Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Old Days, New Days, No Days Are Good Days

By Brian Wask

Hell’s Kitchen, NYC– The rain started before the sun came up. I woke around ten am, but I’d been listening to the tree drops tap the air-conditioner for a few hours. Dreaming about it and sometimes singing along. I could see the day was dark between the heavy curtain and the wall it falls short of reaching. I should’ve quit at beer number six the night before. Instead I carried on with my neighbor Feo (short for Fyodor), listening to Charles Mingus’ Tijuana Moods, playing Gin Rummy, talking about Honduras and its military coup and sudden beef with Brazil. (Of course Chavez, South America’s Simon Cowell, got involved before the end of the weekend.) Ousted Honduran President Zaleya somehow made it to the Brazilian Embassy. From there he encouraged his followers to protest against the interim president Roberto Micheletti, who has close ties with big business and rightwing politicians and is supported by the military. I’m not old enough to remember what went on in Central America under Reagan’s foreign policy in the eighties, but I’d have to live under a rock– or pretend to– if I was not up to speed about the democratically elected leaders of places like Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua once removed by military coups. (And I read a lot of books about it because I wanted to.) Following, dictators were installed with US support, financially and militarily. I would NOT conspire the same theory this time around– simply because Obama is President– but because the military is backing the new government, and responsible for the coup, neighboring countries who plan to intervene would certainly face an Honduran army. However threatening that doesn’t sound.

I’m bothered by the idea Fascists are running things in Central America. But some things bother me more. Over the weekend, four blocks from where I live, three gay men were passing a pub on 9th avenue a little after midnight. A Fascist beast was outside the pub having a cigarette, most likely bitching about how the “fascist” mayor Bloomberg (I’m not a huge fan but by no way is he a true fascist), who once banned smoking in bars, was also considering a ban on smoking in most public places. Note here, Feo disagrees Bloomberg is NOT a fascist. But, to be fair, anyone in a tie with a savings account is a fascist to my neighbor. He once called the landlord a fascist simply because our rooftop was no longer stable or safe for people living directly below it, therefore prohibiting access to tenants. Anyway, the beast having a smoke outside the pub attacked the three gay men, using fists and nasty slurs describing their sexual behavior. The cops were called but felt the situation didn’t require an arrest or even a record of the parties involved. The next day, when the three men followed up on pressing charges, there wasn’t anything anyone could do, the beast got away because cops never took his name. I wonder why this situation went down like this. You ask me, if somebody thinks it’s okay to call a man out on the street cause he’s gay, things aren’t getting better. The day before, ten blocks away from where I live, an Iraq War vet stabbed another man in front of New York City’s main Post Office before the sun had a chance to go down. The night before that an off-duty cop drank too much– though he would later refuse a breathalyzer– and killed a nice lady with a five thousand pound machine. I’ll say it again. Things are NOT getting better.

Feo warned me I was behaving like it was my first trip to New York when in fact I’ve lived here for ten years. “Shit happens all the time,” he reminded me. “Relax yourself and get us another beer.” I agreed, though the reality was discouraging. “What’ the point then?” I said, looking for the light in the kitchen. “I’m a little confused about Obama’s mission in Afghanistan,” I continued. “And Iraq for that matter.” Naturally this was Feo’s big chance to explain the two wars, which he’d done during dozens of late night/early morning escapades. He insisted both were started by two Idiots, Bush and bin Laden, and no way could anybody ever figure out how to get out of either because Idiots always prevail. “Forget Cheney, forget Saddam Hussein,” he demanded, accompanied by a good spray of beer. “This is the way of the world, and perhaps the Universe, if it really exists anyway. I’m starting to believe it does. And all matter of existence anywhere and everywhere is inspired by genuine stupidity. Absolute narcissism!” For Feo this was not a debate. So I maintained my regular naivete for the sake of peace is my small world. Otherwise, with the slightest opposition, my good neighbor would’ve shown me the door six different ways. He did eventually over of a disagreement regarding the pros and cons of baked bananas.

