“We’ll always have the Diner”

(The following aint Zamboni, he’ll be back soon after his maple syrup 3-day immersion therapy)

French fries and gravy..

If you wanna talk you always got the guys at the Diner, you don’t need a girl if you wanna talk.

You told her, (didn’t you show her?)

Fenwick’s in the manger!:the smile of the week, definitely The Smile of The Week!

"You're gonna get coffee before we go to the diner and get coffee?"

You ever get the feeling there’s something going on we don’t know about?

Everything I learned in school I should have learned from Diner. I spent most of my late teens, early twenties not realizing the importance of friends. I thought it was about being social, having somone fun to pass the time with, excitement. I had more friends who were  women than men. I felt more comfortable with them. Of course there was always the underlying excitement and  possibilty of more. I confused this with friendship. These connections always broke because feelings started to overflow the  borders, invariably it got messy. I never could figure it out, or just never tried that hard. Maybe Checkov was right, you can only be friends with a woman after you’ve been lovers first. Or maybe it just takes more maturity than I have. Besides one amazing woman from way back in college days, I’ve never been good at the old friends with women thing.

In the words of George Michael, I should have known better. It was  in my junior year I discovered Diner and watched it with my little circle of guy friends numerous times. We wrote it down word for word. We went to all night diners and drank way too much coffee, pissing off waitresses asking for french fries and gravy, and cherry cokes,  then reciting dialogue from the film.

I had a best friend in high school, Sean,  in fact we were best friends since third grade, like brothers. In high school we opened up our dyad to include a few others. They seemed to feed off our close connection and we became a tight foursome, often fivesome- no accident  we became obsessed with a movie about a very close fivesome of guys in Baltimore in 1959. Five friends clinging to each other on the eve of both their inevitable adulthood and the huge social changes about to take place in their still just barely buttoned down world.

Another irony is that this was the last moment before sex and love in all it’s multi-armed-goddess might and glory stepped to the forefront of our lives. Adolescence for me, and maybe other guys, is basically one long hangout with your buddies while you wait to lose your virginity. After you do, there’s less to talk about and less time since you’re now busy trying to lose it over and over again. We should have learned from the movie that it was more than clever dialogue and great retro tunes- it was trying to tell us, “hey idiots, keep these friendships, there the ones that last…girls have a way of coming and going..”

We didn’t. I didn’t. Sean and I went out in a blaze of gory after a great run into our late twenties. I’m sure I was to blame. I’m sure he was to blame. I’m sure it had everything to do with all the years before and maybe not so much to do with a nasty letter, ugly words- who knows. The fact is, it was like losing a brother who was  also a best friend, a role model, an idol..if I went on i’d probably excavate more root causes and, well,  this isn’t therapy is it? Don’t answer that.

I’m at peace with it now, but I still watch Diner, and still love it, still yearn for the old friends. The ones you have a private language with. The ones who get your eyebrow raises, your smirks.. the small stuff. Enough inside terms and code words to fill a dictionary with.

Now my son asks to watch Diner every Christmas. He’s  10 but he gets it. I hope he keeps it with him, and I hope we’ll always have the Diner.

Impress Yourself (moonshine revelation 10#)

Chief say RELAX!

This utterance by the spirit of the great Pontiac was the shortest- just two uttered words, and it was the 10th nugget of wisdom spoked to me after I  unearthed the rusted old sedan. Instantly I  had a memory excavating what the  spirit is talking about.

I was busy tearing down the Berlin Wall in the heady days of 1989, and the way my compatriots and I were going about this was doing wallrides on this vestige of totalitarianism with our skateboards. (Though I am over a century of years old, in the early 80’s I was given an  overdose of Jolt Cola and Sun-In hair lightener and Xtacy, mixed together by my nemesis Dracassan and given to me in a champagne glass at a new wave nightklub, with a k). The result of this was not as intended, instead of dying I became renewed in youth and took up skateboarding, the world’s greatest non-sport. I began to skate & destroy, which means to create- as the Hindus teach us- these are but two sides of the same coin.)

