Middle East Solutions

Aquarian Weekly 8/23/06 REALITY CHECK

MIDDLE EAST SOLUTIONS
Niftier Than Cease Fires & Other Running Jokes

IDF in LebanonIf only Abraham had kept his cock in his pants.

Be that as it may, God’s starting quarterback screwed up. Since then it’s been a mess.

But fear not, unlike Amorous Abe or our faulty Supreme Being, I have a grip on this idiocy called The Promised Land, and I aim to finally impart it. It will not be pleasant, and it will certainly not adhere to any normal but previously failed policy or philosophy. However, it is the only solution to bring about a lasting peace to a region torn asunder by cultural and religious madness for centuries – long before there was a United States, and, in fact, long before anyone labeled European could amble erect.

The first phase of our solution begins with ceasing this United Nations shit. The UN is completely inept and wholly corrupt. The best thing the UN can do is disband. Then it can get the hell out of NYC before someone gets seriously hurt. No one wants to hear from the UN on cease fires when it passes all these apparently innocuous resolutions, like the one they passed over a dozen times on Saddam Hussein, the impotence of which gave him the balls to start expanding his nonsense to Kuwait and got us involved. Once that happened, there was no way we could escape having to eventually oust him, which then morphed into a tainted brand of Nation Building 101, and we all know how that’s turning out.

Every time someone from the UN starts yammering at Israel to calm down or implores the latest band of marauders to back down someone from Israel retorts by pointing to a toothless UN resolution. The UN likes to bark, but has nothing approaching a serviceable bite. It is as useless as a drug-free American cyclist or Mel Gibson’s AA sponsor.

This brings us to the United States and their white-noise president. Please. No more speeches from George W. Bush on freedom and democracy. After five years it is beyond funny and has successfully trumped pathetic. It has now reached the rank of sad, like our Boy President’s “Islamic fascist” comment, which makes as much sense as any number of mumbled declamatory claptrap this guy’s offered for the past six years. And sadder still is the robotic Condoleezza Rice, who has contradicted herself so many times over the past 18 months I’m pretty sure ESPN will hire her.

Let’s see if this is an exercise in international chest beating by Iran, or if it really wants the obliteration of western efforts and Israel as a working entity in Allah’s backyard. Why not? This is what they want.

We need to stay out of this one. Really. I know we bankroll the damn IDF and I know we have billions invested in these oil fields and refining centers, but we have proved pretty convincingly now for half a century we do not know how to wage war anymore, especially a war against guerilla factions from cultures we know nothing about, like Korea or Viet Nam, and now crazy Islamic extremists. Enough of our Bungling Giant routine, let the more experienced handle it.

And what about this goofy dilettante crap citing democracy as being a roadmap to peace? Our friend Tucker Carlson rightfully pointed out the other day, as did Washington Post columnist, Jefferson Morley in March of 2005 and yours truly a month earlier, that terrorist champion Hamas was elected in Palestine, as was Hezbollah to prominent positions in the Lebanese government. Some 85% of Lebanese support Hezbollah, which openly ran a campaign with “a call for the destruction of the state of Israel.” Hoorah for democracy!

This brings us to Israel, which has miraculously existed for over half a century, despite a half dozen or so wars, a million skirmishes, bomb and missile attacks, terrorist activities, etc. A good portion of its neighbors, at least those who have the guts to go on record, pretty much pray, plan, and even attempt to execute this aforementioned “destruction of” every day. It is no secret: Everyone in the region, whether Christian, Muslim or Hebrew understand this as fact.

Sure, sometimes there is muted diplomacy-speak about giving this stretch of sand back or bowing to a religious superstition, but mostly it has always been, and will always be an Us or Them proposition: An End of Times Biblical Massacre worthy of King David or the Implosion of Jericho or the systematic murder of Egyptian children. Oh, it’s way beyond the meager notions of politics or intellect or humanity.

So now that we have eliminated the amateurs and newcomers to this blood feud and sufficiently pinpointed motivations, we are left with the Arabs and the Jews, specifically Islam vs. Judaism, or Abe’s little mistakes. Order all the cease-fires you want. We’re still left with the sovereignty of Israel and the promise of a Holy Land. That’s all we’ve ever had here, fans. Face it. Hezbollah wants to wipe out Israel and the Jews. The IDF wants to gut, disarm, and annihilate those who point the finger of violence at it.

I say let it rip.

Really.

See how far all the threats and rhetoric can go. Let’s see if this is an exercise in international chest beating by Iran, or if it really wants the obliteration of western efforts and Israel as a working entity in Allah’s backyard. Why not? This is what they want. This is true freedom in action. It is their free will, not ours and not the UN’s, but their free will, and even the shortsighted Yahweh has some idea about that concept.

The finality of real peace sometimes takes an addition by subtraction. It is harsh. It is cold. But it is authentic. Not like all the usual bullshit we hear from every corner of this globe, and have heard for a long, long time. Peace often happens after one side is gone, like the Carthaginians at Himera, or the French at Waterloo, or the Germans at Leningrad or the Japanese at Hiroshima.

The bleeding hearts and neo-cons do a great deal of sanctimonious grandstanding and pointless pontificating on the subject of the Middle East, about oil and peace and God and children and civilians, but we don’t really believe it, because if we did, we’d let them be free to enact all this stuff they incessantly yammer on about. It is what they want.

The innocent? Enough of these people have had time to contemplate if they actually want an End of Times or not, and as far as I can see they have chosen to hang around with the crazies, and therefore they’ve played their innocence card, and unfortunately, they are dragging their poor children down with them.

Hey, people make mistakes with children all the time.

God did with Abraham.

Abraham sure did with his.

Check tonight’s news for the results.

Reality Check | Pop Culture | Politics | Sports | Music

Read More

Lieberman/Independent

Aquarian Weekly 8/16/06 REALITY CHECK

THE LIEBERMAN EXPERIMENT How The Vanquished Shall Inherit Independence

Joseph LiebermanJoseph Lieberman could be the most important name in American politics since Thomas Jefferson. His inspired bailout on the Democratic Party for an independent run for senator from Connecticut, if successful, might just begin to erode the two-party monopoly that has heretofore damaged our delicate hold on democracy for over 100 years.

Think I’m being too dramatic? Really? Check this out, Jack.

Unless you’ve been hermetically sealed for the past decade this whole two-party thing has reached a polarized critical mass. The usual black and white nonsense pitched by liberal to conservative agendas has never been more embedded, leaving a proving ground for militants and goofballs the likes of which no free society could survive.

In many ways it has become absurd, and more so, dangerous, as it has rendered candidates for either the Democratic or Republican parties hostage to many social, cultural and/or fiduciary issues that command the party line. All this slaking the extreme right or left wings of said parties has made plastic tools of politicians and reduced the vagaries of debate and voter confidence to a dense morass of “us vs. them”. And although this works in the odd theocracy or fraternity kegger, it is hardly a sober guideline for governance.

Enter our hero.

