Thursday, November 27, 2014

Skid Row Diary 36

22   October   2003      Wednesday    Day 102

   “Mu is a third possibility, beyond  'yes and no.’ It says that affirming or denying will not answer the question. Such replies would be too limited for the truth of the answer.” -Shan T’sing

   I woke up late and immediately checked to see what Giselle was wearing. Jeans. Fortunately, Kelly Ripa was wearing a beautiful white dress, and I happened to tune in as she was giving Regis a good “What For,” for being a sententious dick.
   I tuned into the last half hour of the Mark and Brian Show, but they were playing so many commercials I thought I had tuned onto Howard Stern by mistake, so I switched the radio off for fear of being contaminated.
   I made myself a nice ham sandwich and cup of coffee before taking off for the DPSS. I walked past Harbor Light, but didn’t see Clyde, or anybody else I wanted to talk to.
   After waiting briefly in two lines, passing the security check point and metal detector, I asked for an appointment to see the SSI advocate. I showed one gentleman, who was hiding behind some plexiglass, the letter I had received requesting my appearance. He circled the telephone number on the letter and told me to call it.    
   Now why hadn’t I thought of that?
   I left the building feeling rather stupid and upset, and walked north to Alameda on my way to the clinic.
   I was early for the ASAP meeting, so I caught a DASH downtown. At 5th and Broadway there was situated recently two pay telephones that only cost 20 cents to use. The very last in the entire country. A few weeks ago the telephone company began to meddle with them,  raising the charge to 25 cents. Still reasonable, as most pay phones cost 50 these days. But when I arrived today I noticed two things. One of the phones had been removed completely, and the charge had been increased to 35 cents on the remaining phone.
   I couldn’t stand the stress and said to hell with it, and walked to 9th St, and the One Stop to use their phones for free. 
   I checked my voice mail... nothing. I called the SSI advocate number, was put on hold, then after a couple of minutes was asked what it was I wanted.
   “I need to make an appointment with the SSI advocate,” I told them. “I missed an earlier appointment and need to see them.”
   “Okay. Just come in with the letter and tell the person at the window you need to see the SSI advocate.”
   “I was just there! They told me to call you.”
   “You need to bring the letter to the window.”
   I returned to the VA clinic on a DASH.
   I was still an hour early for the meeting, so sat down and wrote in the ASAP waiting room until the meeting began.
   The so-called medium, John Edwards, who made a living speaking to dead people from “the other side,” was on the television. Let me tell you about John Edwards...
   Fortunately for me, and you dear readers, a commercial for AIV University came on, and I happen to be enamored with their spokesperson, the lovely and talented girl with the bright smile, who keeps telling me there’s three reasons for me to get off of my lazy ass and call AIV so I can start an exciting career doing one thing or another of which I may or may not have any talent or aptitude for. She’s so cool. She inspires me.
   She used to work for The California Institute of Culinary Arts, but you know how touchy feely those cook bastards are, so she defected over to AIV.
   I’ve contacted The California Institute of Culinary Arts, and asked for her name, but they won’t give it to me. 
   They do however keep trying to get me to become a chef. 
   We discussed emotions, beliefs, and giving power to words which are intended to harm us, in the ASAP meeting.
   I returned to the Weingart afterward and read from the paper and exercised while listening to Sophie B. Hawkins. And I took a few minutes to fill out my food stamp reaffirmation form... nosy bastards.
