Getting ahead in Trash Land

Americans kept awake the whole of last night, watching what they call a cliffhanger – the election to the House of Representatives in the 18th District of the US State of Pennsylvania.

This is a district that is famous for being one of the redddddddest districts in America, peopled by obese blue-collar white trash who can barely read and probably cannot write. Trump won this district in 2016 by a zillion votes.

Democrat, Conor Lamb (fresh-faced young prince) and Republican Rick Saccone (jaded old Trump Trash, who once said he was Trump before Trump was Trump) are separated by a margin of only 847 votes with several thousand absentee ballots left to count.

Lamb is ahead by a razor thin margin in a Trump Trash district. Oh yeah, anyone who is a Trump supporter is less than human trash, in my view.

But in spite of this being a Trump district, Lamb (a Democrat) is winning. He has figured out a way to win – by behaving like them – Trump Trash. That’s the only way he can get the votes there. He claims he is pro-gun, pro-life, anti-immigration, can barely read and write, yada, yada, yada.

In America, you cannot win an election by being yourself. You have to make voters believe you are someone else.

The two are vying to fill the congressional seat vacated by right-wing Jesus-mouthing Republican, Tim Murphy, the district’s longtime Republican representative.

Murphy was preaching Jesus and family values when the poor dear had to resign last October after it was revealed that he had an extramarital affair and had forced his mistress to get an abortion.

The Murphy asshole didn’t resign because he was caught having an affair, no Siree. Trump Trash are mysoginists. It’s okay to cheat on your wife if you are Trump Trash. Murphy had to go because – after he knocked his mistress up, he committed the cardinal sin of forcing her to have an abortion.

That’s America for you. If you live anywhere else (like me), America might as well have been Mars.

Aren’t I happy I don’t live in America?

Sniff! Bawwwwl!



It’s a chilly Saturday night in February 2013 and the people are crammed into the small conference room at a mental-health center in northern Tokyo. They have all gathered there for an evening of communal rui-katsu – “tear seeking.”

The event organizer, Hidefumi Yoshida says to the 20 men and women who range from college students to middle-aged office workers, “Whether you’ve had a tough time at work, your business is bankrupt, you lost your spouse or you have crippling health issues or your partner left you for another person, crying does a much-needed reset on your emotional well-being”.

Yoshida then switches on the video player and a series of videos are flashed on a screen. One is a Thai TV commercial titled, “The silence of love”. Watching it, the people in the room begin to sob quietly.

At the end of the screening, there is a group discussion and Yoshida can feel as if a veil has lifted. The members are visibly cheered up.

Rui-katsu is growing in popularity in Japan, not because the Japanese are big criers, but precisely because they aren’t. The International Study on Adult Crying polled 37 nationalities and found that the Japanese in fact are among the least likely to cry. (Americans, by contrast, are among the most likely.) The Japanese are a stoic people and consider hiding one’s sorrow a virtue.

In the five years since the first rui-katsu session, crying clubs have popped up all over Japan and even spread overseas into Europe. Websites have sprung up that post books, movies, poems and music that enhance the desire to cry.

Since most members really don’t have any problems in their lives that would cause a meltdown, most sessions of rui-katsu are not expressions of genuine sorrow, but hey, it makes members feel better afterward and that’s all that matters.

I found an instance of sham sorrow in fiction – Herman Wouk’s City Boy, which is about a lovably plump, very intelligent, Jewish eleven year old boy named Herbie Bookbinder who lives in Bronx. The delightfully funny story is centered around events that happen during his summer camp, in the summer of 1928.

I’ll read you a part where camp is over and Herbie and the rest of the kids are leaving for home. Herbie is grief stricken…….

“….Herbie was enjoying his grief so much that he was disappointed when it started to wane, like the tingle from an ice-cream soda, after only a few minutes. He began using devices to work it up and keep it alive, such as humming, “Bulldog, Bulldog” and tapping dismally to himself, and reviewing every detail of his final hours at camp.

True sorrow is painful. Sham sorrow compares to it like riding down a roller coaster does to falling off a roof. The thrill is there, but not the cost……”


Have you ever enjoyed crying and not wanting to stop? I know I have. I used to make myself watch Schindler’s List whenever I wanted to cry. And I felt so good – virtuous even – after that. (Having sex did that too, but don’t get me going on that now).

I overdid Schindler’s List and I’m now sick of reading or watching anything about the Holocaust and I need some fresh stuff to make me cry. Since this blog has been free enlightenment for you all these years, dear reader, the least you can do to show your gratefulness is to suggest a book or movie I could bawl over. I miss bursting into tears.

Crying – even sham tears – is good. Medical experts say that crying is healthy. It rids the body of harmful toxins and reduces stress and even the risk of cardio-vascular disease.

Crying is great for your mental health too. Displaying your emotions openly – wearing your heart on your sleeve – tells others you are not a phoney shit-faced jerk, but a genuine and vulnerable person. It draws others closer to you. Crying in fact is a sign of inner strength, that tells the world that you don’t care about what others think.

When you cry in front of others, you are showing us all that it’s a perfectly normal and natural emotion. You are setting a trend. Haven’t you felt like crying at a funeral, after watching others cry, even though you had never known the dead dude?

Crying is infectious. Crying could even indicate that you are great at sex, but like I said, I won’t get into that. I shall however say this to all my male readers – try bursting into tears in front of a broad you have the hots for. You’ll be surprised when she gets turned on seeing your vulnerability and draws your head into her ample bosom and rocks you and says, “There, there, my koochie woochie woo, come here you.”

Ooops, I gotta go. My eyes just fell on Sathyajit Ray’s Pather Panchali. I can feel a good cry coming up. Toodle-oo!


