Thursday, November 18, 2010


Brovic - Blogging since 1903


KHUK KHAK, Thailand - A lot of days, you'll find me sitting on my ass, reading a book, or going over daily ops.

Happy day next door, as in, Myanmar, with Aung San Suu Kyi's freedom. A great day for humanity, not unlike the universal joy expressed at the release of Nelson Mandela. We'll see what happens next, Liu Xiaobo.

Interestingly, all those Nobel Prize winners were former or current political prisoners. Xiaobo in jail, and Obama, of course, who is still being held under House arrest.

You see where the boys at CERN, the guys with the 10 billion-dollar atom smasher, had a breakthrough creating an anti-matter atom? Why, hell, I can do that right here in my kitchen, at my place.

Hey. I'm looking at my money and the calendar, seeing how many days it is until next pay day, and thinking, 'Geeeeeeeee, that's going to be a stretch.'
That ever happen to you? More than once?

I've never forgotten the expression of Ben Corley, a basketball teammate with whom I was trying to hoop our ways to an undergraduate degree, and was riding to work at our 2nd shift shit summer jobs in the press room at General Tire & Rubber Co. in Wabash, Indiana, and one Sunday night, after being paid on Friday, Ben opened up his wallet and stared at it for the longest time before slowly saying in wonder, 'Where...did all my muhfuckinmoneygo?'

You ever ask yourself that question, maybe not in those words?

'Let's see...we went to the gas station...the garage sale...Mickey D's...and the bar.'

One of the Myanmar gardeners, the unreliable one, came by here today, holding out five baht, the equivalent of 20 cents, in his palm, no eat, he indicated, making a gesture of a spoon to his mouth and shaking his head, looking pitiful, pathetic, begging me for work.

I looked around. Some sweeping up leaves, I guess. I told him okay, sure.

Not today, he said. Tomorrow.


That incredibly self-absorbed person I was telling you about, the non-Thai, stopped by here to continue her story. While listening, I remembered to show her the shot of me in space, hanging onto the ISS, here on the blog.

"Here. I wanted to show you this," I said, turning the laptop toward her. "Iko Nakamura, Japanese guy, took the shot," I mumbled nonchalantly.

She took out her reading glasses and peered at the photo for a moment. "I just bought these today," she said. Putting the glasses back in their case, and the case to her purse, she continued with her story.



at what?

yeah, sure, the story went on to say the obvious, but that was my initial reaction to the headline.


Wouldn't You Say?

"How do you turn off the insects?"

"What do you mean, 'How do you turn off the insects?'? Everybody knows you can't turn off the insects. Please elaborate. You're being too vague."

"What about underwater?"

"What about underwater? Put the insects underwater?"

"No. Your head. What if you still hear the insects underwater?"

"Well, if you still hear them underwater, then they're probably...they're probably in your head. Wouldn't you say?"


Post-game Collegiate Football Radio Interview Pt.2

"I mean, you know, like, any team can, you know, way the ball bounce, I mean, like, hats off, you know, they, sometimes your way, you know, and sometimes, like, you know, go back out there, you know, I mean, any given day."

"Thanks, Coach."


Freedom & Feardom*

You flown lately? Prepare yourself for genuine sexual molestation. If it was you or me, doing this to someone we didn't know, we'd surely be facing criminal charges.

'Invasive' is the word being used. Highly invasive. I experienced the new enhanced groping procedures at a connection in Guangchou, China, where the young plastic-gloved girl ran her hand up my thighs to my crotch, causing me to exclaim in surprise, 'OHHHHHHHHHHH?' with a head-clearing shake of my head to full and maximum full-trottle alertness. Code red.

My spontaneous outcry caused everyone in the vicinity to pause and look. At that point, I wanted to ask her to remove her gloves and proceed, and maybe could we have dinner together.

It usually takes flowers, dinner, and sitting through a ballet performance to get a girl to go that far on the first encounter.

'Arousal' isn't the word. 'Publicly Violated' is more fitting. Like one humiliated passenger said, 'It would be considered sexual harassment if it was anybody but the government.'

How many terrorists are Americans? Why subject every single citizen to this treatment when one's citizens aren't the threat?
'For everyone's safety', we recognize and understand, but wait until you experience its humiliating public personal intrusion.

The Fourth Amendment reads: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Replace the 'i' with an 'e' in Rapiscan, the company that produces the X-ray body scan used at airports, and you have a more accurate description of its function. RAPE SCAN.


You seen where the prospect of having their retirement stretched out two additional years had the French in the streets? What're they at now, a three-day work week already? The corporate world has learned efficiency to the point of making your job unnecessary, an overall belt-tightening reaction around the world. A fully-staffed foreign news bureau is obsolete, replaced by the internet and 12-year old Naji with his cell phone, you and your apps.


Slipped the buddha around my neck for the first time, after being asked why I hadn't been wearing it, headed out the door, and hopped on the bike. At the entrance to the highway, I turned left toward the Cape Pakarang 7/11 instead of turning right to the Khuk Khak 'Seven', three kilometers closer, don't ask me why.

