Monday, February 28, 2005

THINGS I THINK I THINK - The entertainment edition.

-I think I have watched my last Oscar broadcast. That was the most boring, uninspired, insipid, least substantial, unfunny and unentertaining piece of crap I have ever seen. Chris Rock was meanspirited and unfunny. Seeing the Johnny Carson clips reminded that class and humor once existed. There was a 1 hour 15 minute wait between awards for actors, just brutal.

-I think I think that Itunes and my Ipod have led to me spending more on music in the last 9 months than I spent in the previous ten years.

-I think I think that March 14, yet another little dream is going to come true for me. I think I think that every day I profess my gratitude that I have everything I need and even some of the stuff I want. Not only will I be a guest at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction, but Bruce Springsteen is inducting U2. This is going to be a GREAT jam session.

Friday, February 25, 2005


-Thanks to everyone who has sent pictures in for Windows on the World, they look great. Keep 'em coming. And thank you to everyone who visits this blog and adds their voice to it, you are what makes this work, not me. Cheers.

-Today's "just shut up" award goes to the Bush Adminsitration and their mouthpiece George W. Bush for the following.

"This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous," Bush said. "And having said that, all options are on the table."

SHUT UP!!!!!!! I can't take it anymore, the doublegoodspeak, the lies, confusion, the taking advantage of the the masses and playing on the laziness of the people. IN ONE SENTENCE YOU SAY WAR TALK IS RIDICULOUS, AND THEN SAY ITS AN OPTION ON THE TABLE. I can't take it anymore. SHUT UP!!! SHUT UP!!! SHUT UP!!!! Have a great weekend and please feel free to add your own "JUST SHUT UPS."

Thursday, February 24, 2005



I used to occasionally wear a hoop earring in my left ear. Three years ago, when I made my first trip to China I was walking through Tianamen Square with a cool Mexican dude I met in the Forbidden City.

We sat down in front of Mao's mausoleum and chatted about Beijing. A few minutes later two women approached us and asked if they could sit down and talk with us. This is not uncommon in big Chinese cities where people want to practice English with native speakers or simply talk to some wai guo ren (foreigners) about the outside world.

We invited them to sit down. It turns out they were teachers at a high school in a western province on holiday. We were having a delightful conversation when one of them started to squirm a bit and then whispered to the other. Clearly they had something to ask that they were a little shy about. I asked what it was.

One of them replied, "Why do you wear this earring in your ear?" I said, "in the west some men wear them as a fashion statement, not all but some." She said, "oh, in China, if man wear earring, it mean he want to come back in next life as woman."

I went back to my hotel room, took out the earring, put it in the garbage and never wore it again. That was three years ago.


One thing you learn very quickly in China is to carry your own toilet paper wherever you go. Alas there was a day I forgot my TP and found myself at the Ming tombs on a sweltering July day. Lunch moved through me very quickly and I raced to the facilities.

When finished with my business I found that I had no TP. And there wasn't a scrap of paper for miles. All I had in my backpack was my Lonely Planet Guidebook. I rifled through the pages to seek out a place I knew I wouldn't be visiting anytime soon and settled on Outer Mongolia. A few swipes and a flush later outer Mongolia was on its way to the sea.

Thank God for Lonely Planet guidebooks.


On my third trip to China I took three days to visit the ancient city of Xi'an. This is the city that became the capital of the first united Chinese Empire, the Qin Dynasty (pronounced Shin - and the origin of the word China). It is outside of Xi'an that one of the great wonders of the world, the Terracotta Army is found.

My first day in town was spent at the amazing Bell and Drum towers and in the winding alleys of the old town. At the end of the day I went to an ATM machine to take out some cash. It didn't work. I tried three more ATMs, no luck.

I had enough money for dinner so I ate and went back to my hotel. Next morning I tried again, no luck. I called my bank and they said there was no hold on my account and that all my funds were there, but I REALLY needed cash for the next three days and to get myself back to Shanghai.

I explained my situation to the hotel manager, he explained that the hotel could not front me the money but he got a car and driver and took me to the Bank of China to get some cash forwarded on my credit card or to see why the ATMs would not give me money.

We drove around to different banks for two hours with no luck. I was looking extremely fucked. That day was supposed to be spent with the Terracotta warriors and at a sacred mountain, but now I had no cash to take me there, or to eat or to get back to Shanghai, just my Credit Card which would pay for my hotel.