   Beef stew for dinner. Upon returning to my room I noticed the music playing in the elevator was a Sophie B. Hawkins song. “As I Lay Me Down,” her biggest commercial success.
   You know you’re getting old when the music you’re currently interested in is already elevator music before you’re finished being interested in it.
   I fed and watered my pet gnat, Wally, and watched Jackie’s weather report to check out... to find out when this heat wave will end. I watched the second part of “Traffik,” and came to understand that Steven Soderbergh had transformed the Pakistani farmers story into Benicio del Toro’s Mexican police character. It may take me awhile but I’ll get it eventually.
   I also watched “The Gilded Cage,” episode of “The Avengers,” then a PBS special on making a pilgrimage to Mecca. Three devotees were followed as they made their way to Saudi Arabia, in order to circle the Kaaba. Along the way they get to interact with 2 million other pilgrims wanting to do the same thing... throw rocks at Satan, cause thousands of poor defenseless lambs and sheeps to be slaughtered, all because an angel was reported to have substituted Abraham’s  son with a lamb after God ordered Abraham to kill his son. The city, the rituals, and the followers sincerity were beautiful (except for the lambs, which were not silent), and in the middle of watching all of this, the grandeur and majesty, I thought to myself, who is this Dennis Miller? Why is he popular? Why is he famous? Is it just me, or does this guy have no talent, is not funny, and a pompous ass to boot. He wasn’t funny on “Saturday Night Live.” Lorne Michaels must have been on acid when he hired him. Why was he given his own show on HBO? I have no idea! Do you dear readers? If so, please let me know. Really I need to know. He was obnoxious as hell on “Monday Night Football,” He’s not a very good actor. All this guys got going for him is an undeserved reputation for being some type of hip observer, and upholder of common sense, when in reality I am the only one entitled to that position!
   I’m always amazed by the unconscious mind.
   When I’m conscious of it.
   After the pilgrimage special I watched a 2 hour documentary on T.E. Lawrence. I must admit I didn’t know anything about him. What a remarkable story. A British officer familiar with the Arabian desert because of a brief stint as a photographer and archaeologist, he became the liason to Arabian tribes in rebellion with Turkish occupiers near the beginning of World War I. 
   An arrangement was made by the British through Lawrence to assist the Arabs, and if victorious, to grant their independence. France and Britain ultimately renigged on the agreement of course. Limey’s and frogs are not to be trusted... ever! They divided the territory between themselves, and allowed the founding of Israel. Their betrayal leading to many of the problems in the Middle East that are still apparent today.
   Lawrence, Britain’s agent, but sympathetic to the Arab cause, returned to England a broken man, shunning the celebrity inflicted upon him by the American journalist, Lowell Thomas. He died at the age of 46 in a motorcycle accident.
   His story would make a hell of a movie.
   I dreamt I was walking through the deserts of Tatooine with the girl from the AVI ad. She was describing to me the three reasons I should get off off my lazy ass and attend the California Institute of Culinary Arts, when C3PO and R2D2 jumped out of a sand dune and captured us. We were taken into a great vehicle that looked like a giant wheelbarrow, and given to their queen, Bunnie Bleu, the lovely and talented star of “Ghosts,” “Demolition Woman,” and many other fine films. The AVI lady and I were made into slaves and never seen from again. 