So anyway, a bunch of us eastern european bros were eating Perogi, smoking cigarettes we picked up off the ground and trying to outdo each other with our moves of skating. Each of us self consciously trying to do the coolest trick that would knock another piece out of the wall.

Just at that moment, one lanky young man in a tattered old Santa Cruz T-Shirt, climbed to the top of the wall, several yards away from all of us,  edged the tail of his board on the ledge, muttered simply “impress yourself” then rode straight down the graffitioed face of it.

Of course he slammed hard to the ground and his elbow exploded in blood, but he persisted to try this trick on his own, (even after most of the guys had adjourned to the cheap beer spot) simply reveling in the private joys of trying something over and over that he wanted to impress himself with.

So herein lies the thing: impress yourself, first and foremost. Who is cooler and worth impressing more than you?

The Kid Is Alright

Zamboni learn

I am sorry to not write few hundred of words but I am captivated by 2nd lecture in this series of Yale/Online classes you watch for free. It is like being fly on wall in classroom. This lecture very fascinating because she get inside mind of early british colonists, or the “ruffled dunces” as the snooty Brits back home called them.

As a new revolution is coming (Zamboni see!) I think it good.. Bankers beware, you’l lose your wigs!

Most of my professors back at east Estonia State put me to sleep but here I stay awake… without chew coffee beans!

Watch and enjoy Professor Freeman. She remind me of my aunt Quartina back in Estonia, same crazy cool hair with lightning streaks and chortle. Click those words below… then choose the first option with ref “f” for flash… magic TV box will appear on screen- I love America!


Moonshine #9

                                        “People are the way they are”

This the spirit of Chief Pontiac

if his rebellion against the brits had spread and succeeded.. we would all have this proud profile?

says to me, great zamboni!

Nature hath framed strange fellows in her time:
Some that will evermore peep through their eyes
And laugh like parrots at a bag-piper,
And other of such vinegar aspect
That they’ll not show their teeth in way of smile,
Though Nestor swear the jest be laughable.

Another great spirit, a man I knew well, Shakespeare, say a similar thing here above, which I Zamboni translate as to mean, “sad people will be sad, happy people will be chipper, despite the weather”.

I understand the chief very readily with this 9th Revelation. I know one guy, Shadrack, who owns three fishing boats in Gallilee. This man is always complaining to me about the same thing over our mint tea drinking sessions for the last 25 years: his job and his kids. Every time!

My nanny Consuelo (after I was rescued from poverty by the kind Baron and experienced an easier life) was always so serious and complaining about never finding good love- this despite her great beauty and patience. She always was with the wrong cruel man after man, and though she kvetched until the goats were asleep, she never changed or tried to.

People don’t change. They mature a little, they can grow up. Those of greatness can even learn to let go. But largely we don’t change. Zamboni’s brother, the youngest of the eight, quit school and ran off with the  circus that came through our four goat village when we were children and we never heard from him again.

This was 70 years ago- and just last tuesday I run into him in Brooklyn! He was drinking organic chai at a Hipster cafe called the Red Bandanna.

“Shmelkie! My long lost brother who as children I fight with for crumbs on the dirt floor! What are you doing here?

Though he was a toddler the last time I see him, he has unmistakable third ear.

“Zamboni, the brother who we tirelessly made fun of because you were the only non-blood adopted one, I am still traveling with my circus but we are much famous and appearing at P.S. 122 Avant Garde Arts Festival… I am now too old for acrobatics, but I amaze them with mind bending a spoon and hypnotizing a duck.”

My point is this:Shmelkie was a happy child. He would juggle five crumbs at once. He had a fully trained flea circus, he loved to laugh. And he is still this way after a hard life of circus roaving. He is as he is.

What about you? Do you find a journal that is ten years old, open it up, and find those same words still fit you today? Then why write them?

Listen to the Indian. Either accept, or don’t, but it’s true. A tree stays a tree. On the birch outside my window, there are almost no leaves and the black branches hang down like wet hair. A month ago there were reds and golds. But do these changes affect the inside of the tree.  No!

Listen to the Indian. You can’t change ’em.

Moonshine Revelation #8 “Would It Kill You to Wear A Tie?”