Joseph Lieberman, fresh from a humiliating party horsewhipping for the past months, is going to ignore his defeat as a Democrat and run for senate as an independent. It is this observer’s opinion that he will win, and when he does there will be a minor tremor in Washington politics, that may, if there is an ounce of justice and progress and true intelligence in the design of this republic, escalate into a full-scale quake that rocks the foundation of this partisan stalemate on free thought within our currently cracked system.

Lieberman, independent, free to offer an alternative to “one way or the highway” can actually live or die on the grounds of his own beliefs, however brilliant or abhorrent they may be. The voter choice will be for a single voice and not the collective. The fog cleared, the din abated.

Lieberman, independent, free to offer an alternative to “one way or the highway” can actually live or die on the grounds of his own beliefs, however brilliant or abhorrent they may be.

Oh, it’s a long shot, but dreams die hard here at The Desk. Twenty-four years of independent voting, ranting, arguing, and literary bitching could render a serviceable pay-off after all.

To wit:

Lieberman gives the Democrats the finger. He becomes an independent candidate, runs on his own platform that is judged merely by its “independent” ideas and goals, and not that of some odious conglomerate pushed by party heads and special interest fops, and wins going away. Other party pariah’s who dare think outside the agenda of both parties copycat the revolutionary concept of “thinking for one’s self outside the shackles of black and white resolve”. Candidates once again represent the people through their own devices, and not that of blind allegiance to a one-note dirge. Parties suffer. Freedom wins. Everyone wins, because everyone will want a piece of the pie.

That’s what winning does, it breeds imitation.

Politics is not unlike professional football. Whatever scheme makes good every other team and coaching staff is running to repeat it. Every so often there is a maverick, and if he hits the jackpot with victories, soon the pack will follow. Doesn’t always work out in every individual case, but the sport is revived anew. That is how we see this Lieberman Experiment, but only if it succeeds.

So it absolutely must succeed.

Lieberman was jobbed from the beginning. The Democrats have talking points that begin with bashing the Iraq War, which opposes nicely the stupidity of the Republicans race to ignore it. However, Lieberman has stood by his conviction that the war, however mishandled and junked, was necessary. Unlike fellow Democrats who voted for it (the comedy team of John’s Edwards and Kerry) Lieberman is staying the course. It may be shortsighted and political suicidal for an opposing party member to back a fantastically unpopular president and his mounting folly, but to his credit Lieberman is consistent. This got him the boot.

Lieberman’s defeat in last Tuesday’s Democratic primary to his entertainingly loquacious challenger Ned Lamont, the perfect party dupe, was a measly six percentage points, or roughly 100,000 votes. These are votes easily made up by independents and moderate republicans disgusted with right wing screw-ups, but fearful of pie-in-the-sky revisionists. The question is will these people see this as an historical imperative or a sore loser’s attempt at vengeance. The answer, I believe, will echo loudly against the two-party lethargy, which trumps this “throw the bums out” ripple against incumbents everywhere.

Also, Lieberman can win because he’s been entrenched in his position since 1988, and as is New England’s political wont, there’s always room for the “same old”. He has a rich history of incumbent crushes on his side. These people love to keep the boys coming back for more, regardless of bad behavior, scandal, or just about anything – see Ted Kennedy for the best example. Lieberman’s loss made him only the fourth incumbent senator to lose a primary since 1980. This bodes well for his name being on a ballot come November.

In conclusion, it will be nearly impossible for Lieberman to lose, unless there is some underhanded political chicanery, which there most certainly will be, but that cannot derail him. His corny “Team Connecticut” campaign must focus on a rally for new horizons and blazing trails and all that rah-rah poop, and not any goofy pictures of him tonguing the president.

Look, I don’t like Joseph Lieberman. I despise his sanctimonious moralizing most of all. Not the point. And maybe he truly is a sore loser trying to change rules to benefit his own gain. Hell, that’s fine. Whatever it takes. There was a whole lot of changing the rules for personal gain going on in Philadelphia in 1776. Fairly sure I dislike half of those jokers. The results were pretty good, though.

Reality Check | Pop Culture | Politics | Sports | Music

 

Read More

Mideast Crisis Dissected Soberly

Aquarian Weekly 8/2/06 REALITY CHECK

DOGPILE ON THE LOONS Al-Qaeda Gets On Board The Crazy Express

It is a jihad for the sake of God and will last until our religion prevails … from Spain to Iraq, we will attack everywhere. – Ayman al-Zawahri

Ayman al-Zawahri Yada. Yada. Yada.

The above statement was uttered from another pathetic sack of shit from another “secret remote location” somewhere in the desert. Another in a tired series of “Notice Me!” nonsensical prattle from displaced mutants streamed over Al-Jazeera television. “Coming up next after ‘Camel Races from Qatar’ another anti-Semitic rant from your friends at al-Qaeda! Take it away, Skip!” – “Tyrannical Western Civilization! Blessed Allah! Death! Vengeance! Holy this! Sacred that! Blah. Blah. Blah.” Retread. Cry wolf. Really sad.

The latest grainy and haunting video of a riled-up Ayman al-Zawahri comes complete with images of the World Trade Center burning and a portrait of Mohammed Atef hanging dramatically behind him. Trouble is Atef has been dead since November of 2001, and well, 9/11 was a few months prior to that and nearly five years ago now. I’m no trend-spotter and I rarely check the pop culture meter to see what’s hot and what’s not, but seems to me like we have ourselves a washed-up entity trying desperately to hone in on the new hot commodity: Hezbollah.

Let’s face it; al-Qaeda has a little David Lee Roth thing going on.

Much to the chagrin of the bin Laden clan, Hezbollah is front-page news right now. They have managed something the PLO, Hamas, and even their own hate-mongering coffee klatch could not accomplish – wake the sleeping lion Israel. That had to raise the collective ire over in the caves of Afghanistan: “We’re the baddest! We’re the tops on the terrorist hit list! Remember Spain? Remember London? What about 9/11? Look over here! Despise us! Shower us with fear!”

This is the fatal flaw in being a revolutionary; you have to matter. You have to be in the spotlight. It’s over for al Qaeda. They had their time. No one wants to hear from Ayman al-Zawahri anymore than they want to “Get Jiggy”. It’s over. Time to hate someone who matters.

Okay, so now, predictably, al-Qaeda has thrown its turban into the ring over this IDF kill-fest. Why not? Anytime anything happens anywhere in the terrorist realm they take credit. We even talk about this has-been clique as if it is still a threat, in and of itself. Truth is al-Qaeda is so 2001. Give it up. The whole thing reminds me of Britney Spears, who was at her nubile jail-bate best in ’01, and is now an ebony-quaffed pregnant white-trash harpy.

These guys cling to 9/11 as some kind of super-victory. C’mon already, 9/11 was a half-decade ago. Sarah Silverman is even goofing on it now: “American Airlines should advertise they were ‘first through the towers’.” If it weren’t for the Bush Administration or Ann Coulter it would be ancient history by now. This reminds me of driving down Northern Blvd. in 1993 and seeing an aging sign celebrating the 1986 Mets. Enough already. Let’s see some action and less yapping from these idiots.

What have you done to us lately?

