Saturday, October 27, 2012

Iquitos, Peru: Golden Beach of a Blue Tattoo Pimpette

Again, Obama slides further and deeper daily and even by the hour into the slime of his cheap hustle. I can't keep up with him and his. For now, for a while, perhaps, I will have to sit and watch. Maybe I'll go out again and this time have spare batteries for my camera so I can photograph the anacondas swallowing whole those terrified chickens. I watch Obama. This is what I see.

For your average guy living a good and happy life there is little better than stripping off to lie down hard and heavy on a golden beach; but one must be careful laying oneself down, for the hotter the beach, the hotter the burn if one doesn't lift off in time to call it fun had and done. You come, you go; life is great. Why get burned?

Off the beach one might float on crisp dark waves, clinging to lingering memories of a golden beach, wondering, "Where's it all gone?" as if the whole box of a golden beach were a puff of thin grey smoke passing on the breeze of a hot tropical day in the evergreen jungle, little left but salty yellow sweat stains and maybe a gaudy blue tattoo fading as it sprawls over ever ageing skin that cracks and blemishes with the passing years.

Hey, I know this guy who knows this girl who says she's a friend of an acquaintance of mine. We ain't so close, the lot of us. Me, I'm just passing through, and some of the others are long gone even now. No, I won't be here long. And gone, the memories will fade, as too the meaning of the moment, the point, the needle-sharp point of pain that won't even leave a mark, memories blue of a golden, golden beach.

This guy I know who knows this girl who knows this girl I sort of know knows a girl I am sort of mad about who doesn't have a clue and wouldn't care. So I don't care, taking care to avoid her to avoid my temporary failings as a man. I'm hot for this girl who's got it all and doesn't want anything more that a man with almost nothing could give her. I have a backpack! It is not only red, it is also black. My pack is stuffed with untyped manuscripts  and brass knuckles, a leather whip and a steel spring-loaded baton. I have a razor garrote and a fine machete. I have some underwear and an extra pair of pants. I have a fancy dress-up shirt and a tie of lovely silk; it's crimson. I have a hunting knife and a sewing kit because violence and the ordinary brutalities of living require needlecraft of the man who must attend to blue, to red and yellow, to gangrene and black.

On the morning of 6 October 2012 the subject awoke at 6:00 after four hours of fitful sleep during which he repeatedly disturbed the sleep of other residents with a continuous outporing of moans and curses, particularly, "Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ," till someone shook him and begged him to stop. The subject claims he is not religious. The subject does have a documented history of  moaning and cursing in his sleep. He claims to be troubled by this condition, but he makes no effort to deal with it. He dwells; and his dwelling place shall be, shall be.

Later, now that I have seen the girl with everything and I know she doesn't want anything even if I could give her everything else, I will have everything myself, and my dwelling place shall be.

I know this girl who know this guy I know. This girl is golden, and she is too hot not to notice. This guy I know, he notices. This girl I know, she makes temporary tattoos on traveling kids passing through. She makes a bit of cash at it, day by day at night in the park at the Plaza. She makes a bit, a tit, a bit from this guy I know who buys her ice cream, a soda, an hour at the cybercafe for Face Book, a pair of plastic sunglasses that caught her fancy, a meal at a sidewalk stand, a ribbon, a bow. Oh, she's poor. She has so little. And maybe her father raped her a lot. Really, poor girl, she's poor and maybe her father raped her an awful lot. Really, poor girl, she's poor, just an empty box of some golden beach.

"It'll only last a week or two." Your tattoo. It fades, it goes away. It's not like you have to live with it all the days of your life and you can never rid yourself of it no matter how much you dream of escaping it. It doesn't last, not even a memory of it lasting. A tick, a trick, a trickle, a prick. A little, a bit, a bite.

She's fat, this hot girl is, and she gets down on her knees in front of you and she grabs your legs and she goes to work on you and leaves her mark. It's only a couple of dollars and you look so pretty, and you're my real friend I like so much that I have to hug you every time we meet, and kiss each other's cheeks because we are love itself in a loveless world of cruel people who don't love us like we love each other. We are love.

Uh huh. But frankly, I got tired of it, and I got sick of her. I tired of making her come to me in the park and pretend she loves me like a long lost friend while I pinched her nipples and stuck my finger up her butt. She had to smile even then or come across as bitchy rather than the loving friend of all she has to pretend to be to make a living among the lonely. She's so phony she put up with it all to maintain the charade that she's anyone's friend. Even that was not enough because it didn't take long for others to sense her real self.