Post scrotum:

In case you want to try having a nice big bawl, here’s the link to that Thai TV commercial I spoke about in para-3……..


Musings of a God-Whisperer (Part-1)

Every religion has it’s myths. Christianity swears by a Jesus who walked on water, brought a dead dude to life and turned water into wine. (Jesus chose the wrong profession. He should have taken out a lease on a bistro instead).

Likewise, every religion has it’s accompanying myths. Myths seem fantastical but they are meant to create symbolisms.

Take Hanuman, the half-ape, half-man demi-God in the Hindu epic “Ramayana” who was known for his blind loyalty to the capo-di-tutti-capi of Gods, Rama. Rama is an exiled God king.

Oh yeah, Hinduism likes it’s messiahs and Gods to be members of the elite, unlike those of the Abrahamic faiths which have strictly blue collar messiahs who fit the narrative – fighting oppression. Jesus was a carpenter, Mohammad a camel washer in a caravan and old Moe – just a dumb bearded nut with a stick who wandered around the wilderness for forty years, mumbling to himself over and over…”Where the fuck am I?”

In this little anecdote, Rama, the exiled heir to the throne at the kingdom of Ayodhya, returns to claim his crown after 14 years in the wilderness. If you are not a Hindu, you’d want to know why Rama took off on his decade long camping trip, but it is a wierd Harry Potter meets Lord of the Rings story. You’re better off not knowing why, trust me.

Rama’s triumphant return from the hills and coronation is a grand affair. On a certain level, it bears some similarity to the marriage of Connie Corleone in ‘The Godfather’. Custom dictates that the bride and groom have to award gifts and boons to the help. So, Rama’s wife, Sita, gifts her priceless sapphire ring to Hanuman as a reward for his blind loyalty to Rama.

Hanuman takes the ring, pops the sapphire from it’s setting and scrutinizes it as if he was looking for something in it. When he sees nothing but a dumb sapphire, he chucks the ring into the dumpster. This annoys Sita. Understandable. If you gift someone a priceless jewel and he destroys it in front of your eyes, you’d be pissed too.

Rama is perplexed too. He asks Hanuman what the eff he was trying to find in the ring. Why did he pop the precious stone and throw it away? Hanuman replies, “I am trying to find my Rama in the ring. Anything that does not have Rama in it, is of no use to me.” (I have to say, Hanuman sounded a bit like Mike Pence there).

You’d think Hanuman is bonkers but there’s a symbolism in his words. In our race for material comforts and luxuries we have forgotten God. We have begun believing that there is happiness and peace without Him. Life and it’s pleasures and desires is the sapphire ring that Sita gave Hanuman.

But in spite of it’s priceless value, the ring failed to attract Hanuman because he didn’t see Rama in it, meaning thereby that whatever may be our possessions and attainments, we shall never be able to attain the ultimate nirvana if we are not devoted to the Supreme.

What puzzles me though, is the fact that it was the divine Sita who tempted Hanuman with the ring. Had Rama orchestrated the whole thing? Did he make Sita give Hanuman the ring to test his devotion to him? One never can tell. Trust me, Gods can be nuts too.

There are parallels to that inexplicably petty act on part of the divine, in other faiths as well. The Christian/Jewish/Islamic God’s ‘test’ of Abraham’s faith comes readily to mind, when an egocentric and insecure God forcibly orders Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac, not bothering to tell him why the kid has to die. Of course, God – through his own version of Sarah Huckabee Sanders – tells Abraham to stop at the last split-second, when Abraham’s arms are raised and about to strike. What a display of vicarious, macabre cheap thrill seeking!

Let me tell you something. If someone I am devoted to asks me to kill my son, I’ll tell him to go fuck himself and if I see him again I’ll kill him with my own bare hands, plain and simple, God or no God.

Is it small wonder that I am an atheist?



The divine Sita, presenting Hanuman with the sapphire ring. I have no idea who that black broad (right foreground) is.




Canadian timber wolves at Parc Omega, Quebec


Alternative facts – the beast we all have to face down today.


Patriarchy today is a wounded beast. And wounded beasts are dangerous.


Roller blading is a different beast than ice skating.


I had a beast of a headache.


There, one word, used in different ways, but we usually say ‘beast’ for something that we perceive as dangerous and associate with evil – like wolves, for instances.

I have wanted so much to come face to face with a wolf in the wild. Should have been easy, given that I find myself on a tree stand with my Sapua Magnum and a thermos in the woods off La Tuque most autumns, during deer and moose season.

But I have not seen a wolf in the wild yet. (The timber wolves in these photos live in comfort inside a wildlife preserve an hour’s drive outside Montreal that I drove to last weekend – Parc Omega.)

Wolves hate us, oh yeah. They look cute as hell – with all that fur and all – but make no mistake, they have it in for you and here’s why….

Before the early 1600s, native North Americans had co-existed for centuries with wolves – timber wolves, grey wolves, arctic wolves, black wolves – all kinds of wolves. They had learned to hunt in teams by watching wolf packs hunt. Unless wolves killed their livestock, they left them alone.

Europeans landed in North America with a kinda blood lust tinged with paranoia. 17th Century European culture saw wolves as evil – reps of the Satan – to be exterminated on sight. That’s how wolves have learned to loath us – for indiscriminately decimating their numbers. Today, if a she-wolf found Romulus and Remus abandoned, suckling them would be very far from her mind, trust me. She would throw a fookin baby rib roast party.

Over the centuries, wolves have taught themselves to recognize our smell and developed so keen a sense that they can detect our presence from two miles. So, unless you have found a way to mask your smell, there’s very little chance you are ever going to catch sight of a wolf in the wild.