23  October   Thursday    Day 103

   I got up at 3:45, and made coffee before showering away the little sleepies in my eyes.
   I returned to my room and meditated while classical music issued forth from one of my radios, then wrote for an undetermined amount of time, switched the radio over to the Mark and Brian Program on KLOS, exercised, and wrote some more. During the best of the previous days show, M & B were interviewing the comedian Carlos Mencia, who I found somewhat annoying. When the real show began at 6:00, Kelly Gates, the lovely and talented News Central person, almost had a heart attack. She had checked her Super lotto numbers, and was one number off from winning 46 million dollars (American). She did win $1,100 (Hong Kong), which is pretty cool, and not bad for a $1 (Suriname) investment.
   You know how much I won? I won exactly... diddly-squat, that’s how much. I didn’t even get one damn number! That $46 million would have helped nicely with my retirement plans.
   Oh, I know I’ll win one day. If I make it past the age of 52, when my counselor from the Rancho San Antonio Boys Home, Don Vose, predicted I would die from a second, fatal heart attack. I’ll probably win when I’m 87 or something, and ready for the boneyard. The shock of winning will more than likely do me in, and all of the money will go back to the state.
   Sons of bitches! Let me win now! I need it. I’ll create a trust that promotes human rights, the advancement of space exploration, and to help third world children. I swear. That would be so much better than sitting around on my ass here at the Weingart. I might as well apply to the California Institute of Culinary Arts. 
   Anyway, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish Johnny Carson, formerly of “The Tonight Show,” a happy 78th birthday. Happy birthday Johnny! Please come back. It hasn’t been the same without you. Come on. All you do is stand around and play tennis. Might as well attend the California Institute of Culinary Arts, and be productive.
   Anyway, when it was breakfast time I went downstairs and ate. Scrambled eggs and sausage. I hadn’t come down to breakfast for awhile and it was good.
   Afterwards I walked over to 4th Pl, to the DPSS office. There wasn’t that many people there today. I saw one former employee of Harbor Light, the Salvation Army’s facility. His name was Ross, but I didn’t say anything to him.
   I waited two hours before my name was called. I was directed to Booth 9. I sat down in the booth and pretty soon an Asian gentleman took a seat behind the plexiglass barrier.
   “Do you want to see me, or your GROW worker?” he asked me.
   Neither. I showed him my SSI summons. “I want to see the SSI advocate,” I told him.
   He looked at the letter. “SSI? Okay. I’ll tell them you’re here.” He got up and walked off.
   What the hell had I been waiting two hours for?! Couldn’t they have told the SSI people I was here when I first arrived? Fuck! I guess not. 
   I returned to the waiting room and continued reading Dean Koontz’s story about Golden Retrievers and a sad, homicidal, alligator/monkey, from his novel, “Watchers,” which some say is his finest.   
   Not me though.
   Fairly soon I was directed to the infamous Window 17 (many have gone there, and few have returned), where I met my SSI advocate, Maria Teresa Facundo, a young Hispanic woman of the Latin persuasion, slight of build, pretty, with long hair, who reminded me we had met before when I was in the hospital last year avoiding living on the streets. We did then what we were doing today, applying for SSI insurance payments. For me, not her. She was working and didn’t need any SSI.
   I didn’t either, in my opinion, nor did I have any desire to collect SSI disability payments. I’m certainly not impotent, and am perfectly capable of going back to work... I’m just not suited for it. You can’t tell these government agencies anything though, and if they want you to file for SSI, then by God you had to do it, or else, as in my case my GR payments would be terminated, which I did need... for a little while at least.
   Maria asked me a lot of questions and filled out a lot of forms. She looked at the samples of medication I had brought, the prozac and wellbutrin. She seemed interested in my depression, and began talking to me about her own anxiety disorders, which had temporarily overwhelmed her, causing her to become nonfunctional, and which she now treats successfully with meds. I appeared to be interested in what she was saying, but it was very difficult hearing her through the plexiglass, and someone in an adjoining booth was yelling and screaming, thereby increasing the already raucous level of noise. I nodded when it seemed appropriate, and said things like, “That’s true,” a few times. It is so rare when one of these DPSS people become a real person, one has to savor it.