From Bow Tie to Tebow. Aha! All is one in Zamboni. Greetings to you people and I am revealing to you now the 8th revelation mumbled to me by the great spirit embodied in the Indian.

                         “Would it kill you to wear a tie?”

Folks, I think this one is fairly obvious. Just tonight, I, Zamboni was getting my usual after dinner treat, a split of bananna with three flavors, Ube, Macapuno, and Bubblegum, with three sauces Strawberry, Caramel and A-1. The point of the story is this: into the ice cream parlour walks a young man with messed up head of hair, baggy sweat pants and shoes that I think were bed slippers. His friend is like him but wearing flipping flops that reveal his toes..

!!!     In Estonia if you see someone’s toes you have to marry them- toes are private and can be ugly- I don’t want to see yours unless you aim to have Zamboni children!

Once not long ago, to be out of the house meant to be presentable. Today most men just think, cover most skin and it’s okay. I don’t think the Great Indian was being a Mormon or a prude- I think he was saying, life becomes what you dress for. If you dress for a day of achievement, of respect by yourself and your peers, then it may become that. If you dress for a stupid day of watching TV on your couch, well like they say in Southern Estonia, “A pig in high heels looks like a whore and spoils the bacon” Crystal clear, no?

Live it people, metaphorically as well, as always!

“Dear Zamboni, what is a ‘teebow?'”

This question came to me from a small gnome named Troilus. I met her long ago squatting in an abandoned oil tanker outside of Marrakesh and she send me this question via carrier pigeon as she is without any devices except a Soviet era  Hamm Radio in which a mole is nesting.

She say she was hearing this name, “Tim Tebow” very oft on her frequencies and she wishes me, great zamboni to explain this to her. “Is this a new President of United States, or new Pope, or big hurricane like Katrina?” she ask me in her note.  I will also explain this to you my readers, as my research shows that most of you are so highly decorted with sophistic degrees and NPR as to maybe know very little about Football and this pop phenomenon of Tim Tebow.

I myself follow the Estonian fencing team, Professional Skeet Shooting, amateur bass Fishing, and american Football since in my youth I played alonside the great Pudge Heffilfinger,- so I had to do very little thought and research into this, as usual.  “What is a Tebow?”…

Tim Tebow is a great quarterback who people love to hate. The hate and laughter he gets are for these reasons: He throws funny. He believes in God and himself very much. Despite imperfect statistics, he usually wins.

This last season he sits on bench for first five games because his coaches don’t like him. His team loses again and again… the fans keep chanting, “tebow! tebow!” Finally they put him in and win seven straight games. Now maybe they go to Superbowl. The wins are not pretty and much of the time Tebow is running like big jackal holding a sick baby down the field or they are losing the game until the last few seconds- but like the old Bulgarian pole vaulter Shminsky Shminsky used to tell me, “I can win with a broken foot if the other guy has a broken leg.” Ya!

That’s it. Now, in the larger sense, a Tebow, as the question asks, is someone that shouldn’t be as good as they are, and  makes people mad for it. George Bush was Tebow. On paper he should have been a train wreck, but he believed in his destiny so we had decade of “War on Terror,” and “No child left a dime”. Oy.

Henry Thoreau was Tebow. “Hey look at that freak in the cabin, ha ha!” Everyone else wanted to sit on couches. He gave us Walden.

Steve Jobs, definitely a Tebow. College dropout. Believer, patient. Made that weird “next” computer no one bought. Margaret Thatcher was Tebow too. See the movie.

As the picture below shows, Tebow is okay with being a fool in others’ eyes. (Rookie hazing led to this coiff, though I sported this look all through college and the chicks love!)  Like it or not, he answers to higher power, and seems to attribute both the good and bad to it, or to “Him”. The irony in all this is that now people look at Tebow himself like a god, in joking they say “Praise Tebow” or “Tebow for president.” So this is really what a Tebow is: our need for a hero, our need to believe in something. It is also lots of hard work, never being comfortable.Tebow is bigger than Tebow, and he believes in something Big. He believes there is a reason for Tebow.

Zamboni dropping back…. “Go deep, go deep!”

What is reason for you?

