Henchman Beyond Tune or Debauch Neon Net Hymn

May 6, 2011

Friday May 6, 2011 08:33 Jinan 1 #2001

We look at the present through a rear-view mirror. We march backwards into the future. –McLuhan.

I awoke around 6:30. My wife laughs at the fact on our days off we can rise early and that during workdays it feels like dynamite is needed to get out of bed.

I had been dreaming lucidly about moving to Vermont: the home of John “One Chord” Connors and Those Monday Night Blues (St. Michael’s College WWPV 88.7 ).

I managed to pull off a cancer sandwich from my left foot. It started slowly, from the heel and I ripped it up, revealing a thick fibrous tumor. I ogled at the size of it, studying the flesh and the cells that composed it. As there was no blood, my biggest dilemma was how I was going to preserve it.

On the other side of the dream veil, sitting on my desk is a small jar of vodka with a rotten ol’ cavernous tooth. I recently had this boney demon extracted by a Chinese dentist in something akin to Bela Lougosi’s lab. This OCD compulsion to save things often translates into bizarre ritual, but honestly, these physical oddities are worth a look if you are Joe Coleman.

Back in the dream, despite the tender foot I knew it was time to move on. I asked my wife to drive. We were blocked in by one of the residents of the trailer park we found ourselves while driving to Vermont. She asked the big old gruff biker type to let us pass. He was surly and curtly suggested we back up the long way and go around. As she pleaded to pass directly, he became insulting. I intervened and it escalated to me putting him down to the ground like dropping a heavy stone. His friends poured out of the trailer to back him up. I pulled my piece and stuck into his left eye. As they summoned up the courage to rush me, I pulled the trigger and felt the recoil as the red spray did its thing. I drew back silently and we were allowed to pass.

Needless to say, I awoke checking my foot and my wife sleeping besides me.

I rattled around the kitchen, groping for coffee. I knew I wanted to get this down, but it took two cigarettes, a double shot of whiskey, Mau Haung, and a pot of coffee to shake the dream murder from my system.

It’s not the gore and violence that unnerves me. It is the ease that I have no compunction about committing the deadly act, dream state or otherwise. The violence that has been bred into me has haunted me through out my life. It’s no wonder I want to save horrifying things in jars.

I sat out on the patio. The construction elephants were really going at it this morning. The result of all the welding overnight, I suppose. The arc welder strobe flickers its distinct blue-gray light dance through my windows on the twentieth floor.

I struggled in my chair drinking my Irish Coffee, the breakfast of champions. I scribbled a few blue lines on brown paper including the opening lyric from Echo and The Bunnymen’s The Back of Love:

I’m on the chopping block
Chopping off my stopping thought
Self doubt and selfism
Were the cheapest things I ever bought
When you say it’s love
D’you mean the back of love
When you say it’s love
D’you mean the back of love?

We’re taking advantage of
Breaking the back of love
We’re taking advantage of
Breaking the back of love

Easier said than done you said
But it’s more difficult to say
With eyes bigger than our bellies
We want to but we can’t look away
What were you thinking of
When you dreamt that up?
What were you thinking of
When you dreamt that up?
Taking advantage of
Breaking the back of love

When you’re surrounded by a simple chain of events
(Behind my eyes, behind my eyes)
(Your eyes don’t lie)
Eventually you’ll shack those shackles off
(Dreams above those eyes)
(Those eyes)

We can’t tell our left from right
But we know we love extremes
Getting to grips with the ups and downs
Because there’s nothing in between
When you say that’s love
D’you mean the back of love
When you say that’s love
D’you mean the back of love?

Taking advantage of
Breaking the back of love

What were you thinking of
When you dreamt that up?

We’re taking advantage of
We’re breaking the back of love
Breaking the back of love

Thank you, Ian McCulloch and guitarist Will Sergeant. You know how to draw my mental time machine to the mid 1980’s every time.

There are some things in my life that I reach back in time for when I write. I am not always successful at grasping on to those moments, which have evaporated over the years and miles between them and me. Still, like a splinter in my tired soul they remain, just big enough to remind me but not big enough to find my way back to that time completely.

We look at the history through a dirty windshield. We stumble forwards into the past. -Me

Echo & The Bunnymen has the power to resurrect some old friends.

There was Mikey H. who lived just long enough to clean up his act, only to be cut in half with his passenger while riding his motorcycle. I distinctly remember some people in the party circuit being pissed off that he decided move on and clean up his act. I supported his choice and was glad that he saw the light, even if was only for just a summer. Jim Carroll also wrote a song about this.

