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Economics 101

    “We should teach the poor to breed flowers Everything grows in Uruguay. They can sell them to the rich. There will always be rich. They will do well. …The rich buy flowers. The poor buy food.” – Jose “Pepe” Mjica- President of Uruguay until 2015. from the film “El Pepe – A Supreme Life”

Faithful Traumatized by Damage Deposit Forfeiture

(Limbo) A majority of occupants, calling themselves “religious, but not particularly spiritual”, expressed shock and disbelief at the notion that the Creator would not be returning a damage deposit on the planet earth after humans vacate the premises. Emerging indications verified the fears, confirming the status of humans as “painfully purgatorial at best” by heavenly sources.

The deposit, paid in gold by the now disgraced Adam and Eve, has been held in trust by unnamed archangels since cave drawings depicted visits from outer space and sheep were nervous.

“We need that money to put down as a deposit on a new planet,” cried one of the eternally disappointed. “Coming up with first and last is hellish enough. With our poor credit we’ll never get a loan”

“According to one angel (I’m not just an angel I’m a bloody archangel”) the human experiment has failed.

“They (the renters) seemed peaceful and respectful at first but after that Cain and Abel business things went downhill fast. Their house is a mess and we’re not seeing much interest in cleaning up the yard either. We don’t know how many centuries that might take or what we will do with all of their orbiting possessions.”

For a related story please turn to:

Redneck Apostles Adopted Open Carry Partisanship after Lion’s Den Incident.

“The quiet realization that one has reached Nirvana arrives unannounced when he realizes he does not know which day it is today…only that it is an invention of evil timekeepers.”

– Small Mouth Bess


Ridgway) In an attempt to sustain the cowboy culture, seven local ranchers have been preserved thanks to donations from an assortment of conservation entities.

Although details are sketchy at press time (and the cows are in the corn) it appears that the lucky seven have been soaked in a formula of turpentine, ditch water and honey.

“In just a few hours these guys will not only be protected from the elements and aging,” said an open space advocate, “but never again will we see subdivisions built right on top of their heads.”

Local residents, shocked at first by such new age planning, say rampant development threatens to destroy their lifestyle and that 35-acre rancheros and golf courses often crush their cowboy hats.

More on this as we make it up.


“An agnostic is just an atheist without balls.” – Stephen Colbert


from a few years ago…

…when Crested Butte offered free skiing during a few days early in the season.
with apologies to Kris Kristopherson

Busted flat in Gunnison

waitin’ for the dump.

Been feelin’ bout as jaded

as my means.

Bobby flagged a pickup down

just before it snowed.

Rode it all the way

to Crested Butte.

Held onto my goggles

and my dirty red bandana

banking curves

while Bobby sang the blues.

Hungry magpies

makin’ time

holding Booby’s hand in line

We sang every song

that lift op knew.

Skiing’s just another word

for nothing much to do.

The skiing ain’t worth nothin’

‘less it’s  free.

Feelin good was easy, Lord

when he missed a tree.

Feelin good was good

enough for me

Good enough for free ski

and Bobby McGee.

One day near East River

Lord, I let him slip away

He’s lookin’ for those bumps

and I hope he finds them

And I’d trade all my adventures

for one single powder day

to be holdin’ Bobby’s body

next to mine.

(Repeat chorus).

A Martian in El Jardin

The noise in this Colombian town was pulverizing during the holidays so I thought I’d invest in a pair of earplugs. I made my way through the disassociated throngs near the plaza and entered a pharmacy, the counter manned by several overworked women. My Spanish isn’t too bad, I thought, and asked if they sold tampones de los oidos.

“Tampones?” the first women asked. “Tampones for who?”

“For me I said as if it wasn’t clear enough. Tampones por mis oidos. (Tampones for my ears).

The other started laughing.

“You mean tapones, not tampones,” she said holding up both.

“Oh, no” I flinched. “I was wanting tapones,” I said looking around to see who was eavesdropping on the conversation.

