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  • hardie karges 8:27 pm on December 30, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    2013: My Year of Living Nostalgically (Yes, You Can Go Home Again) 

    Turning 60 is a b*tch. All of a sudden it seems as if your whole life is behind you, as if you’ve accomplished all you ever will, as if the good times are really over for good… or so I hear. I have no idea what those people are talking about. Myself, I’m still having growing pains. I have no idea what I want to do when I grow up. I don’t even know where I’ll be this time next year. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be any other way. Oh, wait, yes, I remember now.

    I tried it that way once, or twice, with the 9-to-5 job and the white picket fence (actually it was yellow). That lasted a year or two. I was pretty miserable, pretending to be Steve Jobs’s brother Mr. S. Teddy Jobs, nom de guerre Mr. Biz Niz, with ten bank accounts and a Macy’s credit card, late-model car and runner-up trophy wife. Naah… I just made most of that up, but the concept is mostly true if not totally accurate.

    (More …)

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  • hardie karges 8:20 pm on December 29, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Aboriginals, aborigines, , , Trang, tribes   

    Aboriginals in Southeast Asia: Back From Africa 

    Aboriginals in Trang, Thailand

    Aboriginals in Trang, Thailand

    Unbeknownst to most casual tourists, there is an entire race of people in the South Pacific and Southeast Asia that predate the predominant Thais, Burmese, Vietnamese, Mons, Khmers, Malays, and Austronesians who now call it home, but who have been there for only 4-5000 years—or less in the latter case. Since these newcomers have been there the least amount of time in the Pacific, the kinky-haired dark-skinned aboriginal people are well-represented today by Papuans, Timorese, Philippine ‘negritos’ and mixed-race (my theory) Melanesians.

    On the mainland, though, they can be hard to find, and are something of a rural legend akin to believing in ghosts. They really exist, though, and comprise the groups such as the Mlabri in north Thailand and the Sakai and other ‘orang asli‘ down south and in Malaysia. No ‘hill-tribes’ in north or central SE Asia fall into this category. The ones I found in Trang, Thailand, were selling medicinal herbs in the market; brings tears to my eyes. I wish I had some pain to see if they work. Wait a minute…

     
  • hardie karges 3:58 am on December 25, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    About a minute from now, the clock will simultaneously turn 00:00 Dec. 25 in Pago Pago, American Samoa and 00:00 Dec. 26 in Apia, (West) Samoa and for one fleeting instant it will be Christmas Day all over the world. So seems like a good time to say Merry Christmas! Joyeux Noel! Feliz Navidad! Errymay ristmaskay! (etc.) and a good time to renew a commitment to peace, love and understanding… sleep in heavenly peace, wake up to a whole new world…

     
  • hardie karges 5:12 am on December 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: DJ, , , , , VJ   

    FB Jockeys, Apply Here 

    Most people know where the term ‘DJ’ comes from—’disc jockey’ of course—and some of us can even remember MTV when it had actual music videos and the head-wagging self-swaggering personalities known as VJ’s—video jockeys. So what will they (we) call the self-appointed spinners of clips and quips, tunes and modern-day cryptological runes that populate our common playground and media ‘ground zero’ known as ‘FaceBook’? FJ’s? BJ’s? FBJ’s? Will this become a paid gig one day? Don’t put it past the Zucker-man in his bid to monetize the playground. It’s all fair game. I notice ads coming up now almost every time I ‘like’ anything. You would-be wannabe FBJ’s start getting your demo reel (file? down-load? flash-drive?) together. Auditions are in progress…

     

     
  • hardie karges 6:17 pm on December 15, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , protests, , Yingluck   

    Thai Politics, Protests and the World’s Cutest PM: Democracy’s a B*tch 

    images

    Thai PM Yingluck Shinawatra

     A primer for the uninitiated: The Thai political troubles of the last six to eight years revolve around the larger-than-life presence of one billionaire-turned-politician named Thaksin Shinawatra, who was elected Premier a decade or so ago and whose only prior political experience was an appointed one in the regime of some fat-ass general whose name escapes me at the moment. After being declared innocent of some minor corruption charges he was allowed by the courts to serve.

    One of his first acts was to limit the competition for his AIS cell-phone company, worth gazillions. Another was to limit public support for the country’s flagship carrier Thai Airways (the better for his Air Asia to flourish). He also declared war on drug dealers with an infamous ‘blacklist’ and orders of ‘shoot to kill’. Unfortunately this list also included some political enemies. Oops, his bad. He also initiated many programs to benefit the poor.

    Following other questionable actions and various conflicts of interest within and around the extended family holding his wealth, discontent from the country’s better-educated city-dwellers finally led to protests, then negotiations which culminated in Thaksin’s resignation in 2006. Or so we thought. His cabinet stayed in office, though, and after a month or so of ‘rest’, Thaksin simply walked back in like nothing ever happened. The army then took over while he was at the UN on official bizniz. He returned to face corruption charges, then left again with promises to return. He lied.

    Since then the country has been divided politically between Thaksin’s ‘red-shirt’ supporters and ‘yellow-shirt’ opponents, with outbreaks of sporadic confrontation including, but not limited to, a certain noodle shop on Hollywood Boulevard. For the last few years the country has been led by Thaksin’s freely-elected ‘clone’ and sister Yingluck.

    The current problems stem from a recent bill that would have made amnesty for exiles a simple matter, including you-know-whom. Yellow-shirt protests have since been ongoing for the last month or so, even though the bill was withdrawn. Although a few people have been killed, police have mostly foregone the use of force.

    A few salient points are probably in order: (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 11:10 am on December 4, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , nonfiction   

    CRICKETS IN THE LIVING ROOM, BUGS IN THE MACHINE 

    One of the pleasures (yes, there are more than one) of being from the American South is the sound of crickets in the evening. The only analogy that comes to mind (when you have thousands humming along in unison) is the 60Hz hum of a nearby electrical transformer. But that’s another part of town. You only get crickets in Nature, usually. That’s what I thought, anyway, until one found its way into my LA apartment.  How he got here, I don’t know.  He must’ve followed the mouse in, I guess.

    Mice usually live in the woodwork, of course, symbolized by that little hole in the wall along the baseboard, of cartoon cliché.  Here they sneak in the front door, under the door, that is, that stops short of the threshold. I’d heard the little f*cker before, nibbling away in the kitchen while I sipped chamomile tea in the living room to mitigate the effects of chronic insomnia at around three in the morning, “the bewitching hour,” I tell myself romantically.  Then I finally saw the little beggar, grinning like a Cheshire cat, red face turned up and looking at me, caught in the act, in flagrante delicto.

    But I don’t know how the cricket got in.  He can’t exactly hop under the door, now, can he? I don’t know; maybe he can.  And I swear he leaves on ‘visa-runs’ to the outside, for days at a time, probably checking up on family. Then he comes back, and starts singing every night, just he, a solitary voice, far from home, wherever that is.  I tell myself he must be happy if he’s singing.  I’m pretty sure that must be true, since sometimes he’ll start singing in harmony with a song from the radio. He seems to like hard rock,especially old James Gang tunes.  He’s the ‘Midnight Man’, I guess.

    He stays pretty quiet during the day.  And I’ve never actually seen him, of course.  But he’s got his corner staked out pretty well. If anyone comes close, the sound stops.  I tell myself he came to sing me to sleep during my bouts of insomnia; or maybe to keep my wife company as I prepare to take off on an extended trip of indefinite duration.  Yeah, I like that concept.  Or maybe I’m just a hopeless romantic; or an incurable optimist.  I believe in God, too… and a Promised Land, of our own making.

     
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