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Archive for February, 2007

Wednesday, February 28th, 2007

Beziers storefront

We’re moving on, away from Europe. We’ll be in Morocco April 10!”

Several recurring thoughts about the good things in Europe:

1. Consideration for workers: In every country we’ve been to outside of the U.S., checkout clerks at grocery stores have seats at the cash register. Customers bag things themselves, and more frequently than not are expected to bring their own bags with them.

2. Cheap health care: We would have been set back at least a thousand dollars in the U.S. for the dental care and emergency care for Steve’s heart that we took care of in Poland and Croatia.

3. Good food: Especially in the Western European countries of Italy, France and the Netherlands, we’ve been blown away by the quality of produce and the cheap prices of good cheese and wine. We’re in love with the cheeses of France, especially goat cheese. I can’t help but think that in the U.S. we’re eating stale bread, bland cheese, bad fruit. Almost every fruit and vegetable I’ve bought in France has been sold at its best point.

4. Community: Although we are foreigners, we have very social experiences when we do our grocery shopping. And walking down the streets — especially in France — even little kids say hello! There’s little alienation here. It seems that the U.S. has some epidemic of alienation and paranoia. Or maybe it’s just me – maybe I’m now more open to experiences, more engaged.

Beziers storefront


Wednesday, February 28th, 2007

foto by smith

kathy’s all most done with issue #18 of her online poetry/art journal this will be her second issue with international contributors. . . includes a london poet, a nepalese poet, a krakow artist – who knows whom else. i think she’ll even include me, since i’ve been sleeping with her – and usually if you sleep with the publisher, you’re supposed to get published.

i’ve read too much, know too much about this corporate world’s evils. the cheney-bush beast makes me yearn for the waters of the river lethe – (Greek mythology – the River Lethe – a river in Hades; the souls of the dead had to drink from it, which made them forget all they had done and suffered when they were alive).

it’s not as easy to know stuff anymore. according to Reporters Without Borders’ annual Press Freedom Index, in 2002 under Saddam Hussein, Iraq’s freedom of he press ranked 130th out of all the countries in the world. In 2006, under cheney, Iraq fell to position 154. The same index listed the U.S. #17 in 2002, dropping to #56 in 2006.

in 4 years – going from being ruled by a ruthless dictator to being occupied by the even more ruthless cheney-bush – the iraq press freedom index worsened by 24 points – in that same bush-beast period, america’s freedom of the press index worsened by 39 points.

either heal the bush-cheney furor, or heil the cheney-bush fuhrer.

2 depressing headlines in one day – one about cheney’s plane having only minor mechanical difficulties – the other about cheney being ok after an afghanistan explosion. reality’s teasing me. but that’s ok – i can take a joke. besides, i don’t really want him to die – i want both portions of the cheney-bush beast to live a long long time so they can suffer for their crimes against humanity and the american treasury. i want them to regret their sins, to live long enough to suffer remorse for those they’ve murdered. but since cheney lacks a soul and bush lacks a brain, neither will ever admit they’re wrong. we’ll have to try them for war crimes, and lock them both up forever. give them nothing but their daily bread and waterboarding.

collage & foto by smith


rock & reward roll

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007

i read a fairy tale as a wee one.

in it, there was a large rock in the road. everyone walked around the rock, cursing it for interrupting the traffic flow. but no one ever actually did anything about it. finally a young boy comes along, sees the rock is in the way, and moves it off to the side. once he’s moved it, he discovers there was a pot of gold underneath it, which he takes to help his family.

ever since, i’ve been removing rocks from the road, trying to help others flow. i’ve never found gold payment for my efforts. but i have learned moving the rock, and helping others anonymously, is reward enough.

collage & foto by smith


2 rainbows & an angel of mercy

Monday, February 26th, 2007

foto by smith
last 3 days we’ve seen 2 rainbows and an angel of mercy.
foto by smith

finally fixed the bicycles over the weekend. took both of us because i’m so mechanically inept i couldn’t get the new inner tube inflated. the french use a different air stem logic. requires multiple steps whereas american inflating is insert and blow. kathy figured it out after i cursed awhile.

