I’ll stop the world and melt with you

Today I showed “easy A” to my freshman English class. We just read The Scarlet Letter.They got the Say Anything reference in the end,  when the guy stood on top of the lawn mower, they knew it was a Cusack move. All the girls in the class did that involuntary “awwww” thing like a curling up sigh.

“You get that reference?” I asked, incredulous.

“OF COURSE!” shouted back.

“And you’ve seen, like Breakfast Club too?”

The same reply.

So maybe some of them fell asleep listening to the 93 year old woman talk about surviving Auschwitz. They tried to listen, her accent was tough and it was hard for her to hold the mic up.. They heard some. They saw her tattoo’d number. They hugged her afterward.

They feel something. Things don’t change so much and it makes me feel good. They know why Bender throws his fist up.

Thomas Sterling, New Orleans

“Would you believe I’ve been up since 5 this morning paddling this boat?” Sterling asked.

Shirtless and tattooed, with one cigarette in his mouth and a spare on his ear, Sterling said he has been running a freelance maritime rescue operation since Hurricane Katrina sent water crashing through doors and windows.

“I ain’t never seen so many dead people, and I ain’t never saved so many people,” Sterling said. “I must have rescued over 200 people.”

As with much storytelling in New Orleans, it’s hard to know where truth tires out and imagination takes up the slack. But as we floated slowly through the ruined neighborhood, there was no denying the floating corpse that bobbed against the front of a faded blue duplex at 1728 Desire St.

It looked like a man. He was face-down, wearing a blue shirt, black pants and rubber boots. Sterling suspected he’d know him if he could see his face.

The former dockworker, 53, on disability with a nerve condition, had never given a thought to evacuating.

“I knew I would survive, so I wanted to stay here and help other people who wouldn’t leave or couldn’t get out,” said Sterling, whose chest tattoo says, “All Eyes on Me, Me Against the World.”

-LA Times, 9/6/05

i met the subject of that article. he was sitting, falling asleep, chin resting on his cane, in a little homemade park at the corner of mystery and esplanade, in new orleans three days ago. i’m jetlagged and falling asleep at this keyboard now, can’t be bothered to capitalize- but i want to tell you, if you ever lose hope for the human spirit or think we’ve lost our soul in 2012, you aint been to new orleans.

he said “how you doing sir, could i talk to you fo a second.. this here article is about me from the l.a.times” and to verify he showed me is photo i.d..

“and i’m trying to collect 90 dollars so i can pay my electric bill..” ever weary of a scam, but i stopped anyway, i read the article, and because he seemed soul-weary not drunk or desperate I believed him. I sat down with him. he told me about the floating bodies.. he told me how it came to be that he stayed-

“that morning i was shaving , and after I shaved I rubbed my eyes  and face with a towel, you know, like you do,  and as I did that” he told me slowly,”i had a vision from god and he said that if I stayed behind he would not let anything happen to me, and so i stayed, my momma said ‘boy you better get ready, we leaving’ but I stayed behind”

we sat in silence for as while as i did some reading, he dozed and continued to ask passerby for help. he never complained once, never said the city or anyone else owed him anything, didn’t guilt anyone and was very p0lite. I noticed sores of circular scars covered both arms, “what happened there?”I asked.  he said he had chicken pox as a kid.

We spoke more, then he said he was going elsewhere “i’ll see you mr. jordan, i’ll see you later”

I said my goodbye but wished we’d spoken more. and this morning at 6am we said our goodbye to N.O. and it broke my heart, for so many reasons. yes we had beignets and po boys and saw the Mississippi, and canoed right past some gators and all- but a city’s worth  is its people, and the kind of person it makes you when you’re there- and New Orleans is what an american city is supposed to be-

old, weathered, building, soulful, and above all about the future…

thanks to ed and susan for showing it to me-

(Zamboni I lost at the Voodoo museum but i expect he’ll turn up soon)

Moonshine Revelation #7 “Hot Cousin”

In this series of mystical sayings croaked out to me by the rusted hood ornament of an old Pontiac, the 7th is incestuous yet profound:

“So you have a crush on your hot cousin, think you’re the first?”

This at first does not sound like a nice philosophical crudite, but like all the musings revealed to me from the great spirit within this Indian, with further delectitude we can glean meaning. What is being said to us is exactly this: whatever weird desire you think you and you alone  have, whatever you think makes you inexcusably weird- I can guarantee a million other people share this. Okay, for what just popped into your mind perhaps not a million, but  a few hundred for sure.