There are of course all kinds of products in the market that promise hunters complete concealment but I haven’t found one that works. Of course if you are lucky to be downwind a wolf won’t detect your presence, but then the wind is a fickle beast and keeps shifting direction without notice.

My hunting partner, Michel, noticed that he could go undetected if he followed the trails that were frequented by ATV enthusiasts who bump around the countryside in those All-Terrain Quads. Quads leak oil and gas along the trail, besides belching exhaust. He surmised that the lingering gas smell masks the human smell. He got a majestic six-foot specimen last winter. Weighed in at 100lb, he did.

I probably never will see a wolf in the wild, as I have decided to give up hunting. It’s physically too demanding at my age and I don’t wish to injure my back at this late stage in life. A slipped disc could ruin my bounding sex life, y’know. (I am yet to try out all them positions in the Kama Sutra). Hauling the carcass of a 300lb elk through the brush and then bending over and skinning and cleaning it, cutting it into four massive chunks and then hefting them onto the back of your pick-up truck – it is back breaking work, even with the help of a hunting partner.

I did hear a wolf wail once, though. I was camped in Michel’s shack on the banks of the Lac Memphremegog. It was one long howl and his voice kinda cracked after a while – somewhat like a yodel. Eerie, gave me the heebies. I was snuggled up inside my sleeping bag when I heard the wail and I missed catching his silhouette on a knoll, against the moon’s Sea of Tranquility. We were zapped on some sterling shiraz cabarnet and dozing off, listening to Dire Straits’ “On Every Street”. You wouldn’t get me out of that sleeping bag even if it was your Scarlett Bowdi (Scarlett Johanssen) in flesh, wailing.

Just as well. You don’t walk out of your shack in the Canadian wild, in the dead of the night, under any circumstances. There are more black bears than wolves in the wild and if you thought wolves were crazy, you have no idea how kooky bears are.

Anyway, I was enlightening you on the history when you waylaid my thoughts…..

The decimation of wolves had been going on unchecked when, around the 1930s, Canadian conservationists began to see a worrying pattern emerge. With the wolves gone, the population of rabbits, deer, elk, moose, whitetail and wild boar exploded. Perpetually hungry, they had one single mantra – “When do we eat? When do we eat? When do we eat?”

The bastards threatened to defoliate our farmlands with their grazing and lay the countryside bare and the Canadian government realized that the wolves had been serving a purpose after all – conservation. A decision was taken to reintroduce them into the wild. The sprawling Parc Omega – with it’s surrounding countryside and rolling hills – is one of those establishments that is involved in the process of maintaining the balance.


Wolves really are wild. They are a wholly different beast from most other predators. You can get a bear or a cougar to stand on a stool or ride a tiny three-wheeled bike in a circus, but try that with a wolf and he’ll tell you to go fuck yourself (ie: if you have a richard that is long enough).

And don’t assume that wolves won’t eat human flesh. Given a choice maybe they would prefer something else – maybe venison or boar or rabbit or something – but if they’re hungry, human flesh will do just fine, thank you. And wolves are hungry all the fookin time.

God forbid, but if you find yourself surrounded by a wolf pack for the first time, I swear you have no idea what you’re getting into. Picture this………..

The day had been dull, with no game in sight and you’re cramped, crouched on the tree stand. You’re tired. You need to take a leak. You also need to check why the fucking motion-sensing Spypoint you had installed in a wedge on the poplar 50 yards away isn’t transmitting. It’s still in warranty, thank God.

You leave your 7.62mm Nosler M48 leaning against the tree stand railing and you climb down to the ground. Very soon you are 50 yards from your tree stand and your Nosler and the light is failing. The voice inside is telling you, “ars–le, you shouldn’t be here”.

But you’re cocky. You have brought along your Colt Python even though handguns aren’t allowed on a hunt. Your ass could be in deep shit if a ranger caught you with one.

But everybody brings along his own trusty little life insurance on a hunt, okay? So here you are, your Colt out and you are pointing it at the closest m—-er f—-er. You think you can blast your way out of this jam.

You’ll empty your magazine, maybe kill a few, but wolves are relentless. That won’t stop them. Wolf packs count at fifteen plus animals. They’re a disciplined, tight-knit fighting unit. You’ll down a few but they’ll just keep on coming at you.

You are a novice at this. You’ll look directly at them, unaware that they are looking back at you – specifically your eyes. They are staring at the pupils of your eyes. You are staring at them, trying to tamp down the panic and they’re watching your pupils and noting how they dilate. With fear.

That’s another thing wolves know to recognize in you – fear. Never ever look a wolf in the eye. Look away, wear sunglasses, whatever, I am not kidding. Wolves are unstoppable when they sense fear.

Then they’ll begin the game. Oh yes, for wolves it is just as much the game as the actual kill. They like to play with their food. They’ll circle round and round, the diameter of the circle tightening gradually. Soon they’ll be brushing past you, deliberately bumping against you and grinding their butts against you. They’ll be playing with you, their lips curled slightly up, giant canines barely visible, a low guttural hum of a snarl escaping from between their teeth.

Wolves have a strict code of discipline. They’ll wait for the ‘chief’, the alpha male, to make the first move, have the first bite, take out the first chunk of flesh, maybe from your calves or thighs. I have a toe-fetish. Purple nail polish on well-formed evenly sized toes turn me on. Wolves too love toes, but in a strictly culinary sense. They don’t give a flying f–k if you had nail polish on.

After they are sick of bumping and grinding against you, it’ll be a slow descent into hell. Since they really think human flesh sucks, they don’t like the idea of being forced to eat you out of hunger. They resent having to eat you. Add to that the fact that you might have killed one or two of them with your Colt Python before the magazine dried up and they’ll be mighty pissed. They’ll make your death take a long long time.