Now,  I admit that when I saw the crease in her suit pants it sent a tingle up my leg and I thought, this is a man I want to be our president, the smartest man since Thomas Jefferson. But I've seen it all before and all I really wanted to do was get her on the roof top to tie her up and photograph her with her panties in her mouth. I didn't do that. I didn't do that because I could have.

A large number of Americans are going to vote for Obama soon. They are the same people who would be taken in by the girl I know here. She'd hustle them for cheap shit, like Obama hustles now for more. But there is no qualitative difference between them. I am sick of them all. They aren't even worth humiliating. They like it when they meet a man like me. I get sick of them. I save my whip and chains for wild packs of dogs who seriously attack me. I'm not even going to piss on cheap shit hustlers like Obama. They ain't no friends of mine. I don't need a golden beach, don't need no blue tattoo, don't need no temporary low pimpette. I know what I need, and she's here right now, the girl who has everything and doesn't need me at all. That's just fine. She is absolutely real. My dwelling place shall be, shall be.

U.S. Election, 2012. Men Who Would Shoot Liberty Valance

In my life as a traveler I have over many decades on the road encountered any number and many kinds of cheap hustlers who prey on those people who are lost and confused in unfamiliar surroundings, i.e. travelers on the road. The cheap hustlers I refer to are those who offer this or that great deal to the naive and often confused person in need of a friend. I'm wary of such people because they offer little but manipulations to carry on another day. The street hustler offers to hail a taxi and to recommend a cheap hotel or to set one up with a local prostitute or to take one to a nice cafe and so on. Always helpful and concerned and friendly, these hustlers always hustle a little bit, not much, just a little. And that is what I saw in Obama the first time he came to my attention, a cheap street hustler in a sharp suit, but a street hustler nonetheless. My opinion of him lessens by the day. He's still a cheap hustler, but now he's worse than that. Now he is genuinely evil because he's in a position to be cheap on a larger scale. He's still a low rent, back alley pimp, but now he's a big deal on Main Street. Now he's dangerous.

There's no way I can keep ahead of this story of Obama and his administration seeming to have left our Libyan ambassador and others to die at the hands of jihadis in Benghazi. The story develops by the hour. Here, then, is what is available at this hour in brief:
What we already know about Benghazi is a scandal of the highest order: the ambassador asked for more security after a series of terrorist threats and attacks, but didn’t get it, even on the anniversary of September 11. The administration knew that four Americans had been killed in a successful terrorist attack by an al Qaeda affiliate, but lied about the event for weeks in hopes of minimizing political fallout. Extraordinarily courageous Americans fought a seven-hour gun battle against well-armed and well-organized terrorists who vastly outnumbered them before finally succumbing, during which time the Obama administration did nothing. And when the bodies of the dead Americans were returned to the United States, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton misappropriated the occasion to deliver politically-motivated lies, both to the victims’ survivors and to the American people. All of that we now know for sure. If, in addition, there is credible evidence that American soldiers, fighting desperately for their lives against our country’s most bitter enemies, called for help but were cynically left to perish in order to protect Barack Obama’s petty re-election campaign, Obama will not only lose the election but will be turned out of office in disgust by a clear majority of voters.

Obama might well have gotten through life quite nicely as a hustler had he stayed off the main stage. If he's remained small, some community organiser in Chicago hustling giggling white girls and their butt-suck boyfriends out of money and maybe a b.j. on the side, then he could have been a shadow of a man and unnoticed and relatively successful in life. But this cheap hustler is our president, and he is plain for all to see, whether they like looking at him as he is or not. I see him for what he is because my life often depends on knowing how to use such creatures for my own ends. If I don't get it, I end up dead. But here I am. Obama is a cheap piece of shit, and anyone who's spent any time on the road can see him for what he is. But travelers aren't the only ones who see him as he is. Sometimes some very clever folks with scams of their own can see him for what he is and can use him, as I use those like him, for their own ends, too.

I don't know Ayers and Dohrn, but we have mutual friends over the years. I know the "type" inside out. I stay alive because I know these people and how they think.

Thank the gods, too, I also know decent people, even if I can make no claim to being one myself. I haven't lived so long at this kind of life by being stupid and misjudging people. Obama is a cheap hustler. He is hardly interesting.

Hilton Kramer, "Who was Josephine Herbst?" The New Criterion. Sept. 1984.

It is in the nature of Stalinism for its adherents to make a certain kind of lying - and not only to others, but first of all to themselves - a fundamental part of their lives. It is always a mistake to assume that Stalinists do not know the truth about the political reality they espouse. If they don't know the truth (or all of it) one day, they know it the next, and it makes absolutely no difference to them politically. For their loyalty is to something other than the truth. And no historical enormity is so great, no personal humiliation or betrayal so extreme, no crime so heinous that it cannot be assimilated into the 'ideals' that govern the true Stalinist mind which is impervious alike to documentary evidence and moral discrimination.
Thanks to Richard Fernandez, Belmont Club.