"i'm goin' monk..." Hansel

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 #6 of 29 and a half “Ga ga”

This one sounded at first like a cough or piece of phlegm caught in the throat of this time traveling Chief-

He needed lozenge badly

but because I am Zamboni and everything does not escape my retention- I decrypted this glottal gift as “Ga ga” or somehow referring to Lady Gaga herself. I asked the Great Indian, “are you referring somehow to the pop icon Stefani Germanotta, a.k.a. Lady gaga?” And the re-animated hood ornament slowly nodded his head.

Needless to say I have thought long and hard about why one of these great revelations is merely the baby-like utterance and nom-de-pop of this singer….for a moment I even feared, “have you, Zamboni finally stepped into a puddle of befuddlement from which you cannot untangle?”

Of course not bitches!

Here is the answer as I interpret. After having a long conversation with the Ga herself, in a lower east side dive, during which we drank several Manhattans and in her male drag persona Joe Calderone

It was very hard for me to keep him from starting fight in bar

she scratched and adjusted frequently her prosthetic shwang and balls, she said to my astonishment: “Isn’t it strange that I feel less able to be private in private , and more able to be private in public?” After much reflection it dawns on me that the Indian and Gaga is telling me something about myself and our culture at the same time!

I think what he means is that today, people are not sharing anything in private, but instead sharing everything in public. As Shakespeare wrote, “the truth will out”. Truth must come out, like steam or desire. But today we live in a day when instead of a circle of close friends, you might tweet your innermost thoughts into the void.

Long ago I was trapped on a deserted island for two years that was no more than a hunk of sand and one palm tree and endless sea in every direction. One day a bottle washed up on this bump in the Indian ocean. I put inside a note, corked it and threw bottle back into the sea. Months went by, and finally it returned to me. I uncorked, and removed the note. It read, “yes, nice weather we’re having!”

If you give out the small you get back the small. There are those who say nothing new happens and that Gaga is re-hash of Madonna. That is not her fault. They say culture is at a standstill rinse and repeat cycle, this is true and why we love more and more the retro and nostalgia. The theatres that book Zamboni complain that their audiences dwindle. There is something not happening now and it is something like the slow death of dreams and the future becoming boring to people as they get more and more interested in the past.

Ovid said “Let others praise ancient times; I am glad I was born in these.” I agree. This age is poker face- impossible to read. But don’t worry! What more interesting times are there to live in than times with no identity? Now we make!

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.

Moonshine Revelation 4 “Toilet”

Praise be to the spirits embodied in the Indian…

Inside the amber, time stands still... nice

and here is the 4th thingee he revealed to me from the rusted chassis of the Pontiac I unearthed by happenstance in Hopper Creek:

“A toilet is just a toilet, but it knows how to flush.”

I puzzled over this one a bit, beyond it’s surface meaning (especially appreciated over the holiday in which one night I, great Zamboni, drank three bottles of Slipovitzsk Prune Brandy from Smolsk with the worlds oldest rabbi, and an Irish authority on Leprechauns, and needed the comfort of my toilet for many hours afterward). Then I realized, as with so much in life, the surface meaning is in fact the only meaning worth considering, as Oscar Wilde said, “only a superficial person doesn’t judge by first impressions.”

You see people, a toilet is not an object of glamour, fame, beauty or majesticness: yet it does one thing, and one  thing very completely and well. What the Great Indian is telling us is that all of us should have One Thing, one thing that we do well.

Sure, we should all follow the little dirt paths and tributaries of our whims and desires. It is fine to be a poet who makes movies and sells organic quince  jam out of an Airstream while blogging about vintage watches and rescuing Greyhound dogs and finishing taxidermy school online. But, let us all have one thing we know how to do, that we can teach others with confidence and authority.

What is that for you? What could you teach with gumption and aplomb:

-how to ollie?

-how to laugh?

-how to throw a pot against a wall?

-how to kiss?

-file a tax return?

Personally, for Great Zamboni, I make better salad dressing than anyone I’ve ver met. Mike V? He knows not just how to skate, many people know this- but he knows best of all how to appreciate the freedom of Skateboarding and spread this over the globe (I hope he can meet me in Estonia one day for epic session!)

Tell me yours.