Europa, Xmas 2013-14, “Family”/Rotterdam

Europa, Xmas 2013-14, “Family”/Rotterdam

December, 24, 2013 Family and Christmas go together, right? Like love and marriage. Like horse and carriage, right? Well, I won't disagree. But growing up in a mostly non-practicing Jewish family, I didn't know much about it. Sure, we had Christmas in Salisbury Elementary School and W. Tresper Clarke High School in the 1950s and 60s suburbs of Long Island, New York. And fer sure, the other-side-of-the tracks O'Farrells and the D'Agostinos let us upper middle class Jewish kids know all about their Irish and Italian blue collar ways, with their anti-Semitic middle school harassment and

Europa, Xmas 2013-14, “In Bruges” or… On the Road Again

Europa, Xmas 2013-14, “In Bruges” or… On the Road Again

December 29, 2013 Eeeeeeeeeee hah! "On the road again". This time in Holland and Belgium, Xmas, 2013. I'm riding shotgun with BadAss Bro-in-law, Dillinger Dave, and we've broken out the little Audi for an all day trip to touro-Euro friendly, Bruges. We're spending the day "in Bruges", so to speak, but not with hot shot indie actor Colin Farrell, who's already made the 2008 British black comedy of the same name, but on our own, with no print outs, guide books, or plans.... just the two wives and some cash. Dave's put the pedal to the metal and we're rolling south from the Netherlands int

Coney Island, 1952 and 2014

Coney Island, 1952 and 2014

1952 i remember growing up in the 1950s. in levittown, long island. the first suburb built in america after world war 2. then in westbury, long island, about a 40 minute train ride via the long island railroad, to the old penn station in new york city. my manhattan-working, textile-brokering father took the infamous commuter train five days a week "to the city", carpooling with like-minded workaday neighbors to the train station every morning for the 7:10 a.m. express. being picked up by my mother the same five days a week at 6:05 p.m. in our plain 1956 white ford police sedan, then in

Bali, 2012: chapter one – 9 lives times 2 and good karma

Bali, 2012: chapter one – 9 lives times 2 and good karma

denpasar, bali, indonesia [caption id="attachment_1480" align="alignnone" width="225"] Balinese "Foo God", Denpasar and Everywhere[/caption] it's spring, 2012. time for a new adventure. i get off the plane in denpasar, bali... looking for da wife at the island's only international airport. she's gonna pick me up and bring me to the hindu-bali hotel in kuta beach. she did the same thing 12 years ago, when i returned to bali 6 months after meeting her just 1 night in kuta in june, 2000, absolutely by coincidence in front of the BCA bank's ATM. with 31 years between us and 13,000 miles of

Bali, 2012: chapter 2, stuck inside of bali, with the gouty blues again

padangbai, bali, indonesia we're staying at the padangbai beach homestay. "padang", glass. "bai", bay. padangbai, glass bay, the still-undeveloped fishing village on the still-pristine east coast of bali, still far away from the tourist hordes of kuta beach, legian, seminyak (the beverly hills of bali), and even its hindu-bali cultural heart, ubud, in the rice fields of the wet, rolling center of the island. in just over 2 weeks, we've survived da wife's dengue fever in kuta and my head-on motor bike collision in amed. we've joined in monkey chant celebrations in ubud, had mis-adventures at b

Bali, 2012: chapter 3, enter my new “partners”

padangbai, bali, indonesia and that's the way it goes down. first thing the next morning, the 3 princesses climb into the drivers' car towards kuta, LA, & medan - without even a word to me. i'm stuck in the corner, air con-less room with gout. my wife has delivered a second-hand message to me that she wants a divorce, and she hasn't spoken to me since she packed her bag and moved to room J. i've tried to make amends. but with no success. i hear her laughing with the girls, but it's a stone cold wall when it comes to me. she packs the rest of her bags in silence in the morning. she doesn't

Bali, 2012: chapter 4, the “bule” (boo-lay) squeeze

padangbai, bali, indonesia now we're at made's house in mimba village. where all the other bules are living, scattered here and there, amongst the local balinese. where all the other bules own property. or... more accurately... don't "own" property legally, but have nevertheless wangled their way through the corrupt indonesian bureaucracy to be... "living the dream." we're sitting around another wooden table and the scrolls of paper are rolled out again. i've just met made 5 hours ago, but he's already shown me the entire investment overview of both padangbai and mimba village. we've seen the

Bali 2012: chapter 5, magic?

padangbai, indonesia [caption id="attachment_1484" align="alignnone" width="300"] Padangbai's Elusive "White Sand Beach", good luck finding it[/caption] "next?" i have no idea. but it's clear that i'm not in charge anymore. i get on the back of made's motor bike for the 2nd day in a row, and we roll past padangbai's white sand beach for the 2nd day in a row. up over a little hill and down into... mimba village. "follow the yellow brick road." "follow the yellow brick road." i feel something is drawing me there. perhaps it's some kind of... balinese "magic". c'mon, trules! in this modern

Bali, 2012: chapter 6, re-enter pak putu

[caption id="attachment_1485" align="alignnone" width="225"] Pak Putu, Padangbai village chief[/caption] may 24, 2012 padangbai, indonesia i spend another rough night, bolting upright every 2 hours or so, not knowing where i am when i awake, until i discover myself enmeshed inside of my gauzy mosquito net and notice the still-empty space next to me, usually occupied by my lovely wife who is now far away in medan. at about 4 in the morning, 4pm boston time, "doctor bobbha", my childhood psycho-pharmacologist friend, awakes me with a call. he's now living outside of boston "amongst the rats",

Bali, 2012: chapter 7, signs, messengers, and contracts

padangbai, indonesia i spend the afternoon lazing around the homestay. there doesn't seem to be anything more to do. i've sort of painted myself into the corner. or been painted into the corner. my mind rubberbands back and forth between congratulating myself that i've just cut the cost of my 3rd act property acquisition dream in half by becoming partners with the town's village chief, and -- castigating myself for my totally blind trust in people and a situation that i have little understanding of, and absolutely no control over. i mean, what am i doing here all by myself, buying a half-bu

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