I hate Islam, which is clear to any long term reader at this blog. I know Islam better than most Muslims. I certainly know it better than the fools I meet who echo George W. Bush's idiocy that Islam is a religion of peace. I know Islam. I know it is mostly powerless in the world today. I know that Islam and the Muslim lunatics who terrorise the world at large can only do so because of our own master sadists like Ayers and Dohrn manipulating buffoonish street hustlers like Obama who in turn thrills the legs of masochist butt-boys in the white suburbs. I know the snakes well enough to move among them without being killed. I even make a living. These slick manipulators don't impress me and they don't frighten me. They do make me sick; and they make me more than sick when I see them killing decent people.

I've been trying to write this post for a week now, and it changes by the hour because of the low-life scum we have leading our nation today. They keep getting worse by the hour. In the time since I began this post I have been trying to explain to myself, and the world, what kind of man would shoot Liberty Valance. He could not be more different from Obama and the evil bastards who use him. I want to make it clear that the man who would shoot Liberty Valance is the man we need to lead our nation today. We ain't gonna get such a man in office. We need such a man in our own minds. We have to shoot Liberty Valance ourselves. As alway, such a man is rare.

I wrote last week on our up-coming presidential election and pondered the nature of our current president in light of the terrible sacrifice some men make on behalf of the good, knowing they must damn themselves eternally to do right. I ask if our current president has even the slightest inkling of such a problem.

Some hours later I received a note from a young man from Idaho, the first fellow Idahoan I have met on the road in my near 40 years of aimless wandering in the greater world. The lad I met makes me proud, and he gives me hope for the future of our nation. In part, this is what he wrote:

Idahoans have a unique and rugged heritage and we are just about as far away from the rest of the United States as we are from Peru. Most Americans I've met around the U.S. have never met an Idahoan before (and often they don't even know where Idaho is.)

Idaho has a reputation for being a racist and ignorant region, but on the flip-side all of the so-called experts running our country and the countries of the world are, more often than not, complete idiots who would make just as much of a difference in the world if they were just dumb hillbillies from Idaho. In fact they would probably do less harm.

I'm traveling the world and the experiences are life-changing, but above all I know and hold close to my awareness that I truly know nothing.

Now I'm not condoning ignorance or racism and I'm not saying that because you're from Idaho you will walk around with some kinda Socratic humility. No. Idahoans are normal people too with normal problems. I am only emphasizing the point: "I dunno cus I'm from Idaho," and there's nothing wrong with that because that is the key to being young again, to becoming impressionable, and always learning and growing (and in old age dribbling a bit in the pants, of course.)

A fellow Idaho man
I look above at the mind of a 20ish lad from Idaho, and I see that I would prefer his common decency in the presidency to our current president. I want, and we need, a common man to lead our exceptional nation. Yes, I want John Wayne in the flesh.

Such a man, and they are few, would shoot Liberty Valance. What I mean by that, for those who missed it first time round, is that a man would sacrifice his soul for the sake of doing the right thing. Dying is easy, and Jimmy Stewart was willing to go for it. The tragic and heroic man is the one who would condemn himself to living after he had violated his own principles for the good. That kind of sacrifice is meaningful. In Obama et al we get a cheap hustler looking for a cheap score for the day. To battle the truly evil people in this world we have to have John Waynes willing to take on the evil even if in doing so the good lose their souls. Obama is a cheap piece of shit barely worthy of our contempt. It is the real demons that real men must confront; and victory won't be won cheap. 

A gentle reminder that my book, An Occasional Walker, is available at the link here:

And here are some reviews and comments on said book:

Friday, October 26, 2012

Iquitos, Peru: San Juan Market Artisania

People can live without art. Those who do often live like dogs, as one sees in a visit to the average trailer court where the resident might have a twisted beer can sculpture of an aeroplane or something of the like. And one can see the same lack of interest in the world and life and fineness in the home of a multimillionaire who spends all his time making money and has no time for or interest in anything else, he perhaps spending a few million dollars on something abstract that he doesn't like that decorates a back wall in his office. Trailer trash or nouveau riche, it hardly matters, they are often philistines without the slightest concern for their lack of fineness. Taste, whether it comes to a random selection of cheap shit from flea markets and yard sales, or whether it comes from pissing away the residue of the trust fund, is still a matter of limits imposed by aesthetic realities even the goofiest philistine in a corporate trailer house can intuitively grasp. It's a spiritual matter. The philistine has no religion. He has no spirit. He has no art. He is despicable. He is an atheist, and he is a rebel against the communion of souls.