“Stand with Muslims in confronting this unprecedented oppression and tyranny,” al-Zawahri continued. “Stand with us as we stand with you against this injustice that was forbidden by God in his book.”

Notice the desperate cry for attention to cash in, connect his merry band of yesterday’s news with the current crisis: “Stand with Muslims?” “Stand with us?”

Muslims = Us. This is akin to the Jerry Falwells of the world talking about their voodoo shit as if their myopic fantasies gel with the rest of Christendom.

This is the fatal flaw in being a revolutionary; you have to matter. You have to be in the spotlight. It’s over for al Qaeda. They had their time. No one wants to hear from Ayman al-Zawahri anymore than they want to “Get Jiggy”. It’s over. Time to hate someone who matters.

Now Al Jazeera is another kettle of trout. They are a happening media event right now. Go where the action is, that’s what I say.

To that end I recently contacted the advertising department of the station through Allied Media, which makes a pretty convincing argument about placing your ad campaign in their hands: “Al Jazeera is the largest and most controversial Arabic News Channel in the Middle East, offering news coverage 24 hours a day from around the world and focusing on the hottest regions of conflict. With programming focusing primarily on news coverage and analysis, the station has earned the loyalty of a large audience. It has also earned the enmity of various critics who argue that Al Jazeera is overly sensational, with a bent on showing bloody footage from war zones as well as giving coverage to violent groups. Criticism from varied governments has helped the channel garner credibility from an audience that is used to government-imposed censorship and biased coverage.”

Hottest regions of conflict! Excellent. The spirit of fighting censorship has always been something of a lifestyle for me. Al Jazeera turns negative publicity into gold! It’s like the new Eminem, who has also gone the way of spandex and Rubik’s Cube. Not to mention the ability to reach 40 million radicals in the Arab world and 175,000 in the U.S. alone.

So after a lengthy discussion with a Mr. M. Saout – he never did reveal what the M stands for – on my repeated failures with working within and without the vagaries of the publishing industry and the continued fuck-ups of my current distributor/publisher, Airleaf and the Phenix & Phenix Publicity troupe, I pitched the idea of plugging my next book to radical Muslims and funding a documentary on the primacy of Moses in the history of the Holy Land and why Islam is pretty much an hilariously formulated hoax.

Surprisingly, he was not receptive. Reminded me of my battles with Simon & Schuster ten years ago. He even used the same response: “This will not fly here.”

Therefore I urge all of my readers to pitch your own brand of entertainment to Al Jazeera now. You can reach Allied Media in Alexandria, VA at (703) 333 2008, or e-mail them now at aljazeera-tv@allied-media.com.

Just don’t suggest any of the following. They have all already been forcefully rejected:

The Mohammad Variety & Laff Hour

Stripping – Women out of their burkas and into your heart

The Osama Corpse Cam

Good Morning What’s Left of Beirut!

Celestial Virgins Are Overrated

Reality Check | Pop Culture | Politics | Sports | Music

 

Read More

Robert Novak & Journalistic Ethics

Aquarian Weekly 7/19/06 REALITY CHECK

UNRELIABLE SOURCES How Two Bobs Are Killing The Free Press

Robert NovakIn the long, steady stream of crumbling credibility surrounding this god-forsaken Valerie Plame outing case, syndicated columnist Robert Novak released the names of his confidential sources this week, or at least the confirming sources in the 2003 story that lead to this mayhem in the first place. Nobody is surprised at the revealing of Karl Rove, who, unfortunately, is not going to prison, and nobody beyond the most insufferable Beltway nerds have any clue who Bill Harlow – a purported spokesman for the CIA, which is a contradiction in terms anyway – is. But neither name is important here, nor is the identity of the original source. Here we only, finally, discuss the concept and importance of protecting confidential sources to the power and priority of a free press, the penultimate blockade in our 230 year-old experiment in democracy.

Novak, along with celebrity journalist and a hero of anyone who has done this job for five minutes, Bob Woodward, who, in recent decades since toppling Tricky Dick, has morphed into a celebrity political slut, have sold out one of the most sacred tenets of this profession: Do Not Reveal Sources.

This atrocity comes on the heals of last year’s jailing of journalists Judith Miller and Matthew Cooper for attempting to protect sources, an incident which brought to the surface over a dozen cases across the country in the past 24 months of accredited journalists subpoenaed in federal cases and forced to reveal confidential or background sources under the threat of prison.

Nobody loves to bash the mainstream media more than me, and God knows I have been unkind in this space to my chosen profession, or part-time profession now, or whatever it is you might call what we do here; but if the press is going to be this weak, then batten down the hatches, we’re officially living in a fascist state.

Then we have this asinine argument two weeks ago that the NY Times should sit on the electronic spying of bank records, as if the public has no right to know that federal agencies are tapping into private accounts. You can certainly argue social responsibility or timing or even the age-old national security issue (see Berlin, 1933 for details) but you cannot argue rights. It’s nuts. It’s stupid. And folks, unless you have yet to visit the most rudimentary civics class, it’s unconstitutional.

But enough Basic American History and Journalism 101. Back to Novak and Woodward.

Last year Woodward barbed and winced and then apologized for a similar story he penned on the Plame affair, going as far as engaging in childish schoolyard antics, by telling everyone the aforementioned secret source spoke to him first. Jeez. Bully for him. However, through all this weeping, back-biting, and sickening consolation, we get the name of former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, who has repeatedly offered a telling “no comment”, which means he is, of course, the primary source.

So I guess it’s too bad for Armitage. Simply because he entered into a sacred agreement that he provide information for a story, regardless of whether anyone thinks the story pertinent, politically motivated vengeance, or nonsense, he has to scramble and eat shit. This is, in journalistic parlance, an abomination, not unlike what normally fills the space of this column weekly. But I digress.

Listen, if Armitage wants to reveal his identity, this is his right. But he should not be forced out, not by special prosecutors or publicity-starved journalists, or anyone at any time. It is foremost Armitage’s right to privacy being infringed upon, but it is also the right of a free press to gather information for an important story and not selling out their primary sources to do so that is the most heinous element to this mess.

I don’t care who’s guilty in all this Plame case. That’s Plame’s problem. I’m sure everyone is guilty. Maybe Scooter Libby will be the scapegoat. Maybe not. Maybe his “I’m a nutso Alzheimer’s victim” defense will fly. Not sure. Don’t care. Not anymore. Politics is ugly and war is hell. Plame is a small causality compared to the thousands of people either dead or maimed in the past three years. What I do care about, as should you, is that a sad majority of the national press in this country is chucking the final remnants of investigative journalism into the scrap heap: The Deep Background Off-The-Record Source.

I’ll tell you one thing, if I had the goods on an important story to impart, I would go nowhere near Novak or Woodward. I don’t give half a fart how long these geezers have been pounding the trail. They cannot be trusted. But who can be trusted? Ah, good one.

So it should be considered an outrage for anyone who celebrates freedom as bestowed upon us through bloody revolt, raging debate, and countless speeches from rich white guys that the supposed free press can be bullied this way. I have had enough of this bullshit. Nobody loves to bash the mainstream media more than me, and God knows I have been unkind in this space to my chosen profession, or part-time profession now, or whatever it is you might call what we do here; but if the press is going to be this weak, then batten down the hatches, we’re officially living in a fascist state.