But here are some tips in case you find yourself encircled by a wolf pack……

Whatever you do, don’t try to make a run for it and don’t even turn your back on them. Do not look them in the eye because that will give them the opportunity to watch your pupils and discern if you are scared. If you have a flashlight, turn it on them. Make slow, unhurried, deliberate moves. If there’s a tree nearby try climbing it. Wolves don’t climb trees.

If there is no tree and no flashlight and you’re a schmuck who stared them in the eye, all hope’s not lost just yet. Tell them you never ever hurt a wolf and they are making a big mistake stereotyping you as a big, white male human hunter. In case you own a dog, tell them you own a cousin of their’s whom you treat with utmost respect. If you’re Italian, tell them that two of your long lost ancestors suckled their female ancestor three thousand years back. Tell them anything but make your voice sound deep, like a baritone. Wolves are scared of bass.


But wolves are relentless. After all your pleas, they still may not let you walk away. Carry a cyanide capsule at all times, bite into it. You’ll like the taste. Potassium Cyanide tastes like sweet figs.

And don’t be sad. Think of the plus side – all those big-breasted angels wearing flowing chiffon and nothing else underneath, up there. I understand that in heaven everything goes. It’s the heavenly version of a Hugh Hefner party at the Playboy Mansion. Think of all those boobs you can watch for all eternity.

So, take it easy. Wolves are nice, wolves are good……




Of Racks and Tines


My friend, Michel Dupuis, would have loved to put a .306 round through his neck, but season is over. The deer can sense it when the season is over. Its like we’re friends again – until next October, that is. If you hunt off-season, you are a schmuck because of the consequences of getting caught – a five grand fine, the loss of your firearm and hunting licenses and the confiscation of your gear – your truck included.

But a hunt is something one has to experience at least once in a lifetime. Or be a hunter, like me and Michel. It is not just the kill, it is the whole thing – the prep, the drive through the wild, the chill, the bivouac, the buddies, the booze, the wait, the click of the bolt hitting the round in the chamber, the shot, the leap-back of the stock, the jarred shoulder, the pinging ear, the frightened scampering, limping flight in the brush, the trail of blood, the carcass, the drag over the cold hard ground, the hitching up and the skinning and cleaning, the packaging and the venison in the freezer for a whole year.

It is a heady thing but if you haven’t experienced it, you’ll never know it. Are we hunters bad? Maybe, but if I kill for meat, I do not think I am being cruel. I take my time and try my best to get the animal with one shot at the right spot. He doesn’t know what hit him. I have never had a doe run injured through the brush and get torn to pieces by coyotes.

Don’t you eat mutton or chicken? Just because you get someone else (the butcher) to do the killing for you, that is moral and my killing a whitetail isn’t – does that make sense?

That buck in the foreground is a 12-pointer, six on each side, each point being one tine on his rack. Eventually the whole rack will fall off and regenerate.

The time of the year a buck sheds it’s rack depends upon his age. If he is old, he will shed in December. This one still has his rack, which means he is young and will shed in spring (anytime now, that is). It figures, since the rack seems fully developed.

The antler grows back through summer and by fall, it is fully grown, ready for the inevitable locked horn fights for pussy in the October mating season. And as he ages, the buck will grow more and more tines every year and by the time he dies (if he is lucky enough to die of old age, that is) he will have a 16-point rack.

Its really crazy – we salivate over and kill them in the fall and now they amble over trustingly and we feed them carrots.

This one didn’t budge though. He had a kinda world-weary, been there done that, ‘seen it all’ look in his eyes. I whistled, clicked my tongue, snapped my fingers, clapped my hands, fell to my knees and begged him to come over and have the carrot I was waving at him and maybe take a photo with me but he said,” Shove it up yours. Carrots, carrots, carrots, ugh! Don’t you m—-er f—-ers have nuthin else to bring? Get me a hamper of pears and blueberries and I might think about it. Now scoot. Lizzy, over there, says season is over but she likes to get it on in spring. Scram.”

I could identify with that. Why does sex have to be confined to a season?

E Pluribus Multis (Part-3)

New Phototastic Collage


Trump looks upon the Norwegians as ideal immigrant/citizen material, a sentiment even your friendly neighborhood white guy in America feels deep within but is too polished to admit. A white American would rather have a white Christian Anglo-Saxon European as an immigrant.

I understand that sentiment all too well. Why, my nation of birth – India – wrote the original encyclopedia on it. You wouldn’t believe the level of racism, bigotry and intolerance that exists within the hearts of a sizeable percentage of India’s majority Hindus. Indians worship the color white. It is the only country in the universe where “Fair and Lovely” – a phony skin cream – is the top selling cosmetic.

Roman citizens firmly believed in pretty much the same thing as Trump and his deplorables – that they were racially superior to the rest of the world. To the Romans, Hispanians were hotheads, Greeks were slippery, Egyptians were other-worldly, Phoenicians were greedy, Persians wore too much perfume and the Nubians(Sudanese) were plain dumb. The Romans too (like Trump) had their ideal immigrant material – the Greeks. Just as Trump sees Norwegians – and by extension, all white Europeans – as equals, so did the Romans see the Greeks as equals.

There were exceptions in Rome too though. Some immigrants made it big, really big. The great Septimius Severus (145-211AD) was born a brown-skinned son of Libyan immigrants. Historians unanimously hailed him as one of most effective Emperors that Rome ever had. Perhaps he wasn’t as white as some of his marble busts make him out to be. Rome those days just wasn’t as color conscious as America is today.

One does not have to look far to see that modern America too has had it’s Septimiuses – Barack Hussein Obama, for example – to much of the outside world, one of the best Presidents America has ever had.


Let’s look at other similarities between ancient Rome and today’s America…..