Echo’s album Songs to Live & Learn always shouts my memory out to the CRC: Coors River Crew. Handsome Keith, Alvin Pusky, El Paso Jimmy, Spaceman, Malibu Michelle, Natty Ganns and Just Julie and cast of irregulars that joined us that summer.

After shallow leper career in high school, I instantly found myself to be much cooler than I expected. It was only a matter time that I would jettison myself from that group. In all honestly, I was not a very good friend. I was petty, jealous, and still very socially inept. Insecurity, puberty, and poverty ran piss warm in my veins. I had been brought in as sort of a sidekick and that didn’t rest with well with me. I was the Flounder but knew Bluto was one good lay from emerging. In the end, I found myself sleeping in my car, traveling the southwest from LA to Roswell.

The friends long left behind, but the music remains.



A Tarantulas Robe Check

April 29, 2011

09:29 Jinan 1 #2001

A shot of nicotine, caffeine, ephedrine, The Phenomanauts and here I am. A thick haze of that uniquely flavored Guandong Pearl River Smog squats over the Nanhai Corridor about as subtle as a 400 pound hooker on a squeaky wrought iron bed.

It’s been a while since the words have dripped from my finger tips into digital oblivion. Nonetheless, I’m here. I’m present. I’m ready to tear away at the crystal blue metallic skin, I’ve managed to shell away in these last few months.

Alkobar the Crustacean, is officially ready to be boiled alive and cracked opened for your dining pleasure.

Alkobar, came about one wild LA weekend when I stole the family car, quit my job at the radio station, and kidnapped my best friend to go and see The Cult playing at the Santa Monica Civic Center circa 1986.

As the halcyon manic rush of risky behavior wound down, we found ourselves eating breakfast on the nearly abandon Santa Monica Pier. The smell of salt water and cresol wood ties drifted over the only place that was open, a dingy little fish taco hut with some old hippie junkie working the joint.

We sat deflated, knowing that the reality of our small town cock sucker blues were a four hour drive across the desert and would have to be endured, yet again.

We sat somewhat in silence, as little shit birds flew in and hopped about looking for crumbs. My buddy Dee, who had a pension for hanging weird shit from his ears got it in his mind that he wanted a dead bird’s foot to add to his collection and proceeded to torment our little feather friends with a mantra of, “Bird! Give me your foot!” He jumped about a few times like a crippled cat, trying to pounce prey out of instinct but with little success.

Shit, were we hung over? No matter. The pulse of the ocean with the waves hitting the pier in the early morning sun seemed to trance me out. I was long gone when Dee, snapped his fingers in front of my face. I shook my head and said, “I am Alkobar.”

I began to explain my vision of a figure that emerged from the shore of the ocean in what looked like Samurai armor that glimmered like the sun almost too painful to try and look at. The warrior walked out of the ocean slowly with purpose like any conquistador in the new world. He paused as he breached the waves and stood on the sand, drawing his sword and planting it in the ground with solid defiance. He began to remove his helmet with face mask, revealing my own face and there I stood a golden vision of my higher self, “I am Alkobar.”

Needless to say, Dee was taken back by my story. This only validated the vision. I sat slightly shaken and asked for a cigarette, which was unusual for me. The smoke did that beautiful cobalt tinted dance in the swath of morning light that beamed through the open door adjacent to us.

A little black bird popped up on the table and tilted his head to examine us curiously with abandoned caution and then helped himself to some of our food. “Bird! I want your foot!” but the intent was nothing more than the seeds of an inside joke that still works almost 30 years later.

Dee, would later write a poem about this entitled: Alkobar the Crustacean. It was only then that I began to understand the symbolism of my vision. Where I saw conquering hero in magic amour, he saw a person struggling to escape that shell in which he found himself incased trying to protect the sweet soft inside. The truth may actually be somewhere in between, depending on which shore Alkobar lands on.

Anagrams for Alkobar The Crustacean include:

1. A Bacchanal Reek Tutors

2. A Attachable Rocker Sun

3. A Attachable Rock Nurse

4. A Calabash Neck Torture

5. A Calabash Rocket Tuner

6. A Cabala Rockets Hunter

7. A Cabana Rocket Hustler

8. A Charlatan Obese Truck

9. A Canasta Butler Choker

10. A Cantata Ruble Shocker

11. A Tarantulae Orbs Check

12. A Tarantulas Robe Check

13. A Tarantula Sober Check

Imagine the geeky giggles these are generating. (I love top play with the online anagram server).

Dee’s poem was a road sign in a critical turning point in my life. I had been playing the soon to be dead rock star game, with a 25 dollar ticket a show, where the only audience was the demons hiding in the walls, the roadies lost in the carpet, and the lone spotlight coming from the flame under the glass I put my lips to. I knew it was time for a change and in some ways that poem indeed gave me a tarantula sober check.