Just as I was leaving 7/11, a northbound motorcyclist had his transit interrupted by a truck entering the highway intersection from Cape Pakarang road. He slammed the truck with a resounding crash and went skidding diagonally across the road. I was the second guy immediately on the scene, the first man directing the heavy traffic.

The cyclist, a Thai guy, had a broken ankle, for sure, and a nasty open gash to the bone. Slight abrasions on the knees and hands. While an angel of a little Thai girl appeared and held his leg, I packed his wound with gauze and wrapped his ankle with an elastic roller bandage, then we held his leg elevated until the ambulance arrived. We could have used a splint to immobilize his leg, but under the circumstances, we just waited for the certified crew.

When they got there, I told the first guy who rushed up that the guy had a broken ankle, held the leg as he put on plastic gloves, then stepped back as he unwrapped the wound, looked at it, and immediately reapplied fresh bandages from his kit, and wrap it again with a new roller bandage. He just re-did what I did, re-opening the wound. I stood watching in silent bewilderment thinking, 'Load him up, man! He's good to go! GO!'

It was hot. I was soaked with perspiration, and disgusted. A crowd had gathered. Traffic backed up both ways. I gathered my small kit bag and slipped through the crowd to my bike, a cop now directing traffic snaking by the scene, another spray-painting an outline on the asphalt around the bike, the Thai emergency crew huddled over the injured man. A lady who had been standing there watching, looked up at me and smiled.


Shrinking Man

Last time I went in for a physical they measured my height at 6 feet. 'Can't be right,' I said. 'I'm six-foot, two.' We double-checked. Six feet.

Gee, the high school football roster, the college basketball lineup, the circus highwire poster, boot camp, all had me at six-foot, two. I used to b...

In the mirror, that guy's skin seems to be getting looser. Take time to stretch. Saltwater float in the Sea. Nowhere to go, but just be. The water was choppy, but good therapy.

Thinking of who we used to be reminded me of Lupe' on Pine Ridge, one day saying emphatically, 'I used to be...I was one of the...I was the BEST.'

Never mind about what he was the best at. Whatever he was doing at the time, he was the best. Same with you and me. Did I tell you I embarked upon the International Space Station, and ended up making shields? The best shields, and some of the worst.


Batfink got poisoned. That's what they said, she got poisoned. Batfink ('because her big ears make her look like a bat', said Damon, who named her) was a typical Thai dog that came around here looking for food, and to escape the Myanmar camp just up the road at that time. Medium-sized rat-like bitch, short hair, black as the ace of spades. Wouldn't let you lay a hand on her. Understood only Burmese. Ignored you if you spoke Thai or English.

Then she had pups, and that changed her whole attitude, and she became One Fine Dog, learned English, guarded the complex and did her job, along with Sugar ('Chu-gah'), her mother, who earlier, also got poisoned, they said.

Batfink, who you couldn't see in the dark, could scare the hell out of you, coming up on you silently from out of nowhere to nuzzle your hand, especially with those long pointed ears, long pointed nose, and yellow eyes that gave her the appearance of Satan's Helper, or something goosebump scary.

Now, Batfink's gone, and so is her daughter, Caramel, who come up missing three weeks ago after being on the scene here for two years. We all just shrug our shoulders, look off, eyes searching the road. Poisoned, I guess, since they're all road-wise. Nobody gets hit.

So now, there's just 'Gruffy', or, 'P. Thai', to the Thai, a black, wiry-haired guy with a white beard and great disposition. He's lying out my back door, having just eaten a whole fried chicken from the market, head, feet, and all. The whole ting.


'Let's go down to the bah,' said Damon in his heavy British accent. 'The band's playin' an' Claudia's singin'.' Couldn't say no to my bad boy motorcycle four-doors-down neighbor. He'd just fed me dinner. 'I'll go down for a coke,' I told myself.

'You can keep up with me,' he said, hopping on the yellow motorbike he's been riding since he sold his big bike for the cash.

'Ain't no way,' I told him.

'Yeahh you can,' he said laughing, zooming off.

He waited for me at the intersection to the highway, then we crossed over to the left side and headed south through Khuk Khak and Bang Niang to his bar halfway to Khao Lak, 14 kilometers away, Damon winding out the gears and leading the way like a bat out of hell, 'full bat'** at night, riding the center stripe and flying by people and passing cars, which only crazy or impatient people on motorcycles will attempt.

I backed off the throttle north of Bang Niang when I swung out to pass the three vehicles Damon had just gone around, and a guy coming the other way flashed his lights and swung out to pass a slower northbound vehicle. Both he and Damon stayed on their respective sides of the line, but the distance between their mirrors was close enough to hear a voice say, 'Old man, you're not in that big of hurry.'

And he's right, that guy inside my head who sometimes overrides the insects.

'Lead, follow, or get out of the way,' they say in the Marine Corps. The same is true on motorbikes.


*you can see this material is dated. However, note this was before the Thanksgiving uproar.

**everybody knows you never go full bat.