In the morning, listening to the rain– no thunder– I started to think Feo was right. Neither Osama bin Laden or George W. Bush make sense any time they open their mouths. It’s amazing how some people can NOT make sense so often. Sometimes I think most of the people I communicate with daily don’t make sense. And it’s easier to tell how little sense someone makes when they speak the same language, which is maybe why I get along better with people who speak a different language first, and English as a second or third or fourth. But do Idiots really control the Universe? Is that possible? Barak Obama is NOT and Idiot. Does this mean he will NOT have an affect on the universe? Maybe. Things are NOT going to get better. Yet everyday, no matter if it’s raining or the sunshine is peaking around the curtain, for some reason I think things will get better. And one day, hopefully when I’m one hundred and twenty-three, my breathing will pleasantly cease. Next, I’ll appear before God. His presence alone will mean I’m in Heaven. Then he’ll open his mouth and say something stupid.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sincere Advice For Your Resume

By Brian Wask

These days nobody can find a damn job. The economy is in the toilet, unemployment looks over ten percent and chicks in the human resource department are afraid to take a chance on potential employees. All they want is someone with the (air quotes) right qualifications. Too bad this person doesn’t really exist. No matter who gets hired they’ll spend most of the time checking their Facebook, instant messaging and shopping online for whatever high gets them through the day. But I have some ideas that should help your resume get past the HR department and into the hands of someone who really counts.

At the top of your resume you’re going to want to include your name, among other things. But if your name is regular, like John Sampson, spice it up with something much more appealing. Try taking the last three letters of your first name– Ohn in this case. Put that in front of the last three letters of your last name– Son. Ohn Son. People are going to think, who the hell’s this guy? I got to meet him. Or her. Who knows? Underneath your name most people would think to put an address and a phone number. I wouldn’t. Why’s that any of their business? But that’s just me. If I had to put an address I’d try again to make myself sound more interesting. Central Park West. New York, NY. Museum of Natural History. Dinosaur Exhibit. Top that. Underneath the address put your real email because that’s how they’re going to contact you. If you follow my plan I guarantee they will. So far I’m thinking this is someone the company needs. All this goes in bold letters.

Next section is the Personal Statement. You can say just about anything here. It’s kind of like the “status post” on Facebook. For example, if you’re sitting at the pool when you send your email off to a hopeful employer your Personal Statement can say: sitting at the pool, drinking a beer and getting tan and shit. Even if it’s winter, you can say that, because then it's like who is this Ohn Son guy sitting at the pool in the middle of winter getting a tan. Awesome. Let’s get this Ohn Son guy in here and see what his tan ass is all about. Who sits at a pool in the dead of winter? A guy with an indoor pool, that’s who. Ohn Son. There’s a second option for the Personal Statement that has also worked for my disciples in the past. I would recommend saying a little about your past as an employee. If you were the best dressed at all your other jobs, say so. Everybody likes a good dresser. Ohn Son is a great dresser. Nobody likes a bad dresser, especially for the girls. If you’ve traveled to some cool places tell them people call you Indiana Jones or Robin Leech cause it gets a chuckle. Before the end mention passionate, disciplined, eager to learn and able to adapt. These are all good ones. And they sound smart, which you are not if you’re considering my advice.

The third section we’re going to run through is Education. Start with your grammar school (it makes your education look longer on paper). List what you studied. Shaped blocks in shaped holes. Alphabet. Math. Social Studies. Ohn Son likes studies. For high school mention you didn’t really go to class much because no one wants to hire a person that went to class a lot in high school. ( Here they might figure you couldn't go to school cause your name is Ohn Son, and that sounds like an ass kicking. Mention your dad wasn't around. That means trouble.) In college you studied law and medicine. You were the president of your fraternity or the princess of your sorority. If you’re a guy you banged a bunch of chicks and if you’re a girl you remained a virgin throughout. (And ladies, if the interviewer should be a man, wink at this time, as though you were a virgin then but far from one now.) At the end of this part mention you read a lot of books about business plans. Sounds ambitious.

Finally for your Work Experience. This is where you can truly impress an employer. Say your were the boss at every job you ever had. If they ask for phone numbers to validate this claim tell them you’ll get back to them but you never will because there’s a good chance you can’t prove that. If you could you wouldn’t be taking resume tips from me. They probably wont follow up. In my experience they take my word for it. I once told an interviewer I was a top executive. I know she bought it because when she finished the interview she mentioned I was overqualified but it was a pleasure meeting someone with so much success. That made me feel really good. Tell them you were a top executive at “Dancing With the Stars.” How could they figure out you weren’t? They’ll have to take your word for it or else risk serious humiliation. If this feels unbelievable to even you humble down and say you were the principal at some high school somewhere in the Mid West.