I bought the tapones and mad a quick exit thankful that I knew the proper name for toilet paper.

Everyone says hello back

The majority of the residents here have never been out of Colombia and to many the concept of global geography is limited to the bright green world of coffee farms and the wondrous mountains of the Cafetera.

That said it is not surprising that a foreigner gets a few stares on the street. The antidote: A boisterous Buenos Dias! or colloquial Que mas? That changes playing field. The response is a friendly, though surprised, greeting, usually sincere.

It is clear that somehow they think 1.) gringos can’t speak Castillano  2.) visitors are here because it’ a cheap place to live 3.) foreign males spend 24 hours a day looking for women. Misconceptions as the arepa (corn tortilla concotion) turns.

Often, when they are more relaxed they will ask “De donde” (Where are you from). My answer to a robotic exchange is “Hollywood.” with no trace of a smile. Then I accessorize my claim by adding No es claro? (Isn’t it clear?). Then, depending on the person I confess my fib, and give them the real poop. Most give me a gentle slap on the arm and laugh.

Almost always, after I meet someone they remember my name (easy since there are few gringos living here) and a warm relationship begins. Just try eating at the same restaurant three days in a row. All of a sudden you are treated almost like family.

El Calle de Borachos (Drunk Street)

Sunday is a good day to stay home. That’s the coffee workers’ day off and many spend it slamming beers and aguardiente in the raucous parade of bars wedged on 9th Street or on the plaza. If you were a fly on the wall you’d need tiny, little tapones (see above). If the booze won’t kill you the loud music will.

Although the drunks are peaceful enough they are often over-friendly and a pain in the ass, especially if I am in the company of a woman. Is this a demented flirtation? Maybe these men are the official poster children for the recruitment of nuns. After observing their common ritual many women might just prefer the cloistered life. If a find myself in that inebriated barrio I just whisper a prayer to Saint Pancreas, the patron of fried food, and keep moving.

Trash Days Take the Cake

On Tuesday and Saturday the trash truck blows its horns at about 6 am. That’s the day to put out your organics. Friday is regular trash pickup while Wednesday is recycles day. I don’t know what the local hygienic engineers do on the other days. Maybe they hang out on Drunk Street but more than likely they tend their gardens, drive tourists around in moto-ratones (tuks-tuks or more precisely motor mice) or work their small coffee farms tumbling down the side of the mountains. Lazy bastards.

I simply take notes on the meticulous agenda so as not to be keeping trash on my balcony well after its time.

It’s all well done with an additional corps of street cleaners keeping the town very clean. They also get a hand from the regular afternoon rain that washes away the remnants of the Paso Finos, the horses with the natural four-beat gait that proudly grace the lanes of the village.

The rubbish and refuse are then taken to the landfill and buried. It is not, as many up north believe, magically transformed into cocaine to be sold in Miami. That is our problem, not theirs, in this cowboy-as-Colorado community of 1700 souls. The trash service is provided free of charge unlike some Latin American towns where residents, often of limited means, are forced to choose between paying for trash pickup and buying a six-pack of cold beer.

– Dolores Alegria


‘Twas the night before Christmas

And all through the castle

Not a digger was stirring

It was just too much hassle.

(Most of us had been down at Golden Gate Park diggin’ the music and were wasted.)

The stockings were flung on the floor and the chair

Grab me my pants, there’s a party up there.

(Despite chronic fatigue the cat upstairs was making some kind of racket but soon he’ll be cool since his woman gets off work by seven.)

The horn men were nestled with notes in their heads

While visions of reefer waltzed with second hand threads.

(The North Beach Good Will has just scored new duds, the kind afforded by clotheshorse jazz musicians who seem to be between gigs.)

And momma comes home to see all this crap

She settled his brains and I don’t hear a rap.

(As expected the lady upstairs arrived home at the usual time and found her man engaged in extra-curricular diversions with an assortment of new friends. A gunshot. Another.)