Then, the hotel manager started talking with the driver (who I had agreed with the day before to take me to the Warriors and mountains). He told me this.

He said "the driver feels very bad for you, and he is worried about your time in Xi'an and your trip back to Shanghai. He offers to go to his town and get his money to lend to you, then you can send it to him when you reach New York. He wants to know how much you need."

I was quite taken aback. I thought how could this driver give me his money and trust me to send it back? Is this a scam? Am I being to cynical? So I told him, yes, that would be very kind, I would be most appreciative. I figured 3,000 RMB would be enough to finish my stay in Xi'an and get back to Shanghai where I hoped to resolve the issue.

So, he got in the car to drive to his town and told me he would meet me back at the hotel at 4 p.m. So, off I went to the famous Grand Mosque (Xi'an has a Chinese Muslim population because it was the terminus of the Silk Road) built only 100 years after the founding of Islam, and in my opinion one of the most beautiful and tranquil 5 acres in all of China. I also walked the Ming dynasty city wall that day.

When I was done, I went to an ATM on a whim, I put my card in, and it worked. I was able to take out all the money I needed and more.

When I got back to the hotel, the driver was standing in the lobby smiling, with an envelope in his hand. He rushed up to me and handed it to me. I was shocked again.

This man who probably makes about 18,000 RMB (2,100 per year) was willing to send me off with 3,000 and trust me to mail it back to him. I smiled and embraced him and thanked him profusely. The hotel manager came over and I explained that the machine had worked at last. I got my money.

We arranged for him to drive me to the Warriors and Mountains the next day. Normally the day would cost 300 RAMP (about $35). I gave him 1000 RMB up front ($125) and we were off the next day.

We had an amazing day together using broken Chinese and English to communicate. I still talk to him to this day.

His only explanation was that he looked in my eyes and felt my soul and knew that I was in need and a good man and one to be trusted.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Okay, the new section of the blog is set up. Its called Windows on the World and you can find the link under my picture. So, please , email me those pictures taken from your home, office or any other window in your world and I'll get you on the map.


Now, on to business. All of you can now prepare the firing squads, the flames, the insults and the questioning of my sanity and taste. Put me in the hole and bury me alive if you will. What crime am I committing to deserve such a fate?

Here it is. My confession. I just finished reading 100 YEARS OF SOLITUDE and I found it to be absolutely horrendous. Tedious, forced, boring, a poor imitation of Faulkner's stream style infused with a scattershot pseudo surrealism that most take for whimsy and magic. Horrific caricatures instead of characters, I can't find enough bad things to say about this book.

I am a seasoned reader and writer. I have read thousands of books, some of the most difficult in the world as a matter of fact. I have read literature produced from every corner of the globe, in several languages an am at least an above average thinker in terms of World lit. So, after years of people extolling the virtues of this ""masterpiece"" I decided to read it.

I forced myself to finish it and never felt so relieved to put down a book as when I finished it. Good God. I am going to reread Paradise Lost, The Inferno and Bleak House this week just to cleanse my literary palette.

Monday, February 21, 2005

I don't have one of those little map things where people who read your blog place an electronic pin on the map to show where there are. Nor do I plan on getting one.

I would like to do it a little differently. I'd like to do a little blog project I am calling "windows on the world." Its simple, you take a picture out of any window in your house, flat, etc., email it to me, and I will create a link on this blog with your name and view and we can REALLY see where you're at.

One other thing:

A number of people have written to ask where my short story "The Sea" went. It can be found on my blogroll under "Thephoenix's Fiction" I completed parts three and four yesterday. It is finished.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

"Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty, free at last."

So, after being a victim of Bloggers new computer code (which rendered my blog unusable for a week) I am back. Thank you to everyone who wrote me on my email. It was a great consolation to be able to stay in touch that way, and in a lot of ways to get to know some of you better.

I have a lot that I have been thinking about over the last week.

So without further adieu.

Things I think I think - The back from exile edition.

-I think I think that the amount of misplaced energies people put toward negative and unproductive thoughts and activities could fuel the sun for a 1,000 years. Here we have an example of this and it comes wrapped in the further enigma of art imitating life imitating art imitating humanity imitating sanity.

From last weeks Onion (the brilliant satirical newspaper).