Christ, I have been one of the saner voices in the wilderness over the pasty years when all of my radical and left wing pals begged me to compare this government to Nazis or scream about baby killers in Iraq. I have stayed out of that arena. I choose to sling arrows from a more logical point – in the middle. But I will not sit around and watch tired incontinent hacks like Novak or prima donnas like Woodward piss all over the immutable right and duty of journalists to protect sources, no matter what.

The bidding on the identity of Georgetown begins now.

Reality Check | Pop Culture | Politics | Sports | Music

 

Read More

Warren Buffet For Sainthood

Aquarian Weekly 7/5/06 REALITY CHECK

WARREN BUFFET FOR SAINTHOOD

Saint WarrenWhile on the book tour for “Trailing Jesus” three years ago, I was asked time and again how the heck did we get from a murdered Jewish mystic to the massive scope of Christianity, Jerry Falwell, George W. Bush, etc. It was a fair question, one that unfortunately my book does not cover. But I was able to answer a small part of the query by confidently stating that if there is one aspect of the first century Jesus Movement which could be translated to any time and any place it would be charity, sharing, and a complete disregard for personal possessions for the good of the whole community. Many people took that as some kind of political testimonial, like Jesus was some kind of socialist. But that was never it for Jesus, and anyone who claims to act or speak or cull his name in deed and promise need to know one thing: You cannot ignore the idea of chucking riches for the good of your fellow human.

The rest of it is really just a song and a dance or a wafer and a pulpit – uniforms and glad-handing myopia, and nothing really to do with what a preponderance of Christian mouthpieces like to call The Word.

Sorry folks. It is well documented. Far more documented than this pogrom against homosexuality or defining marriage or saving the world with war or damning the sinners or holding up holy relics like Mohammad’s visage or the celebration of Christmas as life preservers of society. Camel through the needle’s eye. It’s all there in black & white. Good to go. Easy to follow.

No one does, of course – least of all me, who charges a healthy 18 bucks for my little tome. But you don’t see me wagging an accusatory finger at the moral fabric either. I know I’m a self-centered ass just like everyone else.

Look, nobody with half a brain is going to give away all of their stuff to homeless, sick, indigents on a lark. It’s insane, which is why, among other prominent reasons, they strung Jesus up in the first place. And, of course, if you’ve read a word of this space for the past nine years, you know that you have a cynic on your hands here. I think the best way to go through life is let the other guy worry about it. Chances are “the other guy” is trying to screw you anyway.

In the world we live in right now, and considering the art form of the stock prognosticator and what money, big money, means to people like Warren Buffet, this is Mother Teresa meets Gandhi meets the Loaves and the Fishes.

But then there is the whole “Love your neighbor as yourself” and/or “Love your enemy” stuff that gets in the way of all this Christianity. Dig?

So when I first heard of billionaire stock guru, Warren Buffett handing over the miraculous sum of $37 billion to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, doubling their pot, I was reminded of the two-thousand year old Galilean loon and his small attempt to move the notion of humanity.

And I do not use the word miraculous flippantly. On the contrary, this is a friggin’ miracle. No matter how you slice it. Especially since it is all the rage among philanthropists to mumble under their collective breath about the evil white corporate stock market greed-heads, who carve up the world in a salacious gentlemen’s criminal syndicate. And let’s be clear here, we’re not just talking about nations throwing money at disasters and human rights atrocities or We Are The World publicity parades. This is the greatest show of charity in the history of this country, or any country for that matter.

In the world we live in right now, and considering the art form of the stock prognosticator and what money, big money, means to people like Warren Buffet, this is Mother Teresa meets Gandhi meets the Loaves and the Fishes.

Last week, Buffet made good on a promise to hand over the bulk of his fortune to charity upon his death, only he did it on the heels of his beloved wife’s death. Of his $44 billion, he let go of $37 billion.

And not even my bitching heart can mock someone this generous by saying, “Hey, he has seven billion left.” Sure, but again I tell you: You do not accrue $44 billion dollars by letting even a lousy two bucks get away. It’s the financial equivalent of you chopping off a finger. This man just lopped off every limb, and then some. And never mind the money, if you can ignore this gluttonous figure, because it may just be the act that makes all the difference. For, as stated time and again in this space, and a subject that is often mistaken for doomsayer satirical trickery, I state that although religious theocracy, political philosophy, or other tired forms of human meandering, is all well and good, the only way to shake the foundation of the human collective, the heart of our species, is through personal sacrifice and selfless citizenship. No organized faith or government’s military action, no president, or celebrity, or even grass roots movement is going to make a dent in society like a person making good.

Attach that bit of twisted wisdom with the fact that this column is normally a running commentary on what motivates the great horde of bipedaldom: Cash. Moolah. Greenbacks. Deneri. Sweet, sweet coin, and you got yourself one impressed son of a bitch here.

Hey, this is the landscape we roam. We like to think it is a world run by God, compassion, empathy, and a yearn to be free. We like to think we fight for these concepts and the other guy fights for some bizarre notion of Allah, but we all know it’s about Mighty Mammon. We know what makes this spinning rock go ’round: Money, Money Money.

So now the second richest guy in the world gives nearly all of his money to the richest guy in the world’s own charitable institution: Bill Gates, who recently retired to spend the rest of his days running the organization and making sure the money doesn’t end up in the coffers of some sham artists or a black hole of red tape, but in the hospitals, villages, and bank accounts of needy organizations and persons with so much less.

It’s good stuff. Great stuff. And, as we know, this is a rarity around here or anywhere.

So here’s a note to all those who claim to know “What would Jesus do?”

Check with Warren Buffet, and not some Bible waving idiot for the lowdown.

Reality Check | Pop Culture | Politics | Sports | Music

 

Read More

Al Qaeda Shell Game

Aquarian Weekly 6/28/06 REALITY CHECK

AL QAEDA SHELL GAME The Great Con Of Terrorism

Interchangable PawnThere’s a big article in this week’s Newsweek magazine that echoes the fantasy that has been conjured by not only the mainstream media, but, more alarmingly, by the CIA and the Pentagon, and the whole of the United States government: This al Queda everyone has been so hot about since 9/11 is a tangible entity. It is not. And this bit of misinformation has been as dangerous an enemy as we’re told al Queda is supposed to be. Those in charge don’t admit it, or won’t admit it in public, because they have no idea what or who al Queda really is, and that would not go over too well if they went that route.

The worst part is this is not any grand revelation. It’s been a repeated mistake that has had grave consequences for this country before and after 9/11/01, not the least of which is the bloody dog and pony show currently going down in Iraq. And not only did those in charge of the thing mistake insurgents for guerrilla warriors, but also clumped at least three warring factions as “the Iraqi people” for four years running now. As in, “The Iraqi people yearn to be free of a dictator” and “The Iraqi people want the right to vote” and “The Iraqi people will treat us like liberators”.

Wrong. Wrong. And, guess, what? Wrong.