   She eventually gave me a form to fill out, which asked me how my disabilities kept me from working, and if I was able to dress myself. Disinclination for the first question, and only when the lights are on for the second. Our business concluded, I asked her to fix my records so that my GR would be reinstated. She already had, she said. We said goodbye, and told each other to look after ourselves, now brother and sister in medically controlled mental illness. 
   I got out of there shortly after 11:00, having missed the Job Super Search Meeting... again. Oh well. I returned to the Weingart for lunch. Fish and rice, and then went to ASAP.
   Kathy started off with a question for me.
   “I know you’re interested in astrology,” she asserted.
   “Astronomy,” I corrected.
   “Have you heard anything about five planets aligning themselves in such a way as they’ll resemble a six pointed star on November sixth?”
   Some of her acquaintances had told her this was to happen, and on that day one could ask for and receive special dispensation.
   I told her I’d look into it though, and get back to her.
   At the library I discovered that during April and May of last year, 5 planets, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter, had aligned themselves in such a way as they could be seen in a single glance from the northern hemisphere of Earth . 3 of them, Venus, Mars, and Saturn, at one point, would form a perfect (sort of) triangle. But nothing like this would occur again until 2040, and no Star of David was expected for the foreseeable future.
   I exercised upon return to my lonely room. Beef stew for dinner. I then read the paper and watched Jackie’s weather report to check out... to discover when the heat wave would abate.
   I watched the third installment of “Traffik.” As I was doing so the lovely and talented Stephanie Powers, my favorite girl from the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement (U.N.C.L.E.),  arrived for the opening of the Walt Disney Concert Hall, up on 2nd St. and Grand. “Gorgeous, breathtaking, and about time,” she said.  
   Across the street several people picketed the proceedings, protesting the $274 million (Namibian) spent on the new building.
   “So mush money and talent went into creating this splendid concert hall. They could take the same amount of money, and the same amount of talent, and do something about the people sleeping in cardboard boxes a few blocks from here,” said Alice Callaghan, director of the Skid Row Community Center Las Familias Del Pueblo Group, and founder of SRO. Housing Trust. 
   I tend to agree.
   The T.V. lied to me again. Flat out lied! It told me that Christina Applegate would guest star on tonight’s episode of “Friends,” and that Rosanna Arquette, half of the infamous Arquette Sisters, would be on “Will and Grace,” but it was not so. They were not on. I was suckered into watching more than half of “Friends (which quite frankly I believe to be overrated. NBC is tearfully advertising the show as “the last season,” as if salt were disappearing from the Earth forever),” and I didn’t see one beautiful blonde hair from the Applegate head. I didn’t wait around for “Will and Grace,” as a commercial told me that James Earl Jones would be this week’s guest. And as much as I like James, he’s no Rosanna Arquette.
   So I watched a movie I had borrowed from the library, Spencer Tracy in “The Old Man and the Sea,” my favorite Hemingway story. America’s best actor for his era, in a film in which he appears in almost every frame. Watching it made me want to go to Cuba and hunt and kill poor defenseless marlins who are just trying to get along.      Afterwards I watched the very first Avengers episode with Diana Rigg. No introduction of her character was bothered with, or explanation as to why Catherine Gale changed into Emma Peel. Apparent;y Elizabeth Sheppard was first considered for the role, and had in fact filmed the episode I was watching, which had to have been filmed twice, another time after Diana had Elizabeth killed.
   In any event, like many of my favorite television shows, “The Avengers,” creates it’s own world and rules, in which the constraints of reality play no part. “Star Trek,” in all of it’s manifestations, being the best example of what I’m talking about. “Northern Exposure,” “Get Smart,” “The X-Files,” “Married with Children,” “Fox News,” even the under appreciated “Green Acres.” 
   Oh Eddie and Eva, we need you now more than ever.
   Before going to bed I chastised myself vigorously for spending too much time watching videos.
   Tonight I dreamt I was sitting in the first row at tonight’s performance at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Stephanie Powers sat on my left, Diana Rigg on my right, and playmate Lynda Wiesmeier on my lap. A hush fell over the crowd as Dianne Reeves sang “The Star Spangled Banner.”

