“How you Do One Thing is how you Do Everything”

What more can I say- great Zamboni who is me finds myself saying this to many people over a course of a day.

Is true, no? The way you scramble an egg is the way you are a husband is the way you use a chainsaw is the way you clean the bathroom.

Take my mom-


No seriuously, the mother of Zamboni has 14 kids in all but you know when we needed a new pair of pants, she would crank up her shuttle loom, load it with hemp thread and start to weave, moving the warp and woof with the fourteen footpedals of  this strange contraption- and seven hours later we had a new tanktop or briefs, trousers or if we did our chores and cleaning the goat urine pails very thoroughly, she might make us an ascot, even.

And she is like this in life, always slow patient and deliberate with everything. It makes drivers following her crazy with the honking of the horn, but it also was a blassing as she would do very many things that required lots of patience like making homemade yogurt or rustic bread that had to rise many days before being baked.

So the next time you do something small, think about what it says about how you are doing the Big.

Enjoy and I am Zamboni saying, WTF< TGIF!

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)

Thank you patience.

I have questions for you-

Did you know that everywhere you go there are people you have nothing in common with who are just like you?

Did you know the best place to be is sometimes right under your nose?

Did you know there are two Super 8Motels in Vegas and one has a pool and jacuzzi and one definitely does not have either of those but on Priceline they look pretty much the same?

where's the pool? here

Amber teaches me this, and Vegas.

Zamboni returns, 1o pounds heavier and not an ounce wiser- how could I be? Can George Clooney be any more like George Clooney? Is a wax horse going to melt in an oven?

Tomorrow the answer to the question question.

and I was here..but also right next door was a dive bar, swinging sharpies, sam cook, lindy and swing- in this place I have one of the most amazing nights of my life- if it glitters, it could be gold idiot!


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.

Total Polenta Heaven

Many readers have asked me, “great zamboni, is there anything greater than love?” or “great zamboni, what is better than sex?” or some form of this question whatsoever. This is a difficult one, even for someone so fatuous and sagacious as the one I am, great zamboni. Though of course sex and love are two very different things, the way that a bloodthirsty jaguar and a cuddly little kitten named jinx are two different balls of wax, I can say with certainty that there is something better than both combined. This dish.

I have this today in the fog of napa valley, as great zamboni is consultant wine taster for many blenders of the grape. It was so good I ordered a second for dessert, and then a third to rub all over my ears. I hope you find your way to Hopper Creek and enjoy for yourself.

Tear Gas

Greatzamboni never hears this from the underground metro driver over intercom before tonight: “This is 19th street station, the transfer point to the Richmond train. Your train is waiting on the opposite side of the platform. Please cover up as you cross the platform as there may be some residual tear gas fumes. Thank you and have a good evening.”

And before then: “We apologize for the inconvenience, we’ll be passing straight through the 12th Street station as we cannot stop there due to..the..uh, civil unrest.”

Zamboni has been rudely woken up many times in his life- by rabid crows in Borneo, by Piranhas nibbling my earlobes in Peru, by a horde of Jealous sumos in japan- but i am very glad this was not me in this tent this morning in Oakland Ca at 4:30 am.

I know something is happening, but I don’t know what it is- do you Mr. Jones? Please tell Zamboni!

What Time is it in Zamboniland?

This interesting  question again comes from youth in audience in Berkeley Ca. Here is answer

Looking at my Gucci here in Zamboniland,  it’s about that time to eat garlic, pet my goat, watch the light change, make toast, make a five year plan, watch Zoolander again in English not dubbed in Estonian so to be bettering  improve my lingual skills,  call my mom, wave to my neighbor, forage in  the forests around my home for naturally occurring wisdom-inducing roots and herbs, plan my 3 mindblowing appearances in San Francisco on July, 1,2,3, make some popcorn, see again Tree of Life this very inscrutable but beautiful hence Zambonian  film by Terence Malick, take a nap with Socrates my Chamelion, wake up 5 minutes later and dive into the ice cold fjord outside my backdoor, read some James Cain, eat some sugar cane, have dinner with Michael Caine, and before going out to Estonian nightclub, listen to Big Daddy Kane and have 2 minute phone three way with Obama and Dalai Llama.

Sort of  quiet day.

How bout you?

“What is One Thing I Should Do Before I Die”

This question comes to Zamboni from “teen in Berkeley, Ca” and I do my best now to answer.

Dear teen friend, it is fortunate for you to have asked the one they call Zamboni this question. As you can imagine this question has puzzled great sages and thinkers for many long years and even centuries. An old Jewish saying goes that a man should do three things in his life:

-plant a tree

-write a book

-have a son

This has nice ring to it but what if you are a woman, and what about having a daughter? And who writes or even reads books? So we must go further than this.

Socrates would say “know thyself”, search out the truth, ask questions and do not be fooled into thinking that the shadows of the things are the things themselves.

The Epicureans and Hedonists might say “eat, drink, be merry, for tomorrow you die”

Buddha’s two cents would be, “all pleasures are fleeting, seek emptiness, peace, not pleasures and posessions.”

George Kaufman reminded us, “you can’t take it with you”.

Fred McMurray in Double Indemnity film noir says, “you bet I’ll get outta here baby, i’ll get outta here but quik.”

But as with many things, Zamboni knowing true answer.

Fall In Love.

A badger can make a damn. A spider can build a web. A whale can sing. A chimpanzee can hammer a nail. A computer knows more things than you and almost more than I.

Only a human can fall in love.

So fall in love with something: a sailboat, a movie, a girl, a boy,  a restaurant, college, something. Yes you will feel pain that the badger, the whale, and the spider do not. You will become tougher. To heal the hurt try poetry, music, and if that fails, ice cream. Just fall in love, and you’ll be okay.

Zamboni has been in love, trust me. Like we say in Estonia, “Love is like a hive of bees crashing your face- lots of sting, lots of honey”. It sounds not quite so violent in my language but there you are.

Thank you for asking, my young friend, and be well!!




(PS: No sex till you’re 18!, then always safe, don’t drink anything that label says “flammable” and tell your parents what u doing.)