There were never any Iraqi people. The “Iraqi people” didn’t think so; therefore we shouldn’t have gone along with it. But we did. We didn’t recognize the Sunnis or the Kurds or the Shiites as completely separate religious, cultural, and geographical entities, which were held together by the iron fist of madness, and left to their own devices would fight to the death to gain control of the hearts and minds of a fractured nation. And because we failed to realize this, we now have our military embroiled in an all-out civil war, one in which we cannot abandon anytime soon without looking like master chessmen sacrificing pawns for a minor victory down the line.

But that is a discussion for another day. Now we speak of al Qaeda, and more precisely its latest fallen “leader”, Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi, made infamous by his televised beheading of American Nick Berg two years ago, and whose death a few weeks back drove confetti sales up inside the Beltway and had everyone giddy with joy.

The bigger picture? There is no al-Qaeda. There is only chaos.

And that’s where we come to our Newsweek article and its query over “Who Will Be al-Zaqawi’s Successor?”

Successor? What do we think this is some kind of hostile corporate take-over, an NFL coaching change, or the Queen of England here? There is no successor. There is no leader. There is no al-Queda. It is a ruse, a smokescreen, some kind of shell game that fractious hordes of murderous rogues are playing on the big bad U.S. of A. This is why this space has maintained for five years now that the celebrated figurehead of western hatred Osama bin Laden is dead. He had as many enemies within the radical Muslim community (and just using the word community here is short-sighted naiveté) as he did without. It’s a free-for-all, kids. The sooner we cop to this, the sooner we’ll be able to deal.

A prime example of this came home to roost this week when two U.S. soldiers were found mutilated beyond recognition by purportedly al-Qaeda in response to al-Zaqawi’s death. A brand new loon by the name of Abu Hamza al-Muhajer, aka Abu Ayyub al-Masri, aka Youssef al-Dardiri, another Reagan-funded member of the 1980s’ Afghani Freedom Fighter clan, claimed mastermind/leadership duties on this abomination, and according to reports and web blogs and other completely unreliable sources, Mr. Whatever is now the “successor” to al-Zarqawi. We call him Mr. Whatever because there are also more reliable reports out of London and Jerusalem the morning I write this that al-Muhajer and al-Masri are not even the same guy. But the real problem here is that some other branch or segment or off-shoot of al-Qaeda, whatever that is, (and there are now five or six of these in Iraq alone) claims responsibility.

Of course this is business as usual in the underworld kill-fest of terrorism. Usually in places like Israel or Pakistan you have to get in line to claim responsibility for this kind of brutal shit. On a fair day four different news organizations will throw a dart at a board with names of various independent terrorist organizations (and again I use the term “organizations” with the utmost irresponsibility) and hope for the best.

According to Newsweek, right now in Iraq there are at least eight known terrorist groups claiming to be an arm of al Queda. They are the Mujahedin Shura Council, which consists of the Victorious Sect Army, the Monotheism Supporters Brigade, the Al-Ahwal [Fear] Brigade, and the Al-Murabitun Brigades. Then there is the Ansar-al-Sunnah, the Islamic Army of Iraq, the Mujahedin Army, and the 1929 Revolutionary Brigade. And as far as we, the CIA, the FBI, the U.S. Military, Dick Chaney, Donald Rumsfeld, Katie Couric, or the gray-haired guy who won American Idol know, none of them wear any kind of uniform or espouse a specific political agenda or ideology, except to cause as much mayhem and murder as possible. I guess that’s an ideology, but none that we, quite obviously, can fathom.

You see, and this has been brought up here (“The New War” – Issue: 9/1/98) and elsewhere over and over but has not sunk in enough to be useful, this enemy is not the Nazis or the Soviets or pick-and-choose your direct identifiable enemy. This is a roaming pack of thugs and criminals and crazies that you cannot wage war on or give speeches about or pinpoint in any military conventional way. A glaring example of this is the “Mission Accomplished” flack the president takes to this day. The fact is the mission was accomplished: Saddam Hussein and his Baath Party were expunged from Baghdad. This was the mission, however steeped in lies and propaganda: This was the mission.

Since then the mission has been something else, which is why Republicans in Congress this past week arguing that pulling out of Iraq is tantamount to surrender is playing both sides of the fence. First they agree with me that the mission had been accomplished, and now we’re trying to build a nation, but when the debate tumbles in that direction they conveniently try and make this about The War. It is not a War, it is an occupation/policing of a violent civil conflict and a fending off of random acts of murder, and it should have never come to this if the people running things had understood the bigger picture.

The bigger picture? There is no al-Qaeda. There is only chaos.

How do you fight chaos? I don’t know. We pay people to handle that. But I know one thing: You don’t do it like this.

Reality Check | Pop Culture | Politics | Sports | Music

 

Read More

The IDF Summer Tour

Aquarian Weekly 6/26/06 REALITY CHECK

THE ISRAELI DEFENSE FORCE SUMMER TOUR
On The Road Again With The Humorless Kill Machine

Bierut BurnsThe Israeli Defense Force has gone crazy.

This is not good news for anyone in a turban with an Allah fixation. It is worse news for anyone standing next to these people. At least the militants will be massacred for a cause, however extraordinarily pathetic that cause might be. The rest are just human run-off.

Innocence does not matter. Innocence is like a speed bump to the world’s fiercest fighting unit. Innocence. Regret. Conscience. Mercy. These are not in the vocabulary. The IDF does not scare. It does not wince. It just keeps coming. Retreat? Only when the USA says so, like six years ago when Lebanon began to emerge from the dark ages. Otherwise, it’s hardcore advancing. Pure. Brutal. Destruction.

But it’s not World War III or the End of Times, or anything else the kooky Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah says it is. It is horrible for some, devastating for most, and scary for all – but it is only the beginning.

In all due respect to Nasrallah, who will likely be a charred corpse by the time I finish this column, his Hezbollah, just like al Qaeda or the PLO, is merely a pawn in a greater game. Soon, when Iran finally stands up for itself, instead of funding cheap hit-and-run artists, and Syria gets its collective head out of its ass, then Isreal will have a real enemy to pummel. Perhaps then the USA can get involved, or the UN, or some other impotent gaggle of neckties.

Until then it’s crazy time.

Hey, it’s not like we didn’t warn these idiots: “As far as Iran taking over as ‘The New Threat’, many familiar with the region and the country’s capabilities for war know it pales in comparison to what Israel holds and is more than willing to use at the drop of a hat. And pretty soon, if someone is wacky enough in this crumbling administration to will it, there could be word that they’ll have to fend for themselves. And once the IDF gets the green light, they will point the finger at Iran. Go ahead and tally up the potential devastation. I dare you. Know this: The Iranians will not come out on top.” (“Iran Crisis Is A Fraud” – Issue: 4/26/06)

Lebanon should not be left out of the equation either. It’s as good a reason as any for why 30 years of rebuilding has gone kablooey in a few days. Just think of it as another democratic experiment gone awry in the theocratic capital of the world. Hezbollah running Lebanon. Hamas running Palestine. The Israeli Defense Force going ballistic.

Either way you slice it, it’s bad press for starting democracies in crazyland. Freedom is just a word.