Look, Zamboni is saying you can’t control your feelings right? Only your actions. Once I was holding hands on many consecutive nights with a toothless hag named Ramenskoff. Despite her toothlessness, she was very funny always telling off color jokes about amputees and she had a nice smell that was like a new leather jacket and butter. Being around her was nice. But one day she say to me, “Zamboni, we have been holding hands walking along the Baltic here for maybe three years, when are we taking this to next level?” And inside, my gut starts to churn, churn like I had four Long Island Ice Teas in dive bar. I want to say some love words, but I  do not feel them. I had to be honest and reveal the insides of my gut that I am not feeling loving acts toward her in deep way.

She yell and scream at me, throw my pet mink into the cold waves, and storm off. Maybe I led her on, perhaps, but in the end I had to face what I was feeling and not judge it, no?

Many people spend time inquisitioning what they want. Why do I always end up with this deadbeat guy/girl? etc. That’s fine, but what we want is what we want. Or like my friend David Mamet said to me once while we were hunting honey badgers: “we don’t always say what we want, but we always want what we want.”   I know right?!

I am not saying to bump uglies with your cousin, though up until only a century ago they were always doing such things without many people being born with two heads. Still, I don’t advise it, neither do my lawyers.

I am saying, be as patient and tolerant and non-judgmental with yourself as you would be with a best friend.

Moonshine Revelation #5 It’s What’s for Dinner

The number five pearl of wisdom revealed to the Swinegali myself great Zamboni is the following: (In the Indian’s creaky voice, he said:) “if you don’t know what you want for dinner, I really can’t help you”

>>>*&^%$?? was my first reaction, but then I realized that so far, this strange amber Indian that sprung forth with the rusted sedan had not so far steered me into any erroneous zones- he must be on to something. But Great Spirit,  what?

Then I thought about my ferret, Beulah. I once asked her, “what would you like for dinner?” And she responded, “i don’t know”. This was quite a shock to me! -, as one thing Zamboni is always sure of is what he would like to eat, usually many things are coming to my mind: burritos are nice in San Francisco, Goulash is good in Budapest, Perogi is delish in Poland, and Yak balls are surprisingly good anywhere, while in Vegas,  each night I  go to  Golden Steer. (http://goldensteersteakhouselasvegas.com/)

It seemed strange to me that someone could have not one clear desire for a food. Ah!

So perhaps this is what he is telling us- regardless of what you might have or get- you should always have an idea of what you might like to have. Ask yourself- what would you like for dinner? What do you want in a husband, a son, a job?

It’s not about the getting- its about the wanting. “But Zamboni” you might say, “don’t the buddhists teach us to not want so much? to get out of the cycle of desire/fulfillment/more desire?”

Perhaps, but Zamboni is only about 24% Buddhist, the rest just average Joe with Dreams of Carnegie Hall.

Is it not so? Thanks to the great one they call R.Black for this visage! Oh, and i'll take the Rueben with extra Russian dressing on the side, fries, cole slaw and an Arnold Palmer, thanks.

Clip from Zamboni Show, 2011

Herein I answer 3 questions from studio audience.. One about tennis, “Why is the backhand a weaker stroke?”,  one about Estonia Independance Day celebration, and one “why do people play golf?” To you people, put the mousie on that purple line below here and click!

Enjoy! And please hit the word “comment” below and ask me one of your own.

A Sentence About a Not so Lazy Day of Summer

q: "What is it? a:"the stuff dreams are made of "

I woke up and said today is gonna be a fun day, and Dash said why and I said, I don’t know I just feel like it is, and it was and maybe that had something to do with it, saying that, or it could have been the actual records-stacked-side-by-side jukebox in the Peninsula Fountain and Grill in Palo Alto, that actually works, green and red buttons lit up I can’t believe it works, yes if you hit the letter and the number buttons and hold them down at exactly the same time- and hearing “Shout!” a little bit louder now, “Shout!” as we ate our trio of pies Chocolate Pecan, Blueberry and Chocolate Cream, this after seeing Maltese Falcon at the Stanford Theatre, a 194o’s  little town movie palace complete with chandeliers and Wurlitzer organ, but we were hungry as hell so we didn’t stay around for, I know I  know, yes we skipped out on Casablanca which  was part 2 of the double bill,  we were hungry (short ribs with mash, turkey Pot pie, even Dash who’s the King of Blase says, “this is my favorite restaurant ever!” but as we paid the check the kids said “why not go back and see the end of it?” and we did, though it’d been a long day, and earlier laying flat on the ground outside Stanford Practice Football field where in a knothole in the fence we watched a coach dwarved against a defensive line of giants putting them through  some stamp on the ground flip over then stamp on the ground and flip back over again drill, yelling, “it’s not so fuckin hard is it? You wanna get the hell outta there on third down right?” and we all felt right at home then,  back on our couch plowing through all five seasons of Friday Night Lights, and then we’d tossed the pigskin around ourselves in the sun on the grass and buzzed over to the theatre for Maltese Falcon which isn’t one tenth what Casablanca is, sorry Dashiell Hammet, but now we’re in the balcony, about as high as that chandelier watching Casblanca and i’m filling the kids in where I can, whispering (“see, I told you we’d probably come in right at the flashback to their week in Paris” and “those are the Nazis who are kind of in control but the french are sort of too”) and we watched until the end and Faye laughed when Rick said don’t forget  i’ve got the gun pointed at your heart and Louis responds, “that is my least vulnerable part” and the fog rolls in so fast as that movie steams to it’s conclusion and the propellers start spinning, I notice the kids aren’t fidgeting and  when Louis says, “captain Strasser’s been shot…round up the usual suspects” I could tell they understood that some sticky situations  can work out alright with friendship thrown into it and when the two walk off into the fog and, “this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship” and the applause rises from the crowd and in the car on the way home you hear them tell their mom on the phone, “it was such a cool movie” and I know that the first time they saw it was there, with me-  and maybe three people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this life but this is us three and it’s our damn beans, and Rick and Ilsa will always have Paris, but we’ll  always have this night, walking out as the mighty Wurlitzer plays it again Sam and fades away.