today we biked two towns over. now i’ve two things in common with lance armstrong – i’ve recovered from cancer and i’ve biked in france. where’s my trophy? (kathy’s my trophy,. my prize, my reward – seems almost shameful to love your wife more than ever after 18 months together, most of it 24/7). 15 miles round trip – the 7.5 mile return trip was uphill and against a head wind so strong, i had to pedal to go down hill – didn’t need brakes cuz if you stopped pedaling, the wind stopped you.
foto by smith

as soon as we got there, i hit a pot hole and got a flat tire. had the repair kit with me. i am a mechanical moron, have the machine skills of an elderly catholic nun – none. i stood staring at the flat, talking to myself, thinking normal humans do this all the time – i am smart, college educated, so i too can do this. i meditated myself into a place where i would not get angry and curse up a useless storm. we took digital fotos of how the chain looked going in and out over and around the gears so we would know how to put it back on. i took the tire off, took the tube out. a tall older gentleman came by and told us we’d better go into the store behind us right away to buy a new tube because the store was closing in 10 minutes. told him i had a repair kit and could fix it. he insisted we needed a new tube. he took kathy in to buy one while i tried to repair it. it had blown at the base of the air stem and was unrepairable. had it not been for this sudden angel of mercy, i would have been futilely fricked fracked and fractured.

so many times in my past, angels have of mercy have appeared to help me. sometimes men, sometimes women, occasionally children – and once in croatia it was two dogs who stopped us from renting bicycles we didn’t need because our hosts had already found some for us. in krakow we were trying to check into the place we had rented for 6 weeks, but it was locked. no one answered any of the buzzers. couldn’t find a phone. suddenly a young blonde tri-lingual lady named diana came by, said “oh, are you trying to get in?.” whipped out her phone, made 3 calls, the door opened, she grabbed kathy’s back pack and carried it up 3 flights of stairs, had the cleaning lady loan us her key for a day, and then disappeared. she’d stopped by to tell her boss who lived in the building she wasn’t coming to work the next day. at least that was her excuse… i’m not sure she was really human.

i think these people and animals are angels. reality sees we’re trying to live life, and occasionally offers us a wee bit of help.

on the other foot – in hershey pennsylvania in 1968, i stopped on a hot day for a soda pop from an outdoor machine. as soon as the bottle popped into the slot, i looked up and saw this 7 year old boy on a bicycle staring longingly at my bottle. i said “here” and handed it to him. he thanked me and took off. went into my pockets for more change for another pop, and found i didn’t have enough. broke out laughing at the joke reality played on me. it was worth it though because when i was a kid, i’d wished someone would give me a free bottle of pop – no one ever did, so i gave one to another to pay off the child inside me.
foto by smith


the marital arts

Sunday, February 25th, 2007

 collage & foto by smith

i am a marital artist – i know Cunt Fu. i’m going to offer my Cunt Fu classes to the sexually dyslectic. i’ll teach the different stances and motions such as Major Mambo Moving, Lower Lip Loving, Clitoris Centralis Climactus, Helpful Hand Humping, Rapid Rat Rubbing, Elongus Erectus Ejectus, Moist Member Mounting, Fine Finger Furrowing, and that most powerful strategy of all – Tender Tongue Touching.

collage & foto by smith

i also offer extensive courses in Rat Rubbing. have you ever sidled up to your lady and said hey baby i wanna rub your rat. i’m a rat rubber from way back. you want a happy rat, you gotta rub em right. rub em wrong, you might pull back a stump. i like to rub them against my head, generate static electricity, then stick em on the wall – kinda cool to see all these wall rats wiggling their little wet rat lips at you. so sign up now for my course on rudimentary rapidly rotating righteously revolving renditious rat rubbing – reduced rates redacted.

foto by smith


French news items

Saturday, February 24th, 2007


Last week, I decided to try to read some news every day in French in order to increase my fluency. So I looked at the first two front page news items of the French “Le Monde.” The first article, “Ouverture de la premiere conference internationale contre les bombes a sous-munit”, is about the commencement of an international conference to prohibit the use of cluster bombs. They were used in Iraq and Kosovo with the effect of killing more of the civilian population than being effective against military targets. Ten countries participated in the conference with the notable absence of Israel and the U.S. The article says that Great Britain, the U.S., Israel, France, China, India and Russia are opponents of the effort. I find it educational that this major newspaper headlined this conference, especially considering France’s opposition.