And to seal the deal, say you're a volunteer at a hospital feeding babies that have no hands.

That's what I'm talking about.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Letter From Cody Ovitch

Dear Wask,

It’s been a while since we last spoke and I’m sure by this point you’re wondering what I’m up to. The good news is I finished my latest novel Broken Down Man, only five years in the making. It took a while but shit what a blast it turned into– think I’ll get a Pulitzer for this one. The bad news is I’m sitting in the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn awaiting trial for something I didn’t do. Funny thing is no one in here is guilty of what they’ve been charged with. Can you believe that? At least I know what my third book is going to be about. Maybe I should get started. They say I’m looking at seven to ten. Don’t know if I can hack that. Sounds like a long time, although a little less has passed since we last spoke I feel like it was yesterday.

Anyway, Sam has my manuscript but she’s back on the goose again and who knows what she will do with it. I found her needles a few weeks ago after Reggie walked out for the last time. They were sitting out on her coffee table for anyone to see. I guess she was asking for help but sometimes I just don’t feel like helping anyone. I spoke with Reggie about helping her but he said he’s wasted too much of his life trying to save that fiend. Poor girl. Can’t seem to find what’s right among so much that’s wrong. Maybe I understand that too and maybe that’s why I still care about her. She was doing good for a while– just a little weed and of course whiskey– but when her father was murdered by her stepmother and the money stopped coming something triggered her old habits all over again. I wish I wasn’t here but instead there to help her but there isn’t much I can do to help from in here. These walls are solid and a breakout is not likely. She still lives on Twelfth Street so if you can drop by her place I’m sure she’ll be there. Tell her I sent you and you need Broken Down Man. In case she gives you a hard time she keeps it behind her porn collection on the bookshelf beside the TV.

Like I said I could be here a while. Don’t have nothing for a lawyer– I spent the royalties I received from Man From Mars on booze and skirts– and the public defender they appointed me is a real sweat hound. He’s got a bad case of the sniffles and he doesn’t have a cold. After you get the manuscript please bring it to Terry the Agent. She wants to read it but refuses to visit Sam. Two years ago Sam drank too much white wine and smacked Terry around for no good reason in front of a room full of people. I understand. I’m lucky Terry still talks to me. I don’t know why she bothers. She’s got a heart I guess. Sometimes I start to think I do too and then shit like this happens. So, ask Terry to read it and then give her the address where she can write me what she thinks. If she can sell it to a publisher then maybe I got a chance of getting out of here sooner than later. It’s bad in here. A man serving fifteen asked me to marry him the other day. When I declined he promised it was just a matter of time.

Also, please call Jack and tell him my situation. He’s still in California. You can get his number from Sam. He’ll be very disappointed so tell him I’m sorry. Tell him I didn’t do what they said. Yes, I wrote the girl letters telling her how much I hated her and how much she fucked with my head but shit I’m a writer, that’s what I do. You understand. I would never really hurt a girl like she was hurt. The cops showed me pictures, thought it would turn me on. I almost threw up. There aren’t many people who know me and know I would never do what they said I did. Shit, the letters were going to be part of my next book. I liked how you used letters to start each chapter of Nitwit so much I thought about steeling the idea for myself. By the way, I don’t think I told you how much I loved Nitwit. I’m surprised it didn’t do so well. I really appreciate you taking the time to tell that story. It brought tears to my eyes. And I laughed my ass off. If you get the chance send me a copy. I would love to read it again. And if you hear or read anything about what they said I did please don’t believe it. I know I’ve said some bad things and I know I’m capable of worse, but this one buddy I didn’t do.