Take the geography. Rome had a natural fortification to the north – the mountains of Cisalpine Gaul (Swiss Alps today) sat like a motorcycle helmet at the very neck where the ‘leg’ of Italy joins the rest of Europe – the only land route in and out. Over the centuries, the Huns, the Goths, the Gauls and the Vandals tried their best to move battalions over the rugged 3000-metre, snow-bound mountain passes and by the time the exhausted, frost-bitten grunts got to the other side, the well-nourished Roman Legions were waiting. On the other three sides, Rome had vast seas – the Tyrrhenian in the west, the Adriatic to the east and the Mediterranean below. Thus, Roman citizens remained untouched by direct land-based invasions for a millennium, before they finally gave in – weakened by the comforts of a good life – to the Huns.

Likewise, America is secured by the Atlantic and the Pacific. It has docile puppy dogs, Canada and Mexico, on the other two sides, both acting as impregnable buffers. America has never had to defend itself against a direct military invasion. I suspect American citizens are at a stage similar to Rome in 400AD, bloated by conspicuous consumption and an obese, spoon-fed, couch potato, reality TV-soaked populace that gets easily spooked by rumors and fake news and has absolutely zero stomach for a real fight. Who knows who America’s Huns shall be but as history shows, it is only a matter of time.


Special interest groups and rich donors – not the citizens – have always decided who was going to rule in both, ancient Rome and present-day Trump America.

Politics has always been the road to personal wealth. The American EPA Secretary, Scott Pruitt, exploits his position to benefit the oil oligarchy in the US and systematically degrade the environment to his benefit. Two thousand years back the Roman quaestor, Hadrian, curried favour with Emperor Trajan to help friends and relatives forcibly acquire property from ordinary citizens and sell influence.

Hadrian eventually succeeded Trajan as Emperor. During his reign, he had columns and monoliths erected proclaiming that he was the best, most popular, most effective Roman Emperor ever. He even got his Bithynian male servant and lover, Antinous, deified into a God and then built a city called Antinopolis in Egypt, in the boy’s honor. Some reports suggest that Antinokins got drunk during an orgy on the Nile and fell overboard the royal yacht and drowned. Others say that in fact, Hadrian had the boy thrown overboard when he caught him giving one of the Praetorian Guardsmen a blowjob.


Both, Rome and America, have constantly and deliberately heightened their security concerns to distract attention from domestic challenges and to spy on their own. Enough circumstantial evidences exist that point to conspiracies within most of America’s history-shifting events :- the assassination of JFK, the case for war in Iraq and in the same context, even 9/11 itself.

Ancient Rome too was rife with conspiracies. Marcus Aurelius’s son, Commodus, warded off multiple assassination attempts until he was finally strangled to death in his bathtub. Commodus was played by Joaquin Phoenix in Ridley Scott’s 2000 film “Gladiator”. Russell Crowe’s General Maximus was a fictional character, though.

Both, Rome and America, had very very itchy fingers. They actively fomented wars which could easily have been avoided. America has had it’s Guatemala, Nicaragua, Vietnam and the ongoing Iraq, to name just a few. In fact over the past hundred years, there have been American ‘boots on the ground’ fighting to secure it’s hegemony somewhere or the other at almost all times. Rome too fought so frequently that it’s citizens did not see beyond one continuous year of peace at a time for nearly the entirety of it’s 1200-year existence, from 800BC to 400AD.


After the assassination of Julius Caesar and the blood bath that followed, Octavius came to power as Rome’s first Emperor in 43BC. From a Republic, controlled and administered by the Senate, Rome switched to an absolute monarchy. The Roman Senate (a group of around 400 rich and influential wheeler-dealers) ceded all it’s influence to the Emperor. Rome’s elite were reduced to currying favor and lobbying with the Emperor, turning themselves into yes-men. The quaestors, generals and governors increasingly began to use the loot from their foreign conquests to influence the Emperor’s decision-making and through it, shape Rome’s domestic policy. Rome’s elite had their own influential king-makers : the Ciceros, the Catilinas, the Catos, the Macedonicuses, the Brutuses and the Cassiuses.

I see the same thing happening in America. There are the Kochs, Mercers, Murdochs, Adelsons and a cabal of Jewish billionaire donors who have had American presidents by the balls for decades.


Exactly as in ancient Rome, there really is no democracy left in America today.

Public policies no longer reflect the preferences of the majority of Americans. If it did, the country would look radically different in so many ways. I am a Canadian who lives in Canada and therefore forgive me if I am off the mark, but take a look at the list of stuff that could happen if America was a real democracy…….

  • For starters, the one who won 3 million more votes would be President. Campaign finance would be strictly controlled. Gerrymandering and the consequent disenfranchisement of blacks and minorities would no longer decide elections.
  • The wealthy would be taxed more, so that when the vet came home all shot up, there would be better rehabilitation for him.
  • Those who take their Lord’s name in vain (the so called American Christian evangelicals) would retreat into their screw-ball churches and nut-job pulpits and cease to be a force in politics, ushering in an age of tolerance and the gradual acceptance of LGBTs, immigrants and minorities.
  • Gun control laws would be much stricter.
  • Paid parental leave would be the law of the land, public colleges would be free and the minimum wage would be higher.
  • Abortions would be accessible without question, because it is the woman’s right to decide whether she should have the baby or she shouldn’t, regardless of the circumstances that led her to get knocked up.
  • And lastly, that typically American urge to waste money ‘building democracies’ in other parts of the world by force would be drastically tempered since ordinary Americans are sick of that.

Oh, I forgot……marijuana would become freely available.



