Let me apologize for any boredom, blunt head trauma, toxic shock syndrome, or other effects of my web site. You enter this website and explore entirely at your own risk and by doing so, agree to hold harmless the publisher, author, standover man, and taxidemist from all civil and criminal action.
"The monkey's dead. Show's over."
This is a vehicle for my own self promotion. With it, I will no longer need to repeat my boring little stories ad infinitum to various people. I will just hand them this address.
Hideous things - Lactose intolerance - A recent invention, an annoying affectation. Damn un-American Monogrammed Burp Cloths for babies - entirely unacceptable. Babies - see above Celene Dion - If I need to explain you don't deserve to read my website. Rockefeller Xmas Tree Lighting - Why is this big? It is so inane. I want to set it on fire. Xmas - see above CBS, medical dramas,
Some bullet points on me:
Fiji consists of over 300 islands, two main ones. They had the strange logic of building their international airport on one side of the main island and their capital city on the other. So I stayed in Nandi where the airport is, visited the fantastic beach there, visited a Hindu temple, wandered around town avoiding third world scams. And it is Third World. Not grotesque third world with headless lepers waving their necks at passers by, but shabby and run down, no seat belt kind of third world. Shampoo that "kills everything" is advertised on the street. That is important in a shampoo I always think.
They have portraits of infrastructure on the currency. That should be the deciding factor in third world first world definitions; airports, bridges, hydro stations on the currency is really saying you can buy "kill all" shampoo in our country and the phones don't work. But they have taste. The red and white kilts the police wear are wonderful. I took a bus over the other side of the island to Suva, the capital of Fiji and wandered around their pleasant city for a few hours. Suva is a one McDonalds town. The cab to Suva Airport was eventful as it broke down in a puff of smoke and the driver and I had to push. The plane back to Nandi was one of those tiny 16 seaters engineered like a mosquito, running like an amusement park ride. I drank Kava after the flight (not narcotic or alcoholic but.....Something).
Last Year I visited the Kingdom of Morocco where my greencard was stolen on a train.
We flew Royal Air Maroc. The passengers applaud when the plane lands, just like in the 1970s! You can smoke cigarettes on the planeand the flight attendants sleep throughout the flight on the seats. Nobody attempted to char broil meat on a grill, but I'm sure you can get away with that in first class. Royal Air Maroc's frequent flier program is compatible with no other airline known to man.
Morocco is third world, though not leprous third world and we weren't hassled much. When we were, telling the hasstler that we were Russian got rid of them fast enough.
Had I have stayed longer I would like to have seen The Berm. After the Great Wall of China, the Berm would have to be one of the world's greatest engineering projects. To better secure their annexation/invasion of Western Sahara in 1976, the Moroccans built a tall wall around the outer extremity of their country to keep the original inhabitance of Western Sahara out. Apparently it can been seen from space. The Moroccan government encourages citizens to move to the arid Western Sahara to live and provides various incentives. There's a brand of cigarettes in Morocco called Dakhla, a nasty brew, named after a Western Saharan city. I think more cigarettes and consumables should be named after conquered cities. First we smoked you now we smoke you. We also visited Rabat, saw the mausoleum of the last king, some decrepit Roman ruins and the zoo, complete with aged lions and kangaroos. The zoo did have pigs in it, a first for me.
Casablanca was a pleasant city of three million people, two McDonalds,and several Pizza Huts. Everything and everyone is in French and Arabic. The Arabic I know is Levantine Arabic and pretty rusty at that, as is my French I made myseld understood. There are strange things in Casablanca. They have the second largest Mosque on earth, which we visited, an enormous and stunningly beautiful building by the sea. And there are bizarre things like airline offices of countries with flight embargoes; airlines that don't fly are cool. Maybe their miles are compatible with Royal Air Maroc. If my life doesn't work out on Wall St., I'm going to work for Iraqi Airways or Libyan Arab Airways. I love absurdity.