We are all whores to some extent. Some are just better than others. It’s the nature of the machine we live in. Some get through by numbing out the pain of squeezed soul, while other remain blissfully unaware of a calabash neck torture from the handlers which guide us to generate profits. For what end is known only to their reptilian cold blood. There are some cures for example; a attachable rock nurse like my good friend Dee, who writes poetry about us can help.

You get the gist. I’ve got tortillas to roll out. Oh man, it’s good to be back. I better take my pill to make sure Alkobar’s armor stays on the shelf until the next episode.

Phoenix Claws the Doritos of China

and you wanted a protein bar?

Madness is like a fine wine that often sits in the cellars of our minds, waiting to be uncorked like a cabalas rocket hunter!

End 10:47


Are We Human? Or Are We Scanners?

March 23, 2011

When smoking through the Trache Hole isn't enough

January 29, 2010 Friday 04:14 Lamai Beach Koh Samui Thailand

There are things in life that are simply incomprehensible. The older I get and the more self actualized I get, the more I have come to realize and accept this. “No man is so wise as to say he knows it all.”

There are horrors and pain in this world that are produced by evil and vile men on to others for reasons known only to them. For any amount of logic, intelligence, belief, and idea is beyond trying to understand why these things are done.

I sure as hell can’t for the life of me understand why some of the things are the way they are, which is fucked up, instead of being something better.

I’m coming to grips with the fact that there are so many more people in the world than when I was half my age. The world was once a big place, but grows smaller with each breath and word I write. It grows with populations of people with their own needs, desires, agendas, and not all of them good.

My wife was accurate in her description about things going on with groups of people simultaneously. We were walking up one of the many bar streets here on the island peering into that world of lonely men and women selling a so called good time. This subculture of sexual tourism in Thailand is incomprehensible, not on any presumptuous moral grounds, but on shear size alone. Bar after bar of bored women and horny guys going through the motions with money on their mind. We could only imagine all the other cities where sex sells. “It’s like Las Vegas.” She said referring to another subculture of gamblers and partiers. “Just so many people all doing the same thing.”

It goes far beyond that. We lay in bed and watched The President’s state of the union address after his first year in office and I watched the faces in the crowd of politicians, composed of senators, legislatures, representatives, supreme justices, chief generals of staff, and etc. As Obama spoke and said things that made sense offering solutions and hope to the working people of America, the reactions of those that would oppose him and these ideas were as obvious as broken glass shining in the sun.

I could see the power brokers of Washington react and lean over making comments to one another on Obama’s key points. It was saddening. I was glad to be half a world away. The ideas of freedom, liberty, and justice for all are ideals held in a lofty place in my mind, but now I’ve come to realize that these are just that, ideals and not everyone can or will agree or accept them.

An old whore cackles in the night above the slow roar of the ocean waves. Her laugh comes with perfect timing. It’s a clear reminder of mine of a world that seems so hell bent on destroying itself. It’s funny as irony and sarcasm still remain one of my favorite flavors of enlightenment.

I’m not sure who’s passing by to go to work this early versus who is sneaking home this late. None the less, the old gals are sitting out down the street making sure the last dog is hung.

It reminds me of my childhood living above the Hondo Bar, with the strange random sounds of heartache and misery in the form of people up all night pretending to be having a good time. It some sort of twisted way in comforts me. I’m quickly reminded that I’m not the only other person in this world that has been broken and run over by life and the powers that be. Despite all that, I too am still here.

If there are more people in the world now, who are all pursuing the same things then what direction is the world heading? “A smoldering ball of shit!” George Carlin has predicted. Call me a cynic, but I’m inclined to agree.

No man should bring children into the world who is unwilling to persevere to the end in their nature and education. –Plato

Too bad not many people know who the fuck Plato was as they keep pumping out little replicas of themselves into a world that needs another human being as much as it needs more plastic.

Trust me I’m not bitter about all of this, just confused. That we as a species continue grow at an exponential rate with no clue as how in the hell we are going to take care of all these people and the world we live on.

For my wife and I, we will be the last of our kind. Our love will not be passed on.  I’m sure it sounds selfish and in fact it does to me too as I write it out so directly.

Yet, our love is the dwell point for an entire personal history that brought us together. Generations of generations of life times of our parents and ancestors who came together with us as the end result will be gone in a blink of an eye when we too eventually pass from this world.