WASHINGTON, DC—A new videotape of Osama bin Laden broadcast on the Arab satellite news channel Al-Jazeera Monday beseeched Allah to grant all Americans a "crappy Valentine's Day."
"This Feb. 14th on the Western infidels' calendar, may all Americans receive no valentines from their beloved ones," bin Laden said. "May the homemade construction-paper mailboxes taped to the desks of the American schoolchildren remain empty, as well. May whomever you ask to 'bee yours' tell you to 'buzz off.'"

Then 5 days later, this report from the BBC.

Hard-liner Muslims and Hindus assault Valentines Day
BBC 2/15/03

Conservative forces in the Middle East and South Asia have cracked down on shops marketing Valentine's Day. In the Indian capital, Delhi, several people were reported injured when stores selling romantic cards and gifts were attacked by right-wing militants.

Police in Iran, meanwhile, are reported to have closed several shops in Tehran, while religious groups in Pakistan have held protests against the 14 February celebration.

Religious hardliners consider such Western occasions as decadent and an insult to Hinduism and Islam.

Here is a perfect example of why only practicing complete acceptance can lead one to serenity. These people are not happy, not serene, not peaceful, nor would I be if I let the million daily examples of non acceptance bother me.

-I think I think that one of the funniest things I ever heard (and I know I probably shouldn't think its funny) I heard last night. While volunteering at a local shelter that services addicts, the homeless, the hungry and those in need, a gentleman I was counseling said this to me. "I lost my job while I was in rehab and I had to go yesterday and collect my special effects." I just imagined him collecting his lasers, animatronic dinosaurs, fake blood, Golum suit and the rest of his special effects in a box and trudfing home.

-I think I think that the last few years have really shed light on how "out of touch" I am with mainstream America. The latest example is the canceling of the Hockey Season. I have played and watched hockey my whole life, I am a die hard New Jersey Devils fan and apparently I am one of 8 people who care that there is no hockey this year.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

So, I have been blogging since October. Some observations.

1. There is so much out there in blogland I want to read, but its just impossible to get to all the good stuff on a regular basis.

2. Sex sells. It attracts more clicks and replies.

3. You should never post anything that you would not feel comfortable seeing under your name in the NYT. The Internet is not in any way shape or form anonymous.

4. You need to read and comment and link to other blogs to develop a presence in blogland.

5. There are an awful lot of smart, sexy, funny people out there that whose pathos, commentary, wit and observations I have benefited from. Its really a great expansion in the democratization of mass media.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005


Wow, what a night. I don't even know where to begin. The Red Ball was as much fun and as glamorous as I was hoping it would be, just a fantastic night.

The party itself was for a great cause, it benefited the Children's Advocacy Center in New York, the only organization of its kind, benefiting abused children. The event is held by the great Broadway (Chicago, La Cage Aux Falles) and Hollywood producer Marty Richards, my entre' to the party. The honoree was Richard Gere and the Chair was Catherine Zeta Jones.Of course as many of you know, a few weeks ago I posted how I was totally hot for CZJ, and then the next week the invite for this party arrived and I felt the power of Karma all over the place. Well, I wasn't disappointed, more on that later.

It began at 6:30 p.m. when I was picked up in a sleek, shiny Lincoln limousine. I was dropped off at the entrance to the Pierre hotel where I was greeted by a line of violinists on the stairway entrance to the ball. Very classy, very pretty.

The cocktail hour was spent being introduced to a great number of people who were for one reason or another very rich and very "important." I never heard of most of them but all seemed pleasant enough. The only two women I met who I knew were Christine Baranski (who looked awesome) and the legendary Broadway actress Carol Shelley.

So, after all the ceremony, the partying began. About an hour later, I saw an opening. I went over to Catherine and introduced myself to her. I brought up some stuff about Wales, she invited me to sit down and we chatted and talked and I was in Heaven. She was beautiful, polite, gracious and totally indulged me.

Later in the evening I asked former Bond girl and wife of Richard Gere, Carey Lowell if I could have a dance. She said yes and I danced a Waltz with a Bond girl. Then Richard cut in and the music picked up, we danced some more. During a lull I got to talking to him about my path in Buddhism, we had an amazing chat on the subject.

The night wound down and I was exhausted. Great food, great clothes, great conversation, great pictures and all for a great cause. As I said to Ms. Jones when I introduced myself, I am not rich or famous, I'm just here to support the cause and have a great time, which I did.

Friday, February 04, 2005


-I think I think that on Monday, when I am in the same room as Catherine Zeta Jones, I will do my best to brush up real close to her, and rub myself against her, just so that I can die knowing my penis touched her.