Ones own home can be a bare place of rocks and weeds and dirt, but one can be filled with art otherwise, and thus the average starving peasant who is truly filled with love and soul will invest his lifetime in creating a special piece of something to add to a church, for example. Or maybe, like me, he is so bereft of talent that all he can do is appreciate the work of others. It's not about ones talent or special soul that makes one artistic. It's not even about the level of sophisticated taste one brings to art and aesthetics. It's about real, as opposed to sentimental, experience of art. One doesn't have to own any of it. Art can be the king's palace, for all it matters, that one will never be allowed to set foot in. Or it can be an Amazon River lacquered fish on stick. It can be simply decorative, or it can be spirit itself. It depends to some degree on the communion of souls of which the art is part. The crudest petroglyph can be art, and the most sophisticated acrylic painting can be plain and philistine trash costing multi-millions. If I had the cash I might well donate El Grecos to a public museum, and for myself I might continue mailing to my very patient friend weird stuff to store in his closet for me in the hopes that I return to his place some day to cart it all off to a place of my own. I don't have low taste: I have private taste. I can indulge myself for a hundred bucks very nicely at the San Juan Artisan's Market in Iquitos, Peru, and I can come away feeling quite pleased with three oil painting of dubious painterly talent that fit within my backpacker's budget.

The beauty of art is not that one piece itself is art. David's "Tennis Court Oath" is not art if it hangs at the pro shop in the lobby of the local athletic centre. Same painting. Not art. Art is context and communion. The piece below is art in that it comes as a piece of experience of it's maker and its viewers and eventual owner as someone buys it after talking to the man who made it along with numerous other complementary objects. In a bare room, it's not art. In a room of Romantic oil paintings it's not art. In a bank lobby it's not art. Art is art when it's in a room full of like objects, in my place, for example, filled with inexpensive art stuff. a roomful of baseball cards pasted on the walls, or Jackson Pollock drips, or Muslim doodles do not attain to art, even if such crap fills a room or a museum or is a whole building. Art has to be a whole experience, meaning it has to be with other art, like a person has to be with people to be human. And like people, there are qualities to be admired or despised in the individuals. There can be flaws and the art still be art. Perfection can be ugliness and philistine horror. There can be failure, likable even, sort of. But art is art. It is a communion of the high aesthetic. It's not just what ya likes.

I think all people should have their homes filled with art. I can't begin to dictate what that art would be. I might in grumpier moods say this or that is definitely not art, and withing the bounds of aesthetic sense I will more or less be right. My neighbour who was arrested for collecting ladies shoes in his apartment might claim he had an art collection, but not so much, really, as a collection of a thief with a foot fetish, though I'm sure his shoes looked good from a distance.

Art needs be real, a genuine accomplishment of manual skill and emotional expression manifest in the world, and a collection of stolen shoes can't cut it. It's not communal in the spiritual sense, even if one has a lot of weirdo friends over. It can't be a mere matter of feeling. Art has to work just as much as a football player has to score or a businessman has to make a profit. It can't be a simple matter of false emotion in stuff.

Giant chess pieces, or whatever, might be cool for a day, but art has a longer life, static on its surface though it is.

Art isn't just cute: it has eternal value that increases eternally.

The wood cutter above gave visitors from Idaho each a picture of a local "Indian type." Damned nice of him.

The girl got one in colour. Very damned nice of him.

But none of it will ever be art any more than a collection of stolen shoes will be.

Primitive masks come close sometimes to being folk art, and rarely, but potentially are genuine high art. It's about soul and spirit. It's about manual skill and intelligence combined with the objects in a communion of souls in context. 

Hand made? I couldn't care less. The man above takes single seeds and one by one drills holes in them to fill his bowl; and then he makes necklaces and bracelets. The art? It's the drill he's using. It's the market he works at. It's the collection of stuff all around him and them and us as people collect material and make a communion of some beauty from the elements combined. The art is the walking around and chatting as people work and make stuff that fits together to make a market of junk that sort of looks cool in toto. The art is in the Amazonness of it's being. Some is better quality than some other. In communion, it is, some parts together, art itself. Personally, I love that lacquered art fish. gonna get me one of them.