Someone a few cells down threw themselves off the top bunk the other day and intentionally hit their had on the sink. They didn’t get much but a couple stitches. They were hoping to die. Heard the guy was looking at twenty-five to life. In any case I won’t try the same. I could get out of this if all they got is those letters. The girl was raped before the fire and I’m hoping they can get some DNA out of it cause it sure as hell won’t be mine. Otherwise, a jury is sure to believe the prosecutors over a bad bone like me. Someone is screaming bloody hell right now. He flooded his toilet with a t-shirt and the correction officers are in full gear, ready to go in and tackle him into the wall. They’ll carry him away on a stretcher for sure. The guys here are all right with me. It’s the COs that scare me. They want blood. It’s important you tell Terry an advance can help get a good lawyer. That’s the only shot I got. Otherwise I’m looking at some hard time with some bad dudes.

Be good Wask. Keep writing. You got what it takes and I know you’ll hang in there. As for me it makes sense I ended up here behind these cold walls. Where else does a guy like me go? Just remember I didn’t do it. The letters meant nothing. Go figure they’re some of the few things that survived the fire. I wished she did, so she could tell them it wasn’t me. Now I look so guilty I almost want to admit I did it. Sometimes I think, maybe I did.

Always a friend,

Cody Ovitch


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Obama Threatens Little Children Cause He’s So Mean

(Obama gave a speech to students today. It was supposed to be about education and Jesus. As transcribed by Christ Liberty Review and Journal)

Barak HUSSEIN Obama (president and non-citizen): Hello everyone, especially black kids– how’s everybody doing? I’m here to turn the children of Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia into commies. And we’ve got students turning into commies all across America, kindergarten through twelfth grade. It's the coolest. But seriously, I’m glad you all could join us today. Hopefully by the time I’m done here I will have convinced you all that a socialist healthcare system is better than a capitalist one. (It was at this moment Oboma dabbed his perspiring forehead with a commie red hanky.)

I know that for many of you, today is the first day of school. That can be pretty scary for all you kids with icky diseases. That’s why my socialist healthcare plan can help you. And for those of you in kindergarten, or starting middle or high school, it’s your first day in a new school, so it’s understandable if you’re a little nervous. These will be some of the scariest times of your life coming up. Sexual diseases. Bad hangovers. Unwanted pregnancies. I’m hip to these things. Word up. You should be. I imagine there are some seniors out there who are feeling pretty good right now, with just one more year to go. Go ahead, wave ya hands in the air. Alright. Well you shouldn’t. Not with all the jobs gone and no money left for anyone. You can blame that shit on Little Bush. It’s true. (He winked as though he knows it not true but that’s what socialist democrats say so he going to say it too cause he’s really just another commie politician.) And no matter what grade you’re in, some of you are probably wishing it were still summer, and you could’ve stayed in bed just a little longer this morning. For sure you guys who woke up next to a pretty little skirt.

I know that feeling. When I was young, my family lived in Indonesia for a few years, and that’s where I learned how to do cocaine and smoke cigarettes. My mother didn’t have the money to send me where all the American kids went to school so me and my al Queda buddies pimped her out on the street, Monday through Friday – until 4:30 in the morning. So I know some of you are still adjusting to being back at school. But I’m here today because I have something important to discuss with you. I’m here because I want to talk with you about your education and what’s expected of all of you in this new school year and if congress doesn’t pass my healthcare reform then there wont be much hope for any of you. Certainly not for the ones with acne.

(A large portion of what Obama said is Godless and unprintable in this journal. But he went on…)

… You’ll need socialist healthcare to cure diseases like mental illness and AIDS, and to develop new evolution theories and lie about the environment. God can’t do this anymore. He is dead. You’ll need the insights and critical thinking skills you gain in black-history classes and SOCIAL STUDIES to fight poverty and homelessness, crime and discrimination, and make our nation more socialist and more free healthcare. You’ll need the creativity and ingenuity you develop in all your classes to build new federalized companies that will create new union jobs and boost the government’s wallet.

… Your families, your teachers, and I are doing everything we can to make sure someday you also have the socialist education you need to answer these questions. I’m working hard to fix up your classrooms and get you more pornographic books, like “Tropic of Cancer” and “Catcher in the Rye”, and equipment and computers you need to learn about Karl Marx and Friedrich Engel and their Communist Manifesto. Yes, look it up. But you’ve got to do your part too. Stop hunting and driving trucks. So I expect you to get serious this year. I expect you to put your best effort into everything you do. Especially socialized healthcare. I expect great things from each of you. So don’t let us down – don’t let your family or your country or yourself down. I have a feeling most of you will.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America. (Note here Obama had his fingers crossed behind his back.)