E Pluribus Multis (Part-2)


America’s “E Pluribus Unum” (Out of many, one)

Note the eagle, that’s leadership; the arrows (strength) and the olive branch (peace)

The language : Latin



Ancient Rome’s “SPQR” – Senatus PopulusQue Romanus (The Senate and the People of Rome)

Note the same eagle, arrows and the olive branches. And language.


You have to admit, the Americans lack originality. They do have the 13 stars in their motto that’s different though. Maybe signifying that they are fucking dreamers? I think I know what the stars signify – someone hit the eagle on the head and he’s seeing stars, like in those Elmer Fudd comics.

The Roman SPQR standard on the other hand has the moon in place of stars, telling the world that it’s reach encompasses not just the earth, but the moon as well. Now that is impressive.

But the similarity in concept and import cannot but strike one as unusually close. If you have been paying attention, in Part-1 we started looking at just how close.


Let’s talk about the first thing about ancient Rome and modern America that strikes one as being identical – slavery & civil rights…….

When Alexander the Great (356-323BC) died, some historians thought that he might actually have been poisoned.

At the height of his campaign in Persia, he shipped 500000 captured Persians as slaves back to the slave markets of Thrace and Babylon and the wealthy slave traders there were mighty pissed. “Wo, wo, take it easy, dude,” they screamed,” You’re ruining the price structure.”

After his Persian / Indian conquests, Alexander returned with his troops to Babylon and held a drunken binge in a palace that the great NebuchadnezzarII had built two centuries prior. The drinking party was in honor of Arkad (a wealthy Thracian slave trader).

Obviously poor Alex didn’t choose his friends wisely. After a fortnight, he developed a mysterious fever and never recovered from it. Some experts say that Alexander’s drink may have been spiked with hemlock or hellebore by Arkad’s men, as retribution for starting a decade-long glut in the slave trade.

But I digress.


The slavery that we constantly like to condemn today was actually wholeheartedly sanctioned by the Bible.

There’s no ‘dog whistle’ that President Trump likes to employ. The Bible – especially the Old Testament – legitimizes and organizes the treatment of slaves and lays down rules and regulations under which one must ‘ethically’ treat slaves.

Hebrew slaves held special status in the Bible. The Jews were the ‘chosen ones’, remember? The Bible decreed that Hebrew slaves had to be released after 6-7 years of service, but under certain conditions only. A foreign (non-Hebrew) slave had no such rights however. He belonged to the owner’s family for life, period.

Biblical texts go into excruciating detail – they outline recommended sources of slaves, the legal status of slaves, the economic roles of slavery and the ‘legitimate’ types of slavery that one must practice.

The Bible made slavery an institution. So, before we pillory the American whites for what they did to black African slaves, let’s remember that they just did what the ‘Holy’ Bible told them to.

Here are some examples of Christian ‘piety’ and concern for civil rights for you. Note how they are different for Hebrews and non-Hebrews…….



Leviticus 25:39–55:39

If any Hebrews who are dependent on you become so impoverished that they sell themselves to you, you shall not make them serve as slaves. They shall remain with you as hired or bound laborers. They shall serve with you until the year of the jubilee. Then they and their children with them shall be free from your authority; they shall go back to their own family and return to their ancestral property.


Exodus 21:2-6 New International Version (NIV)

If you buy a Hebrew servant, he is to serve you for six years. But in the seventh year, he shall go free, without paying anything. If he comes alone, he is to go free alone; but if he has a wife when he comes, she is to go with him. If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the woman and her children shall belong to her master and only the man shall go free.



Ephesians 6:5–6:5

Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, in singleness of heart, as you obey Christ.


1 Timothy 6 New International Version (NIV)

All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God’s name and our teaching may not be slandered. Those who have believing masters should not show them disrespect just because they are fellow believers. Instead, they should serve them even better because their masters are dear to them as fellow believers and are devoted to the welfare of their slaves. 

In short, it is disgusting. The sanctimony of the Bible disgusts me. I want to scream,” Is this what your God wants you to do?”


True to their ‘glorious’ Abrahamic tradition, the other two stooges – Islam and Judaism – have also organized and legitimized slavery in a similar fashion. The Holy Quran in fact made slavery so du jour that no one batted an eyelid over it. The Prophet Mohammad himself was a multiple-slave owner, some whom he put in certain ‘circumstances’ that left him no choice but to marry them. Thus his wives, Saffiya and Maria had been his slaves and a male slave, Zayd, he adopted as his son. (I have to admit though that he treated his slaves really well and freed most of them before he died).

Judaism too had a ‘rich’ history of slavery but I have had it with these three Abrahamic phonies, so I’ll change the subject.


Slavery thrived in ancient Rome too, in the form of a sprawling transnational business enterprise that would put today’s globalists to shame. It is estimated that one out of three inhabitants in ancient Rome was a slave. They lived their lives in segregated hovels just the way black folks live in the inner-cities of America today.

The only thing different between Rome’s slaves and America’s 16-17th century slave trade and today’s American downtrodden is that Rome didn’t discriminate. You could be a white guy captured in Germania or Anatolia or Hispania or Britanniae and it wouldn’t make any difference. You would still be a slave, treated exactly the same way as the Nubian from Sudan or the Mauritanian. Your ass was grass, plain and simple.

Ancient Rome existed at a time before the ‘color prejudice’.




E Pluribus Multis (Part-1)

New Phototastic Collage

SPQR – Senatus PopulusQue Romanus (The Senate and the People of Rome)

E PLURIBUS UNUM (Out of many, one)


For the Romans it must have been natural to use Latin.

For the Americans, it seems like an effort to sound profound, that borders on the ludicrous. Besides, it sounds extremely phony, especially in today’s context. Maybe Trump refers to it when he looks for the cheeseburgers on his bedside table.