I had the unfortunate experience of having my green card stolen on a train to Rabat, waylaying our plans of going to Fez as we had to spend some time and money at the US Consulate getting a travel letter to let me back in the US. A Travel Letter is sort of like a note from mother saying the holder is really a nice guy and please let him back in to America. Luckily my passport wasn't taken as the nearest embassy of my nationality is in Paris. We went to the US Consulate and filled in a form before we were let into the actual consulate. The form was a check appropriate box type with the usual assortment of problems on the form; lost passport,birth registration, tax problem, etc. One problem you could declare was "Minor Mental Case" which amused me and piqued my curiosity Then I heard of an example; an American who ended up in the consulate weeping. He had smoked too much hash and woke up in the desert having been found on the road by locals and taken in. He had no money and had sold his passport for.....wait for it...goats!
But I long to be back, a minor mental case, drinking mint tea on the edge of Sahara watching the sunset as the faithful are called to prayer.
Decades since watching the show in the early1970s. Also found the Western Sahara liberation front site which is cool, as is their virtual country which is recognized by about 80countries despite having no real land. I like artificial countries. Ask anyone, Palestine lost all its cache when they effectively floated their shares at the UN with their "Palestinian Authority" entity. Governments in Exile are fantastic and I want to be part of one. There's always a brighter tomorrow for governments in exile, by definition, and always a cool grudge against the occupiers/usurpers(in Western Sahara's case, Morocco). This is the Saharwis site http://www.arso.com/ http://www.royalairmaroc.com/sitean/ieindex.htm
SEOUL, Republic of Korea
A few years ago I stopped off in South Korea for a week en-route to a return to Tokyo.
The weather was perfect and the food was good - although really hot - filled with chilli and garlic. At some places the cooks wear asbestos and serve the hotter dishes with big lead ladels. As a country, Korea is a little weird. For instance, stainless steel is very popular there, water drinking cups, chopsticks, bowls, lots of things in stainless steel. There's no pornography in the whole country. And breathalyzers there consist of blowing in a policeman's face. But don't do that unless he asks, rioting is the Korean national sport and they excel at it. Heaps of police everywhere, cans of tear gas (domestic - not imported) at the ready. They are always on the look out for north Korean spies. Some turn up occasionally.
People bump into you on the street full on without saying a word, they snatch, and glare when you make a cultural faux pas. They even shout abuse at foreigners on the street. And they fight!
The accordion is big there - hence the violence. I saw a few minstrels in the streets playing the accordion on my walks. This is no doubt an influence from the communist north where propaganda frequently features ruddy children playing the accordion. I guess it's wholesome though under current circumstances I imagine most of the accordions in Pyongyang have been eaten. Like the dogs. I saw a few dogs in Seoul butchers stores but never tried the meat. They shave them but I do not know if this is an official occupation or specialization.
The highlight of any visit to Korea is undoubtedly a day tour to Pamunjom, the truce village in the Demilitarized Zone. We left Seoul and drove north to the DMZ, a tightly controlled military zone bordering the north. By most accounts, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea is an utterly insane place, perhaps the most bizarre and evil country on earth. For their imaginative and outrageous propaganda, see http://www.kcna.com/
Big Hollywood sized signs on either side urge locals to cross the line and live in each other's version of paradise. There are huge flag poles on either side, the north's is so big (400 pounds) it rarely ever flies - stupid commie pukes. There's a village, a city really that the north built on their side which is totally there for propaganda reasons, nobody lives there - just empty buildings and (yet uneaten) speakers blaring propaganda all night in Korean.
After a terrible US Army lunch they drove us to the actual truce village and into the famous conference room where the border where south and north collide. Tourists can stand under armed guard on the north side of the room (the actual border is the microphone cords that run down the table) and actually BE in NORTH KOREA - which I did. Outside the line runs several feet from where I stood. Defection would be very easy and perhaps something to do on a boring day - but it would have to be very boring and I imagine things would go downhill fast after such an act. Imagine my voice mail back in NY "Sorry I can't sell you stock today, I have defected to the People's Paradise where I am propaganda showboy for the Dear Leader against you lackey imperailist pigs. I will be checking my voice mail however....if you wish to send me food, please press one."