Can Women Pee Standing Up?

This question comes to Zambones from Howard in “Tuscaloosa,” somewhere.

Howard, Zambones has seen this feat, and I can assure you it take me many months to recover. So yes, it can be done, but should it? No.

Gender equality shouldn’t mean that we the sexes are the same, rather that we have equal rights and powers.

I was going to marry this sheperdess named Phillipaskova, she was very dear to me. Getting home late one night from mushroom foraging I come upon her doing this act like a football player in the backyard. Ripping open big stream with one leg propped on  rusty tractor. Like Flock of Seagulls, I ran, believe me I ran so very far away.

Yes, women can rise and hold door open for you. A man can join a book club, read Jane Austen and drink white wine in discussion, but these things should not be. Let us celebrate and tolerate all types of diversity- and this is part of it.

I wish you prosperousness and that you not see what I saw-

Thank you writing to Zambones!

A Sentence about Your Daughter’s First Dance

You realize you don’t know much because you just called at 9 pm to say goodnight and your ex tells you, “she’s at a dance” and you say “what” because that doesn’t sound right, she’s in the 8th grade, but she says it again, and that she wore that new black dress that her grandma got her and you realize you haven’t even seen that dress what does it look like and you wonder when she stopped being at home at 9pm and more than this you wonder aloud oh god I hope she isn’t getting groped beneath the bleachers and she laughs your ex she laughs  and says of course not, she’s too young  and you don’t say aloud that when you were her age and younger that’s all you wanted to do thinking please god let me cop a feel soon please but all you say to your ex is you’re gonna give her that talk right because you really haven’t yet well you did one cold night on the way to the frozen yogurt store but it was pretty silent on her part and you just kind of said a bunch of things at her but now you’re thinking is she dancing or is she one of the gigling ones  off to the side, has a boy asked her and she blushed so red like she does or is she just running around outside being a kid and you try not to worry that she has never spoken to you or her mom about a boy or a crush ever,  while you know very well  her phone is always busy humming and glowing and flashing and it isn’t like when we were kids when if a boy called the house phone which would actually ring a dad could pick up and be like, WHO’S THIS, no- today there aint much room to intervene but then you decide to stop worrying and you think about being in the 6th grade at someone’s party and September by Earth Wind and Fire is playing and even then your reptilian little 6th grade mind knew it was a special moment you would probably remember when you were ancient which you are now and I guess that brain wasn’t so reptilian then, and you hope your daughter, my daughter, you hope she’s having a moment like that, like maybe she’s dancing with someone she likes, does she like anyone, should she- you know she does and you hope not under the bleachers god not under the bleachers or under that dress and you hope this isn’t the end of her wanting to say goodnight or be tucked in and she could have at least texted me but you know it’s all gonna turn out right because it has to and you realize you don’t really know that much but probably nobody knows much more and you wanna call and see she got home safe but you know it’s probably too late and if anything did happen would she tell you and you just don’t know, you sure as hell you don’t know a thing.


(Zamboni returning soon.)

I am a woman; How Can I be a “Bro”?

It is a great question which comes from reader, Hermia. She also says to Zamboni, that she is always losing her man friends and not knowing why, and so wishes to know how to be more of a friend that keeps the man friends that she has.

Dear Hermia, Zamboni can help you with this, and I will first tell you it is most difficult and even in the way of your asking I am noticing how you go wrong. But don’t worry, if you follow a few simple rules, I can have you knocking back beers and laughing very loud in no time.