In geological time, man is but a spec of dust. So in that sense perhaps I won’t worry so much about the planet as a whole and continue to accept that human beings are a virus and the planet is infected with something akin to a bad cold. Gaia will eventually tire of us and rid herself of us and our polluting ways.

What a harbinger of doom and gloom I am. Cup of coffee anyone?


Canton Babylon

February 20, 2011

Back in the dark gray hood after a month is sunny Southern Thailand. As soon as you land in Guangzhou (CAN) you are slapped in the face with the omnipresent culture shock of grime and mediocrity. Oh it’s good to be back home! You can’t help but start counting how many people are hocking flem gems and spitting. The throngs of people crowd in and you are cast upon a unyielding sea of  bodies, tonal language, knock off clothes, and second hand smoke. It only took about a day before I lost it. It’s like coming back to square one. I’d kick my own ass if culture shock wasn’t already beating me into submission. Deguello!

Chint: Stay Out of My Life

I know the feeling sista


A Cantoneze Christmas

December 24, 2010

How I feel in my new place

We gave ourselves the best present a foreign devil can get…MOVING.  After three years in the same dingy Chinese concrete pillbox that has kept our sanity on edge, we finally got an upgrade and moving to a fortress of solitude on the 20th floor far above the pillock madness that has given us China Blues on more than one occasion.


Ass Clown Parade

October 29, 2010

The Ass Clown Parade.


I started working at the age of 13. I’m almost certain that every job since then has had an Ass Clown either as a coworker or heaven forbid, the boss.


I swear sometimes I’ve been put on this earth to endure and survive Ass Clowns. I must be paying some sort of Karmic debt or as Nietzsche so astutely pointed out, “Hell is other people.”


What’s an Ass Clown? Well, that may be open to debate, but only an Ass Clown would want to debate that. If you have to ask, then chances are you might just be an Ass Clown yourself.


The majority of Ass Clowns in my life have been either sawed off little self centered power hungry micromanaging control freaks or brain dead old skags who can only see things in black and white.


Sometimes Ass Clowns are easy to spot by the nature of their uniform and their utility belt of power control apparatuses, which usually is accompanied by the almighty name tag with title.


See Ass Clowns have no real authority in the world so they have to try to fool themselves and the unsuspecting naïve good hearted but doomed masses with their Ass Clown regalia. They have no real authority as they themselves are no authority on anything pertinent or real that can make a difference is peoples lives for the better.


Ass Clowns like to drape themselves in titles, awards, certificates, and PHD’s in bull shit studies that would confab the most saturated academic somnambulist.


Still, we seem to be up to our collective necks with Ass Clowns. I blame consumer materialism as it seems to generate Ass Clowns like mold in a gym locker.


Perhaps it’s a genetic trait. Could there be an Ass Clown gene? How else can such abhorrent behavior to fellow human beings be so naturally and clueless engaged in?


I’ll be honest, when we as Americans allowed the king of Ass Clowns to stay in the white house a second time I thought the end was nigh. I packed up what was left of my sanity and got the hell out of the country. I was a wide eye fool to think that I could escape the Ass Clown factor in my life.


Thanks to globalization, Ass Clownery seems to be rampant on the planet. In my travels, I’ve managed to continue to run into their ilk in a variety of nations, races, and flavors.


We as Americans do not have the market cornered on Ass Clowns. Yet we’re very well represented by them in the mass media and in some bizarre twisted curse of fate this has help generate the new breed of globalized Ass Clowns.


Hell. I’m just as exhausted pointing this out, as I am when dealing with an Ass Clown in person.


I’ve tried a range of remedies in my lifetime to rid myself of these masters of time suckage but with little success, as no sooner do you cut the head or legs off one does another seem to pop up like the human boil they are.


I’ve tried kindness, understanding, avoidance, and even violence. Nothing seems to be effective.  The simple fact is that you can not change an Ass Clown.


The best you can do is to try to minimize your exposure to them. Over the years I’ve tried to be my own boss (which is can be a slippery slope to becoming and Ass Clown if you have more than one employee other than yourself), to working for small somewhat forgotten employers in jobs than no one else would really want in places no one else also would really go to.


“You have a problem with authority!” Maybe so, but only an Ass Clown would point that out.


I also recommend just saying “No” to Ass Clowns and their grocery list of demands. You have to be firm and willing to walk away or be removed from your situation when taking this strategy. The reality is that in either case, you will indeed be better off in the long run. Familiarity breeds contempt and if one can accept the fact that Ass Clowns are everywhere, what do you really have to lose? At least you may gain some peace of mind, even if only momentarily.


Ultimately there is no solution to dealing with this vermin. It honestly seems part of human nature. I can only hope that George Carlin was right and that eventually this planet will shake us all off like a bunch of fleas.