On the way there are stories. Like the "1976 Ax Murder Incident" - one of my favorites. Some US army personnel tried to cut down a tree on the DMZ and were attacked by ax wielding soldiers from the north resulting in two deaths. I understand accordions were not involved. But the next day the entire US arsenal was. It was put on red alert and battleships were brought in to be on the ready in case a similar incident occurred as troops (successfully) felled the poplar.
Seoul which is, incidentally, is in a time zone that hasn't been invented yet.
North Korea the Land of the Bizarre before it too folds in a pile of dust and post-Stalinist rubble. Truly insane countries are getting harder to find these days, they're really an endangered species. The world used to be filled with the crazily crippled states like Albania, Libya, Democratic Kampuchea, Angola, Revolutionary Iran. Now there's just a bunch of tribal brouhahas all vying for a McDonalds in their Halls of the People, and bending over backwards to have Templeton's World Fund buy their economy. Self-starters like Somalia and Rwanda though, 90s hells, still exercise the imagination.
COOL THINGS The Beatles Living in a Fire Department Station Flintstones Nicotine Patches Barney Condoms The King of Tonga Tokyo TV - Cow & Chicken Cartoon, South Park, Fox ("World's Scariest Police Chases" "When good lawn furniture turns bad" "Waitering's Most embarrassing Moments") Jerry Springer, Roseanne.
Being a website aslush with ego, here are some links
This is where I went to school: http://www.georgetown.edu/
This is where, in part, I grew up. http://www.magma.ca/~mtooker/s_skies/rangtotb.htm
These people are On The Money. http://www.clui.org/
http://www.jailbabes.com/ some of the women are "willing to relocate" !!!
Some amusing and interesting links:
http://www.npa.go.jp/keibi2/it4.htm My Favorite Hijack
S.T. Coleridge, full version of Rhyme of Ancient Mariner -
http://ceausescu.ines.ro/ My favorite dictator's estate auction
http://www.yale.edu/cgp/ favorite genocide site ---related http://www.vais.net/~tapang/
The kinkiest sex website I have ever seen
Favorite vegetable porn
Another website of mine. http://www.webworld.com.au/doc/
For aesthetic quality: PHOTOS OF CONSTRUCTION OF BRAZILIA
Japanese gardens http://www.japanese-gardens.ch/
Favorite countries not recognized as such by the US Government
The people - my proletariat - LINKS TO ASSORTED FRIENDS WEBSITES http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/Museum/6807/
creative images of me
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Troy/6837/images/Image4.jpg http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Troy/6837/images/Image5.jpg http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Troy/6837/images/Image5a.jpg http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Troy/6837/images/Image5b.jpg
How to leave your job...
"And the Ayatollah bought a nuclear warship if he dies he wants to go out in style. "Lou Reed
Today was so liberating. Use technology to your advantage is my advice. I had told the powers that be (or at least one) that I would be leaving my firm after one hundred years - I've been there longer than all but the owner and six others. I only told the compliance officer who by law has to know, and swore him to secrecy. But I hate good-byes.
So surreptitiously I moved all my stuff out and transferred my client accounts to two friends. I have been doing this over the last few days quietly. It is amazing the junk you discover in a desk after four years; old stock certificates, long pilfered office supplies, letters, photos, discs, THAT THING I WAS LOOKING FOR etc - just things you've put away and forgotten about like shrunken human heads (two female, South American),wads of one hundred thousand dollars, a T-Rex jawbone.
Then I wrote but didn't yet send the following e-mail. ""I will resign the (vice) Presidency, effective noon tomorrow." Nixon Time to move on for me. After four good years here I have decided to go on to other things. I'd like to thank all recipients of this e-mail for their assistance and warm friendship throughout the years. I can be reached at my personal e-mail address DocInNy@yahoo.com."