Adolf Hitler was free.

Genghis Khan too.

All those slave owners from the birth of this nation until the military smacked them around were free as birds.

Free. Free. Free.

But, as is my wont, I digress.

So Iran wants to drag Israel into a two-front war? Drag the U.S. into the mess to make the kind of waves it takes to keep North Korea off the crazy charts for a weekend? Sounds good in the pitch, but once the script is fleshed out and the casting is done and the director is on board, all you’re left with is Iran in a two-front war: Whipping up Shiite mania in Iraq to kill American soldiers while keeping the soon-to-be severely fractured Hezbollah in the game.

Meanwhile, here comes the IDF. Pissed. Armed. Razing the landscape. Running amok.

Not too bright.

But then Iran can never be obliterated. Too big. Worth too much to too many people. They can afford to be stupid.

Syria? They’re a whole other thing altogether. The rest of the world would hardly bat an eye if Syria were torched from the desert. What excuse does Syria have for being involved in this Islamic suicide pact? At least the Israelis are a threat to democracy because of over-zealous military vengeance, and Iran is clearly insane, but if Syria thinks it’s going to get a pound of flesh for being unceremoniously booted out of Lebanon last year by acting as a tinderbox for this giant ball of Hebrew flame coming down the pike, then it has sorely miscalculated.

Hope they really dig Mohammad, because he’s going to have some serious company soon.

The saddest of all is when finger-waving, red-faced loons start speaking out from these apoplectic religious outposts: “We will rain down terror and rejoice as the blood of your children run rivers through the streets!” Sure, on the wrong end of a one-to-ten ratio, skippy.

It’s like watching those painful pre-event interviews with the morons who insist on “running with the bulls” in Spain. They seem so confident, almost beatific, a tangible sense of joy wafts across their rosy expression. Then they are speared by a full-charge, grunting beast and they cry for their mommies.

You want to jump through the screen and stop these blathering zealots. Tell them they are loved. Drink a beer. Listen to a little James Taylor. Get a job. But don’t fuck with Israel. Especially an Israel that has a weakened United States two doors down dealing with a pile of shit six-feet deep. It’s a recipe for a heaping portion of death.

But it’s too late now. The ass kicking has begun.

Every once in a while the ass kicking is needed. Every so often the fervent believers have to be shown the real deal: Missiles. Tanks. Real Soldiers. And not the U.S. kind with the compassion and rebuilding and securing towns, but the blasting and pillaging and crush, kill, destroy.

Every so often, more so than not, the crazies get crazy in crazyland.

Reality Check | Pop Culture | Politics | Sports | Music

Read More

The Democrats Are Finished

Aquarian Weekly 6/21/06 REALITY CHECK

THE DEMOCRATS ARE FINISHED Reasons Why Even With A Fixed Game, The GOP Will Remain in Power

Nancy PelosiThis crazy half-reasoned notion perpetuated by the rooting press and a hopeful citizenry that the Republican Party is doomed and that come November the putrid approval ratings of this mediocre-to-bungling president, along with soaring gas prices, a vacillating stock market, a botched-to-bankrupt war effort, a litany of investigations, and a landslide of hideous Capitol Hill corruption, will swing voters to the Democratic Party is at best silly, and at worst, stupid. The Republicans are not going anywhere. And the Democrats? Ha…ha, ha, ha…woo-ha, ha…gulp…ho, ho, ha ha heeeee!

Are you people out of your fucking minds? Have you slept through the past six years of this administration and GOP rule? These guys can do anything. It doesn’t matter what annoying crap these morons spew or what sort of questionably moral or legal or barely decipherable programs or issues or theories they throw out there, they are here to stay. Count on it.

Sure, I’m a history guy. You can cite tons of recent history that says that no president can be in the low-30s in approval ratings with all of the lunacy that has passed for governance over the past few years and have his party retain power in the Congress. But I would have bet the Clemens Estate that the bloodied corpse of this man would have been sent packing two years ago. He’s pretty much stunk up the joint since those towers in Manhattan hit the ground, and was well below the historical bottom line poll numbers for winning in 2004, but he was re-elected – by an even larger overall margin. And his party retained power then, just as they will this November.

Oh, you’ll say, “But Mr. Campion, or James, or dumb-ass, since then you have the Katrina screw-ups, the failed restructuring of Social Security, the Medicare Bill gaff, the Scooter Libby, Karl Rove, Tom Delay and Bill Frist fall-out, the Abramoff revelations, the appalling 9/11 commission report, the Abu Ghraib horrors, the Guantanamo Bay fiasco, the vice president shooting, and, Jesus, man, this god awful clusterfuck of a war!”

Face it. The Democrats are finished. Then it will be left up to the Republicans to completely annihilate this republic and FINALLY wake up the rest of us to consider finishing them off as well. Believe me when I tell you, it’s for the best.

All good points, and you might add that even I, for a short time, was duped into thinking these maniacs were screwed. I even wrote it down and sent it to press with my name above it, and this paper printed it. But they are not screwed. On the contrary, I believe the results of the 2006 mid-term elections will, for all intents and purposes, kill the Democratic Party. It almost happened once, back in 1976, when all Jimmy Carter had to do after the Watergate disaster was show up. Then he barely hung on against Gerald Ford, a man for whom even the staunchest Republicans represented the ultimate stuck pig.

And so, I can confidently predict another Republican victory (maybe a few seats go, but not enough to swing power) marking the end of the Democratic Party, because the signs are there. You know how these religious fanatics are always looking for signs of the apocalypse or the second coming of Jesus or Mohammad or Charlie Chaplin? I happen to be able to read the clouds, the writing on the proverbial political wall – and fans, the writing is clear: Don’t count on fun and impeachment, and more investigations, or anything like that. Count on more of the same.

It is the Democrats last chance, and they will squander it. Then they will whither and die.

Item: Last week in San Diego, the first major symbol of possible Republican angst in the voting booth reared its head when Republican Brian Bilbray beat Democrat Francine Busby to replace imprisoned former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham in the 50th Congressional District. In a contest the Union-Tribune correctly dubbed as “a gauge of voter attitudes for the national midterm elections”, Bilbray carried the day. It is well known that San Diego is faithfully conservative, but so is the majority of this country, and say what you want about this Bush Kabal, Duke Cunningham is one of the most corrupt and insane politicians to emerge from a gooey quagmire of reprehensible behavior, who took stealing, cheating, lying, and overall villainy to new and exciting heights. Did it matter? Nope.

Another significant sign that the Democrats’ Waterloo is nigh is this whole Constitutional Ban on Gay Marriage nonsense. Of course Bush, who failed to even utter this proposal to “stabilize society” since the week before his re-election, has brought this steaming pile of bigotry out of mothballs to galvanize the base. Who cares? It does! And that’s all that counts.

Item: Nearly 60% of America opposes gay marriage, and some 42% favor some kind of national law to ban it. Whipping these atavistic zombies into a frenzy is sound politics, and speaks to a larger issue – many congressional districts teeter on the precipice of social issues, whether local or not, and Republicans currently have a stranglehold on it. Period. Push comes to shove, they will use wacky fringe issues to batter Democrat opponents, and recent history shows it works like gangbusters.