The second article (same day) was about the resignation of the Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi. He led a coalition of left-leaning parties since April 2006, when he triumphed over Silvio Berlusconi, the world’s 37th richest person and controversial right-winger.

I read the local provincial paper here, the “Midi-Libre”. Front page article was about a Basque activist, Philippe Bidart, who was just released from a 20-year sentence for killing two “CRS” (French riot squad police) and a policeman. He’s going to live in Beziers, which is the large city in our area. On the front page article he’s got an angry open mouth and raised fist, and he’s wearing some type of traditional clothing which seems very french to me, but which I now gather is traditional “Basque” attire – a scarf, a floppy beret. The mayor of Beziers, who wasn’t consulted about the release, says that if Bidart doesn’t behave himself, he’ll force him out of the city.

I knew very little about the Basques except that they are an ethnic minority in France and Spain, and that there’s a nationalist movement. So I wikipedia’d them, and found out that they are considered “indigenous.” They were here before the influx of Indo-Europeans and their DNA is similar to that of the Celts.

The Basque language had been repressed by the Spanish and French but now there are areas where schoolchildren are allowed to learn in their primary language. There is an autonomous Basque community of three provinces in Spain.

Being interested in language, I’ve been wondering why it is that Spanish and Italian have more similarities than French. Spain and Italy have France between them – seems more logical to me that French would be a kind of blending of Italian and Spanish than what it is. All three languages are romance languages, derived from Latin.

In the wikipedia article I read that the Basque language and manner of speaking had a strong influence in the development of French.


Steve just held up an avocado seed to me, said, “Ew… is this where babies come from?”

I said, “Oh, you better throw it out. Don’t let it hatch. Shake it.”

In Croatia, we met a pigeon hobbiest. He led us out back where pigeons with crests and shiny feathers cooed on a perch in a spaceous outdoor caged room. He came up to me with an egg in one hand and cradling an ugly baby pigeon in the other. Shook the egg, and explained that this is the method of birth control. It kills the baby bird, and its parents think that it’s still a valid egg. So they sit on it, waiting forever for it to hatch, and they avoid making another egg.

The hobbiest trains his pigeons to twirl in the air. But he said some of the young ones don’t make it. They enjoy twirling too much. When the birds twirl, they fall. So the ones who enjoy it too much don’t cease twirling in time and they hit the ground.


the franko file

Saturday, February 24th, 2007

whoever says the french are rude are wrong.

so far, the french have been kind, helpful, courteous, considerate, polite, pleasant, warm, friendly and just plain nice to us. we were warned the french would mock our amateurish efforts to speak their language. not true – at least here in the south of france.

these fotos are from yesterday’s trip to beziers for art supplies.  the bridge crosses the river orb. we walked the orb – across the orb, along the orb. we walk in our own photographs. implications abound.

we arrived in beziers at 8:40 in the morning, left 5:15 that afternoon – that’s 8.5 hours of walking around. my legs are thinking of having me committed.

this morning kathy wondered why she always thinks of her family first thing in the morning. i told her because she’s a social sick-o. she asked why her brothers never write her. told her because they don’t like her. they told me so. they resented her always studying and getting good grades and making them look bad. then i told her her parents don’t like her either. in fact, they paid me to marry her. then i finished her off by saying i was only with her for the coffee. she laughed, told me to go write that down. she’s making my coffee right now.