When out on the highway there arose Dharma batter

The straights cruised on by engulfed in their chatter.

(Why do you want to show up to work everyday when there are places in this very galaxy that you have never been?)

Away to the window I flew like jack flash

Pulled down the Venetians, securing my stash.

(I wanted to see if the cat upstairs was alive or dead but I thought I’d better hide my stash before the North Beach Gestapo started asking a lot of questions.)

The moon and the rest of the ash-ridden snow

Convinced me that midday was too late to go.

(This place is nowhere. With a little luck and the right boxcar I could be in Mexico City for the New Year.)

When what to my wandering mind should appear

But San Francisco’s finest from the front and the rear.

(Somebody in the building must have called up the heat when they heard the shots. They were everywhere, responding in their noted Zen vigor in this neighborhood infested with home sapiens of the discarded variety.)

At my door an old sergeant, with stick of the night

I can’t wait till morning…it’s exit…stage right!

(My duffel bag lay packed in the corner. Once on my back it was out the door leading me to more tolerant horizons.)

More rapid than accurate I headed uptown

Grabbed a bus for the freight yard and waited around.

(The midnight train ride down the coast to LA would be a cold one but I could sleep on the beach in Santa Monica in the morning.)

A weathered old brakeman called out in the rain

If you’ve got ample dollars you’ll be riding this train.

(The tired, old drunk wanted some bread for letting me ride the boxcar. I promised him some Mexican grass and offered him a hit off my Thunderbird and, cursing, he wandered off.)

As wilted, dry leaves before hurricanes fly

I am one with the boxcar, fused to the Pacific sky.

(Finally headed toward Southern California, I polished off the wine and fell asleep despite the chill and the cold metal floor.)

So up through the mountains steel coursers they flew

With a cargo of nothingness as their time clock punched two.

(We hit the Coastal Range in the middle of the night as the full moon made another cameo appearance.)

And then in a twinkling I heard on the roof

The brakeman, another…resenting my spoof.

(The railroad cops didn’t appreciate my travel arrangements for the evening and when we stopped at Salinas they tossed my ass off the iron beast and into an unlikely Christmas Eve.)

As I brushed my self off and was turning around

Down the tracks dragged a hobo not making a sound.

(I had just seen this bum down in the Tenderloin last week. He was snoring away in a skid row hotel lobby, too drunk to make it up the stairs to his two-dollar flop.)

He was dressed all in rags from his head to his foot

His clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.

(A bad dream Kris Kringle in the freight yard of America’s last brush with culture?)

His meager belongings he’d thrown in a sack

He smelled like a junkie and let out a hack.

(His personal hygiene didn’t improve with closer proximity.)

His face was one wrinkle, all haggard and hairy

He clung to Wild Roses and a jug of sweet sherry.

His droll, little mouth was drawn up like a bow

The fuzz on his chin gray as winter’s So-Ho.

He rolled up two smokes, “To you I bequeath”

The smoke pouring out from his cave on no teeth.

(The cat had played out his future in baggy pants and shoes force-marched through an alcoholic haze.)

His poker face deluded, bad loser still game

He choked when he spoke but he spoke just the same.

Uncapping his prize he delivered a belt

And I grabbed for the bottle, in spite of myself.

With a wink of his eye and a twist of his head

Out there in hell’s freight yard the hobo dropped dead.

(Time had run out for this earth-bound angel who had never spent Saturday mornings mowing his lawn in the suburbs or driving kids around in a new Ford Station wagon.)

I picked up his dreams, locked tight with no key

Next stop: Potter’s Field for this snarled refugee.

(A watchman helped me cover him and called the cops. There would be no heartbroken relative to identify him, no one to cry at his grave.)

Then catching the time, I watched for a freight

Skillfully boarding, make LA by eight

Back on a boxcar, I slept on my duffel

Agonized at the thought of that wino’s last shuffle.

But desolation’s despots on angles take toll

One long ago Christmas deep deep in my soul.

                                 Paradise Stolen, 1959