24   October   Friday   Day 104

   I slept in until 4:50AM, showered and meditated. I wrote while listening to Mark Thompson describe how his Labrador puppy had disabled his satellite television system the day before yesterday by happily chewing threw the feed cable in his backyard.
   MARK: Frankie [Sontag]  called me and asked, “What’s up?” I told him I was sitting there watching my dog eat a pice of wood.
   BRIAN: I’m surprised he didn’t ask to come over and watch.
   FRANKIE: I thought about it.
   Due in large part to our current heat wave, lack of humidity, and Santa Ana winds, huge brush fires are ravaging large areas of Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties, including Santa Clarita, where Mark lives, and Rancho Cucamonga, where my beautiful and innocent friend and co-editor, Michelle Chandler, was last seen.
   Moving on, I seemed to be in a lousy mood for some reason this morning. I don’t know why. It happens sometimes.
   Scrambled eggs for breakfast. That was the high point of the day. 
   I attended the Relapse Prevention Meeting at ASAP, which drifted from the topic toward partisan drug legalization. Nothing at all to do with staying sober.
   During the three hours between meetings, I returned to my room to write and watch another Avengers story.
   Baked chicken for lunch. I took my borrowed videos with me back to ASAP. Kathy received my report on planet alignments with calm authority and acceptance. Ronald McCree showed up late and sat next to me. He told me his doctor had evaluated a recent x-ray of his and alerted him to a 7 millimeter long spot on one of his ribs.
   “Rib cancer, the worst kind,” I exclaimed.
   “Rib cancer! Don’t say that man.”
   “Well, what the hell else could it be?”
   “Man, don’t say that.”
   He’ll be going to the VA hospital in Westwood next week to check out his rib cancer. I hope everything turns out okay.
   I took a DASH to the library, returned the videos I had, and borrowed some more, and then walked to the Rite-Aid for Milky Way bars and the paper. 
   Upon my return to the Weingart, a note from Labrean in my box informed me that my housing was in jeopardy because I had missed my weekly session with her.     
   She’s so silly.
   I tried to watch a Linda Thorson Avengers tape, but it was in such bad condition my VCR player would  not load it no matter how much I fiddled with it. I watched broadcast TV instead, and fell asleep almost instantly.
   I dreamt I was sitting in the DPSS office waiting room with Hilary Swank, the lovely and talented star of such films as “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” and “Quiet Days in Hollywood,” seated to my left, Patricia Kennedy, the talented and lovely star of “Pawn Shop,” and “Secret Services,” seated to my right, and playmate Rosanne Katon, the beautiful, funny, and talented star of “City Girl,” and “The Swinging Cheerleaders,” on my lap. We waited and waited until finally we were all called to Window 17. “Oh no!” I cried.

25   October    Saturday    Day 105

   “We cannot ultimately stop the supply of heroin, or cocaine, or any other drug. We can only limit the demand for it. And in the long term that will mean making a decent life for people. And producing a decent society that people want to live in and not to escape from. And that my friends... will not be easy.” -Jack Lithgow, as told by Simon Moore in “Traffik”

   I was experiencing symptoms of depression, which was rather depressing, although I didn’t feel depressed. 
   I slept in very late. Every time the noise from the street below, or the light from my window brought me to wakefulness I would consciously force myself back to sleep. I did this until I couldn’t do it anymore, getting out of bed and showering at 11:30.
   I went down to lunch because I was hungry. I had already eaten a Milky Way  bar earlier but was still hungry. Splattered chicken was served.
   I wrote for much of the afternoon, taking a break to walk downtown for cigarettes and more Milky Way bars. I stopped writing at 5:30, and watched the last two episodes of “Traffik.” This is an incredibly good story, written by Simon Moore, and exceptionally well acted. Although thoroughly Americanized, the Soderbergh movie paid homage to this 1989 mini-series by reproducing the story line almost verbatim. If any lessen can be gleamed from this fascinating and oppressive tale, it is that the trafficking of illegal drugs has a tendency to ruin the lives of everyone connected with the trade. From addict to drug lord, no one escapes, no one wins. And like alcohol and cigarettes, illegal drugs do not only harm those who deal and use them, but all of those who live on the periphery of their lives, friends, relatives, and employees, as well. Dogs, cats, and so on.
   I fixed myself some microwave popcorn and watched one of my favorite films (although back in 1976 I hoped “Barry Lyndon,” would win Best Picture), Miloš Forman’s “One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest,” starring Jack Nicholson in an Academy Award winning performance. Christopher Lloyd made his feature film debut in this movie. And this would be the only time we see Danny DeVito as a shy and retiring type. Louise Fletcher also won an Oscar for Best Actress. Best Picture, Director, and Screenplay. A picture wouldn’t win all of the major awards again until 1991 with “The Silence of the Lambs.”
   Of all of the amazing performances in this film that of Sydney Lassick as Charlie Cheswick really stands out for me. He would appear as  Chuck Forsch in the “X-Files,” episode "Elegy,” as well. Unfortunately he passed away here in L.A. last April.
   I went to sleep and dreamt I was in my old bedroom in the house on Nordhoff Street in Northridge. It was 3:00AM, and I couldn’t get to sleep due to all of the cross top whites I had taken during the previous day. My friends De Ette Smith and Robin Scarrow were with me. Two lovely teenage brunettes who I had a crush on at different times. My love had gone unrequited and these two had done their fair share of torturing me with their blatant sexuality and indifference. They were the queens of the hive that me and my friends revolved around. I wish them well. Kari Fox, the beautiful and talented star of “Crystal Balls,” “A Little Romance,” and many other fine films, was also with us. We just sat by my large window that looked out onto the shadows of the empty street. We drank beer, listened to The Doors on the radio, and ate Doritos. Every now and then cars would drive by in both directions, very fast, the Doppler sound of their passing absorbed into the night.