Nobody at my company has left like that before, they always sneaked away in the dead of night like thieves or amidst the hoop la of public goodbye. I had the email ready to go to about 90% of the staff, the remainder being those I either don't know or don't particularly like and didn't deserve to be in on the fun. Fuck 'em - get off the Doc Train if you don't like the fires. Then at 1:50 pm.....3...2...1... SEND. It was the "Nixon doctrine in its purest form" and I moved casually towards the bathroom and the front door, rapidly along the hall waiting for the elevator, heart pumping. That was the trick, beating the server out. The new server has more computing power than Norad and IBM but as you know I move quickly. I had to get out of the building before anyone had read it! As I was at the elevator I heard the receptionist's you've got mail bell go off so I jumped into the up elevator before going down from a higher floor. My departure got rave reviews.
I've seen people leave in tears, seen them go shouting obscenities at the firm, the USA, their dead relatives, seen 'em go weighed down with flowers looking like a float at Carnival in Rio, and.... always the boxes. I've even seen one poor fellow being lead out of the office in handcuffs by Federal Agents. Now THAT was an exciting day. What an upstager. Next departure...I promise..Now where am I going to put that T-rex bone?
HEALTH CARE A visit to the doctors I had to go to the doctors recently - a new doctor. I turned up with the usual laundry list of assorted colors and flavors of pills. The damn doctor changed my appointment from 11 to 3 but that's OK, you know, he's busy. So I turn up at 2:50 and at 3:30 I'm still waiting. I have to leave Manhattan at 4:30 for an appointment in Queens and I had to work myself up for days to explain to this doctor the horror of this story, my reaction, and not have him commit me to a mental hospital. So I'm psyched like an Olympic athlete seconds before the starter pistol. It gets to 4:00 PM (and this Doctor apparently has an available appointment next in several years time), and the receptionist calls the only other patient in the swank waiting room. He's old and has a frame and, I thought, I could so easily overpower him and use his frame as a weapon against him......my thinking is a little strange recently. So at 4:00 it looks like I'm still an appointment behind! This kind of stress makes lab rats explode in experiments. I walk up to the receptionist, the same one who told me he would be running 30 minutes late, the same chubby potato with a face painted on who didn't call my office number to let me know this ahead of time. And I ask for the New Patient Form I had given her and the copy of my insurance card. There was a look of stunned amazement on her face a few reaction seconds later as I tore the pages up with great rage and yelled "NODEAL" before storming our and slamming the door. Sometimes, rudeness is the only answer. My insurance carrier is one of the leftover branches of the Government of the USSR.
So I went downtown to another doctor and collected the pills and went on my slightly higher and more dazed way. US medicine pisses me off. Everything costs thousands of dollars and even for the lucky, the insured, me, you're covered for all contingencies other than actual sickness. Then there's the information sharing and lack of privacy, which REALLY gets me.
They always ask me for my birthdate to which I respond "1971" "And the month and day, sir?""1971, that's all" But sir.." "Look, am I going to get a birthday card from you? 1971." Then there's the Social Security Number adventure because I routinely leave the space blank." And your social security number, sir" "I don't have one, I'm a foreigner, an alien, Camus' originalOutsider, the Beast" Usually they believe that, never realizing the fact that all working foreigners' have one. Sometimes they get cut eand demand one in which case Elvis Presley's SSN usually does fine. Under all circumstances except where it would leave me open to felony charges of tax evasion, I never use my Social Security Number.
In the future there will be a medical Miranda right; "You have the right to remain in pain, but anything you say or suffer maybe held against you in a court of insurance or public domain marketplace." Am I a crank? Wait till I'm old...."See a psychiatrist" says the doctor.
I have been watching many talk shows, particularly Jerry Springer. The violence is lots of fun. On one recent episode a 13 y.o. white trash girl stole her 19 y.o. sister's boyfriend AS REVENGE for an earlier boyfriend of her sister giving said 13 y.o. "gong-ga-reah." I assume this is something to do with a gong! Many people on talk shows have bad teeth. My friend at the Maury Povich show tells me they have studio teeth that they give to guests with no teeth for their appearance on the show. Watch out for that gong-ga-reah!
I was amazed at how different Italy is to anything I have seen before. For a start so much of their stuff is OLD. And EVERYTHING is different to the here; the food, the way the food is eaten, the stores, the way you pay, or pay MORE for sitting down, those cute little bidet things you can wash your face in, the whole way of life. And they have lots of festivals in the evening. The whole town comes out to listen to some music, drink, or watch government sponsored (tax rate in Italy 700%) minstrels do their thing. These were fun but the sad side is they probably don't have very good television. I honestly had less culture shock in Korea. But I had a GREAT time.