Out of many cheeseburgers, only one left”


When it came into existence – circa 800BC – it was just a small town that was little more than a village (population 150), by the banks of a river that was little more than a stream one could easily wade across.

The village didn’t begin with any grand plans of being an empire that – in the course of a thousand years – would stretch through three continents and secure within its borders the lives of roughly 100 million free citizens and 30 million slaves.

And the stream never imagined that resourcefulness and engineering would divert nearby streams to join it’s flow, turning it into what is today the turbulent Tiber.

By the time it grew to it’s mightiest in 200AD, Rome would be constantly fighting wars of conquest and quelling rebellion in it’s distant outposts, expending in today’s dollars – trillions, in order to sustain it’s hegemony.

And all the while back home, tax collectors, judges, senators, policemen, firefighters, medicine men, carpenters, builders, farmers, accountants, poets and historians – they would be going about their orderly lives, free Roman citizens, blissfully comfortable in the thought that those wars could never touch them.

It wasn’t really a picture of harmony though, by today’s standards. Ancient Rome was in a state of ‘controlled barbarism’. Rich businessmen sponsored ‘Munera’, reality shows held live in vast amphitheaters where on weekends, citizens brought their wives (and some even their children) to watch hand-picked slaves slash, bludgeon and stomp each other to death.

A vastly different level of morality reigned in ancient Rome. Roman housewives had their Nubian slaves beaten to death for the slightest of infractions. If you didn’t like the looks of your new born female child, you considered it a curse that had to be exterminated. You smashed her head against the stable door and threw her into the rubbish heap.

If you were a plebeian (commoner) and to your great dismay your friendly neighborhood quaestor (Senator) took a fancy to your nubile teenage daughter, you had a choice between letting him take her away in exchange for a tip off ten talents and a job in his stables or you faced the prospect of hard labor in the arsenic-laced gold mines outside town – and your daughter got raped anyway.


And while the citizens within the walls of Rome lived their lives in that quasi-barbaric state of peace, it was quite another world outside, around the fringes of the Empire, a very violent environment of treacherous mini-empires and vassal states that were perpetually squabbling and then forming alliances with the intention of marching on Rome and burning it down to the ground.

Invasions and conquests in those days were quite ‘comprehensive’, designed to ensure that you wouldn’t get any more trouble from the other guy. You didn’t just put an arrow through him and loot his livestock. You wiped him off the face of the earth. You burned his cities and temples down. You raped his women and then killed them. You threw his children into large burning pits. You took the able-bodied as slaves and worked them to their deaths building your monuments and aqueducts. You reserved the worst treatment for the leaders of the conquered lands who refused to fall in line – you had hot molten lead poured down their throats while they were still alive.

Oh yeah, it was a brutal world. The bloodshed – if it were to happen today – would leave every man, woman and child in the conquered territories with Stage-5 PTSD, while turning most of them into paranoid schizophrenics. And in turn, those invading troops would be suicidal wrecks suffering from acute moral injury.

It speaks to the adaptability of the human mind that that didn’t happen. Rome still exists, at the heart of a mediocre, though moderately prosperous, Italy in the midst of a continent of stable, prosperous democracies, none of whom suffer from any consequences of two thousand year old invasions.


The analogies between ancient Rome and present day America are startling. Just for fun, let’s compare the two at the height of their hegemony – Rome in 200AD : An empire that stretched from The Azores in the west to the mouth of the Tigris in the east and Scotland in the north to Nubia(Sudan) in the south, with 20% of the world’s population as its subjects. And let’s compare that with America in the present day, virtually unchallenged……


The similarities between the two are striking. Rome started in the 9th Century BC as a lawless haven for the indigents and the unwanted from nearby Carthago, Neapolis and Syracusa. Likewise, America began with the puritans and exiles who came over because they were just as unwanted in Britain. Both empires started with the disenfranchised jetsam and flotsam.


Even the mysteries behind the rise of Rome and America mirror each other. How did a small village in central Italy manage to grow into a 4-million square mile empire, bigger in area than Europe? Likewise, how did a little village named Jamestown on the banks of the Powhatan, Virginia (which in fact marked the start of the British Empire) overtake Britain and ultimately grow into the world’s most powerful nation? Exactly what is it that set the two apart from the rest?

Will America too fade away like Rome and barely exist, a shadow of it’s former self, another mediocre developed nation, struggling to stay economically afloat?

Take it easy, in spite of my awesome intellect, I don’t have the answers to everything.


Romans and Americans have always had an overblown – almost cringe producing – sense of nationalism. Like the Americans today, Romans thought that the sun rose and set with them and that they had a God-given right to dominate and rule over the rest of the world. Philosopher-Emperor, Marcus Aurelius, once exhorted his citizens thus……,” When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive as a Roman – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love and to conquer, as a Roman.”

American Presidents tell their citizens things that are very similar in essense, though they attach a prayer to their rhetoric every time….. “God bless America and the American people,” they cry out at the drop of a hat, multiple times when they are delivering a speech. Isn’t God supposed to be all-pervasive, all-knowing, everywhere at the same time? Isn’t everybody on earth blessed? Why should God specifically stop to bless America and Americans?

I know of no other nation’s leaders who continuously and repeatedly, in public at home and even while they are visiting other countries, invoke God and entreat him to come forward and bless their country and people. It’s simple. Those leaders simply don’t think it is necessary to invoke Jesus or God whenever their eyelids bat.

Or is it because America’s God starts his daily blessings with the letter ‘Z’ and by the time he reaches ‘A’ (for America) it is time for some sex and he simply forgets to bless America afterwards? No worries there. When it comes to sex, even American Presidents are most understanding.

But that was Rome and this is America – two peas from the same pod.

(to be continued….)