26   Octover   Sunday   Day 106

   “I know you. I swear I do. You’re just like me.” -Venus Hum

   I woke up one hour before the sign in deadline, but I did not move until it had passed. 
   Tomorrow I would sign in. Tomorrow. Always tomorrow.
   I made some coffee, then headed for the showers. I spent much of the morning catching up on writing, and listening KPFK, and  Blase Bonpane roast President Bush for starting the war in Iraq. He criticized many in the current administration for implying any criticism of the President’s policies were unpatriotic, quoting Theodore Roosevelt, "To announce there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." Bonpane’s guest, the American historian  Howard Zinn, author of “Terrorism and War,” pointed out that the American public’s definition of “terrorism,” seemed to be, a terrorist was anybody acting violently against the United States. The American public has not learned to consider that from the point of view of many in the Middle East an Asia, America is a terrorist nation, bombing Afghanistan, imposing a 10 year embargo against Iraq (and Iran), then going to war with the country. The American mainstream media helps to propagate and maintain the notion of American exceptionalism, that this country is some how morally superior to all others, and rarely offering viewpoints that differ from that of the federal government. That’s left to PBS, NPR, and  the BBC, and thank God for them.
   Ian Masters came on just after Blaze, and continued beating up on the President, referring to Bechtel Corp’s contracts to administrate in Iraq. That it must be nice to be in a position to start a war for no good reason, put the Democrats on the defensive while improving you approval rating, then make all of your rich friends richer by awarding them multi-billion dollar no-bid contracts. What a racket! 
   He pointed out the the sole purpose of government  is to promote the general welfare of it’s citizens. Has Bush done this? According Ian and his guest Bush has taken a projected 5 trillion budget surplus, the largest in American history, and turned into a 3 trillion dollar deficit, then attempted to blame Bill Clinton for it. Bush has lied to the American public about the need to go to war, went to war against the wishes of the United Nations, and is now crying for them to help bail him out of the mess that he has made. And all the time, everyday, American soldiers die for no good reason, paying for the President’s stupidity with their own blood.
   At 12:30 I went down to eat lunch. Veggie burgers. Another veteran, John, sat with me. A tall white guy with a mustache, about my age (young), but not nearly as good looking as I am. We found out about each other. We both like to write. I asked him who his favorite author was, and he said Dostoevsky. Everybody likes Fyodor, that happy go lucky bastard! He likes Poe and Balzac as well. I’ve never read anything by Balzac, and immediately scheduled that on my things to do list for March 2005.
   We would continue our pleasant conversation at dinner (beef and noodles). Perhaps I’ve made a new friend. 
   I walked to the library to exchange my videos. The day was hot, and the sky hazy due to the southern part of the state being on fire. 
   Upon returning to my lonely room I watched Christopher Guest’s first directorial effort, “Waiting for Guffman,” starring Parker Posey, about a community theater production. All three of his films are wonderful, but all variations on the same theme, fake documentaries on quirky subjects. 
   In the film they mentioned a “Remains of the Day” lunch box. I certainly want one of those.
   I really do.
   I ate cacahuates con chile y limon peanuts while watching the movie. At times the sirens from the fire engines and ambulances from outside would pass by and hurt my ears, and the Whistler would walk up and down the hall outside my room, taunting me, forcing me into wanting to kill him.
   Next, a bad copy of “War of the Worlds,” with Gene Barry, from “The Name of the Game," television series, and Ann Robinson. A true account of the Martian invasion of 1952, the film won an Oscar for it’s special effects, which still hold up pretty much today.