The wedding, the purpose of my trip, went VERY well and I was an excellent Best Man; I may turn pro. But I want a promotion. I want Kato and Marcella to have a child so I can be the Godfather. "Some day, and that day may never come, I'll call upon you to do a service for me...." But this time I was the "testimonii" and made my legal mark in Europe by signing the official Sassoulo register. The wedding was held in a beautiful "dukal" church which seemed like it was built before Christendom itself with interior decoration by God.
We went the the city of Parma, Roman ruins, several Thousand Year Old Things (hard to tell what they were after all that time, but one proclaimed itself to be a church), patted tame owls, AND we went to some thermal (but cold!!) mud volcanoes that bubble up like a moonscape. Kato's father in law told me you can light the methane that seeps out in the mud bubblers, so I did. But I put my match in a little caldera and burnt the hair off my arm in the ensuing explosion which father in law said "smelt like chicken." Telling that story to friends was an uphill battle. What wife would believe THAT story when confronted with a bald arm?
Speaking of bald, it seemed like 90% of the men in northern Italy are bald or losing it, I felt positively hairy...like a tarantula, a hairy man. ME! ME! A hairy man. Paradise.
For the first two nights I stayed at the several million-year-old farmhouse 9km out of town on the peak of a large hill with Kato and Marcella. But I was uncomfortable up there - we were on the top the hill on a farm with huge non-English speaking animals - miles from civilization. Kato wouldn't let me smoke indoors (the beast!) and I was unable to negotiate the medieval doors and dungeon locks.
So I abandoned it in favor of the in-laws house in town where I stayed in their basement. Which was fine. They are a great family and the father a real character. Gino, Marcella's brother is also cool and will be visiting us in NY at the end of the year. He is glutin intolerant, but I have nothing against his sort, gluten intolerance is not like those lactose intolerant bastards as the former are not dedicated to the destruction of our way of life.
The food of course, from beginning to end, was fabulous. There is a spread they use there which is an amalgam of garlic and LARD. Yes folks, lard. Pursuant to the Italian spread "I can't believe its not lard."
The day before I left Gino and I drove on an Italian autobahn to the Republic of San Marino, a tiny (non EEC) independent statelet which is surrounded by Italy on Mt. Titan (http://www.omniway.sm/about_e.htm ) I wanted to see such a small country (it was pleasant, diagonal, and wealthy) and I knew a guy there whom I wanted to meet in person. HE turned out to be MAYONAISE INTOLERANT!! So we had a mayonnaiseless lunch with him, caught a cable car up to the castle (mindful of low flying US Air Force), and also got into a minor traffic accident. San Marino is very cool, even to crash cars in, and is the oldest republic on earth - founded in the AD300s.
The only downside to Italy is the currency. The Lira is the most annoying currency on earth. I know how much I spent by subtracting my returning cash with what I brought. Using an ATM is hideous. Even though you can touch for English, the amount is a terror as one false move (between - say 100,000,000,000 and 1,000,000,000,000 can have your entire life savings spit out on you like you've just won the wheel of fortune in worthless many zeroed bills. So I never knew the price of anything, the conversion too difficult to do even with powerful machines, let alone in another language. Sometimes I would just give my wallet to Gino and have him pay. I don't THINK Italy was expensive, but I guess I'll never know... The the store opening hours are strange. Everything opens for about 20 minutes a day one day a month it seemed like to me and I was frequently running out of cigarettes (on Sunday I gave my last supply to a patient in the hospital - always relieving pain - me) and I was screwed for the better part of the day, relying on the kindness of strangers.
Not speaking much Italian (but understanding some) was a problem but telling people you're from the United States excuses one and telling people you're from NYC impresses people everywhere.
Till Kato finds out I substituted his wife's pills for tic tacs and they make me the Godfather,
Copyright Doc. 1999 C
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