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Old Lion's Last Roar

By Brian Wask

“I am painfully aware that the criticism directed at me in recent months involves far more than disagreements with my positions. It involves the disappointment of friends and many others who rely on me to fight the good fight. To them I say, I recognize my own shortcomings — the faults in the conduct of my private life. I realize that I alone am responsible for them, and I am the one who must confront them." – Ted Kennedy, 1991

In 1962 Ted Kennedy was awarded a seat in the US Senate as a Northern Yankee. His progressive ideas were unappealing and unacceptable to the older, less sophisticated Southern members of the senate. The good ole boys running things in the Bible belt liked separate water fountains for blacks and whites. Cecil Price– the deputy sheriff of Neshoba County, Mississippi, responsible for the execution of three civil rights workers a few years later in 1964– was the kind of young man the south might rather lynch black folk with. No, I mean, read the Lord’s Good Book with. It was during these days in the early sixties the South gave plenty of warning to the North: Lay off our constitution and keep off our state's rights. Or else.

In 1961 Ted’s brother John F. Kennedy became president. His domestic policy promised federal funding for education, medical care for the elderly and an end to racial segregation. Even though the Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Ed in 1955 an end to racial segregation in schools, most southern states didn’t bother to listen. So, segregation in schools, bathrooms, restaurants, movie theaters and most public places stayed the same. When Governor Wallace tried to stop black students from entering the University of Alabama, President John Kennedy sent federal marshals, the National Guard and the attorney general to clear things up. Ain’t that cool? Not for long. In November 1963 the south reared its ugly head when Louisiana’s Italian boys from the bayou did a favor for the mafia in Cuba and the Ku Klux Klan. That day around noon a bullet ripped through President John F. Kennedy’s head and splattered liberal brains all over the trunk of the convertible he was riding in. Ted Kennedy went home to Hyannis Port, Massachusetts and told his sick father the bad news. That sounds hard. Maybe drive a man to drink.

The south won that battle but the following year turned out to be quite a bash. Lyndon Johnson passed the Civil Rights act of 1964, which outlawed segregation in schools (again), public places and employment. This was a blow to the south. Segregation was their thing after all. Without it what were they? Ted Kennedy’s last name at this time was both a blessing and a curse. People wanted his head on a stick. His ears in a jar. His balls between a vice. Soon a plane Ted was traveling in crashed into an apple orchard in Southhampton, Massachusetts. The pilot and an aide were killed. Ted was dragged away from the burning pile of metal by Birch E. Bayh, a fellow liberal senator. He spent months in the hospital with broken ribs, a twisted back, punctured lung and internal bleeding. The experience inspired Ted’s career long passion for health care. Still, going down in a plane had an effect on his brain, like it will on most. It’s a very traumatic event. Some respond differently to the stress. Teddy drank. Millions of people wanted him dead.

In 1968 Ted Kennedy realized the war in Vietnam was a huge mistake. He announced publicly if South Vietnam didn’t shape up the US should ship out. Meanwhile, Robert Kennedy was campaigning in the Democratic primaries for president. One of his opponents was George C. Wallace, the racist Governor from Alabama. Robert’s primary victory in California sealed the deal for his Democratic nomination. In Los Angeles, later that night, Sir Han Sir Han plugged a twenty-two in Robert’s head. Ted was in San Francisco. The journalist Frank Mankiewicz said about Ted, “I have never, ever, nor do I expect ever, to see a face more in grief."

Chappaquiddick Martha’s Vineyard 1969. Six guys six girls. One girl needs a ride home so one guy tells his chauffer to hand over the keys. The details of what happened next are not something I can defend. These details lead me to believe that what Ted Kennedy did that night and what he said he did are two different things. Some details are agreed upon: a car wandered down a dark road; it drove off a bridge and into the channel below; the girl inside didn’t make it; some fisherman found the car in the morning; inside was her body. Other details vary. Some sound possible, but not plausible. That was thirty years ago. The things that occurred during the six years leading up to Chappaquiddick would do great harm to any man. Some men deal differently. Teddy drank.