In the meantime, Ass Clowns are doing their damdest to get off the planet they have managed to turn into a smog filled smoldering ball of shit. Ass Clowns in space! That’s the cockroach nature of Ass Clowns, to do everything within their reach to keep and propagate their Ass Clown way of life.


Until then, I’m refusing to salute the Ass Clown Parade. I’d ask you to join me…but that would make me an Ass Clown too.

Bad Panda at work

Being a Foreigner in China is like being a Panda


Wicked Pissah

October 4, 2010

June 9, 2010 05:48

I’m slow to rise today. The alarm on my phone vibrating on a plastic tote signaled the Sandman to stop the somnambulist gang rape of my subconscious. I was tired. I’m not sure how it happens, but it does.

Yesterday was a long day. Eighteen hours of Full China Mental Jacket will do that to a person. The students are burned out with only a few weeks in the term and there apathy is contagious. I struggled to get through the last class and the best comment I got from the passive learners was, “it’s over, it’s like torture” when the last bell rang.

A jumpy bumpy bus ride along traffic filled “Rice Runners” made for the usual quirky jerk commute home. I had the driver stop about a block from the last stop so we could join our crazy hairdresser for a “Chinese Baby Boy Party”. Another hour later found us stuck in traffic, again somewhere deep in the ceramic district of Foshan. There is just a point in a foreigner’s existence here that you just have to let go.  Seriously, there was no reason to get up tight. How could I. I had absolutely no control over the situation. We were cramped in a car with total strangers, listening to really bad cover music, going to an unknown destination, for vague reasons, at this point you have remind yourself, “This is China” and “who needs LSD?” The surreal effect of all the strange yet familiar situations can really make you laugh as opposed to getting extremely pissed off. It’s a balancing act over the high wire act of culture shock that affects your total being. While sitting on the bridge doing your best clown car impression for a micro eternity and Hong Kong film star Andy Lau warbling Roy Orbinson’s Pretty Woman with a series of mondagreens like, “Pretty woman won’t you stay a why” and “looka my why” at quadraphonic volumes, you know that Rod Serling is narrating the scene as Timothy Leary laughs. You just have to let go.

We're all children at heart

Take Me to Your Leader

In my case I bite my tongue as not to bust out chortling, as mind drifts to other wacky Chinese car adventures. After a few minutes of earthquake survivor contortions, I manage to fish my cell phone out from under me and my balls that I’m sitting on in the world’s smallest Buick. I needed to share the madness with my friend Danny Valenzuela, who was trapped in a similar situation with me in Beijing last summer. The only thing different was in that car there was also a drunken mad Canadian who had to piss so bad that he nearly jumped out of the moving vehicle in the middle of eight way traffic intersection.  His agitations lead to a string of obscenities that poor local driver could understand in any language. “Tell this fucker to stop the car! I’ve got to take a godamn leak! No seriously, make him stop, the shit head. I’ll piss his fucking seat, son of bitch!” This of course only made him drive faster and more reckless through the busy streets. Somewhere between being frustrated that Canadian Yosemite Sam was going to get us all killed and that we warned him not down a twelve pack of beer before the long ride, does the payoff come. His crescendo of cussing, cursing and pleading the driver to stop to let him piss ends instantly with a defeated, “there is goes…I pissed myself.” Danny and I are doubled up trying not to laugh aloud as it would be cruel. It was one of those stifling attempts of “don’t look at me” or bust out laughing. We were in agony, snorting and chortling like Bevis and Butthead. After a few minutes, I catch my breath and ask The Canadian “is it bad?” “Hell, I’m still going!” Which of course kills us all over again, as what has to be the longest piss ever taken by a human, but the fact that it’s happening in the front seat of a crazy Beijing taxi ride elevates the insanity to Cheech and Chong levels. It was the calm after the storm that left us in stitches. The quiet resolve of this mad man once he pissed himself left us scarred for life. Upon arriving at the hostel, Yosemite slowly gets out and throws some money at the driver. We amble out of the back with our luggage and watch the cabbie pull up the piss soaked passenger floor mat with a quizzical look as if he had witnessed a magic trick like, “where all this liquid come from.” We stumble our way up the Hutong to the reception desk, with The Canadian bluntly telling everyone and anyone repeatedly, “I pissed my pants”.  The fact they were also canary yellow with a pair of pink Crocs only added to the full of effect of what the fuck just happened. Like I said when you are functionally illiterate in Chinese, sometimes you just have to let go. Even if it’s in your pants, “Pretty woe mon, want jew stay aaah whyyyyyyyy!”