-I think I think that New York, even after its whitewashing in the 90s is still a great place to explore sex and sexuality. If you dig it, its here. Gay, straight, pain, trannies and troubadours, furries, amateurs, blow jobs, fetishists, fairies, beasties, bears, casting, catfighting balloons, spanking, sucking, smoking, midgets, models, hustlas, playas, peep shows, Scores, Meow Mix, threesomes, foursomes, moresomes, intellectuals with hard rimmed glasses, hipsters, goths, interracial, BBW, men in suits, men in tights, vampires, white, black, hispanic, indian, polish, russian, italian, jewish, japanese, chinese, korean, ukrainian, english, irish.

Whatever makes you hard or wet, its here. So, please support the city in our not totally shaken off 9/11 malaise, Come here and have sex.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Angelina/Zooma Zooma

"She could turn me gay"

My posts about Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek and Catherine Zeta Jones prompted some reactions from women who claim that "they/she could turn me gay". I have always been interested in how acceptable it is for a woman to experiment with other women, be bisexual, or to just exclaim that "that woman is hot" "could tune me gay" or "turns me on" with no real consequence.

Yet, it is almost unheard of for men to exclaim ANY of these things about another man without instantly being branded gay. Now, I can recognize a handsome man when I see one and have no issues with saying "hey that's a handsome man." But, I have never seen a man that made me think to myself, "Wow, now that guy could make me crave dick." So, for me saying something like that is not only a question of acceptable statement, but no matter how hot a guy is, I just have no desire to have man on man sex.

A good number of my friends are gay and we talk about sexual issues of all kinds, straight and gay, and with these men, a similar things occurs. They never look at a woman and say, "Wow, she could turn me straight." So it seems to be a man/woman thing not a straight or gay thing.

What accounts for all this? I wonder what Mr. Underhill thinks?

Wednesday, February 02, 2005


-I think I think that depending on oversized, bucktoothed, hole-digging rodents to tell the weather is a uniquely American pastime. Today Punxatawny Phil of Pennsylvania saw his shadow and went back in his hole, foretelling 6 more weeks of wintry weather. But, snowbirds, the story doesn't end there. Staten Island Chuck (I am not making this up) apparently crawled out of the Fresh Kills Landfill long enough to not see his shadow, foretelling a mild February and early spring. Of course I could never really see the significance of all this as Winter ends on the same day every year.

-I think I think that the NY Subway System is becoming completely fucked. Imagine, last week a fire set by a homeless man in a tunnel (to keep warm) destroyed a signal system that knocked out service on 3 lines affecting 1.3 million daily riders. Then Larry Reuter (head of the MTA) says, the next day, that it will take 3-5 years to fix. After howls for his head from riders and the press, the MTA quickly said that it would take 3-9 months. It begs the question how they went from 3-5 years to 3-9 months in two days and what was behind the original estimate.

This whole sorry episode brings to light some scary things for NYC.

-Our subway system is completely vulnerable to ANYONE wishing to do it and NY harm.
-Building infrastructure in NY has become too expensive to make real urban development a pipe dream here and I expect much of the city to rot away with little improvement over the next century. We could learn a lot from Tokyo, Shanghai, Singapore and Hong Kong.

-I think I think that tonight's State of the Union address is going to be one huge self-congratulatory neocon slap on the back and a complete distortion of the Social Security issue to push it into the grave. I expect 24 "Freedoms" 8 "Liberties" 12 "Iraqi Elections" and 4 "mandates" as well.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Notes from Underground - The "holy shit" edition.

Holy Shit!. I have posted before on two subjects relevant to today's post. One, that on occasion I get invited to parties, events, fundraisers etc, where there are a lot of celebrities and powerful people and I am amazed by the world these people live in and how it's like a strange kind of sociology expedition for me.

The other post was about the fact that I have never really been "into" the whole lusting after celebrity women thing, but that all at once there are three women out there that have absolutely consumed me with lust, desire and interest: Catherine Zeta Jones, Salma Hayek and Angelina Jolie.

Well, it turns out that I am going to be in the same room with Catherine Zeta Jones on Monday. I am attending the annual RED BALL. A NY society event. Completely out of character, I am going nuts with anticipation.

-Holy Shit! We are going to be subjected to Michael Jackson's trial nonstop for the next 6 months.

-Holy Shit! That actress who was shot dead on the Lower East Side last week said to the assailants "What are you gonna do, shoot us?"