   Fucking Martians! Always wanting to stir up trouble. A bunch of rabble rousers if you ask me.
   Next, Roland Joffe’s first effort, “The Killing Fields,” the story of Cambodia’s overthrow by the Khmer Rouge in 1973, and the massacres that followed. A brilliant  film, focusing on the relationship between New York Columnist  Sydney Schanberg and Cambodian journalist and interpreter, Dith Pran, whose attempt to escape from his own country into Thailand was documented. Dr. Haing S Ngor, who plays Pran, was himself a survivor of the Khmer Rouge regime and the labor camps. He won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. He lived nearby in Hollywood, until 1996 when he was murdered during a mugging by street thugs. He apparently refused to give up a locket that had a picture of his deceased wife in it, and they killed him. 
   He once said, “It doesn’t matter if I die tomorrow. This film will last forever.”
   Indeed it will.
   I watched Myrka Dellanos on her 10:00 Sunday night show for awhile, but had difficulty understanding what it was she was saying as she was speaking in Spanish.
   I don’t speak Un-American.      
   I meditated, read, and smoked. I would smoke my last half of a cigarette near 4:00AM.
   I turned off the television at midnight and listened to Frank’s Impact program on the radio. He too had harsh things to say about the President, siting fake letters actually written by propagandists within the administration and  purported to be written by active soldiers stationed in Iraq. The letters expressed a plea for confidence in the President, asking Americans to trust his all knowing, faith based judgment and authority, and to “stay the course.”
   Frankie continues to call for Bush’s impeachment, and I agree wholeheartedly. Put Schwarzenegger in the Oval Office. He’ll handle Al Qaeda. He did in “True Lies.”
   Frank discussed other issues with his callers as well. It was one of his better shows. He was in a fairly good mood, which is always helpful. He played some great music. I listened until about 3:00AM or so, then turned it off to read.
   I finished Koontz’s “Watchers,” which I enjoyed, although not caring for the ending all that much. Dean had two different antagonists chasing the main character. One you could sympathize with to a point, the other not so much. He dispatched both of them (rather too easily in my opinion) one at a time for the book’s climax. I would think it would have been more effective to deal with them both together and at the same time, with “the Outsider,” dispatching the hit man perhaps, and then in turn being done in by Travis... or Nora. But what the hell do I know? Koontz has sold a lot more books than I have.
   I turned the radio back on after finishing the book, and laid down. After a while I heard Frank Sontag say, “Hey Rick, Rick! wake up!”
   “Wake up, man. Someone’s here to see you.”
   “Who?” I asked the radio. I looked at the clock. 4:55AM.
   “You’ll find out. Oh, happy birthday by the way.”
   “Thanks. Frankie, is that really you?”
   “Yeah man. Who else would it be? Hey, I thought you were gonna call in tonight.”
   “Ah, next week... maybe. Who wants to see me?”
   “Go into the hall and find out.”
   “Okay.” I got up and dressed.
   “Take care man,” Frank said. “I’ll catch you later.”
   “Sure Frank, sure.” I opened the door and walked out.
   My beautiful friend Michelle Chandler was out there waiting for me. She told me she had gone through her own trials and tribulations after leaving as a counselor at the Pasadena ARC, realizing that she too was an addict, and dealing with the problems of which that situation posed. She had married, and also worked as an airline stewardess, so she took me on a trip through the friendly skies to Washington D.C., where we picketed the White House, calling for the end of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. When that didn’t work we threw rocks at it until we ran out of rocks, then took another trip to Morro Bay in central California, walking along the beach, and swimming in the mighty Pacific, where the fish live.        

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