foto by smith

foto by smith

foto by smith

foto by smith


How to Learn French with YouTube

Friday, February 23rd, 2007


Learning French on the Atari



Eddie Izzard – Learning French



Learning how to French



French Learning for Chinese Speakers Part 01


And last, how to learn English:



fluffy puppy

Thursday, February 22nd, 2007

 foto by smith

kathy says my depressing anti-government blogs are going to drive off the good people who have been reading us, and attract the people who shouldn’t be reading us – like the government.

she’s right – i’ve said my piece, if not my peace. so i’m going to start writing bubbly happy stuff about puppies and pussies and spring poppies.

someone asked me if i wanted a fluffy puppy the other day – told them no thanks, i’d already eaten. another offered me a couple cute kittens, but i had to refuse since i had no more room in my freezer.

long live flower power.

foto by smith


just the facts maim

Thursday, February 22nd, 2007

 foto by smith

Kathy put up 8 foto galleries on the Pbase website – her 7 galleries are grouped by city/region, and my 1 gallery is metaphoric. she’s shot 7 world city/regions so far in 7 months. she’s one talented and busy little borg babe. her 7 galleries of excellent fotos are:

Languedoc Region of France
Cleveland, Ohio – Tremont Neighborhood
Croatia, Province of Istria
and mine is
The American Identity

these may be seen at

foto by smith

just the facts maim…

the United States, with only 4.6% of the world’s population, consumes 66.7% of the world’s illegal drugs

The digestive processes of the billions of animals raised to become sandwiches and snacks each year, as well as the 87,000 pounds of excrement that they produce every second, release enormous amounts of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. – February 17, 2007 by the Huffington Post

the United States contributes 25% of climate changing gas emissions even though the u.s. population is but 4.6% of the world’s population (301 million versus 6.6 billion people)… we pollute 500% of our fair share of filth.

There are 2,193,798 inmates in america’s state and federal prisons… men outnumber women in prison nearly 14 to 1 – america has the highest rate of prisoners to population in the world: no one locks up more people than america.

Country     Prison population   Population per 100,000
US                      2,193,798         737
RUSSIA                 874,161         615 
UKRAINE              162,602         350 
SOUTH AFRICA     158,501         334
POLAND                 89,546         235 
MEXICO                214,450         196 
BRAZIL                 371,482          193 
ENGLAND/WALES  80,002          148 
SCOTLAND               6,872          134 
KENYA                   47,036          130 
AUSTRALIA             25,790         125
CHINA                 1,548,498        118 
TURKEY                  65,458          91
N IRELAND                1,375          79 
JAPAN                     79,052          62 
INDIA                      332,112         30 
NIGERIA                   40,444         30 
Tedd Rall on February 21, 2007 called president-pretend george w. bush “a genocidal maniac who will be responsible for a million deaths by the time he leaves office in 2009.” it’s nice to see folk start calling our tin-horn hitler a mass murderer. can anyone spell Nuremberg War Crimes Trial?

i refer to bush as president-pretend because he’s never been legally elected. his father’s house slaves on the u.s. supreme court illegally handed him the 2000 election after his brother falsified the florida vote – and bush stole the 2004 election by reversing ohio’s vote. so the worst president and the worst vice-president america has ever had have never been elected.

what an ugly picture the u.s. us present – america is run by an official vietnam war deserter and an admitted vietnam war draft dodger who both stole their office … america fouls the world’s air, sea and lands at a rate 500 times their fair share… america locks up more of it’s own people than any other nation in the world… america tortures illegally jailed war prisoners… america invades sovereign nations at will… america slaughters 650,000 iraqi civilian men, women, children, babies… america kidnaps foreign natives off the streets of their own countries…america spends more on weapons than the rest of the world combined… america is the biggest arms dealer in the world… america is the major terrorist in the world… america illegally spies on its own citizens… america refuses to recognize legally elected democracies that don’t follow our line… america hurts its poor and elderly while coddling its rich… america is the world’s major illegal drug user… america is the only democracy that no longer recognizes habeas corpus – i could go on for pages. 

this is the land of the free, the home of the brave? gag me with a water board. i am ashamed of my country – a country that kills for money.

jesus drove the money-changers from the temple – we gave them the country.

foto by smith


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