The final problem with extrapolating the paltry Bush approval ratings or the avalanche of bad news pummeling Congress weekly to build a “voter anger” or “voter need for change” theory is that even though only a jabbering simpleton, or, say, Sean Hannity, can even fathom contemplating this current government as remotely decent, the majority of people in this country like Bush. I like him. I think he’s just a lousy president and a doofus, but I don’t dislike him personally. He’s not a bad man, just overwhelmed and stymied by his own limitations – mentally, emotionally, politically, and, well, in just about every base facet of human capacity to function.

So, even though, when forced to give an answer on whether Captain Shoo-in knows what the hell he’s doing, people will respond, “Not really.” But if they think he should be tarred and feathered or run out the District of Columbia on a rail? “Nah.”

To the voting public, Bush and the Republicans are like a mediocre, but lovable, ballplayer, that, although deserves booing, also engenders support.

Hey, I get a lot of mail from angered and fed up people, there’s just not enough of you to pull out 14 Congressional seats in four months. Not when you include the Red states involved and the overall philosophy of this country.

Face it. The Democrats are finished. Then it will be left up to the Republicans to completely annihilate this republic and FINALLY wake up the rest of us to consider finishing them off as well. Believe me when I tell you, it’s for the best.

Or you can pray to whatever god you might subscribe to that a woman is elected president in ’08.

Ha…ha, ha, ha…woo-ha, ha…gulp…ho, ho, ha ha heeeee!

Reality Check | Pop Culture | Politics | Sports | Music

 

Read More

The Gueem – 1997 – 2006

 

Aquarian Weekly 5/31/06 REALITY CHECK

THE GUEEM – 1997-2006

Let me drink from the waters where the mountain streams flow
Let the smell of wild flowers flow free through my blood
Let me sleep in your meadows with your green grassy leaves
Let me walk down the highway with my brothers in peace.
Let me die in my footsteps
Before I go down under the ground.

– Bob Dylan

He likes to…
Because he is a…

– Erin D. Moore

The GueemMay 24, 2006

We buried our cat this morning. The wife and I – me, mostly silent, she, mostly weeping – maybe a word or two about what could have happened. But what really does happen? Life happens. Life and death. That is the deal here. We knew it. The Gueem didn’t. I’m pretty sure he was convinced he was in for the long haul, although no one enjoyed sucking the marrow from the day or the night like The Gueem. He was a furious hedonist. He grabbed every day by the balls and hung on. Then he slept for 18 hours to rest up. So maybe he knew his days were numbered. Maybe he knew this wasn’t any fancy rehearsal. It was all or nothing. He had no savings. He sought no health insurance. He left no will, nor any explanations. He bought the ticket, and took the ride.

His given name was Phoenix, but everyone called him The Gueem. We’re not sure why – because they loved him, maybe. We loved him. I named a publishing concern after him. My wife treated him far better than me or any human she’s known. That’s why he was the coolest cat around, ’cause my wife is the coolest woman around. He was the finest of mammals, affectionate, daring, and carefree. That’s what got him in the end, I think, freedom. He was a roamer and a rambler, and some nights, like last night, he didn’t come home at all – like his long, lost brother and pal, Mr. Kitty, a petulant black male brooder, slayer of all living things, who decided to take a stroll in the Vernon woods five years ago, never to be heard from again.

But Gueem did make it home, barely. He made it as far as the front steps of our porch. That’s where we found him. Not a scratch on him. Mysterious demise. But that’s the way The Gueem liked it, mysterious. He had places to go, dangerous places. This was his instinct, to stroll on the wild side, to poke and prod and climb and tunnel. And he faced it unbowed, all the way to the end. Not the bitter end, not for Gueem. He was all about the adventure and the party. He shied from nothing. He didn’t know he was supposed to be cautious and skittish like a cat, because he was no mere cat, he was The Gueem.

Curiosity is sure as hell going to get me, so it makes sense it got him. But it did not matter. Gueem lived, and so, Gueem died.

Gueem loved cars, so maybe a car got him. He loved kids, so maybe some brat got him. He also had this odd penchant for letting other critters approach him, hoping for a rare glimpse of the other side. He got that trait hanging with me. The Gueem was a journalist at heart. Curiosity is sure as hell going to get me, so it makes sense it got him. But it did not matter. Gueem lived, and so, Gueem died.

Not sure why I find the need to take up column space on this, other than The Gueem deserved it. He brought daily joy to this cynical old shit heel of a scribe. He knew I was a crank, but he seemed to love me anyway. I could see him some nights out of the corner of my eye looking me over, wondering what it is I was doing pounding on these keys, trying to make sense of life’s little insanities. “Why bother?” I can almost hear him say, and then he’d lick his groin and yawn. He had that great cat yawn, you know? Satisfaction. Pure bliss. I never had one of those yawns. You ever have one of those yawns? Never mind that, you ever lick your groin?

It’s hard to believe he’s gone. The wife and I don’t know what it’s like to be together without him. He was a lifer around here. I suppose she’ll divorce me now. I’m always wondering what kept her around in the first place, then I’d see her sleeping over on the couch with The Gueem and I’d sigh confidently – as long as that damn cat is breathing, I think I’ve got a shot to keep her. She doesn’t want to move the little bastard to some new digs, with some other guy. Now, let’s face it, the watch is on. It’s the sole reason I’ll be bolting out of here when I’m done with this and find the best feline vitamins for our female cat, Mazzy. If she goes, I’m toast.

But The Gueem was more than just a marriage councilor; he was the best subject for song and story. Some nights around here you’d think he’d traversed the Matterhorn or passed through the more gripping parts of The Iliad. And as much as it seems like the prattle of a “cat person”, I was sure Gueem loved to hear about himself in these stories. There was an imagination within him, like when he’d follow me to the lake and we’d sit out and let the sun catch our faces at the right angle and the wind swept across our half-shut eyelids. I could write about it, but the Gueem lived it. He had no time for bullshit like writing. He was busy living.

The Gueem was especially unique because he was the only cat I know of who got in the shower with you. He did. Right in the shower. He liked the water, but he liked to eat more. He could eat, boy. Most likely his cholesterol was through the roof. He wasn’t fat, more like thick, but he never came near a salad bar. Food could have done him in, but, trust me, he wouldn’t mind. And The Gueem could snore. No kidding. My wife was always going on and on about how cute and sweet he was, but she was asleep by 10:00 pm, and then, man, when Gueem got going, you’d have sworn some 300 pound drunken teamster had wandered into the bedroom for some shut-eye. Then you’d realize it was The Gueem. He had nightmares – all sorts of mice and chipmunks and things getting away, or a bear chasing him into the woods. Then I’d wake him, and he’d look up at me and yawn, always that beautiful yawn, as if he were the king of the world, and we were paying rent.

Damn, I’ll miss that yawn. Not the snoring. I will not miss any of that creepy shit.