1. Bros are never posssessive. Already with your “hey how come you never call?” type of feelings, you are already travelling far from the land of the Bros. My bro may not call for one or two weeks, but when he do,  I answer only with “yo! waasup bro! let’s hang, its been too long.” Be very careful you are not answering with faint passive-agressive, “oh…hey…..you called…..I thought you were dead……ha…” That will immediately cloud the waters of Bro-dom into very murkiness. Bros don’t need guilt from their bros, they get this already.

2. Bros talk about sports, movies, or funny bullshit for like first two hours of bro “hangtime.” This, while starting to eat and drink, sets a neutral, healthy tone to the evening, letting each bro know they are in a safe-zone of non-threatening palaver. During this time, never get pensive look on your face, rest chin on one hand, look misty eyed and thoughtful while you say, “so……how are you?” Emphasizing “are.” This will send hair on back of bro straight up into defensive posture.

3. Bros do get very real with details. Yes you will have to give details of sex and your emotions. Many womens are embarrassed to talk of sex, and get all giggly and strange when conversation moves to this. They don’t want to seem slutty, or want to retain mystery, etc. You, my female friends must become comfortable with tossing out the craziest details of what you did last night. After two hours of drinking, the crazier the detail the funnier, and hence better. You know you have said they right juicy bro detail if it is met with wide eyes and “ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? NO WAY!!!!” and the like.

4. Bros do share their emotions. Just not over tea. “Oh I love how I can tell you anything, just like my girlfriends!” No thank you please. Give us your feelings, leave us our gender.  See #2.

5.Bros don’t let bros drink alone. Or drive drunk, “dude, just sleep on the couch”, etc.

6. Hi five often. Or other little tappy finger bomb thingees. It’s fun to have  private customs that border on silly. Life is too serious not to  do stupid handshakes on occasion or raise your voice inappropriately.

7. Keep deeper stuff confidential, for gods sake.Trust.

6. Bros need you to be a wing man, an encourager, but never a competitor or a mom.  Let’s say you have come this far and the bro has accepted you and you him. He expresses a crush he has on this girl that really understands him, that is fun to hang out with, easy going, cute, you know, the whole Piroshki. Since you are a girl, unless his crush is of Sapphic nature, then you have advantage over male bro; you are not competitor for girls attention. Encourage bro to call, make date, but if bro doesn’t, don’t lecture or make to guilt.

But what if the crush is you? What if even after following all these precepts, your bro and you develope a real spark and out of the ashes of your burnt up bro-ship, the phoenix of love might arise?

That my friend is the danger, because once you do the touching or make the beast with two backs, things will get weirder than two frogs milking a goat, and you find you are very much a girl and a guy now.

But  then again, there is no love without risk eh?

And women look even better in tuxedo

To avoid this my female reader, go easy on make-up and sexy dress when you have bro-nites and  it wouldn’t kill you to pick your nose or scratch the crotch a couple times too. Or find gay bro and avoid much of this.

Most importantly, DUDE, GOOD LUCK! (Hi five)

Zambones has spoken.

Myth #1 “It’s Crowded at the Top”

In my endless travels throughout the world, I , the Zambonesman have done much listening, in addition to answering of questions. Though it may seem that my mission is of a selfless nature,  I can assure you that great Zamboni is one very selfish person. That is how I and YOU should be. All your questions and comments teach me, and that is really my goal, to keep learning.

We must all take care of ourselves, after all, guess who was put on this earth to meet all your needs? Me? Your mom? Your therapist? Oprah? No , you!

So in this learning I have noticed several popular assumptions that in fact are very WRONG. The first one I will adress today is the popular wrongness of, “It’s Crowded at the Top“. People generally say this as if like they are saying, “well, good luck but it’s very tough to get there” etc.

See anyone taking a number?

I have been to the top of Mt. Everest and believe me, it is very not crowded up there. It’s very quiet. You can hear your lungs ache for oxygen and the snow crust on your mucus. Plenty of room, just some bones and initials carved into rock. You are not meeting heavy traffic there, or backstage at winners interviews for Oscars and Nobel Prize. Outside Oscars trying to get view of Nicole Kidman you are smack up against people, but on red carpet there never is traffic jam. Think about this.

People, it is the middle that is crowded. The middle ground where the average joes say, “well I like to do this with my life, but people keep saying how hard and crowded it is in this”etc…

People then say to me, “but Zamboni, what if I do not want to rat-race my way to top and struggle?” To them I say fine, but even staying in middle you have plenty of struggle, so why not set your course for where you wish to go? As Lao Tzu, and old friend once said who is now dead, “if you do not change direction you may end up where you are heading.”

Then another person recently said, “but is it lonely at the top Zamboni?”

No. Zamboni himself is at top of field off all knowing mindless sages and he is not lonely. I have the myspace!

We shepards in Estonia show their high school musical movie to goats and it induce lactation, useful and thanks you two!