After our lives are given, what compels us to to more than survive? It might be that as intelligent creatures we want to successfully reproduce, and success is more likely if we have more power than our natural bodies can provide, e.g. we might create weapons and tools otherwise to help assist our survival. But why? Clearly monkeys survive without more than nature gives, and man could live a monkey life without the power added by tools. Why push? What is the point of power in the world beyond the power the average naked human has in the wild? Man survives well enough like a monkey, so why does he struggle for more? If it's a matter of protein, then man could remain a cannibal and raise people as cattle. No need for weapons or tools. But man does strive to create, and thus he creates power supplements, i.e. tools and weapons. There's no need. Man can live like a slug or a cockroach and it would make no difference to life in nature. But man does create, and therefore man must create, it being an obvious part of the being of man, an appetite he must satisfy. It's not optional. Creation is necessary. Creation is an end, and tools are a means to it. If man had the means to think a thing into existence he would not use tools. The end is the created. That is the goal of living, not living longer or living better, but living in a world of creation. The reason man lives is not merely to live but to live in a world of beauty. For that, man creates art. Sometimes it's small art. Sometimes, life is good with just a few cool things around the place to make it all worth while.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Iquitos, Peru: Rat Laden

At Belen Market, Iquitos, Peru, reputedly a bad place for tourists getting robbed, once again I seem-- so far-- to be off limits to thieves, the closest I have come to being robbed being the guy who ran past and grabbed from my bag the first thing he could get his hands on, which he returned shortly thereafter in disgust. He said, "Senor, I do not want a copy of Sophocles, Oedipus Rex. If my colleagues found me with this I would lose my standing in the community and be shamed for life. Please take it back. And please, sir," he said very quietly, "do not inform my friends I stole this." So, yes, I can be robbed. The question is how seriously I want to retaliate against someone who would steal from me? Today I got another pack of rat poison, no particular reason for it other than for the love of clever marketing as I bought the pack and laughed over it.

To read the rest of this story, please turn to the following link;

Monday, October 22, 2012

Iquitos, Peru: Rain at Belen Falls Mainly on the Dramatic Side

I often take a walk in the afternoon up to Belen Market if only to stand in the rambling lanes with their shady shelters of overhanging plastic roofs that keep the sun off me as I putter around with things to buy that I probably don't actually need, like insecticide, [see next post] and jungle potions in jars with exotic labels of I know not what. Sometimes I stand and chat up folks I've come to know, and sometimes I sit and chat. Mostly I walk around saying hello to folks, sometimes stopping to buy a particularly strange looking edible thing I haven't encountered previously, like alligator meat or giant, as opposed to tiny, maggots, which one traveler likened to "crunchy on the outside, watery peanut butter on the inside." Whatever my day is at the market, it's usually pleasant to pass the time with people there, regardless of the heat and the smells of urine, garbage, rotting meat and vegetables, oil, motorcar exhaust, choking charcoal smoke, dead semi-fresh fish, semi-not-so-fresh, and burnt or just plain spoiled, and the slime and the dogs, flies, and buzzards everywhere. I like it. It's a people place. It's a refuge from the hectic pace of the inner city. My retreat.

The sun was somewhat blistering in the afternoon, and that, as much as anything, prompted me to walk up to the market to look over some yellow, waxy chicken for the evening meal.Sometimes I find vegetables, though rarely, and thus I wonder if the place is genuinely healthy. I have friends who say it ain't. Medical types who work there with the residents. But what do they know?

Inside the market at my leisure I noticed the sky turning grey and felt a few drops of rain on my arm as the overheated day became suddenly milder. After me came the deluge. It was almost instant. [Click on photos to enlarge.]

Vendors scrambled to save their wares from the water, and others hid under every available cover as the rain came. 

To me, after having suffered from the worst climate known to man, i.e. the perpetual rainforest of Vancouver, Canada, an outdoors kind of guy as a rule who now hates the very thought of rain, the sudden downpour was pretty. Or at least highly dramatic. But pretty.

 I could almost call it fun, the water being warm and clean, the relief from the heat welcome enough.

Rivers of water poured from tarps and sheets of plastic over wooden stalls.

People pulled in their goods and wrapped them to save them from the rain.We huddled together and waited and chatted, there being no fire to flee, the rain coming and going as naturally as breathing.

It's the kind of rain one can like, clean and clear and warm.

 It comes down hard.

It washes away some of the filth. As the garbage washes down the lanes the vendors and tienda owners, a couple very pretty and happy and talkative, put out poles to push the debris farther along so it doesn't stop and create a dam that would flood everyone and destroy things.

The ladies above picked at rubbish and sent it flowing downstream to the next stall where a man has lost his pole and had to borrow one or face flooding, as would all around him, the water already well above a man's ankles.

the rain stopped after an hour or so, and life carries on, accumulating and dissolving, growing and decaying, another day on the Amazon at Belen.