Being Among Equals


There’s something about manual labor that is very satisfying – it happens inside a ‘zone’ that is almost exclusively manly. After all that is the way that most of us men folk lived for hundreds of thousands of years.

When I first came to Canada I worked at a car wash – the ones they call “Lave auto à la main” –  where the cars are washed, soaped, rinsed, wiped and then polished by hand, instead of those joints where you simply sit inside your car and allow an automated system to take over.

My parents back home would have been scandalized if they had known how I was earning a living. My dad would simply have shut down his ears, not wanting to know of it. But there I was – washing, spraying, soaping, polishing – my coveralls and boots soaked right through, the skin around my fingers and toes permanently creased from continued contact with water.

But I had no choice. Actually I did – if we wanted to downsize and move into one of those roach-infested hovels in La Salle or Saint Michel, boroughs of Montreal that are inhabited by street gang members. So instead, I went to work. I did six months in that carwash and a year night shift in a downtown all-night cafe, before I finally got a break that had something ever so faintly to do with my university degree – certifying aircraft engines.

Both, the carwash as well as the cafe were back breaking. But during that period I felt a certain brotherhood, a kinship that I hadn’t ever felt before. There was something ‘tribal’ about manual labor. It was a sort of macho brotherhood of men who were constantly laughing and joking about sex, swapping raunchy cellphone photos, boasting about ‘conquests’ and gyming (going first to the gym after work).

At the carwash, the owner/foreman was a grim swarthy Albanian guy in his late thirties named Agon who laughed only when you told him a dirty joke. Agon had flown the devastated Vlora with his mother in 1997 at the height of the Albanian Civil War, when members of the SHIK (Albanian Security Service) had broken into his home and taken his dad away, never to be seen or heard from again. At the carwash, Agon would hiss under his breath when a comely young lady drove in, “Anyone who doesn’t leave that broad’s car to me, I break his legs.” But for all his bluster, Agon never played foul or short changed us our pay.

At the cafe, the owner, Ben, was cursing us out all the time. Why the fuck haven’t you cut the tomatoes yet. Who the fuck is going to clean out the toilets. What the fuck are you staring at me for, go mop the fucking floor, its dirty. Butt out the fucking cigarette and get back to work. You take fucking ages with your toilet break. Did you wash your fucking hands? I don’t want you kneading the fucking dough with fucking poop on your hands.

But when my wife and baby boy came in one day to see me for something, it was not the same Ben who went out to greet them. By the time they had sat down, he had laid out a banquet for them on the house with his own hands.

Hard labor was good for a simple, inquisitive and overactive mind like mine. It was a relief from stress. It temporarily shut down the constant movie running inside my head that looped round and round endlessly, it’s main theme – other’s expectations, obligations, guilt, anger, rebellion and the fear of failure.

The days were long : 10-12 hour shifts, peopled with almost 100% immigrant labor, most of whom were well educated even before they had arrived in Canada and almost all of them refugees waiting to be accepted and working for cash to supplement the welfare dole they received. The cafe had quite a few Masters of Science and Arts and I met even one PhD in the carwash – an Iranian earth scientist who specialized in petroleum geology.

There was also a meritocracy I noted, in manual work that I did. When you are doing hard labor, the reason why you get paid is a simple one –  you are either capable of the job or you are not capable of it. If you are not, there is no way you are going to get hired. Who you are, where you come from, what language you speak or what the color your skin is – they don’t matter. All that matters is how thinly you can slice the onions or the tomatoes and how many potatoes you can peel in a minute or how fast you can unload those heavy crates of cabbages from the delivery truck that is blocking half the sidewalk. Or how quickly you can finish wiping down a car that has just been rinsed.

Even now, I still feel a kinship with folks who work with their hands linger within me. When I am at a Tim Hortons, I tip the girl at the counter generously. At work, when I pass by a member of the janitorial contractor who is replenishing the toilet paper at the men’s washroom, I never fail to say “thank you for keeping this place so tidy”. If at a restaurant, a waiter comes forward to clean up a ketchup spill I created, I stoop to help with a “I am so sorry I had to make you do this”.

Even now, I remember Ben’s words when I first came to work for him….. “You need to leave that university degree of yours outside the door when you come to work. In here, we are all equal….”


The Zane Grey Puzzle

‘Bertie’ is clearly legible but whom did he present the Zane Grey to that Christmas in 1951? Was it ‘Jasmine’, or ‘mommie’? Or was it Jammie or Tammie? It’s clear the name ends in ‘mmie’, but I’m unsure of the first few letters. A sibling’s present to another perhaps?

Making the assumption that a woman perhaps wouldn’t enjoy reading Zane Grey, I would guess the receiver was a white male. Again, assuming Zane Grey was read by the young, I would pin the receiver down to a white male around 17-25. The stoic, curtness of tone suggests that both, the giver and receiver were in a farming community. They are therefore white, male, today around 85-90.

Why white? For one, around 1951, Canada was just as racist as America and for the love of me, I just cannot picture a Canadian (or even American) black presenting another black a Zane Grey novel, the author being known for stories that glorified white settlers.

The tone in the words is cold, curt even. Maybe back in 1951, folks were that way. But the times couldn’t have been hard. Like the US – untouched by devastation – Canada’s arms, petroleum, heavy engineering and ship building industry had benefited economically from the war. The Canadian economy was booming.


I bought the book anyway. Heck, it costed me $1 at Nova, the secondhand book store down by the river. I love Zane Grey and besides, the book has a certain antique value. Who knows? I might be able to sell it on Ebay for $5000 in a coupla years.

Am I not exceptionally smart? In the spirit of James Bond’s now famous words of introduction – I am Bong, Spunky Bong.


Acronym explained:-

WHOGAFA : Who Gives A Fuck Anyway