So we say good-bye to our friend, our compatriot, our brother in arms here at the Clemens Estate. He taught us a great deal about living, how to enjoy every moment, and not worry about the small things, because one day you’re out taking in a spring night, basking in the glow of fleeting youth, and then it’s over.

I can hear The Gueem now: Play hard. Fight hard. Love hard. No Excuse. No Surrender. And when they put you in the ground wrapped in a garbage bag, you will rest easy.

Rest easy, little man.

We all loved ya.

Reality Check | Pop Culture | Politics | Sports | Music

Read More

The NSA Tapes

Aquarian Weekly
5/24/06
REALITY CHECK

THE NSA TAPES – Reality Check News & Information Desk Hotline Tapped

NSA TapesEditor’s Note: Due to a gaping loophole in the Freedom of Information Act, the following transcripts on private conversations between members of the Check Staff and/or James Campion, with outside sources compiled by the NSA, were obtained and sent to press unedited for the purposes of authenticity. Our legal department omitted last names and referenced names for obvious reasons. Do not be shocked. This could be you.

MARCH 7 – 11:23 AM Incoming call from Jack C.

Melissa (staff bully): Desk, can I help you?

Jack C (stalker): Where’s Campion?

Melissa: We don’t know. We never know. It’s best that way.

Jack C: But I have to speak to him. What’s his cell number?

Melissa: Cell phone? No. No cell phones. You have to use Morse Code.

Jack C: Morse code? Who the fuck uses Morse code anymore?

Melissa: Campion. Morse code – hard to trace and easy to save incoming information.

Jack C: I’m not going to…

Melissa: It’s simple, dim wit, just always remember a dash is equal to two dots and the space between parts of the same letter is equal to one dot.

Jack C: But I don’t have an instrument…

Melissa: And please don’t forget that the space between two letters is equal to three dots. And if you want to really piss Campion off, put more than a single space between two words, because that equals five dots. Five dots! Get it?

Jack C: Ma’am…

Melissa: Are you writing this down, suckfish? (line breaks up here)

APRIL 12 – 2:45 AM Incoming call from Parker P.

Carl (nervous intern): Desk?

Parker P (actress): Never mind, I need to speak to the managing editor, please.

Carl: Ms. xxxxx?

Parker P: You know who this is. I cannot be kept waiting!

Carl: Everyone is asleep.

Parker P: You’re not asleep.

Carl: I’m standing guard.

Parker P. I got problems.

Carl: Call the cops.

Parker P: It’s not that kind of problem. I need money. Tell Campion I need money. Just tell him it’s The Thing. He’ll know what I mean. The Thing. Don’t screw this up. There’s a time situation here, and it’s closing in.

Carl: Do you know what time it is, Ms. xxxxx?

Parker P: I’ll ask the questions here! Tell Campion to wire money to a Western Union station outside of Toledo for The Thing! The goddamned Thing! Make it a rush. In fact, I might need double.

Carl: Perhaps tomorrow…

Parker P: Listen to me, shithead! Some serious stuff is going down, and I’ve got to have this money, and I’ve got to have it before dawn! Otherwise there’s no deal! And I’m telling you right the fuck now, if Campion gets wind that I called and asked for the cash for The Thing and you didn’t wake him, and we miss out, he is going to blow a stack. And then I’m going to drive up there and beat the mortal snot from you with my bare fists. Do you understand me now? (call is cut short here)

APRIL 22 – 5:47 PM Incoming call from the Village Voice

Erin D (wife): What?

Unidentified Village Voice Editor: Wow, you’re answering the phone now? I thought Campion made you up.

Erin D: He did, go away.

VV: We need copy on this McDougal Street Flasher piece.

Erin D: What part of go away didn’t you comprehend? I’m up to my ass in shutters right now and I’m no secretary.

VV: Why did you answer the phone then?

Erin D: Seriously, I’m going to find you and make you pay. Do I even like you?

VV: I’m pretty sure we’ve never met.

Erin D: I know you. Didn’t I whip you in an arm wrestle at Chumley’s?

VV: That wasn’t me, that was xxxx xxxxxxxx.

Erin D: Right. I snapped that boy’s tendon right in half. Pretty good for a five-foot, 97- pounder. I love when men think they can take me. I bet I can take you.

VV: Can you at least take a message or let the machine pick up?

Erin D: Nah. (dial tone here)

MAY 14 – 9:35 PM Incoming call from Peter B.

James Campion: Yes?

Peter B (gadfly): What’s up.

JC: Nothing. You?

Peter B. Not much.

JC: Sounds good to me.

Peter B: Watching the Yankees game.

JC: Got the NBA on. Rooting for Lebron. Wife’s a big Pistons fan. She’s kicking me in the shins every time King James gets to the rack. And he’s getting to the rack, son. Ow!

Peter B: She’s sick.

JC: Why I married her.

Peter B: You know what the hell’s going with this Carl Pavano character?

JC: I think he’s in the witness protection program.

Peter B: He’s been out for a year. They say this is second or third rehab after he fell on his buttocks covering first base in March. His buttocks. Fell. Two months for that.

JC: Jacked on steroids.

Peter B: Likely.

JC: The King for three…! Yes! Hey, put that down… (sounds of struggle here, communication interrupted)

May 16 – 4:19 PM Incoming call from Dan B.

Dan B. (songwriter): Maestro.

JC: Admiral.

Dan B: You know, every couple of weeks I wander into a bookstore and head right for the fiction section and look to see if there’s a new J.D. Salinger.

JC: He hasn’t published anything since 1963.

Dan B: I know, man, The Four – There’s always just the holy, sacred four. That’s all there ever is, or will ever be – just those. But why?

JC: Maybe that’s all he had in him.

Dan B: I can’t accept it. How can anyone that good at something, that incredibly brilliant, just bag it? It’s Salinger we’re talking about! Salinger!

JC: Maybe he still writes, but hates publishers. I hate publishers. I really hate publishers.

Dan B: So? It’s not like Salinger would have to go on a book tour and sit at Barnes & Noble and sign books for three hours or go on the Today Show. He’s friggin’ J.D. Salinger!

JC: Maybe he hates writing. I pretty much hate writing. No, wait, I love writing. On third thought, I hate it.

DB: He has to realize he’s cheating the world. He has too. To be that great at something and kill it off. Halt it. It’s like a suicide. It’s creative suicide. He killed off Seymour Glass and that was it.

JC: He probably writes every day and has hundreds of stories, dozens of novels, and no one will see them until he dies and then his kids will exploit his legacy.

DB: They say he writes ten thousand words a day, and has been since the mid-sixties.

JC: I think that’s kinda romantic, pounding out tons of work for no one, for no cash. He’s obviously clinically mad. That’s it – he’s a nut. Or maybe he’s writing under an assumed name.

Dan B: Thomas Pynchon. Yeah, Thomas Pynchon is Salinger’s pen name.

JC: Maybe Dan Brown. Salinger wrote “The Da Vinci Code”.

Dan B: He writes for TV sitcoms now.

JC: Hey, I’ve got an idea. Let’s become terrorists.

Dan B: Okay. (high-pitched squeals over the line – agents crash in)

Reality Check | Pop Culture | Politics | Sports | Music

Read More