get the notion that you may have done something too wrong to make right.  It's like while you were gone, someone came around and took all the 45 rpm records and melted them into those plastic M16 rifles you used, or something like that because those singles sure as hell went some place and got exchanged for LPs with Arty covers and songs that fit together so well that people would just lie around on the floor like pieces of a big puzzle and just become one with the music.  I could see the attraction, but they obviously couldn't see the danger in grouping up like that in the dark; hell a kid with a grenade could just...   Well they couldn't and we could, and even if we hadn't seen the worst we knew someone who had, so we became the universal Vet.  An army of Michael Moore looking fellows in patched up uniforms with funny hats.  See my picture up there?  Those are soldiers in Vietnam.  You see any "Vets" dress like that?  Those boys may have killed some guys a few days ago but you know what they are thinking about?  You really want to know?  OK. They are thinking about soft white bread in the form of a hamburger roll and maybe a stack of 45s  playing on a teal and white record player sitting on the redwood picnic table out on the patio, and "the kids" hanging out  just like--just like before they went away.  Was it this time last year?   What month is it in Virginia anyway?   Those poor fuckers, once they get through that portal it's too late to get shot and they never lost a plane.   In the moment those boys are so happy, but that portal is a phony as a Vegas Wedding and that is so sad for as much as I know and with all the power of my years, I can't raise my voice loud enough to reach them.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Just my Job 5 days a week

Hello this is Texino.  You may remember that recently while hanging out in Cuba with Russian portrait painter Miguel "MIG" Sciotto I fell in with some friendly folks from Georgia.  Well these Georgians were not from Atlanta, GA but from Georgia, Russia and I must say there is a certain similarity in the two personality types although it would be more pronounced if Russia had a Texas.  Also, while the American Georgians might put on a sort of show about
"Y'all come see us again real soon!" there would be several ways to take that. i. e. I have friends from GA. USA who having expressed such sentiments have been silent for over 10 years.  On the other hand not only did the Georgia, RU. crowd invite me to visit the Mir space station "sometime real soon" they literally showed up at my door, so to speak, here in Panama arriving in  nuclear submarine the SMS Cosmo which is fitted out as a semi luxurious yacht for the use of the various Russian Cosmonaughts to fool around on when they are not in space.  This does make sense when you think about it.  First, the Russians are not nearly so safety conscious os the US services plus living in a submarine is similar to living in a space station in that you just cant go outside any old time, and when you do, you gear up quite like you do in space, so even though the guys are larking around the world in a former fast attack-sub they get some training in and don't totally lose the edge of living in a can.  It's pretty cheap travel as well since those boats are gassed up with enough Pluto to run for, well, a good long time and they make air and water and power plus wash the clothes and flush the heads.
So one day I'm back from Cuba sharing a cigar with Mr. Brooks the head Boogie Man and talking about the situation in general and next thing Jock "The Sticker" Strickland of TCOTG comes rushing in going on about a "wee boat ta rubber in da river an the un mistakable vibratin o steam power turbine power gettin the lads Ina mind t wrassle surh!'  Well that would be a member of the Cannibals O The Glen, The rogue Scots dinning society and my permanent guests in the compound and and like all Scots these fellows are keen for engineering in ships and would seem to have not only spied the approach of a rigid dingy but picked up the vibration of a ships power plant in the area and that's how I learned that the Ruskies had indeed come to take me to space.

Well soon they were about the compound and almost as soon I was packed aboard that crazy submarine and hauling ass right under the Atlantic at around 60 miles per hour and the way things are shaping up we will be blasting off for outer space in about three days.  Right now the mood on the sub is all open and happy; just like the start of that movie "Gone with The Wind"
when everyone is happy as clams and everyone give a damn.  I guess we will be seeing what things are really like in a day or two.  I'll tell you what I know, deal?  OK? Fine.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Castro's a nut

Hi it is Texino in Havana Cuba for a friendly visit with the Island Nation's first and only President.  Fidel Castro. As you see, we are admiring a painting of El Presidente by the Russian painter Miguel Sciotto.  Sciotto was chosen for the job not only for his skill with the human form but also his unique ability to suggest Christ like qualities in his subjects.  As a point of interest Sciotto's Grandfather, the designer of the famous Russian fighter aircraft, is said to have taken the name MIG from his grandson's first name.  That's pretty cool but not totally unique when you consider where they got the name Texas from.
Anyway here are some  parts of my interview with Castro.

Texino: ¿Sir cuál es los revestimientos ma's greastest Cuba del problema pues dirigimos en el nuevo siglo?

Castro: I would say our greatest problem is the continued embargo of necessary goods by your country.

Texino: ¿Embargo? ¿Panamá?

Castro: What do you mean?

Texino:¡Soy panamanian, nosotros no tengo ningún embargo!

Castro: Guards!  Turn this man over to the US, he's a Terrorist!

Goddamn commie.  Fortunately, Sciotto the painter knows me from another gig and he and his Russian buddies got the old "tvarich" vodka thing going with my guards and I ended up getting to drive a real submarine and fly over to Europe in a giant jet plane and now I'm invited to go into space and write some poetry.  I tell you, them Russians know how to keep things moving if they like you.  I'm going to draw the line at the space thing if I can.  I'll say it's my ears or something.  I just don't want to be trapped up in a big can with that guy Steve "Record Breaker" Fossett.  I figure he is either up there or out west trying to set the record for being lost the longest and that guy gives me the willies.  

Oh yeah, I think we made an impression on those Nigerians, so you might see a drop off in your weird wind fall scams for a while.  I'll keep in touch on that.  Now I'm going to Marly's for a root beer float.